Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Bans Sale of Land to Israelis and Greeks--Oh, you didn't hear about it? Why am I not surprised??


Just take a moment to recognize the complete silence that has met this story, and, if you would like to enjoy the sound of silence, just keep your eye on this story.  No foreign news service, no foreign government, no one will EVER comment on this story.  

So, it is another arab country who hates Israel zzzzzzz.  Why would this be news?

However, if the reverse was true, if Israel announced that it would no longer allow the sale of Israeli land to arabs, just imagine what kind of cacophony would greet Israel!  Every news service, every foreign country, every past president would all line up at the microphones to take their turn castigating Israel, calling us everything from “Nazis” to “Racists.”

Just last week, when some rabbis in Safed issued a rabbinic ruling that it was assur to rent to arabs or migrant workers in order to protect the security and sanctity of the city, the entire world had something to say--and most of it was down right horrible.

So, where are those people now?  Why is it OK to disembowel Israel for a few rabbis saying that their flocks should not rent to arabs and foreigners, when there are many, many, many countries in the middle east that won’t allow Christians and Jews to own land at all—even Christians and Jews who are citizens of that country!!  (They also won’t let women own land, but the feminists are too busy protesting against the rabbis separation of men and women on the streets of Mer Sherim during the water-drawing festival to have any time for the rest of the middle east! )

Oh, and of course, there is the whole “arabs are killed for selling land to Jews” thing in Jerusalem, Gaza, and all over Judea and Samaria.

Seriously, I am so sick of this double-standard about Israel that I could spit!


Sephardic Hanouka Traditions and Halakhot by Joseph Mosseri


There are some significant differences in the halakhot of Hanoukah between Sephardim and Ashkenazim, and it is very important for all of us to keep our minhagim clear and consistent--especially when a lot of Sephardic traditions are no longer followed simply because of the ignorance of those in the society in how to follow these traditions.

These are some very important halakhot for Hanoukah, passed down through the generations and carefully recorded by one of the most caring and careful Sephardic scholars of our time, Mr. Joseph Mosseri.

He has also carefully delineated between Sephardi and Ashkenazi traditions, and clarified the customs for Sephardim.

If you need to find out the specific way to light the Hanoukah (not the Hannukiah, Mr. Mosseri points out), which prayers we say and how we say them, then there are instructions below. 

If you want to know under which source we base our traditions, Mr. Mosseri has also included that information.

Hanoukah Tov!


Sephardic Halakhot for the Hagim Festivals
Some customs for the holiday of   Hanoukah
By Joseph Mosseri

1) The custom in Egypt was not to say Sidouq HaDin all 8 days of Hanoukah.

2) The custom amongst all Middle Eastern and North African Jewish communities is to only use pure olive oil for the Hanoukah lights. The reason being that this is considered to be the best way to fulfill the commandment and because the holiday miracle occurred through olive oil.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Conversion Crisis Must Be Resolved NOW!

The clock is ticking . . .

This is from the phenomenal website, where Rabbi Angel is able to share the wisdom he has gained and the knowledge he possesses about halakha.  

On this website, Rabbi Angel does not hold back, as most of the rabbis today must because of political considerations and the fear that they will be ostracized.  

Rabbi Angel's reputation is solid.  There is nothing that can be done to him.  He is a voice of independence and clarity in the craziness that Judaism has become.

The Conversion Crisis Must Be Resolved NOW!      
 By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

I wrote this article nearly a year ago (it appeared in The Forward, January 8, 2010), and the conversion crisis has only grown more serious in the ensuing months. It has been reported that the Chief Rabbinate in Israel is now calling for a review of the validity of conversions performed in Israel under the auspices of  Israel's military rabbis--going back ten years and more! 

Thousands of lives are affected by this short sighted and extreme position.  The current Hareidi dominated Orthodox rabbinate in Israel is doing a vast disservice not only to converts, but to the State of Israel and the entire Jewish people everywhere.  It is well past time when the Hareidi stranglehold over conversions should be removed, and when the loving, inclusive and compassionate views of mainstream halakha once again are put in place.)  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rabbi Angel on Thanksgiving

Thoughts for Thanksgiving         
 By Rabbi Marc D. Angel
President George Washington proclaimed Thursday November 26, 1789 as a day of national thanksgiving to God "for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degreee of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us."

Is Building a "Kosher Internet" Kosher? At What Point Does a Quest for Tzniut Become an Excuse for Thought Control?


I can understand that religious people don't want to see revealing images, as there are a lot of very inappropriate images on the web. However, if they don't, they should just have a simple program that disables images, right? 

Why do they need to build a whole "kosher internet"?

I would be very suspicious of a whole organization that was deciding what I could and could not view.  I just wouldn't want to hand over my entire intellectual rights to some "minders" sitting in a drab office under the consultation of some "rabbis."

This sounds just too close to cult behavior.  

At that point, is it still Judaism?  Don't we practice a religion that encourages deep thought and intellectual curiosity about the world and provides not answers but discussions regarding how each issue should be handled?  

Isn't this the tradition that gave us the Talmud?  What is the Great Midrash, but a discussion of difficult issues and how to deal with them in a halachic way?

Isn't it a supreme oxymoron to say that one must limit knowledge in the name of Judaism?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Anti-Semitism Qualifies Under Title VI Protections, US Department of Education Decides (Thank You, ZOA!!)


Anti-Semitism is alive and well and living in your public school and university.  Under the new law, events like "Israel Apartheid Week" may come under the critical eye of the US Department of Education's Title VI rules.

Thank you, ZOA!  It is about time that the US Department of Education recognized that our Jewish students are not allowed to show a kippah in public at a US school because of the violent and oppressive actions of those who have been taught, mostly by their liberal professors, to hate Israel and the Jews.
I teach at a college, and I know that expressing my Zionism can cost me my job--it already did once (and, thank G-d, I had the AAUP behind me.  They helped me file suit, and we settled out-of-court for a nice sum).

I was protected by the EEOC, but my students and my children who attend school were not protected.  Those great Hillel kids, ZOA kids, JDL kids, and some just plain religious-but-I-don't-want-to-get-involved kids were not protected.  

They couldn't express their religion on campus, and they couldn't express their support of Israel on campus without being attacked by fellow students, faculty, and staff.   Most of the time the attacks were vocal, but sometimes those attacks seeped into physical attacks on our Jewish students and their clubs and organizations.  (Remember "Kick a Jew Day"??)

Now, instead of fearing for their lives, their grades, and their reputations every time they don a kippah or join a pro-Israel rally, our students have recourse when they are attacked.  

Let's see how far this goes.  Maybe my kids will even be able to say something positive about Israel in class without failing their assignment! (although I doubt that).

We have a long way to go (why do you think I blog under a pseudonym???), but this is a start!!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The arab death-eaters finally got Harry Potter, but the press still won't admit the truth . . .


Sleep well, dear Harry Potter.  The death-eaters finally got you.  They continue to destroy and try to take over the world and--as you know, dear Harry--the press never wants to report the truth about evil, and this allows the evil to spread.

The article of how Harry Potter's grave in Ramle has become a tourist attraction immediately raised my attention.  It isn't just that I am a rabid Harry Potter fan, it is also because of the way the article was written.

I have learned that any evil perpetrated upon humanity that might be pinned upon a Jew, always mentions that Jews are the culprit.  However, any evil perpetrated upon humanity that might be pinned upon an arab carefully avoids mentioning that the arabs are at fault.  It is glossed over with general language, usually.

So, when I came across this Associated Press article about the grave of Harry Potter in Ramle, and the article reported that Harry Potter was “killed in battle with an armed band in 1939,” I knew something was up.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Canadian PM Harper Defends His Support of Israel: "It is freedom that makes us human. Whether it leads to heroism or depravity depends on how we use it."


May every leader in the world learn from Canadian PM Harper! This man knows that Israel bashing is Jew bashing. He knows that it is easier to agree with the anti-Israel crowd, but he has a conscience and a clear understanding of the importance of the Jewish people in the world.

He says a beautiful thing in the video that is not quoted in the article below.  It is a timeless quote, a quote that should be on the tongues of every man, woman, and child in this world:

"It is freedom that makes us human.  Whether it leads to heroism or depravity depends on how we use it."

God bless PM Harper, and God bless Canada.

Canadian PM Harper: A Threat to Jews Is a Threat to All of Us
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once again proves he is Israel’s best friend, saying that a “threat to the Jewish People is a threat to all of us.”

Speaking at an Ottawa conference on fighting anti-Semitism that is part of Holocaust Education Week, the Conservative party leader implicitly agreed with a common analysis that the United Nations recently turned down its bid for a temporary seat on the Security Council because of its solid pro-Israel stand.

Monday, November 8, 2010

You Just Won The Senate Seat For Florida, Mr. Rubio! Now What are You Going to Do? . . . "I'm Going to Israel!"


Marco Rubio says he wants to take a "private trip" to Israel, and the press jumps on its "meaning."


How about this for meaning:  Israel is important, personally, to Marco Rubio.

It is important, personally, to most of the people who support her.  This is not a politically correct position, this is not a savvy move, this is a personal and very profound feeling of connection to the Holiness and the history of the Land.

There is a reason that people have fought for 5,000 years over the land of Israel, and it doesn't have anything to do with politics.  

Have a beautiful trip, Senator-Elect Rubio!  Enjoy yourself!  Stop and have some falafel, go to the Shuk and buy some kitchy things to take home for your friends and family, climb Masada, float in the Dead Sea, and wonder if the very dust under your feet was the dust under the feet of Abraham.

Love Israel.  There is no other place like it, and we know, exactly, how you feel.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

New "Help this Jew" Site Helps Jews Help Jews Directly


There is an old story of a baker who sits in Shabbat services.  He can't understand much Hebrew, in fact, he only understands three words:  "Hashem," "Bread," and "Love."

He goes home and tells his wife, "Hashem loves Bread!"

They start making bread right after Shabbat.  He sneaks into the synagogue and puts six loaves of bread into the Ark with the Torah.

Meanwhile, the Gabbi of the synagogue is having financial problems.  "Please Hashem!" he prays, "I have six children and a sickly wife, and I don't have any money to feed them!"

The Gabbi opens the ark, and Miracle of Miracles!  There are six loaves of bread!  He takes them home to help his family.

The next morning, when the ark is opened for services, the baker sees a Miracle!  The bread is missing!  Hashem has taken the bread!

Both men rush to tell the rabbi of the miracle.  The rabbi listens to one, then he listens to the other.

He grabs the two mens' hands and puts them together, "Truly, Hashem has caused a miracle here, but this miracle, like many others, is conceived by Hashem but performed by men!

From that day on, the baker helped the Gabbi to feed his family, and the Gabbi, in turn, helped the baker to learn more Hebrew than three words.

Just as the men in the story learned that it is Jews helping Jews that is the true miracle, a new website called "Help this Jew," has be established by Reb Yanky Mayer and, thus far, endorsed by Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein to assist Jews of every level of observance and every stream to help one another.

According to the website, "We created Help This Jew  to help any and all Jews in need, no matter what their background or affiliation.  We are dedicated to helping those who find themselves in need by providing a forum whereby they can apply directly to others for help. This site was started in order to strengthen the Jewish people and to create a feeling of unity among all Jews which has never been felt before. Please join us!"

It is truly a blessing to help your fellow, and this site will not only help those in need, but it will also help those who wish to give directly but anonymously to those who need help.

May this endeavor have the blessings of Hashem, and may many Jews be helped!


Friday, November 5, 2010

US Fires Missile that Kills Gaza Terrorist


Well, it is good to realize that the US has recognized the threat that Gaza terrorists pose for Israel, and the fact that a threat against Israel is usually also a threat against America.
It is time that the other nations recognized this as well.

Jews are the canary in the coal mine--when Jews are threatened, when Jews are demeaned, when Jews are hated--the world needs to be on alert because what happens to Jews will, eventually, happen to them.

Europe needs to wake up, especially.  The violence and danger posed to Jews in Europe, and largely ignored by the EU as they try to demean and delegatimize Israel, will not go unnoticed by The Master of the Universe.  

Those that bless us will be blessed.  Those that curse us will be cursed.  This is not just a Bible verse, it is a reality.  

When the world loses its moral compass, it always goes after the Jews; and when the World loses its moral compass, it is because evil doings are afoot. 

Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.
Thank you, America, for standing with Israel. It is not only noble, it is also smart.