Sunday, May 25, 2008

Haveil Havalim #167 Is Up

21 of the Second Month 5768

Haveil Havalim #167 is up at Frume Sarah's World.

Fearless Leader Jack, who will be hosting next week, is always looking for volunteers to host. So, don't be shy.

I have been asked to inform everyone that Frum Satire will be hosting next week's edition, so send him "cool stuff."

While I'm at it, future hosts include...

June 8 Jack's Place (Random Thoughts)
June 15 Jack's Place (Random Thoughts)
June 22 Soccer Dad
June 29 ???
July 6 ???
July 13 Yid With Lid
July 20 Esser Agaroth (Yours Truly)

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Can't Believe I Did This!

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Behuqothai 5768

Last Sunday night after a shi'ur in Jerusalem, I was offered a tremp (ride) home on the back of my neighbor Ariel's motor scooter (model pictured).

Someone else who was at the shi'ur wanted to know what the big deal was. I explained to him that I lived near Shchem, and that the route sometimes entails the dodging of rocks, bullets, and Molotov Coctails. He understood. Ariel reassured me that Arabs tended not to throw rocks at night. How reassuring.

Batya will tell you how she has walked from Shilo to Jerusalem. Shilo residents hold an annual march in memory of Avihu Keinan HY"D who was killed in action. But this march is held during the day, and I believe with some kind of IDF protection,...along with several Shilonim who would not hesitate to after any Arab who tried anything.

I myself have walked from Tapu'ah to Rehlim several times, and from Eli to Shilo. (Click map to enlarge.)

But, I digress....

I don't know what I was thinking, but I said yes to Ariel's offer. I figured that I could always change my mind along the way, and continue the journey by catching regular tremps. My main concern turned out to be the cross winds, which I am still not sure were there, or just my perception of them. Not only were they cold, but I was also worried that we would be blown over. I was also concerned about some Arab running us off the road, especially in Vadi Kharamiah, the valley between Ofra and Shilo where cell phone reception is minimal at best, preventing any calls for assistance.

Needless to say, I survived the trip. (Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to be writing this right now.) I'm glad I made the trip, for the experience. Although I can't promise I'd do it again. I don't know how many Jews can say that they have ridden through the Lands of Binyamin and Efraim on a motor scooter.

It was an opportunity to face my some of irrational fears, and assert a Jewish presence in these parts of the Land of Israel, my own personal way.


* The YeSh"A Council is selling out the very Judea and Samaria it created itself to protect. One of its members attacked teenage boys last week for exercising their free-speech, then LIE about it to rabbis like Rabbi Dov Lior so that they can sneakily put his signature on one of their posters condemning the same boys that were attacked.

* Israeli Prime Minister Sm-Olmert wants to give the Golan Heights to Syria, even though he said he would never do such a thing two years ago.

* The burning of New Testaments distributed by missionaries caused an uproar amongst leftists, comparing it to activities in 1930's Germany. A platform was given to missionary lawyers to further their message of encouraging Jews to practice avodah zarah. This goes fight along with their special, five-year evil program in Israel.

The troubles we are experiencing can be so overwhelming at times. I often feel like "I am not doing enough." Once in a while I have to focus on the positive experiences in our troubled Land, even if it's just a [not so] simple ride on a motor bike.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Another One Of Life's Milestones

Pesah Sheni 5768

Over a half a year after getting the go ahead from my eye doctor, I finally purchased glasses.

What took me so long? Well, that's just how I am, my procrastination, combined with my need to investigate an issue thoroughly, sprinkled with money issues, or so I thought....

After making my biannual appointment with the ophthalmologist at my qupath holim (like an HMO, but not exactly), waiting two months, and paying my NIS 19 (about $5.65) co-payment, I received my eye examination, probably my third in Israel. I like this doctor, so I have stuck with him. If I didn't, I could always shop around, and find someone who doesn't cost any more than he does. Try posting an inquiry on JANGLO or TAANGLO, to glean from the experiences of those immigrants who came before you.

That's what I did when it came to finding an optometrist, which is the next step. Here, or at least the way my doctor worked, the ophthalmologist checks the health of your eyes, and for any problems or diseases, and can give you an idea of your prescription. I only needed reading glasses, and do not have any issue to incorporate into a prescription than that.

I had to find an optical shop and get another examination for an exact prescription, or so I thought. I asked around. I asked almost everyone I knew who has glasses. You'd be surprised to know how many people with stable prescriptions simply go to the eye doctor when the visit the U. S. [or Canada, etc.].

One person recommended his friend's father-in-law, another the chain which gives members of my health insurance group a 25 percent discount, bringing the total for a new pair of glasses with examination down to only NIS 450 (about $134.00). Still another found a shop owned by French immigrants which sold him a pair for only NIS 50 (about $15). I like to support immigrant owned businesses, so this appealed to me, as did the price.

But then I hit gold. A neighbor of mine who moved in from the Tel-Aviv area recommended that I visit Shuq HaKarmel in Tel-Aviv, where he found reading glasses for only NIS 15 (about $4.46).

What a find!

Granted, I only needed reading glasses. So, this is not an option for someone with a complicated prescription. First, also by recommendation of my neighbor, I double-checked my prescription with the self-diagnostic lenses at a major drug store which sells reading glasses, obviously with the intention of checking out their selection. I do not recommend using their equipment without permission. No doubt they'll let you if you ask, and you may see something you like, albeit for a higher price than the pair I ended buying at the Shuq in Tel-Aviv.

I did look around the Mahaneh Yehudah Shuq in Jerusalem, and found only place with a small selection, not really in the Shuq either, but farther up Aggrippas Street. He only had whole number and half sizes. I needed a quarter size, so that did not help me.

On Shabbath, it was finally too unbearable learning, even with the book miles away from my eyes. So, this afternoon I made the trek out to Tel-Aviv, and now I can see!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Other Burning Bush

Mossa'ei Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Behar 5768

Who remembers the scene in "The Fiddler on the Roof" when the rabbi was asked, "Rabbi, is there a blessing for the Tsar?" And the rabbi responded...

"Yes. May the Almighty bless and keep the Tsar,...far away from us."

Well, this is the perfect model for what I believe to be the most appropriate blessing for U. S. President Bush.

Unlike the Divine words Moshe Rabbenu heard emanating from a burning bush, not consumed, President Bush is burning (click here for photo) because his pants are on fire, in "Liar, Liar."

President Bush received praise from "right-wing" Members of the Kenesseth [MK] for his address to that body on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Rabbi MK Me'ir Porush (UTJ/Agudas Yisroel) is engaging in settlement activity,...sort of.... Huh?

But, I digress....

The President's words which caught my attention in particular were these:

"...Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. ...We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

So, why does the president continue to encourage us to talk with Fatah? Has he seen "Palestinian" educational television lately? Can he really be that stupid to confuse Fatah with Hamas, Hizbollah, and Al-Qaeda?

I don't think so.

It's about oil. It's about money. It's about being handed a particular "map" by the Saudis.

No, I'm not saying that the [Arab terrorist-loving] American leftist got it right. They got it only partly right,...and probably by accident at that.

President Bush himself talked about the U. S. being addicted to oil, and how "we have to get off of oil."

No, he's not that stupid.

The only question is if he's doing this because he believes it's the right thing to do to protect the interests of the U. S.? Or is this "Bible-believing Christian" conveniently dismissing Biblical recommendations against doing nasty things to Jews, and putting their lives in jeopardy, for the sake of less noble goals?

You be the judge, as he talks out of the other side of his mouth.
Bush: 'My Heart Breaks' over Arabs' Situation

( After leaving Israel Friday, U.S. President George W. Bush met Saturday with Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas – and promised him that there would be an Arabs state in areas controlled the PA by the end of 2008, if he had anything to say about it. "It breaks my heart to see the vast potential of the Palestinian people, really, wasted," Bush said. Such a state “would be an opportunity to end the suffering that takes place in the Palestinian territories," he told Abbas. (Read more...)

The only conclusion is that at the very least, he is misleading both Israelis and the Americans who support us.

"Mr. President, may the Almighty bless and keep you [and your plotting and planning]...very far away from us!"

Cross-posted on Stop Raping Israel and the B'nei Elim Blog

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Take 'Em Off! ...Now!

7 of the Second Month 5768

No Wedding Bands for Jewish Men!I'm talking about Jewish men, and their wedding bands. There isn't anything in the LEAST bit Jewish about men wearing wedding bands.

Oh, I can hear it now....

"But I CHOOSE to wear a wedding band. My wife doesn't make me. I like it."

(eyes rolling)

"I want to fit in, and not look out of place [in the U. S.]"


Fine. You wanna wear your precious wedding bands? Do NOT try to pretend that it is something Jewish. Be honest with yourselves.

It is a goyshe custom.

"Oh, but Ya'aqov, you don't understand. You're not married. When you find the right woman, and she wants you to wear a wedding band, you will realize it is small compromise to make, and you'll end up appreciating the custom in the long-run anyway...(blah, blah, blah)"

Oh, I understand alright. I understand that if I meet a woman who wants her husband to wear a wedding band, I will know for certain that she is NOT the right woman for me.

OK. Fine. You in hu"tz la'Aretz (outside of Israel), due to the goyshe influences surrounding you (some assimilationist "rabbis" included), you are hopeless cases,...for now.

You here in Israel, what's your excuse?

"What's the problem? It's no big deal. It lets everyone else know that I'm married. What's wrong with showing pride in my marriage?"

Oh, puh-leaze! Why do you have to "show pride" in the fact that you're married, for goodness sakes?

Look, Ya'aqov. You're just causing problems. Everyone knows that 'Shalom Bayis" means to listen to your wife, just like Avraham listened to Sarah."

Um, 'bout "NO," Scott.... It doesn't. Furthermore, the next time there's an issue of you having to decide whether to throw out your concubine and her some because he's a bad influence on your wife's son, AND HaShem personally tells you to listen to your wife, then, yeah, I highly recommend that you listen to your wife, and do exactly what she says.

However, if your wife wants you follow a goyshe practice, then, no, I highly recommend that you do not listen to her.

I mean, really, if you're married to a woman who's going to cause you THAT much of a problem over a wedding band, then you may want to take a serious look at what's REALLY going on in your marriage.

After all, you want to live a Jewish life, and raise your children with a proper Jewish education, right?

Then what does a wedding band have to do with that?

Absolutely nothing.

"But, my wedding band makes me feel spiritually connected to my wife...."

(serious eye rolling)

Spiritually connected? I guess you're not THAT spiritually connected, if need a material object to assist you. Hey, why don't you try talking to her [and listening] once in a while? Also, see above for my previous response.

And what about all of the other totally non-Jews practices in Israel?

Oh, don't worry. I intend to tackle those, too,...all in due time.

Now, let's see if "Haredi" men come out of the wood work and support me on this one.

I doubt it.


For more on this issue, see the t'shuvah (responsum) of Rabbi David Bar-Hayim.

Haveil Havalim #165 Is Up!

6 of the Second Month 5768

Haveil Havalim #165 is up at Jack's Place (Random Thoughts - Do They Have Any Meaning?).

It's the Happy 60th Birthday, Israel Edition.

By the way, Jack's the one to contact if you would like to take a turn hosting this blog carnival: While you're volunteering to host, don't forget to wish Jack a Happy 39th Birthday.

If you have something you would like to submit, you can use the handy-dandy, on-line submission form.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How The YeSh"A Council Thugs Celebrated Israeli Independence Day

4 of the Second Month 5768

My sources tell me that there was a major poster war during the recent nights of posting announcements for Yom HaAtzma'uth (Israeli Independence Day) events in Yehudah and Shomron (Judea & Samaria).

The war was between publicizing a "Land Of Israel Supporters event in the destroyed town of Homesh in the heart of the Shomron near Jenin, and a YeSh"A Council-sponsored event in the mamlachti town Migron, just north of Jerusalem.

Layers upon layers of posters over posters, from the back and forth coverage, could be found throughout the Shomron. In between were the Jonathan Pollard posters struggling for space. My sources tell me that if there was a choice between covering up a YeSh"A/Migron poster with a Pollard poster versus covering up a Homesh poster, it was a no-brainer.

The YeSh"A/Migron poster got it.

Important rabbis, unafraid to express Torah truth, even if means criticizing the Israeli Goverment, could be found in Homesh. They included Rabbi Yisrael Ariel (Sanhedrin, Temple Institute), Rabbi Dov Lior (Qiriyath Arba-Hevron), Rabbi Gadi Ben-Zimra (Ma'aleh Levona), Rabbi "Dudi" Dudekevitch (Yitzhar).

Where do you think my friends were?

This year's Yom HaAtzma'uth preparations did not go unmarred by the typical violence and suppression of free-speech expected in Yehudah and Shomron.

Yet, this time around it was particularly disgusting, as it was perpetrated [openly] by the YeSh"A powers that be, and their thugs....

Translated from the website:

"The Land of Israel: Continuing On and Proudly So"
Violence In The YeSh"A Council
Wed., 2 Iyyar 5768 (5/7/08), 6:19 PM

Pinhas WallershteinPinhas Wallerstein of the Yesh"a [Judea, Samaria, & Gaza] Council leaders violently attacked three minors who were putting up posters near Ofra. The posters attacked the YeSh"A Council and its agreement regarding [the removal of some of] its strongholds.

Vallerstein ripped up the posters, and with the aid of three security personnel from Ofra, struck the minors, broke into their vehicle, and stole about 2,000 posters.

The minors demanded that he identify himself, but he refused, and was identified by the residents of Ofra who were also there.

They are currently checking into the filing of a complaint with the police regarding the attack and the theft.

They were putting up the following poster:


3 years after Gush Qatif

3 years after the great exercise in deception at Kfar Maimon

Once again, the YeSh"A Council collaborates and participates in the expulsion of Jews.

In Mevo Horon, the YeSh"A Council, together with the town administration uprooted the stronghold adjacent to the town.

In Beth Yatir, the YeSh"A Council, together with the town administration destroyed caravans (mobile home/trailers) in its stronghold to the south.

The YeSh"A Council calls us out to march in Migron on Independence Day, and at the same time it says, "these days in which they talk about destruction and evacuation...." when they themselves are participants in activities destroying Jewish towns!!!

Including attempts to convince the people of Migron to move to the town of Adam (Geva Binyamin).

The call to come to march in Migron is an empty display of the struggle which in fact puts the pressure on to help Migron willingly.

We should not fall into this trap!

Stop the agreement [to remove] strongholds!

Go out into the open spaces!

Establish new settlement points!

Land Of Israel Youth
Land Of Israel Faithful

The second poster distributed, and which can also be found at the link above, basically states that the Independence Day Parade by Migron (the mamalachti town closer to Jerusalem than Ofra) is a joke, and is really its funeral procession.

Defense Minister Ehud Baraq has said previously that he plans to move the community this summer.

Today some of the Lard Of Israel activists paid the Migron event a visit....

Activist Groups Clash in Migron

( Supporters and opponents of the Yesha Council clashed Thursday during a rally in the community of Migron. Police arrested two activists who were involved in the fighting.

Thousands of Israelis streamed to Migron on Thursday to show support for the town, which the government has threatened to destroy this summer. Members of the Loyalists to the Land of Israel, lead by Daniella Weiss, began distributing pamphlets accusing the Yesha Council of “assisting in the expulsion of Jews” through its support for the voluntary evacuation of some Jewish towns in exchange for official government authorization for others.

Fighting broke out when members of Loyalists to the Land of Israel began shouting during a speech by Yesha Council head Danny Dayan. [Daniella] Weiss later said she felt it was important to interrupt Dayan in order to publicize the Yesha Council’s tactics. [Yesh"a Council Head Danny] Dayan said the Yesha Council was doing what was necessary to strengthen Jewish life in Judea and Samaria, and would not be deterred by violence.

Same old YeSh"A Council hypocrisy, ,...and the mamlachti (state loyal religious) sheep going to slaughter,...but not before they hug the soldiers.

"Ahavath Hinam"
(unconditional love), conditionally applied.


Cross-posted on Stop Raping Israel

Did I Stand For The Siren?

3 of the Second Month 5768

Two nights ago at 8:00pm the Israeli Memorial Day Siren sounded. Leading up to that moment, I realized that I had not been in a city for during the sounding of sirens for years. Often I was at home at night or teaching school in a small town during the day, where my choice as to what to do during the siren was made for me.

With all of the chatter about the siren, and knowing that I would be in Jerusalem, I thought more than usual about what I would do when the siren went off. Although I have to admit, from the first time I experienced the sirens in Tel-Aviv, 10 years ago, I have found the experience moving, a way.

Some have suggested that standing for a siren, laying wreaths on graves, and the like are not in the least bit Jewish, and should be exchanged for traditionally Jewish practices.

Rabbi Hanania Tsfar of Rosh Ha'Ayin called for the reciting Tehillim (Psalms) during IDF Memorial Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day (Nitsan Yanko, YNET).

The two friends who surprised me with a visit in the middle of the previous night expressed their opposition to Rabbi Tsfar's opinion, suggesting that any non-Jewish practices should be shunned. They did not buy my suggestion that the misguided segments of Am Yisrael (The Jewish People) needed to be educated as to what "Jewish" meant, and that this might just be the way to do it.

To me, Rabbi Tsfar's opinion sounded like a positive way to educate others about what IS Jewish without causing a ruckus. Most secular Jews know what it means when a religious Jew is holding some sort of book in his hand, lips muttering away. That's really an understatement. Many even consider this to be the role of religious Jews: "Pray for us," is their call, with saying Tehillim, or learning mishna'oth, also being cast into this category.

You may want to check out Rafi G.'s comprehensive coverage of the issues of the siren and of memorial observance.

So, what happened?

I was on the No. 4 bus, which generally has a mixed crowd, including Arabs, due the diverse set of neighborhoods it connects.

Traveling northward, the bus stopped for the siren at the corner of Shtrauss and HaNevi'im Streets, right in front of Biqur Holim Hospital. Most everyone stood up on this full bus, including Haredim of all flavors. There were only a few exceptions. A Hassidishe woman and her daughter sitting right in back of me, continued to chat away. A young, American Haredi couple, across the aisle from the mother and daughter, did not stand up either, but their speech clearly changed from talking to whispering.

I stood. I didn't see any reason not to. Although it might has caused some eyebrows to be raised if I hadn't. I was wearing a blue, knit kippah, instead of my usual black, which is often mistaken for one of the typical Haredi styles. (No statements intended...I just couldn't find my black one.)

"Why wasn't the Tzi'eini standing?" would have been heard throughout the bus,...assuming that anyone would have bothered to notice. And I doubt that anyone would have. So, I stood, knowing that nothing positive would have come from my refraining to stand in this particular situation.

My only regret was forgetting a siddur, to be visually do something different than the norm. Who knows, maybe it would have initiated conversation. I said Tehillim quietly nonetheless.

There weren't any Arabs on the bus this time, so I was unable to observe that added variable thrown into the pot. Also, I was so focused on what was going on inside of the bus, that I completely missed seeing what was going on outside of the bus.

The bus started up again, passing Kikar Shabbos (Sabbath Square), the defacto meeting point of the Haredi neighborhoods of Me'ah Sha'arim and Ge'ulah, and where there was a bit of a scuffle on Wednesday morning. There were the beginnings of a demonstration brewing. But farther up the [Yehezqel] street, demonstrations were more developed, and filled with signs. My experience told me that this was Neturah Karta sponsored, but I can't be certain.

I hope that more representatives of the State Rabbanuth will come forward with suggestions for next year, as to how we can observe memorials with the countless Jewish traditions we already have established.

Standing at attention and sounding a siren are not on the list.

All Need To Know, I Learned From Harry Potter

3 of the Second Month 5768

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry PotterAn egg sandwich is better than nothing; boiled mushrooms apparently aren't. Even salmon might be obtainable, but you have to think to look for it first.

You can't always judge someone by first impressions, and definitely not by rumors. (Neville, Sirius Black, Luna, thestrals,...)

Even some nasty kreachers can change, if you're nice to them.

Help is available, those who ask for it.

Help can come from the most surprising places. But, keep your friends close nonetheless.

Governments don't always tell the truth.

To curse someone effectively, you really have to mean it. It isn't necessary to curse anyone except your enemies.

Killing someone can damage your soul, don't kill anyone.

Tears can be healing.

Combining courage, intellect, and loyalty can create something great. Ambition must be moderated.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Haveil Havalim #164 Is Up!

Alef d'Rosh Hodesh of the Second Month 5768

Haveil Havalim #164 - No Names Edition is up at Simply Jews. Check out the vicious rumors Snoopy has been spreading about me!

Guest Post: A Revolutionary Idea: "Hashemcracy"

Alef d'Rosh Hodesh of the Second Month 5768

My friend and neighbor, Ariel Ben-Yohanan, founder of the Jewish Yisrael E-Group, asked me to post the following piece for him. It's the latest in his "Demos, Cratos" series. His line is getting harder and harder in front of our very eyes.

We look forward to seeing more of Ariel in the JBlogosphere in the near future, with his own blog. In the meantime,....

A Revolutionary Idea: "Hashemcracy"
by Ariel Ben-Yohanan (Bereny)

In occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary let us remember that the Knesset, Israel's parliament, is an institution non prescribed by the Torah.

The Knesset therefore is unsuitable for a truly Jewish State: a parliamentary democracy, per definition, can not be a Jewish Sate as a Jewish State has to be based on the Jewish Constitution, on Torah.

Let us remember that the Creator especially tells us in His Torah to respect His laws and to fight tyrants. Tyrants are men who coerce their fellow men.

Knesset members are doing exactly this: by producing laws they are coercing their fellow men. They are telling us what to do, what not to do, how to do it and when.

The Knesset is a legislative body and just by being it is coercing Israelis not to respect the Torah. What is of course a lot worst, is that it is doing this evil with the participation in it's ranks of Amalekite Arab MKs. This has to be declared unacceptable. In Judaism the law is given by Hashem and administered by expert judges!

Let us remember that following the people's wishes the Jews construct the Golden Calf. Let's not forget this!

Let's not forget that the Golden Calf is not only an object and an idol but also is an institutional model by which power flows the wrong way, it is the case to say "upside down", from down to up, instead of from up to down. This is in clear opposition to the Torah system: Hashem, in Eretz Israel, wants us to obey His Law, not any law of the land.

Let's not forget that in democracy the flow of power is from down to up as well. In fact demos means people and cratos power. Democracy is people's power. In Greek.

Greece in Greek is Hellas. Jews know or should know pretty well what Hellenism is and what it means for us. Every year, for thousands of years now, we celebrate our victory over Hellenism and Hellenists, Jews and non Jews, at Chanukah.

If the Knesset in particular and the modern State of Israel in general is built like the Golden Calf and acts like the Golden Calf, shouldn't Jews fight it and demolish it rather then dance around it and worship it?

The reform which Jews really need in Israel is a Torah revolution, for redemption: institutional discontinuity, not "elections". Also because elections are divisive and we are told to unite and stay united. Part-y membership and activity, participating in the vote therefore clearly are condemnable, terrible, Golden Calf sins.

So, if Judaism is the exact opposite of democracy should Jews chose Judaism or democracy? Can elections or even democratic institutional reforms bring in the change we need or are they just simple improvements on the evil Golden Calf system?

Well, if democracy is an evil system for the Jews, against which stands the entire Torah system, then mis-taking the possibility of majority decisions allowed for the Sanhedrin for democracy clearly is an error.

Jews are about Hashemcracy. That's why we are here, in this world, and that is precisely why we are hated by the nations: we are revolutionaries, by design.

The true fight against anti-Semitism has nothing to do with ADL type coordinated action. It has to do with standing up for authentic Jewish values and Torah.

The Jews in Eretz Israel today, like so many times in our history, have to chose between worshipping Hashem, our G-d, or show our back to Him by worshipping foreign idols and influences. The sooner we understand this the better.

Not participating in the Banquette of the King is not easy. Nevertheless, we are told to stay away. So, let's stay away! Let seculars and the secularists have their democratic republics, G-d loving Jews know, it is not "them" and it is not "for them".

If we want to be Jews in Israel we have to support our nascent Torah institutions!

Let us be in Eretz Israel not just physically like any nation but spiritually and institutionally: as the Torah's nation! We have a G-d given right to the land only in this way: by obeying Hashem, not Knesset.


Please leave a comment, or feel free to contact Ariel at:

Saturday, May 03, 2008

You Know You're Israeli When...

Mossa'ei Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Qedoshim 5768

Dan of asked me [and many others] to participate in his Big Project for Israel's 60th Birthday. He asks writers to answer the following question:

"What are the 4 accomplishments of the State of Israel which make you most proud?"

Well, Dan, I've tried. But every time I come up with something positive, my negative attitude toward the state gets in the way, and I ruin it. For example, when I come up with my pride in the state's 5727 (1967) victory against our enemies, I immediately think about how the state started messing it up soon afterwards, starting with the giving up of the Temple Mount. It just goes on from there,...never annexing Judea, Samaria, and Azza, kicking Jews out of Azza and the Northern Shomron, getting ready to do the same elsewhere, wasting a lot of money on that stupid wall,...etc.

When I think of the state's accomplishment of bringing Jews back to our Homeland, I cannot stop thinking about former Interior Minister Avraham Poraz YSh"W putting freezes on aliyah from Peru and India (sources of right-wing, religious Jews) while being complicit in the mass infusion of goyim from the Former Soviet Union. Over 60 percent of immigrants from those countries are goyim. Yet, many Jews in those countries are stuck there, because they don't even have the money for a train ticket to the closest office Jewish Agency.

It's not that the state hasn't make accomplishments that I am proud of. It's just that I can't really pinpoint any at the moment, without ruin them with my current state of negativity.

Certainly I say Hallel and Al HaNissim on Yom Ha'Atzma'uth (Israeli Independence Day), but not for the current "state of the state," but rather for the great nissim (miracles) The Almighty made for us, by protecting us from our enemies and granting us sovereignty over the Land He has given us. The fact that there's a lot of mistakes being made by the powers that be,...and constantly so,...does not minimalize this.

Now, if Dan had asked us about Jewish (or at least theoretical Jewish) sovereignty over the land, problem. I could have come up with a dozen things of which I'm proud:

1. Agricultural technology, and a Jewish agricultural renaissance.

2. Renewed and/or strengthened Jewish presence in ancient towns such as Shiloh, Hevron, the surrounding areas of Shchem, and at one point, Shchem itself.

3. Increased interest and exploration in natural medicine.

The state has had a hand in all of the above, but it's the Jewish spirit which has been behind it all. Ahduth Yisrael (Jewish Unity) can be found in all of the above as well, to varying degrees.

It is important to differentiate between "the state," "the regime," and "Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel." They are three completely different entities or ideas. And quite frankly, how "Jewish" is a "state" anyway? The ideal Jewish government is made up of a King and Sanhedrin (High Court), in our in which the Kehunah (priesthood) works within a standing Beth HaMiqdash (Temple).

Dan and I both identify as "Religious Zionists," yet disagree a lot, if not often. I know that may surprise some of you. It is important to be critical of the state when necessary. Yet, I think Dan has it right here. We have an opportunity to be positive, and to work toward Ahduth Yisrael. Constantly dwelling on the negatives isn't going to do anyone any good.

So here's what I have come up with, based on my experiences of adapting to life in Israel.

Long ago, I gave up on "being Israeli." I have no interest in "being Israeli." Rather I am a Jew living in the Jewish Homeland, and I DO have an interest in becoming the best "Jew Living in the Jewish Homeland" which I can be. I have used the word "Israeli," though, for lack of a better catch word. After all, I AM an Israeli citizen. So, how do you know you're adapting to life in Israel, and "becoming Israeli?" (So to speak)

You know you're Israeli when...

10. Tourists ask you for directions.

9. Native Israelis ask you for directions.

8. You're friends with some English-speakers with whom you generally speak in Hebrew, and not in English.

7. Native Israeli store owners in Jerusalem do not automatically speak to you in English.

6. Waiters only speak to you in Hebrew.

5. The owners of the bakery where you've been buying bread regularly stop calling you "adoni" (sir), and start calling you "haver" (friend), or even "ahi" (my brother).

4. You start calling the owner "dod"/"dodah" (uncle/aunt - familiar term for older acquaintances).

3. You fight with the bus driver,...and win,...and then the next time he sees you, he calls you "ahi."

2. After receiving the shwarmah you ordered that you complain that there isn't any hilbeh or shug or other such condiment.

And the number one reason you know you're Israeli is when...

1. You're standing in line for fallafel, and the man preparing it winks at you because the guy in front of you is acting too "American."

(Yeah, I know this one isn't very nice...but we've all probably been there, just might not have acknowledged it.)

By the way, all of the above have happened to me personally, except for number 2, which I have heard about. So, does that make me Israeli? Hardly. Like I said beforehand, I gave up on that as a goal long ago.

It just means that I'm doing the best I can (like everyone I assume) to adapt to life in a country, where things operate very differently than in the country of my birth (the U. S. A. or California, depending on who you ask), but where I believe the Almighty has commanded me to live.

I won't blame Dan for not publishing my contribution on his blog, as I wasn't even close to following his project guidelines.

But, that's OK. Dan gave me something to think about for this Yom Ha'Atzma'uth, my experiences in Israel over the past 11 years, and how I've arrived to where I am.

And, Dan. Even though we disagree on any number of issues, you should still feel free to contact me, when you make aliyah, with any questions you have about dealing with Israel, the government offices, the forms needing to be filled out, or just vent. I believe that's the only way we're gonna survive as a People, returning to this great Land of ours,...helping each other.


Update: Oh, well. No response from Dan, not even a rejection e-mail.... I promised I wouldn't be insulted, as I did not follow his guidelines. And, I stand by this statement.

On the other hand, I tried my best to pander to the state-loyalist Mamlachtim, but to no avail.

I guess I'd better go back to bashing their philosophies [not them]. I'll have better luck waking them up from their brain-washed, glossy-eyed stupor.
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