Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hey, I Said That!

I've been saying this for so long.

I can't believe - finally, someone in the media is saying it too. Thank you, to a very special TV host in Australia...for daring to say and show...the truth.

"No, this isn't about Israel being cruel. This is about Jews daring to protect themselves and their country and if, God forbid, they lose, do you really think the war will stop there?"

Truer words have rarely, if ever, been spoken.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stolen Shoes...

I read this news update and felt my heart break a little. It's silly really...who does it hurt? They're all gone. Stupid idiot stealing shoes...for what?
What can you learn from a shoe? As I stood in the Maidanek death camp recently, I tried to understand, tried to envision, tried to learn about a woman who died more than sixty years ago. I know almost nothing about her, other than the fact that she came to Maidanek and probably never left.
The news item says that someone stole 8 pairs of shoes from the Maidanek concentration camp.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are hundreds of thousands of shoes at the Maidanek death camp in Poland, all stored behind wire mesh. The shoes are dusty and mangled, most crushed almost beyond recognition.
Our guide quoted the number 800,000, but I don’t really believe it matters exactly how many there are. When the mind is overwhelmed, it focuses on the little things, in the hope that this will assist the heart in coping with an overload of emotion and pain.
For what purpose would someone steal 70 year old, dusty, twisted shoes? What gain can there be? What pleasure would they bring? 
Our guide has been to Poland more than 60 times, and he understood what we had yet to learn. You cannot focus on 800,000 shoes. The mind simply cannot grasp the number. “Find a shoe that tells you a story,” the tour guide advised, and so I did.
In the end, the shoe that spoke to me was a woman’s shoe, with a slight heel. I could not tell the original color of the shoe, perhaps black, perhaps blue. I could only guess at the size, but even there I would most likely be wrong.
What can you learn from a shoe? What was her name, her nationality? Was she from Poland, or did she just die here? Was she killed immediately upon her arrival at Maidanek, or did she survive the initial selection and somehow survive?
Was she married? When she came here, was she alone? Had she already lost most of her family, or did they die beside her? Did she cling to her mother as she was sent to her death, or did she hold a young child in her arms?
What story can one old, dusty, crushed shoe tell me? I fight to create a life, a story for the shoe and find that I cannot. There is nothing the shoe can tell me. It has no story to tell. It remains a piece of a life, a puzzle that was destroyed, all that is left of a woman who once walked into Maidanek but never walked out.
Why do I feel such pain, such anger? Why does my brain think this is like violating the victims again? They are long gone, know nothing of this latest outrage. 
Right before taking us into the gas chamber, the guide sought to comfort us. He would take us into hell, to the exact spot where thousands died. The same walls, the same floors. Closed in a small room, but unlike those who had come before us, we would walk out. “Remember,” he told us. “We will come out.”
Maidanek is one of the easiest death camps to understand because there is little need to imagine. When the Russian troops swept into Maidanek in July, 1944, the Germans didn’t have time to destroy the evidence, as they did in Auschwitz, Treblinka, and elsewhere. Here the gas chambers remain, with the stained residue of ZyKlon-B gas on the ceiling and walls. Here the crematoria remain, still filled with the ashes of the last victims. Here the ashes remain.
Because it is so intact, Maidanek is also possibly one of the hardest camps to visit. It is a place of death, and death lingers in the air, in the ashes, and on the ground on which you walk. You stare at the houses that are but a few hundred meters from the camp perimeter and you wonder what kind of person can make a life so close to such death. Homes and gardens surround the camp. They open their windows in the morning, and see the crematoria. They entertain friends and play music, in the shadow of the mountain of ashes. Once, they could have smelled the stench of burning bodies. The smell may be gone, but the air remains poisoned by the hatred. “What kind of person lives here?” I asked myself again and again.
And now, more than a decade after I wrote these words, I wonder why kind of a person goes in and steals eight pairs of those old shoes? The smell may be gone, but the hatred remains.
As you walk into the crematoria, you see the table on which the Germans searched the corpses for hidden gold. Even in death, there was no dignity, no respect. You walk into the room with the ovens and through the tears, the horror becomes more real because you understand that it isn’t dust piling inside the ovens, but ashes that remain, even 60 years later, to hint of their anguish.
Dignity. Respect. Yes, that's where the anger comes from. Like the Nazis, these thieves seek to steal the dignity of the victims.
Just as we entered the crematoria building, the skies opened. Thunder and lightening raged across the land that had been sunny just moments before. It was not difficult to imagine that this was the anger and the tears of a God who still cries for His children, and I wonder if some of those tears aren’t for those who still, even today, are murdered simply because they are Jews.
I thought of that shoe again and again while I was in Poland. Each shell of a synagogue we visited, each desecrated, over-grown cemetery, each building that to this day bears the trace of a mezuzah, the Hebrew lettering, the symbols of a religion and people hunted to the edge of extinction. Though the Jewish people as a whole rose up from this abyss, Polish Jewry did not survive. In the end, the story of that one shoe is the story of Polish Jewry. Destroyed, bereft, and unable to tell its full story.
If the shoe is the story of Polish Jewry, I fear this theft may well be the story of Poland...or perhaps of Europe as a whole.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To Laugh or To Cry....

A few years ago, a slightly insane person started writing to me. At first, I didn't realize the rather unbalanced level of his mind and so I responded once or twice. I love "arguing" with people - I find that most people fall into one of three categories:
  • They hate Israel and Jews - so after I realize this is where they are, I stop. Why waste me time and honestly, the chances of me causing them a heart attack are probably pretty slim (and yeah, that's bad humor after some really hard days here in Israel)
  • They love Israel and Jews - so I love corresponding with them, sometimes meet and become real friends not just cyber-friends and all around enjoy the support.
  • They don't know - perhaps they have heard bad things or perhaps not but they are open enough to listen and learn and eventually, they move out of this group into one of the above. I do all that I can to make sure it is the group that loves us, when I can.
So, I quickly realized that this person who lived in California fell into the hater category and though he continued to write, I didn't respond. Only, he got louder and louder, the fonts in his email got bolder and larger and then he got threatening.

When he threatened to come to Israel, when he threatened my children, I got scared and spoke to my brother in the US. He contacted a friend who was in the FBI and I was told that the FBI considered the emails that were sent to me as hate crimes and would be in touch for further information.

When they finally contacted me, they asked for the emails (again) and then for some more information, which I gave them. Part of that information was a list of websites where I had researched and found the guy's writings. I thought it kind of funny that the FBI was asking me but hey, you go with the flow.

Then they wrote and asked how I knew that the guy who wrote the articles was the same as the one emailing me. Well, I wrote back - first clue is that the article writer and the email writer have the same name. Now, while I understand that this is not 100% conclusive, neither his first name nor his last name were particularly common - put them together and I really doubt there are two. But, I wrote, even if there are two anti-Israel, anti-Semitic people with the same name, what are the chances of them having the same email (which appears at the bottom of the web page where the articles were)? Duh....

The guy in California wrote again, telling me that he'd voodoo-ed me and since the Haitian priestess had "never been wrong," I was surely going to die before the autumn ... of 2003!

In the end, the FBI said they couldn't do anything because the guy hadn't declared an immediate threat in his emails. He'd declared a threat in one email and talked about "soon" in another and the FBI didn't seem to be able to put the threat and soon together.

Luckily, through the Israeli police and a friend at the airport who also felt that the emails were threatening, his name was added to an airport list blocking his entry to Israel.

Today, I saw an article on the web and this story came flooding back. The FBI is going to investigate the terror attack yesterday on the synagogue in Jerusalem! Three American/Israeli citizens were murdered and with the outrage, the FBI stepped forward.

What exactly they are going to investigate, given that the perpetrators were killed during the attack, I have no clue. And what they'll do with the information they gather, given that the perpetrators were killed during the attack, I have no clue.

But, the FBI is going to investigate...not the attack of a Hasidic Jew in Brooklyn, not the murder of the rabbi in Miami (or maybe those also???) but the attack here. I wonder how much this is going to cost the US tax payer...


Disgusting BBC Response to Terror Attack

After trying to deflect any blame on Abu Mazen (without any evidence on her part), the BBC reporter reacts quickly by first suggesting yesterday's terror attack was "by individuals" and then, almost frantically stating, "Sorry, we don't want to actually see that picture. If you could take it down."

No shock, no outrage - just asking that the picture of a dead Jew lying on the ground not be shown...disgusting.

Short part of piece

Longer interview of Naftali Bennett on BBC

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Oh, My God...He Told the TRUTH

For many years, I have written the simple truth of the 1948 war from the Arab side and the Jewish side.

I wrote that the United Nations voted in a Partition Plan in 1947 - November 29th, if you want the date.

The Jews agreed - it was less than half the land that we wanted, about 1/6th of the Palestine the British had been given to mandate. They took 2/3 and created the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan to pay off a debt that had nothing to do with the actual occupants of the land. To this day, Jordan remains 70-80% Palestinian.

The Arabs did not agree. They would not settle for 1/2 of the remaining area under the mandate when they could have it all. They CHOSE to leave their homes and their possessions because they were told by their Arab brothers that the Jews would be thrown into the sea. Why settle for half when they could have it all, they were assured.

And now, here is a video - in Arabic, in which he admits the very truth that we have said all along. THEY chose war. THEY chose to leave the land. THEY lost.
"Yes, I left when I was 20 years old. We left, I mean, the one who made us leave was the Jordanian army because there were going to be battles and we would be defeated. They told us: ‘Leave. In 2 hours we liberate it and then you will return.’ We left only with our clothes, we didn’t take anything because we were supposed to return in 2 hours. Why carry anything? We’re still waiting for those 2 hours to this day.”


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The New Intifada...and the New Sun

Yesterday, I woke before dawn, as I have for the last few days. As I always do, I drove with the radio playing - news. I'm a news-aholic. The news is not good. Rioting, stone throwing. One neighborhood ordered into lock down for hours a few nights ago as the army searched for a terrorist....on a day when two young people were murdered simply, as the father of one said, simply because they were Jews living in their homeland.

I often try to include a simple message in many things I write - we are all settlers, all Israelis. It doesn't matter where you live - it really, honestly, truly doesn't. Yesterday's attacks offered their own can anyone deny this simple message when the Arabs so horribly delivered it yesterday.

They stabbed a 20 year old in the heart of Tel Aviv, and a 26 year old in Gush Etzion - and then celebrate the deaths of these two equally. The message is obvious - to anyone willing to listen. This has never been about the "occupation," this isn't about settlers, it isn't really even about Israelis.

My youngest son was having a discussion with his friends. He told me about it last night as we drove home. His friends argue that this isn't an Intifada - don't call it that. "How many dead Jews do you need to call it an Intifada? Fifteen? Fifty?" my son asked his friends.

I would ask the same question of a high ranking police officer who warned Israelis not to speak of an Intifada - lest the mere discussion of it, cause it to become reality. How many dead Jews does it take until you call it an Intifada? And more, why do you give THEM the power to label the violence they throw at us?

Abu Mazen accuses Israel of waging a war of religion against the Palestinians. It was the Palestinians who built a mosque on OUR Cave of the Patriarchs, on OUR Tomb of Samuel, on OUR Tomb of Joseph. It was they who built on OUR Temple Mount and they who wage war against those who dare to ascend and whisper quiet words of prayer in a place that three religions hold as holy, but only one places above all other places on earth...the Jews.

Abu Mazen says Jerusalem, all of Jerusalem, will be in Palestinian hands and I respond - not in your life time, not during the lives of your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren. Not even in the lives of your great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren. It never was, it isn't, and it never will be. You can accept it - or not. You can wage the Third Intifada or the Thirtieth.

It makes no difference because the one unshakable truth that no one can change is that Jerusalem was created by Jews, sustained by Jews, saved, built and loved by us. We do not burn down its forests; we do not murder its inhabitants in cold-blood.

Yes, one Arab boy was murdered by a few Jews - in a crime that was condemned by the entire nation, and almost immediately solved by Israeli police who worked around the clock to solve it and bring the perpetrators to that to how many Arabs communities celebrated the kidnap and murder of our three boys with fireworks. Compare that to the the cold-blooded attacks that are taking place now - murdering an infant in her carriage, running down and stabbing a young woman, attacking and stabbing a soldier in the middle of Tel Aviv.

With guns, with firebombs, with stones, with fireworks, with boulders and with knives and anything and everything else you have in your arsenals, you will not defeat us, you will not send us into exile again. Only we have the power to do that to ourselves and we won't do it again. At least that much, we have learned.
If anyone is conducting a war of religion, it is the Arabs. It is they who riot on the Temple Mount, throw stones down on worshipers at the Western Wall.

It is those who act in the name of Islam, who call Jews pigs and cattle, they who attacked Jews and synagogues in France, Belgium, England and elsewhere. In the name of Islam, churches and synagogues and holy places are "converted" to mosques.
It was Hamas who said that the attack on Ammunition Hill a few short weeks ago was a "natural response" to "Jews" - not to Israelis, to Jews. When I first thought to write this, I began with the title - the new Intifada because we are fools to deny that is what is happening and that it has been happening for months.

The second part of the title is the "new sun." Yesterday and today and likely tomorrow, I woke and God willing will awaken, very early. And as I left my house, the sun broke the horizon to the east reminding me that each morning God sends the sun to watch over us and remind us that there is light in this world. Light and great beauty.

The Arabs can build on Har HaBayit, they can even attack our homes, our cities, our buses and all that we have built here...but they can't stop the sun from rising over another day in our homeland. They can't stop us from living here.

Their darkness is lost in the brilliance of our sun; their hate blinded by our determination to love and live. They can make us cry, they can make us sad but the very next day, all we have to do is look at the sun and think...another day here in our home. For all that they try, they don't have this simple reality because the more they attempt to deny the obvious connection we have to the land of Israel, the more they look like fools.

Abbas can lie all he can and still the ground brings forth the truth and the sun rises to shine upon it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

To Offer the Right Blessing

I have been told that on your birthday, you bless others...I know it's "only" my English birthday, but I would like to offer a blessing to the Jewish people - most especially those who think that Jews have the right to ascend to the Temple Mount in theory but that in practice, it would be "incendiary".

So, I bless the Jewish people with pride - pride in who we are and that we should never feel we have to hide from that reality.

I bless those of faint heart with courage to stand tall. I understand that for centuries we bent to the power of the winds against us. By lowering our heads and denying our rights, we thought we would better survive and perhaps that was yesterday's reality, yesterday's Jew.

I bless those who lean so far to the left, permanently curving their spines in servitude with the power to see beyond their narrow windows so that the Jewish spirit may soar once again. We have every right to do as all other nations, to live, to fight, to build, to be. They will never allow us, and so we need not seek their permission.

If a Christian can pray in Bethlehem's holiest churches, a Jew can pray in our holiest of places.

I bless our leaders with the fortitude to withstand; our soldiers with the power to defend. I bless our rabbis with compassion and perhaps equally with strength so that they can bring back the highest standards of integrity, honesty, and faith and bar all corruption and end any money-tinged decisions.

I bless the writers among us to use the power of words to promote the very equality upon which our society was created - and as you would fight for the right of the secular, fight for the right of the religious. As you would defend the rights of the left, remember that the right too should be granted these courtesies.

Remember that a Jew living in Ariel or Maale Adumim has the same rights as a Jew in Tel Aviv.

I bless the mothers among us that you always know joy from your children...even when things they do hurt you. They are, forever yours, even if at times they would have it otherwise.

I bless you to become mothers-in-law and grandmothers to the generations to come.

I bless the fathers among us that you too will only know joy from your children, even when they hurt you because they are forever yours as well. May you become fathers-in-law and grandfathers to the generations to come.

And I bless my children - all my children - with all the good things in life - love and health, safety and adventure. May you be blessed with many children, each a blessing.

So, blessings to you all in these last few minutes of my birthday...

Happy Me...

Today is November 9th - it is a day that has special meaning. On November 9th 1938, the Nazis gave the clearest indication of what they would one day a nation that burns books, the burning of humans is often not far behind...from the moment the Nazis started burning Jewish books and buildings in what was later called Kristallnacht, the world should have understood what would be. That they didn't then, perhaps, can be explained away by an inability to understand the true depths of evil that a nation can achieve. That the world doesn't understand now, is unforgivable.

I have lived with an awareness of what this day means beyond the narrow confines of it being my birthday for most of my life. My mother once said I was her answer to was both a heavy thing to carry, and a privilege at the same time. Years later, with the births of each of my children - I knew that I had answered Hitler. This...this is our answer.

A bit over 3 years ago, I became a grandmother...this beautiful baby boy who knows all the Hebrew letters, the blessings for so many foods. This angel of a
child - he too is my answer to Hitler.

Gavriella, aged 12, murdered by
the Nazis. May her memory be
And my granddaughter, born a year ago, who carries the name of a child murdered by the Nazis. She is my answer to Hitler too. The Nazis murdered Chaim husband's uncle...and so my in-laws gave his name to my husband, as they had named each of their children....for someone who had died.

My two oldest sons were named for Jews who died in the Holocaust; my two youngest children were named for my father-in-law and mother-in-law, who survived the Nazis and defied all that was done by not only choosing to live, but to thrive.

Five children I have been blessed with, one son and two daughters have married to give me 8 children; we've adopted two more (who have amazing parents but they lend Yaakov and Chaim to us with love), and their two sisters that we've kind of adopted too.

And Yaakov's two children and Mera's three children, and Amira's son and Elie's daughter and all that are yet to come...all these are our answer.

Birthdays are always fun but today is a day that is mine to remember... throughout our history, there have been those who tried to destroy us, erase us...they didn't accomplish it then, they won't accomplish it now.

I don't know what today will bring, what we will face tomorrow or in the weeks to come. But the sun is shining. There is literally not a cloud in the sky. Shabbat was filled with good food and family; tonight I will join once again with my community for an amazing charity event made possible by the donation of thousands of books from literally dozens and dozens of people.

At this moment, life is so good and I am so blessed. It's been a year of healing from shoulder surgery...and I'm mostly there. It's been a year of wonder, watching a new born baby turn into the most adorable little toddler. It's been a year of amazing growth, watching a toddler turn into a little boy.

Thank you, God, for all the blessings you have given me for the last 53 years of my life. As much as I can't explain why you have given me all that you have, I can only beg you to continue - to bless my children, my family, my friends, my community, my city, my country, my world...with all that you have given to us - sunshine and water, light and life. Health and parnasa (livelihood), safety and peace (if not with our neighbors, than within ourselves).

And as I tell my I will now tell much as it is my birthday, it is the day my mother gave birth. As I have "five" birthdays, she has three. So, on this day, happy birthday, Mommy - I love you tons!

Do you remember your first time?

Life is, if you are blessed, filled with first time experiences. How many do you remember?

I remember my first day of school. I think I remember the first time I saw my younger brother. I remember the first time I rode a bike, the first time I saw my husband. I remember the first time I held each of my children; the first time I saw my grandson and granddaughter.

I remember the moment I saw my future husband walking towards me at the wedding, the first moment, he touched my hand afterwards. I remember the first time I saw my future in-laws. I remember the first time I landed in Israel and the first time I saw the Western Wall.

I was with two friends. I was 16 years old. I was still mourning my grandfather, who had promised to take me to Israel, and then died of a sudden heart attack shortly after. I looked at the Western Wall, known in Hebrew as the Kotel and often referred to as the Wailing Wall...and I started to cry. I didn't even know why I was crying, but I cried and cried and when I first touched it. I stood there and gave Israel my heart. I left the country a few weeks later, in tears, in sadness and left my heart here, or at least a part of it. I only reclaimed that part 17 years later when I moved here with my husband and three small children.

I have no pictures of that first moment, no video. I don't know what expression was on my face but I remember the awe, the beauty of the place. I felt...home, serenity as I had never known it. I knew, as I had never known before, that here, God hears everything, every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month, year, decade, century...

I knew it then, I know it now. I felt it then, I feel it now. I go often to the Kotel, and never often enough. I can go there on my way home from shopping (as I have). I can go there on a whim by getting off the train and walking 15 minutes - as I have.

Do you remember the first time? Look at this amazing video - I will admit that there were tears in my eyes within the first 57 seconds.

Book Swap - TONIGHT - In Maale Adumim

We have thousands of English books in all categories! (well over 4,000 just waiting for you!)

Best-selling authors. Non-fiction. Chick lit. Mystery. Thriller. Judaica. Children's books. General fiction. Fantasy. Much more. All proceeds for tzedaka.

Sunday evening, November 9, 2014
7:30-9:30 PM
Social Hall - Pnei Shmuel
"The Down Shul" Rechov Mitzpe Nevo 102, Ma'ale Adumim
Egged bus #174 from Binyanei haUma
"Park Mitzpe Nevo" stop announced by automated system
Monday evening, November 10, 2014
7:30-8:30 PM
(We generally have a few thousand left.)
Social Hall - Pnei Shmuel
"The Down Shul" Rechov Mitzpe Nevo 102
Egged bus #174 from Binyanei haUma
"Park Mitzpe Nevo" stop announced by automated system
All books for chayalim and bnei sherut just 1₪ both nights.

Hope you can join us - the causes this time are as amazing as always. Get books for a fraction of the cost - hardcovers, paperbacks, the latest and greatest authors....

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Truth

Sometimes, the truth comes from those who spoke long ago, at a time when the world was not ready to listen.

Sometimes, a man can speak and people are so blinded by what they think he is saying, they don't really hear. They judge him by a name, blur what he really said, and find fault with the message...even if the message they find was not really the message he was delivering.

Sometimes, if you close your eyes and listen, you will realize that the words have found a home in your heart because they are truth.

Sometimes, the man was misunderstood in his life...assumed to be an extremist, a man filled with hate. A racist. I can't think what other names he was called in his life. I know that he was murdered, though he never murdered. I know that his voice was silenced, but not his ideas.

Put aside his name for a moment, and listen to his words. Won't you be shocked when you find you agree with him...

Rabbi Meir Kahane was murdered 24 years ago. May his memory be blessed.

Jerusalem and the Unforgettable Train Ride

This was written by Jacob Richman, a friend who has spent many years photographing and sharing aspects of Israel and the Hebrew language with the world. He shared this and after reading it, I asked him if I could share it here.

It is about his experience last night on the Jerusalem light rail. From the title, on the day when one died and 13 others were hurt in a terror attack at one light rail station, I was expecting him to write about getting stoned, or worse. I was trying to remember if I'd heard of any incidents on the train.

Instead, as I read it, what came to mind is a beautiful Hebrew word and concept - chesed. Chesed means compassion - but it often relates to action - an act of chesed - an act of kindness or compassion. Chesed in thought is important, but chesed in action is a wondrous thing. Jacob was honored to have seen it, and we are all honored to share in what he saw through his telling of this special chesed.

A Train Ride I Will Never Forget

by Jacob Richman

Tonight, I paid a visit to a friend recovering from surgery in Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem. His recovery is going well and tomorrow they may let him go home.

I left the hospital after 9:30 pm and walked over to the light rail station opposite Yad Sarah. As is my habit from riding the subways in Brooklyn (coming home from school), I entered the very beginning of the train. After so many years, I still like watching the engineer drive the train. When I got on, the train was half empty and I took a front row seat.

I was about to have the privilege to see something totally amazing. An "Only in Israel" episode.

Near the front side door of the train (where I walked in) was a guy wearing a train security jacket and he had two very large tea thermos on the floor and two open packages of hotcups tucked into a space near the top of a holding pole. As the train entered a station, he would wave to the security personnel on the platform to go to the beginning of the platform. When the doors opened, he would quickly pour them a hot cup of tea. If the security guard could not get to the front door in time, he would hold the door for a few seconds or if there were several security guards, he would quickly pour several cups and place them on the platform right outside the train door. Once or twice he stepped out of the train and whistled to get the attention of the security guards.

At one of the stops, the train engineer opened his secure door and turned around a bit and tried to argue with the security guy that he was breaking train procedures. The security guard told him that he is doing his job (or something like that) and that he will not cause any schedule delays.

I spoke to the security guy and found out he does this every night. I said to him (and others near us) that in the 30 years I have been in Israel, I was in awe by such a good thing he was doing. He did not say anything, maybe just a smile. I did not take pictures or ask for his name.

When we approached a stop in Gelua (one before the terrorist attack platform) an older Hasid (by the way he was dressed maybe be a Rebbe) that sat across from me was getting up to leave the train. He looked at me and smiled and I think we both nodded at each other at the same time. He knew what we had witnessed was something very, very special.

The platform at the next stop on the train was full of soliders and security peronnel. It was the stop where the terrorist killed an Israeli Druze Border Patrol Chief Inspector. His name was Jadan Assad, 38, from the Druze village of Beit J’an in northern Israel. He leaves behind his pregnant wife and a three year old child. I never met Jadan, but he was also someone very special. May he rest in peace.

Before I got off the train at Ammunition Hill, I shook the security person's hand and thanked him. I do not think that the night time train, hot tea run was part of his job. In fact, his conversation with the train engineer seems to confirm that it was not.

I think he knew most of the train security personnel and during the ride two ticket inspectors boarded the train and he knew them also and poured them some hot tea. My guess is that he quickly poured dozens of cups of hot tea at that late hour. I offered him my seat during the ride but he declined and he was constantly on the lookout for security personnel on the train platforms. He gave warmth to many people on the train platforms tonight. He gave me a train ride I will never forget.

Lately, with all the sad news that we hear and all the problems each one of us may have, it is inspiring to see how just one single security guard on a late night train ride can change the world. I saw it tonight and had to tell others.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Have a good night,

Article reprinted with permission from: The Train Ride that I Will Never Forget

The Third Intifada Is Here

Last night, a Palestinian driver intentionally drove his van into three soldiers south of Jerusalem. One was critically injured, two a bit more moderately wounded. It was the end of a very bad day in Israel.

Late last night, I saw a post on Facebook saying that Jerusalem was moving cement blocks into place to protect the waiting areas along the train route. This won't save someone if they are on the tracks crossing from one side to the other - as happens at every stop between trains. A person can't outrun a car and so far, of the 20 or so people who have been injured, and the two who were killed - only a few might have been saved by these cement blocks.

The police can't prevent a car from driving on to the train tracks because the train tracks were built by widening existing roads and then cutting off the extra areas for the train, or by making the road itself shorter. The trains are somewhat coordinated with the street lights and so at many major intersections, the trains cross the road, and the cars pass the train tracks...I even saw a police car once intentionally use the train tracks to bypass a traffic jam.

Last night as I rode the train home, as we came to the stop where yesterday's attack too place, people spoke quietly, all eyes looking around.
Captions: "Object – even with your car" and
"Car Intifada - Run Over.
              -- Reprinted from YNETNews

"Pigua" I heard one person say - "terror attack."

There are many more border guards on the trains. Soldiers who may be traveling to or from base are holding their guns a bit differently, hands a bit closer to the trigger. There seem to be less Arabs on the train - today only one person got on at the Damascus Gate stop. This stop borders an Arab neighborhood. It was there that the train was hit by a rock on one trip I took; there that an Arab sprayed tear gas into the train on another.

It is there that the light rail guards wear armored vests, and interestingly enough, it was there that the city did NOT put cement blocks. Few Israeli Jews wait at that stop - mostly, it is Arabs and tourists.

The blocks are placed where a driver could steer a car into pedestrians...they are huge and ugly. Perhaps if they remain, someone will paint pretty scenes on them but they will never be a "normal" sight. They were put down in the middle of the night, a desperate attempt to stop any more misery from befalling this city.

We lost a 3-month-old baby - and if that wasn't enough, one whose parents struggled 13 long years to conceive. We lost a member of the Border Guard - and if that wasn't enough, he leaves behind a three year old son, a pregnant wife nearing her due date, bereaved family and friends.

And they, these two angels murdered by devils, leave a city on guard and just so sad, so angry, so disgusted. We are tired, we are furious. We want this to end. And the key to this ending rests with us, not with them. They will continue; we can stop it.

We demand that the government stop playing the game that Mahmoud Abbas and the others have been playing. For years, each time we did anything and often when we didn't - there would be the threat. This will bring the Third Intifada. Remember how bad the first and second were? Just wait...the third one...

Well, let's grab the momentum and take away their power to threaten. Today, I call upon the Prime Minister of Israel, the Mayor of Jerusalem - today, call it.

The Third Intifada is here.

And, once you call it, take the action to end it. Reroute the trains so that it does not go through Shuafat to be stoned and firebombed. Put up a checkpoint between Shuafat and neighboring Jewish neighborhoods so that no MORE cars can drive from Shuafat directly into the heart of Jerusalem and into the bodies of its residents.

Announce that just as Muslims can pray anywhere, so too can Jews. No one would stop an unarmed Muslim from walking up to the Kotel, the Western Wall. And he could pray to his Allah all he wants. At most, guards would watch him - no one would warn him not to pray, no one would warn him not to close his eyes and whisper. No one would even stop him if he got on his knees and turned his rear to the Kotel to pray to Mecca.

People wouldn't like it, but they wouldn't stop him, wouldn't beat him, throw stones at him and he sure as heck wouldn't be arrested.

His right is ours - we have the right to go up to the Temple Mount. We have the right to pray there, for God's sake. Who came up with this STUPID idea that the mere sight of a Jew quietly and respectfully whispering a prayer to God is a criminal offense equivalent to inciting a riot (for that would be the result of the Jew's action).

The Third Intifada, the one they are waging now, will be the last - that has to be the message of the State of Israel, the Jewish state of Israel. If Netanyahu is going to insist that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State, THE Jewish State, it is time that Bibi recognizes it too.

If there is a problem with a Jew praying - it is the problem of those who watch and riot, those who are so intolerant that they are driven to violence by the mere thought that a Jew might pray up there on that site that is most holy to us.

So, this is the Third Intifada - step one.

Step two: Jews have a right, historical, political, ethical, moral - to pray on the Temple Mount. If that bothers the Arabs, they have the right to close their eyes or leave. They will no longer have the right to attack simply because in that holy place, we demand our right to pray. We are not trying to take it over; we are not trying to destroy what they built upon the ruins of our holy place. That may be their way, it isn't least not yet.

Given the choice, we will live with them; pushed to the edge by violence and terror, we will get to the decision to live without them.

Starting tomorrow morning, we must begin to fight the Third Intifada...and we can only fight it once we recognize it and accept it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Miscellaneous Updates

News is happening fast some things you may not hear about, but should know:
  • The man who was killed today leaves behind a 3 year old son and a wife who is in the final stages of pregnancy. He lives...lived with them in a Druze village in the north - and as a Druze, it was his choice to serve. May his memory be blessed.
  • Jerusalem is, as of about an hour ago, working overnight to put large cement blocks along the train stations and route to prevent further attacks. How successful they will be...we'll see tomorrow.
  • A short time ago, there was another attack - this time, a white van slammed into a checkpoint, lightly injuring three soldiers at the Gush Eztzion junction...near where two of the three teenagers was kidnapped this past summer.
  • And some silly girl posted pictures of the wounded in the earlier attack to a Whatsapp group for her grade...Aliza's grade. She came downstairs in tears, could barely talk to explain what she had seen. I asked to see the pictures...they were brutal...I believe one was the terrorist - a police officer was bent over him checking for a pulse...the second picture was equally disturbing. No way I could have prevented her from seeing, but so sad that she did. A few minutes ago, Aliza came over and said to me, "I don't think I can do MADA (Magen David Adom - ambulance service). I get nervous or I cry when I see blood." How is a mother supposed to answer that?
I don't know when the Israeli government will call this the Third Intifada. A few days ago, I suggested there was a Silent Intifada going on. We have moved beyond silent - and we should not be waiting for our enemies to declare it.

We've been threatened with a third intifada for years - now it is hear. Let's declare it, let's recognize it is happening...and then let's do all we can.

Charlie, Henry, Hunter and Yirmiyahu

David's yeshiva has adopted a dog...Davidi grew up his whole life with a dog (at least one) because about a year after we moved to Israel, I realized that Amira and Elie were afraid of the dogs they passed in the street.

The thought of a child of mine being afraid of dogs saddened me greatly and so within a short time, my husband and I agreed we would get a dog. Our first was Sheba - she was half Samoyed and half whatever walked around the day her mother conceived.

Whatever her father was...he was large and black...and when combined with her smaller white mother - Sheba ended up as a sweet, beautiful black and white dog. Sheba gave birth to a litter of puppies a few months before Davidi was born.

I remember thinking how lucky dogs were that the period they carried their young was a heck of a lot less than 9 months. Our second was Sushi - a dachshund. We loved both Sheba and Sushi... A few years ago, we lost Sheba, got Simba, and lost Sushi.

When Davidi was in high school, he asked to take an afternoon class offered in his school - training dogs. He loved it. So, last week he came home and showed us the picture of the white dog with blue eyes. The puppy is driving them all crazy - mostly because most of the boys don't know what to do with him during the week, and no one knows what to do with him on weekends.

The dogs name, David explained, is just an example of the problem he is having - some kids call him Charlie, others call him Henry. Some call him Hunter, and a few even call him Yirmiyahu (Hebrew for the name Jeremiah).

 Just pick a name, I told him. "I can't do that. I'm not going to take charge of him," and so Charlie-Henry-Hunter may or may not stay. They also have brought chickens that they are raising. It's an experience, let me tell you.

Have you ever watched a murderer die?

Two videos and an image. A face...

A man who today chose to die - for the glory of his god, once again with the mistaken notion that there can be honor in the murder of others. Perhaps he was jealous of his brother, who was in an Israeli prison until he was traded, one of 1027, for Gilad Shalit. What does it say about his parents - that they raised two sons for allah, two who would be martyrs, two murderers.

This is Ibrahim al-Akari, who murdered one man today, critically injured five, and lightly to moderately wounded another eight. This is Ibrahim al-Akari, not a martyr but a murderer. He was a known Hamas activist and brother to Musa al-Akari who was sentenced to three life terms for his part in the kidnap and murder of an Israeli policeman. Musa was deported to Turkey...they certainly deserve him more than we do.
Unlike Musa, Ibrahim will never see justice in an Israeli court, as his brother did; but then again, we can be grateful that Ibrahim didn't live long enough to be released in yet another misbegotten prisoner release.

One man...and two videos. The picture shows him in life. Now, thanks to the wonders of video, you can watch him die.

I've watched these two videos several times -  I've presented them in reverse order. I can't really explain why. Maybe I should properly show the action that caused his death...

In the video below, you'll see al-Akari shot by border guards who were alerted by radio that he had attacked pedestrians and driven off (in the second video, you'll see him drive off). 

Almost instantaneously, the call went out and border guards from the opposite direction began converging on the area. One raced to the next intersection and blocked al-Akari. The terrorist jumped from the vehicle when it got caught in the traffic jam and you can see al-Akari running around (much like a chicken without his head). He bent to pick up a piece of metal with which to attack, ran again, and was killed by border police. 

The video camera picked up the "action." I presume the voices in the background are police watching live. In Hebrew, you can hear a woman say, "and now he shot him" as you see al-Akari fall, and then a man's voice says, "and that's it."

The next video was also taken from within some surveillance room. Watch as the train leaves. The man on the phone is having a conversation that has nothing to do with the horrible scene that plays itself out on the camera. First, you'll see al-Akari's vehicle plow through and hit these people (others were hit as well). You'll see a girl with a red skirt - so incredibly lucky to have escaped without harm.

The video above is one intersection away from the train station below. As you watch it...imagine...imagine that was you, waiting for a train. Everything is good, the weekend is a day away. It's not too hot outside, the weather is supposed to get warm and sunny...maybe you need to go you have guests coming for the Sabbath? Did you buy tickets to a show, have a great evening planned?

Seconds...seconds change changed these people's lives forever...this morning, in Jerusalem.

Another Attack in Jerusalem

There's been another attack against pedestrians. Once again, a Palestinian decided he could best serve his god by ramming a pickup truck into innocent people who were waiting for the light rail. The terrorist, Ibrahim Al-Acri was shot and killed by police on the scene. He was known to the police as a Hamas activist and lived in Shuafat - the neighborhood through which the light rail was stupidly built - making it a regular location for rock attacks.

Elie called me first, "did you hear the news?"

My insides filled with dread as he began telling me; I browsed to a website to learn more. The numbers climb even as I type. Three critically wounded. One in "matsav anush" - a terrible term that roughly translates as mortally wounded. It is, in most cases, a death sentence. The man who was in matsav anush died shortly later. Fourteen have been wounded, three still critical.

Aliza called a short time later. "Did you hear what happened?" I told her what I knew. She has a friend in school, a young girl who is visiting from Australia. Her friend had a friend there.

"Is she okay?" I asked.

"She wasn't hurt, but she saw the whole thing." And apparently called Aliza's friend and told her everything. The truck came and the girl saw three people hit very badly. Then she saw the terrorist get out of the car with something metal in his hand. "He was going to start hitting people," she said.

"Did she see him get shot?" I asked her.

"I don't know." And then her voice cracked and she said, "It's not fair, another time again."

"Where is her friend now?" I asked - my  mind fills with the image of a 15 year old girl walking alone, shaken, slightly in shock.

"She was walking to Ammunition Hill," Aliza answered. I can only hope someone will see her and ask her if she is okay; if she needs help. I hope she has called her parents - I hope they've rushed to her side.

"I'm shaking" Aliza said, pulling my thoughts back to her and then she started to cry a little. It's not fair. She's right. Another time, again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Counting Your Blessing - Day 39

Today's blessing is our ability to communicate. Words, looks, gestures, whatever it takes. We can convey a wealth of emotions, a lifetime of thoughts quickly and easily. We are always amazed when animals communicate - and they do. YouTube has a bunch of amazing videos - of dogs pulling other dogs to safety, of guarding children from harm. We know that dolphins communicate, elephants, birds...

A look across the room can tell someone we love them; a hand signal can tell a pedestrian or another driver something of what you intend. A wave, a nod. It's all part of communication.

There is so much I could say about how important this blessing is...but maybe the best forms of communication are those that are obvious. And sadly, of all the ways we have to communicate, sometimes words are the most deceptive. Sometimes a world of meaning can be given to another simply with a hug, a kiss, a gentle caress. A slap, a sneer, and worst of all, avoidance.

When you fail to talk to someone, when you ignore them, walk off without a word, whole messages are delivered.

It is always within our power to deliver the message we want communicate our feelings.

A blessing...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Counting Your Blessings - Day 38

I think today's blessing is God giving us a sense of humor, a sense of the absurdity of a situation and the ability to laugh at it. There are so many instances of this - we can laugh, or we can cry. Too often, we choose to cry. We need to try to laugh more, even if something seems ridiculous.

Today, I drove almost four hours...back and forth to a client to work on a document. I spent hours editing it and felt something was wrong...there was, so we asked for more information. That took a really long time and when I finally got it, it seems to be missing the very information we needed.

So it was another telephone conversation to understand that the information was sort of there and sort of not. I had asked for an explanation to 90 pieces of code. I got back 21. But even for the 21, about 10 of them didn't match so really, it was 11 that worked, 10 that were new, and 70 that had nothing.

I was told that where there was a check mark, that field related to the code I was working on...that worked, until I found fields that had three Xs. Since there were three categories, a check in any of the categories made sense. Three Xs made me wonder why the field was listed at all.

This might sound very technical (what do you want? I'm a technical writer). So I asked...and the developer agreed...something was wrong. Only, he doesn't have time to figure it out so they assigned a different developer who really is very willing to help, but doesn't know the code very well.

He said I should just produce the document as if the information was correct. Another developer heard this and thought it was crazy, so while I was working my way through deleting about 80 pages...the developers came back and told me to stop. They're going to spend the next few days trying to figure it out.

I think one of the developers was worried that I was upset - "you aren't going to commit suicide, right?"

I laughed..."no, not over a technical manual, no."

Smile when you can, laugh as often as possible, and most important, I think - thank God for the ability to laugh, to take things lightly, to's blessing - our innate sense of humor.

My Condolence Letter to the Parents of Muataz Ibrahim Hijazi

President Mahmoud Hamas, I mean Abbas, has sent a condolence letter to the parents of Muataz Ibrahim Hijazi, who last Wednesday night, shot an unarmed man in the chest and stomach three times. Abbas told Hijazi's parents that their son "rose to the heavens as a martyr for the defense of the rights of the Palestinian nation and the holy places."

I would like to also write them a condolence letter...and through the wonders of the Internet, I will...

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hijazi,

Allow me to offer my sincere condolences on the unfortunate death of your son. From all accounts, it was a quick death - one resulting from your son opening fire on Israeli soldiers who had called for his surrender. I am not surprised he opened fire for I have no doubt he was taught, long ago, that surrender is an insult, an action unbecoming a soldier of Allah.

He died, as he lived, fighting his enemies, and for that, perhaps, I am sorriest of all. We never had to be enemies - your people and mine. We had a choice - way back at the beginning when we could have chosen to share this land in peace. My people accepted this compromise and your people chose war. That war that they chose and continue to choose each and every day, is what killed your son...that, and the hatred you instilled in him.

So I'm sorry you chose to raise him in hatred, fill his mind with lies and the belief he had no other option but to fight against impossible odds, a nation which sought only to fulfill its destiny. That's right - this land has always been ours and it was our destiny, from the minute we were expelled by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, to return to it.

I'm sorry that your son spent nearly one third of his life in prison for the crimes he committed. Though he was guilty of those crimes, the saddest part is that had he been raised to talk and not to fight; to listen and not to hate, his life may have added up to something, anything, other than his dying for nothing. And make no mistake, he certainly died for nothing. Not for the glory of Allah, not for the wonder of Islam.

Not only did he, thankfully, fail to murder Rabbi Yehudah Glick, he failed to do anything but prove that he, not Rabbi Glick, was the extremist. All Rabbi Glick ever did was talk - of the glory of my religion and of the history and future of this land. Rabbi Glick never raised a gun to shoot an innocent man; Rabbi Glick never threw stones at innocent cars and buses. He never firebombed anything; he never stabbed or bombed anyone.

The extremist is not a man who speaks words and dreams but a pathetic human being who chooses the path of barbaric violence in shooting an unarmed man. More, because police suspect your son also shot an unarmed soldier just minutes after I passed the bus station where he was waiting for a ride last August.

So, I write to you in great sadness. It can't be easy to lose a son, especially one that you failed so miserably. You raised him in darkness, in evil. You raised him to cherish death, not life. You taught him to seek martyrdom, not the way to return home each day safe and sound. His goal was to die, not to live to see his children grow in sunshine. That was what you taught him, what you allowed him to be taught.

May your son's memory live on among his people, as a prime example of what happens to those who choose violence, those not smart enough to realize the inevitability of defeat in this battle. Your son died for nothing and that perhaps is the greatest blessing to us, and the greatest curse for you.

I cannot wish your son well in the world to come. I believe in justice and I know that God will provide the justice that your son's quick death denied Israel. Your son will sit in prison...the prison of the heavens. He will pay the ultimate and eternal price for the vengeance and the blind hatred instilled from his youth.

In anger you raised your child; in anger and hate, he died. I cannot offer you my hope that things will change, that other Palestinian parents will now realize the futility of teaching your young to value and desire death and martyrdom.

Perhaps, rather than condolences, what I should offer you is my pity.

And I will sign this letter not with my name, but with that of my people, Israel. This is the message Israel should deliver to you and yours. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we pity you.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Today's Blessing - Day 37

There is, among Jews, a collective sense of community and history. It is stronger than anything I have encountered among other nations and peoples. If a Brit were traveling and came across a fellow Brit, they'd talk and share their thoughts, co-travelers that happen to be in the same space at the same time. If an American needed help while abroad, he/she would seek the nearest American Embassy, sure help would be awaiting. Certainly when two lone travelers from the same area meet up, they feel a united sense of commonality, but put those same people next to each other in the same city in their own home, and they likely would never speak.

It would never occur to citizens of either of those nations to assume they were welcome for a meal in a stranger's house, even a place to sleep, or whatever they needed. Half a dozen times a day, I am likely to speak to a total stranger here in Israel.

The rain begins to fall and everyone on the bus speaks about the wonder of rain. Anything you want to know about the bus' destination - just ask the person next to you.

When I told people I was traveling to England, several came over and offered to put me in touch with their family and friends. When I had a question about Amira studying in Hungary (she ended up not going), without hesitation, I picked up the phone and called a rabbi in Budapest and without hesitation, he answered all my questions. If I go practically anywhere in the world, I will almost instantaneously have a safe haven, a place to get food, learn more about the place.

I was with my brother in Paris many years ago, lost, hungry, tired. I was missing my husband, on my way with my brother to Israel, and just wished I'd booked the flight straight through instead of allowing for a brief tour.

I looked up and saw a couple walking - they could have been walking on the streets of Brooklyn or Israel...I approached them without hesitation. They were Jews and in that silent way we communicate - they would provide whatever assistance they could. My French wasn't good enough. They didn't speak English. I didn't speak Yiddish...Hebrew, they asked? Hebrew it was. They told me where I was, where we needed to go. And when we got to the first place, the store owner sat us down, fed us, and then drew us maps telling us where we needed to go, what trains, etc.

Years later, I was sitting in the Rome airport, tired and anxious to come home. I had more than 6 hours before my flight, but I was too tired to tour, my shoulder was aching. A woman came over and asked if I spoke Hebrew. I answered that I did and before I could say another word, she crumpled into the seat next to me and started to cry. She couldn't communicate with anyone there. She was hungry, had no money.

Air Italia had bumped her off a flight from NY while all her family was put onboard. She was scheduled her for another flight 9 hours later, my flight. She's been alone for three hours, scared, hungry. They'd given her vouchers to a restaurant that wasn't kosher and other than some Israeli shekels, she had no money with her.

It never occurred to her that I would do anything but help her. It never occurred to me to do anything but get up, pick up the backpack that was killing my shoulder, and begin walking her through getting food for her and sitting and talking with her. I got Air Italia to call her family in the States so she could tell them what happened and call her husband, who was waiting for her in Israel and would waste a trip to the airport if he wasn't told that she wasn't allowed on the train.

After she'd eaten, I stayed with her. We sat together and talked or read, waiting for the flight. Then, they announced that the departure gate for our flight had changed from Gate 5 to Gate 3. I heard the announcement in Italian (which I didn't understand) and English (which I did).

I told her we had to move and she started to cry again - what if I hadn't been there to tell her? But I am, I assured her and we rose together to begin to walk to the new gate. I saw a bunch of Israelis and so I turned and told them the flight had been changed to a different gate.

"You understand Italian?" one of the women asked me.

"No, they said it in English too," I answered. They smiled and thanked me and we all moved to the new gate. They could live hundreds of miles from me, or even worlds apart, and still we had that connection.

I was on a train going to Manchester and a woman with a baby walked up to me and asked me if I needed help - she was Jewish, lived in Manchester and wondered if I had a place to stay. I told her I was booked into a hotel but needed to find a cab. When we left the train, she asked a policeman where the taxis are and then translated what he said (which was kind of funny because I speak English and understood (and could easily have asked myself), but she felt the need to repeat back to me what he was saying). Then she asked her taxi driver how much he wanted to go out of his way and drop me first - I got a bargain of a ride, she was delayed a few minute - and both of us knew it was that magical, blessed connection.

Once our were traveling in the north of Israel and my husband had a terrible headache, bordering on a migraine. It was late enough that the pharmacies were closed. I walked over to the nearest house where there was a light on and knocked. My in-laws from the States were a bit surprised - you don't do that in NY.

A woman answered and I explained that my husband needed some medication. She welcomed me into her home and gave me water and pills while everyone was outside. Then the woman asked if perhaps he wanted to come in and lie down for a while till the medication began to work. She was almost upset that we didn't take her up on the offer, assuring me he would feel much better if he took that extra time and she wasn't at all worried about the children in the car. They were welcome too - she had toys from her grandchildren in the corner just waiting to be played with. In what world does this happen? The Jewish world, of course.

About two years ago, I took a friend from India on a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem and as we walked and as I talked, a woman came up and asked me in Hebrew to give a cup of warm soup to Shoshana. Instinctively, I took the cup that was thrust in my direction and then realized I didn't have a clue who Shoshana was.

"She is sitting at the bottom on the steps, towards the Western Wall." The woman answered.

My friend from India was astounded - that doesn't happen in New Delhi. Shoshana smiled and blessed me and we continued on our tour.

This weekend, Aliza invited a friend from Australia who is in school here until the school year starts there. Aliza is already sad that her friend will be leaving soon.

I've been invited to speak in India in March...I'm thinking about going. The first step, everyone suggests, is to reach out and find the Jews there. That's what we do before we go, when we are there - find community.

In as many places as there are Jews, that's how many open invitations I have around the world. It is a blessing to have this thread tie us together, this sense of community that transcends all cultural differences. We may have been born in different lands, speak different languages, but there is this tie that connects us.

It is what makes us mourn when a Jew is hurt anywhere in the world; it is what made the Israeli rescue mission to the tsunami not only offer universal aid, but also search out not only missing Israelis, but missing Jews as well.

It is what spurred Israel to send planes to Yemen and Ethiopia to bring the Jews out safely from oppression; and warn Europe's governments that Israel is forever watching. It is what urges us to call out to the Jews in France, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, come home now to Israel.

Today's blessing is one we live with every minute of every day - the unbroken, indefinable and yet distinct connection that we share; that sense of community, of unity. 

Everywhere I have ever gone in my life, I knew that help was just a Jewish door away. That is one of the most amazing blessings in my life...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bibi Responds to State Department Slur

An official of the State Department of the United States America called the Prime Minister of Israel a coward and chicken excrement. That's a polite term for the four letter word the person used.

John Kerry, a few days later, called the Israeli Prime Minister and apologized. I still have not heard that they fired the jerk.

In a recent speech, Bibi responded to the comment never mentioning it...

Here it is...this man is a leader and a great speaker. He is not a coward. And if anyone is would be the person who said it, his boss, and his boss' boss.

Count Your Blessings - Day 36

On Wednesday night, as I was preparing to close down, a news update came through. A 50-year-old Rabbi had been shot by an Arab terrorist. The Arab rode a motorcycle up to the man, asked the man to confirm his identity, and then shot him three times, at almost point-black range.

Rabbi Yehudah Glick was hit three times in the chest and stomach. The Arab assailant raced off into the distance as people around rushed to help Rabbi Glick. There are things I want to write about the attempted assassination, but for now, I'll write the blessing.

Rabbi Glick lost a tremendous amount of blood and was rushed to one of Jerusalem's four hospitals where he underwent emergency surgery. It was announced that he was in very critical condition, his life in danger.

And the blessing - doctors. The doctors worked very hard to save his life, and are still working, days later, because although Rabbi Glick is going better, he is still in critical condition, but responsive.

God gives certain people the ability to learn huge amounts of information, the desire to help  people they don't know. He gives them hands that heal, minds that seek out the best solution to each condition they face. God gives them the arrogance to demand the patient get better and the will power to invest time and energy getting that person out of danger.

I am thankful that overall, I have been healthy and see very few doctors - certainly none on a regular basis. I have gone to two internationally known doctors - one for my surgery and one for one of my children. Both doctors were amazing, patient. One said to me, "I'm not God; I can only tell you 99.9% that it will be okay." And it was.

The other, last year when operating on my shoulder, was beyond talented, understanding, patient, amazing.

May God bless Rav Yehuda Yehoshua ben Rivka Ita Breindel with a speedy and complete recovery and may his doctors be blessed for all that they do.

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