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.

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.