Jul 30, 2015

'I Felt Something Was Missing Not Living in Israel' (video)











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Esther Pollard Speaks After Jonathan's Release Set (video)








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Postcard from Israel: Mahaneh Yehuda (video)







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Havana Curveball - Trailer (video)

this looks like something I'd like to see...

Havana Curveball - Trailer from PatchWorks Films on Vimeo.
The trailer for HAVANA CURVEBALL -- the latest documentary by award-winning filmmakers Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider. Executive produced by Marc Smolowitz. Projected completion - early 2014. Learn more online at http://www.HavanaCurveball.info.

ABOUT THE FILM: Mica is a classic young teen. Enthusiastic. Idealistic. Dreaming baseball. At 13, he is studying for his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age rite. An earnest kid, he took to heart his Rabbi’s requirement to help “heal the world.” Imagining himself a savior of sorts, he launches a grand plan to send baseballs to Cuba, a country with a mysterious pull. He knows only that Cubans are poor and love baseball -- and that Cuba saved his grandpa’s life. On a hunch, his award-winning filmmaker parents pick up their camera. They know the U.S. embargo with Cuba will throw him a curveball.


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Sessions with 8th Day: "Jerusalem Stone" (video)




Watch on TorahCafé.com!





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Jul 29, 2015

hear Amir Chetzroni, on your local Haredi radio show

Amir Chetzroni will be co-hosting a talk show on the radio with Itamar Ben Gvir. Their show will be on Radio Kol BeRama, a Haredi radio station, because Galei Tzahal turned Chetzroni down and would not even meet with him to discuss it.
The show will be on tomorrow morning, Thursday, at 11am.
source: NRG

This was a funny announcement. I imagine they said yes to Chetzroni because they assume it will bring in good ratings. Chetzroni is sensationalist, and either people will boycott him because of the mean and racist things he says or they will come in droves to hear his latest idiocy.

The weird thing is that I thought Chetzroni recently moved to Germany. Did he move back to Israel so quickly? Did they kick him out of Germany? I do not know what happened, but this is a surprise to me.

I would guess Kol Berama agreed to d this in order to try to boost their sinking ratings. It seems they are continuously losing listeners to Radio Kol Hai, especially since Kol Hai opened a similar morning show to talk politics, in the same slot as Kol BeRama's show. I think in the end they will most likely get hurt by this. In the short term they might boost some ratings, but after he upsets a few more people, Kol Berama will suffer for hosting him.


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Kid fined for talking on phone while riding bike


A kid in Elad was riding his bike in the street while talking on his cellphone.. or maybe he was talking on his cellphone while riding his bike.... either way, he got pulled over by a policeman as this is against the law.

The cop wrote him up and gave the kid a ticket with a fine for 1000nis!

In the ticket the policeman writes that the kid was talking without an earpiece or speaker, endangering cars in the road.

The kid refused to sign the ticket, and he stated that next year he would be bar mitzva. Maybe that means next year he will pay with the money he brings in from bar mitzva gifts?
source: Kikar

I am not quite sure how this works. How do you give a kid a ticket? How does he identify himself - children do not bear identity cards.. how does the cop know the name he gave them was his true name and not made up on the spot? How do they enforce payment of the fine?




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Neetanyahu rehashes old promises to keep the DL happy

I have not paid too much attention to what happened with those houses in Bet El, why these were ordered to be demolished and others were not. It is clearly a legal dispute rather than a political one, but I don't really know the details.

That being said, as compensation for the need to demolish these houses, Netanyahu has ordered to grant immediate approval for the construction of 300 homes in Bet El, along with some more in different areas around Jerusalem. I heard Minister Zeev Elkin on the radio earlier this afternoon and he explained that it is not compensation for anything, but with the leftists fighting tooth and nail to get buildings demolished through the courts, the answer by the National Camp that was chosen by the people will be to build more. They can make us knock down 2 buildings, but we will build 300 more.

Very nice.

Except that it was discovered that the 300 buildings to be built immediately are the 300 Netanyahu already promised last time he dismantled houses in Bet El (when he cut those buildings out of the ground and moved them). So these 300 announced now are not new, just a statement that the old promise will be rehashed again.

I wonder if Netanyahu is trying to see how many times he can make the same promise and have the Habayit Hayehudi people repeatedly fall for it.

I don't know if this is an issue that should necessarily force them to bring down the government, or not, though in the old Mafdal days, this would have been the issue. It seems Bennet is trying to move Habayit Hayehudi away from the position that settlement construction is the number one issue for the DL politicians and community, as the threats seem to have come mostly from the Tekuma faction.

Whether it is or is not, the acceptance of a Netanyahu promise about this, when he has promised so many houses around different places that just never happened, and after the government formation in which Netanyahu basically broke his promises to them and treated them like a third wheel until nearly the last day, should definitely be taken with careful consideration. They should know in advance he won't come through in the end. They should know in advance that his promises need to be taken with a  shaker of salt.




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Quote of the Day

We, the Litvishe community, are the largest sector of the Haredi public, and we can prove it. Therefore the balance of power needs to change [from the 60:40 relationship in favor of Agudas Yisrael]... We can run on our own and pass [the minimum threshold]....
We did not run on our own not because we were worried we wouldn't cross the threshold, but because those were the instructions we were given [by the gedolim]. I cannot tell you now if those instructions will continue..

  -- MK Moshe Gafni



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Picture of the Day


yes, this is a snake meandering through the halls of the Knesset... he must have gone to visit his cousins, any of the 120+ other "snakes" that wander around the Knesset daily...


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Doctors Without Borders Invented Diseases and Blamed the Jews! (video)






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Poem by Crown Heights Jewish Teen Goes Viral (video)

A Brooklyn teen's surprising poem has gone viral.

Chanie Gorkin, of Crown Heights, wrote the poem "The Worst Day Ever?" for a school assignment and it is now inspiring thousands around the world.

The poem is about a bad day, but when read from the bottom up, it is actually a poem about the "best day ever."

Chanie's mother posted the poem in a contest, and it then made its way through social media.

She says that her daughter was influenced by growing up in a Chassidic community where she was taught to see the positive in everything. She also says that Chanie is very private and at first hated all the attention her poem received.

Chanie's mother also says that her daughter hopes people take inspiration from her poem and pay it forward by doing something nice to another person.




and here is the poem:

Worst Day Ever?

by Chanie Gorkin


Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don't try to convince me that
There's something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don't last.
And it's not true that
It's all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be attained
Only if one's surroundings are good
It's not true that good exists
I'm sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude
It's all beyond my control
And you'll never in a million years hear me say 
Today was a very good day

Now read it from bottom to top, the other way,
And see what I really feel about my day



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Huckabee Tells Arutz Sheva: Why I Attacked Obama (video)








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a surprising proposal in the Knesset (video)






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Boruch Sholom - Lo Yemalet - Official Music Video (video)







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Jul 28, 2015

MK Aimen Uda supports compensation for lost Jewish property in Arab countries (video)








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Bennett: Our Mission Today is to Save the Jews (video)








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Eli Marcus - Dovid Hamelech [Official Music Video]








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"Don't You Worry Child" - Swedish House Mafia - Zev Moore and Eitan Moore cover (video)







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Jul 27, 2015

thoughts on the possible Pollard release

The news of the possible release of Jonathan pollard was very welcome and music to our ears. With his date for possible parole approaching, it was not really new on its own. The fact that the Defense Ministry is considering not opposing the parole is what is new, I think.

After a couple of days of letting it sink in, I have a couple of questions/thoughts.
1. obviously, many think, despite official denials, this is part of a package to compensate Israel for the Iran deal. Maybe, maybe not
2. is it really going to happen or is it just being dangled in front of us to try to get us on board with something - maybe I ran, maybe something else, like what Clinton did in the Wye Accords...
3. Is it being dangled to us as an implicit threat? Sort of like a carrot for playing along with the Iran deal, or something else coming soon like a peace initiative, while at the same time also a threat saying we will snap this away if you make too much noise and don't play along, and then you will only have yourselves to blame...



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Child Allowances might become Child Savings Plans

In the standoff between the Ministry of Finance and the haredi parties (specifically UTJ) regarding possible budget cuts despite coalition agreements, a new proposal has been made.

The Ministry has proposed, due to Litzman's refusal to budge on accepting cuts to child allowances that he worked so hard to achieve, that instead of giving child allowances, they would put aside money for each child, i.e. a savings plan for each kid, that would only be able to be opened and accessed when the child turns 18.
source: Calcalist

The only benefit to the Finance Ministry, it seems, is that there would be nothing forcing them to actually lay out any money right now - not this year, not next year, etc.. eventually they would have to put the money into the savings plans, but it would not have to be at any specific time.

This was exactly what the Ministry wanted with the budget cuts - just a delay in giving the money, not an actual cut. Litzman refused it before.

I think a savings plan is a great idea. However, I am not sure why Litzman is considering it. From Litzman's perspective the purpose of the child allowances, and raising them, is to give parents money to feed the kids basic necessities. Changing that to a savings plan is nice, but it does not help these needy families put bread and milk on the table right now. With that being Litzman's main issue, I am not sure why he is entertaining the idea at all, but it might just be to not have the appearance of being unwilling to consider anything.\

While I think it is a good idea, the one thing I see wrong with it is that if the idea is to give them the opportunity to delay actually starting the savings plans, when will they start putting the money in?  they will always find a reason why "now is not a good time" and "we can start it next year". When my kid turns 18 will there even be any money in it?

Another curiosity about this discussion is where is the rest of UTJ on this, let alone Shas? Yes, Litzman was insistent on the allowances and very vocal on the matter, but he is not the only voice of UTJ. UTJ is made up of factions. Where is Gafni on this? Is he willing or not? Whether the hassidic Coucnil of Sages thinks it is a good idea or not, don't they all have to work it out together? Has Litzman been given the authority from his UTJ peers to deal with this matter alone?

What do you think? is the Finance Ministry's plan a good one or not?







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when the "foxes walking on Har Habayit" was deemed a good thing

In an interview with the Yated Neeman in "honor" of Tisha B'Av, Rav Yosef Efrati said something that rubs me the wrong way.

Rav Efrati related to Har Habayit and said that from amidst the destruction it is perhaps a chessed, a kindness, that the Muslims retain control over Har Habayit. He explained that if Israel would have control over Har Habayit, we would very likely see all sorts of inappropriate events taking place there. With the Waqf in control they prevent anything inappropriate from happening up there. Rav Efrati referenced the events that recently took place in the vicinity of the Old City, such as the Zumba and Spinning marathons and other concerts to show that Israel would most likely plan some inappropriate event on Har Habayit....

I understand what he is saying. And he might even be right - the Muslims are dogmatic about protecting the Har from anything they consider, for whatever reason, to be a slight and offense to their beliefs.

I disagree with the second half - while Israel did have these events near the Old City, they were only near the Old City, outside the Old City. They have not done anything like that in the Old City, let alone near the Kotel or Har Habayit.

As a matter of fact, the way Israel has fought against Women of the Wall conducting their services at the kotel, I think it would be only fair to suggest that Israel would most likely not hold such events on or near Har Habayit and would protect Har Habayit from those wishing to do so. I think it is disingenuous to presume otherwise, though I understand that the Haredi community, and especially its leaders, have a deep distrust of the Zionist State and its authority figures, even if they are mostly ambivalent to its existence and not anti.

Something else about it rankled me as well.

It is one thing to believe that Jews should not go up to Har Habayit. Even though it seems to be a distortion of halacha, it is at least based in halacha. Some explain it as really just a precaution for the masses, as a blanket allowance would probably mean many many people go up without properly preparing and without being cautious regarding the right and wrong places to walk, so they give a mass prohibition with private allowances. I actually heard just yesterday from somebody that Rav Ovadia, who was publicly very opposed to Jews going to Har Habayit, told this person privately they could go up and his issur was preventative (I had never heard this before about Rav Ovadia).

So, it is one thing to say halachically Jews shouldn't go up. I might disagree, but I can accept that position.

It is another thing to say it is good, it is a kindness, that the Arabs are in control of it.

the arabs being there in the first place are, from a halachic perspective, something inappropriate happening there. There are "strangers" walking in the areas of the Holy of Holies, which is prohibited and a big problem (which would not be solved by Israel being in charge, but it is happening freely the way it is now), they play soccer up there, they have carnivals up there, they plant trees and do construction and destruction - all things that should bother Rav Efrati and every other halachic Jew, even without letting Jews go up. Instead Rav Efrati sees it is a good thing that the Arabs are up there and in charge doing whatever they want up there.

That bothers me.





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Picture of the Day



picture from Richie Sevrinsky, taken on 9 Av
Construction site? think they are building the Beis Hamikdash?



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What preceded the "Mohammed is a pig" incident (video)

the video of the woman on Har Habayit who screamed "Mohammed is a pig" has gone viral, and the incident has threatened to ignite violence, including the violence on and around Har Habayit yesterday... Israel TV ran some background showing what led up to her saying what she said..






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What will be in the end? (video)

what things will look like int he days of mashiach...







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Palestinians: What is the goal of the struggle against Israel? (video)








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Tisha b'Av: The Third Holy Temple Plans Have Begun (video)








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Jul 23, 2015

No Likud - UTJ/Shas showdown yet

There are no favors in politics. In politics everything is tit for tat. you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Nobody is supporting a fellow politicians proposal just to be nice or because he likes the person - they are doing it because of agreements and commitments already in place giving each side certain benefits or the hope for currying favor for a future issue.

So it makes me wonder why Netanyahu and the Likud have been so forgiving of the Haredi politicians not living up to their side of the political deals.

First Aryeh Deri backed out of deciding on the issue of the natural gas, despite Netanyahu urging him to sign the order, thus throwing the entire arrangement into further chaos.

Netanyahu did not take any retribution on Deri for that, at least not yet.

And yesterday the Haredi politicians, at least it is so assumed, were responsible for secretly not voting in favor of the Likud's candidate for the committee for dayanim, despite the Likud giving them almost everything they have wanted and having supported their candidate for the same committee (Eichler).

Will the Likud somehow take revenge and shoot down something the Haredi parties are hoping for? The next big vote the Haredi parties are looking for is the Norwegian Law. Senior Likud politicians are saying they are still going to support it, despite what happened yesterday.

It makes me wonder what is brewing. The Likud is not doing any favors to Shas or UTJ. They give Shas and UTJ different things with the expectation of tit for tat.

Maybe Netanyahu is just so desperate to avoid the threat of new elections that he just runs away from a real stand-down with them. Or else something is coming. At some point Netanyahu is going to get his revenge - whether it is on the budget cuts Kahlon is asking for or some other important vote or something down the line, but it is coming. And if not, I will be surprised.


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Picture of the Day



what makes this picture interesting is the background rather than the picture itself.

according to the reports, these two new fathers are twin brothers who were born 20 minutes apart. They are married to twin sisters also born 20 minutes apart.
Their babies were born, yes, 20 minutes apart.

mazel tov!

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Deri allows import of shrimp and lobster

Some are upset at Minister Aryeh Deri. In a deal with Canada, Israel has eased restrictions on many imports from Canada and will open its markets to Canadian produce and products.

Among the list of items being allowed in you will find shrimps and lobster, but only if you pay attention to the Canadian announcement of the deal. In Deri's announcement of the deal he left that out.
source: Kikar

In my opinion, the fact that he left it out, as if to hide it from his constituents who might be upset about it, is more troubling than the allowance for the import of shrimp and lobster.

As far as I know, there is no prohibition against selling non kosher food in Israel. There are limitations, such as raising pigs in the Holy Land, though I understand they find ways around that such as raising them on platformed areas (I might be wrong), but overall there is no prohibition of having non kosher food in Israel, and there are enough non Jews in Israel that allowing their import does not bother me. Yes, it is sad some Jews will partake in it as well, but I dont see that as a basis for a necessity to block the import..

On a separate note, I hope the import of the produce does something to help bring down prices in Israel. More sources, more competition, is always the best way to get better goods at better prices.

And I hope the import of raspberries and blueberries will be significant enough to make them a regular item on the Israeli table. Fresh berries is something that is sorely lacking here.



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Blue and White parking details in Bet Shemesh

Bet Shemesh residents have noticed and talked about the recent painting blue and white of curbs around the city. The blue and white paint indicates the spot is paid parking only.

This has created quite a buzz. Some are in favor, saying ti will stop people from parking all day and taking up spots and making it difficult to shop. Others are upset saying the Iryah found a new way to milk its residents for more cash to pay off its budget deficit.

In other cities around the world it seems to have been discovered that paid parking ends up sending a high percentage of shoppers to do their shopping in shopping centers and malls where the parking is free. I don't know if that will happen here, but I hope the shopkeepers around town don't get hurt by this. Overall I think it is a good idea, as parking in shopping areas around town have become very frustrating.

Here is the official announcement from the Iryah:



Paid parking will start on Elul 1, August 16, 2015.
The cost will be 4.2nis per hour, and will be payable via regular tickets, Pango and Cellopark. Parking is limited to three hours maximum.
People who live in affected areas and own a car are able to apply for a parking permit, unless the person lives in a place that has a separate area designated for residents parking.
The office running the parking issues is located in Neimi Mall in Bet Shemesh in the C building, and will be open Sunday - Thursday from 8:30 to 13:30.
The Iryah has also prepared new parking lots around the city, and will be establishing more.

I do wonder if the residents of the shopping center in RBS A will be able to get permits for free parking or not. On the one hand there are parking lots under the buildings that are designated for residents parking only - so that means they shouldn't get special permits to park outside. On the other hand, much of those lots have been rented out to stores - so maybe they still have an argument that there are not enough parking spots available and need the permits.





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Tweet of the Day





Israeli NBA basketball player Omri Casspi responding to a question posed to him on twitter asking how often he puts on tefiillin


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the hot mat hot plate (video)

The hot mat hot plate looks like it is a cool hot plate. the only problem I see with it is that you cant pack stuff in like you can on a regular hot plate - this has room for only for items.






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Orthodox Jewish Mother Makes Visible Plea To Drivers: 'Don't Text And Drive' (video)

very cool of her. any person can make a difference, no matter how big the task.





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PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Knesset (video)







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Anglo IDF Recruits (video)







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Kippa Live with Kobi Aflalo: Letter to my Brother (video)







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Jul 22, 2015

Deri voted against a law he wanted

I get that Aryeh Deri and Shas voted against a certain law because it was submitted by Opposition MKs rather than by himself  or by other Coalition MKs,..

Still, it is funny that he campaigned on the "Maam 0" law proposal and insisted he would force it through, yet when it was proposed and voted on today Deri voted against it.
source: Srugim and Ladaat

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Interesting Psak: correcting mistakes in the torah reading

Rav Yonatan Raziel of Maale Adumim issued a radical psak that is really straight out of the Shulchan Aruch. It is only radical because most of us do not keep the halacha as it is in the Shulchan Aruch - it seems somehow the custom became to act differently, even against the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch.

Rav Raziel write sin the new edition of Tchumin that when the person in shul reading the Torah makes a mistake, people in the congregation should not correct him - even if he left out letters, and definitely not if he just messed up pronunciation or cantillation.

Rac Raziel explains that the problem with this is that it embarrasses the reader, which is a torah-based prohibition, in order to accomplish a better torah reading which is only rabbinic in nature.

It seems the reason most congregations correct the reader when he reads with a mistake is out of concern for the opinion of the Rambam who says that the congregation will not have fulfilled their obligation of reading the Torah if the reader makes mistakes. Rav Raziel says that even out of concern of the Rambam's opinion, still it is better to not embarrass the reader even at the expense of fulfilling the obligation of Torah reading.

Many opinions, including the Shulchan Aruch, argue on the Rambam and say to not correct the reader in public, so as not to embarrass him.

Another problem Rav Raziel points to is that all this noise of corrections is also inappropriate in shul, but even worse it distracts the congregation from focusing on the meaning of the davening and torah reading.
source: INN

I do know that in some shuls there is a gabbai appointed to quietly correct any mistakes and the other members of the congregation do not.

radical psak, but not really.








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Quote of the Day

I don't know how to interpret [Khameini's vow that Iran will defy American policies in the region despite the recent deal] that  at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that's his policy. But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it's very disturbing, it's very troubling,

  - US Secretary of State John Kerry

ok

(I would note that the US administration did not simply brush off Netanyahu's statement during elections about Arabs going to vote and about a two state solution saying comments are made publicly but things evolve differently. Then they insisted on turning it into a crisis and refused to believe Netanyahu, even after he publicly apologized.)


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Headline of the Day

Bet Shemesh: Separation Between Haredim and National Religious


  -- Srugim

Here we go again. Bet Shemesh has had relative quiet for too long...

no, this is not a decision to split the city. Just a Matnas (the RBS matnas) that is splitting the week between Haredi activities and DL activities, with specific days each week for each.

I understand perfectly why they want this and do this. I understand perfectly why the other communities bristle at this.

The one question I have that was never answered is if the Haredi community is always insisting on doing things separately, why have they been so opposed to splitting the city (regardless of whether I think it is a good idea or not) - they want to keep everything separate anyway!


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We answer to a higher authority

the following teudat kashrut, seen in Tel Aviv, reminded me of Hebrew National's catchphrase -We answer to a higher authority...


I would note that most frum people seem to not trust anyone who says he is supervised by God rather than man - especially if that person is not religious, as in such cases the supervision must be faulty....


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CAN YOU HEAR US - Shloimy Bluth (video)

Nine Days music alert.. unless you follow Rabbi Mazuz that it is ok so that you don't listen to other music... if there was ever any music that is appropriate for the Nine Days, this would be it..





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Bennet on the Loker Report (video)






Netanyahu receives the report



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Amb. Prosor's Press Statement on Iran (video)






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Abe Foxman on his last day at ADL and the future for world Jewry (video)








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A Special Message from Camp HASC Campers.(video)

I think Camp HASC is great

A Special Message from Our Campers. from CAMP HASC on Vimeo.
Video By Dovi Meyer


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Jul 21, 2015

Picture of the Day


PM Netanyahu had mentioned to Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat that due to all the security issues he has not really had a chance to see the rejuvenated downtown Jerusalem. So Barkat took Netanyahu to see the night-life, the light rail route and some other important and central locations.

But that is not why this picture earned the title of Picture of the Day.

The reason is because of the seemingly extremely friendly and convivial evening between the Netanyahus and the Barkats. They had dinner together and went for a night out on the town. Considering that very recently we heard about the existence of bad blood between them, due to Zeev Elkin being appointed Minister of Jerusalem instead of the position either being given to Barkat or left open entirely, the working double date with everyone looking so happy is a bit of a surprise.

And no, I don't think he had to do it. I have not heard of Netanyahu or any other prime minister taking a tour around any city, including Jerusalem, to see the nightlife. This was something out of the ordinary, which makes me think the bad blood is behind them.


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Interesting Psak: Three Weeks Music

The customs of what can and cannot be done during the "Three Weeks" varies somewhat from community to community. Even on the issue of music alone there is a variety of customs - not to listen to live music, not to listen to any music including recorded music, acapella being ok or not, etc.

The religious radio stations, at least here in Israel, all take the position of playing almost no music at all, with some exception made for acapella that is low-key.

Someone from the USA asked Rav Meir Mazuz if haredi radio stations in the USA could play music during the Three Weeks. He explained his question as being based on an assumption that if the Jewish stations are not playing music, there will be many listeners who would turn the dial to a non-Jewish radio station and end up listening to secular music. And, he added, the Haredi music gives chizzuk to many people.

Rav Mazuz responded with a psak that they can play regular music during the Three Weeks in order to prevent the listeners from switching to secular stations playing secular music.

Rav Mazuz did qualify it as saying they could play soft music, serious music, and not loud, energetic music. Rav Mazuz compared it to the allowance to sell meat even during the week of Tisha b'Av so that people won't chas vshalom eat treif meat instead.

Rav Mazuz also stated that he himself listens to music on Friday afternoons in order to bring Shabbos in in a state of happiness and joy.
source: Srugim

I don't know if they are doing this in the USA on the haredi radio stations, but here in Israel this would not fly.



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Ancient Scroll Discovered in 1970 Read for First Time (video)








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tanach is back in style (video)







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Retail Chains and Small Stores Unite to fight for Shabbat Rest (video)






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"2EC" (Tuisee) תעיתי Cappella Version by Beri Weber Official Music Video (video)








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Jul 20, 2015

The curses of a non-mystic

police officers up north charged with arresting and booking the charlatan Ezra Sheinberg have been complaining about his behavior. Sheinberg has been cursing them and threatening them with spiritual anger (not sure how to translate "kpeida").

Some of the police officers are nervous and upset about this, especially the religious ones and the others who "believe".

Personally I would suggest that they have nothing to worry about. He has proven himself to be nothing but a charlatan. He isn't a mystic or a holy man. His curses won't harm anybody.


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and Rav Shteinman takes first place!


For the first time ever, supposedly, a survey was conducted to determine the most popular leaders in the Haredi community.

According to Bechadrei, the survey checked who is the Haredi leader that most people in the Haredi community follow his rulings.

Not surprisingly, Rav Shteinman came out on top pulling in 33% support and adherence.

Second place was taken by an additional 33%  saying their "admor", so the hassidic rebbes all together would take second place.

Third place was taken by Rav Shalom Cohen with 7.6%.

The remainder was split among Rav Shmuel Auerbach, Rav Weiss of the Eida, Rav Mazuz, and "other" taking the bulk of the remainder.

I am surprised that Rav Cohen only pulled in 7.6%. Considering that he is the maran of Shas and its followers, that seems like an awfully low number.

What bothered me about this survey is its existence. While interesting, it makes it seem like the rav you follow is part of a popularity contest.

And like all surveys, the results are likely skewed to the tune of whomever it was that commissioned it for whatever purpose he had in mind...












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Proposed Law: Rearresting those freed in Shalit deal

MK Nissim Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi has proposed a law in light of the revelation that the terrorist who planned the murder of Malachi Rosenfeld was one of the terrorists released in the Shalit deal in exchange for the freedom of Gilad Shalit.

Slomiansky's proposal is to pass a law that will allow Israel to rearrest all those freed in the Shalit deal and keep them in jail for double the amount of time they had originally been convicted for.

Slomiansky says hundreds of released terrorists from that deal have broken their conditions of release and have been involved in terror planning and attacks.
source: INN

I think this is a bad idea. If they have broken their agreements, you don't need a new law to arrest them. Just go do so. If the purpose of the law is to double their sentences, just retry them for their new crimes that they have allegedly committed. And it should not automatically include everyone that had been released - only those involved in terror or otherwise breaking their terms of release. Those who have been good boys and girls should not be rearrested just because others have been bad.

The way it is described just seems like a populist proposal.





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From USA to Israel - A Farewell of Tears and Pride (video)







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Jul 19, 2015

Rabbi Arush to stop receiving women

Rabbi Shalom Arush today announced that he will not be receiving women any longer. He says the yetzer hora of rabbonim is even greater than that of regular people, and therefore rabbonim cannot receive women for guidance and questions. He called on other rabbonim to follow suit.

This is a result of the scandal going on up north in Tzfat with a popular rav, Ezra Sheinberg, being accused by many women of having taken advantage of them and their vulnerability.

I don't know if this is a good idea or a bad idea. I understand his concern, but women need guidance, inspiration and answers as well, just like men do. If the rabbonim will not receive women looking for guidance and inspiration, to whom can they turn?

A couple of interesting ideas I heard that might solve the problem:
1.  the offices of rabbis should not be regular walls with doors, where the debate becomes keep the door open or closed, locked or unlocked, can a secretary or other shul member walk in at any time or not, and the like.
Rather, the offices of rabbis receiving women should have glass walls, or at least glass doors. This way they can be seen from the outside without somebody needing some level of brazenness to walk in and interrupt the rabbi. Women might not like that as they would be visible while talking to the rabbi. It invades their privacy to a certain extent, as well as exposing them to the public - people outside the office will see their body language, their reactions of crying or anger, and they might not want to be seen like that, though it would protect them somewhat from being assaulted.
I say "somewhat" because I doubt all meetings happen in the office, so the women would still be vulnerable when meeting outside the office.. It is a good suggestion, but I do not think it solves the problem entirely, and some women might not feel comfortable meeting in such an exposed room.

2. the development of more women trained in rabbinic-like authority positions.
If rabbis are going to stop receiving women for guidance and inspiration, someone will have to fill that void. It is only natural, and makes sense, that women can and should fill this role. There are already women rabbis or rabbi-like women doing this, but it would have to be expanded.  There are some women rabbis in the Modern orthodox circles, but even in the Ultra-Orthodox there are some female rabbi-like figures such as Rebbetzin Yemima Mizrachi, Rebbetzin Kanievsky used to be one when she was alive, and there are others.
If women are going to need to look for alternatives to the regular make rabbi, more of these inspiring female leaders need to be cultivated and trained.

And no, I do not think Rabbi Arush's suggestion of women needing advice sending notes with their husband is a good or realistic idea.



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Mazel tov to Shlomo Baum on exit

Microsoft has announced the purchase of a company called FieldOne systems for somethign int he range of $39,000,000.

What you might not get from the average press release or article announcing the acquisition, such as the article on Fortune, is that the founder and owner of FieldOne Systems is/was a Satmar Chassid named Shlomo Baum.

For that you need sites like Kikar Shabbos and Chabad Info..

Kol hakavod to Baum for developing such a company and mazel tov on the success!

Some are making a big deal proving you do not need an education to succeed. I don't think this proves anything, one way or the other. Plenty with education do not "succeed" (in selling a startup and making it big), and plenty without do "succeed". Some people are especially talented and can overcome their lack of education. The fact that someone succeeds without an education shows some sort of combination of his natural talent, his hard work and his mazel. I don't think that can then be extrapolated to the greater community as a lesson.


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Degel's Pyrrhic victory over Aguda


I find it funny that Degel Hatorah is so happy that it defeated Agudas Yisrael regarding the Norwegian law vote.

The argument and defeat is regarding the issue of the candidacy for the committee for appointing dayanim. MK Eichler submitted his name as a candidate, while MK Gafni decided that Degel deserved the position according to the internal agreements of UTJ. Neither Eichler nor Gafni were willing to back down.

The standoff came in the form of the Norwegian law proposal that was coming to the Knesset today. Degel wanted the law passed so a deputy minister could resign from the Knesset and pave the way for bringing Yaakov Asher, of the Degel faction, back in. Aguda said they wont support the law as retribution for Degel not supporting Eichler's candidacy.

It turns out the Norwegian law passed, thus Gafni and Degel defeated Litzman, Eichler and Aguda.

The only problem with this great victory of Gafni's is that now thta the Norwegian law has passed, Gafni needs either Litzman or Porush to agree to resign from the Knesset so Asher can take the spot.

With the bad blood over this fight, I think the chances that either of the deputy ministers from Aguda might resign from Knesset in order to help Degel have probably decreased.

Gafni might have won the battle, but it is probably a Pyrrhic victory.


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WHAT IF THERE WERE SOUNDS OF SILENCE?

A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier

WHAT IF THERE WERE SOUNDS OF SILENCE?

Did you ever wonder about your life’s path? What if you learned to play piano or violin like your mother wanted? What if you paid more attention in math class and biology? What if you asked that pretty girl in the second row to a movie?

What if Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu replies to questions about the Iran nuke deal negotiated by the world’s six most powerful countries with, “No comment”? 

What if he lets the Arab Gulf states take center stage disparaging and denigrating the deal, while Israel’s Prime Minister focuses on the raggedy domestic crises? What if the handsome and well-groomed leader removes the perpetual scowl from his brow, smiles more often, and cuts the strident tone and tenor of his speech? What if Netanyahu ceases proclaiming he is the only Israeli who can protect and safeguard Israel, and tells Israel when its people are going to live safe and secure?

What if Naphtali Bennett stops running for Prime Minister (or is it president of the United States?) every time a camera shines a light his way? What if Bennett stops thrashing around in search of the limelight pontificating on foreign affairs at whips of news about Israel?  What if he concentrates on being the Education Minister instead of the Foreign Affairs Minister-want-to-be? What if he is adamant about reducing school class sizes and reforming the crumbling education system, as he is about publicity?

Ah, the what if’s of life. If you’re a pessimist those are the regrets.  If you’re a happy person, what ifs are sweet dreams.

Following President Obama’s speech announcing the nuke deal with Iran was it necessary for Netanyahu to again tell the world how bad the deal is, how vehemently he opposes it, and not so subtly hinting he expects Congress and the Republicans to fight it to the death? Didn’t he make that crystal clear in the speech to Congress and every press opportunity since then? What if Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande, Putin, and Xi Jinping already know Israel’s position?

What if MK Bennett had not opened the Pandora box in his embarrassing BBC interview threatening Israel will use its nuclear arsenal against Iran?  Bennett went into a free fall when the BBC interviewer poignantly questioned him if he is in fact making such a threat. Bennett might have avoided his scabrous tap-dance making him appear a blunderer. His interview was brutal to watch. Bennett clearly lost control of the message. What if he lies low once in a while?

What if Israel’s leaders do not huff and puff and harrumph, cap their threatening bluster, and follow American President Theodore Roosevelt’s advice to “speak softly and carry a big stick”?  What if they stop sabre rattling and the fractious talk?  



Israel’s political sway in American and European politics is severely weakened by loss after loss when going up against Obama.  The former Chairman of the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee once told me, “I have no real power, but people respect and listen to me because I give the appearance of having power.” 

It’s about images of modesty and empathy not force and coercion in the age of visual news and social media. Israel spent much of its political cache trying to out-elbow Obama in Congress and the media. Recent studies and my own observations in Arutz Sheva articles confirm Israel is losing the long war, the war for the hearts and minds and souls of Europeans, young Jews and American Democrats.

None of this is to say the misology of those critical of the Iran/P5+1 nuclear deal is misplaced. It may be bad for Israel, other Arab states, the West, and the future of all mankind as some charge. I am neither a military strategist nor a soothsayer, but what do Netanyahu and Bennett achieve by repeatedly poking the bear?  

What if they took to heart Dr. Seuss’ warning, “I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.”


  






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Jul 16, 2015

A man's best friend

A dog is man's best friend no longer.

Now a smartphone is man's best friend.

According to judges in Israel's justice system, there is a need to be stricter in handing out sentences to peole caught stealing smartphones from others, as the smartphone is not like any other possession, but has already become man's best friend. The judges also said that the phone holds the life-story of its owner, bearing memories, pictures, information for his daily functioning, phone numbers and addresses, notes, important calendar dates, etc.
source: TheMarker

I don't know if it is a good thing or a bad thing. Or that is just the way it is, not good or bad...




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who is making the chilul hashem?

this morning on the radio I heard [part of] an interesting discussion..

the radio show hosts were talking to some askanim about the fighting between Degel and Aguda in UTJ.

The fighting is about the upcoming appointment to the committee for appointing judges to the rabbinical court. Eichler from Aguda wants the appointment, and Gafni is upset at him and has said Degel deserves it as per their internal agreement and they will field a different candidate. The fighting is gettign out of hand, somewhat, and now Aguda is threatening Degel that they might oppose the passage of the Norwegian law that Degel wnts so badly in order to get Yaakov Asher back into the Knesset.

Anyways, so the radio show hosts were talking to these askanim from the different factions of UTJ about the fighting. One of the askanim threw it back at the radio show hosts and the haredi media in general. He said that in the general press nobody cares about it - you'd be hard pressed to find any discussion about it, while it is all over the Haredi media. He accused them of being at fault for publicizing the fight and making a chilul hashem.

This is a common method of attack. The fighting itself is not considered a problem, but the publicity given to it is. It is the radio show hosts who are making a chilul hashem by asking about it, rather than Gafni, Litzman, and Eichler making a chilul hashem by fighting.




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Rabbanut corruption at worst posisble time


The news has a number of reports of corruption in the Rabbanut. In one department, a dayan is accused of taking money to advance divorce cases. In another department there are accusations of corruption regarding the kashrut and mashgichim who were paid off or not working under the authority of the rav in charge..

I don't know what happened, what really happened, who did what or took what, but such accusations coming out in the heat of court cases and political fighting regarding the status of the Rabbanut vis a vis other rabbinic or kashrut organizations won't be helpful to the Rabbanut's case.

Their claim that they are the only ones capable of ensuring true kashrut, and ensuring the protection of Judaism in the cases of conversion, marriage and divorce, should and hopefully will be looked at with an extra careful analysis.

I am not saying they deserve to lose their control because of this, but it should be looked at, and I cannot imagine this will help them.

It is never a good time to have corruption, let alone to have it discovered by the public. But this is really bad timing.



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