Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks - What are you proud of, Bibi?

WikiLeaks latest news is in today's Jpost.com :
Netanyahu said that his government "would not 'go back' to unilateral withdrawals," and "noted that he had not established any new settlements when he was Prime Minister." Already in 2009, Netanyahu expressed support for a "temporary freeze" in settlement-building.Netanyahu also said that he supported "'refined' Palestinian sovereignty without an army or control over air space and borders." He added that Israel and the Palestinian Authority would have to negotiate about territory and settlements before discussing Jerusalem and refugees.

Firstly, Netanyahu has not established any new settlements since he was Prime Minister. Is that something he should be proud of? Is that something the Likud should be proud of? Is that something the right wing and lovers of Israel should be proud of? Instead of building up the land, Netanyahu says he has stifled its growth, and supported a freeze already in 2009!
Next, Netanyahu wants "Palestinian" sovereignty without an army or control of air space and borders? Well, that statement is ridiculous and impossible, especially since the United States itself has been training thousands upon thousands of Arabs in Jordan to return to the Palestinian Authority as its elite Army. There was an article only a few weeks ago in the Jerusalem Post that stated that by 2011, there will be 10,000 US-trained and well-armed Arab soldiers in the Palestinian Authority. This army exists already. What does Bibi expect to do with them? Send them to the US, their trainers?
Lastly, Bibi wants to control the borders of land that he wants to relinquish. If Israel gives up sovereignty of land, wherever it is, it gives it up. Why would the PA allow Israel then to control its borders? And if it did, one day, just like Hizbullah tells the UN to move over, there is little chance that Israel's Army would be able to stay in place.
There is smoke coming out of my ears. Can you see it? I hate reading the news.

Anti-Semitism Starts at Home!

Israel National News reported this morning that the World Zionist Organization will hold a seminar in France from December 10-12 to combat anti-Semitism. "It is planned to be the first in a series of seminars around the world that will unite those who face bigotry. Such recent incidents as this week's Judeo-phobic posters in France decrying a 'Jewish mafia', the murder of Ilan Halimi in 2006 and other incidents have caused many people worldwide to realize the matter is a burning one."
The WZO will then travel to other nations to explain the spreading problem and give Jews there an understanding that they're not alone, and there's an organization they can turn to when anti-Semitism hits.
commend the WZO for tackling this eternal issue. Although it seems impossible to wipe anti-Semitism out of the hearts of our enemies and those who are being brainwashed into becoming our enemies, the idea of strengthening Jews is appropriate.
Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog on anti-Semitism: http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2009/12/anti-semitism-at-home-and-abroad.html
Nothing has changed. I wrote that the actions that Israel takes with the Jews of its own country are what cause elevations in anti-Semitism. The messages that the State of Israel sends out about its land cause a rise or decrease in anti-Semitism.
Read the blog above! The message is clear. When Israel understands that the Land belongs to the Jewish people, and is willing to proclaim it to ourselves and the world, anti-Semitism will decrease. When Israel strengthens its nation, builds its country and supports its people, anti-Semitism will decrease.

But when the world sees a divided Israel, it sees a weak Jewish people, and understands that the time is right to attack Jews wherever they may be.
People compare the level of anti-Semitism today to that of Pre-Holocaust Europe. At that time there was no State of Israel. Jews in Eretz Yisrael were living under British rule, taking orders from the British government. Today we have B"H a beautiful State of Israel, if only we'd appreciate it. If only we'd work to build it and increase Jewish life and vibrancy everywhere, if only we didn't feel like and act like we were under US rule.
Jewish pride, Jewish growth, Jewish unity and Jewish strength within the State of Israel are THE factors that will reduce anti-Semitism throughout the world.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Massive Prayer for Rain

There's a mass prayer rally for rain tomorrow (Monday, November 29) at the Kotel (Western Wall) at 3:30 PM. Israel's Chief Rabbis Rabbi Yonah Metzger and Rabbi Shlomo Amar will lead the prayers to be attended by Jews from all parts of Israeli society and all regions of the country. The Chief Rabbis have also declared Monday a day of fasting, as we pray for rain.
Last year was the wettest in five years, and yet it only rained for a few days. Here we are at the end of November, and there's not a cloud in the sky, the weather is so warm there are no coats or sweaters in sight.
I ran into Efrat's weather man, Barry Lynn, today and (like everyone else) asked him, "What's with the rain?" Barry said that there is absolutely no rain in the forecast. I said, "Why doesn't Israel do something to get rain? Seed the clouds." He said, "There are no clouds."
At the Shabbat lunch table, we were talking about the high price of vegetables because of the lack of rain, the milk and butter shortages because cows can't produce much milk in the heat, and the evaporating Kinneret.
My young neighbor EitanZ. announced, "We can make it rain. Yes, we can make it rain." How, I asked. He looked at me matter-of-factly, "By keeping the Torah."
Eitan walked over to my library shelves and pulled out a siddur (prayer book) and he read in the Shma (Deuteronomy 11:13-21): "And it will be that if you continually hearken to My commandments that I command You today, to love Hashem, your G-d, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul - then I will provide rain for your land in its proper time, the early and late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil...."
I totally agree with Eitan, and I wish the government of Israel would know what eight year olds know today. If only they'd take G-d's sign of a drought as a message that they're doing something wrong. They don't have to listen to me. http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/11/whither-israel.html . They can just look at the parched dieing earth. We're doing something wrong!
Pray for rain. Pray for righteousness in Israel. Pray for rain.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is Israel too Big?

Again, we are plagued with an insecurity about to whom the Land of Israel belongs.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is actually considering leasing our own land from the Arabs, in essence, saying that the land belongs to the Arabs, but since we have Jews living there, we'd like to lease the land from them. You don't lease what belongs to you!!
Joseph Farrah wrote this:
But the Israeli leaders are missing the point — as usual. Any agreement to lease the land bestows ownership of the land by their enemies. It thoroughly undermines the legitimate Jewish claim to land bestowed to the heirs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If Israel agrees that the land legitimately belongs to the Palestinians, how will it morally and legally defend the rest of its land?
The concession would represent an implicit admission that so-called Palestinians have a legitimate right of ownership to all lands under the control of Israel — including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which are contested by the same people.

My daughter-in-law Mimi, whom I cited in the last blog, http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/11/whither-israel.html, asked me, "Why do you think we're having so many problems and conflicts about the Land of Israel? Why are we threatened with losing pieces of our land?" I told her that I could give her many text book answers, "the people are disunited," "Am Yisrael has to do teshuva (repent)", etc. etc., but that I really did not know the answer.
She answered me along the lines of the previous blog. "Maybe Hashem is saying, 'The Jews are not making Aliyah. They prefer the Exile above their own country. If they don't want to come to Eretz Israel, then the Jewish people don't need such a big country."
It's definitely an interesting and sad thought.
Jews throughout the world, please come home now.
(Thank you to Yaffa Ganz for sending the Joseph Farrah article.)

W(h)ither Israel?

"Oh," said the L-rd (perhaps... well, this is what my daughter-in-law Mimi thinks - and she's pretty smart).
"So, you want to stop construction in Judea, Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem? You want to strangle the Holy Land? You want communities in Eretz Yisrael just to wither away? Build in Tel Aviv. Build in Holon. But not in the 'settlements' of My Land?"
"Well, if that's what you want," continued G-d, "so be it. Wither the settlements!! Wither the country!! You differentiate between areas in the Land that I bequeathed to your forefathers?Well, I'll show you that All of Israel is One! Kiryat Gat is as dear to Me as Kiryat Arba. Carmei Tzur is as dear as Carmiel. Givat Ze'ev is as dear as Gedera."
"You want to wither parts of the nation? Ha. No rain!!!" He shouted. "No rain!! And then you'll see a withering nation. No rain! You want to wither parts of My country. I will wither all of the country!"


Everyone's talking about the possible additional freeze of three months of Israeli building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Can we be MORE frozen than we are already?
Well, they've been talking about it since September.
Um, hello, in September, the freeze was supposed to be over, and there hasn't been any building since then, so really, we have continued the freeze since September, and then in October and now in November.
So, will the three month freeze be over in a few weeks? Or are we going to start counting when they officially announce G-d forbid that there's going to be another freeze.
You know, they can continue a freeze indefinitely, by just debating it for months.
We can talk about it through November, then December, then January. We can demonstrate against it in February, start a letter writing campaign against the freeze in March, strike the schools about the freeze in April, and we can debate the freeze in May.
You see, we can talk/demonstrate/rally/fight the freeze to death for months, and what does that mean?? It means, there's still a freeze, no matter if it is official or not!
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a ten month freeze, but meanwhile, it's almost a year already.
The whole thing is malarky. (Is that how you spell malarky?)
We are in a freeze that the government has no interest in lifting.
But they have no interest in fighting the right wing either, so they'll just debate the freeze as long as they can, and while they're doing that....the freeze continues.
(Photos by Zvi Edelman)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The World's Best Hummous

Okay, it's not the world's best hummous. It's probably not even Israel's best hummous, but it might very well be the best hummous made by an elementary school children in Efrat. :)
In Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the Jewish month), the Orot Etzion boys' school held its first annual Hummous Festival.
Hummous is just about a national food in Israel, along with pita and falafel. Some say that Israelis are obsessed with hummous, and eat it as a dip with just about every meal. (To find more about hummous,
http://humus101.com/EN/2006/10/14/hummus-recipe/.) Well, a new generation of hummous creators has arisen.
108 Hummous Mayvens
One hundred and eight pupils of Orot Etzion participated in 27 different groups of four students each. They were given two cups of garbanzo beans (chick peas) and challenged to make the most delicious hummous that is presented in the most beautiful way.
Rav Beit HaSefer Rabbi Michael Fredman came up with the idea for this mini-master chef contest. The kids were allowed to bring whatever recipe they wished as well as any special ingredients from home, as long as the base was the garbanzo beans from school.
Rav Michael said that first, they lined up eight food processors for the kids' use, and then they lined up some of the best chefs or would-be chefs in the region to judge the event. They included Assaf Tomer (who produces his own line of hummous, My Lafa), Gidon Amir (chef from the Gush Etzion Winery), Paul Sack (head chef of Or Torah Stone), and Yaakov Weglein (a frustrated chef and terrific rebbe in Orot Etzion).
The kids were great. The mixed and tasted and blended and had real fun. Some tasted more than they manufactured.
The winning team were Ashkenazim, believe it or not - Rappaport, Komet and Singer. Pinati donated sweatshirts to the winners.
Rav Michael said that the day was great fun for everyone. IY"H, there'll be more fun to come, and we'll be there when it does.

(Photographs by Gershon Ellinson)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tough Talk, Tough on Us

Don't you hate politics in this era of media gluttony? I do.
Once upon a time, it was events and actions - positive or negative - that made the news and influenced people. Remember even back in the days of Joshua. Rachav, the innkeeper, told the Israelite spies, "I know that the L-rd hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
2:10 For we have heard how the L-rd dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed." (Chapter 2:8-10)
Now, when when battles and miracles perhaps take too long for the world of instantaneous media, it's the short sound bite that rules. And the favorite sound bite is tough talk, even when it's backed up by nothing, or by an artificial photo op.
Since the latest news is about the building freeze is photo-less. Well, you could show a tractor not moving, but does that look very different from a tractor moving...folks are saying tough, get-into-the-news things..."There may be a freeze, but we're going to build anyway." That sounds good. Prove it.
Remember when the freeze first went into effect a year ago, a defrosting event was held in my hometown of Efrat. Yesha leaders laid the cement foundation of a synagogue. A mike was thrust into the face of a Yesha leader. "Isn't this illegal?" "I don't care," he said defiantly. It sounded great. It made all the news, and then the freeze took effect, and still holds, more than a year later, despite all the bravado.
Last year's stories: http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/01/building-bet-orot-and-all-israel.html, http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/01/no-building-no-israel.html
Jewish leaders, you wanna be sincere? You wanna talk tough? So, act tough for the sake of the Jewish people and the Jewish nation. Not for the video cameras and the news shows.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Facebook & Shidduchim

I went with my friends to pay a shiva (condolence) call in Jerusalem today, and along the way we tried to park the car at another stop. A young came up to us and said, "Would you like my space?" First impressions - what a nice young man.
He pulled his car out of the space. We pulled in. He came up to the window. "I had time left on my meter card, would you like it?" "Wow, thank you." Second impression - very nice young man.
Hm, wearing a kippah (skull cap), neatly dressed, nice car.
"Jump out," my friend (a typical Jewish mother) said. "Go find out more about him."
I jumped out of the car and knocked on his window.
"Are you married?"
"No." Third impression - gotcha!
"Are you dating someone special?"
"How old are you?"
"Would you like a shiddach?"
"Can I have your name and number?"
"Yes!" And I got it. More small talk through the window...Fourth impression - nice, friendly guy, willing to take a chance.
I returned to my friends. They wanted all the details I got. Then they wanted his name so they could check him out on Facebook.
No no no.
I am totally against folks "checking out" a potential shiddach on Facebook. Facebook is a place for fun, for nutty remarks, for silly faces. Facebook is a place to be at ease and fool around. It is not a serious place for shidduchim - UNLESS that's what your particular account is for.
Believe me.
Yes, I heard recently of a story of two young people who met while writing condolences on a memorial Facebook page, but I have heard many many more stories of matches that never happened because he/she checked out the other on Facebook and was not impressed.

Young people!!! Talk to one another!!! Speak on the phone!!! Meet in person!!! Don't decide whether this is your partner in life because of his/her Facebook page.

Get with the real social media - a face-to-face conversation.

Oh yes, about the guy we met at the parking lot....I've got his number, and hopefully soon, one of us will find out more about him, what he's like, what he's looking for, and he'll have the number of some really nice girl. Wish me luck.

Not Everything is Frozen

On a trip to Ashkelon this week, I couldn't help but notice all the building underway. While building is frozen all throughout Judea, Samaria and Israel's capital Jerusalem in places like Ashkelon the cranes are busy at work, the tractors are varooming all day.
Ashkelon is spreading out. An industrial center, a sports complex, an apartment building, complexes on the beach, and a new marina mall.
Ashkelon in general is a lively place. There were ads everywhere for a new show, "Samson and Delilah." It looked pretty good.
We passed Kfar Nofesh L'Chayalim, a retreat center for soldiers on leave. Five and a half years ago, Kfar Nofesh was used to provide temporary shelter for Jews expelled from their homes in Gush Katif. The women of my community had traveled there to visit the Gush Katif women in Kfar Nofesh. Life was very difficult for the families there.
Seeing Kfar Nofesh started me thinking of Gush Katif throughout the day.
We walked along the beach. My husband commented that the sand was so fine and white. Its vanilla beads popped right and left as we walked. I said, "The sand is almost as nice as the perfect sand of Gush Katif."
We picked sea shells. I compared them to the sea shells I remembered from Gush Katif. Wow, they looked just about the same.
We marveled at the clear green sea. Somewhere that sea touched the sea of Gush Katif. Was it still green and gorgeous? I hoped it was, even though we couldn't enjoy it now.
Ashkelon building is going along full-speed-ahead. I hoped that the same would soon be true for the rest of Israel, and I look forward to the rebuilding of Gush Katif one day soon, as well.

No Purple Mountains Majesty

It's the second day in a row that I thought of that phrase, "Purple mountains majesty." How magnificent are mountains of purple and deep tones of blue. How entrancing are orchards fat with oranges, spotted with clumps of yellow lime green bananas, fields of red geraniums, and waving wheat of gold.
But fields and orchards aren't always so rich in color.
My husband and I recently drove down to Ashkelon over Route 35. There were fields all around - a dull green and dull shades of tan. Mid-season of anything is a little dull - be it the mid-season of theatrical run, a TV series or a field where everything's been picked and nothing's been planted yet.
As I looked out the window, I felt like I should turn up the contrast and the saturation on the world outside my car window.
My husband reminded me that the last time we had driven on that road, the fields had made a tapestry of vivid color. His words gave me something to look forward to.
Then suddenly, after Kiryat Gat and before Machane Pelugot, there was an arch of trees on the road. It only lasted for a minute's drive, but it was lovely, like a whoosh of beauty, just what we needed to add a little spice to the bland nature of early fall.
Looking forward to the colors changing and the ground a deep brown as it soaks up the rain that we are all praying for.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever...

On a clear day, you can see forever...or at least to Moav.
We are now in the midst of the Biblical chapters about our Forefathers - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. G-d tells our forefathers to rise and look around them, and see all the land that their descendants will possess.
If you live in Tel Aviv or Herzlia, it might be difficult to understand this blessing. But for those who live in Judea and Samaria, everything is very clear, especially on a clear day.
Depending upon which town you're visiting, you can see all the way to the Mediterranean, to the coastal plain, to the Golan Heights, to the Negev, to East of the Jordan River...
Last week, I was traveling in Eastern Gush Etzion, and I called out to my husband, "Stop here!" He looked behind us and noticing that there was no there, he put on the brakes. "What??" "Look there to the East. You can see all the way across the Judean Desert to the hills of Moav. You can see the mountains that are today's Jordan. You can see the place where Moses and Aharon were buried, if we knew where that was."
The mountain ranges were so magnificent, so rich in different colors. Okay, no purple mountains majesty, but browns and oranges and tans. Deep earthy tones.
Traffic was quiet, so we just sat there for a moment and looked on at awe. First of all, the scenery was magnificent. Eastern Gush Etzion is magnificent in general. Secondly, it was very inspiring to think, "I can see all the way across the Dead Sea."

Lift up your eyes to the north, south, east and west, all the land you see will be for you and your descendants forever. (Genesis: 18:15)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Listen to Your Mother

My dearest mother (may she live and be well until 120) has some sayings that even my grandchildren know very well. One of them is "Having weight around your midruff is the worst thing for your health." Indeed, mother is right (I'm sure no one is surprised by that statement). Belly fat raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease and even dementia.
My Mom also says, "Don't walk barefoot in the house." I'm sure many people like to walk barefoot in the house, but listen to my mother! She knows what she's talking about.
On Friday, I did piles of laundry while I was barefoot. I had separated the whites, lights and colors and had piles of clothing all over the laundry room floor.
I didn't want to step on my clothing or the white Shabbat table cloths with my shoes on, so I removed them. Everything was going fine. I was doing my laundry on pillow-y soft clothing piles when the phone rang.
I quickly turned to get the phone when I smashed my left foot hard and fast into the laundry room door. Suddenly I heard and felt a c-r-a-c-k. And was in such pain, I even ignored the phone.
I couldn't step down. I couldn't breathe. I broke my middle toe of my left foot. In no time at all, my toe and my foot half way to the ankle was deep purple.
There's not much you can do for a toe, except tie it to the other toes. That's what I did.
All this wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that I must tap dance, and I also must be on stage every week in our new show JUDGE! The Song of Devora.
So, I have been trying to take it easy since Friday. I haven't walked too much or done the steps too often. Tonight I went to tap, and didn't flap my left foot, but faking steps iss not a good way to learn a dance. I just hope it doesn't hurt worse tomorrow.
Anyway, there's not much more to say about it, except...listen to your mother. She is always right.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sue's Cool-inary Show - Home-made Hellmann's Mayonnaise

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about Unilever's plans to pull the Beigel Beigel factory out of the Barkan industrial zone in the Shomron (Samaria) - http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/10/twisted-pretzel.html. Unilever is a mammoth corporation that owns dozens of companies, including Hellmann's Mayonnaise. I mentioned that if Unilever was going to pull the plug on Yesha (Judea and Samaria) production, we should pull the plug on some of Unilever's other products, like Hellmann's Mayonnaise
Sue Epstein, Voices' Food Expert & Columnist, explained that anyone who wished to stop buying Hellmann's Mayonnaise could make Sue's "Just like Hellmann’s Mayonnaise".
Folks were so excited about this prospect that Voices TV videoed Sue making her Hellmann's. Here is Sue's recipe and at the end of the recipe, you can click on Sue's Hellmann's video.
Just like Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (Makes 4 cups)
Mayonnaise is simply an emulsion of oil and egg yolks, with a little acidity and salt added to brighten the flavors. The trick to making mayonnaise is to take your time… pour the oil a dribble at a time while the food processor or blender is running. Once you get the hang of it, it’s so simple and delicious that you’ll never go back to store-bought.

Use corn, peanut, olive or any oil.
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups oil or ½ liter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup boiling water

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Combine the egg, garlic and salt in the food processor Begin adding the oil in a very slow stream. When the mayonnaise begins to thicken stop the processor and add the lemon juice and continue as before. When the mayonnaise begins to really thicken you can pour the oil in a little faster but still in a thin stream. When the oil is all mixed in, the mayonnaise should be thick and fluffy. Taste the mayonnaise to see if you need a bit more lemon juice or salt. You can also add any herbs to make herb mayonnaise. Add boiling water a little at a time at this point and process until it’s of desired consistency.
If your mayonnaise never thickened you’ll probable have to start over. Save the failed batch then add it back to your successful batch slowly to make a double batch.

Tartar Sauce: 1 medium onion, 4 medium pickles, 5 tablespoons mayonnaise. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Wasabi Sauce: ½ tablespoon wasabi powder, 1 teaspoon water, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise. Mix wasabi powder and water to form a paste. Let sit for 1 minute, then add mayonnaise.
Curry Mayonnaise: Add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of curry powder to ½ cup mayonnaise.

You get the picture here…. You can add any herb, seasoning, ketchup, etc. to make many different delicious sauces.