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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Holiday’

A Family Holiday: Happy Birthday Israel

Monday, May 9th, 2016

At the end of every Shabbat, Eliyahu the Prophet sits under the Tree of Life and inscribes the merits of Israel — Medrash

If you’ve been watching the news, listening to the radio or keeping up with your Facebook or Twitter, you’ve surely noticed that the world is not a very friendly place. In fact, it can be downright daunting.

Nonetheless, recent polls have shown that the vast majority of Israelis (84% of those polled) are not only among the world’s most frequent and vivacious complainers (we tend to complain non-stop just about everything), but are also among the happiest and most satisfied people in the world. Our “happiness quota” places us 11th in the Western world, much higher than the U.S. and other leading countries. We seem to feel (after we’ve finished complaining, of course) that despite all the dreadful things there are to complain about, this is a great country to live in.

How does one explain this strange phenomenon?

Some of our kids have a simple explanation. “Obviously,” they say, “things aren’t so bad here after all. In fact, they’re pretty good.” They prove the point with a simple new minhag they’ve adopted.

Every Saturday night, immediately after Havdalla and before anyone runs off to turn on his phone or start his weekday activities, each family member relates one good thing he saw, heard or took part in during the week. Here’s what my grandson had to say:

“I’ll often ask people to relate something nice that happened to them during the week. They’ll respond with ‘Hmm… I can’t think of anything.’ But how could that be? An entire week went by without one single good memory? Didn’t anyone smile at you on the bus? Or help you out? Or return a lost object? Didn’t anyone do you, or someone else, a favor?

“Noticing nice things is like exercising a muscle. We’re so busy running around that we don’t take time to see what’s actually happening. If only we’d pay attention, we’d see that the world is full of good people. And the more we get in the habit of developing an ayin tova – a good eye like Avraham Avinu – the better the world looks and the less cynical we become.

“Some people,” continued my grandson, “think being more observant just means you’ll see more things to aggravate you. But it’s not true. We have to concentrate on the good. And there’s so much of it! From individuals, from organized groups, and from the government.”

Here are a few stories I’ve personally heard.

A fellow arrived at an emergency aid station and had to be transferred immediately to a hospital. But he insisted he needed to go home first to get some money. The paramedic handed him fifty shekel as a gift from her own pocket and sent him to the hospital. When he was released, he came back to the station three times until he found the paramedic and returned her money.

A boy left a pair of expensive new Tefillin in a taxi in Eilat. They were a gift from his grandfather. His name was in the bag, but not his address or phone number and he didn’t know the number of the cab or the name of the driver. Three weeks later, he received a call. The cab driver found the Tefillin and waited for a passenger going to Jerusalem. The passenger brought them back and called all the same family names in the Jerusalem telephone directory until he found the boy’s family. He refused to take any payment for returning the Tefillin. He himself was not a religious man.

Yaffa Ganz

New Jersey Businesswoman Launches ‘Give18’ for Victims of Terror

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

A New Jersey businesswoman has launched a new initiative to encourage her fellow entrepreneurs and their customers to donate funds to help Israeli victims of terror.

Ora Assayag says she decided to launch the “Give18” campaign after watching the latest flare up of violence in Israel on TV screens and reading daily reports about the latest attacks.

Customers can automatically donate 18 percent of the price of their purchases to Operation Embrace through the Give18 campaign. Assaya, who is the founder and CEO of Ora’s Amazing Herbal, has already started the campaign in her own business.

Operation Embrace is a non-organization that supports programs and projects that help victims of terror in Israel and the United States.

“We realize that little we do or say here in America can have a direct effect on ending terrorism and bringing safety and security to the citizens of Israel, but that does not mean that we can’t lend a helping hand to those who need it most,” said Assayag. “In Hebrew, the number 18 represents life.

“We hope this effort will be noticed and implemented by other local businesses so that we as a community can help even more,” she added.

With the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect way to make a difference and do our part in helping to right the terrible wrongs taking place in Israel.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

The Maccabeats’ Latest Chanukah Tune is a Real Sizzler! [video]

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Some Chanukah holiday music videos provide dynamic melodies, interesting lyrics and if you’re lucky, a few good visuals thrown in for good measure.

But how many can you honestly admit actually include a decent latke recipe?

The Maccabeats a capella all-male singing group has done it again, bringing together all the best elements of great Jewish holiday entertainment in one tidy little music video for Chanukah.

Chomp on!

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Moves to High Alert for Yom Kippur

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Thousands of security personnel and police forces have moved to high alert in advance of the start tonight of the most solemn holy day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.

As happens every year and for every major Jewish holiday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has ordered the complete closure of crossings with Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The closure begins at noon today (Tuesday, Sept. 22) and lasts until midnight Wednesday, Sept. 23, several hours after the end of Yom Kippur.

Access to the Temple Mount has been restricted due to the ongoing violence by Palestinian Arabs.

Beginning this morning (Tuesday) police are allowing entrance to the site only to Arabs over age 40 with Israeli identity cards.

Security in the Old City of Jerusalem has also been beefed up in an effort to provide extra protection for the thousands of Jews expected to pray at the Western Wall for Yom Kippur.

Roadblocks have also been placed to stop traffic from entering the western side of the capital from the Arab neighborhoods in the eastern sector, to prevent confrontations.

Israeli Civil Guard volunteers are working together with police to provide armed protection at the thousands of local synagogues in each community around the country as well.

In Israel, no cars or other moving vehicles other than those for emergency purposes are allowed on the roads once Yom Kippur begins.

Public transportation, including buses and trains throughout the State of Israel will halt service today (Tuesday) between 1:30 and 3:00 pm, and resume service tomorrow night (Wednesday) after 8:30 pm.

In Israel’s major cities, the Yom Kippur fast begins as follows: Jerusalem: 6:01 pm Tel Aviv: 6:16 pm Haifa: 6:07 pm Be’er Sheva: 6:18 pm

The fast ends Wednesday as follows: Jerusalem: 7:11 pm Tel Aviv: 7:13 pm Haifa: 7:13 pm Be’er Sheva: 7:13 pm

JewishPress.com wishes all our readers a G’mar Chasima Tova. May you have an easy fast and be inscribed in the Book of Life for a joyous new year with good health, success and prosperity, materially and spiritually.

Hana Levi Julian

POLL: Fellow Jews, Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

(Give the poll a few seconds to load…)

Select from the answers below the photo.

Jewish Press News Briefs

My Park

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

I grew up a few blocks from the Ramat Gan National Park, a man made urban park, which isn’t really national, with a nice, little man made lake. It’s only 0.7 square miles, but when I was growing up it was plenty.

Googlemaps screen shot

Googlemaps screen shot

On summer afternoons, my dad would come home early from work and we’d drive over, rent a boat (you had to leave your watch as deposit in the rental booth, to make sure you didn’t steal your boat, which occasionally made it difficult to come back on time).

They made the artificial lake in 1959, and dad and I were regulars there. They also built a restaurant in the middle of the lake (see top picture), which I don’t think ever actually operated. I could be wrong. Throughout my childhood it was just this cement shell you’d circle with your rowboat.

I suppose some ideas need to be thought through better. But the park continues to be a source of safe fun for the locals. It’s gotten more Haredi in recent years, but it’s still as happy as it used to be, I think. I don’t go there much these days, since we live in Netanya. I don’t know if they still rent boats. I should take my daughter one day and check it out.

The local ducks and the cats are very happy.

ducks in the park

Yori Yanover

Looking For God In Our Skyscrapers

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Over the last decade, Tisha B’Av, the day that we traditionally mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem, has been admitted to the pantheon of Jewish holy days that are not for the observant only: holy days that speak to everyone.

Yom Kippur has always been there. It is the private holy day, special to us all. A solid majority of the Jews in Israel fast on that day. Even those who do not fast feel something special: they respect the day and search for its meaning. Yom Kippur does not just pass us by like the holiday of Shavuot, for example.

Pesach is another holy day that has always been a holiday for all the Jews. It is the family holiday. The Seder night – kosher-for-Passover or not – is celebrated by Jewish families everywhere. It is a holiday that has not been separated from the nation by the walls of religion.

What we still lack is the national dimension, the dimension that retains a void not filled by banging on plastic hammers on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. Yom Ha’atzmaut always leaves us with a vague sense of emptiness.

The collective subconscious that pulls the young people of Tel Aviv’s trendy Shenkin Street to alternative lamentations on the city rooftops discovers something in Tisha B’Av. It longs for the spiritual national dimension. It searches for meaning and warmth.

Real Israeli culture, the authentic national creation that we are all looking for, the point that affords meaning and validity to our national existence, is there – in our Father’s house, from which we were exiled and to where we will return.

Return to religion enriches the returnee. But usually it is at the expense of the real achievement of the return to Zion, Israel’s rising and return from the dimension of community to the dimension of nation – at the expense of the return to reality and history.

Generally speaking (and yes, there are certainly exceptions), the returnee to religion is no longer interested in the news, politics or the state. He has found his personal happiness and leaves the rest to the Messiah. His God is not so relevant outside his home, study hall or synagogue.

The new generation, however, wants God to be relevant in all dimensions. It doesn’t want to escape into religion. It wants a grand message, rectification of the world; neither to go backward into pre-Zionism nor to be stuck in the place bereft of identity and meaning in which Zionism – which shed all regard for religion – finds itself today.

The new generation wants it all. It wants to go forward into religion, to a Torah that is also a relevant culture and to a God who is with us here, in our modernity. It wants to proceed in our multilevel interchanges, in our skyscrapers, and in our hi-tech. It is looking for a God who is with us in our most private moments, in our most national triumphs, and in our most universal aspirations. The new generation wants warmth, a sense of belonging and meaning. It wants to herald a great message. It wants a home: it’s Father’s home, the home to which we all belong.

It wants the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Moshe Feiglin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/looking-for-god-in-our-skyscrapers/2013/08/01/

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