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Monday, March 30, 2009

Australiyah - The New Kumah Campaign

Here are some of the new stickers I made to get those folks from Down-Under to get right-side-up on Aliyah to Israel now!
Baruch Kitay, formerly of Darwin, is going back to visit this Pesach, and he is bringing the new stickers to Australia. I am sure he will be bringing back Jews with him when he returns.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

From Facebook


Saw you on tuesday night live from jerusalem...also big fan of israelnationalradio, which I believe you run- I can't stand Ha'aretz.

I am Jewish, 19 years old, from Houston, Texas, and I want to make aliyah soon!


Hi Yishai,

I arrived here 3pm Israel time, and I had an Israeli dinner with 6 other Israelis celebrating my arrival!! What a day!!! Blessed and joyful all around! Hard flight, but made it in one piece. Landing in Germany, we flew in beneath the clouds. Hovering above the ground at 600 feet I could see the greyness of the land. It was filled with snow. The first glimpse of the ground gave me goose bumps...old old train tracks still in the ground for miles and miles. Were those by chance the same tracks that carried the Jews to the camps, I thought? Listening to the PA with the pilot and crew speak in German gave my heart a skip. Why was I going back to Germany, (even for just a layover) when it was so hard for so many Jews to leave?? After we landed I rushed to my next flight since the last one was late. That gave me no time to think about what had happend not so many years ago where I was standing. When I borded the next plane to fly to Israel, the plane was filled solid with Jews from every corner of Europe and the world!!! There were orthodox rabbis, student teen girls dressed in the most current European fashion, professors and mothers. All Jews. No one questioned what they believed. No one was there to condemn them. We were greeted with both German and English announcements wishing us a happy and safe flight to Tel Aviv...our HOMELAND!!! What joy I felt seeing so many Jews easily.. the land that we died in so horribly trying to leave 60 years ago. The next three hours didn't go by fast enough. Even though the pilot made record time in just 3.5 hours!!! Coming in from off the Mederanian Sea, I saw the gold lining of Tel Aviv and Haifa shorelines! I couldn't help but begin crying and singing 'Behold how good and how pleasent it is to live and dwell together in unity.'

Tomorrow I take a bus to Jerusalem! I am tired. I will write more later!!



Shalom Yishai,

Keep up the good work.I download the Podcasts daily and listen to you all on Israel National Radio. You are helping me defend Israel here in Ireland.Its not easy, the gov is left wing and Pro Palestinan.But I support Israel, and don't believe in a Palestine.

I hope G-d blesses Israel with more children,and more people making aliyah.

Keep up the great work.You keep our hearts warm.

Barack Obama is a distant relative of mine.He is hoping to visit his Irish Ancestoral home soon and I will hopefully meet him. Trust me. I will tell him my opinion: He is a wolf in sheeps clothes.Very dangerous.So too is that awful freak Hillary Clinton. My father always hated her. As I grow up I am becoming more like my father. He is hugely Pro Israeli.

Keep well and G-d bless.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Zionist Destiny and the End of the Exile

Jewish Population Inside and Outside Israel During the Last Century by Yehezkel Laing

As we look around us we see the world economy taking a nosedive which financial experts say may be unprecedented. At the same time we see the totalitarian regime of Iran approaching the creation of a nuclear bomb. The question is why are these and other cataclysmic events happening davka now?

It appears we are approaching a critical moment in the history of the Jewish people. For almost two thousand years little changed for the Jewish people regarding national independence. We lived scattered all over the world, subject to the whims and mercies of our host nations. However, over the course of less than a century we have seen the rapid decline of the exile and the growing influence of the State of Israel. Today the number of Jews in the diaspora is one third of what it was only 70 years ago.

On the other hand the number of Jews in Israel is rapidly approaching 6 million. Currently there are about 5.7 million Jews in the Jewish homeland. Every year, due to births and aliya, there are 100,000 more Jews in Israel and every year, due to deaths and assimilation, there are 100,000 less Jews in the Diaspora. At the current rate, in a little over three years time, the State of Israel will hold the majority of the Jews in the world – that is the Jewish people will have officially “returned home”. Coincidentally we also see that those who contest Jewish national independence are reaching their greatest opposition as they instinctively realize the significance of the moment.

Jews typically wield disproportional influence to their numbers. The countries which were strongest 30 years ago were the two world super powers, the Soviet Union and the US. Similarly, the two countries which contained the most Jews 30 years ago were the Soviet Union and the US. When the Jews left Russia the country collapsed and it is no longer considered a super power. In the past couple of years the State of Israel surpassed the US regarding size of Jewish population. Coincidentally we see the United States economy has begun to implode.

The Jewish Bible tells us that one day God will gather in His People. “Therefore say, 'So says the Lord GOD, ‘I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.'” (Ezekiel 11:17). While the present situation presents us with many great challenges we should always remember how lucky we are to be able to witness the fulfillment of this great prophecy. How lucky we are to be able to witness the Redemption.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Financial Crisis Leading to Immigration Surge from West"

"Advocacy groups: Financial crisis leading to immigration surge from West" by Raphael Ahren of Haaretz

The financial crisis has "drastically" increased Western Jews' interest in immigrating to Israel, several immigration advocacy groups said this week. It is not clear whether the additional inquiries will translate into actual immigrants, the groups emphasized, yet they are bracing themselves for unprecedented numbers of new arrivals this summer. However, these predictions meet a measure of academic skepticism.

"Literally all over the world, we have registered a significantly higher interest," said Noga Maliniak, the director of the Jewish Agency's aliyah division. "Some of our offices received double the amount of inquiries." Nefesh B'Nefesh, which assists British and North American immigrants, expressed similar experiences. During the period from September 1 until December 31, 2008 - the first four months of the crisis - NBN's call center recorded 2,947 inquires, while during the same period in 2007 only 1,398 people called, an increase of 111 percent. Downloads of immigration applications more than doubled from 300 in February 2008 to 750 last month.

"We won't be able to tell whether this dramatic surge in interest will translate into real numbers of immigrants before July or August, when people actually arrive," said Danny Oberman, NBN's executive vice president of Israeli operations. "It is difficult to make an exact prediction, but there will definitely be a huge increase in aliyah."

"The economic crisis has had a tremendous effect on aliyah," another NBN spokesperson told Anglo File. "It has shaken Diaspora Jewry and caused aliyah-minded individuals to reconsider their time line. We have seen an increase in the number of people who are attending our pre-aliyah seminars, workshops and one-on-one meetings who have mentioned that the economic crisis has led them to expedite their plans."

Oberman speaks of three population groups driven by the current economic climate to consider aliyah: College graduates and young couples who cannot find a job and are no longer able to keep up with the cost of living, as well as finance, marketing and high tech professionals who are either laid off or perceive dim financial prospects. "Above all, the financial crisis causes people to focus on their values," he added. "It's dramatically shaking up people's thoughts on how and where they see themselves."

Yishai Fleisher, the founder of pro-aliyah group Kumah, also expects the number of Western immigrants to rise. He attributes this trend not only to the economic downturn but also to "a lessening of social comfort for American Jews through the advent of the Muslim influx into the U.S., the rise of the Obama administration and scandals such as [the multi-billion dollar swindle committed by Bernie] Madoff."

Fleisher added that he sees young Jews coming in particular. "They are in it for the romance," he said. "Israel provides a life of challenge and an adventure, and that is why almost all NBN flights have young, cool college kids on board."

But not everybody agrees with these predictions. Sociologist Chaim Waxman, a former Jewish studies professor at Rutgers, told Anglo File that he suspects the economic situation to have a negative effect on Western aliyah. "This is in contrast to what some people in the Jewish Agency and other places are expecting, but I think they're very wrong," he said. "Their rationale is that when people are having difficulties they would be more likely to make aliyah, because the economic situation seems to be better here - I am sorry, I just don't see it. The fact of the matter is: the areas where potential [immigrants] work in are especially suffering here."

Waxman, who himself recently made aliyah, said he "love[s] the work that NBN does" but that he has never been able to substantiate its predictions. "Their data is usually much higher than that coming from the Central Bureau of Statistics or any place else."

He added, however, that the financial crunch could potentially draw Israelis living abroad back home. "If the situation is equally bad here and there, many of them might come back," Waxman said. "People prefer the place they are used to, so Israelis might come home but American Jews will probably stay where they are."

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Friday, March 20, 2009

New Full Film: Rabbi Tendler on Temple Mount!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Big Project

Dear Yishai,

This was the response from my friend who moved to New Jersey from Tiverya to your last Blog post... He doesn't sound too impressed....and perhaps he brings up a good point.

"Yes, there are yordim (people who leave Israel) and people who do not make it and I am sure they do their best to discredit the Big Project "

For lack of a better term... words of a pompous fool...

The big project is Hashem and attaching to Hashem, not sacrificing your children and well-being for fulfilling Zionist agenda (not Hashem's aganeda per se)...

Many people have experienced Israel for the good, but just as many have ruined their family by believeing that we must sacrifice everything (including our children!) for the propaganda that right now the only place a Jew can be a Jew is in Israel.

Its not that we didnt "make it" in Israel, its that we made a choice regarding what would be best for our family...


Yishai responds: Sounds pretty angry. And I am sure he had some tough times. But... what a joke... what did he think I meant by the Big Project? The State of Israel is NOTHING BUT A KLI, a vessel, for the G-d's plan to ingather the exiles, the return us to Torah, and to build the Beit Hamikdash - that is the Big Project!

He writes: "Its not that we didnt "make it" in Israel, its that we made a choice regarding what would be best for our family..." Yes, he did what is best for his family, but not best for Hashem or the Jewish people - he is thinking about himself and that is ok, but there is a national calling right now and national thinking is what is needed.

(By the way, why did he move to Tveria - a totally un-American place with no people like him - setting himself up for failure??) In any case, setting up your children in Eretz Yisrael is best for them in the long run.

He also wrote: "Many people have experienced Israel for the good, but just as many have ruined their family by believing that we must sacrifice everything (including our children!) for the propaganda that right now the only place a Jew can be a Jew is in Israel."

Just as many? I don't think so. I think he would like to think so. But absolute numbers speak the whole story: in the 70's there were 3 million Jews here, now there are almost 6 million - doubles in 40 years. Can American Jewry say that? No. The future is here, and ask any economist and he will tell you, the future is not in America. Certainly for a G-d fearing Yid! A Jew can be a Jew anywhere - but not a fullfilled Jew... Just ask Moses what he would have chosen...

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jew Hatred and Fear

Shalom Yishai,

Sorry I haven't written in a while as I was busy studying for my actuary exam. Which I failed twice. I am going to give it one last change on May 21...

Yishai: I know you, and I know how smart you are. So your failure in this test can only mean one of two things: 1. This is not the career that Hashem has in mind for you - He may want you to be a great Rabbi, a great teacher, or a high-tech entrepreneur. Sometimes, when things don't go easily it is a sign that you need not push on this door. On the other hand, the common saying is 'if at first you don't succeed, try try again' and also 'three times a charm.' I wish you much success, but pray that Hashem will take you on a good direction - I think He is sending you a sign of some kind.

The only time I can really listen to you is when my real estate appraisal job is busy which it has been lately...I still really enjoy your show and get tremendous inspiration (and information)..but I must say stick to your old plan of encouraging Aliya because it is the right thing to do. At least in America, I have not felt or heard anyone talk about the slightest uptick in Jew hatred (notice I am not calling it Anti-Semitism), not to say that couldn't change on a dime. But the economy seems to be tanking and the Jews are suffering with the rest of them, but thank G-d Jew directed hatred hasn't changed. You seem to be trying to scare Americans into making aliyah "or else" the baddies will come get you. Stick to the positive message of choosing to move...

Yishai: I have been speaking of the positive reasons for making Aliyah for the last 10 years and I will always continue to do so. This is because the light of Israel is no propaganda tool. Living in in the Land of Israel is a great privilege, while building the State of Israel is the greatest project of the Jewish people in 2000 years. I have also refrained from talking about Israel-Jew-Hate for the last many years because I firmly believed that it was not palpable to most American Jews, and not even to most Jews of the Western Diaspora. However, things have changed, and Jew-hate has factually risen throughout the whole world including America. Talking about the rising levels of Jew-hate as a reason for Aliyah is not a propaganda tool or a PR tactic - it is simply a reality. Believe me, I wish it weren't so, and that all Jews would come home because they too would see the light and choose to be close to G-d. But the way it has always worked for the Jews is simple: either by hook or by crook - either the Jews choose Israel because of a higher vision, or the Jew-haters will boot them out. As a commentator and a broadcaster it is my duty to warn of the dangers and the shifts in society. I will continue to talk-up the light of Israel, but a dark cloud looms and I will keep calling them as I see them.

On a personal note, I feel as though aliyah is further and further away from me as being an actuary looks like it may not happen. I am stuck. NBN says not to change careers and move to a new country at the same time as that is a recipe for disaster (besides my wife would never go for that, she needs me to at least have a plan of how I will provide for her). So the plan is to get a job here that I could support a family with over there first, then make aliyah. Good luck finding that... I would love to work in media and do what I can to push our shared agendas. But I have no resume, no formal training, no education for anything of that sort. I get very frustrated hearing you say all I have to do is log on to ELAL with my credit card and fly to the land of milk and honey and all my problems will go away. You make it sound so easy...One of my best friends just moved back with his wife and 3 kids from Tiberius to Fair Lawn after having moved there in 2004 ( though he never was a the Zionist type), but still no one wants to move 9000 miles with three young kids.. Not to mention all the Israeli's coming to my shul looking for handouts....

Yishai: Faith and stubbornness, patience and prayer - these are your weapons. The Land of Israel is acquired through hardships but they are surmountable. Yes, there are yordim (people who leave Israel) and people who do not make it and I am sure they do their best to discredit the Big Project - but... there are almost 6 million Jews here, immigrants, Israelis, and the rest, who are eeking out a living and making it. It is not a fairy tale, but it is living the dream. When I talk about logging on to ELAL with your credit card and flying to the land of milk and honey I am talking about the ease with which you can break out of the slavery of the Exile in your mind. Bottom line is that you know that Israel is home - you want to live a full Jewish life with proper Shabbat, holidays, and Jewish education that is affordable and on a high level - you want to be close to Jerusalem!

You will make it here in the Land because you want it more than anything, because you will not leave this place no matter what, because America is not an option, because you are madly madly in love with this thing called Yiddishkyte, Torah, Hashem, EretzYisrael, and Mashiach. Clearly, the dark forces are trying to stop you from coming here - you have a high soul and you will make Hashem very happy when you bring your family Home to Him. You will find a sustenance, because He Who makes money is the Ultimate Provider. Simply put - don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid! You may not have an immediate job waiting for you in Israel - but you certainly have a mission...

Keep up the good work and regards to your wife,

Yishai: All the blessings on you dear brother. I am looking forward to seeing you get off the plane and greeting you with a big hug. I pray that day will come soon.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Only in Israel... the buses wish you a Happy Purim instead of telling you where they are going!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Shtikel Purim Torah

There are many new years throughout the Jewish calender. Rosh Hashanah is the main new year but there are others such as Tuv b'Shvat which is the new years of trees and Rosh Chodesh Nissan which is the new years of kings. Pesach is the new years of the Jewish holidays. Rebbe Nachman once said regarding this, “All beginnings started from Pesach but now...” Reb Natan said that from the Rebbe's gestures it was clear he meant Purim, i.e. Purim was now the holiday from which everything would start. Purim is the holiday of flip-flops and opposites. All year long we are studious and responsible yet on Purim we not only allow ourselves to get completely drunk but are expected to. Instead of dressing like respectable people we dress in light-hearted costumes. Why is it that Rebbe Nachman made this statement about Purim and why is it that everything is backwards from how it normally is on Purim?

Chazal says that in the time to come we won't celebrate any of the old holidays except for Purim which will continue to be celebrated even after the Mashiach comes. Why is this? By all our major holidays we say “Zecher l'yetziat Mitzraim” (in remembrance of the exodus from Egypt) because they all center around the miracles that happened when we left Egypt. We recognize these miracles because we always go after the biggest chiddush and the miracles that occurred during the exodus from Egypt were the greatest ever witnessed in the history of humanity therefore it would be a lesser statement of Hashem's greatness to proclaim lesser miracles. Yet when Mashiach comes Hashem will perform miracles that are even greater than those of Yetziat Mitzraim and therefore we won't need to remember those miracles anymore. But unlike the other main holidays which were based on the past redemption, the redemption of Purim was actually based on the future redemption of Mashiach which has yet to happen. This is why we will still celebrate Purim even after Mashiach comes. This is also why everything in Purim is backwards of how things normally are- instead of reaching into the past redemption and pulling the kedusha forward like the other holidays, Purim pulls into the future and pulls the kedusha backwards to the past.

Sefer Daniel describes a statue with a head of gold, arms of silver, thighs of copper, and legs of iron with the feet are made of part iron and part clay. Then four kingdoms are described corresponding to the four parts of the statue. The last part of the statue- the iron with some of the feet iron and some clay is described as a divided kingdom. The statue and kingdoms represent the four nations which will oppress the nation of Israel- the four exiles. The gold is Babylon, the silver Persia, the copper Greece, and the iron is Rome and by extension Edom and modern day America and Europe. Exile, or GaLuT (גלות), has the same root as MeGiLLah (מגילה) suggesting a link between the Megillot and the exiles, but there are five Megillot and only for exiles. Where is the fifth exile? In the iron part of the statue at the very bottom it becomes partially mixed with clay and the kingdom is divided. In the current exile of Edom that we are in, we are reaching the end of it and the kingdom is becoming divided by a new rival to America and Europe- Islam and the arabs. The fact that it is in the feet of the statue corresponds to sefer B'reshit when three angels came to Avraham and he asked them to wash the dust off their feet. Rashi comments that this is because the angels appeared to Avraham as arabs and since arabs would worship the dust on the feet he wanted to prevent them from doing their idolatry. Just like clay is mixed in with the iron, the fifth exile is mixed in with the fourth one. A hidden exile connotes a hidden megillah- the Megillat Ester as Ester means hidden. How is this exile we are now in hidden? Because the concealment is so deep that it's a concealment within a concealment- the concealment is such that people don't even know they are in it and therefore don't know to try and get out. Many of us have returned to Israel and we have a government here, yet right here we are still in spiritual galut. Many Jews don't even know there's a G-d or anything it says in the Torah. Yet this is the exile of the “Megillat Ester.” Megillah can be read as “MeGaLeh” or “reveal.” This Megillah is the revealing of the hidden. Since the clay was at the feet of the statue- the end, this current exile is nearing its own end when the hiddeness of Hashem will be revealed to the world.

In Sefer Daniel it tells of a rock that will smash the statue and then become a mountain that encompasses the world and a kingdom that will never be destroyed. This rock and kingdom is Israel when Hashem brings the final redemption. This time and experience can most be tapped into on Purim when we are spiritually speaking actually in the future redemption at the present. How do we know that we are currently tapping into the future redemption right now? At what point in the Megillat Ester do things start to turn around from bad to good for the Jews? In the sixth chapter when the king realizes that Mordecahi was never rewarded for reporting the conspirators who had planned to assassinate him. In second chapter of the megillah the name of one of the two conspirators written Bigtan (בגתן) yet in chapter six when the things start turning around his name is written Bigtana (בגתנא) with an extra aleph. Hashem was showing that by implanting that aleph into the bad situation He would turn it all around into a redemption. So to with our current and final exile, Hashem doesn't even need to make a new situation but can take this very one itself and make it a redemption, for what happens when you implant the aleph into the root of GaLuT? You get GEuLah (גאולה) (redemption)! It should be Hashem's will that we tap into the future redemption this Purim and help bring it in it's entirety soon and in our days, amen.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

"Purim, An Aliya Story"

by Stewart Weiss

Is the Bible relevant? As we read the Book of Esther during these days of Purim, I find myself wondering just what this story is all about. On the surface, it is a classic morality play. The forces of injustice and cruelty become ascendant, threatening to exterminate a whole people simply because they are different. A reluctant band of heroes enters the scene, eloquently pleading their cause and ultimately gaining the favor of the King. The despicable tyrant is vanquished, Good triumphs over Evil, and all live happily ever after. Neat, sweet and complete. But hark, fair reader. Purim doth teach that all is not as it seemeth; that masks of many shapes and sizes disguise a much deeper message hiding behind the poetry and prose.

I suggest that one of the central themes of the Purim story is the ancient, yet ongoing, interplay between the Jew of the Diaspora and the Jew of Israel. It is precisely this motif which not only makes the Megila eternal, but among the most popular and well-known of all the books of the Bible...

THE JEWS of Shushan are your archetypal Diaspora Jews. They seem to live quite comfortably under a benevolent ruler who respects their rights and ignores their idiosyncrasies. They are even invited to royal banquets – where the food is glatt kosher – and are called upon regularly for advice. Yet, for all their prominence, the Jews still tread that thin line between security and suspicion. Can they trust their hosts, and can their own loyalty to the crown be trusted? Among themselves they perpetually debate – with no foregone conclusion – whether they are Persian Jews or Jewish Persians.

Haman and Mordechai enter the scene, bringing the deeper issues into focus. Haman is no stranger to Jews, having lived among them and observed their rites and rituals for quite some time. He has no love for Jews, to be sure, but is quite prepared to strike a modus vivendi with them – if they demonstrate that their first allegiance is to the state and its sovereign. Haman therefore prepares a test, convincing the king to hold a party celebrating the end of Jewish independence, even using the vessels of the Temple to toast Jewish subservience to the mighty Persian Empire.

Alas, the Jews submit and enthusiastically attend the party celebrating their own demise. They laugh and make merry, hardly realizing the joke is on them. But there is one Jew who will not abdicate his soul. Mordechai is of a different character. He remembers Jerusalem, having survived the Temple's destruction. He dresses like a Jew, and prefers Hebrew to Persian. He will neither bend nor bow, despite the intense pressure from both the grand vizier and his own co-religionists. Mordechai may live in the exile, but he is a son of Israel in form and substance.

When Haman sees Mordechai unbowed, he understands – better than the Jews themselves –that they will not forever be compromised. He therefore employs the age-old charges of "dual loyalty" and "fifth column" against them, convincing the Persian monarch that "once a Jew, always a Jew," and that this "certain people" will never mesh with the pure Persian pedigree. In the battle of wills that follows Mordechai must convince his people that abandoning their heritage will not keep them safe. Eventually, their salvation lies in reasserting their unique character and "casting their lot" with the King of Kings rather than with despots of flesh and blood.

Esther, for her part, is the story's most tragic figure. Caught between being a daughter of Israel and queen for a day, she never does make a whole and final peace. While she will save her people from disaster and gain lasting fame, in the process she will leave her home, intermarry, and bear a child for a man she does not love.

On stages all over the world this same little piece of theater is played out each and every day. Jews in countries throughout the exile live in various conditions of pain or pleasure. They pray to be left alone, yet know that their own personal Haman may be lurking right around the corner, just waiting to take advantage of their precarious position. They fear the day will come when they will be tested and have to choose between fealty and faith, and they are afraid they will choose wrong. They wonder if a Mordechai or Esther will arise to save them, too.

But there is a big difference between Persia then and the Jewish world now. Today, we have a place where a Jew can live as a Jew, with no fear of religious persecution, at present or in the future. We have a homeland where no Jew need divide his loyalty. We have a country and an army that will do battle with every Haman that tries to torment us, that will quash every plot that tries to destroy us.

The Jews of the Persian Empire are largely a footnote of history, but Israel is the center of history in the making, beckoning every Jew to come home, where we truly belong. And that, as they say, is the whole Megila.

The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach and Ohel Ari Heritage Center in Ra'anana.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Beit El Snow 5769 / 2009

See more of my beautiful snow pictures

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