Sunday, January 20, 2008

Haveil Havalim #150 Is Up!

13 of the Eleventh Month 5768

Check out this week's edition of the world's leading Jewish and Israeli Blog Carnival, Haveil Havalim at Soccer Dad!

It is the last edition he is hosting as the carnival owner. He is passing it onto....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Likely Story

8 of the Eleventh Month 5768

Here is the latest on the activities of the YeSh"A Council, which should really change it's name to Ye"Sh already. The "A" stands for Azza (Arabs call Gaza). I sincerely doubt the Ye"Sh Council is doing anything in particular at the present time to encourage settlement there. We all know how they "helped" prevent the 5765 (2005) expulsion of Jews from there: K'far Maimon and Mr. Goldstein's "stage performance" among other "helpful" activities.

My comments are interpursed amongst Hillel Fendel's clear and concise story on Arutz 7 (Israel National News).

Yesha Council Denies Outpost-Dismantling Report
by Hillel Fendel, 7 Shevat 5768/January 14, 2008 5:40 PM

( Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea/Samaria, denies reports that an agreement has been reached regarding the peaceful dismantling of Jewish outposts.

A Monday report in Haaretz quoted sources close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying that an agreement had been reached between his office and representatives of the Yesha Council. The purported agreement stipulates that no resistance would be offered by Jewish residents to the dismantling of 18 outposts throughout Judea and Samaria. In exchange, Barak reportedly agreed to allow some construction - currently frozen throughout Yesha.

OK, so who is lying? Dayan? Baraq? Or Ha'aretz, trying to cause problems, or just being irresponsible?

My understanding of the Ramba"m's commentary on the concept of kaf zkhuth (giving benefit of the doubt), presented in Mishnah Avoth 1:6 would suggest that the Jew who is unknown is to believed over the know perpetrators of evil.

I am certainly not on any level to make such determinations on my own. I will let you decide if may understanding is applicable here, and if so, who mentioned above fits which category. Personally, until I here other direct statements from Dayan, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Even though there definitely seems to be an element here of "making the same mistake over again expecting different results," when it comes to showing any signs of trust in the YeSh"A Council.

Yesha Council head Danny Dayan told Arutz-7, however, that the above is simply not true. "There have been many negotiating sessions with Barak's people," Dayan said, "and it is possible to reach agreements - but this has not been done. It does not even appear that there will be any further talks in the near future."

What "agreements?" That's what I would like to know? What is there to agree upon?

26 Jewish Locations in Dispute
Hundreds of residents live in some 26 contested outposts throughout Judea and Samaria. Dayan explained to Arutz-7 that these 26 are on the chopping block "because they were built after March 1, 2001" - the date ex-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised U.S. President George Bush that no new communities would be built. The ultra-left Peace Now organization has long demanded, in its quest to de-Judaize Judea and Samaria, that these and other Jewish outposts be destroyed.

Dayan tells us that these 26 "outposts" are on the government's list for destruction, apparently due to U. S. pressure. No surprises here.

This coming February 6 is a significant date, because the Supreme Court is expected to rule then on the legality of one of the largest Jewish outposts in Judea and Samaria - Migron, with some 45 families. Though some of the land was definitely purchased by Jews, the Court is expected to rule that other parts of the community are situated on private, Arab-owned land. It could be, however, that the Court will, as it has done several times in the past, postpone a final ruling on the matter.

Migron is considered a strategically-critical Jewish town, situated on a hilltop overlooking the main highway from Jerusalem to Beit El, Ofrah, Shilo and other towns in Shomron. Its 45 families have not been permitted to increase their numbers over the past several years.

No one expects the dismantling of Migron to go over without an Amona-style fight. Two years ago, Amona was the scene of a very violent clash between police and army forces, on the one hand, and many hundreds of Land of Israel supporters who came to protest the government's eviction of nine Jewish families from their homes. Amona is situated just above the veteran community of Ofrah; Migron is located less than ten kilometers directly south of Amona.

Setting my criticism of the YeSh"A Council, and warnings to be wary of it, aside for a moment, I call your attention to the town of Migron.

Many of Migron's residents are followers of Rabbi Tzvi Tau, founder of the Har HaMor Yeshivah. Rabbi Tau has come out against the participation of soldiers in expelling Jews from their homes. He has even been critical of Rabbi Sedan of the B'nei David pre-IDF Mekhinah program for being too much on the side of the State on this issues. However, Rabbi Tau is still known to be a mamlakhti rabbi, trying to walk that tight rope of loyalty to Torah, without shunning the increasingly non-Torah oriented State.

It will be very interesting indeed how Rabbi Tau will react, and instruct his followers to behave, vis-a-vis their "brothers" (IDF soldiers and riot police Yassamkiqim who have come to thrown them out of their homes. I believe that this will be a critical juncture for the Jewish People. All eyes should be on Migron to see how this community and its spiritual leaders react when push comes to shove. May the Almighty show them, and all of us, mercy.

Possibly the second-largest of the 26 contested outpost neighborhoods is Givat Assaf. Its 18 families live in another vital strategic position - along the Jerusalem-Ofrah highway, at the turnoff to Beit El. The neighborhood is named for Assaf Hershkovitz, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 2001 just past the site of the present-day neighborhood. Just three months earlier, Assaf's father had been murdered in a similar road-side terrorist shooting, near the Atarot airport in northern Jerusalem.

The Solution
Dayan said that he and his colleagues in Yesha demand that all outposts on state-owned land - which are most of them - be immediately approved, and that an acceptable relocation solution be found for the others.

Gotcha! What acceptable location? ALL of the Land is ours. The self-created, and funded directly from the Office of the Prime Minister, YeSh"A Council, is supposed to have the goal of encouraging the settlement of the Land. Apparently, it's real goal is just to get what it can, and call it a day. It fails to see that the government doesnotplay by the rules. Whenever it sees that its enemies are winning according to the rules, the Supreme Court just steps in to change them. The likes of the YeSH"A Council fail to see any alternative in strategy, and carries on with its fruitless lobbying and public relations activities.

Its vision seems to be one not guided by the Torah's explicit statements that it is forbidden to relinquish land to non-Jews.

We can debate this statement another time. The purpose of mentioning this concept here is to expose the hypocrisy of the so-called religious Zionist organization known as the YeSh"A Council. Come to think of it, are any Torah concepts even mentioned in the YeSH"A charter? So perhaps my use of the term "religious" is inaccurate. It is no secret that most Israelis and Jews and non-Jews around the world see it as such. In any event, the remaining residents of YeSh"A (now Ye"Sh) who still trust in the YeSh"A Council need to wake up to the realization that they have been duped. Otherwise, the Jewish presence in Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samamria) will diminish, if not disappear altogether. May the Almighty forbid!

Olmert and Barak
Tensions between Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak on the issue of the outposts have recently surfaced. Olmert said on Sunday that it is a "disgrace" that the "unauthorized outposts" have not been dismantled all these years - while Barak staffers say that whoever suggests dismantling outposts without dialogue with the "settlers" reveals signs of "light-headedness."

It will be recalled that one of Olmert's first acts as Prime Minister two years ago was to order the violent destruction of the nine Amona houses, leading to hundreds of wounded.

I will leave you with a video presentation of what happened in Amona almost a year ago. Many videos can be found on the Internet covering this catastrophe. It is important to keep this memory fresh. This particular video focuses on the "trampling of democracy." Ask yourselves this question, where was the YeSh"A Council? What were they doing? Many of the powers that be, not all but many, were trying to convince the protesters at Amona to go quietly. They don't get it. There is no more "going quietly." Keep your eyes on Migron.

Carl at Israel Matzav reminds us of Google's willingness to report on blogger's identities. Last fall a candidate running in local Shomron elections actually went down this road.

Batya at The Eye of the Storm also warns us to be wary, and of whom.

If you do not see any activity on this blog all of a sudden please e-mail me. I do not want to be another one of those Shomron residents who has mysteriously disappeared, temporarily or otherwise.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What Did I Tell You About The YeSh"A Council?

7 of the Eleventh Month 5768

Barak, Yesha Leaders Agree to Destroy Jewish Towns
7 Shevat 5768 / January 14, 2008 10:44 AM

( Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Yesha leaders have reportedly reached an agreement for the non-violent eviction of hundreds of residents from their homes in 26 Jewish communities throughout Judea and Samaria.

According to the report in the Hebrew-language Haaretz daily, Barak has agreed to approve building and infrastructure permits frozen by the government in response to US pressure to drive Jews out of Yesha, as compensation for the non-violent abandonment of certain Jewish towns. In addition, victims of the eviction would be permitted to move to other Jewish communities in the area.

Sources in Barak's office said the Yesha Council "knows" that the Supreme Court deal is expected to order IDF soldiers to tear down the communities, and that the deal is intended to prevent violence between residents and eviction forces.

How many more "deals" can the government come up with before they will have no choice but to resort to violence?

Of course, the original came from the leftist Ha'Aretz Newspaper. So who knows what, if anything, is true in their report. This newspaper has its own agenda, to demonize anyone living Yehudah and Shomron (Judea & Samaria).

In the past they powers that be have knocked an abandoned caravan or two. Before the years before the infamous police attack on protesters in Amona, an agreement was made by the shifty power players in YeSh"A to have a water tower taken down in front of the news cameras, only to be put up again the next day. There simply aren't enough abandoned caravans and mobile water towers around to foot the public relations bill anymore.

Such "deal-makers" are doing a great disservice to Am Yisrael, and to its struggle to retain control of its God-given Land. This is how we expect Jew-hating UN, EU, and Arabs to behave, in a sneaky and dishonest manner. Such strategies only serve to cheapen and discredit our Divine claims to the Land.

Fortunately, the YeSh"A Rabbinical Council, with such leaders as Rabbi Dov Lior (Qiriyath Arba-Hevron), does not act in such a way.

Unfortunately, the YeSh"A Council does not quite get it, continually displaying its hoser emunah (lack of faith), believing it must fear and thus negotiate with the human powers that be, ignoring the greater power in Universe. The YeSh"A Council justifies this by trying to pass off such sneaky approaches as our hishtadluth (require effort on Jews' part). As a whole it does not believe it possibly to retain control of all of Yehudah and Shomron, at least not without the will of the standing government. It will consider it a victory if we are able to hold on to those communities currently within the almighty security fence, failing to accept that the security fence can be picked up and moved at any time.

So, what's all this I have been hearing about a "New" YeSh"A Council? It looks like business as usual to me,...collaboration with the government.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Haveil Havalim #149 Is Up!

6 of the Eleventh Month 5768

Israeli FlagThe 149th edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival is up at Life In Israel. The host, Rafi G., calls it the "Vengeance Upon The Nations" Edition, and he's done a great job!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bush's Jerusalem Legacy

Mossa'ei Shabbath Parshath Bo 5768

Of course, I picked Thurs. to visit a friend in the German Colony (You know, that annoying Leftist neighborhood, I can't stand, where everyone, including the waiter who obviously just had a very nasty fight his hair clippers, wants to speak English to you automatically, without even determining whether you can speak Hebrew or not.). Needless to say, I am almost never there. What can I say? He offered to buy me coffee. I ain't got no job; ain't go no money. So, I went, see my friend, not just for the free coffee.

Coming back from the German Colony, because of the traffic, roadblocks, and detours, it took me almost an hour to get to French Hill on the #4 Bus. The trip should only take 25 min. at most. Several of my fellow passengers were chattering away about Bush's visit causing all this traffic, oh yeah, and to force us to give away much of Israel, too. The #4 Bus by the way, connects mostly only liberal and secular neighborhoods, like Malha, Pat, Baq'a, Greek Colony, German Colony, and French Hill. If this is what these Israelis are saying, you can only imagine what it was like on the other buses.


Rather than complaining about the trafic and inconvenience caused by President Bush's visit, my buddy Doodle Head had a better idea, invoking the age-old Jewish tradition of Hakhnasath Orhim. See what he had in store for the U. S. President in President Bush, This One's For You.

The Almagor Terror Victims Organization lauched the most creative protest, dressing up as Arab terrorists and gathering in the square of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue near Prime Minister's official residence, quite the opposite of Hakhnasath Orhim, but a lot more appropriate.

Sorry, Doodle, but did you really expect him to show? I bet you would have enjoyed joining in the Almagor protest more anyway. I think I'll join, so I can be informed of their next event. I qualify for member ship, you know.

Bush Doesn't Get It, But Does Rice?

Mossa'ei Shabbath Parshath Bo 5768

Debbie Schlussel cleared up some of my questions about what kind of coverage the protests against President Bush's visit received in the U. S. There wasn't much. There was some about the Arabs in Azza protesting, but nothing significant about the Jews who were protesting. I wonder just how much the President was allowed to see and to hear regarding our displeasure of his plans for us. My guess is that it was very hush-hush. I never can tell with this president. Is he seriously mislead by his "people?" Or is he given all of the facts first, and then mislead regarding the proper strategy to take. Is other words, is he just misled by the UN and Council on Foreign Relations allies like Condaleeza Rice and her State Department? Or is he in on it? Does Condaleeza Rice think that you can actually relate to [non-Western] Arabs as fellow Westerners? Or is she purposely leading the President down the path of no return? Is this only a temporary alliance with the Arabs to sacrifice Israel's viability for the sake of continued flow of oil into the U. S.? Or are they really all that stupid, thinking that one can actually "talk" with Arabs?

Where's John Bolton when you need him?

And where are all those Christian Zionists we keep hearing about in Israel? "They" say they are working behind the scenes. Obviously they have other priorities like fighting abortion, as important as that may be, which precludes their lobbying for the Holy Land's handover to Arab terrorists. Wait a minute. I thought Bush and Rice were Christians. Where on earth are they getting their scriptural and spiritual guidance?

Is anyone else as confused as I am?

Meanwhile, one of the comments on Debbie's piece linked above alludes to another problem Israel is facing, not just the proximity of the so-called "Palestinian" Arabs in Qalqiliyah and Tul-karem, 8 miles away from his house on the coast. There's something called the "Triangle" kind of between the Sharon and Gallil areas of Israel filled with so-called "Israeli" Arabs, who have never accepted Israel's control of the UN mandated Jewish State. There is more and more evidence that there will be an uprising from within the area Bush and Rice propose to "let" us keep.

There is the cheering in Natzeret (Nazareth) and Shfar'Am of Arabs whenever Israel gets missiled, and then there's Peqi'im, an ancient Jewish town, now mostly inhabited by Druze. Druze have served in the IDF since the 1950's, and have proven their loyalty to Israel time and time again. However, even they have been getting agitated recently.

I live in the Shomron (Samaria) near Shkhem (The Romans renamed it Napolis; Arabs and CNN call it Nablus.) and Josef's Tomb. Yet, I'd feel safer here than Tel-Aviv, if the government didn't start taking weapons and security away. They have begun replacing local . how much do you want to bet that this is in preparation of their next stage of Jewish expulsion? May God forbid.

Ashqelon used to be considered too far from Gaza to get hit by missiles. Now it's starting to get hit on a regular basis by Hamas. How did they get such misslies?

Although it was hushed up, missiles from Hizbollah did reach as far south as Netanyah in the summer, 2006. I wonder how many more missiles Hizbollah has, and how improved their equipment is, now that they have had time to regroup and rearm, without any fear of retribution from the UN or international forces in Lebanon. Is anyone surprised?

We really are sitting ducks. Is our country the only one whose government cares more about following Bush's orders than about protecting its people? One would think they would need to do at least something, even something symbolic in order to protect their seats in the Kenesset, considered very precious to them. The truth is that they have given up on that highly addictive drug called "power," and are gunning for the less popular drug called "money." Oh, they will get plenty, have it funneled into private foundations, and they will be set for life.

Who needs a seat in government, especially in a government whose country is heading toward nonexistence? I am sure that the Leftists will be highly rewarded for carrying out Israel's fire sale. No doubt this will include some foreign passports, residency papers, or even asylum, when Israel tries to extradite the criminals back to stand charges of treason.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bush Welcome Posters

2 of the Eleventh Month 5768

I am really surprised this poster did not make the U. S. news. At least I could not find it. The left wing media do not like President Bush, but they like so-called right-wing Israelis (Read: "Proud Jews") much less.

One would think that "fair and balanced" Fox News, the only major American news source even remotely fair to Israel, would report on the protests welcoming U. S. President Bush's arrival to Israel, where he is to serve as honorary auctioneer. He and his assistant auctioneer, Condaleeza Rice, will be auctioning off our [the Jewish] Homeland, promised to us by the Almighty, even though it is not for him nor for anyone to relinquish, especially to terrorist Ishmaelites.

In all fairness to Fox, I do not have a television. It is likely that they have reported on the protests. I have yet to see it on its website, which sometimes takes a while to be updated.

Bush Welcome Poster

(Produced and distributed by the National Jewish Front)

Even the left-wing YNET News, the on-line version of Israel's Yediot Aharanot newspaper, inadvertently makes a few good points here. In their continued attempts to demonize God-fearing, Torah-observant Jews, YNET ends up validating the existence of double standards in Israel. When the left puts up similar posters, it's free speech. When the right does it, it's hate speech all of a sudden.

Even with the continued control of the media by the powers that be, the average Israeli, who continues to be a tradional, right of center Jew, is waking up to the practical dangers of such impending auctions. The kassam rockets, and now the katusha missiles keep getting closer and closer. How close will they have to get before we will stop tolerating the inaction of the Israeli government?

For a government which wants to demonize Torah-observant residents of Jerusalem, Yehudah & Shomron (Judea & Samaria), it sure isn't doing a very good job. THe only alternative they can come up with is give up land and talk about the Arabs reigning in terror.

How many times have we tried this? How many times have Arabs EVER kept their part of the bargain?

Israelis just are not going to buy it anymore. They are beginning to wake up to the truth. The left-wing in the U. S. maybe clueless, and in a way suicidal through its Islamophilia. It doesn't matter, because President Bush said it himself, "We're addicted to oil. We have to 'get off' of oil."

Bush Hamas Poster

(From YNET Hebrew version)

When, Mr. President? How many more Jews have to die, before placating the Arabs for your regular "fix" of oil becomes too expensive?

Is Jewish blood really that cheap? How about your soul, Mr. President? Think about how cheaply you are selling that.

1 Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' - Genesis 12:1-3

(Protest Poster courtesy of the Am K'Lavi organization)

Job Hunting

3 of the Eleventh Month 5768 After living in Israel for 10 years plus, I have to admit, I have been going through I pretty rough time lately. It happens. I have been unemployed for quite some time, and it is really beginning to get to me. After making a lot of money at my previous job, I decided to take some time off, and relax a while. I hope to learn from this mistake, and not fall into the same trap again. Others can get away with this. However, I have found that I am just one of those people who needs to be working. It has been really frustrating because even though I have been doing the necessary groundwork [or so I thought]. Actually, I found my first job in Jerusalem by pounding the pavement, looking in store windows. I happened along a private English-language school, now closed, in the middle of Downtown. I found my first teaching job by sending resumes to schools I found listed in the Israeli Yellow Pages. Here is an additional on-line resource currently available, the Bezeq Directory, with its English companion, the Gateway to the Bezeq Directory. Don't forget Israel's on-line Reverse Look-Up. You never know when that will come in handy. And while I am on the topic of on-line, telephone resources, I was recently introduced to Free Fax Israel. Fax your resumes and other doc and pdf documents anywhere in Israel for free, even without a fax machine. Here are links to some job sites:
When you arrive in Israel, you will soon learn the meaning of the word "potexia" (connections). Here are some job opportunities advertised on your own personal, English-speaker protexia sites:
(Jerusalem Area)
(Tel-Aviv Area)
...and here are some more job sites in English:
AACI's Jobnet Israemploy
Job Central Israel Jobs In Israel
The popular Craig's List has even reached Israel:
Craig's List Jerusalem

Craig's List Tel-Aviv

And here is the main site in Hebrew I have been monitoring:
Anyone interested in teaching English in Israel definitely needs to see the English Teachers Network in Israel [ETNI] site. You should also make a to your local Mefaqe'ah/at (Inspector). There are two for Jerusalem, one for the city and one for the surrounding area, which includes Bet-Shemesh, Mevaseret Tzion, Ma'aleh Adumim, Efrat, and Bet-El. There offices are located in the Ministry of Education Offices at Kanfei Nesharim Street 22, in the Givat Sha'ul shopping area, not far from the Nefesh b'Nefesh office. I suggest you call first to find out their office hours, 02-5602712. The Tel-Aviv Inspector is Beverly Topaz. Her e-mail address is beverlyto (at) education (dot) gov (dot) il, and her phone number is 03-6896382. Any professional requiring validation of college degrees needs to do so at the Ministry of Education, Diploma Bureau. The Jerusalem office is located in the same building as the English Inspectors. You will need to bring the original diplomas and transcripts, and submit copies of them. They receive the public on Mondays and Wednesdays. Call ahead, though, as the schedule is subject to change. Appointments are not necessary. Physicians, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, and I believe physical therapists need to apply for certificate through the Ministry of Health. The Jerusalem office of professional certification is located at Yaffo Street 157. Please help me to keep this information updated by e-mailing me or posting a comment. I hope this information has been at least a little helpful. My experience is that new immigrants tend to get the most help from fellow new immigrants. I was very pleased recently to have received a call from Nefesh b'Nefesh. I had sent them a resume. They did not have anything available. However, the representative gave me some tips, which I found to be very helpful. She did not have to call me, but she took the time to do so anyway. This was my first experience with Nefesh b'Nefesh. It was not around when I moved to Israel. I must say I was impressed by its caring attitude. Meanwhile I am still looking for a job, and am getting a bit nervous. Although I have been getting interviews. I had a job helping to tile a bathroom, which was good for me in more ways than one. The bank is on my case big time. My phone will be turned off soon, hopefully just the outgoing calls, so I will still be able to receive calls from prospective employers. I tremp (hitchhike) into Jerusalem, so transportation costs are down. HaShem help me when it rains and snows! Food wise I am getting by, Barukh HaShem. My least favorite stereotype of Americans in Israel is that we are wealthy. There may be a little truth to that. I don't know. What I do know is that I am not one them. In fact, I don't believe I know any of these supposedly wealthy Americans. I assume they exist, because sometimes it's a American who propagates this stereotype. More than once when I have said that "I didn't have any money," it was an American who told me to go an automatic teller machine. Looking back at him in disbelief, I would say, "No. Really. I don't have ANY money." In equal disbelief, he would laugh, thinking that I was only joking. Then seeing my face, he would eventually realize that I wasn't. He could not possibly fathom how it could be that an American Jew didn't have money, but he would accept it as truth. I have long since learned to accept such reactions from my fellow American Jews. I sometimes get free coffee out of the deal, as anyone who has had this conversation with me refuses to let me pay for coffee when we go, even when I have money. Go figure. What Americans lack due to their occasional cluelessness in the "Hello! Jerusalem is not a neighborhoods in New York!" department, they make up for in the "love and caring" department. But, I digress.... As I mentioned above, I am frustrated. Everyone tells me how "employable" I am. Yet, no one seems willing to "employ" me. After teaching for eight years, obtaining jobs with ease through my professional connections, I found myself in a similar situation in which I find myself today, unemployed and broke. My last school of employment "ran out" of money. That was after a year and a half of not receiving regular paychecks. At the end, we were not getting paid at all, but stuck around because we did not want to let our students down their national matriculation exams (bragruyot). Fortunately, I had neighbors who gave me a job at their Internet cafe in Jerusalem. It was the frumest Internet cafe in Israel, if you believe there is such a thing. For six months, I worked the "graveyard shift," six nights a week. It was a lot of fun and hard work combined, but also with all the nuttiness of working at night in big city. I will spare you the details for now. Unfortunately, this place was closed down as well. After a period of employment, I got a job working at a company called IDT Global, which employs a countless number of new immigrants. It's a great company, owned by Howard Jonas. He has personally given countless Jews their first jobs in Israel. I cannot tell you how powerful it is to be able to work and get paid in Israel. It can be a big boost to ones attitude and self-esteem in the face of dealing with a new country and culture. It was kind of weird be back around mostly Americans, many of whom had only been in Israel for a short time. I found myself being "accused" of acting Israeli once or twice, which, I took as a compliment. My project at IDT eventually closed. There did not seem to be anything else available for me. Although the people IDT made every effort to find positions for those of us completing a project. I worked there for a year. I made a lot of money, especially by Israeli standards. Living out in the middle of the Shomron (Samaria), which, albeit not for everyone, certainly made it easy to survive off of savings due to the relatively inexpensive rent. The Ramba"m states that it is a higher level to assist someone to support himself than simply to give him money. When I was in my last year of graduate school, I attended a group consultation with a psychiatrist. I thought of how fascinating it would be to get consultation from a well-known, local psychiatrist who has,...well, seen it all. It was fascinating, but only in that he was so practical. Anytime a colleague mentioned a depressed client, this psychiatrist's first question was, "Is he employed?" If the answer was "no," his response would always be the same, "Help him get a job." Not much has changed since the Ramba"m first espoused this wisdom. The intention of this blog is to encourage aliyah, not discourage it. However, I am also not interested in covering up the, sometimes grave, realities of living here. motivations (religious, spiritual, nationalist, etc.) for coming to live in Israel aside, I believe that my life is better now that I do live here. The challenges of life do not disappear, though. They are just,...well, different. It is hard to put it into words. I will simply say that with every challenge there is a solution, even though it may be difficult to see at first. Even I have pondered jumping on the next plane to the U. S., assuming I had the money, which I do not. For me, that is not the practical solution. Money and dealing with a "new culture" tend to be the reasons why half of all North American immigrants return to North America within five years. That's what the statistics were 10 years ago. I believe that they are changing. THe funny thing is that when you have been in Israel as long I have, you too, will probably joke about what a culture shock it would be going back to the U. S. (or Canada, or the U. K., or wherever), even for a visit. My goal here is to lay out the truth, share some of my experiences with you, and perhaps help you to get through some of the same difficulties, which invariably occur. 

When you arrive in Israel, feel free to leave a comment here to be in touch. Let me know what I can do to help you. What may seem overwhelming to you, I may think is old hat. If I do not know the answer, I will probably know how to ask. But, there is a catch. Well, it is not really a catch, at least not one you will mind. When you have been here, even for just a short while, please try to be available to help the next immigrants who arrive. This is the key: Immigrants identifying with one another, understanding what it is like, learning, sometimes stumbling, getting up again, and then passing it on to the next immigrant.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Kashruth Certification Guide

29 of the Tenth Month 5768

This guide is meant for tourist and resident alike. Even if you can't read Hebrew, you can use this guide as a visual comparison when shopping or dining out, if you are concerned and/or confused about kashruth certification in Israel.

For starters, you can use this guide to begin to identify the various kashruth certifications in Israel.

Once in a while, Americans will bump into familiar friends such as the O-U and Star-K (Rabbi Heinemann) and British will see their familiar London Beis Din and BaDa"Tz Manchester (Rabbi Westheim) on food labels, in candy stores, and even at few restaurants in Jerusalem.

However, these familiar faces are not nearly as prevalent as the certifications by the following rabbis and organizations.

Kashruth Certifications
(click on the image to enlarge it)

Rabbanut Yerushalayim
BeDa"Tz Mehadrin
Rav Rubin
Rav Kook
Rav Landa
B'nei Braq
BeDa"Tz Bet Yosef
BeDa"Tz Mehzikei Das
BeDa"Tz Eidah HaredisBeDa"Tz Agudas YisroelO-U Mehadrin

BeDa"Tz Neveh Tzion

Hasam Sofer
B'nei Braq

Hasam Sofer
Petah Tikvah
BeDa"Tz She'eris Yisroel

Starting out with visual recognition of certifications, or te'udot in Hebrew, will assist you in feeling more comfortable and independent while shopping and dining out in Israel. If you feel you need to ask a rabbi or friend in Israel about a certification, or which gift of food or wine your host be most comfortable receiving, use the above chart to identify the name of the certifications in question.

Yoreh De'ahI only recently found a copy of Rav Shlomo Mahpud's shlit"a "Yoreh De'ah" kashruth certification symbol. So I am adding it to this post. You can find Rav Mahpud's certification on bakeries, meat, meat restaurants, and on natural and alternative medicines.