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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Purim’

Elections Likely after Purim Parties but MKs Already Take Off Masks

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Barring Divine Intervention, the Knesset will vote to dissolve itself but not forever, and new elections likely will be held in mid-March, perhaps the week after Purim.

Elections are exactly what no one in the country wants, except for a few sadists who pose as politicians.

It will cost the country about $500 million, and it will leave Israel without a budget just when there is little shine left on the image of the once-fabulous Israeli economy that has weakened under the weight of government-sanctioned monopolies that extort the public for obscene profits, and under the burden of eternal security unrest, whether it come from Gaza, Syria, Ramallah or Washington.

As The Jewish Press reported here earlier today, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Yair Lapid, one of his alleged partners, to stop rocking the boat or get off.

Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party and who was Israel’s glamour boy two years ago when his new party grabbed 19 seats in the Knesset, took the first raft he could find and jumped ship.

With an ego bigger than the size of the fat lady in the circus, Lapid could not possibly accept Netanyahu’s terms to stay in the government.

For his part, the Prime Minister’s ultimatums were a public political flogging of Lapid.

Elections cannot be held until90 days after the end of a government, according to the law that ensures that every Israeli citizen suffer the maximum punishment and still survive.

The projected timeline for new elections is a vote on Wednesday to dissolve the Knesset, with the final decision and date being set next week, revolving around the Jewish holidays. Before then, President Reuven Rivlin will go through the motions to offer someone else a chance to form a make-believe government.

The most likely date for elections is the week after Purim. The second possibility and a lot less likely one is mid-April, when Israel returns to normal after Passover and is involved with Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Lapid and Netanyahu’s lieutenants in the Likud party already are throwing around enough dirt to cover the entire Knesset, which sometimes sounds like a good idea.

Lapid accused Netanyahu of making deals with the Haredi parties to enlist their support by bribing them with money for yeshivas and easing conditions of the universal draft, as demanded by Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas Sephardi Haredi party.

Likud ministers responded by throwing poison darts at Lapid’s performance as Finance Minister.

Lapid’s big-ticket populist banner has been the “Zero VAT” panacea that is supposed to make housing affordable for the middle class by eliminating the 18 percent Value Added Tax on the purchase of new homes.

Netanyahu obviously took this into account and figures that Lapid is going to use Zero VAT to try to con the voters into backing him.

If Lapid thinks he can fool all of the people all of the time, the con game would work, but Israeli voters are not as stupid as their leaders. The whole Zero VAT scheme is has so many conditions and so many limitations that it would help no more than a few thousand families.

Lapid knows his popularity in the polls is almost as low as the ethics of certain Knesset Members, as far-fetched as that seems. He is counting on the Israel’s anti-Netanyahu media, with the exception of Sheldon Adelson’s Israel HaYom, to lead his campaign.

Ditto for the pathetic and hapless Tzipi Livni, an intelligent woman who took the wrong turn when she entered politics. Her party of six MKs is another alleged partner in the coalition, in which she has spent most of her time kissing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s pinky for the Peace Process.

She spent Tuesday by calling the Netanyahu government, of which she has been a partner, “paranoid and extremist,” and she said she is different from the government because she is a “Zionist,” about as nasty remark as possible, even for an Israeli politician.

Dust Off The Windows (Part Three)

Monday, April 14th, 2014

In my previous column I continued to focus on the dusty windows that obscure our Jewish vision. I noted the inexplicable hatred and persecution that has plagued us throughout the centuries.

In every generation there are those among us who try to convince us it is our distinct Jewish appearance, customs and observances that have alienated us from our non-Jewish neighbors.

But how can these people explain the fact that Muslims, Hindus, monks, nuns, and priests who wear special garb do so generally undisturbed, even commanding respect?

Take a look at the yarmulkes worn by the pope and the cardinals of the Catholic Church. And the pope has a special hat, a mitre, which is quite similar to what was worn by the high priest of our holy Temple.

So how is it that we who introduced religious head coverings to the world should be treated with such disdain and brutality?

In our obsession to blend in with the nations we keep shedding more and more of our Jewishness but, paradoxically, the more we try the more we try to be like others, the more we are resented.

In vain did Ezekiel the prophet call out in days of yore that no matter how much we scheme in your hearts to be like all the other nations, we will never be considered the same as them. And he warned us of the terrible consequences of renouncing our heritage, our covenant.

Sadly, despite the admonishments not only of Ezekiel but of all our prophets, we have yet to learn our lesson. We continue to assimilate with fury – an assimilation compounded by our Jewish illiteracy. The great majority of our people have no knowledge of the Torah, the Prophets, or the Talmud. If you were to ask them just for the titles of our sacred books, not even a description of the contents, they would stare at you blankly.

Hashem, who knows the past, present and future, created in His infinite mercy windows for us. Windows through which we would be able to see what our minds reject and our eyes cannot envision. We have forgotten the message, yet it is easily accessible if we’d only look through the windows.

These windows prominently showcase the message of all our Yom Tovim but we refuse to look. In our pursuit of money, assimilation and good times we allow dust to settle on our windows until we can no longer see through them.

I started to write this series of columns between the weeks of Purim and Pesach. Even small children are aware of the magical story of Purim. Queen Esther was prepared to sacrifice her life to save her people from Haman. They know Mordechai was determined to awaken every Jew. But what really happened in that story?

Years before Haman’s ascent, King Achashveirosh called for a great celebration in honor of his marriage to the evil Vashti. All citizens of the empire were invited, including the Jews. Mordechai warned his brethren not to attend. The food would not be Jewish food. The atmosphere would be a desecration of G-d’s Name.

The people chose to ignore Mordechai’s warning. They had their own rationalizations to justify their participation. “It is not good for us to stay away…to refuse an invitation from the king. Persia is our host country. We have a good life over here. We have good relationships with the Persians.”

So they went and took part in a banquet that quickly became a nightmare of unspeakable drunkenness and debauchery.

Nine years down the line Haman was elevated to his position as second to the king. He convinced the king to annihilate all the Jews, pointing out that the Jews had forsaken their covenant. “It’s time to attack! When they abandon their G-d they become putty in our hands.”

The Clown Therapist Who Sees No Borders

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Reuven Singer can often be seen wearing two very different uniforms that seem worlds apart.

The 33-year-old father, who lives in Karnei Shomron in northwestern Samaria, dons his bullet-proof vest and carries his M16 to protect his community in an event of a terrorist attack, as a volunteer in his neighborhood security watch team. But Singer’s other uniform – a far jollier one – consists of a red rubber nose, clown shoes, and a colorful tie and crazy hat that he wears during clown therapy sessions at a Tel Aviv hospital.

The religious settler travels once a week to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital), where he works to uplift patients, through jokes, laughter and improvisation.

“A hospital is not a fun place,” Singer tells Tazpit News Agency. You want the patients to feel more comfortable.

“I’ve worked with children and parents who are hysterical before blood infusions, check-ups, or surgery. My job is to relax the parents and help the child overcome the pain and tension. That helps the staff and doctors too. Once you give the parent and child a chance to smile and breathe more easily, it helps everyone,” Singer told Tazpit News Agency in an exclusive interview.

Singer, who has been volunteering as clown therapist for three years, has worked with many different sectors of Israeli society including Palestinian children from Gaza who have been brought into Israel for treatment. “You don’t look at the person before you – I don’t see an Arab, Eritrean, Russian, or whatever ethnicity person is – all I see is the pain.”

“To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s an Arab child or a Jewish child – I want to help bring that person out of the pain and give him or her some positive energy,” Singer explains.

“Sometimes, I throw in a word in Russian or Arabic during a joke and the smile in return is worth everything.”

Singer has found himself in situations where rocks have been thrown at his vehicle on his way home to Samaria from the hospital.

“Palestinians throwing rocks at my vehicle won’t stop me,” he says. “I believe that when Arab patients see me, it will give them a chance to see that a religious settler is not a monster and maybe in turn it will make them stop throwing rocks.”

Singer’s day job is aerial photography but he says that it’s his volunteer work that is most meaningful. “I volunteer in two very different professions, but both save lives in different ways.”

He describes a unique Purim two years ago in Karnei Shomron when he dressed up in the clown costume he usually donned for clown therapy session. Suddenly in the middle of the Purim seuda (festive holiday meal) the community was alerted to a potential terror threat.

“Here I was, dressed as a clown with a red rubber nose, and I had to go out with my M16 for a security check,” he says. “That was truly a bizarre experience.”

Today an estimated number of 320 clown therapists operate across Israel. Following a chance meeting with a clown therapist who treated Singer’s daughter when she was hospitalized five years ago, Singer decided to take a six-month clown therapy course where he learned how to be a medical clown himself.

“I go to the hospital every week and act as a clown to make someone feel better. I want to change a child’s reality for good and this is how I do it.”

Perfect Purim Hamantashen – Baked in Israel (Video)

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

This Year’s Esther-Award Goes To…

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

It is easy to spot Haman in today’s world. The Iranian Mullah’s with their destroy-Israel infatuation, a few European NGOs who back killers with the slogan of human rights, a PA which teaches its children to hate Jews and to detest life, to name a few…

But who is this year’s Esther?

My vote is with Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett, a world renowned actress, and hidden Esther-like Jew, stood up against EU and UN-types when she said goodbye to Oxfam in favor of the Israeli SodaStream. There was an element of a Purim-like turn around, when Oxfam tried to pressure Scarlett to drop SodaSteram, but this time, it was they who got the cut.

Why did she do it? She could not bring herself to project the Oxfam narrative about Arab oppression because she had seen the factories which employ satisfied Arabs, and hearing from them directly she understood what it would mean to lose their jobs in the name of “liberation.”

In her own words she explained that, “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’aleh Adumim factory every working day.” She defined Israel as the facilitator of normalcy while undermining the Israel-is–to-blame for everything account.

But what good could come to Scarlett by standing up for truth? On the face of it, very little. She could have gone on happily making movies without having to face the ire of bad guys, who no doubt, have the ability to threaten physical violence as well. Just stay out of it, its not your fight, why do you, a Hollywood starlet, need this Middle East headache?

And that is exactly why Scarlett wins the Esther Award – she did not need this headache, but still she used her position to publicly shame and expose the BDSers. As Mordechai said, “And who knows if for this time you were made queen?”

However, Scarlett’s actions did much more then defend the Jewish State. By said no to the narrative that Oxfam was drawing about Israel, she actually defended the world from accepting a general warped outlook which seeks to portray evil as good and good as evil. In Nazi Germany, it began by vilifying the Jew and extolling the Nazi party. Today, it begins by painting the oppressive Jihadists as freedom fighters, and Israel, the one shining light of hope for humanity in the Middle East, as the most evil force in the region. Experience shows that once these lies are accepted, the world is thrown into chaos and millions can die.

Scarlett bravely said no, and thereby stopped the lies from passing through her. Like Esther, she put herself on the line for truth, and like Mordechai, she would not bow down and give homage to the lies. And while it may have not seem like much, sometimes, just a sliver of courage is enough to put the bullies down, give the world another chance, and encourage a new generation to fight on for truth.

Happy Purim

Lego Purim

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Happy Purim (Photo Essay)

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Devout reader Avi Abelow sent us this batch of photos from Purim at his shul, Zayit Raanan, in Efrat. Send us yours and maybe we’ll publish them too.

Purim Sameach.


Zayit, Efrat

The Early Minyamoys. Photo by Avi Abelow

The Early Minyamoys.
Photo by Avi Abelow

Someone is always a vampire. Photo by Avi Abelow

Someone is always a vampire.
Photo by Avi Abelow

Sorry Rabbi, but that's not really a costume when you normally wear it 30 days out of the year.  Photo by Avi Abelow

Sorry Rabbi, but it’s not really a costume when you normally wear it 30 days out of the year.
Photo by Avi Abelow


Tel Aviv

Zombies in Tel Aviv

Zombies in Tel Aviv
Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90


Beit Shemesh

Photo by: Yaakov Lederman/Flash90

Photo by: Yaakov Lederman/Flash90

Photo by Yaakov Lederman/Flash90

Photo by Yaakov Lederman/Flash90

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/happy-purim-photo-essay/2014/03/15/

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