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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath’

Jerusalem Residents Protest Plan to Close Cineplex on Shabbat

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Approximately Jerusalem residents, including Meretz party supporters, protested on front of City Hall Saturday night against a plan to close a new movie theater complex on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

The complex, which includes restaurants and a 15-screen movie theater, is set to open this summer. It will close on weekends in keeping with an agreement between the Finance Ministry, the property developer and the Jerusalem municipality.

Among the groups protesting were Awakening, the Meretz political party and Be Free Israel.

 

 

Woman Sues after ’24-Hour Makeup’ Didn’t Make it Through Shabbat

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

An Orthodox Jewish woman from Monsey, N.Y. is suing the Lancome cosmetics firm, claiming that its 24-hour makeup does not last as long as advertised and thus prevents her from looking good all Shabbat.

Rorie Weisberg of Monsey, N.Y. said in her lawsuit that Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation does not last 24 hours and that the company is practicing false advertising, a violation of New YorkState business law, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Weisberg’s lawsuit says her son is having a bar mitzvah next month and that she tried the Lancome foundation in advance to see if she could look good in her makeup for the entire 25-hour celebration. Jewish law prohibits removing and replacing makeup during the Sabbath.

“The 24-hour claim was central to plaintiff’s purchase decision, as a long-lasting makeup assists with her dual objectives of compliance with religious law and enhancement to her natural appearance,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks unspecified damages from Lancome and its parent firm, L’Oreal, for Weisberg and other makeup purchasers, as well as a “corrective advertising campaign.”

A spokeswoman for L’Oreal said in a statement that the lawsuit has no merit and Lancome stands behinds its products.

“We will strenuously contest these allegations in court,” the spokeswoman said. “Consistent with our practice and policy, however, as this matter is currently in litigation, we cannot comment further.”

Is Sabbath Observance Enough?

Monday, March 18th, 2013

The David Brooks article in the New York Times about Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn has stirred up a lot of controversy. This time it is a complaint in the Forward from an unlikely source – Jordana Horn, an observant Conservative Jew. I say unlikely – not because it is unlikely that she would complain, but because of her identification as an observant Conservative Jew. And by observant, I mean Shomer Shabbos. It is that particular Mitzvah that has in the past always been definitive of observance. At least in America I suppose that’s because it was so difficult to keep Shabbos during the great influx of European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

There were plenty of Jews that immigrated to this country then who were observant in Europe and wished to stay observant. But because of the work ethic of the times, many of them succumbed to the pressure of working on Shabbos – even while keeping the other Miztvos (like Kashrus)to the best of their abilities. Many Jews felt that it was either working on Shabbos or starving.

That concession cost them greatly in their children. In many if not most cases their children abandoned the ritual observances of their parents in part because of the melting pot spirit of the times… but perhaps equally as important, because they saw their fathers working on Shabbos. They considered it hypocritical of their fathers to insist on their children keeping Shabbos when their fathers worked on that day.

I am not judging that generation. Times were tough. These are just the sad facts of reality. We lost a lot of Jews of the subsequent generation to assimilation back then. Of course this is not the only reason we lost them. The utter lack of any meaningful Jewish education in those days had something to do with it too.

On the other hand there were a lot of Jews who toughed it out and did not work on Shabbos. They kept getting fired from their jobs when they didn’t show up for work. Or they somehow found jobs that did not require working on Shabbos even when it meant lesser pay. They were in the minority. But their kids for the most art stayed Shomer Shabbos too – as well observant of other Mitzvos.

Others may differ but this is why I think Shabbos is the defining characteristic of observant Judaism. Which brings me back to Ms. Horn. She is observant. She is Shomeres Shabbos. She admits that this is a relative rarity in the Conservative movement and although there are more than a few like her – I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of Jews in the Conservative movement are not Shomer Shabbos.

She complains that Mr. Brooks ‘waxed rhapsodic’ only about Orthodox Jews. …that her observance of Judaism is just as legitimate as in that of Orthodox Jewry.

The obvious question is, what makes her Conservative if she observes Shabbos? That is a very good question. In fact, if there were no labels like Orthodox and Conservative… we would all just be Jews with different levels of observance. (This is the way Sephardim live. This is one of the things I am envious of about them.)

Alas, there are labels. Labels that identify ideologies. In some cases those ideologies contradict Halacha and Mesorah. The problem I have with Ms. Horn is that she sees egalitarianism as an essential feature of her life. So much so apparently that she cannot imagine Judaism without it. She believes that equality of the sexes in all areas of life including religion is so important that Halacha can be changed to accommodate it. And she has found a movement that agrees with her and even encourages that kind of thinking.

The Conservative movement has done away with all Halacha that does not bow to egalitarianism. They have changed the entire nature of the Halachic process from one of adhering to Halacha as laid down before us by the sages as recorded in the Talmud and finalized in the Shulchan Aruch and its commentaries… to one of changing it to fit with the spirit of the times. Egalitarianism drives Halacha in the Conservative Movement – instead of Halacha driving egalitarianism.

Air Raid Sirens Sound In Jerusalem

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

For probably the first time since the Yom Kippur War nearly 40 years ago, air raid sirens sounded this week in Jerusalem and environs.

The sounding of the sirens occurred about two minutes after sundown on Friday, such that Sabbath-observers had no direct way of ascertaining where, what, how many, or who, if anyone, was hurt.

Nor did any of the hundreds of thousands of people who heard the sirens have any immediate idea that they were not the only ones to be affected. That is, the residents of Gush Etzion, 20 miles south of the capital, did not know that similar sirens were warning the residents of Jerusalem, who in turn were unaware that people in Beit El and Psagot, another 15 miles to the north, were also running toward their protected areas at that very moment.

And certainly those in Telz Stone, a few miles west of Jerusalem, could not imagine that they were not alone in their sudden panic. In short, myriads of citizens over a wide swathe of Israel were simultaneously rushing to find shelter while asking themselves, “Are the Hamas missiles actually reaching us, too? Might one of them actually land next door – or even closer?”

Missiles were not the only things flying that day. The atmosphere very quickly, and throughout the Sabbath, filled with rumors of all types: A rocket hit Mevaseret, just west of the capital; Two Arabs killed in Abu Ghosh, adjacent to Telz Stone; Jerusalem is under fire.

Only after Shabbat did everyone find out with certainty what had happened: Jerusalem was not under fire. Rather, one rocket had been fired toward eastern Gush Etzion, about seven miles south of Yerushalayim and five miles east of Efrat; no one was hurt – not there, or in Jerusalem, or Abu Ghosh, or anywhere else in the vicinity. It was, however, probably the farthest a Hamas rocket had ever reached.

Many, like Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari, thought at first that the siren had sounded in error. “We were in the middle of the Kabbalat Shabbat prayers when we heard it,” he said, “and we thought it was just a mistake. But we soon caught ourselves and realized this was serious. We went down to the lower floor and continued davening there.”

In other shuls, the worshipers had no place to run to, so they ducked under their shtenders and benches, or stood against inside walls, or possibly did nothing. Residents of the greater Jerusalem area truly don’t have much experience in dodging missiles. As one social networker put it, “Even Saddam Hussein didn’t aim Scuds at Jerusalem.”

Hamas actually bragged that it had fired three missiles at Jerusalem, including one at the Knesset – just one example not only of wishful thinking on its part, but outright lying. It also reported, in its attempt to raise the spirits of the demoralized Gaza populace, that it had shot down an Israeli F-16 jet fighter and a reconnaissance aircraft, that Israel had closed Ben Gurion International Airport, and that electricity had been knocked out in southern Tel Aviv.

Lying and deception, of course, are the least of Hamas’s crimes. In addition to premeditated missile and other attacks on innocent Israelis over the past 13 years, Hamas violates international law by endangering its own civilians. In fact, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) cited Hamas for storing “explosive devices” in “civilian-populated areas,” thus “threaten[ing] the lives of Palestinian civilians and violat[ing] international humanitarian law.” Though Israel holds its fire when it finds civilians in the way of legitimate military targets, some civilian deaths are unavoidable – especially when, as often happens, Hamas purposely brings women and children to locations Israel is expected to target.

Israel, for its part, had, as of Monday, bombed over 1,100 Hamas targets, including Hamas television and radio offices. The IDF took over Hamas radio broadcasts and warned the Gaza citizenry to stay “far away from Hamas men, as the IDF prepares to begin the second stage of the offensive.”

Questions abound: If Hamas is interested in hitting Jerusalem, why has there been only one such attempt? Does Hamas care if any of the many Arab villages nearby suffer the hit instead? Does Hamas really want to hit the Knesset – or possibly the Temple Mount?

After Sandy, Volunteers Crisscross Manhattan to Help

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

In a nearly dark corner of lower Manhattan, in an area otherwise known as Tribeca, Rabbi Zalman Paris stands tall, cellular phone in hand, to answer another call from a young volunteer eager to offer assistance. Days after Hurricane Sandy left millions across New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey without electricity, food or water, there are plenty of people who want to help victims and their communities recover.

From his window, Paris, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Tribeca and SoHo, watched the storm hurl itself into the homes and lives of residents nearby. The storm prevented him from venturing outdoors, but the moment he was able to, the rabbi assembled a plan and a team to help his neighbors.

“Many organizations have joined us in our efforts to help those in need during this hard time,” he said.

Paris partnered with Rabbi Levi Shmotkin of Chabad Young Professionals, Ari Teman of JCorps, and Julie Menin, a candidate for Manhattan Borough President.

“We brought in a paramedic to aid the elderly, who with no way out of their buildings needed immediate medical attention,” Shmotkin relayed.

Menin detailed that she kept the 10,000 people on her contact list updated by email.

“People would email that they needed food, water, diapers and baby formula. I then sent an email blast to Rabbi Paris,” said Menin.

All told, more than 100 volunteers traversed lower Manhattan, crisscrossing the city’s streets to visit nearly 3,000 apartment units in one day alone.

One longtime JCorps volunteer named Jillian described her experience as “eye opening.” More than 100 volunteers assisted the Tribeca effort.

“Today we visited some housing developments of the lower east side to bring food and water to the elderly and disabled citizens who are without,” she said. “You really become thankful for what you do have during a time like this.”

With the Sabbath approaching, they are hoping that the electricity will be restored.

“We may not have power, but we will definitely be spending the Sabbath with the many people and volunteers who are here with us,” said Paris. “Although many fled the neighborhood prior to the storm, our focus was on those that didn’t have anywhere to go.”

Jews and Arabs Exchange Fisticuffs in Eastern Jerusalem

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

A group of over 20 Jews consisting of men, women, children, and elderly  returning to the Maale HaZeitim neighborhood on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on the Sabbath were attacked by a group of Arabs hurling rocks and cinder blocks.

Reports indicate that Jewish men in the group responded by punching assailants, who returned lobbies with their own fists.

Guards were called immediately to the scene, no serious injuries were reported.

Yom Kippur Guide for the Perplexed 2012

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

1.  Yom Kippur is observed on the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tishrey, whose astrological sign is Libra (♎). Libra symbolizes key themes of Yom Kippur: scales, justice, balance, truth, symmetry, sensitivity and optimism. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus (Noga, נגה, in Hebrew), which reflects divine light and love of the other person.  The numerical value of Venus, נגה, is 58 just like the numerical value of אזן, which is the Hebrew root of “balance” and “scale.”

2.  Three holidays - Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (Tabernacles) - are celebrated during the month of Tishrey. The number 3 is identified with balance, stability and The Essence.  The triangle is a symbol of stability.

3.  On the first day of Tishrey, the first human being, Adam, was created. Each year on the tenth day of Tishrey, Yom Kippur, human beings are accorded an opportunity to recreate themselves spiritually. Tishrey and Libra are dominated by the Hebrew letter ל, which is the tallest Hebrew letter, consisting of 3 parts, aiming upward, reflecting the need to elevate-oneself morally, self-enhancement. Yom Kippur is not driven by punishment, but by behavioral-enhancement.

4.  Yom Kippur’s central theme is the plea for forgiveness – directly and not merely via prayers - from fellow human beings.  It highlights humility (admitting fallibility), faith, soul-searching, thoughtfulness, being considerate, compassion, accepting responsibility, magnanimity.  Speaking ill of other people (“evil tongue” in Hebrew) may not be forgiven.

5.  The Jubilee – sanctifying each 50th year by proclaiming liberty, as also inscribed on the Liberty Bell – is announced by blowing the Shofar (a ritual ram’s horn) on Yom Kippur. The Jubilee liberates people physically and spiritually. The word “jubilee” (יובל) is a Hebrew synonym for “Shofar.” Yom Kippur and Jubilee highlight liberty and the subordination to God.

6.  Yom Kippur culminates the ten days of genuine, heart-driven atonement/repentance, which begin on Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish month of Tishrey - an Acadian word for forgiveness and Genesis. It is observed on the tenth day of TishreyTen has special significance in Judaism: God’s abbreviation is the tenth Hebrew letter (Yod - י); Ten attributes of God – Divine perfection – were highlighted during the Creation; the Ten Commandments; the Ten Plagues;  Ten reasons for blowing the Shofar; 10% gift to God (tithe); The Ten Martyrs (Rabbis who were tortured/murdered by the Roman Empire); Ten generations between Adam and Noah and ten generations between Noah and Abraham; a ten worshipper quorum (Minyan) is required for a collective Jewish prayer;  etc.

7.  Yom Kippur is a Happy Jewish Holiday, replacing vindictiveness and rage with peace-of-mind and peaceful co-existence between God and human beings and, primarily, among human beings.  Yom Kippur emphasizes God’s Covenant with the Jewish People, ending God’s rage over the sin of the Golden Calf.

8.  The Hebrew word Kippur כיפור (atonement/repentance) is a derivative of the Biblical words Kaporet כפורת - which covered the Holy Ark at the Sanctuary – and Kopher כופר, which covered Noah’s Ark and the Holy Altar at the Temple.  Yom Kippur resembles a spiritual cover (dome), which separates between the holy (days) and the mundane (rest of the year), between spiritualism and materialism. The Kippa כיפה (skullcap, Yarmulke), which covers one’s head during prayers, reflects a spiritual dome. 

9. Yom Kippur calls for repentance – Teshuvah, תשובה, in Hebrew.  The root of Teshuvah is similar to root of the Hebrew word for Return שובה – returning to positive values – and Shvitah שביתה – cessation (strike) of mundane thoughts and actions and eating.  It is also similar to the root of Shabbat שבת. Yom Kippur is also called Shabbat Shabbaton – the supreme Sabbath.  The last Sabbath before Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Teshuvah (based on Hosea’s prophesy, chapter 4).  While the Sabbath is the soul of the week, Yom Kippur is the soul of the year.

10.  The Hebrew spelling of “fast” (צם/צום) – abstinence from food – reflects the substance of Yom Kippur.  The Hebrew word for “fast” is the root of the Hebrew word for “reduction” and “shrinking” (צמצום) of one’s wrong-doing.  It is also the root of the Hebrew words for“slave” (צמית) and “eternity” (צמיתות) – enslavement to God, but not to human-beings. “Fast” is also the root of עצמי (being oneself), עצום (awesome),  עצמה (power), עצמאות(independence), which are gained through the process of fasting, soul-searching, spiritual enhancement and trust in God.

11.  The prayer of Veedooi-וידוי (confession/reaffirmation in Hebrew) is recited ten timesduring Yom Kippur, re-entrenching genuine repentance and the plea for forgiveness. The prerequisites for forgiveness are the expression and exercise (talking and walking) of repentance; assuming full-responsibility for one’s (mis)behavior, and significantly altering one’s behavior.  King Saul sinned only once – ignoring the commandment to annihilate the Amalekites – but was banished from the crown and killed, because he shirked responsibility, while responding to Samuel’s accusation.  King David sinned twice (The “Bat-Sheba Gate” and the “Census Gate”), but was forgiven, because he accepted full-responsibility and the death sentence (as proclaimed by Nathan the Prophet), which was promptly rescinded.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/yom-kippur-guide-for-the-perplexed-2012/2012/09/25/

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