Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
Information spreads like wildfire. “Gilad Shalit is home,” my friend e-mailed me happily as soon as he heard the news. He isn’t Jewish or a even a Zionist, but the kidnapping of someone our age moved him enough to track the case.
“I know this is something that’s weighed on you. It must be good to have it off,” he wrote. And he was right. A load had been lifted off my shoulders.
“Gilad Shalit is home,” my friends and I squealed as we hugged each other, tears streaming down our faces. We couldn’t believe it was happening; we felt like we were in a wonderful dream. Yet as we watched on the Internet as events unfolded, we realized the reality was that our dreams had come true.
After 1,940 days, Gilad Shalit is home and I am so grateful. Even though he shows signs of malnutrition and lack of sunlight, even if he looks gaunt and painfully pale, he is home to the family that loves him, that waited for him, that never gave up on him. It is a moment I will never forget.
Somewhere in Gaza, a young lady my age was celebrating the release of Ahlam Tamimi. She likely blogged about it, hugging friends and talking about how this was a moment she would never forget, how she had pined for her hero’s freedom. Her heart was also full of joy and she felt like this was a victory for everything she lives for.
I remember how on the anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping I would sit on my porch and think of all the luxuries I took for granted – freedom, family, friends – and my heart would break for him.
On the day he was finally freed I knew I would wake up the next morning in my own bed and see my family and talk to my friends and travel as I wish. But the knowledge was sweetened by the awareness that Gilad finally would be sharing those same privileges.
I had every confidence the aforementioned young lady was thinking the same about her hero.
Ahlam Tamimi and Gilad Shalit have two things in common. Both were released on the same day. Both their lives changed when they were twenty years old. The difference is, Gilad Shalit was kidnapped while trying to protect his fellow Israelis. Ahlam Tamimi was arrested for collaborating in the murder of fifteen people – eight of them children, including two under the age of six.
Gilad went home to be with his family, to recover from his terrible ordeal. He showed no bitterness for his pain, saying, “I hope this deal will move the peace process forward.” He even wished the released murderers well, “as long as they do not go back to fighting Israel.”
Ahlam, meanwhile, has sworn she will attempt another terrorist attack.
“I’m not sorry for what I did,” she said in an interview in 2006. “I will get out of prison, and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence. Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.”
Her prediction, chillingly, came true, and who knows what the future holds?
Despite this, I’m happy. I know I should worry about future terrorist attacks by the criminals who were freed. I know I should worry about future kidnappings. We all should. That will come once the euphoria over Gilad abates and Israel returns to the endless war against terror.
The Popular Resistance Committee of Hamas has already vowed “to capture another soldier and cleanse all the Israeli prisons of our prisoners.”
One of the released prisoners has already said, “We shall spare no efforts to liberate the rest of our brothers and sisters. We urge the Al Kassam Brigades of the Hamas military wing to kidnap more soldiers to exchange them for the freedom of our loved ones who are still behind bars.”
I fear greatly for the future, especially considering how many friends I have in Israel. Are we going from one nightmare to another?
Yet, as Shlomo HaMelech said, there is a time to laugh and a time to cry. This is a time to laugh.
This is also a time to be proud. Proud of a country that released evil murderers because it values the life of an innocent so much more. A country that produces a soldier who, despite being held in unspeakable captivity for five years, has the courage to hope for peace and the strength of character to resist the urge for revenge. A country that loves its children. A country that will live because morality and goodness can never be defeated.
Welcome home, Gilad. You were sorely missed.
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France 2 and Enderlin must have their press accreditation revoked and be thrown out of Israel.
Slaughter is a routine, widespread practice among many Moslem families.
parently an affront to J Street’s worldview, the focus of which appears to be the creation of a Palestinian State, whether or not that will bring peace.
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
It comes down to his being famous.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
To his parents’ friends, he was “Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace,” but to sports fans he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Jewish baseball players of all time. Long before Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg excited Jewish sports fans with his prowess on the baseball diamond.
At the end of 2012, I was in Israel and looking out at the Jerusalem night sky. I was filled to the brim with inspiration and decided to challenge myself to become a more educated young woman. Simply put, I was going to read as many books in a year as possible. I’m not sure if that would actually have made a difference in my level of education but it seemed like a fun goal at the time.
Many Jewish people, including myself, avoid Holocaust movies because it is far too painful to watch the dehumanization of those we love. Still, facing what is painful is an important part of life. “Lion of Judah” is not an easy film to watch, but for the next generation it will be a valuable resource for educating children in a world without survivors. More importantly, it is centered on the incredible, Leo Zisman, the Lion of Judah.
Whenever I got praised for an achievement, I feel like I should say that half the praise goes to my parents. Although they can get on my nerves, I am really blessed with a mother and father who have molded and shaped me (by any means necessary) to become a successful human being.
Growing up, I remember my father’s Rosh Hashana ritual. He read the story of Rabi Amnon of Mainz, who had his tongue, hands and legs cut off for refusing to convert to Christianity – for choosing to remain a Jews. I would run away from the table sobbing in terror. Even at the tender age of six, I knew that being Jewish made oneself a member of an endangered species.
Purim is my favorite holiday, and I love to share the joy. I have spent previous years wandering around my neighborhood in costume. This year, I fully intend to celebrate with full cheer, and I want everyone to know why I plan to spend the day in costume, singing Shoshanat Yaakov at the top of my lungs.
We are forgetting the lessons of the churban Beit HaMikdash, how we were not finished off by Rome, but destroyed ourselves through mindless hatred and zealotry. We bled each other dry through violence and bigotry until we were weak enough for Rome to come in and step all over our broken bodies. Rome did not defeat us – we defeated ourselves.
College should be a place of learning, a place for a free exchange of ideas, a time to explore new perspectives.
Our people’s history is not a kind one. I remember reading about the 1648-49 Chmielnicki massacres of the Jewish communities of Poland (Gezerot tach v’tat) and weeping, asking myself why we were chosen if it meant suffering so?
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