web analytics
October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘place’

Thousands Visit Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Resting Place Despite Relentless Heat

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

In sweltering July weather that topped 90 degrees over the past few days—and which may soon turn into thunderstorms—men and women prayed, clutched pens in concentration and wrote personal notes. Rabbinical students greeted each other and learned together. Parents talked to children, held them and guided them, morning into evening.

These were the faces of those at the Ohel-gravesite in Queens, NY, the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. They have come for pre-Shabbat visits in honor of the 22nd anniversary of his passing on the third day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz (Gimmel Tammuz), which this year fell on Shabbat.

The Rebbe’s yahrtzeit is a time for reflection, learning, prayer, re-commitment and positive action by Jewish people everywhere. Around the world, Jewish communities will gather for programs and events, singing and storytelling, made even more compelling in this Hak’hel year (every seventh Jewish year is a Hak’hel year, when In ancient times Jewish pilgrims would pour into Jerusalem to unite in the Holy Temple and hear the Torah being read by the king).

Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky, co-director of the Rohr Chabad Student Network of Ottowa, Canada, told Chabad.org, “On the anniversary of his passing, let’s celebrate the Rebbe’s vision. Let’s honor his life’s mission to bring goodness and kindness into this world. Let’s do one more mitzvah, one more good deed, to make this world a better place.”


It’s My Opinion: The Happiest Place On Earth

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Disney World in Orlando calls itself “the happiest place on earth.” Great effort has gone into creating the perfect environment to go along with the catchy tagline. The brand is a revered icon, known around the world. The theme parks, water parks, and Disney hotels combine to bring magical moments to all who enter their gates.

Guests want to be immersed in enchantment and are more than willing to pay for the experience. After all, a positive Disney experience has always been something that could be counted on in a world often fraught with worry and negativity.

There is never a frown on any of the faces of the thousands of workers who greet, meet, and seat in Disney’s many properties. There is never as much as a gum wrapper or speck of dirt in the streets. The sights and sounds and pumped-in smells combine to create a place where fantasy becomes fact and dreams come true.

However, decades of Disney nirvana were recently turned upside down when something truly horrific occurred. A two-year-old boy wading in a lake at a Disney resort was dragged away by an alligator. The toddler’s father fought to pull his child from the grip of the beast. He did not succeed. Sadly, divers found the boy’s body the next day.

The Orlando community and the entire country are reeling from the tragedy. It doesn’t seem possible that a calamity of this caliber could have happened in a place that promised such safety and fun.

Enjoying a vacation is often a positive way to counteract the stress of daily life. Disney-style vacation resorts present an illusion of perfection. But the happiness they offer is a figment of imagination. It’s not real.

As Jews, we are instructed “Ivdu et Hashem b’simcha,” to serve G-d with happiness. Having a cheerful countenance and positive attitude are important components of our faith. It is difficult to accomplish anything when a person is sad and depressed.

True happiness, however, should not depend on a location. Neither Shangri-La nor Never-never Land nor even Disney World can create a reality of non-stop paradise. The happiest place on earth should come from within.


Editor’s Note: B’ezrat Hashem, as you read this I will be in Israel touring with the Eretz Israel Movement. This amazing organization offers the very best Israel experience. Eretz Israel Movement tours are always special. They combine top-notch tour guides and interesting and informative places to visit with a real and abiding love of the land. I hope to share my experiences when I get back. Shalom and l’hitraot.

Shelley Benveniste

Tamar Yonah Show – What Is The Jewish People’s Place In The World? [audio]

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Shifra Hoffman fills in for Tamar Yonah and explains the role that the Jewish people, especially those in America, are supposed to play in the world’s arena.

Tamar Yonah Show 15May2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

How Israel Makes The World A Better Place

Friday, May 13th, 2016

…I will make you a light of nations, so that My salvation shall be until the end of the earth. – Isaiah 49:6


Haters gotta hate.

Sadly, this dismissive shorthand for the cruelty of individuals and nations has weighed on Israel too heavily throughout our history. Our tradition has incorporated it into its teaching. In each generation, a Haman will arise. In each generation, there will be hatred directed toward us, and attempts made to destroy us. But our salvation is and will be as it has been from the outset, with the One Who revealed Himself to Abraham and freed us from slavery, the One who gave us His Torah.

But for Israel and the Jewish people, it is not enough to survive. We have been called to be a light unto the nations. Our lives are not defined by survival but by enrichment and meaning, for ourselves and the world. For some, surviving hate – or just the burdens and challenges of life – would be enough to “keep out” the darkness. But we are dedicated to not simply keeping the darkness out, but to shining God’s light throughout the world.

Our call and our charge is to make ourselves and our world better.

Love, not hatred, defines our existence. Peace, not strife. Justice, not lawlessness. Light, not darkness. Light defines our lives as certainly as it illuminates our rituals. Think of Shabbat, which we begin and end with not just candle lighting but candle lighting with blessing.

The light that illuminates our world is not just physical light but a spiritual light, one that brightens the soul and spirit. Through Torah we are taught to live meaningful, moral, and ethical lives.

Life is challenging. The world is filled with darkness and hate. It would be understandable if we simply girded ourselves for the task of living. But our Torah teaches us – commands us – to do more. It is not enough to survive. It is not enough to endure. We must cast a light that brightens the world.

Just as Sinai transformed us from a mass of former slaves into a people, the Torah has provided the laws and ethical teachings for the entire world. We have brought to ourselves and the world the teachings of the prophets. In so doing, we have provided the foundation for all of Western civilization.

Without Torah, our world – not just our Jewish world – would not exist. Without the teachings of our prophets, the world would be unrecognizable. We taught the world to pursue peace and justice rather than power and violence. We gave the world the image of the lion living peaceably with the lamb.

But even those who acknowledge Israel’s foundational contributions to Western civilization are too often quick to hate the Jews. Like professional athletes and movie stars, the sentiment seems to be, “What have you done for me lately?” Well, when it comes to Israel, the answer is a lot. Israel’s contributions to the world are far out of proportion to its modest size.

Few areas are as threatening to the health and well-being of the world as climate change. Changing weather patterns, record-setting droughts in some places and punishing rains in others, have disrupted food distribution patterns.

Israel, which has transformed a desert into a garden, has been at the forefront of innovations to minimize the damage of climate change even as it works to prevent greater disruption. Drip irrigation is almost synonymous with Israel, allowing deserts to be turned green.

As far back as 1955, Israel had turned its attention to solar heating when Professor Zvi Tabor developed the solar water heater.

Amit Gal-Or, a young Israeli student living in Shanghai, has developed a product derived from essential oils that preserves fruits and vegetables three times longer than usual. Gal-Or, founder of Phresh Organics, utilized Israeli research in the field to create a powder called Food Protectors that any household can use.

In the face of an increasing number of long lasting droughts, water – the lifeblood of all living things – is in constant demand. Israel leads the world in seawater desalination, taking advantage of the resources of the oceans to keep people alive.

Israel was an early innovator in breaking away from petroleum-based technology. Its innovations provide structure and predictability to the marketplace, combining long-term public sector commitment with regulatory stability to send a clear message that innovation will have a home in Israel. Through investments in basic science and industrial R&D, and the launching of pilot programs and full scale-ups for promising technology, Israel is taking the lead in confronting one of the most pressing security issues of our time.

An Israeli company created TourEngine, which reduces fuel consumption and harmful emissions in common engines by utilizing a thermal management strategy. Not only is it useful for current internal combustion engines but the technology can also be integrated with the hybrid engines in the future.

Leviathan Energy has created a cost-effective, silent, and vibration-free wind turbine. Not only does it produce clean energy, but it is beautifully designed and aesthetically pleasing. Solaris Synergy has discovered a way to float solar panels on water.

The Israeli company Pythagoras Solar created the world’s first solar window, which combines energy efficiency, power generation, and transparency.

The Jewish people have long been leaders in science and medicine. Often, Israel’s precarious relationship with its neighbors has proven to be a catalyst for some important innovations.

Trauma care has been advanced thanks to a new method to stop uncontrolled bleeding. Gallium, a biometal, is normally used to stop bone loss in cancer patients, but in liquid form (gallium nitrate) it induces “flocculation” of the clotting protein in blood, resulting in external clot formation. Gallium “can dramatically increase the chances of survival by victims of terror or accidents,” as it quickly stops bleeding without causing blood clots, said Moshe Rogosnitzky, director of the Center for Drug Repurposing at Israel’s Ariel University and co-founder of the non-profit MedInsight Research Institute.

Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save the lives of those suffering heart failure.

Israel’s Givun Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. It is used to view the small intestine from the inside, allowing doctors to more accurately diagnose cancer and digestive disorders.

Each year, 7,000 patients die in U.S. hospitals not from illness or injury but from mistakes in treatment mistakes. An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment and potentially saving thousands of lives a year.

An Israeli innovation, the EarlySense continuous monitoring solution, lets nurses watch and record patients’ heart rate, respiration, and movement remotely through a contact-free sensor under the mattress – better monitoring and access, greater comfort.

And lest one thinks innovation is only for life and death situations, it is good to remember that life is lived day to day, requiring just as much creativity and innovation to be as enjoyable as possible.

An acne treatment developed in Israel, the ClearLight device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

In 1985, two kibbutz members, Yair Dar and Shimon Yahav, registered a patent on Epilady – the first electronic hair remover. Decades later, women of the world silently thank them (even without knowing who they are) each day.

Even as many in Europe and some in the United States look to jump on the “divestment” bandwagon, it would be wise to consider just what this small nation has given, and continues to give, the world.

Thanks to Israel and the message of our Torah and our prophets, the world continues to be a place where peace, not war, is the ideal and where justice is to be pursued. Thanks to Israel, we are all able to sleep a bit better – including new parents who since 1993, thanks to the Israeli company Hisense and its Babysense monitor, can rest easier knowing they’ll be alerted when their baby stirs.

Yes, because of Israel the world is an infinitely better place.

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

InterNations Report: Israel Fourth Best Place to Raise your Children

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

According to the InterNations survey’s Family Life Index, in a roundup of the world’s 41 top countries to raise a family in, the best three countries are Austria, Finland, and Sweden. And right behind those wealthy, industrialized European nests of socialized everything and the baskets of goodies from the nanny state, in fourth place, you’ll find a country that’s been fighting for its life for almost 70 years, with a huge security budget, supposedly enormous gaps between rich and poor, and ceaseless ethnic strife — and there, according to the survey’s criteria, is the fourth best place on the planet to raise your children. Go figure.

For comparison — the UK came in at 22nd place. The US in 25th place. France in eighth. New Zealand came fifth. Saudi Arabia is in 41st place, so, in case you were planning to go raise your kids in the Kingdom, we can advise you, based on these findings — don’t.

After the success of InterNations’ first Expat survey in 2014, the second annual survey report involved 14,400 expatriate respondents, in one of the biggest topical surveys worldwide. The information benefits mainly the group’s 1.8 million members, who are interested in moving, living, and working abroad. By providing insights into expat life in 64 countries, from Argentina to Vietnam, the report is a valuable resource for people seeking temporary or long-term relocation.

The Expat Insider survey included questions on demographics, basic facts about moving abroad, and daily life in the respective country. The questionnaire especially emphasized individual satisfaction with various aspects of expat living. Survey participants cover a variety of people from 170 countries of origin and all kinds of backgrounds. The section regarding the “family life index” evaluates the best places to raise children, based on three categories:

Availability of Childcare and Education — Israel was ranked 4th, behind Austria, Finland and Sweden. The US ranked 12th, France 13th, the UK an abysmal 24th.

Cost of Childcare and Education — there Israel was ranked 13th, with Sweden, Austria, Finland and Denmark at the top of the list for state-paid education for everyone. France was ranked 8th, the US 37th, right behind the United Arab Emirate, and the UK was in 31st place.

Quality of Education — OK, Israel was ranked only 16th on that one, which could, to be honest, bring into question the entire celebration we’ve been having here. So, it’s available and it’s relatively cheap, but maybe you get what you pay for? Finland, Austria and Singapore—where they cane you for spitting on the sidewalk—lead the bunch, with Kenya, surprisingly, in 7th place (it’s where US presidents get their diplomas, after all). The UK is in 9th place (which is still behind Kenya), France is 11th, the US is 25th. ‘Nuff said.

Finally, there’s the category of Family Well-Being — Israel is ranked 3rd on that one, behind Australia and Austria. Because, let’s face it, Israel is essentially one big family, occasionally happy. The US is 16th (better than we expected, to be honest), Sweden is 10th (on account of the suicides and those truly depressing movies), The UK is in 21st place, and France in 24th.

So the result of the survey, in terms of recommendations to Jews wishing to move abroad with their families, has to be Israel, because, let’s face it, if you’re making the move because you fear the growing anti-Semitism in your country, are you really going to move to Austria or Sweden?


Book Review: Simon Sebag Montefiore’s ‘Jerusalem: The Biography’

Friday, October 18th, 2013

By Henry Goldblum

At first glance, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s best seller Jerusalem: The Biography is surely impressive. Media critics as well as Henry Kissinger have showered it with praise, and the BBC devoted a timely three-part TV series to the author, providing invaluable publicity. Indeed, the book is not dull by any standards. Drama abounds – be it in chapter headings (take chapter 5, “The Whore of Babylon”) or in the description of events, such as the Moloch ceremonies in the days of King Menasseh, “the sacrifice of children at the roaster…in the Valley of Hinom…as priests beat drums to hide the shrieks of the victims from their parents” (p. 39). The Muslim invasion is depicted in graphic detail, particularly the battle of 636 CE, which took place “amidst the impenetrable gorges of the Yarmuk River” (p. 172) – although the area through which the Yarmuk flows is in fact more of an open plain.

Renouncing Uniqueness

Sebag Montefiore has clearly invested much effort in conveying his vision of Jerusalem – past, present, and future. The result reflects thoughtful study of many sources relating to different features of the city, and the author certainly recognizes its special status. However, in his apparent desire to deal evenhandedly with the various local religions, he fails to make it clear that it is only for Jews and Judaism that Jerusalem is, was, and has always been the sole spiritual center on earth. This omission is unacceptable. The author rightly refers, if only en passant, to Midrash Tanhuma and the writings of Philo of Alexandria as two examples of this basic, constant belief, unlimited by time or circumstance. The intensity of Jerusalem’s sacred status for Judaism is such that later monotheistic faiths have attempted at various times to gain a foothold in the city, despite their having other, holier places (Mecca and Medina, Rome and Bethlehem). Perhaps recognizing the significance of capturing the “chosen status” of Judaism, they have utilized diverse strategies to prop up their variant “histories,” including reinterpreting Muhammad’s miraculous night visit to the “Farthest Mosque” on the outskirts of Mecca to include a stopover in Jerusalem.

It has always been fundamental for the Jew to appreciate this imbalance, and it cannot be overlooked in any attempt to describe Jerusalem. Sebag Montefiore has downgraded this uniquely Jewish aspect of the city; as far as he is concerned, Judaism’s monopoly on Jerusalem is limited to part 1 of his book, extending until the year 70 CE. Parts 2-8 belong primarily to other faiths and peoples, and the final section of the book, dating from 1898, is titled “Zionism,” as if the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty is a separate chapter in the history of the city rather than the restorationof a violently interrupted continuum. Significantly, he neglects to emphasize thata Jewish majority has dominated the citywhenever circumstances have permitted,including from the early 19th century onwardwithout interruption; nor does he remind thereader that only when Jews have ruled thecity have all other faiths enjoyed full rights ofworship there.

Historically Dubious These omissions are partially explained by the almost complete absence of references to classic Jewish works compiled in the Land of Israel – despite their obvious relevance in terms of place, time, and subject. Thus, the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds are together accorded a mere four quotations; the output of Jewish historians from Graetz to current Israeli scholars not of the revisionist mode is similarly glaringly absent. In contrast, detailed descriptions of events and individuals taken from non-Jewish sources abound – even when their relevance is historically uncertain or unsound – notably the passages on Jesus in chapter 11. The sole reference to Jesus in Josephus (Antiquities, book 17, 63-64), whom Sebag Montefiore cites among other non- Jewish sources as confirmation of his existence as a historic character, is widely regarded as being of dubious authorship (see Emil Schürer’s History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus, vol. 1, p. 428ff.).

The reliability of the author’s statement at the opening of the Islam section is similarly questionable: Muhammad is said to have come “to venerate Jerusalem as one of the noblest of sanctuaries” (p. 169). With all due respect, the Koran never mentions Jerusalem, and by beginning his discussion of Islam with the reinterpretation of the passage regarding “the furthest place of worship,” Sebag Montefiore creates a false impression, especially since in Sura 2, the Prophet commands that prayer be directed exclusively to Mecca. The other quotes on page 168 are all from later Muslim sources. The term “Iliya,” a corruption of the pagan name Aelia Capitolina coined by Hadrian, continued to be used by the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem for a generation or more following Muhammad’s death, with examples from as late as the end of the 10th century. This is the name of the city appearing on the milestones of Caliph al-Malik, who built the Dome of the Rock in the 690s. The name Al-Quds, “The Sanctuary,“ came into common use only in the 11th century, in the context of the struggle between Crusaders and Saracens for dominion over the Holy Land (see Moshe Gil, The Political History of Jerusalem in the Early Muslim Period, p. 10). The anecdote concerning Caliph Omar’s tour of the Temple Mount (p. 175 in Sebag Montefiore’s book) only reiterates the secondary status of Jerusalem in Islam – the caliph rebukes Kaab, a converted Jew, who suggests praying in the direction of the Temple on the mount rather than toward Mecca. As Bernard Lewis has stated in The Middle East, “Much of the traditional narrative of the early history of Islam must remain problematic, whilst the critical history is at best tentative” (p. 51). Why, then, has Sebag Montefiore adopted Islamic accounts regarding this period so readily? Is he perhaps playing to Muslim sensibilities? All this leads us to an epilogue that looks forward, as might be expected from the previous sections, to a permanent division of the city into two capitals for two states, in accordance with current liberal and revisionist dogma. The hope of witnessing such a chapter in the history of Jerusalem rankles coming from a scion of the illustrious Montefiore family, whose philanthropy was once invested in the furtherance of a quite different destiny for the city.

Admittedly, Jerusalem: The Biography provides an enjoyable ride. A more appropriate destination and a less controversial and dangerous route might be preferable, but that, presumably, would require a change of driver.

Dr. Heny Goldblum is a lawyer and a scholar of history

Visit Behind the News in Israel.

David Bedein

Things Haredim Do

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A volunteer at the Tachlit center are busy dividing hordes of food into boxes, to be distributed to needy families before Shabbat and before the coming Jewish new year in Jerusalem.

Tomchei Shabbat (supporters of Shabbat) organizations like Tachlit flourish throughout the Haredi communities, each with its unique, local flavor, but all of them with one, central goal: feed the needy.

Most of them also deliver the food boxes quietly, so as not to shame the recipient. In many places there’s also a feedback system in place, allowing recipients to indicate which goods they like and which they’d rather not receive. It prevents waste, and also makes the proces look more like shopping than like charity.

Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/things-haredim-do/2013/08/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: