Tuesday 30 September 2014

Germany Funding Questionable Projects

The Lawfare Project:

«NEW from LP fellow Vijeta Uniyal


Despite Chancellor Merkel's recent high-profile call to fight rising anti-Semitism, the German tax payer remains one of the leading sponsors of hate groups targeting Israel and the Jewish people. ....

According to conservative estimates provided by the watchdog group NGO Monitor, between 2010 and 2014 the German government gave more than €4 million to organizations in Israel and the Palestinian territories that are actively running campaigns to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel.»
גמר חתימה טובה
Best Wishes for 5775, RRW

What must one do to be pardoned of transgression?

What must one do to be pardoned of transgression? A short Rosh Hashanah story,
How to be Forgiven of Sin, 
 ...     Rachmiel Tobesman Rabbi/Educator at Project Shalom

Short story about teshuvah/repentance and forgiveness,
Repentance Out of Love, 
one who acts with love will know love
 ...     Rachmiel Tobesman Rabbi/Educator at Project Shalom

Sometimes a person does not know the greatness of the King of kings, a short story,
A Rock and the King's Greatness, 
 ...     Rachmiel Tobesman Rabbi/Educator at Project Shalom

A short story of a king's forgiveness to a thief
The King, the Thief the True Penitant, 
everyone can be forgiven  
 ...     Rachmiel Tobesman Rabbi/Educator at Project Shalom  

Kol Tuv,

Monday 29 September 2014

Demonizing can Be a Prelude to Holocaust. It was in Germany of the 1930's

Demonizing the Jews: Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Kol Tuv,

Bayyom Hahu - Will we one Day See a United "World" Religion? - 1

Reckoning at Nariman House - The Jewish Standard

Will we see the Day of a United World Religion?
«Such an assertion might seem to be ridiculous, given the existence of numerous dharma shastras — codes of conduct — that lay down the rules for various aspects of human life, such as commerce, food, purity, marriage, and so on. However, these codes do not include the intricate binding of the divine with the mundane that you find in the Gemara. In contrast, the Talmudic exposition involves not just the application of laws to daily life, but more importantly, the linking of these laws with overarching ethical principles, such as "Love your neighbor as thyself," "Do not do unto others what is hateful to you," "Uphold the rights of the orphan; defend the cause of the widow." and others....»

On the Other Hand
«This, however, is not the only expression of Chabad universality that was evident as Mumbai's Chabad house reopened. The second and perhaps more important was the presentation, at a dinner reception later that evening, of plans for a museum at the Nariman House site. Only three floors of the six floors of Nariman House Chabad Center are ready now. There is a mikvah at the entrance level of the building, there is an industrial kitchen on the first floor, and there are plans to open a restaurant where the synagogue and offices are, on the third floor. The fourth, fifth, and sixth floors have been kept as they were left, devastated by the ravages of the terrorists and the local security forces, with gunshots and wreckage everywhere. Chabad plans to open a museum on these floors.» 

Kol Tuv,

Can Someone be an Anti-Semite and Pro-Israel

Many "Anti-Zionists" protest that they are not Anti-Semites.

Richard Nixon might have been the converse. An Anti-Semite* who was Pro-Israel

Could Nixon Be An Anti-Semite And A Friend Of Israel? | The Jewish Week

* Nixon's brand of Anti-Semitism seems to have been just an offshoot of his more ubiquitous paranoia. He did not seem to run the government to hurt Jews, per se.

Kol Tuv,

Sunday 28 September 2014

Who are the European Jewish Congress and Why Haven’t You Heard of Them? | worldjewishvoices

«There's a reason why you have not heard of the EJC, and it is genuinely troubling. As European Jews face the vast threat of anti-Semitism, the likes of which have not been seen since the 1930's, and Crimean Jews are fast becoming refugees – not to mention Iran's nuclear threat against Israel- we need strong leadership that will fight for us»

Kol Tuv,

Shiur Central - Shabbat Shuvah

Kol Tuv,

Gazans Speak Out: Hamas War Crimes


«While the world's media has been blaming Israel for the death of Gazan civilians during Operation Protective Edge, this correspondent decided to speak with Gazans themselves to hear what they had to say.

"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.

"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.

"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did."
— D., Gazan journalist.

"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield."
— K., graduate student

"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas."
— E., first-aid volunteer.

"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here."
— S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.»

Kol Tuv,

Saturday 27 September 2014

Mussar: Suffer Insults Stoically

Yalkut Meam Loez commentary on Kohelet [Ecclesiastes],
chapter 7, verse 22:
*The highest kind of repentance is to
hear yourself insulted and remain silent.*
The Yalkut Meam Loez commentary on Kohelet was written
by Rabbi Shmuel Yerushalmi,
following the death of
Rabbi Yaakov Culi in 1732 CE
in Constantinople.
Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Interviews - Ehud Barak Shattered Dreams Of Peace

Interviews - Ehud Barak | Shattered Dreams Of Peace | FRONTLINE | PBS

«For the Palestinians, it helped them to justify their own behavior -- their lack of readiness and eagerness in implementation, the lack of determination to put an end to terror, the lack of determination to put an end to incitement, the lack of determination to arrest Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They needed this excuse, and they used it»
Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Huffington Post: Do Evil People Know That They're Evil?

As a follow-up on my previous HuffPost blog, I further expressed some thoughts on how someone doing evil can develop the perception that he/she is not, even doing good. See this in my latest Huffington Post blog: Do Evil People Know That They're Evil?

My original title for the post, btw, was 'Evil as the Delusion of Good' but it was changed by the editors. (I leave it to you to decide which title is better.)

Please feel free to comment here or there.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Netanel Arami HY"D

The Jewish Standard:

OUTRAGE: The terror attack you haven't heard about: 
Netanel Arami was a window-washer who plummeted to his death, when both his main cable and backup cable were cut last week in Petah Tikvah.

Although a gag order in Israel is suppressing the case from the local press, Knesset members and the Arami family have gone public, saying the cables were clearly cut by a group of Arab construction workers working in the same building.

Arami leaves behind two children and his wife is expecting a third. "Safety always came first for him," she told ynet.

Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin reported that Arami's co-worker "arrived there with the police. They went up to the roof and found the slashed rope, heard the Arabs laughing. A rappelling rope that has been cut looks completely different from one that was worn out. And there are two of them – one main rope and one for security."

Police have yet to issue a statement. We will update the story as more facts emerge.

May his memory be a blessing.

שנה טובה!
Best Wishes for 5775, RRW

Monday 22 September 2014

Responses to Terrorism: Europe v. India

«n Europe, displays of ferocity were clearly not a "spontaneous reaction" to the developing situation in Gaza. They were an opportune moment for many to act on their anti-Semitism by dressing it up as a supposedly "genuine concern" for human suffering.

In India, youth groups rallied to show their support for Israel, a fellow democracy under terrorist siege -- a pain known only too well by Indians, who have lost more than 30,000 of their countrymen to terrorism since 1994.

A majority if Indians, whose culture is not tainted by anti-Semitism, can see that Israel not only has the right to defend itself, but an obligation to protect its citizens from terrorism.

The media elites of Europe seem unable to see the threat posed to the West by radical Islamist ideology, which drives countless terrorist outfits, including IS, Hamas and al-Qaida. They also seem unable to distinguish their friends from their foes.»

Kol Tuv,

IsraAID: Mission to Sierra Leone

The Jewish Standard:
IsraAID: The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid is sending medical professionals to Sierra Leone to help patients who have tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus.

The first Israeli professionals will arrive in the African nation this week, IsraAID said in a statement.

During the first phase, the IsraAid team will provide psycho-social support training to local social workers and community organizations struggling to cope with the stress and anxiety of families affected by the Ebola outbreak.

IsraAID also will be working with local government and health providers to increase their service delivery skills and raise awareness of the importance of hygiene and health to prevent the further spread of Ebola.

In the weeks leading up to the mission, supported by the American Jewish Committee and private family foundations, IsraAID has been in discussions with government officials in Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as with the United Nations and the international medical relief teams, to better understand what is needed, the organization said.

At least 4,000 reported cases of Ebola have been reported in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Some 2,600 people have died of the virus in recent weeks.
Source: JTA News
Photo: CBS Local

Kol Tuv,

More Israeli Arabs Doing National Service Than Ever Before

"Today, 3,550 non-Jewish volunteers are doing national service. Compared to the 2,700 doing national service last year, this is an increase of 850 volunteers. Among them, 72 percent are Muslims, 18 percent are Druze and 10 percent are Christians. Part of the service for some is learning Hebrew, as we identified this as the main barrier to their integration into the work force and academic circles. Our surveys show that 85 percent of the non-Jewish volunteers who do national service go on to join the work force and integrate into society. This is tremendous, and we will continue to develop these programs and encourage service, for the sake of the volunteers, their communities and the entire State of Israel."

More Israeli Arabs Doing National Service Than Ever Before - Israel Today | Israel News

Kol Tuv,

Sunday 21 September 2014

Meedah K'neged Meedah

UN Watch:

Terrorism irony: today a suicide bomber in Lebanon attacked a Hezbollah checkpoint, killing 3 gunmen, in latest of similar incidents. Hezbollah pioneered the tactic of suicide bombings in the 1980s, now it's blowing up in their face.


Hezbollah pioneered suicide bombings in 1980s. Now it's blowing up in their face.

Kol Tuv,

Disability Resolution Passed by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA)

Guest Bloggers
Sharon Shapiro-Lacks and Rabbi Michael Levy
* * * * *

Moving Towards A Mandate

Check this Out!” appeared in the subject line on an email to me by Rabbi Barry Kornblau, Director of Member Services from the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA). My heart pounding with anticipation, I double clicked the subject line.  It was a press release entitled “Disabled Jews Strengthen Orthodox Jewish Communities.”  I thought to myself, “This is big… really big.”  The RCA, a major Orthodox Rabbinic association officially proclaims the importance of involving Jews with obvious or hidden disabilities in our communities and for the communities to provide us the access, accommodations, and attitudinal shifts we, Jews with disabilities, need in order to be involved.

Early in 2014, and resulting from prior conversations, Rabbi Kornblau asked us at Yad HaChazakah-The Jewish Disability Empowerment Center  to provide the first draft of the “whereas” and “therefore” provisions for a proclamation regarding the imperatives to expand disability access to and participation in Jewish communities and Torah life.  His request was itself a breakthrough; clear evidence that the RCA, a visionary organization, understood that the voice of the Jewish disability contingent, speaking for itself, is vital in shaping disability policy.  We were gratified that the RCA selected Yad HaChazakah, an organization led by and for Jews with obvious or hidden disabilities within Orthodox parameters, to draft the provisions.

The Torah generally doesn’t speak in terms of “rights” of a particular individual or group.  Instead it stresses one’s obligations toward G-d or one’s fellow community member. We, Jews with disabilities or ongoing conditions, don’t demand “rights” within Torah, per se.  Rather, we understand that the Torah expects us to be part of the community, learn Torah according to our capacities, and perform the many mitzvot (commandments) that apply to us.  We cannot achieve these Torah-based expectations unless our communities eliminate the physical, communication, and attitudinal barriers that prevent us from doing so.

Developing the proclamation, in consultation with Yad HaChazakah’s rabbinic advisor and RCA member, Rabbi Benjamin Hecht, was an awesome responsibility!  It was necessary for the document to stress the Torah’s concerns for human dignity, our responsibilities towards our fellow Jews, and the mandate to be part of community life.  It was vital that it address the broad umbrella of people who are stigmatized due to conditions that affect their appearances, mobility, communication, cognition, mental health, or social or environmental sensitivities.  It was essential to use language that reflects the disability empowerment model; not well intentioned social service, special education, caregiver, or medical-rehabilitation terminology.
Creating a mandate for inclusion in the Orthodox world
Honoring the passage of the Rabbinical Council of America’s Resolution on Increasing Access for and Participation of Jews with Disabilities in the Orthodox World. Rabbi Mark Dratch, RCA Executive Vice President (upper left), Rabbi Michael Levy (Upper right), Rabbi Barry Kornblau, RCA Director of Member Services and Sharon Shapiro-Lacks (lower left).

We congratulate the RCA for its pioneering breakthrough. We look forward to fulfilling the RCA proclamation as we educate Orthodox leaders and community members about the how to better involve people with disabilities in our communities as well as how to push us along with everyone else to learn Torah, do mitzvot and engage in communal services and events. Lastly, we encourage and invite community leaders and members to work with people with the full range of obvious and hidden disabilities and conditions in order to increase disability access and accommodations and to dispel myths and misconceptions.

Sharon Shapiro-Lacks is the Executive Director of Yad HaChazakah-The Jewish Disability Empowerment Center and Rabbi Michael Levy is the Board President. Yad HaChazakah provides guidance, resource information, advocacy, and community for people with obvious or hidden disabilities as we promote access to Jewish community life. Serving all people regardless of background, Yad HaChazakah is led by Jews with disabilities and is operated according to Orthodox Jewish standards. Follow Yad Hachazakah on Facebook.

Has the Left Revived 1930's Anti-Semitism in Our Own Day

From the Jewish Link
Of Bergen County

Should Jews Fear An Independent Scotland? - BY Y. Y. RUBINSTEIN
«Scotland's politics, like its close Celtic cousin Ireland, are overwhelmingly left-leaning. Europe's Left is the home of an anti-Israel bigotry and hysteria, which since "Protective Edge" has very often morphed into 1930's anti-Semitism.»

Double Standard:
«The Scottish Parliament, however, does not believe that this right we Scots claim for our people and country should be extended to the State of Israel and its people when they are unjustly attacked by thousands of rockets.

The Scottish government has called on the UK government in London to review and reconsider the arms export licenses it issues to Israel. Scottish town halls have displayed Palestinian flags as a token of solidarity with the people of Gaza.

I wrote an open letter to the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Sadie Docherty, a few weeks ago:

"In your recent letter to the Mayor of Bethlehem, you express your sympathy for the people of Gaza. You offer no sympathy for the people of Israel who have had to endure thousands of rockets fired at them by the democratically elected government of Gaza, the Islamist Hamas.

Hamas shares precisely the same ideology as the London underground bombers, ISIS, and very importantly from my point of view, the two Islamist terrorists who tried to kill so many Glaswegians at Glasgow airport.

Hamas calls for the killing of all Jews anywhere in the world, whether they are Israeli, Zionist, or like me, non-Zionist. In short Lord Provost, Hamas calls for the deaths of Glasgow's Jews..."

I did not receive the courtesy of an acknowledgment or a reply.»

Kol Tuv,

Friday 19 September 2014

Ohio U pro-Israel students arrested

«...After warning that the students are disturbing the meeting, Marzec reportedly called for their detainment. Sebo and her three fellow activists were then escorted out by Ohio University police officers. The four students were arrested and charged with a fourth degree misdemeanor for disturbing a lawful meeting. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, reported the Athens News. The students pled not guilty in Athens City Municipal Court.

"These students were not a threat to public order or to the public safety," Fingerhut wrote in his letter. ...»
Jewish Ledger | Serving Connecticut's Jewish Communities » Blog Archive » Ohio U pro-Israel students arrested\

Kol Tuv,

Thursday 18 September 2014

The Thomas Jefferson Papers - America and the Barbary Pirates - (American Memory from the Library of Congress)

The Thomas Jefferson Papers - America and the Barbary Pirates - (American Memory from the Library of Congress)


The very First coalition against Moslem Terror

Europe paid the Bribes
America: Millions for Defence and not One Cent for Tribute

Kol Tuv,

Some Sh'mitta Guidelines

Guest Blogger,
Rav Reuven Tradburks
* * * * *

Rav Schachter gave a shiur on Sh'mitta last week and discussed the heter mechira and the objections to it.  
However, he also spoke about whether the consumer may eat the produce from farmers who have used the heter mechira.  He concluded that though there are chumras, he felt that it is mutar to eat heter mechira produce.  

Here is the shiur, the discussion of consuming heter mechira produce begins at 16 minutes.  


There are 2 issues in Sh'mitta.  
1. What the farmer should do and
2. What is mutar for the consumer.  

I personally am going to buy from otzar beit din in order to support the farmers who are trying to keep shmitta without relying on the heter mechira.  

But we ought to be careful to not disparage farmers who are using the heter mechira.  And certainly to not imply that the produce of heter mechira is assur to eat.  People have a right to their own chumras, as does the OU have the right to weigh its considerations when providing a lechatchila hashgacha in chutz laaretz, which is very different than the rabbanuts considerations here in israel.  

People traveling to israel this year will be very confused as to what to do.  I think it is important that rabbonim are aware of Rav Schachter's position and to not disparage rabbanut kashrut that relies on the heter mechira.

Reuven Tradburks

Kol Tuv,

Yitzhak Hofi, former head of Mossad, has passed away at the age of 87.

The Jewish Standard:
Yitzhak Hofi, the former head of Israel's Mossad spy agency, has passed away at the age of 87.

He fought in the 1948 War of Independence, warned of the surprise attack in 1973 that became the Yom Kippur War and played a key role in the legendary hostage rescue in Entebbe.

May his memory be a blessing.
Source: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4571243,00.html

Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Jewish Tribune: Media attention and sound bites

In the wake of Gaza, there is a media war now being fought which many believe Israel is losing. The problem is: how do you fight sound bites with the call to actually think?

Further on this, please go to http://www.jewishtribune.ca/religion/2014/09/16/media-attention-and-sound-bites.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Belz School Faculty Lectures for Yamim Noraim

Forwarded with Permission

------Original Message------
From: Cantorial Council of America
To: Cantorial Council of America
Subject: Belz School Faculty Lectures for Yamim Noraim
Sent: Sep 16, 2014 16:14

Dear CCA Members and Friends
We would like to inform you of a special seminar that the Belz School faculty will conduct at Mount Sinai Jewish Center, 135 Bennett Avenue, New York NY 10040 tomorrow evening, September 17, at 7:30.
The sessions will be as follows:
*Cantor Sherwood Goffin - The History of The Great Bor'chu, Aleinu and Kol Nidre  
  Melodies of the Yamim Noraim.
*Cantor Bernard Beer – The Nusach of the Slichos for the week before Rosh Hashana.
*Cantor Eric Freeman – Niggunim and Congregational Singing for the Yamim Noraim.
We are certain that your Yamim Noraim experience will be greatly enhanced by this presentation by our Belz Faculty members. There is no fee for this seminar. We hope to see you there!
If recordings are made, we will try to distribute to you.
Shalom and a Ktiva Vachatima Tovah to you,
Cantor Sherwood Goffin, CCA President

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 16 September 2014

JVO: Name

Jewish Values Online (jewishvaluesonline.org) is a website that asks the Jewish view on a variety of issues, some specifically Jewish and some from the world around us -- and then presents answers from each of the dominations of Judaism. Nishmablog's Blogmaster Rabbi Wolpoe and Nishma's Founding Director, Rabbi Hecht, both serve as Orthodox members of their Panel of Scholars.

This post continues this series on the Nishmablog that features responses on JVO by one of our two Nishma Scholars who are on this panel. This week's presentation is to one of the questions to which Rabbi Hecht responded.

* * * * *

I was never given a Hebrew name. My father is a non-Jew and my mother is a Jew. I understand that the last part of the Hebrew name is the first part of the father's Hebrew name. What would the method be for determining my Hebrew name be?

A person’s name is a way of distinguishing him/her from others, of identifying the individual as distinct from anyone else. As such, a name must have distinctive features so that thereby we are able to, with few exceptions, identify one individual as separate from another. It is thus important that within the mechanism of a name we are able to narrow down, to a great extent, the individual to whom we are referring.
Within the Jewish world, this is accomplished, generally, through the use of an individual’s personal name with a further reference to a parent. In most cases, the parent mentioned is the father so a full Hebrew name would generally be one’s individual personal name with the further mention that the individual is the son or daughter of the father. When the father is not Jewish, however, this reference to the father is not applied within Jewish Law. The essence of your question is as such: what other criteria is used in the name identification of a person if the father’s name is not used, such as in a case when the father is not Jewish? (The same question may be asked when, for example, the father’s identity is not known.)
The usual custom in such cases is to follow the view of Rema, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 139:3 who states that the name of the father of the mother (i.e. the maternal grandfather) should be used instead of the father’s name. There are those, however, who disagree. See Mishneh Brura 139:10. The second option which then seems to have the most weight is to simply refer to the individual as the son or daughter of Avraham Avinu, Avraham our forefather. So in answer to your question, you have two basic options: either to refer to yourself as the son/daughter of your maternal grandfather or as the son/daughter of Avraham.
I should mention, perhaps, that there are actually also two other possibilities. As reference in a name is given to the mother in certain cases -- such as in prayers for health – the option to refer to you as the son/daughter of your mother is also presented, within the literature, as a possibility. The idea that perhaps you should just refer to yourself with one name, your personal individual one, is also found. These two latter options, however, reflect limited, minority opinions and, in the determination of your Hebrew name, it would be best if you choose one of the first two options.

In your opinion: Are Crazy Jewish Superstitions Proliferating?

Guest Blogger
Rav Dov Fischer
* * * * *

Every other Sunday morning, I teach an intense text-based class in halakha and in related Judaic social, cultural, and historic matters to a group of 25 women who attend by invitation only, so the group is not an average group.  They are profoundly intelligent, many with advanced secular degrees, and others equally brilliant just without the documentation.

This morning we covered three subjects, primarily focusing on Eruv Tavshilin, the composition of Avinu Malkeinu, and halakhot regarding who is eligible to serve as shat"z for the Yomim Nora'im.  And then we came to the open-ended questions and answers.

Somehow, as the Q&A discussion unfolded at class's end, one question led to another, as people inquired about a proliferation of crazy superstitions that now are taking hold in segments of the Orthodox community.  Someone asked about an email she had received, advocating a certain outlier practice, and then another mentioned something else crazy, and finally one of our regulars observed her perception that, in an era that boasts so much intellectualism and rationalism and book learning, it seems striking that so much craziness is proliferating within Orthodoxy.  My instant gut reaction — the instant answer I offered at Q&A time — is that, with the wonderful rise of many ba'alei teshuvah, we find many of them desperately seeking to leave behind their previous über-sophisticated secular university worlds and seeking sincerely to return to a pre-modern level of authenticity.  Their problem is that, as they pursue authenticity, they do not know what is authentic and what is nonsense.  Unlike the better educated and committed FFBs among us, who have some sense of sources and learning and authenticity from a lifetime of immersion, who grew up with it and lived among it and grew up with rabbonim and with frum people and got a sense of what is normative and what is bubbe-maisos, a whole new world without roots suddenly is trying to reclaim roots without knowing what is real and what is Memorex and what is utter nonsense.

So we find people wearing red strings, thinking that will make them holy or successful or blessed.  A new craziness where people are calling friends or relatives across the country to bake and distribute 20 challahs on Erev Shabbat, in order to save someone who is ill.  The annual lemming-like pilgrimage of more than 30,000 Jewish men, who leave behind their wives and children for the Yomim Nora'im, to spend the holiest days of the year amid the drunken anti-Semites of Uman, Ukraine.  Again, the insane red strings on the wrists.  People who are m'chalel Shabbat and who eat n'veilot u-treifot, but protect themselves and gain special points in Heaven with a red wrist string.  A new email that every mitzvah that is done between 17 Elul and Rosh Hashanah counts as 12 mitzvos.

Where does this come from?  Has it always been this crazy?  I remember my Mother, zikhronah livrakhah, requiring me to walk back over my reclining sister if I initially had walked over her.  That is, if my sister was lying on the floor reading a book, and I happened to walk over her, then I was required to walk back over her.  But at least my Mom z"l did not couch the rule in religion, as though this was going to change G-d's plan.

Is this only in my inbox?  Or, perhaps, am I the one who is wrong?  Could my father have been saved from dying of leukemia if eight or nine women on the block each had baked 20 challahs — totaling some 160 or 180 challos — every Friday for him?  Do the 30,000 lemmings who trek to Uman objectively register better income and health during the following twelve months than do those who stay home and spend Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with their wives and children?  What is going on, and does this concern us as rabbonim who are empowered by our kehillot to lead them on a Torah path?

— Dov Fischer

Kol Tuv

On the Sale of Kibbudim for the Holidays

בנערותי הרגשתי מאוד לא נוח, כשראיתי  את אווירת "שוק הפישפשים" בבית הכנסת, בעת מכירת העליות, לא הבנתי את שמחת ה"עשיר התורן" שהצליח ל"השיג" "עליה במחיר מציאה", ואת קנאת חבריו ששילמו מחיר גבוה יותר שנה לפני כן, עבור אותה עליה..

אף שכשהתבגרתי לא  אהבתי את מה שראו עיני, הרי  אוירת המכירות  יותר לא "כאבה" לי, הבנתי שזו הדרך היחידה להוציא מהעשירים כסף, ...


Kol Tuv,

Sunday 14 September 2014

Remember Amaleik

UN Watch:

Now online: another part of UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer's recent debate at the UN session on Gaza. "I ask each ambassador in this chamber to take a moment and imagine terrorists deliberately firing deadly rockets at the airports of Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, or Frankfurt; Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, or Tokyo. How would your government react?"


Kol Tuv,

Why Did So Many Muslims Seem to Celebrate 9/11? - US News


«This Islamist insurgency is certainly not all of Islam. And in his book Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, the French scholar Gilles Kepel makes the persuasive case that Islamism itself has split into moderate and extreme elements, with the former championing various notions of Muslim democracy and the latter resorting to violence and terrorism to bring about totalitarian theocracies. Indeed, Kepel argues that September 11 was a last-ditch effort on the part of Islamist extremists to revive their waning movement. "In spite of what many hasty commentators concluded in its aftermath," Kepel writes, "the attack on the United States was a desperate symbol of the isolation, fragmentation, and decline of the Islamist movement, not a sign of its strength and irrepressible might."»

I don't think Kepel got this right...

Kol Tuv,

Saturday 13 September 2014

Mussar: Anger is Alienating

Derech Emet:

Yalkut Meam Loez commentary on Kohelet [Ecclesiastes],
chapter 7, verse 9:
An angry man is soon hated in his own house.

Kol Tuv,

Friday 12 September 2014

Operation Boat-Lift

This Must see video of amazing rescue on 9/11 was shown at a 9-11 Memorial Service in Rochelle Park, NJ

Kol Tuv,

Thursday 11 September 2014

Can Kohanim visit Ground Zero?

Misaskim Joins Rabbonim at Ground Zero on Kohanim Question

Can kohanim visit Ground Zero? This was a question addressed by more than 20 rabbonim who visited the site at the invitation of the 9/11 Museum. An earlier gathering of the Rabbonim at Misaskim Headquarters resulted in a p'sak that kohanim could visit the site. The issue became even more important as the Medical Examiner last month released some remains to be interred in a room at the 9/11 Museum.

In addition to the rabbonim, the special meeting was also attended by officials of the Medical Examiner's Office as well as engineers who were involved in the design and construction of the museum. They provided the rabbonim with precise details on the location of the remains and the layout of the area. A key ingredient in the success of the meeting was Misaskim's outstanding relationship with the Office of the Medical Examiner, headed by Acting Chief Barbara Sampson, who had already worked out with Misaskim groundbreaking accommodations for our community. In the end, the Rabbonim agreed that kohanim could visit the site and even the 9/11 Museum. 

Kol Tuv,

Joan Rivers: Just How DO you Spell Palestinian?

שנה טובה!
Best Wishes for 5755, RRW

Wednesday 10 September 2014


«Egyptian Foreign ministry denies offering Mahmoud Abbas land in peninsula; Palestinians claim story fabricated Israeli statesmen responded favorably to reports of an Egyptian-led proposal aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the Sinai Peninsula in order to resolve the issue of refugees.

Earlier in the day, Egypt's Foreign Ministry denied reports of the initiative, which claimed President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi presented Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with the proposal. The ministry added that the proposal was actually made in the past by ousted President Mohammed Morsi.»
i24news - See beyond

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Be Proud of Israeli Technology

The Jewish Standard:

Israeli innovation will improve your experience on planet Earth, whether you like it or not. We like it. A lot.

Source: Untold News

Kol Tuv,

Huffington Post: The Problem With Deeming Someone "Evil"

The basic question is whether the one doing evil perceives himself/herself as such. The challenge is that there is a great difference in how to relate to one who, on some level, recognizes his/her actions as evil and one who does not -- even perceiving them as, in fact, good. I expressed my thoughts further on this in my latest Huffington Post blog: The Problem With Deeming Someone "Evil"

My original title for the post, btw, was 'Determining Good and Evil' but it was changed by the editors. (I leave it to you to decide which title is better.)

Please feel free to comment here or there.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Monday 8 September 2014

UN Watch on Human Rights Watch

UN Watch shared the following link and had this to say about it:

In a strange boast, Ken Roth, the head of Human Rights Watch, just tweeted about how
"HRW refuses to take one cent from any government. Our independence from all governments matters more."
Except that in 2009, The Atlantic exposed how Roth's deputy raised money in SAUDI ARABIA by highlighting HRW's "investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel's 'supporters,' who are liars and deceivers."
HRW raised money from Saudis by highlighting their war with Israel's "supporters," who are liars and deceivers. 

Kol Tuv,

Why They Were Beheaded - By R Ben Blech

«Human beings, we are told in the Bible, are created in the image of God. It is not in our physical appearance that we share a likeness to our Creator. It is in our minds that we share of his wisdom, intuit his greatness, and sense his sanctity. That is why our heads are given the task to direct messages to the rest of our bodies. From there come the signals that oversee all of our actions.

No wonder that Jews are commanded to daily bind tefillin – phylacteries - "for a sign upon their hands and for frontlets between their eyes." There are two components to this mitzvah, two symbolic boxes to serve as reminders of our link with God and our need to live lives of holiness. One box is placed on our hand to symbolize that we dedicate our deeds to God. The other is on our head, over the seat of our intellectual activity. Its message is to make clear that we understand ultimate sovereignty of our actions comes from the free willed decisions of our minds, keys to our shared image with our Creator.»
Kol Tuv,

Sunday 7 September 2014

A Non-Jew seeing non-Mevushal Wine‏

א. נגיעה של הגוי ביין או טלטול הבקבוק כשהוא פתוח - אוסרים את היין. נגיעה בבקבוק, ואפילו הזזתו ללא טלטול מכוון של היין - אינן אוסרות את היין בשתייה.1 אם הגוי מוזג את היין לכוס, לדעת השולחן ערוך נאסר הן היין הנמזג לכוס והן זה שנשאר בבקבוק (מדין 'ניצוק'), ולדעת הרמ''א במקרה של הפסד היין שבבקבוק לא נאסר.2
ב. אם הגוי נגע ביין בלי כוונה, כגון שלא התכוון לנגוע או שלא ידע שזה יין, הרי היין אסור בשתייה ולא בהנאה. אם זהו גוי שאינו עובד עבודה זרה, כגון מוסלמי, היין מותר גם בשתייה. לדעת הפוסקים האשכנזים, במקום הפסד ניתן להקל בכך גם לגבי הנוצרים שבזמננו.3

1 .(שולחן ערוך שם סימן קכד סעיפים יא, יח ובש''ך שם. לגבי משמעות השכשוך עיינו בבית יוסף יו''ד סימן קכד,יג (א

2 שם סימן קכה,א. הרמ"א שם אמנם מזכיר הפסד מרובה, אך עיינו שם בש''ך ס''ק ב, שבגויים שאינם רגילים לנסך לעבודה זרה, היין שבבקבוק מותר גם בהפסד מועט.

3 שולחן ערוך יו"ד סימן קכד,ז; שם כד ובש"ך ס"ק עא; חכמת אדם כלל עו סעיף יב.

Grandma's Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes

«Your ancestors' lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.
By Dan Hurley|Tuesday, June 11, 2013
[This article originally appeared in print as "Trait vs. Fate"]
Darwin and Freud walk into a bar. Two alcoholic mice — a mother and her son — sit on two bar stools, lapping gin from two thimbles.
The mother mouse looks up and says, "Hey, geniuses, tell me how my son got into this sorry state."
"Bad inheritance," says Darwin.
"Bad mothering," says Freud.
For over a hundred years, those two views — nature or nurture, biology or psychology — offered opposing explanations for how behaviors develop and persist, not only within a single individual but across generations.
And then, in 1992, two young scientists following in Freud's and Darwin's footsteps actually did walk into a bar. And by the time they walked out, a few beers later, they had begun to forge a revolutionary new synthesis of how life experiences could directly affect your genes — and not only your own life experiences, but those of your mother's, grandmother's and beyond.
The bar was in Madrid, where the Cajal Institute, Spain's oldest academic center for the study of neurobiology, was holding an international meeting. Moshe Szyf, a molecular biologist and geneticist at McGill University in Montreal, had never studied psychology or neurology, but he had been talked into attending by a colleague who thought his work might have some application. Likewise, Michael Meaney, a McGill neurobiologist, had been talked into attending by the same colleague, who thought Meaney's research into animal models of maternal neglect might benefit from Szyf's perspective.
"I can still visualize the place — it was a corner bar that specialized in pizza," Meaney says. "Moshe, being kosher, was interested in kosher calories. Beer is kosher. Moshe can drink beer anywhere. And I'm Irish. So it was perfect."»
Grandma's Experiences Leave Epigenetic Mark on Your Genes | DiscoverMagazine.com
Kol Tuv,

Saturday 6 September 2014

Mussar - From Another World

Yalkut Me'am Loez commentary on Kohelet [Ecclesiastes],
chapter 3, verse 15:
When a person is persecuted in this world, it is a sign that he does not really belong to this world. 
It indicates that he is related to a
higher plane of existence, closer to G-d.
The Yalkut Meam Loez commentary on Kohelet was written by Rabbi Shmuel Yerushalmi, following the death of Rabbi Yaakov Culi
in 1732 CE in Constantinople.
Kol Tuv,

Friday 5 September 2014

Thursday 4 September 2014

A Funny Thing Happened Late One Night

It was Tuesday Night August 19 after 8:30 PM and we were about to close up the restaurant. A young man comes strolling down the street with a baseball cap on backwards with OU on it. No, not an Orthodox Union cap, but an Oklahoma University Sooner cap.

We start chatting. This fellow is from Atlanta, Ga and lives in Efrat. He was serving in Gaza, after being activated from his reserve status. During his service in Gaza, he injured his knee and was sent home.

He gathered his family and took off to the USA. [Secretly - I wondered if this was due to his having "enough of the war"]. He said he wanted to speak out across the USA about the Miracle.

"What Miracle?" I asked

"That thousands of Rockets are fired at Israel without any civilian casualties."

He told me he had just recently spoken at R Pruzansky's shul [Cong. Bnai Yeshurun]

I asked his name and I gave him my business card. He told me that he is also the Deputy Director of World Mizrachi. Having forgotten his name I Googled his title and here it is...

Jeremy Gimpel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


It was also a small miracle just to "run into him" like that and I just had to share this with my Havrusa, my family, and everyone else :-).

Kol Tuv,

Steven Sotloff OBM

The Jewish Standard:
«BREAKING: The ISIS terrorist group has released a video showing the murder of American Jewish journalist Steven Sotloff.

May his memory be a blessing and may his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

We will NOT be publishing the video of his execution.»
Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Who is J Street?

«J Street identifies Avram Burg as one of its leading supporters. Burg says that "Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they [suicide bombers] come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centres of Israeli escapism." He also likens modern-day Israel to Nazi Germany.

When Israel (in December 2008) launched "Operation Cast Lead," a military operation aimed at stopping the incessant rocket attacks that Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists had been directing against southern Israel for several years, J Street accused the Israeli Defense Forces of war crimes. »

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Summary of Hilchot T'vilat Keilim based upon the Decisions of R Ovadyah Yosef Z"L

יהדות נט - הלכות טבילת כלים הנקנים מגוי ע"פ פסקי הרב עובדיה יוסף


עובד על פי הספר "קיצור שלחן ערוך - ילקוט יוסף", להרה"ג יצחק יוסף שליט"א
Shalom and Best Regards,
ועל מי יש לנו להשען?
על אבינו שבשמים.

Monday 1 September 2014

Jimmy Carter to Headline Fundraiser for Hamas Front Group


Kol Tuv,

Concerning Infidels‏

I received this in an email and felt that I should pass it on.

This is a true story and the author, Rick Mathes, is a well-known leader in prison ministry.

The man who walks with God always gets to his destination.
If you have a pulse you have a purpose.

The Muslim religion is the fastest
growing religion per capita in the
United States , especially in the
minority races!!
Last month I attended my annual
training session that's required for
maintaining my state prison
security clearance.
During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers
representing the Roman Catholic,
Protestant and Muslim faiths,
who each explained their beliefs.
I was particularly interested in
what the Islamic had to say.
The Muslim gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video.

After the presentations, time was
provided for questions and answers.
When it was my turn, I directed
my question to the Muslim and asked:
'Please, correct me if I'm wrong,
but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared
a holy jihad [Holy war] against the
infidels of the world and, that by
killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims)
they are assured of a place in heaven.
If that's the case, can you give me
the definition of an infidel?'

There was no disagreement with my
statements and, without hesitation,
he replied, 'Non-believers!'

I responded, 'So, let me make sure
I have this straight. All followers of
Allah have been commanded to kill
everyone who is not of your faith so
they can have a place in heaven.
Is that correct?'

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.'

He sheepishly replied, 'Yes.'
I then stated, 'Well, sir, I have
a real problem trying to imagine The Pope commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr.Stanley ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a place in heaven!'
The Muslim was speechless!
I continued, 'I also have a problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics
are telling your followers to kill me! Let me ask you a question: Would you rather have your Allah,
who tells you to kill me in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and He wants youto be there with me?'

You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame.

Needless to say, the organizers
 and/or promoters of the
'Diversification' training seminar
were not happy with my way of dealing with the Islamic Imam,
and exposing the truth about the Muslims' beliefs.

In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the President!

I think everyone in the WORLD!!!
should be required to read this,
but with the ACLU, there is no
way this will be widely
publicized, unless each of us
sends it on! This is your chance
to make a difference...