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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Time’

It’s My Opinion: Flying High At Bar Mitzvah Time

Monday, August 29th, 2016

My amazing grandson Jacob Abraham Benveniste has turned 13. His bar mitzvah was held recently and I am filled with gratitude to Hashem to be the grandmother of this incredible young man. Jacob’s affect is sweet, charming, and without drama. However, Jacob is so much more than the lighthearted veneer he can project. He is very smart. He is very determined. He is willing to work hard to accomplish his goals.

Jacob is a talented baseball player. Despite his grueling schedule of a dual-curriculum Jewish day school, he has remained on the local youth baseball team where he is the catcher. Every ball that comes his way is treated with the same effort and focus. Jacob gives each play his best.

Jacob is interested in aviation. His knowledge of aerodynamics is vast. He wants to be a pilot and I have no doubt he will succeed at his goal. He joined the Civil Air Patrol when he was 12 and has worked tirelessly through its daunting ranks. He earned the co-pilot seat on two flights and has actually steered and helped fly the plane.

The C.A.P. is a secular group and yet on several occasions its planned events have been changed because Jacob is shomer Shabbat and cannot attend on Saturdays. He has won the respect of his peers and officers. His presence is a Kiddush Hashem.

I offer my blessings to this wonderful bar mitzvah boy. Jacob, I wish you health and happiness and success in life. I hope and pray that no matter where life takes you, you will always go in the ways of Hashem and follow the path of Torah. I am proud to be your “baba.” Congratulations and fly high!

Mazel tov to the entire Rosenbluth and Benveniste families. May we be privileged to share many celebrations together.

Shelley Benveniste

For First Time, State Department Accuses Palestinian Authority Of Promoting Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

For the first time, the State Department has explicitly accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of promoting anti-Semitism, a signal Jewish groups are hoping will lead to a change in U.S. policy.

According to a newly released State Department annual report on international religious freedom, official PA media “carried religiously intolerant material.” The report cited Palestinian television programs that called Jews “evil” or “denied a historical Jewish presence in Jerusalem.”

Previously, U.S. officials had labeled the PA denial of Jewish ties to Jerusalem as “material criticizing the Israeli occupation,” but stopped short of calling it anti-Semitism. Arab media channels that carried the anti-Semitic content were “nonofficial PA and nonmainstream,” according to last year’s report.

The Obama administration no longer says the PA is working “to control and eliminate” expressions of anti-Semitism in its media outlets. Officials dropped an assertion made in previous years that the PA acted to “prevent preaching” of “sermons with intolerant or anti-Semitic messages.”

For years, Israeli leaders have accused the PA and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, of inciting violence and anti-Semitism. Last year amid increasing terror attacks on Israelis, Abbas called for Jerusalem’s holy sites to be cleansed of Jews.

“Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God…. The Al-Aqsa mosque is ours. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours as well. They [Jews] have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet, we won’t allow them to do that,” Abbas said in a Sept. 2015 address on Palestinian TV.

With the U.S. on the record calling the PA activity anti-Semitism, it could be a step closer to a change in U.S. policy toward the PA, which is overdue, Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center in Washington, D.C., told JNS.

In 2015, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the Palestinian Authority for “promoting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric in its official statements, media, and textbooks.” The measure was authored by U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.).

Deutch told JNS he believes that many of the Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis during the past year “stemmed directly” from the kinds of anti-Semitic statements cited in the State Department report.

Several Jewish organizations are hoping the report will spur action on Capitol Hill.

“The question is whether Congress will finally move beyond condemnations and seek to make U.S. aid to the PA conditional on ending anti-Semitism in the PA media,” said Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), a pro-Israel group based in Washington.

“It will be harder for the Obama administration to oppose such a step now that the State Department is on record acknowledging the PA’s anti-Semitism.”

Some Jewish groups, however, argue that Israel’s policies are to blame for Palestinian anti-Semitism. Paul Scham, co-president of Partners for Progressive Israel, told JNS that “while there have certainly been expressions of anti-Semitism on the part of Palestinians, and perhaps on the part of PA officials…such anti-Semitism is overwhelmingly based on the daily experiences of Palestinians with Israeli Jews in conditions of occupation by Israel and powerlessness for Palestinians.”

Though Scham said “we neither excuse nor justify any expressions of anti-Semitism and condemn them,” he believes Palestinian anti-Semitism “will die down” only with a two-state solution.

Meanwhile, others would like to see the U.S. hold the Palestinian Authority accountable, not reward it. Future U.S. and international aid to the PA “should be linked to zero tolerance for anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “If not, the PA will continue [its anti-Semitism] with impunity. If there are no consequences for such actions, they will only continue and mushroom.”

Dr. Rafael Medoff

A Soldier’s Mother: Time to Admit this Great and Tragic Truth

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Last week, in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, two terrorists walked into a church and murdered an 84 year old Catholic priest. In the early morning hours, as the priest was conducting mass, they entered the church with the specific and clear intention to murder.

They violated the holiness, the sanctity of that holy place because…because…

You know what. Stop there. The because leads you to madness.

This is Jacques Hamel.

Jacques Hamel.

He was 84 when he was murdered by Islamic terrorists in a terror attack in France. He was a priest but more, he was an old man who hurt no one. He was murdered in the name of Allah. He was murdered in the name of intolerance. They entered a church and violated the sanctity of that place. The priest was murdered because he was a Catholic, an infidel. Yes, that’s right. According to Islam, this man of the cloth was an infidel.
 

This is Hadas Fogel.

Hadas FogelShe was only four months old when she was murdered by Islamic terrorists in a terror attack in Israel. She was a baby, but more, she was the essence of innocence and she too was murdered in the name of hatred and Allah. She was murdered in the name of intolerance. She was murdered because she was a Jew, an infidel. Yes, that’s right. According to Islam, this child, this baby of only four months old was an infidel and a worthy and honorable target.

And this is Hallel Yaffa Ariel.

hallel

She was just 13 and a half when she was murdered by an Islamic terrorist in a terror attack in Israel. She was in her bedroom, asleep when he entered her room and began stabbing her. She was a child on the brink of so much more when she was murdered in the name of hate and martyrdom and Allah. She was murdered in the name of intolerance. She was murdered because she was a Jew, an infidel. Yes, that’s right. This sleeping child is, according to Islam, a legitimate and honorable kill.
 

I keep wondering what level of violence will it take to shock the world into action. They have burned people, hanged them, decapitated them. They have stabbed, stoned, bombed, and shot people. They murdered a baby…baby Hadas, and many other babies across the globe. The murdered Hallel as she slept, and many other young girls and boys. And today, they murdered a priest in cold blood.

What will it take for the world to be able to say – without lowering their voices – this was the work of Islamic extremism? This was Islamic terror? All Muslims…no. No. NO.But today, and yesterday, last week and last month and last year and ten years ago and twenty. In Madrid, New York, Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Jerusalem, Brussels, Itamar, Nice, Kiryat Arba, Orlando, Normandy, Afula and on and on and on.

Say it. Islamic terror. Stop it. Stop it. Be shocked. Be angry. Scream out your anger. Stop terrorism.

Stop them now…before they come to your city, as they have come to mine. Stop them because they will not stop. They will come to yours, as they have come for mine.

You and yours…that’s right…YOU are an infidel and they want you dead. They want your way of life crushed. Does that scare you? Does that terrify you to the depths of your soul?

GOOD!

 

Paula Stern

A Time To Cry

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Even before the day began, it was obvious that it was a day designated for tears. In fact, this year it was doubly so. And, all modesty aside, I have to admit that I was (embarrassingly) up to the task.

First I read a few excellent articles, and sobbed aloud. I watched several heart-rending videos, and likewise went through wads of tissues. And then, when the wail of the two-minute siren sounded at 11 a.m., I stood, choked out a number of pirkei Tehillim, and cried rivers of tears.

That, unfortunately, was merely the warm-up exercise.

Aside from being Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s annual Memorial Day commemorating the tragic loss of tens of thousands of soldiers, police, and victims of terror, this year it also marked 12 months since my beloved father left this world.

After countless phone calls back and forth, we had finally chosen the most convenient time of day for the children and grandchildren to meet in Yerushalayim, en route to Tatty’s kever on Har Hazeitim: 2:30 p.m. That would enable the men to leave during bein hasedarim in their respective yeshivas and kollelim, thereby missing the minimal possible actual learning time. It would also allow us to daven and say Tehillim with our minyan at Tatty’s gravesite and still make the return trip well before our none-too-friendly “cousins” returned from work, eager to begin their other activities of literally and figuratively terrorizing the Jews of the Old City.

Although Har Hazeitim is traditionally considered one of the holy sites in Judaism, it’s also undeniably a hotbed of violence and vandalism, and consequently one of the most dangerous venues in all of Israel. So much so that it is virtually unthinkable to venture there without an armed escort at any time, all the more so on a day like Yom Hazikaron, when the locals are especially trigger-happy and itching to make trouble.

So, aside from organizing a 15 passenger “tender” to transport our group, my brother had to coordinate a livui to accompany us to the kever and return us safely out of harm’s way. Sadly, that was easier said than done.

Multiple phone calls and entreaties later, our 2:30 p.m. chosen time slot was unceremoniously stricken from the proposed schedule, and the round of consultations resumed once more.

“We can reserve an armed escort for either 1:30 or 3:30,” my brother explained to each of us in turn. “There is nothing available at 2:30.”

Needless to say, we were all disappointed by the turn of events, but we unanimously opted for the earlier choice, preferring to be safely out of the area well before 4 p.m., when the local population of trouble makers was due to return home and commence their mischief-making once more.

The moked approved the 1:30 escort, but warned my brother that if our party was delayed for more than 15 minutes, they would not wait for us. Fair enough. We assured them that that would not present an issue.

Our own mini kibbutz galuyot therefore began at around noon, with over a dozen individuals resolutely departing their respective places of employment and institutions of learning, and heading to the designated rendezvous locations. Even my notoriously late immediate family members rose to the occasion, and defied their very natures in order to show our beloved patriarch the kavod he so richly deserved.

However, the reality of “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” resurfaced to haunt and taunt us yet again. Yom Hazikaron traffic was far heavier than on a normal day, and the tender practically crawled through the streets of Yerushalayim on its way to Har Hazeitim.

My husband, one of our sons and I drove in our own car from outside the city, but were eventually informed by our trusty Waze that we would be well-advised to walk the final 20 minutes or so to our destination, rather than navigate the clogged streets on wheels. So we parked in the municipal parking lot by Har Tzion, and hurried over the cobblestone sidewalks, me sliding precariously in my ubiquitous clogs, while they half-carried me to save precious time.

Our youngest son, whose yeshiva is situated in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, had already traversed this same route some 20 minutes earlier, and was now the first to arrive at the overlook of Yad Avshalom where we had instructed him to meet us.

Another son and his wife had made the long trek from their apartment in Elkana, and had met the tender at the designated first stop, along with a dozen other relatives. They continued to painstakingly make their way to the narrow street leading up to Har Hazeitim, while we, shockingly, preceded them by ten minutes or more. A quick glance up the steep street confirmed that, although there were quite a few of our Arab cousins in sight, there was no sign of our armed escort.

Unfortunately, when the rest of our contingent arrived nearly 15 minutes late, a frantic call to the moked informed us that our livui had already left. All our entreaties and heartfelt pleas fell on deaf ears, and we ultimately had no choice but to continue on our own.

As it turned out, that was the (relatively) good news. The tender that was taking us up that narrow, dangerous mountain road, arguably one of the most treacherous, in more ways than one, in all of the holy city, was a poor excuse for a van if ever there was one. No air conditioning, despite the high temperatures, ancient and decrepit looking both inside and out, it brought to mind vivid childhood memories of The Little Engine That Could. Except that, in this case, it seemingly could not!

Despite the driver’s repeated attempts to gun the engine, and make it up to the kever, the tired motor stalled time and time again. The cars and vans behind and alongside us honked loudly and often. It was hard enough to accommodate two-way traffic on a good day; this situation defied belief and tolerance.

Finally, the driver conceded defeat and found a place to turn his hapless vehicle around and descend the mountain to where we had begun. He pulled into a sorry-looking gas station, and opened the hood, as smoke poured forth into the hot Jerusalem sky. Then he began a series of frenzied phone calls to other van companies, in a desperate attempt to find us alternate means of transportation.

We passengers were hot, tired, and nervous. But we recognized that it could have conceivably been infinitely worse. If, G-d forbid, the engine trouble had begun when we were higher up the mountain, we could have chas veshalom been the proverbial “sitting ducks,” helpless in the face of rock-throwing attacks – or worse.

So although we were far from happy about the unfortunate situation, we made the best of the prolonged delay, davening Mincha with our family minyan, and individually learning Mishnayos and/or reciting Tehillim l’iluy nishmat our beloved Tatty.

Finally, after what seemed eons, our driver managed to locate a van in Ramot; the driver promised to come to our rescue as soon as he could. In the meantime, my brother had a light bulb moment, and decided to call the moked again, this time to request the 3:30 escort.

“You have to arrange for an escort at least 24 hours in advance, “ he was told, despite his impassioned protestations. So it looked like we were on our own once again.

The new van (in more ways than one) arrived at long last, and our weary band of travellers piled in to continue the journey begun hours earlier.

This time, the ascent was, b”H, relatively easy, and we made it to the kever without incident. We unhurriedly poured our hearts out in fervent prayer and shed a fair amount of tears, kissed the tombstone, placed our traditional small rock markers, and returned to the van for the trek down the mountain. A glance at my watch showed precisely 3:59 p.m.

My brother gave voice to what many of us had been thinking, “Baruch Hashem, Tatty was looking out for us. This could have chas veshalom ended quite differently.”

And as the driver dropped us off at our various stops along the way, we could not help but feel a sensation of warmth totally removed from the punishing outside temperatures. Every one of us, both individually and collectively, felt a double fatherly embrace on this day of double sorrow and introspection: the love of our recently departed earthly father, coupled with the protective hug of our Father in Heaven.

L’iluy nishmat avi mori, Harav Binyamin ben Yisrael Menachem. Yehi zichro baruch.

Naomi Gross

El Al Ranked Last in On Time Performance

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

FlightStats, a leading provider of real-time global flight data to companies and individuals across the “travel ecosystem” has issued its June 2016 on-time arrival performance report for major airlines, ranking 40 international companies, in which El Al came in 4oth.

With 2,667 flights in June, only 35.88% of El Al’s flights landed on time, while 64.12% arrived late, and the average delay for those tardy birds was 48.3 minutes.

Japan Airlines, which ranked first, had 22,218 flights, 91.05% of which came in when promised, only 8.95% were late, with an average delay time of 32.5 minutes.

Fort comparison, Ethiopian Airlines, with 7,135 flights in June, ranked 29th, with 71.71% of its flights landing on schedule.

Surprisingly, Delta Airlines, with 166,790 flights in JUne, ranked in 8th place, with 82.92% of its flights arriving on time.

An El Al representative told Ynet that its pilots are to blame, since they are executing labor sanctions that mess with the company’s schedule causing those delays. But a review of El Al’s performance over a longer stretch of time reveals that it has been ranked way back there for many months, including a stint in last place in September.

David Israel

Elie Wiesel Remembered As ‘One Of The Great Moral Voices Of Our Time’

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Author, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel died on Saturday at the age of 87.

Wiesel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, is well known for Night, the book that tells the story of his family’s experience during the Holocaust. The book became the first work in a trilogy along with Dawn and Day. Wiesel wrote more than 40 other works of nonfiction and fiction.

Wiesel, who was 15 when he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, was also known for working to help find Nazi war criminals in the years following World War II.

A journalist for various publications, he campaigned for the immigration of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry to Israel and didn’t hesitate to criticize American presidents – Reagan in 1985 for his insistence on visiting a German cemetery that contained the graves of Nazi soldiers and Obama in 2015 for the nuclear agreement with Iran.

In addition to his seminal role in Holocaust remembrance, Wiesel served on the International Council of the Human Rights Foundation, campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, the 1990s genocide in Yugoslavia, and other human rights violations around the world.

Wiesel, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “gave expression through his exceptional personality, and fascinating books about the victory of the human spirit over cruelty and evil. In the darkness of the Holocaust in which our brothers and sisters – six million – were murdered, Elie Wiesel was a ray of light and greatness of humanity who believed in the good in man.”

“I was privileged to know Elie and to learn so much from him,” Netanyahu said.

President Obama called Wiesel “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world.” The president noted that “Like millions of admirers, I first came to know Elie through his account of the horror he endured during the Holocaust simply because he was Jewish. But I was also honored and deeply humbled to call him a dear friend. I’m especially grateful for all the moments we shared and our talks together, which ranged from the meaning of friendship to our shared commitment to the state of Israel.”

Obama recalled a visit he and Wiesel made to the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp: “After we walked together among the barbed wire and guard towers of Buchenwald, where he was held as a teenager and where his father perished, Elie spoke words I’ve never forgotten – ‘Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.’ Upholding that sacred duty was the purpose of Elie’s life. Along with his beloved wife Marion and the foundation that bears his name, he raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hatred, bigotry, and intolerance in all its forms. He implored each of us, as nations and as human beings, to do the same, to see ourselves in each other and to make real that pledge of ‘never again.’ ”

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who gave Wiesel the medal of Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem earlier this year, said: “Instead of giving in to despair, to the face of evil and cruelty that at the time was the darkest of humanity, he carried all the way through the message of tolerance and peace for all peoples of the world.”

Wiesel was born in in Sighet, Transylvania (Romania), in the Carpathian Mountains, on September 30, 1928. Wiesel’s mother, Sarah, was the daughter of a Vizhnitz chassid. His father, Shlomo, encouraged him to learn Hebrew and to read literature, while his mother encouraged him to study Torah. Wiesel had three siblings – older sisters Beatrice and Hilda, and younger sister Tzipora. Beatrice and Hilda survived the war and were reunited with Wiesel at a French orphanage. They eventually emigrated to North America, with Beatrice moving to Canada. Tzipora, Shlomo, and Sarah did not survive the Holocaust.

Combined News Services

It’s About Time: Government Trust Fund for Every Israeli Child

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

For the first time in the history of the state, starting January 1, 2017, every Israeli child below the age of 18 will receive a trust fund in which the National Insurance Administration (Israel’s Social Security) will be making monthly deposits. Parents will be able to select an alternative financial institution for their child and be allowed to invest in the fund from the government child allowance.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that the new trust fund for every child will go a long way to “narrow the social gaps in Israel, and promote equal opportunities for middle class and the weaker sectors, as well as raise awareness about saving.”

As it was laid out on Tuesday, the plan will allow an 18-year-old Israeli who has been enrolled all his life to embark on his adulthood with about $5,000. The trust fund plan is based on National Insurance making $14 monthly deposits in the funds. The hope is that with interest and added investments the fund would yield an even higher amount, enough to carry the young person through college, help start a small business or make any other worthwhile investment.

If the young Israeli opts to delay withdrawing the funds until he or she turns 21, National Insurance will add a 500 shekel bonus ($180) to the account at that point and the government would pay all the fees on the fund.

The obvious problem is that $5,000, which will be pulled out of the war on poverty budgets, is not a lot of money, and the future may be paved with Israeli young adult driving cheap cars or going on that incredible trip to India or the Amazon forest, rather than using the money for its intended purpose.

It would have been much more meaningful had government invested those $5,000 in the fund up front, which at 2% would yield more than $7,000, an end amount that could be boosted by the parents and the child over the years. With only $14 monthly deposits by the parents, the fund would be doubled by the end of the 18-year term.

But to do that, with about 200,000 babies born annually, Israel would have to divert about $1 billion from its budget to those funds. Not an impossible figure for a country with a $300 billion annual GDP. The upside would be a population that’s more serious about saving and investing, and young people who have a stake in the stability of the system. Those would include young Israeli Arab, by the way.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/its-about-time-government-trust-fund-for-every-israeli-child/2016/06/21/

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