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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
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Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.
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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!
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.
And so, I thought I would post some photos of those poor starving Gazans.
Oops, no, those aren't the starving Arabs in Gaza, these are starving Jews in the Holocaust which no one sent flotillas to save.
Ok, here's another photo...
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?
Ok, let's try again. Here...
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...
when doing an internet search for 'starving Gazans', of the first top ten entries on the search page, none of them contain any photographic evidence of anyone starving in Gaza
And it is odd, because when doing an internet search for 'starving Gazans', of the first top ten entries on the search page, none of them contain any photographic evidence of anyone starving in Gaza. Check the top ten entries yourself here.
All the news reports of starving Gazans are sans photos. It's all text. And if a report did contain any photos, they showed no one starving, to back up their claims. Some items found on the search page purport stories of 4 children found by the ICRC starving, sitting next to their dead mother: "ICRC finds starving children beside dead mother"
"Relief workers found four starving children sitting next to their dead mothers and other corpses in a house in a part of Gaza City bombed by Israeli forces, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday."
What a dramatic story. Why didn't they show a photo of the starving children near the corpses?
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.
The photo they used for one 'starving Gazans' news story was of a cute little BLOND boy ( hmmm, there's not many natural blond Arabs around in the world, -they might have just taken some diplomat's kid and stuck him in the photo) and a chubby faced child to the far back right of the photo, who is obviously not starving to death. Just look at those cheeks! They don't look like starving children from the Holocaust to me.
Here's more stories to check out, all either without photos or with photos that show no starvation whatsoever.
'Gaza is a jail. Nobody is allowed to leave. We are all starving now'
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.
And you've got to see this video below. It's a film made by the Arabs themselves. Now here's where an Arab in Gaza can take his 'starving' wife (or mistress) for dinner.
So, forget the Sudan, forget the starving children and babies in Africa, forget sending a flotilla of food aid to the poor politically imprisoned North Korean population. These Gazan Arabs are the ones who don't have anything to eat. I know. I may not have seen photos of starving Gazans, but I read about it in the media, and if the international media reported on it (even without evidence), then it has to be true! Chew on that you poor little kids in Africa.
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.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is set to meet with U.S. President Obama tomorrow, Tuesday in the White House. Here's what he should say:
PM Netanyahu is ushered into the Oval Office with his entourage, carrying something very heavy....
Obama: "Hey Bibi-Baby, what's that big velvety thing you're carrying in your arms? Is that a present for Little ol' me?"
Bibi: "It's actually a message for you that I will need to decipher for you, as it is in Hebrew. You see (Bibi clears his throat), 'ahem' -Mr. President without a Birth Certificate', We Jews have a legal title to our Land, and belong to it, and can show you. Our deed to this land is written here in the Torah. This is where our kings reigned, where our people civilized the world, and where our kings and ancestors are buried even today. We have only one home, and it has become intolerable to live there under the daily terror that we face. We need peace and quiet. We need to stop pouring money into terrorist damage control, security and defense, and the fruitless quest for peace with regimes and cultures that don't desire it. Our people need to concentrate on other things we've neglected, like our children's education, our economy, our great contributions of science & technology, and spreading morality, loving kindness and the knowledge of the 'Creator of the Universe', through the Torah, in order to improve the world for all of Mankind."
Obama sits at his desk and puts his feet up on it. "Oh, is that so Jew-boy?".
This little Jew-boy is the acting 'King of Israel' today. A little respect, please. (sigh) Look, we tried it your way, and really it was foolish of us, but we went along the diplomatic track as you urged and pressured us to do. Our peace and security went downhill ever since, as appeasing these extremist Islamic and terrorist regimes only emboldened our enemies to perpetrate even more harm upon us. They saw by our 'good will gestures' and appeasement, that their violence worked. We can't tolerate this anymore. We tired it your way of letting the International Community carve out a peace plan, but no more. We are in a worse situation now than we have ever been in before. The Hezbollah terrorists, under the eyes of the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces, have re-armed and are better equipped than ever before. The Hamas terror organization rules in Gaza and continues to arm themselves with missiles and regularly uses their weapons to target, TARGET OUR CIVILIANS. Iran is almost finished developing nuclear bombs to use against us, and after that, you, in America. Iran is arming Syria and possibly Turkey with thousands of missiles that can reach deep into Israel and it's population centers. It's unacceptable. And so we Jews came up with our plan on how to deal with these enemies we both share, even if you threaten to cut off any arms sales to us. As Pslam 20 so poetically puts it: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we [come with] will make mention, of the name of the LORD our God."
Bibi places the velvet covered Torah scroll he is carrying, very carefully on the table and unrolls the scroll. He reaches into his pocket to put on a Yarmulke. He takes hold of a long stick which is used to read the Torah and pointing to the different Biblical narratives where G-d says that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, he reads and translates aloud, the holy passages. He points to the different places which speak about G-d telling the Children of Israel to go out to war and that He will be with them. He tells 'Obama-Without a Birth Certificate' that he hopes the American People and his administration will support Israel in their quest to rid themselves and the world of the Islamic terrorist enemies once and for all, and to bring them to their knees until they beg for an unconditional surrender. Bibi then points to the verse, from the book of Genesis chapter 12:3 "And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse;".
"Are we on the same page?" Bibi asks as he peers into Obama's eyes? "Are you with us, or with the terrorists?"
Obama starts to stammer, "I'm speechless. I, I, I ah, don't know what to say" as he anxiously looks around and yells, "Where's my TelePrompTer!!!!:" Frustrated that he has to wing it on his own, he looks back at Bibi and and blurts out, "You're madder than a wet hen! Listen bub, we have business dealings with the Muslim world. We just got a real firm foothold in the Afghani poppy fields and get a LOT of money from the drug sales. My predecessor, Bush, made nice with the King of Saudi Arabia and I am even closer, since I am his Muslim brother. I, I, I ah mean, I am like a brother to him, you know, in a good neighborly 'Christian' sort of way, was what I meant to say. I mean, heh, it's not like I believe in Mohammed or anything... er, peace be upon him! or that I believe in the 'holy Koran', I mean, Eh, the Koran. Darn! Ah, well, scratch that. Anyway, where's that TelePrompTer!!!!"
Bibi: "Uh, 'Mr. President Without a Birth Certificate', look, we're speaking about the saving of human lives here, and I really can't worry about your business and power interests. This terror war will keep on going, until someone actually wins the war. We are determined, no matter how much the world screams, to finally put an end to this all and win this war. And to ensure this, since the world has turned against us and we realize that we are without friends, we in Israel have decided that we will patch things up the best we know how, and return to our G-d, after all, when we listened to Him, we won our wars. He also keeps His promises to us -unlike the Extremist Muslim world that promises us peace, and then sends it's soldiers to bomb our civilians. Our G-d has also been by our side whenever we called on Him, unlike the fickle relationship we have had with different U.S. Administrations and the Hate department, -excuse me, I meant the State Department -that hates Israel. So, with that, I am leaving you with these wise words from our sage, Rabbi Hillel, 'If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?'
Mr. 'President With No Birth Certificate', I and my countrymen, will be eradicating these evil infrastructures and terrorists, that your people suffered from on 9/11. The world will be a better place because of this -as it was after the Nazis were defeated in WWII. You don't need to thank us, ....but don't bother us either. We'll also be disassembling and eradicating the infrastructure of the Hamas terrorist government in Gaza. We will be taking that region back and re-settling it with our peaceful citizens who were thrown out of their homes. We will, in diplomatic language, be 'encouraging' the Hamas to return our kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, to us by strong means, where it won't be worth their while to keep him a prisoner. Oh, and by the way, we want our brother Jonathan Pollard to be released immediately and return to Israel on my plane with our entourage. He's served already over 20 years in your prison for a crime that others, put away for a similar act -but more subversive, had served much less of a sentence. If he's not released immediately, I will make sure that our Mossad finds, and releases your school records and original birth certificate. It will be the end of your career."
"Go ahead, I was born in Hawaii, and I can prove it!"
"Ok, then, ...prove it!"
"Drat! he got me! Uh, ah, TELEPROMTER! Where's my TELEPROMPTER!!!!"
* Let us all pray that G-d gives Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the strength and courage to act like a real king of Israel and to stand up for G-d and his country.
And now, you have GOT to watch this.... Israeli soldiers doing guard duty in Hebron get bored, and decide to spice up their early morning watch. As the Mosque plays its usual loud recordings , 'someone' changes the CD and.... flash dance!
or even better, watch it here:
*Hello Uncle Erwin,***
They cut his ab muscles horizontally and by hand spilled his guts out.
This is Amir writing you after reading what you sent to my father, Eitan.
As you know, it was my unit and my friends who were on the ship. My commander was injured badly as a result of the "pacifists" violence. I want to tell you how he was injured so you could tell the story. It shows just how horrible and inhuman were the activists. My commander was the first soldier that rappelled down from the helicopter to the ship.
When he touched ground, he got hit in the head with a pole and stabbed in the stomach with a knife.
When he drew out his secondary weapon-a handgun (his primary weapon was a regular paintball gun: "Tippman 98 custom") he was shot in the leg. He managed to fire a single shot before he was tossed from the balcony by 4
Arab activists, to the lower deck (a 12 feet fall). He was then dragged by other activists to a room in the lower deck were he was stripped down by 2 activists. They took off his vest, helmet and shirt, leaving him
with only his pants and shoes on. When they finished they took a knife and expanded the wound he already had in his stomach. They cut his ab muscles horizontally and by hand spilled his guts out. When they finished they raised him up and walked him on the deck outside. He was conscious the whole time.
(Photo taken of a wounded and stabbed IDF soldier on the Mavi Marmara vessel. Notice a knife in the left hand photo, in the bottom right corner. Read more about the story of this photograph here. )
If you are asking yourself why they did all that, here comes the reason.
They wanted to show the soldiers their commander's body so they will be demoralized and scared. Luckily, when they walked him on the deck a soldier saw him and managed to shoot the activist that was walking him
down the outside corridor. He shot him with a special non-lethal bullet that didn't kill him. My commander managed to jump from the deck to the water and swim to an army rescue boat (his guts still out of his
body, and now in salty sea water). That was how he was saved. The activists that did this to him are alive, now in Turkey, and treated as heroes.
I'm sorry if I described this with too many details, but I thought it was necessary for the credibility. Please tell this story to anyone who will listen. I think that these days you are one of Israel's best spokesman.
*Thanks uncle Erwin, *
Ever been down in the dumps, overwhelmed or in a grumpy mood? ...And then someone says or does something so funny, you have to laugh and the dark cloud just vanishes for the moment? And that moment's respite can help heal the pain? Watch this and shake off some of that heavy weight.