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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sukkah’

US Complains It Was Not Notified of Israel Sukkah-Building Frenzy

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Originally published at PreOccupied Territory

[Editor's Update: We thought it was obvious, but apparently not... this blog post is SATIRE.]

Washington, October 8 – Aides to US President Barack Obama expressed displeasure today over not being informed of plans to assemble tens of thousands of makeshift residential structures over the last week in Jewish communities in areas both Israel and the Palestinians claim.

The huts mostly consist of wood panels, or of metal frames holding up canvas walls, with reeds or palm leaves as roofing. Satellite images and eyewitness reports alerted the Obama administration of the flurry of new construction activity, all of which appears to be taking place within the boundaries of existing Jewish communities in those contentious areas. The structures are apparently functioning as additional living space, as the inhabitants of those communities have been observed transferring tables, chairs, beds, and even rugs into the booth-like structures.

The administration stopped short of actively rebuking the Netanyahu government over the construction, as the effort has the hallmarks of a grass-roots initiative and not an officially sanctioned building spree of the kind that has infuriated White House officials in the past. In fact, hundreds of thousands of such structures have been hastily built over the last week even within the pre-1967 lines, indicating broad popular support for the initiative. However, Obama aides did communicate the president’s concern over any kind of development on land claimed by Palestinians for a state.

Another factor contributing to the administration’s muted response is the unlikelihood that the structures have been approved by Israeli government authorities. The addition of the booths  - or, in many cases, simply the covering of an existing walled patio or terrace with the reed or leaf roofs – almost certainly constitutes a zoning violation wherever it occurs, and in the White House’s assessment the Israeli authorities are almost certain to inform the residents of their obligation to dismantle the structures.

“We’ve had a few cases of a similar nature even in the US,” said a White House staffer speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’ve had groups of Jews, sometimes entire communities, building these temporary structures that are in clear violation of building codes, zoning designation, and other municipal approvals necessary for the erection of such entities. People complain about it, the town or city gives the owners a couple of weeks’ notice to take down the structure, and they comply. At this point we’re going to assume the same process will play out over in the West Bank, though I imagine they’ll have some difficulty notifying every single homeowner right away.”

“It always seems to happen this time of year, too,” mused the official. “I wonder if there’s some way to predict the phenomenon?”

[Editor's Note: This blog post is SATIRE.]

Instant Sukkah

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Moving on to Sukkos

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Not everyone wants to wait until after Yom Kippur to start building their Sukkah.

This Sukkah is being built in Kfar Etzion.

Chag Sameach.

Women Wearing Tefillin Is Really Not Such a Big Deal

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

I wouldn’t quite call it a trend, but a growing number of women and girls in the Orthodox Jewish community are interested in wearing tefillin publicly. Two Modern Orthodox schools have made public statements that indicate they will allow, not encourage or discourage, their students to wear tefillin.

This has generated a lot of discussion, mostly negative, from within the Orthodox Jewish community. Some of the JewsNews sites have reported this bit of news in a very negative way. Some, to the very liberal side of Orthodox Judaism have embraced the decision.

The halachic background is not overly complex. Technically, tefillin should fall into the same category as all other time bound mitzvos. Lulav, Shofar, Sukkah, and daily prayer are also time bound mitzvos and are voluntary for women. The conclusion in the Talmud exempts women from tefillin. Some rishonim explicitly permit tefillin for women. Some explicitly prohibit it. The Rema famously discourages it. That is, he does not prohibit it, he just advises against it. Some of the Achronim explain why it would be prohibited or advised against.

Some people are assuming their intentions are less than perfect. That’s complete conjecture and not something worth discussing. But I think the halachic arguments are important. I also think that working out whether it’s permitted or prohibited is vital. But I think it’s misplaced in the context of the current issue. The discussion right now should not be whether it’s good policy or against our best interests to allow women to wear tefillin.

Instead, the discussion should be whether we tolerate women who want to wear tefillin in Orthodox Judaism. In other words, even if I disagree with their decision, is this something worth the cost of declarations and opinions that cast these women and these institutions in a negative light?

We already disagree on plenty of things and we can get along just fine. Some eat kitniyos on Pesach, others do not. Some use the eruv, some do not. Some open soda cans on Shabbos, others do not. Some visit rebbes and ask for blessings, others do not. Some go to Uman, others do not. Some say Kabbalas Shabbos, others do not. Some do Yom Kippur Katan, others do not. Some do every segula, some do none. There are literally hundreds of things that already divide us in practice. Yet we are capable of carrying on as a group. I don’t see why a few women putting on tefillin should be such a drastic decision that it means more than eating in the Sukkah on Shmini Atzeres vs. not eating in the Sukkah on Shmini Atzeres.

In other words, what are the stakes here? And why are they being presented as so great? What is going to happen if a few women wear tefillin? What’s the dire consequence that we must avoid at all costs?

I don’t see it. I think those who don’t want women to wear tefillin should just not wear tefillin or even teach their daughters that they don’t think they should wear tefillin. But I don’t see how doing a mitzvah can make someone unorthodox.

If an opponent of women wearing tefillin found out his daughter started wearing tefillin, would the daughter be disowned? I can’t imagine. So why are we disowning other daughters?

The opposition must identify something objectively wrong that will happen if we tolerate a few women wearing tefillin. Or even if we tolerate many women wearing tefillin. Until they’ve done so, I don’t think we can allow this difference to divide us. We’ve been able to avoid completely breaking apart over a million other things. I don’t accept that this particular issue is so vital that it must break us up now.

New York, Pennsylvania Sukkahs Top ‘Sukkathon’ Competition

Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Sukkah in Queensbury, New York assisted living facility shares top ranking in 'Sukkathon'

Sukkah in Queensbury, New York assisted living facility shares top ranking in ‘Sukkathon’

Three sukkahs, two in the United States and one in Israel, will share the title of “Number One Sukkah” as the winners of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s first Sukkathon competition.

The three winners are the sukkah at Terrace at the Glen, an assisted living facility in Queensbury, New York; the Schachter family sukkah in Pennsylvania; and the sukkah of the Jewish Agency’s Ye’elim Immigrant Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva, Israel.

“We are starting a New Year and these olim (immigrant) children represent the real hope in this country,” said competition judge Betina Schnaid, an artist who made aliyah from Brazil. “I wish for them to be happy in Israel for many years, and that each one give the best of themselves to improve this country and that the ceiling gets higher over the time and that they will have their own families in Israel. The sky is the limit for these beautiful olim!”

 

Jewish Agency Seeks ‘Number One Sukkah in the World’

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

The Jewish Agency for Israel has launched a competition to find the Number One Sukkah in the World.

The competition, dubbed “Sukkathon 2013,” invites Jewish individuals and communities around the world to submit photos of their sukkahs for consideration by a panel of judges. The judges include the South African-Israeli architect Pam Davidson, British art critic and art history lecturer Julia Weiner, and artist Betina Schneid, a recent immigrant to Israel from Brazil, who has participated in The Jewish Agency’s Ulpan Etzion program in Jerusalem.

Photo submissions will be welcomed until Monday, September 23, and the winner will be announced on the Hoshana Rabba festival da, the last day of Sukkot, this, Wednesday.

As part of the Sukkathon, children from the Jewish Agency’s Ye’elim Immigrant Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva have submitted a photo of themselves (above) in the absorption center sukkah, which they helped build and decorate.  Hundreds of new immigrants living in the absorption center are preparing to celebrate their first Sukkot in Israel, as are thousands of other immigrants at Jewish Agency absorption centers around Israel.  Some 350 individuals reside in Ye’elim, including some 130 children.

First Rains of the Season Hit Israel

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Slightly early this year, Israel had its first major rain storm, called in Hebrew, the Yoreh  rain. The rain and wind were so strong in some areas that Sukkahs were knocked down and even blown away.

Only on Thursday, during the Shmini Atzeret (Simchat Torah) holiday, does Israel begin to add the prayers for rain into the daily prayers.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/first-rains-of-the-season-hit-israel/2013/09/21/

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