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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘judaism’

Knesset Synagogue Bars Reform and Conservative Jews from ‘Mixed Prayer’

Friday, November 28th, 2014

American rabbinical students from the Conservative movement studying in Israel were prevented from holding afternoon prayers with men and women together in the Knesset synagogue, JTA reported.

Haaretz reported that the decision was handed down by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and the students were offered alternative place to pray. Reform and Reconstructionist students also were in the group at the Knesset, where the synagogue is designated as Orthodox.

“A lot of the students were very upset and shocked,” said Rabbi Joel Levy, director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, who submitted the request on behalf of the students, told Haaretz. “You’d think that the Knesset would be a place of ingathering of the Jewish people, but actually we learned that it has boundaries that don’t include liberal Jews. Paradoxically, this decision served as an appropriate end to our conversation about religion and state in Israel.”

(One wonders if they are equally as upset and shocked that no Jews are allowed to pray on Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.)

So here we go again. The Knesset implicitly a place that is not for the “ingathering of the Jewish people” because the synagogue is Orthodox.

Not only that, but “liberal Jews” are not allowed.

The minute they throw around the term “egalitarian prayers,” Orthodoxy has three strikes against it.

Once Judaism is defined by secular values, it becomes a monopoly of the liberals, who are tolerant of everyone who accepts them and then close the doors on anyone who challenges their power.

Power is what the argument is all about. It is the same issue that is behind the Women of the Wall movement, which gathered hundreds of thousands of supporters in the United States but which in practice cannot come up with more than a few dozen people –perhaps 100 on a sunny day – to demonstrate,  whoops – pray,  at the Western Wall once a month.

So here comes the Masoriti movement to the Knesset, where it wants their students to have a real spiritual experience and pray – men and women together – in the legislature’s synagogue.

When the Orthodox Jews set the rules, it is called a monopoly.

When the “liberals” set the rules, it is called democracy.

It would be interesting to know if the students at the Knesset have an afternoon prayer service every day, or is it only when they visit the Knesset?

And if they do, why cannot they respect the sanctity of the lace where there is a minyan of Jews every day, three times a day, instead of grabbing headlines for their “egalitarian” agenda that they think is “modern” and superior?

Okay. We gave them their headlines, just like we did with the Women of the Wall.

I wish the students an enjoyable visit in Israel but ask, “Why is it that Orthodox Jews make up such large numbers of those who move to Israel?”

Do the Reform and Conservative Jews visit Israel and go “home” because there is no mixed seating in the Knesset synagogue?

Police Chief: Think of 1 Billion Muslims and Don’t Pray on Temple Mount

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

National police commissioner Yohanan Danino publicly criticized on Tuesday a new decision by the attorney general that gives permission to Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin to continue visiting the Temple Mount.

He also accused “right-wing extremists” of igniting the recent Arab riots and murderous attacks by trying to change the so-called Temple Mount status quo, a long-standing government policy that allows Jews to ascend the Temple Mount but prohibits them from praying there.

The Supreme Court has questioned whether the discrimination against Jews is legal, but no one has brought the issue to the justices for a ruling. It is likely that the police would argue that the prohibition is needed as a security measure.

Danino left no doubt on Tuesday where the police stand – as far away from the Temple Mount as possible.

He stated at the annual Sderot Conference Tuesday that anyone who says that status quo should be changed “influences one billion Muslims in the world.”

His concern for Muslims is remarkable.

Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch stated earlier this month that Knesset Members should not go on the Temple, and he also blamed them for violence, It is not the fault of Arab attackers that they pick up meat cleavers, knives and guns to kill Jews while they pray n a synagogue. It is the fault of the Jews for saying that they should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.

Perhaps the police commissioner and his boss would like Jews to change their prayers and not stop beseeching God for the Third Temple.

If the Jews simply would behave as the Muslims tell them to behave and stop making a big deal out of  going to the holy site, the Arab world would thank Israel and stop killing Jews.

Arabs would not even dream of violence if Jews would stop dreaming about the Third Temple. All of those eastern Jerusalem murderers and all of the rioters would have stayed home and enjoyed their hookahs.

If Danino things that anyone who wants to change the status quo is a “right-wing extremist,” then he is including Feiglin and Housing Minister Uri Ariel.

In his words today, “Anyone who wants to change the status quo on the Temple Mount should be prohibited from going there.”

The tactic of labeling someone a “right-wing extremist” is very effective. It places them outside the pale and makes them enemies of law and order.

Whenever Israel’s establishment media and political leaders want to oppose something, all they have to do is say that “right-wing extremists” are behind it.

As for Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein’s decision to allow Feiglin to visit the Temple Mount, Danino said it was a “mistake,” and Feiglin called on Danino to retract his statement.

“Perhaps Danino thinks the Temple Mount needs not be in our hands,” Feiglin stated. “He [Danino] is running away from his responsibility. His job is to protect Israeli sovereignty and calm on the Temple Mount.”

It is safe to assume that Danino thinks that if Jews who want to change the status quo would stay off the Temple Mount, there would be calm.

But judging by police tactics that harass Jews who simply want to visit the Temple Mount, without doing anything so radical as to pray there, Danino would be very happy to give the Muslims a long-term lease on the holy site and let Jews simply pray in their synagogues, even if they dare stir up trouble for one million Muslims by praying for the Third Temple .

That way, the police can go back to patrolling the streets, except for those in eastern Jerusalem, where those right-extremists Jews upset Arabs by living there.

Israel Says ‘Radical Muslims’ Trying to Change Status Quo on Temple Mount

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The “status quo” on the Temple Mount gives the right to all non-Muslims to visit – but not pray – on the Temple Mount, but “radical Muslims are trying to change the situation, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman told The Jewish Press Friday.

All parties – the United States, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel – have been tossing around the term “status quo” but not all of them mean the same thing.

The true status quo, as per the Jordanian-Israel peace pact, allows Jews on Temple Mount. Prayer is not specifically prohibited, but except for very few unauthorized prayer gatherings, the status quo has excluded Jews from praying there on a regular basis since the Six-Day War in 1967 restored the Old City to the country after 2,000 years.

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas was noticeably absent in Thursday night’s meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nassar Judeh.

Also noticeably absent was a statement from the Prime Minister.

Kerry and his Jordanian counterpart did all the taking.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu strongly reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to uphold the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and to implement these steps. And King Abdullah also agreed to continue to take affirmative steps to restore calm and implement practical measures to prevent further escalation of tensions. And obviously, the proof is not in the words; the proof is in the actions,” said Kerry.

Judeh said,:

His Majesty, during his meeting with Mr. Kerry this afternoon, explained Jordan’s position and the stance regarding the necessity of maintaining the status quo of the Holy Shrines, and they should not be touched or affected by any means. And this is part of the Hashemite custody of these Christian and Muslim sanctities in Jerusalem.

And here is what Abbas had to say this week:

Keep the settlers and the extremists away from Al-Aqsa and our holy places. We will not allow our holy places to be contaminated. Keep them away from us and we will stay away from them, but if they enter al-Aqsa, [we] will protect al-Aqsa and the church [???] and the entire country.

Status quo, anyone?

Netanyahu told the Federations of North American in a video speech this week, “President Abbas himself called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount. He used the words: ‘by any means possible.’

“See, this – the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, where Jews have visited peacefully for years – President Abbas says we should not set foot there. That’s changing the status quo.”

Presumably, Kerry understood last night in his talk with Netanyahu that “status quo” means Jews can visit the Temple Mount.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said last night that everyone must use “restraint” and act responsibly.

But what about Public Security Minister Aharonovitch’s warning this week that Jewish Knesset Members will not be allowed on the Temple Mount if it might set off Arab blood pressure? Are MKs not part of the “status quo?”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who perhaps is worried Jewish MKs visiting the Temple Mount  might win some votes besides upsetting the Arabs, has flatly stated they should stay away.

Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Prime Minister, did not directly respond to the question. He told The Jewish Press, “The goal is to goal is to make sure the holy site are respected and there is safe and peaceful behavior.”

The status quo of allowing Jews to visit, but not pray, on the Temple Mount was respected until the intifada in the late 1980s.

The Palestinian Authority, through violence is trying to change the definition of the term, and that might be one reason Abbas was not in the official conversations between Netanyahu, Kerry and Jordanian officials.

PLO Campaigns to Wipe ‘Temple Mount’ Off the Media Map

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

The PLO, to which the Palestinian Authority is subservient, has escalated its campaign to remove all connection between Judaism and the site of the destroyed Holy Temples by appealing to international media to stop using the ”inaccurate term Temple Mount.”

“The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is not a disputed territory and all other terms, therefore, are null and void,” according to a PLO statement published by the official Palestinian Authority WAFA news agency.

It claimed that the Al Aqsa mosque has been under exclusive Muslim sovereignty and control since the construction of the Dome of the Rock in 692 CE, which is a blatant lie.

During the period of the Crusaders conquest, the site was turned over to the Augustinians, who turned it into a church while the Al-Aqsa Mosque became a royal palace. The mosque building became the headquarters of The Knights Templar during the 12th century

Israel raised its national flag over the Temple Mount after the Six-Day War in 1967, but Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered that it be taken down, and he authorized the Muslim Waqf to supervise the site. Jews freely ascended the Temple Mount without any objection for several years after 1967.

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, run by Haredim, unwittingly aided and abetted the Muslim campaign to exclude Jews by ruling that Jews are forbidden from ascending the Temple Mount because they might walk over the buried ruins of the Holy Temples. An increasing number of national religious rabbis have permitted and even encouraged vesting areas of the Temple Mount where they say there is no such concern.

WAFA described the entire 36-acre site of the Al Aqsa mosque compound as a Muslim holy site.

The Palestinian Authority over the past decade has tried to eliminate any proof that the Holy Temples existed by removing hundreds of tons of debris that contained artifacts of the Temple period.

WAFA stated for media consumption that the Al Aqsa c=mosque compound is “sacred to approximately 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and [is] a symbol for all Palestinians.”

It added that the compound ”is located in East Jerusalem, an internationally recognized part of the Occupied State of Palestine” and alleged that “since Israel’s military occupation of East Jerusalem in the June 1967 War, several plots by settler organizations and other Zionist extremists to blow up the Mosque were uncovered by the Israeli authorities.”

The PLO strategy is to cash in on the Chamberlain-like appeasement preaching that “settler leaders, with the support of the Israeli government, continue to incite against this sacred site, and consequently provoke Palestinian fears and anger.”

According to the theory, Israel should not do anything that angers the Muslims.

It is no wonder that Iran still frees free to propose peace in the Middle East by annihilating Israel.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted, “Khamenei.ir ‏@khamenei_ir This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated. 7/23/14 #HandsOffAlAqsa”.

‘Rickshaw’ Sukkah Makes the Rounds in New York

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

The holiday of Sukkot commands Jews to live in “booths” — commemorating the temporary dwellings their ancestors inhabited while wandering the desert for 40 years. Though many Manhattan apartments measure only slightly larger than those original booths, unless the apartment roof is retrofitted with twigs from Central Park, it doesn’t quite qualify as a sukkah.

Thankfully, one Chabad Lubavitch yeshiva student in Brooklyn has taken it upon himself to ensure that all New Yorkers can experience the holiday.

Levi Duchman, 21, is the inventor of the pedi-sukkah, a rickshaw bicycle with a mobile sukkah attached to the back.

While small, each sukkah meets all the halachic requirements. During the days before Sukkot and during Chol HaMoed, Duchman says he spends 12 hours a day on the pedi-sukkah, pedaling around Brooklyn and Manhattan to let New Yorkers step inside to say a blessing.

“It’s the best thing to see people’s reactions, and to give people in New York the opportunity to get involved with the holiday,” Duchman said. “We get a lot of smiles and pictures, and lot of positivity, even from the police.”

Sometimes people ask to take a ride in the sukkah, and he obliges for short trips.

Duchman built his first pedi-sukkah five years ago. He rented a pedicab and worked overnight with his younger brother to create something that hopefully wouldn’t fall off and block Manhattan traffic. The sukkah stayed put, and today there are over 50 of his bikes spread across 15 states and over five countries.

The bikes have come a long way. Duchman now works with a manufacturer to create an easy-to-assemble pedi-sukkah. He even created a “menorah cycle” for Chanukah, and a “mitzvah cycle” affixed with a banner that encourages others to lay tefillin and light Shabbat candles (because it’s never a bad time to ride a bike and do good deeds).

Between the cost of the materials and the pedicab itself, one bike goes for nearly $2,000. But Duchman charges exactly what it costs him.

“It’s not a business,” he said. “It’s a way to spread awareness. Baruch HaShem.”

Police Injured as Arab Rioters Lock Themselves inside Al Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Dozens of masked Arab rioters locked themselves inside the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount Wednesday morning after they injured at least four policemen with firebombs, cement blocks and large rocks during visits by Jews and foreign tourists to the holy site.

One of the firebombs was hurled from within the mosque. At least one of the policemen was directly hit by a Molotov cocktail, which struck his protective gear. The bottle exploded but did not ignite.

Policemen were treated at the scene for light injuries, and several Arabs reportedly were hurt in the violence that continued at least until noon.

Unlike previous riots, the police did not bar Jews and tourists from continuing to visit the Temple Mount compound.

Police said they will “continue to take action to show zero tolerance in the face of any attempt to disturb the peace and will act to arrest rioters and bring them to trial.”

The tough stand comes after years of escalating violence by Arabs to keep Jews off of the Temple Mount site.

Arabs blocked the entrance to the Al Aqsa mosque with marble slabs, ropes and anything else that does not move, and then even poured inflammable liquid on the barricade, which police succeeded in removing.

Police are not entering the mosque, the Muslims’ holiest site in Jerusalem, in order not to provoke further violence.

Muslim clerics and Palestinian Authority leaders continues to accuse Israel of trying to cause the collapse of the Al Aqsa mosque by digging tunnels underneath, and media in the Arab world repeatedly report that Jews “storm” or “invade” the Temple Mount as part of a secret plan to build the Third Temple.

Israel this week unveiled a project for a new gate that would allow Jews to visit the Temple Mount site. PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi charged Israel with “insulting” the Arab Muslim world by proposing the new entrance and added, “Israel is creating a new reality at the expense of Palestinians, their religious rights, sites, and historical identity.”

She did not explain what “religious rights” are being violated by Israel, unless one of those rights is to try to kill Jews.

Ashrawi also did not mention “Jewish religious rights.”

One of the favorite Palestinian Authority Arab world campaigns in recent years has been to claim that the First and Second Temples never existed and that there is no Jewish connection with the Temple Mount.

Even more ridiculous is that millions of Muslims, and non-Muslims, believe it.

 

2:15pm Update: Jewish visitors report that the Temple Mount was closed for them this afternoon.

New York, High-End Dealers Cater To Jews Seeking The Perfect Etrog

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Naftali Berger’s quest for perfection ends in victory when the 24-year-old kollel student enters Tsvi Dahan’s trailer on Wallabout Street in the Haredi Orthodox Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

“Find something wrong with it — find it!” a glowing Berger exclaims Monday as he holds his treasure: a bumpy, lemon-like fruit.

In open-air markets and on tables unfolded on sidewalks in Jewish communities throughout the world, many Jews preparing for Sukkot look for lovely etrogim, the fruit that constitutes the centerpiece of the biblically mandated four species to be blessed during the weeklong holiday.

Many celebrants will take the basic etrogim commonly sold by synagogues, Jewish schools and shops for about $50 for a set that also includes a lulav, myrtle and willow.

Then there are men like Berger, who think nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on an especially beautiful etrog, which they believe enhances their fulfillment of the mitzvah.

No sooner does Yom Kippur end than such customers seek out Dahan, 38, a resident of Jaffa who owns three hotels in Tel Aviv but has trekked to New York City the past 15 autumns to hawk his high-end etrogim. They are rippled and slightly smooth, hefty and slim, shiny in hue and subdued — in etrog selection, as in life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Above all, though, Dahan’s etrogim are symmetrical and close to blemish-free — and are pure, ungrafted.

All come from the 200 trees on a half-acre plot of land Dahan leases in Dumdir, a village in southern Morocco, his parents’ homeland. Dahan visits four times a year to monitor their growth and consult with his one full-time employee.

His last visit there preceded Rosh Hashanah, when Dahan selected the crop’s 2,000 best. In a Moroccan hotel room, he categorized the 200 most pristine specimens promising top dollar, examining each for texture, shape and, above all, the slightest of flaws.

He’s not alone catering to the market in Williamsburg, where the primarily Hasidic community is dominated by the Satmar sect, with smaller pockets of Bobov and Vizhnitz. In the weeks before Sukkot, several other storefronts and trailers pop up in the neighborhood, with dealers and growers offering premium etrogim from Israel and Italy, along with Morocco.

Some of the merchants, like Dahan, also market to the haredi Orthodox community in Monsey, a town northwest of New York City.

In the trailer, Berger slides his eyeglasses down near the tip of his nose, the better to inspect the etrog he’s grasping. He takes a cotton swab from a box and dabs at the surface surrounding the pitom, as the stem is known, trying to discern if the pinhead-sized speck he spots is merely a wayward dirt particle or a blemish.

Ten minutes into the inspection, Berger phones his rabbi, detailing his observations in Yiddish. He hangs up, calls again, then returns the etrog to a foam-lined box that he sets aside on a table.

“I’m going to have a cup of coffee and think about it,” Berger says.

Ten minutes later, he returns, seizing another etrog and examining it.

This one is smaller than many others displayed, and the pitom is angled slightly, but Berger is smitten.

“It’s clean — perfectly clean. For me, that’s the most important,” Berger pronounces of the $200 etrog that he calls “a bargain.”

He’ll also take the one he’d reserved earlier — and two more besides for his brothers. He leaves a $200 deposit for the four etrogim, which he takes away for his brothers to examine.

Six blocks down Lee Street, Dahan sits in a vacant storefront, his other temporary outpost in Williamsburg. Two tables host four reading lamps to help customers scrutinize the merchandise. A man who inspects for 45 minutes leaves without purchasing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-york-high-end-dealers-cater-to-jews-seeking-the-perfect-etrog/2014/10/08/

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