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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Torah Tidbits Audio
Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
Adar 23, 5770, 3/9/2010
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh will be next Tuesday, March 16. Please join us and publicize it. Thanks
Women's Prayers תפילת נשים
Rosh Chodesh Nissan ראש חודש ניסן
Tuesday March 16, 2010
יום ג' 16-3
This is also posted on Shiloh Musings, where there are some interesting comments; you may want to read and participate in the conversation. Please do.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thinks that he has solved the "problems" of his "Ten Month YESHA Building Freeze" by offering financial compensation, as if we can be bought off, or his policies only have financial repercussions and not security or national viability or negative "Hasbara," Public Relations.
What follows is part of the official announcement:
Now I'm beginning to understand how Menachem Begin protested against German War Reparations, l'havdil, to differentiate-they're not the same, but...
The most important problems, dangers from the building freeze aren't financial, but obviously those whose pockets are affected have more influence than patriots like myself. Paying off contractors doesn't solve the problem. The government is just following old mistaken policies that we "settlers" have a price and can be compensated for "inconveniences" or G-d forbid forced eviction. No way. I'm not for sale! Building freezes for Jews, whether ten months, ten years or ten minutes are dangerous. They encourage our enemies and strengthen them.
Israel isn't a viable and secure country without Judea and Samaria. That is why Jordan allied itself with Egypt and Syria to attack us in June, 1967. Every time we give the Arabs of Judea and Samaria more independence we're weakening our country.
No foreign country has ever come to our aid when we've been attacked and nobody will. And if they ever would it would be to rule us.
They'd rather add annexes to their very popular Holocaust museums. Building is life, living. You can't buy me off. I'm not for sale!
Adar 18, 5770, 3/4/2010
Women's Prayers תפילת נשים
Rosh Chodesh Nissan ראש חודש ניסן
Tuesday March 16, 2010 יום ג' 16-3
I hope that the IDF soldier who posted military plans on his facebook page is jailed and held incommunicado for a long time.
The punishment for such internet social media security breaches should be so severe as to make it clear to all soldiers and their families and friends that even stupidity is sedition.
That would include girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, siblings and cousins reporting plans and schedules of IDF soldiers. Ignorance and foolishness should never be accepted legal excuses.
It's not that Israel is a country at war, it's that Israel is a country under attack every minute, every second of the day. We have enemies who want to destroy us, all of us Right, Left and Center, young and old. It doesn't matter if we live in Tel Aviv or Tel Zion, Raanana or Revava.
That's the lesson of Purim and Shabbat Zachor!
Adar 12, 5770, 2/26/2010
Sometimes I have dreams of a cousin's child or grandchild, or children or grandchildren suddenly contacting us curious about his/her/their Jewish roots. These aren't people born and raised in traditionally anti-Semitic cultures like the young Polish man featured in a New York Times article, who went from antisemitic skinhead to Orthodox Jew. An entire branch of my American relatives, descended from the same maternal Jewish grandmother has been living as christians for three generations already.
This morning when I clicked on the article sent by the Gansteh Megillah about the young Jew in Warsaw, I thought of my cousins and of the pain my grandmother in Olam HaBa, the next world, must feel knowing that her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their children, too, have no connection to Judaism. Some are Jewish according to Torah-Jewish Law. About all of the non-Jewish descendants of my grandparents... another sad story, in need of many prayers.
Over fifty years ago my widowed aunt took her children from the poor but very Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood, where she had lived for many years. She moved to Miami, Florida, and discovered a new reality, brutal antisemitism. One of my cousins was constantly attacked. Without family support system, she encouraged her children to become like the neighbors and leave Judaism behind with the freezing weather of New York. From what I was told, she thought she was doing them a favor. No doubt that her personal connection to Judaism was weak, and she probably blamed G-d for her sorrows, a handicapped first-born, widowhood and poverty.
It was easy to keep their new religion a secret from the New York relatives. When my cousins married non-Jews, it was credited to the general intermarriage by young American Jews. Not in a million years did we ever think that my aunt had encouraged her children to live as christians.
My aunt's youngest child is a daughter, who has a number of children including daughters of her own and grandchildren from them. These children are Jewish according to Jewish Law. Do they know it? Will they ever show an interest in Judaism and return?
Adar 10, 5770, 2/24/2010
me-ander and Shiloh Musings. Thanks
This is supposed to be the "pro-Israel post" West Bank Mama requested for a special round-up. I'm not quite sure how to approach the assignment, and I'm still not sure what I'll write even as I type this. I hate the defensive type of article, because it legitimizes the attack by going over the negative points. I'm of the "Never complain and never explain" fans. Each of us has a different approach to defending/promoting the existence of the State of Israel. A few months ago I was interviewed by Ben Hubbard of the Associated Press. My interview got very mixed reviews by friends and fellow Hasbara, information corps, members.
Since I generally like to get to the root of problems and not just "whitewash" them, I'll concentrate on history, simplifying it best as I can.
Today's modern, Twenty-first Century world has few nations with histories thousands of years old. The State of Israel is the modern country for the Jewish Nation/People. That's the nitty-gritty of the situation, ha'eekar, the main point. For some peculiar reason, that has always bothered people, other nations.
This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat we're commanded to remember that the world is against us and wants us destroyed. In Maftir, the final Torah reading on Shabbat, we hear of how the Jewish People were cruelly attacked by Amalek as they/we exited from Egypt. It's customary to reread it over and over in different accents and tunes so that everyone understands. Is it translated into various languages abroad? I should hope so. Every Jew must understand what happened to us thousands of years ago and how it still happens today.
Yes, in simple words, that's what it's all about. No country, no international organization can be counted on to help us! I'm not paranoid, I'm just plain pragmatic when I say that we can only count on G-d and on ourselves. The Haftara, (Biblical versus 5 book Torah) reading this Shabbat will tell how Saul, the first Jewish king sinned by not immediately executing all of Amalek. For this awful sin, we're paying until this day, because our enemies are the descendants of king Agog who managed to impregnate a woman during those forbidden hours King Saul gave him to live. That's what happens when one is merciful to one's enemies. Samuel the Prophet had been mentoring King Saul, a very disastrous and ill-conceived plan. A leader must be a leader through and through, not a figurehead. Saul was succeeded by King David, and Samuel retired. King David didn't need that sort of intense and detailed mentoring. It's clear when you read King David's T'hillim, Psalms. He had a direct connection with G-d, like Moses did. Samuel, Saul and David were our main historical figures during the first stages of the Jewish Kingdom, after our tribal federation, after our slavery in Egypt and after our Forefathers, Abraham, Issac and Jacob wandered around our HolyLand. We are their descendants in every way. None of the nations that had been here in our HolyLand then exist today, only us. We are forced to fight new enemies for the same reasons we fought Amalek thousands of years ago.
Our very survival is proof that we're supposed to be here. We were exiled as a nation, but Jews always lived in the HolyLand. Now we have returned as a Nation as a People, not just individuals. The public readings of the Purim story as told in Megillat, the Scroll of Esther which took place historically after King David, always has me amazed. It reinforces the fact that we're the direct descendants the continuation of that ancient people and the ancient story. Jewish People all over the world read it and celebrate our historic victory over Haman and all those who wanted us totally destroyed.
Today the simple fact that there is a State of Israel for the Jewish People proves that we are supposed to be here. The fact that we have survived with our history, tradition, religion, language etc is totally extraordinary and inexplicable by normal laws of nature.
Let go of the goyishe non-Jewish culture and mind-set. Soon we'll be celebrating Passover. "Avodim hayeenu l'Paroh b'Mitzrayim..." We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt..." The problem was/is the enslavement to Pharaoh, to that foreign culture. Free yourself of foreign values and priorities!
Chag Purim Sameach
Have a Truly Joyful Purim
Adar 5, 5770, 2/19/2010
That's a great idea! That Israeli hiking trail should take the trekkers on a journey of Jewish History, the genuine article, not the post-Zionist abridged version. No history for dummies, please. I like the idea of a Jewish-Israel Heritage Trail.
Shiloh should have a very central place in it. Ditto for Shechem, Hebron and Jerusalem. After the exodus from Egypt and the forty years of wandering, when Joshua finally brought Bnai Yisrael, the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel into the HolyLand, it was Shiloh where the capital was established and the Mishkan, Tabernacle rested for 369 three-hundred-sixty-nine years, yes, years. Shiloh is given a very specific location, south of Levana and east of Beit El, so this little triangle of a trail must be on the route.
Search as much as you can, but you won't find Tel Aviv mentioned as an important historic, Biblical city with Jewish significance. Shechem is, and so is Beit El, Hebron, Jerusalem, Beersheva and Bethlehem. I can think of some great routes following the lives of our forefathers, Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Don't forget Joseph who hiked all alone to his brothers in Shechem. As a youth, King David hiked from Hebron to his soldier brothers and then embarrassed them and King Saul, because it was he, young David who killed the boasting philistine, Goliath.
Take out the Bible and plan your heritage hike.