May 30, 2014

Pre-Shavuos Bake Sale in RBS

for the Mesivta of Beit Shemesh




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May 29, 2014

Bet Shemesh: violence. police, division of city, and Aliza Bloch

I have avoided Bet Shemesh news for a while now... but the time has come to return to Bet Shemesh..

Here are two pieces of big news items in Bet Shemesh, though they are clearly connected... I just don't know if the timing of these two items happening on the same day is intentional or coincidental..

First, yesterday Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol announced that he has gone to the police and has filed a complaint regarding residents of the city who have incited against him and the haredi community, incitement to murder.

Examples of incitement included in the complaint were all from online posts that contain hate, deprecating comments and insults, slander, libel, curses, aimed at himself (Abutbol), the Haredi community, the community's representatives in city council, and against the Ashkenazi community, as well as calls for illegal violence, a tax revolt, banning a community and discrimination.. haredim have been called cancers, pigs, filthy, satan's children, traitors, penguins, etc.. as well, there have been actual calls to violence against haredim and to chase the haredim out of town, to throw them to the dogs, things like "we will break your bones", "we will beat you up", etc. and many curses like they should all get cancer, the entire heftziba neighborhood should be destroyed, get a heart attack, etc.

The city spokesman, Matti Rosenzweig, said that this is the beginning of a new zero tolerance policy against violence, and it includes even verbal violence.

It seems the police have confirmed that the complaint has been filed and they are looking into it to determine if anything illegal has been done. so far, the police said, nothing among the materials submitted by the mayor contain any proof of actual threats to murder.
source: Bechadrei and Kikar

Some points in that are just amazing:
 * the Haredi community nationally is talking about a possible tax revolt, and that is ok, but when some local non-haredis talk about a similar option it is illegal, considered incitement, and becomes content in a police complaint.
 * Moshe Abutbol is complaining on behalf of the ashkenazi community?
 * "zero tolerance" is interesting, so why doesnt he complain to the police about the shul that was vandalized by extremists two weeks ago? what about attacks on buses? what about a local haredi askan and radio broadcaster who yesterday called for the air force to shoot a missile and wipe out the entire "old Bet Shemesh"?

and now, part b of this item, after the police complaint, Abutbol is working on a libel suit. He plans to sue, for 150,000nis, anybody who writes negative comments about haredim online. source: Kikar

I wonder if that will only include people writing about haredim in Bet Shemesh or haredim anywhere they might be..

The police complaint is one thing. If he was incited against, he should file a complaint. A suit agsint people who slander him, that is also fine. But is he the defender of all haredim that he has to busy himself with lawsuits against people who write against haredim? let those victims sue for themselves. He is mayor of a city and needs to work and focus on the city, not on all this extracurricular activity.

Anyways, on to item #2...

Plans to divide the city are stepping up. Even Eli Cohen is now supporting the division, after remaining opposed to the idea for a long time. Yesterday Cohen made a very long announcement explaining his reasons why this is the only option and even calls on Abutbol and members of his coalition to join in this effort and do it properly and orderly. Cohen and the members of the opposition behind him held a press conference yesterday afternoon making the announcement official.

Abutbol's response was that it is not going to happen, is not practical, and the government would not do it and it does not make economic sense.

There is definitely going to be a big push to divide the city, and the guys in the Likud are very powerful and can move mountains among the MKs and Ministers, but in the end I cannot see it being approved. It would be bad for the country as a precedent, and while perhaps in Bet Shemesh they are looking for a narrower solution, the government has to keep a broader perspective on things and cannot let this happen.

The third item:
Aliza Bloch (remember her?) is suing Naftali Bennet and Habayit Hayehudi for leaving her in tremendous debt and not fulfilling their commitments to her. I am not surprised. I hope she wins her case.





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Book Review: Noa's Strength, by Boruch Sirisky

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: Noa's Strength, by Boruch Sirisky


Noa's Strength, published by Mosaica Press and distributed by Feldheim, is an amazing and difficult book.

Noa's Strength is a true story of how a woman, Noa, and her husband, Boruch, dealt with her cancer.

Noa had cancer as a child, and treatment knocked it out. She was healthy for many years, when she married Boruch. After some years of marriage, the cancer came back. The story is how they did everything possible to fight it and survive, and serve Hashem, despite many setbacks and through many treatments.. They survived one after the other, seeing miracles, inspiring others, miraculously having a child and somehow raising him among all the treatments.

The book was written in the months after her death, so the ending is known - Noa died. At some point, the cancer was very aggressive, and no amount of treatment could keep it down.

The book is about more than just her fight against cancer. It is a book about faith, trust in God, and love.

Noa's Strength starts each chapter with a passuk from somewhere in the Torah that is relevant to the events in the chapter. The entire story is imbued with faith, emotion, and strength - strength of their love for each other, of their love for Hashem and strength to do what had to be done.

I called it "difficult" because it was truly a difficult read. There were parts, many parts, that I could not read more than a few pages at a time. The story is sad, while inspiring. It was difficult because at some point the fight becomes so hopeless, yet they are full of hope. A young mother dying. A loving wife dying. A cancer that ravages her body. A horrible disease that ravages humanity - who doesn't have friends or know people in their community fighting against one form or another of cancer - kids, mothers, fathers, young, old. Such a horrible disease. And they had such tremendous faith, despite it all - it seems as if nothing shook them. It is almost not human. At times it made me wonder - how would I react? would I want to keep on fighting? Would I remain so strong in my faith? Would I do everything I could to express my faith? Noa and Boruch did, and the way they did is inspiring - inspiring, but difficult.

The way they touched people, and were touched by people who gave up so much to help them, whether it was finding them places to stay for long periods of time, providing food and comfort, a warm shoulder, caring for their child, for so many years...

I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been for Boruch to write this book. Perhaps it was cathartic. He did a tremendous job writing the story in a way that exudes faith, which was such a big part of their lives, loves and inspiration.

Expect an emotional experience when reading Noa's Strength.

buy Noa's Strength on Feldheim

buy Noa's Strength on Amazon.com



NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.



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everybody wants their discounts

everybody wants their discounts, and when they don't get it, they turn it into a major crisis.

It seems government religious services are expensive, and the prices are increasing. MK Gafni (UTJ) even tried to pass a law that would limit the price of some religious services, though his proposal was rejected.

Now more people are upset about the high cost of religious services. It seems there is a discount offered for students registering to marry. Instead of 700nis, they only have to pay 40% - 420nis. But there is a catch. The discount is cut off at age 30. Once you hit 30, to register costs the full 700, even if you are still a student. The difference to these older students brings in 12 million nis per year to the Rabbanut.

By the way, this discount applies to both college students and yeshiva students (among other groups like the handicapped, soldiers and new immigrants), and at 30 it gets cut off for both groups, though I could not find this detail anywhere on the Rabbanut website. Students discovered this when they went to register for marriage. It turns out that it is detailed in the law of religious services, though they have turned to Naftali Bennet, Minister of Religious Services, to get involved and change things.

The Rabbanut's response is that the discount is limited until age 30 because the purpose of the discount is to help those with less financial abilities. There is a proportionate connection between age and finances.. so younger students need the extra help, while older students should be able to afford it with less difficulty.
source: Walla

everybody wants their discounts. No matter what you say about Israel, it is clearly a Jewish State...





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Picture of the Day

a very touching moment..



what makes this picture so special and unique is that this fellow, Elimelech Wagschal,  is a Satmar Hassid who went to YU and graduated college with a degree in business management, and will now be heading to law school.
source: VIN

Not just did he graduate from YU, but he had his family's open support, as is evidenced by the picture above, which is not something that is a given in similar situations...

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a fiery speech by the Novominsker Rebbe at the Aguda Dinner (video)

wowed the crowds calling those in open orthodoxy heretics...




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MK Feiglin at memorial on Har Herzl, Yom Yerushalayim (video)

Feiglin always has something unique to say..





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comments by Netanyahu and Barkat in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (video)








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Jerusalem Day 2014 (video)






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Ari Goldwag - Jerusalem of Gold (audio)






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May 28, 2014

the abomination beach in Jerusalem

beach in Jerusalem? There is not any body of water in Jerusalem, so how can there possibly be a beach???

Once again, the Iryah of Jerusalem is planning big for the summer and will be creating a "beach" in a city with no body of water. They will import sand and install a 2000 square meter beach in the area between the old train station complex and the Old City.

They have done this in the past, as well as having held beach volleyball tournaments....

This has upset the haredi askanim, both connected to the local haredi political parties and the people of the Eida.

These people, who regularly tell Israeli society to mix out of trying to change or influence the haredi community and all we want to do is to be left alone to live our own lives the way we want to, and that we choose to live in our own self-made ghetto, feel that only goes one way. Leave us alone, but we can tell you what to do. Or maybe it is only because general society does not leave them alone that they feel they have a right to mix in to the activities of general society? which came first - the chicken or the egg?

Anyways, they are calling this beach the "chof hatoeiva" - the abomination beach - and are promising to do whatever they can to stop it from happening.
source: Bechadrei

As mentioned a number of times already, it looks like it is going to be a very hot summer...

I do have a solution to propose - maybe they need to make a second beach, either by sectioning off part a small portion of the beach or perhaps an entirely separate one closer to the Mea Shearim area or maybe in Ramot, that will be a "separate-swimming", or separate-sunbathing, beach, and that will keep everyone happy.





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Proposed Law: doubling child allotments

MK Yisroel Eichler (UTJ) has proposed a law that is not likely to pass...

Eichler wants to amend the current Bituach Leumi law for child allotments.. Eichler proposes that during the months of the holidays, specifically April and October, Bituach Leumi should double its allotment for children.

Eichler explains that in recent years the number of children living under the poverty line has increased... therefore he proposes that at least in the months of the holidays the stipend should be doubled from the normal base amount. Increasing it during the holiday months will ease the burden a bit on the parents and will help them, even if just a bit, with the food expenses for the months in which the expenses are normally greater.

Somehow, with today's government that has worked to cut things out of the budget wherever possible, I cannot imagine them approving this idea... even if it isn't such a bad one...




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Quote of the Day

I am not an economist. The Finance Minister does not need to be an economist, but someone who knows what the priorities are and to fight for the right set of priorities...
I was recently asked a legitimate question that seemingly I learned this over the past year on the backs of the nation, and it is true but I now understand more about economics, and in another year I will understand even more.

  -- Finance Minister Yair Lapid




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Comments about the Pope's visit (video)

I basically avoided writing about the Pope's visit. While the current Pope seems like a bit more decent, nicer, warmer, than previous Popes, the Pope really holds little of my interest.

There are a few comments I want to make though, from side issues rather than regarding the Pope himself.....

1.  PM Netanyahu and the Pope argue about what language Jesus spoke
the "argument" comes at about 1 minute in... Bibi says Jesus spoke Hebrew, while the Pope says Aramaic, and then Netanyahu goes on to explain...


in the entire video, except the moment of argument, the Pope looks very bored. Netanyahu looks like he is giving a history lesson to someone who does not need it or want it. Strange.

2. The Palestinians have taken to claiming Jesus was not Jewish, but Palestinian. If we could rewrite history I would be happy for them to take him. Not only that, but they can also take all the blame for killing Jesus that has been thrown on the Jews throughout history.

3. USA Today has an article about the Pope's visit... in the article, a Rabbi Rosen comments about the issue of the Pope wanting access to the Kever Dovid Hamelech complex..

In the article they write:
Rabbi David Rosen, director of inter-religious affairs at the American Jewish Committee, says this "historical resentment" toward the church is still held by some Jews, including some extremists who have protested against the church's use of the Cenacle, or the Room of the Last Supper, because it is located on top of David's Tomb, a Jewish shrine.
"including some extremists"? anybody who opposes something is automatically called an extremist? just because they don't want a complex to be given over to control by a foreign entity turns them into extremists?

4. In the same article, comments are made about the road closures due to the visit:
Jimmy Ben-Sadon, owner of a Jerusalem variety store, said some of his customers came in complaining about the city's extensive pope-related road closures, and questions like "Why Israel had to make such a big deal about the pope?"
"I was embarrassed by their reaction," Sadon confessed. "I told them, 'When our rabbis go to the Vatican they are treated with a lot of respect and dignity. Doesn't he deserve the same?' "
a foreign head of state certainly deserves to be hosted with respect and dignity. I wonder though, when the CHief Rabbis visit the Vatican, while they are surely treated with great respect, is the city shut down for them? Are large sections of city roads closed down? Is the public banned from various locations, including holy sites, around town?

Sure, the Pope deserves to be treated with respect and dignity on his visit. That does not mean the city must be shut down.


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6 Days - 1 Journey: The Story of the Six Day War (Part 3) (video)






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president of FIFA mediates betwene Israeli and Palestinian soccer/football (video)

the Palestinians are complaining that the Israelis are making it difficult for them to play football.. specifically with travel restrictions. Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA, had to come to Israel to try to work things out..

I always find it humorous when sports people talk about how sports is above politics.. it should be, but it rarely is..




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The Monster in the Middle East (video)






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some songs for Yom Yerushalayim (videos)


starting off with Shuli Nathan's Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, as she is the original singer of Naomi Shemer's song... and then on to other renditions of the song and other songs about Yerushalayim...






































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May 27, 2014

a few relevant links

I know it has been a while since my last "interesting posts" post... I hope to get back to doing that soon..

In the meantime, I just wanted to point a few relevant links

1. last year I wrote a book review of "Journey of Faith" by Rabbi Yonasan Arenias.. with the beginning of the book of Bamidbar, that review is once again relevant. I have heard people who bought it really enjoyed it...

2. a digital tour of Jerusalem

3. the entire 93 page psak din of the beis din of Tzfat's psak to free an aguna whose husband was in a coma. It turns out, as controversial as the method used is, it was approved by Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg

4. Kosharot's kashrut simulator

5. a new bike park is being planned and constructed over in Modiin

6. I have taken a liking to Kickstarter, and I have a speciall affinity for Israelis promoting their stuff there.. here is an Israeli inventor, living in London, who created a cool kitchen utensil... with a pretty good video





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changing Ben Gurion airport code to JLM

You gotta love mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat. He finds every way possible to promote Jerusalem.

Barkat went to the Economics Committee of the Knesset and requested changing the airport code for Ben Gurion Airport from TLV to JLM. According to Barkat, changing the codes to the letters that represent the capital of Israel would put Jerusalem back in the center and would encourage more tourism to the capital.

In addition to detailing the investments being put in to increase tourism to the capital, and pointing to the conferences, development, entertainment and everything else being done to raise the city and bring people to it, Barkat also said that he will be expanding the light rail system, in coordination with the Ministry of Transportation, and will turn Jerusalem into the most accessible city in Israel. Another interesting thing Barkat pointed out, that i had not heard of before, was that the zoo in Jerusalem is building the first aquarium in Israel.
source: INN

Gotta love him.

I don't know why it would bring more tourists to Jerusalem, just because the airport codes say JLM. It is probably just a symbolic move.

Practically I don't know if it is such a good idea to make the change. Every few years the government will change priority on where to direct tourism and will change the airport code accordingly? maybe they should change the code to ISR, rather than a specific city, since it is not even in Tel Aviv anyway...




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Minister Bennet leading free tour in footsteps of paratroopers.. tonight!

I thought this was worth posting.. maybe some people want to take advantage and join -

in honor of Yom Yerushalayim, tonight at midnight Minister Naftali Bennet will be guiding a tour of Jerusalem, in the footsteps of the paratroopers....

the tour is free, details are on Bennet's FB page, and registration is here




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almost good riddance to the tv tax

Minister of Communication Gilad Erdan has proposed a law that most people will like, at least part of..

As part of Erdan's reform of the broadcasting authority, he plans to shut down the IBA, and, more importantly, will cancel the TV tax.

The proposal was already brought before the Knesset, and yesterday, in its first vote, was passed with 33 MKs in favor and 14 against (with two abstaining).

Personally, I don't care about the IBA - I don't have an opinion if it should be shut down or not, and am not familiar with its programming. I'll trust Erdan on that.

I do like the fact that the tv tax will be cancelled. The tv tax is a ridiculous payment and the way they impose it on the public to get people to pay borders on abusive. I hope this law proposal passes its next readings quickly and we can say good riddance to the tv tax.


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Proposed Law: new vacation day

According to Srugim, MK Yoni Chetboun (Habayit Hayehudi) has proposed a new law by which Yom Yerushalayim would be declared a national holiday.

Chetboun explains that we cannot allow the situation that Yom Yerushalayim has become a holiday only for specific sectors of society, rather than a national holiday. The day is a significant one in the history of the entire nation, and it should not be treated as being sectoral.

Turning Yom Yerushalayim into a national holiday will give it the place it deserves in the Israeli experience, a national day just like Yom Haatzmaut, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Hashoah. According to Chetboun's proposal, it would be more similar to Yom Haatzmaut than the other days, as it would also be a national vacation day.

If the law will be passed, it would only come into effect next year... it is obviously too late to turn tomorrow into a national holiday.

I like the idea because:
1. anything that gives employees an additional vacation day is good by me
2. Yom Yerushalayim really is a day of great significance, and I think it has lost much of it over the years, and, as Chetboun said, has mostly become a private celebration among the dati leumi community. Turning it national would connect the rest of the nation to it, though it would obviously require resources and education..
3. I know even some haredim consider Yom Yerushalayim to be a special day (even if they do not do anything specific to celebrate it), and those who do generally consider it more significant than Yom Haatzmaut. I dont know if nationalizing the day would make less or more haredim pay attention to the day, but it would be interesting to find out.



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Facebook Status of the Day: Hadarat Nashim and the Pope

from my friend Naftali Copperman's FB page:
(translation below)


One perspective:
Young religious soldiers in the holy army want to leave the hall in order not to hear women singing, get pushed out and then slandered (in the press), even though they are excellent soldiers in special units.
Haredim remove women from advertisements and ad publications - and every news program opens with that story, with all sorts of people explaining why it is good or not good, using terms like 'primitive', 'excluding women', etc.
Second perspective:
The Pope visits, not a single woman is included in the visit, they work to remove any and every woman from the main area around the nice Francisco. When he visits Mt. Herzl, unscheduled and as a response to the prayer next to the Separation Wall, Netanyahu asks the visitor to pray by the memorial to terror victims. In the videos one can see a woman who immediately disappeared from the access path to the memorial. The writer quickly apologized and explained that it was the coordinator of the visit from the Foreign Ministry and not just any woman.
In the studio "professors" sit there [discussing it] and not a single one of them opens her mouth. It seems natural to all of them.
Two perspectives, one kippa, different responses.
Since the days of Bet Shemesh I have not seen 'hadarat nashim', the exclusion of women, on television as much as there was during the Pope's visit.
Clarification: I am not saying this is right or this is right. Just pay attention how with one of them they respect, understand, dont want to harm his faith... and for the other - an entire community is judged by a kangaroo court.
It seems everything depends on the color of the kippa.


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no more free rides.. from the Kotel

If you are a regular visitor to the Kotel on Shabbos, you have ridden your last free ride on Egged...

The Ministry of Transportation has announced that as of this Motzei Shabbos there will no longer be free bus rides from the Kotel.

Until now, the first buses on Motzei Shabbos let passengers ride without paying, taking into consideration that people had walked to the Kotel on Shabbos and would not have money on them to pay for the ride. Passengers were expected to pay later.

According to the MoT, most passengers never returned to pay for the Motzei Shabbos rides.

Haredi MKs have asked Yisrael Katz, Minister of Transportation, to revoke the decision and to allow the previous arrangements to continue.
source: INN and Ladaat

did they really mostly not pay? maybe a lot of people have chofshi chodshi passes? maybe bus drivers would take the money and just mark it as a ride - how would the main office know what ride was paid for at a later time in the week and what ride was not paid for?

Perhaps, but with the current belief being that most people did not pay, I would like to see Gafni and company not just ask to allow the current situation to continue but to also offer to run a campaign to raise awareness of the need to pay later...

For now, at least, starting this Motzei Shabbos, plan to walk home from the Kotel, or make alternate arrangements...




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Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot on TAPED WITH RABBI DOUG (video)






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6 Days - 1 Journey: The Story of the Six Day War (Part 2) (video)






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Jewish Folks Telling Jokes 2014 on Location- Part 1 (video)








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Chaim Gold: Ashreinu She'Anachnu Yehudim (video)








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May 26, 2014

Saar exempts shmitta-keepers from arnona

It is very difficult to keep shmitta properly, and that is really nothing new. We know that through much of our history, including in the times of the batei mikdash, the Jewish community did not keep it properly and were punished for it. Whether we ignored it due to the difficulties, or if we created or found loopholes, perhaps we can justify it or excuse it, or at least understand it, but we should also recognize that it is not the ideal and we should strive for proper adherence to the laws of shmitta, difficult as they may be.

Easy for me to say, considering my adherence to shmitta will involve the care of a tiny patch of grass and bushes I hardly take care of anyway. And perhaps I am inconvenienced a bit in the supermarket with higher prices on vegetables or some produce that is less available. For farmers it is their life, their livelihood, their sustenance. For them it is much more difficult. And that is why those who do try to keep shmitta properly, as difficult as it will be, should be respected, and assisted, all that much more.

Gideon Saar, Minister of the Interior, announced a few days ago that he is resurrecting an old ordinance that was implemented in the days of Yitzchak Rabin's government in which the government exempted farmers who decided to keep shmitta from arnona payments for the entire year of shmitta.

To that end, the Ministry of Interior has sent letters to the various municipalities explaining the law and instructing them not to collect arnona from relevant farmers.
source: bechadrei and newspaper article

I think it is a good move. I dont know if this alone will encourage other farmers to join the list of those keeping shmitta in its entirety, but it will at least help those who do.

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Quote of the Day

The Jewish nation is an ancient one. It negated foreign gods and negated idol worship. It has suffered many hardships, but has continued to believe in one God, our Father in Heaven..

  -- President Shimon Peres, greeting the Pope in Ben Gurion Airport

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honoring Justin Timberlake... with a cantaloupe

Justin Timberlake is coming to Israel and will be giving a concert in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Yom Yerushalayim...

While I appreciate Timberlake coming to Israel to perform, his arrival is not really any more noteworthy, for me at least, then that of any of the many performers who come to Israel, whether for private tours and to show support or to give performances. We appreciate the support of each and every one of them, even if I do not go to their concerts...

So what is special about Timberlake?

The innovative fruit and vegetable growers of Ein Yahav have created a tribute to Timberlake (though I don't know why him rather than any of the others who have and will come) and have raised a new breed of melon that they are naming after Timberlake.

The new melon is yellowish on the outside and orange on the inside and is very sweet and tasty. The new melon has a shelf life of 3 weeks, and will hit the supermarkets in time for the upcoming holidays (I assume that means Rosh Hashana-Sukkot)...
source: Agricultural Portal FB page

to me it just looks like a cantaloupe, but I guess it must be a little different



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6 Days - 1 Journey: the Story of the Six Day War (Part 1) (video)






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MK Lipman Speaks to Christian Supporters of Israel - Jerusalem Day (video)






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Patented Torah Scroll invention (video)

a cool hi-tech religious invention..

also, interesting that a sefardi came up with the invention for improving the ashkenazi torah..






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Amigour's First Wedding (video)

awww..






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"The Shadchan" (Official Music Video) - The Rebbetzins Network (video)

Watch Abie Rottenberg's old time Journey's classic "The Shadchan" come to life with this hilarious video brought to you by The Rebbetzins Network.
The Rebbetzins Network (a project of oorah) provides a guiding hand to singles from baalei teshuva background. 




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May 25, 2014

Haredi affirmative action...

The government today approved of the proposal made by Minister Naftali Bennet. Bennet proposed implementation of affirmative action for Haredi men applying for jobs in the public sector.

The approval of the government states that the PMO in coordination with the Ministry of Economics and Trade must put together and submit, within 60 days, a formal law proposal for applying affirmative action for acceptance in jobs in the public sector for Haredi males.

Why only Haredi men and not Haredi women?

Because Haredi women already are beneficiaries of preferential hiring and representation as females under the preferential treatment given to women.. though some women still complained saying that despite preferential hiring, they are discriminated against in terms of lower salaries, are generally exploited and are lagging when it comes to promotions..

So if you are a haredi male looking for a job in the public sector, your chance is coming very soon... get your resume ready!




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does a convicted murderer deserve to be called by an unearned honorific?

Ami Popper is a convicted murderer. Popper was convicted of stealing an assault rifle and murdering 7 Arabs.

Somehow he has bene adopted by the Right, by the Religious, and even by the Haredi communities. Whenever there has been a prisoner release of Palestinians, the calls have gone out calling for Popper's release.

I have no problem with calling for his release. Part of the prison system includes parole and early release and pardons and commuting sentences. If this or that group or political party wants to put forth efforts to work for Popper's release, that is their prerogative.

What is interesting is something I saw in Mishpacha newspaper over Shabbos. They ran an article detailing the various candidates for the upcoming elections for the position of President of the State of Israel. They mentioned all the candidates and the haredi politicians positions regarding them.

They then also ran a small article in which they said that while the haredi community does not really have much direct interest in the position of the president or regarding who holds that position, as it doesn't really affect the haredi community, there is no reason why the haredi community should not demand of the president things that affect it, such as the pardoning of Ami Popper.

What was interesting is that Mishpacha did not just say "Ami Popper". They called him "Reb Ami Popper".

I am not quite sure how connected Popper is to the Haredi community, though it seems that in jail he became more torani (and was even cellmates with Shlomo Benizri)), and from his more recent pictures (at least from the last few years) he looks more Haredi with a black kippa, white shirt and long beard, If they want to adopt him and call for his release, that is fine by me... but does he really need the honorific of "reb"?

I already don't like that every person who gets married wearing a black hat and grows a beard is called "HoRav" or "Rav".. I find it to be a slight to real rabbonim. But if they want to call people rav or reb or horav, no harm no foul (or not much, at least)... but to call a convicted murdered with the honorific? What's wrong with just calling him by his name? Why does he need the title?

Perhaps one can debate regarding the people who went into jail already bearing the title - do they still deserve top be called by the honorific they earned prior to incarceration or not.. but somebody who is not deserving of the title even regardless of the crime he committed, why append the title to his name?

Does the title really engender such a small amount of respect that it can be given to anybody, even convicted murderers?




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Take that, BDSers..

This week is already a bad week for the BDS promoters..

first the Pope comes to Israel...

and this evening the largest ship is set to dock in Israel..

According to Haifa Port updates, the Tianjin, flying the flag of Liberia, bearing 10,600 containers, is set to dock in Haifa after arriving from Rotterdam.

I wonder if the Pope is really making aliya, or defecting, and his "lift" is on this ship...


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milk and cheese made in China

Some people have dubbed the sale of Tnuva to a Chinese company (Bright Food Group - owned by the Chinese government?) as the end of Zionism. It has been talked up as such all over the radio and other media in the latter half of last week.

I don't think it is the end of Zionism. Tnuva is not Zionism. Tnuva is a company. Tnuva is a company that makes profit and works to make profit. Tnuva might be one of the "landmarks" of Israel, of Israeli companies, but it is not Zionism.

As a matter of fact, the majority owner of Tnuva, the one that is selling to the Chinese, is not even Israeli. It is Apax Partners, a UK-based private equity and venture capital firm. They owned 56% of Tnuva. The rest of the shares are held by Israelis, the kibbutz movement and Shamir Foods, and they, for now at least, will continue to retain their partial ownership of Tnuva. So Tnuva is remaining just as much Israeli now as it has been until now.

I don't understand why the Israeli government will not be collecting any taxes off this sale. I understand that only the portion being held by foreign hands is being sold, but they should still be obligated to pay taxes in the local country in which the company operates.

Another thought - it seems not all "exits" are in the hi-tech industry...

One last comment, perhaps this will lead to the lowering of prices that people have been fighting about for so long.. First of all, it is the Chinese. Everything they make is cheaper. Second, with opening the market to the Chinese, perhaps the opponents to opening imports will now remove their opposition - maybe they no longer feel the need to protect a company that is not Israeli (even though it was not really Israeli before either)...


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Proposed Law: Standardized Hummus

This law proposal is not for the Israeli law books, but for the Americans.... but it is hummus related, so it qualifies as holding interest for LII and its readers...

According to the Times of Israel:
If Sabra Dipping Co. has its way, the use of chickpeas and tahini in making hummus will become U.S. law.
The hummus manufacturer, which is co-owned by PepsiCo and the Israel-based Strauss Group, has filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration to create a standard for which dips are considered hummus.
The standard Sabra is seeking would mandate that hummus be comprised primarily of chickpeas and contain no less than 5 percent tahini. The 11-page proposal asks that hummus be defined as “the semisolid food prepared from mixing cooked, dehydrated, or dried chickpeas and tahini with one or more optional ingredients,” according to a news release issued Monday.
Similar standards exist for other condiments, such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.
“As the popularity of hummus has soared in the United States over the past decade, the name has been applied to items consisting primarily of other ingredients,” Sabra chief technology officer Tulin Tuzel said in the statement. “From black beans and white beans to lentils, soybeans, and navy beans, everyone wants to call their dip ‘hummus.’”




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Haredi Autonomy part 3 (video)

part 3 of Avishai Ben Chaim's report on haredi autonomy




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Haredi Autonomy part 2.. who is funding whom? (video)

part 2 of Avishai Ben Chaim's report




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Jay Leno and Netanyahu, the Genesis Prize (videos)


Jay Leno, hosting the Genesis Prize ceremony..







PM Netanyahu's speech at the Genesis Awards Event




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Michael Bloomberg Speaks with the Press in Jerusalem (video)






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Tefillin Causes Bomb Scare in Australia Highway (video)

Jewish prayer practices have caused a scare in Australia, when police officers mistook tefillin for explosives.

The incident occurred on Thursday, when police cars rushed to a highway near Melbourne following reports of a truck driving erratically, Yahoo!7 reported.

When they arrived, the truck was parked on the sideway, and the driver was apparently praying, with tefillin strapped to his forehead, as is the Jewish custom.

However, the police officers, unversed in the ways of the Jewish faith, believed the apparatus to be a bomb, and ordered the driver to step out of his vehicle.

But the driver ignored the officers and drove off. Officers called in a bomb threat and immediately closed the highway, one of the busiest around Melbourne, and went in hot pursuit. But the officers were astounded when, after a while, the truck turned to the opposite lane, driving straight at incoming traffic at 100 km an hour.

Eventually police caught up with the truck, and the driver surrendered. Police estimate the driver is suffering from psychiatric issues, but admitted that he indeed was not carrying a bomb, but only tefillin.





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May 22, 2014

Parker Mantell Indiana University Commencement Speech (video)

a Jewish boy, with a great speech..




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Postcard from Israel: The Yarkon River in Tel Aviv (video)






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May 21, 2014

Picture of the Day

PM Netanyahu meets with comedian Jay Leno
captions?


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Proposed Law: shomer shabbos teams and athletes

MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua) has proposed a new law for athletes. The new law, if it passes, will allow sports teams, or individual athletes, tell their unions or representatives that they observe the Shabbos and will not play on that day. If a team or athlete makes such a declaration, the union or organization will not be allowed to schedule games on says that those teams or athletes cannot participate in. As well, if an athlete, or team, refrains from playing on Shabbos, he and his achievements will not be affected by not playing on Shabbos. As much as possible, organizations will work with international sports organizations as well to ensure freedom of religion and to allow teams and athletes to o keep Shabbos.

Teams and athletes that do not keep Shabbos will not be affected by this. If 2 teams are scheduled to play that are not shomer shabbos, they will be allowed to continue playing on Shabbos.
source: INN

it's a start. let's see if it passes




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Rav Yaakov Addes on the pope and Christianity (video)

Rav Addes gave a shiur in which he dealt with the coming of the Pope (to Israel).. in his shiur (click below), he says that people should not go to see the Pope, and anybody who does see him should immerse in a mikva. As well, people should not watch him on the television or other media either. It is all prohibited under the passuk of not turning to their gods (אל תפנו אל אלילים).. listen to the shiur. he has some interesting things to say about the whole thing, the visit, christianity in general, etc.

I don't think Rav Addes is a posek, but he is considered a mekubal and a man seriously connected to kedusha...




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Haredi Autonomy (video)

Avishai Ben Chaim, a journalist who focuses on haredi affairs, is publishing a series of videos called "Haredi Autonomy".. about how the haredi community has succeeded in creating for itself some sort of an autonomous community..

here is the first episode




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Juniper Cobra 14 - A premier example of commitment to protect Israel and its security (video)






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Inside Iran's Nuclear Weapons Plan (video)






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Brewing an Israeli beer (video)






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Yossi Turetzky: A Godly Miracle (video)






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May 20, 2014

Proposed law: rabbis working for tips

If the job description of "city rabbi" includes officiating at weddings for constituents, then he should not be allowed to charge a fee, or take a tip, for providing such a service. If it is not part of the official job description, then he shouldn't be forced by the law to work for free. Because it is part of the job description, there is no reason they should be charging for a service they are already paid to perform.

MK Shuley Muallem (Habayit Hayehudi) proposed a law that would prevent city rabbis from charging fees for officiating at weddings. As well, it would put an end to the giving of tips, as those are sometimes conveyed as being obligated rather than just a nice thing - if the law passes, the rabbi won't be allowed to take any money.

The proposal was passed by the Knesset committee responsible for it, and will be moved along to be prepared for voting in the Knesset.

MK Miri Regev (Likud Beyteynu) wants to adjust the law regarding filing fees for a marriage license. It seems there is no standard, and different offices charge different amounts, even as high as 700NIS. Regev thinks this should be standardized and regulated, as "Where are young couples supposed to get that kind of money? It is too much of a burden for them"

I am not sure that is a real reason for regulation. It should be regulated because fees for government services should be standardized and not up to a clerk in any given office to determine. Just because some people cannot afford it? They can afford the tens of thousands of shekels for the various parties, but not the 700nis registration fee? Should we give out cars and computers for free, or for regulated prices, because some people cannot afford them? I am not very impressed with the argument, though I agree it needs regulation?

And once we are banning rabbis from taking tips, I think waiters and waitresses should not be allowed to take tips either. The restaurant owners take advantage of their employees via the tip jar. There is no reason I should pay for my meal and then have to pay another 12-15 percent. Pay waiters and waitresses a decent salary, and work the expense of salaries into the price displayed on the menu. Why should only rabbis be banned from taking tips?

And once on the topic, {humor alert!} the only profession that cannot possibly be banned from working for tips is a mohel. ba-da-bang!


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Proposed Law: residence prior to candidacy

In a strange debate, one party member submitted a law proposal that the rest of his party opposed.

MK Menachem Eliezer Mozes (UTJ) submitted a bill that would require potential mayoral candidates to live in the city in which he wants to run for mayor for a minimum of 6 months prior to officially joining the electoral race (i.e. a minimum of 7 months total).

I think it is a good suggestion. We see parties moving their activists from town to town to give them jobs and put them in positions. A guy loses in one place, so they move him somewhere else. They take someone from another city they want to promote, and stick him where they think they have an opportunity. The guy might not know anything about the city he is trying to take over. I think it is a good idea to require a period of time where the potential candidate has to actually throw his lot in with the city residents, and also become familiar the city problems and issues...

Anyways, so Mozes submitted the law proposal. By the way, the proposal passed in its first reading in Knesset. The law was most strongly opposed by none other than members of his own party! MK Yaakov Asher, formerly mayor of Bnei Braq prior to embarking on his Knesset career, opposes the law saying there are talented people and they should be able to go into a city and have an affect, and sometimes it makes sense to bring someone in from the outside.

While this happens regularly, it is specifically the Haredi community that will be most affected, as the haredi community tends to move its people around right before elections for candidacies in different cities. The haredi community also tends to make decisions, or announce them, at the last moment. Don't accuse me of bias - I heard Yaakov Asher on the radio twice yesterday say this very point, about it being much more common by the haredi parties.

Other MKs said 6-7 months is too much, and 3 months should be enough. The advancement of the bill will depend on debates and decisions aroundthe length of time, and also on the ability of the Ministry of Interior to determine place of residence - will changing the identity card be enough, or does he actually have to live in the city, and other such issues.

What is particularly striking and interesting, besides for the law itself, is that this was not coordinated within the submitters own party. Mozes wrote it and submitted it without the agreement of his party, seemingly against the party policy, and his fellow party members had no problem voting against it, despite it coming from their own party. Is there no coordination, or unity, in the ranks of UTJ?


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Mashgiach to certify army exemptions

This is just too funny. You can't even make this stuff up!

According to Mynet it was reported in the HaPeles newspaper that the Yerushalmi litvaks led by Rav Shmuel Auerbach are now saying that they refuse to show up at the lishkat giyus, the IDF draft offices, even to receive their army exemptions, because there are female soldiers there. They are supposedly demanding that the IDF not station any female soldiers in the offices of the draft board, so that when they go to do their paperwork they will not need to encounter any females.

In addition, another problem is that they are worried that while in the draft offices the boys might be seduced to signing up for the army - either by brochures or other materials present, or by looking around the building, or by soldiers talking to them and trying to persuade them to sign up.  To counter this concern they are supposedly demanding placement of a mashgiach who will supervise the process and ensure soldiers do not talk to the yeshiva boys.

As of right now, as far as I know, nobody is allowed to accompany a draftee into the draft offices. Only the potential draftee is allowed to walk through the doors. Stationing a mashgiach would be a big move. And it would be the beginning of a new business - soon we will see army exemptions certified by the Badatz Eida, exemptions certified by the Rabbanut, by Rabbanut Mehadrin, by Rav Landau, by Rav Rubin, by Chassam Sofer Bnei Braq and Petach Tikva, by Rav Mahfoud, etc.

As I said, you cannot make this stuff up.



By the way, I have to rely on Mynet for this report because I do not read HaPeles. Why not? Because the gedolim are against HaPeles, because of it being associated with the people of Rav Auerbach. For example, Rav Chaim Kanievsky just said that parents should not send their boys to a yeshiva in which the rosh yeshiva reads the HaPeles newspaper. (source: Kikar)
Also, someone asked Rav Chaim Kanievsky if he can go to a family wedding of a bochur who was learning in a yeshiva affiliated with Rav Shmuel Auerbach. Rav Kanievsky told him he could go because it is family, but he should avoid eating the food. (source: Bechadrei) The story is now being denied, so it might not be true. (source: Bechadrei)






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Quote of the Day

I want people to pay the cost of water, not what the"Taagidei Mayim" want tot charge. I don't want people to drink whiskey and take showers in whiskey [because it is cheaper than water]..

  -- MK Miri Regev, about her campaign for the dismantling of the taagidei mayim and returning the control of water to the municipalities, which will lower the price for the consumer.

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Elbit System's Spear mobile mortar system (video)

wow!




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SCiO: Your Sixth Sense (video)

this is really cool




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Police limit Feiglin on Har Habayit, so he prefers to not go at all (video)






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Dancing Fountain in Jerusalem - Teddy Park (video)

a great thing to do in Jerusalem...




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Hashem Melech - Flash Mob (video)

I guess flash mobs aren't so uncommon today..


(women dancing alert)



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