Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
No goals for Israel.
No goals for England.
In front of 40,000 fans in the stadium and millions more in England, Israel and who knows where else!
In NBA or NFL terms, that means a full game (with all the commercials, timeouts, etc.) ending 0-0!
And the Israelis were happy, saying the result indicates good progress!
It’s not my job here to explain the mysteries of soccer, but I would like to consider the wonders of modern-day Israel.
Israel – whether we like it or not – is the Promised Land.
Promised by God to the Jewish people.
To play soccer?
To become another England or America in the Middle East?
I think not.
Of course there’s value in sport and in developing a western-style, democratic, educated society, but what are Israel’s long-term goals?
To be a nation just like any other nation?
Have we survived thousands of years of exile, persecution, pogroms and Holocausts just to become a nation like any other?
Were we freed from Egypt just to be able to compete against England in the European Championships?
Please correct me if you think I’m wrong, but I would guess Israel is here to achieve some piritually valuable goals.
After all, do we really need another America? Does God care if we beat England or not?
It’s a “Promised Land” so the Jewish people can leverage its intrinsic holiness as some sort of “light unto the nations.”
To take it a bit over the top, that means Israeli sports crowds should behave impeccably, with respect and courtesy for their opponents...
No swearing or curses during the game...
OK. That’s maybe for the Messianic All-Stars in Jerusalem but you get the idea.
For if Israel has no goals but to score goals, why are thousands of IDF soldiers risking their lives every day?
And why are Hamas, Hezbollah & Co. out to kill us?
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
This year, in the Hebrew year "Tash-oz" (5767) the Pesach holiday takes on an ever more special significance in
The entire country becomes involved and this includes even grocery stores are restaurants, including 'fast food' ones where hamburgers are mostly sold in special rolls made from matzo meal. During the days proceeding the first Seder night, households can be seen vigorously preparing for the holiday by cleaning and throwing out unwanted items.
"Doing Pesach" becomes interpreted as a very thorough Spring cleaning, and most religious homes are already 'kosher for Pesach' as much as two weeks before the holiday really begins. The night before the Seder, families symbolically search throughout the house for pieces of 'hametz' which is taken outside and burned before Passover Seder eve. On the evening of the Seder, literally thousands of cars can be seen heading towards places where families will come together to partake in the Passover meal.
The first and last days of Pesach are official Israeli holidays, and even during the interim or 'Chol Hamoed' days many people are on holiday, often traveling to national parks and other holiday sites around the country.
For Jews all over the word, Pesach is a very special holiday as it also coincides with the beginning of spring. As an important reminder of leaving Egypt, the Pesach holiday requires observant Jews to eat special foods, especially 'matzot' or unleavened bread products, to recall the rush of leaving the house of bondage without having time to bake bread in the conventional manner. In the Diaspora, Jews must often purchase or prepare these foods ahead of time so as not to run out during the holiday.
Homes must be cleaned thoroughly to rid them of 'hametz' or leavened bread products. Foodstuffs not "kosher for Passover" are put away and even symbolically 'sold' to non-Jews, to be kept "in trust" until the end of the seventh day. The festive, ritual meal, known as the Passover Seder is participated in by families on Pesach Eve.
This special ritual, in which all members of the family participate in its observance, include the reciting of the Passover Hagadah, which tells the story of the ten plagues rendered by G-d to the Egyptians, and explains the symbolic meaning of all items eaten in the Passover meal.
The sparing by G-d of the first born children of the Israelites, as well as the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, allowing them to cross over to freedom, also pays an important part in the meaning of this holiday.
Thus, Pesach is truly a Jewish "festival of freedom".
Sunday, March 18, 2007
His sponsors (and employers) had not taken out suitable insurance for him and refused to take any responsibility after the accident.
And what’s worse is the Israeli courts accepted their argument.
Well, the bottom line was “they weren’t obliged by law to insure Yerushalmi in this particular situation.”
The law is an ass.
In contrast to real life sport in Israel, Frankie Dunn, Maggie Fitzgerald’s trainer in the movie,” Million Dollar Baby” does all in his power to ensure his paralyzed charge gets the best treatment and sticks with her throughout.
That’s just common sense.
Simple human decency.
And to hell with the law.
As the Jewish people approach Passover, the festival celebrating the Exodus from Egypt, what are we celebrating?
Freedom from the heartless, barbaric, murderous regime of the Pharaohs?
Freedom from the selfishness, immorality and promiscuity of Egyptian life?
Yes we are. Partly.
But leaving all that behind doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference if we don’t do what’s right and show care and compassion to our fellow human beings.
Yes, law is important, but caring for others is above and beyond.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
On the roads.
Jaffa oranges, diamonds and Israel Military Products aside, Israel is notorious for high numbers of traffic accidents and fatalities.
Sometimes it’s because they didn’t stop at a red light or a junction...
Sometimes it’s because they were speeding...
Or under the influence of alcohol...
Sometimes they lose control of the wheel...
Or fall asleep...
And the list goes on.
The Government and the Police wake up every so often and announce yet another new program to fight death on the roads.
The media play their part in bringing the gruesome pictures to the people.
And there are programs in school to teach kids of the dangers from a very early age.
And now, after a particularly rough start to the Year, the Internal Security Minister is calling for emergency measures. Again.
Something is not working here.
And it can’t just be human nature or human error. It can’t just be lack of care or the recklessness of younger drivers.
No, I don’t have a magic solution, but I know that much more can and should be
Is enough money devoted to prevention?
Have we studied traffic rules and enforcements in countries with much lower accident statistics?
And applied the conclusions?
And have we taught our children well enough that the most valuable thing in the whole wide world is LIFE?
Thursday, March 08, 2007
The evil Haman had planned to annihilate the Jewish people and Queen Esther thwarted his wicked plan.
Haman was hung on a tree to dry and the Jews celebrate Purim to this day.
Lots of food. Lots of drink.
And lots of giving gifts to others.
That’s what Judaism’s all about I suppose!
Although we’d rather keep old Haman hanging in suspense, there’s an ancient tradition to...eat him in one form or another!
Hamantashen is a triangular-shaped pastry traditionally served on Purim.
The original recipe contained poppy seed filling. The name came from poppy seed treats called “Mantashen.”
Some joker distorted it to “Hamantashen” which means “Haman's pockets” in Yiddish.
Some authorities claim he wore a three-cornered hat, (how do they know?) and that’s why the pastry is triangular.
In Hebrew, the pastry is called “Oznei Haman,” Haman's ears.
This could be because he was rather embarrassed when his evil plot was revealed.
Could his ears have been red?
Was Haman the first Communist?
Or maybe he should have just listened to his mother, who asked him to buy her one of these collectors-item sterling silver Hamentashen
Check out some other original jewelry and great Purim gifts at israel-shops.com
And give your loved ones an earful this Purim!
Or Peace Now thinking their activities really will bring peace now...
Or the religious infighting by those who think they have a God-given right to impose their views on others...
Or Israel’s leaders or sportsmen trying to make us into a nation like any other nation...
It all boils down to the same thing. We are our own worst enemy. Because we don’t understand who we are.
The Jewish people are a people unlike any other.
Chosen by God not in a racially superior sense but to represent a monotheistic, moral and ethical way of life in this world.
In other words, chosen for responsibility.
Certainly not an Oscar Hollywood will award this week!
And the world hates us for symbolizing conscience and moral responsibility.
Hitler said so explicitly:
“I am freeing man from the restraints of an intelligence that has taken charge, from the dirty and degrading self-mortifications of a false vision known as conscience and morality...”
He also knew that the Jewish ‘threat’ was embodied in every single Jew, whether that Jew was the greatest Rabbi who ever lived or the most self-hating assimilated Jew on the planet:
“If only one Jewish child survives, without any Jewish education, with no synagogue and no Hebrew school – it is in his soul.”Ironically, Hitler had a clearer understanding of who the Jewish people – and what they have
accomplished – than millions of Jews do today.
Amir Peretz, Peace Now, religious coercers Israeli leaders, and every Jew....
Before you choose to be like everyone else,look deep into your souls... and see the JEW!