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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:
Shevat 4, 5770, 1/19/2010
Here's one of my latest picture posts, concentrating on something neither pleasant nor safe:
These pictures aren't posted to show the beauty of the Land of Israel. They're up on the blog to show you how man, Israel's politicians, have damaged our land, sovereignty and security by constructing this farce of a "security wall."
I took these pictures traveling from Shiloh to Jerusalem. The wall doesn't give security. It's actually riddled with holes in convenient places, so the Arabs can get where they want by foot and donkey. Israel's security authorities know this. It has even been broadcast on Israeli television.
Besides that, there isn't a budget to repair the normal "wear and tear." Obviously some contractors got very rich building this structure.
G-d willing, some day, we will all celebrate the ripping down of this wall, just like the celebrations of the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
Tevet 28, 5770, 1/14/2010
I blog more frequently on Shiloh Musings and me-ander. Please visit and pass the links around. Thanks
It isn't enough to write a simple review of Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America." I can't ignore the basis of realism of the premise and the parallels I see here in Israel.
Yes, you can see it in the title of this post.Appease Peace sic Now is like the American isolationists who wanted to stay out of "Europe's war" at all costs. Appease Peace sic Now is just like those who wanted to make deals with Hitler. Appease Peace sic Now is like those who trusted Hitler.
Yes, all of our "peace concessions" have brought us danger and terrorism and weakness. Appease Peace sic Now endangers the very existence, the very survival of the State of Israel.
I don't know if Philip Roth truly understands what he wrote.
If you think that I'm exaggerating about Appease Peace sic Now, then read the book.
Tevet 26, 5770, 1/12/2010
I live in the ancient Jewish city of Shiloh. It has a very rich history. One of the most famous, well-known, is that it was the first Capital of the Jewish Nation for a long period of time, three hundred and sixty nine (369) years. Towards the end of that time, Jewish History was much like today's. There was a crisis in leadership.
It took a very special woman, Chana, to turn things around. She prayed at Shiloh for a son who would lead the Jewish People out of the chaos. Her son, Samuel, galvanized the people and anointed the first two kings, Saul and David.
Due to today's similar situation, I've begun going to Tel Shiloh every month on Rosh Chodesh, the first of the Jewish Month, to pray for our people. This coming month, Shvat, falls on Shabbat, so I'll go Friday morning, the Eve of Rosh Chodesh at 9:30am for women's prayers and psalms.
Women from all over are welcome to join us.
תפילת נשים בתל שילה ערב ראש חודש שבט
יום ו' 9:30 15-1 חודש טוב
כולן מוזמנות, נא להודיע
This Friday 15-1 on the Eve of Rosh Chodesh
Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Tevet 24, 5770, 1/10/2010
Sorry about not posting for a while, but you know that you can read my other blogs, Shiloh Musings and me-ander. I post there much more frequently and about a very wide range of topics.
This isn't the first time we were privileged to spend a Shabbat in Tel Aviv for a special birthday prayer service led by some of the world's greatest chazanim conducted by Dr. Mordechai Sobel.
This time the soloists were Yaakov Lemmer and Moshe Schulhof, and it was co-conducted by Mordechai's son, Ofir. The atmosphere was less "performance" and some of us, at least from the Ezrat Nashim, Ladies Section balcony, sang dovened/prayed along.
Some of the tunes were composed by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who used to claim that his tunes were simple and his voice ordinary which he considered a great blessing. A blessing, because he wanted his dovening to be "singalong," for all to join in. Reb Shlom'le would have been very happy with the dovening and atmosphere. He would have been totally overjoyed at the "An'im Zamirot," by a little boy at the end of Musaf. The professional cantors and choir gave the young kid all the honor, and that little boy rose to the occasion like a pro. We had to hold back the clapping, but the tears were harder to contain.
By the end of the five (but it felt like less since it was so much fun) hour service, the curtains were all open up in the gallery. We ladies had the greatest view imaginable. This wasn't some Jewish opera performance/concert; it was interactive prayers, just the way it should be.
Mazal Tov to the birthday "boy" Chazzanut aficionado and sponsor, Attorney Pesach Mor, a veteran member of the Ramah Synagogue, 159 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv.
Tevet 15, 5770, 1/1/2010
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom uMevorach, a Peaceful and Blessed Sabbath. I blog more frequently and on a wider variety of topics on Shiloh Musings and me-ander, so I hope that you'll visit those blogs. Thanks
This week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week, is Vayechi. Biblical Hebrew has a different grammar from our Hebrew of today. Take your verb, put it in future and add "and" and you have the past. Yes, strange, but that's grammar for you.
Vayechi is about the life and death of our Patriarch Ya'aqov Jacob. He fathered the twelve tribes, the foundation of the Jewish Nation. He lives on through all of us. There's life after death when you have children and further descendants. Although his own father never left the HolyLand, he trekked and returned and then went down to Egypt for his final years, only demanding from his children to bury him in the Promised Land.
Today's the first of the goyish calendar year, 2010. Now that I don't have attendance forms to fill out, and rarely do I write a check, I pretty much ignore the goyish date. That's pretty easy for me to do. The Hebrew date is something else, just looking in the sky and seeing the shape of the moon, and we can gauge pretty accurately what today's date is. This picture shows a full moon, so it must be the middle of the month.
My father is only connected to the goyish calendar. That's the world he grew up in. He doesn't even remember his Bar Mitzvah, even though he certainly had one.
Every day as we take our walk around my neighborhood, we observe the weather.
"It's so warm outside. Is it really the end of December? It must be much colder in Great Neck now."Ya'aqov was taken to Egypt by his children, and l'havdil, to differentiate, I brought my father to Israel. G-d willing, my mother will sell the house quickly and join us. Most of their descendants are here in Israel. That was the magnet that drew him here and made him agree to come with me.Before he left New York, he mentioned to friends and family that he probably wouldn't return. He expects to live the remainder of his life in Israel. Most of his friends and family of his age group have already died, or like him can no longer travel easily and independently to visit each other. So, life in New York is not what it once was. The time had come to make real changes.
We're all doing the best we can so that he'll enjoy however much time G-d gives him. Vayechi... and he will live...