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: