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

Posts Tagged ‘today’

Syrian Gunfire on the Golan

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

For the second time today, gunfire from Syria crossed the border into Israel on the Golan Heights.

An IDF vehicle was nearly hit. No injuries were reported.

Thanking Our ‘Squantos’

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

It’s the classic image – the pumpkins; the berries; the squash, the turkey. It’s the beginning of a season that brings with it a sudden, exciting feeling. It’s the crisp fall air turning to gray winter; the strings of perfect, colorful leaves decorating doors and houses, the bright hues of reds and oranges. It almost feels like the cinnamon in the pumpkin pie is somehow in the air.

It’s Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving. It’s a time of gratitude. Gratitude for the freedom we have in the United States. So many Jews celebrate this holiday, thankful that after so much oppression, Jews can live peacefully in this great country.

The theme of the season forces me to think back to the very first Thanksgiving. This was a celebration the pilgrims made when they first came to America. After so many hardships in the New World, they finally harvested food and had a chance of survival. They were thankful for Squanto, a Native American, who helped the early settlers through.

These thoughts overwhelmed me with a sense of gratitude I feel the need to express. Have you ever thought about who holds up our Jewish communities? Who keeps the world turning? Whose zechuyos keep us alive? Have you ever stopped to thank the people who keep our chinuch system going?

What about thanking our gedolim?

I once heard a teacher say, “At a certain point in my life I knew more names of actors and singers than I knew of Gedolei haTorah.” It struck me. We spend our lives chasing after a society and culture which have so little to do with us, and we never stop to notice what is right in front of us. Do we ever stop to contemplate and appreciate the people who devote their lives to disseminating Torah?

Your son’s Rebbe deserves respect; no matter what grade he gave your son on his Gemara test. The rav of your shul deserves a lot more respect than chatter during his short lecture. The Gedolei HaDor deserve much more than a careless shrug of the shoulder at the news of their illness or petirah.

Most of the time we do not focus our appreciation on the talmidei chachamim in our neighborhoods – that includes the young men sitting in kollel, the balabatim who run to shiur before or after work and the retired men who after years of working are now spending their time in a yeshiva setting. How much do we appreciate the rabbanim who lead our communities? Do we thank them for their time, for their hours of service?

What generation has had access to so much – shiurim on a variety of levels, website where one can download divrei Torah, at no charge? When in our history were there any so many schools to choose from? When did we ever have so many interesting speakers, teaching Torah on a daily basis?

There is so much knowledge available, and yet, many of us don’t even stretch out a hand to grab onto it. So many opportunities, yet we don’t care. So many lessons, yet we never take them in. We chase after a government. We chase after their way of life. How many names of gedolim do you know?

This lesson is clearly evident in the Purim story. The spiritual leader of the time, Mordechai, advised the Jews not to attend to royal party. The Jews scorned his opinion, claiming he was “an old Rabbi, stuck in ancient times and unaware of the political dues they had to pay.” Then tragedy struck, and all the Queens connections were worth nothing; what saved them was following the “old leader’s” suggestion to pray and fast.

We can chase after all the political leaders we want, but at the end of the day, what will save us is the Torah learning of our talmidei chachamim and of our young children.

It’s the season. It’s Thanksgiving – let us give thanks for what we have that actually matters: our Squanto, the people who throw away careers, throw away sleep and are there, twenty four hours a day, supporting our world with Torah.

Chazal teach, “Asay licha Rav”; I’ve heard it paraphrased numerous times to, “Asay licha Rebbetzin.” Each of us needs a guide or a mentor who can see clearly when we can’t.

I Am a Loser Today

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

First we must admit we lost the war with Hamas.

It will allow us to begin healing from our wounds. For until we make the admission that we are on the losing side in the war and remain in a state of denial about it, no recovery is possible. We are thankful to be alive, of course, there is that to be grateful for – we can write letters like these and feel some satisfaction in the small pleasures of daily life, but we lost the war, yes, we did.

If we all make the admission simultaneously it will be an even stronger spur to our recovery, for we will be able to move on and examine our options. But until we as a nation, say it out loud, we’re trapped in fear, despair and disappointment.

We lost the war with Hamas. Please, don’t be afraid to say it out loudly and clearly. Say it to yourself. Say it to your family and friends. Say it at work and in the streets. Let’s own our defeat and see how it feels before condemning it as defeatist or negative. I think it will do us a world of good, actually. Today, this Thursday morning, this week of Parshat Vayetze, we were defeated by Hamas.

We’re alive, unapologetic and eager to find the positive in the situation, but we are defeated. We lost the war with Hamas this week, you know. It hurts a lot. We were sure it was going to be a resounding win, a victory and a new beginning for Israeli citizens everywhere but especially in the south. Unfortunately, we lost the war with Hamas.

They won, you see, because they have two advantages over us, superior tactics and a superior strategy. I’m not writing an analysis; that’s for the historians and the war-college professors to do. I’m merely stating what needs to be said out loud for our health’s sake, today. We lost the war with Hamas.

I cry for us, for those who survive unscathed and for those who mourn their losses, all our collective losses. Their children are our children, their parents, our parents. We are all living in Sderot, we are all about five seconds from a devastating trauma – we all have the scars this morning from the war with Hamas which we lost.

We are a noble people, for the most part. God knows we seek no one any great harm, and rarely dream, as a nation, of committing genocide, rapine or plunder. But we must, for our health’s sake, admit that we are locked in a deathly embrace with Hamas who have beaten us this week, who have reduced us to the role of the vanquished, to the point where we were forced to sue for peace on their terms, on any terms. We need to internalize the simple fact that Islamists have forced us to settle, not for peace on any terms, but with a lull, a not-even-truce. They have graciously, as the victors, agreed to allow us a short respite, for as long as it takes them to rearm, regroup and reposition for the next battle in the war we have lost.

I am not ashamed to say I am an Israeli Jew, I am a loser today in the war with Hamas.

I’m ashamed of the men and women we voted into political power, whose duty it is to protect us, let us not sully our lips with their names, they know who they are. I will look for more savage politicians to vote into power next time, lesser practitioners of the reasonable arts – with frothier spittle and madder eyes.

I am ashamed for us, I’m crying for us. We seem to have lost our vision and our insight. We are lost in broad daylight, blinded by the truth and crippled by common sense.

Because it’s true, I admit it. We lost the war with Hamas.

Join with me, friends and family. Let us make the admission with contrition in our our hearts and all the earnestness at our command; We lost the war with Hamas.

What if the Siren Goes off When I’m Alone?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I’m in the office today until late. I spoke to Aliza shortly after she came home. I explained I’d be here for a while, at least. She’s home alone until my husband returns from work and some errands.

“Ima, what if the siren goes off when I’m alone?” she asked me.

“Go quickly into the bomb shelter and close the door,” I told her, my heart clenching at the thought of her in a  bomb shelter alone.

“I’ll take my phone with me,” she said, and I quickly agree.

“I’ll call you right away and you can call me,” I answer back.

“Can I take Simba in with me?” she asks. Simba is our dog.

“Of course you can. That’s wonderful. You take care of Simba and call him into the room.”

What world do we live in that a 12-year old has to consider going into a bomb shelter alone? If I could leave now, I would but Al Jazeera English contacted me and asked me to be on their show. Check out my next post on that…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Ride To Forever

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The taxi driver was old and rather shriveled, with a crop of white hair fringing his head.

Ah, I recognize this one, I thought with relief, hurrying to open the door. If I recall correctly, he knows Lakewood. You would think that a taxi driver, being that his/her job is, well, driving, and being that the town they are driving in is, well, Lakewood…Well, I would tend to think that knowing how to drive around Lakewood would somehow come along with the job; if not before, then at least afterwards. The reality, unfortunately, is that I am usually forced to keep a sharp lookout for turns in the opposite direction of which I am supposed to be going.

This time I lay back in relief and closed my eyes. Maybe I could catch a quick power nap before my appointment.

The car jolted to a stop and my eyes popped open. Oh, it was this corner. I had to admit that even I was often caught off guard by the intersection’s unusual traffic patterns, so I would have to forgive even a veteran driver for this one. Cars were coming and going busily to and from all directions, and mistakes were almost inevitable here. When it was quiet you could get away with it, but…

“Why is it,” the gravelly voice of the driver reached me, “that this town goes crazy every day at two o’clock?”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “You’re from Lakewood, right?”

“Seventy years in Lakewood,” came the gravelly response.

“Seventy years in Lakewood, and no one ever told you what happens here at two o’clock every day?” A taxi driver, for heaven’s sake?

“Nope.”

Wow, was this a teaching opportunity. A historic moment. I mentally rubbed my hands in glee and attacked my subject with gusto.

“You know the yeshiva, right?” I wasn’t taking anything for granted, but the guy wasn’t blind. Well, I would assume not.

“Yep. But it’s back there.” He motioned vaguely towards the center of town.

“Right. But this town, it revolves around the yeshiva. And, you know what the yeshiva’s schedule is?”

“Nope.”

“Well, they start between nine thirty and ten in the morning. And they get out between 1:45 and 2:00 in the afternoon!” I nearly crowed with triumph. A seventy (well, almost) year old mystery, solved by yours truly!! “So at two o’clock, until four o’clock, when everyone is back in yeshiva this town is on wheels!!!”

I was about to launch into a description of babysitting schedules, moms at work, and dads with strollers, when another gravelly comment cut me short.

“I was here before the rabbi came here.” Well. Maybe bein hasdarim was different in those days, then. Talk about time warp.

“I used to drive him to Brooklyn.”

I nearly jumped out of my seatbelt. Well, I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, to be honest. But if I had been…

“You drove Rabbi Kotler? To Brooklyn??”

“Yep.” He said this in the same tone of voice he would have used to tell me that the price of eggs was down, or that the real estate market was nonexistent, or that his neighbor had died.

“They should interview you for The Voice!” I exclaimed excitedly. “What’s your name?”

“Ed Skinner.”

I was on it. Reporter on the scent. “Ok, I gotta hear this. So, did you ever talk to him?”

“Well, yeah. Not much. About prices, and where we were going…”

I tried to pump as much as I could. Apparently, Rav Aharon had often had to go into Brooklyn, I imagine for simchos, fund raising, etc. Mr. Ed Skinner, who had then worked for a limousine service, had had the distinct honor of being the driver called upon to convey the rosh yeshiva to his destination.

“Was a good price in those days, too,” he added.

Unfortunately, I could not tease out any more juicy tidbits of information. I was hoping for a Genuine Gadol Story. If it existed in the memory of Ed Skinner, however, it was not making itself known to me. Still, I couldn’t get over it. I felt like I was touching history.

“He was the man, you know,” I tried to impress upon the driver. “He created this town. I mean, not the town, but the Jewish community. He was a holy man, and a brilliant man.

When Hamas Rockets Land on… Gaza

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Office has just quantified this evening what anyone (us included) who has been following the endless firing of rockets by terrorist thugs in Gaza these last seven years already knows: the terrorists keep misfiring a significant number of their rockets. These then crash onto the heads and houses of the Gazans.

The IDF which tracks these things says [see its Twitter page] no fewer than 99 such explosive devices have ‘fallen short’ in the last four days.

Does anyone imagine these then evaporate into thin air? Because they never ever get reported in the news media, does this mean they don’t occur? That such self-inflicted injuries don’t happen? Of course it does not mean those things. We know what happens when they explode on landing. We have been watching those explosions for years. We have been absorbing those explosions at an extraordinary rate these past five days – all over Israel.

The IDF’s Twitter page is under assault now from people who claim it’s all so, so, so untrue. We feel for them. No one explained to them before how the tragic indifference of the Hamas rocketeers has exacted a price in human lives from their own communities for years. Our post of earlier today ["18-Nov-12: Fell short? Not just the Hamas rockets but the ethics of the journalists covering them"] has some additional background, going back five years.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Keynes vs. Hayek: Which Approach Won Over the Economies of the West? (Podcast)

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Keynes and Hayek were two of the most influential economists of modern times. But how did their economic philosophies and views affect the world today? Nicholas Wapshott, who wrote Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics and is the former New York bureau chief ofThe Times, editor of theSaturday Times of London,  founding editor of The Times Magazine, and political editor of The Observer, tells Doug about the differences in both economic systems and how the economies of the West have been shaped by them. Also enjoy listening to all of your favorite people on Goldstein on Gelt.

Supreme Court President on Demolishing Illegal Mosque: ‘Must Kill Them when They’re Young’

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

A miracle of sorts took place today at the Israeli Supreme court, which could be the sign of good things to come. It was during part of an ongoing discussion of Illegal Arab construction in Judea and Samaria, and this time the issue at hand was a mosque built illegally in Al-Mofkra (Regavim), on the southern slope of Mt. Hebron.

According to The Jewish Voice, the panel of judges headed by Supreme Court President Supreme Court President Grunis, with Justices Miriam Naor and Edna Arbel, opened the discussion by saying that illegal construction cannot be allowed to go on at all, especially in Judea and Samaria. The panel added that enforcement activity should be performed efficiently.

In this context, Justice Grunis said that “we must kill them when they’re young” (the literal translation from Hebrew would be “We must destroy them when they’re little”). The quip was made in front of representatives of the State Attorney’s Office, who told the court they intend to destroy the illegal mosque in the coming weeks.

Supreme Court chief justice Asher Gronis. Photo: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash 90

Supreme Court Chief Justice Asher Gronis. Photo: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash 90

The reason this can be considered a minor miracle is that both of Grunis’s predecessors, chief justices Aharon Barak and Dorit Beinish, would not have been caught dead saying something so un-PC about a Muslim house of worship. The fact that Justice Grunis was able to joke about it – and then do the right thing and force the state to take down the ugly thing – is very much a step in the right direction for the court.

Following an appeal by the Regavim movement, the Attorney General made a commitment to destroy the mosque once it was determined to be illegal. But while the civil administration was dragging its feet and not getting around to demolishing the mosque, the Regavim movement reported that mosque owner, one Mahmud Hamemda, continued to live there and had said that no matter how many times the mosque is destroyed, he would keep rebuilding it.

Following the Attorney General’s commitment to give a high priority to destroying the mosque, Attorney Boaz Arzi, representing Regavim, expressed his satisfaction. “Given the fact that the justices accepted our appeal, and gave us the relief we asked for, our petition has become moot and there is no reason not to delete it,” he stated, adding that,”if the civil administration does not do its job and we’ll see the mosque was not destroyed, we’ll have no problem submitting another appeal, until justice is done.”

The Regavim movement announced that the decision to demolish the illegal mosque should serve as a warning to the Palestinians in Al-Mofkra village. “Every illegal construction will be documented and an appeal will be submitted to the Supreme court as needed,” a movement spokesperson said. “The state’s decision to demolish the illegal mosque is proof that nearby structure are equally illegal and their fate will be the same.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/yoris-news-clips/supreme-court-president-on-demolishing-illegal-mosque-must-kill-them-when-theyre-young/2012/11/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: