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10 Rockets Launched From Gaza at Israel

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

The “Red Alert” missile siren has been going off in cities and towns around Gaza for the past half hour. Residents have reported hearing explosions.

Ten rockets have been launched at Israel so far, including at Ashkelon and Gan Yavneh. No one has been injured from the strikes.

Islamic Jihad has been taking credit for the launches.

Earlier this evening, Gazans launched an anti-tank missile at an Israeli jeep, prompting Israel to strike back.

Mortar Shells From Syria Hit Israeli Moshav

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Three mortar shells landed in Israel’s Golan Heights on Thursday morning, in what security officials are saying is an accidental firing as part of the bloody battle between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and a growing militant opposition.

Two shells fell near moshav Alonei HaBashan, causing no injuries or damage.  The third shell landed inside the moshav, but miraculously did not detonate.  IDF sappers disarmed the mortar.

On Monday, officials reported that it was a stray bullet which hit an army jeep patrolling on the border.  On November 3, three Syrian tanks entered a demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel.  Israel filed a complaint with the UN, which has a large cadre of “peacekeepers” stationed in the area.

Since the beginning of Syria’s civil war in March 2011, over 36,000 Syrians have been killed on both sides and approximately half a million people are considered refugees.

Ha’aretz’s Good News Poll

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Can we trust Haaretz reporting on polls?

After Eldar and Levy on those “apartheid” stories?

Here’s the latest, “For the right man, Israelis would make peace” which makes the claim that

“The consensus is moving to the right, but that doesn’t mean Israeli Jews won’t support a deal with the PA if the right leader comes along, a new study shows.”

The May (five months ago!) data is from Tel Aviv University’s Walter Lebach Institute for Jewish-Arab Coexistence, but it seems not even to be up at its site.

Some findings:

- 80 percent of Israelis don’t believe it’s possible to make peace with the Palestinians. Half of them don’t believe it’s ever possible to make peace, while half don’t believe it’s possible in the foreseeable future. About two-thirds support a diplomatic solution, but many more still eagerly buy the convenient argument that there’s no partner.

- 87 percent of secular Jewish Israelis believe in the need for peace with the Palestinians, but only half the religiously observant and a smaller percentage of the ultra-Orthodox believe this. Traditional Jews have moved to the right and are now in the middle of the road.

- Only about 20 percent of secular Jews see the demographic threat as an existential problem and only one-third believe the occupation and the settlements are creating a security threat to Israel.

- Nearly half the respondents consider Palestinian terror a major security problem.

- Within the Green Line, the number who consider themselves rightists or right-leaning has increased from 41 percent to 48 percent. Two-thirds of this increase comes at the expense of those who say they hold centrist positions. But between 2002 and 2012 the left has strengthened; it has grown from 20 percent to 25 percent.

- 60 percent of the public supports a democratic solution to the conflict, 22 percent of Jewish residents of the West Bank prefer the authority of the rabbis to the authority of the elected institutions.

-  Six percent of the respondents (14 percent of the settlers ) see the use of violence to prevent withdrawal from the West Bank as legitimate, while 59 percent (70 percent of the settlers ) believe that the public only has the right to fight for its beliefs within the law (compared with 31 percent and 45 percent respectively at the beginning of the decade ).

- Around 37 percent of the secular respondents see the settlers as pioneers, compared with 32 percent in 2005, and 35 percent see them as “the bedrock of our existence,” compared with 23 percent in 2005.

The really silly item Eldar emphasizes that

the hard core of settlers as represented by Gush Emunim, which has pushed the Israeli government and public to settle in the territories, hasn’t spread its messianic ideology among the public, or even among the settlers. It turns out that the main motivations for living in the territories, including among many of the religious, are comfort and quality of life.

But that was the point, that it is natural for Jews to live in their homeland.  The vanguard always needs a more powerful ideological motivation but in pulling over the masses, the reasons for their remaining can assuredly be such mundane, for Eldar, ones.  Doesn’t alter the reality.

He also claims the report indicates

…it’s possible to evacuate half the settlers with their consent if they are offered compensation equivalent to up to 300 percent of the value of their property.

but also the public is split

between people with a neo-Zionist outlook who emphasize a nationalist-religious agenda and a moderate Zionist majority that focuses on the land inside the Green Line and promotes a social agenda.  Therefore, the right is advancing its agenda unhindered, the researchers say…the occupation remains on the margins of the[centrists'] political concerns.

I think that’s good news.

Visit My Right Word.

The Ethiopian Aliyah Comes to a Close

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

A ceremony welcoming the new immigrants will take place at Ben Gurion Airport Terminal 1 on Monday, 29.10.12 at 15:00. In attendance will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, James S. Tisch, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver, Chairman of Keren Hayesod, Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, Kathy Manning and members of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors.

The first charter flight with approximately 240 Olim (immigrants) from Ethiopia, half of them children, will arrive in Israel on Monday, 29.10. The flight was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel pursuant to the July government decision to increase the rate of Ethiopian Aliyah in order to complete the immigration of the remainder of the Falash Mura to Israel. The ceremony will take place during the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, which is taking place this week in Tel Aviv with the participation of Jewish leaders from Israel and around the world.

In July 2012, the government of Israel decided to increase the rate of Aliyah from Ethiopia in order to complete the process as quickly as possible. It was decided to reopen the Jewish Agency’s Ibim Absorption Center located in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, which will be able to accommodate up to 600 of the Falash Mura. In order to facilitate the reopening of Ibim, the Jewish Agency raised 12 million shekels in addition to five and a half million shekels invested by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

Operation Dove’s Wings is expected to be completed by October 2013, with the immigration of the remainder of the eligible Falash Mura, who have been waiting in Gondar. The Jewish Agency for Israel has been operating a community center in Gondar, headed by Asher Sium, to provide services for the waiting Olim. The center provides a comprehensive range of social services including preparation classes for Aliyah run by a group of volunteers, humanitarian assistance and catering services. The center also runs a school which includes Hebrew and Jewish studies as well as the regular curriculum of the Ethiopian Education Ministry.

The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Mr Natan Sharansky, noted that this was a historic moment which began with Operation Moses, continued with Operation Solomon, and will be concluded with Operation Dove’s Wings. Sharansky thanked the Jewish Agency’s partners across the Jewish World and in Israel for their contribution to the Aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry and to their integration into Israeli society.

10,000 Pounds

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Staring out his window, Yakov tried ignoring the overwhelming sweep of emotions. He watched as the horses calmly grazed in the fields, oblivious to the deep hate brewing on each side of the farm. The audacity his brother has, Yakov shuddered thinking about it. Shaking his head he couldn’t think. Things hadn’t been easy since Father had died, he admit, but why now? After all the legal issues to deal with. After all the emotional pain. After watching their own mother wither away from the ache and void. But Levi couldn’t let it go.

He couldn’t let that child rivalry pass. Fighting over toys. Fighting over who sat where at the table. Why couldn’t it just disappear with the childish freckles? Why couldn’t they just move on, and start their lives all over again? Was it still about whose sandcastle stayed over night? Whose tower didn’t topple? Whose snowman didn’t melt? Somehow it still leads to those subconscious levels of hatred.

Silently Yakov had hoped it would stop, now that Father had died. Didn’t Levi realize it wasn’t a game? Can’t he see that this is real life now? But still, for Levi it was about whose side of the farm was better. It’s still about who can do it faster.

The glimmering blue water, shining in the sunlight. Biting his lip, Yakov couldn’t believe this immature gesture. Levi had built a lake. A lake to separate them – like a trap in Capture the Flag.

A lake! To separate their halves of the farm. Like the jump rope they had tied across their bedroom. Swallowing, Yakov couldn’t hold back anymore. Levi was no brother. This was not the way brothers acted. Years of this, and still it hadn’t stopped. He was tired of it, he decided.

Yakov watched as the muscled workers carried long wooden panels across, their sweat laminating in the sunlight. Ten thousand pounds of wood, the contractor explained. A couple of weeks and the wall would be up – a wall that would cut Levi off from Yakov’s side of the farm. He wouldn’t have to watch Levi’s children running through the meadows. He wouldn’t have to watch Levi come out every morning, content with life, while torturing his younger brother, just a couple of acres across the field.

Turning from the window, Yakov sat down to eat his breakfast, finally satisfied. All these years of tireless childish arguments would come to an end. A wall blocking his view of that half of the world. Blocking him off from the entire idea. Running away from the reality of facing the painful rendezvous.

Hours later, Yakov turned back to see his masterpiece. A forced smile was on his lips as he strutted towards the lake, and that’s when he saw it. There wasn’t a fifty foot wall, blocking every ray of sun from that side of the planet. It was just a thin bridge. One that went from one end of the lake to the other. Connecting his half to the other. Breaking the gap. Ending the problems.

Staring blankly Yakov didn’t understand, “I asked for a wall,” he yelled at the contractor, “To block that devil out of my life forever.”

Rummaging through his pockets, the contractor extended the blueprint, “It was the same ten thousand pounds of wood,” he explained.

Biting his lip, Yakov tried holding back his anger. He thought these useless games were over. But Levi would come back at him some other clever way. He would think of another childish prank to break off their ties once again. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes in defeat.

Scratching his head, he looked up at the contractor, “You’re going to need to take this down,” he demanded. “You’re going to have to build the wall I asked for.” Pausing he tried biting back his anger and then burst, “I don’t understand! You know I hate him!”

Shaking his head, the contractor whispered, barely audible, “It was the same amount of wood. It was the same effort.”

And then Yakov noticed, under the splash of the watercolor sunset, his brother’s shadow came closer and closer. Levi stood humbly in front of him, a slow smile creasing his face, “You did it, dear brother. You built a bridge.”

Upside-Down Coffee

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

This is a normal cup of Israeli coffee, the kind you can order practically anywhere. This particular shop, in fact, is usually associated with gas stations. It’s called Kafe Hafuch or Upside-down coffee, the local equivalent of the French café au lait. It goes for between 8 and 14 shekel, or $2 to $3.5.

Here’s the HUGE difference, though, between the average Israeli coffee and its American counterpart: the average, lowly, gas station coffee in Israel beats by far the most expensive coffee shop coffee in New York. I don’t even want to mention a certain Seattle-based coffee shop chain where they burn the coffee so bad you can hear the cries coming up from below the floor boards. I’m talking about every doughnut shop or coffee shop in the city (depending on your kashrut standards, obviously) – in all those places the coffee has usually stood up on the heating pad for half a day, it’s sour and bitter, and you drink it basically for the kick you need so desperately before going into an important meeting.

But in Israel (depending on your kashrut standards, obviously), with very few disappointing exceptions, the coffee is delicious. It has just the right amount of kick, it’s made fresh at the espresso machine, and if you’re lucky the counter person knows how to make those lovely illustrations in the foamy milk that break your heart when you end up drinking their art.

Nancy says it’s all about the milk, meaning that Israeli coffee is, basically half milk, steamed, so no matter how lousy the coffee underneath is, the milk covers it up. Maybe she’s right. Maybe it also explains why I shell out 11 shekel per cup (just under $3), but I’ll tell you, I’m happy to pay knowing my coffee will be good every time.

Except for the guy at the lobby of the Maccabi HMO offices in Netanya, whose coffee is bitter. So stay away from coffee shops in HMO buildings, otherwise, trust me, Israeli coffee is the best.

The Time For Lighting Candles

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Shabbat candles must be lit by (and preferably 18 minutes before) sunset. Once it is twilight, the time between sunset and nightfall known as bein hashmashot, it is too late to light. Bein hashmashot begins when the sun sets below the horizon and is no longer visible.

According to Rabbi Yehuda in Tractate Shabbat, bein hashmashot lasts 13 and a half minutes. In Tractate Pesachim, however, the same Rabbi Yehuda maintains that bein hashmashot lasts 72 minutes.

In explaining the discrepancy between the duration of bein hashmashot according to Rabbi Yehuda in Shabbat and Rabbi Yehuda in Pesachim, Rabbeinu Tam explains that there are two separate sunsets: Sunset I, which begins immediately after the sun has sunk below the horizon and lasts 58 and a half minutes, and Sunset II, which starts thereafter when light begins to fade into darkness and lasts an additional 13 and a half minutes until nightfall.

According to Rabbeinu Tam, the period on Friday between Sunset I and Sunset II (58 and a half minutes) is considered weekday, during which time all weekday work may be performed and one may light candles until Sunset II, i.e. 58 and a half minutes after Sunset I.

Many Rishonim, such as the Rambam and the Gaonim, disagree with Rabbeinu Tam. They maintain that for candle lighting there is only one relevant sunset, i.e. Sunset I, when the sun dips below the horizon, and candles must be lit before such time.

Though the Shulchan Aruch agrees with Rabbeinu Tam and maintains that candles can be lit as late as 58 and a half minutes after Sunset I, the Vilna Gaon, following the opinion of the majority of the Rishonim, disagrees with the Schulchan Aruch and maintains that candles must be lit by Sunset I.

There is a third opinion, that of Rabbi Eliezer of Metz, according to which bein hashmashot begins 13 and a half minutes before Sunset I. In his view, candle lighting time would be 13 and a half minutes before Sunset I.

It should be noted that the 13-and-a-half-minute period is derived from the time it takes a person to walk 3/4 of a mile. According to most opinions, it takes a person 18 minutes to walk the distance of one mile (in which case 3/4 of a mile would take 13 and a half minutes) but according to a stricter opinion, it takes a person 24 minutes to walk one mile (in which case 3/4 of a mile would take 18 minutes).

In view of the fact that we are dealing here with the possible violation of a biblical melachah, all modern poskim agree that one must adopt the strictest of all approaches, namely that of Rabbi Eliezer of Metz and that of those who say it takes 24 minutes to walk a mile. Therefore, we light candles 18 minutes before Sunset I. To know when this is, one should consult a local newspaper or a reputable Jewish calendar.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein writes that during the 18-minute period between candle lighting and Sunset I, members of the household that are not responsible for lighting the Shabbat candles may continue with weekday work until Sunset I, but that this should not be encouraged.

On the first night of Yom Tov – except for Shavuot – candles may be lit either at the same time as on Erev Shabbat or after returning from Maariv, provided one lights from an existing light. On the second night of Yom Tov, however, as well as whenever Shabbat precedes Yom Tov and on both days of Shavuot, candles should be lit from an existing light, after nightfall.

Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore.  He can be contacted at rafegrunfeld@gmail.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/the-time-for-lighting-candles/2012/10/17/

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