Friday 31 October 2014

Israel - Without Words

The Jewish Standard:

No, seriously, this video has no words, yet the images alone manage to distill the incredible places and people of the Promised Land into a short clip that will have you checking the prices on plane tickets all afternoon.

Good job, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs!
Kol Tuv,

Thursday 30 October 2014

Drama of the Ingathering Exiles from Ethiopia

The Jewish Standard:

This captures some of the most emotional moments in the Israeli drama of ingathering exiles, reuniting families and solidifying the Zionist dream - and it was made as an ad for a cell phone carrier.

Am Yisrael Chai

Update on Ethiopian Jewish Aliyah today:

YouTube link:
Kol Tuv,

Hamas admits it is rebuilding terror tunnels

«Hamas's Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades has openly stated that it is rebuilding the terror tunnels that were destroyed by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge this summer, according to a reporter from the Gaza-based newspaper Al-Resalah, who witnessed diggers at work during a visit to a tunnel site on Sunday. The repairs to the tunnel had started "during one of the humanitarian cease-fires reached during the war," the commander of the digging team told the reporter. "Hamas did not wait a single moment after the last round of fighting, and began its rearmament in anticipation of another round," a senior Israeli diplomatic source said, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.»
Jewish Ledger | Serving Connecticut's Jewish Communities » Blog Archive » Hamas admits it is rebuilding terror tunnels

Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 29 October 2014

The Media and its Demons


I commented:
«I wonder how the media will spin this into a "Israel Kills Babies in Gaza" story?»

A Rabbinical Colleague responded:

Here it is:

Daven well my friends!

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Breaking NEWS: The RCA Will Appoint 5-6 Women to New GPS Standards Committee
«Rabbi Shmuel Goldin  has been appointed to chair a new RCA committee to review all conversion practices and standardize practices among the Batei Din to ensure proper respect and dignity is afforded to all converts. There will be six men on the committee and five or six women, including converts, rabbis  and mental health professionals. The committee will be tasked with collecting data and will come up with concrete recommendations to prevent any future abuses.» 

Kol Tuv,

Chareidism vs. Centrism

Harry Maryles
«..., Rabbi Emanuel Feldman is one of my favorite writers. I tend to agree with him on most issues. At the same time, I find myself often differing with the views of his brother, Ner Israel Rosh HaYeshiva Rav Aharon Feldman. I guess being brothers does not mean thinking alike. ...»
Emes Ve-Emunah: Kipa Versus Yarmulke

Kol Tuv,

Monday 27 October 2014

Jewish Ethics

At Nishma, we will be devoting much of our studies this year on Jewish Ethics with special on their 
In this regard, we invite you to view the following video on Koshertube
Dynamics of Jewish Ethics - Intro
We also invite you to continue to check Koshertube on a regular basis 
for more shiurim on Jewish ethics 

Israel and the House of Commons: A Word of Caution by Douglas Aronin

«... Dismayed as I am by last week's vote, we do need to keep it in perspective.  The motion is not binding on the British government and will have no immediate impact on British foreign policy. Prime Minister David Cameron made it clear in a statement released after the vote that the creation of a Palestinian state should result from negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel and that his government has no intention of preempting those negotiations by recognizing a Palestinian state unilaterally.  He reiterated that position two days later during the Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.
Despite all the hullaballoo, simple arithmetic makes it clear that fewer than half of the 649 sitting members of the House of Commons took part in the vote.  Prime Minister Cameron and the other senior government ministers did not participate in the debate, nor did most of the senior figures of the opposition Labour Party. ...»
Israel and the House of Commons: A Word of Caution | Douglas Aronin | The Blogs | The Times of Israel

Kol Tuv,

Sunday 26 October 2014

Breslov Campus

Access Rebbe Nachman's great wisdom! See
Dear Friends,
I am delighted to announce the upcoming launch of the first live, online, Breslov- learning program,, 
starting this coming Wednesday, October 29th. The course offerings include a range of relevant, 
intriguing, and authentic Breslov topics, taught by experienced, English-speaking, Breslov teachers
— and all classes are free.
What makes unique is that it is the first exclusively-Breslov, online learning program 
that offers live classes, allowing students and teachers to interact in real-time, using the top-performing 
technology available today. Students will also be able to contact teachers between classes as well as reach 
out to fellow-students. And, they’ll receive special bonuses, such as discounts at the bookstore.
Share the Inspiration
Won’t you join us? Please tell your friends and colleagues about’s free, live classes, 
and be inspired by the powerful, life-changing teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. If you can’t attend 
a live class, be sure to log onto and view the free class archives, which will be posted 
shortly after each live class.
On Wednesday evening, October 29, at 8:00 pm, EST, will begin its inaugural semester 
with Waking Up, the first course in the series Living the Life of a Breslover Chassid with Likutey Halachot, 
taught by me, Yossi Katz. 
I’m looking forward to seeing you there. 
Yossi Katz, Director
P.S. The class schedule for the fall semester of is as follows:   
Sunday Morning
Rebbe Nachman's Story, The Turkey Prince: Discovering Your Authentic Self 
with Yitzchok Bell 10:00 am, Eastern Standard Time
Speaking from the Soul: Discovering the Spiritual Potential of Your Words 
with Yehudis Golshevsky 11:00 am, Eastern Standard Time
Tuesday Evening
An Introduction to Likutey Moharan 
with Chaim Kramer 8:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time  
Wednesday Evening
Waking Up: Likutey Halachot 
with Yossi Katz, 8:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time
Thursday Evening
Feeding the Soul: Eat Right, Feel Great, Embrace your True Self, 
8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time  
Other Times (To Be Announced)
Special Programming: Various Topics  
Copyright © 2014 Breslov Research Institute, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Breslov Research Institute 44 Saint Nicholas Ave. Lakewood, NJ 08701 

Kol Tuv,

South African BDS Activists Target Woolworths Kosher Food Section With Severed Pigs Head

«#BoycottWoolworths and their dirty food.
BDS South Africa, the campaign which organizes the BDS-related activities of various pro-Palestinian groups, including the South African version of "Israel Apartheid Week," claimed that it did not support the COSAS action. However, the group wasted no time in rationalizing the act, declaring on its website, "we also recognize that this radical action was probably done with the good intention of helping the people of Palestine and as an expression of the increasing frustration against Woolworths by South African young people… Protests are increasing against Woolworths as the company tries to ignore the calls to end its relations with Apartheid Israel."»
South African BDS Activists Target Woolworths Kosher Food Section With Severed Pigs Head | Jewish & Israel News
Kol Tuv,

Saturday 25 October 2014

Mussar: Verify First

Many of us tend to be very trusting with regard to Kashrut. But, there are numerous exhortations within Shas and Poskim to Verify whenever Possible.

I recently ran across this re: Nikkur Haggid. While it is true that "Rov HaMetzuyin Eitzel Nikkur Mumchim Heim" nevertheless it is always best to verify, EG when the original M'nakker is absent.

EG See:
Rema Y"D 65:13
Ba'er Hetev 65:6 quoting Reshal
Bei'ur HaGra 65:32 citing Siman 1 "d'ein som'chin on Harov bid'leita kaman"

Kol Tuv,

Friday 24 October 2014

Calling all Jewish USA Military Chaplains, Past and Present

R Ben Samson:
If you are presently serving in the armed forces as a chaplain, or have served our country, this is for you. 
For the first time, chaplains will be marching in the Veterans Day parade in New York on November 11.
I am proud to to be the initiator of this project and I am hoping that many of you will join me.
I feel it will be a true Kiddush Hashem  that  Orthodox Chaplains who have served our country, will be part of the parade.
We will be seen by the thousands who will see the parade as well as the millions who will be watching it on television.
I hope may of you will join us. If you can come, please let me know by e-mail or call my office.
WE will also be served a breakfast before  the parade.
I look forward to hearing from  you.
Ben Samson

Kol Tuv,

Thursday 23 October 2014

Is Terrorism Really New to Canada?

«This week's terror-related events in Ottawa and Quebec are not the first Canada has faced. Here's a chronology of some of those incidents:...»
A Chronology of Terror-Related Threats and Attacks in Canada - Canada Real Time - WSJ

Kol Tuv,

Shooting at Canadian Parliament in Ottawa Raises Fears of ISIS-Prompted Attack - US News
«The Canadian parliament voted in early October to contribute war planes to the U.S.-led international coalition, which is conducting aerial attacks on Islamic State group positions and fighters in Syria and Iraq.

The Islamic State group – also often referred to as ISIL, for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – specifically threatened Canada and urged its followers to target Canadian citizens in a recording released in late September. A man who recently converted to Islam also reportedly struck two Canadian soldiers in his car in Quebec on Monday. He was killed by pursuing officers.»

Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Metzitzah and the Halachic Process - by Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz

«The Metzitzah controversy is nothing new.

In the 1800's, in Germany, the elements of Reform sought to ban circumcision entirely, attacking the "barbaric" practice of Metzitzah b'peh (MBP), where a Mohel would suck the blood away from the circumcision site.

A little earlier history is in order. The Talmud requires that after a Bris is performed, the blood must be suctioned away from the wound. The reason given is for the safety of the baby. Presumably, the purpose of Metzitzah is to cleanse the wound area of any germs and prevent infection.»
Metzitzah and the Halachic Process | Cross-Currents

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 21 October 2014

BETHANY S. MANDEL: A "Bill of Rights" for Jewish converts

A bill of rights for Jewish converts

«Much of what is written about conversion is from the perspective of born-Jews and rabbis. Few converts are willing to speak out. We are afraid. We are victimized. We are threatened and judged. Which is why I've decided to make for myself and other converts a Bill of Rights. These are the things I deserved during my conversion and deserve now, afterwards, but have been too afraid to demand.»
«8. The conversion process for those of Jewish heritage should be accelerated and unique. I was born to a Jewish father and was raised Reform. I didn't know I wasn't halachically Jewish until a college Birthright trip (thank you to my tour guide who gently explained that inconvenient truth to me). While in the process I was treated with the same unacceptable dismissiveness and disdain afforded to girls who were converting for marriage. Intermarriage is the biggest threat to Jewish life in America. Help those of patrilineal descent, many of whom try to convert Orthodox, correct the mistakes of their fathers. They should be welcomed back into the Jewish people, not turned away like mutts at a dog show»

A bill of rights for Jewish converts | Bethany S. Mandel | The Blogs | The Times of Israel

Kol Tuv,

Priestly Temptation - Torah Musings By Rabbi Barry Kornblau

«R. Blau's reply to me was direct: "Barry, I'm not worried about you." Incredulous, I asked him why. "It's simple: the very fact that you're asking me these questions and that you're self-aware, as well as aware of the pitfalls in this area, means that, while I certainly can't predict your future, I'm not particularly concerned. It's the people who are not self-aware, who are not concerned about the issue, and who are not asking my advice about this topic who concern me far more."

A few short months later, a woman sat in my office at the shul where I then served, seeking my assistance with a personal matter. She told me how, one night, a rabbi who had been previously been trying to help in this matter appeared at her apartment where she lived alone. Invoking a fictional 'halachah', he implied that he could better assist her ...»
Kol Tuv,

Monday 20 October 2014

The Shabbos Project

Courtesy of KAJ, NYC.

Here is the link to Rabbi Kamenetsky's remarks.


Kol Tuv,

Where the Soul of Goebells lives Nowadays

Essay: The 'Radical Traditionalist Catholic' Movement | Southern Poverty Law Center
«With more than 100,000 followers in the United States – famously including actor Mel Gibson and his father Hutton Gibson – the radical traditionalist movement embraces a host of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. It has significant financial and publishing resources, and, in a growing number of cases, is interacting with white supremacist and Holocaust denial extremist groups. Leaders of the growing, energetic movement routinely pillory the Jews as "the perpetual enemy of Christ" and worse. 

Also known as "integrism" or Catholic separatism, radical traditionalism is largely unknown to mainstream Catholics. Radical traditionalists are also unrelated to the many Catholics who call themselves "traditionalist" because they prefer the ancient Latin Mass, though radical traditionalists also prefer their liturgy in Latin. The official Roman Catholic Church condemns radical traditionalists for their anti-Semitism. In turn, radical traditionalists generally reject the modern Roman Catholic Church and its universalistic theology» 

Kol Tuv,

Sunday 19 October 2014

Oreo Cookies - Dairy or Parve?

Oreo Cookies - Dairy or Parve?
Read the answer in "Black-and-White"

In Daf HaKashrus 22.9 (August 2014) the OU had an update on Oreos.


At the present time, most varieties of Oreo Cookies contain dairy ingredients, with three notable exceptions. Original Oreo Sandwich Cookies, Oreo Double Stuf Sandwich Cookies and Mini Original Oreo Sandwich Cookies do not contain dairy ingredients, though they are manufactured on dairy equipment. The equipment is not necessarily cleaned before the production of these three cookies, and there may be a small amount of dairy residue present. Nonetheless, the dairy component would be minimal, and from a Halachic perspective, the dairy residue is nullified (botel bishishim) and of no consequence.

The bottom line of all this is that these three cookies may be consumed after meat and poultry, but not simultaneously.
Please bear in mind that the manufacturer may choose in the future to reformulate these products and add dairy ingredients. Since these products already bear OUD symbols, formulation changes would not be reflected in the OUD logo.

As such, we recommend that consumers check regularly with our office to confirm the status of these items.

Kol Tuv,

Time for Prohibition?

Drunk on Simchat Torah - The Jewish Standard
«Local yeshiva high schools send joint letter urging celebration but also restraint

The principals of six Jewish high schools serving northern New Jersey sent a joint letter to parents urging vigilance in the face of teenage drinking on Simchat Torah, "to guarantee that this special time of holiness will not degenerate into the opposite kind of experience for anyone."

Nobody is sure how alcohol consumption became a tradition of this holiday, which celebrates the completion of the yearly Torah-reading cycle.»
Kol Tuv,

Saturday 18 October 2014

Mussar: Kiddush Hashem

Derech Emet:

Rav Soloveichik taught -

That returning a lost object to a Jew is a fulfillment of Hashavat Aveida, but returning a lost object to a non-Jew is a fulfillment of Kiddush HaShem, which is one of the highest and loftiest of all mitzvot.
SOURCE: Halakhic Positions of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R.Aharon Ziegler 2014/5/15
In other words, returning a lost object to a Gentile could be even more important than returning a lost object to a Jew.


Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik [born 1903 CE, died 1993 CE] served as Rosh HaYeshivah of RIETS, Yeshivah University,

Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 15 October 2014

The Media / Public Double Standard

«The recent war in Gaza spawned anti-Semitic riots across Europe, demonstrations in the United States, and the publication of malicious blood libels all over the world.  There were civilian casualties to be sure, but the numbers reported by Hamas were inflated and included many terrorists falsely identified as noncombatants.  Though the loss of civilian life is regrettable, it occurred in Gaza because of Hamas's strategy of using human shields and launching rockets from schools, hospitals, mosques and residential neighborhoods. 

Time Magazine recently ran a video report claiming..that the IDF was harvesting the internal organs of dead Arabs.
As usually happens when Israel defends herself, she was falsely accused of human rights abuses and war crimes.  Her detractors were mute, however, when Hamas deliberately targeted Israeli civilians»
Why Are Those Jews So Assertive? - Op-Eds - Arutz Sheva

The answer to the question seems simple

Political Correctness Trumps Truth, Facts, and Objectivity.

Kol Tuv,

Monday 13 October 2014

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg

CNN has designated
Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg 
Rabbi Emeritus, Young Israel Southfield 
one of the 10 CNN Heroes Of The Year.

Yasher Koach to Rabbi Goldberg!
And don't forget to vote! 

Sunday 12 October 2014

The Issue of Taqiyyah

Guest Blogger
R Phil Lefkowitz

Regarding Muslim beliefs for Israel and the world is the issue of Taqiyyah.  Listening to many apologists for Islam I always wonder how influential Taqiyyah is in forming their responses.
Taqiyya = saying something that isn't true in certain circumstances based primarily on a verse in the Koran.

3:28 prohibits Muslims to befriend non-Muslims over Muslims unless it is needed to protect themselves.
"Let not the believer take the disbelievers for friends rather than believers. And whoever does this has no connection with Allah except that you guard yourselves against them guarding carefully. And Allah cautions you against his retribution. And to Allah is the eventual coming."
Regarding 3:28, Ibn Kathir, <>

a prominent Muslim authority writes, "meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly." He quotes Muhammad's companion, Abu Ad-Darda', who said "we smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them," and Al-Hasan who said "the tiqyyah is acceptable till the Day of Resurrection."

An example of Taqiyya is when Muhammad used deception to trick his personal enemies into letting down their guard and exposing themselves to slaughter by pretending to seek peace.  This happened in the case of Usayr ibn Zarim, <»

a surviving leader of the Banu Nadir tribe, a Jewish tribe, which had been evicted from their home in Medina by the Muslims. At the time, Usayr ibn Zarim was attempting to gather an armed force against the Muslims from among a tribe allied with the Quraish (against which Muhammad had already declared war).  Muhammad's "emissaries" went to ibn Zarim and persuaded him to leave his safe haven on the pretext of meeting with the prophet of Islam in Medina to discuss peace.  Once vulnerable, ibn Zarim and his thirty companions were massacred by the Muslims, as they were mostly unarmed, having been given a guarantee of safe passage (Ibn Ishaq 981, Muslim historian).

Also See:
How Taqiyya Alters Islam's Rules of War
Defeating Jihadist Terrorism
by Raymond Ibrahim
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2010, pp. 3-13

Phil Lefkowitz

Kol Tuv,

Saturday 11 October 2014

Mussar: Why Some People Do Bad Things

Derech Emet:

Yalkut Meam Loez commentary
on Kohelet [Ecclesiastes],
chapter 8, verse 7:
Sinful people do bad things because they do not believe in reward and punishment, and because they deny life after death and the resurrection of the dead.
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 8 October 2014

10 questions about Jewish conversion you want to know but are afraid to ask | Jewish Telegraphic Agency

«If someone converts to Judaism but then ceases to live a Jewish lifestyle, can the conversion be revoked?

Orthodox: "We recognize that we can't predict the future," says Rabbi Yona Reiss, who oversees Orthodox conversions for the Rabbinical Council of America and is head of the Chicago Rabbinical Council. "If there was a proper commitment at the time of the conversion process, of course the conversion is valid."

Conservative: "The predominant halachic position for centuries with which the Rabbinical Assembly concurs is that conversions cannot be retroactively negated," says Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly.

Reform: "If a Jew leaves Judaism by adopting another religion, that individual is regarded as outside the boundaries of the Jewish community," says Rabbi Stephen Einstein, co-chair of the Commission on Outreach, Membership, and Sacred Community of the Union for Reform Judaism and Central Conference of American Rabbis. "Of course, s/he could choose at a later time to return."»

Kol Tuv,

Monday 6 October 2014

Matisyahu on Sacrifice, Unraveling, and Prayer

«Matisyahu, the artist formerly known as the "Hasidic Reggae Superstar," recently transformed himself into introspective poet and deeply spiritual, if less visually shocking performer. His new album Akeda (Hebrew for the word "binding" and most often used in the biblical story of the sacrifice of Isaac) includes more of the upbeat tunes he's become known for since shearing his trademark beard and side curls. But Akeda also contains haunting songs hinting at the depths of personal metamorphosis that inspired the songs. And Matisyahu shared some of his inspiration and deep connection to God with me.»

Kol Tuv,

Sunday 5 October 2014

There’s an ugly new hashtag in town - #JSIL

«But that message upsets those who don't want the world to forget that there's no entity on earth that could possibly be as incorrigibly evil and destructive as the state of Israel. We're talking about those folks for whom this summer's events in Gaza were clearly a premeditated genocidal operation designed to kill Palestinians - and Hamas rockets were just a convenient excuse.

The Islamic State poses a quandary for these activists - who see the Middle East in black and white, in which the black hat belongs to Israel. Even those who prefer to see the warm and fuzzy side of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah have trouble justifying the barbaric behavior of the Islamic State group - otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL - in any way.»

There's an ugly new hashtag in town - #JSIL. Guess what it stands for? - Routine EmergenciesIsrael News - Haaretz Israeli News source

Kol Tuv,

Would YOU Trust this Newspaper?

It might cost you your life!

The NY Times got this one wrong 90 years ago!

Kol Tuv,

Thursday 2 October 2014

Is Shabbos App for Real?

«The Shabbos App allows one to halachically use a smartphone on Shabbos, thereby enhancing the Shabbos experience for observant Jews everywhere.

Today a smartphone is an integral part of our lifestyle - in fact 65% of Americans own a smartphone. Currently, using a smartphone on Shabbos is prohibited. Unfortunately, this does not stop many otherwise observant jews from using their devices  on Shabbos, and can make Shabbos harder for the more adherent observer that do not use a smartphone.»

Kol Tuv,

OU Convention Information

OU National Convention 2014

Global Jewish Unity

Friday December 26 -
Sunday December 28
Tarrytown Doubletree - Tarrytown, NY

Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 1 October 2014

A Teshuvah Story

My usual Kol Nidrei droshoh topics alternated on themes of :

1. Dibbur, Lashon Hara,
2. Bein Adam lachaveiro, Bein Adam Lamakon, Bein Adam l'Atzmo
3. That Tzelem Elokim means Adam M'malla, etc.

All centered about N'darim and the Power of Speech....

One year I completely ignored my prepared text and chose to rant about something that bothered me that very morning...

One of my Shul's leaders had Yahrzeit on Erev Y"K. So we called for a Minyan with S'leechos and Davening. At the end, only 9 showed. I was livid, on his behalf, for the pitiful attendance.

And so that evening, I ranted about how many were there in shul for Kol Nidre, but how that we could not muster a minyan that very same morning. And I trotted out the Hazal about anyone who has a Minyan in his neighborhood and fails to attend is a "Bad Neighbor" a "Schochein Ra". I emphasized the nature of communal responsibility.

It was perhaps the ONLY time in my career that my message was not positive or uplifting on some level. It was simply angry. Even, the Old Rebbetzin upbraided me for the negative nature of my speech.

Yet, HKBH works in weird ways. Unbeknownst to me, in the back of the shul, was a young man in his twenties or so who had rarely attended shul following his Bar Mitzvah. As he reported to me later on: "All I could hear in my head was: "Bad Neighbor! Bad Neighbor!"

Long story short, he began attending shul regularly, was chozeir bit'shuva, married a local woman from a nearby shul, and eventually rarely came to my shul again, but for better reasons!

While it seemed to have been the most poorly received droshoh I had ever given, it actually spurred a young stranger in the back to do the strange, and live a Halachic life from then on.

גמר חתימה טובה
Best Wishes for 5775, RRW

Is Explaining the Holocaust Good for the Jews

Emes Ve-Emunah:
The Holocaust as a Kindness
By R Avigdor Miller

Reviewed by Harry Maryles:
«According to an article in Mishpacha Magazine, his son, Rav Shmuel Miller, has published a book posthumously written by his father  that in my view is unconscionable. The thesis of the book is that the Holocaust was actually a Chesed… a kindness from God in the way of a wake-up call! It is called  'A Divine Madness' - Rabbi Avigdor Miller's Defense of HaShem in the Matter of the Holocaust.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller did not want to publish this work during his lifetime. He felt that so soon after the Holocaust it would upset survivors. His son has decided that enough time has passed and published it. Rabbi Avigdor Miller is certainly entitled to his views. But I am entitled to totally reject them.»
Kol Tuv,