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July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Passover’

The Roots of Racism, and the Difference Between the US and Israel

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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Yishai is joined in-studio by Jerusalem Post op-ed editor Seth Frantzman and editorial page editor Matthew Wagner to discuss the violent protests held by Ethiopian Israelis over the past few days. They talk about the roots of the rage, and the extent of discrimination against Jews in the Jewish state.

Then, Yishai is joined in-studio by Joel Pollak, editor-at-large and in-house counsel for Breitbart.com, to discuss the similarities and differences between the US and Israel. Pollak says that whereas America is based on a philosophy, Israeli society is more ethnic and connected to the land. In the US, people are very mobile, moving around for school and work, and reinvent themselves easily. Pollak also talks about Israel’s growth and the American administration’s Iran gambit.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Israeli Sovereignty in Jerusalem, and the Second-Chance Holiday

Friday, May 1st, 2015

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Yishai is joined by Alan Elsner, vice president for communications at the ultra-liberal Jewish organization J Street, to discuss the future of the two-state solution and the challenges connected with Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Why are Arabs rioting there?

Then, Yishai is joined in-studio by Rabbi Mike Feuer to discuss Second Passover, a bona fide biblical holiday that many people have never heard of. What are the secrets of this holiday? What is the big deal about blasphemy?

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Ukraine’s Jewish Children Still Have A School…

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

In the province of Lugansk, Ukraine and city of the same name, Jewish children and their families were witness to a Passover a miracle this year.

Their school building and its kitchen in particular was able to remain open for the entire Passover holiday, and no one was injured despite fierce clashes between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine government troops.

News reports to the contrary were false, the city’s chief rabbi, Shalom Gopin, told Chabad.org this week. Reports on some news outlets claimed that representatives of the separatist Lugansk People’s Republic violently seized the Beit Menachem-Or Avner Chabad Jewish Day School building in Lugansk.

But Gopin, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Lugansk, told Chabad.org the reports were untrue.

“At the end of March, representatives of the LPR entered our school building in Lugansk and told our guards that it appeared the Jewish community was forfeiting the building and they were taking it,” Gopin explained, adding that they left without incident after Jewish community officials arrived on the scene to dispute the claim.

Until the start of the war, Beit Menachem School had more than 130 students. Opened by Gopin and his wife Chana in 2006, it has served as a central point for the Jewish community during the conflict, even after the rabbi was forced to leave under heavy gunfire a little less than a year ago. He nevertheless continues to serve the community from other locations; for example, a 10-day Passover retreat was held for Lugansk Jewish refugees at the Chabad-Lubavitch of Zhitomir’s campgrounds in western Ukraine. More than 60 people showed up.

In Lugansk, 150 people signed up for 15 local neighborhood seders where Gopin distributed kosher-for-Passover food, matzah and wine from the school’s kitchen. Because it is no longer safe to go out at night, the traditional central public seder plan was scrapped and the gabbai at the synagogue held a seminar to teach local Jews how to lead a seder at their homes.

Gopin and others have since reached out to the Lugansk Minister of Religion, who personally assured the Jewish community the seizure was a mistake.

“The kitchen at our school was operating during Passover and the community’s food for the holiday was prepared there,” said Gopin. “We have been running a soup kitchen out of the synagogue kitchen and plan on opening one at the school, too,” the rabbi said. “We also hope to restart our Jewish preschool at the premises soon.”

The emissary said they have since received a personal guarantee from Igor Plotnitsky, head of the unrecognized rebel republic, that there will be no further attempts to seize the building.

Passover for Lugansk refugees in Zhitomer brought members of the besieged community closer together in a way that one could not have predicted, Chana Gopin commented.

“It has been 10 months since the fighting started but one outcome of all this is how much closer our community has become to each other. Passover together in Zhitomir gave us the opportunity to be together again, and it gives us all the strength to cope. No one knows when this will all end, and being able to gather together and eat, sing, pray together, just to be together – it gave us strength as a family and as a community.”

JewishPress.com thanks Chabad.org for its contribution to this article.

From Rescue by Kindertransport to Fighting Nazis, and the Jewish-Israeli Holiday Relationship

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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Yishai is joined in-studio by Walter Bingham, 91 — rescued from the Nazis as a Polish child on the Kindertransport and ended up fighting against them with the British — shares his memories of Kristallnacht and of facing the German Foreign Minister who was first to hang at Nuremberg.

Then, VOI Knesset Insider Jeremy Saltan joins Yishai in-studio to discuss the relationship between the Jewish holidays established in the past and the new holidays born in the modern era of Jewish statehood. They point out that Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, the Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism, Israel Independence Day and Jerusalem Day all are marked during the “counting of the Omer” — the 50 days between Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost).

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Storms Send Israeli Mimouna Celebrants Indoors

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

It was a “dark and stormy night” indeed on Saturday night, putting a damper on traditional Moroccan “Mimouna” festivities that were set to follow the Sabbath and the day after the end of Passover in Israel.

Mimouna is a traditional celebration that never fails to bring together all of Israel’s North African Jews and the best of North African Jewish cuisine — despite the fact that cooks have been racing the clock after Passover to prepare the delicacies to be consumed by the crowds.

The celebration itself, culturally a joyous one, is also steeped in Torah tradition. One belief links the name “Mimouna” to the name Maimon – as in Rabbi Maimon ben Yosef – the father of the Rambam, the great Torah Sage, Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides. Another belief connects it with the Hebrew word for faith (emunah) or to believe (ma’amin), symbolizing the past redemption of the Jews from Egypt, and having faith and belief in the future Messianic redemption of the Jewish People. As it says, “In the month of Nisan the Jews were redeemed, and in Nisan they will be redeemed in the future.”

In 2011, an article by the Jewish Agency for Israel explained the Jews of Morocco began celebrating the Mimouna several hundred years ago. “When Passover ends and the Jews are still not redeemed the Moroccan Jews do not lose their faith; as the Sages said, ‘Even if he tarries, I will expect him every day.’” In the article, the Jewish Agency noted that the Moroccoan Jews celebrate Mimouna on the evening after Passover because they believe that ‘during this night the heavens are open to our prayers…. As a result of this belief it was customary in many places in Morocco to set up matches between young men and women on the Mimouna eve.”

This year, stormy weather with thunder, lightning and downpours all around Israel led to cancellations of some Mimouna celebrations that were planned for Saturday evening and even a few planned for Sunday. Others, however, simply moved indoors and continued the party.

On Mount Hermon, however, residents in the area faced at least 10 centimeters of snow (four inches) by the end of the Sabbath. Forecasters also issued a flash flood warning for coastal areas, the Judea Desert and the Dead Sea region.

In the south, Sderot, Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva municipalities all canceled their festivities – as did Kiryat Bialik and Hatzor HaGlilit in the north.

Rain was expected to continue overnight Saturday and into Sunday, in an unexpected winter-like weather front that is crossing the region and is not expected to leave the area until at least Monday.

40-Yr-Old Hiker Dies in Judean Desert Fall

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

A 40-year-old man fell to his death on Tuesday while hiking along a trail next to Wadi Og in the Judean Desert, Israeli rescue officials said.

The man apparently slipped and fell from a height of about 50 meters (164 feet) while moving along the walking path. His identity has not been released.

Thousands of tourists and Israeli citizens are out in force this week during the intermediary days of the Passover holiday.

It is not unusual for search and rescue units to be called out a number of times during the week in order to help out people who are unused to the terrain – and so it was on Tuesday as well.

Earlier in the day a woman with diabetes had to be evacuated from Wadi Qelt, also in the Judean Desert, after her blood sugar level suddenly dropped to a dangerously low level while hiking in the wadi.

In the same area, a 51-year-old woman was evacuated to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center after breaking her leg.

Late Monday night, five men were rescued by a volunteer unit after a night of rappelling to extract them from a location at the Tor Stream, near the Dead Sea.

In northern Israel a woman was taken to a local hospital near the Golan Heights after falling and injuring her leg at the Zavitan Stream. The evacuation involved at least six people and a stretcher to move the woman from the remote area.

A spokesperson for the Golan Rescue Unit told media that a 70-year-old man was also evacuated after he fainted while hiking near the Yehudia Stream.

Israeli Guards Protect Citizens from Terror and Chametz on Passover

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

How do you know when you’re in a Jewish country?

When the security guard at the entrance blocks you from coming in because you are carrying… no, not a weapon … something almost as bad:

CHAMETZ!!!!

Sounds odd, right? But it’s true. It’s against the law in Israel to display or sell any product containing chametz during Passover. Chametz is also prohibited in the nation’s hospitals and other public institutions.

That includes national parks and nature reserves around the country, where security personnel this week are checking visitors’ bags for food as well as bombs, guns and ammunition.

Anyone caught bringing leavened bread or any other form of chametz must stay outside until they are willing to surrender or dispose of the offending item.

In northern Israel, a gaggle of surprised visitors to Afula’s city park were seen eating their sandwiches outside the gate because a security guard at the entrance had stopped them from entering the area.

“The Afula municipal park is a public facility that serves the residents of the city and its environs and so the public is asked to refrain from bringing in chametz during the holiday, as is customary at many other public institutions,” the municipality explained in a statement.

At Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, security personnel are well prepared in a variety of languages to deal with the inevitable perplexity they face from foreigners unaware of the law. Security checkpoints are well prepared with large metal shelving units set up next to the security desks so the guards can simply place the contraband on a shelf until it can be disposed of properly.

For many bemused non-observant Jewish visitors to the Holy Land, it is their first experience with true observance of the Jewish Laws of Passover — in places they least expected to discover such enforcement.

“Bikinis at the beach in Tel Aviv might lead you to think that Israel is very secular,” commented a tourist who requested anonymity when speaking to JewishPress.com during the intermediate days of the holiday on Tuesday. “But then you try to bring your picnic lunch in when you visit a friend at the hospital, or to the nearby park. And suddenly it’s a whole other world.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-guards-protect-citizens-from-terror-and-chametz-on-passover/2015/04/07/

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