Jul 28, 2016

our day on an army base

Yesterday we made our way down south to a dusty little, and sparsely populated, army base to participate in the concluding ceremony of our son's combat medic course.







While waiting for it to begin, they had us wait in a nearby structure that was air-conditioned, and it turned out to be the base synagogue (actually, one of the synagogue's. we passed another one on the way out). In the synagogue they have a tallis and tefillin gemach. I would note here that while my son is in a Haredi unit, the base they were on for the medics course was a regular base that they took a part of. The base is not set up as a Haredi base, so the shul and the tefillin gemach were especially interesting to see.



The ceremony was small - just the small group of young men in the course and a few family members. We were surprised to find out just moments before the ceremony that our son was selected as one of the two soldiers who excelled and were given special certificates. We learned that there are two versions of this - one boy received the certificate of "hitztayen" and the other, our son, "lamofet".

The two that excelled had their medic pin pinned to their uniforms by the important guy with the lighter uniform (sgan aluf I think, but not sure. I dont understand or know how to identify the rankings).













Had a nice dinner afterwards in Beer Sheva and now he gets a bit of vacation before going back to his regular base for advanced training.

One more interesting incident - while walking out of the restaurant in Beer Sheva, a woman walked by. I noticed that she seemed to hesitate and was looking at us, but I didn't think much of it, and kept going towards the car. She called out to me and when I didn't respond, as I didn't realize she was calling me, she came back towards me. When I turned around she gave herself a bracha, or a wish, that her family should be like ours, our family looks so nice. I was a bit stunned and just responded amen and God willing, and then she went on her way, as did we.


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Torato Umanuto: the life story of Rav Elyashiv st"l (video)

this was a recent documentary report on Israel's channel 1. The report is led by a relative of his, and many relatives are spoken to in the video. This is a very interesting report and approaches with different angles than what you are used to seeing about him.





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the Haredi women -a response (video)

this video was made as a response to the recent documentary series on the Haredi women that portrayed the women in the light of being suppressed and controlled...





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MK Glick about Waqf harassment on Har Habayit (video)

the vote was unanimous.. :-)





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The Genesis Prize: 2016 Laureate Itzhak Perlman Acceptance Speech (video)







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Old Jaffa - Israel (video)

the clip is set to music..





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Jul 27, 2016

Facebook Status of the Day



Translation:
57 years to since the death of the Chief Rabbi, the Gaon, Rav Yitzchak Isaac Halevi Herzog, zt"l.
In this rare picture form his funeral at the cemetery of Sanhedria in Jerusalem, standing next to the Chief Rabbi Rav Yitzchak Nissim, you can see the rosh yeshiva of Lakewood Yeshiva, the Gaon Rav Ahron Kotler, zt"l, who also gave an emotional eulogy.
There was a time when they knew to live and respect, even if the had differences. I wish that for us, in our days.

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Amnon Levi loks at the "machzirei betshuva" (video)

Amnon Levi's newest report/documentary looks at 3 popular "machzirei betshuva" - talks to them, follows them, debates them, analyzes them - each employing a very different style...





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MK Aimen Udeh responds to Netanyahu's video to the Arabs (video)







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Orthodox Jewish All Star Greg Zuckerman, Wall Street Journal Reporter (video)








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Synagogues of Arizona (video)







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Jul 26, 2016

new law keeps people out of the mikva

MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) with the other Haredi MKs have been working to prepare and pass a new law that would give the Rabbanut more control over the public mikvaot. They were concerned about more encroachment of the Reform and Conservative into Israel, as they have been by the Kotel, and were worried about Reform conversions being performed in public mikvaot.

Despite the fact that we believe that a Reform conversion is meaningless, their use of the mikva as part of the process does not damage or ruin the mikva in anyway. However, the Haredi MKs are worried about the Reform attaining some sort of foothold in Israeli society, and some sort of legitimization in people's eyes, so despite the mikva not being ruined, the Haredi MKs don't want the Reform using it. The Supreme Court even decided that the Reform and Conservative have the right to use the mikvaot for their conversions.

So, they have been working on putting together a new law. Some initial drafts raised the ire of many groups, as they tried to give the Rabbanut too much control and too much micro-management ability over who can use the mikva.

They finally came up with the final version of their new law and passed it. According to The Times of Israel, the new law is that Reform and Conservative people will not be able to use the mikva at all. The mikva management (I assume via the mikva lady) will have the right to turn people away from using the mikva.

I don't know how anybody will know who is Reform, who is Conservative, who is simply not religious or whatnot. Plenty of not-Orthodox people have used the mikva until now, and I hope they won't get turned away because of this new law.

A Haredi askan commented about this that in the USA the Reform don't have any mikvas and have no use for them, so there is no reason they should need them here. The only reason they want to use the mikvaot here is as a tool to gain legitimacy and an opening into society via conversions.

I don't know how many mikvaot the Reform operate in the USA, but a quick Google search shows that they do have some. I don't know how frequently they use them, or for what, but the statement made above is obviously wrong. Besides for that, Haredim do things differently in Israel than they do in the USA, so why can't the Reform?

Another issue I see is that if someone Reform (more likely Conservative) wants to keep taharat hamishpacha and go to the mikva, why should anyone have the right to prevent them from doing so?

I thought the final law would specifically deal with preventing conversions by Reform, but they opened it up and said any immersions by Reform and Conservative are not allowed. Maybe they will only ban people who converted Reform or Conservative - but I don't know how a woman entering the mikva will be identified as a convert, let alone as a Reform convert.




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What the Haredim really have against core curriculum studies

I learned something interesting this morning in the non-stop talk about the repealing of the core curriculum (in Haredi schools) law.

It seems that the Haredi leadership is not really against studying English and math (and some other subjects). as the various spokespeople said. They point to the many schools that teach these courses at some level or another.

They say it is up to each school to decide (based on consultation with its rabbonim and the gedolim) what is the appropriate curriculum to teach based on its parent body's wishes and needs. Some teach more, and some teach less. And each person can decide what school to send his kids to - nobody forces anybody to send to a school that does or does not have the extra topics of study.

What they don't want, and what they won't accept, is the government telling them what to do and what to teach. They do not want the government involved in the pedagogic decisions of the Haredi schools. Even if today all they are demanding is something that is really acceptable, like English or math, tomorrow they might make other demands of things that are not acceptable. And, as Motka Bloi said, if we wanted to teach gemara "Eilu Metzios" and the government told us to start teach gemara perek "Hamafkid", we would refuse, as it would be a "gezeira" from the government.

The Haredi opinion, it seems, is that specific topics of study might or might not be ok, but the government telling them what to study is never ok and they will always oppose whatever the government tells them to study, no matter what it is.


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PA to sue England

This has got to be one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.. at least from serious news media.

in 1917 Arthur Balfour wrote a letter in which he expressed the United Kingdom's support for a Jewish national homeland in Palestine and sympathy for the Zionist aspirations. This was a significant moment and eventually led to the State of Israel being established, with many other important moments along the way.

The Palestinians are now preparing a lawsuit against the United Kingdom because of that Balfour Declaration.

According to the Times of Israel, the PA is saying that the Brits are responsible for all Israeli crimes since the end of the British Mandate in 1948.

I don't know what they would expect to get out of such a lawsuit - reparations from the British government? a reversal of the original declaration?

I figure that if they are now moving on to blame someone else for their troubles, that is good for us. Let them concentrate their efforts in England, start their intifadas there, and leave us alone.

I wonder if they will sue the United Nations next for voting in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel.


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Rav Betzalel Cohen interviews about the core curriculum law (video)

Rav Betzalel Cohen is the rosh yeshiva of a yeshiva high school called "Yeshivat Chochmei Lev"





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A Palestinian and an Israeli talk: Palestinians, Jews and Checkpoints (video)









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