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"There is a well-known Hasidic tale about a group of rabbis who gathered on a special day to light a fire and pray at a certain place in the forest. While these men were themselves learned, they failed to impart their skills to successive generations. Eventually, those who came only knew how to light the fire not to say the prayers. And, as might be expected, soon there was no one who could even remember the place. All that remained was the story; the rituals that had been performed were lost forever."
It has been said that rituals are the vessel within which the essence and spirit of Judaism is transmitted to ourselves and to our children and generations thereafter. Are we like the men in the forest or are we ensuring the full measure and future of Judaism by experiencing its richness and imparting the knowledge and joy of Judaism of our glorious tradition?

 

{1}
Once all villagers decided to pray for rain,
on the day of prayer all the people gathered,
but only one boy came with an umbrella.

That's FAITH

{2}
When you throw a baby in the air, she laughs because she knows you will catch her.

That's TRUST

{3}
Every night we go to bed, without any assurance of being alive the next morning but still we set the alarms to wake up.

That's HOPE

{4}
We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future.

That's CONFIDENCE

{5}
We see the world suffering, but still we get married and have children.

That's LOVE

{6}
On an old man's shirt was written a sentence
'I am not 87 years old....
I am sweet 16 with 71 years experience'

That's ATTITUDE


Have a happy day,
live your life like the six stories!

   

"At the 2014 Oscars, they celebrated the 75th anniversary of the release
of the "Wizard of Oz" by having Pink sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", with
highlights from the film in the background. But what few people realized, while
listening to that incredible performer singing that unforgettable song, is that
the music is deeply embedded in the Jewish experience.
It is no accident, for example, that the greatest Christmas songs of all time were written by Jews. Forexample, "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was written by Johnny Marks and
"White Christmas" was penned by a Jewish liturgical singer's (cantor) son, Irving Berlin.
But perhaps the most poignant song emerging out of the mass exodus from Europe was
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
The lyrics were written by Yip Harburg. He was the youngest of four children
born to Russian Jewish immigrants. His real name was Isidore Hochberg and he
grew up in a Yiddish speaking, Orthodox Jewish home in New York. The music was
written by Harold Arlen, a cantor's son. His real name was Hyman Arluck and his
parents were from Lithuania.
Together, Hochberg and Arluck wrote "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", which was voted the 20th century's
number one song by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

In writing it, the two men reached deep into their immigrant Jewish consciousness - framed by the pogroms of the past and the Holocaust about to happen - and wrote an unforgettable melody set to near prophetic words.
Read the lyrics in their Jewish context and suddenly the words are no longer about wizards and Oz, but about Jewish survival:

Somewhere over the
rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a
lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that
you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a
star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt
like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find
me.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the
rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond
the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

The Jews of Europe could not fly. They could not escape beyond the rainbow. Harburg was
almost prescient when he talked about wanting to fly like a bluebird away from
the "chimney tops". In the post-Auschwitz era, chimney tops have taken on a
whole different meaning than the one they had at the beginning of 1939.
Pink's mom is Judith Kugel. She's Jewish of Lithuanian background. As Pink was belting the
Harburg/Arlen song from the stage at the Academy Awards, I wasn't thinking about the movie. I was thinking about Europe's lost Jews and the immigrants to America. I was then struck
by the irony that for two thousand years the land that the Jews heard of "once
in a lullaby" was not America, but Israel. The remarkable thing would be that
less than ten years after "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was first published, the
exile was over and the State of Israel was reborn. Perhaps the "dreams that you
dare to dream really do come true". By Simcha Jacobovici,Read the Complete article here.

Pro-Israel companies:
Here is a list of 18 companies that we should go out of our way to support and the reasons why.

1. The Chairman and CEO of STARBUCKS, Howard Schultz, is an active Zionist. In 1998 he was honored by the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah with 'The Israel 50th Anniversary Friend of Zion Tribute Award' for his services to the Zionist state in 'playing a key role in promoting close alliance between the United States and Israel '. At a time when other businesses were desperately pulling out of Israel, Starbucks decided to help Israel 's floundering economy and invest in Israel . It has been revealed that Starbucks still continues to support Israel by sponsoring fund raisers for Israel.

Another view on the Starbucks Story and an opinion from the ADL
--------------------------------------
2. THE LIMITED STORES , Express, Lerner New York , VICTORIAS SECRET and BATH & BODY WORKS: The Limited, Inc. was founded by Leslie H. Wexner in 1963 in Columbus , Ohio . Includes: THE LIMITED STORES, Express, Lerner New York , VICTORIAS SECRET and BATH & BODY WORKS, and employs over 115,000 people. Its founder, president and CEO Les Wexner is a Zionist. He is on the board of directors of Emet, the Pro-Israel Media 'War Room' whose function is to ensure that all media in the US stays biased in favor of Israel . In 1984, Les Wexner who is one of the world's 200 wealthiest people created the Wexner Foundation. Its mission statement is 'strengthening Jewish Leadership in North America and Israel .' One of the programs the Foundation runs is the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program which annually brings up to ten Israeli have participated thus far. The Wexner Foundation sponsors 'Birthright Israel ' - a program that pays for young American Jews to take free indoctrination trips to Israel. It is also a long-standing supporter of Hillel - the bastion of Zionism on campus.
----------------------------------
3. THE HOME DEPOT: Its founder and co-chairman of the Board is an active Zionist. He created the board of directors of Emet, the Pro-Israel Media 'War Room' whose function is to ensure that all media in the US stays biased in favor of Israel.
--------------------------------------
4. DISNEY: Walt Disney’s Millennium exhibition at the Epcot Centre in Florida depicts Jerusalem as the capital of Israel . Of the 8 million dollars it cost to set up the exhibition, Israel contributed 1.8 million and worked with Disney to develop its content.
----------------------------------------
5. AOL/TIME WARNER : AOL ALLOCATES 30% OF ITS INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO IN ISRAEL . (Can you believe it?!)
The buy up of Israeli company Mirabilis, creators of ICQ (internet chat program), for $287m in 1998 forms part of AOL's investment in Israel .
In 1998, Mr. Ted Leonsis, CEO of AOL studios (a business unit of AOL) received the Jubilee Award by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is the highest tribute ever awarded by the 'State of Israel in recognition of those individuals and organizations that through their investments and trade relationships have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.
--------------------
6. COCA COLA: From 1966 onward Coca-Cola has been a staunch supporter of Israel. In 1997 the Government of Israel Economic Mission honored Coca-Cola at the Israel Trade Award Dinner for its continued support of Israel for the last 30 years and for refusing to abide by the Arab League boycott of Israel . In contrast Pepsi abided by the Arab League boycott of Israel which ended in May 1991, after 1992 Pepsi is also trading in Israel . In 2001 the Coca-Cola World Headquarters hosted and was the main sponsor of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala. It has been revealed that Coca-Cola Israel sponsors training programs for its workers on subjects including the Israeli-Arab conflict. The course content is created by a company funded by the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government. In July 2002, it has been announced that Coca-Cola is to build a new plant at Kiryat Gat.
--------------------------------
7. ESTEE LAUDER:Estee Lauder's chairman, Ronald Lauder, also one time chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is the current president of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) - Ronald Lauder is an ardent Zionist.
------------------------------------
8. SARAH LEE . (Includes Hanes, Playtex, Leggs, Champion).This is also not to be confused with the frozen snacks company. This is in regard to the clothing giant. Sara Lee owns 30% of Israel 's leading textile company Delta Galil. Sara Lee is the world's largest clothing manufacturer, this opens the worlds markets to Israel , with cloths originating in Israel and being sold around the world under one of the many famous Sara Lee brands.
In 1998, Mr. Lucien Nessim of Sara Lee Personal Products received the Jubilee Award by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is the highest tribute ever awarded by the 'State of Israel ' in recognition of those individuals and organizations, that through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.
-------------------------------------
9. FOX TELEVISION, FOX ENTERTAINMENT : The News Corporation Limite is one of the world's largest media companies with total assets as of September 30, 2005 of approximately; US $58 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US $18 billion. News Corporation's diversified global operations include the production and distribution of motion pictures and television programming; television, satellite and cable broadcasting; the publication of newspapers, magazines and books; the production and distribution of promotional and advertising products and services; the development of digital broadcasting. News Corporation is the world's leading publisher of English-language newspapers with operations worldwide. The Company publishes more than 175 different newspapers, printing more than 40 million papers a week.
Murdoch's New Corp. invests heavily in Israel. Murdoch News Corporation was one of three US companies that was lauded for their support of Israel at the America-Israel Friendship League Partners for Democracy Awards dinner (25th June 2001);Murdoch himself co-chaired the dinner. News Corp.'s digital technology company based in Jerusalem , called NDS, has grown from 20 to 600 employees in the past decade.
--------------------------------
10. NESTLE: The Swiss company owns 50.1% of Israeli food maker Osem Investments. In Dec. 2000, it announced it will invest millions of dollars to operate the new R&D center in Israel . In 1998, Mr. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe on behalf of Nestle, received the Jubilee Award by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is the highest tribute ever awarded by the 'State of Israel ' in recognition of those individuals and organizations, that through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.
--------------------------
11. OVERSEAS ADVENTURE TRAVEL: Company is based in Massachusetts, is known for their many world tours and relatively cheap group travel. The company donates money to over 50 countries in which it operates in to help fund schools, food aid, etc. and averages between $5,000 and $25,000 per country. However, Israel received a flat $1,000,000 from Overseas Adventure Travel, as it's president is a Zionist.
--------------------------------------
12. IBM: IBM invests heavily in Israel. IBM senior vice-president and general counsel, Lawrence Ricciardi, who noted that his company employs 1,700 people in Israel, said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, 'This wedge of land and the huge ideals it represents are very important to IBM.' IBM was one of three US companies that was lauded at the America-Israel Friendship League Partners for Democracy Awards dinner ( 25th June 2001 ) hosted by Sharon. In May 2002 the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce awarded IBM the Ambassador's Award' in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the development of the Israeli high-tech industry and to advancing trade between the U.S.and Israel. IBM established operations in 1949 and was the first large American company with a wholly owned subsidiary in Israel , introducing computers to the country.
--------------------------------------
13. KIMBERLY-CLARK: (Huggies, Kotex, Kleenex) In 1998, Mr. Robert P. Van der Merwe, chairman of Kimberly-Clark Europe received the Jubilee Award by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is the highest tribute ever awarded by the 'State of Israel ' in recognition of those individuals and organizations that through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy. Kimberly Clark Corp owns 49.9% interest in Israeli company Hogla (6/96) through America-Israel PaperMills $49.9m.
---------------------------
14. RIVER ISLAND clothing chain, ISROTEL and IBROTEL HOTELSin Spain and Portugal, BRITANNIA PACIFIC PROPERTIES.(This one probably relates least to any of us) - a diversified international investment company, with headquarters in London , England . They said to be one of the largest real estate owners in the Sacramento Metropolitan area. It appears that the British based Lewis Trust Group is one of the companies developing hotels in the Aqaba Region. David Lewis, the Chairman of the company, is a prominent supporter of Israel. Mr. Lewis's activities have included the raising of money for the Jewish National Fund. He is also a member of the Israel-Britain Business Council. This organization is dedicated to the development of the Zionist State , by channeling British capital to the occupied territories for the benefit of the Zionists and the exploitation of the Palestinians.
------------------------------------------------------------
15. NOKIA: Nokia have started to invest heavily in Israel . Nokia general manager Lars Wolf said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post (4 March 2001): 'We are really focusing on Israel from all perspectives, because we have an internal project called 'Project Israel ' which means we a re looking at Israel from a networks perspective, from the perspective of Nokia Ventures Organization, and also from the perspective of Nokia Research Center.' Nokia Venture Partners, a branch of Nokia Ventures Organization, launched a new $500 million fund in December 2000 and allowed that a 'disproportionate' amount of it would go into Israeli companies. Nokia Research Center is on the lookout for Israeli start-ups with which it can cooperate.
----------------------------
16. TIMBERLAND: (clothing, shoes, boots, jackets, etc.) Timberlands is a $1.1 billion footwear, apparel & accessories company. Its President and CEO Jeffrey Swartz is an active Zionist. In a recent 'solidarity visit' to Israel, where he made it clear he was speaking as the CEO of Timberland, he suggested sending 100 IDF soldiers to the US for a week as ambassadors for Israel. Although Timberland is a publicly traded company, his family holds approximately 47% of the stock and has approximately 81% of the voting power.
-------------------------------------
17. DESERT EAGLE: Desert Eagles are the only firearms that Israel does not buy from the US or other countries. However, many of the parts of these firearms are imported from other countries and they are merely assembled in Israel . Regardless, Israel prides them as their own and it is strictly an Israeli company.
----------------------------
18. CATERPILLAR: Caterpillar is a company based in Illinois that manufactures large construction equipment such as bulldozers, tractors, various demolition equipment and has a line of 'tough guy' clothing apparel. Caterpillar happily supplies Israel with all of its current fleet of D9 and D10 bulldozers, some of the largest armored bulldozers in the world.

Ten Commandments - Layman's style

Someone has written these beautiful words. Must read and try to understand the deep meaning of it. They are like the ten commandments to follow in life all the time.

1. Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout.

2. So why is a car's windshield so large and the rear view mirror so small? Because our past is not as important as our future. So, look ahead and move on.

3. Friendship is like a book. It takes few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.

4. All things in life are temporary. If it’s going well, enjoy it, that won't last long. If it’s going badly, don't worry, that won't last long either.

5. Old friends are gold! New friends are diamond! If you get a diamond, don't forget the gold! Because to hold a diamond, you always need a base of gold!

6. Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!"

7. When God solves your problems, you have faith in His abilities; when God doesn't solve your problems, He has faith in your abilities.

8. A blind person asked St. Anthony, "Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?" He replied, "Yes, losing your vision!"

9. When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them; sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10. Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace.

 

 

 

The IOC’s refusal to permit a minute’s silence for victims of the Munich terror attack 40 years ago has already provoked a protest from the Italian team, who staged a minute’s solidarity silence outside the Israeli team’s quarters.

Now a French swimmer has found another method of commemoration. Fabien Gilot, a member of the gold medal-winning 4 x 100 team raised his arm in triumph to reveal a tattoo in English: I am nothing without them.

It is a tribute to his grandmother’s Jewish husband, Max Goldschmidt, an Auschwitz survivor and a huge influence on his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read about the Canada - Israel Friendship Stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone remembers Israel's daring 1976 rescue of hostages at Entebbe. This week marks the 40th anniversary of another incredible rescue:

On May 8, 1972 a Boeing 707 operated by the Belgian national airline, Sabena, was hijacked by four Palestinian terrorists en route from Vienna to Tel Aviv. The plane landed at Lod (later Ben Gurion Airport) and the terrorists threatened to blow up the airplane with its passengers.

(For the British pilot, Reginald Levy, it was an especially bad day: His wife was aboard the plane, and he was celebrating his 50th birthday.)

Israeli commandos quickly moved into action. First, they snuck under the plane to deflate its tires and disable its hydraulic systems.

Then, the commandos donned white overalls and disguised themselves as airplane mechanics. Ostensibly coming to "help" repair the plane, they successfully reached the plane without raising suspicion. They then quickly removed the Boeing 707's emergency exit doors and stormed the plane.

Within minutes it was all over. Two hijackers were killed and two others both women were captured. All the passengers were rescued.

Two of the commandos, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, went on to become Prime Minister of Israel. Netanyahu's brother, Yonatan (Yoni), also wanted to participate in the operation, but was refused on the grounds that two brothers should not be in danger on the same day. As it turns out, Bibi was wounded during the rescue operation and had to be evacuated. "I saw Yoni running toward me," he recalls. "When he saw that I have a big hole on the side of my face, a wide smile appeared on his. 'You see, I told you, you shouldn't have gone'."

Yoni was killed four years later in the Entebbe raid.

This week, at an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Sabena rescue, Netanyahu put Israel's fight against terror into perspective: "Ultimately, no one will defend the Jews if the Jews do not protect themselves. This is the cardinal rule."

 

In 1954, when Ben Gurion was prime minister, he travelled to the USA to meet with President Eisenhower to request his assistance and support in the early and difficult days of the State of Israel.

John Foster Dulles who was the then secretary of state confronted Ben Gurion and challenged him as follows: “Tell me, Mr. Prime Minister – who do you and your state represent? Does it represent the Jews of Poland, perhaps Yemen, Romania, Morocco, Iraq, Russia or perhaps Brazil? After 2000 years of exile can you honestly speak about a single nation, a single culture? Can you speak about a single heritage or perhaps a single Jewish tradition?”

Ben Gurion answered him as follows:
“Look, Mr Secretary of State – approximately 300 years ago the Mayflower set sail from England and on it were the first settlers who settled in what would become the largest democratic superpower known as the United States of America. Now, do me a favour - go out into the streets and find 10 American children and ask them the following:
· What was the name of the Captain of the Mayflower?
· How long did the voyage take?
· What did the people who were on the ship eat?
· What were the conditions of sailing during the voyage?
I’m sure you would agree with me that there is a good chance that you won’t get a good answer to these questions.
Now in contrast – not 300 but more than 3000 years ago, the Jews left the land of Egypt. I would kindly request from you Mr. Secretary that on one of your trips around the world, try and meet 10 Jewish children in different countries. And ask them:
· What was the name of the leader who took the Jews out of Egypt?
· How long did it take them before they got to the land of Israel?
· What did they eat during the period when they were wondering in the desert?
· And what happened to the sea when they encountered it
Once you get the answers to these questions, please carefully consider the question that you have just asked me!”

 

Morris “Two-Gun” Cohen was the one and only Jewish Chinese General and, for a time, was head of the Chinese Secret Service! One of his colleagues was Dr. Moses Schwarzberg, a Russian Jew who helped save China, for a time, from the Communists.

Click here to read more about his life.
   


The Last Great Holocaust Secret

A great many Jews know the story of how the Danes rescued 8,000 Jews from the Nazi's by smuggling them to Sweden in fishing boats.

Very few Jews, know the story of how all 50,000 Bulgarian Jews were saved. Not a single Bulgarian Jew was deported to the death camps, due to the heroism of many Bulgarians of every walk of life, up to and including the King and the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

In 1999, Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti Defamation League flew with a delegation to Sophia to meet the Bulgarian Prime Minister. He gave the Prime Minister the first Bulgarian language copy of a remarkable book, "Beyond Hitler's Grasp," written in 1998, by Michael Bar Oar, a professor at Emory University . (A Bulgarian Jew who had migrated to Israel and then to the USA ).

This book documents the rescue effort in detail. The ADL paid for and shipped 30,000 copies to Bulgaria , so that the population could partake in the joy of learning about this heroic facet of their history.

This story is clearly the last great secret of the Holocaust era. The story was buried by the Bulgarian Communists, until their downfall in 1991. All records were sealed, since they didn't wish to glorify the King, or the Church, or the non Communist parliamentarians, who at great personal risk, stood up to the Germans. And the Bulgarian Jewish Community, 45,000 of whom went to Israel after the War, were busy building new lives, and somehow the story remained untold.

Bulgaria is a small country and at the outset of the War they had 8 million people. They aligned themselves with the Nazi's in hopes of recapturing Macedonia from Yugoslavia and Thrace from Greece . Both provinces were stripped from them, after W.W.I. In late 1942 the Jews of Selonica were shipped north through Bulgaria , on the way to the death camps, in sealed box cars. The news of this inhumanity was a hot topic of conversation. Then, at the beginning of 1943, the pro Nazi Bulgarian government was informed that all 50,000 Bulgarian Jews would be deported in March. The Jews had been made to wear yellow stars and were highly visible.

As the date for the deportation got closer, the agitation got greater. Forty-three ruling party members of Parliament walked out in protest. Newspapers denounced what was about to happen. In addition, the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Krill, threatened to lie down on the railroad tracks. Finally, King Boris III forbade the deportation. Since Bulgaria was an ally of Germany , and the Germans were stretched militarily, they had to wrestle with the problem of how much pressure they could afford to apply. They decided to pass.

Several points are noteworthy. The Bulgarian Jews were relatively unreligious and did not stand apart from the local populace by virtue of garb, or rites. They were relatively poor by comparison to Jews in other countries, and they lived in integrated neighbor-hoods. Additionally, the Bulgarians had many minorities, Armenians, Turks, Greeks, and Gypsies, in addition to Jews.

There was no concept of racism in that culture. The bottom line here is that Bulgarians saw Bulgarian-Jews as Bulgarians, and not as Jews. And, being a small country, like Denmark , where there was a closeness of community that is often missing in larger countries. So, here was a bright spot that we can point to as example of what should have been.

The most famous of those saved was a young graduate of the Bulgarian Military Academy . When he arrived in Israel , he changed his name to Moshe Dayan.....

   

THE NAKED CHALLAH

…..once you eat your piece, then you can speak…. and other traditions, thoughts, and beliefs….

Challah may come from the root word “chalal” which means hollow. You bake this bread until it sounds hollow when it is tapped.  Or the term Challah may come from the Biblical commandment of “hafrashat challah” which involves burning a bit of this bread when it is baked to commemorate the destruction of the Temple.
           All I know is that when Jordan Bailinger bakes, it makes me want to shout CHALLAH-LUYAH.

Why is the bread torn rather than cut? The avoidance of using a knife is symbolic of the Biblical story of Abraham who in the end did not sacrifice his son Isaac with a knife when tested by G-d. Or the bread is torn because using a knife would signify violence when the Sabbath is all about peace.
All I know is that for me the Sabbath is a HAPPY CHALLAH  DAY
.
The braiding of the Challah may symbolize the intertwining of the Sabbath with the regular days of the week, as Friday passes into the Sabbath. Or much like the three pieces of the braid coming together, the Sabbath brings unity to family and friends.
All I know is the arrival of the weekend makes me WANNA CHALLAH.

Why do we cover the Challah? Challah is a symbol of the Manna that G-d made fall from the heavens to feed the Israelites after the Exodus from Egypt. The manna would be covered in dew every morning and that is why we cover the CHALLAH. Or we cover the Challah so that it shouldn’t be embarrassed. WHAT!!! During the week, we bless the bread before we bless the wine. But on the Sabbath, we bless the wine first… so we cover the bread so as not to embarrass it while it stands before the wine and waits.
 All I know is I can’t wait to see “allayah” at the synagogue.
      

Yours, Ilissa Zimmerman

    Did you know this??

"At the beginning of last century, in the emotional hotbed of New
Orleans, a child slave of the ghetto was born of a prostitute mother
and "missing" father.
He somehow stumbled into the attention of a financially poor but loving Russian Jewish immigrant family, the Karnofskys. This little fellow, with an appreciative, magnetic personality, attached himself to the father, to help him with his horse-and-wagon hauling business.
The Karnofskys loved the child, took him in for dinners, including Shabbat, and provided more than bed and shelter. They provided him with the love he needed, and his first musical instrument that led this confused, hungry youngster onto worldwide fame - as a jazz performer, music innovator and worldwide ambassador for humanity.
Louis Armstrong proudly spoke fluent Yiddish, from his childhood through his whole life, and always wore a Star of David around his neck.

    ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it
cheerfully.

TWO ... Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get
older, their conversational skills will be as important as any
other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or
sleep all you want.

FOUR . When you say, 'I love you ,' mean it.

FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the
eye..

SIX ... Be engaged at least six months before you get
married.

SEVEN.. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't
have dreams don't have much.

NINE . Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt
but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. .... In disagreements, fight fairly. No
name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their
relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you
don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great
achievements involve great risk..

FIFTEEN. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone
sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for
self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN.. Don't let a little dispute injure a
great friendship...

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take
immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone.. The caller will
hear it in your voice.


TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.
   

The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year.

Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

Israel the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:

The cell phone was developed in Israel by working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.

Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft - Israel.

The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.

Both the Pentium - 4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.

The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.

Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.

The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.


Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel's air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16's. This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U. S.

Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.


Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people -- as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world.

In absolute Israel has the largest number of start-up companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S. ! (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world -- apart from the Silicon Valley, U.S.

Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S.

Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.

The per capita income in Israel in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.

On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.

Twenty-four per cent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.

Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon and Moses) at Risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel.

When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.

When the U. S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day -- and saved three victims from the rubble.
Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship -- and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.

Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant - absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union)

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."

Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books.

Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because, this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert!

Israel has more museums per capita than any other country

Medicine ... Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment.

Every year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.

Israels Given Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, cancer and digestive disorders.

Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the camera helps doctors diagnose heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.

Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technici ans in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as well.

A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct -- all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California's Mojave desert.

All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on earth.

 

21st Century Jew?

   

Reflections by Michal Van Dommelen

 


JEWS ALWAYS HAVE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS.
SMART JEWS HAVE BRILLIANT ANSWERS.

Sir Moses Haim Montefiore (1784-1885), a British Jewish banker and philanthropist, determined defender of human rights and sheriff of London , was once seated at dinner next to an important personality and an anti-Semite, who told him he had just returned from Japan where they "have neither pigs nor Jews."

Montefiore replied instantly: "Accordingly, you and I should go there so they can have a sample of each."

  Parshas Re'eh
Rabbi Dovid Zauderer
**************************
RABBIS AND FISH



Last week, I was in the mood of a good fish meal. I told my wife "I hate to carp on things - and I don't want to sound shellfish - but I've haddock with the same old chicken we have every night for dinner". I searched the net for the top fish restaurants in town - kosher, of course - and found one that would suit our porpoises perfectly. It had no o-fish-al website, but the plaice had good prices and was located just down the turn-pike. We made reservations for eight o'clock, since the piano tuna was coming at seven. I was looking forward to having a whale of a time. When we got there, the waiter sat us down at a corner table without saying a word - the guy looked like he had no sole. He blankly said, "Due to the BP oil spill, our prices have gone up tremendously." I waited with bait-ed breath to hear how much the poached salmon would cost. When the waiter told me the price, I said I would have to mullet over. I finally decided to order the sea bass. Thinking about the mess down in the Gulf, I jokingly asked the waiter, "Can I have unleaded, please?" Needless to say, he didn't laugh. I took one bite of the sea bass and, all of a sudden, started feeling violently ill. I said, "Oh, Cod, this fish tastes horrible!" It turns out that the fish hadn't even been cooked! I told the waiter, "You don't have to be a brain sturgeon to know that this fish is raw!" My wife calmed me down. Although I wanted to sue-she convinced me not to. So we just left and went home.


You're probably wondering why I shared that punny story with you .... Actually, I have no good reason. I did it just for the halibut.
Seriously, folks ... there is something really fishy in this week's Torah portion that I need to tell you about because I think it will blow(fish) your minds:
In Deuteronomy 14:9-10 (as well as in Leviticus 11:9), the Torah lists the signs that make fish kosher: "These you may eat of all that are in the waters; all that have fins and scales, you may eat. But whatever does not have fins and scales, you shall not eat; it is unclean for you."
So far, nothing too amazing, right? Just a Biblical verse telling us the two signs fish need to have to be considered kosher and fit for eating. But wait ... hold on to your seatbelts ... we're not done yet.
The Mishnah in Tractate Niddah (6:9) states the following: "Any fish that has scales also has fins, but there are some fish that have fins and do not have scales."


What the Mishnah is teaching us - in practical terms - is that any fish that has scales is presumed to be kosher (without needing to check for fins) because if it has scales then it must also have fins.
Do you get it yet? Isn't it just amazing?
If you still aren't blown away by now ... I need to give you a little more background as to what exactly the "Mishnah" is - and for that I will go to everyone's favorite source of reputable information online .... Wikipedia!
The Mishnah (Hebrew: "repetition", from the verb 'shanah', or "to study and review"), is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah" and the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c. 220 CE by Rabbi Judah HaNasi when, according to the Talmud, the persecution of the Jews and the passage of time raised the possibility that the details of the oral traditions dating from earlier times (536 BCE - 70 CE) would be forgotten. The Mishnah is also called 'Shas' (an acronym for Shisha Sedarim - the "six orders"), in reference to its six main divisions. Rabbinic commentaries on the Mishnah over the next three centuries were redacted as the Gemara, which, coupled with the Mishnah, comprise the Talmud.


The Mishnah reflects debates between 70-200 CE by the group of rabbinic sages known as the Tannaim. The Mishnah teaches the oral traditions by example, presenting actual cases being brought to judgment, usually along with the debate on the matter and the judgment that was given by a wise and notable rabbi based on the rules, Mitzvos, and spirit of the teaching ("Torah") that guided his sentencing. In this way, it brings to everyday reality the practice of the mitzvos as presented in the Bible, and aimed to cover all aspects of human living, serve as an example for future judgments, and, most importantly, demonstrate pragmatic exercise of the Biblical laws.
The Mishnah consists of six orders (sedarim, singular seder), each containing 7-12 tractates (masechtos, singular maseches; lit. "web"), 63 in total, and further subdivided into chapters and paragraphs. The orders and their subjects are: Zeraim ("Seeds"), dealing with prayer and blessings, tithes and agricultural laws (11 tractates), Mo'ed ("Festival"), pertaining to the laws of the Sabbath and the Festivals (12 tractates), Nashim ("Women"), concerning marriage and divorce, some forms of oaths and the laws of the nazirite (7 tractates), Nezikin ("Damages"), dealing with civil and criminal law, the functioning of the courts and oaths (10 tractates), Kodshim ("Holy things"), regarding sacrificial rites, the Temple, and the dietary laws (11 tractates) and Taharos ("Purities"), pertaining to the laws of purity and impurity, including the impurity of the dead, the laws of food purity and bodily purity (12 tractates).


You see, the Mishnah, which was written by great Rabbis well over 1800 years ago, made a Halachic statement that any fish that you find anywhere in the world that has scales on it, must also have had fins (even if they are not readily evident for whatever reason) and is kosher to eat.
With over 25,000(!) species of fish around the world, how could the Rabbis possibly have known - and stated as Jewish Law with practical implications - that every fish with scales also has fins .... and they got it right!!!!
The commentaries on the Talmud (see, for example, the Tosafists commentary to Chullin 66b) explain that the only way that the Sages of the Mishnah could have known such a fact - short of sailing around the entire globe and documenting all the fish of all the oceans, rivers and lakes, which would have been impossible for them to do - is if G-d Himself, Who created and knows all the fish that exist, revealed this information to them through Moses at Mount Sinai.


In other words, what we are saying is that this Mishnah about signs of kosher fish is solid proof that the "Oral Torah" that was written by the Rabbis, emanated from G-d at Mount Sinai, no different from the "Written Torah" that was written by G-d Himself (through Moses).
[I should mention that there is a nasty, hate-filled Jewish website - which shall remain URL-less - in which they challenge the assertion of the Rabbis of the Mishnah that all fish that have scales must have fins. They claim to have spoken to the Smithsonian Institution, which came up with one(!) fish that supposedly has scales and no fins. The fish involved is called Monopterus cuchia of the swamp-eels family and the class of ray-finned fishes. But they made a mistake and thought that the fish did not have a fin. Actually, it has a rudimentary dorsal fin. Even the name of the fish testifies that it has a single fin, since the word ptero means wing, and the word mono means one. So the claim made by the Rabbis of the Mishnah still stands!]
So the next time we read something in the Torah quoted from the Rabbis of the Mishnah or the Talmud - and it sounds kind of "fishy" and hard to believe - let's remember Where and from Whom these great people got their info ... a source infinitely more reliable than Wiki!

  Japanese Mezzuzah
   

Thoughts on Yom haZikaron and Yom HaAtzamut

Monday morning at 11 AM Israel time , sirens will sound throughout Israel marking Yom haZikaron- the memorial for Israel's fallen soldiers. Anyone who ever was privileged to experience this knows how awe inspiring and eerie it is so see an entire country grind to a halt to pay tribute to their fallen soldiers.

Rav Soloveitchik zt'l wrote the following words, which perhaps sums up Yom haZikaron better than I can:

"If you ask me, how do I, a Talmudic Jew, look upon the flag of the State of Israel, and has it any halachic value? - I would answer plainly.

I do not hold at all with the magical attraction of a flag or of similar symbolic ceremonies. Judaism negates ritual connected with physical things. Nonetheless, we must not lose sight of a law in the Shulchan Aruch to the effect that: "One who has been killed by non-Jews is buried in his clothes, so that his blood may be seen and avenged, as it is written, 'I will hold (the heathen) innocent, but not in regard to the blood which they have shed' (Joel 4:21)." In other words, the clothes of the Jew acquire a certain sanctity when splattered with the blood of a martyr.

How much more is this so of the blue and white flag, which has been immersed in the blood of thousands of young Jews who fell in the War of Independence defending the country and the population (religious and irreligious alike; the enemy did not differentiate between them). It has a spark of sanctity that flows from devotion and self-sacrifice. We are all enjoined to honor the flag and treat it with respect."

 


The Two-Minute Haggadah is from:


Allgenerations, Inc.
e-Network
for "All" the Generations

Click here to read more stories and thoughts from the Allgenerations April 17, 2011 e-Letter
Passover Edition.

 

 

"The Two-Minute Haggadah; A Passover Service for the Impatient"
By Michael Rubiner

Opening Prayers:
Thanks, G-d, for creating wine. (Drink wine)
Thanks for creating produce. (Eat parsley)

Overview:
Once we were slaves in Egypt.
Now we're free. That's why we're doing this.

Four questions:
1. What's up with the matzoh?
2. What's the deal with horseradish?
3. What's with the dipping of the herbs?
4. What's this whole slouching at the table business?

Answers:
1. When we left Egypt, we were in a hurry. There was no time for
making decent bread.
2. Life was bitter, like horseradish.
3. It's called symbolism.
4. Free people get to slouch.

A funny story:
Once, these five rabbis talked all night, then it was morning. (Heat soup now)

The four kinds of children and how to deal with them:
Wise child - explain Passover.
Simple child - explain Passover slowly.
Silent child - explain Passover loudly.
Wicked child - browbeat in front of the relatives.

Speaking of children:
We hid some matzoh. Whoever finds it gets five bucks.
The story of Passover: It's a long time ago. We were slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh
is a nightmare. We cry out for help. G-d brings plagues upon the Egyptians.
We escape, bake some matzoh. G-d parts the Red Sea. We make it through; the
Egyptians aren't so lucky.

We wander 40 years in the desert, eat manna, get the Torah, wind up in Israel, get a new temple, enjoy several years without being persecuted again. (Let brisket cool now)

The 10 Plagues:
Blood, Frogs, Lice - you name it.

The Singing of "Dayenu:
"If God had gotten us out of Egypt and not punished our enemies, it would've been enough.
If he'd punished our enemies and not parted the Red Sea, if would've been enough."
Remove gefilte fish from refrigerator now.
Eat matzoh.
Drink more wine.
Slouch.
Thanks again, G-d, for everything.

Serve Meal
Say Grace. Drink more wine. Sing some more songs. Try to stay awake.
Who knows one? Who knows two through thirteen?
Dad bought a goat for two zuzim.
Everyone beats up every one until G-d steps in.
Go to sleep.
Do it again another night.

 

Elizabeth Taylor converted to Reform Judaism in 1959.

It was announced by Temple Israel, of which Rabbi Max Nussbaum, a
leading Zionist, was the spiritual leader.

She took the Hebrew name Elisheba Rachel Taylor and later said that her
decision to join the Jewish people had nothing to do with her marriage,
but rather was something she "had wanted to do for a long time."

The ceremony took place in the chapel of Temple Israel in the presence
of Convert Taylor’s parents. Facing the open Ark of the Covenant and
the Holy Scrolls, she answered the ritual questions put to her by Rabbi
Nussbaum. Among them: “Do you promise to cast in your lot with the
people of Israel amid all circumstances and conditions?” “Do you agree
to rear your future children according to the Jewish faith?”
Then Elisheba Rachel Taylor repeated the pledge: “I, of my own free
will, seek the fellowship of Israel . . . I believe that G-d is One,
Almighty, All-Wise and Most Holy . . . I promise that I shall endeavor
to live, as far as it is in my power, in accordance with the ideals of
Jewish life . . . Most fervently, therefore, do I herewith pronounce
the Jewish confession of faith: Shma yisroel adonoy elohenu adonoy
echod [Hear, O Israel: the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One]. Boruch shem
kvod malchuso I’olom voed [Praised be his name whose glorious kingdom
is for ever and ever].”

In 1959 Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth Taylor bought $100,000 in Israeli
bonds. As a result, The United Arab Republic officially banned all
motion pictures featuring Hollywood cinema star Elizabeth Taylor.

In 1962 Elizabeth Taylor was barred from entering Egypt as she was
blacklisted as Jewish. As a result the movie CLEOPATRA had to be moved
from Egypt to Rome for its completion. Gen. Essam Elmasri said in the
Egyptian capital that Miss Taylor will not be allowed to come to Egypt
because she has adopted the Jewish faith and "supports Israeli causes."

In 1977, Elizabeth Taylor offered herself as a hostage for the more
than 100 Air France hijack victims held by terrorists at Entebbe
Airport in Uganda during the tense days before the Israeli rescue raid.

Time and time again Elizabeth Taylor raised money for the State of
Israel, over 2 million dollars raised thanks to her.

In 1967 Elizabeth Taylor cancelled plans to attend the July Moscow Film
Festival because of opposition to the Soviet diplomatic offensive
against Israel.

In 1983 Elizabeth Taylor traveled to Israel and met with Prime Minister
Menachem Begin at his office in Jerusalem. The session was part of Ms.
Taylor's one-woman peace effort.

In 1987 Elizabeth Taylor helped launched an appeal to free Soviet
Jewish refusenik Ida Nudel

I like to share this story, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton used to
really go at it and publicly , they would rival the likes of Charlie
Sheen, lol. One such fight involved over who was more Jewish. Burton who was not Jewish said to Elizabeth Taylor “You are not Jewish at all “ in one of
their very public fights. To which Elizabeth Taylor responded “I am
Jewish and you can F**k off”.

Read more about Taylor's conversion to Judaism here.

Read Time Magazine's article about her conversion from 1959 here.

   

For those who frequent Chinese restaurants and see
the placemats showing the Chinese zodiac (you know,
the year of the rat, the year of the monkey, etc.)
-well, here is the official Jewish equivalent. Now
you can find out who you really are.

_The Year of:_

CHICKEN SOUP
1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
You're a healer, nourishing all whom you encounter.
We feel better just being in your presence. Mothers
want to bring you home to meet their children -
resist this at all costs. Compatible with Bagel and
Knish.

EGG CREAM
1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
You've got a devious personality since you're made
with neither eggs nor cream. Friends find your
pranks refreshing; others think you're too frothy.
Compatible with Blintz, who also has something to hide.

CHOPPED LIVER
1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
People either love you or hate you, making you
wonder "What am I, chopped liver?" But don't get a
complex; you're always welcome at the holidays!
Bagel's got your back.

BLINTZ
1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
Creamy and dreamy, you're rightfully cautious to
travel in pairs. You play it coy but word is that,
with the right topping, you turnover morning, noon
and night. Compatible with Schmear.

LATKE
1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007
Working class with a grating exterior, you're a real
softie on the inside. Kind of plain naked, but when
dressed up you're a real dish. Compatible with
Schmear's cousin Sour Cream.

BAGEL
1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
You're pliable and always bounce back, although you
feel something's missing in your center. If this
persists, get some therapy. Compatible with Schmear
and Lox...Latke and Knish, not so much.

PICKLE
1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
You're the perfect sidekick: friends love your salty
wit and snappy banter, but you never overshadow
them. That shows genuine seasoning from when you
were a cucumber. Marry Pastrami later in life.

SCHMEAR
1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
You blend well with others but often spread yourself
too thin. A smooth operator, you could use some
spicing up now and then. Compatible with Bagel and
Lox. Avoid Pastrami - wouldn't be kosher.

PASTRAMI
1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Brisket's hipper sibling, always smokin' and ready
to party. You spice up life even if you keep your
parents up at night. Compatible with Pickle, who's
always by your side.

BLACK AND WHITE ICE CREAM SODA
1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Kids love you, but make up your mind! Are you black
or white? Cake or cookie? You say you're "New Age,"
all yin & yang. We call it "bipolar." Sweetie,
you're most compatible with yourself.

KNISH
1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Flaky on the surface, you're actually a person of
depth and substance. Consider medical or law school,
but don't get too wrapped up in yourself. Compatible
with Pickle. Avoid Lox, who's out of your league.

LOX
1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
Thin and rich, you're very high maintenance: all you
want to do is bask in the heat, getting some color.
Consider retiring to Boca. Compatible with Bagel and
Schmear, although you top them both.

    Christmas is one day, same day every year. December 25. Jews love Dec.
25th. It's another paid day off work.
We go to movies and out for Chinese food, and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don't look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from either the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida).

Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.

Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos.... Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks, or the collected works of the Rambam which looks impressive on the bookshelf.

There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanuka, Chanukkah, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannuka, Hannukah.

Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends. Their partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No one expects a diamond ring on Chanukah.

Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Chanukah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis.

Christmas carols are beautiful. Silent Night, O Come O Ye Faithful.....Chanukah songs are about dreidels made from clay or having a party and dancing the horah. Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the beautiful carols were composed and written by our tribal brethren. And don't Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?

A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful. The sweet smell of cookies and cakes baking. Happy people are gathered around in festive moods. A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes and onions. The home, as always, is full of loud people all talking at once.

Women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Women burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes on Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages.

Parents deliver to their children during Christmas. Jewish parents have no qualms about withholding a gift any of the eight nights.

The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary, Joseph and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus, Judah Maccabee, and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On the plus side, we can tell our friends anything, and they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history.

Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think, Joseph, bubela... snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn't sleep with her, and now she wants to blame God!? Here's the number of my shrink.

In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized. The same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday. It makes sense. How could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kipppur? Forget about celebrating. Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200. per person.

Better stick with Chanukah.
   

THOSE DARN ISRAELIS ARE AT IT AGAIN

1. Scientists in Israel found that the brackish water, drilled from underground desert aquifers hundreds of feet deep, could be used to raise warm-water fish. The geothermal water, less than one-tenth as saline as sea water, free of pollutants, and a toasty 98 degrees on average, proves an ideal environment..

2. Israeli-developed designer-eyeglasses, promise mobile phone and iPod users, a personalized, high-tech video display. Available to US consumers next year, Lumus-Optical's lightweight and fashionable video eyeglasses, feature a large transparent screen, floating in front of the viewer's face that projects their choice of movie, TV show, or video game.

3. When Stephen Hawkins recently visited Israel , he shared his wisdom with scientists, students, and even the Prime Minister. But the world's most renowned victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, also learned something, due to the Israeli Association for ALS' advanced work in both embryonic and adult stem cell research, as well as its proven track record with neurodegenerative diseases. The Israeli research community is well on its way to finding a treatment for this fatal disease, which affects 30,000 Americans.

4. Israeli start -up, Veterix, has developed an innovative new electronic capsule that sits in the stomach of a cow, sheep, or goat, sending out real-time information on the health of the herd, to the farmer via email or cell phone. The e-capsule, which also sends out alerts if animals are distressed, injured, or lost is now being tested on a herd of cows, in the hopes that the device will lead to tastier and healthier meat and milk supplies.

5. The millions of Skype users worldwide will soon have access to the newly developed KishKish lie-detector. This free internet service, based on voice stress analysis (a technique, commonly used in criminal investigations) will be able to measure just how truthful that person on the other end of the line, really is.

6. Beating cardiac tissue has been created in a lab from human embryonic stem cells by researchers at the Rappaport Medical Faculty and the Technion - Israeli institute of Technology 's biomedical Engineering facility. The work of Dr. Shulamit Levenberg and Prof. Lior Gepstein, has also led to the creation of tiny blood vessels within the tissue, making possible its implantation in a human heart.

7. Israel 's Magal Security Systems, is a worldwide leader in computerized security systems, with products used in more than 70 countries around the world, protecting anything from national borders, to nuclear facilities, refineries, and airports. The company's latest Product, DreamBox, a state-of-the-art security system that includes Intelligent video, audio and sensor management, is now being used by a major water authority on the US east coast to safeguard the utility's sites.

8. It is common knowledge that dogs have better night vision than humans and a vastly superior sense of smell and hearing. Israel 's Bio-Sense Technologies recently delved further and electronically analyzed 350 different barks. Finding that dogs of all breeds and sizes, bark the same alarm when they sense a threat, the firm has designed the dog bark-reader, a sensor that can pick up a dog's alarm bark, and alert the human operators. This is just one of a batch of innovative security systems to emerge from Israel which Forbes calls 'the go-to country for anti-terrorism technologies.'

9. Israeli company, BioControl Medical, sold its first electrical stimulator to treat urinary incontinence to a US company for $50 Million. Now, it is working on CardioFit, which uses electrical nerve stimulation to treat congestive heart failure. With nearly five million Americans presently affected by heart failure, and more than 400,000 new cases diagnosed yearly, the CardioFit is already generating a great deal of excitement as the first device with the potential to halt this deadly disease.

10. One year after Norway 's Socialist Left Party launched its Boycott Israel campaign, the importing of Israeli goods has increased by 15%, the strongest increase in many years, statistics Norway reports.

 

 

To: The General Secretary of the Methodist Church and Connexial Team.

Dear Sir,

In your annual conference you have passed a policy calling for a boycott of goods from “illegal” Israeli West Bank settlements”. You claim this is not anti-Semitic. But how else do you explain this strange obsession with Israel? What about the Chinese occupation of Tibet, or the Sudanese slaughter in Darfur, persecution in Zimbabwe and elsewhere? Politically, one could probably compile a case for a boycott against just about every country on the planet, but the only country in the world being subjected to a call for a boycott is Israel. Click here to read more.

 

Effort to fly Israelis stranded in Europe to Israel
Noam Bedein

April 19, 2010: It was Monday, the eve of Israel 's Independence Day and the fifth day in the world's largest aviation crisis that has paralyzed Europe, following a volcanic explosion in Iceland which left the sky of 23 countries clouded in volcanic dust.

I was left stranded in Holland, but after hearing that El Al had promised to send more Israeli jets to Europe to collect stranded Israelis, I foundmyself traveling to Rome, halfway across the European continent by train.

After 27 hours of a nerve-racking trip, I remained doggedly determined to join the rest of the people of Israel in celebration of Israel Independence Day. I finally arrived at Terminal 5 in Rome at 23:30.

Much to my amazement, I found a nearly empty terminal, deserted of passengers, aircrafts, and airline employees. Only one ticket counter had a long line of people and that was of course El Al. Exhausted Israelis from all corners of Europe had arrived to board the jumbo plane decked with Israeli flags. El Al specifically sent the plane to gather Israeli travelers and bring them back home to celebrate Independence Day with their families.

It was a sort of in gathering of the exiles sponsored and facilitated by El Al. El Al, Israel's largest airline, privatized in 2003, serves as the national airline of Israel . It was one of the first if not the only airline that was able to adjust to a state of emergency in less than 24 hours when airports across Europe were forced to shut down.

It is amazing how every time there is a national disaster or international crisis, Israel , somehow, is always among the first countries to act and lend a hand. As such a tiny country, which since its establishment has existed under constant terror and threat, Israel is constantly in a state of preparedness as well.

Zionism still here and kicking.

On my way to Rome during the weekend on the train, I heard from many other Israelis that countless airlines on which they had flown did not open emergency centers in order to instruct passengers how to act during this emergency situation.

Israeli media did not stop broadcasting the news that El Al was operating to return stranded Israelis back to Israel and consequently the airline established an emergency information center to receive calls and share information on flight location points where Israelis could verify where to catch a flight back to Israel .

El Al sent 15 additional jets to transport 20,000 Israelis stuck across Europe in places including Munich , Madrid , Barcelona and Rome . El Al also ensured that the same ticket could be used regardless of the country from which travelers were scheduled to fly from in Europe, even if the flight from that particular country had been cancelled to Israel .

In addition, the El-Al crews did an amazing job, working over 20 hours non-stop to provide the best quality of services in this time of emergency.

The flight from Rome to Tel Aviv on April 20, 2010, was the best way to begin celebrating 62 years to the state of Israel . During the soft landing in Ben Gurion Airport at 7 am, I felt that there was something Biblical in the operation, something like "the wings of eagles."

As I traveled, I had much time to reflect on the country's current state and where we are today, after 2,000 years of dreaming of returning to our homeland.

I can honestly say that my experience this past Israel Independence Day renewed my belief in our state. I am back home in Sderot, the world "capital" of bomb shelters, with hope in my heart, that Zionism is still here and kicking, and that the Jewish state will continue to stand up for her citizens both around the world and at home.

Thanks to El Al, 20,000 Israelis made it back home in what was truly a reflection of the spirit that helped make Israel independent 62 years ago.

 

Eric Hoffer was one of the most influential American philosophers and free thinkers of the 20th Century. His books are still widely read and quoted today. Acclaimed for his thoughts on mass movements and fan aticism, Hoffer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in1983. Hopewell Publications awards the best in independent publishing across a wide range of categories, singling out the most thought provoking titles in books and short prose, on a yearly basis in honor of Eric Hoffer.

ISRAEL 'S PECULIAR POSITION...by Eric Hoffer

Los Angeles Times May 26,1968.

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees.

Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.

Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms.
But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace.
Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.
Other nations, when they are defeated, survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed.

Had Nasser triumphed last June [1967], he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews.

No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on.

There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia. But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one demonstrated against him.

The Swedes, who were ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we did in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews.

They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troops in Norway. The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts, and Jewish resources.

Yet at this moment, Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally.
We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer [1967] had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war, to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us all.

    GOT TORAH?
  THE SHIDDUCH
A good Hassidic family is most concerned that their 30-year-old son is unmarried.

So, they call a marriage broker and ask him to find their son a good wife. The broker comes over to their house and spends a long time asking questions of the son and his parents as to what they want in a wife/daughter-in-law. They give him a long shopping list of requirements.

The marriage broker takes a long time looking, and finally asks to visit the family again. He then tells them of a wonderful woman he has found.

He says she's just the right age for the son. She keeps a Glatt Kosher home, she regularly attends synagogue and knows the prayers by heart, and she’s a wonderful cook. She loves children and wants a large family. And, to crown it all off, she's gorgeous.

After hearing all this, the family is very impressed and begins to get excited about the prospects of a wedding in the near future..

But the son pauses and asks inappropriately: 'Is she also good in bed?'
The marriage broker answers, 'some say yes....some say no.......

 

Chutzpah is a Yiddish word meaning gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, sheer guts plus arrogance; it's Yiddish and, as Leo Rosten writes, no other word, and no other language, can do it justice. This example is better than a thousand words...

A little old lady sold pretzels on a street corner for 25 cents each. Every day a young man would leave his office building at lunch time and as he passed the pretzel stand he would leave her a quarter, but never take a pretzel.

And this went on for more then 3 years. The two of them never spoke. One day as the young man passed the old lady's stand and left his quarter as usual, the pretzel lady spoke to him.

Without blinking an eye she said:

"They're 35 cents now."

 

     
 

Lilly Friedman doesn't remember the last name of the woman who designed and sewed the wedding gown she wore when she walked down the aisle over 60 years ago. But the grandmother of seven does recall that when she first told her fiancee Ludwig that she had always dreamed of being married in a white gown he realized he had his work cut out for him.

For the tall, lanky 21-year-old who had survived hunger, disease and torture this was a different kind of challenge. How was he ever going to find such a dress in the Bergen Belsen Displaced Person's camp where they felt grateful for the clothes on their backs?

Fate would intervene in the guise of a former German pilot who walked into the food distribution center where Ludwig worked, eager to make a trade for his worthless parachute. In exchange for two pounds of coffee beans and a couple of packs of cigarettes Lilly would have her wedding gown.

For two weeks Miriam the seamstress worked under the curious eyes of her fellow DPs, carefully fashioning the six parachute panels into a simple, long sleeved gown with a rolled collar and a fitted waist that tied in the back with a bow. When the dress was completed she sewed the leftover material into a matching shirt for the groom.

A white wedding gown may have seemed like a frivolous request in the surreal environment of the camps, but for Lilly the dress symbolized the innocent, normal life she and her family had once led before the world descended into madness.

Lilly and her siblings were raised in a Torah observant home in the small town of Zarica, Czechoslovakia where her father was a melamed, respected and well liked by the young yeshiva students he taught in nearby Irsheva.

He and his two sons were marked for extermination immediately upon arriving at Auschwitz . For Lilly and her sisters it was only their first stop on their long journey of persecution, which included Plashof, Neustadt, Gross Rosen and finally Bergen Belsen.

 

Four hundred people marched 15 miles in the snow to the town of Celle on
January 27, 1946 to attend Lilly and Ludwig's wedding. The town synagogue, damaged and desecrated, had been lovingly renovated by the DPs with the meager materials available to them. When a Sefer Torah arrived from England they converted an old kitchen cabinet into a makeshift Aron Kodesh.

"My sisters and I lost everything - our parents, our two brothers, our homes. The most important thing was to build a new home."

Six months later, Lilly's sister Ilona wore the dress when she married Max Traeger. After that came Cousin Rosie. How many brides wore Lilly's dress? "I stopped counting after 17." With the camps experiencing the highest marriage rate in the world, Lilly's gown was in great demand.

In 1948, when President Harry Truman finally permitted the 100,000 Jews who had been languishing in DP camps since the end of the war to emigrate, the gown accompanied Lilly across the ocean to America . Unable to part with her dress, it lay at the bottom of her bedroom closet for the next 50 years, "not even good enough for a garage sale. I was happy when it found such a good home."

Home was the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington , D.C. When Lily's niece, a volunteer, told museum officials about her aunt's dress, they immediately recognized its historical significance and displayed the gown in a specially designed showcase, guaranteed to preserve it for 500 years.

But Lilly Friedman's dress had one more journey to make. Bergen Belsen, the museum, opened its doors on October 28, 2007. The German government invited Lilly and her sisters to be their guests for the grand opening. They initially declined, but finally traveled to Hanover the following year with their children, their grandchildren and extended families to view the extraordinary exhibit created for the wedding dress made from a parachute.

Lilly's family, who were all familiar with the stories about the wedding in Celle, were eager to visit the synagogue. They found the building had been completely renovated and modernized. But when they pulled aside the handsome curtain they were astounded to find that the Aron Kodesh, made from a kitchen cabinet, had remained untouched as a testament to the profound faith of the survivors. As Lilly stood on the bimah once again she beckoned to her granddaughter, Jackie, to stand beside her where she was once a kallah. "It was an emotional trip. We cried a lot."

Two weeks later, the woman who had once stood trembling before the selective eyes of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele returned home and witnessed the marriage of her granddaughter.

The three Lax sisters - Lilly, Ilona and Eva, who together survived Auschwitz, a forced labor camp, a death march and Bergen Belsen - have remained close and today live within walking distance of each other in Brooklyn. As mere teenagers, they managed to outwit and outlive a monstrous killing machine, then went on to marry, have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and were ultimately honored by the country that had earmarked them for extinction.

As young brides, they had stood underneath the chuppah and recited the blessings that their ancestors had been saying for thousands of years. In doing so, they chose to honor the legacy of those who had perished by choosing life.

Left Photo, Lilly Friedman and her parachute dress on display in the Bergen Belsen Museum.

 

Harry Bingham

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS AND STORIES OF INTEREST

The Jewish Federations of North America - Relief in Haiti

18 Jewish Companies

Harry Bingham

Here Comes the Sun

Jewish Members of Congress

Kristallnacht Commemoration

Murders in Mumbai

Never Forget

No. 4 Street of Our Lady (2009)

Reflections on a Covenant of Citizenship at Thanksgiving

Regina Weinstein Lament