31 October 2006

Yesha Strikes Back

Arutz Sheva has published an extensive article on the new grass-roots movement dedicated to saving Yesha and restoring the communities of Gush Katif stolen in 2005. Called Meginei Eretz (Defenders of the Land), their slogan is: Nashuv l'chol Yishuv (We will return to every [destroyed] community."

Leaders and citizens from all over Yesha and the former Gush Katif communities gathered- 100 strong- for the first meeting of the new group on Monday evening. The Meginei Eretz plan is to recruit residents from all over Yesha, have them form task forces in each of their communities, and "organize those who believe that in this war it is permissible to block roads, to resist, to tell soldiers to refuse, and to employ civil disobedience."

How do they plan on recruiting members? “We must each go back to our communities and widen the circle of activists, simply by starting discussion groups – people are worried about the future, they want to talk about the current situation. From there, the circle will widen, and people committed to self-sacrifice on behalf of the movement will come forward... Don't look to the coastal plane and Tel Aviv for salvation – believe in yourselves. We must instill our communities with ideology.”

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union-NRP) was the only Knesset Member to attend the meeting. Eldad also took the opportunity to reiterate his public stance on refusal and civil disobedience, daring Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to prosecute him for it. “I am publicly calling for refusal of orders [having to do with destroying Jewish sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria] and for massive civil disobedience to such orders on behalf of the populace,” Eldad said. “Now I have said the same thing that people like Bayit Leumi [National Home] activists Shai Malka and Ariel Vangrover are being tried for – let the Attorney General put me on trial.”

So, will this organization finally gain enough steam to save Israel from her government? On behalf of my people, the most and best thing I can say is, Baruch haba B'Shem Adonai.

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25 October 2006

The Huge Disconnect

Exclusive: Schools ignoring US Jewry [JPost]
A special joint session of the Knesset Education and Immigrant Absorptions committees will meet Wednesday morning to examine the findings of a worrying new study showing that the Israeli educational system virtually ignores American Jewry.

...According to the study's findings, only 13.6 percent of teachers surveyed reported any teaching on American Jewry in their schools in the past three years.

...The findings follow the distressing results of last month's "Young Jewish Adults in the United States Today" study, also conducted by the American Jewish Committee, which found that only about a third of American Jewish young adults see caring about Israel as important to their Jewish identities.

Among the American study's findings was the "consensus among several studies that Israel is not central to young people's Jewish identity."

In 2000, only 33% of New York Jews aged 22 to 52 indicated that "supporting Israel" was related "a lot" to "what being Jewish meant for them." Supporting Israel was ranked 11th in significance on a list of 15 values.

..."Forty percent of the world's Jews are Americans, while another 40% are Israeli," [Rabbi Edward Rettig] explained, calling the two communities "strategically interdependent."

...There are optimistic signs that this phenomenon could change. Eighty-five percent of Israeli teachers think this ought to be taught in the schools, even if only 13.6% of them work in schools where it is actually taught. A quarter of Israeli teachers want to learn more about American Jewry. Half of them want to see more mifgashim, or live meetings, between Israeli and American Jewish youth.

...In describing the scenario if the situation isn't changed, Rettig warned, "American Jews, who are more concerned with their inner religious identities, and Israeli Jews, who know almost nothing about American Jewry, will wake up one morning to find they have nothing to talk about. Whether at that stage the two communities will still come to each other's aide is anybody's guess."
Read the whole article. Share it with your Rabbis, your Jewish school administrators and teachers, and with each other. Remember, as parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and siblings, you are the primary educational source for every child in your family. Don't hesitate to make an impact!

Our identity as Jews relies on the nation of Israel. Remember, before we were "Yehudim" we were Israelites! HaShem didn't give the Torah to the "Jews," He gave the Torah to ISRAEL. He named Yakkov ISRAEL. Our renewed sense of identity over the past half-century has been because of the miraculous victory of Jewish ISRAELIS in ISRAEL. Israel is who we are. We have a duty to our Adonai, to each other, and to ourselves to remember that and instill this life-giving lesson into our children.

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18 October 2006

Our Enemies and Ourselves

[Editor's Note: Happy 400th post!]

Right On: The coming Middle East war Michael Freund [JPost]
The warning signs are everywhere, yet no one wishes to see them. Israel's foes are gearing up for war, and it's time that we opened our eyes to the danger that confronts us.

The conflict may be just weeks or even months away, or perhaps a bit longer. How it will start is anyone's guess, but make no mistake, a major outbreak of hostilities is almost certainly around the corner.

If this sounds like scare-mongering or even an advanced case of paranoia to you, just take a glance at the newspapers from the past few weeks. If you read them with a discerning eye, you will see exactly what I mean.
Read the whole thing.

Protestors Interrupt Prime Minister’s Address in Moscow Synagogue [Israel National News]
While Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was received warmly in the Moscow Great Synagogue, a number of people interrupted his address, prompting organizers to remove them from the audience.

The youths who were ousted carried signs, “Olmert resign,” “Olmert a traitor,” and “Olmert, where are the captive soldiers?”
Sure, the world is rallying against us. But we're speaking up-- even those of us still in Russia (Russia, for crying out loud!) are speaking up. We're tired of sitting back and taking a beating, and we're really tired of our own leadership allowing and encouraging this laisse-faire attitude that will kill us.

Maybe we'll see some modern-day Maccabees rise up this Chanukah. Prayer rally at the Kotel, anyone?

17 October 2006

It's In the Way You Say It...

One of the biggest reasons why I hated graduate school was the prevelance of postmodern theory. Postmodernism, in breif, dictates that nothing is new and nothing matters, so you might as well just jumble up everything that has already been said and done into one big bag and pull out whatever you like to use whenever you need it. Postmodernism is the reason why Pig-Man in PCU could do his thesis on the Caine-Hackman Theory and still graduate. In other words, postmodernism is the death of scholarship.

Case in point: I'm reading some college band's website when I come across this explanation for an album name: The CD would be called Deus ex Machina, which literally means "god in machine." This refers to Greek plays. During these plays the gods would intervene at the last moment by being lowered onto the stage. Thus the term refers to divine intervention.

Pardon me whilst I hang my head in frustration for a moment...

Okay, I should begin illustrating my point by mentioning that this band claims to be a "Messianic Jewish rock band." I have no problem with that--they can do whatever they want with their music.

I do, however, have a problem with their translation of Greek terms. The Greek definition of "Deus ex Machina" is "god from the machine" or, as in the case of the plural "Deux" being used, "gods from the machine." Deus or Deux ex Machina was a device employed in Greek theatre, whereby an actor would be lowered into a scene via a machine (machina) off-stage. The actor would play the part of a divine being, often one of the Greek gods, who would provide an otherwise improbable solution to whatever conflict was going on in the play at that moment.

In other words, "Deus ex Machina" was originally a term used to describe the intervention of pagan gods in Greek theatre.

Now, you see, as Jews, we believe in the One, Great and Mighty G-d. We're a monotheistic faith-- which made us different from the Greeks and their garden of non-existent dieties. This is why we're still here, with our own State and a world-wide population, and the most we can say for Greek culture is that those gyros you can get from the carts on Broadway can be pretty tasty if you get one before the vendor pees on the cart.

No one in their right mind, let alone someone who claims to be a Messianic JEW, would associate themselves or their work (which is supposedly glorifying G-d, the One and Only) with a pagan Greek theatrical term that gives supernatural powers to nonexistent beings.

But, this is the postmodern era, so anything goes, right? You can just take a term here, a little history there, and a little religion from over here, slap 'em all together and have yourself a fine ol' time, right?

I was reading in Yiddish Civilization: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Culture the other day that the first Arians were a 4th century Christian sect, found among Germanic tribes that comingled extensively with the Jewish population of Western Europe, often to the point of intermarriage.

I wonder what Hitler would've thought of that one. "But zey are spelt vit an 'i' inshtead of ze 'y'!!!!!"

That's so convincing that I bet he could've written a thesis on it. He would've only had to wait another 50 odd years to get an A.

16 October 2006

"Render Unto Caesar What is Caesar's," and Give Israel What She Deserves-- YOUR SUPPORT!

Israpundit reports The Noose is Tightening Around Israel: War is Coming. Granted, the majority of their info comes from DEBKA, a site considered questionable by some.

At this point, however, I think we can all admit that we're about two seconds from seeing the dreck hit the fan, to Yiddishize a popular saying.

In any case, reading this: On the advice of US Lt.-Gen Keith Dayton, the Bush administration is investing $10 million to expand Yasser Arafat’s old Force 17 from 3,500 to 6,500 men and equip them with arms, a fleet of vehicles - some armored – and communications systems. The Americans have also hired Palestinian contractors to upgrade the Palestinian Jericho facility as a central training base and the Palestinian Authority’s most modern military installation.

Gave me an idea: With US tax dollars going to build up the arsenals of Israel’s enemies, US Jews and supporters of Israel should stand in solidarity for Israel– AND STOP PAYING THEIR TAXES. Radical, yes, but it worked in ‘76 and it can work again.

In any case, with the noose tightening, we have no time to lose. We either stand for Israel now, or we do what our ancestors did in 1939, 1940, and 1941– watch our money get shot back at our allies (and us) in the form of enemy ammunition.

I'm the last person to advocate the disobeyance of government. But I will be damned if my money goes to line the pockets or gun barrels of the maniacs who are bent on destroying my land, my people, and myself. It's time for civil disobedience-- this year, tell US Lt.-Gen Keith Dayton and the rest of the Bush Administration cronies-in-charge/State Department lackies to put their money where their mouths are. If they like the Palestinians so much, they can pay for the bombs, the guns, the ammo, and the training they think these Death for Sex patriots so desperately need.

10 October 2006

Quote of the Day

From One on One: Rock'n'roll, Baruch Hashem! [JPost]:

"Woodstock, on the other hand, was the most disappointing surprise of my life. Living there caused me to realize that back in the '60s when we all preached tolerance, we were only tolerant of people like ourselves."

~Libby Israeli rock singer and personal fitness trainer