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Kosher or Not, the Internet Cannot be Stopped

The idea of a well-shackled mind being in a superior position to battle going OTD is certainly understandable. But in practice, the mind can no longer stay well-shackled. The internet is not only here to stay. Its ubiquity is increasing by leaps and bounds via the smart phone. No ban in the world has the power to stop it. It is like spitting in the wind.

Why Some US Jews Don’t Get Israel

Part of my job — not my paying job, the one I do for the sake of shamayim — is to talk to my Jewish friends and try to explain why the existence of a Jewish state is essential for all Jews, wherever they live, why a good relationship with the US is essential for Israel, and why the support of American Jews is in turn essential for such a relationship. I meet a lot of resistance, which is unsurprising when you consider that if you leave aside Arabs and other Muslims, the worldwide movement to end the Jewish state is disproportionately led by people of Jewish descent.

Postcard from Israel: Sussita

Sussita – or Antiochia-Hippos, to call it by its Greek name – sits on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, towering 350 meters above Kibbutz Ein Gev. Founded around 200 BCE, during Roman times Sussita was one of the Decapolis – the ten cities. The city was predominantly Christian from the fourth century until its destruction in the massive earthquake of January 749, after which it was never resettled. It boasts many features, including impressive fortifications, several churches and pagan temples, a commercial area, bath houses, a beautiful odeon overlooking the lake and a port on the lake shore below. In 1951, an IDF outpost was established on the mountain which was until 1967 Israel’s easternmost point, merging with the Golan Heights.

Daniella Weiss on The Honor of Israel

In a 5-page handwritten letter sent to then Agricultural Minister Ariel Sharon on 2 Kislev 5740, or November 22, 1979 by Daniella Weiss on stationery of the Kedumim-Elon Moreh group who were then battling a government decision, in the wake of the High Court of Justice decision that ordered them moved, Weiss demanded that Sharon resigned. She claimed that moving the site it would be a victory for the PLO, and that the legal status of the settlements in the territories should be changed before Israel transferred the oil fields in Sinai to Egypt, according to the peace agreement.

On This Day

Ever have a day going along just fine until something comes and floors you? I wasn't feeling well last night and thought of skipping work...but I had to do this, I had to do that...so I came in saying that maybe I'll crash tomorrow. Yesterday morning started sluggish, but I hit my stride and I chugged along happily cleaning things off my desk. I'm tried to watch what is happening with the massive hurricane hitting the U.S.; trying to switch windows, worrying about whether Gaza has decided to fire another rocket at Israel. And then, I saw this message on Twitter and I just stopped and took a deep breath.

Egypt’s Sinai Problem and Ours

A striking photo essay from EgyptSource focuses on the stark realities of Sinai and the multiple challenges it poses to the Egyptians. EgyptSource, a project of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East "follows Egypt’s transition and provides a platform for Egyptian perspectives on the major issues – economic, political, legal, religious and human rights – that are at stake in the post-Mubarak era..."

The Lehi Fighter and Kever Rachel (Video)

In 1945, Yaffa Tevuah was a 22-year old Lehi fighter imprisoned by the British in the women's prison in Bethlehem. Seeking courage when facing her British interrogators, she drew strength from Rachel Imeinu and comfort from her sense of returning home.

Never Mind Condemnations by Torah Sages, College Is Not ‘Traif’

“Certainly, there is an absolute condemnation of any sort of college from most Gedolim.” That is how the cover article in last week’s Ami Magazine was punctuated. That article was about the dangers to one’s spiritual health of attending college. Ironically the article itself was very fair about the issue. Various rabbis who are either directly or indirectly involved with colleges and universities that have significant Orthodox Jewish populations were interviewed. There was not a single comment indicative of any Issur on attending college.

What Happened at Rachel’s Tomb?

A Pro-Palestinian website claimed Jews had "stormed" Rachel's Tomb. In reality they were actually just going on a pilgrimage to mark Rachel Imenu's passing.

Defamation: Combating the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy at the Guardian

Benjamin Pogrund, a former South African journalist, and anti-Apartheid activist, who made Aliyah in 1997 and founded Yakar’s Centre for Social Concern, published a piece at ‘Comment is Free’ on Oct. 25 titled ‘Israel has moved to the right, but is not an apartheid state.' Pogrund refuted the recent poll on Israeli views of Arabs, and the profound distortion of the poll results, which smeared Israel with the charge of apartheid, by Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz.

Get Angry at Rashi – Not at Me!

Two Torah scholars were sent from Israel to Babylon. Upon their arrival, they took part in official ceremonies and didn’t reveal the purpose of their visit. They were received with great honor. Gradually, they started to vent their opposition. Finally, they entered a crowded assembly and said to the Jews of Babylon, “Behold, you are a great congregation. You can be independent. You don’t need Eretz Yisrael. You don’t need Mount Moriah.” Their sarcasm was purposely stinging in order to shock the Babylonian Jews. “And you’ve also got Rabbi Ahia here. Let Ahia build an altar, and let Haninah play on a harp. But know that if you detach yourselves from the centrality of Eretz Yisrael, you have no portion in the God of Israel!”

Drumbeat of Terror Goes On But Most Don’t Realize

It's just after ten in the morning here on a bright, warm Autumn morning. A delightful, breezy day. Unless you are very determined, and even if you feel very connected to events, it's near impossible to get a meaningful sense of the sheer terror of living within range of the rocket men of Gaza. The thugs of the Hamas-dominated enclave are armed to the teeth with a rocket arsenal that numbers in the tens of thousands... and growing.

The Russian and the Charmer

Both men are, above all else, pragmatic. They will defy logic and critics to shake up the political spectrum. Bibi has done it several times. A few months ago, polls guaranteed him a sure win if he called early elections. The announcements were made; dates were discussed and then, in the dead of night, he made a deal to unite with Kadima. No surprise to anyone, that deal fell apart rather quickly and Israel is once again on the path to elections.

More Religious? Or Going Off the Deep End?

They want to have total isolation from the rest of the world? I think perhaps we should finally give it to them. It pains me to say so but based on what I am reading in their very own media, going off the deep end is not an exaggeration. It may even be an understatement! It is a wonder that they do not have a bigger OTD problem than they already do. I guess that their system works very well for them that way.

The European Problem with Zionism

Yes, Israel affords civil rights and freedom of worship to its many minorities; but it makes no attempt to deny that there is one specific people, one particular narrative, one religion to which is it most centrally committed. The State of Israel is, to paraphrase Lincoln, “by the Jews, of the Jews and for the Jews.” How could those who labored to create the European Union not consider the very idea of a Jewish state anathema?

Post ‘Biberman’ Weekly Poll Average: 36.6 Likud-Beiteinu, 24.3 Labor

Polls conducted in the aftermath of the announcement of the joint-list agreement between the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu show the two parties at best keeping their current amount of Knesset seats. The average has them down.

The Nation of Islam Discovers Scientology

The Nation of Islam's historic role as a bridge between American blacks and Islam ended in 1975 when W. Deen Mohammed followed his father, Elijah Muhammad, as leader of the Nation and immediately disavowed his father's folk religion, bringing his followers to normative Islam, the Islam of the Middle East. From then on, despite the theatrics of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation has been in a long downward trajectory. Now comes evidence, thanks to Tony Ortega in the Village Voice and Eliza Gray in The New Republic, of a jaw-dropping turn by Farrakhan, 79, to Scientology; as Gray's subtitle puts it, "America's two weirdest sects join forces."

The Strike on Sudan: A Lesson for Iran?

I've been reading about the airstrikes in Sudan. I first read about it as part of a threat from Khartoum, that they reserve the right to strike Israel back. It was, according to the Sudanese, a foregone conclusion that Israel was responsible. My first reaction was a snicker that combined two thoughts simultaneously, "yeah, like they can reach us" and "sheesh, something explodes and they blame us." I stand by the first response, but retract the second one.

Lucky Avraham Didn’t Have the Internet

After all, in Avraham’s time, there were savage Canaanites living in Eretz Yisrael. And there weren’t any kosher supermarkets back then, nor religious neighborhoods, nor Jewish Day Schools and yeshivot for the kids. In fact, there weren’t any Jews living there at all. Avraham would be the first. Who needed the hassle? It made a lot more sense to stay where he was, in Ur America, where everyone knew him, enjoying the good life with the goyim, wait for Moshiach, and pretend, via the Internet, that he was actually involved in building the Jewish State.

Haifa’s Last Stand

A year after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem, they turned to conquer Israel's coastal cities. Haifa's Jewish community is mentioned in the Genizah documents. The city was one of three forts (מבצר) that we know of - Haifa, Dan (Banias) and Rafah (Rafiah). Each had a major Jewish community. Haifa was probably mostly Jewish, if not exclusively so, with a small Muslim military presence. The story of Haifa's conquest, in the summer of 1100, is reported by Christian chroniclers.

Mitt Romney for President

I choose candidates based on who I think will be do the best job for the country, for Israel, and for the Jewish people. I do not vote by party. Although I have finally made my decision - for the first time I am not as sure as I usually am about which candidate will actually be the better President.

Bank of China May Have Helped Hamas Kill Jews

Hamas is nourished by a worldwide network of governments, Islamic charities and individuals that support its goal of killing or dispersing the Jews. But the existence of the sources of nourishment isn’t enough. Since Hamas is a recognized as a terrorist organization and sanctioned by the US and other nations, there are impediments to transferring funds to it which can be translated into weapons, ammunition and jihadist expenses. Sometimes this is facilitated by ‘respectable’ enterprises that are officially opposed to terrorism and murder, but in fact do whatever makes them a buck. Like the Bank of China, according to the Israel Law Center — Shurat HaDin, which has filed a $1 billion lawsuit in a New York court accusing the bank of materially supporting Hamas terrorism.

Rachel is Weeping Over You!

The yartzeit of our Matriarch, Rachel, falls this year on Shabbat. Every year, more and more people gather at Rachel’s Tomb to pay respects to the Matriarch who is known as Rachel Emanu - Rachel Our Mother. Thousands of pilgrims will travel there today and tomorrow from all over the country, and perhaps 200,000 more will make the annual pilgrimage the day after Shabbat, every type of Jew there is, religious and non-religious, Haredim, Hasidim, and Dati Leumi, men, women, and children, busload after busload after busload, from far and near, waiting long hours for their turn to enter the small but beautifully renovated tomb near Betlechem on the way to Efrata .

Jews Who Can’t Speak Hebrew

Did you have trouble reading the Hebrew? That’s exactly my point. Some readers say that I’m a crazy fanatic when I say that Diaspora Jews suffer from schizophrenia when it comes to their Jewish identity. For example, even though they are Jewish, many don’t know more than a few simple words in Hebrew. After all, Hebrew is the language of the Jewish People, not English, or German, or Russian, or Yiddish.

The Rocket Barrage on Southern Isael

Earlier, I took part in a briefing with Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich of the IDF Spokesman’s unit regarding the intensified rocket fire upon the south of Israel over the past few hours, which –at the time of writing – the Guardian has not yet seen fit to report. Lt. Col. Leibovich reported that 68 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip in the past twelve hours. Two foreign nationals – farm workers from the Kissufim area – were critically wounded by rocket fire and three or four additional civilians are suffering from lighter injuries. Several homes have been damaged.

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