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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘home’

Confessions of a Brain Surgeon

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

I don’t know how many of you noticed this quite unusual story in the news. A new Ethiopian immigrant to Israel, just off the plane, went to visit a sick relative in one of Tel Aviv’s major hospitals. Not knowing Hebrew, he got lost in the big hospital and wandered into the surgery theater. Thinking he was an orderly, no one paid any attention as he walked into one of the operating rooms where a patient was undergoing brain surgery. The Ethiopian watched in horror as one of the surgeo’s raised a small electric saw and proceeded to slice open the patient’s cranium. With a scream, the new Ethiopian immigrant charged at the doctors to stop them. He thought they were killing the patient when, in fact, they were trying to save his life.

Of course, this incident didn’t really happen, but I’m using it to make a point. Some readers have accused me of “Sinat Chinam,” gratuitously hating my fellow Jews because I highlight the shortcomings of Jewish life in the Diaspora. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love all Jews: religious and not religious, Israelis and Diasporians, rightists and leftists.

People who know me can testify that I am not the cruel monster that some readers accuse me of being. On the contrary, just like the surgeon in the story, I am trying to save people’s lives. Out of my passionate love for all Jews, especially my brothers and sisters lost in the darkness of galut, where I was once lost like them, I am doing my best, with the skills that the Almighty has given me, to help them see the light.

Unfortunately, sugar-coated aspirin and a moist compress won’t help someone who has spent his life in an alien gentile land and doesn’t know that there is something better. A band-aid and sweet tasting syrup won’t help a Diaspora Jew who has been taught a truncated, distorted, watered-down version of Torah. In cases like this, immediate and massive intervention is needed. Sometimes an entire brain transplant may be called for.

I am not only speaking about the average Diaspora Jew who doesn’t know better, because he was never taught that a Jew’s real place is in Israel, and because the darkness and spiritual pollution of the exile prevents him from grasping this clear message from a simple, straightforward reading of the Torah. He isn’t to blame. No one ever told him the truth. I am also speaking about the Diaspora Jew who studied in yeshiva, considers himself Orthodox, even Haredi, yet still thinks that the goal of Judaism is to build magnificent Jewish communities in foreign gentile lands.

There are even those who are so mentally confused that they try to discourage others from coming to live in Israel. It isn’t enough to speak nicely to them, and show them pretty pictures of Israel, and to point out the endless Torah verses commanding the Jewish People to live in Eretz Yisrael. These extreme cases have so internalized their gentile surroundings, cultures, and upbringing, they think like the goyim. They may speak Yiddish, but instead of a “Yiddisha kup,” they have a “goyisha kup.” Instead of following the Torah, they follow themselves. To save them, an electric saw is needed.

The saddest thing is, because of the terrible darkness of galut, and years of yeshiva study which removed the Land of Israel from the curriculum, they don’t even recognize that they have a problem. In their minds, all of the Jews who are dedicating their lives to the rebuilding of the Jewish People in Israel are wrong, and they, in their glass glatt kosher castles are right. To their distorted way of thinking, even God was wrong in establishing the State of Israel the way He did – they would have done it differently.

So they get angry at me when I point out the error in what they’ve been taught – or when I stress things that they never learned. Just as a patient with severe schizophrenia sees his psychiatrist as an enemy, they misinterpret my attempts to help them for hate.

But just as a psychiatrist doesn’t give up when his patient lashes out at him, because the physician knows better, I won’t give up trying to help these confused but beautiful souls. I know better because I was once severely brain damaged myself, when I was in New York and Los Angeles, a stranger in a strange land, with the head of a goy, believing I was an American like everyone else. Then, with the grace of the Almighty, I underwent a successful brain transplant, so I know what it’s like to live in darkness, and that’s why I want to help.

So, while my writing may be blunt and painful to some, I don’t blame the Jews in the Diaspora for their misunderstanding of what the Torah is really all about. Like I said, by and large, they simply don’t know that they should come on aliyah. No one teaches them. Not their Rabbis, not their high-school yeshiva teachers, not their shul presidents, not the sisterhood, nor the Federation, not their parents, no one. So, they simply don’t know that the true goal of Judaism is to establish the Kingdom of God in the world via the Jewish People leading a Torah life in Israel, not in the United States of America.

Even in the books they read about Judaism, Eretz Yisrael has been deleted. Take a look at a few indexes of the most popular “frum” books in English on Jewish Philosophy. You won’t find a word about Eretz Yisrael.

True, an Internet surfer might be carried by a wave one day to the Internet edition of The Jewish Press or Arutz 7, where he may be confronted with the importance of aliyah, but not having heard about this great foundation of Judaism from his teachers and parents, he is likely not to take it to heart at all.

For this reason, the Jews of the Diaspora are like “children who were kidnapped and raised amongst the gentiles.” This category usually applies to Jews who were never taught about Judaism. Not having been exposed to the tenets of the religion, unfortunate Jews like these can’t be expected to keep the Torah’s laws, because they have never heard of them. The secular Zionists pioneers in Israel fall into this category, as do the secular Russian Jews in Israel today. Even though they have all heard of the Torah, they never had anyone sit down and teach them, so it is something foreign to them, like Chinese. This is exactly the same when it comes to Diaspora Jews and aliyah. Yes, Israelis yell at them for not coming, but they don’t hear it from their own teachers and Rabbis. So they are like children who have been kidnapped and raised amongst the gentiles.

A metaphor for this is the story of Tarzan, who was lost at sea as a child and raised in the jungle by apes. When he grew up, he thought he was a monkey, too. There was no one around to tell him that he was a man. So he identified with the apes. Just as they felt perfectly at home, living in the jungle and swinging from tree to tree, he felt perfectly at home too, aping their habits. Not having been raised in civilized surroundings, he didn’t know the difference.

But, of course, a human isn’t an ape, even if he grows up in the jungle. And a Jew isn’t a gentile, even if he grows up in a gentile land. A Jew isn’t an American, or a Frenchmen, or a South African, even if he grows up there. A Jew has a homeland of his own, with his own code of life, the Torah, which is meant to be lived in Israel.

The Jews of the Diaspora don’t know this, because no one ever taught them. They are not to blame for thinking they are at home in strange, gentile lands, no more than Tarzan was to blame for believing that he was at home in the jungle. It’s as simple as that. I don’t blame them. But, bezrat Hashem, I’ll keep trying to show them the difference – precisely because I love them so much.

The Hezi Family – Formerly Of Moshav Gadid; Now Of Ein Tzurim Caravilla Site

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

The family: Carol & Shmuel Hezi and their six children, Asnat, Eitan, Amichai, Vardit, Harel and Maital

Background: I, Carol, was born in the States and grew up in Canada. I always assumed I would live in Israel one day. My second visit to Israel was as a university student – I planned on studying there for a year – then I met Shmuel, a native Israeli, and we got married. I completed my degree in Israel, and we began looking for a permanent home. We moved to Gush Katif when our oldest daughter was one year old. We lived in Kfar Darom with ten other families while our moshav, Gadid, was being built.

The house was tiny and the water in the taps was not drinkable–not dangerous, just not potable, so we used the tap water for washing and we always had a big pot of drinking water sitting on the kitchen counter. My mother-in-law wasn’t happy that we had to carry water into the house like she had done in Yemen, but I looked at it as my chance to live like a pioneer for a few months. The “few months” stretched into two years…

Our second child, a son, was born in Kfar Darom. Shmuel was a farmer; he grew flowers, tomatoes, and peppers for export, and later, bug-free lettuce and greens for the local market. He also worked as an agricultural advisor for one of the companies specializing in bug-free produce. When we first moved to Gadid, it was all sand, no roads or paths to walk on, just sand. Our four younger children were born in Gadid. The community was like an extended family. I never had to warn my children not to talk to strangers–instead I had to explain what a stranger was, because they had never met any.

Our house – then: We eventually added on to the house in Gadid. It wasn’t fancy but it was large, and usually full–my parents came on extended visits, Shumel’s family and friends from around the country came as well.

Our eldest daughter married and she and her husband rented a house in Gadid (one of the houses built by Ariel Sharon) in what became the “young neighborhood.” Their first child was born there and my daughter was nine months pregnant with her second child when the soldiers came to take her from her home.

The family’s home in Moshav Gadid

Day of uprooting from Gadid: Our two eldest boys doing their army service – they were sent home for a couple of weeks to be with the family. Luckily, their units were stationed elsewhere and were not involved in the expulsion. Still, it was very hard for them.

Our house – now: We were in hotels for 10 months. Now we live in a “caravilla,” a cardboard house that is well on its way to falling completely apart while we finish building the new house. It’s also very crowded when all the kids are home. Our daughter (who now has four children) could not get a caravilla here–they are at another site–so when they come for Shabbat, there are wall-to-wall people…

What we left behind: The community in which we had lived for 26 years. The trees that were finally tall enough to build a tree house in, the garden with fruit trees (one of my sons brought a laundry basket full of unripe mangos to his hotel room), the greenhouses, our livelihood, the sand dunes, the sea, the Beit Knesset – basically our whole way of life.

Feelings toward the State: Betrayal. We were, after all, encouraged by the State to move to Gadid in the first place.

The biggest difficulty: Economics. We finally have land again, but my husband and I are really too old to start rebuilding greenhouses and be farmers again. That’s for the young and healthy. Nor do we have the financial means to invest and rebuild.

Have you built a house? We are in the process of building a house now. This is not something I thought I would have to do again. It was more fun the first time.

Easing The Trauma Of Divorce: A Reaction

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

I am writing to you in regards to your article, “Easing The Trauma Of Divorce” (Dear Dr. Yael, 11-16).

Now in my 30s, I am the product of a divorced home in which my parents made me, an only child, a pawn. Throughout my life the trauma and hatred I witnessed between my parents was unbearable. As a result, I am terrified to get married, despite the desire to do so in a normal and happy setting. I have gone for therapy, but this great fear is hard to overcome. I wonder if this feeling will ever leave me.

I still speak to both of my parents (neither of them remarried), who, to this day, hate each other so much that they cannot even be in the same room. Thus, how can I even have a wedding? I believe that had my parents divorced peacefully, my childhood would have been normal.

I work hard on my middos, am well educated and have a fabulous career. Without wanting to sound arrogant, I am confident that there are women who would be interested in me. Unfortunately, I am convinced that it is my deep fear of turmoil and unhappiness that is stopping me from getting married.

Dr. Yael, I strongly urge divorced parents to heed your sage advice to not turn their poor children into pawns during their divorce. If parents are getting divorced, they must try their hardest to make it as peaceful as possible, working together for the benefit of their children. I have happily married friends with divorced parents, but those parents did everything they could to keep things peaceful.

These friends seem to have come from homes similar to what you termed “the best possible divorce situation,” whereby their parents remarried and had an amicable relationship. Like you wrote in your column, my happily married friends from divorced homes felt the love and devotion from both parents as well as from their stepparents. I, on the other hand, think that my parents are emotionally not well – with that probably being the core issue in my situation. Having never remarried, they are extremely angry and negative people. I am sure that their emotional problems have also affected my view on marriage, as I do not want to end up like them.

I hope this letter inspires parents who are getting divorced to think carefully about their behavior as it pertains to the emotional wellbeing of the children they love. Only responsible behavior will spare their children the emotional destruction I’ve been forced to experience.

Thank you, Dr. Yael, for your helpful and informative column.

A Fan

Dear Fan:

My heart breaks for the predicament in which you find yourself. Even though you had a difficult childhood, Hashem obviously gave you other tools which you have used to create a life for yourself. All of these talents and your evident ambition should certainly make you very attractive to women.

As you seem very bright, please try to overcome your deep fear and get married. I would hate to see you live alone for the rest of your life. Learn from your parents’ mistakes and build a different life for yourself. If you feel that therapy has so far not worked for you, find another therapist who can help you. It is important to click with a therapist to the degree that you feel comfortable enough with him or her to share your insecurities. This will permit the two of you to begin the process of changing your views on marriage.

It is extremely difficult to want to get married and know how to make the marriage work, if you never saw a healthy marital relationship. But you can learn how to have a successful marriage through therapy. And once you feel equipped to enter into marriage, the concept will not be as frightening as it now seems.

You may also have to revisit some of your painful childhood memories and work through your anger toward your parents. When you succeed at doing these things, you may feel more comfortable with the idea of getting married. There are many children of divorced parents who are successful at overcoming their fears and insecurities, and are then able to build beautiful and happy families.

A Black Day for American Jews

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Today is a black day for American Jews. Why? I’m sorry to say it, but as the so-called “Palestinian Authority” is gaining entrance to the United Nations as an observer, non-voting state, the Jews of America are out playing golf or watching things on TV, instead of protesting outside the UN with all of their might. “Israel Belongs to the Jews!” their protest signs should declare. “Israel is Our State!” their banners should proclaim. But, except for the few regulars and Rabbis who always show up at the demonstrations in NY, no one is there to protest.

In the upcoming Torah portion regarding the casting of Yosef into a pit, the Torah notes: “And the pit was empty, there was no water in it.” Our Sages inform us that there wasn’t water, but there were snakes and scorpions. A vacuum doesn’t stay empty. The same is true of the Land of Israel. If the Jews of the West had responded to the calls of the Zionist Movement and come on mass aliyah, especially with the founding of the State of Israel, the Land wouldn’t have filled up with snakes and scorpions.

Now these same snakes and scorpions are demanding that the United Nations recognize that Israel is their homeland, and the Jews of America sit at home and watch on TV (a least a fraction of them, since the vast majority our totally lost), and they shake their heads and say, “The Government of Israel is to blame. They should have annexed all of the territory… they never should have agreed to Oslo….”, when, in truth, it is they themselves who are to blame for not having said good-bye to comfortable America, and France, and England, and South Africa, and Mexico, and Canada, and Australia, and returned to the Jewish Homeland to reclaim it for the Jews.

So the Arabs claimed it instead. It’s shameful to say, but when it comes to the Land of Israel, the Arabs have more mesirut nefesh and a readiness for sacrifice than Diaspora Jews. The “Palestinians” are ready to give up their lives for the Holy Land. How many Diasporians can say that? They are prepared to suffer, and engage in armed struggle to win sovereignty over the Land. How many Diasporians can say that? Instead they sit in Brooklyn, and Monsey, and Lakewood, and Chicago, and Dallas, and Beverly Hills, and they shake their heads and say, “Too bad those weak Israelis didn’t transfer them all to Saudi Arabia,” while they go into the kitchen to make another bagel and lox.

So, with the hope that a least a handful of readers will hear these words and recognize their truth, I composed a prayer for Diaspora Jews to say on this black day of our history:

“Dear God, and God of my forefathers, Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaacov; on this black day when Arabs are demanding that world recognize their right to a state in the Land of Israel, I sit here silently in America doing nothing to protest, even though Israel is my Land, not theirs.

“I know it is my Land because I know you commanded Avraham to live there, and You promised it to his descendants  the Jews, as an eternal covenant. I know it is the Land of the Jews, and the place you want me to live, because You told Yitzhak to never leave it, and when Yaakov had to flee from Esav, You told him to return to the Land of Israel to raise his family there.

“And when You freed the Jews from bondage in Egypt, You commanded us to return to Israel. And I know I am supposed to live there because it says so in the Torah over and over again, and all the Prophets all speak about our returning from the exile to rebuild our national life in the Land of Israel, and that our Redemption can only happen there.

“I know that I am supposed to live in the Land of Israel and not let other nations dwell there in my stead, because that’s what the Torah says clearly, and that’s what we pray for in our daily prayers, and that’s what I say myself at the end of every Passover Seder, and at the conclusions of my Yom Kippur prayers, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” yet here I am, still in New York, and Los Angeles and Boca Raton, when I know I should move to Israel.

“But I’m stuck, either because I don’t know how I can make a living there, or I’m afraid to go into the Israeli army, or I don’t want to leave my parents, or I’m comfortable here, or a dozen other reasons, some of them real and others invented, and I know that You know what’s really in the heart of man, so I ask Your forgiveness in that I haven’t done as much as I can, whether in going to live in Israel myself, or helping others in whatever way I can, by forming an aliyah group at my synagogue, or convincing our shul’s Rabbi to urge our young people to go, or help to raise funds so families can make a new start in Israel.

“True, I follow what’s going on in The Jewish Press, and I post articles about Israel on Facebook, and I give whatever tzedakah I can, but I know I could do lots more. Please forgive me that I don’t act on the words of my prayers, and that I ignore the great mitzvah of living in the Land, and even though there are Gedolim who say that aliyah isn’t an obligation today, everyone agrees that it is still a great mitzvah, and though I strive to perform all of the other commandments as best as I can, over this one I am surely remiss, especially when I see how You have miraculous gathered in millions of Jews to Israel, and rebuilt the country in a miraculous way, while here in America, and England, and France, assimilation is eating up our ranks, and we look away as if everything is OK as long as it is down the block with the reformers, and not in the bubble of our wonderful glatt kosher neighborhood. Forgive me, Father, that I sit passively in my home while Arabs proclaim their right to the Land of Israel.

“Even though the Israelis could have handled things differently, I know that I am to blame as well for making America my home over Israel. I am ashamed that the Arabs are acting more Jewish than I am. You have commanded us, the Jewish People, to establish our sovereignty over the borders of Israel, and in my procrastination, the sons of Ishmael are doing it in my stead. Woe is me. Woe is me. My shame spreads out up to Heaven. Please, my Father and King, from this time forth, put in my heart, like a raging fire, the desire and courage to extricate myself from galut and come home to Israel, to be in my own Jewish Land, and not continue on as a stranger amongst the gentiles. And if I can’t make aliyah now for whatever reason, let me encourage my children to do so, and do whatever I can to let others know that our only future is in the Land of the Jews, just like it clearly states, again and again, in the Torah, in the writings of our Prophets, and in our prayers.

“May it be your will, Amen.”

After A Few False Starts, A Match Made In Heaven

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I almost never met the man I married.

No, I am not from a very strict chassidishe home where dating is taboo and a brief meeting suffices before the engagement is announced. My husband and I actually dated for a few months, by which time my parents were beginning to grow concerned and the neighbors were having a heyday gossiping about us. But if not for a significant helping of siyata dishmaya, we never would have managed to get together in the first place.

First of all, I was only redd to my husband on the rebound. My brother-in-law had been learning in Lakewood for many years and was in a prime position to scout out prospective chassanim for me. He did some research, came up with a very promising candidate, approached the boy, and suggested the shidduch. Bingo! The bachur was interested in pursuing the shidduch, except for one minor hitch: He had just started dating another girl. I was next in the queue – except that my turn never came. Baruch Hashem, he ended up getting engaged to the girl he was seeing.

So it was back to the drawing board for my brother-in-law. He mentioned the dilemma to his wonderful chavrusah of many years and the two of them brainstormed together. Actually, they just raised their eyes a row or two ahead of them in the huge beis medrash and spotted the chavrusah’s first cousin. He had serendipitously just returned to the U.S. from learning in the finest yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael, in order to start the shidduch parshah. After a brief interlude of “botteling,” the deed was done; they had decided to set up the sister-in-law with the cousin.

The bachur readily approved of the suggestion, and the ball quickly passed to my court. Ordinarily, after past dating blunders, I was generally very fussy and discriminating about the boys I dated, and usually came armed with an exhaustive list of questions and demands, one more trivial than the next. He should not be too tall or too short, too thin or too heavy, beards were definitely out, etc.

This time, however, I either forgot or skipped the interrogation, and accepted the suggestion without launching an FBI investigation. Had I followed my usual pattern, we probably would not have made it to the first step.

The next hurdle was the boy’s name. I had no problem with his unique and cool-sounding first name, but my two very yeshivish brothers were up in arms. That is, until they read that week’s sedrah and encountered that very name in black on white. They then offered a sincere apology along with their blessings.

I later found out that when my mother-in-law was in the hospital following my husband’s birth she had asked her mechanech husband to bring her something to read. He did. A Chumash! She read through several parshiyos and ended up selecting a biblical name that was far from run-of-the-mill.

Kishmo kein hu, like his unusual name, my husband had likewise always been unique in many ways. Following the orchestrations of the exalted Shadchan on High, he also became uniquely mine.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Sdei Avraham Woman Fought off Gaza Terrorist Singlehandedly

Monday, November 26th, 2012

YNET has published a report with the details of the terror attack this morning in Sdei Avraham.

The terrorist from Gaza entered the home of Yael (39), where she was sleeping with her 4 children.

The terrorist attacked Yael with a knife and iron rod, and she single handedly fought him off, saving the lives of her children and herself.

She was stabbed in the face and shoulder in the process.

The terrorist ran away from the through a window after she managed to lock him in the bathroom. Yael called the Kitat Konninut (Rapid Reponse Team).

Police and IDF caught up with the terrrorist 2 kilometers from the house and shot and killed him.

The IDF are examining how the terrorist got in from Gaza.

Rebbetzin Devorah, Wife of Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Aide Rabbi Yehuda, Laid to Rest

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Rebbetzin Devorah Krinsky, wife of chief aide to the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, passed away on Friday night at the age of 74.

Rebbetzin Devorah returned her soul to its maker after the Friday night Kiddush was recited at her bedside, surrounded by her husband, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky – who still serves as Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and Machne Israel educational and social services – and their children.

Rebbetzin Devorah’s parents, Rabbi Zev and Etta Kasinetz, provided space for early Lubavitch work from their home in Brooklyn’s Brownsville in the late 1930’s and 40’s, according to an article in Chabad’s COLlive.

She was described by COLlive as the pillar of her home, and a constant partner in the work of her husband.  “Her warmth and humor, her quick wit, practical common sense, and her concern for others complemented her dignified comportment,” the article written on the  occasion of her death said.

Rebbetzin Devorah is survived by Rabbi Yehuda, her children Rabbi Hillel Dovid of Crown Heights, Mrs. Sheine Friedman of Crown Heights, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Crown Heights, Rabbi Levi of Lubavitch of New Hampshire, Mrs. Chana Futerfas of Crown Heights, Rabbi Shmaya of Crown Heights, and her grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as her brother Rabbi Moshe Kasinetz, founder of Suburban Torah Center in Livingston, New Jersey.

Rebbetzin Devorah’s funeral took place on Sunday at noon, leaving from Shomrei Hadas Chapels and passing by Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway.  She was laid to rest at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.

The shiva house is located at 729 Montgomery Street in Brooklyn, and will be open from 11am on Monday through Friday.

COLlive listed prayer times at the home as follows:

Shachris: 8:00, 8:45, 9:30, 10:00

Mincha: 15 Minutes before sunset

Maariv: After nightfall

Those wishing to send condolences to the family are also encouraged to write to krinskyfam@gmail.com.

Infiltrator Killed in Moshav Sdei Avraham (Near Gaza Strip)

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Moshav Sdei Avraham (near Gaza Strip)-  Police report that at around 5:30 AM Monday, there was a break-in into the home of the Shalom family.

The intruder stabbed a woman in the house and then ran away.

The IDF declared an official terror infiltration into the town, and began searching for the suspect within the town and surrounding area.

Within a half-hour, IDF forces found the infiltrator, and shot and killed him on the spot.

Police report that it appears that the infiltrator was a Bedouin. and they are investigating whether he was  thief or a terrorist.

UPDATE 9:30 AM IDF now suspects it was a terror attack and are checking if the intruder came from Gaza.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/infiltrator-killed-in-moshav-sdei-avraham-near-gaza-strip/2012/11/26/

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