Good News and Bad News and A Request for Help

First, the good news. Baruch Hashem, my son got married this past Sunday, Lag B’Omer. The wedding was wonderful and we are all very happy for the young couple and looking forward to Shabbat Sheva Brachot with the bride’s family in Zfat.

Now, the bad news. Because of a long and complicated story with the Israeli army (which I may post about at some point but I cannot do it now) my son was arrested by the military police the Thursday before his wedding and taken to spend the night in prison. After a long and tense wait on Friday he was given a hearing and granted three days off in order to get married. He appeared before a judge again on Tuesday and was given another few days off. He was required to appear again before a judge yesterday, where he was told that he could finish his Sheva Brachot week but needs to go back to military prison next Monday morning. He will have a hearing again this coming Tuesday to decide how much time he will need to spend in prison before being released to start his army service.

As I have mentioned before in my blog my son decided to become a Chabadnik during his high school years. The Chabad community is doing its part to help him, as is the Dati Leumi community in my yishuv. People with connections are helping behind the scenes.

Now I would like to call upon the most important community I know of – the righteous women of Israel. I would appreciate prayers for my son to receive the shortest possible stay in prison so that he can join his young wife. I am sure every woman can imagine how difficult it would be to start married life with a long separation from your husband, especially one so completely unexpected.

Thank you and G-d willing we will hear only good news!

Post script: Just to be clear, my son has been spending his time since high school either learning in yeshiva (both in Israel and in Brooklyn (770) or doing what is called  “shlichut” (community service). He has spent time in India organizing meals and religious services for Rosh Hashana, which also included walking in the pouring rain for half an hour in order to blow the shofar for a pregnant woman who could not make it to the Chabad house. He has traveled to other interesting (and dangerous) places in order to be the shaliach tzibur (conduct the prayers) for Yom Kippur where there was noone else to do so.  Back in Israel he spent a year working as a volunteer in a religious high school for boys with special needs.

His uniform is black (hat and suit) versus green, but he has been spending his time contributing to Klal Yisrael just the same.

Controversial Israeli Films Fail to Win Oscars

Two Israeli films that contain controversial content (Israel bashing, of course, what else?) have failed to win the Oscar award. They join other Israeli films that portray the IDF in a bad light who have been nominated but have not won the Oscar in the  past.

A pr0-IDF group has put out a spoof of this phenomenon (sorry, no English subtitles yet). For those of you who do not understand Hebrew, the directors of the film keep cutting the scenes when the soldiers tell the truth about what happened, and only put in what makes the IDF look bad. This spoof is funny, but sadly enough, true.

Mazel Tov!

I like to share good news on my blog – even if I don’t know the people involved personally. It is nice to have a balance to the bad news which I am forced to write about (terrorist attacks, rockets falling, etc.).

Likud Knesset Member Tzipi Hotobeli has announced her engagement. Hotobeli is an Orthodox woman who is a staunch right wing member of the Likud, and is the highest ranking woman on the Likud list. The media will probably have a field day with this…..I hope they give her a bit of privacy….

Last month the comedy show Eretz Nehederet (very anti-right wing and extremely insulting on the whole) went after her to tease her about her single status (disgusting, no?) and she told them that this would change soon.  After receiving a lot of good wishes she had to calm everyone down and she announced that you should take everything said on Eretz Nehederet with a grain of salt.

I Love Happy Endings

Elisheva Hai, the widow of Rabbi Meir Hai, who was killed in a terrorist attack a few years ago, remarried yesterday.

She is the mother of seven children, and she showed great courage in picking up the pieces of her life and moving on. She continues to live in Shavei Shomron, a yishuv near Kedumim, and her new husband will join her there.

What I find remarkable and inspiring, is that after the terror attack she not only put her life together – she went on to volunteer to help others. At one point she decided to do chesed by helping to arrange matches. After setting up her future husband with others, it was suggested that she go out with him herself, and the rest is history.

People sometimes wonder how Israel survives all of the terrorist attacks aimed at us. The answer is twofold – help from G-d, and the strength of our people. Elisheva Hai is just one example.

Another Son Coming Home

I loved this opinion piece in Ynetnews today, written by an Israeli who has decided to move back to Israel from New York. The best quote:

Despite this never-ending comfort, life abroad accentuates the sense that you
don’t belong to the society in which you live; it intensifies the longing for
the good and bad of the people of Israel. Living abroad reminds you that only an
Israeli can understand what it means to be Israeli. Only in Israel will you
understand what true friendship is. And even if you did not serve in a combat
unit, you know that Israelis have a stronger sense of responsibility for their
compatriots.

Once an Israeli who lives abroad realizes this, the comfort becomes much less
appealing, perhaps because at some point you come to terms with the fact that
choosing comfort, success and freedom on the other side of the globe really
means choosing to be all alone. And for me, being alone is not happiness. So,
after a few years abroad, I decided that I am “making aliyah.” I am returning to
Zion.

This reminds me of the feelings that I had just a few days after coming to Israel for the first time at the age of 20. I was learning in Jerusalem and we lived not far from the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva. A few friends and I decided to go there for Friday night services. I walked into the women’s section and went up to the balcony. The mechitza (partition separating women and men in Orthodox synagogues) was high so that I had no idea what the men’s section looked like. When it came time to sing “Lecha Dodi”, the sound of hundreds of men singing hit me like a tsunami. I quickly went to the mechitza and parted the curtain a bit to look down. I had no idea how large the yeshiva was. The overwhelming feeling I had was “I am not alone anymore”. I had become Orthodox in my community in upstate New York, and was the only religious Jew in my family (for awhile) and in my high school. Although I went to Stern College with quite a few religious women, I still felt part of a minority. After all I was living in Manhattan and surrounded by literally millions of non-Jews.

I did not know it at the time, but on that Friday night I was hooked. Today, twenty one years after making aliyah, I am still thrilled to realize that I am home.

Israeli Know-How Does it Again

Here is a great article on the Times of Israel about an Israeli hi-tech company that helped keep businesses running even during hurrican Sandy. I always like reading something positive….

A Southern Boy Fulfills A Dream

The IDF website has some great videos, including this one about an American boy from Alabama who has fulfilled his dream by joining the paratroopers in the IDF. He came to Israel for the first time with Taglit – Birthright, and that sparked the dream the he has fulfilled now. (The video is in English…go ahead and enjoy!)

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