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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



      Tevet 5, 5768, 12/14/2007

      Picture This... You ignore the upbeat?

      I've noticed something very strange about the reactions to what I blog here.  Readers only respond to the negative. I find that rather sad.  Personally, I get a real spiritual lift from the sight of these men dovening on the job.

      Shavua Tov U'Mevorach!!  And please doven for a Refuah Shleimah--Full and Speedy Recovery for P'nina bat Sofia Zlata

      This soldier on guard was praying to true "shomer--lo yishan, shomer Yisrael"  the "guard who never sleeps."  It was a very comforting sight on my way to the Dead Sea.  It was certainly a very sweet day.

      While our politicians worship evil, the People of Israel are good.

      Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach!

      PS I love pictures like these, so if you have any, please send them for me to post.  Thanks

      Tevet 2, 5768, 12/11/2007

      Protecting Sderot

      This month, according to official counts, the 6,311th rocket fell on the Israeli city of
      .  Of course, they didn't just fall out of the sky, like rain or like the acorn in "Chicken Little."

      Arab terrorists in Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip have been launching kassam rockets at Israel to murder Israelis and destroy their homes, schools, business, etc.

      The government keeps changing its tune when it comes to how to protect the innocent Israeli residents.

      Now,  Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter warned Sunday that "250,000 under Qassam threat if we don't act."  But at the same time, the State says it's not obligated to fortify Sderot homes against Kassams.  It's also not willing to got to war against them nor use any serious sanctions.

      So, I think it's time for my plan on how to protect Sderot.  Do you have any better ideas?

      This was first posted on Shiloh Musings, May 31, 2007, but unfortunately, it's still applicable.

      How about... Rebuild Sderot Underground?

      Sure; that makes sense.

      The government was ordered by the court to reinforce the classrooms, but, the kids have to get to the classrooms, via the corridors and the streets from their homes, and all that must be made safe.

      Now, considering that there's only a short warning--of seconds at best--before the kassams land, the government must think of the good of the people.

      Well, there are a few options. Our brilliant military inventors can make special protectors for people. Bullet-proof vests aren't strong enough against kassams, and many of those killed and seriously injured by kassams had head injuries. The vests don't protect against head injuries. Yes, so the new law must be that everyone must wear special anti-kassam helmets and vests. The factories must rapidly produce them in all sizes, from, k'neine haraa, hefty adults to toddlers. Special baby-carriages, designed to protect infants, must be made from the same material as tanks.

      I can see a very practical way of protecting small groups of people, especially good for large families and nursery school teachers. Have a large rocket-proof umbrella, mounted on wheels, so it can be pushed. It must be large enough so a number of people can be protected at once. I'm sure that our engineers can find a way to do it.

      To make it even safer, these protective "clothing," carriages and "umbrellas" should be painted/coated with material that won't reflect the sun or be easily traced by radar. A design called "urban camouflage" would be just perfect.

      Now, of course, this is only temporary. How long can people manage above ground, even with these protective devices? I'd take for granted that the community centers and fitness experts will provide muscle-training to prevent strains and sprains, an added risk when having to carry around such heavy things. It's a risk the residents of the south must be willing to take for the good of the country. We wouldn't want them all to desert their homes. What a horrid precedent that would be?

      At the same time, a massive bunker, "Sderot Underground" must be constructed. It will be reinforced in all directions against all warfare. Of course, it will be a pleasant place to live with gardens, playgrounds, and the ceiling must be painted an attractive and calming, sky blue, with just wisps of clouds, so it won't be boring to look at. Actually, with today's technology, it should be possible to vary the colors and even reproduce the effects of sunrises and sunsets.

      "Sderot Underground" should be so strong, secure and reliable, that the new "Sderot" will be the most desirable place to live in all of Eretz Yisrael, especially when Iran (G-d forbid) gets the bomb.

      I have no doubt that Olmert and his fellow travellers will love this plan. Think of all the money they can make off of it!

      Kislev 27, 5768, 12/7/2007

      Yes! We Can Change The World!

      When I heard that the new Laura Bialis documentary, Refusenik, was to chronicle the 40-year struggle to free the Jews of Soviet Russia, all I could think of was that I had been one of the young Jewish protesters in New York over 40 years ago.  We were the Jewish activists who chose Jewish issues, rather than American "black civil rights."  We didn't think we were making history then, even when Glenn Richter told me that the minutes I was taking at a SSSJ meeting would be in some university archives.

      In the mid 1960's, we believed that we could change the world.  Actually I still do.   

      Sometimes younger people have asked me why I keep "banging my head against the wall,"  I look at them in disbelief.  "Do you actually think you can change the world?" they ask.  "Yes, of course," I answer.  I honestly wonder how people can go on living without the faith, the belief that they can change the world.  It's a mystery to me.

      The people who were with us last night were all part of the struggle. Whether fired from their jobs, jailed or held hostage by the KGB in the Soviet Union, or out in the streets demonstrating in New York, London, LA or beyond, we took on the USSR.  It was an international super power.  At that time, it was considered as strong as the United States.  Natan Sharansky told us how the KGB agents harassing him had taunted him by asking if he really believed that some "students and housewives" would defeat them and free him.

      And there we were last night, decades later.  I sat between two friends.  They were the housewives those KGB agents had mocked, and I had been just a high school student when I began publicizing the plight of Soviet Jews.

      While we waited to enter the auditorium, two languages were mostly heard, Russian and English, as old friends rushed to greet each other.  After the movie, we heard and spoke more Hebrew.  That was the language that most of us had in common.  And talking about changing the world...  Think of it.  One man, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, single-handedly made that possible.  He changed the world; his efforts made Hebrew the language of modern Israel.  Yes, anything's possible if you are willing to work hard enough and take risks when necessary.

      Chag Orim Sameach

      Have a Happy and Enlightened Holiday!

      Kislev 25, 5768, 12/5/2007


      Wow! Did I start to panic this morning.

      While showering, I suddenly noticed that my grandmother's earring wasn't in my ear.

      I have three holes for earrings. Two in one ear, and one in the other. My daughters had the third one done as a birthday present for me almost ten years ago. I love the lack of symmetry, and it's great for single partnerless earrings. For the past few months, I've had that maternal grandmother's earring in the extra hole, and I just add a matching pair in the other two holes, or sometimes two different ones depending on my mood.

      In the shower, when I discovered that the earring wasn't hanging from my ear, I was in no condition to run and look for it. I checked what I could in the bathroom and then calmed myself down. It's not a limb, an eye or anything dangerous to my health. It's not like I discovered someone close to me was dead or dying. Either I'd find it, or I wouldn't.

      I originally had my ears pierced when I was almost sixteen, after close to ten years of begging my mother for permission. A couple of weeks later, we were visiting my Aunt Sadie, and she presented me with two pairs of earrings, which had belonged to my grandmother. Why to me? To this day, I don't know. I'm not the oldest granddaughter, and two were born after my grandmother's death when I was almost three.  They are named after her. But for some reason my aunt, who had never married nor had any children of her own, decided that I should get the earrings. I wasn't yet religious, but I was very involved in Jewish youth activities, being at that time a regional officer in NCSY, but I don't know how aware the family was of my status. I quickly put them on. I've worn them a lot over the decades, like in this picture.

      Being pretty sure I hadn't taken the earrings off the night before, I remembered that I had once found an earring, from my other grandmother, in bed. It had somehow opened up and fallen off when I was sleeping.

      Just yesterday after work, when I was finally in Shiloh, almost home, I was talking to a friend who had gotten the same ride, but she needed to go one direction and me the opposite.  Then a neighbor who lives right near by stopped his car to ask if I wanted to get in a go home. I did and told him that I was glad that they have a new car, big enough for the whole family to sit safely. Those of us who have lived in Shiloh a long time are still, and will always be, traumatized by the terrible car accident of the Deutsch Family. The father, HaRav Shlomo, and half of their children were killed in a terrible accident. The entire family of eight had been squeezed into a tiny car.

      So how could I obsess over an earring, even my grandmother's earring? I'm sure that she would have been the first to tell me that health is most important.

      I didn't rush into my room to check to see if it was in my jewelry box or on the sheet someplace. But yes, that's where it was. Easy to spot, right there on the sheet. I guess my grandmother wanted to remind me of what's really iwhat to value.

      Chag Orim Sameach
      Have a Wonderful, Light-Filled, and Very Healthy Chanukah

      Kislev 21, 5768, 12/1/2007

      Loves me, Loves me not, Loves me, Loves me... why not?

      I think everyone sort of shed a tear for dear Tsippi, kvetching to the world that none of the Arabs would even politely shake her hand at Annapolis. 

      Tsippi just wants love, and she believes in taking chances.

      Loves me, loves me not, loves me, loves me not. 

      What does Israel have to do to win the world's love?

      Get more petals to give away?

      Sorry Tsippi.  I don't think all the petals in the world will help.