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:
Kislev 18, 5769, 12/15/2008
A few weeks ago, I discovered that I had just led a group of "Jews for Jesus" on a tour of Tel Shiloh. Even worse, was finding out that they are living in our Region, Mateh Binyamin, and have a "good working relationship" with Avi Ro'eh, the governor.
Now, Ellen Horowitz has written an expose` about one of Israel's most famous American-raised rabbis, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, of Efrat. I'm still reeling in shock.
Four years ago, I wrote an essay disagreeing with his defence of Disengagement by "pleading Democracy." I consider it a foreign "god," which stands hand in hand with "liberalism." Its "child" is "multi-culturalism."
Zionism is its antithesis. We came here for a Jewish Life in a Jewish Country in a Jewish Land. The different "flavors" of the various Jewish ethnic communities provide us with enough cultural diversity. We don't need to encourage other religions here. It is our only HolyLand. In Efrat Riskin now has an interfaith endeavor - Ohr Torah Stone's Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation.
This is not an easy post for me to write, and I know that many people will be angered, but I'm not running in a popularity contest. I consider the issue of Christian holds in Jewish areas dangerous. The Arab muslems have been driving them out of their cities and neighborhoods, and the ones we, Jews, are welcoming are the most dangerous for the status of Judaism in Israel.
Kislev 14, 5769, 12/11/2008
Last night my husband and I attended the Dinner in Honor of Rav Adin Steinsaltz. The program featured the Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld.
I'm sure that the thing that really hit home to me wasn't in any way what Appelfeld considered the most important thing he said. He mentioned how he taught himself Hebrew. He copied the Bible word for word and learned from that. As a new immigrant, a Holocaust survivor, whose formal education was interrupted in the First Grade, Appelfeld knew that he had a lot to learn, and Hebrew was top priority.
That's how Aharon Appelfeld was able to become a great Israeli, Hebrew writer. He learned Hebrew; he taught himself Hebrew. I didn't make any real effort to learn Hebrew after managing to "function" in Hebrew. That's why my writing is restricted to English. After over thirty-eight years in Israel, I very rarely touch a Hebrew newspaper, and I'm almost phobic about writing more than a few sentences in Hebrew. "What if I make a mistake? People will think I'm stupid!"
I know, many of you are going to tell me that it's not too late. Will I start making more of an effort? I don't know and am afraid to promise. Unfortunately, it's possible to live in Israeli without a high level of written Hebrew. But that's no excuse. My advice to potential immigrants and new immigrants is to make every effort to reach a high level of Hebrew. Don't live in the popular "anglo ghettos." Join Israeli society. It's the only way we can make a truly valuable contribution to our precious country, Israel.
Kislev 12, 5769, 12/9/2008
Look at the crowds. We, in Shiloh were lucky. We live here. It was the regional voting station for an area that includes not only the "Shiloh block" of Shiloh, Eli, Maale Levona and the hilltops. There wasn't a polling station in Ofra, or Tapuach or Kochav Hashachar, well to the southeast of us.
People I know from all those places came here to vote.
"So, what?", you may say. They can get to Shiloh in 15-20 minutes. But I left out something. Voting was computerized, and...
... there was only one computer.
People waited for hours to vote, no exaggeration. To make a bad situation worse, many weren't fully prepared with their lists of numbers. The instructional posters, which were supposed to be part of the polling station "kit" weren't there. The people manning the station told me that they hadn't received them, and it had never occurred to them to just print off lists, so the waiting voters would know what to do.
On the computer screen there weren't any names, just 250 numbers on the screen, like those memory games. "Click two and see if the same picture shows on both." The voting station staff said that I voted the quickest. Of course, they don't have any idea how long it took me to decide whom to vote for. I consulted with all sorts of people. But I did my "prep" on my own time, before I went to vote.
G-d willing the winners will serve the country well, lots better than I fear they will.
Kislev 10, 5769, 12/7/2008
Every week, a compilation of blog posts is published on the web, Havel Havelim. The vast majority of posts are from small, less well-known blogs, but the thoughts behind the posts are sometimes very great and impressive.
Havel Havelim has been in existence for years. This week's is #194!
I call it "a floating internet magazine." It includes news you won't find any place else, opinion, Jewish Thought, Humor and lots more.
Enough with the suspense. Yes, I'm the host of this week's edition and it can be found on both Shiloh Musings and me-ander. So, get comfortable and start reading.
Kislev 8, 5769, 12/5/2008
This is also posted on Shiloh Musings, but there I have pictures. Arutz 7 has enough disturbing photos and videos of what transpired in Hebron.
I grew up in America, in the 1950's, a very calm, optimistic, even boring time. It was pretty easy to teach us to respect authority, because in most places authority was benign.
The Israeli Government treats those who promote Jewish Rights in Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, as enemies.
The government and military use force they wouldn't dare use against Arabs. The Israeli Judicial isn't interested in promoting even equal rights for Jews.
How can the kids learn respect when the government treats them as enemies?
A complete recovery
to all those injured by the armed forces
police, border guards, soldiers
While Protecting Jewish Rights
To Live In Hebron!