Part I of this series introduced the 6,000-mile driving tour to the Canadian Rockies that my wife, Barbara, and I took in the van driven by my brother, Avi, and our sister-in-law, Martha.
Israel is celebrating 40 years since the reunification of our holiest city, Jerusalem, and the miraculous victory of the 1967 Six-Day War.
Have you noticed that some problems just won't go away?
I am upset. I am embarrassed. I am touched by the righteous anger of the average man. I am saddened by the lessons being learned by our children.
Every time a Muslim terrorist commits an atrocity, the insane reaction of our liberal societies is to punish everyone collectively. Several years ago, a terrorist tried to detonate an explosive hidden in his shoe. As a result, every airline passenger is now required to remove his shoes and pass them through an x-ray device. It is common in airports to see long lines of passengers walking barefoot or in their stocking feet, queued up and waiting to have their shoes checked. Instead of forcing all Muslims to fly barefoot, every single passenger is inconvenienced to avoid racial profiling.
Two events that seemed to fit the days before Tisha B'Av happened recently.
We have now lived in Israel for more years than we lived in the USA, and our joy in living in Israel knows no bounds. We are living in our homeland with our people. We loved America and are proud to be American citizens, but Israel is our home. We strive each day to keep our focus on the wonderful things that life in Israel offers. We are happy that Israel and the USA are allies and help each other. Unfortunately, we are often upset and concerned by the political situation and by the attitude of the world to the Jews.
It is often hard to understand the attitude of American Orthodox Jews to Israel.
Tony Blair, the Middle East envoy for the Four Great Powers, told an interviewer that PM Olmert has already made a deal with Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Arab Authority.
Today is a very special day; it is the fourth day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot; it is the first day of the end of the building freeze in our community. Will the freeze end or will the cute trick of the Arabs work? They demanded a 10-month building freeze in Judea and Samaria, and then they waited nine months before they decided to sit down to start negotiations with Israel. When they finally did sit down, the first declaration of the Arabs was that the freeze must continue. The world leaders promptly agreed and declared that it is only right that if the Arabs finally agreed to negotiate, Israel should freeze building in Judea and Samaria. "How could we evil Israelis start building again when the Arabs so graciously agreed to talk to us?"
As a Tehilla volunteer I have been going to the airport for many years to assist new immigrants (olim) during their first hours facing real Israeli bureaucracy.
There is a great scene in "Fiddler On The Roof" where a donor gives a beggar one kopek. "Why only one kopek?" asks the beggar. "I had a bad week," replies the donor. "If you had a bad week," responds the beggar, "why should I have to suffer?"
I recently read a background story about presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama online in the New York Times, and I seriously began to worry.
An example of our own self-imposed weakness is the Israeli attitude towards the Holy Temple Mount.
San Francisco is a lovely city and we enjoyed its many tourist venues. The famous Lombard Street, known as “The Crookedest Street in the World,” was beautiful, with its floral decorations. We shopped at Pier 39, and we bought matching San Francisco jackets. We really needed them since it was cold in San Francisco. Barbara added to her magnet collection, which contains magnets from dozens of countries around the world that we have toured. She’d never been in a store that sold thousands of magnets and she just loved looking at all the magnets on the walls.
Part I of this article discussed the background and early days of the new Sanhedrin.
It was not easy and it took a long time but recently the Hashmonaim community was finally able to celebrate the dedication of a new ambulance with the latest life-saving features.
Unfortunately, the question as to where to raise your children and where you and they should live is not a hot topic in the American Jewish community.
When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak attempted to break the link between the Har Bracha Hesder Yeshiva and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), few of us were surprised. Ehud Barak is the head of the Labor Party who seems to be using this anti-religious "weapon" in order to make a political comeback for his failing leftist party. His anti-religious position is well known, and his attempt to discredit Rabbi Eliezer Melamed and the Hesder Yeshiva movement is not unexpected. In the past, other politicians have used their opposition to religion to improve their political status, and Barak knows that he and his party are falling apart.
We left Reno, Nevada, early Sunday morning and decided to take the scenic route to Salt Lake City, rather than travel by super highway, but Route 50 turned out to be not very scenic as we crossed Nevada and Utah. We stopped at a roadside table at noon, where the men heated and ate LaBriute meals while the women enjoyed their cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. We have followed this pattern of meals ever since the women decided not to eat the packaged meals.
Having recently celebrated Israel Independence Day, I wonder why so many Jews refuse to pray for the State of Israel and for our Jewish sons and daughters who serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
I once thought that my study of logic would prepare me to understand how the world behaves. Living in Israel these past months has cured me of this assumption.
By the time you read this article, Arafat will have died, and many will say good riddance.
As Israelis suffer the stress of disengagement and the beginning of the dismemberment of the Jewish homeland, it is still important for American religious Jewish families to come on Aliyah.
The Yishuv community of Hashmonaim and Yeshivat Bnei Akiva "Ner Tamid" recently celebrated a beautiful Chanukat Habayit dedication of a million-dollar Beit Midrash.
Our fourth Shabbat was observed in Toronto. My former Chabad chavrusah, Yosef Baruch Spielman, had arranged Shabbat hospitality for us at the home of his niece and nephew, Elisheva and Rabbi Chaim Weinman.
Renana and Jay (Yaakov) Wolff made Aliyah in 1993 from Oak Park, Michigan, where they were serving as the Bnei Akiva internal emissaries (young couples who, prior to leaving to live in Israel, serve in towns that do not have a large Jewish college presence).
The Drama Mamas are not an ordinary theater troupe. “When we audition actresses,” says Elisheva, who also serves as the show’s director, “we like to explain to them that the main qualification is that you can honestly say, I have never been on a stage before, but I have always wanted to be an actress!”
When things get bad, I must remember that thousands of people in Israel are doing wonderful mitzvot daily, and we cannot become discouraged.
One morning recently, I woke up to find that someone had plastered our yishuv community with signs proclaiming, "Join the Likud Political Party." The signs and subsequent Internet and SMS messages informed us that party workers would soon be around to sign us up.