Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Miracle of Chicken Soup, reprinted from 2011

Have a Happy Purim 

We all know that chicken soup is considered Jewish penicillin, famous for curing the common cold. How many people, however, know that it is also a cure for a hangover? It is and I have proof.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Not for our sake, HaShem not for ours, but for Your Name’s sake give glory on Your Kindness and Truth

So begins psalm chapter 115 which is part of the Hallel, songs of praise we say on holidays. It was that verse that ran through my mind while waiting for the American court to hand down their decision on the case of the Israel Law Center versus the PA and PLO. Representing eleven families whose loved ones were murdered or injured in seven terror attacks spanning four years from the start of the second Intifada in 2000 the Israel Law Center sued the PA and PLO for inciting, supporting, planning and executing those attacks. Among the witnesses, Rivka,* was my friend and neighbor.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Not Enough Stones

On Monday, the 23rd of February and the fourth day of the Hebrew month of Adar, a historic decision was made in a New York court. A twelve member jury ruled against the PLO and PA for of inciting, supporting, planning and executing the seven terror attacks which killed American citizens between 2000 and 2004. The following article, written twelve years ago, gives a glimpse into the pain and horror of one of those attacks.
Shilo Cemetery, courtesy of The Jewish Press

Wednesday, June 26th, 2002

     Although there are no shade trees in the Shilo cemetery it is early enough in the morning for it to be pleasant. At least the weather is pleasant. Standing with an open book of psalms among Shmuel's family, classmates, and neighbors is anything but pleasant. It is heart rending and many of us cannot stop the tears that flow down our faces. We have cried so many tears in the past month it is surprising we have any tears left.
     I stare at Shmuel's fresh grave and at Avi's next to Shmuel's. Avi's has a marker. Shmuel's is only covered with stones. I turn to my neighbor standing next to me.
     "There are not enough stones in all of Eretz Yisroel to cover all the graves of the terror victims."
     She shakes her head silently. She has her own grief to work through. I follow her as she lays a stone on Shmuel's grave. (Six months later her son would join Avi and Shmuel in the cemetery, gunned down by a terrorist in his yeshiva.)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blessed Be the Perfect Judge

Yesterday I awoke to bitter news. Adele Chaya Bat Adva Biton, the little girl seriously injured in a terror attack two years ago, had succumbed to complications from her injuries. Since I know that it's all from HaShem and everything He does is perfect I also know there's a reason for her death even though I do not understand it. That doesn't mean that her death doesn't hurt, though. I pray that her family will be comforted among the mourners of Zion.  
Enclosed is the article I wrote when she was first injured. 

Rocks Murder

If Yehudah Shoham were alive today his parents would probably be thinking about plans for his Bar Mitzvah. He might have even already begun his lessons to learn how to chant his Torah portion. But Yehudah Shoham is not alive. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Liars Figure and Figures Lie

My father, a wise man, always said that about statistics. I agree that data can be manipulated to support many different premises. Therefore, I have to admit to feeling a little sheepish using internet statistics to support my opinion. However, my opinion is not such a popular one and I need all the support I can get.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Does President Obama Read My Blog?

Laid low with fever this week I had little energy for most of my normal homebound activities. At one point I found myself sitting in front of the computer screen and scrolling up Facebook. Not a strong fan of that internet site, I only became a friend when my daughter-in-law signed me up several years ago. Her motivation was so I could enjoy the grandchildren’s pictures posted there. Over the past few years though, those pictures have gotten lost among all the photos of people’s pets, vacations, and meals. Mixed in with all the photographs are the articles, some from professional sources and others from amateur bloggers like myself.

My interest in news usually focuses on what is happening in or near or concerning my country. Facebook seems to transcend borders and for a self-absorbed Israeli, like myself, that can be refreshing. So while ill I clicked onto all sorts of interesting subjects from the dangers of not vaccinating children to the words of former slave, Sojourner Truth. And then I found a clip from Fox News with Judge Jeanine blasting President Obama for a comment he made in his speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast.

It seems that two sentences in his speech, Humanity has been grappling with these questions (referring to religiously-sanctioned violence) throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ, has upset a lot of people.

While I was growing up in America the Crusaders were glorified. Stories in my grammar school readers taught that knights in white armor did all sorts of wonderful things like rescue fair maidens, slay dragons, and march off to crusades. After watching Walt Disney’s Robin Hood I believed that everything that was wrong in Merry Old England became right once Richard the Lion-Heart came back from the Crusades and replaced the evil King John.
It was only when I began learning Jewish history seriously that I understood that the Crusades were all about murder. The knights may have whitewashed their deeds by calling their victims infidels but, no matter the semantics, thousands of innocents were slain by their sword.
And so I wrote in my blog on January 15th, Just as the Christian crusaders once cried “Death to the Infidels!” as they murdered both Muslims and Jews now the militant Muslims cry “Allah Akbar!” as they murder Christians and, again, Jews.

I’m sure that President Obama never read my article, It Might Not Be Politically Correct. He was able to draw the parallel between the Christian Crusades and Muslim terror all on his own. And, murder, no matter who commits it or when, is something that needs to be condemned. I wish the whole world would understand that.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

To Drug or Not To Drug: A Short Story

Growing up Malka had always been the smallest girl in her class. Maybe that’s why she was so assertive. All those years of trying to prove that she was as mature or competent as any of the others had left their mark. Now, as a married woman and mother of six, her diminutive frame and round baby-face belied her forty-two years. 
As she moved the seat of her mini-van forward she glanced into the car’s mirror and was pleased with her reflection. Quickly she readjusted the hat covering her hair and stuck the key into the ignition. It would be a long trip to the Negev but she was as capable as her husband was to make the drive. Just, it was such a shame that he and the girls would miss out. Of course, it wasn’t like they were missing the swearing-in. This was just a minor graduating ceremony.
She hadn’t told Avi that she was definitely coming and she could imagine his pleasure when he saw her. First his eyes would brighten, then there’d be a smile, and then, without embarrassment, he’d give her a big hug. Malka was pleased that he’d never been embarrassed, even as a teenager, to show his affection to his parents. Of course, it seemed Avi never got embarrassed by anything.