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July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

Rabbis Call for National ‘Early Shabbat’

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Religious Zionist and Haredi rabbis have called on Jews to usher in Shabbat early this week to show support for the families of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel.

Bnei Brak Rabbis Aharon Leib Shteinman and Chaim Rabbi Kanievsky, the leaders of the Lithuanian-style yeshiva world, joined Rabbis Chaim Druckman, rabbinic head of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, and Rav David Stav, founder of the religious Zionist Tzohar rabbinic organization, to ask women to light candles 15 minutes earlier than usual, and to study extra Torah for the merit of the missing yeshiva students.

Walking A Mile With Their Cell Phones

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

I think I’m finally beginning to understand.

For a few years now we have been hearing about “Half Shabbos,” a phenomenon in which our youth engage in forbidden technology-related activities on Shabbos, such as texting and Internet surfing. Various reasons have been offered by educators and other pundits to explain the phenomenon and a number of suggestions have been made about how best to address it. (I, too, wrote on this topic, including an op-ed in these pages in June 2011 titled “From Half to Full.”)

I wrote about the subject with a certain uneasiness; something kept gnawing at me, telling me I did not really understand the dilemma about which I claimed expertise. While I felt confident that my logic was sound and my strategies were useful, I still could not really place myself in young people’s shoes and comprehend what drove them to engage in such activity.

I was no digital native (when I was young we still had corner phone booths) and never had experienced technology from that vantage point. I may have stayed in bed up late at night listening to the radio, but I never had the regular experience of communicating with classmates or others at 2 a.m.

But all of that changed for me during my recent professional transition to executive and educational coaching and consulting. Sure, as head of school (my previous post) I had to be an active user of e-mail, SMS and other communication portals. My phone was positioned reliably on my hip and would be taken out countless times daily as I engaged with various constituents. Still, I was largely content to put my smartphone away for Shabbos, if only because it gave me a day of respite from the 24/6 nature of school leadership. (Technically, it was 24/7 if you count Kiddush at shul and other communal functions, but at least there I could respond in real time to a real person, not an avatar.)

As I moved into my new line of work I began to use social media in a way I never had previously. I had a largely unused Facebook account and was not “on” LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+. Nor had I ever uploaded a video to YouTube. Now, I have accounts with each of the aforementioned and use them often as a means of sharing content, developing my brand and engaging with present and potential clients.

Part of the reason for this is, as noted above, to get my name “out there” and develop credibility. However, I feel that much of this urge to post regularly emerges from the “when in Rome” mentality that affects so many of us. If every “thought leader” out there is posting to his or her Twitter account umpteen times daily, what would it say about me if mine was largely inactive? How would it look if I did not continually have relevant, fresh content to share?

Following this recent experience, I feel I now better understand our children’s struggles. For many of them, technology is not just another activity that is forbidden on Shabbos, such as writing, cooking and the like. It is a way of life, a part of their existence so deep and entrenched that it is extremely difficult to abstain from for even one day a week.

The dependency is so strong that if there aren’t strict rules in place as there are in many schools (where phones are banned entirely or must be checked in to the office at the beginning of the day and kept there until dismissal), our children will invariably succumb to the pull of their technology, especially if their friends are “on.” After all, nobody wants to come across as less socially adept or relevant, even for a brief period. This is particularly true for teenagers.

Behar: Why Does Land have to Rest?

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

We talked last week about seeing Shabbat in different worlds. But how do we understand, conceptually, what this means? In this week’s video, we look at Pesach, Shemittah and Yovel and ask, where do we see Shabbat, and why does it matter?

Visit AlephBeta.  /  Rabbi David Fohrman

Manischewitz Sold to Equity Firm

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The Manischewitz Company, well known for its wine and Passover foods, has been sold a week before the Passover holiday.

Sankaty Advisors, an arm of the private equity firm Bain Capital, purchased the Newark, N.J.-based purveyor of kosher foods for an undisclosed price, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, less than a day after the deal had been first disclosed by The New York Times.

Under its new owner, Manischewitz is expected to promote kosher as an indication of quality food rather than just a religious designation, according to the Times.

“This investment reflects our confidence in the Manischewitz brands and team,” Sankaty Advisors said in a statement last week. “Manischewitz has earned a position as one of the most highly recognized brands in the world, and it has distinguished itself through a passionate commitment to producing the highest quality kosher products possible. We believe Manischewitz is well positioned to grow due to rising mainstream interest in kosher foods.”

Decades ago, Manischewitz was virtually the only wine that was poured into cups at the Shabbat table every Friday night and for the Seder on the first night of Passover.

Its unbelievably sweet Concord wine made it the butt of jokes, but since there was not much else around in the kosher wine business, the sticky liquid was accepted as the standard.

The Manischewitz Company  was founded by Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, in 1888. It later began producing matzo, gefilte fish and borscht.

“Manischewitz has earned a position as one of the most highly recognized brands in the world, and it has distinguished itself through a passionate commitment to producing the highest quality kosher products possible,” Sankaty Advisors said in a statement, disclosing no terms of the deal.

JTA contributed to this report.

Tel Aviv to Open Groceries, Kiosks on Shabbat, Holidays

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Groceries and kiosks will be allowed to open on Shabbat and holidays according to an amendment approved by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa (Yafo) city government on Monday.

Before the law reaches final passage, however, it must still win the approval of Israel’s Interior Ministry.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai has advocated for passage of the law, which he maintains would allow the city to “keep the Tel Aviv spirit, one that cares for the Shabbat as the day of rest, as a social value in the Jewish State, and also allows for the provision of services and the freedom for everyone to use this day of rest as they wish.”

But city council member Rabbi Naftali Lubert, a member of the Orthodox Jewish community, slammed the statement at a stormy hearing on the matter in city hall. “This is a black day,” he said, warning, “What is about to be carried out is a violation of the law against working and resting hours. And for what? To buy beer?”

The issue also touches upon the problem of employers pressuring Jewish employees to work on the Sabbath – and denying jobs altogether to those who are Sabbath observant.  Such discrimination is illegal in the Jewish State, albeit still perpetrated though rarely discussed.  There may be fears the law could increase the incidence of employer discrimination against Sabbath observant job seekers in the White City.

Tel Aviv Mayor: Opening Shops on Shabbat ‘Won’t Disturb Anyone’

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

A change in the Tel Aviv law that would allow stores to open on the Sabbath “will not disturb anyone,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai stated in an open and written reply to Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel.

The rabbi said that the proposed permission for stores to open on the day of rest would desecrate the sanctity of the Sabbath.

Mayor Huldai claimed that only one percent of businesses in the city will be able to open on Sabbath and will be in areas where operation won’t bother anyone.

There are flaws in Mayor Huldai’s reasoning. He assumes that Jews in secular neighborhoods will not be disturbed by stores opening on the Sabbath.

He is dead wrong. There are no statistics, but it is safe to say that a sizeable number of “secular” Jews respect and love the sanctity of the Sabbath, even if they don’t observe it.

Moreover, the “one percent” of stores that he says would open on Shabbat, if allowed, is only the beginning. Competitors will be forced to follow suit.

Pro-secular activists always argue that preventing stores from opening on the Sabbath is “religious coercion,” a phrase that always brings out the catcalls for “freedom” from religious influence on the law.

There are laws that prevent business in certain neighborhoods form operating in the middle of the night, but “social coercion” is legitimate.

There are laws that prevent businesses, and residents, from making too much noise, but “environmental coercion” is permissible.

Any law restricts the freedom of some people, and that is allowed, but the secular fundamentalists cannot tolerate the thought of Judaism being an influence on laws in a Jewish state, for the simple reason they do not wan’t a Jewish state.

Hay want a state where Jews can live and practice their religion as they wish, son ,long as the their prayers in synagogues do not disturb the neighbors and so long as not too many people clog the sidewalk when walking back and forth to synagogue on the Sabbath, and so long as the Orthodox Jews don’t dare take affront at parades of homosexuals.

The anti-Orthodox activists don’t admit that they are practicing secular coercion.

Shomron Hosting Gaza Border Refugees for Shabbat

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The Shomron Council is gearing up to host Israeli who live along the Gaza border and have been under massive rocket fire these past few days, offering them a Shabbat respite.

Residents of the Shomron who wish to host a family from Israel’s battered south this Shabbat, can call: 1700-700-0106.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shomron-hosting-gaza-border-refugees-for-shabbat/2014/03/14/

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