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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Tzfat’

US Entrepreneur Turns Kosher Vodka into Spiritual Experience [video]

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Marc Grossfield is a typical entrepreneur who managed a number of successful businesses and eventually sold his marketing promotions company to a public company.

Through family connections, he hooked up with Eddie Philips of Millennium Imports and soon he was learning about such upscale brands as Chopin and Belvedere. Eddie seized the opportunity about 35 years ago when Poland was undergoing its transition from Communism and managed to become the sole importer of the upscale Belvedere Vodka.

It was a time when Absolut virtually controlled the luxury market with an average bottle selling for $15. Eddie took the luxury Belvedere brand with its beautiful bottle to the next level, commanding double what Absolut was charging and he was an instant hit.

According to Marc, Eddie did not keep the success to himself, donating as much as $25 million to Jewish causes. He eventually sold Belvedere to Louis Vuitton LVMH “for hundreds of millions of dollars” and then sold Chopin.

Meanwhile Marc was not only transitioning to Vodka thanks to his mentor Eddie Phillips but also becoming increasingly spiritual. The Gold family in Israel turned out to be a perfect fit.

The family, originally expelled from Russia in 1824, moved to Safed (Tzfat) along with the entire community where they continued to make vodka in the finest Russian tradition. This art was passed on from father to son, today run by Yossi and his dad Joseph Gold.

Yossi’s journey took him to the Israeli Air Force, then to medical school, to Brazil where he became a plastic surgeon and then to Germany to perfect the art of making vodka.

Marc’s mission was to have the Gold’s produce vodka out of the seven species of the land of Israel (i.e. figs, dates, pomegranate, wheat, barley, olives, grapes) so that Jews who wish to make a blessing over the original seven species could do so, and even a non-practicing Jew or non-Jew could feel some spirituality in making a toast.

He even imported sand from Israel to put a handful into every fancy bottle of Aviv. The water is from the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee.

Vodka is made from 40% alcohol and 60% water. There is even symbolism in the triangular shape of the bottle, representing body, mind and spirit. “The bottom is bigger,” says Marc, “representing kindness. Aviv was launched on Thanksgiving 2013 and in its first year stacked up well against such brands as Grey Goose, Ciroc and Belvedere. It is selling well in such wine and spirit chains as Lund’s and Byerly in Marc’s hometown in Minneapolis.

It is also distributed by Royal Wine in many areas and is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union (OU).

This article was written by Menachem Lubinsky for Kosher Today.

Syrians Recovering in Israel Plead, ‘Save Our People’

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Syrian patients recovering in Israeli hospitals are pleading with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to “save the Syrian people.”

The plea comes from wounded Syrians spirited across the northern border  and brought to the hospital by the IDF as the savage civil war continues to rage between government troops backing President Bashar al-Assad and fragmented rebel forces.

Currently 16 such patients are being treated at the Ziv Medical Center in Tzfat alone, including three in very serious condition. Dr. Shukri Kassis, head of the hospital’s plastic surgery unit, told the Hebrew news daily Yedioth Achronoth the caseload includes a 12-year-old boy “with amputations in both legs and both arms.

“We make all the possible efforts to save his life,” the surgeon said. “All Syrian patients are pleased and surprised by the treatment they are provided with.”

The boy’s mother corroborated the doctor’s statement, adding that her child was injured when he picked up an object that contained a live grenade. “A friend that was with him was killed instantly,” she added.

Fallout from the conflict has spilled over into neighboring countries — including Israel — more than once.  In the case of the Jewish State, it is sometimes not clear whether the “spillover” is truly accidental, however. A roadside bomb wounded four Israeli soldiers patrolling the Golan Heights one week ago, and Israel retaliated with artillery fire on Syrian army positions. It is not known who had planted the bomb in an area where the Syrian military, the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terror group and Syrian rebels fighting Assad all have a presence. Israel returned fire.

Earlier this month, the IDF also attacked Iranian shipments of advanced missiles and other weapons within Syrian territory heading for Tehran-backed Shi’ite Hizbullah terrorists fighting for Assad, an Alawite. Hizbullah has vowed more than once to fire its missiles at Israel.

Shi’ite Iran has also sent its elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards to defend Assad against an increasing number of Sunni rebel forces who include secular opposition forces, radical Islamic groups linked to Al Qaeda and a moderate Islamic coalition supported by Saudi Arabia, among others.

Weekend Snow Update: Jerusalem Lock-down, Blackouts, and Lots of Snow (+ Photos)

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Jerusalem spent Shabbat in lock-down as the largest snow storm in decades, and perhaps 50 years, hit the country. The main highways to Jerusalem were closed. Thousands of people found themselves stranded on the highway.

Some 35,000 households, including 13,000 in  Jerusalem, as well as 2400 in Tzfat didn’t have electricity for at least part of Shabbat. Gush Etzion, where at least 2 (possibly 3) feet of snow fell,  was without electricity for significant parts of the day, as well as parts of the days before.

The army was called in to assist in helping restore electricity to parts of Jerusalem.

In the Binyamin region, many homes were without electricity and water throughout much of the night. Some of the Settlements found themselves cut off without electricity for 3 days, since the beginning of the storm.

On Saturday night, the main highway into Jerusalem is slowly being reopened to public transportation, and some buses are expected to begin running soon.

The Jerusalem Light Rail is shut down due to damage to the rails from the snow storm, and may reopen on Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to drop tonight to below freezing, increasing the risk of icy roads.

On the positive side, children were having a great time in the massive snow storm.








Four Wounded Syrians Brought to Israel

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Four Syrian civilians who were seriously injured in the Syrian civil war were brought to Israel on Friday night and treated at Ziv hospital in Tzfat.

Rabbi Eliyahu Ignores A-G’s Ruling Him Out as Chief Rabbi

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Attorney General Weinstein told Tzfat Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu that the courts probably would not allow him to be Chief Sephardi Rabbi have not dissuaded him from continuing his campaign for the post.

Weinstein wrote the rabbi that his controversial statements, such as, “Must I explain why I am against mixed marriages?, “a number of serial killers have turned out to be homosexuals” and remarks that people in Tzfat should not rent or sell apartments to Arabs would likely not pass the courts if he were to be elected as Chief Rabbi.

The electing body is to vote in approximately three weeks.

Weinstein said the rabbi is an “unsuitable candidate” but did not rule he is not allowed to run.

Rabbi Eliyahu responded harshly through a spokesman, who wrote, “The Attorney General chose erev Tisha B’Av to remove his biased mask to suppress democracy. It seems the same attorney general who justified his grave acts of Knesset Members against Israeli soldiers and has given support to the  head of the Islamic Movement also has court martialed Rabbi Eliyahu and has made himself the prosecutor to and hanging judge.

“Weinstein understood that a majority of the electing body is ready to choose Rabbi Eliyahu as Chief Rabbi and  has decided to break the rules with an unprecedented step, without authority and without a hearing or verifying allegations.

Iron Domes Redeployed to North

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

In light of the recent IAF activities in Syria, Israel has repositioned two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to the country’s north.

One has been placed near Tzfat (Sefad), the second near Haifa.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iron-domes-redeployed/2013/05/05/

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