All the Views Expressed By Jews…

All the views expressed by Jews – on their blogs of course! Soccerdad hosts this weeks Havel-Havalim.

 And I may be a bit late, but Baleboosteh hosts the latest J-Pix here.

Late again, but the recipes are worth the wait….Kosher Cooling Carnival up at “Help, I Have A Fire in My Kitchen” (and who wouldn’t want to read a blog with such a great title?

Calling All NCSY’ers (Past and Present)

I always find interesting things to read when I go to Ezzie’s blog. This time he links to Pscychotoddler, who has some very nice things to say about NCSY. He sees it from the perspective of a FFB (frum-religious from birth, vs. someone who becomes religious later in life). I was about to write a comment to his post that I, too, became frum through NCSY, and I saw that Batya had beat me to it.

 It got me wondering about how many bloggers are out there who became frum through NCSY.

So I’m going to run a very unscientific survey here. Those of you who became observant through NCSY, please leave a short comment on this post. I will leave it at the top of the page for awhile.

To get things started, I became frum through NCSY in Har Sinai (Upstate New York) Region in 1978. From there I went to Stern College – one year in Israel – and eventually I made aliyah.

What is your story?

I Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself

I have debated on more than one occasion the wisdom of writing how I really feel about Yitzchak Rabin and how the media goes crazy this time of year (the anniversary of his murder by Yigal Amir). Every time I reject the idea.

This year I have stopped listening/reading the news, so the topic really wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. But then I did a round of blogs, and Jameel at the Muqata wrote a post that sums up my feelings so perfectly that I had to link to it (and write my post anyway).

Those of you who do not live in Israel, or did not live here at the time of his assasination, cannot really comprehend what happened here afterwards. The fact that a Jew with a kippa shot the Prime Minister gave anyone who hated religious people the right to make sweeping generalizations. We religious Jews, and especially those of us who protested against the Oslo Accords, were subjected to a barrage of blame. It seems that we were all collectively responsible for Amir’s actions – since we agreed with some of his views about how wrong and dangerous Rabin’s actions were for Israel. This collective blame is repeated every year for a few weeks before the anniversary of Rabin’s assisination.

Rabin made nasty comments about those of us who disagreed with him and took to the streets to protest (calling us “propellors” – in other words, keep spinning, I don’t give a damn). He disregarded the real dangers to Israel’s security caused by giving up the right of the IDF to enter all areas of Yehuda and Shomron, and he considered giving up control of Rachel’s Tomb and only changed his mind after tearful protests by Members of Knesset (yes, grown men cried over this). He was responsible for giving guns to the Palestinian authority – which were then used later to kill innocent Jews (and injure many, like the young soldier who was shot in the stomach today waiting for a ride near Ariel, a five minute drive from my yishuv). He didn’t reconsider his policies after busses started blowing up (yes, busses blew up before September 2,000!).

Despite all of these things, I don’t think it was right to kill him – and I bitterly resent the fact that I have to say this! Others resent it too – and are beginning to speak up. 

Calling All Cat Haters

Ok, ok, I admit it. I REALLY don’t like cats. I have always loved puppies and dogs – how can anyone resist the cuddly things? Whenever I look at a cat, though, I have the feeling that they are thinking to themselves, “Whatcha think you’re looking at, &%@$%&*!” Dogs will show their appreciation and love for you, but cats are too aloof. And really, who can warm up to an animal that relieves itself inside your house?

For the most part I avoid them – but ever since we adopted our new puppy, cats have made themselves unavoidable.

 Our puppy is outside in our yard. His dog bowls for both food and water are outside too. The puppy eats a good portion of the food that we give him right away, but there usually is some left over. This leftover food has proven a lure, though, for the cats.

It seems that they have been jumping over the fence into our yard to steal his food. I heard the puppy growling for the first time – and went out to see a cat eating his food. The darn thing had the nerve to just stare at me, until I screamed at it and it ran away. Now whenever I hear the puppy growling the scene repeats itself. Pretty soon the puppy will be large enough to fight his own battles, but what do I do now?

Any natural remedies for this kind of thing? I obviously do not want to use anything that is toxic to my kids or the dog, but perhaps there is something that cats hate that is safe for others?

This May Be A Little Late, But…

This is a little late, but I wanted to draw your attention to this week’s Havel-Havalim, hosted by Esser Agoroth.

Go over and enjoy – I certainly did!

On Our Guard

This time of year is called “acharei haChagim” in Israel, which is Hebrew for “after the holidays”. In some ways similar to those first weeks in January, it means that business as usual kicks in, after a period of holiday vacations from work and school.

This time of year is also the season for olive picking. Many Arabs, even if they work in construction the other months of the year, stop and help pick olives. Every year there is an announcement in our yishuv newsletter regarding this.

“The olive picking in the surrounding areas (off the main roads that we travel on and near the fence at the outskirts of our settlement) has been fully approved by the army. It is best, though, to keep your children away from the fences at this time, and please report any unusual activity (such as olive picking at unusual times) to the relevant authorities”.

I think this basically sums up our situation in Israel. For as long as I have lived here the olive picking has not posed any problems at all. (And to answer the underlying question – there were no olive trees where the yishuv was built – it was a bare rocky hill with maybe some shrubs). The Arabs who come to pick the olives do so to provide for their families. There is always the fear, though, that a terrorist will try to take advantage of this situation, and use this time to possibly infiltrate the yishuv and carry out a terrorist attack.

In order to be safe – we have to be on our guard against the minority who may want to do us harm. At the same time there is no reason to penalize the majority who don’t. How you do both is a neverending problem – which is solved in different ways depending on current circumstances.

Some people cannot deal with this ongoing tension – and they pretend that there is no problem at all (“why can’t we all just be friends? – all we have to do is give up some territory and everything will be fine”) Others see every Arab as an enemy, and magnify the problem to the point where they think the only solution is to kick all of the Arabs out.

I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I do know that the situation is complicated. For those of us who see these complications, the tension will always be with us.

A Wonderful Roundup

Soccerdad hosts this weeks Havel-Havalim, this time number 136. Go read and enjoy!

American Senator Comes Out in Favor of Alternative Peace Plan

The Jerusalem Post has an article about American Senator Brownback coming out in favor of an alternative peace plan. This plan has been around for a long time, and has been proposed by Member of Knesset Benny Elon.

Going by the name “The Right Road to Peace”, it calls for Israel to officially annex Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron), which is where I and more than 260,000 other Jews live. You can read the entire plan in English here. Many people have seen that giving up territory for peace does not work. In the past two years this has been glaringly apparent, as the Gaza withdrawal showed – not only did it not bring peace, but it brought terror closer. The Second Lebanon War also showed that the Israeli withdrawal from the security zone in south Lebanon did not bring peace – only a short time of quiet.

Those of us who live where we do believe that this peace plan will eventually be implemented. The fact that an American senator is talking about it is a major milestone.

A New Four Legged Friend

They say a sucker is born every minute – and it seems that westbankmama and pappa have had a very recent birthday.

My youngest son has been begging us to get a puppy for a very long time – and palming him off with a MP3 player didn’t make him forget (that is what we did last December for Chanukah). One of his best friends has a dog, and another friend’s dog had puppies about two months ago, so the begging became more urgent. He also said that he understands that Mama works now and cannot take care of the dog if he gets tired of taking care of it.

Thinking that 11 is old enough to take on this responsibility, we agreed to go look at the puppies (knowing full well that one look at the cuties would put us over the edge). We agreed to take the male one (only boys in this house!). My son decided to call him Muktzeh. I hope I don’t have to pay Uri Orbach or Shai Charka royalties! (Uri Orbach and Shai Charka write and illustrate the new cartoon “Muktzeh” about a brown dog in a religious family – one of his ears is folded over his head and has a clip – resembling a kippa. This cartoon appears in the magazine for kids called “Otiot”. Since the puppy is mostly brown, my son thought this was an appropriate name.)

We built a makeshift fence in our backyard so he would be able to run free, and my two youngest built a doghouse (with Abba’s help, of course) out of discarded pallets. We then took the dog on the first day of Sukkot vacation.

The dog stays outside all of the time (although on the first morning after he came I went in to my son’s room to see a very adorable sight – the puppy was sitting up in my son’s bed as he slept soundly next to him – as if to say, “Are we cute or what?”) He had some human company for the first week as my husband sleeps in the Sukkah (westbankpapa woke up one morning to see the puppy with his head in his Crocs, sound asleep), and this was a good transition. Now he sleeps outside, alone, without a problem.

My youngest son feeds him three times a day and plays with him (in between school, Bnei Akiva (youth group), basketball practice and the occasional bout of homework), and he has already taught him to sit.

We went to the pet store to buy some additional supplies – and I must say, I was very impressed. The last time we had a dog we bought stuff at the local hardware store – and everything seemed rather simple. This time we went to a “professional” pet shop. Not only was there a dizzying array of dog treats, but you had the option of making up your own combinations – sort of like a salad bar. Plastic boxes in two sizes were available that you could fill with the various shapes and colors of dog biscuits (we avoided the green ones and stuck to the bone and meat colors!).

The ultimate surprise for me, though, were the toys. I remember as a kid buying my dog a chewy toy shaped like a bone – it came in two sizes. That and some rubber balls were the extent of the doggy distractions available.

Now they have an amazing selection – and they are marketed like baby toys – complete with labels for which “stage” your puppy is in. Bothered by teething? Get the chewy ones. Need something to calm the puppy – take the ones that you can warm up in the microwave and place in his bed (I’m not kidding). They even have toys with hollow parts to fill in with food, if you are going to be away for a long time and you don’t want the dog to be too bored – the dog books say to fill it with peanut butter!

We decided on one toy for now – but I already know that we’ll be back to that store. After all, we haven’t even looked at the grooming section yet!

Go Ahead and Laugh

Seraphic Secret linked up to a great video put up by Mere Rhetoric, about Achmed, the Dead Terrorist

Seraphic Secret correctly points out that Hitler was most infuriated by Charlie Chaplin’s spoof of him (the Great Dictator). Laughing at someone you fear puts them in perspective. He may still be able to hurt you, but it reduces the terror and gives you the confidence to fight back.

My kids have a few little ditties that they sing occasionally about terrorists. They usually don’t sing them around me (when they know I can hear them, that is) – because we outlaw ethnic jokes in our house, and even though I don’t mind it if they use the word “mechabel” (terrorist in Hebrew), they know that using the word “Aravi” (Arab) is not allowed.

Perhaps I will ask them to sing them for me and I will pass it along in another post. Meanwhile, enjoy the video clip.

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