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Thursday, November 24, 2005


Kummunique - Kumah's Shabbat and Holiday Bulletin
Issue 8, Parshat Chayei Sarah 5766

Shalom! We are proud to present another issue of Kummunique.
This issue is filled with Aliyah and Eretz Yisrael inspiration - so enjoy!

In this issue you will find:

1. "Delicacies" by Malkah Fleisher
2. "Elech" by Yishai Fleisher
3. "Remembering ´Reb Shlomo´ and Healing the Nation" by Ezra Halevi
4. "Arrivals: From New Jersey to Beersheba" by Yocheved Miriam Russo

***Click HERE to open Kummunique in a Word Document***

***Click HERE to open Kummunique in a PDF file***
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Rainbow, the Land of Israel & the Half-Full Glass

This morning, while I was taking care of my daughter, I glanced out of my apartment window (that faces Jerusalem), as I always do, to get a sense of the weather. I tend to look towards Jerusalem when gauging the weather for the day, because that's where I work, and it's amazing how the weather can be so different between where I live, and Jerusalem, only a few miles away.

In any event... when I looked outside the window, I was privileged to see a big, beautiful rainbow, crossing the Judean / Jerusalem hills (To see more pictures of the rainbow, click here).

It's all too easy, living in Israel, to get caught up in all of the negativity that one is inundated with by the media everyday. There seem to be endless challenges facing the Jewish People and State here in Israel (many of which I discuss at length through this blog), and if one doesn't make an effort (myself included), it's easy to see the glass as being half-empty - to only see the clouds.

Upon seeing a rainbow, one is forced to look past the clouds, look past the rain, and to focus on the beauty of the world, or nature and of creation. I am fortunate, living where I do, that rainbows are not a rare occurrence, but I am happy to receive these reminders of how lucky I am to be living in the Land of Israel as often as possible.

The blessing that a Jew says upon seeing a rainbow also gives us reason to be hopeful:
Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who remembers the covenant and is faithful to all promises.

Today, upon seeing the rainbow, I remembered that as difficult as things may seem, the Jewish People and State have a glorious future ahead of them, a special destiny to fulfill, and I am happy knowing how fortunate I am to be living in the Land of Israel, the Land chosen by Hashem for the nation chosen by Hashem, and am able to be a part of it all.

Cross Posted at Israel Perspectives
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Monday, November 21, 2005

This day in Jewish History...

I write the following words to myself, more than to anyone else, as I am guilty of every word written below.

20 years ago today, Jonathan Jay Pollard, a US Navy intelligence officer, began serving his life term, convicted by the United States of spying for the State of Israel. He has been imprisoned for 7,304 days.

Now, let us put aside whether or not what he did was justified, as one can make a very strong case that it was in fact the United States that had betrayed Israel by witholding vital security information that it was legally bound to share with Israel, and which led directly to Pollard's actions.

The bottom line is, that whether or not Jonathan Pollard committed a crime against the United States, he was acting solely in the best interests (and on behalf) of the Jewish People and State, and as such, while it may explain why there are those in the US who are against his release, it is unforgivable that the Jewish State of Israel (and the Jewish People, in general) have abandoned him.

Jonathan Pollard said before the expulsion of thousands of Jews from their homes and the destruction of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and the Shomron:
Any government that can abandon one person, can do the same to entire communities.

We, too, must share the blame for this.

We have been silent for too long. We have collectively expressed one of the worst traits that a person can have, that of being ungrateful for good that has been done on your behalf. We have forgotten Jonathan Pollard and all that he sacrificed for the Jewish People and State. We have placed our relationship with America at a higher priority than loyalty to our brother.

This can be extended even further. Today, as we speak, the Temple Mount is being destroyed by the Muslim Waqf, with the tacit approval of the Government of Israel. Where is the outcry? Where are the demonstrations and protests? How is it that we are able to go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?

When we abandon our brother and when we abandon our history and heritage, ultimately, we will find ourselves abandoned as well, Heaven Forbid.

This coming Wednesday there will be a rally on behalf of Jonathan Pollard Independence Park and Agron St. in the Jerusalem, beginning at 5 PM.

Cross Posted at Israel Perspectives
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Thursday, November 17, 2005


Kummunique - Kumah's Shabbat and Holiday Bulletin
Issue 7, Parshat Vayeira 5766

Shalom! We are proud to present another issue of Kummunique.
This issue is filled with Aliyah and Eretz Yisrael inspiration - so enjoy!

In this issue you will find:

1. "Mazel Tov!" by Malkah Fleisher
2. "Feeding the World" by Yishai Fleisher
3. "Kumah's Kever Rachel Trip Breaks Barriers"
4. "More Brits Mulling Making Aliya" by David Byres
5. "Hi Yishai" a letter from Aryeh Yehuda


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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Kumah Visits Our Mother!

Our Matriarch Rachel Emeinu's, Yartzeit was today, the 11th of Cheshvan.
So Kumah planned a visit along with Arutz Sheva's Israel National News.

Below are some highlights of what you missed if you weren't with us!

Kumah's Yishai hard at work trying to fit everyone on the bus.
(In the end no one was turned away!)

Our tour guide, Chaim, asks how many people are new olim.
Almost the whole bus raises their hand!
(Yishai snaps a picture.)

Kever Rochel doesn't look like it used to. Security is much tighter.

The "security wall" makes things look like one big maze.

The "great shofar" calls us, her children, "to return to our borders."

Long lines form as so many of her children come.

But Kumah's got it covered.
MK Uri Ariel (National Union)gives us the VIP treatment.
No waiting on long lines for us.

Instead we head straight in.

"No entry allowed!"

Unless of course, you are part of the special Kumah trip.

Chaim brings us into this brand new beautiful Bet Medrish just built
right behind Kever Rochel.

(If you'd like to help support it financially contact Kumah and we will put you in touch with the right people.)

"Mamma Rochel!"

Light a Yartzeit candle.

Kumah's Ezra praying.

Over 20,000 men...

...and women...

visited their mother today!

Afterwards we toasted with wine from the Bet-El winery...

...and enjoyed a delicious lunch in Gilo-
with a STUNNING view of the rest of Jerusalem!

Next time you can come and be there with us too!
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Thursday, November 10, 2005

New Kummunique - Kumah's Shabbat and Holiday Bulletin

Issue 6, Parshat Lech Lecha 5766

Shalom! We are proud to present another issue of Kummunique.
This issue is filled with Aliyah and Eretz Yisrael inspiration - so enjoy!

In this issue you will find:

1. "America Week (and Bread Pudding)" by Malkah Fleisher
2. "Walk With Me" by Yishai Fleisher
3. "A Bus Ride and Jewish Destiny" by Ze'ev Orenstein
4. "The Kotel" by Miriam Shapiro
5. "100 Days and Counting Since Aliyah" by Nicky Halpert

Click here to open Kummunique in a Word Document
NEW! Click here to open Kummunique as a PDF Document
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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Bus Ride and Jewish Destiny

Recently, I had an experience which had it happened to me anywhere else but in Israel, I believe would have pretty much ruined my day, but happening in Israel, it gave me one more reason to appreciate how fortunate I am to be living here.

It started off with a bus ride into Jerusalem, in the midst of which the skies opened up and began pouring rain. (It happens to be that in Israel, rain puts me in a good mood, as rain is such a precious commodity here, and it gives me the feeling that Hashem is listening to our prayers).

I got off at Jerusalem's Central Bus Station, as I had a meeting outside of Jerusalem, in the vicinity of Latrun.

Unfortunately, as I got off the bus I realized that I had gotten off one stop too soon, and I was forced to begin walking alongside the highway, with the rain still coming down. At that moment I received a call from the person I was meeting, informing me that he was unable to make our meeting (which meant that I had schlepped out for nothing).

As I began the 15 minute or so walk to the bus stop back to Jerusalem the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the sun began to shine. The air felt clean, and as I looked around me, I took in the lush green hills, the cactus with their sabras, and I thought of how fortunate I was to just being able to walk through a different part of the Land of Israel.

The area of Latrun holds special significance to the Jewish People, among the events that occured in this area include:
1) The battle most identified with the Latrun area is the battle of Joshua ben Nun, which took place in the area of Beit Horon against the five Amorite kings in the 13th century BCE. Joshua, who made an alliance with the Givonites, came to protect them when the five kings sought to punish them for that pact. His famous cry, "Sun, stand still upon Giv'on; and moon, in the valley of Ayalon" (Joshua 10:12-13)

2) Among the battles of the Maccabees, the battle of Emaos is the most mentioned (Maccabees 1, 3\38 - 4\35) because of the importance of Judah the Maccabi's victory over the Seljuks in the year 167 BCE. It was during this battle that the military and leadership accomplishments of Judah the Maccabi reached their peak.

3) Latrun, situated on the road to Jerusalem and, thanks to its geographic location, a dominant stop along the caravan routes to and from Jerusalem, was considered an important and key goal for conquest. During the War of Independence, three separate operations were executed in order to capture Latrun from the hands of the Jordanian Arab Legion, and open the road to the besieged Jewish Jerusalem. "Operation Ben Nun I," "Operation Ben Nun II" and "Operation Yoram." Not one of these attempts resulted in the desired goal - the conquest of Latrun. However, valiant action took place leading to the opening of the famous Burma Road, which circumvented latrun, and broke the Arab siege.

Many of the Israeli conscripts had just survived the Holocaust and were new immigrants; most were poorly trained. The equipment was also very poor, and artillery support was lacking. The official combined number of casualties for both the battles was 139 (an extremely high figure for an assault conducted mainly by two battalions).

Latrun remained a mined enclave until our forces vanquished it during the Six Day War, in 1967. The road was reopened and the fort became a museum and a memorial site for Israel's armored forces.

As I walked alongside the raod, I was humbled by the knowledge that here I was, walking in the footsteps of generations of Jewish heroes who fought and died so that the Jewish people could live as proud Jews in a sovereign Jewish State in the Land of Israel.

To the Jewish heroes, all I can offer is my heartfelt gratitude and thanks. I can only hope that I can do my part, following in your footsteps, fighting for a strong and proud Israel and Jewish Nation, so that your sacrifices should not have been in vain.

All this from a bus ride on a rainy day in Israel.

Nothing else can compare to the feeling a Jew gets from walking in the Land of his forefathers and knowing he has finally come home and is another link in the glorious chain of the Jewish People and Jewish History and Destiny ? nothing comes close.

Cross Posted at Israel Perspectives
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Our Foremother, Rachel

Our Matriarch Rachel Emeinu's, Yartzeit is on the 11th of Cheshvan, Sunday, November 13th
She has been awaiting our return for 2000 years!

Arutz Sheva's Israel National News, the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund, and Kumah are organizing a special visit to Kever Rachel (the Tomb of Rachel). The trip includes bulletproof buses, a private tour of the area, refreshments, singing, dancing, and praying.

Cost: NOW ONLY 20 SHEKEL!!! (down from 80 NIS)

-When: Sunday, Nov 13th, 11th of Cheshvan
-Where: Meet at Binyanei Ha'Umah at 9:30AM
-We will return to Binyanei Ha'Umah at approximately 2:30PM

Email us with your RSVP at
Please include cellphone number and number of people participating.


On the same topic on A7 Radio:
"The Woman of Valor - Eyshet Chayil Show" with Malkah Fleisher

On the 11th day of Cheshvan, we will remember Rachel Imeinu on her yartzheit. Learn why Rachel was so special, and discover what she does for us today. Plus: were making soup!

Listen Now -or- Download*

*To download audio files, right-click and choose 'Save Target As'

This is what the Bible writes about Rachel, our Matriarch, waiting for her children to return (Yirmiyahu 31):

15. Thus says G-d: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.
16. Thus says G-d: Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says G-d; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.
17. There is hope for your future, says G-d; and your children shall come again to their own border.

Veshavu Banim Legvulam!
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Monday, November 07, 2005

New Way To Support The Aliyah Revolution

Kumah has now hoooked up with the "Amazon Honor System." What this means is you can now donate to Kumah, and help support the Aliyah Revolution, by using your account! (And as always you can also use Paypal as well.)

So go on click here and give your money an Aliyah!

Amazon Honor System

Click Here to Pay
Learn More
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Sunday, November 06, 2005

On Becoming a Tree-Hugger

Admittedly, I have never considered myself to be an environmentalist. It's not that I have ever gone out of my way to do things that weren't environmentally friendly, but at the same time, I have never really been one who has gone out of my way on behalf of the environment either.

That is, until I moved to Israel.

Growing up in NY / NJ, seeing people litter, or garbage strewn about in places where it clearly did not belong never really bothered me much. Yet, when I see people litter in Israel, or witness parks and other places disgraced by heaps of garbage, I feel like I have been punched in the gut.

Hillel Halkin, in the Jerusalem Post, asks an excellent question:
... Wherever one looks are discarded cans, food wrappers, bottles, plastic bags, cigarettes, toilet paper, rotted food and assorted other trash... It's not merely our beaches, either. It's our roadsides, our fields, our city streets, our empty lots, even our nature trails. We in Israel live surrounded by filth...

How has this happened? How have we, who have a reputation for being patriots and lovers of our country at a time when such emotions are increasingly considered pass? elsewhere, allowed ourselves to befoul it in this way? Who befouls what he loves?

Halkin's answer is as equally powerful and troubling as his question.
Perhaps we do not really love (the Land of Israel) it as we think we do...

It continues to be an idea - one which, although as a people with a fondness for ideas we may feel passionately about, we have difficulty in connecting with an actual physical environment. A simple road, a simple beach - how are we supposed to love it as Yehuda Halevi did the Zion of which he wrote from far-off Spain, "Mourning your lowliness I am the wail of jackals,/ Dreaming your sons return, the song of lute strings?"...

A cleaner Israel would be a better Israel in other ways, too. If we really loved this country, it would look that way.

So, the next time you see a piece of litter somewhere, pick it up and throw it out. If you see someone littering, try to muster up the courage to approach the person about it.

Why should one's love of the Land of Israel only be reflected in his / her politics? Wouldn't it be logical that for anyone who truly loves the Land of Israel, to do everything in their power to ensure that not only does the Land of Israel remain under Jewish sovereignty, but that it also remains beautiful and clean?

Through our actions, may we merit to see the words of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi fulflilled (Kuzari 5:27):
'For Your servants hold her stones dear, and cherish her dust'(Tehillim 102:14). For Jerusalem will truly be built when the Children of Israel yearn for her with a fundamental yearning to the point that they cherish her stones and dust."

Cross Posted at Israel Perspectives
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A New Kummunique Is Here!!! (Parshat Noah)

Issue 5, Parshat Noach 5766

Shalom! We are proud to present another issue of Kummunique.

This issue is flooded with Aliyah and Eretz Yisrael inspiration - so enjoy!

In this issue you will find:

1. "Welcome back to your life! (and Moroccan Fish)" by Malkah Fleisher
2. "Ram Cheshvan" by Yishai Fleisher
3. "Aliyah: An Un-Orthodox Demand?"
4. "An Open Letter to American (Orthodox) Jewry" by Orit
5. "An Invitation To Return Home" by Eli Newman

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American Jewry & Halloween

It's ironic that if not for the blog Ask Shifra, a Jewish (orthodox) blogger from the US (I think), I wouldn't have realized that Halloween had quietly come and gone without my having noticed it.

In her post Halloween Customs - Frum Style, she discusses how she and her (Jewish - Orthodox) family relate to Halloween, as well as the rules that she has established:
Here are my rules:

* Two or three mini-candy bars per tricker-treaker.
* No grabbing
* Anyone arriving after 9PM gets nothing. If you are old enough to be out at 9:30 on a school night you are too old to tricker-treat.
* My kids get 2-3 candies each over the course of the evening (if they eat dinner.)
* The remaining candy (if there is any) goes on the high shelf in the kitchen to be distributed later as I see fit.

It gets better.

From Elie, who commented on the post:
I always liked giving out candy to the "trick-or-treaters", and my kids do too. We have some friends who won't "support" Halloween by giving out candy. I feel that's too extreme and just leads to anti-Jewish feelings, which unfortunately we have much too much of already. To say nothing of the risk of having your trees "TPed".

Thankfully, living in Israel, there is no such thing as Halloween. There are no pumpkins, cars don?t get egged, and houses are not covered in toilet paper. One is not forced to decide whether or not to celebrate Halloween, or whether to merely recognize it by giving out candy to the trick-or-treaters (which undoubtedly serves to only confuse poor Jewish children, forcing them to figure out why they are celebrating / indirectly participating in a non-Jewish holiday, and why, if they are already giving out candy, they cant dress and go trick-or-treating themselves).

In Israel, we do not have such dilemmas as the one Elie faces, feeling compelled to participate in Halloween traditions, if only not to engender anti-Jewish sentiments. Nor, does one in Israel have to worry about being branded an extremist for choosing not to celebrate / participate in non-Jewish holiday festivities (we get branded as extremists for other things, however). We do not need to worry about our children (or their parents) having more "fun" celebrating non-Jewish holidays than Jewish ones.

Why not come home to Israel, where there are no tricks when it comes to holidays - there are only Jewish ones to celebrate, and lots of yummy Jewish treats? There is no fear of what the "goyim" might think if we act too Jewish, and your children can grow up to be proud, passionate Jews who are not confused or conflicted by the foreign values imposed upon them (even by the most well-meaning of parents) by living in America.

Cross Posted at Israel Perspectives
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Jews for Nothing

If one is interested in seeing the terrible toll that the Exile is taking on American Jewry, one need look no further than the following story recently reported in the New York Post (Hat Tip - Orthomom):
A Plaza-hotel-loving couple from New Jersey says the romantic landmark broke their hearts when it canceled their daughter's bas mitzvah, never telling them about a massive renovation that began in the spring.

"We approached this bas mitzvah as an opportunity to share with our daughter a great tradition," said Suzanne *****, a Manhattan attorney who had her own bas mitzvah at The Plaza in 1975 and planned to hold Ashley?s 12th-birthday celebration there.

For Ashley's big day, the couple had looked forward to a candle-lighting ceremony and the reading of a poem.

In their suit, the Englewood, N.J., parents say The Plaza, which closed in April, holds a "magic and singular importance" for them because Scott proposed to Suzanne there and they were married in the famed hotel's Baroque Room in 1990.

The suit seeks unspecified damages for "humiliation, indignity, distress of mind and mental suffering."

"They made no effort to compensate for the uniqueness of The Plaza," said Suzanne.

I feel sorry for little Ashley.

Not because she wasn't able to have her "Bas Mitzvah" at The Plaza, but because the tradition that her parents are most concerned with passing on to her seems to be of the uniqueness of The Plaza, and to never settle for anything less.

I feel sorry for little Ashley, that to her parents, her "Bas Mitzvah" was all about a "candle-lighting ceremony and the reading of a poem", as opposed to celebrating her becoming a full fledged, contributing member of the Jewish People.

I feel sorry for all of the little Ashley's living in America today, who are being raised to believe that America is their one and only true home, and that the mighty dollar is their one and only true god, and that the Judaism that they are being raised on worships those false gods.

I feel sorry for the little Ashley's who are being raised to yearn for The Plaza instead of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.

My heart aches for all the little Ashley's who are turning away from Judaism as a result of the sins of their parents. Please know that there is an alternative to the empty "Jewish" values that you have been raised on, and know that you have a home, the one place where you can live proudly as a Jew.

It's not too late.

Leave the Exile and it's false values behind.

Come home - to the only place where one can live a complete and meaningful Jewish life - to the place where one can (quoting my good friend, Yishai) "trade in their profits for prophets".

Come home to Israel.

Cross Posted at Israel Perspectives
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