Showing posts from April, 2015

The Human Tapestry - Yom Hazikaron

Singers Yonatan Razel and Avraham Tal teamed at the Memorial Day concert last night, to sing this beautiful song about different types of people joining together in "one human tapestry".

Gvurot Harav Aharon Lichtenstein zt"l (english subtitles)

Today was the funeral of the Gadol Beyisrael, Harav Aharon Lichtenstein.

This is a video made last year for the rav's 80th birthday.

Mob In Beit Shemesh Screams NAZI At Charedi Soldier

This is a sensitive time of year in Beit Shemesh, as Memorial and Independence Days highlight explosive issues of nationhood and religious divide.

These issues are permanently present in Beit Shemesh, sometimes at the fore, and sometimes in the background, like a dark cloud hanging over the city.

In this incident, ultra-orthodox men are videoed cursing out an (orthodox) Israeli soldier, calling him "Nazi" and other slurs.

It appears to be during the course of a demonstration, as one of the men is holding a banner, perhaps by the extremist Neturei Karta sect.

Neturei Karta hold demonstrations annually in Beit Shemesh during this period, including burning Israeli flags and parading with black flags of mourning.

Neturei Karta representatives have also, over the years, openly supported and physically embraced Ahmadinijad of Iran and sat on the Palestinian National Council of the PLO.

Biking in Toulouse

The last time I rode on a bike was probably a decade ago. Until this week...

I have been in Toulouse, France, this week for business and was I encouraged by locals to use the municipal bicycles to explore the city and get around.

I found the experience exhilarating, pragmatic and highly economical.

Bikes are stored in batches of approximately 30, positioned every few hundred metres around the city.

You use a credit card to purchase a ticket and this also acts as a deposit for the bike itself.

It's so cheap as to be effectively free - just one Euro a day. If you pick up and drop off your bike within 30 minuter, it's actually free.

You pick out a bike from the row, hit the roads (many with bike lanes) and bike paths, and explore this delightful and ancient city.

For the pretty unfit, like me, it is noteworthy that Toulouse is flat, and so cycling is fairly effortless.

I used Waze for getting around, although it was not always reliable, as the best bike route often doesn't …

Birkat Kohanim - Kotel - April 6, 2015 - Pesach

This video was shot by Akiva Lane at this year's Birkat Cohanim ceremony on Monday at the Kotel/Western Wall.

Akiva tells me that he filmed from a balcony near the Kotel, after davening Vasikin.

The Maccabeats - Dayenu - Passover


Prayer By App

At this time of year, it's particularly easy to make a mistake while praying.

Jewish prayer is highly structured and much of it is repeated verbatim, even three times each day.
This is based on the idea that prayers should be easy to remember, as siddurim/prayer books only became plentifully available at low cost, with the invention of printing.

However, there are changes in the prayers, depending on numerous variables, and these can range from the considerable to minor. There are seasonal changes; changes depending on the day of the week; whether it is a New Moon; whether the prayer service is morning, afternoon or evening; there are differences in whether one is in Israel or abroad; 10 days of Penitence; etc..etc..

For example, today is an intermediate day of Passover (Chol Hamoed) and so there are additions to the standard Amidah prayer; Hallel; Musaf for Pilgrim Festival; Torah readings; we have just changed to summer (requiring two changes - morid hatal and vetain bracha); c…