Thursday, April 19, 2007

Zionist High School Flashbacks

The big arguments going around today have to do with this story from the JPost:

Seven pupils at a Beit Ya'akov school in Netanya were punished after they stood up for the siren that sounded Monday in honor of Holocaust Memorial Day (Monday), Yediot Aharonot reported.

According to the report, the school principal removed the girls from their classroom and forced them to stand up for the rest of the day and read psalms.

In haredi circles, using sirens and "moments of silence" to mark memorial holidays is considered a gentile custom and is discouraged.

Haredi rabbis often encourage their followers to recite psalms or other prayers silently during the siren.

As I read this I had a flashback to 10th grade:

I was in a Yeshiva High School, I didn't know it was Yom Haatzmaut, and in all honestly I didnt really care. My friend who lived in the area came to my dorm room the day before (which I didn't even know was Yom Hazikaron) with an Israeli flag and a banner from Coke that said something about saluting Israel.
When I left my room Yom HaAtzmaut morning I hung the banner on my door and the flag in my room. I came back to the dorm after Shachrit and the banner was on the floor. I hung it back up and again, after breakfast, it was on the floor. I hung it up a third time and when I came back to the room during a break I saw the Mashgiach carrying it away.
"Rebbi, thats mine", I told him
"Twice I threw it on the floor and you didnt understand so now I'm taking it away", he answered.
"You threw it on the floor", I asked him, "I thought it was one of the guys who didn't understand the importance of Israel to the Jewish People. I didn't think a Rabbi would throw something so important on the floor."
"Not only am I taking the banner, but your flag is on the floor where it belongs."
I immediately went and started calling everyone I know telling them about this horrible thing that happened. If I would have known a reporter I would have tried to get the story in the news. The headlines would have read "Charaidi Rabbi Tramples Israeli Flag", or some other such title. The reality was that
a. I only did it to irritate them. If I would have cared I would have requested permission to hang something up.
b. This one Rabbi was an extremist and in no way showed the character of the school. The school was a yeshiva with strong secular education, AP courses and all, and while they werent Zionist they certainly werent anti.
c. If I would have talked to a reporter I would have exaggarated (such as, "the principal made me stand up all day")
d. although I didn't get a punishment, I deserved one, not for hanging up the flag, but for speaking very disrespectfully, and if I would have gotten a punishment I would have told everyone the punishment was for the flag.

Only in Israel...

I was in an Israeli elemetary school the other day and I saw this sign on the wall. If they had signs like this in Palestinian schools then we would be able to solve our problems much quicker and easier.

"Two nations dividing the same land, and it will be best that they knew to live together."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Jewish Santa Claus?

Every year at the seder we pour an extra cup of wine, called the "cup for Eliyahu". and as the story goes, Eliyahu comes around to everyone's seder and drinks from the cup. I would say that the majority of kids at a seder are told some sort of fable about Eliyahu coming around to them. Being the kind of person who is against all things not explained (unless clearly written in the Torah, or has a known connection to sinai, [i.e. how to wear Tefillin]) I never really liked the story that Eliyahu goes to every house; it's a logistical nightmare! Here is my explanation. Every argument in the gemara that no answer is found, they use the word "taiku". In modern hebrew that means a tie, and I dont know if it has a meaning in Aramaic, but we always learned it as an acronym that meant "Eliyahu will come and answer all our questions". And that is why we have the "cup of Eliyahu". We dont know if we're supposed to drink four cups or five cups, and we have no way of knowing; it's a taiku. So we fill up the fifth cup as a symbolic way of saying that if the Moshiach comes tonight, with Eliyahu at his side, and tells us we need to drink five cups, we have it ready.

And may he come soon and tell us that yes, we DO need to drink five cups!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Recent Things I've Learned

The paper is delivered at 5:20.

Part of parenthood is to suction snot out the baby's nose.

Mother's milk is kosher and parve. I still don't know what it tastes like, though.

I no longer need to set an alarm clock

The words to "Happy Birthday" in hebrew. It's not just a translation. there's a tree growing in the song.

Car seats go in backwards.

Not all babies look the same.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

We had a boy!!!

Last week we had a boy. His brit was today on Purim. Not my Purim, since I'm in Jerusalem, but everyone elses.
His name is Shilo Tchelet.
The explanation I gave was as follows. Shilo was born on 7 Adar, the birthday of Moshe Rabbainu. Shilo was the place of the mishkan, and is now a city on the Palestinian side of the border. But to us, Shilo is always a part of Israel. In addition, Shilo in gematria is the same as Moshe. The brit was on Purim, and the Parshat Hashavua of his is Parshat Titzave. In Titzave the Kohen's clothes were made of many material, including Shany and Tchelet. So that's connection. Secondly, in the Megilla when the Jews were at the height of their power, it says Mordechai went out from the king in tchelet, etc. On a personal note, Tchelet for me symbolizes the return of Jews to Israel, as seen in the flag, on my tzizit, etc. We want our son to continue in our path here in Our Land.
Then I said a bunch of thank you's.

Friday, February 09, 2007


I was glancing through keywords that got people to my site (one of the main keywords that keeps repeating itself is Pittsburgher Rebbi. It comes up every time I look and from different places. What do you think you're going to find about the Pittsburgher Rebbi here???) and I saw that someone had googled "MyShan". I thought this was a bit weird, so I clicked on the link and it says "ISP Israeli Government Network". Am I being monitored? I don't think I update this enough, or write about anything too important to be monitored. Do they know where I live??? And if they know the blog name, why do they google it? Why not just type it into the address bar???????

In unrelated news, it was brought to my attention that I had blocked comments. I must have done that by mistake while updating the blog look. Comments have been turned back on.

I have an amazing costumer service story to tell, about a level of service people don't believe exists in this country. But I have to start cooking the chicken now, so I'll save it for another time.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Viagra Saves Life

I was in a cab tonight on my way home and I heard the most bizarre story. A baby was born in Tzfat with a life threatening blood flow problem three weeks ago. All conventional methods of dealing with it didn't work, so they tried something different. They gave the three week old viagra to help the blood flow. and it worked! She's out of danger now.

Viagra-it's not just for old men!!

P.S. I cant find the news story anywhere in English, but here it is in Hebrew.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Nir Barkat is a Good Man

Yesterday we received a bag with a little booklet from Nir Barkat. The booklet was entitled "City Watch-Taking the Cleaning In Our Hands." Nir Barkat has been running a campaign to clean up Jerusalem. Every few weeks he has volunteers go around to different neighborhoods and clean them up. The latest project is this Friday, Tu Bshvat. "Everyone throw away one piece of trash, Together there will be 700,000 less pieces of garbage." All I know about Nir Barkat is that he started one of the first (the first?) hi tech companies in Jerusalem and he ran for mayor last time but lost to Lapoliansky. I don't know if he'd make a good mayor or what he stands for, but I'm glad he came up with this campaign.