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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



      Adar Bet 16, 5768, 3/23/2008

      Seriously! Hurry Your Aliyah--Dollar Dropping!

      Plunging housing prices and soaring oil costs have provoked gloomy talk of a possible recession.
      Think about it.  If you had made aliyah five years ago, your dollar would have been worth lots more.  The Shekel is getting stronger and the dollar weaker.

      We've been here almost 38 years, and for the first time ever we're seeing the dollar fall in relation to the shekel.  The American economy is the pits!  What are you waiting for?

      "In the Land of Many Ifs
      Plunging housing prices and soaring oil costs have provoked gloomy talk of a possible recession. Yet the economy has kept growing. How much longer can the expansion carry on?"

      Every year you wait,  your home and investments are worth less.  I've been in the upper class NY suburbs every summer the past few years, and I see more and more unsold homes. Tuition is going up and housing values down.

      I see life as easier here, yes, that's taking everything into account.  What are you waiting for?  Pack up and get on the plane now!

      Join us.  Here we have a housing shortage, not a glut.

      Shavua Tov!

      Adar Bet 14, 5768, 3/21/2008

      OK, Tzvi, Here's the New Picture!

      That's my grandson, bli eyin haraa!

      Don't you see the resemblance?

      ps For those not in the "know," Tzvi Fishman announced that he's taking over the INN News and will pay me, if I changed my picture.  No females allowed.  You'll have to read the comments to follow this.

      Chag Purim Meshulash three days long Sameach!

      Adar Bet 13, 5768, 3/20/2008

      Behind Hester's Pannim

      As long as Hester's Megillah is, it doesn't quite have everything. If it did, we'd be reading it until Pesach. Since I'm a well-known blogger, I got a call…
      This was quite a call. It was from a Persian immigrant, who lives not far away. This Persian guy had inherited an ancient pillow from his great-great-grandmother. The pillow had been passed on for generations and generations. Nobody knew for how long. Everyone took good care of it; that is until recently.
      Today's children are just… well, you can guess, I guess. The person who called me had discovered his little grandchildren destroying it. Their parents don't believe in the word "no." And they didn't care what their kids did:
      "You can get a nicer pillow for grushim in Shuk Ramle Lod! So, what's the big deal?"
      But the Persian Zaydie didn't listen to his kinder and rescued his precious heirloom. But even though better late than never, it was too late for the pillow. It had popped.
      Gevalt! You wouldn't believe what he found inside. No, not precious stones. He found old pages wrapped in yellowed silk. They were hard to understand, not being in contemporary Hebrew or even the Persian he had learned in school.
      Being a modern sort of guy, he first copied everything on his scanner, enlarged it and printed it all. By the time he finished, the pages had almost totally disintegrated. He made a few copies and went off on his quest to discover the hidden message.
      He found a few elderly sages and divided the pages among them. They all agreed that in the format they had received, too much was missing to understand the story. Those guys were no dummies. They got him to admit that they had only received parts of it, so they got out their phones and had a conference call to put the pieces together.
      I'll tell you in short. Hester's story in the Megillah leaves out a few things. First of all, Mordechai was not all that a popular person. Not only was Haman against him, but most of the Jews considered him a spoil sport at best. He was old-fashioned and embarrassed them by being "so Jewish," never trying to fit into the enlightened Persian society. He was making trouble for them; at least that's the way they saw it.
      The "Elite" of the Jews worked for Haman in the Judenrat; they knew on which side of the bread they'd find honey and almond spread.
      Mordechai sat by the king's gate, because they had thrown him out of his office. Things got really bad during the war between Haman and the Jews. It was a sezon to end all sezons. Some of the Judenrat was giving names of fighting and loyal Jews to Haman. They even attacked their fellow Jews.
      There is more, but the experts are having trouble deciphering most of it.
      Chag Purim Sameach
      Have a Truly Joyful Purim
      From the Ancient City of Shiloh

      Adar Bet 10, 5768, 3/17/2008

      Dumb Dome and Bibi's Tail

      Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was surprised to learn last Sunday that the Iron Dome defense system, which was approved last year and was supposed to protect Israel's citizens against Qassam rockets, is not capable of alleviating the distress of Sderot inhabitants.
      Not that long ago, I mocked and satirized the two Ehuds, Olmert and Barak's trust in some dumb dome to protect Sderot.
      I don't know if they read those articles, but they've been running expensive tests which prove that I'm right.
      Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was surprised to learn last Sunday that the Iron Dome defense system, which was approved last year and was supposed to protect Israel's citizens against Qassam rockets, is not capable of alleviating the distress of Sderot inhabitants. "Recent tests found the system to be effective against rockets fired from more than four kilometers away, but not against those fired from closer range," Haaretz noted that same day in its lead story. Because Sderot is less than two kilometers from Beit Hanun, from which the rockets are being fired, Iron Dome will be helpless against them. (complete article here)
      Next IAF chief: IDF's entry into Gaza will stop rocket manufacture Nehushtan: IDF must have control on ground; Barak reviewing substitutes for Iron Dome to counter Qassams. (Click title for complete article.)

      The government would save a lot of money if they just listened to me. I don't get paid for all my blogging, though I wouldn't mind being paid by some publication. How dumb can all these politicians and "experts" really be? They endanger us with their plans. What really is behind them?

      In the meantime, it looks like elections are getting closer, since the media is after Bibi. Honestly, I don't see him as a great improvement. That's because he's out to be "centrist." For me, that's falling between the cracks. By trying to be for everyone, he's selling out. We need a strong leader, not a cat chasing its tail.

      A true leader leads, doesn't look for a popular niche in the "middle."

      Adar Bet 7, 5768, 3/14/2008

      Davka, The Most Religiously Observant Should Be Serving

      These thoughts came to me after reading Daniel Pinner's Zachor: Remember Forever. There's no talkback on the Torah articles on Arutz 7, so I'd appreciate if someone would bring this post to the author's attention. Thank you.
      "And Moshe said to Joshua: ‘Choose men for us who are brave, strong in mitzvot, and victorious in war;" Torah reading for Purim morning, Exodus 17:8-17; this year being Purim meshulash, in Jerusalem it is the Maftir reading for Shabbat, the 15th of Adar II.
      The negative reactions to what I wrote here about the Christian origin of deferring rabbinic students from the IDF, Israel Defense Force, have surprised me. According to Jewish Law and Biblical history, war is a mitzvah, a religious commandment. It's not a way to give legitimacy to people's violent tendencies. During the 1973, Yom Kippur War, my husband had a job in Sha'are Tzedek Hospital. Because of the war, he had to be there on Shabbat and Holidays. The rabbi of the hospital said that only religious workers could take Shabbat and Holiday shifts. That was because they had to do it as a Mitzvah, not because it didn't bother them to work on Shabbat or holidays. Defending our People and our Land is a mitzvah, too. That's why religious and also chareidi Jews must serve in the IDF. There actually has been in increase, even in such elite units as the Air Force. The more Torah observant Jews serving, the more Jewish the IDF will become. Granted, the transition won't be easy, since there are those who oppose such change. But we mustn't fear their opposition.
      Contrary to the old Jewish Agency slogan,
      Life in Israel is a rose garden. Just beware of the thorns.
      Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach!
      May You Have A Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat!