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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
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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:
Nissan 1, 5768, 4/6/2008
Again we went to Tel Shiloh to celebrate Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month. For the past few months, my friends and I have been going to Tel Shiloh, where we can still sense the Biblical Chana's spirit and the fragrance of the finely blended Ketoret, which was used during worship in the Tabernacle. Last month, Rosh Chodesh Adar Sheini, we were impressed by the abundance of pink almond blossoms. Today, on the first of the Jewish month of Nissan, the dominant color is green. After the winter rains we can see the promise of fruit, delicate butterflies and more.
We weren't alone at the Tel.
And then we go back to the "everyday" life.
Tel Shiloh is open to visitors, not only our Rosh Chodesh group. For information, call 02-994-4019.
And if you want to go with us next Rosh Chodesh, we'll welcome you gladly. The first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyyar, Monday, May 5, 9:45am. We'll meet at the Tabernacle Gallery-Beit Cafe`, near Tel Shiloh.
Chodesh Nissan Tov and A Chag Pesach, Kasher v'Sameach!
Adar Bet 27, 5768, 4/3/2008
A few minutes ago, I had a phone call asking me to participate in a poll. I agreed and began listening to the questions and choosing answers from those offered. With each question, I became more and more concerned. It seemed like one of those polls for the Left, for those fronts for groups which want to prove that we're a bunch of prostitutes--for money we'd leave our homes.
Well, I told the girl on the phone, that I've probably been living in Shiloh since long before she was born, and I find her questions offensive. Yes, I told her that I know that she's just doing her job, what she gets paid to do. I know that she didn't write the questions and the choice of answers. But I could hear the direction the questions were going.
They started out rather innocuously.
"How would you describe your life in your community?"
excellent, good, passable, bad
"Why did you move to there?"
financial incentives, ideology, and more choices like that
"How do you see your community five years from now?"
destroyed, moved to Israel, moved to another part of "the territories" under "Palestinian" rule, no change
The questions began getting even worse, and I told her:
"I refuse to continue. I know exactly what this survey is for and where it's leading. I find it highly offensive. If I was living in Shiloh, Ohio or Shiloh, Tennessee, nobody would dare ask me such questions or ask me to leave my home."
I told her that I've lived here a long time, and this is the original Shiloh, and I have no plans nor desire to leave. Yes, this is the Shiloh of the Bible.
We have returned to pray to G-d at Shiloh. Each of us mouths our words to G-d, like Chana did thousands of years ago. G-d is waiting to hear our prayers. Chazal, our sages, say that Chana was originally infertile, because G-d wanted her prayers to be exceptionally strong. Today our People and and Land are suffering greatly. We need a true leader with strength of character and a goal and vision of a strong Jewish Nation in our Holy Land.
Please join us in Shiloh on Sunday, Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the Month of Miracles, at 10am.
Adar Bet 26, 5768, 4/2/2008
This is a continuation of my wish for a "Yehuda kind of leader."
Today I'm targeting Moetzet YESHA, the "organization" which claims to represent the Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and those who once lived in Gush Katif.
Dressing up their organization with some new faces is just a farce and a trick. Maybe I missed it, but I never heard any apologies. I never heard of their admitting that they failed. Even Olmert has admitted mistakes; though he has the gall to insist that it gives him the right to continue and correct things. The members of Moetzet YESHA are worse.
I also totally disagree with their claim that they did everything and anything possible to stop Disengagement. There is no such thing. There are always different things that could be done. I've even heard people who claim to be disappointed with Moetzet YESHA insist that there was no way of stopping Disengagement. Of course there was a way. The problem is that it can't easily be undone.
We need real leadership, creative and confident, not lazy apologists, not those who have been in power and failed. The Bayit Leumi had a totally different plan, which they never had a chance to implement, since they were all jailed, leaving Moetzet YESHA without competition. I don't know where they are now.
G-d willing, I'll be writing more on this topic. Right now I'm hampered by the fact that I can't use our home computer; the screen went black.
Adar Bet 21, 5768, 3/28/2008
It's almost three years since the thousands of peaceful law-abiding Jews who had been living in Gush Katif and Northern Shomron were forcefully transfered, evicted, exiled (if you can suggest some more and better verbs, that's what the comment section is for) from their homes. Most of them still haven't gotten on with new lives.
I purposely used the adjective "new" instead of "their," since I mean new for a reason.
Even those of us who aren't Bible scholars know that our Moshiach will come from the tribe of Yehuda, because Yehuda wasn't afraid to say:
"I was wrong."
I'm just curious if any of the European Jewish leaders, including the rabbis and Judenrat, from the time of the Holocaust, ever apologized for encouraging their communities to remain.
All of the good Jews who were forcefully transfered, evicted, exiled from their homes should be well on the way to new lives and not living in refugee camps dreaming and planning the recreation of their former lives. Their rabbis and community leaders should be encouraging them to move, retrain and stop living the lie. Their rabbis and community leaders should do what Yehuda did and admit that they were wrong.
It's less than two hours before Shabbat, and I must finish my cooking and cleaning, so I will just post something I wrote two and half years ago.
There’s a Humpty Dumpty situation going on here in Israel. Unfortunately, too many people think that they can put “Humpty back together again.” I’m referring to the destroyed communities of Gush Katif and Northern Shomron. I understand the desire of the uprooted refugees to recreate their pre-Disengagement lives, but it’s impossible, and I don’t think anyone’s doing them a favor by supporting this dream. Even if by some miracle, identical communities could be built and erected in similar topography in a few months, they would never be the same. And by expecting to duplicate the heavenly lives they once had, they’re setting themselves up for even more pain.
The Disengagement victims must each make decisions for what’s best now for themselves and their families and get on with it. First of all they must job hunt, retrain where necessary, and find some sort of housing to buy. They shouldn’t spend their limited funds on rentals, unless they really don’t have any money and had never been homeowners. They shouldn’t waste their money on those government built shantytowns, where there is no employment, no opportunities. It’s a recipe for disaster, a pressure cooker for traumatized stressed-out people.
The uprooted, evacuees, owe it to themselves and their children to find themselves the best opportunities and soon as possible. Depression is a socially contagious disease, and it’s spreading rapidly.
Any new communities founded should be for the sake of the mitzvah of “yishuv Ha’Aretz,” “settling the Land,” and they must be envisioned as totally new endeavors, wherever they may be.
For another very different reason, it’s important to spread out “yamma, v’kedma, tzafona v’negba,” west, east, north and south, is to break the disengagement between the different sectors of our beloved country. Too many of us are totally removed, oblivious, of what’s happening to the evacuees. The refugees are isolated in hotels and caravan (trailer) sites. It’s much too easy for your typical Israeli to pretend that either they don’t exist or that they’re of such a different breed, that they “deserved it.” And they’re no longer even seen on the news or read about in the press, since the editors find nothing new and earth shattering in their painful predicament. They’ve been homeless for months already. That’s too boring to rate even a few seconds or column inches.
It would be a very different situation if throughout the country, in various buildings and neighborhoods ordinary Israelis would be faced with new neighbors, who’ve lost their previous homes to Disengagement. They would see the broken furniture being taken out of the moving vans and end up helping take the refrigerator and other appliances back down the stairs after it’s discovered that its wires were burnt by the heat in the storage facility. Children would come from school telling of new students in their class who have nothing, since all their old toys and books were damaged or lost when they were forced to leave their homes.
This meeting is the next stage of “Panim el Panim,” the meetings, face-to-face and it must happen. This is how we’ll finally begin “hitchabrut,” connection, unity, which is what our nation, our people need desperately. This is the only way we can heal and bring salvation and Redemption, the Geula Shleimah.
“HaRachaman Hu Yakim et Succat David Hanofalet,” May the Merciful One Raise up for Us the Fallen Tabernacle of David,”
Illustration from http://www.authorama.com/through-the-looking-glass-6.html
Adar Bet 17, 5768, 3/24/2008
It's amazing what can be found on the market, with proper, strict rabbinic supervision. And the prices go up for it.
Now, do all these things really need to be Kosher for Passover?
When I first became religious, I was sort of floundering, without much help. I had heard that anything a dog would eat must be checked for chametz. I didn't feel comfortable asking my rabbi everything, but I did have a dog.
Yes, that's Awol and her buddy Sebastian. They were a great team. Of course, I didn't need Sebastian's opinion about what products need rabbinic supervision for Passover. Honestly, Awol was very helpful. She wouldn't go near bleach and other cleaning products, a girl after my own heart. I remember consulting with her about my blush-on. At first she got close, rather curious, even though she didn't need any with her coloring. Then after one wary sniff, she refused to return.
Passover is a stressful enough holiday and a lot of businesses try to take advantage of us. A bit of common sense goes a long way. I'm glad I never boiled my bite plate. It had a tooth attached, since a permanent one fell out when I fell in Kiddy City at the age of eight.
Of course, if you eat all over the house and can't get it cleaned you may have to cover your bed like this couch.
And remember, if you don't eat off of the windows, there shouldn't be any chametz to be found on them. Dirt isn't chametz either. Awol wouldn't touch the bleach, nor any of the detergents. And don't forget to take some time off and enjoy springtime!