31 December 2010

Global What ...?

G-d has filibustered America, especially the east coast and the new York Jewish community.

A famous Brooklyn community.

And as one Boro Parker noted: "To summarize it took 78 hours, 12 trained and licensed city employees, 10 pieces of heavy duty equipment, 3 different city departments DSNY, NYPD and DOT to start cleaning 20 plus inches of snow on 45th Street between 14th & 15th avenue but wait they did not finish they just started." (Photo by Eli, vosizneias)

One city mayor, Cory Booker, has taken the snow by storm. Singlehandedly he tackled the mess and even delivered diapers to a distressed mother. No wonder his NJ voters elected this personable, religious, sensitive Black man.

While the NY Mayor was in denial. Life was under 20 inches and Bloomberg was stuck in a drift.

EMS services came 9 hours late to a crown heights apartment vestibule to find a newly arrived tiny fragile life snuffed out. The mother just couldn't push against the winds and slashing snow to get to the hospital to bring her child into the world.

The ominous signs are not the unplowed streets or hazardous walking/driving conditions. It's the insubordination of the sanitation dept workers, who thought to ‘teach the Mayor a lesson’.

Anarchy in NY seems only a few disasters away.

Airport rage, train rage, stores closed, people unable to go to work because transportation was frozen still, top that with fare hikes, loss of wages, sick leave, and medical issues. This spells disaster!

At whom do "the people" vent their rage when they’ve had enough, in every galus the Jews have lived?

The walls of security seem to be closing around the ghettos of America. Once the richest nation on the planet it is witnessing its own slow metamorphosis into a "third world power", some say.

Mitzrayim was 'the' richest and most powerful country at one time in history. They kept it's foreign peoples subservient behind the Nile trenches, but in a matter of months, lost everything to worker burnout and seemingly natural catastrophes.

They didn't call it "global warming"

When asked "what is it that Hashem wants from us"................…

He wants His children to observe the Shabbos, to be kind to one another, to share the Kedusha of Shabbos with one another, and to realize that some of us are in Eretz Yisrael to build up the Land and preserve its dignity and Kedusha.

30 December 2010

Remembering the Rambam a"h

Monday, 20 Teves, was the Yahrzeit of the Rambam a"h

By way of introduction ... I live now in Jerusalem, on a street named for a rabbi. As I walk around this beautiful area, past streets named for Jewish sages, I wonder whether somehow up in Heaven, they are able to look down and see what has become of this Holy Land.

The early pioneers were socialists in search of a new ideal, rejecting the discrimination and persecution in their birth lands. They abandoned the lifestyle of their parents, the religion of their ancestors, and the very link to these sages.

Today we have in Eretz Yisrael a dichotomy of native born Israelis that do not know about their ancestors or their Jewish inheritance, and Jews from foreign lands returning home to connect with the spiritual legacy of these very sages.

It's ironic and sad.

Now that Israel has reached the age of 40, the age at which the Torah says wisdom begins:

“Israel understands that the Rambam
is one of the pillars of Judaism
and that through him the future of Israel can be built...”

"This past weekend, the
Second Annual Conference on the subject of the preservation of the heritage of the Rambam (Maimonides) was held in Tiberias. The conference centered around one of the greatest figures in Jewish history, the Rambam, who was one of the greatest halakhic authorities, philosopher, scientist, physician, and researcher.

The conference, which was held in the Hof Guy hotel in Tiberias, also dealt with the importance of the preservation of heritage sites in Tiberias. Participants took part in lectures, discussions, and tours of the Maimonides Heritage Center and other heritage sites in the city.

“The goal here is not just to help rehabilitate the city of Tiberias but really to educate the world, Jew and non-Jew, about Rambam’s outlook and philosophy,” explained Rabbi Yemin Levy, President of the Maimonides Heritage Center.

“Israel understands that the Rambam is one of the pillars of Judaism and that through him the future of Israel can be built,” said Rabbi Haim Fogel, Director of the Maimonides Heritage Center. “The Rambam cared both for the rabbis as well as for the simple people. He wrote both an explanation to the Mishnah as well as the Mishneh Torah which is a guidebook for rabbis.”

“Rambam in the culture of Judaism really stands out and is really the voice that needs to be heard today, the voice of reason, the voice of science, and the voice of spirituality and Torah,” said Rabbi Levy.

Maimonides Heritage Center in Tiberias Israel (video in Hebrew) :

The Egyptian Government has restored the Rambam Synagogue and 12h century Yeshiva in Old Cairo.

28 December 2010

What does Hashem want from His children?

In the next few Torah Parshios we witness the Hand of G-d as "nature". Awesome is the only word for Yetzias Mitzrayim, our liberation from bondage in Egypt and the beginning of Am Yisrael as a people and a nation.

What if the Jordan river turned blood red? Or an invasion of locusts eats up our lettuce, parsley, spinach, and everything else green?

Well, what do you call a tsunami that devasted everything in it's path? Taking down buildings, homes, trees, everything for miles.

What do you call a volcano that spewed volcanic "dust" that brought Europe to a standstill and halted all air
traffic because the dust would paralyze engines, like the dust-like
lice in Mitzrayim?

What do you call huge waves of weird weather sweeping across the globe, turning the warm southern US into ice, freezing Florida temperatures, devastating wheat crops in Russia, bringing mounds of snow paralyzing countries.

The New York EMS called it: Worst Disaster Since 9/11
That beautiful fluffy stuff turned the northeast coastline of America into a giant snowball, dropping 31" in Boston, 21" in Brooklyn, that grounded everyone for two days in howling winds and giant snow drifts locking people in cars, trains, and their homes.

Maybe like the "darkness" of Mitzrayim that held people frozen?

These are happenings that affected other places and countries.

Now we are experiencing amazing events in tiny Eretz Yisrael. The messages are getting louder and closer to us.

Carmel Forest on Fire: A monster wild fire that consumed everything in its path, if not protected by the Shabbos observance of the area's Jews.

Haifa is the only Israeli city that allows full traffic flowing on the Shabbat. Much of the land scorched by the wrathful fire had not tasted Shabbos observance. In one place the fire consumed a library, except for a Sefer Tanach, and in another place the crackling flames headed straight for a community, but was repelled by their Eruv! Just like Hashem's decree on the oceans to STOP at the shoreline sands. A stirring video made about the Carmel Fire.

What do you call 'nature' that displays it's mighty strength to all peoples of the world?

I call it the Hand of Hashem!

Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson and G-d's Arrows:

26 December 2010

Who's Discriminating Now?

Are Esveld and Abbas reading from the same script?

Mr Esveld, a professional watcher of human rights abuses, who criticizes Israel as being discriminatory in it's dissemination of water to the palestinians, is discriminatory himself because he and his HRW (Human Rights Watch) voiced no objection to Abbas's comment that Israelis and Jews are verboten in any future palestinian state, should that ever come to be, Heaven forbid.

Is that not discriminating, Mr Esveld?

Au contraire, Israel gives them food, water, electricity, farms, medical care, and years of patience for them to show the world that they are self-sustaining and productive, but instead they spend the millions of dollars of aid on sending missiles, rockets, human bombs, and other incendiary devices into Israel against it's citizens.

This is their continuation of Nazi-like tactics against Israel. The Farhud and no one objects to their warped association with death.

Well, I object to Mr. Esveld's myopic viewpoints

07 December 2010

Dispelling Darkness

HOW DO I DISPEL MY INNER DARKNESS? The analytical and behavioral approaches. Exploring the opinions of the Schools of Shammai and Hillel on the Number of Chanukah Candles from a Legal and Spiritual Dimension.

06 December 2010

In the Outskirts of Haifa

THE CARMEL FIRE: some observations

On the very first Candle of Chanukah 5711, the festival of light, celebrating the Hashmonaim triumph over the Syrian Greeks in 139 BCE, the triumph of light over darkness, purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality, we read about Greece sending tiny Eretz Yisrael aid to fight the Carmel Fire.

More than 21 centuries later, after the first Chanukah, the
Greek Government sends a plane, the first of five which are expected from the country, to bring much needed fire retardant supplies and additional firefighting forces, to join Israeli fire crews battling the uncontrolled Carmel forest fire.


According to Army Radio, in addition to the four Greek aircraft, four more aircraft are expected to arrive from France, three from Britain, two from Spain, two from Russia, two from Turkey, two from Cypress, two from Bulgaria, one from Croatia and one from Azerbaijan.


The world needs a strong Israel. They don't want to admit it. So what happens, a single person releases miles and miles of secret documents onto the Internet for the entire world to witness about each other. Wikileaks is uncovering those nations and countries that are quivering from the terrorist threats running wild over the globe. In another city on the globe, a strong brave man takes on the defense of his country, singlehandedly, and wins in court against the libel of those who would destroy, and goes on to defend his people.

We are witnessing footsteps of the Geula, and we Jews are awaiting the one single man, Moshiach, who will usher in the full Geula that we have been waiting, for these thousands of years.


Rabbi Lazer Brody brings an amazing perspective: The following
Midrash (Shir Hashirim 2:5, elaborates on the passage, K'shoshana bane ha chuchim): Right before Moshiach comes, Hashem will burn the outskirts of Haifa -

UPDATE on America in Downspiral

**In response to a job-killing tax hike on small businesses - and this is the backbone of the American family and economy:

“The last thing our economy needs right now is a massive tax hike on families and small businesses -- and that’s what the House Democratic leaders’ plan would mean. We will oppose their job-killing tax hike and do everything we can to stop it. Republicans made a pledge to America to permanently stop all of the tax hikes scheduled for January 1st, and that’s what we’re going to fight for. Extending all of the current tax rates, and making them permanent, will reduce the uncertainty in our economy and help small businesses create jobs again." John Boehner, GOP Leader

**No end in sight to U.S. economic crisis as 'scariest jobs chart ever' shows post-recession unemployment is at its worst since World War Two Drudge


**Here comes another one, so says

and a little help from Chabad

03 December 2010

Regime America in downspiral ... End of an empire?

Aluf Benn (editor-at-large for Haaretz Newspaper) castigates the United States as an empire in decline. Israelmatzav comments ... Benn further says" ... WikiLeaks did not succeed in penetrating the most sensitive channels of U.S.-Israel relations."

It seems most of the damage was done to America; the world's condemnation from it's embarrassment is to find a way to 'blame it on the Jews.' Hopefully it will not happen this time, and the blame will land instead in the lap of those who deserve it.

The Headlines in America are incresingly foreboding:


Failure by Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts, especially locking in the 15 percent capital gains tax rate, will spark a stock market sell off starting December 15 as investors move to lock in gains at a lower rate than the 20 percent it would jump to next year, warn analysts. Market Crash.


Assistance Funds Quickly Depleted... 'Almost like being in soup line during great depression'...

Despite the freezing temperatures, hundreds fought for a place in line in Marietta to apply for federal aid to help pay their heat and power bills this ... "It was freezing," applicant Linda Benefield told WSB-TV. "I was in line for three hours and 15 minutes, but I needed the help."

01 December 2010

So Much For Palestinian Revisionism ...

FATAH declares:
NO to Israel as Jewish State,
NO to interim borders,
NO to land swaps.

To the children of Yishmael, born from Ibrahim and Hagar, and to your brothers born from Ibrahim and Ketura ... that we find a way to live side by side ... this is for the betterment of the children of the world.

The QUR'AN says: the Torah belongs to the Jews.

Qur'an says: "He [Allah] has raised up prophets among you, made you kings, and given you that [the Torah and the Land of Israel] which He has given to no other nation. Enter, my people, the holy land [of Israel] which God has assigned for you. Do not turn back, and thus lose all'". [Qur'an, sura 5:20, "The Table"]

What the Qur'an Really Says by Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi:

Prof. Palazzi continues to say:
" Viewing the Jewish return to Israel as a Western invasion and Zionists as recent colonizers is new. It has no basis in authentic Islamic faith. According to the Qur'an, no person, people or religious community can claim a permanent right of possession over any territory. The Earth belongs exclusively to God, and He is free to entrust sovereignty over land to whomever He likes for whatever time period that He chooses."

The TORAH (the Five Books of Moses, given at Mt. Sinai) gives witness to the creation of the world and the peoples of the world.

The TORAH says: The Land of Israel was taken from the Caananites and given to Avraham's descendants: Yitzchak Avinu (born to Avraham and Sarah, and brother to Yishmael) ben Avraham Avinu, and to Yaakov Avinu ben Yitzchak Avinu, as an inheritance to their ancestors, the Yehudim, the Jewish People. The Jewish People today are the children/descendants of Yaakov's twelve children, that were scattered among the nations after (each time) they lost both of their Holy Temples. The Torah explains how one day these children that were scattered will once again return to the Land.

The Sources can be found in:

The first Rashi, "In the beginning Hashem created the heavens and the earth" ...Rashi: Rabbi Yitzchak said "surely the Torah should have begun from the words, 'this month shall be for you (shemos 12:2) the first commandment the Jewish people were given. Why does it begin with, 'in the beginning' ? The reason is he declared to his people the power of his works in order to give them the inheritance of the nations (Psalms 111:6). If the nations of the world will say to the Jewish people, you are robbers, for you seized the land of the seven nations who inhabited caanan, they will reply: the whole earth belongs to g-d. He created it and granted it to whomever was deemed fit in his eyes: it was his will that they should have it; and by his will, he
took it from them and gave it to us ( the Jewish people)."

Parshas Toldos, 26:2-5: "Hashem appeared to him and said, 'do not descend to Egypt, dwell in the land that I shall indicate to you ... Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and your offspring will I give all these lands, and establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father... I will increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens; and will give to your offspring all these lands; And all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your offspring. Because Abraham obeyed my voice and observed my safeguards, my commandments, my decrees, and my Torahs.' "

Parshas Vayeitzei 28:13. "...and behold: Hashem was standing over him, and He said, I am Hashem, G-d of Abraham your father, and G-d of Yitshak; the ground upon which you are lying, to you will I give it and to your descendants."

Vayeitzei 28:15. " ... And I will return you to this soil."

This political chess game is no more than an unrelenting hatred because Yishmael sold his birthright, and it will never be forgiven by the Muslims. Today's young Muslim children are learning all they will need to know in the future, when they will become enlisted soldiers in the war against the Jews:

A Very Interesting Interview

The Tamar Yonah interview with Prof. of Arab Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Mordechai Kedar on Islamic Aims and Claims on Jerusalem This show focuses on Islam's interest on Jerusalem. Muslims claim Jerusalem as their 3rd holiest city, yet 'Jerusalem' is not mentioned in the Koran even once. For the three part series, visit here. Dr. Mordechai Kedar served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. He is a lecturer in Arabic studies at Bar-Ilan University. He is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.

An interview with Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer from Bar Ilan University’s Department of Arabic Studies who states unequivocally that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people.

17 November 2010

Test Run or More Iranian Bluster

JPost article: The AP Reports Teheran's radar stations reported 6 cases of unidentified jets entering country's air territory during nationwide defense drill.

Iran on Wednesday said that unidentified foreign planes violated its air space six times as the country kicked off its biggest ever air defense drill but that the intruders were intercepted and forced back by Iranian jets.

Was this a 'coincidental happening' in the face of Teheran's biggest ever war games defense drill? [There is nothing coincidental on the face of the earth]

Or was it more proffering to enhance their supposed capabilities?

And Reuters is aiding Teheran by reporting:

* Iran stages mock interception of warplanes
* Exercises involve protecting nuclear facilities
* Supreme Leader says Iran will not succumb to threats

But, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates argued strongly against the military option just this week, and also indicated that "sanctions are biting hard and triggering divisions among its leadership."

So, why does the Jerusalem Post report the story AS IF the planes could have been from another country?

09 November 2010

3,000,000 Americans Fleeing Yearly


THE TOP ONE PERCENT - 1% top tax payers

• The top-earning 1% of taxpayers earned 20% of the income.
• The top-earning 1% of taxpayers paid 38% of taxes collected.
• That's almost double their share, based upon income.

that most others do not!

To find out, listen to this interview on
the Tamar Yonah Show.

Action America to read about "The Economy Bomb"

24 October 2010

Out of the Closet, Finally ...

... We now see who is behind and who is orchestrating the pressure on tiny little Jewish Eretz Yisrael.

"Vatican City - Bishops from the Middle East who were summoned to Rome by the pope demanded Saturday that Israel accept U.N. resolutions calling for an end to its “occupation” of Arab lands...." Vatican

And now you must read the brilliant post by Jewish End of Days, entitled "Time to Vote."

Measure for Measure

Regrettably, an Arab declaration of a Palestinian State is really just the chickens coming home to roost, and has a connected and clear historical precedent.

In 1947, faced with the choice of an American declared truce or declaring an independent state, secular leaders of Yishuv E”Y decided to declare a state:

. . . by virtue of “natural and historic right” and based on the United Nations resolution… Hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel to be known as the State of Israel . . .

And so to, we can reasonably foresee an announcement in the upcoming months:

. . . by virtue of “natural and historic right” and based on the United Nations resolution… Hereby declare the establishment of a Palestinian state in the land of Palestine to be known as the State of Palestine . . .

And to understand the history behind this latest "War Against the Jews/Israelis" by the Catholic Church, and interviewed on the Tamar Yonah show, Dr. Daisy Stern's blog tells it all: Israel Truth Times.

20 October 2010

Winston Churchill on Moslems

Winston Churchill said in year 1921:

..."Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities,
but the influence of the religion paralyses the
social development of those who follow it.
No stronger retrograde force exists in the world."

* The word RETROGRADE refers to an object which moves in the backward direction or degenerates to a worse condition.

* Winston Churchill was British prime minister twice: from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955.

SOURCE: chapter 6, page 53 of Churchill and the Jews by Martin Gilbert, year 2007

From: Quick Quotes from Jewish Torah Sources

PS I'm still in the thick of initial klita (absorption process) to Eretz HaKodesh and whether or not to continue in this place, or create a new more relevant address to write my thoughts and ideas on various issues.

28 September 2010

Olei Teiman in Lod

A Yemeni Beis HaShoeva

"Lubavitch is a uniqe Chassidus, incorporating Yidden from every part of the world. A large number of Anash hail from Yemen, and got their first taste of Chassidus in the yeshiva in Lod. They preserve their heritage in many ways, one being their graceful dances. One can see them at the central Simchas Beis HaShoeva, doing the Yemenite dance step to Lubavitcher niggunim. Shturem

It was supposed to embed, but couldn't get it to work. So, view it here:

07 September 2010

Shana Tova U'Metuka

Wishing everyone a Shana Tova U'Metuka

A Year of Blessing for all Jews, Resolution of Differences, Enchanced HaKoras HaTov between our complicate Family of Jewish Neshomas, the Abolition of the Yetzer HaRah, an awakening of the Pintele Yid in every Jewish soul with a longing to Return to Hashem and to Eretz HaKodesh.

From HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh:


In the 5750s, the Lubavitcher Rebbe made a custom of noting possible acronyms made up of the letters of the year.

The first two letters (which do not change throughout an entire century) always stand for, “May it be a year of” (תְּהֵא שְׁנַת ). What changes is the reference made by the final two letters, in our case עא .

Following the Rebbe’s example,
let us say that they stand for “Divine aid”
(עֵזֶר אֱלֹקִי ).
Thus the simple acronym of the coming year, 771, is
May it be a year of Divine aid (תְּהֵא שְׁנַת עֵזֶר אֱלֹקִי ).

The first phrase that we will look at that equals 771 is taken from the Bible, specifically from the Book of Daniel. To understand this phrase, let us quote from the beginning of chapter 8 in Daniel,

In the third year of the reign of king Belshatzar,
a vision appeared to be, I Daniel… behold, ...

For more intricate details visit: Kabbala of 5771

10 August 2010



We have B"H successfully moved to Eretz HaKodesh and now in the process of getting acclimated.

Deciding whether to continue this blog or begin a new blog elsewhere.

This is why there has been no posting for a while.

Needless to say, I am B:H quite happy; but as for my better half, IY"H we have a way to go.

22 July 2010

Where's the Bow?

Where's the Apology for Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu, who by the way is the democratically elected leader of a sovereign People and State!

You mean it's perfectly ok to disrespect, snub, and embarrass a Leader of another country? Where's the Bow?

The White House did a sudden about-face Wednesday and begged for forgiveness from the black Agriculture Department employee whose ouster ignited an embarrassing political firestorm over race. She was offered a "unique opportunity" for a new job and said she was thinking it over. Yahoo

Division and tension between black and white Americans has cropped up repeatedly over Obama's 18 months in office, hurting his popularity and distracting from his political agenda.

With Apology, Fired Official Is Offered a New Job.....The White House apologized to Shirley Sherrod. The secretary of agriculture apologized to a black civil servant after firing her for remarks taken out of context. The White House and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized profusely and repeatedly on Wednesday to a black midlevel official for the way she had been humiliated and forced to resign her Agriculture Department job after a conservative blogger put out a misleading video clip that seemed to show her admitting antipathy toward a white farmer. NYT.

All Aboard!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

21 July 2010

Remember the '59 Movie: Some Like it Hot!

Well, it wasn't these guys that starred in the Movie, it was Jack Lemon, Tony Curtis, and the sizzling Marilyn Monroe!



New York’s Central Park is heading toward its warmest July on record after two heat waves this month, the National Weather Service reported. Extreme heat pushes aging power systems to their limits, increasing the odds of breakdown, according to grid monitors.

“July may not be the top, but it is going to be in the top five, and this is over 130 years worth of observation, so it is outstanding heat.”

A heat advisory was issued for New York City today, where the temperature in Central Park was 90 at 3 p.m. after three straight days above 90, according to the weather service. The definition of a heat wave is three consecutive days with temperatures of 90 degrees or higher.

Earlier this month, a heat wave gripped New York and the rest of the U.S. Northeast, driving temperatures into the 100s for several days and setting daily records across the region. The Central Park readings came within 3 degrees of the city’s highest temperature on record, 106 on July 9, 1936, according to the weather service.

The world last month posted its warmest June on record and its warmest average temperatures for April to June and January to June, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Global temperatures in June were 61.1 degrees, or 1.22 degrees higher than the 20th century average of 59.9, according to a NOAA statement.

In some locations, temperatures, when combined with humidity, will feel as hot as 115 degrees, according to the weather service. An excessive heat warning is issued when forecasters expect several days of high temperatures and humidity

20 July 2010

VIDEO: 9 AV 5770 - 20 July 2010

The Greeks vs. the Jews: Black Eggs and White Cheese
The Secret of Jewish Resilience

1:30 in the afternoon
by Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson

18 July 2010

Fire Rocks China ... Quake Rocks DC

The Sky is Lighting Up in China
In More Ways Than One ....

INFERNO IN CHINA 2,000 firefighters battle inferno for 15 hours after TWO oil pipelines explode

The first of the two pipelines, both owned by state-owned giant China National Petroleum Corporation, exploded at 6pm. An explosion at a pipe transporting crude oil from a ship to a storage tank blew up yesterday evening, causing a blast at a second, nearby duct.
More than 2,000 firefighters and 338 engines from 14 different cities worked through the night in the north-eastern port of Dalian to put out the blaze which illuminated the sky in a strange orange glow.

UFO OVER CHINA - 2 Sightings – Xiaoshan Airport and Chongqing

A UFO sighting in China over an airport in 2010 has caused a significant amount of buzz. The UFO over China has made many people who are UFO chasers and seekers very excited about the prospects of another world trying to make contact in China. The sightings come near the anniversary of the infamous UFO sightings in New Mexico in 1947 called “The Roswell Incident.”

These days the incident looks more believable, but with technology comes the ability to make things appear to be true, even if they aren’t. This could be true of the UFO in China. According to CNN, The UFO over China first appeared over an airport, and then over the city of Chongqing. The Chongqing sighting left lantern-like lights appearing in the sky, which made many people stand and watch in awe.

What could be the explanation for the UFO sightings in China? One such explanation could be that there was some sort of military exercise that was top-secret being perpetrated over the sky. Still there are others that conclude that this is the most credible UFO sighting, and means that there is another planet of beings ready to make contact with us. No matter what you believe, this is a great story.

While Over in D.C.
Mayland 3.6 Earthquake Shakes up Obama's House
early Friday reports that a 'minor' earthquake shook residents awake in the DC area. The quake hit 5:04 am and was centered in the Rockville, MD area. Aftershocks could occur over the next couple days.

13 July 2010

Witness the New Air Conditioner

Circa 1868:

New York is no stranger to brutal heat waves. But thanks to air conditioning, newspapers no longer have to print a daily list of “heat prostrations,” which included dozens of citizens overcome by hot weather. A check of The New York Times archive drew story after story on a specific heat spell, plus a list of people felled by heatstroke.

An article about an 89-degree day in June 1899 listed these casualties:

“Isaac Shapiro, fifty-eight years old, of 292 Division Street, was overcome in front of his home. He was removed to Gouverneur Hospital. “An unknown woman, poorly dressed and about sixty years old, was found unconscious last night at Locust Avenue and 133rd Street by Policeman McGrath of the East 138th Street Station. The woman seemed to have been overcome by heat. She was taken to Harlem Hospital.”



The Washington Post has an article about a world without Air Conditioning: "In a country that's among the world's highest greenhouse-gas emitters, air conditioning is one of the world power-guzzlers...A/C's obvious public-health benefits during severe heat waves does not justify its lavish use in everyday life for months on end..." See Washington area boils under High Heat, a nice collage of 36 - washingtonians in the heat.


While we're into nostalgia from the early days of New York here are some interesting tidbits. Most of these come from:

Ephemeral New York

Chrown Heights is an antique treasure: Here is Raskins Fish Market still
going strong in Crown Heights, bears the original signage from 1961 with the old phone exchanges. In the SLS-9521 phone number, the SLS stands for Slocum (that's another old story about Brooklyn).

Eastern Parkway was conceived in 1866 as the nation's first Parkway:

Here's how it looked in 1920

The Rebbe's Eastern Parkway today
(by Yehuda Ceitlin/


What to do on a sweltering hot day: go to the beach!

Williamsburg was a separate city
In 1827, long before it became home to hipsters and Hasidic Jews, Williamsburg was established as the Village of Williamsburgh

Grand Army Plaza's Civil War President

Inside the Memorial Arch is a relief of President Lincoln, on horseback.

12 July 2010

Before we Enter our Homeland ...

We need to understand Our Journeying ...

Two Roads Diverged In the Woods of Jewish History

“Moses wrote their departures according to their journeys … and these were their journeys according to their departures.”
-- Numbers 33:2, this week’s Torah portion.

“While the reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
-- George Bernard Shaw

The concluding portion of the Book of Numbers (Maasei), read this week the world over, begins by offering a summation of the Israelites’ forty-year journey through the wilderness, as they ventured toward the Promise Land. This odyssey across the Sinai Peninsula was comprised of forty-two segments, ultimately leading the young nation along the eastern coast of the Jordan River as they prepared to enter the Land of Canaan through the city of Jericho.

The Bible, before documenting the specific route of their journey, notes that “Moses wrote their departures according to their journeys … and these were their journeys according to their departures.”

This diction is as strange as it is perplexing. Three questions come to mind.

First, what is the actual meaning of “departures according to their journeys,” and “journeys according to their departures?”

Second, why is the verse redundant? What is the difference between “departures according to their journeys,” and “journeys according to their departures?”

Third, why does the Torah flip the sequence of terms, first mentioning “departures” followed by “journeys,” and then in the second half of the verse switching the order, referring first to “journeys” and then to “departures?”

Past & future

Two divergent roads define the voyage of Jewish history. There are the Jews who ascribe to the “departure” paradigm, and the Jews who embrace the “journey” paradigm.

The “journeying” Jews focus on the constant changes in history: the fluctuating trends, the cultural developments, the novel inventions, and the newly discovered wisdom. These Jews are sensitive to the winds of progression, to the alterations in the human climate, and to the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. They aspire to define a Judaism – or a philosophy of life -- that would be relevant to the contemporary conversation of humanity in its journey toward its own self-defined “promised land.”

Yet in their zeal to embrace the future, they often abandon the past. In their passion to remain relevant today, they forfeit the power of yesteryear. In their yearning to capture the individual “your,” they neglect the depth of the “yore.” In their ambition to grow tall, they detach from the roots that have given them their original sap.

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong,” Charles Wadsworth once said. The youth, fresh in spirit, creative in ideas, often seeks to chart a new path, to take the road never traveled by. There is something monotonous about traveling in the footsteps of your ancestors, and there is something intoxicating about developing a path you can call your own.

In many ways, it was this perspective which gave birth to the contemporary Jewish world. As the winds of modernity swept Europe, as enlightenment and emancipation cast its glow on a downtrodden nation in the 18th century, millions of Jews felt that clinging to the life style and traditions of their ancestors would impede their bright journey to a new world order. In the process, they bid farewell to the old to embrace the new; they said goodbye to the yore to embrace the “your.”

As we know today, their good intentions were met with profound disappointment. On one hand, enlightenment in Europe and socialism in Russia turned against the Jews, and on the other hand, the descendants of the Jews who embraced them have been lost to our people. In their passion to journey ahead, to revolutionize the past, they failed to realize the power of eternity imbedded in their tradition and faith.

Then there are the “departure” Jews – those who are always looking back to the past, to their point of departure. Their primary focus is on the unchangeable truths of history. Life, in their vision, is not linear, but cyclical. Tradition, ritual, custom, law, faith do not change just because Voltaire gave us Enlightenment, Nietzsche taught us about choice, Tocqueville explained to us democracy, Freud discovered the subconscious, and Barak Obama called for change. “What was good for my great-great grandfather is good for me,” these Jews rooted in tradition exclaim.

Yet in their attempt to hold on to the sacred past, they often stifle the ability to utilize and actualize the new energy of today, to discern the voice of G-d not only in the ancient, but also in the present, not only in the world that was, but also in the world that is. In their hope to continue the chain of history by adding their identically matching link, they fail to create space for freshness, for creativity, for authentic self expression. In their genuine zeal to protect the “piano” of Judaism, they scoff at any new composition, failing to realize that the very same piano keys allow for infinite compositions. The word of G-d, articulated in the Torah, can and must serve as a blueprint for the challenges of today, not only for the dialogue of the past.

The Tree & the Roots

So “Moses wrote their departures according to their journeys … and these were their journeys according to their departures.” The majesty and magic of Jewish history, the Bible is intimating to us, is based on the synthesis between “departures” and “journeys.” The departures – the points of reference that have always defined Judaism – ought to serve as catalysts for the journeys of the future, invigorating growth and inspiring expansiveness. Conversely, the journeys toward new horizons ought to be “according to their departures,” founded and inspired on the timeless values of our faith and our Torah.

Just as Moses wrote the first chapter of Jewish history, we all are summoned to write our own. Let the tree grow taller and taller, but let it never fail its roots. Rather, let the roots exclaim, “Look how beautiful and tall my tree has grown.”

Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson

Mayim Achronim — Balak

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