Another Layer of Horror

There are so many tragic parts of the terrorist attack at the Chabad House in Mumbai last week.

Another one is that, according to one report in an Indian newspaper, the terrorists had actually stayed at the Chabad House previously in order to scope the place out.

‘Meanwhile, the sole surviving gunman from the Mumbai massacre, Azam Amir Kasab, told Indian police that the terrorists were sent with a specific mission of targeting Israelis at Chabad House in order to avenge atrocities committed against the Palestinians, the Times of India reported on Sunday.

A source told the newspaper that some of the other Islamic terrorists killed in the dramatic and drawn-out Indian commando raid on the building had actually stayed at the Chabad center, also known as Nariman house, as part of the planning for the brutal attack.

“They have stayed in Nariman house on a rental basis, identifying themselves as Malaysian students,” said the source, adding that police were investigating how Chabad House rooms were rented to non-Jews.’


It is still unclear whether the funerals for Gavriel and Rifka z’l will be tomorrow or Tuesday in Jerusalem.


Benji at What War Zone is This Week’s Host

The “It’s not your fathers HH” edition of Havel-Havalim is up at What War Zone. Good stuff.

Nothing To Do But Watch and Pray

The terrorist attacks in India have affected Israelis a lot more than one might anticipate. Not only do people know friends or acquaintances that are there now, but many are thinking of their kids who may go there in the future.

It is a well known “track” in Israel, for young people who have finished their army service to work, save up money, and see the world. The world, in this case, is usually India, Thailand, Australia, and in some cases, the United States. It used to be just for the secular Jews, but more and more Dati Leumi (national religious, those who are Orthodox Jews but serve in the IDF) are following the same path.

In addition, it is a clear “track” in the Chabad Lubavitch world to learn, both in Israel and at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn (where the Lubavitch Rebbe had his home), and then to go on “shlichut” to various places the world over. The Chabadnikim that grow up in Israel usually go to places in the world that the Israelis visit.

So the taking of hostages at the Chabad house in India touches not only the people directly affected today, but those Israeli families that are thinking about the future.

So, as usual here, we are glued to the news, and we are praying. There is nothing else to do.

The New York Times “Discovers” A Natural Instinct

Why is it that the boomer generation thinks that there are new things under the sun?

The New York Times has an article about the downturn in the economy, and it “discovers” something “new”. What is this “new” thing under the sun? They have found that mothers will sacrifice for their children.

It makes me cringe a bit to link to this article, because with all due respect, the fact that a woman will forego some designer jeans in order to buy expensive toys for her kids does not rate as “sacrifice” in my book. (How about mothers who don’t get enough to eat in order to make sure their kids do?) But I found it very ironic that this normal behavior has made it into the news. At least at the New York Times.

I think their reporters should get out more – and maybe visit some real families in “flyover country”. They might learn something.

Is That Kosher?

We are in the process of finding a yeshiva for my eighth grader for next year, so we have made the rounds of “parent’s evenings”.

One such parent evening was in Efrat (we are looking at Neve Shmuel). We thought there would be a lot of traffic, so we left our yishuv very early, and we ended up getting there a good 45 minutes too soon. So we checked out the local eateries, and decided on the pizza shop nearby.

My son, who is in the teenager, I am always hungry stage, finished his pizza and started eyeing the variety of ice creams in the freezer case. He noticed the Ben and Jerry’s, and wanted to buy some, but we didn’t have time at that point. I promised him that when he came for the open Shabbat (they invite the kids who are not from Gush Etzion for Shabbat, and then on Sunday anyone who wants to apply does the admission tests). I would give him money to pop over and buy some.

So this past Friday, as he was packing up his stuff, he asked me for some money.

“You remember, Ima, you said that I could have some money to eat the Tom and Jerrys”.

At first I was completely confused, and then of course I burst out laughing, explaining that it was called Ben and Jerrys.

Just a little “revenge” for the times that my kids have kidded me for not really “getting” an Israeli slang expression. (I told him I would be writing about this on the blog. His one request – don’t use my name!)

Another Mama Hosts Havel-Havalim, and Baila Has The KCC

Ima on the Bima is this week’s host for HH. Go on over and see….and Baila hosts this month’s Kosher Cooking Carnival (the procrastinator’s edition….)

Small Parties, Narrow Interests vs. Large Parties and the Need to Compromise

When I first came to Israel I was very confused about the electoral system here. I was used to the large, two party system in America, where you were forced to choose between two candidates. Since, in most cases, one candidate did not represent your opinion on every single issue, you had to make a choice that entailed compromise.

At first I thought that the Israeli system was better – since I could choose a small party that I agreed with on every issue. What I quickly learned, though, was that even if this party received enough seats in order to join the Knesset, these Members of Knesset had limited powers.

In some cases, these small parties were ignored in favor of larger ones, and “my representatives” ended up with no power at all. In addition, I came to realize that in the long run it is healthier for the country for people to work together, even if it means that I don’t get everything that I want.

I decided awhile ago to vote for the Likud, and not for the smaller religious parties.

The whole issue of the Disengagement from Gush Katif brought the differences between small parties and larger ones to the fore. Arik Sharon pulled every dirty trick in the book in order to force this through. He had a relatively easy time of it ignoring the smaller parties. But what he couldn’t do was ignore his own.

The so-called Likud “rebels” – those who really were faithful to the party platform and fought Arik Sharon tooth and nail to stop the disengagement – ultimately failed. But they did not fail in forcing Sharon to leave the party and start a new one, Kadima.

In addition, there were Likud Knesset members (Miki Eitan comes to mind) who originally thought that the disengagement was a good idea – but they fought very hard to bring it to a referendum, because they knew that something as controversial as this plan needed to be voted on separately.

My dissatisfaction with the smaller religious parties only increased over the past two years. The national religious public has been begging the politicians to put aside their petty squabbles and unite. They also have demanded, quite rightly in my opinion, that the religious parties open up the ranks to new members, by instituting a primary system instead of a “committee” system to choose the MK list. This would have galvanized younger people to get involved and run to be Knesset members.

The parties have ignored these suggestion, and have just continued with the “same old, same old”. Dissolving the NRP and creating a “new” party is seen as a joke, because there is nothing new about it. Instead of listening to their public, the Knesset members have done everything just to hang on to their seats.

I haven’t voted for them lately, and I fully intend to vote Likud. But I think that there will be many others joining me in the next election who were previously NRP or Ichud HaLeumi voters.

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