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August 29, 2016 / 25 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath’

A Soldier’s Mother: Keeping the Sabbath

Friday, July 29th, 2016

On my first trip to Israel when I was 16 years old, I discovered, truly for the first time, the deepest and truest meaning of Shabbat, our Sabbath day. For years in America, I had adopted the traditions, attempted to follow the rules, but what was missing was the absolute depth and beauty of sharing that day with others in song, sharing meals, simply living in the moment. My family was not religious and so I was mostly on my own, sailing through the mechanics.

Only in Israel, sharing each Shabbat day with hundreds of other teenagers who were also enjoying the experience of Israel did I suddenly understand why the rules are what they are and how incredible a gift we as a people have been given.

While I was here, one Shabbat was shared with another group of kids. This one included girls who had recently been “converted” from Reform Judaism to Orthodoxy and the sudden plunge that they experienced was so very different from my slow and easy (and lonely) journey from Conservative Judaism to Orthodox. Though I understood that these girls had been quickly taught that they must be modest, I found their climbing under the blankets in an all-girls room to be a bit absurd, but I held back figuring, with all the superiority a 16 year old can muster, that they needed to be helped along and accepted, not criticized.

Later that night, after yet another amazing meal, hearing 300 kids singing and clapping and even dancing, I was not even a bit bothered the first time one of them complained that the last person out of the room, whoever that was, had forgotten to shut the light. So here we were, four girls in a room with a light on, while Jewish law forbade us from closing it during the Sabbath.

I accepted the situation and turned on my side, but this one girl said out loud, “Oh, it’s so hard to sleep with the light on.”

I closed my eyes and waited for sleep, “I just wish the light hadn’t been left on,” she said.

A few minutes later, “It’s just so hard to sleep with the light on, too bad it can’t be closed.”

And a few minutes later, “It’s so hard to sleep with the light on.”

And then somehow, a crazy thought entered my mind, “Are you hinting that we should shut the light?” I asked her as I sat up in bed and looked at her.

Such incredible relief filled her face with joy, “YES! My rabbi told me that I wasn’t allowed to turn the lights on and off but that I could hint to someone else to do it!”

I looked at her somewhat surprised myself and yet also relieved at having the mystery solved, “to a non-Jew,” I told her. “We can’t turn the lights on or off either.”

David is home for a long weekend. He’s talking about the army, funny stories, serious ones and I listen and smile. He’s happy. He looks amazing. He was so silly, so playful today. He hasn’t been home in more than 2 weeks and I’ve missed him a lot.

His grandmother asks him to tell her one good thing about being in the army, “You get a lot of exercise,” he answered.

“Where you are sleeping, is it air-conditioned?” I ask.

The answer is “sort of.” There are machines there, but to cut down on costs, the air conditioners automatically go off every two hours and then someone has to turn them back on. This works just fine during the week, but on the Sabbath, the air conditioners go off and can’t be turned back on…at least not by the Jewish soldiers in David’s unit.

And so they hinted and explained to a Druze soldier who had heard of such practices but never really experienced them. It took a few minutes but he finally understood what was needed after a sudden power outage cut the electricity. Quite willing to help his fellow soldiers, he turned the electricity back on…everyone thanked him.

Then, he smiled, closed the electricity, laughed and walked out of the room. A minute or two later, he came back in and turned it back on and everyone joined in the laughter.

Another soldier who serves in his unit is from Russia. He is not Jewish, though going through the conversion process. David said that on Friday in the middle of the night, the Russian soldier woke because  it was very hot in the room. He got up and turned the air conditioner back on and then, thinking of the other soldiers, he went room to room to turn the air conditioners on again for the other soldiers.

Keeping the Sabbath is not always the easiest thing to do. Years ago, I found myself in Jerusalem and spent the night with the light on because it was Shabbat and I couldn’t turn the light back on. Now, so many years later, my son’s army life is made that much easier by two non-Jews – both of whom have volunteered to serve in the army.

We are commanded to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. This holy Shabbat, Davidi will be home to share in it with us. He left a short time ago to visit his friends. I’ve got corned beef boiling on the stove top; chicken cooling in the oven. Soon I’ll make the dough for the challah and leave it to rise overnight.

Years before my first trip, I knew that I wanted to live in Israel; now, as I watch my son and hear the stories he tells me about his life in the army over the last two weeks, I smile. I wish I could go back and whisper in my 16 year old year…have faith, you’ll get back here; you’ll raise your children here and they will be everything you dreamed of and so many things you never imagined.

Paula Stern

Meretz Call to Boycott Restaurant Closing on Shabbat Backfires

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

A popular eatery in one of the more upscale communities along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline has decided to “go kosher” and close its doors on the Sabbath.”

But the decision made by the Raanana River restaurant has disgruntled members of the Meretz party. The local branch went so far as the launch a boycott of the restaurant via Facebook.

“Starting this weekend, the River Raanana has become a shomer Shabbat restaurant, closed on Friday nights and Saturdays,” wrote Idit Diamant on the Meretz Ra’anana Facebook page.

“As there are very few restaurants in Ra’anana that remain open on Friday nights and fewer that make deliveries I personally feel hurt by this change,” she wrote.

“I call upon all those for whom this is important to do as I do and to go also during the week to restaurants that remain open on the Sabbath.

“It is important that the greater public in Ra’anana will make known its opinion and support those businesses that stay open on the Sabbath if we want someone to care about our needs.”

Someone who saw the post was upset enough about the boycott to try and launch a counter demonstration.

“I want to point out that I personally oppose religious coercion in any form; I believe everyone should be free to practice their faith as they see fit, but this post disgusts me,” the writer commented.

“This week I have a meeting in Ra’anana, and of course I am going to eat there, to show my support for [this restaurant,]” the commenter wrote in the post.

 

Additional Details (JNi.Media)

Idit Diamante happens to represent Meretz on the Ra’anana city council, and serves as chair of the transportation committee and the ethics committee, and serves on the Audit Committee, the committee to promote the status of children, to anti-drugs committee, anti-violence committee, subcommittee for planning and construction, the budget distribution committee, and the support committee. She’s a busy lady.

The Ra’anana mayor, Zeev Bielski, represents an independent, local party, aptly named “Ra’anana that We Love.” They have 6 members on the council. Meretz is part of the coalition in Ra’anana, with one of three deputy mayors, Ronit Weintraub. Another deputy mayor is Haim Goldman, from the United Religious List. So it’s not as if Meretz doesn’t know how to get along with religious folks. But that’s a different story.

A mother of four grown boys, Dr. Idit Diamante is a physicist and an engineer, a researcher and hi-tech consultant, who has been in local public service since 1998. On her profile page she states her dedication to women’s causes and to reliable, transparent politics. Heaven knows why, in a moment’s rage, she trashed all that rich experience and seemingly a cool headedness and let her spoiled rich girl’s insensitive side shine through.

Now, here comes the wonderful part about this story: it received close to 300 responses since Friday afternoon, many of which were, predictably enough, from right-wingers who let her have it, as you can imagine. But the most wonderful responses came from people who defined themselves as Meretz members, left-wingers, atheists, who hated it just as much!

Nitay Sheinenzon: “As a member of the Meretz party I express objection and repulsion over this shocking post. Every time a place decides to become kosher and offers service to the religious public, it is blessed, every business that decides to rest on the Day of Rest according to our tradition is legitimate, and I wish them a good day of rest and Shabbat Shalom.”

Nir Koren: “Really? Boycotting a restaurant because it’s kosher? As a Meretz voter, activist and member of the Meretz Conference, I am ashamed that this announcement was posted on a page with my party’s name on it.”

Arik Meshulam: “As a complete atheist, I don’t give a hoot which restaurant is open on Shabbat and which is closed. If a person has decided to close his restaurant on Shabbat, it’s his business, why would you force him to keep it open? It’s his private restaurant. You’re just as bad as the religious people who force businesses to close on Shabbat.”

Erez Wohl: “I join the extreme leftists who think this post is embarrassing. We thought we were past the phase of hate for the religious in Meretz L.”

Finally, a cute post by Daniela Mizrachi: “A good week to everyone and good tidings. Ms. Idit, thank you so much for saving us a lot of advertising expenses, and thank you, everyone, for your support and understanding, we’ll be happy to have you over — River Restaurant, a river of oriental tastes.”

Bon appétit.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Pavilion to Close at IBC 2015 for Sabbath, Rosh Hashana

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

The Israel Pavilion at the IBC 2015 exhibition at RAI Amsterdam is making a “kiddush Hashem” – a sanctification of God’s Name – before the Nations this year, and showing what a Jewish nation is really all about.

Economy Minister Arye Deri ordered the closure of the pavilion in accordance with the holy Sabbath, and for the Holy Days of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

This means the pavilion will be open for two of the five days of the exhibition, which runs from Friday, Sept. 11 through Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Last Thursday, the Israeli companies presenting products at the pavilion of the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute were notified they will be allowed to exhibit on Friday and Sunday. Israeli business people will be able to hold meetings with potential clients at the exhibition on these two days as well.

Secular Israeli media is presenting this issue as a major disaster for Israeli business, of course, and complaining that the minister is seriously damaging the 18 Israeli companies who are to present at the exhibition.

“Israel’s image as the ‘Startup Nation’ will also suffer a blow when clients find its pavilion in one of the main halls of the exhibition closed,” worried Ynet in an article on Tuesday.

But Deri has already agreed to compensate those companies presenting in the exhibition who suffer damages from the closure.

Yet Minister of Social Services Chaim Katz, also complained bitterly, calling Deri’s decision a “serious violation of the freedom of occupation… it sends Israel light years back.”

Others claimed it would cause “irreversible damage.”

Vibe Israel CEO Joanna Landau sent Deri a letter saying the decision shows “without a shadow of a doubt that the State of Israel’s image is not a top priority for the Israeli government.”

Deri pointed out that coordination for the pavilion was completed before he took office.

However, he said, “since [the exhibition] is taking place on holy days and on Shabbat, which are sacred to the people of Israel and during which there is no official Israeli state activity, Israel’s pavilion will not be operating on these days.”

Hana Levi Julian

Jerusalem Mayor to Close Central Supermarkets on Sabbath

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is planning to force at least eight supermarkets that currently operate on the Sabbath in the holy city to close on Saturdays, according to a report Wednesday on Galei Tzahal Army Radio.

All eight are centrally located.

The move reportedly comes as a peace-making gesture to the hareidi factions in Barkat’s coalition who represent a large population in the city.

Last week hareidi religious men protested violently against the opening of the new “YES Planet” cinema complex in the capital, even though the complex is located far from the hareidi-religious section of the city.

“I’m happy the mayor kept his word to take steps to bolster the status of Shabbat in the holy city,” Jerusalem city council member Aryeh King told Galei Tzahal in a separate interview.

“I really hope that this will be the start of a new era of keeping Jerusalem united in the truest sense of the term. That includes preserving the holiness of the city – and the holiness of the Sabbath.”

King added that Barkat had promised the move in exchange for his return to the coalition.

Hana Levi Julian

Union to Enforce 4th Commandment and Strike the Airport on Shabbat

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Religious coercion has come from the labor union, of all places, but not for the right reason.

The Histadrut announced on Thursday plans to strike the Ben Gurion Airport throughout this Shabbat – from sundown Friday until Saturday night – but don’t think we are on the eve of the Days of the Messiah.

The union’s problem is not Shabbat. Its complaint is that the Ben Gurion Airport Authority is employing too many contract workers, who are outside of the union.

The Histadrut planned to give those workers the chance to obey the Fourth Commandment, as written in Exodus (Shmot) 20, verses 8-11:

Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.                       :

Six days may you work and perform all your labor;

But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord, your God; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities.

For [in] six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.

The Airport Authority and the Histadrut have been talking for a month on the union’s demand to limit the number of contract workers, who now number approximately 500 along with 3,400 unionized employees.

The Histadrut planned to observe Jewish law to the hilt. It not only was going to enforce the Fifth Commandment by not working on Shabbat, but it also was not going to interfere with emergency services, which will operate as usual in line with the dictate that one must work on the Shabbat if it means saving a life.

Later on Thursday, the Histadrut reached an agreement with Airport Authority and called off the strike.

The planned strike came at the peak of the summer tourist season. Air traffic is relatively slow on the Sabbath, but nevertheless there are approximately 200 planes scheduled to take off and land this Shabbat.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Obama Reaching Out to (Liberal) Jews in Sermon at Synagogue

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

President Barack Obama will speak at the Sabbath Eve services Friday morning at Adas Israel, Washington’s largest Conservative synagogue.

Move over Muslims, now it’s the Jews’ turn. President Obama’s “reaching out to Muslims” speech in Cairo in 2009 raised Arab expectations for a New Muslim Order. Three years later, the Arab Spring rebellions in the Middle East showed the White House which Muslims were listening.

This time around, Obama is reaching out to the liberal Jewish community whom he sees as the most powerful Jews in the United States.

Adas Israel is in the political and religious center. Its best description might be “pareve,” the Hebrew word for foods that are not dairy and not meat. Another description would be “politically correct.”

Obama doesn’t get along well with Orthodox Jews because most of them are right-wing. They also are “too Jewish.” They are not politically correct. He loves J Street and has given the left-wing group an open door to the White House, but their penchant for “engaging” with Hamas is too far out in space even for Obama.

Obama also does not get along well with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to make a gross understatement. The truth is he would not get along well with Yitzchak Herzog or Tzipi Livni if they were leading the Israel government because even they know that the Palestinian Authority is an enemy and not a “peace partner.” They can’t say it now because they are in the Opposition, but they have mumbled it enough times.

The ones who count in American politics are the rich  and influential Jews. Some of them are Orthodox.  Some of them are way out in left field. Many of them are wary of Obama because of his publicly harsh treatment of Netanyahu and his reckless driving towards a deal with Iran over its nuclear facilities.

He needs American Jewish support, and preaching to the Conservative synagogue in Washington is his key. Virtually every Israel ambassador attends Adas Israel. Current Ambassador Ron Dermer does not because he does not drive on the Shabbat.

Norman Eisen, Obama’s former ambassador to the Czech Republic, told The Washington Post:

The president is probably the last person in the White House who hasn’t been to Adas.. So I guess he wants to see what it’s all about.

President Obama’s speech comes during Jewish American Heritage Month. Obama will bowl over the audience tonight with quips. He probably will remind them that he holds a Passover Seder every year. Strictly kosher.

We can expect him to pull a phrase from the Torah and then deliver his own interpretation, based on his ignorance of Talmud.

That is just what the liberal American Jews want to hear.

“Love they neighbor as thyself” becomes “make peace with your enemies,” and “We were slaves in Egypt” becomes “free the poor Palestinians from the Occupation” so they can have the freedom to choose between a terrorist state and anarchy, or perhaps both.

Obama will find some way to argue that the Torah supports the “two-state solution.”

Obama’s support from the Jewish community has dropped sharply. A Gallup poll last month revealed that only 54 percent of American Jews – they usually refer to themselves Jewish Americans just so the non-Jews don’t suspect them of disloyalty.

President Obama is scary because he is one of those good American Gentiles who adopt certain Jewish principles for their own personal, social and political objectives. The difference between Reform Judaism and Obama’s view of Judaism is that he is not Jewish, although the Reform community rapidly is erasing that distinction through intermarriage.

Martin Indyk, former Ambassador to Israel, former “peace process” pusher and a model of  the liberal American Jew, told the Washington newspaper:

 The president himself feels a little Jewish, in the sense that he identifies with Jewish values,

The Washington Post added:

But on a more fundamental level, according to several of the president’s confidants, Obama is pained by the perception that he has not done enough for Israel. The president has had close Jewish friends for decades and inaugurated the tradition of holding an annual Passover Seder at the White House. Indyk said.

Bad news. The liberal American Jews, and their non-Jewish friends, want to “help” Israel by modeling the Jewish state after America.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Rabbis Allow XMas Trees in Kosher Israeli Hotels

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Hotels in Israel will now be able to place Christmas trees in the lobby, film movies on the premises during the Sabbath and violate other Jewish laws but hold a “kosher” status.

In the past, the Israel’s Chief Rabbinate required hotels to maintain basic compliance with Torah law in order be certified kosher.

However, a petition to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein by the “Hiddush” Freedom of Religion for Israel non-governmental organization (NGO) has forced the Chief Rabbinate to change its rules.

Hiddush CEO Uri Regev, a reform rabbi, argued the Rabbinate’s regulations violated Israel’s kashruth law, which in the past the High Court of Justice has determined are restricted solely to the issue of food, and not Sabbath observance, modesty or other points.

Regev threatened to turn to the High Court if Weinstein did not put an end to “legal infractions” committed by the Chief Rabbinate in the field of kashruth – that is, conditioning kashruth certification on general Sabbath observance and not using Christian symbols.

In response, the Chief Rabbinate announced a list of changes last Thursday, removing its ban on nearly anything that would differentiate an observant Jewish establishment from one that is not.

Regev proclaimed the move a “victory.

“First, it will finally give the numerous Jewish and non-Jewish groups that visit Israel the freedom and respect which has been denied them by the Rabbinate’s extortionist demands,” he said, according to Religion News Service. “Second, it is an important lesson in the development of the rule of law in Israel, which emphasizes that the Chief Rabbinate is bound by Israeli law and is not above it.”

That last is an issue that observant Jews are well warned to take notice of, since it is now clear – if it has not been prior to this – that supervision and certification by the Chief Rabbinate – may not longer be reliable, due to circumstances beyond the control of well-meaning rabbonim at the Rabbinate.

For example:

The ban on symbols of Christian holidays such as Christmas trees has been lifted.

The Chief Rabbinate revoked its ban on using audio, video and music equipment at hotel events on the Sabbath except when food is served.

The ban on Jews accepting payments from guests has also been canceled, except in connection to ordering and paying for food.

Perhaps most disturbing, a requirement for hotels to have a Sabbath elevator has also been lifted, with the exception of a Sabbath elevator for the delivery of food.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israels-chief-rabbinate-revokes-ban-on-sabbath-violation-for-hotel-kashruth-certification/2015/03/09/

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