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Showing posts from January, 2012

Who Moved Feiglin's Cheese

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"Who Moved My Cheese" was a great title of a book which addressed appropriate responses to changing circumstances. The 'star' mouse character keeps going back to the same place, even though there's now no cheese there. The book's subtitle is: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life.

When Moshe Feiglin initiated and led Zoh Artzeinu, in the early 1990's, in response to The Oslo "Peace" Process – I was still dewy eyed about the hopes for peace in our time in the Middle East. So I reckoned he was a rabble rousing extremist.

When the Oslo spell wore off me, I gained respect for Feiglin as the man who had broken the party political mold and galvanized popular opposition to the Rabin/Peres Government. Taking his lead from other protest movements (Mahatma Gandhi in India, Martin Luther King in the USA) Zoh Artzeinu used non-violent Civil Disobedience, such as road blockings, to effect disproportionate disruption, and media atte…

Our Indifference Must End

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By Guest Writer Sam Sokol, 
Kind Permission of The Five Towns Jewish Weekly


When Israel’s Channel 2 ran its exposé on the attack on eight-year-old Naama Margolese, who was innocently making her way to school and suffered the degradations of a group of chareidi extremists known to Israelis as the Sicarii, our own culpability in these events was exposed as well.

While an entire community stood by and did nothing, the Sicarii were allowed to bully, abuse, and torment many young Jewish girls, whose only crime was their desire to learn Torah in safety.


Many in the Orthodox community have tried to assuage their feelings of guilt by telling themselves—and anyone else who is willing to listen—that the Sicarii do not belong to their community and that the majority of chareidim deplore such activities.


While the second statement is most certainly true, the first is just as assuredly a pernicious falsehood. The extremists pray in the same synagogues, immerse in the same mikvaot, send their children t…

Oy Veh... Even More Violence in Ramat Beit Shemesh

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Natalia Mashiach, 27, was reportedly hanging posters in Ramat Beit Shemesh, promoting a lottery business, when she was accosted, and then attacked by a group of local residents; her vehicle was also attacked, smashing the windows and puncturing the tyres, and her attackers then poured bleach on her and the vehicle.

Natalie, who was born and lives in Beit Shemesh, believed she was about to be set on fire by the attackers, and likens the experience to being lynched in an Arab village.

Natalie reported that over fifty people watched the events, which happened in broad daylight on a busy street - and not one intervened to save her.

I am horrified by this event - I feel deeply ashamed of the depraved and lowly status of our community.

Those who attack fellow Jews in the name of my religion, and in the name of piety; and those who stand idly by the blood of our brethren.

How low we have sunk.




Migron Explained (In Hebrew)

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With the fight looming over the slated demolition of Migron, a not-yet-approved village in Shomron, here is a neat cartoon-like presentation of the history:

TONIGHT! Magen Presents: Dr Pelcovitz + Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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Dr David Pelcovitz, renowned psychologist, author, and inspirational speaker, will be speaking in Beit Shemesh, and Rabbi Yakov Horowitz  will be joining us by Video-Link, TONIGHT, Thursday 19th January, 2012, commencing at 8pm, at the RBS Matnas on Nahal Dolev.
Rabbi Yakov Haber, Rabbi of Kehilas Shivtei Yeshurun in RBS, Founder of Torah Lab, will open the The Second Annual "Awareness Evening" organized by "Magen", the Beit Shemesh Child Protection Organization, with Divrei Bracha.
Dr Pelcovitz will be the Keynote Speaker on: "What Every Parent Needs to Know to Protect Their Children".
Rabbi Yakov ("Yanky") Horowitz, Founders of Project YES and Founder/Director of Darchei Noam Yeshiva in Monsey, will be talking about Child Safety in the Community, joining us live by Video Link.
A Child Abuse "Survivor" will (for the first time) tell their powerful story. 
Rav Horowitz recommends, for preparatory reading, the following articles: Safe &…

Getting Better Connected

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I don't think this applies to me, as I can spend seconds at a time away from my email and internet.

You too?

"Tag Machmir"

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"Tag Mechir" (literally: Price Tag) is a tactic allegedly used by some extreme right wingers, whereby any actions taken by the Government, Army or Police against Jewish settlements, village and towns in Yehuda & Shomron are met with retaliatory actions.
The concept of physical retaliation against our own people, even or particularly when in uniform, or to innocent (Arab) bystanders, is anathema to the overwhelming majority of the National Religious camp. These "tag machir" tactics are resoundingly and correctly condemned by the community leadership.
In the same way as the National Religious tend to have a chip on their right shoulder about religious observance, sometimes imitate aspects of our Ultra-Orthodox brothers's ritual stringencies, I conjecture that the "tag mechir" is a tactic learned also from the Ultra-Orthodox.
The battle cry in Meah Shearim in Jerusalem and Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Beit Shemesh, could be that of the Three Musk…

When Does Accommodation become Capitulation?

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The latest episode in the saga of spin-off stories emanating from the Beit Shemesh Orot Banot 'spitting' video, is the Machon Puah fracas.
Machon Puah is a fertility research center and clinic, established by the National Religious community.
Over a decade ago, Machon Puah decided to reach out to their ultra-orthodox (Chareidi) colleagues via a conference - “Innovations in Gynecology, Obstetrics and Jewish Law”.
At the time, the managers of Machon Puah asked Rav Mordechai Eliyahu whether they should have a men-only line-up of speakers at such an event, and the Rav said they should only have male speakers, I understand in order to encourage attendance from their target audience.
The press outcry this year to this 'discriminatory' policy, banning women from talking (bedavka!) at a fertility conference, was initiated by Rachel Adatto a Kadima Member of Knesset and an obstetrician.
In their response, Machon Puah pooh-poohed the press criticism, and announced the show wou…

POSITIVE Initiatives in Beit Shemesh!

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Activists in Beit Shemesh are starting to prepare for the Day After, when the Press Vans go home, and the name of Beit Shemesh and the fractured community relations within the city, will need rehabilitating.

Recent initiatives include the Flash Mob dance by over a hundred women from Beit Shemesh. This event was the brain-child of Miri Shalem, Brenda Ganot, Orna Nachmany, Etty Ben-Ami Suissa and Paz Corcus.

Here's a great video of the Mob strutting their stuff:



This up-beat Beit Shemesh event received national press coverage, including articles on YNet, JPost, Arutz7, and Haaretz.

Another initiative is by the Parnership 2gether branch in Beit Shemesh, which has launched a request for proposals for grass roots cooperative and dialogue projects, aimed at bringing the various groups within the community closer together. Grants of 34,000 NIS are being offered as seed money for winning proposals. This was reported in the Jerusalem Post.

As reported here, there is also the Kiddush Hashem…

Kiddush Hashem in Beit Shemesh

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Rabbi Yaacov Haber
I had the privilege of attending a “Town Hall Meeting” arranged by Rabbi Yaacov Haber last week, at his Kehilas Shivtei Yeshurun (KSY) shul in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
The rav introduced the event by observing that there had been a huge Chilul Hashem around the world, centered on the recent events in Beit Shemesh.
The purpose of the evening was to have a forum, for all present to float ideas which would (or could) create a Kiddush Hashem.
Rules: one minute on the timer for each speaker; any negativity is forbidden and will be stopped in its tracks. On with the show…!
Out of around a hundred people who attended, over twenty people chose to speak. The attendees were all anglos, and included broad representation of dati leumi and Chareidi people. Men/Women were approximately 50/50. There were also some individuals from Givat Sharett, including those who have been directly involved in the struggle there, such as Dov Krulwich and Daniel Goldman.
In spite of the controversial …

Right Mood (Can't Wait for Sukkot!)

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The newspapers/news-sites, magazines, blogs around the world are (quite rightly) not looking kindly on the protests and nefarious misdemeanors in Bet Shemesh. 
Lest things get too depressing for we residents of Beit Shemesh I offer this locally produced simcha video. It's not Sukkot, but we need the fun and joy right now. I can't wait for Sukkot....
Kudos to: David Bar-Cohn, Moshe Hamburg, Stuart Schnee and Dr. Efraim Rosenbaum.

Beit Shemesh: When Thugs Run Schools

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"Six of the Best" was the expression wryly used to describe the formal punishment of being beaten on the buttocks six times with the headmaster's wooden cane.
Over thirty years ago, I was educated in posh English boarding schools – MalsisSchool in Yorkshire, and the world-renowned RugbySchool (where the game was invented); corporal punishment was encoded for over four centuries into the school rules (Rugby was founded in 1557).
You had to have done something pretty 'bad' to deserve the cane, particularly the top-score of six strikes. Lesser offenses received lower counts, and there was a range of non-caning corporal alternatives, such as the ruler (across the hand), the shoe and the slipper (on the buttocks). 
I myself managed to complete eleven years of posh schooling, without my buttocks ever meeting the headmaster's cane. (I lost count of the milder slipperings etc). Although outlawed in England for well over a generation, and in Israel since child prote…

The Beit Shemesh Partition Plan

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Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put up a trial balloon this week, proposing that Bet Shemesh be divided.

This is a new map showing Bet Shemesh, divided at the mid-point... between Men and Women.
(Thanks: Moshe Abelesz)

Further Beit Shemesh/RBS Horror Stories

This Channel Two News story is about two Ramat Beit Shemesh families, and the treatment they suffered at the hands of ultra-orthodox extremists. 


The first item focuses on the Kadosh family, consisting of a single mum and five kids. Three of these kids are severely disabled by a degenerative genetic disease.

According to the report, the Kadosh family were harassed and intimidated by extremist ultra-orthodox thugs, forcing them out of their home in Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph.

The Kadosh family have financial problems, due to their situation; the local "Charity Fund" raised money for the family; the Kadosh family then obtained significant help from that local charity fund.

The thugs apparently successfully arranged with the directors of the Charity Fund for the Kadosh Family to be struck off, resulting in additional financial hardship (not to mention the emotional pain caused by such  treatment).

I understand that the Kadosh family did subsequently relocate to a more sympatheti…