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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 29, 5768, 3/6/2008

      Jerusalem--Where's the Beauty?

      Ehud Olmert, Jerusalem's mayor at the time, wasn't just seeking a functional solution to a traffic problem. He wanted a symbol.
      Today's Jerusalem is filled with ugly construction sites.

      We should have a poll giving everyone the chance to vote for the ugliest.

      Entering or leaving Jerusalem from the area of the Central Bus Station is a visual, and sometimes traffic, nightmare.  The planned Calatrava Bridge just doesn't match anything in the city.

      Of course, it looks amazing in this computer-generated picture, but even the normally fearless express terror at traveling on or under it.  Here's another perspective.

      The great beauty of Jerusalem is in its soul and how the light turns the stones golden.

      Don't forget who was Mayor when this very expensive and flashy bridge was planned.  No other than Ehud Olmert, the one and only.

      Adar 26, 5768, 3/3/2008

      Meet Me At The Tel

      Tel Shiloh, that is, of course!  My friends and I have started visiting the site of Ancient Shiloh on a regular basis.  Tourists come from all over the world, so why shouldn't we?  And why shouldn't other Israelis visit Shiloh?  Either come to Shiloh whenever you want, or join us this Friday, Rosh Chodesh Adar Sheini, 9:45am.

      Chana prayed for a son whom should would dedicate to leading the Jewish People out of the chaotic rut they were in.  And it was her son, Samuel, who annointed our first two kings.  Today, we, too need a leader, one to lead us out of today's very dangerous "rut."  So, Shiloh's the place.  "Nahaphochu!"  Let's reverse this "peace process" which is killing us.  We need leaders who lead, not chase their tails and search for world approval.

      walking down to Tel Shiloh 1

      Shiloh is where the Mishkan, the Tabernacle stood for almost four hundred years!  I'm sure it was much more difficult to get to Shiloh in Biblical times.  Now there's modern transportation and public buses.  Instead of trekking for days, drive or take a bullet-proof Egged bus.  We're less than half an hour north of Jerusalem and the same to Israel's super highway "number 6."  Shiloh is a few minutes drive to the Jordan Valley and less than forty minutes to Petach Tikvah.

      Tel Shiloh, 8

      Could Eli, Hannah and Samuel have walked here? 

      Tel Shiloh II 2

      Sit quietly, enjoy the view, say T'hillim, (Psalms) and you'll sense the holy fragrence of the Ketoret.  For personal requests to G-d or to save our nation, Shiloh is the traditional site for prayer.  The Jewish Laws of Prayer are derived from how Chana prayed here in Shiloh.


      Tel Shiloh 4

      If you'd like to avail yourself on the tourist facilities, call 02-994-4019, and tell them that "Batya sent" you!

      Tel Shiloh, Mishkan, Tablernacle Model

      Adar 23, 5768, 2/29/2008

      Red, White, Blue and Some Things to Think About

      White is the flag of surrender.
      How's this for simplicity?
      Restraint + War = Defeat
      What is Olmert's real goal?
      Whom is he protecting? Certainly not the citizens of Israel!!

      Adar 21, 5768, 2/27/2008

      Pinch Hitting on the "Bimah"

      In baseball, a pinch hitter is a common term for a substitute batter. Batters can be substituted in at any time while the ball is dead (not in active play); the manager may use any player that has not yet entered the game as a substitute, and the player that is removed from the game cannot return to play for the rest of the game. Pinch hitters are often used to replace a starting player when the pinch hitter is thought to have a better chance of reaching base or helping other runners to score.
      Pinch hitting
      on the Bimah?  No, nobody decided that the Bimah would make a good homeplate, with the Ezrat Nashim (Ladies' Balcony) as the outfield. 

      Seriously, the standard Torah Reading as done today is like "pinch hitting."  One person says the blessings, and another reads the Torah.

      Think about it.  Even the Brit Milah (ritual circumcision) is done like pinch hitting.  According to Jewish Law, the father is supposed to circumcise his eight day old son, but since mistakes can't be corrected so easily, most fathers would rather give the bat knife to someone trained and make do with the blessings.

      The latest pinch hitting is for  PRAYER FOR THE WELFARE OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL.  Post-Disengagement and Amona, many people not only aren't willing to stand for it, but they won't say it, even if they are leading the prayers.

      I don't know what happens in other synagogues, but here, in our local one, the gabbaim "take the bat" at times.

      As horrified and repulsed as most of us are at what the Israeli Government is doing to its citizens, I still think that the prayer is important.  Read the words:


      by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel 
      Our Father Who are in Heaven, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless Thou the State of Israel
      which marks the dawn of our deliverance.  Shield it beneath the wings of Thy love; 
      Spread over it Thy canopy of peace; send Thy light and Thy truth to its leaders, officers, and
      counselors, and direct them with Thy good counsel.

      O G-d, strengthen the defenders of our Holy Land; grant them salvation and crown them with
      victory.  Establish peace in the land, and everlasting joy for its inhabitants.

      Remember our brethren, the whole house of Israel, in all the lands of their dispersion.  Speedily
      let them walk upright to Zion, the city, to Jerusalem Thy dwelling-place, as it is written in the
      Torah of Thy servant Moses:  "Even if you are dispersed in the uttermost parts of the world, from
      there the L-rd your G-d will gather and fetch you.  The L-rd your G-d will bring you into the land
      which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it."

      Unite our heart to love and revere Thy Name, and to observe all the precepts of Thy Torah.
      Shine forth in Thy glorious majesty over all the inhabitants of Thy world.  Let everything that
      breathes proclaim:  The L-rd G-d of Israel is King;  His majesty rules over all."  Amen.

      It doesn't blindly worship the State.  It's a prayer to G-d, praising G-d, asking for G-d's help.  We need G-d's help.  I suggest that we stand up, say the prayer and beg G-d to save us from the politicians. 

      Adar 21, 5768, 2/27/2008

      Ha'Ikar, The Most Important Thing

      In the Teachers Room, we were talking.  It's where I get to hear what's going on in everyone's minds.  And though we're all involved in education (or other jobs in the school,) our ages and backgrounds are varied.  The subject suddenly became weddings, the money, the exenses.  Did you guess?  Many couples put more thought, care and investment into the wedding, rather than the marriage.

      What is most important?  It's the chupah, the ceremony.

      What do we show the youngsters?

      One of the great things about Israeli weddings, especially on the yishuvim, is the joy, the emphasis on sameach chattan v'kallah, and not on fancy tuxedos and ballgowns.

      Recently, I've been to some very special weddings, which didn't leave me with the feeling that I had eaten much more than could ever be healthy.  I certainly don't go to weddings to eat.  I'm also very glad that the only "dress code" obeyed in our weddings is tzniyut, Jewish Laws of Modesty.  Not even the groom needs a tuxedo; some don't even wear conventional western suits. 

      And an added significance of the thick veils many brides wear is to make them concentrate on the true significance of their wedding day and not be distracted by the flash and frills.  In life, we're supposed to reflect, concentrate on what's important, the gifts G-d gives us, life, health, rain and what we're obligated to give in return.

      Good health, Refuah Shleimah, to all... Esther bat Henya, Elkana Yedidya ben Dvora Leah, Menya Libba bat Itta Chaya, Penina bat Sofiya Zlatta and all Cholei Yisrael...