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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
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Av 22, 5770, 8/2/2010
Let us focus for this blog, on the Sepharadi Jews. Though I have some Sephardic blood from way back when, I have mostly identified with my Ashkenazi side, being that my father is from Poland and is a survivor of the Holocaust. Most of my father's side was murdered in the Holocaust, including my grandfather. However, at close to the same time, our brothers and sisters in the east were suffering as well under Muslim ruled countries.
PLEASE watch this video first... (you can watch the other parts later, but this part is the one you must see.)
Many Jews had a history of 2600 years in Babylon/Iraq. They had lived there since the first Temple times when Nebuchadnezzar exiled many of the Jews to Babylon. Since then, you can imagine that after all these centuries, the Sephardic Jews were certainly more attached to their foreign nation cultures, than Western Jews are attached to America or Europe today. And yet, they too were vomited out from their homes in the east -- if they were lucky. Those who weren't lynched, raped, or hacked to death, escaped -some on foot, out of 'their' countries. -- However, in reality it wasn't really THEIR countries. They are Jews. They will always be Jews. And the Jews belong in their homeland, the Land of Israel. Let these words of our brothers and sisters from Babylonia/Iraq/Iran, Libya, Yemen, Morocco etc,,, echo in our ears. They said, "WE LEFT, AND WE LOST EVERYTHING."
--You, don't have to.
Make an appointment now, with Nefesh B'Nefesh and start the ball rolling. The process takes time, you can always postpone your aliyah date, but get it started now before it may be too late, G-d forbid.
Go now. Don't miss the opportunity. Don't wait to be vomited out. Don't wait until you lose everything.
Av 14, 5770, 7/25/2010
Store Rooms Are Turned Into Torture Chambers. Beatings and humiliation tactics are practiced. Many Arabs feel trapped. Personal possessions can be confiscated, women are not allowed to swim at the beach or smoke, and western music is forbidden with equipment to play them confiscated.
The Saga of Gaza:
Why should the world grant this population of Arabs a state of their own? Let's remember, that in the original agreements, the Hamas wasn't offered a state, the state was offered to the ARAB PEOPLE, represented then, by Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organization. Arafat was chosen to represent these Arabs in Israel because the world felt that he was the strong man, and could make a peace treaty happen.
WHEN GAZA SCREAMS IN PAIN
IT SAYS HAMAS
The Bathing Beaches Are Off Limits To WomenOne of the foreign peace activists who swore to return in more flotillas with aid for the Palestinians, asked that they bring him an electronic mixer for his rock band. However his request defies the orders of the ruling power in Gaza, the same power that the peace activists are aiding against the Israeli siege on Gaza. "Our old mixer was confiscated by the Hamas police.," he explained. "We are victims of the oppression of the religious powers, who from distorted readings of the Islamic texts prohibit people from playing music. Their green Allah is abhorrent to us." The speaker is Bashar Basiaso, the popular singer from the Rap group Farik Salam (Peace Group).
Musicians Hide From The Authorities
Store Rooms Are Turned Into Torture Chambers
And People Feel Trapped
Lorenzo Kremonzi Returned From Gaza With An Up To Date Portrait
From Desolation Row.
Special for Yediot Ahronot
By Lorenzo Kremonzi, Gaza
Corriere della Serra
Jamal Abu El Kusman, 43, director of the most popular art gallery on "Desolation Row" states succinctly "God bless all the advocates of democracy from around the world who are fighting the Israeli embargo on Gaza�"but please, can't you also condemn the repression of intellectual freedom for which Hamas is responsible?"
Anyone Who Can LeavesThese confessions are only two of an endless series of cases one encounters in the area. The most striking recent events were the attacks against youth organizations on 23 May and 28 June, when dozens of masked and armed Hamas terrorists burned down summer camps for students organized by UNRWA on the beach. At the end of May, on the very day the Israeli commandos stormed the Marmara, the Hamas police in Gaza halted the activities of five non governmental local organizations . "They want to force us to close the camps in which both boys and girls are participants," charges Muhammad Aduki an employee of the Shark organization. "They aim to wipe out secular culture."
This is another chapter in the culture war that has been taking place here for a long time. The religious fanatics insist that women and girls stay away from the beaches or smoke in public, forbid unmarried couples from appearing together in private, and see music and western fashions as a danger to "public morals". Every attempt to elicit an explanation for this from Hamas representatives in the Gaza Strip results in the same answer: "Our civil administration has no connection to this. Speak to the police." However the policemen and agents just say "no comment". The only clear voice seems to be Ahmed Yusuf's deputy foreign minister and president of the committee for the struggle against the siege. Yusuf says that "Israel has exclusive possession of power. Hamas therefore tries to dictate one regime in the Gaza strip."
The main problem is that the victims are afraid to speak. Hamas exercises totalitarian rule in Gaza, worse than a "Godfather" for Gazans. Punishments mean not just imprisonment or torture, but mainly ostracism, being deprived of a job, humiliation and social alienation. Basiaso angrily describes a recent attack he endured. "I was riding around on my motor bike, when suddenly a group of armed men from the Iz Adin Al Qassam Brigades approached and threw me to the ground and beat me with clubs . A few days earlier they raided our studio and confiscated cameras and video cassettes. Now I am working on a protest song against Hamas oppression." Ibrahim Gohanim, a member of Basiaso's group remembers that when the PLO was in power the situation was much better. "There are at least five Rap groups here now. They tell us we are agents of Satan the American, that we corrupt the youth. The result is that anyone who can leaves. Friends from other bands received invitations to perform abroad and they never returned.
Hamas Terrorist Morale Building Website
Jamal Abu El Kumsan had bad luck however. Until two weeks ago he could not sit or lie on his back on account of beatings to which he was subjected intermittently for two weeks, a widespread common punishment in the Gaza Strip. First the police summon you to the police station or jail. There the interrogations begin, "from 7:00 AM until late at night - after midnight. The most common punishment is they stand you beside a wall all afternoon in the blistering sun and they force you to do absurd physical exercises," relates Jamal, for example make like you are riding a bicycle. For hours you pedal as if you are riding. Afterwards they send you home, so you won't be registered as a prisoner, and they won't need to give you food. "In the morning you have to go back and spend the whole day." For Abu Kusman this ended with more than pedaling. "They accused me of corrupting youth, that I let them smoke the nargila, exploited them sexually. They whipped me with belts and struck me with clubs."
But this could have ended much worse if they had taken Abu Kusman to a seaside villa that once belonged to Abu Mazen. Here it seems the villas store rooms have been turned into torture chambers. The most brutal interrogation techniques: Hamas spies are also included with the prisoners, a method borrowed directly from Israel. No Palestinian activist over age 30 has been spared the experience in his flesh. The innovation in Gaza is the growing influence of an apparatus that serves units of the Iranian Basiji. These are special troops hand picked by Az Adin Al Qassam and are trained directly by the Iranians. "The objective is to enforce complete cultural and political conformism" explains a local jail keeper.
So, for example, recently they confiscated the personal computer of Asama El Gul a journalist who fights to defend intellectuals, and they charged her with "moral turpitude" after she publicly criticized the decision to impose censorship against musicians and poets. Her good friend, a journalist who works with the broadcasters El Arabiya, was arrested after she was caught in an automobile with a young man who isn't a family member.
Abu Omar (not his real name) a veteran activist in the Front To Liberate Palestine, is also a subversive in hiding: In the refugee camp Jebalya he produces wine that he sells at a 100 liter level every year. "This is my rebellion against the prohibition over selling alcohol the Islamics have imposed, and their penetration into private life as if this were Afghanistan and they are the Taliban," he says,and holds up a photo of his friend Hasan Muhammad Hajazi, also a Palestine Front activist who was murdered in January 2009, when Hamas exploited the heated battles during Operation Cast Lead to eliminate adversaries. "If I show this photo in the street I risk being arrested."
These are the unexpected repercussions of the Israeli closure. A scenario reminiscent of the embargo on Iraq under Saddam Hussein. The economic blockade, the isolation, and wagging the finger of blame toward the local regime created tremendous problems on an international plane, but strengthened his hand at home, and provided him, albeit indirectly, legitimacy to harshly oppress the civilian population. This is what Ataf Abu Saif claims who lectures in political science in the extension school of Al Azhar University in Gaza, "Hamas rules in Gaza today far better than a few years ago", but its popularity seems to be decreasing," he says
"free elections like in 2006 are obviously impossible today. At best there will be some agreement under the table to divide votes with Fatah. Hamas theocracy spells the end of the dream of democracy," adds a famous journalist from a foreign new service who insists on anonymity. "The thing is, unlike Iraq, the elections in the territories in 2006 were democratic, and concluded with a decisive victory for Hamas. The left wing movements in Europe are right to criticize the governments that do not recognize these election results. In a democracy it is not acceptable to approve results you like and reject the ones you don't like."
Hamas is like Hitler, or even more like the Muslims in Algeria, says Abu Saif.
The Start Of Global Jihad
Abu Saif repeats exactly what many claim in the Arab world, from Gaza to Cairo: Hamas has no intention to endanger the existing situation. It has no desire for an agreement with Abu Mazen, for elections or for any contact with Israel. "Hamas is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. It controls its territory and it has an Islamic program more than a national program," he says. "Hamas is not looking for concessions or an even playing field. It sees Gaza as the start of Global Jihad." ......
.....A recent public opinion survey in the Gaza Strip indicates that 41 percent of the young people aspire to move elsewhere. The corruption that people denounced in the days of Fatah rule and which brought Hamas to power is also turned against Hamas now. The decision of prime minister Ismayil Haniya (48) to take a second wife, a 22 year old widow of a former body guard, od also contributing to the mass displeasure with him.
"The Israeli siege is a terrible thing. We live in an open prison exposed to the sun," concludes Aduki. "But the motivation of the first intifada and the second is dead and buried. There is the desire to escape to a private refuge, to find personal satisfaction. Once there were students here who refused to accept scholarships from foreign universities in order to continue fighting against the Zionist occupation here in the Gaza Strip. Today everyone wants to escape, and it isn't only Israel who stops them. Egypt permits passage through Rafiah drop by drop, and Hamas only allows its supporters out. From their perspective the rest are only subjects who need to be brainwashed to read the Koran correctly".
Av 11, 5770, 7/22/2010
You are driving your car down the highway. Your kids are in back and you are really excited because you are all going to someplace REALLY SPECIAL!
...Or should it be, WHEN?
(For those who do not know Hebrew, the 'Bet HaMikdash' is the Holy Temple. Also, you may want to save this photo for your desktop.) :-)
Av 8, 5770, 7/19/2010
Close your eyes. Try to imagine yourself living in Jerusalem approx. 2,000 years ago.
You are living in a house built from Jerusalem stone bricks. It’s got a living room /dining area as you walk in from the front door. In the entrance to your home, in the vestibule, lays before you a beautiful mosaic tiled floor. The living/dining room has a large dining room table with pillows on plat formed benches around the table. This is where your family spends much time together. A passage way to the bedrooms leads off from the living room area.
You are comfortable in your home. Your father is a Cohen, one of the priestly class and you have a beautiful view of the Temple from your wide wall to wall open window in the living room. You have been living in this house for generations, and you are comfortable. Comfortable that is, until the Romans came in and occupied the country.
The influx of Romans and their pagan ways are strange and vulgar to you. And you can’t understand how they would build temples to gods and believe these simplistic stories of gods acting like humans and in human form. But the Romans were winners. It was their time in history, and their cultural invasion influenced a lot of the Jews in Israel, making them want to be like the glitzy and aggressive Romans.
Whenever any Jewish merchants travel to Rome and return, there’s always a crowd of people that swarm around him wanting the latest fads and gadgets from Rome. You observe and watch the Roman women in your country walk around in their Roman styles, flaunting their naked shoulders and cleavage that Jewish women would be ashamed to show in public. The Roman women acted immodestly, flirting, drinking, and partying. Many people tolerated this behavior, as not everything the Romans brought was bad. They introduced a sophisticated aqueduct system into the Land of Israel, and built market places and cobbled roads and infrastructure, and Israel, -Judea, was now under the great Roman Empire. But the Roman barbarism and immorality couldn’t be masked by its superior war power and might. The Roman ‘enlightenment’ plagued the country and disgusted the Jews who were educated with Torah, morality, and family values.
When the Romans first came in, it wasn’t so THAT bad. There was political strife in the country with a power play of who would rule the kingdom, and Rome was invited in to take sides and put an end to the in-fighting. But then, once Rome got its tentacles deep into the Kingdom, it swallowed it and took over.
The Roman Empire’s Modus operandi was that when they took over nations, they usually let them continue to go about their affairs, as long as the nation melted into Roman culture and accepted its governance. However, if the nation they took over showed any resistance, they were crushed, with the trouble-makers horribly and publically tortured to set an example for others who might think of rebelling. Various tortures consisted of putting people on the rack, stretching them with weights tied to their limbs, cutting and stabbing them continuously until they ‘felt their death’, sawing people in half, burning people alive, combing the skin off with hot iron combs, and of course, one of their favorite inventions, -crucifixion.
Any culture that kept their religion -which was a threat to the Roman Empire -was outlawed. After the Jews rebelled against Rome, Judaism was basically outlawed. Jews, who would not bow to Rome’s idols would suffer the consequences. Jews who circumcised their sons as G-d commanded Abraham, and made them different from the Romans, were killed. Torah study was also dangerous to the Empire as it was ‘above Roman law’ for the Jewish believers, a threat to 'The State', and so in the first century, the Romans tried to obliterate Judaism and made the study of Torah and the practice of Judaism, illegal and sufferable by death.
After uprising against the Romans, in punishment, the Romans attacked Jerusalem and the Holy Temple, burning it to the ground. Some say that the fire was so hot, that the gold from the Temple melted in the streets. Jews who took safety in Masada, saw from afar, the flames and smoke from Jerusalem. They probably couldn’t believe that Jerusalem and the Holy Temple were actually destroyed. They must have thought it was the end of the world. How could it be that there was no Temple, no Jerusalem anymore?
In Jerusalem, Jews were slain indiscriminately until the streets ran with blood. Much of the remaining population was hauled off to Rome as slaves. Those who remained, starved, with some mothers resorting to eating their dead babies who died for lack of mother’s milk.
Imagine. Imagine being in your home, knowing that Roman soldiers were outside in your neighborhood, going from door to door, slaughtering your neighbors. And soon, soon they would be arriving at your door. There was no place to run. You had no time now. The Temple was burned to the ground, the city was black with soot and smoke. And then you hear it. A banging at your door. “Open up! Open Up!” And your door gets kicked down. In march mighty Roman pagan soldiers. They look around. You are just a kid, a lad or lass of 10 years. Your father runs in front of your family to protect them as he begs for mercy from the soldiers. All he receives in reply is a dirty grin, and a drawing of a sword. And then, with the sound of a sword unsheathed from its holder, you see it enter the belly of your beloved father. ...And then your mother. And then your older brother is grabbed by the soldiers to be taken off to slavery in Rome. You know you will never see him again. You can't even say goodbye. Your sister, your precious sister is used for enjoyment for the soldiers. After her ordeal, she was never the same. You only survived because … well, you don’t know why. Perhaps to be a witness and tell others of the brutality waiting for those who dare defy the Roman Empire. You think this must be a punishment from G-d… nay, it's a consequence, as G-d had already warned the Jewish People to keep the commandments, to love their fellow Jew, to walk in G-d’s ways. And we knew what would happen if the nation did not.
And now it is 2,000 years later. And we are still fasting for the destruction of the Temple. We observe the Jewish holidays to remember, to learn the lesson, to make a ‘tikkun’ or ‘fix’ what we did wrong. And as long as we don’t do it, as long as we don’t ‘get it right’, we are going to keep going through these mournful holidays, ….until we do get the message, and get it right.
While we don’t have to agree with every Jew on every front, we do need to love that Jew and show respect. Every human being deserves respect. How much more so our brothers? For though we may not see eye to eye, we must give them the benefit of the doubt (if they are decent people).
Of the 12 Tribes of Israel, each had different personalities and talents. They didn’t have to all be the same. However, they still had to love each other. And when using the word ‘love’, one would be wise to use it as a verb, not just an adjective or a 'feeling' as Hollywood teaches us through movies.
What is using love as a verb? It means showing kindness, patience, concern, and aiding our loved ones when they could use the help. One can easily ‘love’ someone, without feeling love. And in fact, when one does something over and over again for another person whom they don’t really care for, they eventually come to have positive feelings towards that person.
Let us pray and work at showing ‘love’ (as a verb) to our fellow Jew, give respect to our fellow Jew, religious or secular, Ashkenaz or Sepharad, Left wing or Right wing. And may we give each other the benefit of the doubt, and ‘get it right’ this time around, so next year we may merit to rejoice on Tisha B’Av, and not mourn and fast.
May all of you wonderful readers have an easy and meaningful fast!
G-d bless you!
Av 1, 5770, 7/12/2010
Humanitarians around the world who truly care about the horrible starvation of populations must be very relieved that yet another ship is heading for Israel to break the blockade, and deliver much needed food and medicine to the poor starving Gazans. Aljazeera reports: "A Libya-sponsored ship carrying 2,000 tonnes of aid has set sail from Greece for the blockaded Gaza Strip".
What wonderful and caring people to risk being turned back or arrested (for breaking a totally legal blockade) to help Hamas bus-bombing terrorists and the population there that democratically voted them in to represent them as their government leaders.
Oops again, no, these are not poor starving Arabs in Gaza, this is a photo of children starving today, right now, in the Sudan. Where are the flotillas of food and medical aid to save these children's lives?
oopsy doopsy again. These are children starving and malnourished in North Korea. Drat, I have to find a photo of a starving Arab in Gaza somehwere...
Again, no photographic evidence or proof accompanies the report. And we know that there are Red Cross staff workers and international reporters in Gaza who could take these photos. Aljazeera would have the internet and TV plastered with them if they existed. It is as if these international news agencies buy these starvation stories lock, stock and barrel, without checking any facts whatsoever to these claims.
So what photo evidence do we have of the situation inside Gaza? Please view this video below, of which some of these photos are easily dated from the last couple of years, as when Tony Blair's sister in law Lauren Booth visited Gaza in 2008 (above photo) after sailing in on another boat to break the military blockade.
I don't know about you, but I so feel for those starving Gazans. I just wish that the Jews in Europe had the same.
The Humanitarians couldn't care less about you, however, just to be sure, go to the sea and check the horizon. Maybe you will be lucky and see a ship of these humanitarians headed for you. But don't hold your breath. You're not a poor starving Gazan Jew hater.