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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

UPDATE: Gaza Qassam Rocket Badly Damages Sderot Kindergarten

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

A Sderot kindergarten building was badly damaged and two Israelis were treated for shock late Friday night after Gaza terrorists launched a Qassam rocket attack at the southern Israeli city.

About 15 seconds after residents were awakened by the wail of the Red Alert rocket alert, the “boom!” that comes with a rocket impact was heard — and felt — in the Gaza Belt city.

Families in Sderot and the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council district, and in Sapir College were forced to “wake up and run” for safe spaces late Friday night when the siren activated at 11 pm.

The rocket landed just a few seconds later.

Although religious observant families were wrapping up the Sabbath night meals and getting ready for bed at the time, many other secular Jews with young children were already fast asleep. Parents were forced to tear their children from beds to make a run for the bomb shelters — an exercise that has become second nature to many, and which triggers a flood of fear in too many more.

The kindergarten building that sustained a direct hit — badly damaged — was empty at the time, and no one was physically injured in the attack.

But medics from the Magen David Adom emergency medical response service treated two people who were near the impact site, both for shock.

Police units were deployed to the scene.

At the time of this writing — prior to the start of the Sabbath in New York — officers were ordered to remain on site.

damaged kindergarten in Sderot

Hana Levi Julian

Shabbat Shalom In Jerusalem

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Cities are visited and lived in because one wants to do business there, eat there, tour there, study there or celebrate there.

There is one city, however, that, while it offers all of the above, recognizes that it is unique to history because people simply want to be there; that for centuries visitors and residents have reveled in the pure joy of being there and nowhere else; to simply walk its streets and absorb the intangible, whether it be its spirit, its pain, its glory, and, most of all, its holiness, the amorphous, indescribable connection to heaven and G-d.

That city is Jerusalem, deemed by our sages to be two cities: one planted forever on earth to serve as the world’s spiritual center, inextricably bound to a second Jerusalem, one on-high where departed souls and celestial beings reflect the purity and sanctity of that second Jerusalem onto the one below. Indeed, one can argue that it is that continuum, that eternal flow that accounts for the inexplicable satisfaction of just being in Jerusalem and our survival as a nation.

Over the years, during my many visits to Yerushalayim, I have come to realize that the inarticulable but genuine euphoria felt by one’s physical presence in Jerusalem finds expression in the universal greeting of “Shabbat Shalom” and the smile that inevitably accompanies it.

Somehow, wishing another the blessing of Sabbath peace from on-high, while offering the very real human gifts of joy and friendship as reflected in a smile, combines the essence of Jerusalem, and what makes it so special. “Shabbat Shalom and a smile” are a statement and a gesture enhanced, enriched and made holy because of where spoken and made, a statement and a gesture that, for me, define the city.

Yet, of late, as I stroll through Yerushalayim, I can’t help but notice the increasing absence of both the statement and the gesture, as all too often neither is offered nor returned. For all too many just “being” in Jerusalem is not enough, as a city that blends heaven and earth is deemed by them just another city that induces neither blessing nor smile.

This past week my wife, Reva, and I attended the middle school graduations of our granddaughter, Olivia (Simona), and our grandson, Ethan (Ozer Shimon), who was asked to recite the Prayer for Israel and Peace. Prior to doing so, he recounted his reaction to his younger brother, Calvin’s (Shalom’s) bar mitzvah, celebrated several days earlier in Jerusalem.

To my great joy, he noted that while he appreciated every aspect of the event as well as the spirit and sacrifice of the Israeli people and IDF, for him there were two great highlights: One, was his realization that the event, attended by all his uncles, aunts and cousins from both the Friedman and Oliner families who came for the Shavuos weekend to hear his brother lain at both the Kotel and Great Synagogue, confirmed our oft-repeated statements about the value and beauty of family. His remarks reflected my own comment at the simcha that, while all else is transient and fleeting, the bond of family endures; that, while as my mother, z”l, (his great grandmother and a Holocaust survivor) observed: “everything can be taken from you except that which is within you,” that which is within you that is truly meaningful, is placed there by family, teachers, rebbeim and study.

His other highlight was the fact that so many Israelis shared his family’s joy: from the cab driver who threw candies and sang Mazel Tov to the restaurateurs who treated our simcha as their own. We are one great family and nation.

Martin Oliner

Demonstrators Block Shabbat Mass Conversion Baptism in Rishon L’tzion

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

More than a thousand demonstrators arrived on Shabbat at the Heichal Hatarbut auditorium in Rishon L’tzion, near Tel Aviv, to rally against and try to prevent a Christian baptism ceremony for Israeli converts, planned by the J-Witnesses sect, Israeli media reported. The demonstrators, organized by the Lehava group, succeeded after about two hours to effect the cancellation of the event by police.

“We arrived and managed to block the entrances and break-in seven times,” Lehava Chairman Ben-Zion (Benzi) Gopstein told Hakol Hayehudi. Gopstein, who spent Shabbat in Rishon, reported that “only a few dozen missionaries entered the event, and at one point the police revoked the permit for the ceremony.”

The Lehava action to prevent the mass conversions began on Thursday, when a large group of organization members arranged for their lodging in town for Shabbat, and called for a protest prayer on Shabbat morning.

Three Lehava members were arrested during the demonstration but were released after a few hours.

“We met six women, two of them Holocaust survivors, who had been brought there by their gentile caretakers, and we convinced them not to go inside,” Gopstein related. “One of them said she thought it was an [MK] Tzipi Livni event.”

Gopstein added, “Now police can tell the court in full honesty that it is unable to secure such an event.” He said this had been “an event of true akhdut-unity — many Rishon L’tzion residents arrived, as well as ‘hill youths,’ Chabad, the city rabbis and Lehava activists, and thank God we were successful. Should another such event take place we’ll be there, we’ll go anywhere.”

David Israel

New Bill Revokes Get-Refusing Inmates’ ‘Mehadrin’ Kosher Food, Boarding Privileges

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The Knesset on Wednesday debated a bill submitted by Habayit Hayehudi Chair MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli revoking the special privileges of prisoners who refuse to grant their wives a get-religious divorce. The bill singles out Orthodox Jewish prisoners who are entitled while behind bars to stay in the prison’s “religious” section, participate in Jewish studies, and eat a stricter-standard “kosher l’mehadrin” meals. The idea is to use the loss of these privileges to force the prisoner to set his wife free.

To be clear, the law does not deprive the Orthodox inmate of his basic Jewish needs, it merely takes away elements of his “ultra-Religious” lifestyle.

Some Orthodox prisoners are actually sitting in jail for their refusal to grant the get, so that by freeing their wives they can set themselves free. But in the case of these Orthodox men, prison often resembles their normal everyday life, and in some cases may be an improvement — in prison they can sit and learn all day with a group of other Orthodox men, celebrate Shabbat and the holidays, and not have to worry about parnossah (making a living). MK Moalem hopes that removing those prisoners’ ability to live a full Jewish life behind bars and inserting them in the general population might help change their outlook on life in prison.

MK Moalem-Refaeli said, “A man who turns his wife into an aguna and refuses to obey the judges’ order to stop abusing her is not truly a man who values halakha and maintaining a Jewish lifestyle. He tramples the most essential Jewish principle, Love your fellow man as you would yourself, only to make his wife’s life miserable. Therefore he is not worthy of enjoying the plethora of privileges prison affords religious inmates.”

JNi.Media

The Minyans – Fountainheads Shabbat

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Video of the Day

Meet the New Secular Israeli: Believes in God, Keeps Shabbat

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Israel’s Channel 2 News and polling service Sample Project Panel, directed by Dr. Ariel Ayalon, have published a survey that may change everyone’s long-held assumptions about the divide between religious and secular in Israel. The survey questioned 500 Jewish Israeli respondents ages 18 to 64, and here is what they had to say regarding a variety of Jewish-related issues:

70.6% don’t eat pig’s meat.

66% believe in God. 20% believe in a higher power, but prefer not to use the G word. Out of those who identified themselves as secular, only 27% said they don’t believe in God.

55.5% have participated in separating the challah.

53.1% were married at the chief rabbinate.

51.4% of women, including secular women, maintain a modest appearance. Out of that group, 28% wear their skirts below the knees, 16% below the ankle, and 56% wear pants.

49.5% fast on Yom Kippur.

45.2% perform Kiddush on Friday night.

43.2% light Shabbat candles.

37.7% don’t drive on Shabbat.

38% keep family purity (avoiding sex during the menstrual period). Incidentally, of the respondents who defined themselves as religious, 9% say they do not observe family purity.

36.5% attend synagogue services on holidays.

29.6% keep kosher.

According to the survey, Israel is definitely becoming more religious. Younger Israelis are more religious than their elders: 80% of respondents ages 18-24 believe in God, compared with 57.5% of ages 55-64. And 25.9% of young Israelis say they are religious, compared with 11.5% of the older generation.

In fact, only Israelis ages 35 and up are majority secular, whereas among ages 24-34 only 48.8% say they are secular, and among ages 18-24 only 37.6% are secular. Out of the younger age group, 50.6% observe Shabbat, compared with 16.1% of their elders. 47.1% of the younger group keep kosher, compared with 21.8% of the older group. 22.4% of the younger Israelis attend synagogue on Shabbat, compared with 14.9% of older Israelis.

In fact, the only area where older Israelis are more traditional than their children is modesty.

On intermarriage, 65% of all Israelis say they would not consider marrying a non-Jew. Among the secular, 42% would not intermarry.

In some areas, however, Israelis are still more secular than religious: 62% of Israelis drive on Shabbat, and 64% use their phones on Shabbat.

JNi.Media

Shlissel (Key) Challah: The Loaf of Idolatry?

Friday, May 6th, 2016

The post was originally published in 2011, but as this is the week some might bake shlissel challah, we are republishing the article.

JUDAIC STUDIES ACADEMIC PAPER SERIES, Authored by Shelomo Alfassa: The Origins of the Non-Jewish Custom Of “Shlissel Challah” (Key Bread) “The Loaf of Idolatry?

You can read it all here, or see the following key point from the research paper:

– Every year Jewish women, young and old, partake in the Ashkenazi custom to place a key (such as a door key to a home), inside the dough of a loaf of bread that they bake. This custom is known as shlissel challah—shlissel from the German language shlüssel (key) and challah or hallah from the Hebrew for bread.

– The baking of a key inside a bread is a non-Jewish custom which has its foundation in Christian, and possibly even earlier, pagan culture. At least one old Irish source tells how at times when a town was under attack, the men said, ―let our women-folk be instructed in the art of baking cakes containing keys.

– Keys were traditionally manufactured in the form of a cross, the traditional symbol of Christianity, a physical item all Christian commoners would posses in their home. On Easter, the Christian holiday which celebrates the idea of Jesus “rising” from the dead, they would bake the symbol of Jesus—the key shaped like a cross—into or onto a rising loaf.

– The modern Jewish custom of baking the symbolic shlissel challah, annually takes place on the shabbat immediately following the holiday of Pessah, when tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of religiously observant Jewish women practice this observance.

– In Christianity, baked goods associated with keys are commonly called “Easter breads,” and in Europe they are also known as ‘Paschals,’ as the holiday of Easter in the East is known as “Pascha” or “Pascua.” This is most likely the reason Christians often call Easter breads baked with keys Paschals.

– While the custom is said to be mentioned in the writings of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel (the Apter Rav: 1748-1825) and in the Ta’amei ha-Minhagim (1891), there is no one clear source for shlissel challah.

And while people will say there is a passuq (Biblical verse) attributed to it, there is not. And, even if there were, a passuq that can be linked to the practice is not the same as a source.

Micha Berger, founder of the AishDas Society, [orthodox] calls this type of logic “reverse engineering,” it‘s like drawing a circle around an arrow in a tree, and subsequently declaring the arrow is a bulls-eye. The idea of baking shlissel challah is not from the Torah; it‘s not in the Tannaitic, Amoraitic, Savoraitic, Gaonic or Rishonic literature.

– Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim19 of Mesora.Org [orthodox] teaches that:

The Torah teaches that Hashem punishes the wicked, and rewards the righteous. It does not say that challah baking or any other activity will help address our needs…When the matriarchs were barren, they did not resort to segulas, but introspected and prayed… Nothing in Torah supports this concept of segula; Torah sources reject the idea of a segula… baking challas with brachos cannot help… segulas are useless, and violate the Torah prohibition of Nichush [good luck charms]. It does not matter if the charm is a rabbit‘s foot, a horseshoe, a challah, key or a red bendel. The practice assumes that forces exist, which do not, and it is idolatrous. – On the far end of the scale, it can be said that shlissel challah observance is a nothing less than “the way of the Amorites.” It is precisely this type of behavior and observance which Jews are supposed to separate themselves from, so it doesn’t go on to influence our thoughts and deeds. Am Yisrael was not created to lose itself in such folklore, and Judaism without disciplined study is nothing but folklore. Judaism allows and encourages the use of our minds. It‘s never too late to realign our path with Torah sources, not blind faith practices which are trendy, in, or cool.

– Educated Jews should help to promote Torah sources to our friends and neighbors, not false practices which are of non-Jewish origin and have nothing to do with Judaism.

100 Amens to that!

Jameel@Muqata

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/shlissel-key-challah-the-loaf-of-idolatry-2/2016/05/06/

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