A Must Read for Women

This article in Salon magazine by Lauren Shields is a must read for all women. She decided to give up the “fashion rat-race” and spent nine months dressing modestly – and learned quite a lot along the way.

I am now working in an environment with many young secular Israelis, mostly women. I am amazed at what is acceptable, even in a semi-professional environment. Bra straps are everywhere (I know I am old, but I was taught that you shouldn’t let your slip show. Letting your bra strap show was unthinkable). I am also a bit appalled at how many people, especially young women, have tatoos. Granted, Orthodox Judaism forbids tatooing oneself, and perhaps that adds to my feelings of discomfort when I see them. On the other hand, I remember a time when tatoos were for guys who wanted to look tough.

In any case, clothing and makeup are only noticed on the first or second encounter with someone. After that their personality and behavior are what you remember about people, and then what is covered or not covered makes no difference.


Dedicated with Love to All Mothers of Boys

I absolutely loved this video. It sums up what it is like raising boys – just multiply by the number of young men under your care and enjoy!

A Very Thoughtful Analysis of the Conflict at the Western Wall

There is a very thoughtful analysis  by Eitan Levy of the conflict between Women of the Wall (WOW for short – and a very symbolic acronym it is – they really want to Wow everyone) and the majority of women who usually pray there. I highly recommend you read it – since it sheds light on why there is a conflict.

One of the comments, by Rebecca White, also caught my eye and explains what I have been thinking about this issue:

“This is more than being about autonomy. It is about one group imposing an incoherent redefinition of Judaism on everyone else.

Can WoW explain why I need to make masculine soul corrections? Teffilin and Tallit are not spiritual drugs that we women are being denied the privilege of some exclusive “fix” from. These tools are to *fix* men, in fact, they are to raise the feminine within them.

Why do I need to do that? WoW need to explain why a male mitzvah (ie, a male tikkun/repair) is necessary for me and superior to my current way of praying. If you think I am oppressed and need to change and use men’s tools for soul correcting, please explain why!”

I apologize at the start for sounding condescending, but I always think of women wearing tallis and tefillin as silly. To me it is like a man putting a pillow under his shirt and saying he is pregnant. A man will never be pregnant, and as G-d has decided this is so it is obvious that he shouldn’t be. Wearing tallis and tefillin is a way for a man to improve himself spiritually. Women don’t need this mitzvah in order to improve ourselves. We have other ways to do that.

There is another thing missing in this whole conflict, and I don’t really understand where it went. In Hebrew it is called Kedushat Makom – loosely translated as the holiness of place.

I did not grow up in an Orthodox home – we lit candles on Chanukah, had two Pesach seders, and went to synagogue three days a year – two days of Rosh HaShana and one of Yom Kippur. We were somewhere between completely assimilated and a little bit traditional. On the other hand, my parents had a deep respect for Orthodox Jews in general and for the synagogue itself in particular. That is why my mother would stop at the entrance of the (Conservative) synagogue to put one of those cute little doily things on her hair before sitting down (next to my father of course) to pray. She didn’t cover her hair in general- but she respected the fact that this is what women should do in this type of place. She had a respect for what was appropriate, and was willing to change her normal way of dress as a sign of this respect.

What happened to this very simple understanding? Why do the Women of the Wall not understand this concept?

Raising Jewish Boys? Need Some Help?

I received the following email from a fellow blogger about an interesting and informative webinar that will be held the next few Sunday evenings. (I am not sure if the time is Israel or American time) If you are raising teenage boys it may be of interest:

Rabbi Doctor Abraham Twerski, Dr. David Pelcovitz and Rabbi Dr. Benzion Sorotozkin will be featured in an educational webinar series starting this Sunday at 8pm and continuing for 3 consecutive Sundays. Parents and educators can gain keen insights from some of the leading experts in the religious Jewish community.

You can register and watch the webinar series at (kesher Israel dot com)  http://www.kesherisrael.com/webinar. The webinar focuses particular attention on factors that may influence the decision to choose a post high school Yeshiva in Israel.

The first webinar on June 9 examines issues related to teenage boys who are off the derech as well as the far more common situation of being apathetic to Judaism. The second seminar on June 16th deals with behavioral issues and the concluding seminar on June 23rd tackles issues of substance abuse. See the poster at http://kesherisrael.com/email/webinar/index.html

Questions and comments can be emailed to webinar@kehserisrael.com. Kesher promises that someone from its professional staff will respond within 2 working days.

For more information and to sign up visit  http://kesherisrael.com/email/webinar/index.html

Yoni Mozeson

Marketing to the Jewish Community


Have You Found Your Name Yet?

The new marketing campaign by Coke in Israel is brilliant, in my opinion. Putting names on the labels of each bottle is a real masterstroke. Who can resist looking for his or her name, and then buying the bottle of coke so they can save the label? (Although I can see the problems with buying the Zero coke with your name on it – who wants to look like a zero?)

The names in my family are relatively “old fashioned”, so I haven’t found them yet. But I was at a simcha this week, and one of the bottles of Coke had “Achi” on it – which literally means “my brother”. The young people call each other that all of the time, so I couldn’t resist prying off the label to take home to my kids.

I heard that they are also printing labels with “Ima” “Abba” “Saba” and “Savta” on them.

I wonder if this will start a trend, and other products will do the same…..

I Wonder What Would Have Happened If British Citizens Carried Guns

The story about the brutal murder of the British soldier is chilling. The fact that it happened in broad daylight and that the attackers just waited around afterwards for the police to get them is bizarre to say the least.

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened to this poor man if regular British citizens were carrying guns. Perhaps a bystander could have shot the attackers and saved his life. Perhaps if the attackers knew that this was a possibility it would have stopped them from doing it in the first place.

I am happy that I live in Israel, where my soldiers are allowed to carry guns in public and know how to use them. I am surrounded by the good guys who have the means to defend themselves (and me of course).

The Newspaper Wars

I take the train every day to work now – so I have about twenty minutes of “quiet time” in the morning before I arrive at the office. (I call it “quiet time” because sometimes it is not so quiet – many people like to use their cell phones on the train, and frequently don’t realize that their voices are quite loud. I have heard more about certain people’s backed up toilets and the hospital stays of other people’s families than I care to…..)

I usually take the time to say my daily Tehillim, but afterwards I usually have some time left over. I started to take the free daily newspapers that are given out at the station. There is competition between two – Yediot Achronot (sometimes called Idiot Achronot by those who don’t like the rag) and Yisrael Hayom. I of course take Yisrael Hayom, since it has a right wing stance.

I can’t tell you how important this newspaper is. It used to be that the public was exposed just to the left wing point of view. Then Makor Rishon came along and started to change things. The problem with Makor Rishon is that it is still only bought by the dati leumi public, with a smattering of charedim and traditional Jews joining in. It doesn’t really reach most of the Israeli public.

The free daily newspaper does reach the Israeli public – and it can be a game changer.

The coverage of the financial situation and the budget cuts are a prime example. Yisrael Hayom had full coverage – and it skewered Yair Lapid. It had a full page spread just on what Lapid said about the economy in his campaign promises before the election, and what he says now that he is in a position of responsibility. It showcased a middle class family – and how much more they will be paying now in taxes, etc.

In the past the newspapers would do the same thing – but the left wing papers would put all of the blame on the Likud and especially Bibi Netanyahu. Now, with a more objective stance, the newspapers are putting the blame on both the Likud and Yesh Atid – as it should be.

You can’t underestimate the power of this communication tool. Those of us who are somewhat politically active and aware of the media and its power can see how important media bias is. Most people don’t think about it too much – they are too busy working and raising their families to get really involved. These people do read the papers though – especially if it is free and handed to them at a gas station or a train station. What is written in these papers has a lot of power.

The people behind Yisrael Hayom are doing a great service to Israel.

Shoot First, Explain Later

One of my father’s (he should rest in peace) favorite phrases was “shoot first, ask questions later”. He used this in relation to times where actions were necessary, and too much discussion was not only a waste of time, but sometimes dangerous.

When it comes to Israel and what we need to do to protect our people, the phrase should be “shoot first, explain later”.

Except now, after reading this opinion piece in the Times of Israel, by Sarah Singer, I think that too much explaining is a bad thing too. (And yes, I agree with the premise that too many curse words cheapens the writing. Sorry Sarah, I was raised to be a lady.)

I am sick and tired of hearing that Israeli hasbara is terrible. Our hasbara is fine – the world just doesn’t want to hear an intelligent explanation. We could dumb our explanation down to “they started it”, but who wants to lower the level that far?

In any case, given the way the crazy jihadists are going, the rest of the world will pretty soon be on the same page as we are on now.  It doesn’t take fancy explanations to convince you who the bad guys are when they blow up little kids watching their father run marathons.

I Couldn’t Agree More

I couldn’t agree more with Leah Aharoni in this opinion piece. What do you think?

You Tell Them Guys….

I was happy to hear that the police/FBI captured/killed the animals that were responsible for the terrorist attack in Boston last week. I was also glad to see the patriotic reaction of the American people in response: celebrations where people draped themselves in American flags and heartfelt singing of the national anthem.

It is a bit disturbing, though, that one of the terrorists had been interviewed by the FBI after a tip from a foreign government (I wonder which one….).

In Israel the security services are top notch, for a number of reasons. One, we unfortunately have a lot of experience and this helps develop instincts. Second, we are very motivated. The people who work at this know that if they mess up, a terrorist might very well kill someone they know and love. Israel is a very small country, compared to America, and we are very close knit, relatively speaking. Three, when it comes to security, people here are not afraid of being politically incorrect. Lives are at stake, and this trumps hurting someone else’s feelings. Fourth, and probably the most important, is that we are a country of immigrants – so there is always a huge pool of ethnically diverse people who can become spies. Jews come to live in Israel from all over the world, and speak many different languages. These people’s children grow up motivated to serve in the IDF, and in turn are used in some cases as spies to keep an eye on potential terrorists.


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