Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dry Bones on the Flotilla

My love affair with Dry Bones goes back more than 25 a time when Yaakov Kirschen came to Columbia University and challenged me to make aliyah. He threw out his telephone number and told me to call him when I finally made aliyah.

He was so right, in so many ways - it took me more than 10 years to finally get here...and I came, as he predicted would happen if I remained in America, with a husband and my three children. And yet, I still like to believe that I won the aliyah challenge...I was, after all, finally home. I never managed to call Yaakov Kirschen to tell him I'd arrived; and I'm not sure even the few times I've met him here, that I actually told him that I was the one he'd challenged and that I'd won. But I did write about it; and the Jerusalem Post even published the article.

As always, Dry Bones shows such intelligence, such clarity of's Dry Bones on the Flotilla (I hope Yaakov will not mind my republishing this here - with citation, if not permission....I put a link and will remove it if asked...otherwise, hopefully, with implicit permission).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Arabs, YES! Zionists, NO!

Okay, now that I have your attention with that horrible title - imagine seeing it plastered to a street sign in Jerusalem, our holy city, the capital of our Jewish nation. That's right...there it was (picture coming soon). So the Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox) protested again today. To emphasize their opinions, they dumped garbage on the streets of Jerusalem and burned those garbage cans again.

I had a meeting near one of these neighborhoods. My first impression as we drove through the streets was of the garbage, strewn on the sides, piled on the sides and even sometimes in the middle. Then I saw the "carcasses" of the garbage cans...all that remains is the twisted metal, the plastic having melted away completely and the garbage left to be scattered. What disrespect, I thought to myself - of our beautiful city, our holy land.

Last week, they had a demonstration. I walked through the crowd on my way to make some purchases. There they stood on the high wall that surrounds the cemetery. There they congregated to watch the huge protest rally...what disrespect, I thought to myself. Of the dead who lie there in eternal rest, here in the holiest of holy cities.

They are saying it isn't about racism, but rather a battle between the arrogance of a judge who dared to declare the law was above man, or at least their rabbis. There are those who say this began as racism and certainly the words of one mother, saying "In any case, we won't agree to unite the (Ashkenazi and Sephardic) classes" implies that it remains an issue of racism.

When the demonstration was over last week, massive crowds drifted away...many taking buses to get home. Buses...of the Zionist state they condemn, on the roads built by the Zionist state. They paid for the buses with the Zionist money and when they got home, as evening arrived, they turned on the lights in their homes - powered by electricity from the Zionist state.

From outside our borders, they send flotillas filled with those who hate this land. But worse, so much worse, are those who dare, in our holy city, to put up a sign that says, "Arabs YES, Zionists, NO!." Not so many years ago, there were Arabs who tried to blow up those very buses they took from the demonstration. I was filled with fury when I saw the sign. I was filled with disgust.

My first thought was to ask Egged to write, "ZIONIST BUS" on all those green buses these people regularly use; to ask the government to write "ZIONIST GARBAGE SERVICE" on the trucks that pick up the refuse in these neighborhoods. As we drove away, my mind was cluttered with all the thoughts of what they take from this land and how little they give back in any concrete sense.

I have used up all the arguments, argued them from all sides. Yes, I believe that our army fights with the weapons we give them...and the prayers we say for them. But who are we kidding? Do you think these people who post signs that say, "Arabs YES, Zionists, NO" are praying for the Zionist army?

I am not foolish enough to believe that all of the Haredim support a sign that would encourage our enemies and show a preference for them over the very government and institutions who provide them with their medical care, support for their schools, transportation, water, electricity and more. And yet, as I stood there staring at that sign, plastered to our city, I saw no Haredi person try to remove it in shame. I saw none come over and say to me, "we don't feel that way; it's wrong that someone put it up there."

And I thought to myself, what disrespect to our people, our land and yes, to the very God they claim to serve. I think in a very real sense, this debate about Emmanual is filled with more wrongs than rights; more exaggeration than fact...even more bluster than real racism. I think the parents were wrong, the school was wrong, the courts were wrong and the parents were wrong again.

Our religion does not preach that our rabbis are infallible or above the law...God's or man's. More, our religion is based on respect - respect of people, respect of property, respect for the dead, and respect for the living. There was no respect last week in the streets of Jerusalem as tens of thousands of protesters caused massive delays, littered the ground, trampled the cemetery walls, and cursed the Zionist hand that helps make their lives tolerable here.

Yes, blessings come from God, but the electricity comes from the Electric Company, the buses come from Egged. The garbage they threw on our city will be picked up by our sanitation workers and those signs of hatred will be scrubbed away.

But the next time a Haredi man comes over with his hand out asking for a donation, I will ask him if he really wants my Zionist money. Perhaps this is still the anger talking. Perhaps tomorrow I will be calmer. For now, I think of the tremendous disrespect I saw today, on the streets of Jerusalem, on the walls, and in their hearts.

Guest: Why We Should Be Angry at Emanuel

Occasionally, we are happy to present guest bloggers. Here's an interesting and challenging view of the recent Emanuel situation that was sent to us. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Why We Should Be Angry at Emanuel
By Menachem Lipkin
June 22, 2010
I recently read an article on the Cross Currents blog by Rabbi Dovid Landesman titled "We Are All Emanuel". His basic thesis, and this has been shared by many of late, was that the Emanuel case highlighted the conflict between the state of Israel and Torah values and, of course, in such a conflict we must all side with Torah Values. Some have gone to great lengths to either support or critique the court's decision. While others have cast this case and its outcome as a modern day pogrom. Still others have used it to highlight the nefarious nature of the Supreme Court and its predilection to advance a leftist, anti-religious agenda.

While all of these issues may be worthy of discussion in the abstract, I think that they all miss the most fundamental point. To put it in science fiction terms, this timeline should never have existed.  The players in Emanuel, literally, elevated a school yard spat into a national crisis. The issue surrounds a Beit Yaakov school, a member of a system of education that is supposed to be known for its piousness and fidelity to Torah values. Yet somehow, these self-avowed "tremblers before God" managed to make a mockery of His name throughout the entire world.

Most orthodox Jews, even while not necessarily agreeing, understand the nuances that are common within their world.  To that end, they rarely have an issue when a school is founded based on those nuances. However, most of the world has no appreciation for these minor differences we often use to subdivide ourselves.  To them we all represent Torah and thus there's little understanding when one group literally walls off another.  That this issue needlessly spilled into the public arena is an embarrassment for all of us.

When living in a place where secular law is paramount, pious people are mandated to solve their internal religious issues with their own religious courts.  That this case was allowed to move beyond that arena is the foremost reason we should be angry at Emanuel. Beyond that, every step of the way there seemed to be another calculated action to make us all look foolish. There was very little civil behavior in the civil courts. Esteemed Rabbis speaking at the rally admonished those who would let this issue rise to the secular courts. Where was this Rabbinic leadership before it got to the courts?  Where was the leadership in Emanuel? Where was the wisdom that is supposed to come along with piety that should have resolved this issue at its very inception? Where was the sensitivity to one's fellow, a primary Torah value, that should have guided both sides to be sensitive to each other's needs?

Especially at this point in history when the state of Israel has become like the hated "Jew" of the 1930's and we face the most serious threat to our existence since WWII, it is simply unconscionable that this issue was allowed to reach the world stage. It's totally irrelevant whether you believe it was the Supreme Court that was being foolish, Emanuel's residents, or both. Looking in from the outside we're all Jews in a Jewish state. I don't know how many of you peak into social media like Facebook and Twitter, but this has become pure fodder for the anti-Semites of cyberspace. Regardless of the merits of the case, it is being framed by them as one where "huge masses of Israelis protest in support of racism". Note, to them we are not Chareidim, we are not orthodox, we are all Israelis.  Since today's Israeli is yesterday's Jew, this school yard spat has now disgraced every Jew in the world.

I'm angry at Emanuel. We all should be angry at Emanuel for creating a timeline that should never have existed. Far from supporting them by attending rallies and the like, we should be demanding an apology.

Monday, June 21, 2010

When You Can't Cry...

You are forced to laugh. Yet another brilliant production from LATMA - probably the organization best handling Israel's PR in the world. Okay, perhaps that is an exaggeration...or, perhaps not.

Speaking of exaggerations - please enjoy this - I certainly did.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

When Humanitarian Aid Is Really the Goal

I recently received this note about an organization whose primary function is not making a political statement but rather honestly distributing humanitarian aid. They had their aid delivered, promptly, politely, non-violently...but then again, their goals were honorable and well intentioned. Like many, it appears they were deeply angered by the "freedom" flotilla's propaganda campaign and the violent repercussions that resulted from their placing armed thugs on the Mavi Marmara.

Friend Ships, our aid organization that owns humanitarian ships made two trips to Ashdod Israel with our ship, Spirit of Grace and an all-volunteer crew.  5000 tons of supplies was delivered per ship. We brought aid to the Palestinians in the West Bank, to Bethlehem and to Gaza- for distribution to Palestinians and Israelis.  On both trips, our cargo was simply looked over, checked for items of destruction and released, a simple process. From our experiences all over the world, Israel was one of the best.  There is no need to take subversive actions or try to break Israel's security and we found it to be trouble free do go through the proper procedures. We look forward to more trips to Ashdod. 
Don Tipton, Founder & Executive Director  Tel #337 263 8488
Lake Charles, LA
Friend Ships

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poor and Starving in Gaza? Not even close

I could quote the number of truckloads that are allowed into Gaza daily; I could quote figures in the billions of donations sent/wasted on Gaza that has been used to buy missiles rather than build hospitals and parks and schools.

But they say a picture speaks a thousand words and so here are a few thousands words in images. Dear World...the Gazans are NOT starving and your aid is misplaced. Send it to the people who really need it...

Note the variety, the quantity.

Notice the smile, the crowds of people - do they look unhappy? Do they look oppressed?

These are the beaches - note the Palestinian flag flying. Poor Palestinians?

These shoppers do not look poor; nor do they look oppressed. There seems to be ample clothes on sale here (you don't see anyone grabbing desperately for limited supplies, do you?) and happy faces all around. Perhaps...just perhaps, the concept of a humanitarian crisis is really a front for political purposes. It is, one must assume, yet another "big lie" attempt to rewrite the facts on the ground. Well, the facts are clear...and apparently they are for sale in Gaza - along with plenty of clothes, children's toys, food, spices, vegetables, and so much more.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Truth of the Flotilla

If a picture speaks a thousand words...a video must speak 10,000. Here you can see, in living color - the truth of what happened on the "Freedom" Flotilla. These are the weapons of peace activists? These are the tools of humanitarians?

No - these are the tools of terrorists and thugs, mercenaries found with thousands of dollars in blank envelopes in their pockets and no identification (the Turkish commander confirms these trained killers with sophisticated communications devices had tossed their IDs over board):

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Truth that Never Comes to Your TV

My personal thanks to the talented people who made it. All honor to you!

We Con the World!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Boycott Israel...Please

Yes, for those who want to boycott Israel - now you've got a brave and wonderful opportunity. And the cost...well, you'll just have to put up with a slower computer. As Techcrunch writes, this software "monitors your PC to find the things that are likely most annoying to users. For example, it tracks down printing problems, crashy apps, resource hogs — all the good stuff."

Oh well, I'm sure it's a small price to pay for your beliefs.
Soluto has developed software that monitors your PC for things that are likely to annoy users — printing problems, crashy apps, resource hogs, and those frustrating applications that randomly cause your mouse to become useless for a few seconds at a time. It records which applications were running at the time of the hiccup, and analyzes low-level events to track things users aren’t even aware of, like which applications are competing for memory.
Even better: if a user somewhere in the world consistently has issues with a certain application and then makes a change that fixes it, Soluto can then tell other users who have had the same problem about the fix.
Read more: