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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 16, 5768, 2/22/2008

      Rabbi Ephraim Wolf, ZaTz"L, An Appreciation

      I wasn't raised knowing Shabbat or observing it in any way.  I also didn't know about kashrut and the idea that certain foods were forbidden to Jews.  But, yes, I did know that I was a Jew, whatever that was supposed to mean. 

      Growing up in Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY, where upwards of 90% of the people were Jewish, we were like everyone else.  We were active members of the Conservative Oakland Jewish Center, and I went to its Hebrew School.  Public schools were closed on the High Holidays.

      When I was 13, we moved to Great Neck. That was the first time I got to know non-Jews and even had Black classmates.  We also joined the Orthodox Great Neck Synagogue.  It was there where I became a member of NCSY and became acquainted with Torah-True Judaism. 

      Rabbi Ephraim Wolf, ZaTz"L, was our rabbi.  If it hadn't been for his strong emphasis on youth activities and "kiruv" before it was a code word or priority, I wouldn't be the me I am today. It's Rabbi Wolf's Yartzeit, and want to thank him for what he gave me.

      Rabbi Wolf gave me the opportunity to know true Judaism, Shabbat and opened the door to the life I live here in Shiloh.  He never pushed, but once we were here in Israel, we began hearing how proud he was.  And then when we moved to Shiloh, he'd even mention us in his sermons and visited.  There's a tree growing here in Shiloh, which Rabbi Wolf planted on one his visits.  The tree overlooks, the entrance, the school, the Mishkan Synagogue and Tel Shiloh.  It smiles on Shiloh, like Rabbi Wolf did.

      Thank you, Rabbi Wolf.

      Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach 

      Adar 13, 5768, 2/19/2008

      Love Isn't Enough

      I saw these signs yesterday in Jerusalem:

      Who would ever say that they don't "love" Sderot?  Just "love" isn't enough.  You could love it to death.  That's what's happening. 

      Olmert's idea of how to protect Sderot is crazy.

      Well, what does he mean by "iron dome?" Can it be something like this?

      Well, if he's not planning on using it to protect Sderot, maybe he's planning it as a new jail to keep the dissidents under wrap...

      I keep feeling like we're living in the Theater of the Absurd, but honestly, it's no joking matter.

      And while I'm mentioning "theater," have you seen the new "news set" on IBA Channel One?

      It's like they're talking to  "Big Brother."

      Adar 11, 5768, 2/17/2008

      "Are We Near the Gush?

      Israel is a small country, so it never ceases to amaze me when people here haven't a clue as to where places, like Shiloh, are.

      We had some North American yeshiva guys over for Shabbat meals, and one of them asked that question I used as a title.

      Just a little simple geography. Shiloh is north of Jerusalem, and Gush Etzion is south of it.

      You'd think that the people running the program would show them where they were going on a map. Actually, I think all these kids spending a year in Israel should get a nice big map and mark off all the places they go to. It would be a great learning tool. They could even compete to see how many different places they've gotten to by the end of the year.

      Honestly, what's the point of spending the year abroad if you don't broaden your knowledge?

      And don't think that it's only the foreign students who haven't a clue. Many native (non-immigrant) Israelis, born and educated here, have no idea. They know that Haifa is north of Tel Aviv and that Eilat is south of the rest of the country, but that's about it. They certainly don't know anything about the locations of Biblical Israel, cities like Shiloh.

      People are always asking me where Shiloh is. And when some are confronted with שילה Shiloh, in writing, they pronounce it "Shilah," which shows that they hadn't learned the Bible at all.

      Soldiers, also, don't always know where they are. I'll never forget, while waiting for a ride in Beit El, hearing one ask someone who was going to Jerusalem, if it passed Ariel. Besides showing a lack of general geography-knowledge, that's bad preparation by the army. The officers endanger the soldiers by neglecting to make sure they know the map of the country, including Judea and Samaria.

      This map doesn't have all of the important places labeled, but I'll explain.  Ariel, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are shown.  Beit El is next to Ramalla, just north of it.  Shiloh is north of the "h" in Ramallah, between Beit El and Ariel, but to the east of them.  "The Gush," Gush Etzion is south of Bethlehem.  Try to imagine this map transposed with the other map.  I hope that you know have a better idea, if you hadn't before.

      I'll end this with one of my "pet peeves." When Israelis talk about "hamerkaz," the center of the country, they're referring to the Tel Aviv area. Now, it may be that I'm wrong, but Tel Aviv is on the coast, and the coast is the end, the border, by the sea, right? How can the coast be "the center?" Take a good look at the map. Shiloh is actually in the center. We're minutes, even walkable, to the Alon Road-Jordan Valley, a half hour to Jerusalem and Tzomet Yarkon (Yarkon Junction)-a couple of minutes from Petach Tikvah, and with the new toll Highway #6, you can get to the north or south of it in about an hour and a half or less.

      That's why Joshua established Shiloh as religious and spiritual captital after entering the Land. Yes, Shiloh is the Center of Israel.

      Adar 8, 5768, 2/14/2008

      Vote -- SDEROT!!

      Let's See

      SDEROT on Monopoly!



      Sderot is not running against Jerusalem.  They are in different categories.  Jerusalem has already been nominated and is running against other famous world cities.  Sderot is now in the running as a "wildcard."  So, there's no excuse not to sign up and support them both.

      I admit that it wasn't my idea, but I think it's brilliant! Hat tip to Sharon.
      Let's put Sderot in a place of honor!

      Adar 7, 5768, 2/13/2008

      Word Power

      A couple of things...

      First David Landau is now former Editor-in Chief of Haaretz newspaper!

      Could the kippah wearing journalist's dirty mouth be the cause of his job loss?


      The "M" word.

      Why does Yad Veshem refuse to use the word "murder" when saying how Jews died in the Holocaust?  Check the signs.  They all say that the Jews "perished," or in Hebrew, nispu.  That's the term used when an avalanche or flood, an act of G-d is the cause of human death.  Is anti-Semitism a natural condition?  an act of G-d?

      Protest to Yad Veshem.  They never replied to my letters!