Sunday, May 31, 2015

Job Opportunity: Web Content Writer Needed....

No, not for me...for the Palestinian Authority. It seems that they have mixed up content writing with creative writing. So...can you spot the lie...if you need help, do a search for the earliest formations of communities in the world...and when you get to the listings of individual nations...notice how early the Jews are mentioned...and notice the lack of something that has supposedly lasted for a million years...


Quick Note...

To those who have expressed concerns or said I sound depressed. I promise, I'm not. I have to make a decision about something. My heart says one thing; my brain sort of says another. What will it cost my heart to listen to my brain? What will my brain think if I go with my heart.

For the past 30 hours or so, I've been imagining both scenarios, agonizing and getting mixed suggestions and advice. There is no wrong answer and, in a way, no right one. This is not an uncharted path...except for me.

I'm sorry for being vague. I'll come out with it all once I decide what to do. For now, I am thinking. I'm not depressed...I'm honored to have been presented with this dilemma and I'd really like it if God could please take a moment from running billions of lives and infinite numbers of creations and possibly planets and universes and tell me what He was thinking.

Short of that, I have to understand why this challenge was placed before me and what God expects of me...which, as I said, would be infinitely easier if God could sort of spell it out. "Paula, thou shalt do x"...that could really work.

But I'm not depressed. It isn't health-related. The new baby is wonderful; my two "older" grandchildren are beyond words. The weather in Israel is delightful; my kids are amazing...well, mostly.

My husband is a man...yeah, the women understand that one and the men probably don't. I've asked a rabbi I respect very much and the wife of another rabbi (oh, she'd hate it if I referred to her that way)...okay, so let me rephrase there's another rabbi who I also respect a ton who I haven't asked and a dear, dear friend who is married to him - and I asked her. I asked my mother. I haven't asked my husband. I've told most of my children - they are all asking me what I've decided...and I haven't.

So...I'll get there...hopefully soon. For now...I'm really hoping for divine intervention...short of which, I'll figure something out...soon.

Friday, May 29, 2015

FIFA May Kick Israel Out...

In a few moments, FIFA will announce whether they will kick Israel out of participating in European/International soccer events...


Before FIFA announces, I want to say one thing. Ready? Just this. I. DON'T. CARE. No one can delegitimize us, no one can make us less than we are. We were in Haiti. We were in Nepal. We have been here for thousands of years and we will be here for thousands more.

These are a bunch of imbeciles running around the field kicking a ball, for God's sake. These are not men (and women) of high intellect, caring and sensitive to the needs of man. It was not THEIR religion that brought forth the belief in ONE TRUE God. It was not their people who were promised this land.

If...IF...IF FIFA kicks Israel out - it is their loss, not ours. Their failure, not ours. We have survived more than they can imagine. Am Yisrael Chai - in FIFA or out!

I'll also add this - Jon Stewart commenting on the horrific FIFA financial scandal that broke this past week:

How to Make a Decision

I can no longer recall what the decision was that I had to make, if in the end it went right or wrong. I can't remember how old I was when my mother told me what her mother would advise. The only thing I can tell you is that from the moment I heard this, I have tried to live with it. I have shared it with friends...even did so a few days ago.

It goes like this - words of wisdom from my mother's mother, my grandmother, who passed away when I was 5 years old. I remember her a tiny bit and still have the teddy bear she gave to my sister (I had mine until we moved to Israel and in a game of toss back and forth, one of my sons accidentally tossed the teddy bear high into the air to land on the light bulb. When they saw smoke, they screamed out for me and somehow I had the presence of mind to shut the light and remove the smoking and burned bear.

My sons knew that what they did was wrong, that they had played with something that was precious to me and that I did not let them touch. I was their mother...but this was my teddy bear.

And I learned something about myself that day - in my deepest pain and anger, I don't scream out...I go silent. I looked at the burned bear in my hands; I looked at my sons and very calmly and quietly asked them to go back to their room. They appeared to be shocked that I didn't yell at them and seemed to feel worse for that. I cried for my burned bear and later on, when I told my mother, my sister offered me hers. Mine was named, "Yellow Paws" for obvious reasons. Hers was called (or at least I called it) "Flat Face" also for obvious reasons. I still have Flat Face...fact is, I think I still have Yellow Paws...who sadly looks more like a raccoon than a teddy bear...but I digress...a lot.

So, my grandmother's advice...how to make a decision...more, how to live with one.

I have a decision to make...well, many in my life, but one that just popped up. I am going back and forth, asking advice...thinking, debating...but ultimately, I'm going to follow my grandmother's advice and offer it here.

When you have one of two paths to take...choose one. It honestly doesn't matter which one. Don't agonize. Go with it. 100% and without hesitation - for 24 hours let yourself believe this is what you are going to do. How do you feel about it? Stop...don't agonize. Now, flip the decision around...and live with the idea for 24 hours that you are going to go with that way - 100% and without hesitation. You are going to do the opposite of what you were previously so sure you were going to do before.

One will feel right; one will feel wrong. You will know, goes the theory, that you don't want to give that thing up or that you really don't want it nearly as much as you thought. Live with it, live without it. And then, reach inside yourself and see which one felt right. Which path, which decision was the one you just couldn't see yourself doing (or not doing)?

I'm breaking the rule myself right now. Having decided to live with a decision, I'm still uncertain which one to live with first. I'll get there...I hope.

A friend suggested that I make the decision before Shabbat comes and not linger with it and let it distract me. I'm not sure I can do that - it's a big decision to make, a hard one no matter what I choose. Usually, we hope, there is a right decision and a wrong one and the biggest challenge is to choose between them. Often, we even know which is right but wrong seems so much easier.

What happens when both decisions are wrong...or right for that matter? What happens when what is best for you is also the thing that is worst for you?

Can you say you'll never do something and then contemplate doing it? Can you go where you knew you'd never go? Do what you believed you'd never do? Can you betray one part of your soul to feed another part?

A decision...

I can argue this up the wall and across the ceiling. I can convince everyone that either side is right...or wrong. The only one I can't convince is myself.

May God bless the memory of Mina Leah bat Morris (not Hebrew but that's what we know).

Friday Morning in Israel

I love Friday mornings in Israel. They are unique moments in a week gone by. Work isn't for today but you get a chance to take a breath and think what you need to do. The new week hasn't begun and so you can organize yourself for what will be.

Shabbat is coming - that's the most important thought of all. This week, I have 6 kilos of flour mixed into challah dough. Some I'll freeze; some I'll bake. After weeks of hard and busy weekends, I want this one to go easy. I will not overcook like I always do...I will not...of course, I promise myself this most weeks and fail but this week, especially, I'm going to try.

Fast, easy. Quiet. That's the motto for this Shabbat.

The birds are singing...very little traffic yet. It's early and kids are just beginning to awaken. Israel is shaking off the night and enjoying the cool weather (at least here where I am) after a week of dangerous, stifling heat. Most of all, we are taking it a bit slow today and enjoying the promise of Shabbat yet to come.

My oldest daughter will be home with her husband and two sons for the first time...my second Shabbat with three grandchildren in my life...with faces and names and the beginning of getting to know this little personality.

It is ultimately these quiet moments in life that give you the strength to get through the coming week. David and Aliza are home...Elie and his family will join us for one meal. Quiet, slow.

Next week will come too soon...for now, it's about just enjoying the promise of a day at home, a Shabbat with my family.

Shabbat shalom.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

God's Sense of Humor

For more years than I can remember, I have been aware that God has the most fine-tuned sense of humor. Irony. Whatever.

I'm sitting here unsure what to do - take an opportunity that would be incredible professionally...turn it down...go...say no...

I can't give more details now...I'm sitting here trying to decide.

Yes...No...professionally...personally...

Ah, and the dates - God is truly laughing in the heavens...will I ever be able to explain why I am so amazed. God has a whole world, perhaps many worlds to look after...and He even finds time for this.

Dear God, please give me the wisdom to decide, to choose the right path. How can one know what is right...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Yo, Frank...did you hear about the rockets fired at Israel yesterday?

Two days ago, as I was driving home from a client, my phone made a strange noise...it's a tune I assigned and forgot about, one I don't use for any other reason. Color Red. Incoming missile.

I pulled to the side of the road and opened the phone - the front screen said there'd been a siren at Ben Gurion airport region. No way, I thought. Probably an error. It happens...too often.

I turned off the country music DVD that relaxes me when driving long distances and turned on the news. I listened. And listened. And listened. Nothing. No way, I thought. Must have been a mistake.

I got home and learned it was an IDF drill - no worries, back to this "relative calm" that for once has meant less than a handful of rockets over the past 10 months...10 months since the end of the war...enough time for God to have blessed me with a new grandson, not enough time to forget the trauma, never enough time to stop mourning the lives lost. I was amazingly grateful that the next round hadn't started...and amazingly aware that with that statement comes the inevitable...yet. Not yet.

Last night, I was standing near my daughter as she cradled her new son. We were in her apartment as part of a celebration held the night before the baby is circumcised. It is called "Brit Yitzchak" - translated as "The Covenant of Isaac" and begins the process of bringing this little boy into the people of Israel. My phone battery had died but one of my friends turned to me and showed me his phone...rockets...at least 4 alerts.

"It's a drill or a mistake," I told him. It happened yesterday too.

Only it wasn't. Islamic Jihad decided to make a point and the point they made was to fire at least 5 rockets at Israel. Over 300,000 people living in the south rushed to bomb shelters and the thought of most Israelis was, "Is it summer already?"

One rocket landed in a city...a small town populated with 22,000 people. The anger started right away...no, just no. Not again. You stole the summer from children in the south and all over Israel last year; you can't be allowed to steal it again.

I didn't check the international media. I don't care if they report the missiles or not. Or rather, I do care, but have little expectations.

Frank - I don't know where you live but tell me, if you were sitting beside your children or grandchildren and suddenly heard an air raid siren...if you knew that another country had fired rockets into your city...what would you do?

Ah yes,  you aren't anti-Israel; you aren't an anti-Semite; and you don't favor or particularly like the Palestinians...so, what would your reaction be if it was your home, your city, your family?

And let me save you one ridiculous response - don't use the absurd fallback that their rockets usually miss. That doesn't lessen the terror before the impact and it doesn't mitigate the few times when they do hit. Last summer, the home of a family with three small children was hit. In a well-practiced move, the mother grabbed the baby and the father grabbed the toddler and they ran to the bomb shelter. The four year old had been well trained and he was always the first one through the door...only that time, he didn't make it. That time the rocket didn't miss. Every rocket carries the same potential to kill.

I'm not an expert in math and statistics but the message of each missile is that there's a 1 in 10 chance that any particular missile might actually deliver a direct hit and a 100% chance of a direct hit with every missile. Meaning - no matter how often they miss, until the rocket hits the ground, it carries the potential for harm and the guarantee of terror.

So Frank, if you didn't hear about the rocket attack yesterday, I'd like you to call your local radio station and ask why it wasn't reported; I'd like you to call your local and national television stations and ask why it didn't make the news there.

The answer, most likely, will center around no one having died. Ignored is the terror, the fear. I have a friend who lives in the area who recently had a massive heart attack and is recovering. My first thoughts and fears were for her. She lives very close to the Gaza border...she lived through last year's war and all the others. She's experienced more rocket attacks than anyone can count.

She needs a quiet summer; she deserves one. If you didn't hear about yesterday's attack...stop for a moment and think how you would feel. The siren is one of the most terrifying things you can hear...when you know this rocket is hurling in your direction and you have seconds to react. If you are a child, you run but if you are a parent, you think. Where is my son, my daughter, my husband...where is everyone I love...seconds until you hear the explosion...and then more fear until the telephone calls begin and everyone is safe.

Even when the news reports that there were no injuries, it isn't enough because those only cover the impact site. They don't cover the terror, the fright, the car accidents, the heart attacks, the injuries of someone who ran in terror to a bomb shelter and tripped and fell...old people rushing, young children pulled along. You have 15 seconds, or 30 or 60 or 90...seconds.

And lest you use this argument to justify not visiting or living in Israel, as I have seen Frank and others do, let me say one thing. If a man assaults a woman but doesn't rape her, that doesn't mean a crime was not committed. If someone tries to murder you and doesn't succeed, it is still a criminal offense.

If Gaza fires rockets at Israel and misses, it doesn't mean that overall we are still safer here than anywhere else. It doesn't mean Gaza wasn't wrong and that the world should not demand they stop or levy sanctions.

And it does mean, Frank, that rather than condone violence, you should condemn it. Without excuses, without explanations. Pure and simple - will you condemn the rocket fire against Israel yesterday...and do so without the proverbial "but" you endlessly offer. Balls in your court, Frank - and this time, I'll publish your comment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Message to Frank...

You have, in the past, posted many comments. Some I put through, several I don't. Allow me to explain something that you might not be aware of...this is not a public blog...this is a personal one.

I started it about 8 years ago first to calm myself, to express into a huge void that is the Internet, my innermost concerns and fears. I couldn't say them to my first son...not even to my second...as they went into the army and out of the home in which they had grown.

I doubt I'll be able to say these same fears for my youngest son, who goes into the army in a few months...too few months. There is never enough time to prepare emotionally for that moment when you know you have completely lost all control over your child's destiny. It happens more gradually in the country of my birth; but here in Israel, at least for boys, it is sudden and it is shocking. One night he is sleeping in his bed, fighting with his siblings, refusing to take out the garbage, making you laugh over something, reaching to take a bag from you so you don't have to carry it, picking up his little sister and tossing her high...and then, he's all grown up, gone for most of the time.

So I started this blog never considering others would read it. And was shocked to find that many do; that there are many parents who are experiencing the same thing...and not even just here in Israel. And there are people about to experience it, or who went through it. Or there are people who love Israel and hunger for any word about life there. Or there are people who are curious about this place Israel that gets to much media coverage, so much beyond the proportional size and population.

And then there are others, sort of like you, who like to argue, like to point out injustices where there are none (Arabic is an option in many Israeli schools - English, French, Arabic...my oldest daughter learned it for a while but dropped it).

So, Frank...here's an example of why I write - below is a post about Israel being condemned by...wait...let me check which UN body it was this time...ah yes, the UN's World Health Organization has condemned Israel yet again...

And finally, Frank, you asked why I do not post your comments. The simple answer is because I don't have to...this is my blog. You can start your own. I welcome many discussions but others, as is my right, I prefer not to begin. I never get tired of explaining about Israel; I do, at times, get tired of being put in a position where it is assumed I am justifying something that is wrong, rationalizing something away. My country has much to be proud of and very little, compared to ALL of our neighbors, for which we should feel ashamed. Without balance, there can be no discussion. I see no balance in your comments.

Sometimes, I put comments through and then answer them; sometimes I leave it to others to respond. Sometimes, I choose not to put them through at all...my right.

Sometimes, I post them, like this: Mahmood Says...

Sometimes, I put them all together... like this: Comments on Comments...

I hope you'll take the time to read the following UN Watch alert and perhaps even comment on it. I can't promise to publish all your comments but I'll be happy to respond to those that are not filled with unbalanced accusations, ignorance, or attacks.


UN Watch Briefing
Latest from the United Nations
 Vol. 534 |  May 22, 2015         
UN casts Israel as worst violator of health rights in the world
              
 
 Above: Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake.
By Hillel Neuer
As Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for escalating numbers of wounded Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks, the U.N. reached new heights of absurdity today by adopting a draft resolution portraying Israel as violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan.
By a vote of 104 to 4, with 6 abstentions and 65 absent, the Jewish state was the only country in the world to be singled out on Wednesday by the annual assembly of the U.N.’s World Health Organization. The decision was ratified today in Geneva in a final reading by the plenary. 
The resolution adopts two reports heaping blame upon Israel for allegedly violating the health rights of both the Palestinians and Druze residents of the Golan, and constituted the 2015 assembly’s only treatment of a specific country situation.
There was no debate on the health of the Yemeni people now under indiscriminate Saudi bombardment, no mention at all of the 1,850 Yemenis killed, the 7,394 wounded, and the 545,000 displaced, many of whom are desperate to find food.
On the contrary, the representative of Saudi Arabia’s theocracy took the floor, without any sense of shame, to denounce “Israeli intransigence,” and to beseech “all peace loving states” to adopt the distorted and politicized resolution.
The despotic regime must have felt especially emboldened as the gathering took place adjacent to the Human Rights Council, where Saudi Arabia sits as a full member, elected in 2013 by more than two-thirds of the UN General Assembly.
All of this while the Wahhabist regime advertises the hiring of eight more executioners to carry out beheadings, which have spiraled this year to more than double the amount in 2014. ISIS can only be jealous of what this UNHRC member has achieved.
Nor is this year’s UN health assembly holding a single debate on the health rights of Ukranian civilians caught in a war with Russian-backed militias. The 6,000 people killed, and the one million displaced, are simply of no interest.
Preoccupied by the alleged sins of Israelis, the UN turned a blind eye to the latest warning by health experts, reported in Newsweek, that Ukraine is in imminent danger of experiencing the first polio epidemic Europe has seen for decades. “Millions of children are at risk from a range of crippling or fatal infectious diseases, including measles, diphtheria and rubella,” said the report. Yet the UN couldn’t be bothered—and Russia gleefully voted for the PLO-drafted condemnation of Israel.
Resolution absurdly condemns Israel for violating health
rights of Syrians, ignores Assad atrocities

Most absurd of all, though, was that the resolution falsely claimed a dire need for “health-related technical assistance” for “the Syrian population in the occupied Syrian Golan” — who in fact have excellent treatment — and said nothing about the Syrian population being slaughtered in Syria.
Instead, the scapegoating of Israel—in the form of a special debate, two lopsided reports, the resolution, and the publication of country submissions—provided a UN platform for Assad’s murderous regime.
“The Israeli occupation authorities continue to experiment on Syrian and Arab prisoners with medicines and drugs and to inject them with pathogenic viruses,” wrote Syria, in a submission laced with anti-Semitic conspiracy tropes, yet circulated as an official UN document on the conference agenda.
Unable to deny Israel’s medical treatment of wounded Syrians, the regime concocted another plot: Israel deliberately heals regime opponents so that they can “resume their subversive terrorist activities directed against the country’s peaceful citizens and its infrastructure.”
Had the EU wanted, they could have set the record straight, and taken a stand against such base demonization of the Jewish state.
Disgracefully, however, Britain, France, Germany and all other EU states joined the jackals by voting for today’s resolution.
The EU states could have introduced their own resolution about how Syria has killed more than 200,000 of their own people, including 20,000 children, caused three million to flee as refugees, and displaced another six million within Syria itself, amounting to the utter destruction of the health rights of the Syrian people.
Yet the EU was silent. Instead, it justified its vote by claiming that the resolution was “technical.” It’s the old Brussels-Ramallah wink-and-nod game: the PLO submits a more inflammatory text at the beginning, knowing it will be revised later to allow the Europeans to pretend they achieved a “balanced” text. Israel is then expected to celebrate that it has been lynched with a lighter rope.
UN should single out Israel: as a beacon of humanity  
The truth is, the UN health assembly should single out Israel—as a beacon of humanity.
The UN should single out Israel because if you walk into any Israeli hospital or clinic, you will see it replete with Palestinians receiving world-class medical treatment.
And this was true even this past summer while Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, and placed their terrorist command center under the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, a despicable abuse of health rights unmentioned by the world health assembly.
The UN should single out Israel because its doctors have created the amazing “Save A Child’s Heart” program, which has provided life-saving cardiac surgery to more than 3,400 children from 48 different countries, training doctors and nurses from China to Zanzibar. About half the patients are Muslims from the West Bank, Gaza and other Arab countries.
The UN should single out Israel because it was a world leader in responding to the deadly earthquake in Nepal, sending a 260-member army team of medics and search and rescue experts who treated 1,600 victims, including 85 surgeries and eight infant deliveries.
And the UN should single out Israel because its Nobel Prize-winning scientists and innovative biotech companies have become global innovators who create therapeutic products, diagnostic tools and revolutionary drug-delivery techniques benefiting people all over the world.
Yet so long as the UN instead descends into irrationalism, scapegoating the Jewish state for all the world’s health problems just as medieval Europe accused the Jews of poisoning the wells, the organization betrays the cause of humanity and the noble principles upon which it was founded.
Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch.
                


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Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day...theirs and ours...

Coming from the United States, I remember Memorial Day as the day we had to move our car to the side street if we didn't want to get blocked in by the parade. Old men in uniforms...I didn't know the word veterans or what that meant...police, marching bands. Across the street, the neighbor had a barbecue going and invited many friends to watch the parade...I didn't know how offensive that should have been.

The stores were filled with sales; the beaches filled with swimmers after the long weekend. Memorial Day was the day of great change - winter to summer, black shoes to white shoes. I didn't know what was missing; I didn't know what was wrong. I didn't agonize over the lives lost or give a second thought to the lives forever changed. I didn't know.

In Israel, it is so different. It is, without exception, a solemn day, a sad day. We agonize with the families and they feel this. If they mourn alone every other day of the year, they know that on this day, at least, we are beside them, with them. We cry, we stand beside them and the ones they lost. We listen to them tell us of who we lost and the potential never realized.

We remember our heroes and thank them and we promise them that we will hold hear and protect all that they died for.

To my friends in America, from a proud and finally understanding Israeli, I tell you - if you wish someone "happy memorial day" - you don't understand.

If you go to a barbecue or buy something on sale, you have missed the point.

If you are cleaning out your closet to find all those summer clothes, not today. Dear God, not today.

If you watch a parade, know that those old men in the uniforms are veterans and what they did, they did for you. The police and firemen, the sirens and flashing lights, the marching band from the highschool - that's all noise. The important ones are the veterans - today, of all days.

Years ago, a woman began following this blog. I feel, in many ways, that she is a sister to me. Her life and mine will be lived in different lands. She has four children...but one was killed in Iraq. That made her a Gold Star Mother. I didn't know what that meant at first and when I did, it gave me chills thinking of what they have lost and the bravery they must live with every day of their lives.

They won't call it bravery; but I do. They won't say they are strong; but I will. As she read my blog, I began reading hers. I learned of a young man who chose a path to bravery. My sons served because that is what they are expected to do in Israel and unlike some who work hard to avoid it, they simply stepped up and offered their abilities, their dedication, their love to this land.

Micheal did the same...and more because he didn't have to step up, he didn't have to serve. And in the end, he died in Iraq, fighting no less for freedom than if the battle had been on the shores of America.

I have friends who have lost children to war in Israel, and to terror. I know from them that there is no tomorrow, there is no getting better. You carry it with you always. One asked me how many children she had...and at that moment, I understood. Death does not lessen the gift you were given. This woman, this Gold Star mother, has 4 children today...as she had 4 before Micheal went to Iraq.

Today, instead of feeling surrounded, she is in many ways more alone than ever. It isn't about the sales and the barbecues just as it isn't about glorifying the dead. It is about simply remembering them, allowing the families to know they have not been forgotten. It is about them...those that died and those that live.

May their memories be blessed and honored - and if you can do three things today...don't go to the beach, don't have a barbecue, and don't buy anything on sale.

Teach the stores that their attempt to commercialize and capitalize on this day is abhorrent. Light a candle and say a prayer for the souls of those who sacrificed so that Americans could be free...shop every other day, go to the beaches and enjoy summer and barbecue...any day but this one.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy....

Sorry I haven't posted but happily, it was for the best of reasons. Our oldest daughter presented us with a beautiful baby boy last week. Mother, baby, older brother are all fine...father is exhausted but doing an amazing job.

I'm not allowed to post pictures...maybe I can sneak in a foot or an ear...he's very sweet, very precious...and we are very blessed.

More soon....

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Day the Pope Lost His Nose

-- Guest blog by Rabbi Elan Adler (reprinted with permission)


THE DAY POPE FRANCIS LOST HIS NOSE.....

We knew it from various clues during his trip here [to Israel]

...holding his hands on a security barrier and closing his eyes in prayer, likely not for Israelis whose lives were saved because of the barrier

....his disinterested and disengaged looks when meeting with our Prime Minister, even when being told about Nazi atrocities against Jews

...his embrace of the Mufti of Jerusalem as his "brother" while Sheikh Muhammed Hussein says that Jews are subhuman and the enemies of Allah....

So we're not totally shocked that now Pope Francis has used the "State of Palestine" for the first time on an official Church document.

THE POPE HAS LOST HIS NOSE.

I spoke with someone today who is a clown. He goes to parties and weddings and juggles and puts on his costume and makes people laugh and forget their worries. In passing about the fun he has as a clown, he mentioned that he has to worry the entire time about one thing: never dropping his foam nose.

"What's wrong with that?" I asked.

He said, "If your nose falls off, there is no more illusion. You're no longer a clown. You are just you."

In supporting the so-called Palestinians by dignifying their wretched Jew-hatred and depraved indifference to human life and "giving" them a State, in giving his imprimatur to a group of thugs headed by a man who flatly denies the Holocaust, the Pope has lost his nose.

There is no more illusion of a man of God or a spiritual leader who fights for the highest ideals of the universe. He is a fraud and a sham, he is just another human being, stripped of moral authority and not entitled to the respect suggested by the rest of his clothing. When you side with the murderers and haters and bombers and torturers, you may be a clown, but you're not a Pope.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Doesn't Make the News

Elie dropped me off this morning to catch the train. He was going to run an errand, park the car and catch the train as well to come to work. Two hours later, he still wasn't here and so I called him. He told me he would call me back...strange...

He called a while later to say he'd be here soon...

What didn't make the news today was that a short time ago, in a school for Arab girls, a platform collapsed, injuring somewhere between 15-20 Arab girls. Elie was across the street, just pulling into the parking lot of the train station when he saw the first ambulance drive in, and heard many sirens approaching.

He grabbed his first responder vest from the car and ran to the first ambulance driver to arrive. He immediately identified himself and offered to help. This is how it works in Israel. Like Elie, this other man was an Orthodox Jew. Neither hesitated to go inside an Arab school to help Arab children. The service they gave, the aid they brought was professional, prompt...Israel.

On scene, they found that one girl was complaining about her back and would need to be moved very gently. Unfortunately, the people on the scene had already moved the children away from the platform, risking further injury. Elie and the driver carefully securer her to a board for transportation to the hospital. Several others girls had hurt their legs as the platform collapsed. They picked the three worst and transported them, as nearly 10 other ambulances and their drivers arrived to lend a hand.

First on the scene...first off the scene...Elie and the first driver loaded the first ambulance with the four girls. The uncle of one of the girls was there. He was needed because although these were all "Israeli Arabs" - meaning they are full citizens of the State of Israel, with all rights and privileges, these girls have been raised to speak only Arabic and were therefore unable to communicate with most Israelis.

"English? Hebrew?" Elie asked. Nothing. No common language; no ability to communicate.

Luckily, the uncle was able to speak Hebrew and went along as translator. The school had prepared a list of the injured girls - in Arabic. He took that, asked the girls their names, and circled the lines that matched these girls.

When they arrived, the uncle translated these names for the hospital. As is typical in Israeli hospitals, upon admission, the admissions office generates a large number of labels with name, ID number, date, etc. These are usually affixed to each page generated during treatment. Today, they put one label on each girl so that Israeli doctors and nurses could identify their patients. I have no doubt Arabic speaking doctors and/or nurses were quickly called in to assist in communicating with these and others that were likely brought in by the other ambulances.

Israeli doctors checked them over; Israeli nurses assisted; Israeli medical equipment was used to x-ray and check them over.

Elie returned to the parking lot and caught the train...several hours late. I've checked the news...nothing. What Elie did this morning will be lost by this evening - the amazing dedication of the volunteers, the ambulance drivers, the doctors and nurses  - all taken for granted. Don't brag about what should be a common place incident.

This is a scene that repeats itself countless times every day in Israel. The Israeli medical responders are well trained and offer their time and knowledge readily and quickly. From here to Haiti to Nepal...to Jew, to Christian, to Arab.

It doesn't make the news and yes, I understand in the United States, no one would think to record that today fireman saved a Chinese family, that ambulance drivers rushed to assist a Black family, that doctors and nurses struggled to save the lives of a Latino child. It would not be reported in most European countries either. So why is it right that we document this?

Simple - we are at war with the Arabs...even, to our sorrow, with many of the Arabs that live within our borders, and even some that carry Israeli ID cards. Outside my office window at this moment, is Halal...he greets me every morning, we speak of his work and his family. He listens while I complain about the horrible way this building is maintained and I thank you daily for doing what he can to make it nicer. This is the way it should be...but it isn't the way it is.

In the midst of war, a Jew cannot safely walk into most Arab neighborhoods. It's hit or miss whether the Jew will walk out unharmed. Two days ago, firefighters rushed to put out a fire in a building...and were bombarded with rocks. The trains travel through Arab neighborhoods and are stoned on almost a daily basis. In a normal world, people don't throw stones at firetrucks, ambulances and passenger trains - most especially, firetrucks that come to their neighborhood to help, ambulances that are helping their neighbors, and trains that they use daily to get to work, medical treatment, etc.

Without hesitation, once again, my son walked into a situation where he was surrounded by Arabs (yes, Arab girls, but also their parents and school workers and others). It isn't fair to brush this off as normal in a place where normal is so different than other places. How many Arab countries flew rescue workers to help in Nepal?

One hundred percent of the first responders that ran into that school to help those Arab girls were Jewish and they didn't hesitate.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

24 Hours Flashed in a Minute

In less than 60 seconds, you can get a sense of what it was like in Israel's field hospital in Nepal. Twenty-four hours a day - the numbers, the action....just staggering.

The best comment, by far, was this one,

"i did not see the Iranian delegation......where are they?"

BBC Actually Acknowledge Israel

One friend suggested this could go in the Guinness Book of Records, another suggested we check to make sure the sky isn't falling.

The sky's a bit hazy here, but it seems to be holding...



So lots of people complaining on my Facebook page that Israels mission to Nepal isn't getting covered by the mainstream media. The IDF mission is not the story, the people of Nepal have suffered a devastating tragedy, the story is them and how they will be picking up their lives and putting the pieces back together again is. Never the less, here is a short piece (one of many) by the BBC. Our mission is not determined by the media coverage, it is the right thing to do, we have the professional experience and people need the help. Shabbat Shalom
Posted by Lt. Col. Peter Lerner on Friday, May 8, 2015

Medical Personnel Snapshot

Here's another comparison - this only covers the medical personnel sent to Nepal to help. Not included here, obviously, are about another 140 Israelis - likely those directly involved in other areas of aid, for example search and rescue.

Following Israel (122), comes China (37). According to this, the United States sent fifteen people. For those who asked why Israel was "bragging" - I'm still waiting for your recognition that we certainly had every right to express our pride. Or, maybe I shouldn't hold my breath. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Shame of Virginia

I received this email from the husband of a friend...I asked if I could share it because I am disgusted by the first letter and incredibly proud of the second. If I had to add anything, it would be to say that if you live in Virginia and you agree with the first letter, shame on you. If you don't agree with it but do nothing, I would remind you that silence to injustice can only result in greater injustices.

The single point I would add to the second letter is a request that in the future, this Martingayle person consider including the reason WHY Israel "discriminates" - which really translates as checks carefully some people who enter our country as opposed to others. When my mother was in Germany, they stopped her because she was "the fourth in line." In England, they randomly checked my backpack for explosives.

For the record, the grand total of Jewish grandmothers who live in Israel that have blown up planes, automobiles, restaurants, etc. is exactly ZERO. But sure, go spend your time checking them while other threats walk by unchecked. An Israeli security expert, upon hearing from an American official who claimed that "in America we check everyone," responded, "then you check no one."

But rather than come for themselves, the Virginia State Bar chose to boycott the only real democracy in the Middle East, the country...the only country in the Middle East that regularly sends hundreds of relief workers to save lives...any lives...all lives. So Virginia lawyers, shame on YOU!

The first letter - by Kevin E. Martingayle dated March 27th, 2015
Dear Fellow Members of the Virginia State Bar,

Certain members of the Virginia State Bar and other individuals have expressed objections to the VSB's plan to take the Midyear Legal Seminar trip in November to Jerusalem. It was stated that there are some unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers to the nation. Upon review of U.S. State Department advisories and other research, and after consultation with our leaders, it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israel trip and exploration of alternative locations.

Undoubtedly, this news will disappoint some VSB members. But we are a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality, and that explains this action. Fortunately, we still anticipate being able to find a suitable location for the November seminar trip, and we will send out further news very soon.

Finally, we are pleased that our members and citizens feel able to express concerns and look to us to protect rights. In the end, we are all part of the same team, and the VSB will continue to stay focused on advancing its primary objectives-public protection, access to justice, and improvement of the profession.

As always, I appreciate having the honor of serving as your president.

Best regards, Kevin E. Martingayle,
President, Virginia State Bar

The very correct response by David Michael, MD (reprinted with permission and with my gratitude), dated March 30, 2015

Dear Mr. Martingayle,

I am an American physician, living and working in Jerusalem. I moved here at the age of 43, with my wife and five kids, after living my whole life in Chicago.

We are Jews, people of the book, the chosen people…the people of Israel.

We are the people who introduced to the world the concepts of G-d, social justice, law as we know if today, and so much of what humanity has to offer.

Boycotts of the Jews is nothing new. Jews have been singularly boycotted well before there was Israel—for thousands of years in fact. Boycotts are when we are treated nicely, since expulsions and massacres have been much more common than mere boycotts. Ever consider why there are only 12 million Jews left in the world, when we were the first major religion to appear on earth?

Now that there is Israel, people can boycott the Jewish state, and “hide” their anti-Semitism as a political act, so that fine, respected, educated people like you can perform anti-Semitic aggression, without being overtly accused of anti-Semitism.

A lot of people are truly misinformed, and I cut them more slack. I too would believe the media, had I not been so educated, had I not lived here myself, been in the hospital among Arab doctors, Arab patients alongside Jews, and see how everyone is treated equally, just like in America. Nowhere in the Arab world do Arabs get to experience the level of judicial and social justice as in Israel. However, given your level of education, access to information, and assumed intelligence, I cannot make for you the excuse that you are ignorant, rather than anti-Semitic. You can deny anti-Semitism, but your actions cannot deny it. The Nazis were also a very educated group of people.

To be fair, I do personally experience discrimination in Israel—as a Jew. For instance, while Muslims are free to ascend and pray on the holiest place for the Jewish people, the Temple Mount (where the Jewish first and second Temples once stood and now you find the Golden Dome), I as a Jew have strict limitations to visit, and may not pray, nor show any sign of prayer on the Temple Mount. Jews are discriminated against by the Jewish police, for fear that any Jewish presence will incite Arab aggression.

So perhaps it is a worthy cause that you boycott Jerusalem, so that the Jewish people will one day be fully accepted and respected by their Muslim cousins, the same way that the Jews accept them, and respect them as fellow human beings.

In the meantime, while Iran is openly calling and planning for the annihilation of the Jewish state, consider having your meeting there, since you are trying to achieve maximum inclusion and equality. Just tell them that you are boycotting Israel, and I am sure that they will treat you like royalty.

I just don’t understand where all this hatred of Jews comes from, when we as a people have only love and respect for all of humanity in our hearts, and have demonstrated that time and again throughout history.

Sincerely, David Michael, MD

A Sense of Humor Gone Wrong

Have you ever written something in a moment of...melancholy, maybe? A moment of irony. A moment when you want people to say, no...really, it isn't like that.

I posted something to Facebook and apparently people really liked it. Dozens liked the post, several thanked me for the laugh. Yeah, it's funny...but it's also kind of sad.

Israeli news sites often "play" on the irony. They post something wondering if the world will see the absurdity, connect the dots. It rarely does. Bibi Netanyahu went to the United States at the direct invitation of a senior member of the Congress to address that important branch of the United States government. As protocol would suggest, our government informed the White House and requested a meeting. The childish Barack Obama not only refused the request, he set about attempting to humiliate and punish not just Bibi, but all of Israel.

In the ultimate irony, Obama's spin team claimed that the refusal was not only logical, but perhaps even ethically required. Obama did not want to interfere in the Israeli elections (I have an eight letter word for this...it starts with B...ends with T and contains a notable four letter word that I'd raise an eyebrow to, if one of my kids said it), and so would not meet Bibi. His government then met with other candidates, but never mind.

So Bibi went to Washington as planned. He gave a stunning speech, heard through the halls of Congress, around the United States, and throughout the world. No deal is better than a bad deal. Logical in every business, especially when dealing with Iran and nuclear weapons. The US made fun of that; Obama lied to America...again.

And Obama continues to plow towards giving Iran billions of dollars while allowing it to continue onwards towards their much desired bomb.

In the meantime, Obama in the weeks that followed, continued to suggest all manner of punishment. And then yesterday, confirming what everyone in Israel knew, John Earnest confirmed that Obama's refusal really had nothing to do with the elections and everything to do with the petty nature of King Obama.
White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest told journalists yesterday that he doesn't expect to see a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the near future.
That's okay, we don't expect to see much more of Obama anyway...the days, they are passing...and I'm counting down EVERY second!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Still Say We Have Nothing to Brag About?

If yes, you might try examining why you feel that way, not why we feel we have a right to be so proud...

Interestingly enough, CNN doesn't include the huge amount of medical equipment that Israel brought to Nepal. In Haiti, when we left after weeks of working to save lives there, we donated the equipment quietly to the people of Haiti and more than a year later, Israeli aid organizations continue to work there.

Switzerland donated no money, but sent 6 people...what did they do? Did they look for their own people or did they help others. France sent no money, but sent 11 people. Why isn't India listed? They sent aid.

No, the following list is not completely clear and up to date, but what is clear is that the European Union sent money...which is helpful in the future, but did nothing to save the lives of those trapped. Norway sent money...the Pope prayed. The UK sent 68 people, the US sent 54, and China sent 62.

Israel...so much smaller than all those nations, sent 260 people and 5 planeloads of aid weighing almost 100 tons...(not listed on the CNN graph below).

We have, as I said from the very beginning, every right...every right...to brag and what I'd like to see is the nations of the world take notice. WE were there. WE saved lives...babies that would not have been born alive, people pulled from the rubble...if the nations spent one quarter of the time they spend condemning Israel actually noticing what we do...the world, the entire world would be different.

I heard John Kerry worry about how we treat the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel...I didn't hear a word of praise from him about our massive aid to Nepal.

Who's helping Nepal? I guess that depends on how you rate aid...is it the Pope praying? Is it sending money? Or is it about getting those "boots on the ground" in the critical first hours when lives can be saved?




Sunday, May 3, 2015

How much time is your life worth?

Well, I just saw a sign that the Israeli army has released...it seems I've lost a minute and a half and I have to tell you, I'm not happy about that. I really needed that minute and a half. It's the difference between panic and concern and, God forbid, for someone, it could be the difference between life and death.

The last map showed that my home was in the 3 minute zone. My knee has been bothering me...yeah, I'm getting old. It cracks sometimes when I get up and it needs a few steps to sort of get unstuck when I've been sitting too long at the puzzle on the table.

I'm sure it's temporary and my knees will come back to normal...but at my age...it might be something else. I'm luckier than many...my bomb shelter is not that far away - just down the hall, and because of where my home was built, the lower part is very protected because the original owners had to dig down into the bedrock to chisel away room for the building.

But a minute and a half? What if the kids are upstairs with earphones on and they don't hear a siren and I have to run upstairs?

What if...

What if...

And the silly, absurd part is that's me, way on the right center of the map in the light green, not even the lime green, or yellow, or orange, or red, or worst of all the dark maroon.

Dark maroon has the ominous title "immediately" - but they don't mean immediately get up and go to the bomb shelter, they mean, be in it NOW. You have no time at all...it's like what happened to one family living near there - a family with three children...only now they have two because the two parents each grabbed one of the youngest children, one just a baby...and called to the four year old to run.

And usually he was the first one there...he knew already at the young age of four that he had to run as soon as he heard the siren...only that time, he didn't make it.

Red - well, they have 15 seconds...I have several friends in that area...but one just had a heart attack...she shouldn't be running!

Orange is 30 seconds...still too short. Impossible. What do they want from us?

So I can't complain that I've got a minute and a half...even though it's a minute and a half less than I had before.

How much time is my life worth...your life...the lives of your children and everyone you love? It's right there on the map...not because that's what it's worth...just because that's all they're going to give us.

Ever Wonder What 5,000 Books Looks Like?

Well, it's that time of year - tonight and tomorrow night, my city will once again break all records. It's a simple concept. Simple and brilliant. Simply brilliant.

You get people to donate books that they've already read. Books they no longer need and would like to get rid of so that they have space for more books. Books from people who have children who have grown and so they are moving to a smaller apartment. Books from people who love to read, can't fall asleep at night without reading (like me).

You collect them in a large room with many tables...sort of like this:

Then you sort them by genre, kids books placed in the middle, extra room between tables for people to move around.

Store empty boxes under the tables and sometimes, like last time and this time, you sort more books because even with 19 tables, you still don't have enough room...(even when you put them on the window ledges).

If you're really neurotic, you even create a "master map" so you remember last time what works and what doesn't.

And then, at the appointed hour (and not a minute before, even though you can hear there are dozens of people there waiting), you open the door and have people pour into the room.

And at the end of two nights, you try to remember to take a picture of what remains. You pack up what's left, recycle what won't sell ever...count the money and give it away to some amazing charities...

And you thank the amazing friend who thought of the idea, the amazing volunteers who picked up books from all over, the amazing people who donated - more than 70 families. You thank the people who sorted, the cashiers who collected money, and the ones who walked around and re-organized after books were picked through.

And after two days, you wonder if you can do it again...you're so so tired. And you wonder if you could ever walk away from it...and you meet people in the street who tell you what an amazing event it was...and you think...

wow...just wow. What an amazing community I live in; what amazing concept. And most of all, you think...it's May...and thank You, God...that the next one won't be until next November!

But that's what I'll think tomorrow night. For now, I'll sit with my feet up and rest and look forward to Round 1 tonight.

May it go well. May everyone find the books that will entertain them, inform them, enlighten them for the next six months. May God give each of the volunteers the strength to do this as we've done it 8 other times in the past and may we accept whatever amount we raise was the best we could have done...each time, we've beaten the last amount. I keep saying it can't last...my friend Rivkah reminds me, "you say that every time."

For the last two times, if not more, I've been so overwhelmed by the generosity, the love, the ease with which we have found so many volunteers that I have, quite literally, had tears in my eyes. Each time, I say we have to be satisfied with what we raise and each time, satisfied doesn't come close to what we accomplish.

So, tonight at the Pnei Shmuel synagogue's Social Hall (a room that the community has generously given us for free for THREE nights), we will hold the first night - every book is 10 shekels...that's about 1/8th of what it costs brand new. Tomorrow night - every book is 1 shekel (that's...we'll...usually less than 1/90th of what the books cost new).



Join us for:
 The 9th Great Ma'ale Adumim English
Book Swap and Sale

All donated books will be on display by category. You can buy books for 10₪ each. 

All proceeds from this swap benefit Regavim which helps protect Israel's land from illegal use and local amutot in Ma'ale Adumim, including Keren Nevo and Keren Yishi.


Sunday evening, May 3, 2015
7:30-9:30 PM
Social Hall - Pnei Shmuel
"The Down Shul" Rechov Mitzpe Nevo 102
Egged Ta'avura bus #174


1₪ NIGHT
All remaining books available for 1₪
Monday evening, May 4, 2015
 7:00-8:30 PM
Social Hall - Pnei Shmuel
"The Down Shul" Rechov Mitzpe Nevo 102
Egged Ta'avura bus #174

WHEN

May 3 and 4, 2015


WHERE

Social Hall - Pnei Shmuel
"The Down Shul" Rechov Mitzpe Nevo 102
Egged Ta'avura Bus #174



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