Jun 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

I did not give in to pressure from the haredim.. To me, all Jews are Jews, but some of the coalition members don't see it the same way. My decision to freeze the Katoel deal is what will effect the possibility to advance practical steps to arranging pluralistic prayer there... The Haredi parties will be partners in just about any government formed. It is easy for the Opposition to talk as if they were in power they stand on their ideals against the Haredim, but we all know the truth is different.

  -- PM Benjamin Netanyahu


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Fun Questions..

I thought these answers were interesting... from some magazine called "Country Vues"..




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One on One with Alan Dershowitz - June 22, 2017 (video)







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Israeli Frenemies - June 23, 2017 (video)

Uri Zaki vs Jeremy Saltan






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In The News: Hunting Nazi War Criminals (video)






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Synagogues of New Jersey (video)










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The Reform and Haredi Kotel fight in historical context

The reversal of the Kotel agreement has led to a lot of anger, along with what seems to be shock and surprise.

While criticism leveled at PM Netanyahu for this might be fair, the anger, and at least most of the platitudes, directed at the Haredi parties is disingenuous, as is the seeming shock and surprise at the reversal.

Nearly the entire response of the public seems to have expected the Haredi parties to be considerate of other people's desires to worship differently. It manifests itself as if this is an entirely new issue and conflict never before having been raised, and thus the move to seal Orthodox tradition as the only valid one at the Kotel, or in Israel, is surprising, unfair and inconsiderate.

The conflict between the Orthodox and Reform organizations have been going on for over 150 years, since Reform Judaism was founded. The Orthodox clergy always refused to recognized the Reform as being legitimate and always did whatever they could to not give any hint at legitimacy tot he Reform as a stream of Judaism. What just happened in Israel, at least what was done by the Haredi political parties, is nothing new. And the Reform organization and clergy, over the past 150 years, has fought its position against the Orthodox just as vociferously.

Why everyone seems surprised and shocked as if they expected differently makes no sense and is taking this battle out of its historical context.

And pointing to a few pre-State pictures of how there was mixed prayer at the Kotel is just silly, as the Jewish people in Israel (then called Palestine) did not have the ability to put up a mechitza, or have formal services, under British and Ottoman rule. Flashing those pictures and saying this is proof even Orthodox Jews did not care about mechitza just 100 years ago is ridiculous.

Whether you or I would have done differently, or would have wanted this to play out differently, is irrelevant. The Haredi MKs, as representatives of the Haredi rabbonim and the Haredi public, would not, could not, have done anything to give the Reform legitimacy, including giving them control of part of the Kotel. The fact that they have enough political power to get their way on this is a different issue and it says that the Reform and its supporters need to work more in the political arena in gaining more political influence - not just with money but with votes and actual political power.

Say what you want about what you think should have been or could have been - but what the Haredi parties actually did is basically consistent with the history of the fight between Orthodox and Reform.




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NACHAS "Emes" Z Report Interview with Yossi Zweig 6/21/17 (video)







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Jun 26, 2017

record numbers on Har Habayit

statistics compliments of the Yeiraeh organization - an organization that works to encourage ascension to Har Habayit.

in the month of Sivan, 1356 Jews ascended Har Habayit. This is a 101% increase over the same period from last year.

Among the 1356 were at least 18 grooms on wedding day, 6 brides, 3 bar mitzvah boys and 1 bat mitzvah girl.

All this despite abbreviated visiting hours for Jews due to the Ramadan schedule, and despite attempts by the Waqf Arabs to get it closed more by rioting and throwing stones.

Things are a-changin...




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system to request appointment for biometric passports changes


After writing both here and on Interior Minister Aryeh Deri's Facebook wall about how inefficient the new appointment system is with it set up for the public to request appointments via email and to then wait for a call back, the system has been slightly altered.

I would like to think I had something to do with it, but it probably had nothing to do with me. At best I might have been one of tens of thousands of people who complained about the obvious problems....

I checked the website yesterday and discovered that instead of a list of email addresses as appeared before, the link to making an appointment now takes you to a page where you click on your city and then fill out a form to submit online requesting an appointment.

Still not perfect, as you submit the form and still have to wait for them to contact you, but it is better than the resident having to send an email on his own and not know if anybody actually sees it. At the end of the day, it is more or less pretty similar, but I think most people will be more confident with an online form than with an email that they had to get right on their own.

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Palestinian Christians: Why did many Christians leave Palestine? (video)






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Rasputin vs Kol d'Ovid Rachmana (video)

and now I just found out about Michoel Streicher's Kol D'Ovid Rachmana.. originally a song by Boney M called Rasputin...

what particularly draws me into this one is the similarity in style (not the music but the costumes and dancing) to the Ghenghis Khan video MBD took a song from... the 70s were really insane...

Michoel Streicher's..


Rasputin: (tzniyus alert)


Ghenghis Khan:





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The Elevator: 8 reasons for dividing Jerusalem (video)

cute..




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NAS Daily: Am I in Israel or Palestine? (video)




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Behind the Scenes of the All New Album - "Storm the World" (video)







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Halbertal on the main export of Bet Shemesh

I'm really not sure what to do with this...

Dov Halbertal, writer of many provocative and extreme op-eds in the Haredi press has written a piece about Bet Shemesh. You can read the full op-ed in Hebrew, though I will summarize the main points here:
Halbertal says the only news coming out of Bet Shemesh is only about violence in the city - we hear nothing important from Bet Shemesh, nothing but violence.

Halbertal points to a number of recent instances of violence that made the headlines around the country. again, Bet Shemesh only produces violence.

Halbertal isn't impressed with the regular response of "it is just a small number of extremists making all the trouble. He says this changes nothing - the city has a bad name, a name that precedes it. Violence is the profession of Bet Shemesh.

Halbertal instead blames the violence on the mayor, Moshe Abutbol - not that e wants it or causes it, but he simply does not deal with it. Abutbol is a Shas man, and if it is not tied to Shas, it does not exist. Halbertal says Abutbol should not even be mayor, but somehow because of political maneuvering among political parties, he became the mayor, even though Shas is a minority in the city. Halbertal points to this as another sign of the backwardness of Bet Shemesh - he says anywhere the mayor of a city is from Shas, things are not run in a modern and properly ethical way. Halbertal says a mayor should be chosen by his capabilities and not just by which party he is affiliated to.

Halbertal also points to the elections of a new chief rabbi in bet Shemesh. Again, the political parties are electing the Chief Rabbi rather than the residents. In Shas we only have Deris and Yosefs and their immediate relatives, and Shas chooses them, without even thinking about any conflict of interests or concern for appearances.

Halbertal concludes by saying Bet Shemesh is the prime example of everything bad. he says we should have brought in a goy from abroad to manage the city and deal with the violence as his top priority. Until then, whatever happens, Halbertal says, the current mayor should be fired.

I don't know what suddenly prompted this op-ed. The issues happening in Bet Shemesh have been happening for a number of years already.

It almost hurts me to say that everything Halbertal is saying are things that I myself, and many other people, have said many times, especially during the last elections. It hurts me because I really do not like Halbertal and almost never agree with what he has to say. While I am no longer active locally, this op-ed hit me. It hit me because it is years too late. It hit me because it is now coming from mainstream Haredi "askanus", and I and many others were vilified for saying things like this just a short time ago.

I would like to add that Halbertal ignores the wonderful people who live in Bet Shemesh, the wonderful communities, the wonderful chessed organizations, the shuls, the immense number of Torah learning programs, the numbers of yeshivas and kollels, of bochurim and avreichim, the amazing baalei batim who work hard to live frum lives dedicated to torah and mitzvos while working and supporting families and mosdos and also set aside time to learn consistently, the amazing women who work to support their beautiful families or work raising beautiful families. There is the development of the city, which is actually very impressive, despite some problems of infrastructure and graffiti and garbage collection and dirty streets and whatnot - the city is growing by leaps and bounds with an influx of residents to new neighborhoods, with the construction of new malls and businesses and the ever-increasing various mosdos torah of all types and stripes. Halbertal doesn't mention the creativity of brilliant businessmen and businesswomen, entrepreneurs, startups, businesses that provide parnassa to hundreds and thousands of residents, and creativity and advancement to the world.

Halbertal ignores all that, but it is not his fault. Halbertal is talking about how Bet Shemesh is perceived around the country - not how it runs internally. The problem with Bet Shemesh has never been the majority of its people and mosdos. The problem is the external appearance. the regular violence that keeps on happening with no end in sight and no serious attempt by the mayor to deal with it. Yes, the police are ultimately responsible to deal with violence, but there is a lot the mayor can do, and the first step is to show commitment to dealing with it.

Anyways, nobody is firing Abutbol. At most, in a couple of years there will be new elections and maybe the Haredi parties will decide not to support Abutbol, considering Shas is a minority party and they no longer need him to win by taking a portion of the Old Bet Shemesh traditional sefardim, as the ashkenazi haredi will be the majority. Again, everything will be chosen by parties rather than by qualifications, but that is the system. Bet Shemesh did not invent it.

Halbertal is right, but he is too little too late, and saying the solution is to fire the mayor is useless. Nobody is firing the mayor, and nobody could fire the mayor even if they wanted to. It is easy to say, but that is not how the system works.





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Jun 25, 2017

Picture of the Day



Minister Yisrael Katz posted this picture of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and called for showing mercy and supporting the early release of Olmert from prison. Olmert was being checked in the hospital after suspicions of a possible heart attack and his feeling weak and ill.

The picture spread like wildfire and opened a debate about Olmert, showing mercy and early release.

I don't want to say he should not be released early just because I don't like him, but do they release any sick, or not well, prisoner early from prison because one should show mercy? if that is a general policy, then go ahead. If it is only being applied for Olmert, then no.


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Proposed Law: increase the size of Knesset

MKs Uri Maklev, Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Asher (all UTJ) have proposed a law by which the Knesset would increase in size from 120 parliamentarians to 140.

They explain that the Knesset was set at 120 MKs when the country was founded and had less than a million residents. Now that there are  about 8 million residents, it is long overdue, as the 120 MKs are overworked with heavy workload and multiple committees and caucuses they are all members of. Other countries with similar population sizes have larger parliaments.

As well, and I learned a new word from the Times of Israel article on the matter, many other countries have bicameral parliaments, while Israel does not but the 120 have to do everything.

For those of you who might not know what bicameral, as I did not:

bi·cam·er·al
ˌbīˈkamərəl/
adjective
  1. (of a legislative body) having two branches or chambers.

They say the additional expense to the State of tens of millions of shekels a year is justified as the MKs would work more efficiently.

According to TOI, similar bills in the past were rejected.

According to Kol Hai's report, Maklev prefers increasing the size of Knesset rather than expanding the Norwegian Law, as has also been proposed.

I don't have an opinion on the matter. I understand the need for it when considering the increase in population. I don't know if MKs are really overworked or not. They do get an awful lot of vacation - far more than the average working person in Israel. I don't know why it was rejected in the past - maybe most MKs want to keep it a somewhat exclusive club.






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Meat and Milk but not on the same receipt

Hattip to Gideon Slifkin for this..



Is there any halachic basis for this? Meaning, assuming they can properly sell milk and meat in the same restaurant in a way that the kashrut supervision approves of, and they do, what exactly is the problem with ordering the two at the same time? Can hamburgers and milkshakes not be printed on the same receipt? If one kid wants the burger and another wants the shake, what's the problem with ordering them at the same time? Maybe it is some type of extra level of protection put in place by the Rabbanut, already wary of allowing them to serve both milk and meat in the same restaurant?


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the demographics problem after peace?

There are two new crises looming now for the government. Minister Avigdor Lieberman is behind, or at least involved in, both of them.

One is the conversion law. Shas wants to push its new conversion law, and according to coalition agreements with Yisrael Beiteinu, any laws dealing with religion and state issues must first pass unanimously through the forum of party heads before going to the government for voting. Lieberman is opposed to it and the concern is that he will veto the law before it gets to go to the government. Minister Aryeh Deri, the man behind the law proposal, says Lieberman will not veto the law, because he cannot as it is being proposed by members of the coalition and he has to accept it.

I won't venture a guess as to what will happen with this, nor do I understand it fully, but it is a crisis waiting to happen that everyone is watching.

The second is Lieberman's comments on a different issue. Lieberman has recently been making comments about the Palestinians and the results of a future peace deal and what might be included in it. He even upset Minister Naftali Bennet who said something to the effect of the idea that in negotiations we need to hold our cards close to our chest and not let them know in advance what our [final?] offers will be.

Lieberman said something specific that seems to have upset a lot of people, and I do not really understand it. This post is not to argue or support either position, but to try to find an explanation as to the problem.

Lieberman said, "Let it be clear about an arrangement with the Palestinians - we will not agree that even one refugee will return to the 1967 borders. If they want to receive them in Shechem, Hevron or Qalqilya – let them do so".

People, friends, on the right, are considering this a horrible thing and a disaster and are very upset at Avigdor Lieberman, but I don't understand the problem.

I have asked the following question - what is wrong with a future Palestinian State, after a peace deal, accepting Palestinian refugees to live within its borders? They would not live in Israel or have any rights in Israel. If the Palestinians want them, it would be up to them to accept them or not. Why is this so bad?

The answer I got has only been vaguely pointing at a future demographics problem and so many of the enemy living so close to us.

Enemy? This would only be relevant after a peace deal. If this ever happens, they might not be considered enemy any longer. Also, a peace deal would seemingly arrange security guarantees for Israel. As well, I am not sure their military capabilities, even if they will remain the enemy, should really overly concern us.

Demographics? This would be in their future country, not ours. How would the Palestinian demographics, after a peace deal, effect us?

I am not arguing the position that there is no problem with this, but I don't really understand what the concern is and what the problem will be. Anybody out there who might want to explain further?





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Israelis: Do you believe in heaven & hell, angels & the devil? (video)







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Will I Starve If I Make Aliyah? by Rabbi Sholom Gold (video)








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US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley on her visit to Israel (video)




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Mets Fan Nearly Drops Baby For Foul Ball

peek a Jew





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Bring Him Home - Shai Abramson (video)






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Jun 22, 2017

Woman sues El Al for moving her seat

About half a year ago Mrs. Rena Rabinowitz announced she is suing El Al for having asked her to move and change her seat (in business class) in order to accommodate a Haredi male who did not want to sit next to her. Rabinowitz acquiesced and moved, but then sued.

As an aside, to digress, the attempt to move someone else is wrong. If someone does nto want to sit next to a woman, or to move his seat for any reason, he should be the one moved - not move the other person.

the court case has come to an end with a court-mandated agreement.

The Marker is reporting that El Al and Rabinowitz have come to an agreement, mandated and approved by the courts, by which El Al stewards and stewardesses will no longer be allowed to ask passengers to move and requesting such a move based on gender is illegal. El Al committed to training its employees to that effect. As well, they agreed on compensation to the tune of 6500nis.

One interesting point in the case is when El Al claimed they will not take into account any such seating request (i.e. to not be placed next to a female) in advance but during the flight if it helps passengers as a way of providing better service, being considerate of someone's religious sensitivities,  and helping the flight take off on time, they will try to accommodate. The judge then asked what would El Al stewards do if a passenger requests to not sit next to an Arab. El Al rejected any such accommodation outright and said that such a request would be immediately rejected, even at the expense of causing a delay.

El Al assumed it is not acceptable to discriminate against an Arab, and they considered asking one to move seats to be such discrimination, but when it is a woman they somehow no longer consider it discrimination.

Anyways, as per the agreement, El Al now has to find other solutions when such a situation will arise, as they committed to not asking women to move. Again, I don't know why the man was not being asked to move, considering he was the one with the problem, and maybe that will be El Al's solution in the future.







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kids that follow the law

The Chief of Police, Roni Alshich, who seems to have been doing a praiseworthy job since he took over, has announced he will be forming a new youth group that will train the youth to follow the law. It seems that a kid making a similar suggestion to him suggested it because parents are setting a bad example.
source: Mako News

I hope it helps, but it seems strange. Has he given up on society in general? Are there no models to impress upon the public in general to follow the law?





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Quote of the Day

Achieving peace will take time...

  -- US Officials, after Jared Kushners meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials about the peace process

really? thank you Captain Obvious!



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the money in the tallis


There is a well-known story, true or not I do not know, of a son who wanted money from his father before parting ways. The father would not give the money and the son left. Later it turned out that the father had put an envelope of money in the son's siddur or tefillin bag, which had gone undiscovered until it was too late, because the son never used his siddur or tefillin. Or something like that.

This story has come to life, sort of..

According to a story on Kikar, a secular fellow from Ramat Aviv was seated near a Chabad family from Crown Heights on an airline flight. After becoming friendly on the flight, the Chabadnik suggested he start putting on tefillin and tallis, to which the secular fellow agreed.

Michael, the guy from Ramat Aviv, goes to his local Chabad House with tallis and tefillin in tow, and even bringing along his late father's tallis as well. Michael decided he preferred to use his late father's tallis, and the Rabbi was going to show him how to wrap the tallis and wear it.

When they took out the tallis, they found an envelope placed in its folds 2 checks form 1995, each to the sum of 62,000nis.

While it is not quite as dramatic as the known story, as the father did not hide it there for his son in this case, it does turn out that someone had owed the father money and had paid it back with these two checks. The father simply, probably, put them away there until he could deposit them but died before getting a chance to go to the bank (based on the dates of the checks and the fact that the father had died form a heart attack while driving - so goes the story). The son, Michael, recognized, that had he put on his tefillin after the father died, he would have found the money back then.

Supposedly Michael committed to putting on tefillin regularly.





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Yossi Klein Halevi: Like Dreamers: The Impact of 1967 on the Identity of Israeli Jews (video)







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MK Oren Hazan's message to the people of Gaza (video)

Oren Hazan is a funny guy..





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Tzippi Hotoveli: There will not be a Palestinian State (video)








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Yonatan Razel interview with Arel Segal (video)








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Sandy Shmuely: Ani Shar (video)






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Jun 21, 2017

Proposed Law: Rabbi Raising Money

One would think that a rabbi raising money for the poor is so common, and even part of the job, that it would not be a big deal. Yet somehow, the other day, it was discovered that Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch was raising money for the poor through his contacts of donors and some people made a stink about it saying he is not allowed to be doing so as a State employee.

So, the Minister of Religious Affairs, David Azoulai, is proposing a law that will allow the Rav HaKotel, to do so. The Kotel Rabbi really fulfills three roles - Kotel Rabbi and Rabbi of the various Holy Sites and Director of the Kotel Heritage Fund. In his role as rabbi, the poor and needy naturally see in him someone who can help them and they make requests. This is something rabbinic leaders were always involved in.

The new law, assuming it passes, will allow the Kotel Rabbi to take requests from donors looking for his assistance in passing along donations. He will not be allowed to cold call donors asking for donations - only if a donor approaches him can he assist.

The donors will put in writing the parameters for their donations to be distributed and based on those parameters the Kotel Rabbi will direct the requests, and he will not be allowed to include any personal recommendation. The donations will be made directly by the donors to the organizations or needy - without the rabbi as a middleman. Every 3 months the rabbi will sub,it a report on how many such requests were made, the amounts and the identity of the donors. Any instance of a potential conflict of interests will be directed by the rav to the Legal Counsel fo the Rabbanut for direction.
source: Behadrei












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Picture of the Day

this picture is being passed around today with the  detail that it was taken in Bet Shemesh..




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Rally in support of Haredi soldiers

this cannot end well.. but the police usually don't give permits to provocative rallies like this, and they did for this one...




*Rally in support of Haredi soldiers. 
**Thursday June 22 6:30pm Kikar Davidka in Jerusalem
**Followed by a march towards Meah Shearim with police approval and protection 
**Please spread the word and come to show your support for these brave and courageous soldiers.



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Navigating the Road to Peace | Six Day War Project (video)







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One on One with Alan Dershowitz - June 15, 2017 (video)







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NFL Stars in Israel (video)









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Una Paloma Blanca (video)

I never knew about this one before... does the tune sound familiar to you?










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Carpool Karaoke With 8th Day (video)







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Jun 20, 2017

Interesting Psak: Yichud among pilots

Ever since PM Benjamin Netanyahu publicized the existence of the first female Haredi pilot last week, I have seen much discussion online about whether or nto she should really be considered Haredi, and if there is a problem with yichud in the pilots cabin when flying a plane.

People just don't take well to anybody who does things a little differently than the average.

Anyways, someone asked Rav Aviner about it, and because the topic is interesting, I'll share it here..

According to what is reported on Srugim, Rav Aviner responded to the query by saying that a similar question was asked about a private plane that was being rented to take a female passenger somewhere. Rav Asher Weiss said there is no yichud because they will not come to any "hanky panky" as the pilot has to focus on flying the plane and if he gets drawn away from that the plane will surely crash.

Rav Aviner says that in a large plane, even more so it is not a problem. In a large plane there are stewards and stewardesses going into the cabin. And even with auto-pilot, the pilot still has to be alert and focused and ready to take over the controls at any moment.

Rav Aviner concludes with an anecdote of how he once answered a similar question on a halachic program for the army. He was asked about a pilot with a religious female navigator being yichud. He says he answered then that it is not yichud (though he says there were other problems, though he does not specify). After the fact he was called by a reporter asking how he can answer army questions as a civilian. He responded that he is discussing theoretical questions, not practical, so it is ok, though he says after that he stopped answering army-related question and directs them to the IDF Rabbinate..

interesting






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Proposed Law: Shmitta Fund

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel was pushign a law proposal that was being called "The Shmitta Law".

the Shmitta Law would have created a governmental fund that would pay out stipends during the shmitta year to farmers who observe shmitta and don't work their fields. The idea would have the farmers paying into the fund during the six years of working, and collecting from the fund in the 7th year, seemingly with additional money from the government.

the law was expected to encourage more farmers to observe the rules of shmitta, as they would now have somewhat of a guaranteed income during the shmitta year.

The proposal has been shelved, after Rav Chaim Kanievsky directed the Degel Hatorah representatives to oppose it.

Why would he oppose such a law that seems to strengthen the level of shmitta observance?
It turns out there are a number of reasons for his opposition to the law:
1. chadash assur min hatorah. anything new is forbidden.
2. there is nobody appointed to make sure that the farmer adheres to all the rules and requirements of shmitta.
3. Every shmitta year has many new farmers joining the program to observe shmitta, many of them being convinced to do so at the last minute - right before the shmitta year begins. These farmers would have a problem for not having deposited money into the fund over the previous 6 years, so the program is not really helpful in encouraging new farmers to join.
4. farmers don't have stable parnassa. one month they can earn a very high income, while the next month they can take serious losses and have to live off savings. We cannot demand they put away money every month for shmitta when they have unstable parnassa.
5. from a spiritual perspective, as soon as it is the government responsible for managing the farmers fund, we cannot know what criteria the government will choose to set into place at any given time. For example, a farmer that stops working in one field but has other fields in which he continues to work on shmitta - would he be included? what about farmers who use hetter mechira? what about Arab farmers who decide to take the year off?
6. what rabbinic group will be responsible for oversight and determining if a farmer is shmitta observant or not? If the Rabbanut is responsible, the criteria they set might be in opposition to the criteria important to the Haredi rabbonim
source: Behadrei and Behadrei

while most of these issues look like issues that could be worked out by setting the rules in advance, it does look it will be an unwieldy situation. Something like this should probably be managed privately, with each organization that sets up such funds setting its own criteria by which it wants to operate.

One interesting observation I would make is that according to Rav Kanievsky's opposition, observing shmitta via hetter mechira is not "better than nothing". Meaning, I might say that it is a shame farmer x is not observing shmitta in its entirety, but at least he is doing hetter mechira and not violating shmitta - even if it is not the best way, at least it is something. According to Rav Kanievsky's opposition, that is not the case - he does not consider it better than nothing.









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he says b'ezrat hashem? (video)

from the best show in town.. the Knesset...






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Israelis: Do you agree to the two state solution? (video)







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Breaking the Ramadan Fast in a Synagogue Is the Latest Outreach Trend (video)

hmmm





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FT Ep.3 - When the NFL meets the IFL in Jerusalem (video)








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Yonina- Adam Shel Chalomot (video)

kol isha






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Jun 19, 2017

Facebook Status of the Day

the original was not embeddable, so I had to take a screenshot..


I gave blood yesterday as well, but I went early and it was mostly empty... but other times they had the blood drive (every three months) I have had the same experience...

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Tcheiles and Halachic Debate

Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein, a close student of Rav Elyashiv, made a big splash a couple of weeks ago when he was a guest rabbi on the Headlines podcast by R' Dovid Lichtenstein.

The topic of the podcast was parnassah and education (entitled "Halachos of Parnassah and the Tuition crisis") and when asked his opinion about the need for more basic "secular" education so the young men will possibly be able to be more successful with earning a living, Rav Eisenstein was, to put it mildly, unimpressed with the arguments and went into a screaming fit when discussing the topic. Rav Eisenstein concluded that most of the kollel yungerleit survive and it is only a small minority that are misfits and unsuccessful who need to resort to shnorring, and the secret  of the great success of the vast majority of the kollel yungerleit is a miracle and we cannot talk about it so as not to ruin the miracle and make it end. No education necessary.

R' Lichtenstein once again turned to Rav Eisenstein as one of the guest rabbis to comment in his latest podcast, this time on the topic of tcheiles.

The first two rabbis consulted spoke very calmly and lucidly about the various issues. One spoke in support of wearing tcheiles nowadays and went through a variety of proofs from chazal and science to support the conclusions that the tcheiles discovered "recently" is the real thing (or at least likely enough that it would be worth wearing). The second rabbi spoke in opposition, mostly based on mesorah, to wearing tcheiles today. It was a very interesting halachic presentation, with both sides presented.

And then he turned to Rav Nachum Eisenstein. Rav Eisenstein, once again, blew up and went into a screaming rage about how those who wear tcheiles are against the gedolim and their opinions are not valid and the gedolim knew all the proofs and still did not wear it and they are mevatel a mitzva of listening to the chachomim and it is connected to going to Har Habayis, and chadash assur min hatorah (new things are prohibited), yadda yadda yadda. No reasonable discussion, for or against, just railing against those who do differently.

Rav Natan Slifkin wrote some comments worth reading on the topic despite his not wearing tcheiles either and in agreement with some points of Rav Eisenstein's opinion, they diverge from rav Eisenstein's rhetoric.

In light of what Harry Maryles wrote about Rabbi Eisenstein after the podcast on parnassah, considering what the Eisenstein boys were like when he knew them way back in yeshiva, listening to him speak on tcheiles was far more understandable. As HM concludes there, "I think he actually does know all of this. Rabbi Eisenstein is not stupid. But he is partisan. And if the official line of the Charedi world is that young people do not need an education, by golly he’s going to be the one to trumpet that the loudest. Once a Kanoi, always a Kanoi. None of this surprises me. That’s how he was as a student back in HTC. When evaluating anyone’s public comments, it helps to know where they are coming from. That is certainly no less true here."

Basically, if he is not willing to have a halachic discussion on a practical question and discuss the issues and opinions, no matter what his conclusion is, his opinion might be entertaining but it isn't worth much beyond that. His opinion might be good when he is trying to figure out how to behave, or for his own talmidim to figure out what to do, but that rhetoric doe snot have a place in halachic discussion. Even if you conclude that tcheiles should not be worn, or whatever the issue might be, the halacha could be, and should be, analyzed thoroughly and not just washed away with saying that so and so did or did not so that's what we have to do.


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Proposed Law: Deducting Terror Money from the PA

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) has proposed a law that would deduct the amount of money paid by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families for acts of terror perpetrated against Jews/Israelis from the tax monies that Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority.

According to Stern, the budget for supporting terrorists, which includes bonuses for killing more Jews and for sitting more time in jail, show the priority given to this in the PA. This is in the law books of the Palestinian Authority, and it does not jibe with a true peace process.

Stern says stopping such payments is not a prerequisite for returning to the negotiating table, but it should be done anyway. The monies deducted will be frozen, not confiscated, and can eventually be given over, though the lives taken in terror can never be returned.

The initial draft of the proposal passed its vote 48-13 in the Knesset and will be prepared for further readings.
source: Kipa

"Adderaba", as we say. Au Contraire. The monies deducted should be confiscated and not returned, because it incentivises terror.

Reading about this law made me think of the Taylor Force Act being worked on in the United States. This is an attempt to promote a law that would, similarly,, freeze all monies given by the USA to the PA as long as the law paying for Palestinians to kill Jews remains on the books in the Palestinian Authority. The attempt to put this into law began after Taylor Force, a US citizen and former US Army office, was stabbed to death in Israel by a Palestinian.

It is incomprehensible that Western countries, in 2017, can be ok with a law promoting the murder of any specific people, let alone Jews.





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The War on Israel's Consumers

A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier



The Bank of Israel Prepares for a War on Consumers
I just read a frightful interview Globes conducted and posted to its web site on June 15, 2017, with the Supervisor of Israel’s banks, Hedva Ber.

Supervisor Ber warns consumer debt is rising at too rapid apace and approaching “out of control.” Thus, her office is considering stringent measures to brake consumer borrowing. It sounds like the Supervisor’s office is preparing to declare war on Israel’s already financially strapped and struggling citizens. Household debt (not for mortgages) tops NIS 511 billion. NIS 325 billion is collateralized by equity in houses.

Household debt is caused by too little income to pay for food, clothing, utilities, health insurance, prescriptions, etc.  A Taub Center staff report (February 28, 2016) confirms that, “Israelis feel it in their pocketbooks—living in Israel is expensive. High prices on basic necessities combined with low wages relative to other developed countries lead many Israelis to struggle to make ends meet.”

For example, it is widely reported Israelis pay 48% more for toiletries than consumers abroad; food prices are 25% higher than in Europe; Israeli made chocolate cost more in Israel than in Europe. Salaries of teachers rank at the bottom of 34 other developed countries (worse in terms of purchasing power parity), and less than Mexico’s teachers.


Courtesy THE BLOG on HUFFPOST Tom Ostapchuk Jan 13, 2017

The Missives
Ber warns her Banking Supervision Department will not stand idly by watching debt grow.  “We have reached the point where we have to be careful,” and if these conditions persist, “we’ll intervene. We have many tools, and we won’t hesitate to use them.” Sounds like the language President Trump uses to ISIS and North Korea.

The Shattering Reactions
I won’t speculate how and when the Ber will take action, but there will be severe consequence for the Israeli people.

A credit crunch will

·         Spark consumer credit shock spreading amongst the working poor, unemployed and underemployed. These classes make up the bulk of the borrowing public
·         Loans from banks will dry up and fees for loans will sharply increase
·         Citizens are likely to default on existing loans and mortgages in favor of putting food on the table, buying medicines, and paying expenses for children
·         The numbers of homeless will increases and small businesses go under
·         People will cutback on retail purchases
·         Mortgage defaults will drag down housing prices and undermine bank solvency
·         Monthly interest rates for mortgages are already on the rise tied to a tenacious web of international benchmarks: LIBOR, foreign currency rates and more; concomitantly, people depending on overseas income from work and family watch the dollar and pound exchange rates tumble exacerbating the deterioration the living standard in Israel
·         More Israelis will throw-in-the-towel, and join the approximately 1.5m Israeli Jewish ex-pats (@12% of the population) living overseas
·         Mass aliyah is not going to happen according to the Jewish Agency, and 30% of olim leave Israel within three to six years because of the economic hardships
·         Tighter credit and the US lowering its corporate tax rate to 15% will encourage Israeli companies to relocate with their jobs

Good Intensions Are Not Enough
Let’s hope Ms. Ber and her colleagues don’t initiate actions they threaten that blame the victims for unsustainable consumer credit levels. Let’s urge her to close the flaring income gap between rich and poor that presents more of a threat to Israeli society. 10% of Israeli children already go to bed hungry (14,513 in 2006 compared to 17,677 in 2017), according to Israel National Council for the Child.

Household debtors are not enemies of the State. They are survivors. Ms. Ber, keep that in mind. To quote a famous American, “The nation is prosperous on the whole, but how much prosperity is there in a hole?”









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new book on the history of the Palestinian people

This is pretty funny. Some guy wrote a book called "A History of the Palestinian People: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era".

The book, written by Assaf Voll, is 120 pages long in the original Hebrew, though the edition translated to English has 132 pages, and a translation o German is in the works. The pages of the book are completely blank.

The blurb from the book reads:
This book is the fruit of many years of research, during which thousands of sources have been meticulously reviewed in libraries and archives worldwide. It is no doubt the most comprehensive and extensive review of some 3,000 years of Palestinian history, with emphasis on the Palestinian people’s unique contribution to the world and to humanity.
The book is being sold on Amazon.

Voll gave an interview about the book to Srugim where he talks about the Palestinians not being an ancient people and the Arabs being experts at creating something from nothing. He says he sent a review copy to Haaretz but they have so far ignored it.

Voll also says a movie based on the books is in the works...

Funny




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Peek A Jew (video)

President Trump & Melania Visit Steve Scalise in the Hospital 6/14/17

it seems there are always religious Jews around when President Trump shows up...




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IDF 6-Day War Tank Battle Yossi Lepper (video)







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Ask the Rabbi: Can a baal teshuva go to a relative's wedding that will have non-kosher food?

why is this question only relevant for a baal teshuva?




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Mitzvah horses (video)







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Eli Begun - Haolam Hu Tov (Official Music Video)








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Jun 18, 2017

Kosher Television

Heck - if we can have kosher cellphones to counter the non kosher cellphones, and kosher internet to counter the non kosher internet, why not have kosher television to counter the non kosher television?

Kikar is reporting that Rav Bentzion Mutzafi has come out strongly criticizing the Hidabrut organization. Hidabrut is an organization that works on turning non-religious Jews into baalei teshuva.

It seems that Hidabrut has created some sort of Kosher Television that has access only to certain religious programming, aimed at helping people become religious.

Whatever Rav Mutzafi heard about it, and Hudabrut people say he was fed inaccurate misinformation, he had some very strong words to say against Hidabrut, and not only about the kosher televisions.

Hidabrut says these televisions are not for the Haredi community, but for people in the process of becoming religious who need chizuk and it helps them get rid of their regular televisions.

Kosher television. Soon people will have two, like they carry two cellphones - a kosher television they show everyone on which they can watch Rav Zamir and others, and a non-kosher television on which they can watch everything else without telling anyone. Schools will ask if you have a kosher television, and if you do not, they'll tell you to get one, even if just for show.

The funny thing is, Hidabrut is working to get people to throw out their televisions, as if that is still an issue. With everyone having Internet access, and that potentially being far "worse" than having a television, it is funny that the television still worries them.


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Proposed Law: Removing a Rabbi

Currently, according to the law, a City Rabbi officially appointed continues to serve until the age of 75, with an almost automatic extension given for an additional five years, until the age of 80. Until the rav reaches 75 years of age, there is no way to get rid of him - even if he just lays in bed all day or is corrupt or does nothing productive in his position. It is an appointment until he reaches 75, and there is no way around it.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs has pushed a law proposal that will allow a rav to be removed from his post if he is not fulfilling his duties and responsibilities. The authority to do so will be given to the Director of the Chief Rabbinate who will appoint a committee to investigate any such claims, in consultation with the Chief Rabbi or in consultation with the Rabbinic head of the region in which he serves.
source: Kipa

I think it is good to have such an option available for extreme cases (as I am sure most city rabbis work diligently in their positions). My one concern would be that such a law not be used as a way of removing rabbis someone in the Rabbanut disagrees with or disapproves of.




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miscarriage isn't a reason for divorce

Haredim10 has an interesting divorce case that was settled in beis din.

The wife demanded a divorce claiming that her husband is having marital relations with another woman and even has children with her. She claimed the full value of her kesuba, both base and additions, to the tune of 1 million shekels!

the husband claimed he should not have to pay anything, because his wife is unable to have children, thus being defective merchandise, proof being that she has miscarried three times already!

Her advocate argued that miscarriage is not recognized as a valid reason to force a gett with no payment, and with his admission that he is living with another woman, he should be obligated to pay in full.

The beis din decided in favor of the woman, as miscarriage is not considered a defect, and they obligated him to pay the value of the kesuba at 300,000nis.

It does not explain why she claimed 1 million and they decided 300,000nis. The kesuba, if it isn't the general 200zuz, is very specific (generally by sefardim) - did it say 1 million or 300,000? Perhaps they awarded the base kesuba without the additions, or maybe there was some sort of compromise, as is also common in beis din..


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Picture of the Day

from Yaakov Lederman:




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Facebook Status of the Day




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Letter to the Editor of the Day

I am just going to leave this here without comment...




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