Friday, October 17, 2014

Are You Prepared for Israel's Next Snow Storm?

ערב שבת קודש פר׳ בראשית תשע״ה

Last winter, when Israel was hit by one of the worst snow storms in its recent history, with about 19,000 homes losing electrical power. I was one of the lucky ones who did not. Yet, I think about what I would have done, if I had not been so lucky. Would I have been prepared to weather the storm? Will I be prepared for the next time snow or another surprise hits? Will you be prepared?

When I complain that Jerusalem winters are unbearable, my friends from New York, Chicago, Montreal, and northern domains, just laugh at me, and tell me that I don't not what real cold is like. When I tell you that I was born and raised in San Diego, where it is not unheard of to wear shorts during most of the winter, you will probably understand my point. I don't "do" cold. Give me one of these 35 C/95 F days anytime. You can keep the cold!

However, since I have chosen to live in Jerusalem, and not along Israel's Mediterranean coast, I have no choice but to "deal with" the cold of Jerusalem's winter.

View from my balcony:
The lights on the sukkah still haven't been taken down, and are collecting snow.

Last year's snow storm began on a Thursday morning, and continued through Shabbath. Travel within Jerusalem, on Sunday and Monday, was challenging, to say the least. Bus service was delayed during the early morning to avoid travel on iced over streets. Plus, just like every time it snows in Jerusalem, travel was always further complicated by everyone and his cousin coming into the city from Tel-Aviv, in order to see and enjoy the novelty of the snow.

While those of you living in New York, Chicago, or Montreal maybe rolling your eyes, I must emphasize that since snow is still a relatively rare occurrence in Jerusalem, the municipality does not see it as economically feasible to invest in the kind of equipment other cities around the world use daily throughout the winter. Instead, last year, we were told to stock up, and stay off of the streets. The city's economy might be stung, but accidents would be avoided.

Screen Shot: Live Kotel Cam
9 Teveth, 5774/December 12, 2013, 12:30 PM

My boss called me that fateful Thursday morning, and told me not to bother to come into work. Already out and about, I took the opportunity to stock up on food for the weekend and beyond, having in mind to purchase some food which would not require any cooking,...just in case.

However, if the power had gone out, I would have not have had any idea what I would do for heat. Even my awesome camping sleeping bag would leave me with a chill to keep me up most of the night. I had tried it out, so I already knew. Always test out your equipment!

Nevertheless, according to the chatter I heard after the storm had passed, I was much better prepared than most. I heard one man talking about how worried he was during the storm, that the food in his refrigerator would go bad, because thy did not have any power. Apparently, this man failed to notice all of the freezing cold white stuff laying around, which he could have shoveled into a bucket, and used to keep his perishables from perishing. Of course, he noticed the snow, but did not put two and two together.

Fortunately, one friend of mine who lives north of Jerusalem, thought to turn on all of the gas burners in his kitchen before Shabbath,* as they had lost electricity during the storm. He stationed his wife's bed there for her and their week-old newborn son. He and his daughters took every sweater, jacket, and blanket they owned, and camped out in another bedroom.

I have heard that a great many people become injured, or even die, from panic, and lack of preparation, than from the actual crisis or event itself. Even my friend who spent the night, this snowy Shabbath, had to remind me to fill up several bottles with water, from the faucet in the event that the freezing temperatures would cause pipes to burst, or affect our water supply in some other way.

One would think that such ideas would come to those of you in New York, Chicago, Canada, and Russia, quite naturally, just like knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake, and being prepared in advance for such an occasion is second hat to most Californians. However, that does not seem to be the case after all. Perhaps, we have become so dependent on technology, that our "thinking caps" have become impaired, when left without it.



Remember

Ask others with more experience that you. In mind case that mean learning about "layering," and the importance of wearing a hat, from a friend from Maryland. Likewise, during the summer months, I suggest to my roommate from upstate New York that he try jumping into the shower briefly, or just running the water on his neck for a few minutes.

Test Run
A few months ago, the power went out for a couple of hours. I was amazed that people did not know what to do with themselves, unless of course, they had a full battery on their computers and independent access to the Internet.

Lighting candles and reading a book, or going for a walk never would have occurred to them, except for maybe when their batteries ran out.

Recently, on a Friday, my power went out, while in the middle of cooking for Shabbath. I forgot where I heard this joke, but it is priceless:
Q: What does a 'prepper' call a power outage?

A: Practice.
Sure enough, I got some practice, as well as a friendly reminder to get my act in gear, and acquire what I have, so far, only been thinking about acquiring.

Truth be told, most of my cooking was done. I had only the meat left to prepare. As I knew that my local grocery store was open, I jaunted over to buy some charcoal, something which I really should have had on hand anyway. This experience also reminded me to get that gas canister I keep telling myself to get for cooking back-up, as well heating in an absolute pinch.

Well, once again, I lucked out. An electrician friend of mine was in the area, so he came over to sort everything out. My electric oven apparently was the culprit which tripped the electrical board. I would really prefer to have gas cooking appliances. But, as a renter, I have what I have.

For the coming winter, I hope to stop procrastinating, and buy a canister of gas to have on hand for back-up, if for nothing else. The gas canister can also be used for heat, in a pinch. Attachments can been bought which direct and diffuse the heat. But, I have been warned that it is not the heating system for use on Shabbath, without a proper gas heater hooked up to it.

I have even thought of the possibility of acquiring a wood burning stove, even just a small one for back up.

I have been, but must still confirm, that kerosene  heaters made for the indoors have been made illegal, for the populace's "own good." So, the option here would be finding a used one whose owner would be willing to part with. Kerosene  heaters made for outdoor use, are just that, made for outdoor use. As far as I understand, it is really not a good idea to use them indoors.

Jerusalem sits 800 plus meters in elevation. That is about 2,600 feet. It never gets within a few degrees below 0 C (32 F). If you are inside at night without heat during such temperatures, with all of your sweaters and jackets and blankets piled on, chances are that you will more likely than not, survive the night, Just like my friend and his family, I mentioned above did. But, what if you have small children or babies or elderly at home?


As part of my preparation for the coming winter, I have tried to talk about it with friends, particularly those with more experience than I when it comes to snowy winters. When I first moved to the East Coast, after living my entire life in California, a friend of mine who grew up in the Northeast, had to point out to me various things about living through the winter, I never would have thought of, everything from a hat, gloves, and thermal underwear, to layering clothing. I probably would have never thought of these things on my own.

Unforntunately, my experience, so far, has been that nobody wants to talk about the coming winter, let alone getting "prepped" for different case scenarios, such as power outages.

According to IsraelWeather.co.il, snow is expected in Jerusalem, this January. So, hopefully, as we get closer to Jerusalem, snow potential, my neighbors will become more amenable to such discussions.

Stay tuned!

*********

*The Torah forbids Jews from creating, transferring, and extinguishing of fire on Shabbath. The addition and subtraction of fuel is also forbidden to Jews on Shabbath.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The British Government Votes to Recognize a "Palestinian" State

ו׳ חוהמ״ס תשע״ה
Times Of Israel: British MPs vote an overwhelming ‘Yes’ to Palestine
274 support motion urging ‘the government to recognize the State of Palestine,’ while only 12 oppose, in vote laden with symbolism

By AFP and Lazar Berman, October 14, 2014

British House of Commons

British lawmakers voted resoundingly Monday in favor of a Palestinian state, in a debate unlikely to change government policy but laden with political symbolism.

Ed Miliband
The ayes carried the vote with 274 votes, against only 12 nays. Opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who is Jewish, voted in support of the motion.

Prime Minister David Cameron and other government leaders abstained, and more than half of the 650 Commons members did not participate in the vote.

The initial motion that was debated declared: “This House urges the government to recognize the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel.” It was subsequently amended to add the phrase “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.” (cont.)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
In a nutshell, this decision has power over Israel and the Jewish People, for one, and only one reason.

We give it power.
Jack Straw
Labour’s former foreign secretary Jack Straw during the debate: “The only thing that the Israeli Government understand, under the present demeanour of Benjamin Netanyahu, is pressure. What the House will be doing this evening will be to add to the pressure on the Government of Israel. That is why they are so worried about this resolution passing. Were it just a gesture… they would not be bothered at all. They are very worried indeed because they know that it will have an effect.”
Well, Jack Straw got that right.

This is by far not the first time, nor I am afraid the last time, that we have succumbed to our sick and desperate, co-dependent, delusional need to have our existence validated and accepted from the outside, from the non-Jewish, "international community."
Opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who is Jewish, voted in support of the motion.
Gerald Kaufman with Hamas Terrorist Leader Ismail Haniyeh
He was not the only totally clueless, assimilated Jew expressing his un-Jewness in Parliament. MP Gerald Kaufmann (Labour) was there as well, "denouncing Israeli Atrocities in Palestine."

I suppose that the use of women, children, and the handicapped, by Hamas as human shields had nothing to do with the number of their casualties, and that the Jewish kids hiding out in bomb shelters were just chopped liver.

Even Jewish MP Mike Freer (Conservative) who resigned over the vote, warned that the resolution "harms the 'two-state solution' on the grand scale." Such deep internment in the galuth (exile) mentality never ceases to floor me.

I still cannot understand why Miliband, Kaufman, Freer, and others bother to invest their efforts in a country which is not even really theirs. Money? Power? Creature comforts?

George Galloway
Meanwhile, the non-Jewish MP's were not to be outdone. Infamous Jew-hater MP George Galloway (Respect) declared that "The West has double standards when it comes to Israel."

Well, I must say that he certainly got that right, but not in the manner he believes.

And though the Israeli Government is horribly flawed, often approaching the challenges which face the Jewish People from a backwards, and almost always Godless, perspective, is occasionally does try to do the right thing.

Those on the side of truth always win out.

Jews and non-Jews alike have insisted on the existence of some sort of genocidal, Zionist conspiracy being responsible for the limited deaths of Israelis, during the latest Gaza War. Of course, the truth is  The Almighty, is on our side, and showed us His mercy. 

His validation and acceptance is all that we ever need. It is high time that we stop wasting our time and energy on what human beings think about us, and focus.

No wonder why there is a rise in Jew-hating violence. History has shown that, unfortunately, this is  one of the most effective ways for us to get the message.

Will we ever learn?

Monday, October 13, 2014

What does Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein have to Hide?

ה׳ חוהמ״ס תשע״ה

JPost.com: Edelstein: Journalist hiring private eyes to tail MKs belongs in jail
Journalist's "100 Days of Transparency" project raised almost NIS 160,000 to follow lawmakers who "love darkness" and "resist transparency."

MK Yo'el "Yuli" Edelstein
Speaker of the K'nesseth
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein plans to ban from the Knesset all those involved in a plan to hire private investigators to follow MKs in the name of transparency, and called for them to be put in prison.

Former Calcalist (Israeli financial paper) Knesset reporter Tomer Avital started raising money for his "100 Days of Transparency" project in July via the Israeli crowdfunding site Headstart, and as of Monday, has close to NIS 160,000 to hire private investigators to "make transparency-resisters [in the Knesset] sweat," as the project's page reads.

A video on the project's site (see below) shows MKs hugging lobbyists and attending parties with some of the wealthiest Israelis and points out that many MKs only attend a handful of plenum meetings. Avital, who also wrote a murder mystery describing an extreme case of what can happen when there is a lack of transparency in the Knesset, particularly in regards to lobbyists, plans to have investigators track the activities of lawmakers who "love darkness," meaning those whose schedules and activities are least transparent. (cont.)



Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Prison? Sounds a little extreme, doesn't it? If private investigators are operating according to Israeli law, then why should Israeli law makers be exempt? Does Speaker Edelstein believe himself and his colleagues to be above the law?

Granted, democracy has absolutely nothing to do with a truly, Jewish (ie. Torah) government. But, the statements above from the Speaker only add further support to the notion that the State of Israel is not even the democracy it claims to be. Rather, it is a deMOCKracy.

Tomer Avital
From the video alone, it appears that Tomer Avital is going after all Members of K'nesseth [MK] equally, those who are not transparent, that it. The 1:13 minute video carries criticism of Haredi MK's Litzman, Yishai, and Deri, but of secular, and even Arab MK's, as well.

As stated above, the video includes photos and clips of MK's with lobbyists, but also includes charts listing MK's and ministers with poor attendance, information which is commonly brought up and discussed the U. S. in regards to its members of Congress.

I know relatively little about Tomer Avital. He has had some involvement with One Voice, an "NGO dedicated to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," and is the creator of the "Networking The Gap" initiative, designed "to reshape the perception of those who still flatten their neighbors as enemies." So, I will hazard to guess that he and I are not on the same page politically. However, on the surface, his "100 Days of Transparency" project seems not only to be a good idea, but a good suggestion of a requirement for anyone serving in any government, claiming to be a democracy.

Ironically, the photo which now appears as Avital's Facebook profile picture is one of himself posing with none other than,...Speaker Yuli Edelstein. Together, they are holding up a copy of Avital's book HaMishkan, the novel about murder and the lack of transparency, mentioned in the above report.

If nothing else, Tomer Avital deserves points for cleverness.

On the other hand, Speaker Edelstein should know better, that anyone attacking the expectations of transparency for government officials, and threatening those individuals involved in pushing for it, would automatically be the target of suspicion himself.

And so, I ask, what exactly does K'nesseth Speaker Yuli Edelstein have to hide?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Jerusalem Residents fend off Arab Terror while Preparing for Shabbath

מוצש״ק חוהמ״ס תשע״ה

The following is a report from Jerusalem City Councilman Aryeh King (United Jerusalem Party), Erev Shabbath, October 10, 2014:

המחבלים עשו שימוש בבקבוקי תבערה וזיקוקים שנורו לעבר סוכות התושבים היהודים שהיו עסוקים בהכנות לשבת.
Aryeh King

בימים אלו מוקמים צוותי תגובה שכונתיים, צוותים אלה מתארגנים בכל שכונה ותפקידם יהיה להגיב לכל פעולת טרור באופן מיידי ועל בסיס התנדבותי והכול על פי החוק ובכפוף לחוק. הצוותים יתנו מענה רפואי, מענה אבטחתי וכמובן יתעדו את אירועי הטרור. חברי הצוותים יהיו בקשר בין חברי הצוות באמצעות וואטסאפ ויהיו מאובזרים באמצעי מיגון שאותם אני מתכוון לגייס מתורמים מחו"ל.

צוותי תגובה שכונתיים (צת"שים) הוקמו/מוקמים בימים אלו בשכונות התפר, עקבו פה אחר הפרסומים בנושא. אני בטוח שהצת"שים יהיו לכוח עזר לכוחות הביטחון בעיר ובעתיד הקרוב יהפכו לגורמים משמעותיים בהשבת הביטחון האישי לתושבי שכונות התפר בפרט וירושלים בכלל.

שבת שלום ושקטה.
מועדים לשמחה.
אריה


Esser Agaroth (2¢) Translation:
Terrorists used Molotov cocktails and fireworks were fired at the Sukkoth of Jewish residents who were busy preparing for Shabbath.

Currently, neighborhood response teams are being established. These teams are being organized in every neighborhood, and their role will be to respond immediately to any terrorist act, with volunteers, all according to, and subject to the law. The teams will respond to the medical and security needs due to terrorist events, and, of course, will document them. Response team members will be in contact with each other through WhatsApp, and will be outfitted with protective equipment, the funds for which I intend to raise from donors from abroad.
 
Neighborhood response teams (צת"שים) have been, and are continuing to be, established in neighborhoods along the border between West and East Jerusalem. I am sure that the neighborhood response teams will be a helpful force to the security forces in the city, and in the near future play a significant role in restoring personal safety, particularly to the residents of these neighborhoods, but also to Jerusalem in general.

A peaceful and quiet Shabbath,
and a Happy Holiday.
Aryeh



Esser Agaroth (2¢):
No additional comments are really necessary, except for an acknowledgement of Councilman King's continued commitment to keeping the public, both in and outside of Jerusalem, informed of the truth. He is a man of great integrity, and possesses true Ahavath Yisra'el, and sacrificed much for the sake of Jerusalem.

You can keep up to date by "liking" his page on Facebook.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Did you hear the one about the "Rabbi" who Walks into a non-Kosher Restaurant?

ערב שבת חוהמ״ס תשע״ה

The Algemeiner: Rabbi Says Booted From Jackson, Mississippi Restaurant for Being Jewish
Shiryn Ghermezian, September 24, 2014

An American rabbi said that he was thrown out of a Jackson, Miss., restaurant on Tuesday after the person taking his order found out he was Jewish, the local Clarion-Ledger reported.

The victim, Rabbi Ted Riter of Beth Israel Congregation, recounted on Facebook what he said transpired when he went to Wraps in Maywood Mart for lunch and ordered a salad. According to Riter, a man he believed to be the owner asked him, “A full size or a Jewish size?”

When Riter asked for an explanation, the man said, “It’s small. Jews are cheap and small. Everybody knows that.”

Shocked by the comment, Riter responded, “Did you really just say that?” The man then asked him if he was Jewish. When Riter replied in the affirmative, he was told to leave the restaurant. (cont.)

(Tip: Life In Israel)

Esser Agaroth (2¢):
I was quite surprises to see that the following comment of mine was actually published. Points to The Algemeiner!
Why do you insist on referring to such individuals as “rabbis??”

Individuals who distort, play with, and deny parts of the Torah have a dubious din (status) at best, and they are called rabbis??

In the future, I ask that at the very least you put the word rabbi in quotation marks or parentheses.
Like many un-Jews, it is not his fault that he lacks even the most remote understanding of Torah. In my opinion, the history of the so called "Reform" movement is based in the lack of belief in any of the Torah. However, knowing that the Torah was to powerful to attack head on, the "Reformers" took a lesson from the Tzadoqim (Sadducees), and chose to attack it one part at a time, the Oral Torah first. Like he has been indoctrinated into a Western/assimilationist (ie. anti-Torah) perspective of the Torah.

All through the Torah, Jews are commanded regarding various distinctions and separations, be they types of food, seeds, plants, fibers, potential marriage partners, or national borders. However, assimilated Jews rationalize these distinctions and separations away, or simply ignore them. Instead, they take the route of "building bridges" between distinctions and separations, and work toward the erasing of these Torah-mandated boundaries. In other words, when the Torah says to distinguish and separate things, they mix them together instead.

מערבב
"mixer"
Hmm...mixing,

...as in "mixed"

...as in "mixed-up"

...and as in "mixed multitude," (Erev Rav/ערב רב) those false converts who came up out of Egypt with us, and having causing us trouble to this day (Exodus 12:38).

וְגַם-עֵרֶב רַב, עָלָה אִתָּם, וְצֹאן וּבָקָר, מִקְנֶה כָּבֵד מְאֹד.
And a mixed multitude also went up with them; and flocks, and herds, even a great deal of cattle.

Oh, don't worry. Although this logic sounds a little silly on the surface, the same works in Hebrew as well. I simply wanted to make it accessible to the followers of Ted Riter and the like, those who actually think that such an individual is a "rabbi," a man of Torah, a teacher of Torah.

Some would say that it is a mistake for me to be so harsh, as I am in this post. Perhaps instead, I should be more delicate and diplomatic. This approach might attract Jews to my way of thinking, instead of frightening them away with a post, which you may see as "self-righteous," "negative," and any other descriptors you choose to insert.

I believe that it is true, that various approaches are now needed in order to reach the diverse kinds of Jews out there, during this difficult and confusing time in which we live. Some of these Jews, who are buried deep in their assimilation, have absolutely no chance of being dug out with kind, diplomatic words and patient reasoning. They need to be [proverbially] smacked in the face with the truth, in order to be woken up.

Jews like Ted are not necessarily Erev Rav, but most certainly the Erev Rav's tools, its "mixers," if you will.

Leaders in the so-called "Reform Movement," and other distorters and deniers of Torah, are another story, picking at the Torah piece by piece, knowing that they are unable to attack it head on.

The news reports of Ted Riter's venture into a non-kosher restaurant have all focused on Ted as the victim, Ted as the party who rises above the attacks on his people, Ted as the peaceful "bridge-builder," Ted who desires to reconcile and embrace his attacker.


Why hasn't anyone asked, "What in the heck was he doing at a non-Kosher restaurant, in the first place?"

Having a salad? I know Buddhists and vegans who are stricter about avoiding the ingestion of bugs, often found in salad vegetables.

But, this is really all immaterial.

It is one thing to try to get along with non-Jews, while we are in exile in THEIR lands. But, this is by no means license for the complete disregard for our nature as a distinct and separate people, a concept perhaps even more important important while in exile than not. No matter how the Erev Rav wants us to be, we are simply NOT just like every people.

These boundaries have been, and continue to be necessary for our survival. All it takes is for one Jew, who, for better or for worse, garners respect from the local Jewish community, to guide that community through his example, step by step to the paths of genocide, assimilation and intermarriage. History has shown us that danger to our people's very existence has been based on much less than having a salad in a non-kosher restaurant.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Are Arab Christians Aramaens?

ערב חג הסוכות תשע״ה

Israeli Christians' New Nationality: Aramaean, not Arab
Many of Israel's 160,0000 Christians, hitherto registered as Arabs, eligible to re-register as Aramaeans; their leaders are ecstatic.

Ido Ben Porat, September 17, 2014

Interior Minister Gideon Saar has instructed the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) to allow the registration of a new nationality – Aramaean – in the identity cards of Christian citizens who were registered as Arabs until now.

In a letter to PIBA Director Amnon Ben-Ami, Saar wrote that he has “received three opinions according to which the existence of the Aramaean nationality is clear and obvious, as required by the Supreme Court's ruling.”

"The conditions required by the ruling for proving the existence of the nationality are present – including historical heritage, religion, culture, descent and language," he determined. (cont.)

(Tip: Jews News)

Well, of course, Aramaens exist as a people! After all, we Jews are partially descending from them. Rivqah and her nieces, Leah and Rahel, all came from the same Aramaen family.

And not only that, as Aramaen attempted to annihilate us, and is seen as worse than Pharoah, as we learn in the Passover Hagadah.
צא ולמד, מה ביקש לבן הארמי לעשות ליעקוב אבינו--שפרעה הרשע, לא גזר אלא על הזכרים; ולבן ביקש לעקור את הכול, שנאמר "ארמי אובד אבי, ויירד מצריימה, ויגר שם" (דברים כו,ה). מלמד שלא ירד להשתקע אלא לגור שם, שנאמר "ויאמרו אל פרעה, לגור בארץ באנו, כי אין מרעה לצאן אשר לעבדיך, כי כבד הרעב בארץ כנען; ועתה יישבו נא עבדיך, בארץ גושן" (בראשית מז,ד).

Go and learn, that which Laban the Aramaen sought to do to our forefather Ya'aqov--the evil Pharoah did not even command except for the males; but Laban sought to uproot everyone, as it is said, "My father was a wandering Aramaen, and he down to Egypt, and sorjourned there" (Deut. 26:5). This teaches that he did not go down to be invested, rather to dwell there temporarily, as is it said, "And he said to Pharoah, we came to sorjourn in the land, for there isn't any shepherding for the flock for your servants, for the drought is heavy in the land of Cana'an; and now please let us dwell in the land of Goshen." (Gen. 47:4)
But, how on earth are we supposed to believe that the Arab Christians are Aramaens??

Previously, I have been critical of Arab affairs expert, Dr. Mordechai Keidar. But, that was because I believed he was taking a wrong turn away from the Torah, when considering any solutions for the Arab/Yishma'elite problem which Israel faces day by day, hour by hour.

Here, too, Keidar provides an excellent academic analysis, regarding the historical and anthropological issues. This is why I bother posting a link to his Op-Ed here with a snippet.

Arutz 7 Op-Ed: Is There Really an Aramean Nation?
Are the Israeli Christians part of the ancient Aramean people rather than Arabs?

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, September 27, 2014

Dr. Mordechai Keidar
One of the last things Israel's Interior Minister Gideon Saar did before resigning from the Knesset was to recognize the Israeli Christians as members of the Aramean nation. The decision caused a media uproar, especially in the Arab sector, with most critics saying that there is no Aramaic nation and that the real reason for this step was an attempt to cause a split in the Arab population of Israel so as to "divide and conquer" and gain control of the Arab sector.

This calls for an investigation and an investigation into the veracity of an Aramean nation's existence must be conducted on two planes: the historic-lingual-religious one and the civilian one. (cont.)
However, once Keidar fails to relate to the only authority which matters, and I am not talking about the State of Israel's Interior Ministry either. Labels, new and old, are irrelevant here.

No one, not even most rabbis, dares to ask what the Torah says regarding the issue of which non-Jews are allowed to reside in Eretz Yisra'el, even temporarily. Forget the issue whether we have the power to change the status quo or not. No one dares to ask!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

And Speaking of the Erev Rav, "Peace Now's" Continued Delusions!

י״ג לחודש השביעי תשע״ה

Arutz 7: Peace Now Head: Golan Withdrawal Still a Good Idea
What if Israel had surrendered the Golan? Had that happened, says Yariv Oppenheimer, Syria might not have had a civil war....

Yariv Oppenheimer
Tzafoni Extraordinaire
...One Israeli who still regrets not withdrawing from the Golan when Israel had the chance is Yariv Oppenheimer, head of far-left group Peace Now. Speaking to the Galei Yisrael radio station, Oppenheimer said that he did not think that leaving the Golan would have been a mistake. “If Israel was at peace with Syria everything would have been different,” Oppenheimer said. “Of course, if things had not worked out we could have retaken the Golan anytime.

“If we had signed a peace agreement with Syria, there would have been no Second Lebanon War in 2006, because we would have been at peace with Lebanon too. It is possible that peace could have even prevented the civil war in Syria, and IS and Al-Nusra would not have taken over the Golan in the first place. But if they did, we may have had to reconquer it.”

Esser Agaroth (2¢):
As sick and deluded as Yariv Oppenheimer is, he is much less of a hypocrite than those pseudo-"right-wing" Jews, who claim to follow Torah. They do follow, but only when convenient, when their State puppet rabbis tell them to, and when it does not interfere with their "holy" State's wishes.

Oppenheimer, whose first name aptly means "opponent" or "rival," is simply following what his Western/assimilationist/mix-everything-together mentality tells him to do.

Jews like Oppenheimer are so steeped in it, are so distanced from Torah, that they see no other alternative than to blend in, to be like everyone else, part of the global community of humans. Yet, as Jews, they seem to want to outdo the goyim at their own game, at being goyim.

They believe that being part of a distinct and separate people is racist or Still, their accommodation of the "other," the Arabs/Yishma'elites, is to the point of self-destruction. This is how they see the Torah concept of mesiruth nefesh (self-sacrifice) manifested in the world. But, it is not; it is just suicidal behavior, sacrificing oneself for a misguided sense of peace which will never come to fruition, because it is an endeavor of emptiness, the chaos and void before Creation.

Whether those like Oppenheimer are descendants of the Erev Rav, or simply tinoqoth shenishba (like Jews raised as children by goyim), is immaterial. Although it would be ideal for all Jews to do teshuvah (repentance). Unfortunately, the damage that such Jews have done, and continue to do, to Am Yisra'el, to Eretz Yisra'el (Land of Israel), and thus, to the world in general, cannot be ignored. We cannot sit idly by, and allow them to continue to lead us on their path of destruction, our people's destruction, our Land's destruction.

Oppenheimer claims that "If Israel was at peace with Syria everything would have been different." Perhaps this would be the case in the details of our conflict with them, or in the particular lies the Arabs would choose to employ over others. But, the vision of the Arabs would not have changed.

PA President Mahmud Abbas's vision for a "Palestinian" state:
The annihilation of Israel.

The Arabs wants our Land, with or without a "Palestinian" state.

While Oppenheimer "mixes" together various elements of the world, which should actually remain separate, he continues to make the same error, most Jews make, the distinction between various groups of Arabs. These group differ only in strategy and levels of patience. The individual Arabs, here and there, supportive of Jewish sovereignty over the Eretz Yisra'el, are few and far between, and thus insignificant, both statistically and according to halakhah (Torah Law). The end goals of the Arabs are all the same

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Yom Kippur/Sukkoth Edition of Haveil Havalim, plus Why I'm Leaving this Blog Carnival.

י"א לחודש השביעי תשע"ה

The Yom Kippur/Sukkoth Edition of Haveil Havalim, the Jewish-Israeli Blog Carnival is up at AliyahLand.

Incidentally, this will be (bli neder) the last edition of Haveil Havalim in which I intend to participate. Like to know why? Here is the comment I left on the Haveil Havalim Facebook Group:
Haveil Havalim was a lot more exciting and interesting when we were more open minded about what went into our editions. If you haven't noticed, there haven't been ANY left wing bloggers contributing for ages. They had no issue including my items, and I had no issue including theirs, because we provided commentary, sometimes very intense. I used to get two to three times more hits when hosting an edition, than I do now. The loss of those bloggers was a big loss. The team spirit was greater then, too.

And now all we have are mostly pseudo-right-wingers. VERY BORING, not to mention the fighting over policy, long before this week's edition. I also know that several bloggers have tried to push me out of the picture. So, I am going to devote my time and efforts elsewhere. Good luck everybody, and have a fantastic year!

You Are Not A Therapist!

י״א לחודש השביעי תשע״ה

This post offers some of my personal experience to English-speaking psychotherapists immigrating to Israel, or already here, and who intend to work with English speaking clients. Let this serve as a warning as to what you will be up against.

To those therapists operating with some of the "odd" and unethical practices I list and describe below, and to those individuals believing themselves to be therapists, when they are actually not, perhaps this piece will inspire you to do teshuvah (repentance), particularly during this week right after Yom Kippur.

For the purposes of this piece "qualified psychotherapist," will be defined by the following standards:

1. The minimum of a Master's degree in a mental health related field.
2. The minimum of a Master's degree from a school's program, recognized by at least one professional organization, in or even outside of Israel (eg. אגודת פסיכולוגים קליניים, האיגוד הישראלי לפסיכותרפיה, איגוד העובדים הסוציאליים, APA, AAMFT, NASW, NASP, etc.).
3. One who is licensed, credentialed, or certified, or eligible to become one of the above, based on coursework and supervised training.

I believe these standards to be minimal, and have stated them to be as lenient as possible.

Coaches are coaches. Laypeople are laypeople.

Counselors are counselors, and not necessarily psychotherapists. Counselors put on bandages, replace bandages, sometimes even provide alternatives to bandages. They only irrigate the wounds if it is within their training and scope of their practice.

Psychotherapists do surgery, minor or major, according to that which is within their training and scope of their practice.  

This is not to say that counselors, coaches, and even laypeople cannot be "therapeutic." They are simply not therapists.

Buy My Book!
I saw an episode of a television show once, in which a therapist, before beginning her session with a couple, suggested that the couple buy her book.

The sad part was that except for the obligatory comedic punchline at the end of the therapy session, the fictional therapist wasn't half bad.

But, the main point here is the potential conflict of interest in encouraging clients to buy your book. Would they feeling intimidated, guilted, manipulated into buying it? Is the book absolutely necessary to their treatment? Sure, I suppose a therapist could give clients "homework," and sure that homework could be based on the therapist's book. But, there is a slippery slope here, one to be navigated with caution.

Well,...I'm a Rabbi...
Regarding the many members of the clergy who serve in counseling roles. Some are particularly good at it, and some are not. Still, those members of the clergy who seem to have a knack for counseling, are good at, because they recognize not only their own personal strengths, but their limitations as well.

During my graduate studies, I had some contact with two fellow students, one, a Catholic nun, a year ahead of me in her studies, and another, a Christian minister in a parallel program. Both seemed to be very sharp, and had strong theoretical backing to support their approach to treatment, something which I strongly believe to be problematic when absent.

This is most certainly not meant to be an attack, nor even a criticism on members of the clergy, as long as they are working within their role/assigned position, and have been properly trained for role/assigned position.

Once I entered a crowded cafe. I had to ask to share a total stranger's table, not uncommon in Israel. We introduced ourselves to one another, and chatted briefly. When he said that he was a therapist, I immediately asked him where he studied. His response, though, was, "Well, I'm a rabbi...."

I was taken aback. I pursued the issue with, "Well, what's your training?"

His response to this query was, "Both of my parents are therapists."

At that point, I did what I could to close the conversation politely.

Now, in all fairness to this individual, he may actually be a qualified psychotherapist. Perhaps his his degrees, training and experience far surpass my own. Yet, for some reason. But, my experience warns me not to be optimistic. However, based only on the information I received within the span of our brief conversation, I would certainly not consider him to be a psychotherapist.

You should only be treated with MY therapeutic approach. All others are useless.
Funny, I was always taught that "should" statements were irrational beliefs. But, what do I know, right?

Talk about a conflict of interest!

(See also "Referrals? What are those?" below.)

All you need is MY six month course to be a therapist.
I was so shocked to hear that such a statement was made, I cannot even begin to write about this practice with a high level of potential for damage to the mental health of the English speaking public, here in Jerusalem and surrounds...

Would someone please tell me what the heck Clinical Sociology is?
"A subfield of public sociology is applied sociology, also known as clinical sociology or sociological practice, which applies knowledge derived from sociological research to solve societal problems."

OK. So, how does this qualify clinical sociologists as psychotherapists? Counselors, maybe. But, psychotherapists? Unless, of course, this degree could be used as some sort of front for getting around professional scrutiny? Just a thought...

I will leave this one as it is,...for now.

Referrals? What are those?
If I am unable to treat a client, either because I know that I will not be effective in doing so, not probably trained in the particular area of mental health practice required, or even if I am simply not taking on any new clients, I will refer the client to another therapist. My rule of thumb is to provide a list of at least three therapists. I will not just include those who share my theoretical orientation on this list of referrals, either, especially if I am uncertain as to this prospective clients present issue, or for that matter, the real issue or issues requiring attention.

Some people believing themselves to be therapists will unconsciously, or not so unconsciously, miss the boat when it comes to differentiating between genuine "resistance" and the caregiver's own inability to help the client effectively, if at at.

Unfortunately, parnassah (financial support) can be the culprit, blinding them from the truth (See Deut. 16:19). Yet, parnassah is the worst excuse of them all, and not to be tolerated. This care provider will at best, get lucky, and help someone solve a minor problem, or at worst, cause major, even potentially irreparable damage.

When I had finished graduate school, and moved back to my hometown of San Diego, I wanted to continue my own psychotherapy, I had begun inup north, I called the San Diego Association of Psychologists' [SDAP] referral line. The volunteer on the phone asked me to tell her about my interest in finding a therapist. I told her that I wanted to continue my therapy, and added that I was looking for a therapist with a particular theoretical orientation, and who specialized in working with other therapists.

She tentatively included her name on the list. I write tentatively, as she was concerned with even the appearance of a conflict of interest, serving on the referral line in order to add to her own client base. Yet, when I looked her up in the SDAP's members list, I found that she did, indeed, foot the bill of the requirements I stated to her. Nevertheless, she included a fourth referral, and put her name last on the list. I am not sure how better one could have handled the situation, save for silence regarding her practice. However, what if she did turn out to be the best therapist for me? I would have missed out on the opportunity, if she had been silent.

And probably these most insidious, most dangerous, and and most confusing issue facing therapists, both real and fake....

Profession Competence
The topic heading thus far could also be place under this one, "professional competence."

My favorite pet peeve has yet to be listed, and so it will be stated now. It is one in which even well-meaning, really therapists and counselors cross the line, and that is interpreting assessment results, for assessment devices for which he or she has not had the proper training to do so. And quite frankly one graduate course in assessment in simply not sufficient to interpret the Stanford-Binet or Wechsler scales, let alone the Thematic Apperception Test [TAT] or Rorschach. Of the Rorschach test, some have suggested said that it be applied only under supervision for five years. That may sound a bit extreme to some. But, it will hopefully send home the message that assessment devices are not things which can be picked up and used by anyone. And they are most certainly not toys.

Are you an "addictions counselor?" I know several, and some of them are excellent! I believe that is mainly because they deal with "addictions," and they recognize that they are "counselors." They are not marriage therapists, educational psychologists, nor psychiatrists; they are "addictions counselors."

The same goes for "coaches," probably the most out of control, unmonitored profession there is today. Some coaches are excellent. Here is one of my favorites, Dawna Walter from the BBC reality show "Life Laundry," in which she not only helps people declutter their homes, teaches them strategies to stay declutter, and helps them deal with the emotional issues surrounding their clutter and cluttering behavior. In my opinion, her work is definitely therapeutic, but she is not a therapist, and does not try to be one. She stays within her training, experience, and scope of practice.


Unfortunately, not all coaches maintain the same professional ethics that Dawna Walter does, and end up doing a great deal of damage, without having a clue that they have done so.

Dual Role Relationships
You would be amazed, and perhaps even as disgusted as I am, at just how many "therapists" I have encountered, who are completely ignorant of this concept.
Dual relationship 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the mental health field, a dual relationship is a situation where multiple roles exist between a therapist, or other mental health practitioner, and a client.[1] Dual relationships are also referred to as multiple relationships, and these two terms are used interchangeably in the research literature.[1][2] The American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (also referred to as the APA ethics code[3]) is a resource that outlines ethical standards and principles to which practitioners are expected to adhere. Standard 3.05 of the APA ethics code outlines the definition of multiple relationships. Dual or multiple relationships occur when:
  • a professional and personal relationship take place simultaneously between the psychologist and the client
  • the psychologist has a relationship with a person closely related to or connected to their client
  • the psychologist has intentions to enter into a future relationship with the client or someone closely related to the client
In addition, the standard provides a description of when to avoid multiple relationships (e.g., when the relationship causes harm to the client or impairs the psychologist's competence) and when these relationships are not considered unethical (e.g., when the relationship does not exploit the client or impair competence).[4][5][6]
Before you get too excited about those instances when a duel role relationships are not considered unethical, the citations above lead to professional journal articles related to practice in RURAL areas, in order words, when the duty to treat may override a dual role relationship, which has minor implications regarding the impairment of the service providers effectiveness. Last time I checked, Jerusalem was not considered "rural," just loaded with English-speakers calling themselves therapists, who are hard up for work, and who lack the sophisticated level of language skills necessary to work with native Hebrew speakers.

Informed Consent
That's right! Not only must a therapist receive consent from a prospective client, before assessing and/or treating that client. But, the therapist must provide information related to the structure of the assessment and treatment, such as confidentiality. The prospective client [in the State of California, for example] is entitled to know the therapist's education and training, licenses and certifications, and theoretical orientation. So, don't be surprised if a prospective client asks such questions. It is his right.

If you do not have the answers, then you have no business doing what you are doing.

Not only that, but "informed consent" does NOT mean checking out, what you might think to be "analyzing," friends' prospective dates or roommates or employees WITHOUT their knowledge.

Client Endorsement
Ethical or not, I believe this practice to be damnable.

Imagine a therapist who advertises, and has endorsements from clients listed, even anonymously, on his advertisement or brochure. In fact, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that these clients volunteered to provide their therapist with an endorsement, without being solicited.

Let us go a step further, and say that said therapist announces such endorsements at a speaking engagement

What? At the very least, this "therapist" never thought of the implications this would have in the client's therapy? What about the conflict of interest?

Anna Freud might call this a form of "acting-out" of therapy, on the part of the client. I hate to ask what she might say that the therapist was doing.

Of course, if you are not really a therapist, then you have nothing to worry about, do you? All you have to do is to stop calling yourself a therapist.

The Israeli Ministry of Health is overwhelmed, and for the most part, lacks the necessary resources to monitor such individuals, real therapists crossing ethical lines, and fake therapists, leaving a trail of damage, often untraceable and unprovable.

You can see that this list of headings of potential problems here is endless.

I will assume that many of the fake psychotherapists out there have good intentions. However, this reminds me of the proverb...

"The road to hell was paved with good intentions."

Of those real psychotherapists out there, doing one or more of the above, you have absolutely no excuse.

*********
A note on gishur:

After posting the above, I had an afterthought of sorts. What about Gishur?

Roughly translated, gishur is bridge-building, and is used to describe work often done with couples, to assist them with communication.

I have met both members of clergy and attorneys who are very skilled in this work, even though they are trained in gishur, and not in any other type of counseling. Of course, like any in profession, there is always the potential for the appearance of bad apples.

Those I have met also acknowledge that they are not therapists, nor try to be, and would refer couples to qualified therapists when the need arises. I hope that this includes sexual issues, which are often overlooked, even though marital relations are integral part of a couple's communication, not to mention a deep component of their relationship. I do not know the extent of the training these professionals receive regarding sexual issues, hopefully enough to pick up on the subtle hints members of a couple may reveal that something needs to be addressed in this area.

Sexual therapy is a specialty often underrated, one in which not all psychotherapists have been sufficiently trained work with clients with sexual dysfunction.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Ramat Bet Shemesh C Residents Get Upset. Boo-Hoo!

 ח׳ לחודש השביעי תשע״ה

Life In Israel: RBS C residents upset about lack of shuls and infrastructure
The residents of RBS C are complaining once again about the lack of infrastructure in the new neighborhood.

The first time (that I know of) was about the lack of a mikva in the neighborhood. No mikva has yet been built, and the city has not yet even begun construction on the one that will eventually be built. The mayors response is that the mikva is two and a half years away. New neighborhoods don't have all the necessary resources, and that's the way it is. People need to be patient. (cont.)

Esser Agaroth (2¢):
AAAWWW! Poor babies!

True. This is an important halakhah regarding the building of a miqwah (mikveh). But, what about the women in Siberia who toiveled in secret, or the men who secretly built miqwa'oth, or had them rigged to be heated? What about the women in the Shomron who schlep with their armed husbands guarding them, and more than one neighborhood away at that? Or for that matter, what about those women in the U. S. who had to schlep two or more hours away and back?

Gimme a break! Sure, I appreciate that they do not want to let the guv'mint to step all over them, and that they expect the guv'mint to follow through on any promises which it had made, but still,...

This sounds like a bunch of spoiled, whining JAP's (Jewish American Princes and Princesses)!

What's next? No sparkling water flowing freely from the kids' playground water fountains?

No one said Israel was easy, except for some silly public relations guy or two, for certain organizations which will remain nameless. In fact, what HaZa"L said centuries ago still applies (TB Berakhoth 5a). How 'bout them apples?

And to those native Israelis in this neighborhood: Seriously? You actually trusted the guv'mint? You made your bed, now sleep in it.

And while you're sleeping in it, soundly, think of the Jews getting kicked out of their homes, given stay away orders (so that Arabs can pick olives which are not even theirs) unable to visit nor support their families for two months, and otherwise harassed by security forces.

Residents of Ramat Bet Shemesh C, you will receive absolutely no sympathy from me.
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