Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Whenever negotiations with the Arabs begin Israel is forced to make "confidence building measures" - release Arab murderers from prison, take down life-saving road blocks, ease transportation for Arabs in Judea and Samaria, stimulate the Arab economy in Yesha.
After years of reading the same stories with different dates on them, I'd like to ask, "What are the confidence building measures on the part of the Arabs? What steps are they going to make in order to get Israel to the negotiating table?"
I mean, it's only fair, right? Israel gives and gives, unfortunately, even to the point of endangering the lives of its citizens.
So, what are the Arabs going to do? Prime Minister Netanyahu is always talking about "reciprocity." I'd just like to see some on the other side. Will the "Palestinian Police" make sure that every car leaving an Arab town is checked to prevent weapons from reaching the roads? Will the PA police try to pick up stone throwers and punish them? Will the PA even rescind its economic war against Israel? Or its entertainment war?
What about its school books? Will it agree to teach its children about peace, instead of jihad against the Jewish State?
How will the Palestinian Authority build up the confidence of the Jewish People?
Today's Israel National News reported that just as Israel and the PA are sitting down to "peace talks," PA Prime Minister Salam Fayad is encouraging anarchists to demonstrate against Jewish communities. He supports "efforts to organize the reception and delegations of international solidarity with the peaceful popular resistance against the settlements and the wall [security fence].”
Well, that doesn't sound so friendly or like a leader who is looking for peace.
I for one, do not feel my confidence is being built up. Mr. Netanyahu, where is the reciprocity?
I'm going to take everyone's ideas into consideration (you can still write me your thoughts) and then I'll put out a new menu.
My friend in America reminded me last night on skype (I just love skype) to serve raisins and celery, as they do, for a "raise in salary."
I'll keep you posted.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Carrot sticks – gezer – that Hashem should change any evil decree against us
Pomegranate - rimon – that our lives should be filled with as many mitzvot as a promegranate
Chicken soup with kreplach - may our pockets always be filled
Roast Beef – so that any accusers who beef against us should be roasted
Rice with vegetables – including pilpel – so that we should be good in gemora
Zucchini - kishuim – so that children should also kiss your Ema (mother)
Apple crunch – so that our lives will be sweet and our enemies will be crunched
Creamsicles – so the coming year will always be soft and yummy
Chicken – so that our enemies will be chicken
Dates - tamar – so that all singles should have dates
Cole Slaw – so their souls should be merry like Ol' King Cole
Chocolate Chip Bar Teddy Bear Head – so we can be the head and not the tail
Turkey (called Hodu in Hebrew) – Hodu L’Hashem ki tov - Praise Hashem who is good.
Butternut squash – our enemies should be squashed
Mushroom Onion Crepes – that our descendents should mushroom
Cranberry-Apple crunch – ditto above
Rice with vegetables – ditto above
Leftover Turkey – so that we'll do so many mitzvot, we will have leftovers
May Hashem bless us all with a healthy, happy new year.
May everyone be matzliach in everything he does,
and may he try to do everything well. Peace and good news for all Am Yisrael.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Shana tova to all.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
"How are the kids doing in school?"
Normal!!?? My heart beat faster. My eldest child had been shipped off to some boarding school (what did he think this was, England??) and my little boys were walking through foreign streets to the bus.
"What??!! My children are surviving on bread and water??!!"
"What?!!??!!?? The same clothes every day!!??!!"
Friday, August 27, 2010
According to Neve Daniel resident Naftali Armon, the traffic circle was named after Neve Daniel Mazkir (administrator) Eli Steinberg, o'h. ND's Harvey Poch filled in the rest of the info. "Eli Steinberg a"h, the first mazkir of the town, died on 8 Tishrei two years ago, while still in office. He had been mazkir for 16 or 17 years, and saw the town through several growth spurts. He lived and breathed Neve Daniel and, thoughhe lived in Elazar, his funeral began in front of the Mazkirut building in Neve Daniel. Yehei zichro baruch."
- For English speakers, click here: http://gushetzionusa.good-click.com/JoinUs.aspx
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The Gush Etzion toolbar doesn't only perform searches, it has all the info you'd like to have right on the top of your computer screen, without having to really look. You can access your email, facebook or other social media right from the toolbar. You are only a button away from every map in the world. You've got a button that goes directly to GE Tourism. You can load up your favorite radio stations to play right from the bar. And best of all :), you can access ynet, Jpost or Voices-Magazine.com right from the Toolbar. Whenever you want to see the latest videos or stories, you can just click on Voices from the GEF tool bar. You can even make a donation to the foundation right from the bar.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I'm not sure how many MKs and Ministers fly into our local councils and pull up their sleeves to do real work, but yesterday's meeting in Efrat of Limor Livnat, Minister of Culture and Sport, was the first time I'd ever seen a top Minister in action.
Truthfully (for those of us who work on community projects) ... it was a thrill.
Preparation Makes a Difference
It was clear from the first moment that Minister Livnat had done her homework and was very well informed about every project to be presented. Any questions she had were answered immediately by one of her aides (at left). Immediately!
If all the other ministries in the government were as on-the-ball as Minister Livnat's we'd be in good shape.
Let's Talk Culture
The Minister visited Efrat to observe the local cultural and sport activities and projects, and to see how her office could help them grow and develop. Minister Livnat began by viewing the areas in Efrat that are affected negatively by the building freeze. Then she visited the Aseh Chayil School Cheder Tanach and the local library, among other stops.
Her working meeting at the Efrat Matnas (Community Center) began with an introduction of everyone sitting around the large table, including Minister Livnat's staff members, who are the contacts and hands-on-movers of the different projects in question.
Devorah premiers in October.
Every year, Israel consumes more and more oil, and we rely on foreign markets (mostly Russia) for 99% of our oil.
Granted that Israel did not receive the bessings of oil from our Patriarchs, but even a little oil would be appreciated.
Well, perhaps we've got that little oil now. There's a digging site by the Givat Olam oil firm that has struck oil, and has a possibility, according to Givat Olam, to producing about 380 barrels of oil a day and 90 barrels of gas. Okay, Israel is the world's 35th largest oil user, needing about 279,000 barrels a day, but this news means there are 380 barrels a day less that we need to buy outside our country.
Is there really oil? Will it really help the State of Israel and the Jewish People? I certainly hope so. The owners of Givat Olam are off to a good start.
At the end of their stockholders meeting a few days ago in Jerusalem, Givat Olam announced that it would give "25 percent of the general partnership's profits from the crude to charity.” That's the way a Jewish oil man should act.
When the meeting ended, each of the shareholders were given a bottle of honey and a bottle of crude oil. Both of them, hopefully, will contribute to providing the Jewish people with a sweet and prosperous new year.
Bob Kane, comics artist (Batman), Gil Kane, comics artist (Green Lantern), Jack Kirby, comics artist (Captain America, Hulk), Stan Lee, comics writer (co-creator of Spider-Man, creator of X-Men, The Hulk, Fantastic Four), Joe Shuster, comics artist (Superman), Jerome Siegel, comics artist (Superman), Joe Simon, comics artist (Captain America), Art Spiegelman, comics writer (Maus) and more more more.
When the new school year begins this year, 170 schools in Israel will begin teaching their fifth and sixth graders Arabic. I'm all for learning Arabic. In fact, one of Efrat's residents set up an Arabic course for adults this summer that was very well attended, and she intends to set up another one in the fall. (If you're interested and can travel to Gush Etzion, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. That was a public service announcement. :))
This decision should be applauded by all. Israelis should indeed know what the other half is saying in the streets, on their mosque loudspeakers, in the media and to their people.
The Jpost reported that "Dr. Shlomo Alon, supervisor of Arabic studies in the Education Ministry, explained that the reasoning behind the decision was rooted in the ministry’s understanding that knowledge of the Arabic language was vital for people who wished to live in the region in coexistence with Arab neighbors."
Coexistence! Something for which Israelis yearn. [Actually did you notice that we used to say "peaceful co-existence" and now we just say "coexistence".]
As Israel enters direct talks, coexistence what's on the mind of Israeli negotiators. "Let's just find a way to get along."
The Ministry of Education believes that having children speak Arabic will be step in the right direction.
Well, what does the Palestinian Authority believe? Is speaking Hebrew one of the priorities of the PA Education Ministry? Are children in Gaza, Judea and Samaria taught Hebrew to prepare them for co-existence? This is a question I have posed to Itamar Marcus, director of the Palestinian Media Watch - http://www.palwatch.org/. Experts in understanding the Palestinian Authority, through its media and its textbooks, Itamar will be able to tell us if the Arabs in PA territory are also spending millions of dollars to prepare their children for co-existence.
Meanwhile, yesterday the PA again renewed its threats about Arabs shopping in the Rami Levi supermarkets. Israel National News, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/, reported that the PA says that "purchasing anything from Rami Levi or any other Israeli business was against PA law, and a violation of the Authority's official business boycott of Israel."
For those hungry for co-existence, http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/05/hungry-for-co-existence.html, shopping together, passing the yogurts and comparing nectarines is a good first step. But this is a step the PA rejects. So, who knows what will be with Hebrew in its schools?
Speaking the Same Language
When we're wondering if we can find agreement on an issue with another person, we use the figurative expression, "Are we speaking the same language??" Israel has taken the figurative and turned it literal. Will the PA do the same?
PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH ANSWERS:
PMW answered Voices question immediately. As you see in comments, here is their response, "Hebrew is taught in the schools in East Jerusalem, since they belong to the Israeli education system. In the PA schools in the West Bank and in Gaza, Hebrew is not taught as a subject in the schools. Several courses are offered for adults."
Perhaps Dr. Shlomo Alon, supervisor of Arabic studies in the Israeli Education Ministry, should speak to his PA counterpart, the supervisor of Israeli studies, if it exists, and strongly suggest that in order for them to foster coexistence in their schools as well, they should begin teaching Hebrew too.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Well, today, you don't have to speak Hebrew to write a speech in the Holy tongue. But then again, some of the results could be kind of funny.
This morning, I had to give a short address in Hebrew before a governmental committee that was held in my town's community center. B"H, I am a very competent speaker, and have spoken on many topics for many different committees and events...in English. I have my audience laughing, crying and whatever else I'm feeling.
But when I have to speak in Hebrew, it's a totally different situation. First of all, unfortunately (after so many years in Israel) my spoken Hebrew still is not that great. Secondly, when I read a speech in Hebrew, I sometimes don't understand it enough to emote in the right places. Thirdly, I don't have the vocabulary that I really need to write a good speech in Hebrew. Actually, I didn't have the vocabulary, but now all that has changed.
My Hebrew speechwriting life has changed. In fact, the mysterious world of Hebrew is now open to me, or kind of.
I have discovered an internet translating program! I wrote my speech in English, went to http://www.stars21.com/translator/hebrew_to_english.html, input my speech, and pressed GO. Ten seconds later, there was my speech translated. It was like magic.
It was also fraught with funny pitfalls. Whenever I wrote capitals for emphasis, it left the English word in caps, and whenever the word was US, it wrote, United States. "PLEASE HELP US" became in Hebrew, "Please help the United States."
The subject of my speech, my theater company, Raise Your Spirits was translated in four different ways throughout the speech, "Tarim Et Ruchecha" (Lift Your Spirits), "Tarim Et HaRuchot" (Lift the Winds/Spirits), "Laarim et HaMorale Shelcha" (Raise Up Your Morale), "Laalot Ruchot Shelcha" (Raise Up Your Spirits).
I wrote, "My director, who is with me today...." The program translated it: My director! "Who is with me today?"
When I wrote that 35,000 women participated in the Raise Your Spirits experience, it was translated into "Women who are partners will lift the experiment of your wind/spirit."
Anyway, B"H, I'm happy that I have real Hebrew speakers in my house that were able to help make my gobbly gook into real conversation.
And I'm happy that there's a program that can give me a kickstart in writing Hebrew, because without this translating program, I'd have to start from scratch, and I'd probably still be scratching today. Still, it seems to me that you'd better have any translations checked, so that you're not caught saying something other than what you really mean.
Shalom. (Actually translated on the program as - Peace, Safety, Tranquility, Comfort, Quiet, Payment, Reward, Requital, interjection, Goodbye, Hullo, Hallo, Bye-bye, Good day, Adieu, Cheerio, So long.)
Sunday, August 22, 2010
We attended several of the lectures, including the talk on You Don't Need Superheroes. Actually, it was pretty sobering.
I told Arye that I didn't like reading modern-day comic books, because they were all dark and depressing. He explained that comics have followed along with the other trends in our modern world. The heroes and heroines wear skimpier clothing, their language is peppered with curses, and they're involved with more violence than ever.
Arye told me that, like television or film, comics are rated, but that the industry is pushing the limits so much, that there's more violence and more skin than ever.
"Comics don't have to be superb anymore," he said, as long as they've got the skin and the violence that audiences have come to crave (thanks to our perverse media).
Rav Menachem Schrader, rabbi of Congregation Tiferet Avot in Efrat and Director of the Alisa Flatow Learning Program in Nishmat, Jerusalem, comments that some people might feel that perhaps the haftarot should be chastising or that we should be in a tenser mindset before the High Holidays. Rav Schrader added, “We have a custom to recite Psalm 27: “Hashem is my light…” twice a day during the month of Elul. “You’d think it would be about teshuva (repentance), or reminding us about our sins. That’s not what the perek (chapter) is about. The perek speak with tremendous confidence. “G-d is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear… G-d is the strength of my life… Enemies will come, but they’re going to fail.” What does this have to do with Elul?
In the last sentence of this psalm, we are told that if we pray to G-d and don’t get the answer we were hoping for, we should just “strengthen [ourselves]” and “hope to Hashem”.
Rav Schrader explained, “The mindset that we should go into Rosh Hashana is not depressing or one of mourning. We have to calm ourselves.”
“Today we see six million Jews in Israel with midrashot and yeshivot and Torah-learning… We’re going in the right direction. We can relate to these [encouraging] haftarot. But they weren’t only read since the beginning of the State of Israel. They’ve been read throughout our history – at the time of the Hadrianic Persecutions, in the shuls of Bar Kochba when things in Beitar weren’t so successful, in the exile of Babylon, in the times of Torquemada (Spanish Inquisition), during the Crusades, Gezeirot Tach V’Tat (1648-1649 - Chmielnitzki massacres), throughout all the pogroms and during the Holocaust. They were consoling throughout these times, even for those generations that didn’t merit seeing the beginning [of the Redemption] with their own eyes.”
Therefore, Rav Schrader said, we are meant to go into Rosh Hashana, “not with a feeling that everything is lost, but with a feeling that Hashem promised to redeem us, and that Hashem is on our side, and that He wants us to win in the Judgment of the High Holidays. And we should walk in with confidence and a good feeling, because Hashem is with us.”
Have a positive strengthening end of the month of Elul. And may your new year be blessed.
To see VOICES' interview with Rav Menachem Schrader, click here: http://www.voices-magazine.com/index.php?page=inside_page&id=160&which=VTV
Saturday, August 21, 2010
** When can each person do her laundry?
** How dressed should each person be after the shower?
** Can girls wander around in their pajamas or shorts?
Friday, August 20, 2010
AN UPDATE ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON - It's 44 ºC, that's 111.2 ºF. In Tirat Tzvi up north, it's 50 ºC, 122 ºF. Is it hot enough for ya???
Best wishes to you all over the world. Keep cool.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
In Efrat and other communities, there is Olim Camp, a special program with bi-lingual counselors and loads of children just like them - olim from all over America. There are activities and tiyulim (trips) and loads of things planned to help the children get to know their new hometown, make friends and learn to appreciate Israel.
I popped by Efrat's Olim Camp and saw backpacked kids on their way out to a little jaunt out in the park near Efrat's Community Center. They were gathering together in the hallway, and instead of just standing there, they were chanting those camp songs that most of us know from our old American camp days. Then later, I popped into the gym to see four of our newest residents - from Atlanta, Georgia and Flatbush, New York - engaged in a basketball game of "2 on 2". Three of these youngest live on the Zayit and another lives in Gefen. I asked them how they like Efrat. The eldest said, "We're doing great. We are living in a very special place. (Our Biblical Patriarch) Abraham lived here." That was a terrific answer, and it made me realize that indeed this young chap knew just what he was doing when he made Aliyah.
Another one of the youngsters was the grandson of one of our town's family doctors, Dr. Efraim Ben Zev, and he said that he even knows a little Hebrew. Lucky kid, he's ahead of the game.
The boys told me that because they're going to spend the next six months learning Hebrew, they won't have to do homework. What a deal!! They were very excited.
When I visited with a group of younger children and asked them how they were faring, most of them said, "Fine," and sounded happy. One little girl said, "Very bad. I don't know anyone here and I want to go home to my friends." I almost started crying, but one of the Olim Camp counselors told me that there's still another week of camp, and that because there are seven children in every age group, they will make friends that they can play with past camp, when school starts.
Good luck to all the Olim Campers. You're going to love it here. Israel is absolutely the most fabulous country in the world when you get to know it. May you make many friends and do well in school. We need you and we're glad you're here.
Here's a short short clip of Olim Camp, as the kids were on their way out the door:
Voices attended the Mikro performance of “Shirim M'HaBoydom,” (Songs from the Attic). A touching, energetic, and humorous musical trip down memory lane, Shirim M’HaBoydom presents 50s and 60s Israeli songs as the remedy for the soul’s ills. It stars talented duo Sima Goren and Michael Goroden as the likable doctor and her many patients.
Goroden is a man of many faces, and Goren is multi-talented and charming - the perfect ingenue.
More on Mikro’s repertoire: http://www.mikro.co.il/.