The “Unsung” Heroines

Rafi at LifeinIsrael has an interesting post about a young religious woman who has competed in the singing competition The Voice here in Israel. For those of you who don’t know, women singing in front of men is prohibited by halacha (Jewish law) as it is seen as immodest and provocative. (For those who doubt that this is so – just look at this beautiful girl and listen to her sing. I can’t think of anything more provocative than that – even if she is dressed modestly).  A woman is allowed to perform for other women.

What concerns a lot of people is that her decision to go against halacha in this case is very public, and other religious girls will see this and perhaps follow her example.

What bothers me is the fact that there are literally thousands of girls who may be as talented as she is, but choose to follow the halacha and either channel their talents in other ways (performing for women only, for example) or who focus on other things in their lives. These girls do not have a public “heroine” who represents them, and perhaps they think that they are alone.

We need to let these girls know that it is praiseworthy to follow the law and keep to values that have sustained the Jewish people for thousands of years. They need to hear that they are heroines for resisting the temptation of temporary fame.  They need to be recognized for being modest – in the truest sense of the term. Real modesty is not measured only by skirt or sleeve length, it is measured in a more holistic way – by the choices a woman makes and her behavior.

I for one salute all of the “unsung heroines” out there. Kol haKavod!

American Jews and the Birth of the Israeli Airforce

American Jews were a crucial part of the birth of the Israeli Air Force, and helped the state of Israel survive the War of Independence. This sample video of a documentary in the making shows some of the interesting personalities that risked their lives to help win the war. Enjoy!

Looking For Names of Combat Soldiers – Project Shmira

I received the following email from a friend of Ruti Eastman (Ki Yachol Nuchal). I had never heard of the Shmira Project and it moved me greatly to see how much Klal Yisrael is unified. Please read on and contact them – they are now looking for names of combat soldiers* to give out to the many participants in this great project. *Just first names and names of mothers – no other details are needed or wanted.

You may have heard about the Shmira Project over the course of Operation Amud Anan. www.shmiraproject.com The goal of the Shmira Project is to link active duty combat soldiers – anyone who would consider him/herself a lochem (in any capacity – army, navy, air force, border patrol, etc.)- to Jews  around the world who’d do shmira activities in the soldiers’ merit.  Shmira activities include acts of kindness, prayer and Torah learning. We are working in conjunction with Rav Simcha Kook’s yeshiva in Rechovot.

Due to the specific request of Rav Kook during the crisis in Gaza, the  names that we initially collected were of all soldiers and any resident  who felt him/herself in danger. Rav Kook wanted to gather as little  personal information as possible on the site, to encourage more people  to sign on. So we need to re-collect names of  active duty combat soldiers – and get their end date of service – so we know when to rotate them out  of the shmira. (We’re not ready to cover those in milu’im yet.)

While there is relative calm in Israel now, as we saw last month, everything can change in an instant.

We need to gather as many soldier names as possible to keep up with demand from the participant side. We have far more participants than soldiers  at the moment. Jews around the world are eager to take the name of a  soldier and include him in their mitzvot. Would you please sign up your own family members? Or do you have contacts  with other parents who would sign up their combat soldier kids? Again, only their first names, Mother’s name and end date of service are  needed. Soldiers might imagine themselves invincible, but parents have a little more perspective.

Just to give you some info (and nachat) here’s the scope of what the project achieved in the week of the crisis.

In the week of November 18 to 25th, thank G-d, over 10,000 people signed  up via the site, texts, or phone calls to do spiritual shmira for IDF  soldiers. We had texts pouring in at the rate of 2 to 3 a minute. People participated from 35 countries and 26 states in the US.

Here’s a sample of the people who joined. There were ardent Zionists, as well  as their neighbors who won’t sing Hatikva, all praying together for IDF  soldiers. We had people who teach Talmud – and people who don’t know how to say brachot – do mitzvot for fellow Jews. We had yeshivish orthodox, modern orthodox, Chabad, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist,  non-affiliated Jews as well as a contingent of Noahide (?!) and  pro-Israel gentiles who disregarded instructions and signed on to the  site anyway. And let’s not forget all the frat brothers at Alpha Epsilon Pi in Woodland Hills, NY!

Please look at the website for press articles, FAQ and haskamot. www.shmiraproject.com
Feel free to contact us with any questions or interest in helping out. American line call / text 410-657-2433 or email info@shmiraproject.com

Tizku l’mitzvot and thank you,
Batsheva Goldman, organizer and mother of an IDF paratrooper

P.S. We are looking for Hebrew-English translators. If you could volunteer  your services, it would be very helpful! Please email me – Batsheva – at info@shmiraproject.com

With Love, From Ireland

Barry from Ireland sent along this video, and says that not all of the people in Ireland hate Israel. Thanks Barry!

The EU May Ban Goods From Judea and Samaria

I received an email today from Barry Williams, who promotes Israel in Ireland. He says that in a short while Ireland will be the president of the EU, and the Ireland Minister of Foreign Affairs has stated that they want to impose a ban (versus just labeling) products from Judea and Samaria.

Barry has put up a petition and needs as many signatures as possible. Please click this link and go to sign up. Then put the link onto your blog and facebook pages, and send it out to as many people as you can.

Irish4Israel’s facebook page is here. It must be hard to be openly pro-Israel in Europe today – kol haKavod to Barry and his friends!

Help for Immigrant Soldiers

Every once in a while I go over to the IDF blog, which I find fascinating. Today I found an article about a special liason officer who specializes in helping new immigrants deal with joining the army.

I remember the difficulities of the first year after we made aliyah, and I cannot even imagine going through this transition while serving in the army. Just learning the language is a challenge – and my most stressful time was trying to understand the tellers in the bank or the grocery check-out lady! I don’t know how I would have coped with a drill seargent yelling at me – in a foreign language.

On the other hand, I do understand the motivation of young people who want to serve. One of the many reasons to make aliyah is the bone deep connection that you feel with the other Jews who live in Israel, and the desire to contribute.

Good luck to the new olim out there who are joining Tzahal (the IDF) and don’t be shy about asking for help!

Seeing Clearly

There are some Orthodox Jews who are nervous about the love of Israel expressed by Christians. They fear that there are ulterior motives behind this love, and that they just want to convert us to Christianity.

They do have a point regarding the missionaries – and we should be vigilant against them. But they are wrong to assume that the majority of Christians who love Israel are missionaries, and they are wrong to reject their overtures.

Glenn Beck was here for four days with thousands of Christians who support Israel and literally put their money where their mouth was. You can read a recap and see portions of the presentations from Restoring Courage: Part 1 and 2 from the first night, part 3, and part 4.

Carolyn Glick sums up her opinion of Glenn Beck and his courage to tell the truth. Yoel Meltzer expresses his opinion and contrasts Beck’s clear vision with Larry Derfner’s blindness.

We need to accept the help and support of those who stand for Israel, even if they are different than we are.

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