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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

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.

 

 

Stars of ‘Scandal’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’ at Kotel on Shabbat

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Stars from the hit American TV shows “Scandal” and “Once Upon a Time” visited the Western Wall Friday night during and found themselves immediately recognized by religious Jewish prayer-goers.

”People approached us at the Western Wall, saying they watch our shows,” said Katie Lowes, who stars in the new American political thriller television series “Scandal,” created by Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes.

”It has been an amazing experience, visiting across Israel. But the visit to the Western Wall and the Shabbat dinner that followed, was truly a highlight,” she added. ”It was beautiful to hear the people singing and praying and to be part of a Shabbat dinner with a family in Jerusalem.”

The Hollywood celebrities spent a week touring Israel in a trip which was led by America’s Voices in Israel (AVI) director Irwin Katsof and sponsored by El Al Israel Airlines and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The group spent time in the Golan Heights, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Masada, Dead Sea and Jerusalem from April 29-May 5.

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.”

Tshuva: No Shabbat Desecration Occurred

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Yitzchak Tshuva, one of the investors in the Tamar gas field said that no desecration of the Shabbat or Pesach holiday happened with the gas flow, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat.

“Shabbat is the source of our blessing,” Tshuva said. He emphasized that no ceremony was held on Shabbat or the Holiday.

Tshuva said that all the work was being done by Noble Energy, the operating partner in the gas field, and they began the process weeks ago. The gas arrived into Israel on the eve of the last day of Pesach, and that the flow of the gas is an ongoing process which took time until it reached Ashdod.

Yitzchak Tshuva expressed regret that the gas flow’s arrival physically into Israel was being presented as having desecrated the Shabbat or the Pesach Holiday.

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.

Satmar Couple Killed in Motzei Shabbat Car Crash; Unborn Baby Survives (Video)

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

A hit-and-run driver killed a 21-year-old Satmar couple around midnight Sunday as they rushed to the hospital because of a problem in the mother’s seventh month of pregnancy, and the  baby was delivered but in serious condition.

Based on image by James Keivom/New York Daily News

Based on image by James Keivom/New York Daily News

Doctors said the baby, “Tinok ben Raizel.” probably will survive. Already termed a “miracle baby,” he will be named after his father, according to friends of the family.

The tragedy has stunned the Satmar community in Williamsburg, where Nachman and Raizel Glauber were expecting their first child. Raizel complained that she could not feel her unborn baby’s movements, and the couple hired a cab to rush them to the hospital.

They never arrived alive.

A BMW crashed into the taxi and fled the scene, leaving the couple dead and the cab driver injured but in stable condition.

The impact of the crash threw Raizel out of the vehicle. Rescue workers had to cut open the cab in order to extricate the father, and only afterwards did they notice the mother lying under a parked tractor trailer. Medics rushed her to the hospital, where doctors delivered the baby boy from the womb of the mother, who was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The young Glaubers were buried Sunday afternoon.

Police are searching for the hit-and-run driver.

Italian Singer Won’t Perform at Sanremo Festival on Shabbat

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Popular Italian Reggae singer Raiz decided to give up his participation in Italy’s national music competition Festival della Canzone Italiana di Sanremo (Sanremo Italian song festival) because his performance was scheduled for Friday night.

According to reports in Italy, Raiz, a Sabbath observer, decided to quit the competition when he found out when it was to take place.

The Sanremo competition is the most popular of its kind in Italy and receives worldwide attention.

Raiz (Gennaro Della Volpe) was born in Naples, April 22, 1967. Thanks to his friendship with keyboard player, composer, and sometimes producer for the Italian band Almamegretta, Raiz became the voice of Almamegretta.

Raiz converted to Judaism in 2009. Since then he’s been observing Jewish law and keeping Shabbat.

According to reports in Italy, Volpe announced to the members of his band, Almamegretta, where he is the soloist, that he won’t participate in the competition because of the date conflict, and presented them with two options: show a video of the band’s performance, or go on stage without him.

The Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo is a popular Italian song contest, held annually in the city of Sanremo, where previously unreleased songs compete for audience approval. It was the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest

Shabbos in Davos

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Shabbos in Davos. Almost rhymes, like the two are meant to be together.

And so it felt this past weekend at the alpine World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Every year, on Friday night, the Forum hosts a Shabbat meal that, longtime attendants say, started with a handful of people, including leading Israeli economists, but now boasts world leaders and Jewish personalities from around the globe.

One of the principal purposes in my attending the Sabbath meal was my intention of introducing President Paul Kagame of Rwanda – whose government announced at a press conference that we organized in October that they will be opening an Embassy in Israel – to more of the Jewish community. But I also marveled at a great celebration of Jewish observance and pride right in the middle of a renowned global gathering.

We sang Shalom Aleichem, the traditional welcoming poem for both angels and humans. We said the Kiddush blessing on the wine. The Rabbis in attendance were asked to jointly say the Hamotzi blessing on the bread for the assembled crowd. They did it without rancor or division (I’m being humorous here just in case you thought I was making fun of Jewish religious politics).

While the meal featured heads of state, Nobel laureates, and people of world renown, it had a homely feeling where no one in particular was made to feel more important than the next person.

But it was also a nice opportunity to say Good Shabbos and catch up with an assembly of Jewish leaders who were now under one roof, all celebrating God’s holy Sabbath together.

I greeted President Peres of Israel whom I had hosted in Oxford and whom I still visit in Israel. Peres will turn ninety in a few months God willing. Where he gets the Herculean strength to jet set around the world is a mystery that can only be explained by having to be President to seven million Presidents. But he looks and sounds amazing.

When I saw Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense minister, who had made headlines that morning at the Forum with an interview implying that Israel had shelved its plans to attack Iran, I reminded him of a bizarre meeting. He and I were guests on the Dan Shilon TV program in Israel years ago. I was on talking about my book Kosher Sex that had just been published in Hebrew. He was launching his bid to be Prime Minister of Israel. The TV host started skewering Barak and his wife, asking them if they had read the book. Going further, he asked if they had ever joined the mile-high club. It was an interview to remember. It turned out the Defense Minister did not forget. He smiled and patted me on the back, as if I was privy to some state secret.

A big and very pleasant surprise was seeing Eric Cantor, the House Majority leader, at the dinner. Eric is a very committed Jew who keeps a kosher home and is arguably the most stalwart defender of Israel in the United States Congress. A few years ago, when Eric addressed a Birthright group I was leading, at the Kotel in Jerusalem on Friday night, he walked 45 minutes to dinner at his hosts’ home because he did not wish to drive on the Sabbath in the holy city. His security detail may have had their complaints. But it was inspiring to our Birthright young adults to see the highest ranking Jewish elected official in American history showing such deference to the Sabbath.

A couple I truly enjoyed meeting was the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and his Israeli-born wife, Dorrit Moussaieff. When I visited Iceland in the summer of 2009 with my family, Icelanders were excited, seeing a Jewish family, to tell us about their Jewish-Israeli first lady. Our arrival in Iceland had increased the Jewish population in the country orders of magnitude and it wasn’t every day they got to see people wearing Yarmulkes. Every time I asked for directions, I heard from Icelanders how proud they were to have an Israeli first lady.

In that summer of 2009, tragedy struck. After a few nights in Reykjavik, I heard the terrible news that Michael Jackson died. I did TV interviews via Skype from remote locations in the country, sometimes right by glaciers. It was the most beautiful scenery imaginable, discussing one of the saddest stories. I related to the President and first lady our unforgettable experience in Iceland. Dorrit said, “Why didn’t you come and visit?” I told her I figured she was busy. “No, you should have visited.” I promised her that I would now definitely take her up on her invitation, especially since I was looking for any excuse to visit Iceland, one of the most beautiful places on earth, again. I discovered in the electric, warm, and engaging personality of Iceland’s first lady someone who could make all that ice melt.

But the nicest part of the dinner was connecting with so many unsung heroes who do their extraordinary work without much fanfare. There was Rabbi Mendy Rosenfeld, who has headed Chabad in Switzerland for three decades and who showed me and my wife hospitality when we were in Switzerland for our honeymoon nearly 25 years ago. There was my former Oxford student, Charles Small, who runs an incredible academic program at leading universities, combating anti-Semitism. And there was my friend Eli Beer, who heads United Hatzalah of Israel, rescuing countless Jewish and Arab lives daily.

And, someone to whom all of us who participated in the magical Shabbos dinner should be grateful, there was Eduardo Elsztain, a well-known Jewish philanthropist who showed me hospitality when I visited Argentina and who has quietly paid for the kosher Shabbat dinner at Davos for many years, introducing the peace, serenity, and togetherness of the Jewish Sabbath as a great gift to some of the world’s most influential people.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/shabbos-in-davos/2013/01/27/

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