Showing posts from November, 2011

Gotcha! Pope Didn't Belt-Up!

Hurriyet Daily News has reported that an unnamed German citizen has brought a complaint to the court in Freiburg, Germany, alleging that the head of the Catholic Church Pope Benedict XVI broke the law by not wearing a seat belt.

The Pope toured Freiburg on September 25 & 26 this year, using his unique Popemobile.

The Popemobile is apparently fitted with a seat belt in the rear; however, it seems the Pope omitted to belt-up during the tour of Freiburg, perhaps due to the vehicle traveling at walking pace, as you can see in this video.

The customised vehicle is reportedly capable of travelling at 160km/h if required. There are longstanding security concerns for the Pope, particularly since the assassination attempt (which critically wounded the Pope) on Pope Paul II in 1981, and so the idea of a 'quick getaway' in the Popemobile is a practical requirement.

The point being made by the plaintive is that:

1. No-one is above the law - even the Pope*.

2. Especially ("bedavka…

UK Ambassador Honours Lema'an Achai

Friday morning's official visit to Lema'an Achai and Beit Shemesh by British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould and British MP Richard Ottaway was a great success!

The Ambassador and Member of Parliament were accompanied by Mrs Nikki Ottaway (Richard's wife and a Court Magistrate) and Nathalie Tamam, Political Director of Conservative Friends of Israel.

The distinguished visitors came to Lema'an Achai in Ramat Beit Shemesh, in order to spotlight the community-based charitable social services organization, as an example for the British Government to take note of - and as an example of the positive impact of British Olim on Israeli society.

The UK Government has promoted a concept of "Big Society", which is to say that the grass-roots are being called upon to take on complementary and supplementary roles to Government services, including in the charitable sector.

Conservative Member of Parliament, and Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy, Mr …

Joke of the Day

Bill Gates (about as gentile as anybody can be) advertised for a new chairman of Microsoft Europe. 5,000 candidates show up at the job screening. They are assembled in a large room. Among them is Maurice Cohen, a French Jew, a small, bearded, bespectacled man. Bill Gates thanks the candidates for coming but asks all those who are not familiar with the JAVA programming language to leave; 2,000 people rise and leave the room.

Maurice Cohen says to himself, "I do not know this language but what have I got to lose if I stay? I'll give it a try". Bill Gates then asks all those who have no experience of managing teams of more than 100 people to leave. Another 2,000 people go.

Maurice Cohen says to himself, "I have never managed anybody but myself but what have I got to lose if I stay? What can happen to me?" Then Bill Gates asks all candidates who do not have outstanding academic qualifications to rise and leave; 500 people remove themselves. Maurice Cohen says to hi…

British Ambassador Coming to Lema'an Achai

Britain's Ambassador to Israel, HE Matthew Gould  Hon. Richard Ottaway MP, Head of UK Foreign Affairs Committee

On Friday the 25th of November, the British Ambassador to Israel, His Excellency Mathew Gould, and the Head of the UK Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Hon. Richard Ottaway MP, will make an official visit Lemaan Achai, as part of their general visit to Beit Shemesh.
This is a tremendous opportunity to spotlight the important contribution of British olim to Israeli society in general, and the remarkable achievements of Lema'an Achai in Beit Shemesh in particular.
If you would like to be officially invited to His Excellency's visit to Lema'an Achai, please contact me (David Morris),  and/or to the Beit Shemesh City Reception at Pais Eshkol, please contact Harley Stark from the BetShemeshMunicipality ( 
-- TTFN, David
P.S. Do you have any Union Jacks (British flags)? Or know where to get them in the coming days?? Any other British p…

Understanding The Weak Link in the Eurozone

Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain are on the terminally ill list. Earning themselves the lack-luster title "PIIGS".
And the Euro-Zone itself appears to be on the verge of collapse.
I am not an economist, and probably neither are you. So it's hard to follow the causes and effects of this crisis, never mind intelligently guage its future.
Here's my best effort to share with you my understanding of the problem. This is not authoritative in any way – please feel free to correct me in the comments section.
In post-War Europe, the idea of a coalition of European countries, sharing certain economic & political values, financial mechanisms and strong performance – basically a rich (white?) man's club – certainly had its attractions. While uniting past bitter enemies in a common pursuit of economic stability and controlled growth, the coalition also faced off as a bastion of capitalism, against Soviet Block Communism.
Since the 1950's, this has been a remark…

Baking Oat Matzos Already!

It's that time of year – between Sukkot and Chanuka – oat matzo baking!
Some 30 years ago, Rav Ephraim Kestenbaum's daughter Lisa was diagnosed with coeliac's disease – an allergy to gluten. Nevertheless, their local orthodox rabbi told Rabbi Kestenbaum that Lisa should eat a small quantity of matzo on Passover. Rabbi Kestenbaum was deeply troubled by this – how could he make his daughter eat something which was harmful for her?
Rav Kestenbaum is both a talmid chacham (learned in Jewish sources) and a chemical engineer.
He therefore decided to find a work-around. A way for his daughter to fulfill the incredibly important commandment of eating matzo on Passover, while not causing Lisa to become ill....
After several years of investigation and experimentation, Rabbi Kestenbaum invented the oat matzo – which are mehadrin kosher matzos for Passover, and which are not harmful for ceoliacs to eat.
The first gluten free oat matzos were produced in the Kestenbaum family kitchen i…

Should Parents Hit Children?

A graphic video published on You Tube has sparked off a national debate in the USA, about parental corporal punishment.
The video shows (then) 16 year old Hillary being whipped with a belt by her father, Judge William Adams. Her mother also participates in the beating. The punishment was for using the internet to download games and music.
Warning: This video contains violence and is not appropriate for family viewing.

Many countries around the world have outlawed corporal punishment in schools; in 1979, Sweden became the first country to ban physical punishment of children, including by their parents.
Since then, 30 more countries have passed bans on corporal punishment at home, and even more have banned it in schools, according to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children.
In the USA, while there are laws against child abuse, it is legal in all 50 states for parents to hit their children, and for schools in 19 states to physically punish kids. About 80% of A…

An Englishman in Israel Responds to Iranian Nuclear Crisis

I knew this was the time to get two boxes.
Still in preview mode, the not-yet-published IAEA report on Iran is reported to include solid evidence that Iran's nuclear program goes well beyond medical research and power generation, and is actually to produce nuclear weapons. The obvious target for these is us, Israel.
Increasing probably scenarios include that Israel will soon launch a tactical attack on Iranian nuclear facilities; Iran would likely respond with massive ballistic missile bombardments on Israel; Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, perhaps even Syria, would all join in and blast us with literally tens of thousands of long range missiles. Unconventional warheads, such as gas and biological weapons are quite likely to be used. Hezbollah is planning to infiltrate the northern border and capture whole towns.
For us in Bet Shemesh, we'd be in the thick of the missile debris.
I have no influence on Israel's defence policy, much less Iran's. I'm not even…

Rabbi Yosef Blau: A Reaction to Rabbi Motti Elon's Public Speech

Note from Tzedek-Tzedek: Rabbi Yosef Blau is the mashgiach ruchani at Yeshiva University and its affiliated rabbinical school Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchal Elchanan. Rav Blau has been active in helping survivors of abuse in the Orthodox community, including cases involving rabbis and teachers. Rav Blau has kindly agreed to offer his insights to Tzedek-Tzedek regarding the case in Israel of Rabbi Motti Elon, and in particular Rav Elon's speech last week, available in its entirety at:

A REACTION TO RABBI MOTY ELON’S PUBLIC SPEECH By Rabbi Yosef Blau The Israeli court system will determine Rabbi Moty Elon’s guilt or innocence of the charges against him. His public speech in Migdal will not affect that determination. However the speech challenged the credibility of Takana, the forum set up by prominent rabbis, psychologists and legal experts to respond to accusations of improper sexual behavior by rabbis and Jewish educators in the Orthodox c…

Was The Rav Motti Elon Case Messed-Up?

Rav Motti Elon, once the star rabbi of the National Religious camp, was indicted this week on charges of indecent acts against two minors.
The alleged incidents took place in 2003 and 2005, involving teenaged male yeshiva students. The Jerusalem District Prosecution claims that Rabbi Elon exploited his position as an educator and molested these two teenagers on various occasions in 2003 and 2005. Overall, the indictment covers five counts of forceful indecent act and abuse of authority.
Allegations against Rav Elon were first publicised in February 2010, by the hitherto unknown Takana Forum.
Takan Forum had been established in 2003 by leading National Religious rabbis, legal experts and mental health practitioners. The Rav Elon case was apparently brought to Takana soon after Takana opened its doors, and was the first (and so far only) case where Takana has gone public.
Takana's remit is to manage cases of alleged immoral or abusive sexual behaviour by rabbis, teachers and othe…