We're now entering the period when we begin to pray for rain. Lack of rain was often an excuse to persecute the Jews, specifically those living in Jerusalem. There are quite a few examples from our history of this rain libel, which was very often linked to the 'sin' of drinking wine.
Browsing through a news website, I noticed that the World Series is just two weeks away. I haven’t followed baseball for 30 years, ever since making aliyah. When I lived in America, and thought I was an American, I loved baseball, like everyone else. But baseball doesn’t interest me anymore. I don’t even know what teams are in the running this year. The World Series has absolutely nothing to do with the Redemption of Am Yisrael, so who cares? But maybe we can borrow a few metaphors from baseball to help America Jews understand that Judaism in the Diaspora is the Little Leagues.
Mitt Romney gave a generally fine speech today on the Middle East. Sensibly, he criticized the Obama administration for its Benghazi shenanigans, for the "daylight" with Israel, fecklessness vis-à-vis Tehran, and the cuts in military spending. Very justifiably, he called it "time to change course in the Middle East." But I worry about three specifics.
The US State Department has created an award program for "female Palestinian scientists." Candidates are required to "be a citizen and resident of West Bank, Gaza, or Jerusalem." What does it mean by "citizen"? Is the US State Department creating, again, a Palestinian state, when there is none existing?
An official Guardian editorial on Oct. 1, ‘In praise of the political cartoon,' commended the Egyptian newspaper Al Watan for “publishing… pictures with the message that the...
While events — the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the Second Intifada — have convinced the great majority of Israelis that a practical two-state solution is a fantasy based on wishful thinking, this has generally not penetrated the US media or political establishment. So Mitt’s remarks in May came as a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, it seems as though Romney has now changed his mind.
It doesn’t matter to what segment of Orthodox Jewry one belongs. All segments celebrate this day with the same exuberance. It is truly the Torah which unites us all, right to left.
Mitt Romney seems to have a genuinely friendly view towards Israel, which he has made clear in various public statements and his recent visit to Israel. Yet, in his foreign policy address yesterday, he adopted the position which is at the heart of U.S. pressure on Israel: supporting Palestinian statehood.
Sometimes the global efforts of the Islamists pay dividends for them. Sometimes they are frustrated by the authorities. Nothing happens very quickly in the battle against them. And no one can seriously claim they are being defeated; on the contrary. Some snapshots from the last 24 hours.
At the end of his statement Netanyahu said it is preferable to have a "three month" campaign cycle than what would in practice be a year of campaigning until October 2013. Assuming that he would seek dissolution of the Knesset at the opening of the session -- October 15th -- that would put the elections at around or a little after January 15th.
If the recent Sukkot overdose of Shabbat, followed by two days of Yom Tov, and another Shabbat followed by two more days of Yom Tov, isn’t enough to get Diaspora Jews to move to Israel, with its force-feeding of gefilta fish day-after-day, until gefilta fish jelly drips out of people’s noses and horseradish pours out of their ears, I don’t know what it’s going to take until Diaspora Jews are fed up with practicing Judaism in a jar.
On Simchat Torah we celebrate having successfully read the entire Torah over the space of a year.
Despite Obama’s poor debate performance, Romney’s rising likability numbers and voters saying he would better handle the economy – and two more polls which give him a significant bump since the debate – there is reason to fear that voters will still not vote against the incumbent.
Questions abound as the IDF released scant information about the drone which entered Israeli airspace. News agencies add additional minor details but the large questions remain unanswered for the moment. China's Xinhua news service says the unidentified drone flew over settlements and military bases in southern Israel briefly before being brought down by IDF fire over an open unpopulated area. It was spotted entering Israel's airspace from the Mediterranean sea heading from the west to the east. But there is no word on where the UAV originated.
The outcome of the debate between Obama and Romney had less to do with any extraordinary qualities possessed by Mitt Romney than with the purely ordinary qualities of Barack Obama. No matter how much Team Obama tried to warn the media faithful against any enthusiasm, the expectations were high and remained high until the Chicago Messiah began to speak. And then there was nothing.
It seems that two very prominent rabbinic figures have come on board with Rabbi Slifkin’s views with respect to reconciling science and the Torah. According to a post on Hirhurim by Rabbi Gil Student, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of England, and a man of great intellect who I respect and admire greatly is one of them. The other is Rabbi Yaakov Ariel - one of the chief Poskim of Religious Zionists in Israel. These two people are not just your average rabbis. They are both highly respected not only by me but by Jews all over the world.
Last week's U.S. presidential debate was a victory for Romney on all accounts, especially if one judges by the closing statements, where Obama couldn't muster any specific reason why voters should re-elect him aside from the fact that he was trying really hard as president. Looking at polls on how people view the candidates, I’m beginning to wonder why it is that Obama leads Romney in national polls and whether that is going start to change in a big way.
On Saturday, at noon, local Jews out on a walk at the Aner springs west of the village of Neria in Samaria were attacked by dozens of Arabs throwing rocks, Tazpit reported. The official reason for the Arabs to be in the area was the olive harvest. What can be more peaceful than the olive harvest? And yet, despite the peaceful properties assigned to the olive, despite all those olive branches everywhere – those Arab olive pickers put down the olives and picked up the rocks.
Why is there so much animosity between Charedi and Dati Leumi/Religious Zionist factions? I can't fully answer the question. But I do have some thoughts about it. I think it is because Israelis are far more idealistic about their religious values - especially those who make Aliyah.
This same Mr Erdogan, who reserves to himself the right to defend his citizens and his borders and warns malefactors that they should not even dream of testing his country's determination, has expressed himself quite differently when it was Israel that took defensive measures in the face of lethal terrorist behavior that goes on and on.
I found some essays penned by Diaspora Jews who succumbed to the Sin of the Spies in their negative reports of the Holy Land. Oy.
The satirical news website, The Onion, published a story on shocking poll results, showing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - who is widely viewed with disdain in the U.S - to be more popular than President Barack Obama among rural whites in the U.S. The Iranian FARS News Agency was quick to republish the obviously fake story. When the agency realized its mistakes they claimed that "if a free opinion poll is conducted in the US, a majority of Americans would prefer anyone outside the US political system to President Barack Obama and American statesmen."
The enmity I have observed between groups here in the holy land has been a source of great disappointment to me. Not that I didn’t know it exists. But I have encountered numerous instances of it I and did not realize the extent of it.
Human Rights Watch released a report on Hamas abuses of Palestinian human rights in the criminal justice system, including arbitrary arrests, failure to inform relatives of the whereabouts of detainees, the arrest, abuse and torture of lawyers, using military courts to try civilians, and death sentences.
On Monday, electric car company Better Place announced that Shai Agassi, up to now the face and driving force behind Better Place, was stepping back from his CEO rôle and would continue on as a member of the board and major shareholder. Evan Thornley, Better Place’s CEO in Australia, is stepping up to the global rôle. The news seemed to come out of the blue.