Showing posts from January, 2014

A Community Focuses on Child Abuse Perpetrators

Dr David Pelcovitz, an international expert in child protection, recently visited Beit Shemesh and addressed over 200 people on the subject of child abuse perpetrators in the community.

The event was entitled “Who are the people in our neighbourhood” and was hosted by Magen, the Beit Shemesh Child Protection Organization.
Rabbi Menachem Copperman, the rav of the Ahavat Zion synagogue, where the event was held, opened the evening with a stirring speech about the importance of child protection, and the halachik obligation to report child abuse cases to the State authorities. 
The full evening program included dramatic presentations of three real Magen cases, written by local parents of children who were sexually abused. The cases were each read to the audience by volunteers. Dr Pelcovitz gave a commentary and practical information, in response to each case. The first case presented by Dr Howie Metz, was about a young boy who was lured from the park by a teenage boy, to “help with a m…

Accidents Happening

Israel has been rocked by two horrific family tragedies in one week in Jerusalem.
First, a gas leak in a building, which exploded, wiping out a family of three, Avraham Toffman, 56, his wife Galit, 42, and their two-year-old son Yosef,  in Gilo, Jerusalem.
Then, a pesticide used by an exterminator to kill termites in a home, poisoned two girls to death - two-year-old Yael Gross and her four-year-old sister Avigail.
The first incident also injured 11 other people and destroyed the apartment building; the second has left two other siblings, the six and eight-year-old brothers Michael and Yitzhak Gross, in critical condition.
In both cases, professionals had been alerted prior to the tragedies.
The smell of gas had led the Toffman's to call the Supergas supplier company, who sent out a technician on Sunday night. The technician reportedly went through his prescribed procedure, including switching off the main valve of the apartment, pending a return to the building the next morning.…

"Who Are The People in Our Neighborhood?" - Dr David Pelcovitz - Monday 20th January


If Arik Had Been Healthy...

Poised for the past eight years since Arik Sharon's huge stroke - everyone is now scribbling eulogies and histories of the late prime minister.

The history of Ariel Sharon is indeed huge - his intimate involvement in every war and most political events since the foundation of the State - and his bold decisions and 'bulldozer' tactics make tremendous narrative and lively history.

While remaining respectful, I will speculate about what might have happened, had Ariel Sharon followed his doctor's advice, eaten healthier, lost weight, and (in all medical likelihood) not been the victim of a stroke on 4th January, 2006.

To refresh our memories, Sharon had completed the highly contentious "Disengagement" from Gaza in summer 2005, evacuating some 10,000 Israelis from their homes in Gush Katif and Northern Samaria.

The Disengagement caused a huge chasm within the Israeli public - with mass demonstrations and civil disobedience on a scale never previously experienced…

Attempted Lynch?

A group of young Jewish men from the Shilo region were beaten up by Arabs and then rescued by IDF troops from a building site in the Palestinian village of Kusra, south of Nablus/Shechem.

The media has reported this as an attempted "price tag" attack by Jewish men, which was stopped by local Arabs, who then called the IDF and escorted the captive men into IDF hands.

The incident followed the uprooting of a vineyard belonging to the Jewish village of Aish Kodesh by troops - see this video:

Stone throwing incidents and clashes between Jews, Arabs and IDF soldiers appear to have taken place over an area of several kilometers around Shilo.

According to some of the Jewish men, they were participating in a local hike, when they were attacked by dozens of local Arabs with stones, who cut off their retreat to nearby Shvut Rachel, and they were cornered in the partially built house.

The incident was recorded by the Arab media, which tells (at least part of ) the story:

There, the Je…

RBS Shul Declared "Politics Free Zone"!

Rav Chaim Soloveichik has declared his shul Ohr Shalom as a "Politics-Free Zone".

In the run-up to the highly charged Beit Shemesh re-run municipal elections, Rav Soloveichik explained in his shabbat address that, notwithstanding the impeccable behaviour of members of the Ohr Shalom community during the October election campaign, he was declaring the shul politics-free.

The previous campaign was highly contentious, including some political campaigning which was inciteful and malicious - and even criminal, which lead to the election results being cancelled by the Jerusalem District Court.

New elections are being called, pending an appeal to the Supreme Court by the erstwhile winner of the October election, Moshe Abutbol, and are expected to take place at the end of February.

Rav Soloveichik is setting an example that he suggests other shuls might follow, in order to prevent political tensions and rivalries from overflowing into the shul setting.

So whereas Church & State…

Bayit Yehudi Cannot Remain Silent Over Rabbi Druckman

By Isi Leibler
Published on Tzedek-Tzedek with kind permission of the author
Rabbi Chaim Druckman, one of the most prominent Rabbis within the national religious movement, has responded to Rabbi Mordechai Elon’s conviction on charges of sexually assaulting minors, by employing him as a teacher in the Or Etzion Yeshiva where he serves as the Rosh Yeshiva.

This has sent shockwaves through the religious Zionist community. It also poses a serious challenge to the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) political party. Naftali Bennet, the head of Bayit Yehudi, ran on a platform which highlighted religious reform. A charismatic personality, he communicates well with secular Israelis and has even succeeded in projecting himself as a trendy liberal. But until now, either from inability or unwillingness, he has failed to confront the tough issues of religious reform. Bayit Yehudi cannot remain on the sidelines in relation to such a fundamental issue as sexual misconduct within the rabbinic community. If it…