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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘dog’

Shopping with my Dog

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Young woman and her dog out shopping in the Florentin neighborhood in South Tel-Aviv.

The Florentine neighborhood in south Tel-Aviv was established years ago by the newcomers from Greece and Turkey. It was planned as a simple and pretty neighborhood, but it quickly sank into poverty and neglect.

Today the neighborhood attracts many foreign workers, legal and otherwise, as well as young students, all of whom like the low rents.  The city has been investing in the neighborhood’s infrastructure and in education, but the neighborhood remains rundown.

Despite this, during the day it is a busy and vibrant place where people flock to buy furniture and fabrics, or visit the Levinsky Market.

(From Tel-Aviv Guide)

Best Friends

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

As the sun sets on an IDF soldier in the Oketz canine special forces unit and his loyal companion, Herman.

Oketz was founded in 1939 as part of Haganah. Each dog is trained in a particular specialty. Attack dogs are trained to operate in both urban and rural areas. Other dogs are trained to track and pursue individuals and to detect breaches in the Israeli border, as well as find people in collapsed buildings. Other dogs are trained to search for guns and ammunition, and sniff out hidden explosives.

Though not affiliated with the IDF Paratroopers Brigade, Oketz operators wear the same distinctive red berets.

A Soldier In Israel: Valley Girl Turned IAF Dog Handler

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

JERUSALEM – Natalie says she’s been a dog lover from birth. “I had two dogs when I was younger,” she recalls, “then they mated and we ended up with six more, and we couldn’t give them away.”

She was talking to The Jewish Press while walking her current dog, Fedor, who is just this side of a puppy. “Every little thing he sees, he goes crazy,” she says.

The Israeli Air Force needs dogs because its bases are ideal targets for terrorists, and robbers. Fedor, a Belgian Shepherd (Malinois), is a search and attack dog.

“You can hide anywhere you want and he’ll find you,” she says, laughing. “That’s as simple as that is.”

Natalie says she sometimes hangs a leaf in front of Fedor’s face which he’ll stare at it until she removes it. “If I move it, it won’t leave his sight, and if I throw it, there’s no way he won’t get to it. There’ll be a million leaves on the floor and he’ll find that one.”

He’s also “such a lovie dovie,” she says, and hugs him.

A native of the San Fernando Valley, Natalie came to Israel in eleventh grade, because her sister decided to join the army. Both sisters came as part of Gar’in Tzabar, a group of Diaspora youths, including children of Israelis, who choose to move to Israel and serve in the IDF. Often they are adopted by members of the Israel Scouts youth movement for the duration of their army service.

“When my sister told me she was joining the army, I immediately had a heart attack,” she says. “And when she said I should serve in the army, too, I told her, ‘You don’t understand, I’m not a fighter, I’m the kind of person that people fight for…’ ”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Natalie says she had everything she wanted ever since she was a little girl. “All of a sudden, my big sister, who is also my best friend, who’s been taking care of me, told me she was joining this military force, to protect an entire country.”

“It sounded completely absurd, so I came with her,” she says emphatically.

Natalie attended school in Israel and followed her sister through her service. “I got a completely different view on what the army was, what Israel was, and how the people were,” she says.

Coming back to America six months later, and enrolling once again in her high school in LA, she recalls that “every decision I would make just felt wrong. I had my car, my friends, but it felt different. My friends weren’t real friends any more. In Israel I had met so many people that impacted me in different kinds of ways; that brought out my true colors.”

Although once an American Valley Girl, Natalie all of a sudden started feeling more Jewish and out of place. Israel began to feel “like a calling for me,” she says. “And I came over.”

She signed up with Gar’in Tzabar in preparation for IDF service. Her father was not pleased. He had served seven years in the army and “specifically came to America so that my sister and I would have a better life,” Natalie says.

Since then, “not a month goes by when he doesn’t tell me, ‘Why don’t you come home? I’ll buy you a car, I’ll get you your own apartment…’ ”

But her mother, an Israeli, is a free spirit, she says, willing to support her in all her decisions, and always letting her know how proud she is of her. “When she heard that I’m going to Israel, it lit up her whole future. It gave her another reason to come visit Israel every so often.”

In Israel she reconnected with her mother’s family. “I’ve made extreme efforts to spend time with them,” she says. “My little cousin is 10 years old, and I call him every weekend just to make sure things are going good at school…yada, yada. It’s nice to be part of this new family.”

Her discharge is right around the corner. “I’ve been so nervous about it. In the army, even though it’s stressful and you learn so much about yourself, you’re still somewhat of a child. The army takes care of you. They feed me, they tell me where to go and when.”

“When I’m done with the army, that’s it, I’m not a child any more, I’m an adult. I have bills, I have to worry about a place to live, how to eat, where to work, where to go to school. It’s really stressful.”

Natalie may end up staying a little longer in the army, working on a base nearby. The skills required will be fewer than those she uses as dog handler, but she’d be commanding a team of canine guards.

Lone Soldiers: Valley Girl Turned IAF Dog Handler

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Natalie says she’s been a dog lover from birth. “I had two dogs when I was younger,” she recalls, “then they mated and we ended up with six more, and we couldn’t give them away…”

She was talking to the Jewish Press while walking her current dog, Fedor, 2.5, who is just this side of a puppy. “Every little thing he sees, he goes crazy,” she says.

The Air Force needs dogs because its bases are a highly desirable target for a terrorist attack, as well as for simple robbers. Fedor, a Belgian Shepherd (Malinois), is a search and attack dog.

“You can hide anywhere you want and he’ll find you,” she says, laughing. “That’s as simple as that is.”

Natalie says she sometimes hangs a leaf in front of Fedor’s face and he stares at it until she removes it. “If I move it, it won’t leave his sight, and if I throw it, there’s no way he won’t get to it. There’ll be a million leaves on the floor and he’ll find that one.”

He’s also “such a lovie dovie,” she says, and hugs him.

A native of the San Fernando Valley, Natalie came to Israel in the eleventh grade, “because my sister decided to join the Army.” Both sisters, in turn, came over as part of Gar’in Tzabar, a group of Diaspora youths, including children of Israelis, who choose to move to Israel and serve in the IDF. Often they are adopted by members of the Israel Scouts youth movement for the duration of their Army service.

“When my sister told me she was joining the Army, I immediately had a heart attack,” she says. “And when she said I should serve in the Army, too, I told her, You don’t understand, I’m not a fighter, I’m the kind of person that people fight for…”

Born and raised in LA, Natalie says she had everything she wanted ever since she was a little girl. “All of a sudden, my big sister, who is also my best friend, who’s been taking care of me, told me she was joining this military force, to protect an entire country.”

“It sounded completely absurd, so I came with her,” she says emphatically.

Natalie attended school in Israel and followed her sister through her service. “I got a completely different view on what the Army was, what Israel was, and how the people were,” she says.

Coming back to America six months later, and enrolling once again in her high school in LA, “every decision that I would make just felt wrong. I had my car, my friends, but it felt different. My friends weren’t real friends any more. In Israel I had met so many people that impacted me in different kinds of ways, that brought out my true colors.”

She says that from being an American Valley Girl, all of a sudden she started feeling Jewish and out of place. Israel began to feel “like a calling for me,” she says. “And I came over.”

She signed up with Gar’in Tzabar, in preparation for IDF service. Her parents are divorced, and her father was not pleased. He had served seven years in the Army and “specifically came to America so that my sister and I would have a better life.”

Since then, “not a month goes by when he doesn’t tell me, Why don’t you come home, I’ll buy you a car, I’ll get you your own apartment…”

But her mother, an Israeli, is a free spirit, she says, willing to support her in all her decisions, and always letting her know how proud of her she is. “When she heard that I’m going to Israel, it lit up her whole future. It gave her another reason to come visit Israel every so often.”

In Israel she reconnected with her mother’s family. “I’ve made extreme efforts to spend time with them,” she says. “My little cousin is 10-years-old, and I call him every weekend just to make sure things are going good at school and Kratae class, yada, yada. It’s nice to be part of this new family.”

Serving as a lone soldier is something you get used to, Natalie says. “I went to a friend’s house. His sister was sick so they were taking care of her in the living room. His mom was preparing food, his dad was on the computer. In the middle of all that, I just started crying.”

We spoke on the eve of Passover, and Natalie told me she was planning to stay on duty, to let other soldiers go home for the holiday.

Her discharge is right around the corner. “I’ve been so nervous about it. In the Army, even though it’s stressful and you learn so much about yourself, you’re still somewhat of a child. The Army takes care of you. They feed me, they tell me where to go and when.”

Britain: Muslim ‘Cultural Sensitivity’ Runs Amok

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

The largest university in London plans to impose a ban on the sale of alcohol on campus to accommodate the “cultural sensitivity” of its Muslim students.

London Metropolitan University’s Vice Chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, says it would be unwise to “cling” to a “nostalgic” view where the vast majority wants alcohol to be available. Instead, he says that he believes the university should take account of diverging views, namely those of Muslims, who now comprise 20% of the university’s 30,000 students.

“Many of our students do come from backgrounds where they actually look on drinking as a negative. We therefore need to rethink how we cater for that 21st-century balance,” Gillies declared in an interview. “What we don’t want is the tyranny of a majority view,” he added. Gillies’ proposals to re-engineer social life on campus have, not surprisingly, generated a mostly negative response from students, many of whom say a ban on alcohol smacks of politically correct pandering run amok.

Muslims, too, are unhappy with Gillies. Far from thanking him for his multicultural activism, Muslims say they are “offended” by his “generalizing about their beliefs.”

To be sure, London Metropolitan University is not the first institution in Britain to bend over backwards to avoid “offending” Muslims. In fact, hardly a day goes by in which Britons are not surrendering some aspect of their culture and traditions — not to mention their rights of free speech and free expression — in order to make Britain safe for Islam.

British schools increasingly are dropping the Jewish Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, according to a report entitled Teaching Emotive and Controversial History, which was commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills. British teachers are also reluctant to discuss the medieval Crusades – in which Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem — because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques. British social welfare offices have banned novelty pig calendars and toys lest they offend Muslims. Workers in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, for example, were told to remove or cover up all pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.

In West Yorkshire, the Park Road Junior Infant and Nursery School in Batley has banned stories featuring pigs, including “The Three Little Pigs,” in case they offend Muslim children.

In Nottingham, the Greenwood Primary School cancelled a Christmas nativity play because it interfered with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. In Scarborough, the Yorkshire Coast College removed the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar not to offend Muslims. In Scotland, the Tayside Police Departmentapologized for featuring a German shepherd puppy as part of a campaign to publicize its new non-emergency telephone number. The postcards are potentially offensive to the city’s 3,000-strong Muslim community: Islamic legal tradition says that dogs are impure.

The British Girl Scout Associationhas designed new uniforms especially for Muslims students, who had “issues” with the existing range of clothing.

In Sheffield, a five-year-old girlhad her passport form rejected when an official said the bare shoulders on her photograph could offend Muslims.

Muslim doctors and nurses in Britain are now allowed to opt out of strict hygiene rules introduced by the National Health Service to restrict the spread of hospital superbugs. The change was made after female Muslims objected to being required to expose their arm below the elbow under guidance introduced to reduce the number of patients who were falling ill, and even dying, from bacteria. Meanwhile, in South Yorkshire, an elderly woman in a nursing homedied after she suffered a fall and was left lying on the floor bleeding because the Muslim nurse, Abdul Bhutto, said he had to finish his prayers before he could help the woman.

In Oldham, a breastfeeding mother was evicted from a waiting room in city hall (aka a “multicultural” building) to avoid offending Muslims. British law allows nursing mothers to breastfeed in public.

In Glasgow, a Christian radio show host was fired after a debate between a Muslim and a Christian on whether Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.” In Birmingham, two Christians were told by police “you can’t preach here, this is a Muslim area.” In Cheshire, two students at the Alsager High School were punished by their teacher for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their religious education class. Also in Cheshire, a 14-year-old Roman Catholic girl who attends Ellesmere Port Catholic High Schoolwas branded a truant by teachers for refusing to dress like a Muslim and visit a mosque.

In Liverpool, a Christian couple was forced to sell their hotel after a female Muslim guest accused the pair of insulting her during a debate about Islam. In London, Rory Bremner, a political comedian, said that every time he writes a sketch about Islam, he fears that he is signing his own death warrant. Also in London, ScotlandYard says that Muslims who launch a shoe at another person are not committing a crime because the practice is Islamic symbolism.

In Kent, police have been banned from asking for a person’s “Christian” name, in case this request offends Muslims. The Kent Police Department’s62-page ‘Faith and Culture Resource’ guide tells officers to use “personal and family name” instead of “Christian” name.

In East London, all elected members of Tower Hamlets town councilwere told not to eat during daylight hours in town hall meetings during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Special arrangements were also made to disrupt council meetings to allow for Muslim prayer. Meanwhile, the council renamed a staff Christmas party as a “festive meal.”

In Leicester, a gang of Somali Muslim womenwho assaulted and nearly killed a non-Muslim passer-by in the city center walked free after a politically correct judge decided that as Muslims, the women were “not used to being drunk.”

Elsewhere in Britain, a foster motherwas struck off the social services register for allowing a Muslim girl in her care to convert to Christianity. Officials insist the woman, who has looked after more than 80 children in the past ten years, failed in her duty to preserve the girl’s religion and should have tried to stop the baptism. They ruled that the girl, 17, should stay away from church for six months.

In London, the Harrow Council provoked a storm of protest after announcing plans to offer Islamic halal-only menus in the borough’s 52 state primary schools. Parents are outraged that meat prepared according to Islamic Sharia law is being pushed on non-Muslim children. Meanwhile, most of the in-flight meals on British Airways could soon be halal. The airline also says Muslim staff may wear veils, but Christian employees may not wear crosses.

In West Yorkshire, an electrician working for a housing association in Wakefield was told he would be fired for placing a small palm cross on the dashboard of his van. His employer said the cross could be offensive to Muslims: “Wakefield and District Housing has a stance of neutrality. We now have different faiths, new emerging cultures. We have to be respectful of all views and beliefs.”

In London, a Christian employee at Heathrow Airportwas fired for exposing a campaign of systematic harassment by fundamentalist Muslims.

In Leicester, furious Muslims demanded that Walkers, a British snack food manufacturer owned by PepsiCo, demanded that the company change its packaging labels after it emerged that certain varieties of its potato chips contain small amounts of trace alcohol to extract certain flavors.

Across Britain, Muslim bus and taxi driversare telling blind passengers that they cannot bring their “unclean” dogs on board. The problem of prohibiting guide dogs on religious grounds has become so widespread that the matter was recently raised in the House of Lords.

In Reading, one pensioner, a cancer sufferer, was repeatedly confronted by drivers and asked to get off the bus because of his guide dog. He also faced hostility at a hospital and in a supermarket over the animal. In Nottingham, a Muslim taxi driver refused to carry a blind man because he was accompanied by his guide dog. The taxi driver was later fined £300 ($470).

In Stafford, a Muslim taxi driver refused to carry an elderly blind couple from a grocery store because they were accompanied by their seeing-eye dog. In Tunbridge Wells, Kent, a blind man was turned away from an Indian restaurant because the owner said it was against his Muslim beliefs to allow dogs into his establishment.

In London, a bus driver prevented a woman from boarding a bus with her dog because there was a Muslim lady on the bus who “might be upset by the dog.” As the woman attempted to complain, the doors closed and the bus drove away. When a second bus arrived, she again tried to embark, but was stopped again, this time because the driver said he was Muslim.

In Britain, police sniffer dogs trained to spot terrorists at train stations may no longer come into contact with Muslim passengers, following complaints that it was offensive to their religion. Sniffer dogs used by police to search mosques and Muslim homes are now being fitted with leather booteesto cover their paws so they do not cause offense.

In British prisons, radical Muslim gangs are imposing Sharia law on non-Muslim inmates, who have been forced to stop playing Western music, take down pictures of women from their cells and stop eating sausage. The gangs are also targeting non-Muslim inmates for forced conversions to Islam.

In Leeds, more than 200 Muslim inmates at a high security prison are set to launch a multi-million pound claim for compensation after they were offered ham sandwiches during the month of Ramadan. They say their human rights were breached when they were offered the meat, which is forbidden by Islam. At the same time, Muslim sex offendersserving time in British prisons are asking to be exempt from a prison treatment program because the idea that “criminals should not have to talk about their offenses” is a “legitimate Islamic position.”

Meanwhile, Muslim prisonersin Britain are being given fresh clothes and bedding after sniffer dogs search their cells. The inmates say their bedclothes and prison uniforms must be changed according to Islamic law if they have come anywhere near dog saliva. Government rules mean prison wardens must hand out replacement sets after random drug searches to avoid religious discrimination claims. The dogs have also been banned from touching copies of the Islamic holy book the Koran and other religious items. Prisoners now receive special bags to protect the articles.

At the same time, the British government has spent thousands of pounds of taxpayer money to rebuild prison toiletsso that Muslim inmates do not have to use them while facing Mecca. Islam prohibits Muslims from facing or turning their backs on the Kiblah — the direction of prayer — when they visit the lavatory. After pressure from Muslim, who claimed they had to sit sideways on prison WCs, the Home Office agreed to turn the existing toilets 90 degrees.

Muslims attending the 2012 Olympic Games in London will be relieved to learn that toilet facilities at London’s Olympic Parkare being built so they will not have to face Mecca while sitting on the loo.

Nevertheless, the 2012 London Olympics have been plunged into controversy by the discovery that the Games will clash with Ramadan. In 2012, Ramadan will take place from July 21 to August 20, while the Olympics run from July 27 to August 12. Muslims have asked for the games to be rescheduled.  

Israeli-Based “DogTV” For Dogs At Home Alone

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The new made-in-Israel US cable channel, DogTV, is scientifically designed to make dogs happy when they’re left at home alone, according to Israel21C.

DogTV began a six-month free trial of the 24 hour digital channel on February 13 in San Diego. If successful, it will be available by subscription. San Diego was chosen as the test market by DogTV creators because of its emphasis on dog friendliness, including special dog beaches, parks, and daycare centers.

According to their research, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend leaving TV on for dogs who are home alone, in order to stimulate them and reduce the possibility of stress or depression.

The channel’s programming will be divided into three categories – relaxation, stimulation, and education – accustoming them to the sounds of street traffic or noisy household appliances.

Chad Gadya – Pesach & the Order of Things

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

As the Seder night ebbs away – long after the Four Questions have been asked and answered, after the festive meal has been eaten and the post-feast drowsiness descends, after the evening’s mitzvot have been observed and the fourth cup of wine emptied – we raise our voices in a curious, delightful, seemingly whimsical song at the end of the Haggadah.

The song is Chad Gadya, a lively tune that is one of the most popular of the many Pesach songs as well as one of the strangest.

On the surface, Chad Gadya appears to be nothing so much as a simple folk tune. Perhaps even a nursery rhyme suitable for the youngest among us, the very child who sang the Four Questions early in the Seder.

Like so many nursery rhymes – an egg perched upon a wall? A fork running away with a spoon? A cow jumping over the moon? Two young children tumbling down the hill? – it is filled with odd images and paradoxes.

What are we to make of these curious images? Likewise, what are we to make of a song that seems, on its surface, to be about the purchase of a goat? While it is possible to enjoy the song just in the singing, the paradoxes and troubling images draw us deeper as we search for meaning and significance.

Why have the rabbis placed this strange song in the Haggadah?

Certainly it keeps the children awake so that the end of the Seder is as filled with delight as its beginning. But more than that, the song is part of a sublime and meaningful religious/halachic experience.

A skeptical reader will no doubt ask: A religious experience? About goats? What does Chad Gadya – a song worthy of Dr. Seuss, a song that goes on and on about goats, cats, dogs, sticks and butchers – have to do with the leil shimurim, the night of geulah and redemp­tion?

Is this any way to conclude Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim?

* * * * *

Among many other things, our ancient rabbis were brilliant educators. God had commanded that we teach our children. The question then became, How best to teach? How best to fulfill this commandment?

The answer: To engage and to reward. And to keep the focus on the student – the child. For Pesach is a holiday of children. And it is right that it is so. Our Egyptian servitude was made more painful for its cruelty to our children.

“And he said, When you deliver the Hebrew women look at the birthstool; if it is a boy, kill him.” With these words, Pharaoh sought to cut off our future by denying us a generation of children. He demanded that “every son that is born… be cast into the river.”

Why did Pharaoh cause such suffering for the Jewish people? For no other reason than we grew. We became numerous. We gave birth to children, in accordance with God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Pharaoh felt threatened by our numbers. “The children of Israel proliferated, swarmed, multiplied, and grew more and more.”

How great was Pharaoh’s hatred of the Jews and our children? How threatened did he feel? So threatened that the Midrash teaches us that when the Israelites fell short in fulfilling the prescribed quota of mortar and bricks, the children were used in their stead to fill in the foundation of the store cities built in their servitude. Another Midrash describes Pharaoh bathing in the blood of young children.

When redemption was finally at hand, children were once again at the forefront of this historical and religious drama. When Moses first confronted Pharaoh with the request to be free to go into the desert to worship, he proclaimed, “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters.” In making this proclamation, he was giving voice to the ultimate purpose of our redemption, found in the central command of Pesach, “You will tell your son on that day, saying: It is because of this the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt…”

Judaism is a faith rooted in the past but which is always forward looking. Tradition loses meaning unless it is passed forward to the next generation. We do not look for individual redemption so much as communal salvation.

For that to happen, our children must thrive. They must go forward with a solid foundation in the godly lessons of our history. The Exodus from Egypt is rife with the significant role our children played in its historical narrative.

Perhaps Chad Gadya, in its guise of a nursery rhyme, is no different from the afikoman, one more in a series of games and songs and techniques to stimulate and motivate the interest and curiosity of the youngest among us on the Seder night.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/chad-gadya-pesach-the-order-of-things/2012/04/04/

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