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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘train’

Haredi MK Blocks Train Funding over Shabbat Works

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) has not approved the transfer of $171 million to the new projects of Israel Railways, according to a Tweet by journalist Amalia Duek. Duek cites sources in the Transport Ministry who accuse Gafni of revenge tactics, saying the delay in payment would result in delays in carrying out the work in preparation for the new fast rail from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Ministry is also concerned about potential lawsuits from contractors who haven’t been paid. MK Gafni, meanwhile, has told Duek he would examine the transfer request “when I see fit.”

Meanwhile, the renovation and preparation works continue full blast. At midnight Sunday Israel Railways shut down its three (out of four) stations in Tel Aviv for eight days, to be reopened a week from Tuesday. The massive project will match the stations and the rails passing through them with the new, electric, fast rail to Jerusalem.

Over the next eight days, the railway service will be running buses between Herzliya and Tel Aviv, in both directions, as well as buses from Herzliya to Ben Gurion International. Police on Monday morning reported worse than usual traffic delays in all the arteries leading into Tel Aviv.

The war between the Haredi coalition partners UTJ and Shas and Prime Minister Netanyahu over railway works that had been scheduled to be performed on Shabbat two weeks ago turned out to be a mere skirmish, as neither side was interested in fighting. However, the real battle ensued between Netanyahu and his Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), followed by a more reserved showdown with Welfare and Labor Minister Haim Katz (Likud). That internal fight in the Likud party was resolved with a win by points for Netanyahu (no knockouts, both ministers are still alive and kicking). Against this background, MK Gafni’s decision appears both vindictive and unhelpful.

Transport Ministry officials told Kikar Hashabbat that “if it turns out Gafni is operating out of political considerations we will view it seriously and act accordingly.”

Gafni, one of the most powerful committee chairmen in the Knesset, responded, “I’m not obligated to debate every agenda item that comes up. I will weigh it, and if the proposal has merit, the money would be transferred.” Which means the Railway will get the money eventually, because this is a government project, but the folks at Transport will have to sweat blood over it because of their Shabbat works fiasco.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, the Haredi parties are angrier at Police Commissioner Ronnie Alshich, an Orthodox Jew, more than anyone else, because Alshich was the one who came up with the idea that those works constituted “pikuach nefesh,” meaning saving a life, which is permitted on Shabbat. Which stands to show you, never go to a cop for halakhic rulings.

JNi.Media

Knesset to Hold Special Debate on Shabbat Train Crisis

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

After the signatures of more than 50 MKs havebeen submitted to the Knesset Secretariat, Speaker Yuli Edelstein decided to convene the plenum on September 19, while the Knesset is still in recess, to discuss motions for the agenda on the following topics:

1. The degradation of Shabbat and the harm caused to soldiers and civilians due to the train crisis

2. The political conduct of the government and the person at its helm caused severe harm to tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians

3. The hysterical conduct, lack of planning and waste of millions due to personal political considerations

The debate will be held in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a.k.a. “the person at the helm.”

The Knesset Rules of Procedure determine that, in accordance with the Basic Law regarding the Knesset, when at least 25 MKs demand to convene the Knesset plenum during a recess, the Knesset Speaker will schedule a special debate.

David Israel

Former Shas MK: Solve Train Problem the Jewish Way – Use Goyim

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Former MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem told the website Srugim Sunday that Jewish Law provides a simple and practical solution to the problem of performing crucial infrastructure labor on Israel’s railroads on Shabbat, a problem which was threatening the stability of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition government: use gentile employees.

“The simplest solution would be to follow what Jewish Halakha says and facilitates,” Rabbi Amsalem advised. “In a country where 20% of the citizens are not Jewish, when there is a compelling need, we can utilize ‘goy shel Shabbat,’ (‘Shabbes goy’) for all the labor that involves the desecration of Shabbat. We’ve done this for hundreds of years, everybody is familiar with the concept — the gentiles would receive an increased pay and Jews wouldn’t be required to work on and desecrate the Shabbat,” Rabbi Amsalem said, noting that “everybody is for a modern and democratic Jewish State, so this should be a fitting solution.”

Rabbi Haim (Emile) Amsalem, 57, a native of French Algeria who immigrated to Israel in 1970, was among the founders of Shas and served as its MK, until, following a breakup with his colleagues, he launched his own party, Am Shalem (a play on his name, meaning “whole nation”) that failed to make it into the Knesset in the 2013 elections. He is considered a moderate Haredi who believes in a dialogue with secular Israelis.

“In general, it can be stated that the state institutions for the most part observe Shabbat, which is something anyone arriving in Israel from abroad notices. It may not be exactly as we want it to be, but we can’t focus only on the negative,” Amsalem told Srugim.

Pointing out that the law already provides for government to be able to issue permits for Shabbat work that relates to security, crucial economic concerns or any other matter affecting the public’s welfare, including hospitals, the power and the water utilities, Amsalem suggested that the clash over the railroad works over the past two Shabbat days was mostly about politics.

“In the end, those who cry out for the alleged honor of Shabbat ends up causing a much bigger, mass desecration. We strive to reach as broad an agreement as possible on the value of Shabbat, of its image and its respect by the public. Our role as rabbis is to take care of Shabbat observance, but when it is necessary we must find halakhic solutions that would facilitate a normative existence for society at large, and won’t cause hatred for Shabbat on the part of the public,” Amsalem said.

“In a Jewish State it is permissible to employ those for whom those vital works on Shabbat are permissible,” Amsalem concluded. “This way the needs of the modern state would be fulfilled while the demand of our Torah regarding Shabbat observance in public would be obeyed.”

JNi.Media

Let Us Violate Shabbat So As To Sanctify It

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

“He who wants to enter the holiness of the [Sabbath] day must first lay down the profanity of clattering commerce, of being yoked to toil. He must go away from the screech of dissonant days, from the nervousness and fury of acquisitiveness and the betrayal in embezzling his own life. He must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man. Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else….

The seventh day is the exodus from tension, the liberation of man from his own muddiness, the installation of man as a sovereign in the world of time….

The Sabbaths are our great  cathedrals; and our Holy of Holies is a shrine that neither the Romans nor the Germans were able to burn…”

(Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man [NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1951] pp. 13, 29, 8)

Shabbat is serious business, not only because of its halachic requirements but also because of its magnificent and majestic message. To violate it is not just a transgression but a tragedy. Its desecration undermines what it means to be human and to be a real Jew. It deprives mankind of its own sublimity.

It is not the renouncement of technical progress that Shabbat requires but rather the attainment of some degree of independence from an ever-increasing race and cruel struggle for our physical existence, in which we are all involved and which denies us embracing the presence of an eternal moment.

There is only one sanctity that is even greater than Shabbat and that is the holiness of the human being. When we have to choose between these two sanctities, Jewish law is clear: The human being takes precedence. (Yoma 85b; Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Shabbat 2:3)

If it is true that the Tel Aviv Light Rail and the high-speed train connecting Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim will indeed save countless human lives by having people switch from car to rail, Halacha will without any doubt demand of us to work on Shabbat to complete construction as soon as possible. Any postponement would be a terrible violation of Halacha itself.

But as Jews, let us make it into a celebration. We can observe Shabbat while working on this holy day. Instead of asking non-Jews to take our place, let us gather as many religious Jews as possible to join in this undertaking and do this work in the spirit of Shabbat and Halacha. Here are some suggestions:

We can organize shacks at the work sites where some people will make Kiddush and where a special Shabbat atmosphere will be created and tasteful Shabbat meals, kept warm according to the laws of Shabbat, will be served. There will be alternate minyanim where the workers can hear the reading of the parsha and say their Shabbat prayers in shifts. Participants can sing Shabbat songs and someone can say a nice d’var Torah informing everyone of the great mitzvah they are performing by working on the holy Shabbat so as to save lives.

Lets us give all the workers colored Shabbat helmets and ask all others who stand by to give instructions to wear nice kippot.

There can be flags and ribbons flying and large posters displayed at the work sites proclaiming: “The people of Israel shall keep the Shabbat, observing the Shabbat throughout the ages as a covenant for eternity.”(Shemot 31:16);“And one shall live by them [My laws]” (Vayikra 18:5)… “and not die because of them.” (Sanhedrin 74a)

Let us make a Jewish celebration out of this. We can show our fellow Israelis and the world that we love Shabbat but that it will not stand in the way of the sanctity of human life. It will actually advance our spirit and commitment to Judaism. Let us reveal that Halacha can deal with the requirements of a modern democratic Jewish state in an unprecedented way.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let us not fail to live up to the challenge of making us all proud to be committed Jews.

After all, is it not Shabbat that made us Jews and that now gives meaning to the State of Israel? Why, in fact, be Jewish if not for this great institution called Shabbat?

Sure, some of my readers will say that these suggestions are insane. But let us not forget what philosopher and writer George Santayana once said: Sanity is madness put to good use.
 

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Public Transportation to Undergo Major Expansion in Haifa

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

The public transportation system in Haifa is about to expand, with seven new bus lines to be added at a cost of NIS 2.6 billion.

The upgrade will make metro Haifa “the most publicly accessible” city in Israel, according to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who called the plan a “revolution” that would serve as “a model for other cities.”

The transit network is to be based on the current three existing Metrobus lines in the city, and on the single Carmelit subway and rail car line.

Katz said the new lines are to be facilitated by the Transportation Ministry and the Yefe-Nof company – the same company that set up the Metrobus lines – and are projected for 1.2 million trips in and around Haifa daily.

The system expansion is be facilitated via the BOT (build-operate-transfer) method – a way to finance projects in which a private entity receives the tender from the public or private sector to finance, design, build and operate a contracted system or facility. The method enables the contractor to recover the investment, operating and maintenance expenses via the project itself, which typically is a long-term endeavor.

The method is used in California, Florida, Indiana, Texas and Virginia, as well as in some other nations.

Hana Levi Julian

Digging for Treasure Resumes in Tracks of Illusive Nazi Gold Train

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

A small band of hopeful explorers on Tuesday resumed the search for a Nazi train which was, supposedly, buried with a full cargo of stolen gold and weapons: local legend says as many as three Nazi trains were buried underground near the Polish city of Wałbrzych (Waldenburg) in Lower Silesia, south-western Poland, in January 1945, before the end of World War II.

Explorers Andreas Richter (German) and Piotr Koper (Pole), and several others, believe they’ll hit pay dirt in only a few days. A year ago, they used radar to receive a positive signal from one train beneath the city of Walbrzych. Then Polish Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Żuchowski announced that Koper’s and Richter’s radar images confirmed “with 99% probability” that a train 300 ft long is waiting to be plundered down there. But the local governor voiced his doubts about those prospects, and several teams that conducted similar surveys in the area came up empty-handed.

Nevertheless, last May, Koper and Richter secured a permit from Polish State Railways to dig for the gold train, and on Tuesday, one year to the day after their original announcement, they’re out there, digging three exploratory shafts from which they plan to start moving in on the buried treasure.

The World Jewish Congress last year issued a call on the Polish government that the train most likely holds valuables that were robbed from Jewish victims, and that once they are retrieved, a search must be conducted to locate the heirs of their owners.

Tadeusz Slowikowski, 86, is responsible for the Nazi gold train rumor. In 2015 he told the Daily Mail: “I became aware of the tunnel after saving a German man named Schulz from being attacked by two men. As gratitude for saving him, he told me about the tunnel.” That was in the 1950s, and Slowikowski has spent much of his time since searching for that train.

Local historian Pawel Rodziewicz told the AP that he had seen documentation showing without a doubt that the gold was transported to the German central bank in Berlin, and that the Nazis were not going to bury their stolen gold in Waldenburg, where the advancing Soviet Red Army could grab it. It made no sense for the Germans to invest in digging a secret railway tunnel, when for a lot less money they could ride that train home, he argued.

Of course, that’s exactly what someone who knows where the gold is buried would say to discourage competition…

JNi.Media

Temple Institute Crowdfunding to Train Cadre of Qualfied Priests

Monday, August 1st, 2016

The Temple Institute will be opening the world’s first school for training Levitical Priests to serve in the Holy Temple this year in Jerusalem. The organization has run a number of pilot programs over the past few years and is now embarking on a mission to teach Kohanim all the practical skills required to serve in the coming Third Holy Temple.

To raise the seed money for the project the Temple Institute has embarked on an Indiegogo crowdfunding project with an initial goal of $75,000.

The curriculum at Nezer HaKodesh will include courses on the Temple service, theory and practice, and the role and application of modern technology in the Third Temple. Courses such as The Sacred Temple Vessels — Aspects of Engineering and Design; and The Mathematics of the Holy Temple will be taught as part of the program.

For the last thirty years, the Rabbis and scholars of the Temple Institute have studied in-depth the ancient text needed to prepare for the Third Temple, becoming the world authorities on the subject. They have published tens of volumes and recreated more than 70 sacred vessels for use in the Third Holy Temple.

Establishing a school to train Kohanim signifies a huge step towards the realization of the reestablishment of the Temple service which has been dormant for 2,000 years since the Romans destroyed the Second Holy Temple in 70 CE.

The initiative was announced during the traditional three-week period of mourning for the Holy Temple, culminating with the Fast of the 9th of Av, when both Holy Temples were destroyed. This timing comes as no coincidence, as the purpose of the Temple Institute has always been to reframe this Jewish period of mourning into one of hope and change, highlighting that all of the prophets and sages of Israel have predicted the eventual peaceful rebuilding of the Third Temple in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, commented: “We are extremely excited to announce this new step towards the restoration of the Holy Temple service. We call first and foremost upon Kohanim worldwide to support this special project, which signifies a return of their birthright. We have chosen to use Indiegogo as a tool to enable as many people as possible to be a part of this historic initiative. The Temple service represents the purest connection between man and our Creator. One third of the Torah’s commandments pertain to the Holy Temple service and we have prayed for its return for thousands of years. In a time when the world is plagued with terror and uncertainty, we enter this project with full faith that one day the Holy Temple will finally be rebuilt and the priestly service reinstated, ushering in an unparalleled era of peace and harmony among all of mankind.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/temple-institute-crowdfunding-to-train-cadre-of-qualfied-priests/2016/08/01/

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