"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

30 May 2014

The right thing

A group of Bochurim learning in 770 have gotten together and created a program in honor of the upcoming 20th anniversary of Gimmel Tammuz. The program sees to it that – somewhere in the world – Inyonei Geulah Umoshiach are being studied non-stop, 24 hours every weekday.
Continue reading: http://crownheights.info/chabad-news/439328/cycle-keeps-study-of-moshiach-going-24-hours-a-day/

Rebbetzin Esther Jungries talks about gratitude in her most recent article in which she desctibes how her husband stepped outside the hospital where he was a patient on a cold wintry day, ten days before his demise, to thank G-d.

I was standing right next to him holding his hand when he began speaking. With tears rolling down his cheeks he whispered, “Master of the Universe, I thank You for the spectacular world You created and for the beautiful family with which You blessed me.” At that point he named every family member.

He continued: “I thank You for Your every kindness, Your mercy and compassion. I thank You for guiding me through the many turbulences of life. I thank You, I thank You…”

Bear in mind that this was a man who experienced firsthand the horrors of the Holocaust, who saw his entire family slaughtered. And yet this was a man who could, with all his remaining strength, thank G-d for all His blessings. A man who knew all about true gratitude.
Read more: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/my-rabbi-part-ii/2014/05/29/

TheBlaze reports, "Practically Penniless Man Who Finds $125,000 Cash Does the Right Thing With It — But His Actions Spark Even Better News."

29 May 2014

Pastries for the Police

A Temple University professor who questioned the deaths of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and engaged in what human rights observers described as anti-Semitic discourse is entitled to promote his controversial ideas, according to a university spokesman who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
Continue reading: http://freebeacon.com/issues/temple-university-will-not-condemn-professor-in-anti-semitic-row/

There are some heartwarming photos at KikarHashabat of children who attend cheder in Antwerp providng a selection of baked goods to the policemen who are stationed at various Jewish institutions, in the wake of the shootings at a Jewish Museum in Brussels. What a beautiful way to express appreciation to the police force who are providing extra security this week to the Jewish community in Belgium. Click here to view the photos.

16 May 2014

A book about the late Lubavitcher Rebbe

The leading Jewish scholar in the world today, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, has written a book about Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, who was the most influential rabbi of the 20th century. Such a combination of author and subject makes the publication of My Rebbe, in and of itself, an extraordinary Jewish literary event.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arthur-kurzweil/an-extraordinary-jewish-l_b_5338276.html

On campus

High school students in Florida have come up with a dark, offensive variation to the popular drinking game beer pong, trading the triangles for the Star of David and the swastika.
Read more: http://www.timesofisrael.com/jews-vs-nazis-the-drinking-game/#ixzz31rSTy8Oh

CollegeInsurrection reports Dartmouth College to Host Angela Davis.

President Obama spoke at the 9-11 museum dedication.

"...It is an honor for us to join in your memories. To remember and to reflect. But above all, to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 — love, compassion, sacrifice — and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation."

Sorry, but those aren't the words that come automatically to my mind when I remember 9-11.

Turkey’s embattled Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan screamed an anti-Israel slur at a Turkish citizen, local media reported on Thursday.
Read more: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/05/15/turkeys-erdogan-shouts-anti-israel-slur-while-slapping-mine-disaster-protester-video/

Civil Rights Groups: 'Stop Bullying of Jewish Students' at UCLA

Students Deface, Vasser Removes Pro-Israel 'Wall of Truth'

15 May 2014

Leading up to Lag Ba'omer

A woman assaulted a Jewish mother and her baby in Paris while shouting anti-Semitic slurs.

..The mother said the attacker shouted, “Dirty Jewess, enough with your children already, you Jews have too many children, screw you.”
Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/05/15/news-opinion/world/jewish-mother-baby-assaulted-in-paris#ixzz31oSTn1fc

The HuffingtonPost has an article titled ADL survey/ Why have so many people never heard of the Holocaust. Click here to read and listen to an interview.

The LakewoodScoop informs, "Although Shaving and Haircuts are prohibited until Lag Ba’omer, when Lag Ba’omer falls out on Sunday, as it does this year, shaving and haircuts are permitted on Friday in the honor of Shabbos, according to the ‘Rama’."

An anti-Semitic graphic

Legal Insurrection posts Vassar President condemns “racist, anti-Semitic graphic” posted by Students for Justice in Palestine.

14 May 2014

Inspiring young men

Celebrities, politicians and classmates have joined the family of inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton in an outpouring of grief after the youngster lost his fight for life today.

Stephen, 19, succumbed to bowel cancer in the early hours of this morning, three days after being readmitted to hospital.

...Siobhan Dunn, Chief Executive of Teenage Cancer Trust: 'Stephen was an exceptional young man and ambassador for Teenage Cancer Trust.

'He will be remembered for his incredible positivity by all who met or connected with him. Stephen didn’t measure life in time, preferring instead to measure it by the difference someone makes.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2628081/Inspirational-cancer-patient-Stephen-Sutton-19-loses-battle-disease.html#ixzz31jD7TZVw

As someone who suffers from a serious stutter, Parker Mantell could have been forgiven for feeling nervous as he got up to speak at his Indiana University graduation ceremony.

But he didn't look it.

Instead, the political science major gave a speech that is bound to inspire you.
Read more: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/180631#.U3PfXnxZrcc

The major threats

The Algemeiner has an article titled Former UK Chief Rabbi Identifies Major Threats Facing World Jews in which Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks identifies the "three major threats to the Jewish people: the growth of anti-Semitism, the campaign to delegitimize Israel, and Iran."
Click here to read the article and check out the comment by DACON9.

The Anti-Defamation League released a sobering worldwide study of anti-Semitic attitudes today that found only 54 percent of people around the globe have heard of the Holocaust and nearly a third believe the World War II systematic slaughter is a myth or overblown.
...Muslims, Foxman said, have “significantly higher anti-Semitic attitudes than other religions” with the highest average index score of 49 percent — compared to a 24 percent average for Christians. The lowest rate of anti-Semitism was found in Buddhists at 17 percent.

KikarHashabat reports on a mall in Haifa which the management has decided to close on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. The deputy mayor of Haifa reacted to the closure by saying that he was pleased with the decision to take into account the feelings of Sabbath observers and there was no doubt that this would help the success of the mall as Shabbat is a day of blessing.

13 May 2014

Pesach Sheni

The people who were Tamei and were not able to bring a Korban Pesach came to Moshe to complain that they also wanted to have a chance to do the mitzva of Korban Pesach. Through this brave act they were Zocheh to have the Mitzva of Pesach Sheni in the Torah through them. What is so special about Pesach Sheini that instead of Hashem telling Moshe the Halachos Hashem waited for the people to demand it?

Rav Gedalia Schorr in Ohr Gedalyahu explains that Pesach is a great gift from Hashem. Normally for us to get something from Hashem we must make the first move towards Hashem and then he reciprocates by opening the floodgates. “Pischu Li… KiChudoi Shel Machat VaAni Eftach Lachem Pesach Shel Ulam”. You open up a miniscule opening for Hashem and Hashem will open a gigantic opening for you. The seforim tell us that on Pesach night Hashem skipped over the “Pesach” of Bnei Yisroel. Literally this means He skipped over the door of their homes by Makas Bechoros. But it is explained B’Derech Drush that that Hashem skips over the “Pesach” the needle sized opening that we are supposed to make for him. We didn’t make the slightest move towards Hashem in Mitzrayim yet Hashem ignored that and came to our rescue anyway.

Sefira is a time where after having received Hashem’s great chesed on Pesach we go back slowly and earn it day by day. This says the Ohr Gedalyahu is the Yom Tov of Pesach Sheini. It is the Pesach that we demanded. After working on ourselves over sefira we make our move to warrant the great gift of Pesach. That is why it came about through the demands of Bnei Yisroel. When we demanded Pesach Sheini Hashem opened up the Heavens and graced us with this wonderful opportunity. The whole point of this second Pesach was that the inspiration come from us below.

The Ohr Gedaliyahu follows through with this thought and says that the Mazal of the month of Sivan is “Teomim”, twins. The reason is that on Pesach, Hashem made the first move and on Pesach Sheini and during Sefira we made our move. On Shavuos these two efforts meet and are united on Har Sinai where Hashem calls us Yonosi Tamasi. Hashem kviyochol becomes "Tam" or whole, when we join him. We are not simply recipients of undeserving goodness from Hashem. We are inseparable twins with Hashem, but only when we make our gesture towards Him.

A deleted tweet

Weasel Zippers has published a screenshot of a deleted tweet by MSNBC's Ed Schultz regarding who was really being persecuted in Nazi Germany.

Below is an excerpt from a State Department Briefing of May 12th.

QUESTION: There’s some report out there citing a Palestinian official that says that Kerry’s going to meet Abbas in London on Tuesday. So I guess that’s just wrong, yeah? Is he --

MS. PSAKI: That is incorrect.

QUESTION: Is it just the day that’s wrong? Does he plan to meet with President Abbas at all while he’s in London?

MS. PSAKI: There’s no schedule – there’s no meeting planned.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet in London on Thursday, the U.S. State Department said, less than a month after a U.S. effort to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal collapsed.

I guess the meeting got planned.

12 May 2014

Walking the walk

by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple
The Torah portion begins, “If you walk in My statutes…” (Lev. 26:3).
Walking in G-d’s statutes means what it says. Don’t only talk the talk but walk the walk, don’t only pay lip service to the Divine word but live by it.
Rabbi Jonah Gerondi says, “If a person has sinned with his feet, by walking towards the wrong goal, how can he repent? By using his feet to walk along the right path, by choosing to walk where G-d tells him.”

Guy Millière has written an article titled France Submits to Islam.

2 May 2014

Life advice

Reb Yoel Kahn of Merkaz Anash delivers an inspiring thought about the time leading up to the omer in an article titled Transforming the Self.

Daniel Mael writes about a liberal student's views regarding J Street.

Company Fires Employee for Tweeting That 'Bigot' Sterling Had Right to Private Opinion

Mike Rowe supplies life advice to a reader over here.

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein discusses the concept of "evil eye" during this week's lecture on the parsha.

The rabbi spoke about an interesting Taamei Minhagim that asks the question "Why is it called Ayin Hora - It should be called Eynayim Hora?"
The Taamei Minhagim responded that if you look at a person with both your eyes and you would see the whole story, you would never be jealous, so it's called Ayin Hora because you are only looking with one eye. If you look with both eyes, you wouldn't be jealous. You would understand, a person who has both eyes open, they would understand that whatever I have I am supposed to have, and whatever she's supposed to have, she has.

Want to be rich? It’s your habits that make the difference!

An article at CNN by Jeremy Ben-Ami titled Israel, Kerry is one of your best friends; is prefaced by the statement, "Jeremy Ben-Ami is the president and founder of J Street, the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement."

In a NYT article titled Jewish Groups Consider Including J Street, Michal Paulson writes, "J Street, which calls itself pro-Israel and pro-peace.."

1 May 2014

The Jewish Cardinal?

Cardinal John O’Connor, the late archbishop of New York, was technically Jewish, according to new research.

O’Connor’s sister, Mary O’Connor Ward, recently discovered through genealogical research that her mother, Dorothy Gumple O’Connor, was born Jewish but converted to Catholicism before she met and married the O’Connors’ father.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/05/01/news-opinion/united-states/cardinal-john-oconnor-was-a-jew#ixzz30UOefxQ7

A Wisconsin high school has been accused of omitting “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance on at least two separate occasions during morning announcements, purportedly replacing the term with “peace” or removing it all together.
Read more: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/01/high-school-under-fire-for-students-removal-of-under-god-from-the-pledge-of-allegiance-and-heres-what-they-replaced-it-with/

Rejecting J Street

In what many observers will see as the de facto expression of mainstream U.S. Jewry’s outlook on J Street, members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Wednesday voted 22-17 (with three abstentions) to reject the membership application of the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby.
Read more: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/04/30/breaking-j-street-rejected-by-american-jewish-umbrella-group-in-%e2%80%98big-tent%e2%80%99-litmus-test/

EL GHRIBA synagogue on the island of Djerba off Tunisia's Mediterranean coast has for centuries drawn springtime pilgrims. Members of the country's small Jewish community, which has dwindled since independence to around 1,600, and expatriates are encouraged to make a holiday of it. One hotel in Dejrba even lays on a Kosher menu. But the celebration, due to take place on May 13th-18th, is proving problematic for Tunisia's government.
Continue reading: http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2014/05/jewish-tourism-Tunisia

Former United States President Bill Clinton claimed on Wednesday that Israel had offered the Palestinian Authority (PA) control of the Temple Mount in 2000.
Read more: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/180125#.U2HruHxZrcc

Searching for a pack of kids

Police are looking for a pack of kids who attacked two Jewish youngsters with a stick and a rock during back-to-back incidents in Williamsburg last week.
...Police are not treating the attacks as hate crimes because nothing was said during the incidents.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/cops-search-pack-kids-attacked-jewish-youngsters-williamsburg-week-article-1.1774578#ixzz30PTmgXHy

US State Dept. Anti-Terrorism Report Focuses on 'Price Tagging'
Report calls on UN, NGOs to prosecute 'settlers' for ruining property - but not Palestinian Arab terrorists for trying to kill Israelis.