29 September 2006

This is INSANE

Old City Street Closed to Jews Two Hours Daily During Ramadan [Israel National News]

Police have notified residents of Jerusalem’s Old City that during Ramadan, Haggai Street heading to the Kotel (Western Wall) will be closed to Jews from 10pm until midnight.

Jerusalem officials explain the move is to avoid skirmishes between Jews and Muslims following Ramadan prayer services on the Temple Mount.


27 September 2006

Finally, Signs of Working Together

Olmert Addresses Religious-Zionist Public [Israel National News]

A day-long conference on the role of religious-Zionism in Israel was held yesterday at the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute.

Fascinating. Did I miss the press release announcing this event beforehand? In any case, I wish I'd been there.

"Everyone does, to some degree," Rabbi [Avi] Gisser [of Ofra] said. "We discussed [the question of whether we should participate] amongst ourselves [religious-Zionist rabbis and leaders] beforehand, some 30 of us, and we realized that though there were definitely political overtones, it was clear to us that when you're invited to speak about the Jewish character of the State of Israel, and the role of Religious-Zionism is placed at the center of the national discourse, then that's the right thing to do."

Which highlights the very nature of Judaism as both a religious and a political ideology. I can recall times when religious leaders would be warned about endorsing political candidates/parties from the dais-- I couldn't help but think how stupid that was, not because I'm against the separation of powers, but because separating those two veins of thought contradicts Judaism. When you are a Jew, your Judaism informs the choices you make-- including the candidates you vote for in an election. All right, you don't want to support a particular candidate, that's fine. But you are responsible, as religious leaders, to guide the public according to the teachings of scripture. We can only then hope that those teachings will inspire informed choices among the population at large. But trying to completely divide religion and politics, as if one has no effect on the other, is absurd.

The day-long summit was entitled, "The Jewish Character of the State of Israel - Religious Zionism as an element motivating national discourse."

Hm, more like: "Religious Zionism as the motivating force that will save the State of Israel from complete destruction." Of course, this is true as long as "religious Zionism" is defined as G-d motivated Zionism, not Rabbinically-motivated Zionism. (Now, if the Rabbis are motivated by G-d, then that falls into the former, not the latter.)

Among other things that could honestly be labeled "liberal claptrap," Olmert said that one's Zionism cannot be based only on whether or not he supports withdrawals. Seriously, he and Bill Clinton should hang out. What dreck. And any hope Olmert had of regaining his political stature-- GONE. The guy would've made better use of his time if he shot golf balls in the Knesset for three hours.

Olmert thus implied that the orange camp must similarly not let the act of the Disengagement affect its feelings towards the State.

Again, illustrating the great liberal disconnect between ideology and politics. It reminds me of Whittaker Chambers's account of the communist attitude towards sex. To the communist, sex was something done for enjoyment and had no emotional element whatsoever-- until, of course, one partner caught the other partner in bed with someone else. Then, all that seemingly valiant political claptrap sorta went down the drain-- you know, like Olmert's political career.

Olmert described the religious-Zionist sector as one that "lives on the periphery and has felt neglected for years." In response, IsraelNationalRadio's Alex Traiman, a self-described religious-Zionist, commented that he doesn't feel peripheral: "Even citizens living in Judea and Samaria are doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc., working in the center of the country and in the center of Israeli public life..."

HA! I love it. The classic leftist technique of making a minority out of your enemy in order to placate them into submission, SHOT DOWN! Heh, burn. Sweet.

Regarding the essential need for religious/secular respect and cooperation, Rabbi Gisser said, "It was clear that the boundaries of Jewish dialogue must be broadened so that we can all find our place in Israel on the basis of the importance of strengthening the State's Judaism.

THIS is the kind of unity we need at this hour. We're Jews-- if anyone can admit that we're never going to agree on religious practices, it's us. But the one thing we can agree on is that without Israel, we won't be practicing much of anything at all, except, maybe, how to pose properly in front of a firing squad. This is the perspective that Jews the world over need to understand and operate on if we're going to survive and claim victory: in order to win, we must set aside our religious differences and unite as one. How are we going to go about uniting as one? By respecting the fact that we're all Jews-- orthodox, reform, conservative, secular, messianic, convert, half-breed-- when we commit ourselves to the survival of Israel as a JEWISH state, we are Jews. And, as HaShem so clearly points out time and time again in scripture-- DON'T MESS WITH THE JEWS.

This was something that everyone agreed upon, even those who are not religious... For instance, there is an initiative in the Knesset, led by non-religious MKs, to promote public Sabbath observance - not on the basis of religious law, but on the basis of social justice, allowing everyone to have a day off, etc... "

Again, we see the intertwining of socio-political issues with Judaism. This is something that Jews in the galut especially do not understand. Just as they can't relate to their Judaism as a physical, national identity, they often cannot see the physical, practical, and even ideological meanings behind the spiritual laws. Do you see how much we have to learn from one another?

Fascinating. I hope much good comes from this, and we can finally start working together while we still have an Israel to save. Baruch haShem, may His Name be Glorified in the doing of it.

26 September 2006

WE Jews

Israpundit posts: The propaganda attack on Israel

The following article is a ** MUST READ ** for anyone who wants to know how public opinion against Israel is fed by the media and academia. Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini’s article brilliantly demonstrates how the international community’s slanted narrative — which ignores Muslim and Arab violence against Muslims and Arabs — does injustice to Israel, which is falsely painted as the ultimate source of all conflict and violence in the world today.

My entire response to this is: Well, duh. More importantly, What are WE Jews going to do about it?

The sad thing is, most Jews in the galut don't even understand this very real dilemma, let alone understand that they are in the midst of it just as much as their Israeli Jewish mishpocha. The disconnect between these two communities is freaking unbelievable-- and could prove deadly for both groups.

The Jews in the galut need to learn that their identity doesn't just hinge on matrileneal lineage, if/when you go to shul, and whether or not you laugh at Jackie Mason jokes-- they need to understand the very physical realities of being Jewish. We have a land. We have a people. We have an army, a capital, all these physical things that define other nations so succinctly are OURS as well, and were ours before most of the rest of these countries even existed!

The Jews in Israel need to learn that the socialistic Zionism that cleaned the swamps in the late 1800s is not going to guarantee the survival of Eretz Yisrael-- neither will continual concessions to Arab neighbors bent on our destruction. Israeli Jews need to understand the spirituality of being Jewish, and they need to learn how to apply those spiritual principles to physical actions in everyday life-- economic, political, social-- in order to secure the future of Eretz Yisrael.

So, what are WE Jews going to do? Continue typing away in blogs, hoping that complaint-turned-into-rhetoric somehow changes things one day?

Happy New Year, Muslim Style

While numerous Israeli Jews (including public officials-- which makes me wonder if they were beaten by Israeli cops for causing such a ruckus) and citizens of the western world are trying their best to wish Muslims a happy Ramalamadingdong, muslims have already shot their New Year greetings across the border into the promised land:

Kassam-Kuds Rockets Hit Sderot, Woman Hurt; Hamas Promises More [Israel National News]

I wonder what the Winograd Commission is going to say about that one.


Oh, and a blip from American news:

I haven't ripped on Bill Clinton in quite a while because, well, when it comes to mocking political figures, he's been more used and abused than a three-dollar whore. (He probably likes it that way, too.) But, here's a quote from a recent interview he did on Fox News:

Democracy is about way more than majority rule. Democracy is about minority rights, individual rights, restraints on power.

Of course, the entirety of what he said amounted to nothing less than a voluminous amount of politically correct hot air, this statement included. But, to illustrate the power of Marxist doublespeak, I will translate this above-quoted statement so you can understand what the Clinton really meant:

Democracy isn't about the government obtaining its power from the people. Democracy is about grouping people according to race, color, creed, sexual orientation, and the like, then pitting these groups against one another by instructing each group that every other group only sees them as a people-group and not as individuals with rights, thereby fostering and encouraging massive in-fighting through rhetoric, hate speech, and meaningless lawsuits, in order to restrain as much of their individual power as possible. That way, the government is left free to wield as much power over the people as it sees fit.

William Jefferson Clinton: Giving the cigar industry a boost since 1998.


22 September 2006

The Rosh haShanah Post

I love being a Jew.

I know, I know, I say that a lot, but it bears repeating because it's true, and because it's something every Jew should feel and say more often.

You know, one of the hardest parts about being a Jew is that you're constantly under pressure to lead two different lives. You have your secular life, with your job, your coworkers, your friends you have dinner with, your activities, and all the associated things you'd put on a resume if you were looking for employment. Then, you have your Jewish life, with your family, your congregation, your Hebrew and Yiddish slang, your friends you can really talk to, and the things you do that really matter to you-- you know, all the things you wouldn't dare put on a resume if your life depended on it.

"Now, Sis, don't take this the wrong way. I'm saying this as one sibling to another, here. It won't change who you are-- but don't put anything Jewish on your resume, you know what I'm sayin'? Some people just take that the wrong way, you know? You know what I'm saying? Are we cool?" That was the advice my brother had to give me when I began job hunting a month ago. I knew why he was saying it; those thoughts were ones that had crossed my mind more than once before I started sending resumes out. Still, to hear it out loud... it gives you a very bad feeling in the pit of your stomach to know that there's a very good chance you won't be considered because you're a Jew.

But there's more to it than that. You can be a Jew and still get a job-- this ain't Hamburg in 1933 ...yet. You can be a successful Jew in America...but can you be a successful proud Jew? That's apparently a different story. You can be Jewish, just don't draw too much attention to it. You wrote something about Jews? Don't put that credit on your resume. Suddenly, a thesis about Jews turns into a thesis about "cultural assimilation." Someone once raked on a Jewish mother in front of me. A friend gasped. "Oh, it's all right, Shanah's not one of those Jewy-Jews," the raker explained. Jewy-Jews. Don't put anything Jewish on your resume, because you don't want to seem like one of those Jewy-Jews.

I finally got called for an interview this week. We drove into the city. The traffic was horrible. People were EVERYWHERE. I'd forgotten exactly how chaotic the city could be. The office where I interviewed felt strange, foreign. It was a perfectly fine office, with perfectly fine people, and the job I interviewed for was a perfectly fine job. Should I receive an offer, I'd be a moron to turn it down.

But it felt strange.

We made one more stop in the city, at an Israeli jewellry store we make a point to shop at when we're in town. Gorgeous, gorgeous things, and a manager who could talk to you for hours. I picked up a few CDs, one of which I'm listening to now: Sarit Hadad's "Miss Music." I'm not sure what a hardcore Israeli would think of it, considering she basically looks and sounds like the Israeli Kylie Minogue, but I like it. I like anything that's in Hebrew, even though I can't understand half of it. Call it starry-eyed naievtae if you want; I chalk it up to my love for being a Jew. I can't hardly speak it, or read it, but Hebrew is part of who I am, who I choose to be. (And listening Israeli music is a great way to learn more Hebrew, btw.) It felt normal to be in that shop. In my harried existence, it was a blessed break and a great reminder of the fact that we're in the season of Rosh haShanah. To employ some common American slang, going to that one shop and picking up a few Israeli CDs helped "keep it real" for me yesterday, in the midst of the zaniness of city traffic and the stress of interviewing for a new job.

Last night, as I thought over the interview, I kept coming back to the one quagmire that any opportunity of this nature is bound to create: no matter how good the job, I still wouldn't be able to be myself in that environment. My mother's answer is that I'd just have to continue, for all intents and purposes, being two people-- the public--secular me, and the private--Jewish me. But, can life really work like that? It can't. Eventually, you're going to be faced with choices--potentially life-changing choices, and those choices are going to be informed by the person you truly are, not the person you pretend to be in order to function as a member of this world. The key, then, is to either be one person or the other, or to meld the two in such a way that you can function in the world and, yet, rise above it. In either case, if you choose to be a Jew, you choose to be an enigma. Even if there are those in the secular world who do like you, they will never fully understand you, not unless they, too, choose to join your Jewish world.

It seems as if I'm not the only Jew who's going through this identity crisis right now. Israpundit just posted a bunch of Israeli poll stats, two of which really caught my eye:

Is Israel struggling for its survival today?
Yes 75% No 23%

Is Israel the best country to live in in the world?
Best 45% As good as others 16% Worse 27%

Israelis are still proud, but they know that they've got to fight to survive. If anything, this war in Lebanon acted as a wake-up call to Israeli Jews. They are having to face the truth: Israel, as a nation, faces the same identity crisis that each individual Jew faces when they try to function as a part of the world today. In the end, no matter how much we try to fit in, we just don't. Until we learn to love ourselves, and fight for our right to exist in-turn, we will always be under threat of destruction. For Israel, negotiating her identity hasn't worked; now she's got to choose one way or the other-- complete submission to the world body, acceptance through secularization, and complete destruction of Jewish identity, or standing up for herself, defending her rights, and triggering the spiritual rebirth of the physical nation of Israel. I already know what Ezekiel said will happen-- but when it happens is up to the Israeli people.

May this be the year when Israel acts. May this be the year when Jewish Israelis look at themselves and each other and say, “I love being a Jew.” That is my New Year's wish.

18 September 2006

This Just In: Logical Thinking Saves Lives!

HaShem only acts, or reacts, when the situation becomes so horribly bad that there is no possible way a human being-- any human being-- can come up with a solution. Can you possibly comprehend how badly things have to be for HaShem to intervene?

Lately, I've been spending most of my time applying for new jobs. Each time I send out a resume, I get a little thrill, because I've taken a proactive step towards bettering myself and my work life. I saw a problem, defined it, and made the choice to take steps towards resolving it. Makes sense, right? Now, let's apply the problem solving procedure on a larger scale:

The problem: The slow, yet steady (and steadily increasing) destruction of Israel/the Jewish people.

The cause: Hatred of Jews, exhibited primarily by Muslims, but also by other gentile groups and those who can be termed, "self-hating Jews."

The solution: Exhibit Israel pride, deny the destruction, defeat the destroyers.

Makes sense, right?

Apparently, not to the Israeli government. Exhibiting classic ghetto syndrome, they're too busy studying what THEY did wrong in the last "war," as it were.

How horrible do things have to be for G-d to intervene?

Ask six million Jews.

Really, go ahead; they're living in Israel right now. I'm sure they've got some opinions on the subject.

I hope.

14 September 2006

Syrious Dilemma

So, apparently Bush and the American government are following the same advice they gave Olmert about a month ago-- when Syria attacks, turn tail and run.

Is anyone else disgusted at what a joke the Israeli and American governments have become? More importantly, is anyone willing to get off their duff and DO something about it?

The chaotic silence that erupted in Israel since the "truce" "brokered cease-fire" "lame excuse for giving Muslim nutcases time to re-arm" was declared is mind-boggling. Meanwhile, in America, the conservative Jews have moved on to seemingly sexier battles, like the one currently being waged between Israpundit and MoveOn.org, and the Evangelicals have...well...is there a new Left Behind book out, or something? Is Kirk Cameron on national tour, is that it? Or have they all been sucked up into that Trailer Park in the Sky for the tribulatory dinner party already? Hello? Is anyone listening? Is anyone paying attention? ANYONE?

If you are, tell Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev, and Ehud Goldwasser I said Shalom, and mazel tov on becoming this generation's Ron Arads.

This world makes me sick.