Showing posts from December, 2009

Maybe America Needs to "Israelify" it's Airports?

(Hat tip to Rafi, Pesky Settler, and Jacob Richman on Twitter)Our (and Europe's) ridiculous airport security measures and our incompetent intel gathering is still tinged with political correctness and knee-jerk reactions after every terrorist attempt. This is why Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was allowed to board Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit in Amsterdam and attempt to blow it up and murder 300 people. In this regard we in the U.S. have much to learn from Israel. Israel airport security is simple and sensible. They do not greatly inconvenience passengers--unlike removing shoes, not allowing more than 3 oz. of liquids, or threatening to physically patting down every person attempting to board -- instead, they ask questionsand watch your response , before you've even parked your car or gotten off your bus.
We in the U.S. shudder at the thought of "racial profiling?" This is what Rafi Sela, president of AR Challenges who has worked globally with airports, thinks of …

HH and KCC - Forgot to Link Them (better late than never...)

I was reminded by Soccer Dad (although he doesn't know it) that I forgot to link to the last two Jewish Blog Carnivals, Haveil Havalim, so here they are, HH #248 at Frume Sarah's, and #249 at I'll Call Baila.
And here is the link to the KCC #49 (that's Kosher Cooking Carnival for you clueless ones) hosted this month at Oh--almost forgot JPIX at Leora's.

Read, eat, look & enjoy!

Blacks Women to the Back of the Bus!

I have written previously about Haredi segregated buses, and the abuse that is sometimes perpetrated against women who inadvertently sit in the front of the bus, instead of the rear where they belong, according to the Haredi view of the halacha (Jewish law) of modesty.  Some Haredi men will go so far as to verbally and emotionally abuse a woman who has sat in the front of the bus, if she refuses to move to the back.Apparently some women are fighting back.  They have petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to ban gender-segregation on public buses.  Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz is supposed to issue the government's verdict.  Let's hope he uses his שכל , and shows by his decision that Israel values mitzvot bein adam le-havero more than the humra-of-the-week.

U.S. Tourists Forewarned: In Israel, Beware the Terrorist Israeli Driver

Many snows ago when we lived in Israel, I drove our trusty Citroën “station.”  Not only did I drive, but Israel is where I learned to drive a stick shift. I will never forget stalling at a 5-point intersection (I think it was in the Emek Refaim neighborhood of Jerusalem), with El Busso-Biggo breathing down my neck to the right, and irate drivers in front, behind and on the side, screaming obsenities and honking at me—and I was so nervous, I couldn’t start the d---mn car!When I visited Israel in 2005 after twenty-four years being away, I was appalled at the driving; if anything, it had gotten worse, because of the increased congestion.  I actually got behind the wheel once and tried driving in Petach Tikva onto the highway, but with poor signage and aggressive, honking and tail-gating drivers, I couldn't continue.  I actually pulled over on the shoulder of the highway (I was lucky there was a shoulder) and told my son to take over (ok, I'm a wimp).  Since then I have never driv…

An Argument for Jewish Observance

I received a comment from "Anonymous" on my previous post, which was about the archeological find  of a 2000+ year old cave from the time of the Hasmoneans.  The commenter asked why that could be a reason to become a religious  Jew.  Good question.  To the average non-Jewish person, perhaps, the find might be interesting in a general way; to an archaeologist or historian, it would be interesting as a historical find which would validate and increase our knowledge of the past.For a Jew, however, such a find as this means so much more.Look at it this way: we live today in the “Information Age,” right?  We are bombarded with information and have been for years, through the media--through radio, television and newspapers, and in our high-technology era on the Internet through virtual news sites, blogs and now social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  How can we assimilate all this? How do we know what is truth and what is fiction? And, for that matter, how can we kn…

Archeological Find Proves Ancient Jewish Ties to The Land of Israel

I should have written about this on Chanukah, but time did not permit (hat tip to my older son, Mister A., for sending me this story) so I am posting it now.

Those who say that Jews are usurpers in the land of Israel, need to see this video and read the story (the original is in Hebrew; translation below). In brief, a secular Israeli Jew was building his house in Jerusalem, when he accidentally, while digging out his basement came upon a cave five meters underground. It contained writings in ancient Hebrew, and what seems to be the burial place of the last Hasmonean king, Mattityahu ben Yehudah (Mattathias: not to be confused with Matityahu ben Yochanan, the father of Yehuda Maccabee). As a result of his findings, this secular Israeli Jew did teshuva ("returned") and became religious.
Hanukkah miracle: a secret burial cave was discovered in a garden house in Givat Hamivtar, Jerusalem. One hypothesis is that the burial cave belongs to none other than the last Hasmonean kin…

A Comedic "Cut-Up" Worth Seeing

A very funny comedian currently featuring a one-hour show in New York has recently come on the scene. Born Chris Campbell, now Yisrael Campbell and living in Israel, the former lapsed Catholic and teenage alcoholic druggie who converted three times to Judaism (Hassidic in his final incarnation), is getting big laughs for his one-man show "Circumcize Me" now at the Bleeker Street Theatre.

The video is long (no pun intended), about 46 minutes, but worth it. This guy is FUNNY (it's all in the delivery), so sit down with a nice, hot cup of chicken soup, and vatch:

Warning: Extremely UNkosher Food for Thought

Okay, I know I joked about my kiddees eating our home-made spinach latkes which I just froze, when they visit us just before the holiday of Passover starts because, of course, they--the latkes, not the kids--are not kosher for Passover?

I don't have nothin' on this, however:*

They can't spell, either.

Makes those old latkes look good, wouldn't you say? And, guess who sent me this? Correct: my Chief Chef, of course (see his blog at

*(Warning: viewer discretion advised, for un-tzniyusdik and absolutely gross content. Must be over 18 to view this, accompanied by a. . .EMT guy with blinders on. Blog Administrator not responsible for any physical or spiritual consequences to video-viewer.)

Alka-Seltzer, anyone?

Some Chanukah Photos to Share

The last day of Chanukah was this past Shabbat. I have a lot of trouble transitioning from a chag* to a regular week; I never want to let go of the holiday: it is my connection with ha-olam ha-ruchani*, and I keep wanting to hang on. . .so it was just today that I uploaded my Chanukah pictures and am posting some of them here (and will share them on Me-ander, too).

This year, unlike last year, I took plenty of pics, as we had a full chag (Baruch Hashem), including a friend's annual open-house, a Chabad family dinner and a party of our own on the 6th night, complete with home-made latkes, or levivot* in Hebrew (a joint venture) and home-made sufganiyot* (the Head Chef did it all by himself). It all culminated with a shared family-and-friends-Shabbat-dinner on the last night of Chanukah, at our home. Here are some of the highlights:

The two photos above are of our card table which annually morphs into a chanukiya table.

Our dining room table transformed into a Chanukah Party Table, …

"They Tried to Kill Us. . .* "

The holiday of Chanukah is going splendidly so far (Baruch Hashem). We have had Chanukah party after party, get-together after get-together, and eaten home-made and store bought levivot ('latkes' for you Eastern European-type Yiddish folks) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts or "Bismarks" for you, uh, other folks. . .)
In addition, which actually was the highlight of the week, the sixth night of Chanukah--in Israel--it was the fifth day for us--we had the great treat of being with our children& grandchildren, albeit virtually, for their Chanukiyah lighting ceremony and songs. How, you ask? (thought you'd never).

Very simple: my younger son Nathaniel Blumenstein invited his brother, Mister Arnold Mayergi & his lovely wife Hardally & their baby sister Rambo to Jerusalem for that night's candle-lighting in their apartment (or flat, for you Europeans).

N.Blumenstein ( he can cook, a little like his Abba) had fried yummy levivot for the occasion, and all …

The Essential Oils of Chanukah

(As seen on Not Quite Perfect)
Did you know that Chanukah is good for your health? Just pop a pill to get your essential Chanukah OIL; or better yet, just light the menorah. . .

Jerusalem Chanukah

This is where I really want to be, this Chanukah and every Chanukah hence. Meanwhile, let's Distribute the light.Chag Urim Sameach!

A Knockout of a Speech by Andrew Roberts

I first saw this at Daled Amos, who re-posted it from The Spectator's Melanie Phillips, who herself had reproduced the speech in its entirety without comment.

This speech was delivered by historian Andrew Roberts at the annual dinner of the Anglo-Israel Association. It is a no-holds-barred retelling of the history of Britain's behavior and attitude towards Israel, from the time of the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

Read the entire speech. The bottom line is, the only way Israel will get through the crises with all her enemies is with her own conviction, determination and strength, and the help of G-d.

Other than that, Israel can count on no one.

(In Melanie Phillips' words): Yesterday evening, the historian Andrew Roberts delivered a remarkable address at the annual dinner of the Anglo-Israel Association. I reproduce it here in full, with no further comment. My Lords, Ladies & Gentlemen,It’s a great honour to be invited to address you, especially on this the 60th annive…

The Importance of a Name (or, What's in a Name, Part II')

I wrote last year about my new baby grandson and the name that my son and daughter-in-law chose for him after great deliberation and research.This new baby grandchild in Yerushalayim waited until very close to Shabbat before her parents had made a final decision on her name, which heretofore on this blog will be Tiddly (her Aunt Toodles was flying high: she was sure that her brother named her new little niece after her.)I was pondering the significance of Tiddly’s name, not recognizing it as a name from the TaNaCH.It sounded like “the dew of G-d” to me (והמבין יבין ), and I was trying to get my head around it, when I found this very interesting spiritual explanation of the name, and liked it so much, decided to post about it.
First of all, let me say that we believe that a person's name is very important; it is already decided "in Heaven" what a child's name will be, even before conception, and the parents are given Divine insight in choosing the correct name, althoug…

Happy Birthday Month

What to write about? It’s not as if there is nothing; au contraire, we live in interesting times, as they say, for better and for worse (and often it seems as if it’s mainly for worse).So instead of writing about the economy (what there is of it) and resultant increase in Aliyah to Israel, or the global increase in anti-Semitism and almost universal blame on Israel for…everything, or the potential suicide bomber thwarted by a vigilant (thank G-d) IDF army and security guards in Qalandiyah (my son perhaps one of them, as that is his territory), or Bibi’s capitulation to Washington by implementing the building freeze in Judea and Samaria (the so-called“settlements” in the “West Bank”)—instead, I’ll write about…my birthday!Yes, I just had a birthday (good Lord, not another one), two, in fact: my Hebrew date is Yud-Dalet, the 14th of the month of Kislev (for those clueless, it is Kislev right now: the Chanukah month), and my secular birthday is December 7th, a day that will always, ahem, …

The Latest Haveil Havalim ("The Balagan!") is Up, and Running...

Haveil Havalim, the Jewish Blog Carnival is up and running at Batya's blog: me-ander: Havel Havelim, The Balagan!
Go, read: this one is mysterious. . . !