"Where does it say that you have a contract with G-d to have an easy life?"

the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"Failure is not the enemy of success; it is its prerequisite."

Rabbi Nosson Scherman

31 Aug 2013

Accommodating religion

More than a third of American workers say they have seen or personally experienced problems with religion not being properly accommodated in the workplace, a newly released survey finds.
The survey, conducted on behalf of the secular Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, found that the most commonly reported problems included being required to work on a religious holiday or attending company events that didn't include kosher, halal or vegetarian meals.
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-poll-religion-work-20130830,0,7610345.story

Speaking about meals, Rabbi Ancehlle Perl explains how to cut up an apple which is traditionally dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah.


30 Aug 2013

Rabbis' thoughts

Rabbi Zvi Teichman writes an interesting article about "the Jewish tradition to bestow one another, upon mention of one’s age, a blessing that one should live to the ripe old age of 120."

The Holy Maharal teaches that the vision of  the Burning Bush described as: ( הסנה בער באש והסנה איננו אכל (שמות ג ב, The bush was burning in the fire but the bush was not consumed, alludes to the years and legacy of Moshe.

The word הסנה is numerically equivalent to 120! (ה =5, ס=60, נ=50, ה=5 = 120)

We fear getting burned. We sense we have no strength. We feel inadequate as a lowly bush.

The Burning Bush represents G-d accompanying us in our challenges. We can never be consumed for it is He who protects us.

We must emulate Moshe Rabbeinu’s sense of mission and respond in kind as he did:
Read more: http://baltimorejewishlife.com/torah/parsha-detail.php?SECTION_ID=45&ARTICLE_ID=41554

Rabbi Eli Mansour discusses the famous anecdote relating to  Nachum Ish Gamzu in an essay titled Ellul: Teshuba Can’t Wait .

The Gemara tells that Nahum Ish Gamzu, the legendary Sadik, suffered terribly toward the end of his life. He lost his vision, as well as both arms and legs. His students asked him if he could think of a reason for why he, who lived a life marked by extreme piety, would be subjected to such suffering. He replied that he was once traveling with three donkeys carrying food, and a poor person approached and asked, “Rebbi, Parneseni” – “My Rabbi, feed me.” Nahum replied to the pauper, “Wait for me until I get off my donkey.” By the time Nahum Ish Gamzu got off his donkey to fetch some food from his cargo on the other donkeys, the poor man died of starvation. For this, he told his students, he was punished with suffering.

...Nahum Ish Gamzu was telling not a story about himself, but rather the life story of the vast majority of people. The poor man, representing the soul, comes to us and begs, “Parneseni” – “Feed me!” It desperately pleads for some spiritual nourishment. Our response, more often than not, is, “Wait for me until I get off the donkey.” The donkey, which is a strong, robust animal with hardly any intelligence, is often used as a symbol of physicality, and indeed its Hebrew name, “Hamor,” relates to the Hebrew word for physicality (“Homriyut”). We tell the soul, “Wait until we finish with our physical needs.” We do not deny that our souls are deprived and need more nourishment, and we have every intention of providing this nourishment, but not now. First we have to get the business on its feet, get our career going, save up for retirement, fix up the house, marry off the children, and so on and so forth. We are sympathetic to the plight of the “poor man,” we acknowledge our shortcomings, but we feel we need to put the needs of the soul on hold until we are finished with the needs of the body. 
Read more: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/WeeklyParasha.asp

29 Aug 2013

Mazal tov, mazal tov

Charles, Prince of Wales, will be attending the induction ceremony of Rabbi Ephraim Mervis as he becomes the new Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, this Sunday at London’s St. John’s Wood Synagogue, the UK’s Jewish News reported.
Read more: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/08/29/britains-prince-charles-to-attend-induction-of-new-commonwealth-chief-rabbi/

Mazal tov, Rabbi Mervis.

On Thursday August 15th, the sad news was reported about Rabbi Yosef Wiesel, who was killed in a car accident.

(From the Hagaddah:
"Lefichach anachnu chayavim - lehodot, lehallel, leshabayach, lefa'er, leromem, lehader, levarech, lealeh, oo'lkales. Lemi, she'asa, l'a'voteinu velanu, et kol hanisim ha'eleh, hotzianu me'avdut le'cherut, meyagon lesimcha, 

 "Thus it is our duty to thank, to laud, to praise, to glorify, to exalt, to adore, to bless, to elevate and to honor the One who did all these miracles for our fathers and for us. He took us from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy,)

Two weeks after the tragedy, the family celebrates a simcha as Kikar Hashabat reports on the engagement of the oldest son. A friend of the chasan said that just last week we came to comfort him and now we come to rejoice.

In a few weeks, another son will iy"h be celebrating a bar mitzvah. A man who is celebrating the bar mitzvah of his son during the same week has taken upon himself to donate money to cover all the expenses of  Rabbi Wiesel's son.

May the Wiesel family continue to celebrate happy occasions.
Mazal tov!

22 Aug 2013

For the love of Torah

Chadrei Charedim has an incredible story about a man who was upset about the budget cuts in Israel affecting yeshiva students. In light of the situation of drastic decreases in payments to those learning Torah, fundraising was conducted in a tent in front of a shul in Netanya. One neighborhood resident showed up with his Megilat Esther. He said that for a number of days he wasn't able to find respite because  איככה אוכל וראיתי באובדן מולדתי
(Esther 8 : 6) How can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?

He said that he wasn't able to sleep properly, worrying about the financial burdens of the Torah world. He explained that he married off some children and didn't have cash readily available to donate but felt he must do something.  He got his directive from Megilat Esther and the actions of Mordechai.
ויצא לרחוב העיר ויזעק זעקה גדולה ומרה' 4:1 
and he cried with a loud and a bitter cry

He directed the fundraisers to take his Megilah and sell it to the highest bidder. In the future he could perform the mitzvah of Megilah listening to the baal Koreh while following in the Chumash but someone who is in Kollel won't manage without bread and milk.

The Megilah is due to be sold in the coming days, with the proceeds going to kollel members. I don't know about you but this story and the words of the Lubavitche Rebbe in the video below have inspired me to make a donation to a yeshiva in Israel. If you feel the same, post a comment.


The whole tablets and the broken tablets

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and the national ACLU have filed suit on behalf of several Oklahomans challenging the constitutionality of the state’s Ten Commandments Monument.

If one reads through the complaint, one will receive a bible lesson about Moses and the Ten Commandments. Below is an excerpt taken from the complaint which can be read in its entitrety over here.

On page 6, the complaint states, "...the first set being smashed in anger over the peoples' corruption in worshiping an idol in Moses's absence, and the second set being placed in the Ark of the Covenant."

I would like to make a few suggestions regarding the wording. Firstly, I believe peoples' should be corrected to people's. Additionally, Rabbi YY Jacobson discusses Moses's smashing of the tablets in a very interesting essay titled Why Breaking the Tablets Was Moses' Greatest Accomplishment.  
2. The rabbis teach us that "The whole tablets and the broken tablets nestled inside the Ark of the Covenant (1)." The Jews proceeded to gather the broken fragments of the first set of tablets and had them stored in the Ark, in the Tabernacle, together with the second whole tablets. Both sets of tablets were later taken into the Land of Israel and kept side by side in the Ark, situated in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. 
1) Talmud Bava Basra 14a.

Those who read Talmud Bava Bassra 14a will come upon the following sentence:

This intimates that the fragments of the tables  were [also] deposited in the ark.

One might amend the complaint to read  "the first set being smashed in anger over the people's corruption in worshiping an idol in Moses's absence, and the second set being placed in the Ark of the Covenant, alongside the broken tablets."

When the monument was first installed, people were upset with two spelling errors which have since been corrected.

NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

21 Aug 2013

This post has been revised

Last week The Jewish Press ran an article that was critical of the Manhattan Jewish Community Center’s film programs director, Isaac Zablocki.  The criticism was for someone in his position – a paid employee of a Jewish institution whose financial existence is dependent on donations from Jews who are not told their money will be used to promote anti-Israel activity – who published an opinion piece in the Huffington Post strongly endorsing economic warfare against Israel. He wrote boycotts of Israel were “unquestionably” good so long as they do not include boycotts of Israel’s arts and culture and academic world.
Continue reading: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/nyc-jcc-film-dir-adds-sleazy-journalism-sin-to-huffpost-bds-post/2013/08/21/

Bethany Mandel also writes about the article.

The most egregious line, which I quoted in my post yesterday, has now disappeared with a note from the Huffington Post explaining the deletion: “This post has been revised by the blogger since it’s original publication. It previously included a line referring to the importance of BDS.” Despite the JCC in Manhattan executive director Rabbi Joy Levitt’s claim to the JNS news service that “Mr. Zablocki’s intention with his Huffington Post article was the exact opposite of its perception and was written to reject BDS as insidious,” even the Huffington Post recognizes that the most egregious line made clear that Zablocki found that BDS was important. Levitt’s statement is laughable to anyone who read Zablocki’s original post, which clearly was an implicit endorsement of some forms of BDS, as long as they weren’t against the artistic community in Israel.
Read more: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/08/21/re-american-jewrys-pro-bds-fifth-column/

If you click on the Huffington Post article you will see a clarification.

I would like to propose another annotation.

This post's clarification has been revised by the Mashiachiscoming blogger since its original publication. It previously included a spelling error it's which has been revised to its.

Items in the news

I am sure there must have been some individuals disappointed by not being accepted to a program whereby one gains experience working as an intern in a major financial institution. Today those same people may be breathing sighs of relief that they weren't chosen.

A student and Bank of America intern dropped dead in London, reportedly after working a string of around-the-clock shifts.
German national Moritz Erhardt, 21, had been an undergraduate exchange student at Michigan’s Ross School of Business from January through May of this year, officials said.
Erhardt’s death brought light to the internship program’s allegedly brutal work hours.
He had worked three consecutive near-24-hour shifts when he was found dead in the shower of his apartment, according to The Independent.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/worked_to_death_PLzuD7cktpvGsKElby04oL

Two stories with the name Alma in the news today.

The city of Brussels refused to register the name of a locally born Israeli baby because Jerusalem does not appear on a list of approved names for children born in the country.
Hagar and Alinadav Hyman, Israelis who have lived and worked in Brussels for the last three years, decided to name their first-born Alma Jerusalem.
Continue reading: http://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-rejected-as-baby-name/

A star is born – Chilean telescope ALMA captures newborn star 1,400 light-years away

Two stories about tourists to America suffering tragic consequences due to their visits.

A cabbie feuding with a bike messenger stepped on the gas and jumped the curb outside Rockefeller Center Tuesday, severing at least one foot of a beautiful female British tourist as horrified witnesses — including TV’s “Dr. Oz” — rushed to help, officials and witnesses said.

News sites have been reporting about the arrest of those responsible for the murder of Australian tourist Chris Lane.

I must say that I couldn't believe the irresponsible reporting about this incident on some sites (not the one I linked to) which published a wrong photo of one of the accused. Someone might be talking to his lawyer today in anticipation of a lawsuit.

20 Aug 2013

The proselytizing campaign

The Baltimore Sun relates details about a mobile proselytizing campaign by "California-based Israel Restoration Ministries, founded by Tom Cantor, the president of Scantibodies Laboratory Inc., a medical products company based near San Diego."

...Cantor, who was born into a Jewish family in Los Angeles, said the expense of the missionary work is worth it, because "I am a Jew, I love my people. ... I don't want any of them going to hell...."
Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg of the Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Pikesville disagreed.
"You absolutely cannot be a Jew and a Buddhist or a Jew and a Muslim," Wohlberg said. He said if Cantor is so concerned about the welfare of Jews, he would do better to contribute money to Jewish nursing homes, soup kitchens and schools, rather than obsessing about Jewish souls.
"We don't see anything wrong with our soul," he said.
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/bs-md-jews-conversion-20130818,0,1147501.story#ixzz2cXMMXha9

You can here him speak on YouTube about the need to evangelize Jews but you won't be able to leave a comment if you disagree.

Alternatively, you can listen to a fabulous video with a much more optimistic attitude about the Jewish nation in the video below.

Not anti-Semitism

BuzzFeed has mapped out the religions of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives by their districts, according to how they have publicly identified themselves as well as statements their spokespeople have made to BuzzFeed.

There are 31 religions represented in the House, including 26 different sects of Christianity. Catholics make up the largest group with 136 members, followed by Baptists with 66 members, Methodists with 45 members, Anglicans/Episcopalians with 35 members, Presbyterians with 28 members, and Jews with 22 members. There is only one atheist.
Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/hunterschwarz/map-what-religion-does-your-member-of-congress-belong-to

Below is a comment posted under the article.

When I first read the comment, I thought it to be anti-Semitic, but then I listened to Chris Phillips, one of the organizers of the Million Muslim March slated for September 11th being interviewed by Sean Hannity. Mr. Phillips opined, "anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not the same thing" so I was reassured that the comment posted had nothing to do with anti-Semitism. You can listen to his words in the video below.

Canada Free Press provides details about the march. A statement release by AMPAC included, "On 9.11.01 our country was forever changed by the horrific events in New York. The entire country was victimized by the acts done on that day. Muslim and Non Muslim alike were traumatized but we as Muslims continue 12 years later to be victimized by being made the villains."

...As even the Washington Post acknowledges, AMPAC’s leader, M.D. Rabbi Alam, has “pushed controversial anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the attacks.
...In a 2012 interview with the Washington Free Beacon, Alam upped the anti-Semitic ante. “My question was, ‘What’s the reason not a single Jew was killed on that day.’ Was there a single Jew killed on that day?”

Click here to read a post by MD Rabbi Alam during an internet discussion about 9/11.

Who is being made the villian?

M. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy is interviewed by FOX News over here about the cast of characters involved in the march.

Free Beacon wrote about MD Rabbi Alam in a 2012 article.

His pro-Obama politicking apparently earned him an invite to the White House in December 2011.

19 Aug 2013

Zechariah son of Benaiah

Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world are likely to be sought out by terrorist organizations in the coming weeks, the Israeli government’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned in strikingly strident tones on Monday, listing dozens of countries where it said it had “concrete” indications of a terrorist threat.
Read more: http://www.timesofisrael.com/terror-groups-aiming-to-hit-israeli-jewish-targets-worldwide-in-coming-weeks/

Archaeologists working in Jerusalem have discovered what they say is a 2,700 year-old pottery fragment with an ancient Hebrew inscription possibly containing the name of a Biblical figure.
  ...The text fragment on the shard, roughly transliterated without vowels into English characters as “ryhu bn bnh,” is similar to the name of Zechariah son of Benaiah, the father of the prophet Jahaziel, whose name appears in 2 Chronicles 20:14 when Jahaziel spoke prophecy to King Jehoshaphat before the king went off to war.
Continue reading: http://www.timesofisrael.com/2700-year-old-hebrew-inscription-found-in-jerusalem/

Too bad the article didn't quote the text in Chronicles 20.

14. And Jahaziel the son of Zechariah the son of Benaiah the son of Jeiel the son of Mattaniah the Levite of the sons of Asaph-the spirit of the Lord was upon him in the midst of the assembly.

15. And he said, "Hearken, all Judeans, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat, so said the Lord to you: You shall not fear, neither shall you be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the war is not yours but God's.

16. Tomorrow, descend upon them; behold they are ascending on the ascent to Haziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley, before the desert of Jeruel.

17. It is not for you to fight in this [war]; set yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem; fear not and be not dismayed. Tomorrow, go forth before them, and the Lord will be with you."

May Hashem be with us and may Hashem say Solachti, a sentiment expressed in the beautiful video below sung by Micha Gamerman.


Rabbis' words

Lord Sacks, who is about to step down from his post after 22 years, told the Times the government "should certainly recognise marriage in the tax system".

"It should certainly give more support to mothers who stay at home or for childcare provision," he added.

...In his Times interview, Lord Sacks also said multi-culturalism had "had its day" and had led to "segregation and inward-looking communities".

He compared it to a hotel where "nobody is at home".

"It doesn't belong to anyone, we've each got our own room and so long as we don't disturb the neighbours we can do whatever we like," he added.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23750849

Chadrei Charedim reports on the British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould,  meeting with Rav Povarsky and Rav Edelstein of Ponovez, as well as the Admor of Vizhnitz. When asked about his opinion on the current political situation, Rav Edelstein answered that our merit to the land is in the merit of those who learn Torah and the only guarantee for peace in Israel is Torah study and observance.  When the ambassador asked the Rav to expand on his words, he was given the directive to ask the Gadol Hador, Rav Aharon Leib Steinman.

To tell the truth

When approached by a student who attacked Zionism, Dr. King responded: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism.”

Source: Seymour Martin Lipset, “The Socialism of Fools—The Left, the Jews and Israel,” Encounter, (December 1969), p. 24.

I just caught the video below at Elder Of Ziyon.

My heart is breaking; but I do not mind.

For one thing, as soon as I wrote those words I was able to weep, which I had not been able to do since learning of the attack by armed Israeli commandos on defenseless peace activists carrying aid to Gaza who tried to fend them off using chairs and sticks. I am thankful to know what it means to be good; I know that the people of the Freedom Flotilla are/were, in some cases, some of the best people on earth.

An excerpt from an article by Alice Walker who ends with a call to support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

18 Aug 2013

Only faith

Kikar Hashabat has an article about Rabbi Yosef Wiesel who was niftar in a car accident this week.

One of Rabbi Wiesel's sons is celebrating his bar mitzvah in two weeks. One man went to check that everything  is ready for the bar mitzvah, and found that all had been prepared and that even the tefillin were in the family's apartment.

The article relates that during the wedding he attended before his petirah, he imparted words of widsom to one of his children. As Rabbi Elimelech Biderman was dancing at the Mitzvah Tantz to the words; "Nohr Emunah- only faith", Rabbi Wiesel told his child, "Learn the words well, remember that it's what keeps us as Jews, only faith in the Creator, is what helps to overcome all troubles."

Below are two incredible videos abut Emunah for those who understand Hebrew.

Singing in the rain

Click here for a photo of Israëli soccer team players shielding children from the rain with their rain jackets during the playing of the national anthems at a friendly match between Ukraine and Israel.

Israel’s national soccer team caused a stir in Ukraine Wednesday after showing up their host team for lacking in common decency, according to media reports.
Continue reading: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/08/17/israeli-soccer-players-shield-children-from-pouring-rain-as-ukrainian-opponents-show-indifference/

17 Aug 2013

Anti-Israel activities

The University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women has withdrawn an invitation for author and anti-Israel activist Alice Walker to speak at its 50th anniversary event next year.
According to Walker, the invitation was rescinded because of objections by donors to her anti-Israel activities.
Continue reading: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/08/16/anti-israel-author-alice-walker-dis-invited-by-university-of-michigan/

In a blog post published Thursday an official at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan wrote that “the importance of the use of boycott” to pressure “Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable”— as long as it’s not his film festival being boycotted.
Continue reading: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/08/16/manhattan-jewish-community-center-official-advocates-boycott-of-israel/

16 Aug 2013

The oldest son

The Halacha is that the when a man dies his oldest son, his Bechor, get a double portion of his assets. The Vilna Gaon says this can be seen in the letters of the word Bechor. The Bais of the word bechor has a numerical value of 2. This is double the letter before it, Aleph which has a value of 1. The Chuf has a value of 20 doubling the Yud which is 10. Lastly the Reish equals 200 double that of the Koof which is 100. These are the only three letters in the aleph bais that double the number before it and make a very appropriate name for the son who gets double.

One of the largest hospitals in Denmark has admitted to serving only halal beef -- meat that is slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic guidelines -- to all of its patients regardless of whether or not they are Muslim.
...Amid a surge of public outrage over the decision to serve only halal beef, Hvidovre Hospital's vice president, Torben Mogensen, has been unapologetic. "We have many patients from different ethnic backgrounds, which we must take into account, and it is impossible to have both the one and the other kind of beef," he says.

How about serving kosher meat since that would take into account Jews, as well?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus reports on the Maimonides School in Brussels.

But now a Jewish school in Belgium has issued an edict to its schoolchildren: do not wear kippot near the school until you are safely inside the steel-paneled fortified building.
Read more: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/add-brussels-to-the-list-of-where-jews-need-to-hide-again/2013/08/16/

9 Aug 2013

The medic

Chadrei Charedim has an article with a headline which included the word "חובש" - a medic. The article describes a Hatzolah volunteer who arrived at an institute in the Talpiot area of Jerusalem to repair a Sefer Torah.

With hasgocha pratis he arrived an hour before the time of his appointment. When he came to the office of the Director of the Institute, he found that the director had collapsed and wasn't breathing. The man immediately began CPR and a while later the director was transported to the Shaarei Tzedek hospital.

Eitzchayim hi lamachazikim ba

As I read the headline about the "חובש" I was reminded of a song an elementary school teacher had taught the students in my class years ago. I resolved to find it on YouTube. Before I did so, however, I was reading through my bloglist and saw that Lazer Beams had just published a post "Ballad of the Medic." I clicked on the site and would you believe it? Below is the video that I was looking for which Rabbi Lazer Brody posted this evening.

8 Aug 2013

One correction down - one to go

Thomas Friedman, in a recent op-ed titled Daring to Fail writes, "I’ve always thought that the most important rule of journalism is: Never try to be smarter than the story."

In my last post, I published an excerpt from a Free Beacon article.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is facing criticism from the pro-Israel community following an article in Wednesday’s paper that incorrectly asserts Israeli settlers assassinated former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

While discussing renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Friedman wrote, “One should never forget just how crazy some of Israel’s Jewish settlers are. They assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when he tried to cede part of the West Bank for peace.”

However, Israeli settlers were not responsible for Rabin’s assassination. The New York Times made the same error in a 2005 article and was forced to run a correction.

Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir was living in the city of Herzliya, which is not a settlement, when he carried out the murder.

The Free Beacon article has since been updated to include another error by Mr. Friedman regarding singer Eric Burdon who did not cancel a show in Israel.

A correction about Burdon’s performance appeared on the Times’ website shortly after a Free Beacon reporter reached out to Friedman and Times’ spokeswoman Eileen Murphy.
“Mr. Burdon ultimately decided to perform, despite pressure not to,” the correction said in a parenthetical notation.
“There is a correction on the story,” Murphy told the Free Beacon when asked about Friedman’s reference to Burdon.
When asked about Amir, Murphy said that she had informed the paper’s editors of the complaint.
“If a correction is deemed appropriate, one will be issued,” she wrote in an email.

Mondoweiss asks a question about the New York Times' correction.

An earlier version of this column incorrectly attributed to the British newspaper The Independent a sentence about a singer, Eric Burdon. The sentence — “Burdon was just the latest of a rising number of artists and intellectuals who have started boycotting Israel over the occupation issue” — was by Mr. Friedman. (Mr. Burdon ultimately decided to perform, despite pressure not to.)

Shouldn’t the Times have directly stated that in addition to the misplaced quotation marks, Friedman erred in writing that Burdon supported the boycott instead of only placing the fact of the rocker’s appearance in Israel in parentheses?

Reading the article at the Mondoweiss website was quite surprising to me and left me with the belief expressed in the third song performed by the singers in the video below at the 2'34 mark. Hint- look at the title of this blog.

Incorrect assertions

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is facing criticism from the pro-Israel community following an article in Wednesday’s paper that incorrectly asserts Israeli settlers assassinated former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

While discussing renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Friedman wrote, “One should never forget just how crazy some of Israel’s Jewish settlers are. They assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when he tried to cede part of the West Bank for peace.”

However, Israeli settlers were not responsible for Rabin’s assassination. The New York Times made the same error in a 2005 article and was forced to run a correction.

Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir was living in the city of Herzliya, which is not a settlement, when he carried out the murder.

Friedman’s error comes on the heels of articles by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren that critics said were inaccurate and biased against the Jewish state.
Continue reading: http://freebeacon.com/hot-flat-and-crowded-with-errors/

Religious people in many developed countries will be a minority by 2041, according to one Irish biopsychologist.

A study into the beliefs of people living in 137 countries, which forms the basis for a new book, found atheism increases in more developed places as people become increasingly materially rich. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2385958/Religion-disappear-2041-people-replaced-God-possessions-claims-leading-psychologist.html#ixzz2bMF78ILP

7 Aug 2013

Reading and editing

The number of New York students passing reading and math exams dropped drastically this year, education officials reported on Wednesday, unsettling parents, principals and teachers, and posing new challenges to a national effort to toughen academic standards.

In New York City, 26 percent of students in third through eighth grade passed the state exams in English, and 30 percent passed in math, according to the New York State Education Department. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/nyregion/under-new-standards-students-see-sharp-decline-in-test-scores.html?_r=0

Click here to see how well you measure up with students from Grades 3 to 8.

Here's an editing exercise for the reader. Can anyone spot the error in the text below? First one to post a comment wins an opportunity to write a guest post which will  feature on this blog, provided I agree with the content.
Update: Congratulations to Yaak.

Women of the Wall blew a shofar at the back of the Western Wall Plaza and raised a Torah scroll at the plaza’s gate as they completed their service under a heavy police barricade.

Police wouldn’t let them bring a Torah scroll into the service, but before entering the plaza, the group sang as one woman held a scroll at the plaza’s gate.

One small step for woman holding scroll. No discernable big step for anybody.

The New York Times appended a correction on Wednesday to an inaccurate piece that had claimed the U.S. views Israeli settlements as illegal.
Continue reading: http://freebeacon.com/new-york-times-issues-correction-on-biased-middle-east-peace-talks-article/


The month of Elul

Daniel Pipes has an article titled On Closed Embassies, the Worldwide Travel Alert, and Wimpitude along with some interesting comments.

How interesting that the same State Department that issued this world wide terror alert and temporarily shut down 21 diplomatic missions due to fears of a terrorist attack is the same institution that pressured Israel to release 104 terrorists.

Below is an excerpt from an article about the month of Elul titled The King in the Field.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains the paradox of Elul with the following metaphor: The king's usual place is in the capital city, in the royal palace. Anyone wishing to approach the king must go through the appropriate channels in the palace bureaucracy and gain the approval of a succession of secretaries and ministers. He must journey to the capital and pass through the many gates, corridors and antechambers that lead to the throne room. His presentation must be meticulously prepared, and he must adhere to an exacting code of dress, speech and mannerism upon entering into the royal presence.
However, there are times when the king comes out to the fields outside the city. At such times, anyone can approach him; the king receives them all with a smiling face and a radiant countenance. The peasant behind his plow has access to the king in a manner unavailable to the highest ranking minister in the royal court when the king is in the palace.
The month of Elul, says Rabbi Schneur Zalman, is when the king is in the field.

Very catchy tine at the end of the video below. Chodesh Tov.

A Kazakh millionaire

Petra Ecclestone, the daughter of F1 billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, has had £500,000 worth of jewellery stolen from her London mansion after the property was viewed by a thief posing as a 'Kazakh millionaire'.

If anyone has seen the man being interviewed in the video below, perhaps you might want to contact authorities.

If you won £10 million on the lottery you’d probably plan on never working again. And the so-called ‘Lotto lout’ Michael Carroll may have had similar plans, but he’s spent the lot and has now been forced to take a job in a biscuit factory.

The Mishna in Avos (2:7) says, “Marbeh Nechasim Marbeh Daaga”, he who has more possessions has more worries. Shouldn’t it be the opposite? When you have more possessions shouldn’t you have less to worry about?

Rebbi Eliezer Fleckless answers in the name of his Rebbe the Noda BiYehuda. Chazal tell us, “Ein Adam Meis V’Chatzi Ta’avasoi BiYodoi”, a person doesn’t die, having acquired half of what he wanted to acquire. This means that the more possessions you have the more you feel you need. You must then raise the bar to chase down the constantly growing other half. If so trying to acquire this illusive second half is quite a headache that keeps growing with every success. Inevitably the pressure and your worries about not achieving your goal of catching a moving target adds worry upon worry.

6 Aug 2013

Two minutes

Blazing Cat Fur posts about a rally that took place in Canada this past weekend.

On Saturday, the annual Al-Quds Day protest in downtown Toronto included a speaker, reportedly identified as Elias Hazineh – former President of Palestine House, who called for the murder of Israelis.Video footage appears to show Hazineh declaring: “We have to give them an ultimatum. You have to leave Jerusalem. You have to leave Palestine…When somebody tries to rob a bank the police get in, they don’t negotiate and we have been negotiating with them for 65 years. We say get out or you are dead. We give them two minutes and then we start shooting and that’s the only way they’ll understand.”
Read more: http://blazingcatfur.blogspot.be/2013/08/for-immediate-release-august-5-2013.html

Alain posted "Meanwhile the OPP are too busy dealing with the 70 plus year old man who allegedly wrote anti-Islamic graffiti on a portable outhouse."

A 71-year-old man was charged with mischief for writing an anti-Islamic statement on a portable outhouse in a Kemptville park.

Incidentally, Palestine House made the news in 2010.

More than 300 people who claimed to live at the same address in Mississauga are being investigated by the RCMP in what police suspect may be a massive case of citizenship fraud.
The case revolves around an address located in the same building as Palestine House, a Mississauga centre that offers language classes and settlement services to new immigrants and also acts as an advocate for Palestinian and Arab causes.

Below is part of a 2012 article about Palestine House.

Now, here’s the government’s latest scandal.
It is cutting nearly $1 million in funding to the Mississauga-based Palestine House, an educational and cultural centre established in 1994.
In December, the centre received a letter from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. He accused it of having “a history of taking positions that could be interpreted as extreme or supportive of terrorists and terrorism” (emphasis mine).
He cited three instances “that could arguably be seen as extreme”:
  “the presence on your website of a map showing a Palestinian state encompassing all of Israel.”

Headlines and signs

I rememember seeing a photo of a protestor at an anti-Israel rally holding up a sign which read "No Juice." At the time, I wasn't sure if he had misspelled the sign deliberately so that  he wouldn't get into trouble for calling for "No Jews" or if he was just plain stupid. (I have been looking for the photo on the internet but haven't come up with it. If anyone finds it, please leave a comment.)

Update: Thanks to 10rainbow who found the sign I was looking for together with some background information over here.

This morning I was reminded of the sign when I opened up the NYPost's home page.  But I suppose I'm just being a bit too sensitive.

A JTA article from 1930 reads:
A sign “No Jews Allowed”, placed on the Troy-Hoosick Falls Road by the proprietor of an automobile service station and refreshment stand, has been ordered removed by Sheriff Herman C. Schneider after he received a formal complaint from Jeseph Hormats, president of the Brotherhood of Beth El Congregation.
Read more: http://www.jta.org/1930/07/07/archive/sheriff-of-troy-orders-no-jews-allowed-sign-removed#ixzz2bAbVdYjH

In a HuffingtonPost article, titled No Dogs and Jews Allowed, Bernie Farber writes:

In cottage country, and even on Toronto's beaches up to the mid 1950s, it was common to see signs that read "No Dogs or Jews Allowed".