Big Bang Theory Hanukkah

What could be better than to see actors as real people, proudly celebrating the Jewish holiday.  No props, no fanfare.  Just hanging around the lights of the menorah in their dressing room.

Pictured from left to right – Kevin Sussman, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch, and producer Bill Prady.

TBBT Hanukah

All Four Adam Sandler Hanukkah Songs

All Four Adam Sandler Chanukah Songs.

In 1994, Adam Sandler changed the way we think about Hanukkah songs.  When we were kids,  the popular chant was “I had a little dreidel” and the like.  Ask kids today, and most will rattle off the lyrics of one, if not all, of the Sandler tomes.  David Lee Roth could never have imagined he’d be best remembered as someone who lights the Menorah.
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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.

Osher Ad in Bet Shemesh – The New Haredi Battlefront

Posters have been slapped up all over town with a rabbinic ruling, signed by five haredi rabbis, forbidding their communities from shopping at the new Osher Ad supermarket.  A little background is in order…  This new supermarket, Osher Ad, opened three weeks ago to much fanfare in Bet Shemesh.  There is a price and turf war raging throughout Israel with supermarket chains gobbling up real estate and new mall space to place their stores in strategic locations.  Osher Ad is one of the newer discount chains that has had great success in Ashdod and recently in Maaleh Adumim.  They are expanding greatly with their aggressive discount pricing in each new location.  The established chains, most notably ShuferSal, has lowered their prices in Bet Shemesh to match and compete with Osher Ad’s rollout.  This price war has even made it to the Knesset and trade ministry as the regulator is checking to ensure that there are no monopolistic practices here.  Smaller chains, are having a hard time matching these deep discount prices.  Likewise, larger discount chains, such as Rami Levy, who is planning to open stores in Bet Shemesh this year, are crying foul.   One thing for sure is that the consumer is benefiting greatly during this price war.

Back to the haredim…  The event that weighed heavily on this rabbinic ruling.

Three weeks ago, when the Osher Ad store was opened (in the Migdal Hamayim neighborhood, a mixed neighborhood mostly inhabited by Russians and Sephardim, a sign was placed at the entrance requesting all women to dress modestly (as is common practiced in the haredi sections of Bet Shemesh).  When non-religious neighbors said that the sign offended them, it was removed.  Enter the haredi rabbis and their boycott edict.  (Note: Osher Ad is owned by two Gur Hasidim, ultra orthodox hasidim,  The rabbis signing this edict represent the Lithuanian ultra-orthodox camp).

Haredi boycott of Bet Shemesh Supermarket

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!

Do’s and Dont’s at a Shiva House

Shiva House Guide – Making a Condolence Call to a Mourner’s House

Unfortunately, my father passed away this month.  For the first time, I was a mourner.

Little did I know there’s a whole sub-culture to the mourning process.  Here’s some advice from a recent mourner on what to do and what not to do at a Shiva house.

1. Don’t ask how old the deceased was or how did he die.  Get that info from someone else if you must know.
2. Don’t say “well at least he lived a long life”.
3. Do offer to tell nice stories about the deceased.
4. Do offer to help serve, take out garbage, etc…

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A Tale of Two Seas

Rabbi Azouelos, Head of the Maskiot Pre-Army Mechina, said these very inspiring words at last night’s closing ceremony for this year’s students.

(Translated and paraphrased from Hebrew)

Israel has two seas. The Kineret and the Dead Sea.

The Kineret is a sea that only gives. It gives water, and fish, and provides for its tributaries. It gives, but it does not take. It is a sea of life.

The Dead Sea only takes. It takes but it does not give. It’s name in every language (other than Hebrew) is the Dead Sea.

In life, when we give, there is purpose. When all we do is take, there is no purpose.

— end of Rabbi Azoules’ words.

The gemara (Jewish Talmud) says, “He who hates gifts will live.”

Rabbi Desler z”l, says in Michtav Meliyahu (???? ??????) that the one who gives emulates the Creator, and the one who only takes is on the path of evil.

We need to emulate the actions of givers, not takers. Give to your family. Give to your community. Give to your country, our State of Israel, give to humanity.

7.2 Average Births for Haredi Population in Israel

Some good news for a change.

This weekend’s Haaretz reports (in Hebrew) that the Haredi population in Israel, the fastest growing segment, now has an average of 7.2 births per family. Obviously, since this is an ‘average’, there are B”H many families who are having as much as 13 or 14 children each.

Ken Yirbu!

Mr Pink Floyd, We Don’t Need No Education!

Tear Down the wall says Roger Waters, former band member of Pink Floyd.  Mr Waters visited Israel in 2006 and played a single concert to a sold out makeshift open air stadium of 50,000 (paying) Israeli Jews.  He also found time on his whirlwind visit to hop over the fence (or over the big bad wall, as he would put it) and spray paint some graffiti on the Palestinian side.

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd at the Israel Security Fence
Roger Waters of Pink Floyd at the Israel Security Fence

Three years later, at 65, Roger Waters is ambivalent about his having visited Israel (and taking in millions of dollars spent by adoring Israeli fans).  Mr Waters thinks that the wall is actually a colonialist action by Israel.  Never mind that this wall was put up to help prevent terror attacks and bus bombings of innocent civilians.  Never mind that the wall has essentially stopped terrorism from the areas in where it was erected.  Never mind that the US has a longer and bigger wall with it’s Mexican border in several high-trafficked areas (and Mexico is not at war with the USA!).

What would I say to him if I had the chance to sit him down and explain the whole thing.  Would I tell him how the wall has given Jewish families in Neve Yaakov and Gush Etziyon, to name a few, the chance to leave for work in the morning without wondering if their kids would be burying them that night?  How much Jewish blood can be spilled for Mr. Waters to acquiesce to Israel attempting to prevent further savage acts.  How many children living in the southern Jerusalem neighbourhood of Gilo should be forsaken?

These questions may remain unsolved to many, but to me it’s pretty clear.  As Israel’s government spokesman, Mark Regev put it ever so bluntly, “We don’t need no education about suicide bombers coming into Israel and murdering innocent people, and how the security barrier has prevented that by more than 95 percent”.

Hungarian Anti-Semitism

According to the Jewish Agency, Hungary today has a population of approximately 50,000 Jews. In 1910, one hundred years ago, there were nearly one million Jews living there. The Nazis killed many, some emigrated to America, some to Israel, and others assimilated during the Soviet regime.

Hungary has a total population of just over 9 million. So with Jews totalling 1/2 percent of the population, you wouldn’t figure for them to a major force in that country.  Therefore, I found it odd to see today’s headline in Haaretz:  “Proud Hungarians must prepare for war against the Jews.”

This is not a headline from some blogger world or an offbeat political commentator. This is a headline taken from Hungary’s leading Police union newspaper. Here’s another example:

After the recent resignation of prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, one of the candidates for the post was Gyorgy Suranyi, formerly the governor of the Hungarian Central Bank, a brilliant economist, and a Jew.

The center-right party Democratic Hungarian Forum published on the front page of its newsletter a picture of Suranyi’s face inside a yellow star of David (reminiscent of the yellow patch from the days of Fascism) with the following caption: “Suranyi is actually the candidate backed by the elderly [Israeli President] Shimon Peres.”

The frightening and chilling tones of pre-WWII Eastern Europe are rearing their ugly heads yet again.  This time, there are practically little Jews left there, and yet they still pipe the same headlines – “Given our current situation, anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover, and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews.”

Jews of the diaspora today should pop open the history books and read what are the warning signs of anti-semitism so they can draw their own conclusions on appropriate action plans to keep their families safe from the ordeals our recent and past ancestors endured.  One book that I can specifically recommend is The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945 by Lucy S. Dawidowicz.

UN Sends Jewish Goldstone to Investigate Israel Warcrimes

“A United Nations team headed by a veteran war crimes prosecutor has begun its probe into possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas militants during Operation Cast Lead. ”

Israel has not accepted this probe and questions the validity of a UN-led team, with its known anti-Israel bias.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said “This committee has been instructed to find Israel guilty no matter what and there is no point in cooperating with such a masquerade.”

Goldstone in Gaza to Probe Possible Israel Warcrimes - Source: Haaretz
Goldstone in Gaza to Probe Possible Israel Warcrimes - Source: Haaretz

The commission is headed by a Jew, Richard Goldstone, a South African judge. The irony is not lost on this author that even in this day and age a Jew and non-Israeli would be willing to lead a commission that investigates Israel in a world forum.

Israel said last week that it will not cooperate with the UN team.

Adam Lambert is Jewish – Singing in Hebrew

Does anyone really think that Adam Lambert wouldn’t have won American Idol had it been voted on by talent judges,  rather than as a popularity contest?

Well, here’s another reason to like Adam.  Aside from his incredible talent, he’s also a member of the Tribe (MOT – the Tribe of Jews that is…).

Here’s Adam singing a heart-warming rendition of Shir Lashalom (Song for Peace) in Hebrew. ??? ?????

Adam Lambert Singing Shir Lashalom

Here’s a beautiful duet with Nora Dori singing “The Prayer” – what a voice!

I am sure he will go on to tremendous success with his great talent.