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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Rebbeim told us moving to Israel would be a mistake"

Hi Malkah,

I don't know if you remember me, but I'm X's wife, we met you at Y's house in Z-ville USA for dinner, before your husband spoke at the Shul here.

So, we put our house here up for sale, and we want to make aliyah. We were just there for my sister's wedding, and I miss it so much! For the first time, I came back to the US, and felt truly in my neshama that this is not where we're supposed to be. Yes, it's beautiful here, but it feels, all of a sudden, temporary - like a stop on the way to our real home - Eretz Yisrael!

Anyways, the reason I'm emailing is you is (besides saying hi) to ask you something: Many people (including our Rebbeim) have told us moving to Israel would be a mistake. That we (as charedi) wouldn't fit in with Israeli charedi, but that the other side would be too "modern" for us, and for our kids. My husband is Israeli, so that would definitely be a big plus to fitting in, but there would be many issues with our kids and schools. For example, most likely we would want to send our kids to a charedi school, but we wouldn't fit in, so then we would have to change also, so they'd fit in. And that Israeli kids in schools usually don't want Americans to mingle with them, so they have separate classes. And Israeli charedim don't like how the American charedim come and have barbecues and stuff. (Just superficial stuff, but to illustrate that it might be hard to feel accepted.)

I know your daughter is young, but where do you plan on sending her to school?

It's intimidating hearing our Rabbis tell us this, but I also feel that if G-d wants us (and the entire Jewish people) there, He will make it work.

Any thoughts?


Dear X,

Shalom! I'm so glad to hear from you - of course I remember you! Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns. I'll try my best to answer them.

First, let me say that you are contacting me just after the most Israel-fear-related parsha in the entire Torah. Moshe sent 12 of our greatest men to Israel for reconnaisance, and 10 of them came back with horrible things to say, sowing fear in the hearts of Israel, and causing the entire nation to sin against G-d. Of course, in the retrospect of history, we learn that the nation of Israel showed a serious lack of faith by rejecting the Land of Israel. But trying to put ourselves in their shoes, we see there was a major propaganda campaign conducted by the "10 spies", all of whom were trusted and honored tribal leaders. Their status was meant to give weight to G-d's word. Instead, they used it to bolster their own opinions, their own human fears. The Torah teaches us that we pay for this moment of fear and doubt until today, and that unless we fix the situation, our children will also pay.

I am not a prophet, or even a great religious leader (or any kind of leader, for that matter). But I know, and I think you know, that G-d wants His nation to live in the Land of Israel. That being said, the question cannot be if. The question can only be how.

I heard once a beautiful dvar Torah that said that in every country of exile, the Jewish people had to change to suit the land. But in Israel, the Land changes to suit the Jewish people. Israel is a country still in flux - obviously, we still have some pretty serious issues to contend with, and we are in the process of forming a national identity. It's easy to get nervous about how to deal with various issues, including fitting into society, educating children, and just making it!

As with anything, faith is important. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, incidentally, says true faith can only be learned in the Land of Israel. I believe that the same G-d who helps you get your kids to school every morning in Passaic will help you do so in Jerusalem, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Neve Daniel, or anywhere else. Even more so because of the big mitzvah you are trying to do by embracing Israel and anchoring your children in it.

On to the practicalities. I am not chareidi, so I can't speak to the intricacies of that culture. However, I have found that Israelis are largely accepting, supportive, and friendly, in all walks of life. This is the Middle East, and the grittiness which comes with that has not bypassed the Jews. But neither has the sweetness of the Jewish soul, so don't be afraid of Israelis!! You and your children will learn the real meaning of compassion, brotherly love, and familial concern in Israel, as you embrace a way of life involving true sharing, partnership, and familiarity which comes with having Israeli neighbors. Sometimes there's culture shock, yes. But I think you will be very pleasantly surpised.

Furthermore, who says you have to fully immerse yourself in such a challenging way? There are plenty of great communities full of Americans, with children in schools, Old Navy in the secondhand stores, and cans of cranberry sauce piled high. Beit Shemesh, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Neve Daniel, Efrat, Tel Tzion, Zichron Yaakov, Modiin - these are communities you should look into, because American olim have paved the way on a lot of issues you are concerned with.

One more very important point. I don't, G-d forbid, mean to disparage your rabbis. But lashon hara is lashon hara, no matter who speaks it. The Vilna Gaon teaches that the Sitra Achra works hard on the Gedolim, that they should reject the Land of Israel, because the Sitra Achra is vanquished when the Jews are on the Land. Even if they don't intend, by scaring you away from the Land of Israel, by slandering large groups of Jews and making you feel you won't be able to be family with them, they are falling under the sway of the Sitra Achra, probably because they are very high souls whom he is attacking.

X, you are going to make it in Israel. You are going to face obstacles, and you will worry and maybe even cry. But you will be better for all of your experiences, and so will your kids. You will be happy that you moved here, and you will thank G-d for the miracle of taking you out of the Exile. You and your family will grow in ways you never thought possible, and you will feel the completeness of your Jewishness, something you can only do here.

Buck up! This is the dream of 2,000 years! And this is giving nachat to Hashem, the most important thing you could ever do. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe always said -Israel, the Land that G-d watches from the beginning of the year to the end of year. Hashem will be with you. All the souls of all your ancestors who never had this opportunity will be with you. And your brothers and sisters will be with you.

Fear is the great sin of our time, perhaps the great sin of history, and we are ALL susceptible to it. But we can't give in. If we beat it, I believe we will merit G-d's love and satisfaction, and bring the redemption of our people and of the whole world.

As the Lubavitcher Rebbe said - tracht gut unt zeint gut - think good and it will be good! Do your research, make a careful plan, and then close your eyes and jump! This is a great adventure on which you're embarking - enjoy it!

All the best,

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Must Read: Fantasy Aliyah!

Dear Yishai,

Hi, this is Fran. I was at your Kumah meeting in NY last year when you talked about the "aliyah boat". I have another idea for your listeners: I call it Fantasy Aliyah!

In the Jewish newspapers in NY they are advertising a Glatt Kosher, Shomer Shabbat Fantasy baseball camp with one of the NY major league teams. I root for the OTHER NY team, but in any case I would not spend ridiculous sums of money to go do such a thing since being a baseball player is not my fantasy.

However, I really wish I could make aliyah, but for personal family reasons I am not yet in a position to do so. My husband and I are working on a longer term plan, but meanwhile we are bringing the family to Israel this summer.

Instead of vacationing in the expensive tourist bubble of four or five star Hotels and fancy tours, I planned a trip where we are renting a house for three weeks in a community we would consider living in where we have some friends. We will be attending an unveiling ceremony, and also a wedding. We will visit friends, do some fun things for sure. Most important is that I want to learn to ride the buses, the train, shop in the supermarket, shop at the mall, visit the community pool, the library and practice my Hebrew. I may even rent a car and try driving in Israel (scary thought!)

At first I was calling this my pre pre pilot trip, but now I am calling it Fantasy Aliyah! For three weeks I'm going to imagine that I'm really an olah chadasha! My daughter even picked up an NBN hat for me at the salute to Israel parade!

I'm hoping that this will be a good experience, and make the idea of aliyah less scary. I'm hoping that I will get more comfortable with being in Israel, and that one day G-d willing we can make aliyah for real.

Meanwhile "Fantasy Camp" in Israel, is better than not coming at all! We hope to turn our Fantasy into reality some day soon.

You may read this email on air as an idea for your listeners, and I hope to visit Beit El and all my radio friends at INR.


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Eishet Chayil Show for 3rd of Tammuz

The 3rd of Tammuz reminds of G-d's special miracles, some more miraculous than others. Parshat Korach tells the story of a near mutiny and a symbol of G-d's will. Plus - getting things done with joy, so we can end the sinful cycle that leads to destruction.

Part 2

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Samaritans, Noahides, and Christians

Yoel Keren, ex-Messianic Christian, now Restorationist Jew, helps us understand the mystery of the Samaritans, the gift of Noahide offerings, and how Christians can drop the "New Testament."

Part I

Part II

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Monday, June 22, 2009

A Letter To My Rabbi

Shavua Tov Yishai,

Below is the text of an e-mail that I felt the need to send to my Rav. I felt compelled to share it with you too.

I'm writing this e-mail simply because I felt like sharing some thoughts which occurred to me yesterday in shul during our reading of the Torah.

Towards the beginning of the parsha (as you know, we're back at parshat Shelach because of Shavuot), Moshe clarifies the "mandate" which was conferred upon the 12 men selected "latur" the Land. As I see it, the mandate of these shlichim, was comprised of 6 elements (1 general directive, 4 questions of assessment to be answered and, lastly, 1 "grocery order"):

1) see the land, what it is;
2) [see] the people that dwelleth therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many;
3) [see] what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad;
4) [see] what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds;
5) [see] what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not;
6) be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land.' (Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes);

Now, the 1st and 6th elements of the mandate seem to me to fit relatively easily into the "legitimate" side of the mission, namely to come back with good news and words of encouragement designed & intended to create a kind of "pep rally" among b'nei Yisrael in anticiaption of their taking possession of their inheritance. I was forced to wonder, however, about where the 4 question elements could find their legitimacy in Hashem's eyes.

Then 2 analogies came to mind. The first having to do with my children and the second, related to the context of newlyweds.

The first brought to mind many instances where I would offer things (yummy food or cool toys, for example) to my kids which I knew they would like. If I were to give it to them without saying anything, they would surely enjoy the thing given, but that would be it. So I would find myself saying things like "Well here's some chocolate ice cream, but I dunno, should I really to give it to you cuz' it's maybe kinda yucky, maybe you don't like it". Of course, this inevitably elicits responses such as "Daddy! Nooooo! It's so yummy! Of course you should give it to us - we love it!!" A whole "buzz" is thus created and the enjoyment amplified. It occurred to me that this is perhaps the way in which Moshe, in the name of Hashem, was talking to b'nei Yisrael - as if saying "kinderlech, there's Eretz Yisrael over there - what do you think? the people that dwelleth therein, are they strong or weak, are they few or many, the Land, is it good or bad, are the cities that the inhabitants live in camps or strongholds, and the Land, is it fat or lean, is there wood or not?" while expecting the answer to be "Oy Avinu Shebashamayim! You're being so silly with us - of course we love the Land, it's soooo good, it has everything we need and what difference does it make how the inhabitants are, whether they're big or small, strong or weak, few or many - we have You! - who could possibly compare to You?!"

This, in turn, (oddly) brought to mind the 2nd analogy - that of husband and wife - newlyweds. It's the image of a newly married couple - fresh from the chupah. For weeks, the groom had been preparing a new home for he and his wife - arranging everything just so, to accoimmodate his precious bride. Was this not the stage at which b'nei Yisrael found itself? - fresh out of the chupah of Har Sinai and on the point of being led into the home that Hakadosh Baruch Hu had set aside and arranged just so for us, his "bride". (I won't even get into the additional eggshells being walked upon by b'nei Yisrael as a result of the Chet haEgel fiasco). Moreover, what a groom to have! And now right before the point of being proverbially carried across the threshhold (the Jordan) by our All-Powerful groom - and what happens? The bride (at least in terms of her majority-led collective expression) has the audacity to say "We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we" [note that the denotes either b'nei Yisrael AND Hashem or b`nei Yisrael to the exclusion of Hashem - each interpretation being worse than the other!!] and "'The land... is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature" as if to say "Hashem, I'm kinda concerned about the structural integrity of the home you prepared for us and, moreover, there are other men around that seem totally ripped - way more buff than You!"

Can the ensuing fury of the new husband be overstated?!?!

But wait! There's yet more!

The new wife adds fuel to the fire saying "'Let us make a captain, and let us return to Egypt".

After EVERYTHING that Hashem had orchestrated to bring his wife to this point - after the famines in E'Y, the whole episode with Joseph and his brothers, the miraculous hasgacha pratis which led Joseph to the house of Potiphar and then to prison, to the ruach hakodesh granted to Yosef in his dream interpretations, first for Pharoah's chief baker and chief steward and then for Pharoah himself. Then the 7 fat years and the 7 lean years, the Part II of the episode with Joseph and his brothers, then the descent of Yaakov and his entire household into Egypt only to transform into slavery - ALL only to be redeemed therefrom, brought to the Chupah of Har Sinai, given the Ketubah of Torah (being also the blueprint for all existence), lastly being brought to the threshold of the ultimate co-existence with the Creator of the Universe and the response is "Let's choose a new guide who will bring us back to Egypt"?!?!?

All of this struck me as the leining went on and all I could do is tremble from both fear and disbelief with tears rolling down my cheek. How dispicably unfathomable is it that we could have done this once so long ago - ever?! But that we have been doing it again over the course of the last 61 years?!?!!?

Hashem's statement "I will smite them with the pestilence, and destroy them, and will make of thee a nation greater and mightier than they" seems like getting off easy in light of the travesty exhibited. The fact that Hashem ended up acceeding to Moshe's pleadings saying simply "salachti kidvarecha" is just beyond rachamim - beyond my comprehension anyway. It is no wonder that our national punishment for that act of total betrayal had to be meted out over millenia of sufferings. If that was the consequence of the first transgression of our rejection of Hashem's invitation that we join Him in the Home he set aside for us, what in the world do we have in store for us this time around?!

Tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh Tammuz. The 17th (my birthday, incidentally) ushers in that most ominous and dreadful time of year for our nation - those 3 weeks during which we are acutely reminded (or at least ought to be acutely reminded) of our having failed yet again - for the gazilionth time - to correct and rectify that disgustingly grievous mistake originally committed thousands of years ago. Of course, I always try to muster up a tiny bit of hope that this year will be different - that this year I'll be able to celebrate my birthday along with far greater causes of celebration. But I'm afraid and ashamed to say that I don't feel particularly optimistic about this year being that year. I have no reason to believe that I'll be doing anything other than sitting on a milk crate in our shul here in admat nechar again watching other Jews who gather with a little facial hair growth and a bit of a growl in their stomach - but without, at least apparently, any intention of rectifying the very error that got them in that predicament in the first place or, worse, without any clue as to what error was and continues to be.

Hey whaddya know! This e-mail has been so long that it's brought me to nightime - so Chodesh Tov!


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Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Speech Instead of Netanyahu

Friday, June 19, 2009

Yishai and Malkah on WeJew

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Sad Day for Nay-Sayers

I want to apologize to all you Israel nay-sayers out there, this is going to be one irritating post for you.

You know who I'm talking about - those people who get all puckery and condescending, ranting on about the shameful state of affairs in our Jewish State ("it's hardly even Jewish!", they'll say). They pull out crusty old anti-Zionist rationales (that's, like, so 19th century!) and doomsday predictions, and poo-poo the attempts of good folks to get good things done in Israel. It's all a pathetic failure to them.

Well not today! Two articles were posted on Israel National News illustrating just how hard it is to keep a good chosen people down.

The first is about a reflourishing of Zionism at Jerusalem's elite Hebrew University, with a pro-IDF student union and the whole works. Grumbling curmudgeons who swear by the corrupted soul and moral decay of Israelis will have to soothe themselves with the hope that the inspiration of Jewish pride and pro-Israel sentiments won't pass to other institutions of higher learning.

The second, by our own blogger Gil Ronen, is about REALLY cool new developments by the IDF Rabbinate’s Halacha (Jewish Law) and Technology Department, instituted last year to find kosher solutions to Tzahal's operational issues. Some examples in the article include a kosher-for-shabbat car ignition for army jeeps and a special refrigerator-oven for the Israeli Navy. I know, I know - some of you LOVE to hate Israel's army. At least you can always say they helped in the expulsion from Gaza.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Amazing footage from 1947

Color footage of the dance festival at Kibbutz Dalia in June 1947, just before the war breaks out. 30,000 attended the festival.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Going Home

If you live in Jerusalem you may have noticed some extra Nesher Airport Taxi vans whizzing around the city this week. And many of the streets around town are missing something uniquely Jerusalem.

That's because it's that time of year again. Time when all the yeshiva guys and seminary gals have finished "their year" and are all set to head "home."

Some will come back for a second or third year. Some will even be on a Nefesh B'Nefesh Aliyah flight this summer. (Studying at Bar Ilan instead of YU/Stern is becoming a hot trend!) But some, won't.

It's an interesting thing, that year. I have some of the fondest memories of my life from my year and it certainly is a life changing experience. A great many students are so impressed by Eretz Yisrael while they are here that they decide to seriously consider moving here (even in the places that aren't pushing Aliyah and certainly in the ones that are.) I hear students that I know never dreamed of Aliyah say things like "If I made Aliyah I would live over here." That's a huge step.

The best advice I can offer to those so many students that have been inspired this year is not to wait! If you have a plan - like studying for a degree at Bar Ilan - stay here or come back with NBN this summer. And if your plan calls for a brief stop over in Chutz L'Aretz (mine did) then make sure the keep the flame alive because if there is one thing Golus is great at it's burning out that Aliyah flame. If you don't actively keep the dream of Aliyah alive it will quickly change from a goal to "a nice thing to maybe do one day" and later in some cases Israel will become "a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there."

So how do you keep that flame alive? Get involved. Many colleges already have Aliyah clubs - join them! In my case the Aliyah Club at my college was defunct so I restarted it myself. Then I joined Kumah. And I made sure to visit Israel every free chance I got! As long as you keep that connection with Eretz Yisrael alive your dream of Aliyah will come true. And then you'll finally really go Home!

We'll greet you at the airport!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Breaking the "Unbreakable Bonds"

On June 4, US President Barack Hussein Obama addressed the Muslim world from Cairo University, in a speech which is still being scrutinized and discussed in papers, on blogs, and at the coffee table.

Following this speech, which raised a lot of issues on the Israel front, I heard a lot of people commenting on how fair and balanced he was, despite his obvious courting of Arabia. How eloquent, how leaderly, how well thought out.

Moreover, those who love Israel seemed surprised at their own lack of indignance. After all, while Obama brazenly slammed Jewish outgrowth and development in their ancient biblical regions, he also soothed many a prickling Jewish soul with the following:

"Now, the second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world. America's strong bonds with Israel are well-known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied."

Jews were relieved - America is still whole-heartedly committed in its allegiance with Israel. Things aren't as bad as we thought, they thought.

I beg to differ.

Obama is nothing if not a calculated and cunning speaker. Though he is prone to flubs from time to time, we can be sure that this speech may have been the most exacting of his young career. Every word is important.

And so I'd like to focus on the "unbreakable bonds".

What does this mean? I would like to assert that it has nothing to do with friendship or mutual respect. Let's go to the dictionary (we'll be using Princeton's Wordnet) on this word "bond".

Many people have chosen to assume that Obama said "This [bring[ing] together in a common cause or emotion] is unbreakable."

However, I have the suspicion that what Obama really meant was "This [shackle: a restraint that confines or restricts freedom ] is unbreakable."

The nice, sweet layJew was meant to hear this first message - Jews, I am your friend!

But diplomats in Israel were able to hear the true underlying message - whatever your plans are, know that we will be the ultimate decidor, Israel. We are not freeing you from the shackles with which we bind you.

Sorry, B.O. I'm not soothed by your slick tongue. I think you will stop at nothing to unite (or "bond") with the Arab world.

So count me among the ever-prickly, President Obama. I'm not investing in your bonds.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Temple's Response To Obama

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Ynet Author Threatens Jewish Yesha Residents with Violence

I've read some pretty outrageously anti-religious and anti-Right pieces on YNet before, but this might take the cake so far. The author is convinced that every "settler" considers every Israeli soldier and police officer to be a Nazi and that their punishment for using such a word should be a long prison term. Ironic how somebody who rejects being classified as a Nazi wishes to throw people in prison for leading a different lifestyle than him, or even for using language he doesn't like hearing. He also goes on to say that the religious and settlers of this country are trying to provoke a civil war (interesting seeing as how they are more patriotic than most secular Israelis I've ever encountered) and how they better watch out because they've never had to deal with the secularists when they have their guns in hand. I guess if the threat of prison terms doesn't work to try and get somebody to agree with your point of view, the only other option is to try and kill them!

I'll let his vile words of (self)hate speak for themselves but before I do I'd just like to make one point. While my list of complaints against this government could fill volumes, even I don't think that everything the state does is wicked and I personally try my best to avoid using the term Nazi to describe even the most wicked Jews... that being said it is interesting to note that aside from Soviet Russia, what was the last country before the modern state of Israel to destroy Jewish communities, kick Jews out of their homes just because they were Jewish (and thus deemed not able to live there) and given money to those who wish to harm or even kill Jews? You guessed it- Nazi Germany. Shame on ANY soldier who has kicked a Jew out of his home or actively dismantled Jewish communities in our holy land of Israel, shame on the Israeli government for committing such atrocities and shame on YNet for publishing this disgusting filth.

Don’t ever call me Nazi

Settlers who refer to IDF troops as Nazis to provoke civil war

Yoram Kaniuk
Published: 06.06.09, 15:08 / Israel Opinion

The word “Nazi,” which is being hurled at both Jews and non-Jews these days, must be banned by law. Referring to someone as “Nazi” is an act that should prompt a long prison term.

The Jewish people cannot bear with the curses uttered by Judea and Samaria residents, who hurl the word “Nazi” at police officers and soldiers, as well as any other person, regardless of whether he is Jewish, German, or Arab. Those residing in the occupied territories would do well to learn some history. They should learn that those who refer to a Jewish policeman or soldier as “Nazi” are similar to those who deny the Holocaust.

We cannot have a situation whereby protestors hurl this term at the soldiers who protect them, in the presence of a Knesset member who confronts security forces, as was the case in the recent outpost evacuation. We cannot have them direct this term at all of us.

Many of us had relatives who perished in the Holocaust. However, it seems the children of Judea and Samaria residents don’t know what happened there. Many years ago, Menachem Begin said that Arafat is like Hitler in his bunker. The Shoah survivors who supported Begin earlier were stunned. After all, no Arab is Hitler, either in or outside a bunker. Not every murderer is a Nazi; neither is every enemy, and certainly not a Jewish policeman or soldier.

Once upon a time, a settler called me a “Nazi” as well. It happened a long time ago, when this term was new in the country. I attempted to explain to him that the Shoah indeed happened, and that 60 of my relatives died in one day, in one pit, in one forest in Galicia. In response, he called me a traitor.

Years have passed. For several years now, Israeli soldiers and police officers have been dubbed “Nazis.” If we had worthy army chiefs and defense ministers and police commissioners, they would have detained anyone who uses this term a long time ago. The law should have silenced this malady.

Detached from the State

Yet it appears that Israel’s defense ministers and police are also unfamiliar with the history of our people. They fail to realize the power of precedent inherent in this terrible nickname. Israelis must not desecrate the memory of the Holocaust and reject its reality with their despicable words.

There are more and more people among the settlers who have detached themselves from the State of Israel. They apparently know it will end with a civil war, because a day will come where we can no longer remain silent in the face of the wickedness we see in the territories. The killings. The razing of homes. The destruction of Arab trees. The worst thing may be the way they treat Israel’s citizens as enemies.

We are nearing the day where a civil war will break out. Especially after a retiring commander recently smeared Tel Avivians, classifying them as bad ones, as opposed to the wonderful settlers. After all, he doesn’t know how many thousands of Tel Avivians fought and died for the existence of this state. He is an ignoramus, yet he is no different than a defense minister who allows us and our sons to be dubbed “Nazis.”

It may be that we, the secular Israelis who served in the army and today wish to sit at a café or in a library, to learn and teach at the universities that are the foundation of our economy, appear to be geeks and nerds to the Shoah deniers in Judea and Samaria. Perhaps. Yet they have not encountered us with weapons in our hands, and we need to protect our children and our grandchildren from those who view us as Nazis. We have lost hope that their malice will vanish.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

President Obama

Dear Yishai,
I am truly sorry about the stance Pres. Obama has taken. I did not like the path the Bush administration took either. What I truly believe is the US State Department sets the path and it is up to the president how strongly they push. In my heart I knew Pres. Obama would be more ruthless. The church he attended for 20 years was obviously anti-semetic. As biblically promised the US is being cursed. We are cursing G-d's Chosen and trying to force them to give up their inheritance. Just stay strong and remember Leviticus chapter 25 starting in verse 23 the Land of Israel belongs to G-d and is not yours to give away...

The Bible is full of promises to you regarding the Land. My hearts desire is to encourage more Jews to make aliyah. Also to encourage Christians to encourage G-d's Chosen to be strong. Their return to eretz Israel is all a part of G-d's redemptive plan. The quicker we get this show on the road the quicker we will see the Meshiach. I am saddened to see what is happening to the USA. Last week I attended my grandson's High School Graduation. When the "Color Guard" marched in, Ralph and I were amongst the few that stood. I found myself grieving. Grieving for the "Norman Rockwell" country that I grew up in that is nowhere to be seen today. Pres. Obama is destroying this country daily. A man who bows to the King of Saudi Arabia will do so again. I am sure their greeting this week will be done outside the view of cameras. I do believe the demise of the USA is rapidly coming upon us.

Sometimes it scares me to see what is ahead of us. What I do know is my belief in G-d and His written words are a comfort to me. I pray HaShem will see fit to allow me to make more trips to His Land to work on the water park in Kdumim. That this will continue until I take my last breath or the Meshaich comes. Many of us at Fellowship are doing our best to encourage PM Netanyahu to stand up against the nations including the US. Also trying to impress upon Pres. Obama and our Washington representatives the importance to side with Israel and G-d and not with allah. I am afraid our words are falling on deaf ears. What I do know is our prayers are not falling on deaf ears. Remain strong and stand tall on every hilltop in Judea and Samaria. You have a friend in the highest of places. Remember one thing, those of the Jewish faith in Israel are the only people in the world to have G-d on their side.
Shalom, Geri

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Come Close to the Wall

June 1967:
Nasser, Egypt's President, declared his intention to lead the Jihad to destroy Israel and push the Jews into the sea. Militarily, the IDF was outnumbered by a ratio of 20:1, proportionally even a larger enemy than we faced in days of the Hasmonean revolt and the battle of Chanuka. The Chevra Kadisha (burial society) in Jerusalem prepared 10,000 body bags for the expected mass civilian casualties, and contingency plans were made for Jerusalem's parks to be turned into cemeteries. Animals in the city's zoo were put to sleep for fear that they might be set free and create chaos in the streets. The Knesset archives and artifacts in the Israel Museum as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls were secured underground, preserved in shelters.

Rabbonim instructed the Tnuva factory to remain open on Shabbos to make sure that they would produce enough milk to feed the population during war time. Thousands volunteered to fill sandbags; talmidim of the Mirrer Yeshiva were instructed by Rav Chaim Shmulevitz to leave the Beis Medrash to assist in the effort. Israel was in a state of emergency, understanding that the dire situation threatened the very existence of the State.

"Yeshuas Hashem k'heref ayin": What took Yehoshua Bin Nun months to accomplish, took only six days; Israel's size tripled, as the IDF miraculously and heroically recaptured Yehudah, Shomron, the Golan, Aza, the holy cities of Chevron, Beit Lechem, Beit El and Shchem, and reunified Jerusalem.

In the wake of the awesome victory, the Jewish world was euphoric, sensing clear Divine intervention and incredible Yad Hashem.

In Shir Hashirim, Shlomo Hamelech describes how Hakadosh Baruch Hu will deal with our enemies who dare attack us at a time of favor (2:7-8): “You will become as defenseless as gazelles or rams in the field…behold it came suddenly to redeem me as if leaping over mountains, skipping over hills. In His swiftness to redeem me… I thought I would be forever alone , but behold He was standing behind our wall, observing through the windows, peering through the cracks of the latticework.”

Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, the Kedushas Levi uses these two descriptions of the way Hashem watches over us to explain the different ways we perceive Hashem's presence in our lives. First, there are times when Hakadosh Baruch Hu observes us "through the windows": moments of clarity where we can "see" Hashem openly, as if on the other side of a glass window.

The awesome victory of the Six Day War 42 years ago was one of those times of clarity. Following the war, Southern front Paratroop Commander Rafael ("Raful") Eitan remarked that, "...Apparently someone in Heaven was watching over us... every unintended action they took and every unintended action we took, always turned to our advantage." There was no mistaking that victory was God-sent, that we were witnessing open miracles.

There are however, other times, where it is more difficult to sense the Ribbono Shel Olam. Nonetheless, explains the Kedushas Levi, it is upon us to remember that Hashem also “watches us through the cracks of the latticework”: we can not "see" beyond the wall, but are assured that Hashem is always there. In those times of hiddenness, when Hash em is "peering through the latticework" we remain under the constant watchful "eye"- we can't "see" Him; but Hakadosh Baruch Hu is always watching us.

It is easy to see someone though a window; one can even gaze from afar. But in order to see a person watching you through a "crack in the latticework", one must come up very close to the wall and look carefully into the crack. Only then, when we peer deeply into that space, can we see that there was someone on the other side of the wall, watching us the entire time...

Yom Yerushalayim is a day of celebration and thanks where we reflect on the miraculous salvation and open Hand of God. We are also able to strengthen our awareness of Hashem's presence in our lives, so that in times when we face difficulties- personally or on a National scale - we will remember and encouraged that we are under the constant Hashgachas Hashem. As the complicated and sometimes painful process of Redemption continues to unfold in stages, we must draw strength from the knowledge that Hashem is always with us, watching over us and directing the course of our lives, even within the confusion and concealment.

The Six Day War is not a distant historical event for us to 'remember' or 'commemorate'; it is a defining moment in each of our personal lives, where a major step toward the ultimate restoration of the heart and soul of our land and Nation took place.

On Yom Yerushalayim, when I stand at the Holy Wall after a long day of celebration, I rest my head in its cracks, and am able to see clearly that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is right there, "peering through the latticework." I feel blessed to have been born into the final generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption, and pray, that with Hashem's ever-present Hashgacha, we will merit the next stage of Mashiach, with the complete rebuilding of Yerushalayim speedily in our days.

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