Showing posts from September, 2011

Does Lema'an Achai Still Exist?

Jews have a long collective memory, remembering incidents and events for even thousands of years - but sometimes we forget what happened yesterday – and certainly the events of two years ago.
Yesterday, someone asked "does Lema'an Achai exist still? I don't see them around…"
The person who asked belongs to BTYA a major anglo-chareidi kehillah/community in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
BTYA's rabbi officially banned Lema'an Achai, the world-renowned RBS tzedaka & chesed organization, from fundraising in his shul, over two years ago.
Immersed within that specific community, from which the name & presence of Lema'an Achai has been officially wiped out for two years - even when community members continue to receive the organization's help every day - it is not surprising this person reckoned Lema'an Achai itself had been obliterated.
Such is the inestimable power of communal forgetfulness.
The ban/cherem at BTYA remains to this day, but the reason for …

Video (Amateur) of The Orot Solidarity Demo

This is a 10 minute video of last night's popular demonstration to show solidarity for the girls of Orot Banot, and to promote unity and peaceful relations in Bet Shemesh.

I thought of the several good speeches, the most outstanding was by Rav Kopperman, Rav Kehilla at Ahavat Zion in RBS.

Benjamin Netanyahu's Speech at the UN

Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the session on Palestine at the UN after it was already Shabbat in Israel...

Here's what Bibi said:

Solidarity With Orot Banot

The struggle for Orot Banot will (literally) take a step forward, with the large demonstration planned for Sunday evening.

This follows the "Gigantic Demonstration" (Hafganat Anak) of the kannoim/extremists on Wednesday night.

That rally was attended by an estimated 400 people, including many children. By most accounts, this falls far short of the "anak" title, and must have been a set-back for the kannoim.

Regretfully, it was also attended by a clutch of otherwise respectable rabbonim.

The scandal of the blessing-of-silence of the mainstream Chareidi community on the behaviour of the extremists, continues and was epitomised by Rav Malinowitz' evasive article in this week's Chodosh free local newspaper.

Rav Malinowitz' previous column last week ramblingly promised to address the issue of Orot Banot, and seemed to propose a moral equivalency between the young girls of Orot (who wish to attend an orthodox school), and the extremist kannoim (trying to kic…

New Booze Store in RBS!

Unsolicited Recommendation: Cellar 18
Need to buy wine, liquor, for Rosh Hashana, Sukkot et al?

I have recently visited the booze store (translation for Americans: "Wine & Liquor Store") at the Commercial Center of Ramat Bet Shemesh, including stocking up for a family simcha (my daughter Avital married Yair Yitzhari of Jerusalem/Yad Binyamin last week!).
The store is renamed "Cellar 18" and is now under new ownership. Cellar 18 is now run by the  friendly and expert manager, Gedalya Persky (who previously ran the store on Fridays).
The compact premises has had an appealing refurbishment and, most importantly, Cellar 18 now stocks an amazingly wide variety of alcoholic beverages…
These range from low cost wines, suitable for the family palate and wallet (prices compare with the local supermarkets), to some pretty exotic stuff…
To test out Gedalya, I asked if he has any traditional English cider.
For the uninitiated, English cider is not the same as American…. as…

Cute "Hasbara" Piece for Israel

Enjoy this neat little video, and pass on to those you think will like it too!

Turkey's NATO Card

There was an apparently small detail during Erdogan's histrionic efforts to distract the world from the defeat to Turkey, delivered in the UN's Palmer Report.
Erdogan has slipped in an approval for a NATO radar early warning station to be located in Turkey.
This early warning station, as part of a NATO missile defence system, is aimed at countering an Iranian ballistic missile threat against Europe/NATO.
By approving the station, Erdogan risks evoking the ire of Iran, a nation with which Erdogan has lately invested considerable resource in creating a warm relationship.
So I am puzzled why Erdogan approved the new station, particularly in the context of his belligerent campaign against Israel….
Here's my theory – what do you think?
Turkey is clearly heading towards a military confrontation with Israel.
Turkey can either sail in, and start shooting.
Or, Turkey can try to goad Israel into firing the first shot. (Such as Israel's pre-emptive strike in the Six Day War).
In such a …

Reporting from Ankara

I’m currently in Ankara, Turkey. I’ve been travelling here regularly for business for around a decade.
Ten years ago, I was warmly treated in Turkey, both by clients and by Joe-in-the-street – who were enthusiastic about showing their respect and affection for anyone from Israel.
With the series of hostile acts over the past years by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against Israel, culminating in this week’s expulsion of Israel’s ambassador and many diplomatic staff, and today’s news report that Israeli travelers were systematically harassed at Istanbul airport, a once fine relationship, has been irreparably shredded.
Although it feels a bit nutty to be still coming here, with the relations between the two countries at rock bottom, I’m actually a (very small) part of a four billion dollar Israel/Turkey commerce. Interestingly enough, and counter intuitional, this binational business is stronger than ever – according to Yediot Achronot, up a dramatic 26% up on last year.
The …

R.Avrohom Leventhal: Let's Not Be Silent

The behavior affecting the innocent children at Orot Banot is intolerable. The silence from RBSA is equally intolerable.

The time has come to express our support to the girls,their parents and the entire Givat Sharet community at large. One can only imagine the thoughts running through the minds of these young and impressionable girls as they trek off to school each day. Will I be screamed at? Will someone try to throw something at me? There has been a need to bring therapists into the school to help the kids.

Can you imagine?

How would we feel if our children would be terrified to go to or return from school? What is most concerning is that the source of this fear is other Jews!

This is the time to show achdus and unity for others in our own community. Let us show these children that it is in fact only a very small group that behaves in such a way and the rest of us will not stand for it. Nothing can justify what is happening to the girls.

The famous words of a German cleric come to …

Orot Banot – Winners & Losers

(This photo courtesy of Yissachar Ruas)

The recent chaos surrounding the opening of the new school building for Orot Banot, in Beit Shemesh, seems to have reached a resolution, and the girls, staff and parents started the new school year this morning in their spanking-new school building – on the red-letter-day of 1st September.
There has been a lot written about the dispute – how it started, the various claims of the parties involved, the protest activities etc – in the local, national and even international press (a friend who returned from a trip to the USA said people he met in the USA were asking him about "what's the story with Orot Banot?!").
For those unfamiliar with the dispute, I refer you to Haaretz, YNet,  Arutz 7, Jerusalem Post, the protestors' Facebook Page, and the RBS blog Life In Israel.
At the milestone 1st September point, the traditional start of the Israeli academic year, I declare the Victors are:
The Young Girls - who can now study at Orot Banot, …