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.
I had a long conversation with my children recently and explained to them that nearly 1000 Jews had been murdered in the past decade because Israeli children had never been taught to read the siddur (Jewish prayer book).
Should that sound to you bizarre – if not medieval and superstitious — then let me explain to you what I mean, the same way that I explained it to my children.
As background, let me point out that my three children attend a secondary state junior high/high school (two segments within same school) in Haifa, meaning an ordinary secular Israeli school with state curriculum. Why that is (and whether, in retrospect, it was a poor decision on the part of my wife myself) is a complex question, and let us not go into the matter.
In addition, this is a high school serving a yuppie middle class secular neighborhood in Haifa where almost everyone reads Ha’aretz and votes for Meretz or Labor.
Over the years I have run up against many cases of rabid anti-Orthodox bigotry in the school and in the neighborhood, in addition to astonishing ignorance.
The Sephardic synagogue in the neighborhood has seen anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled on it repeatedly, no doubt by local guttersnipes.
When my son’s kindergarten teacher needed a father to say the blessing on Chanukah candles, she picked me because I was the only dad with a yarmulka or who knew the blessings.
When my daughter’s teacher proposed spending a few classes in which the kids could be introduced to the basics of the prayer book, parents of many children were outraged, and some kept their children home to prevent them from being contaminated. Others screamed at the principal in protest against this “religious coercion.”
Not surprisingly, most children in the school cannot complete the sentence that begins “Shma Yisrael” nor explain what the Amida is. The reactions of parents were similar when a mini-course on basic concepts from the Mishnah was proposed. When the school took the kids to a one-day seminar at a religious institute, fully three-quarters of the kids stayed home.
Earlier this month, at the start of the new school year, my youngest son came home in dismay. His Bible teacher had introduced herself as a secularist who regards the Bible as nothing but quaint fables, and she told the children that there is nothing in the Bible that is factually true.
But my daughter came home even more flustered. Her 11th grade class schedule includes a Bible course, but at the first class meeting more than half of the students screamed in outrage that there is no reason whatsoever for them to be forced to have to learn this; that it is all religious coercion; and why should they learn the Bible anyway instead of the Koran?
So let me explain to you what I explained to my children.
Nearly 1000 Jews have been murdered and Israel’s very survival is in serious question now because of the Oslo Left. Israel’s Left is a cult whose main motivation is self-annihilation and Jewish anti-Semitism. These are self-hating Jews who wish their own country and their own people harm.
An integral part of Israeli Leftism has always been not only anti-Orthodox bigotry but a ferocious animosity to everything that is Judaism or Jewish tradition. The hostility to religion in Israel is a quintessential part and parcel of the collapse of the national will to survive.
There is no religious coercion in Israel. It is a myth. Virtually no one in Israel ever observes any religious ritual against his or her will. True, cinemas are closed in some places on Shabbat, but that does not affect anyone with a VCR. True, buses do not run in some places on Shabbat, but that affects no one with a car or change for a sherut (taxi).
On the other hand, there is a venomous hatred of religion and the religious by the very same parts of Israeli society that have imposed Oslo on the country and led the nation to the brink of destruction. The elimination of nearly every mention of Judaism and Jewish tradition from the state school curriculum is one manifestation of this leftist secularist self-hatred.
Those children who object to being forced to learn the Bible are in fact seeking to detach themselves from all Jewishness (and no doubt simply reiterating the nonsense they hear at home).
The reason why it is important to study the Bible — even for Israeli total secularists — is that the Bible is their national and historic and cultural heritage. They are meaningless human beings without their own heritage.
The Bible is their heritage — even if they never practice any form of ritual — not the Koran.
Knowing the Bible is important for secular children for the same reason that knowing history is. Knowing Bible and history could have prevented Oslo.
Knowing the prayer book, even if they are complete secularists, is important for Israelis for the same reason, because it allows any Jew to enter any synagogue any place on the planet and immediately fit in and share a common heritage.
And the denial of that common heritage is what now threatens to bring about a national
calamity of colossal proportions.
And so, yes indeed, I stand by my assertion fully. Nearly 1000 Israelis have been murdered by Oslo, and the country is now in unprecedented danger, because Israelis do not know the prayer book and the Bible.
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.
April 16, 2013
Dear Mr. President,
My heartfelt sympathies to you and the American people for the acts of protest carried out in Boston this week during the Boston Marathon. This really is a wake-up call for us all.
Honest Abe used exactly the same blockade tactic against the Confederacy over which the Israeli Left is now sobbing its eyes out.
Quick. Name all the Israeli parties that did not run in the recent election on a platform focusing on lowering the price of housing and the cost of living. After that, name all the Israeli parties who understand what has produced the rapid increase in housing prices and have a plan for coping with them and lowering them.
There is a widespread misconception that the Middle East conflict is complicated. In fact, it is really rather simple.
Indeed, one can basically summarize and explain the entire conflict in the context of the words “occupation” or “occupied territories” and people’s beliefs about the effects of such “occupation.”
In 1999, Benjamin Netanyahu, in his first go-round as prime minister, lost his reelection bid to Ehud Barak, much to the delight of Israel’s conscripted media and of many in its judicial system.
There is a species of radical leftist that believes the main purpose of taxpayer-funded universities is to indoctrinate students in radical left-wing ideology. Such people believe the only legitimate form of scholarly research and teaching is to force upon students the ideas and agendas of the left because only these represent correct thinking.
It is now official. Rachel Corrie, patron saint of the pro-terror radical left and its Islamofascist allies, essentially committed suicide in order to assist Palestinian terrorists. She was not killed in cavalier fashion by Israel. Israel had no particular reason to want her dead (as opposed to deported).
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