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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:
Nisan 20, 5769, 4/14/2009
I don't understand how the "Tel Aviv crowd" can rationalize their living in a place established only because they wanted a Jewish city near Jaffa, while at the same time they protest our Jewish presence in Shiloh. Shiloh has a long history as a Jewish city. It was our first capital for 369 years, almost four times as long as Tel Aviv is old. Tel Aviv's only 100, while modern Shiloh is 31, almost one third the age. Now, what's 69 years in Jewish history. Small potatoes for sure.
This Pesach, Shiloh was again full of tourists from all over the world. There were activities for all ages, crafts, theater, tours and more.
I took some friends to Tel Shiloh. It was their first time at the Tel and their first visit to Shiloh. The Biblical Shiloh, same location as today's but a few thousand years ago, was a place of religious pilgrimage. Shiloh was the spritual center of the Jewish People for three hundred and sixty nine (369) years. The Jewish People trekked from near and far to pray and sacrifce to G-d in the Mishkan, Tablernacle in Shiloh. Today, Tel Shiloh has been set up for visitors of all ages. There's a carnival atmosphere, lots to do, crafts, donkey and jeep rides.
Tel Shiloh is open to tourists all year long. Parties and other events can also be arranged there. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02-994-4019.
Nisan 15, 5769, 4/9/2009
I wrote this Erev Chag Pesach, on the Eve of the Passover Holiday, after returning home from the Birkat HaChamah Prayers in Shiloh.
L'havdil, (to differentiate,) just like a ray of the sun is just a tiny aspect of the sun's power, the few pictures I'm posting now are just a few of what I photographed minutes ago at the united Shiloh Birkat Hachama prayers. Our various and varied minyanim, prayer groups, met at a lookout on the eastern side of Shiloh, overlooking Shvut Rachel, Givat Achiya and Kida.
None sufficiently illustrate the feeling of masses of people who attended, including three generations of some families.
The sun was not among the very first things created. It was in the middle, the fourth out of the seventh days. That's why Birkat HaChamah must be on a Wednesday, the fourth day of the week. We're celebrating the "birthday of the sun."
In a sense, it's related to Shabbat, because the week is divided between "before Shabbat" and "after Shabbat." Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are post-Shabbat, while Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are pre (preparing for) Shabbat.
This year's Birkat HaChamah has an additional element in that it's the Eve of Passover. Tonight is Leil HaSeder, Seder Night. I have a lot of work yet to do before Pesach, so if I don't have time to post again,
Chag Kasher V'Sameach
Have a Kosher and Joyful Holiday
Today is also my maternal grandmother's yartzeit, the anniversary of her death.
Chaya Raizia (Ida) Vishnefsky Finkelstein Shankman, ZaTza"L, L'Ilui Nishmata, May her soul be elevated.
Nisan 13, 5769, 4/7/2009
Could Second Try Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu have positioned Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman as his lightning rod to get the flack, while he tries to steer the country into safer waters? Please forgive me for the mixed metaphor.
The Arabs are uncompromisingly and very clearly aimed to destroy us.
If that's the case, it's good news. Lieberman's the right guy for the job. He loves attention and knows how to rile and tease the media. Too bad this isn't some movie or TV series. It's a casting director's dream.
At this point it seems that they're the two most skilled politicians in the field here in Israel. Both are masters at composing great "sound bytes." But I can't imagine them saying the same things.
They're like mirror images of each other. Bibi's gut instinct is more Right, but he talks Left, and Lieberman talks Right, but in terms of Israel, he's more Left. The big problem is that neither seem to have much of a religious, spiritual connection to our Land and People.
None of the inner circle of Bibi's bloated cabinet are religious. Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan admitted at the Jerusalem Conference that he's a graduate of an elite yeshiva high school. He's ambitious, but at this point, young enough to be Bibi's son, he must wait his turn.
I don't think that's the right strategy at all. Obama, with all of his power and media backing, isn't the problem. The problem is here in Israel where most politicians and the media are supporting the same thing. They all want a new Arab state in our Holy Heartland. Israel wouldn't survive, and once it's in place, there's no turning back.
The result would be a hundred years or more of suffering, death and destruction until with G-d's help we're again in a position to rule in our HolyLand.
There's no "conflict" here. Compromise wouldn't help. The Arabs are uncompromisingly and very clearly aimed to destroy us. Just listen to what they say, not other people's pretty words. The only "peace" they promise is the "peace" of death.
Nisan 11, 5769, 4/5/2009
Recently I received the following note from a friend:
Certainly spread the word about Facebook's definition of a Jew, and do investigate and patronize safer internet sites.
This is no "urban legend." I do know the people involved. I inquired how a pre-teen could be on Facebook, and I was told that the family uses it to post pictures to each other. Personally, I don't like the popular use of Facebook for posting pictures for family and friends. There isn't enough control over it, and as in this case, it exposes young children to an adult-oriented site. There must be something safer.
Recently, I opened a WEJEW account, the same name, shilohmuse, as my youtube. It does have a picture upload option, besides the videos, and it's "clean." At least it's as clean as anything can be, since they check what you've uploaded before making it viewable. Of course, even on WEJEW, one should be alert to people abusing it for the wrong reasons, but it has the potential to be a much safer alternative, at least for Jews, who use the internet for videos, movies and photos.
This is not a blame the victim post. Certainly spread the word about Facebook's definition of a Jew, and do investigate and patronize safer internet sites.
Nisan 9, 5769, 4/3/2009
We just returned from a great, although our team lost and our son injured, football game. Winning isn't everything, just like our MK's don't have to be in the coaliltion to have an influence. Our team, Big Blue Jerusalem Lions stared the season well and then went through a losing streak. The broke the streak and ended up in the finals! During today's game, they started off losing, losing big, 20 to 8. In the end it was brought to a tie and two overtimes. Having the guts to come from behind is the sign of true victory! It's a lesson for us all.
So, now, as you can imagine, I'm very pressed for time, so unlike what I orginally planned, instead of reprinting/reposting a few articles I've written I'll just provide you with the links.
Avigdor Lieberman, the big question
Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach!