Nov 19, 2017

Who is an avrech?

There is another "minor" drug scandal gong on in the frum community, though it is not getting much press that I can see.

Behadrei has reported on a a drug bust involving an avreich as the ringleader dealer, and 3 yeshiva boys as the mules. Among the 3 mules, 1 was actually a mule, 1 changed his mind at the last minute and did not agree to carry the suitcase, and the 3rd acted as some sort of agent bringing them together.

According to the claims of the prosecutor, this group was involved in smuggling tens of thousands of ecstasy pills into Israel.

Whatever the details of the case may be, if they are innocent or guilty, I don't know. They claim they thought they were smuggling watches, not drugs, or whatnot, they were taken advantage of. Maybe, maybe not. It does not interest me that much.

What I find interesting in all this, is how Behadrei describes the ringleader as "a kollel avreich who is the father of a young daughter, who works in a store in Bnei Braq".

Well, is he an avreich kollel or does he work in a store? Is everyone who wears a hat and jacket automatically an avreich? 

The description "avreich" is often used to imply a certain naivete and purity, someone untouched and uninfluenced by the outside world. Someone who has dedicated his life to sitting in the beis medrash and avoiding the influences of the outside world.  I submit that they are using this term to describe this fellow to portray him as innocent, as someone taken advantage of. He might very well be, but the avreich and yeshiva community might not be so maligned if the "powers that be" would stop calling every Haredi male an avreich or a rav just because they wear a hat and jacket and have a beard.




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Proposed Law: people can't think you are kosher without a Rabbanut hechsher

The game legal "ping pong" between th Rabbanut and its adversaries such as Hashgacha Pratit might soon come to an end, if this new law proposal will pass.

A law proposal submitted by a number of MKs from various parties, including MKs Yoav Ben Tzur (Shas), Moshe Gafni (UTJ), Betzalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi), Menachem Eliezer Mozes (UTJ), David Amsalem (Likud), Miki Zohar (Likud) and others, calls for not allowing a business to present itself as kosher even just by presenting some sort of demonstration that it is kosher even without using the word "kosher" and even if they explicitly say they are not certified by the Rabbanut.

This is to support the Rabbanut as the law says only the Rabbanut (along with the IDF Rabbinate and local city rabbis) is authorized to certify kashrut. They say this will protect the consumers from fraudulent kashrut claims.
source: Kikar

I do suspect that the ping pong game won't actually be finished. Even if it passes, it is hard to imagine that this won't be shot down by the Supreme Court. I cannot see how anyone can make it illegal to imply kashrut. It is way too vague. What one sees as an implication of kashrut, another will see as benign. And even if it does pass and does not get shot down, Hashgacha Pratit, and others, will probably find a way around this too.

Instead of continuing to try to protect their monopoly, they should see the writing on the wall and improve their system so that people will be proud to use their services and people will be proud to rely on them and the good service they provide for a fair price will be enough to keep the competition at bay. These regular lawsuits and law proposals for every new workaround by Hashgacha Pratit seems like desperation.





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was Litzman's bluff called?

The issue of work on the rail lines on Shabbos continues to be a big issue. Just when we got distracted by other issues, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman issued a threat to the government. Last Wednesday Litzman threatened the government coalition that he would withdraw from the coalition if any work would be done on the lines this Shabbos.

The heads of the coalition went into overdrive to resolve this and came up with a compromise that was publicly agreed upon by Litzman. They agreed that this Shabbos all work would be done by non-Jews, and for future work the issue would be revisited and resolved calmly.

Was Litzman threatenign on behalf of the entire UTJ or just for himself (and perhaps MK Eichler who sort of followed suit)? Was Litzman bluffing or did he intend to carry out his threat should it bee discovered that Jews worked on Shabbos on the rail lines?

Right after Shabbos the news reports all claimed that Litzman was basically saved. He was taken seriously and only non-Jewish workers were employed on Shabbos, except for one Jewish worker who was a sub-contractor. Even though there was that one Jewish guy, he was basically off the hook. That is, until Minister Chaim Katz, responsible for the maintenance work on the train lines, went on the radio this morning saying that only non-Jews (except for one Jew) were used in the work in the Dimona station. Elsewhere in the country Jews were working on the train lines as always, and if Israel wants to continue to have trains this will have to continue to be the case.

So far not a peep from Litzman. Did Chaim Katz call his bluff? Is Katz looking to force Litzman's hand? He had basically given Litzman a ladder to climb down from with everyone thinking that non-Jews had been used, but then Katz speaks up and puts Litzman back in the bind. Will Litzman lose his status as the national sweetheart over this and just be seen as a regular politician - whether he pulls out or if he backs down from his threat?


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Facebook Status of the Day




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Miriam Ballin, of Hatzalah (video)







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Orthodox Jewish All Star, David Mazouz, Teen Star of Fox's Gotham (video)






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anti-Badatz Eida campaign (video)







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Synagogues of New York (video)










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Dudi Knopfler - Mi Yodea (video)








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Nov 16, 2017

You Had One Job

I always enjoy that series of images under the title of "You Had One Job.." of something that should have been so obvious but was done completely wrong..

I think this statue/doll of Michael Jordan in Cinema City in Jerusalem falls under that category...

from Mynet Jerusalem



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Quote of the Day

I am the most ready and qualified to replace Netanyahu... It is no secret that many people come to me and tell me, come, let's get organized and establish something. I also hold a poll, one that I don't know who initiated, , but to the question "if you could have a direct election ad Netanyahu and Barak were running, who would you elect?", in the secular community I win, though in the general public he wins, though neither of us achieve 40%. 35% of the people do not know for whom they would vote, while Bibi is Prime Minister and I am just a citizen tweeting.

  -- Ehud Barak

too bad for Ehud Barak that:
a. elections include more people than just the secular community
b. Israel still does not have direct elections
c. he can't take over the Labor party. They already had primaries and selected a new chairman. Establishing a new party might be exciting for him, but it likely will not place him in direct competition with Bibi.
d. he is relying on the results of a poll that he does not even know who initiated. One of the surest ways to achieve disappointment




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Families reunite as 82 Bnei Menashe immigrate to Israel (video)






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Tzipi Hotovely vs Meirav Michaeli at the IAC (video)








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Michael Rapaport is discouraged by the downfall of the Jewish athlete, but can Josh Rosen help turn things around? (video)




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Kosherfest 2017 (video)









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Eliran Elbaz Ft Roy Yadid Medley HaOlam Gadol (video)







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Nov 15, 2017

Tzniyus problems in Lakewood


If you've got a problem with other people's level of tzniyus, when you complain about at least tell us what the problem,in your eyes, actually is...

This reader-submitted complaint on The Lakewood Scoop is rich but ambiguous. She won't let her son go to the grocery store to do the shopping because of the tzniyus problems even in Lakewood, but she doesn't say what the problems are. Are they long sheitels? Is it tight clothing? Skirts that are too short? Are some women not wearing tights with the appropriate level of denier? Is it something more ostentatious like the cars or the brand name clothing and heavy bling?

I am not asking for pictures, but at least tell us what the problem is.


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PM Netanyahu meets MMA Fighters (video)







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Daniel Gordis on the Balfour Declaration (video)







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Holocaust Survivors Celebrate Bar Mitzvahs at Western Wall (video)

More than 70 years after World War II ended, 45 Holocaust survivors in Israel finally got a chance to celebrate their bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies for the first time yesterday, Monday morning, at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. The survivors reached bar or bat mitzvah age during the war or immediately afterwards, but because of their circumstances never got to participate in the ceremony marking a Jewish boy’s or girl’s entrance to adulthood. Alexander Buchnik, one of the participants in today’s event, said: “All my life, I felt that I missed it so much. I am so excited and happy.” The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Israel’s Office for Social Equality, and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) sponsored the moving ceremony. Eighteen of the survivors also receive financial assistance throughout the year from IFCJ. The survivors and their families joined Monday’s event, which included a tour of the tunnels under the Western Wall. The men put on Tefillin and read from the Torah, while the women participated in another ceremony at the Western Wall Tunnels Hall. The group ended the celebration dinning together. All now elderly, many of the survivors said they’ve long felt that because they’d never had a bar or bat mitzvah, something was missing from their Jewish identities. Aspir Ravicher was 11 when the war began. Her family fled from their homes in Ukraine to Russia. Throughout the war, they lived on the run, focused solely on the need to survive each day. “We ran away with nothing but the clothes we had on us. We had nothing, we were hungry all the time, we lived in a crowded place – I remember that it was mostly cold and I was very hungry,” Ravicher recalled. A bat mitzvah “was not something we could have done.” Hiding their Jewish identity to survive was necessary not only during the war but also during communist rule in the years that followed. Semyon Liebman was a young boy in St. Petersburg when the war broke out. Together with his sister and mother, throughout the war years they were forced to leave their homes and wander. After the war, the family returned to live in the St. Petersburg area. “When we came back, it was forbidden to talk about Judaism or anything about the bar mitzvah, so we did not talk about it at all,” he said. “I feel like a little boy today! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this day throughout my life.” Alexander Buchnik reached bar mitzvah age immediately upon the liberation of Moscow from the Nazis. When the war ended, the family returned to the city. “But we could not celebrate my bar mitzvah,” he said. His mother “was busy surviving and keeping us alive―we could not think about it at all.” In 1994, Buchnik immigrated to Israel with his family and said that he had long been waiting for the moment when he would celebrate his bar mitzvah. “I thought about it during the course of my life, and all my life I felt that I missed it so much.” The Western Wall Heritage Foundation said that the ceremony was among the high points of the Western Wall’s history. “Light and darkness are mixed here, but hope is absolute, and there is concrete evidence of the eternity of the Jewish people,” the foundation said in a statement. “The event leaves its mark on the participants and symbolizes revenge against the Nazi enemy in the form of a return to the Jewish tradition and proof that it is never too late.” IFCJ’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, said: “I find it difficult to think of anything more inspiring than elderly Holocaust survivors who receive a late bar and bat mitzvah celebration in the holiest place for the Jewish people, after surviving the terror of the Nazis and having their childhood stolen from them. “These survivors are heroes,” Eckstein said of today’s group. “I am so grateful to be part of this momentous experience for them. We help these survivors throughout the year and I welcome the opportunity we have been given to be part of this exciting event.” Video Credit: Daniel Bar On, IFCJ





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"Storm The World" Interviews with Benny Friedman, Yossi Green, Eli Marcus (video)







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Yossi Hoffman Ft. Adi Ran - Kel Adon (video)







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Nov 14, 2017

Ali Express is for far more than colorful socks

According to Ynet, the security forces are catching postal packages being delivered to Gaza that contain weapons accessories such as scopes, night vision goggles, drones, binoculars, gun parts and more. These packages were often purchased online via Ali Express. Postal deliveries to Gaza come through Israel and then get transferred to Gaza - with the security forces checking them first. They have recently been catching many packages containing this dangerous contraband and the security officials believe they will be going to terror organization in Gaza. No duh!

I am not quite sure what to say, other than I am really ordering the wrong things on Ali Express.



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Headline of the Day

Protesters in 60,000-person Polish rally call to 'remove Jews from power'


  -- YnetNews

tell the protesters that all the Jews in town were already killed about 70 years ago...




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Supreme Court puts Haredi women at the Kotel in focus

The Supreme Court issued a court order to the police, to the Rav of the Kotel and to the Western Wall heritage Foundation to respond within 30 days with an explanation as to why they allow the regular disturbances by the Haredi women at the Kotel to continue disturbing the prayer sessions of the Women of the Wall by the women's section of the northern plaza of the Kotel.

They must explain why legal action has not been taken against those who try to disturb their prayers and why the Haredi women who disturb using whistles and the like are not removed from the area.

Behadrei points out that this approach by the Supreme Court indicates the Court is taking a "problematic" stance by not recognizing the southern plaza, what has become known as the Reform Kotel, as a solution for the monthly prayer services of Women of the Wall.

Personally I do not see why the Supreme Court must accept that as the solution when the Haredi parties and the government cancelled the agreement offering that as the solution. They themselves do not recognize it as the solution, why should the Supreme Court recognize it? If the Supreme Court would impose that as the solution, the Haredi MKs would have just as much of a problem with it as they did before. The Haredi MKs and community want no official solution because in their eyes any official solution grants Women of the Wall, and the Reform by extension, some form of legitimacy. They prefer that there be no decision but Women of the Wall use the Reform Kotel in an unofficial capacity. The problem is it does not work like that. The Courts will not impose something unofficially. They knew this would happen when they canceled the original agreement, and they knew the Court would be amenable to the other side. The original approach has not worked and they will most likely end up with a worse situation than what the original agreement would have provided.


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Quote of the Day

In 1997 the cameras caught Bibi saying "The Left forgot what it is to be Jewish". Do you know what the Left did in response to that? The Left forgot to be Jewish.

  -- Labor Chairman Avi Gabay

Gabay seems to be workign really hard to upset his base. I wonder if he forgot what party he is the head of..





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MK Malkieli: Deri is stronger than ever (video)








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Ambassador David Friedman at ZOA Annual Event (video)








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MK Eichler: We live in a Media State (video)







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JIMM WEBISODE 9 SEASON 1 - RASHI (video)







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Son of a Rabbi-Anywhere but Crown Heights (music video)






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Nov 13, 2017

Rav Avraham Yosef plea arrangement finalized and approved

The courts approved the plea bargain arrangement in the case of Rav Avraham Yosef, finalizing today as another sad day in Israel in which  a rabbi gets convicted for a crime.

Rav Avraham, Chief Rabbi of Holon and son of Rav Ovadia zt"l, was convicted for breach of trust. As city rabbi he made constituents coming to him looking for a mehadrin hechsher for a restaurant under their ownership to go to the Badatz Beit Yosef owned and controlled by the Yosef family rather than grant the mehadrin hechsher via the Rabbanut.

According to the plea bargain, Rav Yosef agreed to immediately resign from his position as chief rabbi of Holon and to suspend himself from his position on the Rabbanut Rabbinic Council. Rav Yosef cannot put himself up for any public position for the coming 7 years. As well he gets a 5 months suspended sentence and has to pay a 75,000nis  fine.

His halacha show on Radio Kol Chai was always great. I wonder if they will let him continue in that role or if they will remove him. Considering that it is  a Shas-controlled radio station, they do not really believe convictions are a disgrace, so they might let him continue...





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Deri apologizes


The news is reporting that Minister Aryeh Deri apologized to Rav Shlomo Amar, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, for what he had said disrespectfully about him that had been recorded and recently publicized.

Good for him. Very appropriate.

That's all I have to say. If he deserves to be criticized at times, he deserves to be commended at times for doing the right thing.


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Quote of the Day

In recent weeks there has been a debate within the coalition as to when to hold new elections. The Prime Minister wants them as soon as possible, even within the year, while other coalition members want to keep them on the original schedule. For once I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The current situation cannot continue, we need elections as soon as possible, elections that we will win and change the dismal situation

  -- Labor Chairman Avi Gabay

he's so cute. He think s he is ready for elections and to replace Netanyahu at the helm...





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perps of anti-Haredi-soldiers campaign sued

Yehuda Glickman, formerly one of the heads of the "bnei yeshivot" division of the IDF and involved in the drafting of Haredi young men,  successfully sued some of the leaders of the Peleg group for their involvement in the "shaming" campaign, known as "Hatzayadim" - "The Trappers" - that caused him so much damage.

The suit was against 3 people and the court ruled that 3 of them are each obligated to pay Glickman 600,000nis compensation, while a fourth was found innocent and Glickman was obligated to pay 15,625nis for his court costs and lawyers fees. In addition,The three found guilty have to pay 30,000nis in court costs and 65,000nis in lawyers fees.

The courts ruled in Glickman's favor saying that the publication of the "Hatzayadim" brochure led to a wave of negative publicity against him, and abusive behavior against him that caused him much anguish and suffering.

This was all put together by private investigation funded by Glickman. Glickman responded to the decision by saying this is one of the first court decisions clarifying that the Haredi community is no longer closed and the blood of Haredi soldiers is not free and their honor is holy.
sources: Kikar, Haredim10

According to a report in Actualic, some wealthy Satmar hassidim from the USA and the UK have committed to paying off these fines.

Sadly this had to be done privately. For whatever reason the police and the IDF could not figure out how to discover who was behind the campaign and only a private person with some private money was competent enough to do so. The police need to deal with law enforcement. The IDF needs to protect its soldiers and deal with law enforcement in relation to the soldiers of the IDF. If they weren't going to chase down the perpetrators and find them, at least now that they have been found I hope those responsible for law enforcement will deal with the guilty perpetrators on a more public responsibility level.






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Israel: State of the Israelis or the Jews? (video)







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The British Airways Jewish observant pilot (video)






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#TOVAasks What is Your Israel Happy Place? (video)







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I Am Israel | Full Movie (video)




I Am Israel | Full Movie from David Kiern on Vimeo.



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Not Your Typical Homeless Makeover (video)








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Nov 12, 2017

hashgacha removed

signs went up around town (i.e. Bet Shemesh) today that the Eida has removed its hechsher form the fruits and vegetables section of the Rami Levi supermarket.



I hate these signs because they imply things that are not true or accurate. People reading a sign like this one is left with the impression that there was a problem and he store no longer has any hashgacha.

the truth is Rami Levi replaced the Eida hechsher with the hechsher of Rav Rubin.

I personally have no idea why the hechsher was switched. Maybe the Eida pulled their hechsher due to problems with their standards or maybe Rami Levi switched for financial reasons (eg cheaper) or for business reasons (eg maybe Rubin was a more attractive hechsher to the clientele Rami Levi wants to attract) or for other reasons. The implication of the sign though is that the fruits and vegetables at Rami Levi are no longer reliable.

I only sort of blame the Eida because all they are saying is that they no longer give the hechsher there. There should be some law or directive in the kashrus industry that such signs have to also say that the market is now under a different hechsher (with or without naming it), and not just leave it open like that.

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peek a jew?



from the catwalk in London... this new fashion trend has been designed by Lucie Vincini
source: Daily Mail

I must say, if this ever becomes the style in my shul or community, I will move.



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Proposed Law: Police Chief and PM salary levels

MK David Amsalem (Likud) is proposing a law that would decrease the salary of the Police Chief and increase the salary of the Prime Minister.

Amsalem's idea, besides for being Netanyahu's bulldog, is that the Police Chief earns 97,000nis per month while a regular new policeman starts with a salary of 6000nis per month Amsalem says they will all be fine if the chief only earns 40,000nis per monthy and rookie police officers earn 10,000nis per month.  The Chief of Police, according to Amsalem, should be equal to that of a Member of Knesset, while the highest salary in the Knesset should be that of the Prime Minister, as he manages everything..

As of now the PM earns 48,815nis per month. The Police Chief earns 97k, the IDF Chief of Staff earns 84,400, The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court earns 92,973, among others.
source: Actualic

Initially many are opposed to this, even from within the coalition. MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) opposes it saying that the PM gets many other benefits that the Police Chief does not receive. The PM himself, at least publicly, opposes it.
source: Actualic

I don't have an opinion as to how much each public official should be earning. I do not understand what comparing the PM's salary to the Police Chief's salary has to do with the comparison between the Police Chief's salary and a police rookie's salary. They are two different issues. The Police Chief's salary could be decreased and rookies' salaries increased without having anything to do with equating one to the PM's salary. Or, the rookies' salaries could be increased without decreasing the Chief's. Decreasing the Chief's salary won't give you the necessary monies to fund the increase in rookies' salaries - at least not for more than a handful of rookies - so if you think the police need a higher salary scale, work on that as an independent issue..



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Fine for Missing Minyan

This is interesting, though I have no idea what makes it newsworthy.

According to The Forward, a male student of Yeshiva University is being fined $150 for violating the rules of a coed shabbaton.

One might think, upon hearing just that, that he must have violated a pretty serious rule. Maybe something keeping the boundaries between the men and the women or something else serious in that way. It turns out the rule he violated was sleeping through minyan. The rules stipulate that all participants must partake in all scheduled programs of the shabbaton and every participant had to sign his/her commitment to do so. Participation was highly subsidized and the fines were set to reimburse monies from the wasted subsidies.

Back when I was in Yeshiva High School, Telshe Yeshiva more specifically, boys also got fined for missing minyan. The fines back then were more to the tune of just a few dollars, increasing with the frequency of the missing of the minyan, but the idea of a fine is nothing new.  I guess with adults you expect people to be treated more like adults than like 14 or 15 year olds, but so be it. One significant difference is that we did not have coed shabbatonim, though that is not really relevant to this story..




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Two Rabbis, Two Worlds

The Jewish Journal has a conversation with both a Reform and an Orthodox rabbi, between and about denominations.

The discussion is short, but I hope it continues and becomes some sort of a serial conversation. It somewhat reminds me of the book "One People, Two Worlds" that was a fabulous debate/discussion between a Reform and an Orthodox rabbi, Rabbis Amiel Hirsch and Yosef Reinman.

The Jewish Journal conversation is between Rabbis Sarah Bassin and Ari Schwarzberg. Personally I thought Rabbi Schwarzberg was on the defensive too much in this conversation and it was not really much of a conversation, but if this is just the first installment in what could be a series of many articles and topics discussed, this could really be fabulous.

I know the basic Orthodox position is to not debate, or even just share a podium, the Reform or Conservative so as not to give them any credibility or acceptance or recognition, but I do not believe in that approach. I can accept it as an approach perhaps in actual ritual - not to share a place of leading worship together or something like that, but sharing ideas and discussing ideas is always good, in my opinion.


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Ethnicities of Israel: Hungary (video)







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The Israeli Mossad unit that changed the way the world fought terror. (video)







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Synagogues of New York (video)











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Rav Hillel Pelay with Yitzchak Meir: Libi (video)








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Israeli Arabs: What is your message to Palestinians that don't believe in peace? (video)








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Nov 10, 2017

Leviim Choir | "Shalom Aleichem" | TETA Prod. (video)







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Nov 9, 2017

Welcome to the Town of Palm Tree

The residents of Kiryas Yoel have been fighting for a long time with the township of Monroe - over land and politics.

They have solved their problem by running a campaign to secede from Monroe and to create their own town. The campaign was successful as about 80% voted in favor.

The new town, to be established by 2020, will be the first town set up as an ultra-orthodox town and will be called the town of Palm Tree - a name using the translation of the name Teitelbaum, after the Satmar Rebbe. A small amount of land, 56 acres, will be added to Kiryas Joel, or Palm tree, as part of the arrangement.

Michael Egan, founder of United Monroe, says this is a win-win situation and everyone will go their own way and end the fighting and will all become better neighbors.
sources: JTA, Spectrum News

I guess they will have more control over the direction of government funding to various programs. I assume they will have public schools according to their lifestyle that might save the residents of a lot of money from private school tuition. Of course there is a power and control. And there are probably a lot of other benefits to doing this that I have not thought of...




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3,000,000 was not left to chance


our government does not leave anything to chance..


if you thought the special treatment given to the 3 millionth tourist was a nice story, TheMarker reveals how it came about. I don't know if that will put a damper on your being impressed or make you more impressed.

Letting the 3 millionth tourist walk through Ben Gurion with an amazing tourism treat is just too risky. Who knows who that lucky person might be? Who knows if they will speak or understand English? Maybe they'll be people of questionable character. Anything could happen. Maybe they wouldn't agree to change their plans, to be photographed and used in a publicity stunt, or whatnot.

Tourist #3,000,000 did not walk through the gates of Ben Gurion by chance at that time. She was selected and directed.

According to TheMarker, the Ministry of Tourism spent a lot of time figuring out around when the 3 millionth tourist would come and they narrowed it down to the day and arrival on a plane landing between 8am and 10:30am. They identified that the tourist would be on a flight from either Miami, New York, Romania, or Russia.

So, they sent agents on all those flights to look for someone who meets the requirements - willing to change plans for a special 48 hour tour, someone photogenic, someone who speaks English well, and someone willing to sign a piece of paper allowing the government to make use of their images in marketing campaigns.

With the flights from New York and Miami arriving too early in the count, they narrowed it down to the passenger being on the Wizair flight from Romania. Ami Ayalon was on the flight as an agent of the Ministry of Tourism and he went looking for tourist #3,000,000. On the entire flight there were only two people that qualified as per he MoT's requirements. One was the eventual winner and the other was an employee of WizAir. The employee of WizAir passed it on so nothing would be suspicious, and the lucky tourist was escorted through Ben Gurion to claim her special vacation...

It sounds like an elite commando unit was needed to put this all together...



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Tweet of the Day

it is not actually the Tweet itself, but the video included in the tweet..




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Headline of the Day

UK minister Priti Patel resigns over secret Israel trip


  -- CNN

I am not getting all the politics involved, but this is very strange..


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PM Netanyahu Holds Tour of Tower of David Museum for Israel's 3,000,000th Tourist (video)

very cool





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Orthodox Jewish All Star, Ruchie Freier, First Hasidic Female Judge (video)








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Kishka Showdown (video)

cute..






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Underdos: Board Meeting: Episode 4: Out of the Box (video)







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Tears for a Neshuma - Shragee Gestetner - Bonei Olam (video)






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Nov 8, 2017

the smoking spray can

The police went undercover and I guess had one of those really cool stakeouts and caught a 26 year old fellow from one of the southern neighborhoods of Jerusalem for defacing billboards and signs around the city by spray painting over the images of women.

After picking up his trail, the police found him in possession of cans of spray paint and arrested him.
source: NRG, Actualic

That is some pretty damning evidence. Presumably nobody else in Jerusalem has cans of spray paint. Serious smoking gun. :-)

I want to know how he got up so high, unnoticed, to deface all those large highway billboards.


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this guy just loves divorce

8 divorces is a lot, but it isn't a record.

According to Haredim10, and Actualic, some Yerushalmi guy just got his 8th divorce, setting some sort of undisclosed record.

I did a quick search online and found some guy with 28 divorces, and a lady with much more. I found a couple that set a record divorcing and remarrying each other 109 times! Maybe this guy's 8 divorces are a record for Israel or for Jerusalem, but it is not a global record. He is going to have to try harder..

The serial divorcer's 8th was his toughest to date. It almost left him an "Agun" - a chained husband. He was married to his 8th wife for just four months. When he wanted to give her a divorce, she ran off, leaving him abandoned and stuck. Poor guy.

After some searching, the case was turned over to the beis din's department of agunot. They found her in Tel Aviv and detained her, making her sit in jail overnight. She continued to refuse, and eventually the beis din convinced him to offer her a payment of 12,000NIS to agree to the divorce, which she accepted.

Crazy story. I wonder how the other marriages ended. I also wonder if maybe everyone would be better off had he been left "chained" and unable to marry again...



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3 million tourists

Israel surprised and pampered a special tourist this week - tourist #3,000,000.

3 million tourists!

The pampering included upgrading the hotel suite, a limo tour, a helicopter tour, a culinary tour, a special Dead Sea tour, and PM Benjamin Netanyahu himself leading a tour of the Tower of David Museum, along with more treats and activities.

That is an awful lot of tourists to come to our little country.

I wonder how they counted. Is it based on computer tracking of tourist visas that entered the country since 1948, or some other date? This would include thousands of yeshiva students (and maybe others) who come on tourist visas (rather than on student visas), as many do.

However they do it, that is an impressive number of tourists and it was nice of them to commemorate the event so nicely.





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PM Netanyahu's Remarks at Knesset plenum for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration (video)








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Benjamin Netanyahu on the Israeli Palestinian "conflict". (video)







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Inside the IDF: October 2017 (video)







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cable cars to the Old City of Jerusalem (video)






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Rav Hillel Pelay: Harachaman Hu Yanchileinu (video)







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Nov 7, 2017

Deri the Deflector

Minister Aryeh Deri is a brilliant deflector.

Last night an explosive recording was publicized on Channel 2 after having been leaked. The recording was of a phone call between Deri and Rav Yaakov Cohen, son of Rav Shalom Cohen, the spiritual leader of Shas. In the phone call Deri speaks very disrespectfully about Rav Shlomo Amar, and also about other MKs in Shas. Headlines last night called this an earthquake in Shas, among other things.

In most other parties and organizations, something like this would have the chairman resigning by first light, or at least issuing an apology and clarification to the spurned parties. With Deri things go differently. By the time the morning arrives, all the headlines are discussing who leaked it and how will they find out, and should people be given the polygraph and what should be done to those who leaked it.

By morning what Deri said was already almost forgotten.



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Proposed Law: police enforcement on cars in private lots

Don't you just hate it when you go to the supermarket or mall and park your car, only to find, when you return, that your car is blocked in by another car who parked like an imbecile. He probably was "running in for just a minute", or something like that, but it might take him 20 minutes in reality or 45 minutes or whatever, but he has no problem blocking other people in.

It turns out that such problems and complaints take up about 20% of the phone calls to the police hotline, 100. Unfortunately the police cannot do anything about it as they have no jurisdiction in private lots.

That might change.

MK Michael Malchieli (Shas) and MK Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid) have proposed a law that would give police the authority to act in private lots as well - though for now this only includes private lots open to the public, such as those by malls and supermarkets, and not private lots that are really private.
source: Maariv

I hope this will include ticketing drivers that park their cars in ways that take up multiple parking spots. As well, it will hopefully include cars that can't find desirable spots so they make up their own, often parking in driving lanes or blocking entrances.



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Tweet of the Day









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Picture of the Day



caption contest

the first dry-fit rekel, for the Chssidic runner
Moishi and Yoily trying to keep their lead spot in the marathon
A party! Let's do the Hora!




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Bennett at IAC Gala (video)







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I'm a Muslim Zionist. Here's why. (video)







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One on One with Alan Dershowitz - Nov. 2, 2017 (video)







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21see: SpaceIL's trip to the moon (video)







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shalom aleichem - Achiya Cohen (video)







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Nov 6, 2017

Sald exams to be accepted as Bagrut

Big news, big changes.

The Director of the Ministry of Education, Shmuel Abuav, has announced a change in policy. The new policy will recognize the Sald exams as official matriculation exams for the purposes of acceptance into academic institutions.

The Sald exams are taken by students in the Beis Yaakov school system instead of regular bagrut matriculation exams. Until now these had no official recognition. Graduates from Beis Yaakov schools with no bagrut who wanted to continue their education had to go on to take external bagrut exams or spend a year in prep programs before going to study for a degree despite having Sald exams under their belts.
sources: JDN, Kikar

This is big news. This will make it far easier for Beis Yaakov graduates to get into academic programs. Because of this I would expect a natural increase in such women joining academic programs.

I wonder though if there will be a reaction against it. The purpose of the Sald exams was to keep the graduates out of academic programs, as it left entry very difficult to achieve. The Sald exams were to ensure that at least the vast majority of these young women would continue their studies in the internal seminaries and go on to mostly be teachers. The community leaders might now react by looking for another way to keep the graduates within the system - perhaps they will petition the MoE to revoke its acceptance of the Sald, or they will cancel the Sald or minimize it to not be accepted. Or maybe they'll find other ways to compete and try to keep the graduates within the system.



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fasting for bugs

According to this report on Haredim10, yesterday bugs were found in the "ptitim" served at lunch in Yeshivat Chevron. It took a while to notice the bugs, so many had already eaten from the infested pasta by the time they did.

In response, upon consultation with the Rosh Yeshiva, the students decided to accept upon themselves to fast today, Monday, for half a day, on "BeHaB".

Interesting response.






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Elite Hechsher Change


this seems common enough and important enough to share the announcement:


Elite is leaving the kashrut of the Eida Hahachareidis and switching to the kashrut supervision of Rav Westheim. Some products are already switched over and some will be switched int he near future. This is a permanent change.

I wonder if we will see the prices come down a bit because of the switch. Either way, good move, in my opinion.

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'The United States betrayed Israel at the UN' (video)








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Arab Jews/Mizrahim: Are you Arab? (video)






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JIMM WEBISODE 8 SEASON 1 REPRESENTING (video)







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Synagogues of New York (video)










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Lazer Lloyd - Freedom's Child (Official Video)







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Nov 5, 2017

Haredi parties don't really reject Peleg

As expected, the Haredi parties only give lip service to rejecting the Peleg people but don't allow legislation that might actually do something about it.

Minister Yaakov Litzman made sure to strongly oppose the proposal to revoke funding from any yeshiva calling for its students to evade the IDF draft. The proposal came up in committee today, but Litzman ensured it would not pass and at least be postponed for two more weeks before being discussed again. I am not sure what is supposed to happen in two weeks, but these delays usually mean the proposal will be shelved.
source: Behadrei




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Book Review: Memories After My Death

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: Memories After my Death, The Story of My Father Joseph "Tommy" Lapid, by Yair Lapid


Memories After My Death by Yair Lapid is a biography of his father, Joseph "Tommy" Lapid, but it is written as an autobiography. This is a style I have not seen before - perhaps other books are written in a similar style, but I have not seen it. By saying ti is written as an autobiography I mean it is written as if Tommy Lapid is the author telling the reader about his life and it is all in first person. Not only is it all in first person, but it is in first person from beyond the grave - not as if Tommy wrote it while still alive, but as if he wrote it from the grave.

On the one hand, I found this style a bit disconcerting. On the other hand, I found it intriguing and even fascinating. A question that bothered me throughout the entire book was how could Yair know all this and write it as if Tommy was saying it, considering that it seemed clear (from certain things written) Tommy had not written it at all. The answer is not to be found until the end of the book in the Acknowledgements section when he thanks Amnon Dankner for having sat with his father during the last year of his life and recorded interviews and conversations with him about his life, from which the content of the book was largely taken.

Memories After My Death has been published as a translation from the original Hebrew.

When I first received this book for review I was hesitant and unsure about it. The Lapids are intriguing, but everything about this raises people's ire - at least people in the community I mostly associate with. I was concerned that there is no way this book will be taken as anything but anti-Haredi or as a political stunt to further Yair's political aspirations. Yair is painted as one who hates Jews, especially religious and Haredi Jews, almost as much as his father, Tommy, did, and there is no way around that.

The truth is that this is a fascinating book about Tommy Lapid and I am very happy I have read it. It puts a lot of what Tommy did in his public life into perspective and gave his style and actions some context.

I also expected a large portion of the book to be about his political career and his fights with the Ultra-Orthodox parties, but that was actually a very small portion of the book, and his relations with the ultra-orthodox even smaller. Looking back on his life, his political career and his sparring with the Ultra-Orthodox really did just take up a relatively small portion of it, near the end.

Tommy starts the book at the beginning as a child in Hungary-Yugoslavia when the family name was still Lampel. How he and his family survived the Holocaust, while his father did not is as sad and disturbing as any Holocaust story. The two main pieces of Tommy Lapid's life that formed his character and defined Tommy Lapid, in my opinion, were the Holocaust and how he became Israeli.

Lapid lays out his (or actually his father's life, from Yair's perspective) life as a journalist and the projects he was involved in and the people he knew. Throughout the book he expresses his love for his family - his mother, his wife and his children, the pain of losing a daughter in a tragic car crash, while his pride in being Jewish and Israeli shines forth in his interactions on the world stage - especially in Europe. Lapid dispels some rumors that were famous about Tommy, and he put son display Tommy's faults, as Tommy himself was aware of them - his great love for food, being fat, being course and direct.

A point in the book that particularly struck me was when talking about the Kastner trial. I have read about this before and I know it was a heated point of contention in Israel at the time - was Kastner a traitor to the Jewish people or was he simply saving all the lives he possibly could? Lapid puts the entire story into perspective, his perspective, very simply, in a way I never before heard or thought of, and it seems Tommy found this as a fault in all native born Israelis - they just could not understand the Holocaust. During the Holocaust people tried to survive in whatever way they could. There was no right way or wrong way to do things. People did whatever possible, whatever they could do. Kastner saved whatever lives he could, and to the claims that he could have saved more or saved others, they just have no idea what it was like. Perhaps. He did not support Kastner, and he was upset that Kastner kept his part of the deal after the war helping some Nazis  (in exchange for their having helped him save Jews), but he realized the Israelis just did not understand what being in the holocaust was really like.

And the loneliness in old-age that he describes is downright frightening.

The book is truly fascinating and a captivating read. Regardless of your politics, this book puts a lot of perspective into what Israel is, how Israeli culture and society developed, and specifically how Tommy Lapid became the person we all knew him to be, for better or worse.


You can buy Memories After My Death 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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which MK responded to the petition of the residents of RBS C?

this is weird. The residents of RBS C have complained to the city about the lack of sports facilities in the neighborhood, leaving thousands of kids with nothing to do and nowhere to let out their energy. After receiving no response, they extended their complaint, started a petition, and sent their letters to the mayor, the Interior Minister and other MKs. The only one to respond was MK Dov Khenin - a Jewish member of the Joint Arab List party.

Khenin responds with a letter to the mayor, Moshe Abutbol, expressing the importance of the matter and requesting that Abutbol get involved in the matter.






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Picture of the Day



a bunch of Ferraris parked at the Kotel plaza. what would that be called - a flock of Ferraris? A Gaggle of Ferraris? A school of Ferraris?

Many were upset about this as they considered it inappropriate to stage a car show at the Kotel. Rav Rabinovith, rav of the Kotel area, responded that he had been asked for permission to allow the directors of the international board of Ferrari to park there for a few minutes while on tour visiting the Kotel and there was no charge for it (rejecting the claims that he allowed it in exchange for a nice donation to the Kotel fund).

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