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Jerusalem Scores Media Victory, PA Keeps Lying

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

A big week for Jerusalem: Britain’s Press Complaints Commission ruled that newspapers may not refer to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital, and Palestinian Media Watch publicized five recent examples of the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing attempts to erase Jewish history in Yerushalayim.

The British media flap over Jerusalem began six months ago, when the London-based Guardian correctly identified the holy city as Israel’s capital – and then was pressured to apologize for doing so. As a result, the media watchdog organization Honest Reporting filed a complaint with the UK Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

The PPC is a non-governmental regulatory body that can force media outlets to issue corrections of what it deems “inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.” At first the PPC rejected Honest Reporting’s complaint but reversed course after the latter initiated legal proceedings.

The PPC’s final ruling was that The Guardian was “wrong to refer to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital,” as this “had the potential to mislead readers.”

Honest Reporting was justifiably proud. “The ruling set a precedent on British coverage of Israel,” the organization announced, “effectively barring all British publications from referring to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital.” CEO Joe Hyams added the following practical ramification:

“Fatuous claims over the status of Tel Aviv as a means to delegitimize Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital will no longer be acceptable.”

The decision has already made its mark. Just in the past few days alone, two other British papers – the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail – issued apologies for having referred to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital. The Mail even went so far as to say it had “mistakenly suggested that Israel’s government was in Tel Aviv when it is, of course, in Jerusalem.”

Several countries had embassies in Jerusalem for decades after Israel declared its independence; unfortunately, not one now remains. Thus, the battle for international recognition of Yerushalayim as unequivocally and eternally Israel’s is far from over. But since the pen is often mightier than the sword, and the keyboard even more so, let us take hope from this media victory, and continue to work toward the day that the nations will realize, as the Prophet Isaiah foretold, that their “house of prayer for all peoples” is in truth the “house of the God of Israel.”

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, is doing all it can to promote the opposite of the above truth. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that the PA continues to deny both Jerusalem’s Jewish history and the Holy Temple’s existence. The PA consistently refers to the Beit HaMikdash as the “alleged Temple,” as if it never existed – thus denying the very Bible that more than 2 billion Jews and Christians (and many Muslims, at least in principle) swear by.

PMW notes that usage of the term “alleged Temple” to deny Jewish history has been PA policy under Mahmoud Abbas – known for his “moderation” – for many years. PMW issued a list of five recent instances, out of more than 100 since the beginning of 2011, of the PA libel that Israel plans to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and replace it with the “alleged Temple.”

For instance, PA Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Adnan Al-Husseini called last month for an “aggressive Arab, Islamic, and international stand to protect the holy places of Islam and Christianity in Jerusalem, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” He added that for a long time Al-Aqsa has been subject to premeditated Israeli steps aimed at dividing it, “thus facilitating the process of building the alleged Temple on its ruins.”

Similarly, the PA’s Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places declared last month that Israel’s recent excavations beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque foundations are “a final warning [before] the mosque’s destruction.” The council also declared that “Israeli occupation forces plan to damage and weaken the blessed mosque’s foundations, so that they will easily collapse at the first opportunity.”

In addition, council Secretary-General Dr. Hanna Issa called the digging under the Al-Aqsa foundations a “clear statement of the occupation’s intentions [regarding] the mosque, and its decision to cause its collapse and build the alleged Temple on its ruins.”

Many Jews who have dedicated their lives toward the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash hope the above warnings are both justified and correct, but fear strongly that they are not.

Teddy Bears

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Shimon looked up at me with a serious look in his bright green eyes as he earnestly told me, “I’m going to measure which one is heavier, my mitzvos or my avayros.”

I couldn’t help but smile at his five year old virtues and watched as he took down the toy scale and took little teddy bears, moving them from side to side, looking for the correct balance.

Maybe I should’ve shared my snack? A teddy bear goes to the other side. I davened so nicely with Morah. Another teddy bear on the other side. I watched as Shimon moved teddy bears from side to side, wondering whether he even remembered his original statement. He seemed to be mesmerized, barely noticing anything around him. Just moving teddy bears from side to side.

I didn’t play with Eli even when he asked me to. Teddy bear on the other side. I helped Morah clean up before running to go swimming. Teddy bear. I didn’t forget any clothes by the pool. Teddy bear. I listened to Morah nicely when she told us that story. Teddy bear. I answered questions about the parsha. Teddy bear.

Fifteen minutes later Shimon looked up again, his smile shining from ear to ear, his face radiating pure innocence.

“Yay! My mitzvos are heavier!” he exclaimed happily as he put away the scale. His smile was contagious and I couldn’t help but beam in response.

Since we were young children we have been told by our teachers and parents what Rosh Hashanah means. It means Hashem has a big scale on which He measure your right and wrong. Do you think about what that means? Have you ever stopped and weighed your actions? Do you ever step out of your comfortable box, and take a pause while you think about the impact you make on the people around you?

Children often can teach us lessons that are more powerful than any teacher or speaker. A young child’s innocent simplicity can often shed be a ray of light on a matter that seems so dark and gray. Adults are clouded with biases while children see things in black and white. When a child looks you in the eye and sincerely and naively asks a brutally honest question, it almost knocks you off your feet, reminding you what you really should see clearly.

Wipe off your stained lens, and take another look at the world. Hashem has a scale sitting up in Shamayim, and teddy bear after teddy bear are piling up. How humbling it is to watch a five year old sit and weigh his own mitzvos and avioros. How often has your sixth grade teacher suggested a cheshbon hanefesh to you? Yet now, caught up in our jobs and lives we never stop to think how many teddy bears are on each side.

The seat you gave up on the city bus. A teddy bear on the right side. The penny you dropped in the tzeddakah box in shul. Teddy bear. The phone call from your mother that you carelessly ignored. A teddy bear on the left. The coffee you never made a bracha acharona on. Teddy bear on the left. The smile you offered the passing old lady. Teddy bear. The mincha you missed sitting in the office. Teddy bear on the left. Teddy bear. Teddy bear.

When you look back up, counting teddy bears, moving them from end to end, which side is heavier? When you take a bear off the left side, did you smile happily, knowing the right side was so much heavier?

Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps there would be so many teddy bears you’ve neglected to notice? So many teddy bears you just disregard, dismissing them with some weak rationalization.

If you stopped and started moving teddy after teddy, would you look back up, your eyes a twinkling green, and smile, happily, as you announce, “Yay my mitzvos are heavier?”

Defense Round Up: U.S. Showing Weakness Abroad

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

This is not your father’s Egypt, under the evolving rule of Mohammed Morsi.  This is a Sinai-militarizing, Jerusalem-coveting, trash-talking Egypt.  (Wait – maybe that is your father’s Egypt.)  And Egyptian officials have quickly turned their trash-talking skills on their one-time partner, the United States.

Sadly, the statements of Suez Canal Authority chairman Mohab Mamish sounded just credible enough to get legs in the U.S. media.  According to Mamish, when Iranian frigate Alvand approached the Suez Canal in February 2012, headed for Syria, the U.S. asked Egypt to prohibit Alvand’s transit through the Canal.  In a 26 August interview, Mamish also refers to a “U.S. request to strike” the Iranian ship at the time.

The latter assertion is just silly, and tips off the unbelievable nature of the whole tale.  No one in the U.S. military chain of command, up to and including President Obama, would think it was a good idea to “strike” the Iranian frigate.  But even if someone did, doing so at the Suez Canal, with the full knowledge of Egypt, is as wrong as it gets, approach- and venue-wise.  If the U.S. were going to “strike” another nation’s warship under the circumstances of the Alvand’s transit, we’d just do it wherever we wanted to during the ship’s transit, without asking another nation for permission to do it in her territorial waters.

Similarly, the statement about the U.S. asking to have the Alvand turned back at the Suez Canal fails to hold up under scrutiny.  It would be a very big deal to ask Egypt to prohibit the transit of a sovereign nation’s warship, and frankly, the U.S. would have to know such a request would be turned down.  Egypt has cooperated, since the inauguration of the War on Terror, in the interdiction of merchant ships carrying arms for terrorists (e.g., Hezbollah).  But a warship is the representative of her nation, and stopping an Iranian frigate would be, in effect, a declaration of failing relations between Egypt and Iran.

Of course that’s Egypt’s call to make.  Moreover, there are literally dozens of U.S. professionals in the State Department, Defense Department, and on the National Security Council staff who know that asking Egypt to do this would be a foolish and inappropriate request.  You don’t ask Egypt to just stick her neck out.  The goal of preventing Iranian arms from getting to Syria is a sound one, but deputizing Egypt to take the risk of the showdown with Iran – especially when the U.S. is being passive and following from behind – is an unsound approach.

The ideologues on Obama’s national-security team may not know that, but their career staffers do.  If this issue got to Obama’s level, I imagine there was someone conveying the sensible point of view.  That said, I’m not convinced the U.S. ever entertained this course of action at all.  It sounds like a fabrication to me, or at the very least, a wild exaggeration.

If I had to guess the purpose of these statements, I would say it’s to establish the theme of Egypt standing up to and confounding the United States.  The following paragraph appears in the Breitbart and original World Tribune stories:

Mamish says the Egyptian military has “tight control” of the canal at this time, intimating that they are the ones making decisions about which nations will and won’t be allowed to pass through it. The U.S. has no say in the matter.

Well, of course we have no say in the matter.  We never have.  Egypt runs the Canal.  This is not a point that needs to be reaffirmed – complete with tales about how Egypt stood up to the U.S. – unless Egypt perceives a need to score political points.  And that appears to be what’s going on.

Defense without, er, defense

Meanwhile, as recently as Wednesday, Stars & Stripes had a story on the new, deployable tactical operations center the U.S. 10th Army (based in Germany) will take to Israel for Exercise Austere Challenge 2012.  The deployable TOC supports air and missile defense, and is to be a central feature of the high-priority ballistic-missile defense (BMD) facet of Austere Challenge.  Using Austere Challenge to exercise missile defense is in line with President Obama’s emphasis on missile defense for Israel as a security response to the Iranian threat.

The Impact of Anxiety On Children In The Classroom

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Tuesday afternoon, 1:30 p.m.

Pinny is a fourth grader in Mrs. Spitzer’s classroom. The class is doing a math lesson – its long division. Pinny loves math, so he’s giving Mrs. Spitzer his full attention.

“Now class,” Mrs. Spitzer intones, “what do we do after we subtract 7 from 9?” “Bring down the 4,” answers the entire class in unison.

O.K. I know subtract and bring down, but haw does it start again? Oy, I’m never gonna be able to do this. We have a social studies test on Thursday on 40 pages in the book. 40 pages!!! How am I gonna study 4O pages?

“On to more examples. 653 divided by 9.”

Pinny glances down at his math workbook, and is surprised to discover that he has written nothing in the spaces for the answers to numbers 1,2,3, and 4. As he glances around the classroom, he sees that everyone’s workbook is filled except his. As he quickly glances at Chaim’s workbook, which is on the desk next to his and fills in the answers, he feels so frustrated.

“What s wrong with me,” he wonders.

Test Taking Anxiety

Thursday Afternoon, 2:30 p.m.

Pinny feels nervous. He studied the material a few times with his mother the night before, but he is not sure he knows it well. He couldn’t eat breakfast or lunch properly so his stomach is rumbling and his mouth feels dry.

“Keep your eyes on your own paper” says Mrs. Spitzer firmly. “Turn your papers over and you may begin.”

Pinny turns his paper over and looks at it again and again. None of it, nothing seems familiar. “Maybe I got the wrong test, “Pinny thinks to himself. “Let me take a look at Chaim’s paper. I hope Mrs. Spitzer doesn’t notice. Nope. It’s the exact same test. I don’t get it I studied hard last night? What happened?”

And as he watches everybody else busily filling in answers on their test paper, he frantically tries to recall something, ANYTHING, from last night’s study session. Pinny sits there feeling truly helpless and wondering “what’s wrong with me?”

Following Instructions/Comprehension

Friday Morning, 11:45 a.m.

Pinny is exhausted. He barely slept the night before worrying about taking the bus to go to his grandmother’s house for Shabbos. This would be the first time he would be going there straight from school.

The Rebbe is speaking to the boys, something about bus changes.

“O.K. boys, listen up. We have new drivers on the buses, and the routes have changed slightly. I’m going to read your name and bus number. After that, I want you to pack up, and wait on line until I dismiss you.

“Berkowitz, Benoliel, Cahan, and Davis, bus number 41. Ettinger, Friedman, Ganzweig, and Gewirtz, bus number 42.”

I hope Bobby prepared my favorite chocolate cake. I hope she remembered that the cover that she usually keeps on the bed is very scratchy and itchy. I hope she changed it to the green and blue one.

Mommy thinks I’m big enough to take the bus all by myself. I hope she’s right and I don’t get…

“Pinny,” a deep voice interrupts “Everyone else is packed up, on line, and ready to go.”

“Right Rebbe, I’ll be really quick .Which bus am I going on again?” Pinny hears the rebbe audibly sigh, as he repeats the instructions for the bus.

Memory

Friday afternoon 12:10 p.m.

Pinny gets on the bus headed to Flatbush. He feels a bit queasy, but he has reviewed the route so many times with his mother that he’s pretty sure he’ll know where to go. After frantically searching through his knapsack, he realizes that he has misplaced the address.

O.K., so I’ve been to Bobby’s house before, I’ll just wing the address from memory. Is it 1427 East 37th street, or 1437 East 27th street. Which one is it? I can’t remember. Which one is it? Let me think…Let me think…. O.K. I know my friend Simcha lives around the corner from Bobby, and he lives on East 28th street, so its gotta be…Whewl Here’s the paper with the address stuck in the pocket of my folder. East 27th street here we come!

Back To School Made Easy

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The new school year is just around the corner, and as the summer days wind down the air is filled with the anticipation of the approaching back-to-school season. During this time, students and their parents often feel the apprehension and worry of preparing for school. Of course, we’d rather take advantage of these final warm vacation days and really enjoy ourselves, but the nervousness of the new school year is palpable. The best cure for this anxiety is to help ease the fear of the unknown by preparing for school. Set your children up for success by helping them prepare for this transition smoothly. Here are some tips to help you and your children experience this season bump-free.

* Display interest and excitement as the school year approaches. If you are enthusiastic and confident about the new experiences your children will have, they will be too. It’s contagious.

* Feelings of nervousness and worry about the new school year are common and expected. Take the time to discuss which areas your child is concerned about. Listen to his/her worries and talk about what to expect on that first school day.

* Another great idea is to specifically discuss with your children the various aspects and schedule of the school day. Some scenarios to discuss include the morning bus ride, what davening will be like, different subjects you anticipate they will learn, and the change of teachers during different subject times. You can make the discussion very detailed and really paint the picture of that first day of school. For example, chat about which familiar faces they will see walking into the classroom, who they will sit with on the bus and at lunch, what they will eat during lunch and recess, what activities will they opt for during recess time, and most importantly what to expect at the end of the day. Will they be picked up from school or take the bus home, what will your children find when they walk through the door – you waiting with a smile, a snack and a note on the table from you or a sibling or neighbor to play with. Remember, knowledge and familiarity is the sure way to extinguish the jitteriness of a new school year.

* Help your children acclimate to the school year routine and schedule. Have your children go to bed at “school-night bedtime” for a few nights prior to the first day of school and get up at the time they will need to on school days. This process will ease the adjustment and transition from summertime to school year schedule.

* Create a predictable routine during the first week of school that you will stick with throughout the school year. You and your children should prepare school clothes, book-bags, lunch, and snacks each night for the following school day. Also, have a set routine for after school hours. For example, decide how much time will be allotted to play and unwind after school; when dinner will be served; when homework will get done and a consistent bedtime and routine.

* Find out what materials will be needed for school and make sure your children are prepared with it on the first day. This may seem like common knowledge, but often in the rush to get everything done for school vital materials are forgotten until well into the school year. Having your children prepared with the necessary materials will help prevent anxiety, and empower them on the first day of school to succeed. Moreover, shopping for school supplies can be a fun experience if done with enough preparation (and without the stress that comes with last-minute tasks). These excursions are a great way to turn your children’s nervousness into the similar feeling of excitement for the renewal of the school year.

* If this is your child’s first time attending school, have him/her explore the classroom and school grounds before the first day. This will familiarize your child with the school setting and help reduce his/her nervousness.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy school year.

An Evening of Firebomb and Stoning Attacks

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

UPDATE: Israeli TV reports that there is a possibility that the attack on the bus was a misthrow, and the taxi was not the target. Ha’aretz is now reporting that police are investigating whether the van was actually hit by a firebomb, or if the car overturned for “other reasons”.

 

A Palestinian taxi was hit by a firebomb Thursday evening in Gush Etzion. Six members of the family traveling in the taxi were taken to the hospital with first to third degree burns. Police found one unthrown firebomb at the scene.

Near Kfar Tapuach, six firebombs were thrown at Israeli cars.

South of Shechem, stones were thrown at Israeli cars.

And in Jerusalem, Egged bus #3 was hit by stones near the Old City.

On Monday an Israeli man accidentally drove into the village of Husan near Beitar, and was attacked by Palestinians and his car was stolen.

Last week, an Israeli car was stoned near Husan. Another Israeli car stoned near El Arub in Gush Etzion, multiple cars were attacked near Beit Umar in Gush Ezion, other Israeli cars were stoned near Karnei Shomron.

Arabs also attacked an Arab-owned car near Halhul, when they mistook the car for an Israeli-owned one.

 


Israeli Bus hit by a stone on Thursday near the Kotel.
Photo Credit: Yossi Ovitz

 

Woman Says Tzedaka Dollar Saved her Life in Bus Crash

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Eliana Siegal says she believes she survived unharmed a bus crash yesterday, Thursday, on Interstate 55, because her father gave her a dollar to give to charity, a Jewish tradition that she said helped protect her en route.

On Thursday morning, Eliana Siegal boarded a double-decker Megabus at Union Station in downtown Chicago, on her way to a concert in St. Louis that night.

Megabus is an intercity bus service providing discount travel services throughout the Northeast, parts of the Southeast, and Midwestern United States, and in southern Canada.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a few hours later, the 64-passenger bus she was sitting in blew a tire and skidded until it smashed into a concrete pillar of an overpass on Interstate 55 near Litchfield, Illinois, some 60 miles northeast of St. Louis.

Television footage from the scene shows crews on ladders reaching inside the smashed front end of the bus. Thirty ambulances and five medical helicopters responded, and I-55 was shut down in both directions from the Carlinville exit to the Litchfield exit.

One woman was killed and dozens of other passengers were injured, Illinois State Police said.

As many as half the people on the bus were injured, according to Illinois State Police Capt. Scott Compton. Five of the injured were trapped and had to be extricated, including the woman who died, Aditi R. Avhad, of Columbia, Mo.

“I flew forward, and my glasses were smashed into the back of the seat in front of me,” said Siegal, 16, of Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood. “People were panicking, and babies were crying. A woman across the aisle from me was screaming that her leg was broken.”

West Rogers Park is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, with a prominent Jewish population, dozens of synagogues and several Jewish day schools.

Siegal, who was riding on the top tier of the double-decker bus, said she and other passengers exited the bus quickly, afraid it might explode. She told the Tribune that the driver and some passengers were trapped.

Four people were airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, and another two were taken there by ambulance. Nineteen other passengers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries in local hospitals.

The Talmud (Pesachim 8.) cites Rabbi Eliezer who states: “Emissaries of a mitzvah will not be harmed,” suggesting that if a person is on a mission to fulfil a certain commandment in a dangerous environment (this was often applied to rabbis who labored to free fellow Jews from prison) enjoy a divine protection. This generated a custom in many Jewish communities of giving a person a small amount of money to give to charity at their destination, turning them into emissaries of a mitzvah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/woman-says-tzedaka-dollar-saved-her-life-in-bus-crash/2012/08/03/

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