Hanukkah In The Internet Age

Remember when we were in high school? If we wanted to know something, anything, about a subject, we needed to go to the library and research it.
Often the answer couldn’t be found. I remember thinking to myself as a kid, “How tall is Dave Kingman?” (former baseball player) and of course, for athletes, that type of information was easier to obtain. As a matter of fact, trading sports cards was a great way to store information about your favorite athletes. Nowadays, finding any bit of information (and sometimes, much more than you ever wanted to know) can be accomplished in seconds – even without typing a keystroke, thanks to talking search results on most smartphones.
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Howard Stern on Israel and Palestinian Conflict

A caller gets under Howard Stern’s skin and he lets off a unprecedented tirade for the next five minutes.

The caller wanted to talk with Howard’s previous guest, John Oliver from Comedy Central about Israel, and the Palestinians. He said Howard would “Change his tune” about supporting Israel. Stern says a few expletives, and then the caller says “Zionists run Israel”, and that’s when Howard Stern loses it.

Yes, his vocabulary includes many profane words, but he totally gets it.

Warning: Very strong language in this clip.

It’s good to see that there are still a few in the very liberal media industry who are willing to speak against the tide.

Bet Shemesh Train Minyan to Tel Aviv

Orthodox Jews will do just about anything to pray on time and with a quorum of at least ten other Jews (minyan).

The now ‘famous’ train minyan runs weekday mornings from Bet Shemesh to Tel Aviv. They even have their own Torah and Ark (Aron Kodesh). How many of the faces do you recognize? Great photos.

The purpose of this minyan is to enable Ramat Bet Shemesh and Bet Shemesh residents who work in Tel Aviv to have Shacharit with a minyan and get to work on time in Tel Aviv. The train ride is about 45 minutes, so they have to get started immediately on days that the Torah is read!

3 Men to Take Out the Torah – Peticha in America

An old joke waiting to be told:
How many Jews does it take to open the Ark and take out the Torah? Normally, the answer is one. Ok, I’ve seen in some synagouges two. How about three?

Background:
The synagouge service on days were the Torah includes an honor called “peticha” which litterally means “opening”. The honor is bestowed on a member or guest to go an open the Ark where the Torah scrolls are kept. He then takes out one of the Torahs and hands it to the Chazan (cantor) who brings the Torah to the bimah where it is unwound and read.

Three beats one:
I was visiting a synagogue in Chicago. This is a typical modern-orthodox American model. Here, the ceremony is as important as the actual prayers. Spotted as a guest, I was asked by the gabbai to go and take out the Torah and hand it to the chazan.

I walked up to the Ark and I saw two other men standing there as well. I turned back to the gabbai and asked what gives. He said each of the men would open one of the doors of the Ark and I would then take out the Torah.

Punchline:
I said, “if you need three guys to open the Ark, how many men does it take to do Hagbah (lifting the Torah after the reading)?”

In case it wasn’t already clear, in Israel we are used to brass-tacks prayers. No time for ceremony. Just like the Israeli people. We are an open and warm people, and we don’t stand on ceremony.

Share your experiences
What have you noticed different in your experiences in the Diaspora than what you are used to in Israel? Likewise, if you are from the Diaspora, what do you notice different when you visit the Holy Land?

Top Five Israeli Movies of All Time

Top Israeli Films of All Time:

1. Sallah Shabbati (1964) – Directed by Ephraim Kishon, starring Topol. Notice the hillarious Mike Burstein in a cameo role. Arik Einstein is there too. This is the quintessential story of the young Israel set in the late 1950’s as Sephardic (Oriental) and Yemenite Jews were immigrating in waves due to changes in policy in the Arab countries. This man’s story, Sallah, is told to represent the light-hearted look at a heavy subject of the trials and tribulations of integration (or lack thereof) to an intrinsically Ashkenazic (European) society. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Not to be missed.


References: IMDB Movie Synopsis Wikipedia Listing

2. Givat Halfon (???? ????? – (1976 Directed by Assi Dayan, Starring Shayka Levi, Gavri Banai, and Yisrael Polikov (The stars of Hagashash Hahiver comedy troupe). This is probably the funniest movie ever made in Israel. Even 30 years later, lines from this film are used in everyday slang. “?? ?? ???? ???”. The plot and premise don’t really matter, other than to give devices for the Hagashash to have fun at the expense of everything. The scene where Shayka teaches the Egyptian Officer how to make good Turkish Coffee is truly inspired Israeli comedy at its finest. Watch also for the young Tuvya Tzapir as the zany Miluim Officer.

References: Wikipedia Listing Video Clip #1 Video Clip #2

3. Chagiga B’Snooker (????? ?????? (1975 – Starring Yehuda Barkan and Tuvya Tzapir. This film exposes the Israeli underside, the mob, as a bunch of nutsos in a madcap film. Yehuda Barkan gives his most hilarious and memorable performance as Snooker huksters try to outsmart the mob and all the craziness that ensues. Although admittedly cheesy humor, it is screened faithfully every year on Israeli TV usually around Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day).

References: Video Clip Wikipedia Listing

4. Ricochets (1986) (Shtei Etzbaot MiTzidon) ??? ?????? ??????
This anti-war story is told thru the eyes of a young recruit joining his unit in the Lebanon War (??”?). The movie was also well-received by international critics. The plot and action is simple, but the message is clear – war is bad.

References: Video Clip Wikipedia Listing

5. Hashoter Azulai “The Policeman” (1971) – Directed by Ephraim Kishon – Starring Shaike Ophir as Officer Avraham Azoulay. Ophir is policeman in Yafo. He is bumbling and naive, but with more pride and inner-knowing than others in this genre (such as Inspector Clouseau). The music and themes in this film are tragic and uplifting all at once. The final scene of this film, has become one of the most memorable in Israeli cinema. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and won the Golden Globe in the same category.
References: Wikipedia Listing IMDB Listing Video Clip

Also See: Top 5 Modern Israeli Must-See Movies