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Showing posts from August, 2015

Stopping Bicycle Project in Jerusalem

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According to Galei Tzahal/Army Radio Station, the new fight in the Jerusalem City Council is about a proposed bicycle renting project, to enable people to conveniently pick-up and drop-off bicycles.

The program offers many benefits, including reducing the number of cars on the roads, maximising parking spaces, and providing an alternative to public transport, particularly during crunch rush-hours.

For the users, it's healthy, green and low-cost.

These projects work well in many cities around the world; I recently enjoyed a visit to Toulouse, where I utilised the municipal bicycle rental program to get around the city.

There is also such a successful project in Tel Aviv.

In Jerusalem, like many other city programs, it has now become a chareidi vs secular issue.

Apparently, Chareidi representatives on the City Council are objecting because they believe this will cause Shabbat desecration.

I can see that in areas which are closed to car traffic on shabbat, the prospect of secular Is…

Intimidation of Jews on Temple Mount

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Dani Seeman, a guide with The Temple Institute, posted these videos of a recent tour group he led on Temple Mount.

While the introduction Dani gives is fascinating, together with the security briefing by a policeman, once the group gets onto Temple Mount itself, most of his guided tour is drowned out by the constant heckling of initially women and then also men - incessantly shouting "Alah Akhbar!" at the visiting Jews.

I have witnessed similar, but less organized, harassment on and around Temple Mount. The situation appears to have got far worse. I understand the funded harassers are now a constant part of visiting Temple Mount these days.

Dani explained to me: "this is unfortunately now the norm. The Muslims constantly test the boundaries & push out when they see that the police don’t react. (so much for Bibi’s holy ‘status quo’).

"The more I go up the more I am convinced that the way to improve things is to get more Jews involved, more going up & more ofte…

These Jewish Students Just Made a HUGE Kiddush Hashem on National Televi...

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Important Progress: Rabbis Sign Declaration to Report Child Abuse

In an important step forward, around 100 orthodox rabbis from the USA have signed a declaration, calling upon members of the public to report child abuse allegations and cases directly to the authorities (without being required to involve a rabbi in that decision).

It is believed that this statement has been prompted by the case of Todros Grynhaus in Manchester, England, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for sexual crimes against two under-aged girls.

Important Announcement

We, the undersigned, affirm that any individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable basis to suspect child abuse has a religious obligation to promptly notify the secular law enforcement of that information. These individuals have the experience, expertise and training to thoroughly and responsibly investigate the matter. Furthermore, those deemed “mandated reporters” under secular law must obey their State’s reporting requirements.

Lives can be ruined or ended by unreported child abuse, as we are too often t…

Off The Beaten Track: Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

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We headed off the beaten path during a family vacation in the Czech Republic, having rented a car, and we went to Kutna Hora, about an hour's drive East from Prague.
Kutna Hora is a picturesque small town which achieved prominence during the middle ages and until the 16th Century, due to its (then) rich silver mines and associated industries, such as a Mint (which continued for several centuries after the silver mines were abandoned). 
The Silver Museum in the town includes the option of dressing up in sort-of miner's gear and then going through shafts and tunnels of the ancient mines. It felt a bit like Hezekiah's tunnel in King David's City, Jerusalem, just without the water.  


We found an information leaflet in the museum about a new exhibition at the town's synagogue, a five minute walk away. 
The impressive synagogue  building (photo above) had a prominent star of David on the front of the building, and several more on other facades. There was also a recent s…

Feeling Too Hot? Wear Sandals!

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Those Ubiquitous Caps

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Whether or not to look Jewish is a big issue when travelling abroad - particularly with concerns of antisemitism in Europe and Israel-phobia throughout the world. 
On a visit to Prague, Czech Republic, last week, I again revisited this topic.
Many of the Jewish travelers I met there, were wearing baseball caps. This in an effort to keep their Jewish identity low-profile. I attach a photo of one such gentleman who kindly agreed to pose. 
I noticed that almost none of the genuine gentiles in Prague were wearing baseball hats.
And those occasional fellows who did, did not wear formal black trousers, shirts, etc - but rather shorts and tee shirts, with their caps. 
In short, there is probably no surer sign that someone is Jewish while abroad, than the now ubiquitous 'Jewish' hat - the baseball cap.   
I further reasoned that any reasonably informed antisemite, would know that.
Furthermore, any well-intentioned casual passers-by, who may recognise a kippa as a distinctive Jew iden…

Do Extreme Acts Require An Extreme Response?

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The two blood-chilling murders of the past days, the murder 16 year old Shira Banki by knife-wielding Yishai Schlissel, and the burning to death of one-and-a-half year old Ali Dawabsha, have evoked repugnance and horror in the Israeli public.

The Cabinet has reportedly issued decrees enabling the security services to use anti-terror imprisonment and torture methods against Jewish terrorists.

These policies, which are no longer used against Arab terror suspects, due to the intervention of the Supreme Court, include the ability of the police to retain and hold suspects without trial, charging and access to lawyers, for unlimited periods; torture methods reportedly include "shaking" which was permitted by the 1987 Landau Commission in cases of "ticking bomb"scenarios, but rarely used in practice due to objections from the legal system and human rights groups.

Arrests of right-wing activists have already started with Meir Ettinger being arrested for suspected involve…