27 February 2009

"I don't understand this stimulus bill? Can you explain it to me?

Received via email from a Friend:

Shortly after class, an economics student approaches his economics professor and says, "I don't understand this stimulus bill. Can you explain it to me?"

The professor replied, "I don't have any time to explain it at my office, but if you come over to my house on Saturday and help me with my weekend project, I'll be glad to explain it to you." The student agreed.

At the agreed-upon time, the student showed up at the professor's house. The professor stated that the weekend project involved his backyard pool.

They both went out back to the pool, and the professor handed the student a bucket. Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor said, "First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can." The student did as he was instructed.

The professor then continued, "Follow me over to the shallow end, and then dump all the water from your bucket into it." The student was naturally confused, but did as he was told.

The professor then explained they were going to do this many more times, and began walking back to the deep end of the pool. The confused student asked, "Excuse me, but why are we doing this?"

The professor matter-of-factly stated that he was trying to make the shallow end much deeper.

However, after the 6th trip between the shallow end and the deep end, the student began to become worried that his economics professor had gone mad.

The student finally replied, "All we're doing is wasting valuable time and effort on unproductive pursuits. Even worse, when this process is all over, everything will be at the same level it was before, so all you'll really have accomplished is the destruction of what could have been truly productive action!"

The professor put down his bucket and replied with a smile, "Congratulations! 
You now understand the stimulus bill."

Small Miracles ... Can lead to Giant Miracles

Small Miracles of the Holocaust

The newest in the Miracles’ series, SMALL MIRACLES OF THE HOLOCAUST Extraordinary Coincidences of Faith, Hope, and Survival (Lyons Press). Here are some excerpts that were included in an article by J. Mark from The Jewish Week.  The remaining very interesting interview is on COLlive, a wonderful resource of Judaism, so alive and involved:

"Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal were little children sitting with their parents, survivors, in their respective Brooklyn shuls listening to the davening, comparing our lives to 'withering grass, a fading flower, passing shade, a dissipating cloud, blowing wind, flying dust, a fleeting dream.' Poetry? Journalism, in its way, the real first draft of history, our fate inscribed in a Book of Chronicles, 'Who will die in his time and who before his time,' while 'a still, thin sound will be heard.' "

Yitta is a remarkable story teller, she has an “ear” and “heart” for the unusual sounds of life that speak volumes. I first read Small Miracles for the Jewish Heart: Extraordinary Coincidences from Yesterday and Today. So charming, it was hard to put down. While “coincidences” appear in the subtitle, Yidis says, in her own words that, “To be attuned is to see this dialogue as … miracle rather than happenstance.”  With this in mind I offer some of my own thoughts vis-a-vis the current swirling of world events, in italics beneath quoted passages from her new collection:

“God used to speak to us in a more obvious voice,” adds Yitta, “with more obvious miracles, but we’re in a time when God is more hidden. He reveals Himself in little taps on the shoulder, small moments of grace when we say ‘this had to have come from God.’ You have to slow down,” and not let the world’s cacophony “block out the sound from above.”

Since all events in the world are orchestrated by God, while it may appear that things are more hidden, I believe that we are actually witnessing giant and grand movements in the world’s chessgame by the Hand of God. Because they are ‘concealed’ within ‘nature’ they seem to be secular aberrations of politics, economy, weather, but I say they are moves on the chessboard of life, preparing the world for a stupendous Checkmate.

“There are signposts,” said Yidis (as Leventhal is known), “the ‘still, small voice of God’ speaks to us continuously. Many people write off coincidences as ‘mere’ coincidences. But to do that is to miss out on a message to you from above. If you are clued in, then you are led to your destiny. It’s a dialogue. To be attuned is to see this dialogue as a small miracle rather than happenstance.”

Today likewise we are witnessing those signposts, and these signposts are meant to speak to the Jews. As Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt'l would say, “Everything that happens in the world is only on account of the Jews.”

So, since this is the motive, what are doing about it? Are we 'seeking' these ‘messages’ in our lives, are we on the lookout for the ‘signs’ in world events, are our eyes and hearts open to what Hashem may be telling us, cautioning us about. How loud does the cacophany of ‘hatred’ and ‘antisemitism’ and vitriolic shoutings to the world’s press do we have to hear before we REMEMBER

“And Hashem said...then you will be holy to your God. I am Hashem, your God, Who took you out of Mitzrayim…” to serve your God, to be a nation an Am Kodesh. [from the Krias Shema]
....Devarim 15:37-41

26 February 2009

Wait a Minute - April 8, April 9? What are we talking about here?

Iran's nuclear chief Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said "good news" regarding Iran's nuclear plan will be announced on April 9, Iranian news agency Mehr reported on Wednesday. As quickly noted by Shirat Devorah.

But wait a minute! April 9 is the first day of the Yom Tov of Pesach and Birchas HaChama is 14 Nissan. If you check your calendar you will see that April 9 is 13 Nissan, Erev Pesach. Ominous indeed. This rascal "Ahmadine-jihad" knows too much about our holidays; could it be he really does have Jewish lineage?

The Ynet article further says: "Iran to install total of 50,000 centrifuges in next five years, official say .... The nuclear chief added the country has increased the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges to 6,000, noting that "their number is expected to grow." This is Tehran's latest defiance of United Nations demands to halt its nuclear program" .... "Iran test runs 1st nuclear power plant (Dudi Cohen): Pilot operation of Russian-built nuclear reactor in Bushehr carried out using virtual fuel rods in presence of Iranian, Russian atomic energy heads....

But wait a Minute! Remember what
Dreaming posted about this Pesach,

The year תשס"ט 5769 is Shnat Yovel Rabati (the grand 49th jubilee) and this is the FINAL year when
"איש יחזור לאחוזתו" people will return to their property (Eretz Israel). After learning the above, my husband and I were amazed that the Tzaddik Nistar he merited to meet told him exactly this prophecy: All Jews in the Diaspora should begin preparing returning to Eretz Israel - the latest possible date to return to Israel is Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5769. (Six days prior to Erev Shavuot; the period between Pesach and Shavuot revolving around the prophetic calculation of 7 x 7 = 49).

The above prophecies align perfectly with Rav Avraham Azulai, zs'kl, that says, "The redemption will be in the year of "Yovel".

"Rabbeinu Avraham ben David HaLevy, zs'kl, commentator on the Talmud and a great 12th Century authority known as the RaBaD, brings solid proof the year תשס"ט 5769 is in fact Shnat Yovel."

Supporting all of this is the prophecy brought in 5769 Guaranteed Geula. Kadosh Elyon האדמו"ר מאסטראווצע, zs'l, author of Meir Enei Chachamim, says, "The third and last time ever Am Israel will bless the sun will be erev Pesach, Wednesday 14 of Nissan in the year 5769. Shortly afterwards, the Geula MUST come, b'h".

Now, all those 'minutes' you're holding, let's send them up in Tefilla with our own special Pesach Announcement!

Transparency Revealed! A Purim Stimulus Shpiel!

As an addendum to my post on Why America is Bankrupt, a further elucidation from a very Cool Jew, is presented here. Maybe this will make the whole baffling STIMULUS PACKAGE more transparent!

Revival of Ancient Music on Ancient Instruments

Arutz Sheva has a very interesting interview with the new Jewish Band, Agadetah, a group founded several years ago with music enthusiast Amram Amar. The interviewer, Ben Bresky, brings us into the lives of these amazing men who have brought back to our Holy Eretz Yisrael the words and melodies of some of our sages. And the instruments are unique to say the least.

Gentle, soothing melodies played on ancient instruments, creating music to help make the connection with ourselves and with HaShem, to make it real ... lighting all of reality.

The Santur "is the grandfather of the piano that we know today. There are two small sticks and they hit a group of 72 strings."

The Kamancheh (qamanch) is like the grandfather of the violin. It is played different frm the violin, on the knee. It is played with a bow and has 4 strings. The sound is like a drum, but the strings give a special sound. (From Azerbaijan area, near Persia and Far East Asia.

The Tof Miriam is Miriam's drum, and the Pantam, known chutz l'Aretz as the Hang, has become a popular sound in Israel

Yaniv Shamay, Amram Amir, and Yochay Shimon Koen, known as Agadetah bring to their audiences melodies and words from sages, Ibn Ezra, Baba Sali, Rabbi Shalom Shabazi, and from King David's Psalms, music ancient and original.  Yaniv lives just below Mount Meron are 3 villages, one is Meron, one is Or HaGanuz and one is Bar Yochai. There are other graves of sages in the area and visitors come from all over the world.

Ben Bresky is a music journalist and recording engineer living in Jerusalem. He hosts The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast on Arutz Sheva live every Tuesday interviewing a wide range of Jewish and Israeli musicians from Carlebach to klezmer, from hasidic to trance. For archives and blog visit

25 February 2009

Rosh Chodesh Adar 5768 Remembered

A Outpouring of Students, Families, Children, Rabbis, Dignitaries and Other Participants in a Beautiful Remembrance
A Kiddush Hashem

Mercaz HaRav Memorial
On a brisk Jerusalem Tuesday, the eight boys who were murdered cold-bloodedly by a terrorist last year were remembered Monday night in a Torah Scroll dedication ceremony at Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva. Family members of the boys completed the final letters of the scrolls and a large crowd joined in the memorial celebration.

Eight Torah Scrolls 
for Eight Torah Boys

Future Torah Scholars

Finishing Final Letters on a Torah Scroll

Black Fire on White Fire escorted by Flaming Neshomas

What a Kiddush Hashem, I wish I could have been here.

Please visit to see all the wonderful pictures:
"More Israel news"
INN Photos: Yehuda Boltshauser & Co.
Photos: COLlive

24 February 2009

Rosh Chodesh Adar

Notable Dates in Adar
  • 3 Adar - Dedication of Second Temple in Jerusalem in 349 bce
  • 7 Adar - Yarhzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu
  • 14 Adar - Purim
  • 15 Adar - Shushan Purim
  • 21 Adar - Yarhzeit of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk
Absurd Dreams Are Really (Good)
based on the teachings of HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh
A Sense of humor

Sefer Yetzira is the first Kabbalistic text attributed to Abraham and compiled in its final form by the Tannaic sage, Rabbi Akiva. It enumerates the 12 months of the year and explains that each corresponds to a Hebrew letter and a particular sense, or talent, which is controlled by a particular organ of the body. The month of Adar corresponds to the Hebrew letter ק (pronounced: kof), its talent is laughter, and the organ that controls this talent is the spleen. Because the Jewish reckoning of months begins with the month of Nisan, in the Jewish year, Adar is considered the twelfth and final month. This means that laughter is the last of all human traits implying a well-known verse from the chapter on the woman of valor: “She laughs, awaiting the final days.”1 After all the ups and downs of the entire year, we enter a month of healthy and cathartic laughter.

Indeed, laughter is the best medicine and it has the power to turn all of the pain, misery, and difficulty of the past year into goodness and joy. At the end of the year, we find ourselves still standing, thank God, and all of the fears that we harbored in our souls (lest so and so happen…) are transformed and sweetened by our laughter. This transformation is alluded to in one of God’s connotations: “the Fear of Isaac,”2 which literally means “fear [itself] will laugh!” This is the theme of Purim, the holiday that we celebrate in Adar. On Purim we celebrate how all the fears of Haman and his planned genocide of the Jewish people were overturned. The fear turned into laughter. This is why the motto of the month of Adar is “abound with joy.” When there is but a little amount of joy, it tends to remain concealed in the heart. But when there is an abundance of joy, it overflows and is expressed as booming laughter.

Laughter is the best medicine

Because laughter is linked with the ability to turn things around, it is an important ingredient for health. In fact, its healing potential is so great that it can cure even the most difficult of maladies. This link has been recognized since ancient times. In those times medicine recognized four fluids or humors as conducting the various energies— psychological and physical—that determine the body’s health:

• White phlegm was identified with the conduction of joy and spirited behavior.
• Black humor was identified with melancholy and lethargic behavior
• Green humor (or phlegm) was identified with cravings and obsessive behavior.
• Red humor (or blood) was identified with anger and energetic behavior.

Each of the four humors was believed to have a particular controlling organ in the body. The organ controlling the melancholy and lethargic influence of the black humor was considered the spleen. Yet, as was noted above, in Kabbalah, the spleen is considered the controller of the sense of laughter, indicating that laughter has the power to not only modulate melancholy but as is revealed in the month of Adar, to completely transform it into joy. In Hebrew, there is a beautiful allusion to this transformative quality of laughter, because the two idioms “black humor”  (מרה שחורה ) and “happy thought” (הרהור שמח ) have the same exact letters!

A [Chassidishe] Story for Rosh Chodesh
The Lunar Files
By Tzvi Freeman

Arguing with G-d is an old Jewish tradition. Abraham did it, Moses did it, most Jewish grandmothers do it frequently. But, according to our sages, the first to argue with G-d was the moon.

Before we get to that story, it's important to point out just how ludicrous arguing with G-d really is. Here you have the first belief system that ascribes absolute omnipotence to a single deity. Power over everything, both in heaven and in earth. He knows all, directs all, and everything that occurs comes from Him. Everything -- including Abraham, Moses and your grandmother. And they argued with him.

It doesn't stop there: They usually win.

We must say, therefore, that G-d wants to argue. It's part of The Plan. Furthermore, we must say that He likes losing arguments (most of the time).

I can empathize. After all, what fun is it to run a world so passive that its inhabitants agree with whatever you do? There would be no challenge, no thrill. It's that interactive experience that G-d desired in creating the cosmos. And a lot of that comes from losing arguments with your own creations.

In fact, the rabbis of the Talmud recount that when G-d lost an argument with them once, He laughed and said, "They beat me! My children beat me!" So, He really does get a kick out of the whole thing.

Arguing with the moon -- and losing -- was also part of the plan. G-d set her up to it.

23 February 2009

What is Money? Sovereignty?

Remember this headline?
Russian Analyst Predicts Decline and Breakup of U.S.
Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily Izvestia published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."

When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia." Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons….But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

He also cited the "vulnerable political setup", "lack of unified national laws", and "divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions."  He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong. He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all."

Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.

Eight States Now Declaring Sovereignty! 
Several states have recently appealed to the 10th and/or the 9th Amendments to assert their state rights over federal government. These amendments state:

Amendment 9 - Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. [Note well this. Anything not expressly granted to the Federal government is reserved for the States or the People. Although this amendment is very liberally interpreted, it is one of the tenets of the Constitution. This amendment is also known as the States' Rights Amendment.]

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
  • Washington
  • New Hampshire
  • Arizona
  • Montana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma 
  • Hawaii
What does this mean for you and me?

Pennsylvania State Rep Sam Rohrer on the 10th Amendment…

Some interesting quotes:

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”
Thomas Jefferson

“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.”
James Madison

“It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
Henry Ford

“If the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”
Woodrow Wilson

“Everyone sub-consciously knows banks do not lend money. When you draw on your savings account, the bank doesn’t tell you you can’t do this because it has lent the money to somebody else.”  Mark Mansfield, economist and author.

[This is a bit long but very cute, about how money began being a mode of acquiring, how banking was created, and how it changed. I advise skipping to 1:56. This is 1 of 5]

What is this Sharia law they're talking about?

Does this Administration's Economic Plan [indiscreetly] include aspects of Sharia Law? How would we know, and how can we find out?  The following represents some Google-ing.

“Bedford County, TN - A former FBI special agent told law enforcement and Homeland Security personnel that a network of Islamic organization are working to incrementally implement Islamic law in the United States. . . . Guandolo worked in the FBI since 1996, including nine years as a member of its SWAT team. After 9/11, he worked in the Bureau's Washington Field Office's Counterterrorism Division, developing expertise concerning Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood organizations and the Islamic movement in the U.S. He now works with Stephen Coughlin, former Islamic Expert for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to advise leaders at the federal level and also brief local law enforcement about the Islamic threat at home.” 
The Law

What is Islamic Sharia law and what does it mean to you and me vis-a-vis American freedom’s principles as we have known them. A few sources:

Sharia law a danger to
Letter, Feb. 17 Aliya Khan continues [… that] media highlight the dangers of sharia law and the hypocrisy of those who pretend to speak for Islam and Muslims. This is a thinly veiled attempt to silence the media from taking a critical view of man-made medieval laws that Islamists are trying to pass off as divine texts. 
Khan says "one need only consult Saheeh Bukhari" to know about true sharia law. I have read this man-made text and it is not only misogynist but it permits husbands to beat their spouses as a divinely ordained method of discipline. As a Muslim mother of two daughters, I would like to thank the Star for making the connection between the beheading of a 37-year-old woman in Buffalo and the sharia laws that condone spousal abuse and make it almost impossible for a woman to get out of an abusive marital relationship. Nargis Tapal, Toronto

TOP TEN REASONS why sharia is bad for all societies
Traditional Muslims who understand the Quran and the hadith believe that sharia (Islamic law) expresses the highest and best goals for all societies. It is the will of Allah. But is Islam just in its laws that Muhammad himself practiced and invented? This article says no for ten verifiable reasons. Here are four points you must 

WHAT IS SHARIA LAW? Why it threatens America.
Wafa Sultan
explains  and absurdity

The American Center for Democracy (ACD) monitors and exposes the enemies of freedom and their modus operandi, and explores pragmatic ways to counteract their methods. The objective of the ACD is to supplement government efforts to defend democratic institutions from global threat of radical Islam and terrorism. 
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld

Financial Jihad
Recommended articles
  • Congress should outlaw shari'a finance
  • A Secular Market Nightmare
  • Beware Fool’s Gold -- and Shari’a Finance
  • Shari'a Finance
  • Tithing for Terrorists
International Intelligence Summit™, a non-partisan, non-profit, neutral forum that uses private charitable funds to bring together intelligence agencies of the free world and the emerging democracies. At this past Summit a total of 31 foreign nations and entities were represented. The purpose of The Summit is to provide an opportunity for the international intelligence community to listen to and learn from each other, and to share ideas in the common war against terrorism. The Summit's Advisory Council includes some of the leading figures active in the field today.  
Articles of interest:

Bnai Brith accused of Hate Speech: At issue is a conference B’nai Brith sponsored at Winnipeg’s city hall in October, 2003, for first responders to acts of terrorism, such as police, firefighters or paramedics. Four months later, a complaint was filed with the MHRC by Shahina Siddiqui, the Winnipeg-based executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada, and a member of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Tancredo Proposes Anti-Sharia Measure in Wake of UK Certification of Islamic Courts. “Jihad Prevention Act” would deny U.S. visas to advocates of ‘Sharia’ law, expel Islamists already here. WASHINGTON, DC – Amid disturbing revelations that the verdicts of Islamic Sharia courts are now legally binding in civil cases in the United Kingdom, U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton) moved quickly today to introduce legislation designed to protect the United States from a similar fate.

Banks are helping sharia make a back-door entrance. Articles and essays written against the introduction of man-made Sharia Law in Canada, falsely presented as divinely ordained Islamic Law. In 2003, the Islamists tried to sneak these medieval laws under the guise of family law and failed. In 2008, they have lined up big banks to introduce Sharia through banking and mortgages. NoSharia

TWO - Sharia, or Islamic law, is gradually working its way into public life in Islamic and non-Islamic nations around the world. What is it and what does sharia mean for Christians and others forced to abide by it? . . . . Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to impose sharia law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two. She recently authored the book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Darwish was born in Cairo and spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza before emigrating to America in 1978 . . . .For the West, she says radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed.


Adam, 10, praying* at [at a school] in Wayne after being driven there from school by his mother. The school district had offered to let him pray at recess — either outside or in a classroom while classmates are there. And that, says Awwad, is "unacceptable." …. “‘All I want from the school is to let my son pray in a private place in a small room, say his prayer and go back to class,’ she said.” ….

“ In Passaic, an elementary school student is allowed to pray privately in a classroom storage closet, Superintendent Robert Holster said. A middle school principal in Cliffside Park allows a student to pray in her office, Superintendent Michael Romagnino said. If an elementary school child wanted a private place to pray, the superintendent said he would ask the principal to make an accommodation in an available office. And Teaneck High School sets aside a room where Muslim students are allowed to go and say their prayers, said district spokesman Dave Bicofsky.”

This is all about imposing Islam on infidels. This is creeping sharia. This is the march to Islamic domination. This is about power. There is no special treatment for "special classes". This is how they impose their Islam on a secular society. Muslim footbaths in airports and universities, Muslim cab drivers who refuse to take passengers with dogs or alcohol, prayer times in public schools, prayer times in the work place ............. this is how you lose your country.  Atlas Shrugs

Former FBI Special agent John Guandolo:
"They're having great success of implementing Shariah law, I could give you a thousand examples," Guandolo said.  He said small concessions like installing foot baths, and colleges forced to have separate swimming times for Islamic men and women so not to offend Muslims, are other parts of the strategy.

*Name of child and school not included for privacy reasons.

The Big Apple Due For an Earthquake

This is a follow-up on Shirat Devorah's The Statue of Liberty and New York's Earthquakes

New York - Experts: The Big Apple Is Due For An Earthquake

The trio of earthquakes that surprised New Jersey over the past month has seismologists wondering what's next - and they say it doesn't look good.

They call the geological fault lines crisscrossing Manhattan a perfect storm for a temblor that could topple older buildings, cause billions of dollars in damages and kill people citywide.
New York has survived at least three quakes measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale, but two of them hit back in the 1700s and the other centered on Coney Island in 1884, toppling chimneys.
The city should expect a jolt like that last one every 100 years, the experts warn - which means we're overdue. Jersey's recent baby quakes, which caused no damage and failed to rise above 3.0 in magnitude, may have been warning shots, they say.
A 6.0-magnitude quake could cause as much as $200 billion in damages, according to a 2003 study by the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation.

As reported on VosizNeias

22 February 2009

Good News From Eretz Yisrael

Welcome Home
Ben Yisraelis

On Thursday, February 19, under the cover of secrecy, a group of ten Jews from Yemen, nine of them members of the Ben-Yisrael family, made aliyah to Israel. The Jerusalem Post

The latest immigrants from the Yemenite community of Raida - a town fraught with tension between its Jewish and Muslim residents in recent months - the Ben-Yisraels, accompanied by another young man from their community, arrived in a special aliya operation, shrouded in secrecy, organized by the Jewish Agency and Yemenite Jewish Federation of America.

As they stepped into the arrivals hall, the Ben-Yisraels looked as if they had walked through a time warp. "Thank God, I'm happy to be here," said family patriarch Said Ben-Yisrael, clad in a felt yarmulke and long black side curls as he stood in front of his wife and seven children.

This is but one family. On one of my trips to Eretz Yisrael, I stayed in the home of an elderly Yemenite woman who came to Israel as part of Operation Magic Carpet. She lived meagerly, but happily. She cleaned other people's homes, rented out a room occasionally (once to me), but I was in awe of her quiet knowing. She made me delicious Yemeni marak and fresh real Yemeni style pitas, with zhug. She lived on very little, so her children and grandchildren could have. They are such gentle Jews.

But what is happening with 
the remaining Yemenites? 

Zion Ozeri, premiere Israeli photographer presents...
by Zion Ozeri
Illustrated by: Zion Ozeri

Zion Ozeri was born in 1951 to a Yemenite family that had come to Israel two years earlier in "Operation Magic Carpet." Here he returns to his roots -- both the Yemenite Jews of Israel and the remaining Jews of Yemen. These 138 photographs are of people in both countries, mostly in scenes of daily life. The introduction, in Hebrew and English, is a fascinating essay by the author on his own family's history. 

Keter Books Israel, 2005

To look at these photos is to be present in the moment they were taken -- in a felafel stand in Israel, or on laundry day in Yemen. And more than that, Ozeri has an uncanny knack for capturing personality in a photograph. To look at these photos is to feel that you know the people in the pictures. That's what great photography is all about.

Sweetness and Innocence

has captured the hearts of so many all over the world.

May G-d Al-mighty continue to protect and nourish our

20 February 2009

Four Fathers of Damage - Parshat Mishpatim

This week on Yeshiva Net  Rabbi Jacobson discusses damages ... to your neshoma:

The Four Causes of a Dysfunctional Life
A journey through the four Talmudic definitions of a damager, and their psychological application.

"The Torah is not only the history and development of early Judaism; not only an ethical and moral code; not only the philosophy of Monotheism; but also contains hundreds of cases of criminal, civil, and corporate law. One of the six orders of Talmud ‐‐ the order of Nezikin, Damages ‐‐ is entirely devoted to the Jewish judicial system and all of its intricate details. It analyzes and dissects hundreds of practical, as well as theoretical cases, and was organized later into one of the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law.

"Nezikin begins by listing four “fathers” of possible methods of damage: Ox, Pit, Human and Fire. These are four prototypes of damagers that include multitudes of “children,” the legal “offspring”, as it were, of these “fathers.”"

Anger and Rage are fire. There are fires burning in many countries of the world. Why you even may know someone with a volatile nature. You can learn how to identify the problem and what the Torah says about these individuals, and perhaps how to control this tendency.

Always interesting and challenging, you can listen to this in-depth analysis online or download the mp3, and there is an accompanying

High-Tech Matchmaking

This is Tremendous Good News!  A MUST-READ! boasts 800 active members and 23 weddings in about 24 months

Much has changed since the Tony-award winning musical first opened its doors, and today, many people are looking at one particular aspect of shtetl life with new interest.

With grumbles about a dating crisis reverberating throughout the various segments of normative Judaism, singles and parents are turning to matchmakers with a vengeance. And they are responding with an increasingly high-tech presence reflecting changing social needs., a grassroots matchmaking site, boasts 800 active Chabad members and 23 weddings in about 24 months—since the site was launched. Creators, Ester and Moshe Raichman realized that many of their single friends were having a hard time getting dates. The couple, she is from Sao Paolo and he hails from Houston, lives in Jerusalem and understands the complications of a global dating scene.

The resurgence of the modern matchmaker is not only a Jewish phenomenon. Until recently adults were delaying serious commitment, hoping first to win that elusive promotion. But with the current economic situation, many have turned their search away from making partner to looking for a life partner. A recent New York Times article highlighting this trend reasoned that misfortune creates a need for comfort and company. Matchmaking sites and local matchmakers have seen a huge spike in business: the newly unemployed have more time to devote to their personal lives. People feeling the financial crunch are finding that arranged dates are also less expensive than costly blind dates.

Please let your friends know . . . Yenta Got a Facelift

19 February 2009

I think Tel Aviv is the capital of "street cats". I remember the serenading at night and early mornings. Skinny, poor little things left to scrounge to stay alive. I was so amused by the following, I had to share it here:

"Visitors to Israel are struck by the presence of the “street cats” who live comfortably among the urban population. But only Bnei Brak, Israel’s most densely populated city, has the zchut or privilege of being home to a herd of wild goats."

This is for real, and you can read the rest at A Mother in Israel. If you like goats and shepseleh, you'll enjoy reading Living with a goat .

And for those who may like goat cheese, as it is very popular in Israel, here's a recipe from famous Faye Levy, from her
International Vegetable Cookbook

This salad is inspired by the festive beet-topped green salads I learned to make in France. Use any pungent cheese you like, crumbled blue cheese, feta or goat cheese or thin sticks of Swiss cheese. You can substitute Belgian endive for a quarter of the lettuce mixture. Steaming gives the most delicate result but the beets also taste good boiled and cook in less time.

5 or 6 small beets, rinsed
2 Tbsp. wine vinegar
2 to 3 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
6 cups mixed baby lettuces or
bite-size pieces of romaine
3⁄4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1⁄2 cup pecans, lightly toasted

To steam the beets: Place beets on steamer top above boiling water. Cover tightly and steam over high heat for 50 minutes or until tender, adding boiling water if water evaporates.
To boil the beets: Put beets in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat about 40 minutes or until tender.

Remove beets from steamer or saucepan and let cool slightly. Peel beets while holding them under cold running water. Whisk vinegar with mustard, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually whisk in oil. Dice or slice beets and put in a small bowl. Add two tablespoons dressing and mix gently. In a large shallow bowl lightly toss lettuce with two tablespoons dressing, or more if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. Spoon beets over lettuce. Sprinkle with feta and pecans and serve.

Mayim Achronim — Balak

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