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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Passover’

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
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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.”

What Israelis Do During Pesach Vacation

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

From North to South, Israelis take advantage of the Pesach holiday vacation to tour and experience our beautiful country.

Looking at the hills near the Dead Sea

Looking at the hills near the Dead Sea – Nati Shohat/FLASH90

Riding camels at the Almog junction.

Riding camels at the Almog junction – Nati Shohat/FLASH90

Bicycling up north.

Bicycling up north – Basal Awidat/Flash90

Picnicing in Gush Etzion.

Picnicing in Gush Etzion – Gershon Elinson/Flash90

Barbecue in Jerusalem

Barbecue in Jerusalem – Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Birkat Cohanim

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Birkat Cohanim, the Priestly Blessing, was held on Monday at the Kotel.

Birkat Cohanim 2015 1

BIrkat Cohanim 2015 2

Chabad Sends a Seder to Soldiers in ‘The Middle of Nowhere’

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

In the middle of nowhere, a group of Israeli soldiers guarding the nation’s border with Jordan prepared to meet the Sabbath Queen with a canned Passover Seder.

But facing the holiday with army-issue rations was not a pleasant prospect. So as the sun began to sink closer to the horizon, the men put their heads together.

Who could possibly provide a decent meal for these guardians of Israel on the eve of the Festival of Freedom – out in the middle of nowhere?

“Call Chabad,” advised one of the soldiers. Quickly someone Googled a number and came up with Rabbi Shimon Elharar, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and head of Chabad of the Dead Sea.

A quick conversation ensued. Food he could provide; of course he had the contacts.

But who could get it to the soldiers in time for the holiday? They were, after all, literally in the middle of nowhere. Just about inaccessible. The sun was nearing the horizon. No Jew could make that trip and get back in time without desecrating the Sabbath.

And the soldiers could not leave to pick it up.

Enter a hero named Azmi, a righteous Arab Gentile who certainly will have his place in the World to Come. Azmi picked up the food from a restaurant where Passover preparations had been made.

At 6:30 pm, Azmi delivered the food to a position designated by the soldiers, just in time for them to set up before the start of the special Passover Sabbath seder.

“Today by chance I met an IDF soldier at one of the checkpoints at the Dead Sea,” Rabbi Elharar told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview. Hearing his voice, I asked if he had been among those who were assigned to guard the border on Friday night and when he said “yes,” I asked how the seder had gone.

“What a huge smile lit his face!” the rabbi said. “He said ‘Yes indeed, the messenger made it on time. We were so amazed. We had a great holiday celebration.

“Wow – Chabad really is everywhere.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chabad-sends-a-seder-to-soldiers-in-the-middle-of-nowhere/2015/04/05/

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