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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘home’

AlephBeta: Parshat Miketz: Why Didn’t Joseph Write Home?

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

After Joseph was sold into slavery, why didn’t he ever get in touch with his father? In this video, Rabbi Fohrman will help us attempt to look at the story through Joseph’s eyes, and explore the possibility that Joseph assumed his father was in on the plot. This new perspective helps us understand Joseph, and also his unique relationship with Pharaoh, who becomes the father figure in Joseph’s life.

This video is from Rabbi David Fohrman.

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Rabbi David Fohrman

27,000 New Israelis Came Home in 2016, Down from 31,000 in 2015

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Some 27,000 immigrants arrived in Israel in 2016, according to estimates by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, compared with 31,000 who arrived in 2015. Aliyah from Russia and Brazil rose significantly over the past year, while immigration from France and Ukraine dipped. The data released on Thursday is preliminary but offers solid indications of Aliyah trends for the past year. The final statistics will be made available mid-January, as they are every year.

Some 7,000 immigrants arrived in Israel from Russia, which topped the Aliyah chart in 2016, compared with 6,600 who arrived in 2015. Approximately 5,500 immigrants arrived from Ukraine, compared with 7,221 who came last year. An estimated 5,000 new immigrants came from France, compared with 7,900 in 2015. Aliyah from the United States hit 2,900 immigrants, compared with 3,070 last year. These four leading sources of Aliyah also led the list in 2015 and 2014, although France—which led the chart in recent years—has slipped to third place.

Aliyah from Brazil increased significantly, with the arrival of some 760 new immigrants this year, compared with 497 in 2015. 620 immigrants arrived from Belarus (compared with 600 last year), 650 from the United Kingdom (775), and 272 from South Africa (236).

Immigration to Israel has come to be characterized by youth: approximately 5,150 of the new immigrants were 17 or younger; 9,500 were between the ages of 18 and 35; 3,000 were between 36 and 45; 4,600 were between 46 and 65; and just over 3,000 were 66 or older.

Most of the new arrivals have professional backgrounds in industry, construction, and food services (some 5,000 individuals in total), high-tech and engineering (2,400), the humanities and social sciences (1,900), medical and paramedical fields (1,150), and accounting and law (1,080).

Eleven percent of the immigrants decided to make Tel Aviv their new home, while 10% moved to Jerusalem, 9% to Netanya, 8% to Haifa, 6% to Ashdod, 5% to Bat Yam, 4% to Ra’anana, 3% to Rishon LeZion, 3% to Be’er Sheva, and 3% to Ashkelon.

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said “the high numbers of immigrants over the past two years were due, in part, to a series of external factors that have changed or disappeared, at least for the moment. At the same time, despite the downward shift this year, we see that the long-term trends continue and the number of immigrants to Israel, particularly from Western countries, remains high compared to the averages of the past fifteen years. This is evidence of the fact that Israel continues to draw Jews from around the world seeking to live lives of meaning and identity.”

At the same time, Sharansky noted that the numbers also indicate that the State of Israel must invest more efforts in finding solutions for the swift integration and absorption of the immigrants, with an emphasis on employment, particularly recognition of professional and academic certifications.

“The Jewish Agency will continue its efforts to promote Aliyah and strengthen both Jewish identity and connections to Israel among Diaspora Jewry,” Sharansky said, pointing out that “thousands of Jewish young people from around the world came to Israel this year in order to participate in The Jewish Agency’s unique Israel experience programs, including Masa Israel Journey with nearly 12,000 participants, Onward Israel with some 1,600, and Machon Youth Leadership Training with some 430.”

“These numbers are constantly on the rise and they attest to the success of these unique frameworks in drawing dynamic, educated young people to get to know Israel firsthand and strengthening ties within the global Jewish family,” Sharansky concluded.

David Israel

Syrian Opposition to Jewish Community in Diaspora: “Return Home to Get your Assets and Property Bck”

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

{Originally posted to the Jerusalem Online website}
According to Mendi Safadi, head of the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, two different statements were published recently by two Syrian Opposition leaders, who called upon Syrian Jews to return to their homes and to regain their assets in the post-Assad era. They also expressed their willingness to cooperate politically with Israel and to sign an agreement that will ensure regional stability.

Fahd Al Masri, Chairman of the National Syrian Salvation Front, called upon Syrian Jews to return to their homes and regain their assets in a post-Assad Syria. He also promised the Jews that they will receive compensation for all of the damaged Jewish property. He stressed that Syrian Jews are part of the landscape and history of Syria, emphasizing that they can be used as a bridge between Syria and Israel, noting that they should have rights like any other person in Syria.

Al Masri called upon all of the regional players including Israel to establish a Regional Safety Council with the backing of the UN that would hold sessions frequently, where one can discuss strengthening regional security. Al Masri believes that this is a guaranteed solution for any problems that lead to wars, bloodshed and hostilities between nations.

Aside from Al Masri, Muhammed Adnan Hussein, the chairman of the Syrian Movement for Peace, announced that Israel has ceased to be an enemy from the day that they sent humanitarian and medical assistance to the Syrian people. He stressed that the Assad regime taught Syrians to hate and be hostile towards Israel without knowing anything about the people who sit across the Western border. He claims that the Syrian people have seen how the brave Israeli leadership stood beside justice and supported them in their struggle for freedom and democracy without asking anything from them. According to Hussein, this sense of nobility very much surprised the Syrian people.

“We are at the forefront of the fight against the Hezbollah terror that cultivated Assad the father and son that was financed by Iran, who is a joint enemy of our two peoples,” Hussein declared. “We must join hands and fight them together. Our joint activity is the only guarantee for the eradication of Iranian terrorism.”

Regarding Syrian Jews, he stated: “Syrian Jews were always like every other Syrian and post-Assad, the Jewish community can return to its glorious days. We want that you will return and to build together with us a new Syria. There cannot be a Syrian culture without the Jews that were part of this mosaic and any Jew that returns will get his home and assets back while lacking everything that had forced him to leave.”

“As someone who has been following the Syrian Revolution since its beginnings and has contacts with many Syrian Opposition groups, I was not surprised by the letters that I received recently,” Mendi Safadi told JerusalemOnline News. “The Syrian Opposition began to open channels with us since the first days of the Syrian Revolution. Some wanted this but were afraid yet with the time got the courage to reach out. There are those like Kamal Labani that were against it initially who made contact with Israel and with the time exposed the truth about the country, thus invalidating all of the slogans they grew up with. They asked to get closer and today have turned into great supporters for the relationship with Israel. There are many other examples. What I hope is that the madness of the international community in Syria will stop and they will work to logically find a solution for Syria that will restore regional stability. Shelling civilian population centers and eradicating hundreds of women and children in Aleppo will not bring about a solution but will encourage more terrorism.”

As the Syrian Opposition reached out to the State of Israel, buses containing 8,000 civilians that were fleeing from Aleppo were set on fire. According to CNN, this brought about a temporary halt to the evacuation of civilians from Aleppo. Later on, the evacuations were resumed and are expected to be completed soon. The evacuation of civilians from Aleppo comes after Russia, Assad’s regime and Iran retook the city from the rebels after intensely bombing civilian homes and apartment buildings.

“Bodies reportedly littered the streets of a number of east Aleppo neighborhoods, with residents unable to retrieve them due to the intense bombardment and fear of being shot,”Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told CNN. According to Al Araby, the Assad regime and their allies committed mass executions and rapes as well as burnt bodies within the city of Aleppo. Some women and children were even reportedly burned alive while other women were raped in front of their husbands and children. There were numerous reports of massacres within the city.

Rachel Avraham

Chanukah And The Home

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

There is a dispute as to the nature of the obligation to light Chanukah candles. It is clear that the candles must be lit in a house. That being the case, though, must someone without a house light them?

The Gemara (Shabbos 21b) says that the mitzvah to light Chanukah candles applies to a man and his household, “beiso.” The Rambam (Hilchos Chanukah 4:1) writes that the mitzvah is to have a candle lit in each house. Both these statements imply that if a person does not have a house, he is exempt from the mitzvah.

The Chachamim instituted that someone who sees a Chanukah candle, and does not intend on lighting himself that night for whatever reason, should recite the berachah of She’asa Nissim. Tosafos (on Sukkah 46a) asks why don’t we find an obligation to recite such a berachah for any other mitzvah. One of Tosafos’s answers is that the mitzvah to light Chanukah candles requires having a house, and since many people do not have a house, a berachah was instituted to include them in the mitzvah.

Tosafos points out that this answer is not fully satisfactory since there are other mitzvos, such as affixing a mezuzah, that require having a house. Why, then, did Chazal not institute a special berachah upon seeing a mezuzah in order to include people who do not have homes in this mitzvah?

Regardless of the answer to this objection, it is clear from Tosafos’s comments concerning She’asa Nissim that Tosafos, too, believes that the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles only applies to someone with a home.

Although we mentioned that the Rambam seems to holds this position as well, he gives the opposite impression – that everyone must fulfill this mitzvah, even those without a home – in Hilchos Berachos (11:2, 3) where he divides the biblical mitzvos into those one must fulfill and those one must fulfill only if certain conditions are met. Tefillin, lulav, and shofar fall in the first category while mezuzah and ma’akeh (building a fence around a roof) fall in the second. (A person is not obligated to have a house in order to affix a mezuzah or build a ma’akeh.) The Rambam then divides the rabbinic mitzvos into the same two categories. Megillah and lighting Shabbos and Chanukah candles fall in the first category, he writes, and eiruv and netilas yadayim fall into the second.

By placing the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles in the first category, the Rambam seems to be suggesting clearly that everyone must endeavor to light Chanukah candles, and if someone doesn’t have a home, he must get one – by buying or renting or by inviting himself somewhere as a guest.

I would suggest, though, that we must look at the context of this halacha. The Rambam had just finished stating that the berachah recited on both voluntary and obligatory mitzvos must be recited prior to performing the mitzvah. Perhaps the Rambam categorizes lighting Chanukah candles as an obligatory mitzvah because he is referring to someone who lives in a house. The only one who would be reciting the berachah on lighting Chanukah candles is one who lives in a house, and for that person this mitzvah is obligatory. He doesn’t, though, mean to suggest that a person without a house must endeavor to acquire one for Chanukah.

Rabbi Raphael Fuchs

Rescuing My Home And Neighborhood From The Haifa Fires

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

At 9 a.m. on November 24, I began to smell smoke and the smell of things burning. Simultaneously I began to receive calls on my United Hatzalah emergency phone about a large fire outside of the Paz Bridge, located near the central fire and rescue building in Haifa.

I raced out of my house on my ambucycle to respond to the emergency calls that were emanating from the nearby Givat Oranim neighborhood.

I arrived to Givat Oranim and was nearly paralyzed with fear as I saw the fire climb the hill toward the east, where the neighborhood of Ramot Sapir is located. The image was a hard one to stomach, even for experienced rescue personnel. When a large fire grabs hold of the neighborhood where you grew up, and you watch your childhood memories go up in flames, it is very tough to watch. As the fire drew closer to my own house it became that much harder. I didn’t believe the fire would get as far as my own home.

Later in the morning the smoke began billowing toward my own neighborhood. I raced home, turned off the gas lines and all the electricity, and closed the gas balloons. I called my wife, Tal, and asked her to leave work and return home. She picked up our daughter Leah from kindergarten and headed home.

At that point I still didn’t believe there was a direct threat to our house and our neighborhood, but people began to evacuate, carrying some of their belongings with them. I received more emergency calls. I responded to one such call together with Moshe Adler, the chapter head of United Hatzalah Haifa region. We found a 40-year-old man who was unconscious and having severe respiratory problems. No ambulances were available as the entire area was jammed up with traffic and closed off.

Another medic, Yigal Maor, joined us. We checked the unconscious individual for any other physiological ailments and then gave him high flow oxygen. Yigal put the patient in his own car while Moshe and I attempted to clear a path for his evacuation to the Carmel Medical Center. The patient needed to be intubated and receive respiratory assistance immediately. After a very difficult ride we were able to get the patient to the shock treatment center at the hospital.

It was approaching 1 p.m. I saw that the valley by the street where I live was burning. This was when I understood the danger to my own home and the homes of my neighbors. I raced to my house and what greeted me will never leave my mind. Our backyard was ablaze. The storage unit, which we had just built the week before and filled with everything we couldn’t find room for in our house, was burning.

I grabbed the garden hose and attempted to put out the fire there as well as the fire in our neighbors’ backyards in order to prevent the flames from advancing to our houses. I fought the fire until the water pressure began to dwindle. The water main to our house had begun to melt due to the intense heat.

A short time later, four other United Hatzalah volunteers arrived to help put out the flames that threatened my home and the homes of my neighbors. At 4:30, firefighters were finally able to arrive and they quenched what was left of the flames. About an hour and a half later, the firefighters had finally managed to put out the fires threatening our neighborhood.

I headed over to the mobile command center that had been set up by United Hatzalah in Haifa. The director, Moshe Teitelbaum, asked whether my family needed anything and offered us a place to stay. The organization replaced my depleted medical equipment and gave my ambucycle a tune-up on the spot. I was invited to eat, something I hadn’t done all day long. I ate a few slices of pizza and then headed to my family at the safe location to which they’d been evacuated.

We couldn’t sleep that night, thinking of all the medics and emergency personnel still involved in the battle for our beautiful city of Haifa, of the fire that refused to be put out, of our green forests that provided us with so much, and of our neighbors who lost everything dear to them.

The next morning I went with a fellow EMT to see the house. The sight was a very difficult one for all of us. The blackened rooms bore down on us. As our neighbors began to return home we all took solace in the unity of our tragedy and began to work together to figure out who to call and how to handle the situation. How do we rebuild what was lost? How do we restore water and electricity to our homes? Where could people stay in the interim?

My friends from United Hatzalah never ceased to call and offer assistance. Fellow EMS personnel provided food and blankets for Shabbat. People from as far away as the Golan and Jerusalem offered us places to stay for the weekend. We were overwhelmed with love and attention.

While we are still crying from the tragedy, our eyes are somewhat dried from knowing we will not have to go through this alone. We have an entire organization – 3,000 volunteers and staffers – standing behind me, my family, and my neighbors. When United Hatzalah is involved, no one is alone, and I am incredibly thankful for that.

We have begun restoring our homes to what they were, and I wish to thank all those who stood with us in our time of crisis.

Doron Shafir

Time to Come Home: South Dakota Chabad Center Completes 50-State Outreach

Monday, November 28th, 2016

The founder of Hasidism, the holy Ba’al Shem Tov, reported having gone up to the higher realm one Rosh Hashanah, and meeting the messiah, whom he asked, “When will Sir arrive?” Which the messiah answered, “You’ll know it’s time when your teachings will spread around the world and your wellsprings will overflow outwardly (“yafutzu mayanotecha chutza,” Proverbs 5:17).” This has traditionally been understood to mean, especially in Chabad, that the way to “bring the messiah” is by spreading Hasidic teaching, and once every land has in it Jews capable of Hasidic meditation, redemption would come next.

All of which might mean that messianic times have finally arrived in the United States of America, as Chabad Lubavitch has just announced the establishment of a Chabad Center in the 50th and final US state, South Dakota, home to the famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial with its massive sculpture of four great presidents carved into the rock of the Black Hills.

“South Dakota, with its minuscule Jewish community scattered throughout a geographically expansive area, has had the dubious distinction of being the only state in America with no rabbi,” goes an urgent press release we received Sunday. “That will all change this winter, it was announced at the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries, when Rabbi Mendel and Mussie Alperowitz move from Brooklyn, NY, to Sioux Falls to establish a Chabad center that will cater to a community dating back to the days of the Wild West.”

According to Chabad, “the appointment comes as the American Jewish community marks 75 years since the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, arrived on US shores from war-torn Europe in 1941.” Incidentally, Chabad-Lubavitch has already been serving Jews in South Dakota for more than half a century, “since the Rebbe established the Merkos Shlichus (Roving Rabbis) program, which dispatches pairs of young rabbis to small and isolated communities around the globe.”

And “although it has been widely accepted that fewer than 400 Jewish people reside in the entire state, Rabbi Alperowitz estimates that it may indeed be home to as many as a thousand Jews. He believes that the Jewish population may have been bolstered in recent years by the growing financial and health-care industries.”

So, no more excuses, our brothers and sisters in America, the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov have touched every single part of the great USA, time to come home to the great land of Israel. Contact Nefesh B’nefesh in South Dakota or someplace nearby and make your reservations early.


V’Shavu Vanim: The Comins Come Home

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

We’ve Been here only since Tuesday morning, but it feels like a long time. I’m over my jet lag, raring to go! We are in a light breezy rental apartment in Katamon until the dira is ready that we bought in Baka, several months at least. We only brought 4 suitcases, so we have to re-invent ourselves. One of Reggie’s was lost by EL AL for a day, so that was a great temporary source of anguish, as she had in it important medicine, heirloom jewelry, etc. I brought just my fiddle, no banjo or guitar. Reggie’s sister met as at the airport, took us shopping right away with her car, and arranged both meals for our first Sabbath, both fabulous banquets where we met many interesting people, who were all extremely encouraging and happy for us.

Everyone tells us to expect a period of adjustment, that beaurocracy and social patterns are different than we are used to, and that is OK with me. People tell me I can get by in Jerusalem without knowing much Hebrew, but at the official offices and beaurocratic places, utility companies, etc. you better have someone with who knows it. Reggie knows It at an intermediate level, but would like to improve. One of the benefits we get as new citizens as free enrollment in a language class. It is real work, 3 hours 3 nights a week, or more hours per day in a more intense format. People tell me “I didn’t learn the language but I made some great friends”. I will try and learn but at this point in my life I don’t relish drills and homework and memorization.

When I went to shul on Shabbat morning and they heard that we were new citizens, I was honored with e third Aliyah. After my Aliyah the leader of the group led everyone in a song used to welcome immigrants to the country. It was very unexpected and extremely moving; a validation of the years of planning and hard work that got us to this point.

I think I’m going to wait a little while before I begin filling my days with scheduled things, like Yeshiva learning, volunteering, etc. I want to have the freedom of a retired person and do different things each day, either to facilitate our move, or extra-ccurricular things to explore the city, cultural, walking tours, etc. There is a plethora of cultural things to chose from. This is something I desperately missed in my 35 yrs in the suburbs of Montclair and Passaic. I grew up in New York City and have been eager again to be in the middle of a metropolis bursting with energy.

Where better than Jerusalem? Next week there is an ‘Oud’ festival, of Middle eastern music. I also saw a series of concerts by the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra. They are even having a mini Bach festival in early 2017, with one concert of the entire Mass in B Minor. Count me in for that! There are also secular and religious cultural centers that offer a constant variety of fascinating classes, events and trips.
People welcome us here by saying ‘welcome home’, and in many ways it does feel like that. There are many great figures in Jewish history who tried to reach their ancestral homeland but were prevented by any number of reasons, and many died along the way. So we both feel privileged to have the means, time and health to be able to engage in this profound journey.
Jerusalem is not a beautiful city like Paris or Venice, but it has a unique charm and flavor. I’m getting used to knowing the layout of the city and enjoy using a map to get around. Friday morning we went to the very unique area of Mea Shearim, where only Chassidish people live. The stores and streets are different than anywhere else I’ve ever seen, reminding me of of the oldest medieval cities I’ve ever seen. We were told about an amazing bakery called Lander’s which is literally a hole in the wall. In the course of looking for it we meandered into ever narrower streets and alleys, forgetting that we were in a major metropolis, transported to a whole different world.

In the course of the morning we ran into six different people we were either related to, or friends or acquaintances with, including a cousin from Tzvat, a friend from Passaic who moved here just recently and whose contact info we were looking to get, a good friend of our son who recently moved to Ramat Bais Shemesh, and the co-owner of the ‘Kosher Connection’ food market we shopped in all the time in Passaic! It was a wonderfully unique Jerusalem experience, and reminded us again of the profound connection we have with so many great people!
Stay tuned for the next installment!

David Collier

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/vshavu-vanim-the-comins-come-home/2016/11/13/

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