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Showing posts from August, 2011

Protests at Orot Girls School, Bet Shemesh

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Here's a view of the protests at Orot Banot girls school in Bet Shemesh.

See previous posting for the background....

Orot Banot vs The Kanoim

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Photo Courtesy of Yissachar Ruas





                       (Above Two Photos Courtesy of Michal Stein)


Over a thousand Bet Shemesh residents are reported to have demonstrated outside the building slated for "Orot Banot" National Religious girls' school last night.

The dispute is over the use of the new school building, located in Ramat Neriya, Bet Shemesh, which was built by the Orot Banot's parent organization, Shaalei Torah.

The problems surfaced with objections and threats by other local residents, "Kanoim" (loosely translated as extremists, militants, fundamentalists, whatever...), who live in neighboring buildings designated for Chareidim.

The Bet Shemesh Municipality, under the Shas Party Mayor, Moshe Abutbol, has withdrawn its support for the Orot Banot school, and ordered the school out, apparently in response to the threats of violence against persons and property, and disruption, by these Kanoim. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has publicly side…

Yardenit: Great Swimming Experience in the R.Jordan

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My family are seasoned travelers around the wadis, hills and nachalim of Israel.

This summer's family pilgrimage to the North (together with almost everyone from the Center of Israel, who wasn't heading through Ben Gurion Airport) included well worn and fun hikes in the Golan to the Jilabun, Zaki, Zavitan, et al.

At the suggestion of my eldest son Yonatan, we tried a new (for us) trip to Yardenit. (Yonatan had previously been there with his Yeshiva friends).

Yardenit is located just next to Israel's first Kibbutz , Degania Aleph, close to the Southern shore of the Kinneret.

Yardenit is apparently the most desirable location for Christians to baptise in the Jordan; by so doing, they follow in the footsteps of Jesus who, according to the New Testament, was baptised by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (although probably not at this site).

Most of the Jordan River is now a disappointing stream, due to the majority of the water being diverted for irrigation and drinking, b…

View from Bet Shemesh: Encroaching Rockets

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Motsei Shabbat, 20th August, 2011 

We pray and mourn for our brother and sisters in the South, where there are mounting casualities from the terror and rocket attacks in Eilat, Beersheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon..and indeed everything within 40km of Gaza.

From the narrow view from Bet Shemesh, we are also keeping a wary eye on those ranges.

In the Molten Lead campaign, in the winter of 2009/10, Hamas fired a huge quantity and variety of rockets at every Israeli town within 45km of Gaza.

At that point Bet Shemesh, at 50 km from Gaza,  became a refuge for around a thousand school kids from the South; Lema'an Achai took a leadership role, in partnership with the Municipality, Ezrat Achim, Shaalei Torah, the Community Centers, and many schools in Bet Shemesh who took in kids during that one month period of terror.

Bet Shemesh stands ready, should there be a need, to host as many civilians as need refuge here.

However, if the current conflict continues, a more likely scenario is that Bet Sheme…

Archaeologists: Did King David's Empire Exist?

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I recently took a family trip to Kayafa, an archaeological site, just off Road 38 on the left side, between Ramat Bet Shemesh and HaElah Junction.

This modest site, with two impressive gates, is the subject of much discussion and controversy amongst archaeologists.

Very little archaeological evidence apparently exists to support the Bible stories of King David's Empire.
Much of what was previousy assumed to be substantive evidence, has been since relegated to later periods of history (mainly moved up in history from the 10th Century BCE, the time of King David, to the more recent 9th Century BCE).

Kayafa is now claimed to be the "missing link" between the Biblical narrative about King David, and the archaeological history.

This is supported by the nature of the site itself (one-time settlement, built on bedrock, nothing before or since), the location (ties in with the strategic battles between the Israelites and Philistines), and various artificats (principally a shard w…

Responding to Allegations of Abuse: RCA and Agudath Israel

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By Guest Writer,  Dr Nachum Klafter,  Cincinnati, OH

(Note from David: Many thanks to Dr Klafter for this helpful and detailed article explaining the different approaches of the RCA and Agudah to reporting child abuse to the authorities, and follows my previous article on this topic. Please note that, for Israelis, ALL citizens are mandatory reporters in Israel, ie it is a criminal offense to fail to report a suspicion of child abuse; whereas in some states in the USA solely some professionals are mandatory reporters - for a full listing of mandatory reporters in USA, state by state see: 
http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/manda.cfm )


I have received several requests from clinicians and Rabbis asking me to respond to the last round of articles and posts, by explaining what exactly the differences are for therapists according to the rulings by the R.C.A. and Agudah.


The intent of some recent articles has been to defend the position of the Agudah and to stress the i…

Tisha Ba'Av: There Are Only Two Types of People

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Message for Tisha B'Av from Lema'an Achai


For almost 2,000 years we have mourned the destruction of our HolyTemplesand the fact that they have yet to be rebuilt. It was "Sinas Chinam" (baseless hatred) that put us into exile. It will be through "Ahavas Chinam" and "Ahavas Yisroel" that our bitter exile will end. When we show compassion for those in need, regardless of their affiliation, we can rectify the wrongs of discord and disunity.
"Great is Charity as it Hastens the Redemption" (Talmud Baba Batra 10a).
To prepare for Tisha B'Av please support Lema'an Achai, an organization based on Ahavas Chinam and Ahavas Yisroel.
Give now by clicking HERE.
May the merit of our selfless acts of charity and kindness turn the mourning of Tisha B'Av into the joy of redemption.
Have an Easy Fast


"Aish" on Unity

Child Abuse: Dispute Among The Rabbis

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(Illustrative photo)


Following the tragic and gruesome murder of 8 year old Leiby Kletzky in Borough Park, New York, the two largest orthodox rabbinical organizations, the Rabbinical Council of American (RCA) and the Agudath Yisrael, have both put out statements (see RCA and Agudah). The RCA is Modern Orthodox whereas the Agudath Yisrael is Chareidi.

Both organizations address the question of what someone should do, if they suspect or know of abuse against children.

The RCA's bottom line is:

"if one becomes aware of an instance of child abuse or endangerment, one is obligated to refer the matter to the secular authorities immediately,"  
and then adds,

"As always where the facts are uncertain one should use common sense and consultations with experts, both lay and rabbinic, to determine how and when to report such matters to the authorities."
On the related topic of those who are "mandated re…