Monday, January 30, 2006

First Hand Report

Jake from Jerusalem writes:

I went to the funeral today.

Reports on TV estimated 200,000 to over 300,000 people attended.
I was there only for part of the Hespedim; the funeral procession seemed dangerously crowded. I started but the mass crush scared me so I gave up; many others did the same.

In the Hesped, someone said that HaRav Kadoori got a Brocho for Arichut Yamim from the Ben Ish Chai in Iraq.
Maybe I missed something... You know the timelines better than I do.

HaRav Kadoori was estimated at being between 106-112 years old. He was quite close with Shas and HaRav Ovadia.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Boruch Dayan HoEmes

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Hakham Yishak Kaduri of Jerusalem this past Shabbos. Although I know little about Rabbi Kaduri - except what I have read over the past few weeks - he was regarded with great respect by the Sephardi world.

Two articles which I found of interest were from the Jerusalem Post here and also from the International Sephardic Leadership Council here.

A video can be seen when Rav Kaduri visited the Rebbe over 15 years ago here.

It is sad to see the end of an era as one of our great Jewish sages passes on to a better place. The statement from the Sephardic Council expresses it well "His loss is another fracture in the chain that connects the Jewish people to the rabbis of yesteryear".

Friday, January 13, 2006

Can Israel's new leadership bring peace?

I have mentioned David Frankfurter's "Letter from Israel" before on this blog. David is an Australian who made aliyah with his family a number of years ago. I believe this his latest letter is a good summary of what I and many others are feeling at this time.

It is clear that even those who strongly opposed Sharon's policies, and wanted to see him out of office did not want to see it happen this way. Genuine concern for Ariel Sharon's health is heard all the time from all the political spectrum, and prayers for his recovery are joined by all - left, right, religious and non-religious.

The health of the Israeli political establishment was never in doubt, and the reins of government were immediately placed in the hands of those who by law are responsible. They have acted quietly and properly to ensure that the transition is smooth, supported by all sides. Opponents set aside the petty bickering that usually accompanies a change of power. Everyone simply acted in the best interests of the country.

Now, with little to be done for the Prime Minister outside the realms of medicine and prayer, attention is being turned to the upcoming elections. With a little less music, flair and bombast than usual, the parties are selecting their candidates. The elections will be held, and we will see who will rule. Initial trends show that Sharon's new party, Kadima, is expected to follow the path laid out in its formation and, if so, will probably win about the same number as seats as anticipated under Sharon's leadership. In short, not much has changed.

For those who have expressed concern as to the prospects of peace without Sharon, I think there is some misinformation here. It is unclear (at least to me) how Sharon would bring peace. Or his absence might prevent it. And yet, many people outside Israel seem to think that Sharon was the key to the future.

I wrote in December 2003, when Sharon announced the disengagement plan, that "Sharon has declared peace - and allowed the Palestinians to choose the terms. Negotiated with Israel or implemented by Israel - either way within the Roadmap framework that both sides have accepted."

The world went one step further, and told the Palestinians that disengagement from Gaza gave them an unprecedented opportunity to show the world what they could do when left to their own devices. And so they have. See the Funding for Peace Coalition website for a sharp analysis. The Palestinians have abrogated every commitment made to their international donor supporters, allowing the situation on the ground to degenerate into chaos of the worst kind, as well as deliberately bankrupting the PA. Bankruptcy that will generate more poverty as the payroll is missed and suppliers remain unpaid. The leadership will no doubt once again scapegoat Israel, inciting more terror and violence. Meantime, Palestinian rockets fall on Israeli towns, suicide bombers are stopped at checkpoints; business as usual.

In short, it is not the absence of Sharon on the political scene that puts peace at risk. It is a lack of desire or willing partner on the other side.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Backspin Blog

I just discovered this blog - Backspin - which is the weblog of Honest Reporting. The description of the Honest Reporting site describes their mission statement best:

HonestReporting is a fast-action website dedicated to ensuring that Israel receives fair media coverage. We scrutinize the worldwide media for anti-Israel bias, then alert and enable subscribers to respond directly to the news agency concerned. HonestReporting has over 130,000 subscribers worldwide, and is growing daily.

I recommend both sites for up to date information about the situation in Israel. It also enables you to let out your frustrations on biased news media worldwide.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Signs of Protest

From The Knish - a great website for the latest news in the Orthodox world.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Positive Response

Ariel Sharon at his son's barmitzvah in Kfar Chabad

From COL - Bochrim and yungerleit have been doing Mivtza Tefillin at Hadassah Hospital. Kol Hakavod!!

Hundreds of journalist from around the globe, public figures, politicians and concerned civilians have been filling the entrance lawn to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Yerushalayim, where Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been under medical surveillance and in critical condition since last Wednesday.

Thereupon, bochrim from Toras Emes and Anash from nearby locations took this opportunity to do a massive tefillin laying project. Many agreed to put on the tefillin immediately while others conditioned this with 'so that Arik recovers'. One of the Anash members told COL that literally hundreds laid tefillin in a single day. These 'mivtza' scenes were also covered by many media personnel on the spot.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Ariel ben Devorah

Holocaust memorial ceremony at the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
May 4, 2005. Reuters - Gil Cohen Magen.

Tzemach Atlas has some interesting historical photos of Arik Sharon on here.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Say Tehillim for Israel

Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon in better times

Ariel Sharon's second surgery has now been completed and, according to the Jerusalem Post and other sources, his condition stable but he is "still in very serious condition". We continue to say tehillim for his complete recovery but, to any observer, it would appear that his political life is over.

All of Israel is stunned by this sudden change in circumstances and appears to be pulling together at this point in time. Ehud Olmert has taken over as acting Prime Minister and it is reported that a walkout by Likud ministers from the Knesset has been postponed by Binyamin Netanyahu in order to "contribute to the sense of political stability". See the story here.

Of course the Arab world is posturing and issuing ridiculous statements against PM Sharon. I was pleased to hear a spokesman for Sharon state that the security forces and IDF will be on full alert against the possibility that they try to take advantage of the situation.

These days will be a turning point in Israeli politics and affect all Jews. The bottom line is that, specifically at this time, Israel needs our thoughts, support and prayers.

Say Tehillim for PM Sharon

Please say tehillim for Ariel ben Devorah.

The news about Ariel Sharon is not sounding good according to The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz (which seems to have the latest news).

A note to those negative people out there - please do not start writing about "divine retribution". Ariel Sharon is the Prime Minister of Israel and a yid and deserves our tehillim as much as anyone.

Another note to you guys - spare me from the Hey Teves/Didan Notzach comparisons...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Israeli Animals in the News

There have been two news stories coming out of Israel in recent weeks referring to animals.

The first was reported in The Age on January 2 (and still tops their Most Viewed Article list) about Woman Marries Dolphin. There is also an amusing report in a Greek news website here.

The other report was of a dog and owner "lookalike contest" which was reported with photos and video here.

It must be the silly season!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Chabad of Bentleigh at Chadstone

These photos were sent to me by "Yossi" and show the menorah and Chanukah display at Chadstone organised by Rabbi Mendel Raskin of Bentleigh Chabad. It is located outside K-Mart and will be open every day of Chanukah from 9am to 5pm.

As well as the menorah the stall has computers showing Chanukah DVDs and games for the children to play. There are also Jewish books and Judaica for sale. I am told that there has been great interest in the stall by Jewish shoppers.

Kol hakavod to Rabbi Raskin and his team of helpers.