Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bye Bye Benazir Bhutto, Hello Hella-Chaos in Pakistan

Just an hour ago here we heard that Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan. Immediately I assumed Musharrif had to be behind it, and not far behind that thought, that we (the United States, probably the CIA or some covert National Security operation) are behind it. Even if that isn't true, the radical Islamic fundamentalist terrorists will believe it is. Not only will Pakistan be totally destabilized but Americans will be a target of the grief and rage of the Pakistani people who will blame us and our puppet Musharrif.
Eau, d'humanitie. C'est stinky.

Priests in Smackdown at Church of the Nativity

...And today's winner in the "the more things change, the more they stay the same" category...

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Robed Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests went at each other with brooms and stones inside the Church of the Nativity on Thursday as long-standing rivalries erupted in violence during holiday cleaning.
The basilica, built over the grotto in Bethlehem where Christians believe Jesus was born, is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities. Any perceived encroachment on one group's turf can set off vicious feuds.
On Thursday, dozens of priests and cleaners came to the fortress-like church to scrub and sweep the floors, walls and rafters ahead of the Armenian and Orthodox Christmas, celebrated in the first week of January. Thousands of tourists visited the church this week for Christmas celebrations.
But the cleanup turned ugly after some of the Orthodox faithful stepped inside the Armenian church's section, touching off a scuffle between about 50 Greek Orthodox and 30 Armenians.
Palestinian police, armed with batons and shields, quickly formed a human cordon to separate the two sides so the cleaning could continue, then ordered an Associated Press photographer out of the church.
Four people, some with blood running from their faces, were slightly wounded.

Club Barbi - cold. Rebbe Soul music - hot!

Pictured: me and Jesse inside Tel Aviv's Club Barbi. Outside: freezing cold (yet, somehow warmer than Jerusalem, which is beyond freezing). Inside: pretty damn cold. Wearing a thick wool coat, sweatshirt, sweater, thermal underwear, stockings, jeans AND a skirt along with scarf, gloves and boots...and I'm still cold.
Luckily we were there to hear our friend Bruce Burger ( play with Asi Zigdon. The show was hot enough to seriously take the edge off of the glacial days and nights of December.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jesse Comes to Israel!

First-born son Jesse Jae Kude arrived in Israel for the very first time last night after being subjected to the kind of airline security check a 26 year old non-religious looking male with a one-way ticket might experience flying in our Post-911 world.
Offical "Godmother" to all the Kude Children, "Aunt Amy" Wachtel, who met Jesse at JFK to shepherd him from Jet Blue to Israir and help him through the ordeal witnessed the ordeal from behind the security "privacy barrier," and indignantly reported:
"I think they profiled him because he dosen't wear a kippah or tzitit, the same thing happened to Cameron on his trip to Israel!"
Be that as it may: Welcome home, my wonderful son!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First NEW JEWISH CONGRESS - Jerusalem's "Anti-Annapolis"

The first-ever New Jewish Congress took place yesterday at Jerusalem's Renaissance Hotel. Attended by Jews of all kinds, everyone united in agreement that our gathering was the "Anti-Annapolis," an outraged response to the Olmert government's suicidal determination to relinquish even more land and, worse than anything, divide Jerusalem.

Prof. Hillel Weiss opened the Congress by reading from Parshas Balak, recounting how Balak, King of Moab, hired the sorcerer Baalam to curse Israel. But - try as he might (and he did) - Baalam was unable to curse Israel, and in fact was forced to bless the Nation with words so sublime we repeat them whenever we enter a synagogue, shul or shteibel - "How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling-places, O Israel!"

The Holy City is in an uproar. 10,000 people rallied at the Kotel, 25,000 people protested outside the Prime Minister's residence (up the street from where I live).

Here I am at the New Jewish Congress with Moshe Feiglin, founder of Manhigut Yehudit, who got 23% of the vote in the Likud primaries against Bibi Netanyahu, and my personal choice for Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Terror Alert Delays Bus but CHUMASH GOES ON!

Yesterday (Sunday) I went to my bus stop early to catch the bus to Nishmat, where I have Chumash class from 3-6pm.
Normally the bus comes every 20 minutes. Yesterday I waited over an hour and a half until the 22 showed up, packed to the rafters with irritated commuters. They barely had room to squeeze me in to the front of the bus, where I was literally sandwiched between the security guard, the driver and several Israeli women.
Normally on the bus I'm not too talkative, I just say "Todah" (thank you) to the driver when he takes my fare and "Slicha" ("excuse me") to the other passengers as I try to find a seat or a place to stand. But this time ... I was pissed.

"Where have you been?" I asked the bus driver, "I'm late to school!"

"Terror alert in the city," he said.
"What terror alert?" I asked, having been away from media of all kinds since early in the morning.

An Israeli woman interrupted the conversation to inform me we were on "High Alert" for the first time in two years and that there were roadblocks in and out of the city, cars and taxis being stopped randomly for security checks, etc.
"That's just bullshit," I said furiously, "My son is coming to Israel in two days for the very first time and we can't have any of this terrorist crap right now! AND I'm late for my Chumash class!"

"It's Annapolis," she said apologetically.

"Screw Annapolis, it's time to study Chumash! We don't stop Chumash for some stupid political charade!" I retorted, furious that Prime Minister Olmert had actually managed to screw up my day personally.

After arriving very late to Nishmat (as did many of my fellow students) we discovered that indeed we had been on "High Alert." Below is an exerpt from Arutz Sheva's coverage of the non-event.


Jerusalem Alert Lowered
by Hana Levi Julian

( Jerusalem police and security officers lowered the alert level Sunday afternoon after several tense hours on high alert following a warning received by intelligence officers that two terrorists were on their way to carry out an attack.
Voice of Israel government radio announced the alert level had been lowered but did not give further information.
Security checkpoints and roadblocks were set up in a ring around Jerusalem, on Highway 1, the road that connects the capital with Tel Aviv, and in areas around the northern areas of the city.
Police closed off traffic on the Narkiss Bridge which leads to the French Hill junction from Pisgat Ze'ev, Neve Ya'akov and other Jewish neighborhoods in the north of the city.
The police Special Operations unit mobilized wearing helmets and bullet-proof vests, and Magen David Adom ambulances and rescue units moved onto the streets of the capital in anticipation of the possible attack. Special police mobile units and helicopters were also aloft, scanning the city and surrounding area in an effort to locate the would-be attackers.
Magen David Adom director-general Eli Bin announced that medics in the city had moved to alert Level 3. He also said MDA personnel had been placed on Level 2 alert in the central area of the country, which includes the Dan, Yarkon and Ayalon regions.
By mid-afternoon it became clear that the terrorists had not managed to enter the city and the alert level was lowered.
Two young PA would-be attackers were arrested near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron at midday. IDF soldiers discovered knives and rifle bullets while searching the two. They were taken by security personnel for questioning.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving in Jerusalem

Celebrated Thanksgiving today in Jerusalem with visiting American FOA/FOM ("Friend of Amy's / Friend Of Mine")Larry Schaffer at the Israel Museum and viewed The Thanksgiving Scroll, one of the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumuran by Bedouins in 1947.

The Thanksgiving Scroll is also known as the "Hodayot," contains sacred poetry and hymns from the Bible written on parchment and sealed within ordinary household pottery about 100 BCE.

The content varies from poem to poem but there are certainly overriding themes: first and foremost the scroll talks about and to God and is usually contrasted with the weakness, dependency, unworthiness and wretchedness of the human condition (thereby exalting God’s power and perfection even more).

Other main themes include: salvation of the just and destruction of the wicked, gratitude for divine insight, personal accounts of exile/persecution, and God delivering the speaker from such plights.

“The wicked of the people rush against me with their afflictions, and all the day long they crush my soul. But You, O my God, turn the tempest to a whisper, and the life of the distressed You have brought to safety as a bird from the snare and as prey from the power of lions”

Monday, November 19, 2007

Disney to Hamas: We'll Kick Your Ass!

Note to Islamofascist programming directors: Corporate America does NOT allow terrorists to hijack valuable intellectual property!
Mickey Mouse is Disney's most valuable brand. Sorry Hamas, see you in court! If Israel's politicians refuse to wipe you out, you can be sure that Disney's team of IP attorneys will shoot to kill.
Report: Disney to act against Hamas

The Walt Disney Company plans to take action against Hamas for its hate-mongering Mickey Mouse look-alike.
Israel's Foreign Ministry has received an assurance from Diane Disney Miller, the daughter of Walt Disney, that the corporation will take unspecified "steps" against the radical Palestinian Islamist group, Yediot Achronot reported Thursday.
The move follows Hamas' use of a Mickey Mouse look-alike named Farfur to incite against Israel and the West in a children's television show broadcast out of the Gaza Strip.
When the show triggered international outcry earlier this year, Miller described it as "evil," but her late father's company withheld comment.
It was not immediately clear what legal clout Disney might have against Hamas, which already is isolated internationally.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Mamas & The Papas...literally

The Cave of Machpelah ("Tomb of the Patriarchs"), where our Patriarchs and Matriarchs Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah are buried, is the piece of property whose purchase is recorded in Genesis 23:1-20. Abraham bought the cave and the surrounding field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place for his wife Sarah.
The four holiest cities in Israel are Jerusalem, Hebron, Tzfat and Tiberias. Each corresponds to an element - Jerusalem to fire, Hebron to earth, Tzfat to air and Tiberias to water.

In keeping with the earth element theme - Hebron is HEAVY.

Prayers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are heavy, and yet, defying gravity itself, they ascend upward at surprising speed.

Our pal Abu Mazzan (Mahmoud Abbas), the Palestinian Authority President, heads a government who refuses to accept a "Jewish State" (see today's Jerusalem Post article linked to here).
Just this afternoon he called for Round Two in the Palestinian Civil War (Hamas vs. Gaza, much like the old "Spy vs. Spy" cartoons in Mad Magazine).
Palestinian president calls for overthrow of Hamas in Gaza
From the Associated Press 5:05 AM PST, November 15, 2007

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today called for the overthrow of Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers, his first explicit call that they be removed."We have to bring down this bunch that took over Gaza with armed force, and is abusing the sufferings and pains of our people," Abbas said in a speech in Ramallah.

The Palestinian leader, who has set up a separate government in the West Bank, previously had not gone beyond demanding that Hamas apologize for overrunning Gaza and reverse the takeover.

In his speech, Abbas lashed out against "the outlawed gangs affiliated with Hamas in Gaza City," where forces loyal to the Islamic group opened fire on a mass rally by his Fatah movement on Monday. Eight civilians were killed and dozens were wounded in the strongest Fatah challenge to Hamas rule since the Hamas takeover.

Hamas also rounded up more than 400 Fatah activists, and on Wednesday announced media restrictions and plans to curb public gatherings.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Time to check the filter on our gas masks?

This flyer (pictured) arrived in my mailbox, and a large poster bearing the same inscrutable message and mysterious picture was posted in the entrance to my apartment building.

The picture on the postcard - what could it be? An envelope? A notice from the municipality that they are going to be working on gas pipes in the neighborhood?

I finally asked a neighbor, who was amazed that I didn't know that the picture was a gas mask kit. "Everyone knows what a gas mask kit looks like!" I was told.

"No, not everyone - not me, for instance - I don't remember anyone from the Jewish Agency or Nefesh b'Nefesh or the Ministry of Absorption showing me a picture of a gas mask kit or even offering me one!"

Apparently the flyer was to let us know that the gas mask folks were going to be in our neighborhood, collecting expired gas mask kits from the 1st Gulf War (1991), which have surely passed their expiration date.

All of us need to get new and improved FRESH gas masks now, with new clean filters, "just in case" Iran gets funny with their latest science project, an atomic weapon.

Note to self: when in doubt, ask an Israeli neighbor what these public notices mean. I might be missing something.

"Olmert - Annapolis Won't Save You!"

Within the last week this poster has appeared, plastered all over walls and billboards in Jerusalem ... "Olmert - Annapolis Won't Save You!"

The picture on the poster is of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert behind bars - an allusion to the numerous investigations being conducted on our Prime Minister for various criminal activities and corruption within his administration.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Kislev!

A sure sign that Channukah is right around the corner - Sufganiyot, a.k.a. doughnuts, now appearing at bakeries and cafes EVERYWHERE in Israel.

You never see them any other time of year. In Israel, doughnuts are to Channukah what mistletoe is to Christmas - a sweet sign of the times and an opportunity to pucker up and enjoy something yummy :)

Nehemiah's Wall Discovered by Israeli Archaeologist

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may want to see Israel wiped off the map and its Jews sent to Europe or Alaska, but an archaeological discovery announced this week marks an event recorded in the Bible when his country – Persia, at the time – literally helped put the Jewish people back on the map in their capital city of Jerusalem.

Dr. Eilat Mazar, one of Israel's top archaeologists, ended her presentation Wednesday to the 13th Annual Conference of the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies on "New Studies on Jerusalem," with a surprise announcement. She had discovered remnants of the fifth century B.C. wall built by Nehemiah, the account recorded in the Old Testament book of the same name.
According to the biblical account, Nehemiah served as cupbearer for the Persian King Artaxerxes in the city of Susa. The Persians had conquered the Babylonian empire that had destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and taken most of the inhabitants of Judah into captivity in what is now modern Iraq.

The Scripture reads:

In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart."
Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, "Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"
Then the king said to me, "What are you requesting?"
So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it."

Nehemiah's rebuilding of the city began with its walls, a project that was resisted by hostile neighbors who had occupied the area around Jerusalem in the Jews' absence.

But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.

With tools in one hand and weapons in the other, Nehemiah's workmen toiled dawn to dusk, completing the wall in a record 52 days.

Archaeological evidence for Nehemiah's project has been lacking. Jerusalem has been rebuilt, destroyed and rebuilt in the almost 2,500 years since.

Mazar, who is perhaps best known for her recent excavation that many believe has revealed the palace of King David, was working on an emergency project to shore up remains of a tower long believed to date from the Hasmonean period, 142-37 B.C., that was in danger of collapsing.

Mazar said, "Under the tower, we found the bones of two large dogs – and under those bones a rich assemblage of pottery and finds from the Persian period. No later finds from that period were found under the tower."

Had the tower been built during the Hasmonean dynasty, the Persian-era artifacts would represent an unexplained chronological gap of several hundred years. The tower, said Mazar, had to have been built much earlier than previously thought and the pottery data placed it at the time the Bible says Nehemiah was building it.

Nehemiah describes 10 gates in the wall around Jerusalem as well as several towers designed to protect the entrances to the city, among them the Tower of the Hundred, the Tower of Hananel, the Tower of the Ovens, and an unnamed tower "projecting from the upper house of the king at the court of the guard" in the vicinity of Mazar's most recent dig.
(World News Daily)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ecce Homo: Olmert Wins "Most Corrupt Politician" 2nd Year in a Row!

In the "Corruption Index" presented at the Sderot Conference held in Sapir College, a permanent feature of the annual event, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert took first place for the second time in a row, with the doubtful honor of having an even higher percentage of the public consider him Israel's most corrupt politician this time around.
Olmert leads the list with 56 percent considering him the most corrupt politician, a rise from last year's 42%.
Close on Olmert's heels, former finance minister Avraham Hirchson was considered the most corrupt by 55% of those polled.
Vice Premier Haim Ramon and Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman both got 33%, while Defense Minister Ehud Barak made his debut on the list on the fifth place, with 29%. Newcomer Barak pushed current Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On out of the top five to the relatively respectable sixth place.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

"The Temple Mount is in our hands" - literally, yet again

In what can only be described as an escalation in the Amageddon-O-Meter, Israel National News today reports the following Exclusive:

Rabbis Invited For Pre-Annapolis Temple Mount Talks
by Ezra HaLevi

( Israel’s Chief Rabbis and the Chief Rabbi of Haifa have been invited to the White House for pre-Annapolis talks to explain the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

Chief Rabbis Yonah Metzger and Shlomo Amar, as well as the Chief Rabbi of Haifa and Chairman of the Chief Rabbinate Communications Committee Rabbi She'ar-Yashuv Cohen departed Saturday evening for a series of meetings to clarify to US leaders that the Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site.

Ahead of the Annapolis Conference, the Bush administration is trying to gauge Israel’s “red lines” and examine the possibility of relinquishing the Temple Mount to Islam.

To read the entire text of this article, go to:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Say "Messiah," You Say "Mahdi," LET'S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF!

Everyone wants to get into the Messiah Business.

#1 with a proverbial bullet - Christians, waiting for the "Second Coming" of Jesus Christ. By far the most popular and well-known Messiah scenario.

Of course we Jews are awaiting our Moshiach ("Messiah"), whose coming would be (in our world view) the first, not second, appearance on Earth.

Jews and Christians are getting a run for our money from Shi'ite Islam, whose own Messianic version of "reality" is reflected in the doctrine of "Mahdi."

Disconcertingly, our neighbors in Iran are ardent Messianics! And according to ALL THREE Messianic Scenarios, the whole thing is going to be a big, bloody mess, AND the "real thing" will be preceeded by an "Anti-Christ" sort of figure, aided by a "False Prophet" who will be his demonically-inspired PR man.

Along those lines, the Jerusalem Post reports the following:

While the world catches its breath after the sudden resignation of Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, questions are being asked about the background and beliefs of his successor, Saeed Jalili. The answers, it turns out, are troubling.

Until today, not much has been known about the 41 year-old gray-haired official. He has a Ph.D from Imam Sadegh University in Teheran. As a soldier during the Iraq-Iran war, he apparently survived a chemical attack by Saddam Hussein's forces.

Sometime later during the war he was shot in his right leg, which according to one report, had to be amputated. According to the same report, since then Jalili has worn an artificial leg. He is a known follower of Khomeini's "simple living" lifestyle philosophy. During his stint as a Foreign Ministry official, he served at a number of departments where, apparently, he did not make use of amenities made available to employees. For example, he continued to drive an inexpensive KIA Pride to work instead of trading it in for a more luxurious car.

As the deputy head of the American and European section at the Foreign Ministry, Jalili is known to have worked until the early hours of the morning in his office in his efforts to strengthen the co-operation of Iran with Southern hemisphere countries. This was part of the "south-south" strategy, according to which it was believed that Ahmadinejad's government would be able to look for and find alliances with countries such as Venezuela.

It is also reported that that Ahmadinejad has consulted Jalili on a number of key moves - according to one report, Ahmadinejad's infamous 18-page letter to President George W. Bush was, in fact, Jalili's idea.

THE MOST worrying revelation about Jalili's past appeared recently in the Iran Diplomacy Web site. This Teheran-based news agency, in an article titled "Dr Ali Leaves, Dr Saeed Enters" revealed that for most of his career at the Foreign Ministry, Jalili worked closely with Mojtaba Hashemi Samare, a leading messianic and a close ally of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the most well-known and high-ranking messianic cleric in Iran.

The article talks about how Jalili cooperated with Hashemi Samare in the Inspectorate department of Ministry. It also mentions that for a short time, Jalili also worked with Ahmadinejad.

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi is a former member of the Hojattieh, a messianic splinter group which was disbanded by Ayatollah Khomeini in the early 1980s because of its extremist views. The sect's goals are to sow chaos - the goal of which is to incite a massive war, presumably necessary to speed up the return of the Shi'ite messiah, known as the Mahdi.

After the forced disintegration of the sect, Mesbah Yazdi moved to the holy city of Qom, where he ran the Imam Khomeini Foundation and the Haghaniye school. From there, he passed on his messianic beliefs to young clerics and revolutionaries whom he hoped one day would reach senior government levels.

One of his early successes was Hashemi Samare, who in the early 1990s managed to find a position inside Iran's Foreign Ministry. He soon rose through the ranks and became one of the key officials at the ministry. His main job there was to make sure that Iranian ambassadors were staying true to revolutionary beliefs and Islamic ways while serving abroad.

He soon developed a much-feared reputation for recalling diplomats and even ambassadors whom he suspected of becoming Westernized. Some were said to have been locked inside the basement of the Foreign Ministry for days, where, using interrogation techniques including physical violence, he "re-educated" them.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT characteristic of Hashemi Samare was that in his office, instead of a picture of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, he hung a portrait of the messianic Mesbah Yazdi. He showed no fear about showing where his true allegiances lay.

During his entire career, Hashemi Samare has looked for, and recruited fellow messianics. No one else would be allowed to work with him. In the 1990s, one of these associates included a little known war veteran and bureaucrat called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who for a very short while, worked for him at the Iranian Foreign Ministry. After that Ahmadinejad was posted to the Ardebil province where he became the governor. The two men continuously maintained contact and upon his return to Teheran in 1997, their friendship and cooperation continued.

Today, Hashemi Samare is Ahmadinejad's deputy and most trusted confidant.
He can be seen everywhere with the president, especially during foreign travel, such as his recent trip to New York, and when receiving for senior foreign visitors such as Putin. Some former reformists have even said that while praying, Ahmadinejad stands behind Hashemi Samare; an unmistakable sign of respect and adherence which a person can show to his mentor in Iranian religious circles.

JALILI'S CLOSENESS with Hashemi Samare, and his appointment as the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and as the head of Iran's nuclear negotiation team shows that the messianics have scored another major victory in placing one of their allies in a senior political position.

Now they can boast that, along with holding positions of power in the Ministry of Intelligence (Gholam Hosssein Ejehi), Ministry of Interior (Mostafa Pour Mohammadi), and, of course, the Presidency (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) - by having Saeed Jalili as chief nuclear negotiator, they now have a stronger say over how Iran deals with the West over its nuclear program.

Despite this power, the messianics will still find a strong obstacle, in the form of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who, for now, has the last word on Iran's nuclear program.

The increasing presence of messianics and their allies in high ranking positions inside the Iranian government makes it hard to believe that Iran's leadership would ever be ready for a negotiated settlement of the current nuclear crisis.

Meir Javedanfar, the writer of the above-quoted article, is the co-author of The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran. He runs the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis (Meepas). This analysis is re-published from Pajamas Media.

And, if all of that was not bad enough....
From YNET News:

Awaiting the Iranian messiah

A glimpse into the apocalyptic ideology gripping the Iranian government
Yaakov Lappin

He challenges the largest superpower on earth, threatens a regional superpower with annihilation, and mocks international efforts to keep tabs on his nuclear program. Where does the unswerving confidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad come from?

To whom did Ahmadinejad refer to when he told the United Nations in September: "I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for… the perfect righteous human being and real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet. Almighty God… make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause. "

According to Shiite Islam, the twelfth Imam, named Mahdi, is the awaited messiah who will establish the rule of Islam around the world – following a massive war during which Islam's enemies are expected to be decimated. Iran's official state websites are filled with information about the Islamic Republic's messiah.

"Imam Mahdi was unseen from the eyes of common people and nobody could see him except special group of Shiites... After the martyrdom of his father he was appointed as the next Imam. Then he was hidden by God's command and he was just observable by the special deputies of his own," the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting website declares.

'One strike to end infidels'

Iran's state broadcasting website also contains a special hadith (tradition) prayer, to be recited on the birthday of the Mahdi: "Today is Friday, a day you are expected to come; the faithful will be free of cares and troubles when you shall arrive, and with one strike shall put an end to the intrigues of the infidels."

Speaking to Ynetnews, Professor Raymond Tanter, one of the authors of the forthcoming book 'What Makes Iran Tick,' which explores the Shiite Islamist ideology of Iran, said there was no questioning the belief of Iran's leaders in the coming of the Mahdi.

Tanter, President of the Iran Policy Committee, a Washington-based organization comprised of former officials from the White House, State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence services, said: "The Iranian leadership, particularly Ahmadinejad, welcome the apocalyptic vision of the return of the hidden Imam. And all the strains of Islam believe in the eventual return of the Mahdi, also known as the twelfth Imam, or the Shiite messiah. After a period of great destruction, once the forces of evil are defeated, the so-called twelfth Imam is supposed to reign over a period of great prosperity."

"When Ahmadinejad was mayor of Tehran, he set up an urban renewal program that would make it easier to facilitate the Mahdi's return. He created passageways and roadways that would allow the Mahdi to return triumphantly. He operationalized this concept," Tanter added. The Iranian president did not view himself as the Shiite messiah though, according to Tanter.

'Man of a thousand bullets'

"Ahmadinejad was called the man of a thousand bullets. Because he would give the last bullet for someone who has been tortured, and primarily executed by firing squad. Ahmadinejad's role was to put the last bullet in, in case the person was still squirming. After a thousand people had been killed, supposedly he said, he had it with that particular job," Tanter said.

Tanter noted Ahmadinejad's comments after a speech to the UN General Assembly in 2005, which he also concluded with a call for the Mahdi to return. After the speech, Ahmadinejad said that "the hand of God had held all of them" in a hypnotized-like state, and had "opened their eyes and ears."

"Before the return of the Mahdi, there must be a suitable representative to govern in the Mahdi's place," Tanter explained.

"They are ruling until the Mahdi comes. That is the justification for Khamenei to rule," he added.

Tanter said that "most of the ayatollahs in Iran don't buy this, that you can facilitate the return of the messiah," adding that Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah probably "doesn't take it that seriously."

"Ahmadinejad is taking steps well beyond the rest of Islam," he said.

Messianic nuclear weapons

"There is a link between Iran’s nuclear weapons program on one hand, and its ideology of trying to facilitate a cataclysmic event to hasten the return of the Mahdi. As a result, no conceivable positive or negative incentives will influence the leadership of the clerics and the revolutionary guards from acquiring nuclear weapons. They need nuclear weapons in order to facilitate the ideological precepts of the return of the Mahdi," said Tanter.

"The process of diplomacy as far as Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are concerned is to prevent sanctions that would constrain the nuclear weapons progress, and to that extent Iran has done well to drag out this process," he added.

Citing realist arguments that Iran needs nuclear weapons "to deter neighbors in a tough neighborhood," Tanter said such views were misguided. "These nuclear weapons are tied to the return of the Mahdi, and no one says this," he says.

An excerpt from 'What Makes Iran Tick' left no doubts over the authors view of Iran's intentions: "Just as it is in the nature of the scorpion to sting, so it is in the nature of the ayatollahs ruling Iran to establish an Islamic empire and destroy Israel."

It continued: "Toward these ends, the regime pursues nuclear weapons, subverts Iraq, and supplies money and arms to Islamist terrorist groups like Hizbullah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad… The deliberate initiation of war with Israel in July 2006 by Hizbullah, most probably at the direction of the Iranian regime, confirmed the worst fears about Ahmadinejad… a nuclear-armed Iran the single greatest security threat to the international community in general, and to the United States and Israel in particular."

"Our town is burning brothers, burning - our poor little town is burning!"

Southern California is all ablaze, half a million people evacuated and the rest of the population choked by smoke and waiting to exhale.

“Our Town is Burning”, by Mordechai Gebirtig, was written in Yiddish in 1938, after a pogrom in Przytyk (prounounced “pshitic”), Poland. It is considered extraordinarily prophetic, in that it was written before World War II and the Holocaust.

Our town is burning, brothers, burning
Our poor little town is burning.
Angry winds are fanning higher
The leaping tongues of flame and fire,
The evil winds are roaring!
Our whole town burns!

And you stand looking on with folded arms,
And shake your heads.
You stand looking on, with folded arms,
While the fire spreads!

Our town is burning, brothers, burning,
Our poor little town is burning.
Tongues of flame are leaping,
The fire through our town goes sweeping,
Through roofs and windows pouring.
All around us burns.

And you stand looking on with folded arms,
And shake your heads.
You stand looking on, with folded arms,
While the fire spreads!

Our town is burning, brothers, burning,
Any moment the fire may
Sweep the whole of our town away,
And leave only ashes, black and gray,
Life after a battle, where dead walls stand,
Broken and ruined in a desolate land.

And you stand looking on with folded arms,

And shake your heads.
You stand looking on, with folded arms,
While the fire spreads!

Our town is burning, brothers, burning,
All now depends on you.
Our only help is what you do.
You can still put out the fire
With your blood, if you desire.
Don’t look on with folded arms,
And shake your heads.
Don’t look on with folded arms
While the fire spreads.

Monday, October 22, 2007

United Jerusalem Forever

Should be strengthened, not divided

"If I forget thee - for Jerusalem's future" foundation has been created to help keep Jerusalem Jewish and undivided.

Go to: to sign the "Jerusalem Commitment"


Saturday, October 20, 2007

They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot...LITERALLY

The thing about ancient things is that they're supposed to stay dependably the same. That's why classics are the classics, icons are iconic, etc. That's...the rule.

In the "rules are made to be broken" (hearts too) category, I nominate the horrendously hideous Mamillia Project, a "mixed-use retail concept" (a phrase which would have rolled off my tongue with ease six months ago, and now only makes me nauseous).

The Mamillia Project is an underground PARKING LOT covered by ubiquitous retail stores configured in an outdoor "mall"-like setting. There are a few high-end clothing boutiques, an overpriced jeweler only the most naieve of tourists would patronize, a couple of cafes, and basically...nothing.

The worst part of it is the location: directly obstructing the view to Jaffa Gate and the Old City from the west! The view of the Old City is classic, and Mamilla's "Mall" is an offense, a blasphemous interruption in the landscape...and just plain WRONG.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


President Shimon Peres, who is a personal friend and great fan of celebrated singer Barbra Streisand, hopes to persuade her to come to Israel for the country's 60th anniversary celebrations in May 2008.

Peres shared this information with members of the UJC (United Jewish Communities) Prime Minister's Council Mission, whom he hosted to dinner at his official residence last week.
Peres said that he had heard many cantors, but none who could sing 'Avinu Malkeinu' like Streisand.

Peres said that he would like to bring her to Israel within the framework of one of the keynote 60th anniversary events, an international conference with the participation of "United States representatives of the highest level" along with some 3,000 to 4,000 invited guests from abroad.

The conference, which opens in Jerusalem on May 13, will be a three-day convention, with the first day devoted to the future of the world, the second day to the future of the nation and the third day to the future relationship between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.

Peres revealed that part of the conference would be devoted to a special tribute to the United States of America as an expression of appreciation for its consistent support of Israel.

"After sixty years, it's time to say thanks for being on our side," said Peres.

Pirate Attacks Up by 14%


Confirming that we live in a dangerous world, The Associated Press reports the following:

Maritime pirate attacks worldwide shot up 14 percent in the first nine months of 2007 from a year earlier, with Somalia and Nigeria showing among the biggest increases, an international watchdog said Tuesday.

While Africa remains problematic, Southeast Asia's Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways, has been relatively quiet, the International Maritime Bureau said in a report.

A total of 198 attacks on ships were reported between January and September this year, up from 174 in the same period in 2006, the IMB said.

It said a total of 15 vessels were hijacked, 63 crew kidnapped and three killed.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Opening Shot in the Battle for Jerusalem

From Israel National News (

In the opening shot of the battle for Jerusalem, top rabbis of the Hareidi-religious and Jerusalemite communities have joined Rabbi Avraham Shapira’s final statement against dividing Jerusalem.

A large gathering planned for Sunday at the Ramban Synagogue in the Old City is being organized by Chief Rabbi of the Old City, Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl and Rabbi Eliyahu Medina. Joining the protest is Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, considered the head of the Lithuanian Hareidi-religious public.

The assembly is being called under the banner “Over Jerusalem they cast lots” – a verse from Ovadiah (1:11) – and will include “prayers and supplications to G-d.”

The event will begin after the 12:30 PM afternoon prayer at the synagogue, which is located in the Jewish Quarter’s main square.

Earlier this month, Vice-Premier Chaim Ramon outlined his political plan for dividing Jerusalem, saying: “The Jewish neighborhoods will be recognized by both sides as Israeli neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty. Likewise, Arab neighborhoods such as Shuafat will be recognized as Palestinian neighborhoods. There will be arrangements to ensure, free, safe passages between the various Israeli neighborhoods and likewise between the Palestinian ones.”

With regard to the Old City, Ramon wrote: “On the matter of the "holy basin" – as the area including the Temple Mount and other holy sites is being referred to – there will be a special authority that will include the expression of Israel’s special interests and manage the holy sites…The Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the other Jewish holy sites in the Jerusalem region will stay in the hands of Israel forever.”

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has refused to comment on the Ramon plan, though commentators compare the situation to when Olmert himself introduced the idea of unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza ahead of then-PM Ariel Sharon’s open adoption of the policy. Ramon is a close friend and political ally of Olmert's.

On the eve of the Sukkot festival, just prior to his passing away, former Chief Rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva of the Merkaz HaRav Kook religious-Zionist center Rabbi Avraham Shapira signed a strongly-worded statement against the plan. “The Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel and was granted to us as an inheritance by the Creator of the world. Neither the Prime Minister nor anybody else has the right to give away areas, or even a grain, of the holy Land of Israel. The entire Land of Israel, according to the borders outlined in the Torah – belonged in the past, and belong in the present and future, only to the Nation of Israel, and it is forbidden by severe Torah prohibition to give up any of the territory of our holy land.”

The rabbi, who had issued a call prior to the Disengagement for soldiers and police to disobey orders to take part in the expulsion, continued: “Did we not learn a lesson from the expulsion of our heroic brethren from Gush Katif and northern Samaria who were uprooted from their homes? We call upon the public to protest against these statements, for the Prime Minister to repudiate them, and to show concern for the rights of the Nation of Israel in its land.”

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rav Shapira's Funeral

It's hard to know exactly how many people filled the streets of Kiryat Moshe today to mourn the passing of Rabbi Avraham Shapira zt"l, the 94 year-old Religious Zionist rabbinic leader. Surrounded by a sea of mourners - white kippah and black hat alike - Rav Shapira was eulogized with tears and the cry of hearts broken at the loss of a spiritual giant of our age. I felt honored to be among what felt like 100,000+ Children of Israel, saying goodbye to the last link to the lineage of Rav Avraham Yitzak HaKohen Kook zt"l of blessed memory, father of Religious Zionism.
Yeshiva boys hung by the dozen from sagging balconies of dormatories, families filled the streets, quiet and still despite the mid-morning sun on what began as a cloudless Friday. Black velvet and white knitted kippot side by side with the occasional fur streimel, n'na'nah'nachman beanie, black felt hats of every conceivable dent bowed their heads together as our nations Rabbis eulogized him over loadspeakers, which caught every heartbroken sob and gasp of grief such as that of an orphan, left alone in this world without shelter and guidance.
The sound of all those people - some say there were 100,000, some say 20,000 - however many were there - the sound of all those people saying the Shema together, my own voice joined to the sound of the assembled Clal Yisrael - was the most powerful sound I've ever heard in my life, descending into the very DNA of my soul and fundamentally altering something I can neither describe nor understand, only feel.
Psalm 116:15 - "Dear in the eyes of HaShem is the death of His devout ones"

The Jerusalem Post reports: Former Chief Rabbi Avraham Elkana Shapira, the 94-year-old spiritual giant of religious Zionism, was laid to rest Friday after passing away Thursday morning following a sudden deterioration in his medical condition.
The funeral procession, leaving Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem at 10:30 a.m., reached the Mount of Olives where the rabbi was buried. Reportedly, thousands (by some accounts, tens of thousands) attended the funeral procession and the funeral.
Shapira is known principally for his uncompromising opposition to any territorial compromises, even within the context of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. He called on soldiers to refuse orders to aid in the dismantling of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and in northern Samaria during the 2005 disengagement.
Religious Zionist rabbis who opposed Shapira on military insubordination were severely criticized for rebelling against the man they had crowned as "the greatest halachic authority of the generation."
Known by his students as "Rav Avrum," in 1982 Shapira was appointed head of religious Zionism's flagship Mercaz Harav Yeshiva after the death of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, son of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Exile on Main Street

In case anyone wonders, this is the face of a woman who flew thousands of miles to drive hundreds of miles to come to the aid of her children, and after criss-crossing the State of California not once but twice in two weeks, finds herself Exiled on Main Street - in Galut for Yom Kippur - and in the words of the prophets Mick and Keith, I urgently want to Rip This Joint, because I'm Torn & Frayed - ready to be Happy and Shine A Light as a Soul Survivor..because I Just Want To See His Face.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Long & Winding Road

Zig-zagging across the State of California for the last two weeks, with one to go, playing Tshuva Tag with family and friends, making the most gigantic Tikkun for everything, both large and small. Picture here my son Cameron Kude and my virtual step-son Jacob Martin, and the big ass white cargo van we rented to haul heirlooms and horror stories from SoCal to environs north.

From Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv to New York, New York to San Francisco, San Francisco to Long Beach, Long Beach to ... so far, a hotel room in Santa Nella, California.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Yet another reason why Moslem women need Moschiach too!

Egyptian man forces his wife to be circumcised
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST
Sep. 1, 2007

An Egyptian man forced his 20-year-old wife to be circumcised after a year of marriage, resulting in her hospitalization for acute bleeding, the state-run news agency reported Saturday.
According to the police commissioner of the Cairo's gritty northern suburb of Shubra el-Kheima cited by the Middle East News Agency, a dispute erupted between Shaaban el-Menshawi and his wife because she had never been circumcised, a once common operation in Egypt that has since been banned by the government.
When her husband started beating her, Ashgan Riyadh Abdelati fled to her mother's house. Once there, however, her mother brought in a doctor to conduct the illegal operation on the spot, said the news report.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I say "Genocide," you say "Massacre" - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off!

The current media shitstorm over Abe Foxman of the ADL's upgrade from "massacre" to "genocide" to describe the murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire between 1915-1918 really stinks.

"Genocide" is the attempted extermination of a group of people by another group of people. The Turks did it to the Armenians. The Nazis did it to the Jews. The Soviets did it to the Russian dissidents. The Japanese did it to the Chinese. The Khmer Rouge did it to the Cambodian people, Rwanda's Hutu's did it to the Tutsi, and the Serbs did it to the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina too.

Turkey is in an uproar because the American Congress (which apparently has nothing else to do) is about to pass a non-binding resolution to condemn the Ottoman Empire (FYI: no longer in existence) for its atrocities during the early part of the 20th Century. "Don't you dare call it genocide," they warn. Heavens no, anything but that! Mass murder, pre-planned massacre...that's ok, but dear Lord - not "genocide!"

"What's in a name?" mused Juliet, leaning over the balcony in her reverie. "That which is called a rose by any other name would smell as sweet! So Romeo would, if he were not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he own! Oh Romeo!" she swoons, thinking herself alone in the night, "Doff thy name! And for thy name, which is no part of thee - take all myself!"

Juliet, whose last name was Capulet, stabbed her own heart out, and died entombed with her Romeo, whose last name was Montique, poisoned by his own hand.

Apparently there is something in a name.

Hey so-called modern State of Turkey - what's in a name? Let the U.S. Congress, the ADL and anyone else call a proverbial spade a spade. Take it like a man - if a country can be asked to do such a thing.

Anyway, the world will forget. It always does. Genocide is, after all ... so very 20th Century.

Fly the Holy Skies

El Al started it all, but as usual the Christian world follows suit...


ROME, Italy (AP) -- A Vatican-backed charter airline service made its inaugural flight Monday, aiming to carry pilgrims to such Catholic shrines as Lourdes, Fatima, Santiago de Compostela and the Holy Land.
The flights, scheduled to start regular service next year, are tailored to the pilgrims' needs, with inscriptions such as "I search for Your face, Lord," decorating the seats, and religious videos shown on board.
"We want to create the conditions to enable pilgrims to live their pilgrimage starting at their city's airport and even before they arrive at their destinations," said the Rev. Caesar Atuire, CEO for the "Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi," an outfit that organizes pilgrimages for the Diocese of Rome.
"That's why we created this initiative, with a dedicated aircraft, trained staff, and messages (on board) to help people live a better experience," he told reporters at a presentation ahead of the inaugural flight, which carried VIPs and church officials to Lourdes.
The five-year agreement between Mistral Air, a small airline owned by the private Italian post office, and the "Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi," offers flights leaving from seven Italian airports, including Rome and Verona, with a Boeing 737-300.
Officials expect the deal will bring an estimated 150,000 passengers a year to destinations including Fatima, Portugal; Lourdes, France; Santiago de Compostela, Spain; the Holy Land; Czestochowa, Poland; and Sinai, Egypt.
Details on schedules and fares are still being discussed. However, Atuire said the airline is hoping to offer pilgrims competitive prices.
Rome Cardinal Camillo Ruini praised the initiative.
"The way to make pilgrimages can change over time but their deepest meaning remains the same: To look for a deeper contact with God," he told reporters before boarding the inaugural flight.
The Vatican does not have an airline or its own airport, and the pope regularly takes special flights with commercial carriers for his trips around the globe.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What George Said

An occasion worth noting:

In 1790, The sexton of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, wrote a letter to George Washington, on behalf of the Jewish community welcoming the President on his visit to Newport.

In his letter, he expressed a vision of an American government that would permit all religions to live side by side in harmony, giving all its citizens the freedom to practice their religions.

On August 18, 1790, President Washington responded:

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support...May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tzfat's Khan of the White Donkey

Although it is only 180 years old, "The Khan" is Tzfat's newest musical space, and so much more. Moshe Tov Kreps and his all-star team including Gavi Strauss and Eliyahu (Andy) Alperin have expanded the Center for Healthy Living into the historic space of what was once a "khan" or caravansarai -- a lodging place for the donkey caravans that came to the market place in the old days. Hence the new moniker: HaKhan HaHamor HaLavan - the Khan of the White Donkey. After all, it's an undisputed Talmudic fact that the Messiah will pass through Tzfat on His way to Jerusalem, and not only that, that a white donkey will make a key appearance in the story itself. The Khan was the site of 3 nights of musical innovation including a guest appearance by Yehuda Katz. Chai shop, beer (imported all the way from the Golan Winery), kosher snacks and fun was had by all.

Moshe Tov describes the Khan this way:

We're very happy to announce that about 3 months ago we acquired an historic 160-year-old property in the heart of old Tzfat that will provide a site for expanded activities of the Center. Located in the Artists' Quarter near the General Exhibition (the old mosque) and the Maayan HaRadum, and unused and rundown for almost 20 years, it is dominated by a large stone-arched hall of over 100 meters, one of the largest single rooms in Tzfat. We believe it used to be a "khan" or caravansarai, a kind of combination stable and inn where in the old days traveling merchants and their caravans of pack animals (most likely donkeys) would gather and stay while doing business at the central shuk (marketplace) next door. There is also a small apartment, courtyard and rooftop. It is a very special place with much potential that calls out for sensitive restoration.
We have been cleaning it up, exploring its spaces and patiently assessing possibilities. Our ideas include using the big room for large group activities, yoga, movement, dance classes, lectures, community meals, childrens activity groups, music performances, theatre, movies, art gallery, workshop space, etc. The apartment area could serve as an office, library, meeting space, holistic treatment rooms, guest rooms, etc. In addition we envision creating a food preparation and service space which could support nutrition and cooking classes as well as a simple natural food bar open to the public.
We are excited that this space could anchor a larger development growing into a conference center, institute or community center manifesting the purposes of the Center for Healthy Living: improving the quality of the environment, supporting holistic approaches to personal and community health, demonstrating the practical benefits of traditional arts & culture, and stimulating community creativity. In short, to be a catalyst for the much-needed sustainable vitalization of Tzfat and the Upper Galilee.
The building renovation itself will become an open project of the Center, as we learn and share knowledge of appropriate traditional methods and materials. We are interviewing architects, builders, environmental designers, health workers, etc to form a team of professionals, consultants, locals and visitors to work together to create a showcase for creative stewardship. We plan to have fun doing it.
Anyone interested in finding out how they can help with the Khan's restoration and development, please contact Moshe Tov Kreps at Tzfat's Center for Healthy Living, (054)7338388.

Tzfat Klezmerfest!

The annual Klezmer Festival is Tzfat's claim to musical fame, and this year was no exception to the rule. Three nights (Monday August 20th through Wednesday August 22nd), multiple stages, venues both public and private, publicized and secret, saw the best of the best of Klezmer (a.k.a. Jewish Soul Music), as well as jazz, blues, improv, old hippie stuff, original materials, "religious music" (isn't all music religious) all-enveloped in the perennial strains of the ubiquitous chant of: Na Na Nah Nachman m'Uman!

Catch a Falling Star

A spectacular view of the Perseids Meteor Shower was seen from the hills of Kadita, outside of Tzfat. The hours between Midnight and 4am of Monday August 13th saw the greatest frequency of falling stars. The assembled Chaverim huddled on the hillside brought plenty of blankets and bottled water, but surprisingly no one remembered a flashlight. Lo and behold: cellphones are the new flashlights. Although it had been in the high 90's all day, a strange mist rose all around us, and we lay looking up at the Milky Way, all solar mist itself. Truly cosmic in the best sense of the word!

Musical Road Trip Part 1

As if the Deadheads United concert in Jerusalem Moe'tzi Shabbas wasn't enough, it was time to take a musical road trip North.
Ultimate destination: Tzfat's annual Klezmer Music Festival.
First stop: pick up itennerant Jewish (but not Klezmerish) musican, fresh in from a gig in Turkey, at the Benjamina bus stop.
Second stop: pick up sound system in Zichron Yaakov - which quickly became perfect excuse to swim the rest of the day away at a beautiful secluded beach north of Hof Dor.
Swimming in the Medeterranian Sea, so far from anyone or anything, with only endless blue of sea and sky punctuated by rocky reefs and mossy flats upon which to explore, was a much-appreciated delightful treat.

Jerry in Jerusalem - "The Rebbes of Rock"

Deadheads United at Jerusalem's Yellow Submarine on August 11th for a night of Grateful Dead music celebrating the 12th Yartzeit of Jerry Garcia. Spearheaded by N Safeq frontman and former Carlebach session artist Aryeh Naftaly, the All-Star Israeli musical lineup included Reva L'Sheva's Hanan Elias, Danny Roth and special guest guitar jammer Yehuda Katz; Duvid Swirsky of the Moshav Band, and Yood's Elizer "Lazer Lloyd" Blumen.

Edem MiQuedem's Shmuel Nelson was also scheduled to appear but couldn't make it because his wife was giving birth to their child. Mazel Tov!
The band opened with Sugaree, then played One More Saturday Night, followed by an ironic Friend of the Devil, and Deal. The room became electric with "One Way or the Other," the lyrics "One way or another / this darkness got to give" took on a special meaning here in Jerusalem that it never had in the United States, even in the dark Nixonian era of the early '70's.
The evening also treated the lucky listeners to Samson & Delilah (a paean to the local homeboy!) went into a Franklin's Tower / Space jam. The night also included U.S. Blues, Ship of Fools, Eyes of the World, as well as a somewhat out-of-place Casey Jones and a sweetly poignant Ripple.
Crowd reaction ranged from estactic to blissful. Original Deadheads (who have actually seen Jerry) and the next generation who've inherited the love of the music experienced nostalgia and an overwhelming sense that we (read: Jerusalemites, Israelis and Anglo Transplants) NEED some of the old spirit of those days - even though it has been "a long strange trip," indeed we know now, more than ever, that WE NEED A MIRACLE EVERY DAY.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lawsuit Against God Rejected

BUCHAREST, July 12 (RIA Novosti) - A Romanian court has rejected a lawsuit against God filed by a local prisoner serving a 20-year term for murder, a local newspaper said.
Evenimentul Zilei said Mircea Pavel's suit was against "defendant God, resident in Heaven, represented here by the Romanian Orthodox Church."
In late 2005, it was reported that the convict, serving his term in the western Romanian city of Timisoara, blamed God for the troubles in his life and wanted God brought to account for failing to fulfill the commitments He undertook and for taking bribes.
The plaintiff said that when he had been baptized in childhood, he concluded a contract with God that had legal effect - God was supposed to protect him from evil, and insisted that the Romanian church should compensate him for the alleged God-inflicted damage.
"God received different material valuables from me, as well as prayers in exchange for promises of a better life. In reality, this did not happen - I found myself in the devil's hands," the plaintiff said.
The court rejected the prisoner's claims on the grounds that "God is not an object of law and has no residence address."

Dancing in the Streets of J-Town

The Jewish Agency for Israel is throwing a 3-day street festival.
"Ascending to Jerusalem," is a celebration of the 40 years since Jerusalem's re-unification and an opportunity for anyone and everyone to find out more information about making Aliyah - becoming a citizen of Israel.
Jewish Agency Absorption Counselors are out in droves to answer questions, give directions and suggestions and evangelize on behalf of the wonder and magic of living as a Jew in the Jewish State.
Musicians, storytellers, craftspeople, jugglers, artists, hippies and hipsters gather together to enjoy the street party, all in the hopes of attracting some of the Jews who are here on holiday to think about staying a little longer ... like the rest of their lives!

"The Cry of the Mothers"

"Zakat HaEemahot" means
"The Cry of the Mothers," and the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, family & friends of young Israelis who have been killed by random violence such as murders, car thefts gone wrong, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, etc. are camped out in front of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's residence in Rehavia, trying to get him to pay attention to their plight.
This group is advocating for a change in procedures for the "24 Hour Law," meaning police won't open a file or an investigation on a missing person until they've been missing 24 hours.
The families sit on chairs behind pictures of four young Israelis whose lives might have been saved if their frantic families who had called police about their missing children would have been able to open an investigation before their child had been missing 24 hours.
Pictured (in frames behind the seated family members):
Inbal Amram
Shaket Shahov
Raz Morr
Mayan Sapir
Unfortunately, Prime Minister Olmert was too busy giving away land to Fatah (and their almost newly reconciled ex-best-friends Hamas, who are just about to re-join the PA government after their recent spat in Gaza that killed hundreds of their own) and freeing terrorists to pay any attention to "the cry of the mothers."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

United Buddy Bears Visit Jerusalem

United Buddy Bears comes to Jerusalem - here I am between the Buddy Bear from the United States (that's the big green one holding the torch and wearing the Statue of Liberty's crown) and the United Kingdom (Union Jack, y'all).

Yes, as befitting an art installation whose title is: "United Buddy Bears: The Art of Tolerance," the bears line Jerusalem's Safra Square in alphabetical order. Israel's Buddy Bear (wearing a Kotel-inspired motif) is sandwiched between Iraq and Iran (pictured).
There are even Buddy Bears from countries that exist either in memory only (i.e. Armenia) or in fantasy (the Palestinian Authority, see picture of Palestinian Buddy Bear with kafiyah around neck next to Pakistani Buddy Bear).