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      by Tamar Yonah
      A biting & sometimes humorous analysis of current events, Israeli politics & the Jewish World.
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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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      Elul 9, 5768, 9/9/2008

      Love Is Not Enough

      by Tamar Yonah

      I admit it.  I'm a bit confused. It doesn't make me feel bad or threatened.   Actually, it could be quite exciting.  However, there is much work ahead.  What I am talking about is this phenomena of people from all over the world wanting to be counted as part of the Jewish nation.

      Only 60 some years ago in Europe, the most cultured part of the world, it was a crime to be a Jew.  You were not considered human, and you were hunted down and exterminated.  Today however, it is becoming vogue to either be a Jew, or cozy on up to Jewish culture and claim that you are either part of our nation, or even more Jewish than the Jews.

      This last week, I did a show on the lost ten tribes of Israel.  We learn from our prophets that in the end of days, the lost ten tribes will be returned to the Jewish Nation.  This is a very exciting thing, however, the road may be bumpy.

      There are thousands, perhaps millions of people today who believe that they are part of the lost ten tribes.  Some people claiming Jewish ancestry have been officially recognized such as Beta Israel (Blacks from Ethiopia) and the Bnei Menashe (Asian Indians) as they have kept Jewish tradition and Torah as best they could, conferred with our rabbinical leaders today to make sure they have a kosher conversion back to their roots (if required) and have joined us here in Israel as full fledged Jews. They have intermarried with the rest of the Nation of Israel and are living a total Jewish life here in the Land of Israel.

      However, a problem arises  today when there are others who profess to being either from a  lost tribe, or claim to be the real Jews themselves.  This is where a blurring of lines can get very sticky and complicated.  While not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings and while saying this with as much love in my heart for my fellow man as I can, wanting to be a Jew, or even claiming to be a Jew, does NOT make one a Jew.  There are 613 commandments that Jews must obey and there is a specific code of  Jewish law which one must accept and take upon himself to be counted as part of the Jewish nation.  Having a burning desire, or burning love for G-d and His Torah is not enough. 

      Case in point: Hu Yang is from Beijing.   He loves everything American; hot dogs, hamburgers and Britney Spears. He watches American Idol when he can cut in on outside internet and he keeps up with all the baseball and football stats and games.  In short, this man is dying to be an American.  He even managed to obtain a job where he is allowed to travel to the States for work.  However, loving and feeling attached to America does NOT make him an American.  It doesn't matter how much he identifies with America or how crazy he is about it.  He is not an American citizen nor will he ever be, unless he applies for citizenship, takes a course on American government, passes a test, and then swears an oath of allegiance in front of a certified legal court judge.  After fulfilling those requirements, Hu Yang can celebrate his new identity and status as an American and live as a full fledged, legal life with his new community.

      But what if Hu Yang wanted to live in America legally, but remain a communist, as he believed in his heart that capitalism was evil and that communism was the truthful, fair, humanistic way that all people should live and share the wealth of the planet?  What if he wanted to live in America, enjoy the culture, but turn it one day into a communist country?  Would there be a problem here?  Would it wear down and destroy the American way of life of freedom and values that make it distinct from other nations?  Would America continue to be a beacon of light and offer freedom if it were infiltrated with people who wanted to hold on to their values and beliefs that contradicted the very essence of what America stood for?

      This can be a very exciting time in history, to see people from around the world wanting to be Jews, or believing that they are, and really joining the Jewish Nation to be a light.  But it must be done through Jewish law and respect and honor for our ways which we have carried with us for thousands of years since receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. No blurring of borders, no making claims and stealing an identity and then going against Torah and Halacha (the Code of Jewish law). 

      A Hu Feng, a John Doe, or a Rodney Jackson can feel like a Jew, dress like a Jew, eat like a Jew, and pray like a Jew, but this does not make him a Jew. One must learn and take an oath before a legal orthodox rabbinical court and take an oath to uphold the 613 commandments and live a full Jewish Torah observant life.  Then, we the Nation of Israel will all see your total commitment and embrace you and welcome you and absorb you in the Land and our communities as we have with all our brothers who have come from different parts of the planet.

      Barack Obama's wife’s cousin, 'Rabbi' Capers Funnye.  Are this man and his congregation really part of the Jewish Nation?

      Jews in Nigeria?

      Wanna-be Japaneese Jews or Lost tribe?

      Yes, it is exciting to see this love and attachment for Israel and Torah as we see in these videos above.  I am rooting for all of Mankind to come closer to G-d, live in harmony, and even decide to join the Jewish Nation.   However, there is no requirement that non-Jews become Jews.  It's hard to live a Jewish life. One can join us, but make sure it is kosher and legal.  You are joining a priestly nation which is a tremendous responsibility, and quite simply, love is not enough.



      Elul 2, 5768, 9/2/2008

      Sarah Palin: A Closet Zionist?

      by Tamar Yonah

      Jake from Alaska sent me a very interesting video of an Alaskan podcast that promotes hiking and tourism in Alaska.  In this podcast (video below) from February 2008, way before Gov. Sarah Palin was touted to be the Republican vice-presidential candidate, the host of the show, Scott Slone interviewed her in her office.

      What is interesting in this story is that 2 minutes and 40 seconds in, the camera shows clearly, an Israeli flag near her office window (to the right of the frame).  As well, if one looks closely, it seems she is wearing an Israeli flag pin* on her left lapel (see 2:55 into video).  So, the question is, is Sarah Palin a closet Zionist? Is she a friend of the Jewish people and Israel?    *NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that the pin on her lapel is probably not an Israeli flag. Someone suggested that it may be a Blue Star Mothers of America pin, and it has red stripes, not blue which is hard to see. Here is a link showing the photo of what the pin she is wearing probably is.

      Click on video Below.

      What is important to note here is, that this video was not made by a Jewish organization, nor is she speaking before a Jewish audience or catering to any Jewish vote.  We know of many politicians wearing an Israeli flag pin or waving an Israeli flag when attending Israel's Independence Day celebrations or speaking in front of a Jewish audience, but this is not the case here.

      I haven't done much research on Gov. Palin (yet) but watching this video leaves one, well, it just leaves one feeling good.  If she is a closet Zionist, she should come out and tell us so.  Millions of others just like her, may just follow suit.

      * To watch the entire video (that I edited for brevity) click HERE.   7 minutes and 13 seconds into the video, the camera hones in on the pin on her lapel which looks like an Israeli flag.  It is in HD so is much sharper there than in the video above.



      Av 26, 5768, 8/27/2008

      The $10,000 'Bark' Mitzvah

      by Tamar Yonah

      He spent $10,000 on a 'Bark'-Mitzvah party for his dog.  Ten thousand dollars!  Watch this video and then I will comment below.

      Original news report and video can be seen HERE.

      So, we have a very successful, nice looking, clean cut man.  He seems educated and well off.  Very well off if he can spend thousands of dollars just to have a party for his dog to have fun, AND is planning a 21st birthday party for his dog in the future.

      What has the world come to?

      I would like to say a few words to Elvis's owner, David Best. 

      Mr. Best,

      I have a bone to pick with you.

      1)  If you wanted to honor your dog, you could have donated the ten thousand dollars to a hospital or school or any other worthy organization – IN YOUR DOG'S HONOR. A play room for kids with cancer in a hospital could have been named the 'Elvis' room. It would have made more people happy, and would last much longer than a Torah-defiling dog party. That $10,000 could have been donated to a pound, or animal rescue service, or teaching children proper care of animals, and it would have made your little Elvis a lot happier in the long run.

      2) Your video of your dog at the podium reading the Torah was a mockery and highly offensive to many Jews AND non Jews alike. 

      3)  If an anti-Semite had put a tallit and yarmulke on a dog and laughed about it, people all over the world would be screaming, "Anti-Semite!".  I bet your zayde (grandfather) donned these garments.  I wonder how he feels with you putting them on a dog.

      4) Mr. Best, you defended your actions by claiming that one has to have a dog to really know what it's all about.  I have had dogs all my life.  They are a great addition to a family, and we loved all our dogs very much.   But to spend $10,000 on a bark-mitzvah, when all you have to do is look out your window to see the suffering of humanity, it is not just frivolous, but sickening and immoral.

      I believe that you believe that you are a nice man.  But even seemingly nice people perpetrate evil acts.  Using the blessing of wealth that G-d has given you, on a mockery and a debasing of a holy ceremony which is meant for the time of life when a Jewish boy becomes a man and takes on the holy mitzvoth for himself, and then replacing it with a dog, is akin to the selfish acts of one who lived in Sodom & Gemorah so many years ago.  Perhaps you thought it was cute to throw a party called a 'Bark' Mitzvah.  Perhaps the people attending your party thought it was just the hippest thing and giggled when they received and accepted your invitation.  But to those of us who see how much good you could have done, it shows a man with a huge ego, and no feeling for others pain and suffering around him.

      And so, you can fire your rabbi.  You can take your dog Elvis, to the Pope.  It all doesn't matter.  Elvis may go to doggy heaven, but you will rue your life where you could have brought such goodness to the world, yet chose to use your blessings for your own ego.

      That's the bone I had to pick with you. Excuse me now, I have to go and feed my dog.

      Left: My newest dog 'Honey'. Isn't she cute? 

      Our last dog lived for 17 years, we got her from the pound.  Our other dog that we had before Honey, we adopted from Gush Katif several years ago when my children found her dying on the beach.  Yes, my family are dog lovers.  However, if we had $10,000 to spend, it would be to build our local school which needs more classrooms for our children.  Spending money to make a mockery of G-d and the Torah is just plain barking up the wrong tree.

       

      Another gem to show the loss of understanding of the meaning of a bar/bat mitzvah.  Enjoy, laugh and weep.



      Av 24, 5768, 8/25/2008

      Everything G-d does, He does for us.

      by Tamar Yonah

      I was in Hebron this last Shabbat and it was beautiful.  From the Cave of the Patriarchs to the Avraham Avinu (Abraham Our Father) Synagogue, the Shabbat was spiritual and uplifting.  After being pogrammed by the Arabs and exiled by the British, Jews have finally returned home to Hebron, one of our holiest and most historic cities.  With this and other events happening, one can see the stage for redemption being set by G-d.  History is speeding up to bring us to redemption.  We can either gather our things and board the train, or languish in our rooms and stick to our old routines.  One thing is for sure, times are changing at a rapid speed.  In one morning on Sept. 11, 2001, the world changed.  The world was in shock at the unprovoked attack. In another moment out of nowhere, the Bear, Russia, moved in on Georgia and the world is now being rocked with anticipation of a widening war. Like a magnet, Poland, the Czeck Republic, the Ukraine, the USA, Israel and other countries are being pulled into the conflict, a war that was not expected. 

      It is said that WWI which also led to WWII,  started on Tisha B'Av, the Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of the Holy Temple and other disasters for the Jewish People.  The Russian -Georgian war started on or around Tisha B'Av this year as well.  On Friday, the news proclaimed a 'conflict' between Russia and Georgia, by Sunday, the day of the Tisha B'Av fast, it was already being called a 'war'.  Is this now the beginning of WWIII?

      I once read somewhere that in the end of days, it will be a time when everyone will have to choose sides.  There will be no more fence-sitting, no more cheering from the sidelines.  Either you will decide to ACTIVELY choose G-D and do your best to live by His Torah, or you will choose your ego, your desires, your comfrot zone.   This doesn't mean that those who choose G-d will all of a sudden be a tzadik, a rightous person.  It just means he will be desiring to be holy and do his/her best to do so. Life may be scary and not to our terms, but there is great reward for those who choose G-d's will rather than their own will. 

      Everything G-d does, He does for us. 

      (Make the time to watch this movie.  Make the time.)

      If the movie doesn't play, you can watch it by clicking HERE.

      If the video doesn't play, click HERE to watch on bigger screen.

      Everything G-d does, He does for us.

      And The Holy One says to Israel, "My children, don't be afraid.  Everything I have done, I have done only for you.  Why are you scared? Don't be afraid.  The time of redemption is here."  

      Don't be afraid Mike. Don't be afraid SK.  The time for redemption is coming.  You must not wait and not demand first class seats on the train that will soon have passed your station.  The ride may be bumpy, but we are going towards G-d's destination for us.  A good place, a good time, a good age, a good future.  Don't miss the train because you may not like the conditions.  History is speeding up, and if you do not grab hold now, it may be too late. 



      Av 14, 5768, 8/15/2008

      Thrown To The Dogs

      by Tamar Yonah

      VIDEO addition to this blog:

      Below is footage of a Georgian news reporter who was shot LIVE on TV while giving her report. Tamara Urushadze from Georgia's state-owned news agency, was grazed by a bullet while reporting from a highway near Gori.  She was hit in her lower arm.  After a few moments, she continues her report while still bleeding.  Brave woman.

      Russian Invasion Into Georgia.

      I am just wondering, doesn't it seem a bit like deja vu with the Russian invasion of Georgia and the German invasion of Czechoslovakia?  It seems as if the Georgians are looking to the West for help, but, aside from nice words, are essentially being thrown to the dogs.

      See this article:    Russia: 'Forget' Georgian Territorial Integrity
      By Christopher Torchia, A P Writer

      "GORI, Georgia - Russia's foreign minister declared Thursday that the world "can forget about" Georgia's territorial integrity, and officials said Russia targeted military infrastructure and equipment — including radars and patrol boats at a Black Sea naval base and oil hub.
      Two American military planes delivered cargos of aid — including food and medicine — to Georgia's wounded and refugees. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he sees no need to invoke U.S. military force in the war between Russia and Georgia. He warned, however, that U.S.-Russian relations could suffer for "years to come" if Moscow doesn't retreat
      .  …"

      So, is this the friendship and support the West decides to throw Georgia's way, to wag their fingers at Russia and say, relations COULD suffer for years to come if they swallow their southern neighbor?  'Could' ?  Gee, that should make the Russians shiver in their boots and make them run back to mommy.

      With friends like those, I think Israel should re-think its relationship with its Western alliances.  Israel should retain our good relations, but not depend on them to come to our rescue or broker deals which promise peace, but deliver instead, bloodshed and loss of integral territory and our holy heritage.  We can't rely on the West like Czechoslovakia & Georgia, and we certainly can't rely on the Eastern block.  That leaves us to our own means, to gear ourselves up for a possible battle with those who wish to see our destruction, and, to lift our eyes towards heaven, and acknowledge G-d's omnipresence.  We are after all, a nation that dwells alone (Numbers 23: 9 "it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations."

      Israel's leaders are following the tail of the dog in front of us which is chasing wealth and power.  We should be leading them, instead, towards light and righteousness.  We are after all, the first-born of the nations.   As it says in the Torah when God sends Moses to tell Pharaoh, the leader of the world at that time, in  Exodus 4:22 "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh: Thus saith the LORD: Israel is My son, My first-born."

      Israel should not be another Czechoslovakia or another Georgia, thrown to the dogs.  We are G-d's first born, ...and we should act that way.