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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shmittah Calendar: Month of Tevet 5769

The month of Tevet 5769 began Sunday.

Right now is Motzei Shmittah and items, starting with vegetables start to lose their Kedushat Shevi'it. Many items will still retain Kedushah, however, for quite some time.

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

There are no items that Kedushat Shevi'it starts this month.

Kedushat Shevi'it for these items remains in effect (with *ed items in Sefichim):

Butternut Squash*
Grapes for Wine
Medlar (Shesek)
Plums (Euro Longated)
Plums (Japanese Round)
Sunflower Seeds*

Kedushat Shevi'it Ends

There are no items for which Kedushat Shevi'it ends this month.

Sefichim Begins

There are no items that Sefuchim begins anymore.

Additionally Sefichim remain in effect for the following:

Butternut Squash
Sunflower Seeds

Sefichim Ends

Sefichim ends for the following this month:

There are no items for which Sefichim ends this month.


On 1 Kislev 5769:

On 11 Kislev 5769:
Sunflower seeds

On 15 Kislev 5769:
Plums (Japanese Round)

On 16 Kislev 5769:

On 25 Kislev 5769:

Note: The following items already required Biur:

On 1 Shevat 5768:

On 14 Adar Bet 5768:
Sweet Potatoes

On 15 Iyar 5768:


On 1 Sivan 5768:

Medlar (Shesak)
Peas in Pod

On 1 Tamuz 5768:

On 19 Tamuz 5768:

On 1 Av 5768:

On 15 Tishrei 5769:
Butternut Squash

On 1 Cheshvan 5769:

On 20 Cheshvan 5769:
Plums (Euro Longated)

On 1 Tevet 5769:

On 15 Tevet 5769:

On 17 Tevet 5769:

On 26 Tevet 5769:

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Being Happy When the Bad Guys Lose

Tonight I made a somewhat controversial remark on my facebook page stating my satisfaction over success of the Israeli Air Force in Gaza and the fact that some of the most vicious Jew haters/killers in the world will no longer see the light of day. An acquaintance of mine whom I know to be a somewhat liberal Jew sent me a message remarking how they were upset over me making such a comment. now it's a hotly debated issue by some as to what kind of response and how much of that response we as Jews are halachikly allowed to have concerning the downfall of our enemies. I won't speak on the details of the halacha because that is the job of qualified rabbis and not a Joe-Schmoe such as myself, but I will say this- when the enemies of the Jewish people are victorious over us and cause us harm it is a chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d's name). Why? Because people will see such a thing and falsely believe that G-d forbid the Torah isn't true and Hashem has abandoned the Jews, breaking His eternal promises to us. Conversely, when Hashem grants us victory over our enemies (one of the main factors of the Channukah festival we happen to be celebrating right now) this is a great Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d's name) because it shows that the Jewish people are truly meritorious and we have the support of Hashem on our side. One could say that Hashem gives the victory to us or our enemies based on how well the Jews behave which is true, but that doesn't negate the Kiddush/chillul Hashem aspect, for when the Jews follow Torah properly this is the greatest Kiddush Hashem they could do and if they don't G-d forbid, that's the greatest desecration, for the non-Jews will ask, "If G-d's own people don't follow His command, why should we?" With this in mind, I'd like to share my response to my more liberal minded Jewish friend...

I understand why you would feel upset. My question is do you believe that there is such a thing as actual evil in the world and evil people? If yes then we have what to discuss, but if not then no. I personally think it's compelling to believe there is such a thing as evil and evil people because otherwise one must say that a group of people like the nazis weren't truly evil and if everything is truly just all relative then the acts they committed can't be condemned because from their point of view they were justified.

Like I said, I believe there is evil and evil people in the world. Anybody who hates Jews and wishes to see them dead, and all the more so takes actions to kill or in any other way cause Jews harm simply for them being Jewish is evil. The fact is that the members of hamas, and the vast majority of residents in Gaza whether officially affiliated with hamas or not hate Jews and wish to see harm befall them. Therefore they are evil people in my eyes, and when evil people suffer and/or meet their end, that is a sign that there is justice in this world. According to reports, the vast, vast majority of these causalities have been official hamas members, so even if you want to say non-hamas gazans don't hate Jews, you would have a hard time arguing that these dead who WERE hamasniks didn't hate Jews. Pirkei Avot states that those who are kind to the cruel will end up being cruel to the kind. To take pity on those who are evil will, if that path is followed long enough, eventually lead to one supporting evil themselves against the innocent. I've seen it with my own two eyes.

I respect what I assume is your great compassion to be upset over such a thing, but I just hope that you have just as much compassion and get just as upset for your Jewish brothers and sisters who have had to suffer over 3000 rocket attacks at the hands of the people who filled up the morgues today and therefore won't fill up rocket launchers tomorrow.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Some Old Friends Wish You a Happy Hanukkah

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Fifth Night!

Chabad rocking the Machne Yehuda Shuk in Yerushalayim!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Not Xmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Film Maker Tries To Improve Image of Settlers

Happy Chanukah Day One

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Those who don't learn from history...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Modern Day Miracles

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Time With Geert Wilders

Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders screened his controversial film Fitna in Jerusalem on Sunday, calling on Europe to restrict immigration "from backward Islamic countries" and describing Islam as a totalitarian ideology "full of hate, violence and submission."

"Europe is in the process of 'Islamization.' We need to fight it," Wilders said. "We have to win the war against Islam. If we don't... we will lose our cultural identity, our rule of law, our liberties and our freedom."



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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Are the Dominoes Lining Up?

Many people often speak of doomsday prophecies involving horrible fates awaiting the Jews of America. Skeptics answer that such things as befell our people in past countries of residence would never happen in such an accepting place as America which has been better for the Jews than any other country in history (in some cases it could even be argued America is better to its Jews than the modern state of Israel). To this the Doomsdayers counter that the same was said of Germany at the turn of the century, and that the German Jews would never in a million years have seen something like the Shoah coming. Just like by Germany, so too by America (G-d forbid) they say. And just as German anti-Semitism is historically said to have been enabled by great financial hardships being blamed on the Jewish populace, often the Doomsdayers predict that all it would take in America for a similar scenario to play out would be a hard enough financial crisis to hit the USA.

Could the current economic downturn be just the conditions that these prophecies were waiting for? I, for one, am not sure. But I will say this- if ever a scenario were to prove those who made these predictions right, I think this could be the one. Not only are the leading corporations of industry after industry in America failing to keep their heads above water and requesting a share in the government bailout (Al tikra "bailout", elah "handout"), but following the recent headlines Joe anti-Semite could most certainly make an argument blaming it all on the Jews which could be accepted by his average like-minded bigot (or maybe even desperate average American?). Why is this? After the mortgage issue had been looming for quite some time, the world finally woke up to the seriousness of the situation with the headline that Lehman Brothers had gone under. What could have instantly come to the minds of many? "Lehman" Brothers equals Jewish... Lehman Brothers going under somehow equals Jews sabotaging the economy. Now add on to that the latest economic debacle to hit the US economy- a Jewish investor getting caught in possibly the biggest fraud case involving a single person in history, one involving upwards of 50 billion dollars. To add an even more interesting twist, apparently a bulk of his investors comprised some of the top money holders of the American East Coast Jewish scene. So what can be seen so far is that Hashem has arranged it that the wealthy Jews of America are already losing their assets in a big way. What remains to be seen is whether suspicious headlines like this will keep showing up in the news, and if so whether or not Jew-haters will use it as fodder for their propaganda (as well as how well received it will be by the American public). Like I said, I don't want to be shouting that this is for sure doom and gloom, but if ever the Doomsdayers' theories were able to be put to the test, this looks like it's shaping up to to be the chance.

$50 billion at stake after Wall St broker Bernard Madoff is arrested over ‘world’s biggest swindle’

Tim Reid in Washington

Some of America’s wealthiest socialites were facing ruin last night after the arrest of a Wall Street big hitter accused of the largest investor swindle perpetrated by one man.

Shock and panic spread through the country clubs of Palm Beach and Long Island after Bernard Madoff, a trading powerbroker for more than four decades, allegedly confessed to a fraud that will cost his wealthy investors at least $50 billion – perhaps the largest swindle in Wall Street history.

Mr Madoff, 70, a former Nasdaq stock chairman, was apparently turned in by his two sons and arrested on Thursday morning at his Manhattan apartment by the FBI. Andrew Calamari, a senior enforcement official at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, described the scheme as “a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions”.

The FBI’s criminal complaint states that when two federal agents arrived at Mr Madoff’s apartment, he told them: “There is no innocent explanation.” The agents say that he told them “he paid investors with money that wasn’t there”, that he was “broke” and that he expected to go to jail.

Many of his investors came from the enormously wealthy enclaves of Palm Beach, Florida and Long Island, New York, where people had invested billions in Mr Madoff’s firm for decades. He was a fixture on the Palm Beach social scene, and was a member of some of its most exclusive clubs, including the Palm Beach Country Club and Boca Rio Golf Club, where he drummed up much of his business.

The FBI claims that three senior employees of Mr Madoff’s investment firm turned up at his apartment on Wednesday to ask questions about the company’s solvency. Two of them are believed to be his sons, Andrew and Mark, who have worked for their father for two decades.

Mr Madoff told them that he was “finished”, that he had “absolutely nothing”, and that “it’s all just one big lie”. He said the investment arm of his firm was “basically a giant Ponzi scheme”, and that it had been insolvent for years.

A Ponzi scheme, named after the swindler Charles Ponzi, is a fraudulent investment operation that pays abnormally high returns to investors out of money put into the scheme by subsequent investors, rather than from real profits generated by share trading.

The FBI complaint states that Mr Madoff told his sons that he believed the losses from his scheme could exceed $50 billion. If that is the case, his fraud would be far greater than past Ponzi schemes and easily the greatest swindle blamed on a single individual.

There has been scepticism for years on Wall Street over how Mr Madoff managed to pay such consistently high returns. Ponzi schemes inevitably collapse, and Mr Madoff found himself to be no exception. This month, clients asked for $7 billion to be returned, the FBI says.

Mr Madoff ran the scheme separately from his main business and his sons had no involvement in it.

Mr Madoff has been charged with a single count of securities fraud. He declined to enter a plea in Manhattan’s US District Court and was released on $10 million bail. He faces up to 20 years in jail and a $5 million fine if convicted. His lawyer, Dan Horwitz, said that his client was “a person of integrity. He intends to fight to get through this unfortunate event.”

One investor told The Wall Street Journal: “This is going to kill so many people. It’s absolutely awful.” Ira Roth, from New Jersey, said that his family had $1 million invested, and that he was in a state of panic.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

You just don't know how good you (could) have it

Recently a close friend of mine came up with an amazing idea. He, I, and another friend rented a car and spent the day driving all over Israel to visit and pray at kivrei tzaddikim (the graves of very holy and righteous Jews). Notice I said pray "at" and not "to." Praying at the graves of tzaddikim is an age old Jewish custom. As Jews, we believe that there is a whole other world after this one... even though somebody may have appeared to have left us they are definitely still around. Not only that, Chassidus teaches us that when a tzaddik dies, he becomes spiritually more powerful and more able to affect changes in this world than he ever could when he was alive. Therefore many people who are much lower in spiritual standing than the tzaddikim will pray to G-d at their graves in order that they should couple their merit with that of the holy person they are standing near, hopefully increasing the chances of a successful prayer.

As far as our little trip went, we hit up some pretty big names. First we prayed at the grave of Rebbe Meir Baal HaNes and that of his main pupil. Rebbe Meir was a Torah Scholar of unbelievable proportions and whenever there is an anonymous line in the Mishna it is attributed to him. Next we went to the grave of Rachel, the wife of Rebbe Akiva. When she met Rebbe Akiva he was already 40 years old, had no money and didn't even know how to read the Aleph Bet. Yet she was so holy that she was able to see the potential within him and gave up a life of luxury to live with him in a barn. With her love and support he was able to become one of the greatest Torah scholars of all time, learning secrets it is said even Moses didn't know.

The next stop on the list was that of the Rambam, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, and his father. It's said that since the time of Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses) until the Rambam nobody named their child Moses because nobody had enough merit in Torah to have such a name. Next we went to the graves of Rebbe Akiva and one of my absolute favorite Rabbis and kabbalists- the Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto). Apparently they are buried next to each other because while Rebbe Akiva didn't start learning Torah until he was 40 years old, the Ramchal passed away at 40, and it is held that he was a reincarnation of Rebbe Akiva who lived those first 40 years teaching the deepest secrets of the Torah to make up for that period of Rebbe Akiva's life that he missed out on.

All of these graves were in the Tiberias reigion, and while there were many more in the area we moved on to the forest kever of Amuka. There is a grave of a tzaddik there, and it's a tradition that those who pray there will have assistance in finding their soulmate. Regardless of traditions, it's worth going just for the amazing views (pictured above). After that we traveled to the mountain-top mystical city of Tzfat. We dipped in the mikvah of the famous kabbalist the Ari, and prayed at his grave as well well as that of the Beit Yosef Rabbi Yosef Caro (author of the Shulchan Aruch, the most widely followed book of Jewish law today). We were also able to track down Rav Kennig, the head Breslov Rabbi in Tzfat and get a bracha from him. I've been told that he once met with the Lubbavitcher Rebbe who told him, "Some say you are the head Breslov rabbi of Tzfat, but I say you're the head Breslov rabbi of the world." The humbleness of the man was amazing. He answered the door himself, and though we came totally uninvited to his private home, he was excited to see us and greeted us with a beaming smile. We topped off the night with a trip to pray at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Tanna and author of the Zohar. We then returned back to Jerusalem (not so shabby itself- home to the site of the Temple), and wanted to continue on to Kever Rachel (grave of our Matriarch Rachel) and Hevron (burial city of Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah... and tradition holds Adam and Eve as well) but were prevented to only by lack of time.

If that amazing road trip wasn't enough, this past Shabbat, I was able to spend it in Beit El, site of Jacob's famous dream of the ladder to heaven, during the exact Torah portion in which this event takes place! And several days ago I was able to attend a class and receive a bracha from Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, possibly the top English speaking kabbalist in the world today.

I don't mean to brag, as often my life isn't this jam packed with excitement. So what is the point I'm trying to make here? Many of us who live here in Israel often take for granted the holiness of the place and all the opportunities to access Hashem in different and exciting ways. For roughly 50 dollars a piece and a day of our time, my friends and I were able to visit the graves of some of the holiest and most famous people in Jewish history. To even come to the land of Israel itself was a privilege most Jews in the past 2000 years couldn't have. And before the days of car travel such a trek would have taken weeks instead of a single day. Just for hopping on an Egged bus I was able to make the Torah real and live out the words on its pages in my own life. These are the opportunities available to any Jew who lives here and wishes to take advantage of them. So to anyone who does live here in Israel please take some time to remember what you have here, and do something about it! And to those who have yet to come join us... if you have any appreciation of Torah or spirituality, then I don't care how comfy your house or job is, how settled you feel, or how prestigious the day school you send your kids to is... the way I see it none of that compares to being able to have all this at your fingertips.

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Fight the 2-State Solution!

A new group calling themselves "The 18" has formed to fight hard against US pressure toward a 2-state "solution" to the Arab-Israeli "conflict".

If you, like me, are TIRED of Big Brother United States getting into our kishkes all the time, telling us who to be friends with and how to share our toys, consider getting involved in this fight to get Obama to BACK OFF!

Here is an essay posted by Michael Fenenbock of The 18:


Barack Obama has won the American presidency. In a landslide.

His party gained considerable seats in both the Senate and the House. Led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Democratic party commands large majorities in Congress. Democrats also added to their already substantial majority in governorships and state legislatures.

More importantly, they have a mandate from the American people. A mandate for sweeping change. President Obama and his party have complete control of all the levers of power in America. A rare occurrence in American political history. And need I mention the excited backing of a fawning worldwide media.

Elections have consequences and for the state of Israel the consequences of the Obama sweep are singular.

They make no secret of their intentions. The Obama administration’s Middle East policy will be driven by “linkage.” “Linkage” is predicated on the notion that Palestinean grievances are what fuel terrorism. The idea that if we resolve the Israeli/Palestinean dispute (and that’s how they see it, as a “dispute”) it will suck all the oxygen out of Islamic terrorism.

Imposing a two-state solution will be at the heart of their efforts.

The atmosphere is alight with warnings. And the warnings are worldwide. Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, the day after Obama's election, called on the new U.S. president to immediately press the need for a Palestinian state.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke with President-elect Obama and called for the creation of a Palestinian state as the world's first priority.

Jesse Jackson just prior to the election was quoted as saying, "Zionists who control America are on the way out." "America," Jackson says, "must apologize to those we have offended by putting Israel's interest first." Jackson has set out the mindset and priorities for all to see. He has let the cat out of the bag.

Several top foreign policy advisors in the Obama camp have regularly called for imposing a two-state solution on Israel. The key word is "imposing." Look at the Obama line-up starting with Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy guru Zbigniew Brzezinski. Leftie ideologues like Robert (Sure, I advise Obama, and sure I talk with Hamas, so what) Malley and perennial two-state advocates Dennis Ross and Tony McPeak, and let’s not forget Israel’s “friend,” Samantha Power. Scary.

Tellingly, within days of the American election, President-elect Obama sent Robert Malley scurrying to Damascus and Cairo.

It gets worse. Within Obama’s foreign policy camp, “Islam” is not an issue of concern. On the contrary, they are more in sync with the notion that “Islamophobia” presents the real danger. In their view, the bad guys are those who instead of addressing legitimate Arab grievances, go off half-cocked frightening the world about Islam.

In their world view, Islamic terror is an understandable response to appalling conditions -- and Israeli aggression. The Obama forces will attack those they view as “Islamophobic” with a multicultural sword. Political correctness will rule. In that vein, witness former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s comment about Islamophobia in his statement endorsing Senator Obama.

And there is American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is lobbying to keep his job in an Obama administration, advising DOD to drop "Islamist" from any characterization of terrorism. Oy gevalt!

Add to the mix the sure knowledge that when it comes to shoving a two-state solution down Israeli throats, President Obama and his foreign policy team will have willing allies in the Israeli political establishment, the Israeli media, Israeli opinion makers, and the vocal support of a large swath of the Israeli and Jewish American populace. Do you doubt it?

And there’s the insiders… establishment leaders in the Jewish American community who will effortlessly be pulled into the push for a two-state solution. Why? Because for these Jewish institutional leaders protecting their “insider” status trumps all other issues.

It is instructive to remember that when the Republican Party vice presidential nominee wished to speak out in protest of a homicidal maniac who calls for the extinction of Israel, her voice was stilled by mainstream Jewish leaders. These Jewish “insiders” feared to give offense to candidate Obama’s soon to be in charge inner circle. Yipes!

Indeed the fear Jewish insiders suffer from most is the fear of becoming outsiders.

Elected officials to the rescue? Don’t hold your breath. Jewish American office holders and members of Congress will throw elbows like hockey thugs in order to secure a first-class seat on the two-state train before it leaves the station. Carl Levin anyone? Chuck Schumer?

What about AIPAC? Sustained attacks on AIPAC as “too influential” have taken a toll and they are currently tied in knots over a lingering federal prosecution for espionage. Forget it. AIPAC will be very cautious.

Still more. In this political climate, a new outfit – J Street – will loom large as a challenge to AIPAC. J Street claims to speak for mainstream American Jews and bills itself as “the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.”

J Street is on the ascendancy and will have both influence and access in the new halls of power. Here’s just the most relevant of their statement of principles:

The creation of a viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders with agreed reciprocal land swaps. The future Palestinian state will require unprecedented levels of international economic and political support to succeed, including a resolution of the refugee issue within the new Palestinian state and in current host countries.

There is no good news. The worldwide coalition gathering to impose a two-state solution on Israel is like nothing previously seen.

Where does this leave us?

We have to face up to reality. There’s no way to sugarcoat this. The two-state solution is rapidly nearing its tipping point. Tipping point… you know, that moment when slow and gradual change – drip, drip, drip – suddenly becomes a deluge. Tipping point is the crashing sound made when ideas that have just been floating around suddenly become irreversible consensus. Irreversible. Locked in concrete.

If two-state is frighteningly near its tipping point, what does this mean for those of us who reject a two-state solution? What are the consequences for those of us who carry a Zionist vision of a Jewish homeland from the river to the sea? How does this affect those who advocate a return from exile, the unification of Jerusalem, restoration of the Temple, and await Moshiach?

Well, it means turn out the lights, the party’s over. Thanks for coming, folks. Drive carefully on the way home.

Once two-state is tipped over into irreversibility the deluge will leave Judea and Samaria bulldozed flat as surely as disengagement flattened Gush Katif; a divided Jerusalem a fait accompli; an internationalized Jerusalem a possibility; the Temple Mount in the possession of the Waqf in perpetuity; and the image of a bifurcated, ethnically neutral Israel looming on the horizon. Peace Now will be driving the bus.

And we must always factor in Arab propaganda. Holocaust denial has been joined by "Temple denial" as part of the ongoing Arab strategy to delegitimize Jewish claims to holy sites and to Jerusalem itself.

Naomi Ragen wrote recently that she feels, “helpless to stop this juggernaut towards disaster.” Yes, ma'am. I know how you feel

Is there anything we can do? Maybe.

To give ourselves a chance, a long shot maybe, but a chance, we must first recognize that the front line for the Israeli Right is two-state.

All other issues are a diversion. No matter how drawn we are to other battlegrounds we must steel ourselves to the reality that all else must be secondary to fighting two-state.

If we lose the two-state battle – and we are badly overmatched, out-gunned and out-manned – we lose the whole game. The fight must be joined on the issue of two-state. Period. We cannot let our attention wander or our resources be diverted to other fronts.

There is very little time. The window for us to act is shrinking. The fat lady is not yet singing, but if you listen carefully you can hear her warming up backstage.

How to begin?

A framework for action is available on request.

But first, we must do what all rebels do. Throw up roadblocks, slow down the momentum toward two-state inevitability. Keep the damn thing from tipping over.

Those are my thoughts. They are just words on a piece of paper. My friend Yishai Fleisher has a great line when talking about Eretz Israel. He says, “How do we fill this vessel with meaning?”. Indeed. Those who would make the rebellion are those anointed to breathe life into the vessel and give it meaning.

Can we win?

I don’t know and I wonder if at this juncture that’s the right question to ask. Will we fight seems to me more to the point. And, if we do fight, will we fight intelligently, strategically, relentlessly.

I argue that Israel is closer than we think to becoming a modern ghetto… growing smaller and weaker as the noose tightens. Will we be passive Jews? Will we acquiesce or will we resist?

The deck is stacked against those who would fight. In the coming struggle Jews who stand up against the two-state consensus will be marginalized, scorned as fanatics, extremists, obstructionists, war mongers, and deranged religious nuts. And those are the lucky ones. Some will have their heads cracked open.

I look to the hero of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising for inspiration. Mordechai Anielewicz did not stop the Holocaust, he did not stop the murder of Jews, he did not stop the trains running to Treblinka… but he did leave us a legacy.

In April 1943, this young Jew named Mordechai showed us that a fearless handful of the committed can make a rebellion and he forever laid to rest the myth of the passive Jew.

The stakes seem to me nothing less than the fulfillment of the Zionist enterprise… and for those who work to end the exile, unite Jerusalem, rebuild the Temple, and bring forth the Moshiach, the stakes are even higher.

Time is not our ally. Seconds turn to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days…

This is a matter of some urgency.

Consider this:

  1. Hillary Clinton is about to be the US Secretary of State (egads!)
  2. A meeting between the right-of-center-and-probable-next-Prime-Minister-of-Israel Bibi and Obama (when he came to Israel to show all the Jews how incredible he will be for Israel) was described by Newsweek magazine as: polite. "As for Obama, it is yet to be seen how the dovish American would work with a hard-line Israeli counterpart. At the King David meeting, Obama smiled and tried to find common ground."
  3. The Obama/Biden campaign website says that if Iran continues its nuclear program, it will get tough by "step[ping] up our economic pressure and political isolation." Aka: Israel v. Iran will be mano a mano.
  4. Obama has been quoted as saying “Israel has no God-given right to occupy Palestine” plus there’s been “genocide against the Palestinian people by Israelis.”

I think it's best we do what we can to get BO off our back - don't you?

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sandra and Moshe

Monday, December 08, 2008

Yishai on Al Jazeera

Friday, December 05, 2008

Keep Rivka's Flame Alive!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Tough Few Days

So I had a tough week. First my grandma Anna passed away Wednesday night. My mom and my sister and brother flew in to bury her here in Jerusalem and then my mom sat shiva for a few days at my house. Then, the whole Mumbai horror began to unfold with one sick story after the next coming out. Then the IDF took up position against the Beit HaShalom in Hebron in order to evict Jews from their rightfully-purchased property in the holy city. Then, an elderly Jew called me in tears telling me that his father's tomb on the Mount of Olives has been desecrated. Then yesterday I went to the Mount of Olives to take part in four burials of the Mumbai massacre. Then, with all this on my head, I heard the weather report: sunny, hot, and dry with no rain in sight. Ouch. Some tough days for the good ole' Jews of Israel, and I myself shed more then a few tears.

Then I looked up in the sky and I saw Jupiter and Venus hugging the moon in a very special celestial formation. Wait a minute... I think the two bright planets and the Moon are forming a... a big heavenly smile! Well, it may be cheesy, but this is what I thought: Indeed this is a hard time and we feel as though we are on the verge of breaking. This is the period of the Third Jewish Commonwealth and many great rabbis of yore publicly stated that they did not want to live in this super-challenging time. But G-d has chosen us in this generation and He has given us the great merit to be here now to do His work. With all the awfulness around us, G-d is looking down upon us and telling us "Be strong, continue to spread the light, don't break, and don't be disheartened." The funny and unusual Moon-smile made me laugh through the tears. Thanks again Lord, for cheering me up.

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