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Sep 30, 2014

Plant for kapparos during shmitta

one of the items that used to be customarily used for kapparos on erev Yom Kippur is a plant.

That led me to wonder, and thus the relevance to this group, can you do kapparos with a plant during the shmitta year? indoors? outdoors? if it has a hole in the bottom of the pot or if it doesn't?

What say you?


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Caffeine suppositories for Yom Kippur

This really is not anything new, but NRG thinks it is, or maybe it is becoming more popular..

for those addicted to caffeine, via the daily mug of coffee, or maybe the 3 daily mugs of coffee, Yom Kippur is a day some people dread due to the withdrawal headaches... The basic advice often heard is to cut down on caffeine a few days before Yom Kippur.. The other advice is mainly to suck it up and deal with the headache.

Another, less popular, solution is caffeine suppositories.

NRG says that the suppository is not certified by the Ministry of Health and is sold in stealth. Some pharmacies are more open about it, while others are secretive and don't want to get caught selling this stuff. It even says this is more common in the American-Israeli crowd. There are two types of suppositories - 1 that has just caffeine and a second that has caffeine and codeine and acamol all bundled within to give a more powerful punch.

NRG says some rabbonim allow it, some say it should only be used by someone with great difficulty fasting...

this reminds me of the joke.. a few days before Yom Kippur Reuven goes into the pharmacy and asks for 200 caffeine suppositories. The pharmacist asks what Reuven could possibly need so many suppositories for. Reuven answers that in a few days it will be Yom Kippur and he is sponsoring the kiddush in shul...

and here is a funny video about caffeine suppositories..




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Chief Rabbinate sets up system to circumvent local rabbinates for hetter mechira

The Rabbanut seems to not necessarily work on any given set of standards.

In the case of shmitta, the Chief Rabbinate has decided to allow the use of hetter mechira produce and deem it a shmitta solution. Some local city Rabbanuts have decided that despite the official Rabbanut position, they don't want hetter mechira to be used in their cities.

In Netanyah and Herzliya, the Rabbanut administrations have instructed local hotels to not purchase vegetables from hetter mechira produce, but to buy produce from abroad (often this means a bit from Europe, some from neighboring countries like Jordan and Egypt, and more from Palestinian Arabs in areas like Gaza and elsewhere).

This upset many people, specifically the farmers association. If the Rabbanut, and the army already announced it will be doing so, will be directing purchasers to imported produce, that would be a major blow to Israeli agriculture and local parnassa.

It almost seems like what's the point of the hetter mechira, which was meant specifically to avoid causing tremendous economic damage to Israeli farmers, if the Rabbanuts wont allow its use anyway and will make the major purchasers buy from the competition?

Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau responded saying he has instructed all the local rabbanut offices to approve the use of hetter mechira produce, for normal basic kashrut levels (meaning, a hotel or restaurant that is mehadrin kashrut, will buy imported produce or some other type but not hetter mechira, but hotels and restaurants under regular rabbanut should be using hetter mechira).

Even more interestingly, Rav Lau announced that any place that has a complaint that the local rabbanut is not authorizing the use of hetter mechira, the situation will be looked into. While the situation is being analyze,d which can sometimes take time, in order to avoid the hotelier to be hurt by the process, as what will he do in the meantime, Rav Avraham Yosef will be appointed to be able to circumvent the Rabbanut and give a temporary hechsher on his own to such places until the issue of the rabbanuts approval will be worked out.
source: TheMarker

That's pretty cool. Instructing the Rabbanut what to do, and then setting up a channel to circumvent them when they won't listen (i.e. he knows in advance there will be some who won't listen to the rules).

Perhaps, seeing this, this is why some people are so worried about the possibility of local rabbinates, made up of rabbis certified by the chief rabbinate and following the basic guidelines of the rabbinate, being given authority over conversions. If there is no set of standards that must be followed within the organization, then any city rabbi can do whatever he wants and demand or allow whatever he prefers. If the Rabbanut officially allows hetter mechira but any city rabbi can decide he doesnt allow it, then perhaps the same can happen in conversions..




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Boycotting a life saving device

An interesting BDS dilemma..

the South African government is considering the purchase of an Israeli device that will literally save lives. The device is one used in circumcisions, and it will save lives of young South Africans who might otherwise die from botched circumcision ceremonies.

On the other hand, they feel they must boycott anything that comes from Israel.
source: Yahoo News

hmmm.. BDS or save lives?

I wouldn't be angry if they showed some integrity and said they cannot make an exception. Unfortunately it would mean more needless deaths... It is easy to boycott products you don't need anyway. The boycott is only really effective if you boycott the products even when you do need them.

On the other hand, the entire boycott is silly, and they probably use plenty of Israeli products they most likely are not even aware of.. such as chips in cellphones, laptops, plenty of other medical devices, etc.


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Despair for Israel Morphing into a Militaristic, Racist Country

a guest post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier


We are in the season when Jews admit their guilt for sins committed and repeated. We promise to repent and act better next year.  What better time for liberal Jews to encourage Israelis to forgive their enemies, be serious about making peace, and forsake religious extremism? Are Israelis so evil that co-religionists are justified calling Israelis militarists and racists?
           
 In a recent New York Times editorial, Israel is warned that American Jews feel a growing dissonance with Israel as Israel moves to the political right. Moving to the right means taking a hard line on negotiations for a two-state solution. Israel is growing intolerant of rocket fire from Gaza pounding back with ever increasing ferocity. Making the Palestinians pay higher prices in land appropriations and nighttime raids in response to terror attacks on Jews. 

This forewarning of the price Israel is paying was explained in more detail by Antony Lerman’s assessment of modern Israel in his Op-Ed piece. The Britain-based persistent critic of Israel claims liberal Zionism is gasping its last breath.  He bemoans its replacement by a tenacious web of “shock and awe militarism” and religious extremism.  I agree with Lerman, and with the Times, not because Israel is evil and bloodthirsty, but for another reason, which Lerman and the left give short shrift.
           
The swing to the right is a natural reaction to constant existential threats, repeated sardonic abandonment by one-time friends, decades of war, terror attacks, missiles and mortars, denial and degradation of Jewish history.
           
Lerman, and what remains of the Left, misses the Israel of yesteryear: the pioneering kibbutniks dancing the Hora in their shorts and kova tembel hats; fighting off British supplied Arab armies and Palestinian marauders with smuggled Czech rifles, pots and pans. The only sweet, cold and thirst quenching in the desert heat were Sabras sold by street vendors floating in tubs of ice water.
           
Politics and government were in the hands of socialists, liberals, and anti-religious decision makers then. Freedom from moribund religious ties became the cornerstone of the utopian socialist Zionists. Zionism replaced Judaism. The 1950’s and 60’s were heady times. His service in the IDF was enthralling and romantic.
           
The new power elite is neo-conservatives and religious fanatics, he claims. They tarnish “the reality of modern Israel” attacking freedom of speech and human rights organizations. They are land-grabbing settlers. The country is infected by anti-Arab and anti-immigrant racism, and intolerance of religious differences. The “mixture has pushed liberal Zionism to the brink,” he pines in a daze of nostalgia.
           
I believe Israel is a more tolerant, dynamic, and free society today than in Lerman’s memory. Today we integrate immigrants of color into society.  Liberal Zionists shipped Sephardic immigrants Jews off to segregated camps, dust bowl communities, and stole their kids. Lerman’s heroes indoctrinated immigrants with imperious and impious Zionistic East European culture. Sephardic and religious Jews were systematically locked out of government. The liberal Zionists never initiated a two-state solution, but ruthlessly, for self preservation, authorized special forces like those under Ariel Sharon to track down and eliminate Palestinian terrorists no matter leaving dead civilians in their wake. They kept Gaza occupied and underdeveloped. The liberal Zionists exacted revenge worldwide for the killing of Jews.
           
Today, Israel enjoys its multinational mishmash of peoples, including significant intermarriage rates between Sephardim and Ashkenazim, black Ethiopians and whites, chyulim secularists and observant traditionalists. It took 60 years for Sephardim and religious Jews to break the glass ceilings in military, politics, and industry.
           
Concomitantly, urbanization replaced rural life; hi-tech and bio-med replaced agricultural economic dominance; higher education meant more than physical labor in the changing Israel; and most significantly, a hi-tech, disciplined military replaced the ragtag civilian defenders, but it also made Israel into an arms exporter and top dog.
           
The miraculous events of the Six Days War thrust the tiny State of Israel onto the world scene slaying the powerful unified Arab armies. She lost her innocence, as
European religions, values, military prowess, and old World power crumbled.  Post 1967, the Woodstock generation saw Israel as another nuclear armed, prodigious fighting force, oppressors and colonizers.  Israel’s economy began morphing into the start-up nation. Capitalism sliced through old socialist hamstrings in Israel.
           
Social liberals in the West became more resentful of Israel, and excised   Israel’s socialist leaders Golda and Rabin from their leftwing club.  Israel’s leaping standard of living, achievements in education, health care, medical, science, and a plethora of Nobel and other prizes, produced envy not admiration. Israel’s military and intelligence successes make her the neighborhood bully, blamed for Arab peoples languishing in misery, without mention of Arab leadership living lavishly on Europe’s and American handouts.     
           
Lerman returned home from his Israel excursion to Britain nurturing liberal Zionism philosophy from afar. Elsewhere, he wistfully describes life with his Christian wife, their celebration of Christmas and other holidays, as an exemplar of what Liberal Zionism has to offer the open-minded and good hearted.
           
Israelis became less tolerant over the decades of Arab hatred, boycotts, and launching wars. In time, the voters turned to conservative politicians and religious salvation, since the left never brought lasting peace or prosperity to the country. Years of lost lives and opportunities with young adults serving in the army; families torn asunder by dead fathers or disappearing for months serving in military guard duty; politicians with no time to focus on social problems for a developing society, because of the unquestionable demand to remain five steps ahead of sworn enemies like Hamas today who in each generation of the State promise to wipe Israel off the map. 
           
Israel’s social fabric frayed. High taxes to pay for self-defense stymied economic growth. Immigrants and survivors, the memory keepers of Jewish history, rejected the misology of their centuries in Arab lands and Europe. They revealed how brutalized they were by Muslim persecutors and Christian anti-Semites. Jews hone hate and their children mistrust. Israel’s fortitude is not limitless.   
           
Nevertheless, few countries treat their enemies with the kindness the Jews treat Arabs, give of themselves during tragedies like Haiti, and throughout Africa. Suffice to say Israel is one of the most generous countries on earth in spite of not being a nation run by liberal Zionists.
           
Lerman declares, “They should know that Israel is not Judaism. Jewish history did not culminate in the creation of the state of Israel. Regrettably, there is a dearth of Jewish leaders telling Diaspora Jews these truths.”
           
There you have it.  The elusive explanation of why some Jews are so fed up with Israel they may not care if the State survives. It has been a heart rendering mystery to Israel supporters—Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We are confused and slightly heartbroken when our own people attack Israel; when they undermine their own people collaborating in name-calling, boycotts and sanctions.
           
Israel is better behaved than her neighbors. Israel has a better human rights record than the world superpowers, holds regular, free elections empowering minorities in her sovereignty. Israel more than most strives to ensure the values expressed in the Magna Carta, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights ensured by an activist judiciary and hot-tempered parliament.
           
Dr. Seuss asked his countrymen during World War II, “What have you done today to help save your country from them?” It’s a shame Lerman and the anti-Israel cabal of Chait, Friedman, and Beinart he names cannot be as loyal to Israel as Dr. Seuss was to America.

Dr. Harold Goldmeier is a university instructor in Tel Aviv, business advisor, and writer. He was a Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard, worked for four U.S. Governors, and President of a company before moving to Israel.






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Netanyahu@UN: 'Would you let terrorists fire rockets at your cities?' (video)









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Rabbi Runs 7 Miles to Blow Shofar (video)

amazing!




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Episode 1: Breaking The Fast (video)









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Eyal Cohen on The Vice (video)

I have absolutely no idea or understanding how this show works, but I am happy to see Eyal Cohen is doing well and advancing...




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The Yeshiva Boys Choir - "Adir" (video)








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Sep 29, 2014

Picture of the Day



Hanoch Daum posted this image saying it was sent to him from someone in Eilat... it seems the hospital in Eilat is the final destination..


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Tweet of the Day



Judy Mozes is entering politics and wants to run for head of the Likud.. wouldn't it be funny if she surpassed her husband, Silvan Shalom, right out of the blocks?

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Book Review: Food for the Spirit

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: Food for the Spirit, by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld


 Food For the Spirit is a great book leading up to Yom Kippur.

Rabbi Herzfeld is a synagogue rabbi in Washington DC, and Food For The Spirit is a compilation of about 20 essays that were originally divrei torah and speeches he shared with his congregation on Yom Kippur over a period of 10 years.

What is unique about Food For The Spirit is that these essays are not in the usual Yom Kippur style of being somber, calling for introspection and repentance, and perhaps a severe style. Rabbi Herzfeld's style is to look at Yom Kippur as a day of celebration, a joyous day, and his essays explore that approach.

Each essay is a joy to read. They are both thoughtful and thought-provoking. They are peppered with stories, but not parables or ancient stories of ancient rabbis - stories that happened to him, to his shul, to his community. Some are unbelievable, some are fascinating, some are humorous, and all make the essays so much more readable and enjoyable and help Herzfeld drive his point home.

Food For The Spirit is a book that I would take with me to shul on Yom Kippur to read from during the "down times" of the services,  to gain some inspiration and focus on some thoughts and ideas. I would, but I already read this book in the days leading up to Rosh Hashana and finished it in shul on Rosh Hashana! I found the themes discussed to be just as relevant and thoughtful for Rosh Hashana as they are for Yom Kippur. And, even though I already finished this book in shul on Rosh Hashana, I very well might take it to shul again on Yom Kippur and read parts of it again.

There is not much time before Yom Kippur for you to get this book, but if you can you should.


buy Food For The Spirit on Gefen

buy Food For The Spirit on Amazon.com





NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.


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Giving your Heart to the Heart (video)







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yom kippur (video)





Lemaan Achai


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Paula Abdul Is Keeping It Together (video)

Shabbos is her Club Med...




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