Friday, June 29, 2007

A Shande

by: Schvach Yid

Israel’s Proclamation of Independence, whose authorship is attributed to David Ben Gurion, explicitly states that the new State of Israel is to be a Jewish State, to serve as the historic homeland and refuge for Jews all over the world without regard to race, creed, or gender. It adamantly negates the rule of Britain and that country’s mandate over British Palestine. The Proclamation also holds out a plea to the then newly formed UN and to the Arab inhabitants of the former Yishuv and to those of the neighboring Arab states.

Israel was created as the Jewish homeland. The current policies of Israel with regard to providing refuge and accommodation to the Moslem victims of violence in the Darfur region of Sudan on the one hand, and Israel’s very limited policy of repatriating the Jews of Ethiopia on the other hand, is nothing less than an absolute shande – a disgrace to Israel’s raison d’être.

This policy of rejection of Jews in desperate need, together with the forced expulsion of Jewish religious olim from Yesha, coupled with Israel’s quick and ready obeisance to the voices of foreign powers, causes a great deal more than just pause.

What the hell is going on in the minds of Israel’s leadership? Do they really believe they can curry favor with the ‘Quartet’? Fantasy makes a poor foundation for life. The founding of the Jewish State of Israel was supposed to end the need for Jews to indulge in such avoidance maneuvers.

Without doubt the rescue of abused victims of violence is a noble task, but how does one explain the disparity between Israel’s policy toward the Moslems of Darfur and the Jews of Ethiopia? Perhaps as another effort at appeasement? I hope Israel hasn’t made the error of a self-imposed quota on melanin imports, and if it has, why this seeming reversal of priority?

Tony Blair is on his way jadies and jents. The British are not Jew lovers, not by any measure. Just what do the leaders of Israel expect of Blair and of the ‘Quartet’ in the weeks and months ahead? In his pursuit of a post-career career, Tony Blair has stated he’s committed to the establishment of a Palestinian Homeland. The dunce! Doesn’t that dope-a-matic know his country invented the Arab Palestinian Homeland from its Mandate of Palestine in the 1920’s as the Kingdom of Transjordan, since recreated as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It’s already there Tono! Forget the old chum routine, and your nation’s lingering resentment of the Jewish war against British rule in the Yishuv. Your empire sank beneath the horizon decades ago, and there’s nothing of it to be salvaged. There’s no justification for obligating Jews to pay the price for this piece of British nationalistic narcissistic self-indulgence.

Tony, want to do some post-career good? There’s no need to emulate the talents and savvy of James Earl Carter in this effort. Why don’t you help the good Moslem victims of Darfur? I’m sure that in generations to come their descendants will make good British citizens, devoted and committed to Britannia and to the British crown. How many luxury cruise liners are needed to transport these victims of violence to England? Common Tony, where’s your heart?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bull’s Eye Propaganda – and How True
It Is

by: Schvach Yid

Arlene Peck of the ‘Wow, It’s Arlene Peck’ show just sent me this link to a first rate, tell-it-as-it-really-is account of the war Israel has received from its Arab neighbors. Its form is class A propaganda, but the content is absolutely nail-on-the-head accurate. To view the video follow this link:

http://www.terrorismawareness. org/what- really-happened/

To access Arlene Peck’s website, follow this link:

Arlene is a brass knuckled advocate for Israel and against Arab terrorism. Her articles on
this subject are anything but propaganda, and appear on the Arutz Sheva website at:

Here are the links to a few of Arlene's more recent articles on the subject of the World vs Israel;
they are well worth reading.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nu, Raytz Ladino?
by: Schvach Yid

What has become of the Ladino speakers of the world? I know what happened to the Yiddish speakers . In America they became American, some embarrassed by their heritage (eg. two former bosses of mine), others simply not interested, and over the course of perhaps 1 generation just lost it (I’m ignoring the Chassidic communities which by and large are too insular to make their mama loshen known to the larger community). And in Europe – well, there’s no need to go over that now.

And what of Ladino speakers? Well, I’m almost acquainted with one native Ladino speaker, a sabra, who went ‘chutz’ decades ago, and I’ve met a Ladino speaking family (that’s right, and entire family of Ladino speakers) in shul. Also, I had a classmate in high school whose parents were emigrants from Turkey; his grandparents conversed in Ladino and conducted the family Pesach seder in Ladino, in addition to Hebrew.

Where have they all gone? We all know – the same story as the Yiddishists. Salonika, formerly Thessaloniki, was a Ladino town, but that was before the Second World War.

Thanks to Batya Medad’s article on Arutz Sheva entitled When Will They Ever Learn? , at, I’m ruminating about the Sefardim, more specifically, the so-called crypto-Jews of the Spanish speaking world. It’s past the half millennium mark since the Catholic Church of Spain inaugurated its Inquisition, which began about 1480, and crypto-Jews have been cryptic about their Judaism ever since. They’re still in hiding. What’s Spanish for oy veh! (no, it’s not ole!; according to one account I’ve heard, the Spanish ole takes its etymology from Arabic’s Allah).

Shavei Israel, headed by Michael Freund, dedicates itself to the repatriation of ‘lost souls’ to Judaism, worldwide, including the descendents of Conversos/Marranos. On Spain’s island of Majorca, the resident Jews were accorded a unique moniker – cuetas – I can only imagine.

Jews in the Spanish speaking domains are still in hiding. Perhaps the majority, according to a former article published by Moment Magazine about the Jews of Mexico, aren’t informed about their Jewish roots, blithely following Jewish religious practices handed down within their families for generations.
Thirty years ago I attended a New Years Eve party given by a married couple with whom I worked at the time – Latino. She was from
Puerto Rico, he from Cuba (not Jewish). Most of their friends in attendance - ‘regulars’ who stuck together like glue – likewise were Latino and from the Caribbean. Yes, I had a great time, but at some point I injudiciously and naively said something about Israel. I never made that mistake again; of course, I couldn’t have, I had no subsequent invitations, except one – to the Christening of one this partying group’s babies. No kidding! There wasn’t an Arab or Moslem in the crowd, but just don’t mention Israel. I wish I had been forewarned, perhaps by 500 years.

My brother and his family live in central New Jersey (township, shmownship - what am I, a geographer?). Their three kids, my three nephews, all attend the local public schools, and each is required to take Spanish year after year until the start of high school, to the exclusion of all other ‘foreign’ languages. That’s right, they’re given no choice (America, the land of the free, with freedom of choice and diversity). What if Spanish religion takes hold? What then, more cryto-Jews, and this time in the USA?

As a Jew the thought of the reestablishment of Spanish cultural supremacy causes me some angst, to say the least. I behold psycho-images of Elizabeth Holtzman shoving her advocating clenched fisted arm into the air, missing its ostensibly undefined mark in the cyclopic politics of her day, pro anything that negated her Judaism. The desperation for success knows no reason.

Cezar Chavez and his organized United Farm Workers of America chose as their flag a design and color scheme that emulated the flag of the Nazi Party of Germany’s Third Reich. And let’s not forget the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel campaigns of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

This isn’t racial folks; there’s no ‘melanin power’ advocated or rejected here. We Jews count among our population lots of ‘dark’ Jews – Sefardim, Mizrachim – and I’m glad for it, as much as I am for the varieties of our culture within the Jewish community (see my earlier blog, Tali Farkash’s Déjà Vu, at The point is about getting Jews who are uninformed about their Jewish identity and heritage, due to a centuries long rabid victimization, back into Judaism.

And what about ‘lost’ Jewish languages? A past edition of Pakn Treger, the quarterly publication of the National Yiddish Book Center (, founded by Aaron Lansky, listed over 20 Jewish languages, now mostly extinct or nearly so, and this shouldn’t be the case.

A Dolt in Sheep’s Clothes

by: Schvach Yid

Their penchant for self destruction and capitulation is evidently unslakable. King Abdullah of Jordan sat there, schmercheling from ear to ear, and with good reason. Like a master of the gaming tables, he had had his way with his opponent, Israel, without as much as a pico-loss – no, make that without as much as an atto-loss – to himself. A true gentleman of leisure who conducts himself as though he has nothing to lose - not his kingdom, not his life - who conducts himself with the impunity of a self appointed immunity.

He, of course, was laughing at Ehud Olmert, and too bad the TV viewer wasn’t treated to the details of Olmert’s words. It was a friendly meeting among pals: Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah of Jordan, and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Too bad there was a fly in the ointment – Israel’s Olmert. It was a friendly meeting mediated by the foes of Israel, on their turf. The scene reminded me of past meetings in which I’ve participated on former jobs. I wonder what Olmert signed. I wonder if Olmert knows. I suspect he isn’t fully informed of the brain-limiting effects of an adrenaline surge. Would anyone want Olmert as a business partner?

This chummy get-together took place in Sharm-el-Sheikh, didn’t it? Israel took possession of Sharm el Sheikh in the ’67 War, didn’t they? Israel then capitulated to Egypt and ‘returned’ the Sinai to Egypt post 1973, which of course included Sharm el Sheikh, right? And Anwar Sadat is reputed to have commented on that occasion ‘poor Israel, we got the Sinai, and all they got was a piece of paper’, or very similar words (Richard Nixon, on his journey back to Washington from his history making trip to China, is reputed to have crowed: ‘They got Taiwan, and all we got were egg rolls’). Do I have that right? And now, in Sharm el Sheikh, Olmert on behalf of Israel has once again capitulated. How’m I doin’ (my apology to His Honor Edward Koch, the former mayor of the City of New York) – okay, or what?

This scene on TV reminded me of historical accounts of the signing of a certain capitulation to a then up and coming tyrannical dictator, which played out in a railroad car that had on an earlier occasion hosted the signing of the treaty of Versailles.

Does anyone suspect that Egypt’s mediation of talks involving Israel may list just a wee bit toward the bogus? Why does ‘peace’ rein between Israel and Egypt? Egypt is on the take, right? The US pays plenty for Egypt’s peace-compliance with lots of cash and lots of military hardware and know-how, and let’s not forget that that old blast from the past, Russia, Egypt’s former mentor and sponsor, is certainly not forgotten, and lies anything but dormant. That old threat and all its problems is back; so Israel, watch yours!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Rebbe

by: Schvach Yid

Today, the 3rd of Tammuz 5767 is the 13th Yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The ‘Rebbe’, as he is fondly remembered, and as he was addressed and referred to during his leadership of the Lubavitcher Chassidim, probably did more to instill a sense of pride in Yiddishkeit than any other effort made to this end. Many programs offered to the Jewish community outside Lubavitch are patterned on the outreach efforts inaugurated by the Rebbe. A local reform synagogue in my immediate community even holds ‘Tefillin Sundays’ for its teenage youngsters, based on the Rebbe’s tefillin campaign.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe stressed kindness between Jews, and between Jews and our non-Jewish neighbors. Even during the disgrace of the Crown Heights riots in August 1991, the Rebbe had no stern words for the rioters and their leader. The Rebbe offered the Jews of the world menschlichleit and Yiddishkeit, and drew the leaders and celebrities of the world to obtain a knowledge of the beauty and significance of Judaism. With the approach of the 1st Gulf War in 1991, the Rebbe announced ‘there is no safer place in the world than Israel’, thus bolstering our faith in HaShem and our lives in the Holy Land.

Yesterday I received a form letter from Machne Israel of Lubavitch World Headquarters - a schnorer brief - which informs its readers of the many contributions Chabad Lubavitch has made to world Jewry, most especially in the realm of Torah observance and group self-esteem.

This letter compares the resources available to the Jewish community prior to the Rebbe’s efforts, and since, including Lubavitch’s creation of Jewish pre-schools and day schools in more than 600 locations around the world, Chabad’s student programs offered on university campuses nationwide, the establishment of Jewish resources in American communities with small Jewish populations, which include shuls, schools, libraries, mikvehs, and hevra kedishas. Included in this list are the ever expanding programs and resources offered to Jews living and traveling abroad, in the most ‘unJewish of places’ – countries which have never seen a populous Jewish community.

These programs have been emulated by other Jewish organizations, but to be sure, the Rebbe started the whole thing and popularized them as well. He put the hareidim, and Jews in general, on the map in a positive new light. We Jews today are much better off thanks to the Rebbe. He looked far beyond his small group of adherents to the world Jewish community at large. No other leader has accomplished what he has on our behalf.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Here They Go Again

by: Schvach Yid

Perhaps it’s unfinished business, this new row of Britain over Israel, the UCU’s (England’s University and Colleges Union) call for a boycott of funding of Israel’s academic institutions. I assume there exists, among the collegians of England’s aged and honored universities, an ‘old school chum’ mentality; you know, honor, devotion, cronyism, freshman beanies old bean – all of that. One might recall England was granted, at the conclusion of the First World War, an exclusive mandate over the administration of Palestine (as it was subsequently named by Britain), newly released from the rule of the fallen Ottoman Empire. Poor Turkey!

Britain had a little something to say about limiting Jewish emigration from Europe to its Mandate of Palestine as the Second World War took shape, with the full encouragement and participation of Arab/Moslem leaders, with disastrous results for us, as intended by the leaders of the Arab/Moslem world. The resulting resolve of Jews to establish, once and for all - literally - a Jewish Homeland in the Homeland of the Jews led to the deserved, but very limited, sacrifices of England in military personnel and international prestige. At the newly formed UN England threw up its arms in frustration as the Yishuv vied for nationhood in the community of nations. England abstained in the vote that established the Jewish State of Israel. All over the globe the sun was setting on the British Empire. Poor England!

The recently acquired and rapidly expanding Moslem population in England might have something to do with the recent and inordinately inappropriate maneuver by some British academics, but British bred spite might very well have as much, or more, significance in the matter of England vs Israel.

What’s Russia up to? More old school perhaps? CBS’ 60 Minutes, maybe a decade ago, ran a piece on the old cronies of Soviet days who ran/run the current (back then) Russian military. A Soviet flag and a portrait of Lenin were shown adorning the command of the Russian military. Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB, is now President of Russia, and seems to have a love for Syria and an appetite for Israel. Maybe they miss the old days. Poor USSR!

Nebich for them my foot! It’s poor Israel. I suggest Israel wake up and smell the real coffee and forget about importing Starbucks. If anyone thinks there’s nothing more worthless than yesterday’s newspaper, guess again. Resurrection, and I don’t mean of the Jewish variety, is wafting through the air.

Who Needs Clarence Darrow?

by: Schvach Yid

Ruth Matar of Women in Green (Women for Israel’s Tomorrow), has just posted an article on Arutz Sheva’s website extolling the virtues of the pro-zionist support and activism of much of the world’s evangelical Christians. She wrote: ‘Evangelicals today are the most fervent supporters of Israel in the Western world. Political support for Israel is one of their highest priorities. They are genuine Zionists whose faith is based on the Bible, believing that God gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish People’. She’s right – Israel needs all the friends it can muster. And how! But don't kid yourself Ruth. Just read John Hagee's 'Jerusalem Countdown' or listen to John Hagee’s sermons on this topic delivered to his flock in San Antonio Texas, or read Hal Lindsey's 'The Late Great Planet Earth', and you'll know exactly what's up the evangelical sleeve.

Alan Dershowitz recently 'debated' an evangelist on Lou Dobb's slot on CNN concerning the matter of prayer in American public schools. Wouldn't you know it, at the end the evangelist said 'we would be glad to sign him up', referring to Dershowitz's presumptive, but not very likely, conversion to Christianity. Knock off the wishful thinking, evangelical belief is a function of Christian religious scripture. Scripture is immutable. They’re not changing their minds!

By the way, Dershowitz missed a golden opportunity to drive home his point against organized prayer in American public schools, when his opponent in this mini-debate made this move at proselitization. The argument made in favor of group prayer in public schools was capped by an attempt at religious conversion. Group prayer is a function of group dynamics which yields membership, exclusion, cronyism, and competition between groups. And to boot, all groups are about their leaders, and that leads to another set of problems (ego, narcissistic abuse, domination, etc.). The whole mess was displayed by that one off-the-cuff remark to Dershowitz and it skated right over his head. Just consider the recent debacle at the US Air Force academy in Colorado. Silent personal prayer by students who attend public school is the answer. For organized group religious activities, attend a religious institution – you know, yeshiva!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The UN in Session

by: Schvach Yid

Okay, okay, okay! Here it is, a little unqualified advice for the membership of the UN.

The next time you vote on everyone vs Israel, keep this comparison in mind. And if that’s too difficult, just show a repeat performance of the video of Golda Meir handing a gift to Anwar Sadat on the occasion of the birth of his grandchild. As the then prime minister of Israel said on that occasion: ‘from one grandparent to another’. Could we Jews ever ask for better representation?

And credit? The yiddishe mama with challah is courtesy of; The father/daughter
pair is courtesy of Mr. Bagel

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Time For Israel To Recalibrate Its
Raison D’etre

by: Schvach Yid

Once again it’s time to raytz about Israel’s domestic political situation, you know, those who know verses those who know better. Face it, everyone’s an expert, just ask me! You know, of course, that blog is actually a transposed acronym for clogged brain, right? (It’s not difficult to imagine the list of suggested etymologies for blog floating on the web).

Israel’s political left wing wants to adapt the ‘light unto the Nations’ bit from Tanach to conform with the prevailing stated aspirations of Western civilization – the great social causes of equality, affirmative action in matters of employment, housing, etc., and civil rights. These great principles championed by America are worthy social and legal goals for the USA, indeed for the world, but divestment of self is not a requirement for its achievement.

In America, the law of the land is the law, just as in Judaism, but the US Constitution is the law of America and not of the world. Torah is the law and life of the Jews – Israel – and there exists no justification for Jews and the State of Israel to supplant Torah with the US Constitution, worthy as it is.

I had, in my past, several Jewish bosses, all recipients of Ph.D.’s, all university professors, and all above it all. All were the grandchildren of Yiddish speaking emigrants from Eastern Europe. These grandchildren – my former bosses – were embarrassed by their families’ shared heritage; they couldn’t do enough to deny it and live down their Jewish identity. Marrying out of the faith was the least of their denial routines. Can you imagine being ashamed of what you are? Can you imagine living one’s entire life as an effort to negate one’s self?

Throw it out; replace it with something of worth, like the US Constitution. And the US Constitution is worthy in the extreme, but not in the Jewish State of Israel as a replacement for Torah, and not as a device that is used to spare self doubters from the facts and needs of their lives, and not as an excuse to subjugate the Jewish Homeland into a state of capitulation to the Jew haters.

The US Constitution is not an instrument of propaganda, to be invoked to bury one’s sense of shame. We Americans – the authors of the US Constitution – outlaw murder, manslaughter, theft, fraud, kidnapping, extortion, treason, and sedition. We don’t support or condone these crimes under the great rubric of Civil Rights. In America, under the US Constitution, Civil Rights is a serious matter, and not a flippant assertion made by people who pretend to know better because they are incapable of accepting themselves for what they are.

Equality Under Law, engraved across the lintel above the façade of the US Supreme Court building in Washington DC, means just that.

The political left in Israel will have it the other way. The Arabs aren’t accountable, according to their reasoning, for their aggression against the Jewish State. The Arabs of Israel – citizens of the Jewish State – can’t possibly commit treason or sedition against the Jewish State of Israel. Israeli Arab treason is oxymoronic. In their way of thinking there exists political categories of Arabs. Ask an Arab, any Arab, anywhere, about his/her opinion on the subject of Israel – should the Jewish State of Israel exist? You don’t have to bother – we all know the answer.

Enthusiasts of political theory like to indulge their intellects by pondering the question ‘does democracy have the right to vote itself out of existence’, to be replaced with non-democratic governance. Okay Jewish liberals, do you have the right to advocate for the abandonment of the Jewish State? What is the justification for condescension against the Palestinian Arabs and your implied assertion of Jewish superiority? There is no equality in that view. Peership is a function of accountability. The Arabs won’t accept accountability. They reject the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel as do many others. Tell a Moslem that in reciprocal fashion he/she is forbidden to enter the Jewish holy city of Jerusalem, just as non-Moslems are forbidden entry to the city of Mecca. Go ahead, try it. Under Moslem rule we Jews were denied entry to Jerusalem.

On what is the liberal Israeli political opinion based? Certainly not on equality (equality under law). The Arabs will have none of that where Jews are concerned. Got Dhimmi?

The entire argument for the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel is Torah – HaShem’s revelatory commandments. The entire argument posited by the ‘liberals’ – the anti-religious – is a negation of Torah – Mordechai Kaplan’s Judaism as Civilization, ‘know-better Judaism’, Humanistic Judaism, the ‘Judaism’ of embarrassed Jews. These are the Jews who have succumbed to the propaganda of the Jew hating world and who want to prove their detractors wrong by showing the Jew haters that we can do it too – Nobel Prizes and more published scientific papers per capita than anyone else - and that we too are a loving and compassionate people, like Christians, and we can prove it – we’ll sacrifice ourselves and our State for the benefit of others. Please don’t hurt us – we want to comply!

It’s time for Israel to take stock and recalibrate its understanding of its establishment – its raison d’etre. It’s Torah, not wannabe ‘me too-ism’. The US Constitution is laudable, but it’s the law of man. Israel is founded on Torah – the law of Gd. If it isn’t, it’s not Jewish. Judaism is Torah. If the political left thinks that’s primitive – or Gd help us, fundamentalist – and beneath them, then why bother to live in a Jewish State? The bigotry is theirs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The View From In Utero
by: Schvach Yid

I know it’s difficult to obtain a true perspective of a situation when one is in the thick of things. Distance is often necessary for accurate discernment.

The opinion of Israel’s dilemma in its relations with the nations circumjacent to it runs the gamut among Jews both in Israel and out. Who has the better access to information and the resulting ranking of opinion and national priority – those in Israel or those outside?

Well, how should I know, I’m an amateur, and an amateur blogger at that! But I’ve always assumed that distance aids in one’s focus. As an example, I’ve never been impressed with the claims of Vietnam War vets that ‘I was there, you weren’t’, and the resulting assertion of his possession of a superior understanding of that war. Salvador Dali claimed to have a memory of his life in his mother’s womb. I’ve never encountered that claim from anyone else.

Uzi Landau’s article in entitled Worry About Sderot First has given me cause for reconsideration. Any Israeli who worries first about the safety of ‘innocent Palestinians’ (perhaps mutually exclusive terms) rather than the safety of his own compatriots is in dire need of a bit of serious introspection. Here in the USA I have no concept of the horror of sending one’s children to school under the circumstances faced by the Jewish residents of Sderot.

Go and learn at,7340,L-3411564,00.html

Babel Brained and Bobble Headed

by: Schvach Yid

Once again, I’m confused. The more I read of the goings-on in the life and politics of Israel, the more I’m left scratching my noggin. The Israeli left is a true enigma. Who in Israel can afford this extravagance? And I just don’t get it - perhaps it goes something like this: We’re better, smarter, rich, well educated, and possess an innate (inane?) pan-superiority, certainly relative to the Arab Palestinians, if not to every one else in the world, therefore condescension is the best policy, come what may’. Do I have it right? If not, please correct me.

Since when can Israel afford to indulge in such egocentric nonsense? So called liberal Israelis, sabras and olim, advocate the abandonment of the Jewish State in favor of what? Peace Park? Brotherly Love Land? Dhimmi World?

Why do people – Jews - who advocate the cession of parts, or even the entirety, of the Jewish State choose to live in the Jewish State? Surely their decision isn’t attributable to bigotry – their bigotry - I mean, just what’s wrong with the rest of the world? You know, Jordan, LebanonTurkey?

The Netherlands is (are?) supposed to be very liberal and tolerant, and well populated with nice accepting people from the Middle East, and of course, there’s lots of Jewish history to be had in the Netherlands. That portion of Belgium called Flanders is beautiful – very esthetic with quaint narrow streets in old quaint towns and villages. It also has it’s share of modernity – universities, industry, and that great distraction of all Jewish aspirations – medicine.

So, why do Israeli anti-Israel Jews continue to live in Israel? Just how liberal are these liberals? Not sufficiently liberal to live where the Magen David don’t shine? Why do they need to live in the land of Hebrew? What’s wrong with Arabic, after all, considering their strain of politics, I think they should get use to that language. I bet they’re vehemently pro ‘Kingdom’ of Jordan –please don’t disrupt that. Why not live there? I’m sure the Jordanian royal family and their subjects would be delighted to welcome Jewish immigrants to Jordan with open arms. Beside,
the climate and landscape are the same;
Jordan even has a bit of coastline, and it’s closer to Saudi Arabia to boot. And don’t forget the arid landscape devoid of most vegetation. The absence of greenery yields oxygen deprived brains. That shouldn’t faze the Israeli liberals one bit.

If they are so pro this and anti themselves, why do they live in The Jewish State of Israel?

The religious Zionists have it right. To live in Eretz Yisroel is a mitzvah – a commandment from the Aybischter , straight from Har Sinai. One doesn’t relinquish it, not one millimeter. If the Koran and its followers could get it right, they would understand this and not offer murder and their futile attempts at displacement as their response to revelation (the Moslem claim of true revelation not withstanding).

The Israeli liberal position is based on a misguided self perception of superiority. The Moslem claim to the land of Israel isn't based on ignorance, it's based on scripture - their scripture, the Koran. Scripture, all scriptures, are held to be immutable by their respective adherents. The Moslems aren't about to change their minds. If you don't believe this just ask Saudi Prince Bandar. Think he's poor? Do you think he's ignorant? He has a degree from Harvard (but one wouldn't know it listening to him). Ask him about Israel's future.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pee Wee Israel

by: Schvach Yid

Thank you Mr. Putin. According to yesterday’s news reports, Russia has equipped Syria with 20,000 (do I have the number correct?) long range missiles – missiles that can reach any geographic target within Israel. I haven’t heard anything about their mobility. Does Israel have 20,000 targets? I doubt it. In Cossack-like fashion, Mr. Putin seems to have the ‘Israel problem’ well in hand, no doubt for a significant consideration in oil and money, and just as undoubtedly, not just for Russia. What’s Cossack for Putin?

This just doesn’t end. The Palestinians commemorate their loss of the ’67 War as ‘The Great Setback’, not ‘The Great Loss’ – get it? As far as they are concerned it’s transient. The land of Israel – the whole State of Israel – will accrue to their possession as far as the Arabs are concerned. And why shouldn’t the Palestinian Arabs take this view, after all, Israel has had a hand in this, haven’t they? The territories conquered by Israel in 1967 were never annexed, but instead held as bargaining chips by Israel. In other words, Israel intended to return the conquered territories all along. Israel just won’t admit that the Arabs intend to take all the land, right to the shores of the Mediterranean. There is no pressure applied to the Arab states, and never has been. They have enjoyed autonomy all along. Israel, on the other hand, begs for legitimacy and recognition – forget about national sovereignty. This despite the fact that every nation in the Middle East was created de novo at some time following the First World War. Israel, in the eyes of the community of nations, is held as superfluous.

Perhaps the Moslems think of Israel as the foreskin of the Middle East, to be excised and gotten rid of. The Moslems circumcise, according to their custom, at the age of 13. Israel is well past that age (Israel reach the age of 13 years in 1961, didn’t it?).

Much of the rest of the world thinks differently of circumcision. Have you caught any of these activist criticisms covered by the news media? Years ago, the UN, I think it was, hosted an ‘International Women’s Day’, or some similarly titled event. Pronto quick, in Monty Python style I imagine, the participants descended upon the Israeli/Jewish delegates - Palestinians this, circumcision that. Not too long ago, one of the cable TV news channels carried a bit about international objections to the practice of circumcision (all circumcision, not just the barbaric practice of mutilating females). A recent survey conducted in Israel revealed that the single , almost unanimous religious practice among Israeli Jews, whether religious, secular, even those who are anti-religious, is the custom of circumcising their newborn sons.

So here’s one for the Jew-hating anti-circumcisionists – and please don’t tell me their assertions against circumcision aren’t motivated by anything other than overt Jew-hatred : The world is a prick, and Israel is its foreskin (Gd forbid); if the world thinks circumcision is cruel, then they should practice what they preach and leave Israel alone!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


by: Schvach Yid

It’s back – I can’t believe it. Like a lost pooch, my scheiss meter (oops!; well, you knew that was coming, it always does) has materialized, seemingly, out of thin cyberair. What can I write? Welcome back, but who’s keeping count - it just makes nice site jewelry (who am I kidding?).

by: Schvach Yid

Hey, where did my hit counter go? It's gone - all by itself, and I was just getting used to it.
Has anyone seen it? Please let me know. I'd offer a reward, but I'm not that desperate, I mean,
like, it's not as though it's cute or anything. It wasn't like a pet pooch. It had just moved in, and had become a part of the scenery. So please to keep a sharp lookout for a feral site counter, it
hasn't been vaccinated, and I don't want any tragedies, OK? Set up some sort of trap or something, you know.
And thank you for being you!

It’s Almost Here!

by: Schvach Yid

Good news! Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s third installment of his commentary on Tanya, to be entitled Understanding the Tanya is due to arrive at bookstores and on-line vendors at the close of August.

Tanya is a classic literary derivative of Kabbalah and serves as the philosophic divining rod that directs the lives of its followers along the correct path of behavior, relative to the mitzvot. It is the charter literary work of Chassidus, the philosophy of Chabad Chassidism, whose author, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, known also as ‘the Alter Rebbe’, founded Chabad Chassidism, and whose adherents are called Lubavitcher Chassidim.

Rabbi Steinsaltz’s commentaries on Tanya have been published in installments of 13 chapters per volume, with each new volume released for sale at 2 year intervals. Tanya is comprised of 53 chapters. Rabbi Steinsaltz is in his 70’s – not to be selfish, but… And then there are the works of the Alter Rebbe that follow Tanya; the entire compilation is entitled Likutei Amarim (Selected Works). My copy is 634 pages in length (Hebrew/English - half as long in one language). Tanya covers 281/634 pages.

In preparation for this great event, I’ve started to reread Rabbi Steinsaltz’s first two volumes of his commentary on Tanya (actually, Chabad assigns a reading every day over an annual cycle).

Chapter 1: The ‘Nations of the World’ (the ‘G-people’ – you know what I mean), ‘don’t have a godly soul’, and worse, that the souls of the Nations of the World derive from and contain ‘no good whatever’.

I’ve wondered why those two volumes of Rabbi Steinsaltz’s have disappeared from my friendly neighborhood Barnes and Nobel bookstore in my Bible Belt community. I doubt the Jewish book selection in the store sells very well –it’s very small. There’re two siddurim that have collected dust, but the first two volumes of Rabbi Steinsaltz’s Tanya commentaries have disappeared altogether – in other words, they are no longer carried.

Now I think I can end my speculation. How does one explain this gaffe in inter-community relations; after all, we Jews are not the only ones who have at least flipped through this work. Kabbalah hype has gained considerable popularity in the general society in recent decades, and these recent publications are marketed as ‘a Classic Work of Kabbalah’.

One can invoke an excuse, something like ‘Rabbi Shneur Zalman lived in what would become the Pale of Settlement of Russia in the 18th century’ (Tanya is not an ancient work; its author was a 2nd order disciple of the founder of Chasidism, the Baal Shem Tov). Living there, he undoubtedly had to contend with the non-Jewish barbarism of his day and locale that has since become legendary among aficionados of Jew hatred (one of my great grandfathers suffered through a pogrom in Slovakia in which his tavern was burned to the ground, occupants still inside; he later met a more organized version of the same abuse in Auschwitz). How could the pogromists have conducted themselves in such a manner, the Alter Rebbe might have reasoned. Easy – no spark of Gd within (this reminds me of some of my former bosses and coworkers).

Quite frankly, given his circumstance, I can’t blame him. Please indulge me – a little liberalism for the Alter Rebbe, please; we’re so quick to extend it to just about everyone else! I remind myself that I live in a place where people own guns, and lots of them, yet I don’t know of a single Jewish gun owner (they probably exist, but are rather sotto voce about this matter).

Well, Rabbi Steinsaltz’s commentary on this matter is a little better, but I have a tendency to read around such items – to learn from the useful and generous, and gloss over the objectionable. Rabbis do, after all, make mistakes too. To play with one of Hillel’s commentaries, who wants to be left pearched on only one foot?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Political Echolalia

by: Schvach Yid

It plays like a broken record, and goes something like this. Vladimir Putin of Russia has announced that Russia will re-target its arsenal of nuclear ICBM’s at the more southern reaches of Europe if America goes forth with President Bush’s plan to install an anti-missile defense system in parts of Europe to protect that continent from ‘the emerging threat’ of nuclear assault from the Middle East, ie., Iran.

Well, it’s May,1967 all over again, and once again Israel stands alone. Apparently, America has accepted as an inevitability that Iran, under the leadership of Ahmadinejad, will have a nuclear ICBM capability in the somewhat near future. Get it? The USA doesn’t plan to intervene on Israel’s behalf, and Naomi Shemer, the author of the soul-bolstering ‘Yerushalayim Shel Zahav’, - ‘Jerusalem of Gold’ – died in June 2004 (may she rest in peace). What now?

Most of the great military leaders of Israel’s past are dead, Ariel Sharon lies in a hospital bed, responsive, according to a recent newspaper article, but his career certainly over, Peace Now is on the march, presumably because they think Palestinian Arabs are needier than Jews (well, there’re all sorts of ways to make oneself feel superior – condescension has always worked), and the current leadership in Israel is – well – stymied. Shimon Perez is talking about making another bid for PM, and of course, he’ll appease, not because he’s a traitor, but because he probably thinks he owes loyalty to his political party (how could they, and he, have been wrong all these years), and to the memory of Yitzhak Rabin (may he rest in peace; after all, his murder was a sacrifice, and therefore some good must derive from it).

The reverberations of past errors drive me meshuga. Pass the Haldol, and while you’re at it, have a few yourself. It’ll screw up our vision, but what the hell, the Israeli leadership lost theirs ages ago. Please go to Arutz Sheva and read Yoram Ettinger’s article at

Wait. Have become prophetic? I’m having a vision. Israelis – crowding the International Arrivals Building at JFK International Airport in NY. They’re milling around on line at the customs tables. One of them turns to me, arms outstretched at his sides, palms facing outward in a gesture of supplication. He speaks: ‘It was only an experiment, and it didn’t work; we tried, but it didn’t work’. Nebich! What's Arabic for nebich?

Israel is up against the wall, won’t admit it, and toys with the prospect of electing the old carcasses that have created Israel’s dilemma in the first place. I feel psychotic – I’m taking a nap. That’s certainly something we can all learn to do from the political leadership of Israel.

Monday, June 04, 2007

When B’ezrat HaShem Became Baruch HaShem

by: Schvach Yid

Thank Gd, and I mean it! Thank Gd for the miracle of Israel’s victory in the 1967 War. The self appointed leader of the Arab World, Gamal Abdul Nasser, the then president of the United Arab Republic – Egypt – railed against Israel like a caricature from 1930’s Germany, and just as was the case with 1930’s Germany, Nasser meant it. He ordered the UN to remove its ‘peace keeping’ troops from the Sinai, setup a naval blockade of the Gulf of Elat, and threatened to invade the Jewish State.

For Israel the future looked impossible. What to do? The lone voice of Naomi Shemer sang a lament for the Jewish love of Zion – Yerushalayim Shel Zahav – Jerusalem of Gold. Like a guitar strumming soprano-voiced Jewish version of Winston Churchill, her auric contribution of hope, a new tikvah, was offered at a moment when songs wouldn’t do, and hope seemed inadequate.

The Jewish State at age 19, still in its adolescence, was like an orphan with no one to turn to, its head in a vice, able only to turn within to summon the necessary strength needed to invoke audacity, chutzpah, and as any good New Yorker would say – ‘do what ya gotta do!’.

And they did. Both the political and military leadership knew what needed to be done and how the Jewish Nation needed to conduct itself. Did the Soviet Union demand a rematch against the United States over the humiliation the USSR suffered in the Cuban Missile Crisis? The Israeli leadership didn’t balk – thank Gd! To whom could Israel turn? The Nation of Israel knew – lo yanum v’lo yishan shomer yisrael – neither slumbers nor sleeps the Keeper of Israel.

And the Aybischter was there, and Israel prevailed, Baruch HaShem, and the Jerusalem of Gold invoked by Naomi Shemer’s guitar-strummed tune was ours again for the first time in 2 millenia, but not the Temple Mount, because the Israeli leadership chose to not recite the complete Hallel – but none of that in this blog.

The war ended with a cease fire agreement on June 10, 1967. That summer, 3 weeks later, we went to our bungalow in the Catskill Mountains of New York. A creek ran past the bungalow colony, separated from us by just a narrow roadway and a grassy shoulder. Its flowing water was clearly audible during the day, and lulled everyone to sleep at night. One had to cross a very rickety and decaying wooden bridge over that creek to enter the grounds. There we sat, by the waters of the creek, but unlike our forbearers of Psalm 137 we expressed elation. We were ebullient – we were on top of Zion. The adults passed around copies of a paperback titled Strike Zion, and we congratulated each other – we bragged.

My bar mitzvah had been the previous year, but what did I know? In that bungalow colony I had been surrounded by experts – Holocaust survivors and refugees, many Hungarian. My maternal grandfather had just died of natural causes 2 days after the ceasefire, on June 12th. He barely had time to celebrate – to offer his Hallel. He too had escaped, from Vienna, and landed in England. Three days later England had declared war on Germany, and my grandfather was taken into custody and interred in a camp for immigrants who had arrived from countries hostile to England. Several months later all the inmates were released; my grandfather, grandmother, and mother were then informed by the authorities that they had until the end of the year to find another homeland or they would be forcibly returned to their country of origin – Germany (the Anschluss had taken place in 1938).

Two days after HaShem’s miracle in 1967 was granted to the Jewish people, he was dead. My maternal grandfather, along with my father and all the other fathers, had worked during the summer weeks and would arrive upstate late Friday afternoons before licht benchen (we weren’t orthodox). But, as I’ve written in an earlier blog, to see the mothers, those female survivors of the Holocaust, light Shabbos candles was the lesson of one’s lifetime, and for one’s life.

That summer, 1967, the glee was palpable among the summering congregation of Holocaust survivors and refugees. There was no lamentation or weeping for a hopeful future as in Psalm 137, but rather an exaltation of thanks, their Hallel, for that second miracle of their lives.