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Sep 1, 2014

anti-haredi discrimination

I have had this thought bouncing around in my head for the past couple of days. I almost wrote it in response to a number of arguments I have seen, regarding the issue of the school takeover in RBS. I did not write it because I mostly tried to stay out of arguing about it - because I feel that the solution, or a solution, is necessary but the method used was wrong.

Here it is. It is in response to the complaint that there is so much anti-haredi bias and that's why the Haredim dont get anything and have to fight for everything, even sometimes taking things forcefully.

When the Iryah and the Mayor have been Haredi for +-6 years, you can no longer use the complaint of anti-Haredi discrimination.

thoughts?




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will kapparos be banned completely this year?


The annual pre-Yom Kippur attack on the minhag of "Kapparos" is coming early this year..

Kikar is reporting that the Ministry of Agriculture is set to ban slaughter in the streets. Anybody who performs a shechita in the streets anyways, will have the rest of his chickens confiscated and will be fined to the tune of 730 NIS.

In Jerusalem the veterinary services have warned all the slaughterhouses and businesses that normally operate the kapparos centers around the city. They will not be allowed to bring the chickens/roosters/hens from the coop to the streets. They have to be brought from the coop to the slaughterhouses - straight.

One of the complaints against the new directive is that the Muslims are allowed to slaughter sheep on their holidays and nobody put an end to that, but they decide to suddenly ban and put an end to a Jewish customs hundreds of years old!.

The Ministry of Agriculture responded saying that they will soon issue instructions explaining how the minhag of kapparos can be performed according to all the relevant health standards and proper treatment of animals.

I wonder if the new directive only applies to slaughtering in the streets, or also on private property. Maybe they could use schools and shuls courtyards, or parking lots of buildings that are willing to allow it...  when they slaughter so many chickens in the street it always reminds me we live in the Middle East. Israel strives to be more like a developed Western country, but we are not that dissimilar from countries like Jordan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq and the like...


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Interesting Psak: no playing Tkof Taaseh Biguim

The song "Tkof, Taaseh Biguim" was clearly the hit song of the summer. Hamas published and released a song that was mean to be threatening and upsetting, and play some psychological warfare on the Israelis.. Somehow and somewhy, the song instead went viral in Israel, with many satirical parodies being made of the song.

the original

one of the many parodies

Now, when the song has already faded and will no longer qualify in any way for Casey Kasem's Top 40, we get some rabbinic attention devoted to the song.

Rav Shlomo Aviner (and those of you who know my affinity for Rav Aviner will surely recognize that this gets attention not because of him but because of the song), rosh yeshiva of Ateret Kohanim, has paskened that it is prohibited to listen to the Tkof song, and it is prohibited to create parodies of the song as well..

Rav Aviner explains that the song, the original song, arouses aggressive and threatening feelings, and its point is to arouse people to kill Jews. According to the Rambam the words of a song must be pure, clean and kosher.

Rav Aviner also says there is importance to the identity of the creator of a song, and not just the words used. A singer must be an appropriate person, as he is also a form of a teacher. He must be an example in his ways and behavior..

Rav Aviner also relates to the tune, and says it must be kosher. The tune must arouse sensitive feelings and not aggressive feelings.. a song is not just entertainment but it affects the soul.

Therefore, Rav Aviner concludes, the song is not kosher, and it is not kosher to make parodies of it.
source: NRG




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Facebook Status of the Day

today's FSotD award goes to Richard Peres, a local city councilman in Bet Shemesh..

(translation, and my explanation of why this won the award, after the post)



my translation:
The State of Israel, 2014!
Under the sponsorship of the State of Israel, The Ministry of Education, The Police, and Mayor Moshe Abutbol are building a Berlin Wall in a school. They are taking over part of it and allowing to build - a wall - in order to separate between the Haredi girls and between the children of Safot vTarbuyot of the national stream [of education].
It is a disgrace to the State of Israel, a disgrace to abandoning the Zionist citizens who serve in the IDF, pay their taxes and uphold the laws.
I feel as if they have stolen my country.
with your own eyes you can see the white separating wall behind the parents at the ceremony opening the school year.
And what do we say to the wonderful children beginning first grade - instead of "Hello, First Grade!" - it will be goodbye to the Zionist State and hello to the State of Darkness!
and to all my friends I will say, Bet Shemesh is first - it will come to every city.


So why does this xenophobic post by Richard Peres win FSotD?

Because, Richard Peres is the mastermind of the idea of dividing Bet Shemesh with a separation wall. The idea of dividing Bet Shemesh has been around for a long time. Peres has promoted it for a long time. Peres added to it the idea of a wall.

And in this post he calls a dividing wall "the Berlin Wall". He calls a division by a wall to be a disgrace and it is clearly upsetting. His wall is ok, but this wall is not?

What Peres should have done is used this to promote his own agenda. Point to this wall and say the City of Bet Shemesh says it is ok to divide the city and separate residents with a wall, and go on to promote his own agenda. Instead he says why a wall is a horrible idea, making me wonder why and how he thinks his own wall is a good idea.



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Pillar of Light - film on Rav Ovadia (video)

interesting




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Finance Minister Yair Lapid speaks with Foreign Press (video)






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Jewish resident of Jerusalem blasts Shma Yisrael next to Arab neighborhood (video)

in some places there have been conflicts with Arab neighborhoods blasting the calls of the Muezzin at early hours of the morning disturbing Jewish nearby neighborhoods at a time they would prefer to be sleeping. Unwilling to lower the volume or turn and redirect the speakers a bit, some Jewish neighborhoods have brought the fight back -

this fellow blasts Shema Yisrael towards the Arab neighborhood, to show them what it feels like.

I am sure his own Jewish neighbors probably aren't too happy about it either...





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The Holy Land With Russell Berger (video)








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Naftali Kalfa & Aaron Razel - We are brothers (video)








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Aug 31, 2014

AM:PM trying to open first branch in Ashdod, on Shabbos

AM:PM, the famous supermarket chain in Tel Aviv that has caused many fights for flaunting the law and being open on Shabbos, wants to open its first branch in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod.

AM:PM operations on Shabbos in Tel Aviv has led to lawsuits by the small markets associations for unfair competition, as they cannot afford the fines, yet are being forced to work on Shabbos just to compete and they therefore lose their day off. AM:PM operations also led to a Haredi [sort of, never actually official] ban on other supermarkets owned by the same owner, Shefa Shuk.

Now AM:PM wants to open in Ashdod, on Shabbos. The local Haredim are upset, understandably. I am sure the other small market owners are also upset.

The owner of the property is himself a religious Jew who keeps Shabbos. His response to the complaints against him is that he is against chilul shabbat, but he is against coercion

It seems just a few hundred meters away there are other businesses open on Shabbos. The Haredim say there are businesses open downtown, but not in this area, which is right opposite City Hall.

The mayor says he is looking into the issue.
source: Mynet

Personally, I am just going to wait for the first Kassam or Grad rocket to hit the new AM:PM building so we can hear about how it was hit due to its chilul shabbos.


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Haredi activists try to take school building, renewing old fight

The fight regarding the building of the School of Languages and Culture located in RBS is not new. The school is situated in a building that can educate, supposedly, up to 500 children. The school has 140 children under its responsibility. It seems to have classrooms that just are not used at all - they are kept locked. But they have the building, as an old allocation.

The school is situated in a religious neighborhood of RBS A. One might justifiably say RBS A is Haredi, but it is at least mixed religious, with a majority of Haredi residents. the immediate area around the school is mostly Haredi, though I am not sure that is a real factor, as a number of the other school buildings in that immediate area are also non-haredi. And there are many Haredi institutions located in buildings on the older part of Bet Shemesh in non-Haredi areas, and the students are bused in. It is not a great argument, that the building must be given priority for local needs, but in this situation there happens to be a severe shortage for local institutions.

The Haredi community has long been upset about this, saying there are Haredi schools bursting at their seams, overflowing with children, using caravans and temporary structures, while this school, with kids largely being bussed in from other parts of the city, cannot even fill the building they have are under-using a valuable resource in the middle of an area where the local kids dont have school buildings.

The non-Haredi say it is a regional school, the former Minister of Education Gideon Saar authorized it to be kept in use by this school, they have had it and it cant just be taken away, etc.

I happen to agree that the authorities should find a way to allocate the school buildings more efficiently and give the buildings to the schools that need them. If this school is not using the building entirely, it should perhaps be shared with another school in a similar situation. Or with a new school that does not have so many kids yet. Or the school can be relocated to another, smaller, building, and this building be re-allocated based on need.

Unfortunately, our city leadership is not blessed with vision or skills for planning long term. Instead of working on this, the problem has been festering for years already, they just try to use force to get things the way they want, or think should be.

They could call a meeting in the Iryah about it, put it up to a vote (which will have an automatic majority), pressure the government, meet and negotiate arrangements with the school board and the relevant parents associations...

Today, some Haredi city councilmen went down to the school with city workers and acted like they are forcefully taking over the school. Police were called in, another non-haredi city councilman got involved opposing them, Words got heated. Police kept everyone apart. Nobody was arrested.

As I said, I think the right thing to do is find a solution to free up the building and allocate it to a local school that needs it.

My complaint here is that they show up the day before school starts and claim the building forcefully. Where were they the past two or three months during summer vacation? Couldn't this have been dealt with over the long vacation? Why the day before Opening Day? And why not already be dealing with this even longer than over the 2.5 months vacation? For the past year, or 3 years, have they been working on a solution? or do they just plan to show up every few years right before opening day and try to take the school?








The Regional Director of the Ministry of Education later sent a letter to Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol saying that they oppose such a unilateral decision, and express bewilderment that such a decision to initiate such a sensitive action would be made just days before the opening of the new school year.
source: shopping

The Iryah response claims it is their job to be concerned for the education fo children from all sectors, and this building is underused. Being that they are owners of the property, they have the right to go in and do what is necessary and they did not break in or act forcefully. They add that they invited the principal of the school to meetings a number of times, but she never came.

The principal responded to that by saying she was only invited to a meeting about it once, on August 25th (less than a week ago. She says she arrived 10 minutes early to the meeting, and waited an hour. The secretary contacted the Director of City Hall, who said he has another meeting. At that point she left. She was called later and told that they decided in the meeting that the Mishkenos Yaakov school would use the building. She contacted the Board of Parents and it then went to the Regional Director of Education, the Board of Parents and the Minister's office, for further action.
source: shopping

This is how they shoot themselves in the foot. This is what happened a few years ago. They turned it into a big fight at the last minute, and the Minister of Education had to support the school instead of the thugs, and no solution was found. Now too - instead ow working toward a solution, they shoot themselves in the foot by acting like thugs, and then it will come back to hurt them. Is this regional director going to help them now? Is this going to delay a solution by another few years?

Update : the director general of the ministry of education has now sent a threatening letter to abutbol saying that if he continues with such types of activities rather that acting according to the rules of the MoE,  and in coordination with the MoE,  the MoE will absolve itself off all its commitments to the educational system of the city of Bet Shemesh. 



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post-Aaron Sofer rules for tiyul reminder

One thing I think needs to be expressed as a "lesson learned" from the Aaron Sofer case is how people go on hikes and tiyulim.

It gets very hot in Israel in the summer. Even in the heights of the Jerusalem hills.

Do NOT go hiking in your wool suit and felt hat. Do not wear your shabbos shoes that give you no traction. Do NOT go without water, thinking it is only a short hike.

I don't know what to say about a cellphone. I understand the concern some people have about holding a cellphone. A mobile phone is something that is recent. People hiked without cellphones for a long time. Sure, it can make things more convenient and even help save lives in plenty of situations, but does that mean everyone should be obligated to hold one? I don't know. I might say it is smart to take a cellphone on a hike, and make sure the battery is full and maybe take a spare battery pack, but should it be obligated? I dont know. And anyways, I have been on plenty of hikes and tiyulim where the batteries ran out in the middle, so I dont think obligating one to carry a cellphone necessarily solves the problem.

So, a cellphone is probably a good idea to include in your carry items for a tiyul, but I am hesitant to say it should be obligatory.

When you go on a tiyul, please follow basic safety rules. Make sure you have water - a lot of water. 3-4 liters per person, at least Make sure you are dressed appropriately - a sun hat, light clothing - both light in color and light in weight and heat, appropriate shoes. maybe a walking stick - it helps with balance, and can also relieve some stress on the body. Get familiar with your route and take a long a map of the area. Don't split up from your hiking partner for no good reason.

and more water.

Be safe.




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should a beis din express sympathy to the victims?

I've been following the scandal/conflict regarding the four seminaries, with Elimelech Meisels and the two batei din on different continents and the other rabbis who somehow got themselves involved in the middle...I have read [probably] almost every post from both blogs dealing with the issue intensively.

I admit, I have been asked by many people why i have not written much about it (nothing at all except for one post at the beginning of the story). My answer has been that I have been following the story but find it so complicated to follow and understand all the nuances and details that I don't feel I can write about it. There is just too much that doesn't make sense to me.

That has not changed.

This post is not going to be about the case itself. The batei din and rabbis seem to have devolved into an argument based on nuances in the wordings of the various documents regarding who has the right to hear the case. Truth is, they seem to be trying to kill the public interest in the case by turning the discussion into one so mind-numbingly boring that people will eventually just move on to the next story.

The one thing that bothered me was that with all the arguing, with all the fighting over who has authority to hear complaints, to decide relevant issues - among all that arguing, I don't remember ever reading a statement expressing sympathy for the victims, offering them a "shoulder to cry on" of sorts, offering to direct them to people (probably professionals) who can help, nothing about  a wish for healing or an offer to help the healing process.

And it is not because they are disputing if anything happened.

The IBD, that is accused of protecting the Meisels interests, seemingly took it for granted that the accused was guilty - the arguing is about what has happened after that regarding sale of the businesses, er - I mean seminaries, and future merchandise - er, I mean young women who want to learn Torah.

Perhaps that's the key - the arguing is only about what happened later, so they haven't had to deal with the issue of the affected young women. But that's not true either. Arguing about the situation keeps the story in the public and fresh and opens the wounds for the victims. That is besides for what actually affects the women more directly - such as attacks on specific victims who have stepped forward, such as those attacks on one of the blogs (which is really what prompted this post).

Can't anybody find a moment to offer and express some human empathy among all the nitpicking over the other stuff?

The same question applies to more recent victims - there are lots of young women whose families have struggled to save or raise in the range of $20,000 for tuition, and they are at risk of losing that money. That is significant money for most people in the world.

Can't the batei din, arguing about issues that will have a direct affect on whether all those families lose all that money, or an affect on the seminary administration might lose a lot of money from cancellations, express some sympathy for the people on either side that will be financially devastated from a decision in either direction? This I understand a bit more because it is current - the issue has to be decided objectively, and such a statement might be inappropriate, rather than a statement for victims of the original situation which is no longer being dealt with.

Maybe it is just not in the job description of a beis din. They have to judge the case before them and that's it. I would find it hard to believe that it would be wrong of a beis din to act like automatons and not express some empathy for the affected people, when it does not affect their objectivity. If the arguing of the batei din would have no affect on the victims, it would not be necessary, so why ask them to do it.. but when the arguing dregs it all up and puts victims back on the pedestal in front of the public - then I think a word of sympathy might be warranted.


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“Nothing Else Matters”: How a Father Protected his Family from Hamas’ Rockets (video)

very powerfulr ecollection of the events.. he is a hero for how he saved the kids.

he speaks in French but there are English subtitles..




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The Maccabeats - Home (Medley) - Israel (video)

this is the Maccabeats new song.. it is a medley mashup of 12 songs.. they ask how many of the original 12 songs can you identify.. I admit I couldn't identify a single one. not only that but I could not even identify that there were 12 different songs mashed up into this one!! though I did identify one of the lead singers of the Fountainheads making an appearance in this video...




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womens pictures in the Eida magazine

is it really not tzanua to print a magazine with images of women included? when did it begin? was it always like that? Rav Shmuel Pappenheim discusses when womens images were also included in the Eida magazine.. until recently..




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