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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘face’

Winners of “Face of the German Tourist” Contest Arrive in Israel

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

An Austrian couple is enjoying the sites in the Holy Land after winning an Israel Government Tourist Office competition for “the face of the German tourist in Israel.”

Some 350 couples registered to compete for the Grand Prize – a 10-day visit to Israel and participation in a film for the German tourist campaign, designed to encourage tourism from Germany, Switzerland and Austria to Israel.

The winners are Barbara and Roman Egger, a Christian couple from Salzburg, Austria, aged 38 and parents to  a 4-year-old girl.

In their application, the couple wrote “Whether it is in the desert, at sea, at the Western Wall or the Galilee, Israel has fascinated us for a long time. We are eager to visit and hope our smile will pave the way for our journey.”

Upon their return to Austria, the couple will hold a press conference and will participate with the Israel Government Tourist Office for a year on various advertising campaigns.

During the first half of 2012, approximately 132,000 tourists from Germany arrived in Israel, a 4% increase over the same period last year.

U.N. Head Rejects Calls for Israel’s Annihilation

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

What’s wrong with that title? Why does it fill me with anger?

What do you mean he “rejected” the call for Israel’s annihilation? UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon attended the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran. That’s right – Ki-Moon went to Tehran, a nation calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the map…to tell them that he rejects this?

Honestly, that message could have been delivered from New York.

I guess what really bothers me, what I reject, is the word “reject.” It is a relatively passive voice compared to the genocide it discusses. No, Tehran is not planning on asking Israelis to politely leave the region. What he wants to do – what he will do if he manages to cross the nuclear barrier, is try to blow Israel up; to erase us; to murder us – all of us.

He will aim missiles at my home, my children, my land. He will fire those missiles and really not care where they land – even if it obliterates my Palestinian neighbors, Ahmadinejad will be happy so long as we join them.

I’ve written about this before – but I’ll write it again. Thirty years ago, and I still remember the exact words written in the New York Times. I remember the feeling deep in the pit of my stomach; the shock of going outside and seeing the sun still shining.

Israel had offered to host a conference on genocide – who better than the Jews, who were the victims of Hitler’s genocidal “final solution.” It was to be a conference on not just the Jewish Holocaust, but other historical acts of injustice – including the Armenian massacre that claimed the lives of 1.5 million people.

Turkey was enraged – you see, the perpetrators yet live. There was no Armenian genocide, claim the Turks, and to prove it – they threatened the Jewish community of Turkey. According to the New York Times – some thirty years ago, “Turkey cannot guarantee the lives, nor the livelihoods of Turkey’s Jewish community.”

Those were the words – burned into my brain. I was sitting in the dining hall, eating breakfast and reading the newspaper – I can even tell you where the article appeared – front page, lower right hand corner…I stared at it. I read it again. I heard the noise around the room and everyone was talking and I was in shock.

They just threatened tens of thousands of people – what is WRONG with you all? I wanted to shout. I took a deep breath, left my food where it was, and walked outside. Surely, the cars would have stopped in the street – everywhere, people would be rallying. The world would not be silent again!

I went outside and stood in the street and watched as people walked past me, the sun shining brightly. The cars moved; the lights changed. What was WRONG with these people?

It is happening now – Iran IS threatening Israel. We are prepared, this time, to defend ourselves. We are protecting our own – we even have gas masks for our babies. A new design, isn’t that wonderful – better, longer lasting, whatever.

Ban Ki-Moon “rejects” calls for Israel’s annihilation? He REJECTS them? I do not for a moment believe it will happen. I do not believe missiles will rain down on Israel but that is because I believe in God, a God who has chosen my people long ago. He brought us to this land; promised it to us. He has returned us to Israel and He has returned Israel to us.

No, God won’t allow Israel to be annihilated. I know this – but Ban Ki-Moon does not; Obama does not; the presidents and prime ministers of the western world do not know this great secret of the Jewish people. God will stop the missiles – and it is likely that His Hand will be the Israeli army, our sons.

But Ban Ki-Moon’s “rejection” is too mild for the words, for the threat. To be worthy of his post, he should be slapping Ahmadinejad in the face – in the wallet, and in the face. “Who do you think you are?” He should be demanding. “Do you think that the world will stay quiet this time? Never again will we allow genocide such as you are threatening. If you dare, it will not be Israel that will be annihilated, but YOUR land, YOUR country, YOUR life, YOUR government.”

How to Retire When You Don’t Have Enough Money

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Very often, life doesn’t turn out the way you expect it. For example, over the years you may have dreamed of having a certain income or level of savings when you retire. For various reasons, however, that has not happened. Maybe certain things occurred within your personal life that meant that you had to spend the savings that you worked so hard to accrue, such as a serious illness, major, unexpected repairs to your home, or more. Perhaps you started investing too late, or you put your money into investments that did not bring you the returns that you anticipated. Or maybe you were just one of those people who spent too much every month.

Whatever the reason, if you reach retirement age and you see that you are not going to have enough money for your anticipated needs, what should you do?

First of all, don’t stress about it. Although this is not the ideal situation, you won’t necessarily end up on the street. There are some steps that you can take to make your life a little easier if your nest egg isn’t as large as you would like it to be:

Keep working part time. Consider partial retirement instead of full retirement. Though older people do not always find it easy to get new employment, there are still places where the experience of a senior citizen is appreciated. Any income you receive means that you will be withdrawing less from your savings account.

Turn down the volume. As you are going to face a cut in your income, learn to cut down your expectations. A trimmed budget doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut out recreation, just find cheaper or free means of entertainment. Visit the library, not a bookstore. Visiting free public museums, going for walks along the sea front, and offering to take your grandchildren for one afternoon may not be as glamorous as a luxury cruise, but they cost a lot less and believe it or not, they can be just as rewarding.

Pay attention to your spending habits. While some people watch their budgets for most of their lives, there are plenty who don’t. If you fall into that second category, it’s time to change. Start taking note of your budget now, even before you retire, and you will be better able to cope with living in reduced circumstances when the time comes.

Keep up with your investments. If you do have a few investments, don’t panic when you retire and start selling them all. Consult with a financial adviser on how to make the best of the investments that you have and what you can do to make the best of your retirement years under the circumstances.

There aren’t any magical solutions to retiring comfortably without adequate savings, but there are certain strategies you can use to avoid and fix personal finance mistakes.

Why US Ambassador Condemned IDF Probe, Boosting ISM’s Rachel Corrie Myth

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This Tuesday the verdict is expected in a wrongful death suit against the government of Israel brought by the family of an American girl who died when she acted as a human shield against Israeli military anti-terrorism efforts.

As if there weren’t already enough drama and media attention surrounding the Rachel Corrie trial, it appears that U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro this week lent credibility to the plaintiffs’ case against the government of Israel when he reportedly criticized the Israeli investigation into Corrie’s death.

According to several news reports, Ambassador Shapiro told the Corrie family that the U.S. government believes the Israeli investigation was not “thorough, credible and transparent.”  That was enough to feed the liberal blogosphere, which touted the US support for the Corries, convicting Israel in their own court hearing.

But is that really the case?

The Israeli investigation, conducted immediately after Corrie’s death, concluded that what happened was a tragic accident brought on largely because Corrie insisted on entering and remaining in a military zone, and ignored repeated and escalating efforts to leave the area.  Further, that investigation found that the bulldozer operator could not have seen Corrie when she was struck and killed.

A little background, first.

In late January, 2003, Rachel Corrie moved from Olympia, Washington to Gaza, where she joined the virulently anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement and volunteered to act as a human shield in order to stop Israeli efforts to combat terrorism. She died on March 16, 2003, when she placed herself in the path of an Israeli army bulldozer that was in the process of leveling ground and removing booby traps planted by terrorists.

Between the time that Corrie arrived at the site and her death, the IDF issued multiple warnings and attempted to remove Corrie and her colleagues with shock grenades, tear gas and warning shots. The protesters refused to leave the site.

An Israeli military investigation took place immediately after Corrie’s death. The IDF concluded its investigation in June, 2003, finding that the bulldozer driver could not have seen Corrie, that the death was a tragic accident, and that Corrie had endangered herself by entering and remaining in a combat zone.  The investigation determined there was no fault on the part of the Israeli bulldozer driver, and that no charges would be brought.

What happened next within the US government on this issue is nearly as much of a deep mystery as many of Corrie’s supporters believe events surrounding her death is.

When Amb. Shapiro met with the Corries in advance of the court verdict last week, he was representing the US government, speaking to an American family, and discussing the death of an American citizen.  Although much has been made of his statement by supporters of the Corries, in fact he was simply repeating what has been described as the official position of the US government with respect to the Israeli investigation into Corrie’s death.

But where did the position come from?  Upon what was it based?

It turns out, the position appears to simply be the opinion of Rachel Corrie’s parents, the plaintiffs in the case against the government of Israel.

During his confirmation hearing in May, 2011, now Ambassador Dan Shapiro was asked by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry what steps he would take to ensure, as the State Department Spokesperson had called for, “that the Israeli government would continue a thorough, transparent and credible investigation of the circumstances concerning [Corrie’s] death.”

The State Department spokesperson was echoing what, in 2008, Senator Joe Biden asked during the confirmation hearing for Ambassador James Cunningham, now ambassador to Afghanistan, who was leaving his position at the US Consulate in Hong Kong.

Biden asked the future ambassador to Israel about the Rachel Corrie incident.  He asked whether, “in your opinion, has a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation taken place?” The Ambassador did not answer in the affirmative.  Instead, Cunningham stated that “The Department remains committed to providing the highest standards of citizen services  to the Corrie family. If confirmed, I will continue to press the Government of Israel for a thorough and transparent investigation of the tragic death of Rachel Corrie.”

Curious.

For those few who have followed the path of the “official US administration position” regarding Israel’s investigation into Corrie’s death, the trail leads to a letter allegedly written in June, 2004, to the Corries by Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.  Wilkerson was replying to the Corries who asked him whether, in his opinion, the investigation conducted by Israel was “thorough, credible and transparent.”  According to legend, Wilkerson replied: “no.”

School Resumes, Pro-Israel Advocates Get Busy

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Visit http://israelcampusbeat.org for the latest Israel trends and events on campus.

As students prepare for the new academic year, the campus Israel community is stocking up with new ideas for attracting participants, as well as using some tried-and-true approaches from past years. Israel advocates face the challenge of creating techniques that focus on retaining old students and recruiting new ones who have yet to become active on campus.

Many pro-Israel groups see the first month of school as a crucial period—a small window of time in which they must draw students to their cause. They focus much of their efforts on students who have demonstrated interest by visiting Israel recently.

At the University of Texas at Austin, Tracy Frydberg, a sophomore who serves as vice president of Texans for Israel (TFI), said, “At the beginning of the school year, TFI will contact any student who went on Birthright or other trips to Israel, talk to them about their experience and find ways for them to stay involved.”

At Penn State, sophomore vice president of Penn State Israel Alliance (PSIA) , Melissa Saks, said, “It is critical to branch out to those students who have visited Israel over the summer, especially at the beginning of the semester, because they are still on that ‘Israel high’ and really feel compelled to be involved with helping Israel.”

However, not all students have been to Israel and advocates must find ways to make Zionism and the Jewish state appealing to them.

Some activists plan to work with like-minded campus groups that can help them reach large new audiences. At the University of Nevada at Reno, junior Elliot Malin described an environment in which he and other pro-Israel students seek “to reach out to a larger group this year by doing more events with Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

“Since our Jewish population is so small,” Malin said, “we figured if we can engage with another energized group we can be more successful. We want to diversify the leadership to get those who aren’t as involved more involved.”

Reaching out to students in the 21st century involves a mix of traditional and innovative approaches. Many campus Israel groups use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to highlight their activities. PSIA has embraced another technology — television — to spread their message. They have crossed into relatively new territory by appearing on their University’s news channel. With approximately 40,000 undergraduate students on Penn State’s campus, the university channel provides an easy and effective way to reach a broad segment of the student population.

Advocates at schools without a university news channel can still reach a large and diverse student body during the activities fair; a day early in the semester when every club on campus is allowed to set up shop at a table and display materials, pamphlets and other unique club attributes to campus.

Nonetheless, sometimes the most effective pitch for advocates to give is a simple, face-to-face discussion.

“I hope to sit down over coffee with as many people that I can and find them specific roles and jobs within TFI to keep them excited and engaged for the rest of the school year,” said UT’s Frydberg.

Visit http://israelcampusbeat.org for the latest Israel trends and events on campus.

Rav Ovadia Yosef: We Must Pray for the Destruction of Iran

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

With the approach of Rosh Hashana, Rav Ovadia Yosef said on Saturday night that when we eat the traditional holiday symbolic foods, whose names or shapes have a symbolic connection to our supplications to Hashem, especially when we make the blessing over the dates, t’marim, and pray that our enemies be obliterated, we should focus specifically on Iran, the wicked nation which is threatening the State of Israel. “May the good Lord obliterate them, destroy them…”

Tractate Kritut in the Babylonian Talmud teaches that we should eat on Rosh Hashanah, among other fruits, a date – “tamar” – which contains the syllable “tam” or ended, and after eating a portion of it we should say, “May it be Your will, our God and the God of our fathers, that all our enemies and haters and all who plots against us be terminated.”

Also, when we eat a leek (“kreti”) we should appeal to God that our enemies and haters along with anyone who plots against us be destroyed, the Rav clarified that we should focus on the Hizbullah and Iran.

“May God destroy them and wipe them off the face of the earth,” said the Rav and quoted many sources in Psalms referring to the Almighty’s salvation in the face of enemy threats.

“They go by chariot and on horseback and we will go in the name of Our God. They bowed and fell, and we got up and persevered.”

During discussions throughout the previous week, Rav Ovadia referred to the Iranian threat, saying, “There are evil people, the Iranians, waiting to destroy us . . . .we must pour out our hearts in prayer to the Holy One, blessed be His Name. . . .We are in danger, we are all in danger. . . .We have no one to rely upon, except our Father in Heaven. We must pray from the heart with deep concentration.”

The Haredi website Kikar HaShabbat last week reported that General (Res.) Yaakov Amidror, Chief Advisor for National Security, came to Rav Ovadia’s house and briefed him with information of Iran’s nuclear plan.

The Mouse Is Smarter Than Me: Preparing For Rosh Hashanah

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

It is hard to believe that Elul is upon us and that the Day of Judgment is only one month away. In a short 30 days we must face our Creator and have our deeds evaluated in the hopes of a receiving a merciful blessing for a good and healthy year. We spend the month of Elul focused on repentance, and we learn the holy books of mussar to inspire us to grow and change.

Over the past two months I have learned some important lessons from a brave mouse. Are we permitted to learn from the animals of the world? Chazal tell us that if we did not have the Torah to guide us, we would be able to learn how to behave by studying the animals. We could learn modesty from the cat, industriousness from the ant, and fidelity from the dove. As I have exhaustively searched for my illegal tenant, I have realized that not only is this mouse smarter than me, but that I can learn from its actions.

Chazal tell us that we can learn from all of Hashem’s creations. We can learn from the industrious nature of an ant – it lifts large amounts of food for storage when it will not live long enough to enjoy the large reserves of food it is toiling so hard to store.

A mouse of my acquaintance took up residence in a large industrial kitchen. One night it tore into three bags of flour in order to enjoy a midnight snack. The 150 lbs of flour that we had to discard could have provided hundreds of years of nourishment for it and its descendants. I wondered why it did not just stick with one bag; why ruin three bags of flour in one evening binge? I wondered whether it was the excitement of breaking into a new bag; once it had free reign, one bag was not enough.

The next week, I had ten bags of jellybeans in my office in preparation for a camp activity. Like the mouse, I had to try all ten flavors. This experience comes up often in the course of our lifetimes. We often become heady with the feeling of having free reign, neglecting to think about the repercussions of our actions. During these days of teshuva, however, we are reminded that we cannot always eat what we want or spend our lives doing whatever we wish. We came to this world for a purpose, and we must focus on our goals in order to live successful lives. Living a life of never-ending jellybeans will allow us to enjoy the bounty of Hashem’s beautiful world, but it must be accompanied with efforts to change ourselves for the better. In the absence of growth-oriented pursuits, we are living the lives of the wild mouse or the relentless jellybean-eaters. Hashem gave us the Torah and its commandments in order to guide us in living a life of meaning and purpose throughout the year.

Shortly after the mouse-in-the-flour episode, I met my friend the mouse in the bakery and watched as he was cornered, a glue trap on one side and a broom-wielding kitchen worker on the other. The mouse apparently chose to face a six-foot tall man rather than a six-inch long mousetrap. The mouse ran straight at us, and as the frightened worker hopped on the chair and I stepped aside in a temporary state of shock, the mighty mouse ran towards his freedom. Amazingly, despite the great disparity in our sizes, the mouse appeared to be less scared of us than we were of him!

It reminded me that fear and respect is often wasted on relatively silly fears, instead of reserving our awe for that which is worthy of respect. Try to recall the fear that races through your heart when you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror as you get pulled over to the side of the highway for exceeding the speed limit. Remember the feeling of trepidation as the man with high black boots and shiny buttons asks for your license and registration. While this experience generally does not yield more pain than a fine and points on your license, the fear of the eight-inch piece of paper leaves you begging for mercy with the respect and dignity reserved for royalty. Are we not embarrassed at the contrast between the respect accorded to a stranger with ticket-wielding power and the lack of reverence that we display to our Creator when we speak to Him three times a day? When I consider that during these days of judgement, everything is on the line, in contrast to the small fine administered in the course of speeding ticket, I realize that my priorities are not aligned with the reality before me.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/the-mouse-is-smarter-than-me-preparing-for-rosh-hashanah/2012/08/23/

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