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 .
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.
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.
Several prominent Religious Zionist rabbis in Israel have fallen victim to the OTD (Off the Derech) phenomenon. Rav Shlomo Aviner, Rav David Bigman, and Rav Yoram Tzohar each have a daughter that has departed from the observant ways of their parents. So for those parents who have OTD children, you are not alone. There are some very prominent people who join you. One may ask: How can I publicize something like this about such prominent leaders in Klal Yisroel, since it might be embarrassing to them? The answer is that they do not hide it. They willingly participated in a film that tells their story.
At the Yesha Council Emergency Meeting dealing with the new campaign to pressure the government to authorize the Levy Report and/or make it a condition for a future coalition agreement with the parties that will form Netanyahu's next government:
"The Book of Mormon clearly states that Nephi built a temple modeled upon the temple of Solomon upon arriving in the Americas (2 Nephi 5:16). In addition, the Book of Mormon says that other temples were built in the Americas (see 3 Nephi 11:1 and Helaman 3:14)...the Israelites in the Americas were trying to faithfully follow the law of Moses."
The most glaring omission by Sherwood is her broader failure, in this or other reports alleging Israeli racism, to provide similar data indicating the political views of Palestinians. This is part of a larger problem within the Guardian’s coverage of the region, which consistently fails to rigorously examine Palestinian society and mores.
Dear Rabbi: With elections approaching in Israel, I am searching for a religious political party for which to vote. When I think about voting for Shas, I remember their support for Oslo, the surrender of parts of Eretz Yisrael, giving rifles to our enemies, and the terrible sea of Jewish blood that was spilled after the Oslo Accords were signed. That is not the Torah I am searching to find.
There has been a lot of discussion about young people abandoning Mitzvah observance (going off the derech) over the past few years. A lot of that discussion took place here. Indeed it has been declared a crisis by some. The focus of this issue in the religious media has been primarily in the Charedi world. Many theories have emerged as to why children go OTD. Among them: being sexually abused and the negative reactions to it by family and community, dysfunctional family situations, faulty educational environments, teachers unprepared to deal with questions of faith, or being overly sheltered from the world so that rebellion occurs when they are exposed to it unprepared.
Yisrael Medad's letter to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on the true beginning of the movement for Soviet Jewry and what country the JTA said Medad resided in.
The most interesting aspect of the Guardian/AP report on Oct. 17, ‘Israel used calorie count to limit Gaza food during the blockade,' in addition to the extremely misleading headline, is that there is little if anything in the story which demonstrates that Israel did anything improper whatsoever.
It seems that the fad at The Jewish Press these days is for contributing writers to declare that Sarah Silverman’s trashy routine is a Chillul Hashem. That may be true, but there’s a bigger Chillul Hashem than Sarah’s. The biggest Chillul Hashem is when Jews choose to live in Chicago, and Dallas, and Los Angeles, and Lakewood, and Brooklyn, when they could live in the Land of the Jews instead. But why listen to me? Let an old writer for the Jewish Press explain it to you – Rabbi Meir Kahane. I turn this blog over to him. Let’s hear what he had to say about Jewish life in the Diaspora.
In its most recent edition, Ami Magazine has accused Professor Samuel Heilman - a distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of hating Charedim. I am all too familiar with accusations like this as I am often accused of being a Charedi hater myself. But the truth is that neither I nor Professor Heilman are such a thing.
Hezbollah, by most calculations, is the military force that has the largest deployment of weapons pointed at Israel today. It's Iran's proxy, and is funded and armed by Iran and also by Syria. In much of the Arab and Moslem world, it has long been called a resistance movement [see this Asia Times analysis from 2006]. Among Western countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and of course Israel, it's been classified as a terrorist organization for years and remains so.
News item: Muslim Brotherhood leader Ahmed al-Hamrawy resigned from the group and its Freedom and Justice Party to protest a letter introducing the new Egyptian...
Barack Obama has a weak record in the Middle East, but one would not learn this from the debate, where Mitt Romney praised Obama's achievements ("It's wonderful that Libya seems to be making some progress"), agreed with Obama more than he disagreed, and rarely pointed out his failings. Presumably, Romney took this mild approach to establish his likability, competence, and suitability to serve as commander-in-chief.
In Turkey, the referee attacks the player. Seems in August, one soccer official decided enough was enough. During a low-league soccer match in Turkey between Altinorduspor (red) and Pazarspor (blue), a Pazarspor player was preparing to take a free kick when one of the linesman suddenly ran out onto the field and socked an Altinorduspor player right in the face.
The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) published a review, by film critic Philip French, of the film '5 Broken Cameras,' a documentary produced by a Palestinian about his “resistance” to Israel’s security fence in Bil’in. In in addition to the story’s predictable Palestinian narrative, French writes that "Inevitably, seeing this barrier going up in Israel we think of the wall surrounding the Warsaw ghetto, the one that appeared overnight in Berlin…."
There's a superstitious thought that when you invite tragedy, it happily walks through the door. A second, more pragmatic view, is that when you prepare for it, you are better able to cope. Israel takes the second view as today we once again take part in the Turning Point 6 nation-wide exercise preparing us not only for earthquakes, but several other disasters.
Give this week’s Torah portion, “Lech Lecha,” to an eight-year old to read, ask him where God wants the Jewish People to live and he will answer “the Land of Israel” right away. Give it to a gentile to read and ask him the same question. “The Land of Israel” he will answer without batting an eye. Give it to a Jew in the Diaspora and ask him the same question, and you’ll get a dozen different answers.