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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guess What I Spotted On My Way Home?

I guess it's not unusual to spot flashing lights and blaring music and other strange things on the street at the end of October. What about children running around with torches? Well last week on my way home from work this is what I spotted.

(Thank Ezra for teaching me to always carry around a camera.) It was a Hachnosas Sefer Torah - a dedication for a new Torah scroll - and it's a very ordinary occurrence in Yerushalayim and all over Eretz Yisrael! Borach Hashem!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Aliyah Revolution - Alive and Well in Chicago IL

The Aliyah Revolution is full steam ahead at the University of Chicago where over 25 students have already registered for an aliyah shabbaton on November 16th and 17th. Will post details after the event - if you have any ideas please leave a comment!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Messiah Musical

I have been inundated lately with tons of pro-Jesus email. This is due to the fact that I regularly dismiss Christianity as untruth, and dis Jesus as a false prophet-deity. My Christian listeners sometimes wonder why "my heart has been hardened" against their Messiah. It is with this in mind that I share the quite-offensive but funny video.

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These Guys Have It Going On

A group of former Brandeis students are starting a 10-day exploratory trip for college grads interested in making Aliyah. Check out their site.


To enable Aliyah-minded students become agents of positive change in Israeli society, the global Jewish community, and the world using Israel as a platform.

The Vision Defined:

Agents of Positive Change

For most North American Jews, there is a financial opportunity cost involved in moving to Israel, and ideology is what pushes them to make the move across the Atlantic. Ideological motives do not end as soon as an oleh steps off the plane—to the contrary, the change in location is just the beginning of the impact that these individuals can potentially make. ImpactAliyah will harness this energy to help these individuals make a positive impact.

Israel as a platform

In computer lingo, a platform is a user interface that helps users achieve their goals. ImpactAliyah advocates the view that Israel is a platform from which inspired individuals can change the world. Tomorrow’s greatest achievers should appreciate the value of making their impact on the world with Israel as their base. ImpactAliyah advocates Aliyah as an opportunity to actively improve Israeli society, to carry out Tikkun Olam (improving the world), and to strengthen the global Jewish Community.


-To establish a social network of young entrepreneurs, social activists and leaders who will support each other through the process of making positive change in and from Israel.
-To empower participants with the skills they will need to succeed in the global marketplace, including the contacts necessary to thrive in Israel.
-To impart an appreciation of the challenges that Israel and the Jewish people face, coupled with the understanding that challenges are opportunities for change.
-To provide value to Israeli companies by connecting them with top students from the United States.
-To provide a model for roving recruitment and networking in a foreign country, to pave the way for groups of American students to relocate to Israel and establish themselves with a sound foundation, enabling them to effect change.


ImpactAliyah will model a roving recruitment journey that matches participants with companies and organizations that fit both their personal interests and goals as well as enabling them to begin making an impact in Israel from the day they get off the plane. To this end, ImpactAliyah is running a ten day pilot journey in January 2008 for 30 students in the Boston area who are interested in Aliyah and making a difference. Participants will study opportunities and challenges that face Israel and the Jewish people, focusing on how American olim and native Israelis work to mitigate these challenges and leverage opportunities. This model will allow students to learn about their fields of interest in Israel, as well as connect companies and organizations in Israel with students who they may eventually hire. Programming in Boston in preparation and in response to the trip will facilitate continued education and support the contacts developed in Israel. The shared experience will create a cohort of like-minded individuals who will support each other in their leadership endeavors in the Jewish State.

· A pre-trip shabbaton, as well as gatherings at several of Boston’s top universities will work towards raising awareness of ImpactAliyah’s vision and build a participant base.

· Over the course of the ten-day trip, participants will engage with movers and shakers in Israel’s cultural and economic centers, including Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva.

· The trip will enable students to envision leaving the beaten path of these main centers to struggle with the challenges of life in Israel’s outlying and low-income areas with visits to these locations and with discussions with residents from these areas.

· ImpactAliyah will create and nurture a realistic vision of life in Israel and help students with the initiative to develop their network in Israel over the course of their college career through a mentorship program with new olim and those in more advanced stages of preparation.

· Post-trip programming will enable us to crystallize the ImpactAliyah community, and build towards future initiatives as a group. This programming will include a post-shabbaton, member updates through an internet based newsletter, as well as future networking opportunities.

Project Development

1. Foundational Phase

We are currently building a network of partners including Nefesh B’Nefesh, Hillel at Brandeis, Hillel Council of New England, and the Israel Experience Ltd. We are developing a participant base from top universities in the greater Boston area, including but not limited to Tufts, Brandeis, MIT, Harvard, and Boston University. We have completed the first stage of our market research, which included an e-mail response as well as a survey, jointly receiving almost fifty unique responses from the Boston area.

2. Platform Engagement

Over the course of a ten-day trip to Israel, students will engage Israel as a platform for making positive change. We are currently in the process of finalizing our itinerary and have put together a list of American olim and Israelis who have made an impact on Israeli society and the globalized Jewish people. The Israel Experience Ltd has booked all of our accommodations and meals. We are currently reviewing our options for plane reservations which we will finalize once the application process begins in mid-September. Among other opportunities, Nefesh B’Nefesh will arrange informational interviews between students and olim working in participants’ areas of interest. We have set up home hospitality for all participants during our shabbat in Jerusalem

3. Continued Impact

Following the trip, ImpactAliyah will conduct a number of events to maintain the network built in the platform engagement phase and further our goals. Here are some of the endeavors we are planning thus far:

-A post-trip Shabbaton on the Brandeis campus
-An alumni and friends network of participants and olim which will hold events and gatherings in Israel and the US
-An internet based newsletter, which we will broadcast from our website and from our facebook group

Future Development

ImpactAliyah’sBoston trip will serve as a model for future trips, which will depart from multiple cities as the project gows. The geographically centered trips will create communities of students in various large cities across the United States who will support each other, and serve as leaders on their campuses.

We also envision future trips that will prepare students for a two year commitment to working in Israel after graduation from an American university. In this stage, ImpactAliyah will serve as a package of services, which in addition to a preparatory trip, will include Ulpan, job placement, and financial assistance to help students pay off their academic loans. The preparatory trip in addition to support services during the two year program will allow students to bring their talents to Israel for a short term period following graduation from an American university, and create a lower threshold form of Aliyah. We will focus on placing students in jobs that will make an impact on Israeli society, the world Jewish community and Tikkun Olam, so that the two year program will double as a period of national service to the Jewish people. ImpactAliyah will assist students in the process of integrating into Israeli society so that when students reach Israel’s shores, they will be ready to hit the ground running and make an impact.


Our team consists of two parts—a steering committee of committed students and an advisory board made up of leaders in the organized Jewish world and movers and shakers in Israeli society.

Steering committee: Avi Bass (Brandeis ’08), Jason Lustig (Brandeis ’08), Sam Packer (Brandeis ’08), Adam Ross (Brandeis ’08), Esti Schloss (Brandeis ’09).

Advisory Board: Larry Sternberg (Executive Director of Brandeis Hillel), Dyonna Ginsburg (Former International Director, Yavneh Olami), Aharon Horwitz (CEO, MavenHaven), Ariel Beery (social entrepreneur).

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jewish GPS

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Neo- Zionism Outlets


I know its been a long time, and I will get at it again, but I just got this email, and I think People should know about it.

Enjoy :-) ~ Shulamit


Oops! A fly on the wall informs us that the Israeli Ambassador Sallai Meridor and the Israeli Consul General in NY, Asaf Shariv, have apparently gotten NO PROTESTS from anyone about the attempts to set up a new Palestinian terror state just a bike ride from divided Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, and Israel's only international airport (Ben-Gurion). So... write, fax, email, or swim and say it to their face:

Ambassador Sallai Meridor, Embassy of Israel, 3514 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008 202-364-5590; FAX: 202-364-5560

Ambassador Asaf Shariv, Consulate of Israel in NY, 800 Second Ave., New York, NY 10017, 212-499-5450 - Fax: 212-499-5455


Some great people in the United States have begun lobbying mainstream Rabbis and Jewish organizations to speak out against a Palestinian State. Their motto: "10 phone calls each day is good, but even 1 phone call is better than none". Background: "Our personal focus is the Rabbanim. The security dangers of a Palestinian State are real, but we are emphasizing the Torah perspective to the Rabbanim.

Their reason for Silence is that "they don't make political statements". Our answer to them is that Silence is a political statement in favor of a Palestinian State. A Torah statement would be that only the Nation of Israel is obligated to keep the Commandments in the Land of Israel and that Torah and the Land of Israel and the people of Israel are one and the same. There can not be a separation without a negation of the other. Eretz Yisroel is our Biblical Inheritance and a Palestinian State is contrary to Torah."

These great people need us to join in: "What follows is a list of mainstream Rabbis in the Hareidi and Orthodox circles that influence hundreds of thousands of Jews. Please find the time to call these Rabbanim or Organizations and ask them to personally speak to their Rabbinic mentors, contacts, Organizations and PR people to unite and to create a strong unified Jewish Voice against a Palestinian State:"

Agudath Yisroel of America :
* 212 979 9000 Rabbi Gertzulin (son in law of Reb. Jungreiss),
* Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel PR 646-254 1650 and fax 646 254 1650
* Rabbi Shafran,

* Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation Executive Director Michael Rothchild 845-352-3505
* Spirtual Mentor Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky (Yeshiva in Philadelphia) 215 477 1000

Rabbi Hillel David 718 252 4579

Rabbi Pesach Lerner National Council of Young Israel. Rabbi Lerner is one of the United States leading rabbinical activists who has made numerous distinguished contributions to the struggle for Jonathan Pollard and against the expulsion of Gush Katif. Ask him to use his sterling reputation to unite the mainstream Haredi and modern orthodox and Secular Organzations to make a joint statement.

Rabbi Perlow, the Noveminsker Rav - extremely influential in Haredi circles in America 718-436-1133

Rabbi Matisyahoo Solomon (very influential in Lakewood and Yeshivish communities) 732-363-8928

Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum - President of Iggud Harabonim. Very vocal against territory expulsions. The only mainstream Rabbinic group in America that we know of that came out against the expulsion of Gush Katif. Please encourage him to rally his members to become activists and unite with other major mainstream Rabbinic Leaders and organizations to come out with a strong voice against a Palestinian State. 718 871-0913

Rabbi Vigler Meorot Center - A dynamic Chabad Rabbi in Marine Park Brooklyn, Please ask him to use his leadership connections and contacts in the Chabad world and the orthodox world so that the mainstream Chabad leaders will rally against a Palestinian state.

Rabbi Yosef Jacobson, Mailing address: Algemeiner Journal, 508 Montgomery Street, Brooklyn, NY 11225 Telephone: 718.771.0400
Fax: 718.771.0308
Rabbi Shimon Jacobson

Rebbetzin Jungreiss Please ask her to ask the Rabbanim to end the Silence on the "Palestinian state" issue. Write to: Hineni Heritage Center, 232 West End Avenue, New York, NY, 10023
Tel: (212) 496-1660 Fax: (212) 496-1908

Orthodox Union Offices
* National Headquarters: Eleven Broadway, New York, NY 10004, Tel. 212-563-4000, Fax 212-564-9058,
* Washington, DC OU Institute for Public Affairs, 800 Eighth Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001
Nathan Diament, Director, Tel: 202-513-6484, Fax: 202-289-8936,
* West Coast: 9831 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035.
Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, Director, 310-229-9000, Fax: 310-229-9011,
* Israel: Seymour J. Abrams Orthodox Union Jerusalem World Center, 22 Rechov Keren Hayesod, P.O. Box 37015, Jerusalem, 91370 Israel * Rabbi Avi Berman, Director-General, * Menachem Persoff, Director, * Phillip Chernofsky, Director of Adult Education,

NCSY: Rabbi Michael Fredman, Director, NCSY-in-Israel,
972.2.560-9100 Fax: 972.2.561.7432

List of all email addresses above (if you don't have time to call/fax and would rather send one quick email to all:);; ;;;;;;;;;;

Example of a suitable email:

"Dear Rabbis, The security dangers of a Palestinian State are real, but we are emphasizing the Torah perspective. Eretz Yisroel is our Biblical Inheritance and a Palestinian State is contrary to Torah. Unfortunately, consistent silence is a political statement in favor of the notion of a Palestinian State. Please can you personally speak out and unite with your Rabbinic mentors, contacts, Organizations and PR people to create a strong unified Jewish Voice against a Palestinian State. Thanking you very sincerely, (name)".

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Live Feed From Kever Rochel

Rachel, our Mother, died on the 11th of Heshvan 3,561 years ago.

Below is a live feed from Kever Rochel.

Stream provided by Please visit thier site!

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David Lynch Believes in God

by Aaron Fox

I know because I just asked him.

Many of you have done a better job than I have on keeping your eyes and ears away from bad stuff and therefore have never heard of David Lynch. He's a film maker of dark, absurd, violent and highly creative movies. There, I just saved you about 20 hours of ultimately nonredeemable hours.

Riding on the ray of light of Madonna, Mr. Lynch too has blessed us with his presence. Instead of McKabbalah, he's promoting transcendental meditation as the cure for world strife. I still think Jews keeping the mitzvot will do the trick.

So how did he tell me that he believed in God? No, he did not step out of the shadows of the corner of my living room with a sashaying midget in a red suit with Lynch giving me the message backwards into a flashlight. He was holding a "lecture" series in Israel's three biggest cities and since I live in Haifa (yes we're still #3) it gave me a chance to check him out. Since he doesn't lecture, he has an interesting Q&A format where he just takes questions from the audience for two hours. There wasn't even an opening statement just an opening question. I suggest Rabbis of Israel look into this format because I for one have been lectured to death.

He is a former hero of mine, an idol I have since smashed. I wondered, did my interest in him have any sort of commonality to what I'm into today: God, Torah and Eretz Israel?

I formed the simple question that would get to the wild at heart of the matter.

On my turn at the microphone I asked, in the presence of an auditorium filled with the classic young secular Israelis, "Do you believe in God?"

"Yes, absolutely," Mr. Lynch doesn't hesitate.

Someone in the crowd shouted, "Which one?"

Lynch didn't flinch, "The all-powerful, merciful one."

A buzz breaks out in the auditorium. I was afraid that this was the end to his answer. So I asked, "Why?"

He said, "You and I should have a long talk." That would be welcomed (with anyone for that matter). He explained himself using the unified theory of quantum mechanics which I admit did lead into his transcendental meditation pitch, much to the chagrin to our protectionist Jews out there.

But that's not the point. The point is that I made aliyah. This enabled me to send a message to my unbelieving brethren. The next time one of them is confronted with the question of God he will remember to himself that even the darkest, most violent, most way-out-there director in the history of Hollywood basis his search for happiness and enlightenment on a firm belief of an all-powerful, merciful God. Maybe God is not such a nerd after all. How's that for Jewish outreach?

If I never made aliyah, nothing would have interrupted the onslaught of technical questions from the secular Jews about lighting, sound, digital versus film, movie theater versus internet, blah, blah, blah...

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Neo (Natal) Zionism

Baby Fleisher says: "Homebirth your kids - have them in Israel!"

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Rainbow Connection

Why are there so many songs about rainbows? And why does it always rain on the week of Parshas Noach? Those are questions people always ask. And sure enough the first two Parshas Noachs after I made Aliyah it poured! So this past week as the sun shined brightly we thought we were in trouble there. But have no fear! Sure enough clouds moved in later in the afternoon and delivered a light but steady sprinkle which I guess could be considered the very first rain of 5768 in Yerushalayim.

Tonight however I walked home from work surrounded by an awesome lightening show. The rain, very heavy at times, started falling as I got home. We started praying for rain just a few weeks ago on Simchas Torah! Rain in Israel in the winter months is a sign of blessing and a great simcha (joy)! What a country where we videotape the rain falling!

In a related note all this rain and Parshas Noach remined me of Kermit the frog and his words of pure genius! This song is SOOOO deep! Enjoy!

The Rainbow Connection

Written by Paul Williams and used by Kermit the Frog, of The Muppets, Jim Henson Productions

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that
and someone believed it,
and look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
the lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell,
we know that it's probably magic....

Have you been half asleep
and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
the lovers, the dreamers and me.
La, la la, La, la la la, La Laa, la la, La, La la laaaaaaa

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Yemenite Aliyah? Nice.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, greets immigrants prior to a conference in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2007.(AP Photo/Jack Guez, pool)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mazal Tovs All Around

In reverse chronological order:
To Yishai and Malkah Fleisher on the birth of a baby girl this morning

To Yechiel Stein on his engagement to Leah Barth

To Shulamis on her marriage to Naftali Tyberg

May you all be blessed with repeated and ever-increasing Aliyot, in familial love, clarity and closeness to your Creator, your people and your land.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

What the Ingathering of the Exiles Will Look Like

People ask me why I follow the happenings of the "Yated world" especially here on Kumah. The truth is that this "Yated world," while claiming (and I believe the claims) to have a deep love for Eretz Yisrael they still don't "get it." But I'm convinced that one day - one day they will wake up and "get it" at last, and then another stream of the floodgates of Aliyah will stream forth. In the meantime they will write beautiful articles about how wonderful it is to visit Eretz Yisrael. Yes, one day they will "get it" - one day. Till then though they'll write things like this (bold mine):

"Watching Jews of all stripes streaming to the Kosel, parading down the ancient streets of the Old City of Yerushalayim with their lulavim held aloft, I couldn't help think that this is what the kibbutz goliyos will look like."

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Consumer Zionism - Buy Buy Buy!

You can talk Zionism and Aliyah, or simply shop! Ariel is the capital of Samaria, 35 minutes from Tel Aviv, great air, a cool college, and only $169,000 for a 6 bedroom apartment with a view. LISTEN TO THIS INTERVIEW FOR DETAILS, or email

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Revenge of the Oleh

Revenge of the Oleh.

Share your stories of oleh justice in the comments section.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Jews Should Know Where It's At..."

Unclear exactly when this is from-(Reb Shlomo's 13th yahrtzeit is later this month)- but apparently it needs to be repeated again and again!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Music for Parshat Noach

Out of the Ark: Aharon Razel
The Flood: Avraham Rosenblum
Mabool: Orphaned Land (pretty intense bunch of Jews from Petach Tikva)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Avoda Ivrit Roundup

* Haaretz reports that the Supreme Court is actually making Avoda Ivrit more desirable by closing the loopholes allowing Jews in Judea and Samaria to exploit their Hamas-voting neighbors, outsourcing their tax evasion and taking advantage of their proximity to a mafia-run third world empire (my words, not theirs).

* Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who reportedly did not stop at telling his students they did not HAVE to refuse orders, but told them they HAVE to obey, says Avoda Ivrit is Nazism. Brought to you by Jpost and the racists at RamFM, the clueless, yet entertaining South African-run station broadcasting in English out of Ramallah.

* There is once again an Avoda Ivrit web site! The New Israel Fund, through its proxy, Mossawa closed down the old Israel-based Avoda Ivrit directory, with its webmaster replacing the site with an apology. The new site could use some reader participation.

* Hey, even professional settler-hater Jeffrey Goldberg says he once dabbled in Avoda Ivrit (not in 'Nam, of course): "In the late nineteen-eighties, I worked for a time on a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley, southeast of Haifa. I was a great believer in the philosophy known as avoda ivrit—the idea that Jews will redeem their land and themselves by hard physical labor."

* - an art studio in Tel Aviv. Nice.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Shmittah Calendar: Month of Cheshvan 5768

The month of Cheshvan begins this coming Shabbat! (Parshat Noach)

The following list is not fully comprehensive at all but includes some common everyday produce most people use. It is largely based on Rabbi Marcus's "Shmittah 5768: A Pratical Guide" (which we recommend you order for yourself here) and other sources. For more information on what these dates mean see here.

Kedushat Shevi'it Starts

Two more items should begin being treated as having Kedushat Shevi'it this month including:

On 3 Cheshvan


On 15 Cheshvan


Additionally Kedushat Shevi'it for these items remains in effect:

Butternut Squash
Cabbage (Red)
Corn (Fresh)
Peas (in pod)
Pepper (Jalapeno)
Sweet Potatoes
Zucchini (Squash)

Kedushat Shevi'it Ends

There are no items that Kedushat Shevi'it ends this month.
Sefichim Begins

Sefichaim Begin this month for the following:

On 1 Cheshvan

Zucchini (Squash)

On 8 Cheshvan


On 15 Cheshvan

Peas in Pod

On 20 Cheshvan


On 27 Cheshvan


Additionally Sefichim remain in effect for the following:

Corn (Fresh)

Sefichim Ends

There are no items that Sefichim ends this month.

There are no items that will require biur this month.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Isru Chag Prayer for Sukkot

The brothers Razel capture all the hopes and emotions of this last day of the Chag...


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Wednesday, October 03, 2007


From the sacred Hoshanas of Hoshana Raba:
Tribes of Israel
A voice - Saviors shall ascend upon Mount Zion, for Zion has delivered and given birth - heralds and proclaims.
A voice - It is heard within all your boundaries, "Expand the area of your tents!" - heralds and proclaims.
A voice - Set up your dwellings until Damasek, receive your sons and your daughters - heralds and proclaims.
A voice - Be joyous, O rose of Sharon, for those sleeping in Hebron have arisen - heralds and proclaims.

Chag sameach!

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Hoshana Rabbah: More Water at the Kotel?

Tonight, Hashana Rabbah, I visited the Kotel for Mishna Torah - where we read the entire sefer Devarim. Standing in one spot for so long I couldn't help notice something a little unusual.I was standing inside the section known as Wilson's Arch and every ten minutes or so a drop of water would fall from the ceiling. There was one poor guy sitting there that kept getting hit by these drops looking up and wondering where they came from. On my way out I saw another drop fall from another spot in the arch area closer to the exit. Don't get me wrong. It was just a few drops over a long time but considering we haven't had rain in six months it is strange.

Where could these drops be coming from?

Two years ago I remember reading in the Jerusalem Post a story complete with photos of water flowing out of the Kotel. Reb Lazar wrote about it and explain that it was no doubt water from the Gihon river (which gets a cameo appearance in the Torah reading this Shabbos) which lies directly beneath the Dome of the Rock. That wouldn't be too far from the Wilson's Arch area at all - and water would flow down toward there as water always flows down.

Reb Lazer explains:
As mentioned in the previous post on this subject, by Islamic tradition, if the Gihon spring begins to rise on the Temple Mount, it signifies the beginning of Jewish redemption; if Yisrael must rise, then Yishmael must fall. By our own tradition, the moisture at the Western Wall of the Holy Temple indicates the impending redemption of the people and land of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming of Moshiach ben David, speedily and in our time, amen.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sukot in Yerushalayim

"Neo" is pretty close to "Non"- isn't it? Either way, Yerushalmi Chasidim "rock"!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

If You Are Visiting Israel For Sukkot - Think About This:

"Goodbye Wall" by Rabbi Meir Kahane
4 Tishri 5738 - September 16, 1977

They come in all sizes and shapes, complexions and complexes, in fusion and confusion, from East and West and North and South. They are Jews; they are tourists; they come to see it. The Wall. They come with beards and kaftan - direct from Williamsburg; they come with Rabbinical Council mustaches, from Flatbush and Kew Garden Hills; they come with black yarmulkas to signify Agudah and knitted ones to shout their support and empathy with Zvulun Hammer; they come with no yarmulkas and are given them by their local American Jewish Congress tour guide; they come with no yarmulkas and wear the cardboard type that the keepers of the Wall dispense; they come with whatever they come with. To see It. The Wall.

They come with familiarity (some having been to Israel seven, eight, ten times), having reached the rank of resident tourist. Usually these are Orthodox Jews who come up to the Wall with confident strides as if to shake the hand of a familiar acquaintance. Others are not sure just what they have to do, how they are required to act, and they stand uncomfortably and nervously, glancing about to see what the others are doing. Still others stand, just stand before the Wall - thinking, meditating, praying, talking, whispering, weeping. And then they leave. They have been to the Land, been to Zion, been to Jerusalem, the Holy City, and been to see it. And then they leave. They leave behind their money, their tour guides, their little notes they wrapped into a small ball or wad and left in the crevices of the Wall. They leave the Land and Zion and Jerusalem, the Holy City, and The Wall. They go back to Great Neck and Boston and Los Angeles and Miami and, of course, Washington Heights and Monsey and Williamsburg and Boro Park. They leave Old Jerusalem for newer ones and the Wall for Wall Street because they must. To see Israel is to enjoy an experience beyond comparison. To see Jerusalem, the Holy City, is to gather a treasury of memories beyond price. To see the Wall is to experience a thrill that is indescribable. But everything has its time and its place and all good tours must come to an end. Israel is the finest of all places to visit but it is not for them to live there. And so they leave. The beards and the beardless, the Orthodox (ultra and modern), Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Humanist, agnostic, atheist ... They leave. For "home." And I often wonder: When they came, they ran to say hello to the Wall. When they leave, do they make a point to say goodbye? And, indeed, how does one say goodbye to the Wall? What does one say to It? Does one stand there and daven Mincha, pray the Afternoon service that says: "And may our eyes behold Thy return to Zion ... " and then say to It: "Well, I suppose I have to go now. The business can't shut down for more than three weeks. Take care of yourself and let's hope that He returns soon ...?" Does one shake the Wall's vegetation in lieu of a hand and does one kiss it - kiss it Goodbye? If one knows that the Shechina, the Divine Presence, never left the Wall, how does one say goodbye to Him? What does one, who is leaving Israel for the Exile that we are told finds him with no G-d and worshipping idolatry in "purity" - say to the Divine Presence at the Wall?

I suppose that it is all this that finds most people leaving Israel without saying goodbye to It. I suppose that especially the ones whose heart and conscience are not as stone, cannot say to the Wall whose stones are as hearts: Goodbye, I am violating a basic tenet of Judaism; I betray my land; I go back to the fleshpots and materialism of the Exile and thus forsake you.

But I also wonder what the Wall says and thinks as It watches the Jews who come to visit as casually as if they were taking a trip (as so many more do lately) to Puerto Rico and Spain and Aruba and Rome. I wonder what It thinks as It looks at the hordes of tourists who come to touch It, fondle It, kiss It, stare at It, memorialize It in their film (still and motion) - and then go back to the lands that they consider their real homes. I wonder what It thinks as It watches the Jews pray and sway and bay at it. I wonder what It thinks as It watches the ritual and idol worship that has been built about It by the American Jewish Congress, the Ministry of Tourism and the UJA. I wonder what It thinks as It watches the Orthodox Jews from New Frankfort on the Heights and the majesty of Crown Heights and sees all the "religious Jews" on their three-week vacation before going back to idolatry. Surely, this last remnant of the Temple, in which preached the Prophets who inveighed against hypocrisy, remembers their words and repeats them to their descendants. Surely it repeats the words: "When ye come to appear before Me, who hath required this at your hand to trample my courts? Bring no more vain oblations, it is an offering of abomination unto Me; New Moon and Sabbath, the holding of convocations - I cannot endure iniquity along with the solemn assembly ... " (Isaiah 1: 12)

The Wall looks at those who come to honor It and at that very moment plan to betray the Land and abominate it by leaving for an Exile they call "home" - and repeats: "Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (Samuel 1, 15:22). They leave the Wall for "home." They refuse to dwell in the Land of this Wall. It knows that that which they plan - peace and security in the Galut - will never be. It knows that if they reject the Wall of the Almighty, that there will be other walls for them: walls of fire and walls of prisons and camps. The Galut is one huge wall for the Jew - though he refuses to see it.If one comes to the Wall late, very late at night and listens carefully, very carefully, he can hear the Wall. It weeps softly to itself and says: "Woe unto my people for their humiliation of the Land..." And it seems to me that the Wall would prefer that those who say goodbye to it, would not bid it hello.

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