Monday, December 31, 2007

Haveil Havalim #147 Is Up!

22 of the Tenth Month 5768

Check out this week's edition of the world's leading Jewish and Israeli Blog Carnival, Haveil Havalim at Soccer Dad!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christian Support: I'll Take Some

18 of the Tenth Month 5768

I received an e-mail from a Christian supporter of Israel. Many of my fellow bloggers have received similar e-mails, and have responded in kind. This is nothing new. The e-mail received does not contain any new suggestions, either, but there is no harm in presenting them here as a reminder. The latter half of the e-mail includes a great deal of standard Christian criticism of Islam, and warnings of its threat to Christians and Jews. Various Christian texts are interspersed here. Thus I have excluded it here.

Here is the e-mail, followed by the response I chose to send, and some additional comments.

The E-Mail:
Dear Israel, I love you, but U let everyone kick U in the ass, when U should be kicken' ass.

I have spent sleepless nights of several months, researching and I have a long list of suggestions.

Warning ……..this does require 10 minutes of your time

ASAP……Please share this with Pro-Bible Jews of David.

Please, feel free to use this material on websites & forums, etc ( please omit my name )

RE: New suggestions for Israel & How to defeat defeatism & garner Christian support & save Israel Now

RE: Saving Bible-Israel & Saving David-Zionism & analyzing Islam

( King David would never be diplomatic. He would never concede any land )

1. Never apologize for David-Zionism, Demand David-Zionism.

2. Bible-Israel, love her or loose her. Write aggressively.

3. Please ask for help and beg for help, but don't wait for help.

4. Please write letters to various Christian & Jewish groups

5. Please write letters to the Jews of Israel to the Jewish Knesset Members. ( beg them not to shrink the Bible-land )

6. If King David and Moses and Judah Maccabeus & Deborah were in the Knesset,

7. They would keep all of Judea and Samaria and the Golan-Galilee and would deport the Neo-Nazi-Muslims to Saudi Arabia,

8. Even if Christians & Jews don't care about the proud Zion of David, even if they are atheist, they have a responsibly to save Israel, for the sake of millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and murdered in the Muslim world.

9. Please take action and help write letters all over the world. Please write to politicians.

10. ASAP & NOW. Also please Create more websites with more links & more visuals.

11. Israel is the Bible, if you foolishly give away Bible-land for fake-peace, what future does the Bible have?


My Response:

As Rabbi Me'ir Kahane HY"D (May his blood be avenged) said on Christian Talk Radio years ago...

"If you want to support us, support us from afar. If you come here to Israel to missionize [and to preach your idolatrous distortions of the Almighty's Word], we'll have to cut your heads off."

As soon as Bush became president, the volume of Christian Zionist activists' voices was greatly reduced. I was told that they did not want to harm the president through public criticism. After all they were receiving the conservative, pro-life judicial appointments they had asked for, as well as several other items on their wish lists.

Not to worry, though, as they were "working behind the scenes."

I do not know how you personally identify a true Christian. But, it seems as though Bush and Rice's understanding of the People of Israel's Divinely given right to the Land, is highly distorted, and in fact, more of a misunderstanding. President Bush seems to be able rationalize his shameless placation of Arabs, much too easily for my comfort (Read: doing the bidding of the Saudi Royal Family without a second thought).

You warned us of our lack of action here in Israel. Yet, I think you may need to worry more about the fate of the U. S. than Israel right now. Clinton or Obama as president will only make things worse. I am not in the least bit impressed by any of the Republican candidates either.

If you want to help, then help us to continue the settling of the Land, as we Jews are commanded to do.

I am living out here in the Samarian Hills, just south of the Biblical city of Shkhem, the location of Josef's Tomb. Just to my west the tombs of Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Yefuneh are can be found.

I have been out of a job for months, do not owe regular shoes (let alone boots) nor a winter jacket. The bank is on my case about what I owe them, due to a misunderstanding of our agreement, and their sudden cancellation of my credit line. My phone will be turned off soon. I am happy to accept your donations.

וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר; וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ, כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה. -בראשית יב:ג

And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. -Genesis 12:3

You may send your checks to:

Ya'aqov Ben-Yehudah
P. O. Box 36095
91360 Jerusalem

PayPal will not help me at this point as I have no account that can accept the funds.


I am also happy to give a portion of your "support" to others in need as well, from security and agricultural projects to orphans of Arab Terror. I, myself, am a victim of the French Hill suicide bombing of June, 2002. My hearing and right leg have not been the same since then.

Feel free to forward this e-mail.

In the meantime, here are two items for you:

1) For more on the non-Jew's obligations in this world, see this relevant section on the Sanhedrin's website: The Sanhedrin's Relationship With Non-Jews

2) An article from the J-Post written by a Christian. Please send this to any "liberal" or "centrist" identifying him/self as a Christian. It debunked some of the leftist media's presentation of Arab Muslims and Christians in Israel. I received it courtesy of Women In Green.

Bethlehem beyond the Christmas calm
LELA GILBERT, THE JERUSALEM POST
December 23, 2007


Sincerely,
Ya'aqov Ben-Yehudah

P. S. I jst found my boots from lash year. They are actually gollashes, and the both have huge holes in the souls.

Additional Comments:
The bottom line is that support is welcomed. However, we cannot put our faith in such support from the outside nor in any human force on the inside. Only in HaQodesh Barukh Hu (The Holy One, Blessed Be He) can we place our faith.

And, yes, taking action (hishtadluth) besides prayer, is most certainly necessary. Unfortunately, the same ol' protests and letter writing campaigns do not seem to be working.

Time for a new strategy, or maybe a review of some of the tried and true strategies which HAVE worked for us in the past.

And, finally, I have often been critical of the soliciting of Christian financial support. Perhaps some of you will say that I am eating my words, or that I am a hypocrite, or just being facetious. I am none of the above. I need the money.

I believe I have been quite clear in setting limits for the acceptance of Christian support.

And, by the way, support from comfortable North American Jews. I know that there are some who even realize the importance of having brothers like me living on the front lines.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Haveil Havalim Edition #146 Is Up

15 of the Tenth Month 5768

Haveil Havalim Edition #146 is up on the blog of this carnival's creator, Soccer Dad.

Please check out this week's edition of the world's leading Jewish and Israeli Blog Carnival!

It's your free, one-stop Jewish and Israeli Blog store!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Not Just Another Gush Katif Video

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Wayehi 5768

Lately there has been a video going around of the 5765/2005 Jewish Expulsion From Azza. I received the link from How To Measure The Years who received it from Batya who received it from Tamar Yonah. Like I said, it's been going around.

I believe all of the several videos connected to Azza, the expulsion, and to the on-going plight of the expel lees are important. I would like to share one video with you which I found to be particularly poignant and personal, as it documents the history of the Tashnady Family, from the beginning to the end of their residency in Neve Deqalim in Azza. Actually, it is more of a montage to music, than a video.

I obtained this video from a one of the sons of the family, Moshe, who was then a college student at the religious, science school Machon Lev. It was produced by his brother Pniel. I had the opportunity to meet the Tasnady brothers right after the Expulsion.

At the time, I was working at an Internet Cafe in Jerusalem. Some of you may remember it, the "Internet Shtiebel," the "frumest" Internet cafe in Israel, if there is such a thing. The owners, Yekutiel Ben-Ya'akov and Ezra Stein sent word to the Jerusalem hotels housing expellees that they could use our computers for free. The expellees were able to edit and print out resumes or just try to stay in touch with friends and family, their communities having been ripped apart. In the fall, some students from the Neve Deqalim Ulpana (Girls' Torah High School) would come and do their homework. Once in a while, a Neve Deqalilm resident, doing her second year of national service at a school in the U. S. would be called from our VOIP Phone, and receive updates, powerless herself to do anything but stay connected with her friends, including Pniel.

I do not believe I have seen a more depressed group of people in my life. Those in their teens and 20's looked the worst for wear. They talked as if they had failed because they were unable to prevent such a catastrophe. Only after the fact, well into their "anger" phase, could they begin to realize the full extent of the evil they were up against,...we were up against.

They also realized the full extent of the Yesh"a (Judea, Samaria, & Azza) Council's collaboration with the government. Pniel and Moshe's father Efraim seems to express his disappointment in the local authorities and "rabbis" in this Arutz 7 article in Hebrew from a year and a half ago.




Two years, and four months later, 85 percent of the expellees are still in temporary housing.

The Internet Shtiebel was shut down by the Erev Rav Israeli Police. I still do not fully understand why,...My analysis suggests it has something to do with the threat of those who hold Torah above the "almighty state."

But, I still end this post on a happy note. Pniel was recently married. He can be contacted via his YouTube page, where you can also find links to other related videos. You will not need to understand Hebrew in order to understand these videos.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Get Ready For Festivus, 2007!

Festivus is less than a week away!
Are you ready?



Happy Festivus!

Last year, of course, there were some serious halachic issues surrounding Festivus observance.

Festivus PoleThis year, you should all have begun getting ready for Festivus right after Hanukkah. For a detailed description of Festivus observances, click here.

Now, there have been some she'aloth (questions) brought to my attention. Please find my rulings below.

1. May one use a metallic-colored, non-metal pole as ones Festivus Pole?


No. Al pi ma'aseh HaRav, it is clear that one may not use a non-metallic pole, not even bli'avad.

2. Are there any restrictions on foods for the Festivus se'udah (meal)?

Yes. The rule of thumb is not to serve any foods which will result in additional grievances. Thus, one does not serve non-kosher food to a Jew, pork to a Muslim, meat to a vegetarian, eggs or cheese to a vegan, dairy to the dairy intolerant, gluten to the gluten-abstinent, nor alcohol to an alcoholic or recovering addict, etc.

Elaine's "Big Salad" with dairy and gluten items "on the side" (alla "When Harry Met Sally") should always be an option made available to your guests.

3. May one fulfill his obligation to air grievances via e-mail?

This raises a very interesting question. The answer is yes. However, there are conditions.

If one is in a different time zone, one must send the e-mails with enough time in advance of the se'udah of the intended target of your grievances, so that you can be sure that your e-mail will have been opened and read. The proper time for the se'udah is after sundown. One must be careful to check any time difference, and it is preferable to send the e-mails on December 23 if at all possible. If not, one must send the e-mails earlier than later.

Instances when e-mails cannot be sent on December 23 include Shabbath and Hanukkah for Jews. When you know that the intended target of your grievances will not be at home for the se'udah, and will not have access to e-mail, one must send the grievance e-mail before his time of departure. If you know that your intended target has a working laptop, one may assume that he will obsessively check his e-mail for grievances before the start of his se'udah.

Puposely contacting someone with a grievance after his se'udah is concluded is considered "Festivus grievance side-swiping," clearly flying in the face of the whole point of the Festivus "Airing of Grievance" ritual. If one is tardy, either b'mezid or b'shogeg, one must hold it in till next year.

4. Are their any restrictions on wrestling the head of household to the ground at the close of the se'udah?


Yes. Once again, the rule of thumb is not to do anything which would generate new grievances. One may be rough, but not violent, nor abusive. I recommend non-violent, non-abusive roughness.

5. Is it forbidden to bring gifts to the se'udah, even if the gifts are voluntary?


There are differing opinions on this issue. If you recall, the original catalyst to the creation of Festivus was the trauma surrounding ritualized, obligatory, gift-giving. One does not give gifts on Festivus in order to avoid such unpleasantness, during purchase, presentation, and receipt.

Some opinions hold that one may bring a gift to the se'udah, if it is for all of the guests to enjoy. However, one still risks the situation of the surprise guest or surprise aversion scenarios. Thus, some rule that such gifts are forbidden. Still others are more lenient, and say that one is allowed to take the risk that one may rack up additional grievances, since the year for grievance accumulation has technically not yet ended.

Human Fund Donor CardI tend toward the more lenient side. However, calling the hosts of the se'udah in advance to test the waters is advised.

One may also donate money to the "The Human Fund" if someone at the table is collecting for it,...and you are dumb enough to fall for that one.

It's Festivus for the rest-of-us!

Haveil Havalim #145 Is Up!

8 of the Tenth Month 5768

Haveil Havalim Edition #145 is up on the blog of this carnival's creator, Soccer Dad.

Please check out this week's edition of the world's leading Jewish and Israeli Blog Carnival on the occasion of its Third Anniversary!

יום הולדת שמח, אבא כדורגל,!


Please wish him a Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rav Binyamin & Talia Kahane HY"D - Azkarah 5768

8 of the Tenth Month 5768

Rav Binyamin & Talia Kahane HY-DThere will be an Azarah (memorial) to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the murders of Rav Binyamin & Talia Kahane HY"D in tents of Yeshivath Meginei Eretz on the new hilltop, Elnaqam 4, near K'far Tapu'ah.

It will begin at 4:00 pm, Thursday, 11 Teveth (December 20), with Tefillath Minhah and include the following speakers:

Rabbi Yehudah Richter
Elnaqam 4 4Elon More

Rabbi Shmu'el HaKohen
Rabbi of K'far Tapu'ah

Avraham Hertzlich
K'far Tapu'ah, father of Talia

A se'udah will be served, and will include the yeshiva's Yemenite, chicken soup.

(separate seating for men & women)


Seven years ago, the car carrying Rav Binyamin & Talia Kahane HY"D five of their children and a trempist was shot at by Arab terrorists just south of the town of Ofra. They had just dropped off their son at school.

Friday, December 14, 2007

At David's Request

It feels as though I have been doing a lot of memes lately. They are a great to procrastinate and to avoid doing all of those important things in life, like finding a job, finding a wife, growing spiritually. You know, important things....

When my friend David, one of my few friends left in the "old country" (San Diego), asking me to do this one, I could not refuse. You see, David has really never asked anything of me in the 12 years that I have known him, a good enough excuse to procrastinate. After all, I did my job-hunting for the day and fulfilled some additional obligations to other people.

Now, here's what you're supposed to do, and please do not spoil the fun.Hit forward, delete my answers and type in your answers. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know INCLUDING the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little known facts about those who know you. Remember to send it back to the person who sent it to you.


4 jobs I have had in my life:

(I'll list the ones most people don't know about.)
  • Lifeguard, Swim Instructor, Coach

  • Dance Club Door Man & Bar Back
    (I have no doubt that this one blew some of you away!)

  • Shift Manager in an Internet Cafe

  • AOL Customer Service Agent


4 places where I have lived:
  • San Diego, CA
    (Mission Village, Middletown, Uptown. Lake Murray)

  • Los Angeles County, CA
    (Westwood, Santa Monica)

  • San Francisco Bay Area, CA
    (Oakland, Hayward)

  • Israel
    (Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Binyamin, Efraim)


4 places I have been on vacation:

  • Europe (age 4), (Father's Sabbatical Trip)

  • South America (age 13), (Father's Sabbatical Trip)

  • Las Vegas, NV, Phoenix, AZ, Palm Springs, CA (Fraternity Road Trips), Yuma, AZ (Padres Spring Training)

  • Tiveriah, Tzfat, Gallil, Golan, Israel (chaperon on my 8th-graders school trip)


4 of my favorite foods

  • Shwarmah

  • Steak

  • Chicken Soup - as it should be & when it's cold out

  • Most Things with Coffee or Chocolate in them


4 places I would rather be right now:

  • Jerusalem - in a quiet & warm apartment

  • Eilat - I've never been, and would like to go

  • Nahariyah - in the summer

  • The Beach - in the summer


4 friends or relatives I think will respond first (possibly) :


You know what, David, I dunno. I'm not in the habit of "tagging" people anymore. i let people "tag" themselves. Hopefully they will come back to put a link to their responses in the comments section below.

Sorry, David, I guess that means I'm spoiling the fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hanukkah 5768

Hanukkiyah
Ramba"m - Laws of Hanukkah, Chap. 4 הלכות חנוכה פרק ד

א כַּמָּה נֵרוֹת הוּא מַדִליק בַּחֲנֻכָּה--מִצְוָתָהּ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה כָּל בַּיִת וּבַיִת מַדְלִיק נֵר אֶחָד, בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ אַנְשֵׁי הַבַּיִת מְרֻבִּין, בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בּוֹ אֵלָא אָדָם אֶחָד. וְהַמְּהַדֵּר אֶת הַמִּצְוָה, מַדְלִיק נֵרוֹת כְּמִנְיַן אַנְשֵׁי הַבַּיִת, נֵר לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד, בֵּין אֲנָשִׁים בֵּין נָשִׁים. וְהַמְּהַדֵּר יוֹתֵר עַל זֶה וְעוֹשֶׂה מִצְוָה מִן הַמֻּבְחָר, מַדְלִיק נֵר לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד בַּלַּיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן, וּמוֹסִיף וְהוֹלֵךְ בְּכָל לַיְלָה וְלַיְלָה, אֶחָד.

Summary of 4:1 - How many candles does one light on Hanukkah? -- The optimal way to fulfill this misswah is to light one candle per person, per night. However, one fulfills his obligation by lighting one candle per night for the entire household.

ז נֵר חֲנֻכָּה, מִצְוָה לְהַנִּיחוֹ עַל פֶּתַח בֵּיתוֹ מִבַּחוּץ, בְּטֶפַח הַסָּמוּךְ לַפֶּתַח, עַל שְׂמֹאל הַנִּכְנָס לַבַּיִת--כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה מְזוּזָה מִיָּמִין, וְנֵר חֲנֻכָּה מִשְּׂמֹאל....

From 4:7 - It is a misswah to place the Hanukkah candle(s) on the opening to ones house, on the outside, within the tefah next to the opening, on the left of the entrance to the house -- in order that the mezuzah will be on the right, and the Hanukkah candle(s) on the left....

ח בִּימֵי הַסַּכָּנָה, מַנִּיחַ נֵר חֲנֻכָּה בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ מִבִּפְנִים; וְאַפִלּוּ הִנִּיחוֹ עַל שֻׁלְחָנוֹ, דַּיּוֹ....


From 4:8 In times of danger, one places the Hanukkah candle within ones house from the inside; even placing it on the table is enough....

Most of us from the U. S. remember lighting our Hanukkiyoth inside our houses. In present day Israel, we do not experience such times of danger, and proudly display our Hanukkiyoth outside, b'Firsuma Nissa, publicizing the Hanukkah miracles.

Borei Minei V'samim

4 of the Tenth Month 5768

Too late for Hanukkah, this spice mixture, gift idea is good for any occasion, year round.

This is not a new idea, of course, but that does not make it any less creative, personable, and useful in the performance of a misswah, the misswah of Havdalah.

It also makes a great project for kids in the classroom or at home. They do not only create something, but can also learn about the spices' involved, according to their grade levels. Cloves used to be used as a meat preservative. Cinnamon is a natural stimulant, as well as an ant repellent (I've tried this, and it works, but not 100%). Cardamom is added to coffee in Israel. You can also find out which spices were used in the Qetoreth (Temple Incense).

Other interesting Jewish facts about spices include the Stropkover Rebbe's, SHLIT"A, custom of making a blessing over the smelling of spices after the night time Shabbath Qiddush, and before eating bread.

Here I reused an old plastic spice bottle for myself. You can use the container of your choice, ceramic, metallic, glass, wicker, store-bought, hand-made, etc. The spices will keep their potency longer a sealed container than in an unsealed one.

Here's a favorite recipe, which comes from a Satmar friend of mine.

Ingredients:


Cloves
Cloves - ציפורן
Cardomom
Cardamon - הל
Rosebuds
Rosebuds - ניצות ורדים
Cardomom
Star Anise - כוכב אניס


Cinnamon Sticks
Cinnamon Sticks - מקלות קינמון


Start with cloves, spooning in a tablespoon's worth, then the same with cardamom, then rosebuds. If you use a transparent container, you will see the layered effect. After the first layers, take two cinnamon sticks, and wedge them into the middle of the container. Continue layering the first three spices, occasionally wedging in some star anise against the side, so that its star shape is apparent. Continue until a couple of centimeters below the top, so that the cinnamon sticks remain visible.

Mix and match spices you find at you local shuq or farmers' market. Experiment and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Jew Continues To Fight For His Home

Zoth Hanukkah 5768

Yitzhaq HershkovitzYitzhaq Hershkovitz who has been fighting to regain control of his house from Arab squatters in "East" Jerusalem, continues his fight on the last day of Hanukkah in front of the High Court in Jerusalem.

Please show your support by attending the hearing, which will take place in Court Room Dalet at 2:00 PM.

Thanks to Ariel Bereny at "Jewish Yisrael" for the update.

Read the full story here...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Haveil Havalim #144 Is Up!

Hanukkah Day 5/Erev Rosh Hodesh 5768

Haveil Havalim #144 is up at Random Thoughts (Jack's Shack).

It's the "Too Many Latkes" Edition.

Shmagged!

Hanukkah Day 5/Erev Rosh Hodesh Ha'Asiri 5768

There is an expression of sorts:

"Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it."

Well, I happened to have mentioned to Jacob Da Jew, and a few other bloggers that I would not actually mind being "tagged" to do a meme.

Jacob took me up on that, and "shmagged" me, which I suppose is something like being "tagged." Well, that's how I intend to interpret it.

Of course, knowing MY luck, I get tagged for a very loooooooong meme, you know the "Number 8" one that's been going around.

Why 8, and not 5 or 10? I don't know.

But, here are some interesting notes on the number 8:

I was born on the 8th day of the Sixth Month (Ellul).

The gematriah qetanah of my full name is 8.

As 7 in the number of Shabbath, 8 is the number of Mossa'ei Shabbath (Saturday night), as well as HaOlam HaBa (The World To Come).

And, of course, this post is written during Hanukkah, which has 8 days.

8 passions in my life:
  • Authentic Judaism
  • Correspondence
  • Communication
  • Writing
  • The Beach
  • Meeting New People
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Coffee

8 Things to do before I die:

  • Get married
  • Have children
  • Write a book
  • Publish said book
  • Complete the Ramba"m's Mishnah Torah with Rav Yosef Qafah's ztz"l perush
  • Achieve spiritual maturity
  • Own my own home
  • Write another book


8 Things that I say often:
  • Right (alla Dr. Evil in "Austin Powers")
  • What's up?
  • By the way...
  • Um,..'K (alla Kyle from "South Park")
  • Mah Nishma'? (Heb.: "What's up?")
  • Slihah (Heb.: "Please, get out of my way.")
  • Nu. b'Emet! (Heb.: "Oh, puh-lease!")
  • K'ilu (Heb.: "like")


8 books I read recently:
(The answer to this can be found in my cool, "Good Reads" widget. It actually lists 20 books. In the event the widget is being insolent, you can view the 8 most recent books I read in the comments section.)





Widget_logo


I thought Jacob might be interested in Good Reads. He [and you] can click on my Good Reads Profile above, join in, and add me as a friend.



8 Songs that mean something to me:




8 things I look for in a friend:

  • Listens
  • Loyalty
  • Hold a decent and intelligent conversation
  • Have something in common with me
  • Doesn't take my inventory (heshbon nefesh)
  • Doesn't use the word "should" with me
  • Doesn't take crap from me
  • Is a Virgo, Capricorn, or Pisces (not a hard & fast rule)


I think I'll just let others "shmag" themselves.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In One Ear And Out The Other 2

Erev Hanukkah 5768

This is the e-mail I received from the U. S. Department of State, in response to my pains-taken-ly written letter to Secretary Rice, about how encouraging Israel to continue on its path of self-destruction would not be good for the health of her immortal soul.

As I suspected, it was just another form letter, if not a electronically generated form letter:

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support
center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

Thank you for contacting the State Department.

Subject
---------------------------------------------------------------
Sec. of State Rice is mistaken regarding Israeli public opinion


Discussion Thread
---------------------------------------------------------------
Response (Support Agent) - 11/30/2007 12:17 PM
The Bureau of Public Affairs is in receipt of your message. Please know that all views are welcome and we appreciate the time you took to express your concerns.

We encourage you to visit our website at www.state.gov for information on the Secretary and Department publications.

Thank you for contacting the U.S. Department of State.


Question Reference #071125-000041
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Category Level 1: Secretary of State
Date Created: 11/25/2007 01:14 PM
Last Updated: 11/30/2007 12:17 PM
Status: Solved


[---001:000866:10167---]


This time I did not even receive a...

"Secretary Rice and President Bush are committed to making the world a better place for all Americans and all people."

...like I did last time I received one of these responses.

I guess this time letter really did go in one ear and out the other.

Nahshon's Flag

Erev Hanukkah 5768

Nahshon Walls z-lTwo years ago, just as the first night's blessings over the Hanukkah candles were completed, Nahshon Walls z"l died of cancer.

Last year, I wrote of my personal connection to Nahshon in Remembering Nahshon Walls z"l.

His memory lives on in his many contributions to his community in K'far Tapu'ah, in the synagogue he helped build which was torn down by the Israeli Army, in the scaled-down replacement for a synagogue he built, and in the flag he designed and made for the State of Judea.

The State of Judea was to be a breakaway, Torah-observant country. It was conceived many years ago, yet as the days, months, and years of Israeli governmental idiocy, co-dependence, and general path of self-destruction, does not seem so farfecthed.

What does seem a little farfetched is that Nahshon's original flag would bring in $250,000 at auction on the Internet's premier auction site E-Bay.
Item Description

"State of Judea - Medinat Yehudah" flag made by Nahshon Walls, measuring approximately 55”x42” (140x106cm)

Medinath Yehudah FlagThe flag in question is in perfect condition, one of the few well preserved today. It is unique, in as much as it is stamped with two red ink round Nachshon Walls original "State of Judea - Medinat Yehudah" stamps he made in prison. One stamp is with the Menorah at the center and the other is with the Crown, for before and after coming of the Messiah use. For more info please google "Nachshon Walls".

The timing of this listing is important. This item is put on sale now, in these dark post Annapolis days, in order to make a strong statement, reaffirming loud and clear the Biblical Jewish claim on Eretz Yisrael, including Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza.

Please Hashem, stop the evil plans of the wicked tyrants and despite our many sins allow us, the children of Israel who did not forget your Torah, to live in peace, to multiply, to prosper and to become a light to the nations in our Holy beautiful Land here, in Eretz Yisrael!


I don't think that my friend and neighbor Ariel makes any bones about whether or not he will succeed in getting the amount of the $250,000 of the starting bid.

What I do believe is that attention will called to the important fact that, unlike Nahshon's flag, the Land of Israel is not for sale.

An azkarah is planned for today, Erev Hanukkah at 11:00 am on the Elnaqam 4 Hill, between K'far Tapu'ah and the Tapu'ah West Hill.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Harry Potter 7 Released In Hebrew

24 of the Ninth Month 5768

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Hebrew Edition will be released at 6:00 pm, tomorrow, the first night of Hanukkah.

At least they got the timing right on this one, no Shabbath-violation partied and no release date on the "Holiday-That-Must-Not-Be-Named."



There's just one thing that irks me. I paid NIS 137 for my copy in English. Tomorrow people wil have to pay only NIS 89!

For those of you outside of Israel, that's 12 bucks, or 6 pounds!

I guess it's one of those supply and demand, import costs things....

Still, I am not sure how Hebrew speakers were able to avoid all of the spoilers on the Web for the last five months.

They weren't.

Maybe that's the real reason the price so low.

I Am So Sick Of This Guy!

24 of the Ninth Month 5768

Mah. Gen. Elazar SternI am SO sick of this guy, "this guy" being Maj. Gen. Elazar Stern, chief of IDF personnel.

This is the guy who reprimanded Hananel Dayan for not shaking IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz’s hand at a ceremony where Dayan received an award. Dayan explained to then President Moshe Katzav that he was unable to shake the Chief of Staff's hand, as his family was expelled from Gush Katif.

This is the "kippah-wearing" guy who did not think twice about implementing the Israel government's expulsion plan, the words of the greatest religious Zionist rabbis of our time, such as the late Rabbi Avraham Shapira ZTZ"L, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, and Head of Rav Kook's Yeshiva, apparently meaningless to "religious Zionists" like Stern.

Religious?! Last time I checked, "religious" Jews are supposed to be concerned with Torah and halachah (Jewish Law).

And now, this guy is in the news again, mamlakhti (state-oriented) idiocy spewing from his mouth, as per usual.

It has taken me so long to report on this, because I periodically had to stop writing, because it made me SO angry.

Stern: Draft Evasion 'Creeping' into National-Religious Camp
Gil Ronen, Israeli National News, 21/11/07


Stern spoke of what he called "creeping draft evasion," and said that the phenomenon has begun permeating the national-religious camp, "out of ideological considerations and also as a byproduct of the Disengagement." (read more...)

Sure, he has a point. The Expulsion from Azza, which he calls the Disengagement, did cause many Jews to wake up, and re-examine their priorities, realizing that the flawed system of attempting to reconcile Israeli governmental idiocy and sometimes [I'll say the word, you'd like to say yourself] evil is on its way out as a viable shitah (approach) for life as a religious Jew in the Land of Israel.

But, what he brushes off as "ideology," I call Torah.

Jews are questioning the compatibility of Torah with Erev Rav-controlled Israeli policy, and Stern is not going to like their conclusions.

Since the creation of special Nahal Hareidi units in the IDF, Stern said, there was no longer any obstacle to service by hareidi-religious men. "The Nahal Hareidi has pulled the rug out from under the hareidis' excuse for not serving," he said. "There are conditions there that are unparalleled, even in [the hareidi neighborhood of] B'nei Braq. You don't see women there, not even a kilometer away. The food is glatt-kosher and the prayer services are compulsory. There is sack cloth on the fence so that they don't have to see a female secretary, even from 300 meters away." And yet, Stern complained, "we have not been not able to fill [the quota]. We have between 500 and 600 combat soldiers and we could have turned it into a regiment." (read more...)


You and I all know guys who served, and currently serve, in Nahal Haredi. They are great guys, and quite a few of them do not identify themselves as being haredi.

Oh, sure if they walked around some mamlakhti neighborhood, no doubt they'd get a few smirks in their direction. I, myself, was considered a "doss" (pajorative term for haredi) in the town mamlakhti town of Ofra.

My kippah, although srugah (knit) is too big and black for them,...apparently, as is my belief that sitting squished next to women in the back seat of a car is inappropriate.

But, I digress...

More and more, Nahal Haredi is turning into the only viable option for religious Zionists who want to and/or have to serve in the IDF, especially now with the chipping away at the Hesder Yeshivah Program, of which Stern is no fan.

But, what Stern fails to understand, or perhaps he understands all too well, is that the atmosphere of Torah observance, albeit important, is not the point.

I will get to this point shortly. But, first, here is more on the Hesder Yeshivah Program, from the same Israel National News article:

The 'hesder' yeshivas, which combine religious study with army service, were not spared from Stern's tongue-lashing either. He said too much of their activity, like that of the Nahal Brigade's soldiers, was socially oriented, and that the IDF can no longer afford that in the present situation. "The IDF Chief of Staff has already asked the hesder yeshivas to increase the period of service from 16 months to 24," he told the audience. "Bearing in mind the IDF's needs and the security needs, we think this should be considered positively." (read more...)


At first glance, his proposal sounds pretty innocuous, doesn't it?

But, what Stern neglects to mention is his personal involvement in the piece by piece, dismantling of the Hesder program.

Hesder Yeshivah students are no longer allowed to serve in the elite Golani or Tzanhani (paratrooper) units.

Thanks to Stern, more and more Hesder Yeshivah soldiers are thrust into working together with female soldiers. One of the reasons many of these religious Jews entered the Hesder Program was to avoid this.

Their ideas about Torah study and refraining from fraternization with women, in Stern's mind probably "dossi," and archaic, are only a front for the core reasons I believe Stern wants to diminish, and eventually phase out, this program.

The real reason Stern fears the Hesder program is its loyalty. Before the Expulsion from Azza, many Heads of Hesder Yeshivoth, risked their jobs and risking having the yeshivas' financial and physical doors closed, when they signed onto letters calling for soldiers not to participate in such a horrendous act as expelling Jews from their homes. Many such letters invoked Torah.

Gen. Ya'ir NavehThis declaration promoting Torah over the State is considered dangerous by the Sterns and the Navehs, and the other mamlakhtim, feigning the belief that this philosophy threatens to break about the IDF itself, thus putting the entire country at serious risk during attack.



MK Effie EitomMK Effie Eitom at AmonaEven MK Effie Eitom expressed this view. Don't look all surprised either! You remember this, as well as I do. Of course, my guess is that he's changed his mind on that after the Expulsion from Azza, and after getting clobbered in Amona. He has even flirted with the idea the idea of transferring Arabs out of Israel, an idea once considered "extreme."

Fortunately for IDF generals like Stern, there plenty of mamlakhti "rabbis" who were wishy-washy enough, if not downright against the refusal of soldiers to execute orders which run counter to halachah, that only 62 soldiers had to be jailed,...ONLY 62!*

Half of IDF's New Combat Officers are Religious
Gil Ronen, Israeli National News, 26/08/07


The entry of the religious Zionists into the officer corps began after the Yom Kippur War, says Caspit, when Major-Generals Ya'ir Naveh and Elazar Stern entered service, and "continues with the pre-military academies, which send a sizable percentage of their graduates to the Officers' Course." The "Hesder" yeshivas, he says – the seminaries that combine religious study with a shortened army service – do not contribute many officers. (read more...)


And what are these "pre-military academies" which are so highyly praised by Stern.

These are what we call the Mekhinoth in Israel. In most of them, undying loyalty to the almighty state is taught not alongside Torah, but mixed in with Torah, these mamlakhtim appearing to see very little difference between the two.

No wonder Stern praises the Mekhinoth. They tow the party line.

The statistics quoted above may very well be true. I would not be surprised.

The truth is, Stern does not want completely Torah-true, religious soldiers in the army, let alone in the officers' corps. Sure, many of the mamlakhti officers of Stern's ilk, are actually quite "frum." But for the most part their loyalty to the State is on a sufficient level,...for now.

You see, I have faith, that even the mamlakhti officers and soldiers have the potential to wake up from their State-sponsored brainwashing. And, if they do, then Stern is in big trouble.

And, what about the Nahal Haredi? Just like Stern does not want Torah-loyalist, religious Zionist officers in his IDF, the Left does not really want haredi soldiers in the army. Nahal Haredi has turned precisely into the body the left has hoped for. It is now the Left's excuse for harassing haredi communities. Here is one young haredi man's assessment as to why Nahal Haredi is not an option for him:

Your Values Are Not Mine!
Yoseph Goldsmith, YNET, 11/9/07

Yoseph Goldsmith, a haredi youngster, responds to Major General Elazar Stern's comments regarding the wide-spread phenomenon of draft-dodging among ultra-Orthodox; says that when the IDF follows Torah's laws – ultra-Orthodox will enlist. (read more...)

Imagine if the number of army deferments for haredi men were significantly reduced today.

Do you think Shulamit Eloni YSh"W would stand for her grandchildren serving in a regular army unit with strict kashruth regulations, a mezumin at the table, after a d'var Torah, of course, in a barracks with increased scrutiny of orders given to do melakhah (work/actions) on Shabbath, and three minyanim per day?

Are you kidding?

She would immediately rally her Labor and Mere"tz cronies in the Kenesset to create a special Nahal Hiloni (secular) unit, so that the "rights" of her grandchildren could be protected!

Regarding Nahal Haredi, Stern says, "See?! You have your segregated, army unit. Now you don't have any more excuses!"

I am for a reduction in deferments from army service, too. But, if it means protecting my sons from being indoctrinated into Stern's vision of a regime with loyalties to the almighty State over loyalty to God and His Torah, then I, too, would try to find a way to have my serve serve Am Yisrael, while being protected from such anti-Torah influences, rampant in the IDF of today.

I have no doubt that many of you would be surprised, no, SHOCKED, when I tell you that the anti-IDF sentiment I hear in the Shomron is not that unlike the anti-IDF sentiment I hear have been hearing Me'ah Sha'arim for the past 10 years.

Try as I may, to make clear my rantings about this guy Maj. Gen. Elazar Stern, my anger and frustration continue to confound my attempts. I am not just frustrated with the hold of such "religious" men over the IDF. I am frustrated with the "religious" Zionists who actually believe the IDF command is deserving of our blind loyalty.

So, what IS the point of my rantings? What is the bottom line?

Consider yourselves warned. You are going to have to make a very important decision. Your children are going to have to make a very important decision.

Is it worth sending your children into the depths of mamlakhti brainwashing, confusion over Torah vs. State loyalties, opportunities for premarital sex around almost every corner, and, of course, the almost definite likelihood of being placed in the difficult position of having to refuse orders to participate in the dismantling of Jewish homes and the expulsion of their occupants?

Have you adequately prepared them for such challenges?

Are you fully prepared to place your sons lives and souls into the hands of this guy?

I am really so sick of this guy! Aren't you?


*********************

*This 62 number does not include the Golani Brigade, whose head stated that they would not participate in such an atrocity as the Expulsion. As a result of these words, the Golani Brigade was never ordered in. Likewise the Nahal Haredi unit was not called in, for fear of massive refusal of orders, thus risking great embarrassment to the IDF, and perhaps even encouragement of more refusals of orders.
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