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      The Eye of the Storm
      by Batya Medad
      A Unique Perspective by Batya Medad of Shiloh
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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:

      Shiloh Musings



      Iyar 28, 5769, 5/22/2009

      Jerusalem Celebrating Zionism!

      I'd like to remind you that I post here infrequently, but I usually post on Shiloh Musings and me-ander daily. So you can read more there.

      Zionism Alive And Well

      Last night my husband and I attended the Second Annual Jerusalem Day Moskowitz Zionism Awards.  That meant that I had the great pleasure to be in Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day. Unlike what I saw on the official government TV station, the celebrants in the Jerusalem streets were young, young and religious.

      The general Israeli public is so far removed from our history and heritage.  In terms of demographics, these are the kids who will be the majority very soon.

      The Moskowitz Zionism ceremony was at Ir David, David's City.  It's an amazing place, and I must go there "as a tourist."

      One of the Prize Winners was Ronit Shuker.  She and her first husband, the late Yossi Shuker, were the main leaders in establishing  Shvut Rachel, Givat Achiya and Meshek Achiya Olive Oil.  I don't know the other prize winners, but I must say that Ronit is even greater than all the praises heaped on her by the Moskowitz Prize committee.  I pray that she and her family enjoy good health and many blessings.  The audience was full of her neighbors from Shvut Rachel and Givat Achiya.  It was very thrilling.  I've known her since she married Yossi.  They were my older children's youth leaders.  After my daughter's engagement, one of the first things she did was to bring her chattan (fiance`) to Yossi, who was then hospitalized.

      On our way home, we went with friends to their son's apartment in one of the Jewish buildings near Har HaZaitim, The Mount of Olives.  The view of Jerusalem was surrealistic.Yes, a very thrilling and wonderful way to celebrate Jerusalem Day!

      Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom

      Iyar 26, 5769, 5/20/2009

      The King Saul Syndrome

      As many know, King Saul is far from being my favorite Biblical figure.  I consider him horrendously over-rated.  Yesterday it seemed like he was following me around.

      Today, two of the four lectures I heard in Matan were about the Biblical King Saul, the first king of the Jewish Nation. But before I write more of my thoughts about him, there was news about a "Shaul/Saul" from the archaeologists working in Jerusalem's Ir David.
      A Bone Seal Engraved with the Name Shaul, from the Time of the First Temple, was Found in the IAA Excavations in the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park, in the City of David. (complete article)
      King Saul wasn't the only person with that name, so we can't say that the artifact was his.

      Back to our first king...
      To fully understand who King Saul was and why he failed, it's best to read the Bible.  Read it as a narrative, without the commentaries.  Start here in Samuel, and read it until Saul's death.

      Shmuel Hanavi, Samuel the Prophet, was the leader of the Jewish People, but the people wanted a change.  They wanted a king, like the other nations.  They didn't ask for a king to observe the Mitzvah, the commandant of establishing a kingship, so Samuel objected.  But G-d told him to listen to the people.

      And then G-d "arranged things" so that Saul would meet Samuel and Samuel could anoint him king.  From the text, it seems that Samuel was in charge, relaying to Saul the word of G-d.  Whenever Saul took the initiative, he fouled up.

      When things got very bad, G-d told Samuel to find another king.  Samuel was told to get one of Yishai's sons, and that was David our second king.

      This time Samuel let go and allowed David the chance to handle things on his own, and that included dealing with the then paranoid King Saul who was out to kill him.

      David didn't have the impressive looks of Saul, but he had natural charisma and leadership.

      We need a leader like King David.  We need a leader who isn't constantly asking for advice and approval.

      Obama vs Bibi, Judge For Yourself

      Are today's world leaders more Saul than David?  What about Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama?

      Hat tip,

      The transcript is

      Iyar 25, 5769, 5/19/2009

      What Really Happened When Bibi Met Obama?

      There's nothing like Dry Bones to say things so simply and clearly.
      The reports about the Bibi-Obama meeting are mixed. And even more confusing, it seems like everyone has interpreted it according to his/her wishes and fears. We all could have written our reactions in advance.
      MK Dr. Arieh Eldad, The Jerusalem Post's David Horowitz, The New York Times, Arlene Kushner... and please add your own.

      Iyar 23, 5769, 5/17/2009

      Now's The Time

      It's human nature to put things off.  Thank G-d, we're not in charge of things. G-d created us a world with a clock, always ticking.  It never needs winding up or new batteries.  It began before man was created.  We just hop on for our מאה עשרים me'ah esrim, one-hundred and twenty years.  Do we just want to fiddle?

      I'm glad that my husband and I made aliyah young, just weeks after our wedding.  It would only have gotten harder if we had delayed it.  You may rightly complain that I toot my horn a bit too much.

      And if you're already in Israel, maybe you're looking for something special?

      Next Sunday, May 24, is Rosh Chodesh Sivan, and we'll be having our monthly Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh.  G-d willing, we'll be there at 9:30am.


      You can visit Tel Shiloh other times.  For more information email telshilo@gmail.com

      And if you're looking for something to do indoors, to stay out of the heat, or snow if you're in Calgary, read the latest Havel Havelim, the weekly "magazine" of posts from Jewish Bloggers.  It can also be found here.

      Iyar 22, 5769, 5/16/2009

      If You're Going To "Relocate," Then Make Aliyah!

      It's that time of the year, again, the OU is promoting "stay in America and join one of our emerging communities."
      Don't wait for the Moshiach; you may miss the boat!
      I guess things haven't changed all that much since I was a member (and chapter, regional and national officer) in the OU's NCSY in the mid-1960's. Aliyah wasn't in our lexicon. I first heard the term when my parents and Aunt Sadie, in a panic over my attempts to become religious, arranged for me to attend a USY Shabbaton in the East Midwood Jewish Center, Brooklyn, NY.
      Yes, today the OU does have its landmark Israel Center in Jerusalem, but the activities are solely for those already in Israel and not to encourage aliyah by those in the United States and Canada. Diaspora rabbis rationalize and excuse their staying in chutz l'Aretz on their being needed to help the Jews there. But if that was totally true, they'd be happy to close down non-functioning Jewish communities, since then there would be less reasons to stay abroad.
      The truth is that the OU like any business, needs to grow constantly or it dies. The OU, like all of the massive Jewish organizations whether Orthodox, Reform, Chareidi, Reconstructionist, Conservative or open to all like Hadassa, employ many people and must keep the money flowing in.
      I'm not going to say that life here in Israel is always easy and effortless, but no place is. And just like I've written on many occasions that the IDF would be more Jewish with more Torah observant soldiers, Israel would be better the more Jews we have here. We each play our role and vote with our feet.
      We need you now! Don't wait for the Moshiach; you may miss the boat!