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      Baruch's Breeze
      by Baruch Gordon
      A refreshing and optimistic view on Israel, Torah and events.
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      Baruch Gordon founded the Arutz Sheva-IsraelNationalNews.com website in 1995 and directed its English Media Department for 14 years. Baruch studied and taught at the Bet El Yeshiva Center, later serving as Dean of its Program for Overseas Students and Program for IDF Veterans. 

      Baruch is certified by the Dor v'Dor Institute to counsel married couples and prepare hatanim for marriage.

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      Amazing Israeli Outreach

      Nisan 14, 5773, 3/25/2013

      A "Must Do" in the Next 12 Hours

      Shalom Readers,

      It's Baruch and my wife Anat, in a different kind of message today.

      Passover, commemorating the exodus from Egypt, is a most beautiful yet most expensive holiday. For some, it presents a crisis.

      We have 12 hours left to give Maos Hittim AKA Kimcha D'pischa (to the poor) and it is totally incumbent upon all of us ( as proven here).

      At the behest of friends in the US who asked which of the many organizations for poor people in Israel should they donate to, Anat and I decided to roll up our sleeves to investigate.

      For starters, the Torah itself singles out the poor of the Land of Israel for giving: "If there be among you a needy man, one of your brethren, within any of your gates, in your land which the Lord your G-d gives you..." (Deut. 15:7). That's pretty straightforward: "in your land...." 

      From this verse, Jewish law states: " the residents of Israel precede the residents of the diaspora" in alms (Shulchan Aruch YD 251).

      Several verses later, G-d promises great reward to anyone who gives to the needy of Israel : "the Lord your G-d will bestow blessing upon you, in all of your deeds and in your livelihood (Deut. 15:10)." That's also straightforward.

      This verse motivated Jews and Gentiles throughout history who seek Divine blessing to send their alms to the poor of Israel.

      We found one organization, Mekimi, which has a radical, innovative approach to giving. The more we investigated, the more we fell in love with  Mekimi and made it the main recipient of our own charity for the needy. Here's why:

      [Click here to donate]

      For starters, their offices are located in a parking garage (click here for panorama photo). Amazing pic, right?


      • The most outstanding feature of this organization is that they don't just throw the money into a family's bottomless pit of debt (which is OK). Rather, they extend a rope to the family to pull them out, and guide them to financial independence! Thus their motto: "Out of Debt and Back on Their Feet." How do they do it? Read on.
      • Mekimi opens all the family finances (bank and credit card statements, salary slips, and all other income and expenses) in the presence of husband and wife and devises a program of reaching self-sustainment which often includes sacrificing the car and more. Mekimi teaches the family to live according to their means, and does job placement when necessary. The family must adhere strictly to the program, and prove so via documentation in follow up meetings with Mekimi.
      • As the family learns to adhere to its new budget, Mekimi patiently engages creditors to negotiate down (to even 50%).
      • Mekimi turns to relatives of the family, explains the progress without causing embarrassment, and asks (for what is likely to be the last time) to bail them out. Mekimi covers the rest.
      • The people behind Mekimi are true idealists; the director, Yisrael Livman, is a personal friend from Bet El of impeccable character - a quiet, modest mountain-mover.
      • Most of the families are from Judea and Samaria, though often they help modern-Orthodox  families in other parts of the country.

      This YouTube video sums up Mekimi's work and introduces you to Yisrael Livman:

      Donate to Mekimi

      Both new families who are drowning in debt and families who've learned to live per means turn to Mekimi for assistance before the holidays because of the extraordinary costs. Mekimi answers their need.

      Anat and I recommend Mekimi hands down without hesitation.

      They don't have 501c3 USA tax-deductible status so Bet El is providing receipts for dollar donations. We worked out a system for immediate (!) use of the money by Mekimi, even on Erev Chag.

      Anat and I concluded that Mekimi is the single most effective and prudently-run tzedaka organization for the poor in Israel.

      Four days left to fulfill your obligation! Donate to Mekimi's Maos Hittim campaign and know that your support is making a difference for struggling families. 


      A warm Pesach Sameach from Bet El. If you're in Israel, contact us!

      Baruch and Anat Gordon

      Adar 24, 5773, 3/6/2013

      Playboy Makes Aliyah to Israel

      Playboy maeks aliyah

      I thought that I would never in my life wish upon any fellow Jew that he stay away from Israel. That's how I feel today regarding Daniel Pomerantz who made aliyah (immigrated) from Chicago with a low-tech business initiative: Playboy magazine in Hebrew. You can't get much lower.

      Click here to read the continuation...

      Adar 12, 5773, 2/22/2013

      Jewish Home Concerned - Ayelet Shaked Becomes Observant

      Ayelet Shaked, the young, Tel-Aviv-born, secularist who was strategically placed high up in the Jewish Home party list in order to draw votes from the non-religious public, is becoming observant. Party leaders are  worried.

      Ayelet Shaked to Rabbi Ronsky: "When I become fully religious,
      I hope to have a beard like yours."

      Click here for the continuation of this exclusive, breaking, fake, false, untrustworthy, silly news flash...

      and Happy Purim!

      Adar 10, 5773, 2/20/2013

      Sick and Tired of Dating...

      The years passed and Yisca was unsuccessful in finding her match. Propositions continued to flow in from various directions, but she felt she was growing sick and tired of the dating scene. She meets a new guy with high hopes, but after a rendez-vous or two, the energy dissipates: either she or he is not interested, or both.

      One Shabbat morning, Yisca felt that she had reached the end. She was broken. "How much more can I suffer? What can I do to convince Hashem (G-d) that I have no strength left for another date," she thought to herself.

      The answer suddenly came to her: "I will....

      Read the continuation of this post ...

      Adar 8, 5773, 2/18/2013

      BBC Presents Their Visit With Arutz Sheva Blogger

      Dear Paula,

      I enjoy reading your blog positioned right next to mine on Arutz Sheva. After reading your piece on how you hosted the BBC   [a must read before continuing with this post], I received a phone call from the network asking to write the script for a special on the West Bank. [I do this to make some side money.] Turns out, it was your piece. I wrote the script that will be aired.

      Just a note. You did a great job explaining Israel’s case. I plan to use some of your lines in my own Israel advocacy work. But I really need these extra bucks, so I had to give your clips the “proper” BBC spin. Here it is:

      This is BBC Foreign Hour.

      A BBC crew in Palestine visited with an Israeli settler to hear her perspective on the Israeli occupation. Paula Stern lives in the illegal settlement of Maaleh Adumim and established a technical writing company in occupied East Jerusalem.

      The militant mother takes pride in her son who is an IDF soldier. Of all names to choose for her blog, she selected: A Soldier’s Mother. Stern explained that she chose to live in a settlement not for economic reasons. She is driven by biblical craze and passion. She quotes verses from the bible, utterly disconnected from today’s realities. She admitted that she is driven by ideology, calling the illegal occupation of Palestine "quality of life" and "proper."

      When asked pointblank if she is a settler, Stern gave a cold, heartless reply. Ignoring the suffering of the indigenous, Arab population, she said as though telling a joke: "Yes, I am settler just like all Americans and Brits are settlers. We settle in our homes and live there." Only one mile from her home, we passed through an Israeli military roadblock where Palestinian cars were halted for lengthy inspections and abuse, as Israelis pass through freely with a wave and smile for the soldiers.

      Stern tried to distort reality claiming that settlers don't fire or carry guns or have beards. Here is recent footage that a BBC crew caught of bearded, gun-toting settlers: [Insert footage of whacky bearded weirdo settler saying, "Yup, I am trained on this gun and will not hesitate to use it if given the opportunity."

      [Insert Stern quote] "You see these barren mountains. That's what Maaleh Adumim was before we came - a completely barren hill.

      [insert Bedouin] This is Achmud who lives in a squalid shack several miles down the road from Stern's settlement. "Yes, it's true, the top of the mountain was barren. But my great great great great great great grandfather used to graze sheep there where the settlers are now. We had our home in the valley below it. But, when the settlers came and began to build, we all had to flee. It is hard being far away and deeper in the desert. I yearn for my father's land back. No one will hear us."

      It never occurred to Stern that maybe she should pay reparations to Achmud, or plant flowers, palm trees to make his dismal conditions a bit nicer. [Insert Stern] We are proud of the flowers and palm trees that we planted here. We made the desert bloom. Our town looks beautiful.

      Stern returns from her hi-tech, high-paying job in occupied Jerusalem to go shopping in a settlement supermarket where she fills her cart with amenities from America such as Skippy peanut butter.

      [Cut to Bedouin boy insert] "My cousin in Ramallah told me that his aunt's 15th cousin tasted Skippy peanut butter and said it was heavenly. But we can't afford it. For dinner, we gather camel droppings in the desert, and pick out the undigested kernels of grain and grind them to make flour."

      Stern showed us the lavish stores in the settlement's mall and the bowling alley where she and her colleagues play. Back at the supermarket, the menial laborers are Palestinians trying to etch out a living under the impossible conditions of occupation. They are not allowed to enter Jerusalem or to seek better work and a better life like Stern. They have never been to the bowling alley.

      Completely oblivious to the plight of the Bedouins who once lived next to the settlement, Stern couldn't stop praising her town stating how good and beautiful life is there. It was harsh to see how these extremist, fanatic, strange beings called settlers turn a cold shoulder to their former Arab neighbors and live in complete denial of the suffering they have inflicted on the native Bedouins who once called this place home.

      I am Fitzgerald Rutherford Adams [close up of tear running down cheek] reporting from Occupied Palestine. 

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