Shavua Tov!

This week I once again have the honor and pleasure of hosting “Haveil Havalim”, a roundup of posts from the Jewish blogsphere, carnival style. Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and is organized by way of our facebook page.. [The term “Haveil Havalim,” which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Koheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon.]

We love growing our blogging community and showcasing great Jewish blogs that readers may have not yet discovered. So please check out the facebook page, or get in touch with me, and submit your posts! When submitting posts, remember that they should be from the last week.
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Judaism
Think Judaism brings us an explanation of the dichotomy between Torah morality and human morality in Does Judaism Care About Morality?
… and Think Judaism also brings us an exploration of Vegetarianism with controversial title Vegetarianism is Immoral. Think Judaism, is that immoral as in Torah morality, or human morality? ;  )
I hate the name “Modern Orthodoxy”, but I love Think Judaism’s post about it, Why the Modern Orthodox Should Suffer the Most. I am sure it is because he is describing the column of Judaism I would put myself in (if I had to put myself in a column, that is.)
Politics and The Middle East 
Esser Agaroth is also talking about ‘my column’ in Who Is Voting for the Jewish Home Party? As a new olah in Gush Etzion, I am still navigating my relationship to “Religious” and “Zionist”, and I don’t like the question he poses… mostly because now I have to figure out my answer!  What’s yours? 
The problem with a digest blog posts that deal with Israel’s politics is that last week’s news is, well, last week’s news. Our reality changes so quickly that it is dizzying to try to keep up. Especially these days, with war, cease fire, primary elections, upcoming elections and UN bids! 
Having said that, Esser Agaroth gives us a helpful explanation of Hamas’ position on the cease fire in Hamas’ Peace Translated. In my always humble opinion, it is crucial to understand the widening gap between Hamas/Gaza and Abbas/the PA in order to understand the current moves of all of the parties involved. In order to do that, we need to best understand last week’s drama in order to comprehend this week’s move by the PA.
For a real reality check on just what went down with Hamas, Real Jerusalem Streets brings us 3 Things to Remember After Pillar of Defense. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words, and once again, she just nails it. I don’t know how she manages to do that every time, but it is fun to watch.

Photo from (and property of) Real Jerusalem Streets

Batya blogs her experience voting in the primary elections in The Muddy Path to Israeli Democracy, Likud Style at Shiloh Musings. I wish she could be giving seminars on voting in Israeli primaries; I agree with her that so many voters just can’t understand the system.
Yoel Meltzer over at Towards a Jewish Mindset writes about the issues he would like our candidates to focus – and not focus – on in the upcoming elections in Please Some Real Issues.  While the post is sobering, I would love to hear an actual debate where some candidates tell me how they are going to deal with his list of challenges. It would be such a refreshing change.
Tomer Devorah gives us an interesting perspective on the recent UN Palestinian Authority Vote in November 29th – 1947 & 2012. I encourage you to read and weigh in, and The Kvetching Editor gives us her take on the UN bid in The Bid for Palestinian Statehood over at Just Call me Chaviva.
Penina at It’s All Hafuch! true to the name of her blog, turns the notion of apartheid in Israel on its head in Israel an Apartheid state? Truer than you know Peter Beinhart, are you reading? 
Other Stuff….
…When all of those politics have your blood boiling, visit Making Aliyah and get some perspective on anger in The Heat Is On.  She is right; while it is always brought up at High Holiday time, I think we need it more at election time!
I wouldn’t have thought that therapy-by-blog* would work had you described it to me, but check out “Everyone Needs Therapy”. Her blog-form insights into psychology are suprisingly interesting and practical, and as she says, something we all can use. In this week’s submission “What to Do About Differentiation” she talks about a topic currently overwhelming this “Ima 2″ pre-teen twins. Hopefully you can get something out of it as well.
 * (She doesn’t claim to be therapy by blog; that is my description not hers. She doesn’t see it as a replacement.)
It’s MY Crisis and I’ll Cry If I Need To! offers us some important advice on accessing the help that is out there in a medical crisis when travelling in How to Lower Your Medical Costs and Keep Your Cool Under Missile Fire!
Esser Agaroth asks How is Spain Granting Citizenship to Jews a Good Thing?  Again, I am not sure I agree with him; the symbolic gesture is long overdue.  But please! Weigh in…
No Holtz Barred also blogs about an experience we all have to deal with at some point in our lives, in Tick Tock, How to Play the Waiting Game.   I personally hate the uncertainty more than the waiting itself. Maybe he can blog about that next? Just for me?
… and the most upbeat for last:  Chanukah is coming! If you have kids, any age (that means including husbands) you should check out Jacob Richman’s digest of links and resources for Chanukah at Good News from Israel in Chanukah Educational Resources and 335 Chanukah Videos. I have used Good News from Israel as my go-to spot for pre-holiday educational materials for my kids (and students) for years; One stop shopping!
I don’t know about you, but after the week it has been in the world and in the blogosphere, I am more than ready for some sufganiyot, chanukiot, spreading light and Jewish Heroes….. 
Many of you reading this are bloggers, so make sure your post is in next week’s digest! You never know who you might reach that has never heard of you before.

Haveil Havalim 381

October 14th, 2012

Shavua Tov to everyone!

Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs founded by Soccer Dad — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week, jointly coordinated through our Facebook Group., and headed up by Jack.  The term ’Haveil Havalim,’ which means”Vanity of Vanities,” is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other ‘excesses’ and realized that it was nothing but ’hevel,’ or in English,’vanity.’ (*I just want to note that some translate hevel as ‘fleeting’, not ‘vanity’, but it’s a great discussion for another time.)

Consider submitting your blog posts to the carnival in future weeks, and joining our community.

I would like to dedicate this week’s Blog Carnival to Stella Frankl and her “Army”. Stella is the wife of blogger Yarden Frankl, and an all around extraordinary human being. She has just begun her second battle with cancer, and there are many, many of us around the world joining her fight. I would never presume to suggest why such a painful, scary and difficult thing needs to happen to such a happy, positive, wonderful person. But I can tell you that there have been many heartfelt prayers and tremendous acts of charity and kindness to come about solely in the merit of her recovery. May they continue, and may they be successful.

In honor of Stella, you will see a special section today of bloggers from her – and my – yishuv, Neve Daniel. I believe the time has come to dub our little town “Har Hablogim”, as you will see from the heavy concentration of writing talent. Maybe it is the mountain air. I hosted this Carnival before moving here, and the bloggers of Har Hablogim welcomed me in such an amazing way that I didn’t feel quite as much “the new kid on the block”. It is a very special place, and I am privileged to live here.

The Neve Daniel garin* of Stella’s Army:

I think it best to start with Yarden himself, who can best explain what Stella’s Army is all about at Crossing The Yarden, in My Wife Has Cancer and I’m Going for a Bike Ride.

Culinart Kosher gives us a tasty treat and another way to help the cause with Miriam’s Magic Mix Challah Topping.

Trip’n Up backs up my claims that this isn’t just any yishuv in Loving Life in Israel: Special Treats.

At Sussmans B’Aretz we are reminded to exploit and enjoy the quiet moments when we can in Creating the Space for Beauty.

Cheri B Levi asks Who Am I?. She seems much closer to an answer than I am. Can you answer the question? 

Laura Ben David, often found blogging over at Times of Israel had her first blog post at Kveller.com, about Hospital “Lactophobia” here in Israel in Why Was Breast Milk Banned from an Israeli Maternity Ward Fridge? – note; read the comments, too.

Gedalya Reback warns us of the danger of hubris – theirs and ours – in military conflict at The Times of Israel in  The Simchat Torah War: Egyptians Celebrate 1973 Loss to Israel

Ruti Mizrahi writes on Ki Yachol Nuchal about personal and meaningful celebration of her Aliyahversary (Mazal Tov!!!) in Party, Party Party! - Stella – when you read this – may we only have reasons to celebrate. 

And from the rest of the world:

Israel

Walkable Jerusalem asks whether  downtown Jerusalem, and its historic buildings, should be emptied of “mundane” uses and dedicated solely to culture and tourism The dowtown trophy wife at Nine Measures of Beauty.

Batya asks questions surrounding the drone interception in Israel last week in  IDF, Bibi- It’s Not Enough to “Intercept” Attacks and tells us a wonderful story of history recorded and friends reuniting in Days (and Nights) of Action, Can’t Keep a Good Jewish Activist Down at Shiloh Musings.

Politics

Batya presents Stop The Sarcasm! They’re Trying to Kill Us!!  and Bibi Calls for Elections! Israeli Politicians Dance The Tango at Shiloh Musings. While the “election speculation” all over the newspapers in the US and Israel is driving me a little crazy (how is that reporting?) I am surprised that Batya is our only ‘Elections-Coming-Up-in-Israel’ blog post this week. Perhaps the lack of blogging about it indicates that there is not much competition worthy of mention (as Batya suggests), and Bibi made a smart move. Or, perhaps it means that many bloggers are drowning in “acharei hachagim“* and  we will see more commentary next week…..

Personal

Mazal Tov to Chana Jenny on the birth of her baby boy. She tells her beautiful and mystical story in The Amazing Story Behind My Baby’s Name at  JewishMom.com  

Batya is also kvelling* over her special yishuv in The View From the Top posted at me-ander.

Yocheved Golani joins Stella’s Army with Crossing Jordan – and Begging Heaven to Heal a Special Lady over at It’s My Crisis and I’ll Cry if I Need To!

LATEST UPDATES: 

The following posts weren’t included initially purely due to MY oversight.. and I apologize. But they are worth the look, I promise:

What I love about The Real Jerusalem Streets is that Sharon always reminds me what I love about this country. She has posted Favorite Sukkot of Sukkot, and 10 Special Smiles in Sukkot Holiday Crowds to show us the best of the best from Jerusalem’s Sukkot holiday.  They are gorgeous pics!

Esser Agaroth‘s posts, in contrast,  ask some hard questions, and make those of us in Israel face some realities we might prefer not to in U. S. Troops In Jordan: Now Will You Believe Me? and Can Israel Win A War Against Iran? (or Syria? or Hezbollah? or anyone?) But his insight and analysis is important. It saddens me to say that I think that he (and Barry Chamish) are probably far, far more than 5% right…

Netivotgirl has a guest post  The Negev Is Alive and Well up at Shiloh Musings, and reminds us that “no casualties” from all of those rockets in southern Israel is simply a fallacy. May all those living there be in our prayers as well.

Maybe now that you have read through this list, you wish your blog was included here? Or your friends? Here is the submission form

This concludes this edition. While not all of our ND bloggers are represented here, don’t you think the nickname “Har Hablogim” should stick?

Please include Stella, Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah, in your prayers and thoughts, and please submit your blog article to the next edition of haveil havalim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Have a great week!

Note:

*garin = Means seed, but refers to a Unit, or Group, in the IDF.

*kvelling = Yiddish for “feeling extremely proud, gushing, and/or swelling.”

*acharei hachagim = literally meaning “after the holidays”, this phrase is used in Israel from the week before Rosh Hashanah until the end of Simchat Torah to explain that anything and everything can/must wait until mid-October. Once the holidays are over and we are in the period of acharei hachagim, feelings of being overwhelmed and inundated with that which was put off are commonly known to occur.

 

 

Welcome to the August 28, 2011 edition of haveil havalim.

Whenever I have the opportunity to host the Jewish Blog Carnival, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude to be able to include myself with this group of bloggers. Thank you for everything that has been contributed and for giving me some great reading while I stayed awake for Hurricane Irene.  Any omissions, other than a few obvious off-topic spam posts, were purely accidental, and I do apologize.

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term ‘Haveil Havalim,’ which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other ‘excesses’ and realized that it was nothing but ‘hevel,’ or in English, ‘vanity.’

It appears that over this week there have been two major storms; One a weather pattern and the other, a certain American celebrity’s appearance in Israel. I am not yet sure which one caused more of an uproar.

The Hurricane received less blog commentary, but Allison Josephs presents us with Me, Myself, and (Hurricane) Irene: The Importance of Daily Personal Reflection | Jew In The City posted at Jew in the City.

We may see more on Hurricane Irene next week.

As for Glenn Beck’s appearance in Israel, I want to mention that I didn’t enjoy the tenor of the comments on this topic. Clearly feathers were ruffled, but the lack of civility in tone was quite disturbing for me to read. Perhaps those leaving comments should read Life in The Married Lane‘s Using Social Media in a Positive Way, Part Three before leaving any more comments:

Batya presents Are You Partying With Glenn Beck? posted at Shiloh Musings.

Tomer Devorah presents Parshat Re’eh: Of false prophets and idolaters posted at TOMER DEVORAH.

Sharon A presents Restoring Courage « The Real Jerusalem Streets posted at The Real Jerusalem Streets’s Blog, saying, “Love him or hate him, Glen Beck was in Safra Square and he brought 1000s with him”

And lastly, Batya presents What’s Christianity? posted at Shiloh Musings and I Get My Strength and Courage From My Jewish Sources posted at Shiloh Musings.

Other news from Israel includes:

Batya shares some beautiful photos of the new Trolley in Jerusalem with Jerusalem News, The Trolley Comes to Town posted at me-ander, and Jerusalem Trolley Unites Jews and Arabs posted at Shiloh Musings.

Joel Katz presents Religion and State in Israel – August 22, 2011 (Section 1) and Religion and State in Israel – August 22, 2011 (Section 2), both posted atReligion and State in Israel.

Judy Lash Balint presents Look Who’s Making Aliyah posted at Algemeiner.com, saying, “Mid-life N. American Jews who are making aliya…” and  Steve Ornstein shares Daniel Goldschmidt’s personal aliyah experience in  First Summer of a New Immigrant In Israel | IsraelSeen.com posted at IsraelSeen.com.

We hear about Eilat in the wake of the tragedy there from Harry in  Nostalgia Sunday – Eilat posted at Israelity, and Sharon A in A Paradise Lost posted at The Real Jerusalem Streets’s Blog, saying, “Response to renewed terror in Eilat, the show must go on.”

Mrs. S. presents National Parks: Ein Afek Edition posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress.

A Walker in Jerusalem presents Summertime, libraries, Brooklyn, Jerusalem posted at Walkable Jerusalem, saying, “Jerusalem residents grossly underserved by the municipal library system, particularly during the summer peak season.” I believe her comments on this subject are really important – but for me, quite depressing.

Elise/ Independent Patriot presents Sometimes Israel’s real friends also need to know when to be quiet…posted at Liberty’s Spirit.

Steve Ornstein presents After August comes September | IsraelSeen.com posted atIsraelSeen.com.

On a positive note:

Harry presents Israelis help ease the headaches during Ramadan posted at Israelity. I would love to get some of this medicine from Israel before Yom Kippur – yet another sign I am in the wrong country!! He also presents Foto Friday – Jerusalem to the IMAX posted at Israelity. I absolutely loved watching this, and it made me miss Jerusalem that much more. I hope you all click through and enjoy!

Sharon A presents Feeling Festive posted at The Real Jerusalem Streets’s Blog, saying, “Festival season in Jerusalem and there is a security alert”.  This also reminds me of the unique excitement of Jerusalem in the summer. Clearly, with all of the fear and disruption right now, Israelis live fully and move on with their customary and amazing resolve.

Culture

Jacob Richman presents New Video Online: Learn Hebrew Phrases – Computers and the Internet posted at Good News from Israel, Thanks Jacob!  I am now planning to use his clever and clear Hebrew riddles with my Ivrit students in NJ this year!

Izgad presents Medieval Jewish Art (Looks a Lot Like Christian Art) posted at Tipsy on Books: Dispatches from the Tavern, saying, “Izgad has started a new blog called Tipsy on Books and to open things up he presents a post on medieval Jewish art.”

Susan Barnes presents Glossary for People New to Orthodox Jewish Blogs posted atTo Kiss A Mezuzah.

Daniela presents two kosher reviews over at IsreviewMilka’s Choco Moo Cookies and Five’s “Evolution” Sugar Free Gum.

Then Chaviva over at Just call me Chaviva presents her own ups and downs with Kashrut in  Kosher Flops and Flips, with her usual refreshing and inspiring honesty.

Humor

satiricohen presents Netanyahu: Palestinians are not our enemies, only the terrorists are posted at Israeli Satire Laboratory, saying, “After a very long hiatus, I’m back with the same gallows humor that makes you realize how silly this country really is.” Definitely gallows humor, satiricohen…. 

Judaism

Rachel Barenblat presents Earth and pine posted at Velveteen Rabbi, saying, “a reflection on the scents of wood and soil: evocative of new construction, these are also the scents of a Jewish funeral in the summertime.”

Susan Barnes presents Choosing an Etrog Set Ain’t Easy posted at To Kiss A Mezuzah. I personally have to survive back-to-school next week before I can even think about Sukkot!

Batya presents “Special” Couples, Rav Arele’s Solution posted at Shiloh Musings. One might think that this subject would have engendered more controversy. Maybe on a week that Glenn Beck stays home, it will.

Elul starts this week. So to get us in the right mood, I will close with Mordechai Torczyner’s post asking us  When is it better for a rabbi to hold his tongue? posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband

 

I would like to conclude with a request to include Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah in your thoughts and prayers. Yarden Frankl of Crossing the Yarden and his wife are fighting the battle of a lifetime, and as one of our own, he (they) can use our support.

Thank you so much for all of your entries.  May you and all of your loved ones stay dry and safe this week.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of haveil havalim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

My “old friend” wrote a lengthy comment in response to my post last week, and I have decided to share it with you as a guest post:

I think friendship the way you have described it is what it truly should be: a laboratory where we get to try out each other’s ideas and see how they fit, volleying them back and forth to see how they can grow and take on a life and meaning that is at least clear to us both, and perhaps also, even although not necessarily, acceptable;). I too value that about our friendship, and always enjoy the sharpening that comes to my mind when I have to articulate things that have become nebulous through non-speech. The following is some “word soup” to continue the conversation and to perhaps sharpen the distinctions between our positions. I have always believed that I am responsible for doing those things that I wish or believe need to be done, and therefore that I must do them. Whether those things are making sure my children have the best options for growth and learning, or whether the Torah is dispensed and dispersed in the world in optimal ways.

This is why I spent most of my children’s young years as a housewife and mother, cooking and baking nourishing dishes to eat and working at and with the schools in which they learned. I never actually thought of myself as chaining myself to a stove, nor did I see that as part of Orthodox Judaism. It did mean that my career and personal development took a different route, even perhaps a bit of a detour, and that I added different types of experiences and skill sets to my already eclectic resume. Now that they are grown and out of the house, I continue to cook and bake most of my own foods, for the nutritional value that provides me, again not because of some gender role or some external force, but because these are choices I make, based on my needs and understanding of what is available and what I wish to put in my body. To a certain extent I feel the same way about my understanding of Halakha and Torah. It is not so much an issue of “trust”ing male sages, rather understanding how they arrived at their conclusions, and whether those conclusions are still valid in a world where both men and women share the burden and the partnership in raising, educating and growing our children, and whether they are still valid for me in my world. In a world like this, perhaps the rules that Ima2Seven sees as playing out for her are not really applicable. It is perhaps convenient, and even pleasurable or correct for her family, for her and for her husband to be to be doing the tasks they do, but does that make it the case for every Orthodox Jewish couple?.

In my experience of learning, many of the “rules and regulations” that appear in our legal corpus are the result of attempts to formalize case law into formulas that can be generalized. The problem with doing this is that there will always be exceptions to rules like these, that case law would have provided for but legal formulations cannot. A difference between me and Ima2Seven is that she prefers to give these questions, when they arise to her Rabbi, I prefer to learn the sources and find out the options for myself.

This is my way of initiating a healing of those “parts of the body that are afflicted”, for myself.  I do not believe that this is “uprooting”, rather casting new and relevant light and perspective on laws that need to be seen. Understand please, I do not believe that I will be able to solve these issues, not even for myself. I wish to understand some of the sources of what i perceive to be difficulties. I do however believe that that is the first step in the dialog, of men and women with the Torah and the Halakha that will hopefully lead to the healing without uprooting that we all wish to see.

Even though Ima2Seven declares her “sexist” position, I think that she herself would have a tough time accepting the original rules that go along with it. We fought long and hard so that women could vote, get equal pay for equal positions, could speak or perform in public and many other advantages that will allow her daughters to reach at least the same heights of knowledge and independence as those reached by her sons. To disallow that in the religious context, is to me the worst of the logical outgrowths of her position, since at some point, for some of these young women, one of the only options left them might be to leave the religious fold altogether, in order to find intellectual satisfaction, or suitable partners with whom to connect, because we have not shown our young men and women how to navigate these very complex yet intriguing waters.

I told you she is a “hachama”; what do you think?

The Jewish people have suffered a terrible, tragic loss this week. I am too overwhelmed with new work (which I love), first days of school and impending Rosh Hashanah to blog. I am too upset about what has just taken place in Israel to write about anything else.

Please read this post. I am pasting it here, but please visit the original and let her know you have read it. http://www.crossingtheyarden.com/2010/09/lives-not-statistics/

This is from Crossing The Yarden. Yashar Koach Yarden Frankl.

Real people, not statistics

This morning, one of our friends here in Neve Daniel sent me this e-mail:

Hi – I am sitting here crying because one of the women murdered tonight was my son’s gannenet. Yehuda is six and is mentally retarded – his teachers are our world because they bring him such joy when the world is such an overwhelming and confusing place. Cochava was an angel, and we were with her an hour before she died – she was on her way home from the gan welcome back orientation when she was murdered.

Here is how Israeli National News reported the terrorist attack:

Yitzhak and Talya Imes were the parents of six children, the eldest one being 24 years old and the youngest one being a year and a half old. Talya Imes was nine months pregnant when she was killed by the terrorists.

Kochava Even Chaim was a teacher in Efrat. She left behind her husband and an 8 year-old daughter. Her husband,one of the first Zaka first aid volunteers to arrive at the scene, discovered suddenly that his wife was among the victims.

Avishai Shindler had only recently moved to Beit Haggai with his wife.

Meanwhile, the New York Times and most of the Western media reported that four “settlers” had been killed and discussed if this might disrupt the “peace” process.

Just the other day, Palestinian Authority President Mauhoud Abbas said that “Israeli security does not justify continued occupation.”  While I may take issue with the term “occupation,” I would say that the life of a kindergarten teacher justifies a hell of a lot.

How ironic that for days leading up to this heinous murder (I should say heinous murders — four people were killed, including a pregnant woman) the media was filled with stories about how wonderful a job the Palestinians were doing in terms of security. Yeah, great job. I feel much safer.

The mosques in Gaza  let us know how Palestinian really feel. “Praise be to G-D over this heroic act” was blared out all night over the mosque loudspeakers. “Mosque?” Isn’t that supposed to be a term for a religious establishment?

Here is the Palestinian’s definition of “heroism.” A car with four people was fired upon by a passing vehicle. To make sure that these men and women — returning from school orientation for their children — were dead, the “heroes” stopped their car, aimed their rifles at point blank range and fired repeatedly into the bodies. The “heroes” then fled the scene satisfied that their “heroic” action was a success.

Meanwhile, the PR firm working for the PA gave the following statement to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to read:

The attack, and its timing are meant to harm the PLO’s efforts to garner international support for the success of the peace process and its demands, in order to bring about an end to the occupation.

Sounds like he’s all shook up, right?

You know something Salam? Not really interested that you feel this attack has hurt the PLO’s interests. Because at the end of the day, we are people — not talking points or statistics.

Our lives are not concessions.  When you complain that the murder of a kindergarten teacher should be regretted because it hurts your interests, it simply shows how little you understand about the concept of peace. (Ironic considering your name, Salam.)

When you can look at this act with same gut wrenching horror as a six year old who just lost his teacher, you will be ready to make a real peace.

But until then, spare us the rhetoric while we bury our dead.

The e-mail I received concluded like this:

I wish I could scream out to the world how unfair this is, how senseless to waste such a beautiful giving life, but I have no outlet to tell everyone. Then I realized maybe you will be writing about what happened, and so perhaps you can include this part of the story, to put a person behind the story.

So please, if you also feel like screaming any crying, forward this article and tell the world that kindergarten teachers, pregnant women, fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives are real people, not just statistics.

Again, the link to Crossing the Yarden is: http://www.crossingtheyarden.com/

Haveil Havalim

July 18th, 2010

The preamble:

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish and Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by the formidable Jack.

I have not commented on every entry, but I have read (and enjoyed them all.) Especially when it comes to Judaism and Torah, it isn’t always a good idea to weigh in. If yours did not receive my two cents, please forgive me – maybe you will consider yourselves lucky! Looking back, there seem to be two common threads this week; oppression / dislike of Jews around the world (especially in the media) and “can’t we all just get along”, both very appropriate for the Nine Days.

Thank you, fellow Jewish bloggers, for becoming an important community for me. I hope this first shot at the carnival aptly conveys my gratitude:

Paul Gable presents Israel Matters posted at Brushfires of Freedom. It may be a hard pill to swallow for some, but is a critical call to action for us all.

Mrs. S presents Visiting day FAQ posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress, saying, “Thanks for doing this!”  – I am sure lots of us echo her thanks.

Mordechai Torczyner presents Talking to children about depression posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband. The debate seems to still be open as to what age is appropriate, and I look forward to following the comments as they develop.

Chabad presents The eighth note! posted at lubavitch.com Chabad-Lubavitch news site. As a musician, I would just love to learn more about who “they” is that says there will be an eighth note, and where they say it! Please let us know.

Allison Josephs presents Mi Casa Es Su Casa posted at Jew in the City a helpful reminder of how to give… and receive.

Yisrael Medad presents Did He Deserve the Medal? posted at My Right Word, saying, “Perhaps this British soldier didn’t deserve a medal?”. I’m no Yisrael Medad, but I think he deserves the medal. Maybe it is the historians who need to get sacked.

Yisrael Medad presents Write to J Street posted at My Right Word, saying, “You don’t really like J Street, do You?”, in which he exposes how US enforcement of NGO rules seems frighteningly inconsistent. What a surprise.

Yisrael Medad presents Hillary Clinton’s Humor posted at My Right Word, saying, “Hillary feels so Jewish, becoming the mother-in-law of one of the tribe, that she feels she can be humorous about antisemitism”. Not very funny, indeed.

and….Yisrael Medad presents JPost.com | BlogCentral | Green-Lined | A grand newspaper or a political rag sheet? posted at Green-Lined, saying, “At his Jerusalem Post blog, Yisrael Medad takes on the New York Times”. He can accept that glaringly obvious anti-Yesha stance of the paper. Here he takes issue with the lack of journalism standards. For me, just another reason to never read the NYT.

Culture

Susan Howe presents 12 Truly Bizarre Funeral Customs from Around the World posted at The Budget Life Blog, saying, “Various funeral and burial customs surrounding the dead have grown up in various places around the world. Some of them are really interesting to know that they still exist as technology advances.” This is fascinating and researched glimpse  at traditions I have never seen before. Some are downright amusing. Others are downright disgusting.

Robert Avrech presents The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Proust, Jews, and Jewish Inverts at Seraphic Secret.

Humor

Heshy presents Yo momma is so frum posted at Frum Satire. Now, now, I resemble that remark…..

Judaism

Lisa presents The Morality of Flattery and Christian Zionists posted at Lamrot Hakol (Despite Everything). I am wondering if it is such an accepted idea that Christianity is idolatry? Maybe I am simply too ignorant on this front.  Important point, whether you agree or not.

Rachel Barenblat presents 6 tastes of Ruach ha-Aretz posted at Velveteen Rabbi. These are little glimpses into what sound like an intense retreat.

Risa presents Yearning posted at Shiloh Musings. Beautiful.

Ben-Yehudah presents Response To Hecht’s “Anti Semitism USA, Circa 2010” posted at Esser Agaroth.

David Levy presents Tisha B’Av by Candlelight posted at Jewish Boston, saying, “Dan Brosgol remembers observing Tisha B’Av at Camp Ramah.”  Me too! Me too! I fondly remember Tisha B’Av by Candlelight at Ramah as well… and I have more than a decade on Dan Brosgol.

Ben-Yehudah presents Eating Shuwarmah During The “Nine Days” Oy! Geeeeevaaaaald!!! posted at Esser Agaroth. Tasty story. Very Israeli.  Do you agree with Minnesota Mamaleh‘s “to each his own”?

Personal

Mirjam Weiss presents A Fishy Story in Two Parts posted at Miriyummy, saying, “Girl vs fish, fish wins, and a cross cultural dinner.” Great story, great recipe, and apparently, a great future son-in-law.

rickismom presents Beneath the Wings (a Poem) posted at Beneath the Wings. Beautiful poem. Inspiring.

Home Shuling presents Something more, or just different? Explaining Orthodox Judaism to my children. – Homeshuling posted at Home-shuling. Can I comment on a blog post… about me? It isn’t really about me, it is about the ever-impressive author, but since I am mentioned I think you will have to all just read it and judge for yourself.

shorty presents What have i done lately? posted at Shorty’s Adventure. Sad, struggling, honest. I hope that when the Nine Days end you feel your spirit lifted and new optimism… oh, and freeze challahs so they don’t go to waste.

Lady-Light presents Received a Gift: an Unexpected Visit to Family!, Monday Activities (Second verse, same as the first), and  Tuesday Activities…Last, Bittersweet… posted at Tikkun Olam.  I put these together since they chronicle the same experience. A beautiful one at that.

Elise/ Independent Patriot presents EMERGENCY CALL NOW: NO RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION IN THE IEP posted at Raising Asperger’s Kids, saying, “Because it is against basic jewish ethics to abuse the most vulnerable in society plese list this blog so ppl will call and help stop this addition to the bill. It takes away children’s rights and teh rights of parents to stop the abuse.” This is a disturbing policy. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We hope you will keep your readers posted on this bill.

Minnesota Mameleh presents Summer Days Summer Nights posted at TC Jewfolk. I can’t say I agree completely with the “everyone does what works for them” approach. Maybe I will have the honor of a healthy cyber -dialogue on the matter with the amazing Mamaleh herself one day. But her post is sticky, gooey sweet… and yummy.

Politics

Ben-Yehudah presents Jewish Criticism Of Israel posted at Esser Agaroth, saying, “From Yo’el Meltzer, posting at Esser Agaroth.” How and when can US Jews criticize Israel? This is an interesting principle from which to operate.

Risa presents Remember Gush Katif posted at Isramom. Thank you for making me cry, even though you are right, the tears aren’t enough.

Torah

I haven’t written any comments next to the entries in this section. I read and enjoyed them all, and learned. I promise. You should too.

Batya presents Careful With Words, Promises, Pledges, Oaths etc posted at Shiloh Musings.

pc presents The Goel hadam today posted at Torah Down Under, saying, “Can the goel hadam kill an accidental murderer today”.

Josh Waxman presents Rav Yaakov Emden’s Eight-Legged Camel posted at parshablog. Distortion? Myth? Interesting. Four legs are enough for me, thanks.

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver presents Understanding the two sides within posted at A Chassidishe farbrengen.  I hope the way I understand this is correct. I have always thought that true kedushah comes from the integration of these two sides, not just the struggle, or the primacy of one.

Israel

Joel Katz presents Religion and State in Israel – July 12, 2010 (Section 1) and Religion and State in Israel – July 12, 2010 (Section 2) posted at Religion and State in Israel.

Eric presents Lies In Iran’s Media Exposed posted at The Israel Situation, saying, “Iran’s newspaper wrote a horrible, incorrect article about UNIFIL and the Lebanon War in 2006. This is a line by line look at the facts.”

Eric also presents My Israel Support posted at The Israel Situation, saying, “A look at what I am doing to support Israel at home and ideas for you to do the same.”  I can’t look at the mainstream media anymore, never mind analyze its inaccuracies and biased coverage against Israel.  Good luck with the new assignments!

Batya presents Winner Takes All, Losers Be Damned posted at Shiloh Musings.  An insightful observation; I look forward to reading your vision of how we can change things for the better.

Ilana-Davita presents her Weekly Interview: Ruti posted at Ilana-DavitaThank you for the intro to Ki Yachol Nuchal! I am looking forward to reading more… from both of you.

Anonymous presents Eleven days posted at Door number three, please., saying, “Uberimma and family are making aliya at the end of July. Be part of their welcoming committee at Ben Gurion, especially if you are a soldier!” Good luck on your upcoming aliyah! Yashar Koach, titchadshu, and b’hatzlacha…. I am not sure what I like better, the post, or the list of 100 things on the side.

Harry presents presents This is the story of Johnny Rotten – In Israel at Israelity.

Harry also presents T + L love J Town at Israelity.

.. and Harry presents Tourists flocking to Israel at IsraelityNice to hear (and end this with) some good news. I hope he is right that it’s the best year ever for Israeli tourism. Hope we can make it the best year ever for aliyah too.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of haveil havalim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

I hope that this is a meaningful Tisha B’av for you.

L’Shana haba b’Yerushalayim habnuya.

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Roger Simon writes a brilliant article to the point about the recent thwarted Times Square terrorist attack in “Times Square – Its  the Jihad, stupid.”

Here is my analogy:

The  government seems to want a pat on the back from the public for having caught a termite. “We caught the bug, we caught it!”

… while remaining steadfastly in denial that there is an infestation right behind the wall slowly eating away at our whole house.

For we Jews, I wish people would stop pretending that Israel is the unsafe place to live. At least in Israel everyone knows there is a termite problem and sees it as their personal responsibility to fight it.

I hope I am not putting myself in very real danger by using a bug analogy. Thank goodness I am not as popular as South Park.

I was asked by the local outreach organization to teach a “lunch and learn” class on Tu B’Shvat this past Shabbat.  I heartily agreed because I love what they do and love to help them do it. I love to teach and jump at every chance to do so (there aren’t that many). I have been running a women’s Tu B’Shvat seder at the same location for the past four years, and as a result have ended up learning quite a great deal about the holiday.

However, once I had a chance to stop and think about it, I realized that this would be the first time I was teaching a shiur to a mixed crowd. I teach lots of mixed crowds – religious and not religious – but never men and women together. My rebbetzin – who would never agree to do such a thing –  gave me a look that read “give me a break”. My husband gave me same look, but even stronger.

I am not shy or in anyway less than completely outspoken in mixed company. I have “addressed” mixed audiences before in the same location… but not as a teacher of a Torah shiur. Not for an hour and a half. I have taken gemara shiurim for women.  I studied at Drisha. I had a Rabbi (the brilliant Rabbi David Aaron) speak under my chuppah, but was adamant that I wanted a woman – the incredible Rabbanit Chana Henkin – to speak at the wedding…. so no wonder they gave a look that said “give me a break”, right?

I wrote as my title that I am not a feminist. I am a strong sexist, and a huge fan of womankind.

What I do not support, however, is the idea that we are the same as men in any way, that Hashem wants us to have similar roles in any way, and that male opportunities can and should be given to women wherever and whenever possible. (Even when speaking within the boundaries of halacha.) That is my understanding of what feminism is, and so that makes me not a feminist.

Here’s the thing; I think that women are better at just about everything under the sun than men. Maybe not lifting huge weights or playing football. But if we needed to, we would find a wiser way of getting both of those things done. I have seen and heard and read numerous studies on how women use more parts of their brain. I have read shiurim on how the limitations put on women in Orthodoxy are because we are “exempt” and not because we are “prohibited”. Why do more things than you have to in order to connect to G-d? Why not perfect instead what you do need to do?

My experience of egalitarianism in Judaism is the equivalent of the best behaved child in the school fighting for decades for the right to stay after school in detention.

I once had a dream of becoming a Cantor. I had amazing role models, education and experience to pursue such a thing. My choice to sit behind a mechitza is not because I feel a desire to be subjugated. It comes from a true sense of superiority – not the opposite.

Years ago, I sat in a session at the GA – the General Assembly of the UJA.  In this session they were discussing a new crisis in the Hebrew Union College’s Rabbinical program. According to the panel, as the percentage of enrolled female students neared 50, the enrollment of males just started drastically dropping off.  The woman on the panel went on to describe studies that had been done in other industries, and cited the same phenomenon in the secular world.  Men fled the nursing profession when women began entering it in equal numbers.  The rise in female enrollment in medical school, at least according to the panel member, was having the same effect.

This would seem to be data that agrees with the way a sexist Orthodox Jewish structure was explained to me. Women can be rabbis; they can be great rabbis…. but what does that do to the men? There is something in the male psyche and makeup that doesn’t like competing in anything against women.

And I think the sages understood that much better than contemporary secular society would like to.

I know there are some that believe that this is about evolving and growing beyond such primitive and unfair inclinations, but I don’t buy it. If you believe in G-d, and you believe (he) made man and woman the way he did for a reason, then I believe you need to conclude that the differences are not to be ignored or squashed, but acknowledged, celebrated and worked with.

…. So I believe all of that, and still gave this shiur in front of a bunch of men.  G-d must have a wonderful sense of humor. Someone in our community had a baby, and while baby and Ima stayed in the hospital, many family members came for the shalom zachor and to lend a hand. From Brooklyn and from Lakewood. With very black hats on their heads. And these family members decided to stay for the ‘lunch and learn’.

Mixed learning in our community, taught by a woman at times, isn’t unusual or controversial. So the issue was with me, and my comfort level. Now, I was dealing with men in my audience who had never (they told me) listened to a shiur by a woman in their lives.  So apparently, I was making some statement or stand anyway.

I would love to hear from my readers if my next move was cowardly; I asked the proud new father of said baby to get up and read the Gemara section (the first part of Masechet Rosh Hashana, in the Mishna) that is our first mention of Tu B’Shvat. The truth is he is a wonderful Rebbe in the school and he did a much better job at reading and explaining it than I ever could have.  I am quite sure that there is no halachic distinction at all whatsoever between my teaching the class and my reading that Gemara. But I couldn’t do it.

The rest of the shiur I chose to enjoy. After all, no one made anyone stay, or indicated that it would be rude for them to leave. They could have eaten and then left. They chose to be there. They complimented me afterwards. I take comfort in the fact that I seriously doubt that any of the black hat men have ever heard much of anything about Tu B’Shvat at all whatsoever. Certainly not why the kabbalists made a Tu B’Shvat seder and perceived it to be a tikkun.

I am not embarrassed to teach in front of men, and I don’t apologize for my own level of knowledge, access to learning (yes, the Gemara) or my ability to give that knowledge over.

Through this process I have come to realize that ultimately what bothers me is only that I don’t like being the focus of attention in a room for over an hour that isn’t filled solely with women. Although the focus should of course be on the material, in principle I just don’t want to stand up and be that which everyone looks at for such a long period of time in mixed company.

I don’t think that I will agree to do such a thing again. In this particular case, there was a least some strong element of kiruv, outreach, involved. I know there were men at an early point in the Jewish journey who became more connected to the holiday because of my teaching. This is the one aspect that causes my ambivalence.

I have no doubt that the “black hat” men (as if I can judge them by their head covering…) did NOT learn that a  woman can be learned and teach a coherent shiur on a topic and give over information they didn’t know. I am 100% certain they already knew that.

I don’t think tzniut is about hiding your talents. G-d forbid. Or denying them. But I do think it is about having the confidence to share them in a way that draws attention to the service of Hashem and only the service of Hashem and not attention to ourselves or what we are capable of.

I hope this is the way in which the shiur was received.  I am confident that Hashem is concerned with my intentions.

I am still left with the feeling that I made a statement, and not one I am sure I wanted to make.

I am, after all, a sexist.  :  )

Hareidim in the Israeli Army

January 7th, 2010

The Jerusalem Post has an article today by Matthew Wagner, “Sharp rise in haredi IDF enlistment in 2009″ .

The article points out that only a small number of the overall “ultra-orthodox” population is serving in the army. However, it also points out the drastic change from only ten years ago. The reality is that their population is exploding compared to the secular Israeli community,  and every year it will slowly continue to have a change on every aspect of Israel; the politics, education, real estate, the economy, and even the army.

I am not Hareidi — what I am is up for dispute. I am a Jew. I am sure I will end up blogging about my lack of label one day. But I think this is great news.  I am pleased with diversity in the Jewish people, and I am sure that Hashem is just waiting for us to get it right and love all Jews just as they are, really love them in our hearts, so he can send Moshiach our way already.

It isn’t that I want Israel to be a Hareidi country. Nor do I think the increase in the hareidi population percentage is coming without problems. There are plenty of problems.  For one, the infrastructure adjustments are being made so much more slowly than the population growth rate. There is clearly a lack of cooperation and interaction and knowledge to deal with some of the challenges. Most of the problems are a result of Israel’s big government and socialism. Again, for another blog post…..

These are some of the reasons I hail this as really good news:

1. Israel has had a deep need to reconcile its secular beginnings and its religious “fan base” for a very long time. The greater the population of active, participating religious Jews in Israel, the closer we will be to this reconciliation being forced into being.

2. The only population committed to growing at the same rate is the Palestinian population.

3. The lines of “who is what” in Israel are blurring. “Hardal” (Hareidi Dati Leumi) didn’t exist as a concept 10 years ago. The blurring is how we get to loving every Jew, no matter what. I hope. Which is how we get to Moshiach… see above.

4. Hareidim from Jerusalem and secular Jews from Haifa have less in common by far than I do with non-Jewish neighbors who live down my street in the US. The army, while a challenging and volatile environment in which it happens, forces people to learn to live together, to learn about each other, and learn to be responsible for each other.

I don’t think the seeming never-ending changes to Israel’s population makeup are easy. I think they are difficult, painful growing pains that are helping us become the nation we need to be. So really good news.