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Showing posts from August, 2009

This Wednesday! Two Important Events!

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With the opening of the new school year, and a neighborhood still reeling from the recent national exposure of various cases of child abuse in Ramat Bet Shemesh (Aleph and Bet), there are two important events about child abuse, both on 2nd September:
1. Lema'an Achai is hosting David Mandel of Executive Director of OHEL from New York, a leading international authority on: "Keeping Our Children and Community Safe From Abuse" - Developing a Community Response.
Mr Mandel will be giving this Professional Development Workshop on Child Abuse, for Educators, Mental and Physical Health Professionals, Camp Managers, Community Rabbonim/Leaders, etc, at 2pm till 3.30pm on Wednesday 2nd September. Location: Lema'an Achai, 40/7 Nahal Lachish, Ramat Bet Shemesh.
If you are a professional, working with children, and would like to attend please contact debbie@lemaanachai.org
To learn more about Ohel: www.ohelfamily.org
2. The educational organization Limudei Lotti is organizing an evenin…

My Daughter + Daniel vs. Obama + Netanyahu

When British Channel-4 TV News wanted to interview my daughter Shira and son-in-law Daniel, I reckoned the anti-settler UK channel would make mincemeat of the young couple.
What do you reckon?
[For the record: There are several errors or misrepresentations in the short report. * These kids are not following R.Kahana, their spiritual leader is Rav Moshe Levinger of Hebron. "Someone put the yellow Kahana flag there" explained my son-in-law.* They do not promote "transfer" of Palestinians as a political agenda or solution to anything - Shira was 'led-on' to that subject by the interviewer. * The video gives the impression my daughter Shira is an immigrant from the UK ("she has come a long way from..."). I am from the UK, but she was born here in Israel. * The young couple do not have a permanent residence in Ramat Migron (their rav told them that the living conditions are not suitable for newly weds). ]

So How Common IS Child Sexual Abuse in Ramat Bet Shemesh?

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BackgroundA few months back, I was quoted in an article by Ruth Eglash in the Jerusalem Post, on the topic of sexual abuse of children in Ramat Bet Shemesh. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1243872320108&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFullThe initial quotation in the Eglash Jerusalem Post was a few lines, which I shall quote in full, as many of those who subsequently had a strong opinion on the matter, seemed not to have actually read it."We are a lightning rod for all sorts of problems in the community here," says David Morris, founder and chairman of Lema'an Achai, which provides among its services support and guidance for haredi parents who believe their children might have been sexually abused.Last summer, the organization set up the "Safe-Kids" hot line in conjunction with the Beit Shemesh social welfare services to provide a lifeline to local families whose children have been abused. While the service has not been inundated with calls, Morris …

Murder by Summer

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Do you recall Yiftah Mor-Yosef, the 17 year old boy in Ramle who was shot in the crossfire between gangsters, while sitting on a park bench?Or Leorard Karp, the man murdered by a bunch of kids while relaxing with his family on the Tel Aviv beach?Or Nir Katz, from Givatayim, and Liz Trubeshi, 17, from Holon who were murdered in a gun attack on their gay counseling center in Tel Aviv?Or Beatrice and Denise Rodov, the mother and daughter found cut into pieces, limb by limb, and dumped in the Alexander River (one) and in a garbage can in Ramat Gan (the other)?Or Tzipora Nahamu the Jerusalem landlady, who was stabbed to death by her tenant?One gets the feeling that common murder of Israelis by Israelis has taken over this summer where Palestinian terrorism has left off.Bellicose statements have been made in the Press and by politicians, blaming the police, poor education, the orthodox (for the gay murder), whatever, for the pervasive feeling in Israel that it is no longer safe to walk the …

Happily Ever After?

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Far from being happy, when “Yael” returned from the hospital with her new baby girl, she was distraught. Her husband “Moshe” had seen Yael into the ambulance, and waved her off to the hospital, but then did not join her for the birth, or visit her even once. Nor did he call her, or respond to her calls. Yael’s fears and concerns reached a peak, as she unlocked the door of their apartment, and wheeled in the stroller and tiny pink bundle. She called out “Moshe! We’re Home!”. But there was no answer. “Moshe?”. Nothing. As if punched in the face, she whitened and stiffened with shock, as she saw, and then read the note on the bed.Moshe wrote that he had sold the business, the car, and had moved out.Moshe did not say where he had gone, when/if he would be back, or warn Yael about the pile of debts and legal/financial mess he had left her, with her name on them. When I tracked down and visited Moshe’s parents in New York, I challenged them how they, respected members of a chasidic communit…

Earning One Shekel An Hour

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A friend of mine told me that his mid-twenties son, is working full time on a production line in a workshop, where he earns just 1 NIS per hour.

His son is one of over 600,000 Israelis who live with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities.

Israel has comprehensive disability rights legislation (apparently modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act), the Equal Rights Law for People with Disabilities, of 1998.

However, over ten years later, disabled citizens still routinely suffering the effects of discrimination – disproportionate unemployment, poverty and isolation.

For example, around 80% of Israel's blind population is unemployed. The system of National Insurance Disability Allowances is often unfairly and minimalistically implemented – with no NGO's watch-dogging over them.

Even when they do work, as in the case of my friend's son, the salary is direct contravention with the Equal Rights Law and with the labor legislation guaranteeing t…

Woops – Apocalypse

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"Today," Netanyahu said, "is the day Israel uprooted approximately 10,000 Israelis - men, women and children - from their homes. To our regret, Gaza has become a base for Hamas-led, Iran-sponsored terrorism. Thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired at us." (Binyamin Netanyahu, August 2009, who voted in favor of the "Disengagement" from Gaza in 2005) http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1248277950920I did not imagine that we would leave Gaza and they would fire Qassams from there; I did not imagine that Hamas would show so strongly in the elections.(Shimon Peres, President of Israel, 5/7/2008)http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/981392.htmlOlmert has already said that his convergence plan, which called for a unilateral pullout from most of the West Bank, has been shelved, and he has described the withdrawals from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip as failures. (9/1/07)http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/811319.…

Important Event for Bet Shemesh/RBS Parents - for Your Diary

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Did Chareidim Murder 2 Gays?

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Police hunt gunman who attacked Tel Aviv gay centre Israeli police are hunting for a gunman who shot dead two people in an attack on a support centre for homosexual teenagers in Tev Aviv.…..Homosexual activists and some politicians were quick to condemn what they called an atmosphere of incitement by elements in Israel's religious and specifically ultra-Orthodox society, including the Shas political party.At a demonstration through the streets of Tel Aviv immediately following the attack, hundreds of protesters marched and carried banners accusing Shas of incitement.------------------The horror of the recent shooting attack upon Jewish youths in Tel Aviv, gathered at a Gay support center, has evoked outrage across the spectrum.The theory that this attack was perpetrated by chareidim is, frankly, an emotional & hysterical response, rather than a logical one.It is true that chareidim and homosexuals are somewhat like oil and water, as the Torah explicitly forbids the practice of…

Made in Hell

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The husband and wife were facing off against each other, as I came through the Adler's door. Sarah Adler's* face was bloodied, welted, and sweaty. And so was Menachem's. His and her shouting, the hysterical abuse at each other, and their cries in pain, reverberated throughout the building, and through the open summer window, onto the street.So a neighbor had phoned me that night, to tell me the Adlers were "fighting again".As Sarah and Menachem stared each other down, bloody fists raised, each glanced in my direction. Then they cursed each other with venom. Sarah lunged forward, striking Menachem on the cheek. He elbowed Sarah and she fell, sprawling on the tiled floor. Next to the stroller where an infant sat.I picked up the phone and shouted "I am calling the police". I hoped this would distract them, and perhaps calm things. But the Adler's didn't seem concerned about me or the police. They didn't pause for a moment. The policeman who ans…

Who Pays The Teacher?

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(Picture for illustrative purposes)
When my friend Y , his wife and four young children hit the aliya reception area of BenGurionAirport, they knew that their real journey had just begun. But even their most dire expectations of grueling times ahead, proved to be optimistic. The language would be a problem, for sure. School age kids were going to have to adapt incredibly (impossibly?) quickly to avoid integration and educational problems. Socially, they would have to all find their new niches in Ramat Bet Shemesh. Culturally – they knew the feather-bed landing of a large anglo-community would still necessitate struggles with "real" Israelis and the local bureaucracy. But at least the money and career would be fine. Because Y was starting work that very next Sunday at his pre-arranged, senior job position at a prestigious independent Jerusalem educational organization.And sure enough, the plans were impl…