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April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
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Shalom Sesame: Countdown to Shavuot

Shalom Sesame - Shavuot

Photo Credit: Shalom Sesame

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Yishai is joined in-studio by 88-year-old Kate Bernath, grandmother of his wife, Malkah, to hear her Holocaust testimonial: What was it like as a Hungarian Jew getting off the train at Auschwitz, and how it felt to have your mother separated from you forever by Dr. Mengele.

Yishai is joined in-studio by Walter Bingham, 91 — rescued from the Nazis as a Polish child on the Kindertransport and ended up fighting against them with the British — shares his memories of Kristallnacht and of facing the German Foreign Minister who was first to hang at Nuremberg.

Then, VOI Knesset Insider Jeremy Saltan joins Yishai in-studio to discuss the relationship between the Jewish holidays established in the past and the new holidays born in the modern era of Jewish statehood. They point out that Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, the Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism, Israel Independence Day and Jerusalem Day all are marked during the “counting of the Omer” — the 50 days between Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost).

I think he forgot to say the Brocha…

Voice of Israels’s Binyamin Nakonechny joins Yishai to share the Kabbalistic perspective on rain after Passover. Then, should Israel have public transportation on Jewish holidays? And how does Israel adopt a more environmental, less litter-filled, consciousness? Seth Frantzman, op-ed editor of the Jerusalem Post, and Mati Wagner, editorial page editor of the same publication, join Yishai in-studio to discuss their latest articles, both of which address the question of the character of the Jewish state. Mati also shares his Matza-baking experiences with proud, gun-toting Jews. Finally, Dr. Alan Mazurek, vice chairman of the National Board of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA, and Jeff Daube, director of ZOA Israel, join Yishai in-studio to discuss the possibility of rolling back the nuclear framework agreement; the challenge of the new anti-Semitism on campus; and holding on to history on the Mount of Olives.

Netanyahu is hoping Obama will finally hear his recommendations if he posts them on YouTube, since Obama is claiming he doesn’t hear them at all.

Raffa Abu Tarif is a Druze, a retired IDF officer, a PHD candidate in Israel security studies and a social-media activist. He joins Yishai to talk about his fight against anti-Israel delegitimization efforts abroad and post-Zionist tendencies at home. Then, Rabbi Shimshon HaKohen Nadel joins Yishai to talk about the retelling of the Passover story at the seder table to your children. He asks, “Why do we need all the props?” And he and Yishai discuss the meaning of the splitting of the Red Sea.

Yishai is joined in-studio by Momo Lifshitz, the CEO of Lirom Global Education and former director of Oranim Educational Initiatives, the #1 provider of Birthright Israel participants. He shares his dream to bring Jewish and non-Jewish students to study in Israel and get a college degree at a great price, while falling in love with — and in — the country.

Then, Yishai is joined in-studio by Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, former IDF chief rabbi (2006-2010), with the rank of Brigadier General. During his post, Rontzki carried out a mini-revolution in the command, expanding his mandate to allow for a much more active role of rabbis in the army, and creating the “Jewish Awareness Department,” which conducts educational activities in combat units.

David Swidler, whose satire blog PreOccupied Territory pokes fun at daily life in Israel, joins Yishai to talk about bureaucracy, Israeli drivers and other topics that beg to bear the brunt of humor. Then, students from the Golda Och Academy in West Orange, New Jersey, visit Yishai in-studio. Finally, David Friedman — a kippa-wearing Israeli who works for the Major League baseball team the Cincinnati Reds as a global associate in its international scouting staff — joins Yishai in-studio to talk about how his love for Israel and baseball go hand-in-hand.

Avraham Dovidovitch and his wife, Rosa Ester, look like Hassidic Jews, and they are. But they are also Zionists — that is, they are heeding their sense that God is calling his people back home to the land of Israel. They join Yishai in-studio to share the tale of their journey to observance, Hassidism and to making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) to the southern Hebron mountains. Then, Rabbi Moshe Elefant, the COO of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher certification agency, joins Yishai from New York to talk about how he is leading the effort to make medical marijuana products kosher. Finally, Michael Ordman, the founder of “Very Good News Israel,” a site whose name says it all, joins Yishai to talk about his endeavor to show the positive side of the Jewish state.

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