Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Weeping Woman .... Rachel Immeniu!

"Rachel cries for her children, she will not be comforted…"

This Shabbat, Saturday, the 11th day of Cheshvan in the Hebrew calendar, is traditionally observed as the Yahrzeit of Rachel Immeniu, marking the anniversary of her death some 3,600 years ago. Rachel's husband Yaakov buried her on the side of the road, and according to the prophet Yerimayhu,  Rachel later wept as "her children" were exiled from the land of Israel.  Rachel was Yaakov's most beloved wife and was the principal of his household and thus the principal of the entire house of Israel.  Thus, Rachel is considered a special figure for Segulot & Davening.  'Mama Rochel'  is such a special lady that not only do we light a yahrzeit candle in her honour ~ it is a Mitzvah to honour our parents ~ but we commemerate the 11th of Chesvan as Jewish Mothers Day in her honour and we recommit to her guidance in our lives as Jewish women.

From the first day of the year, the 1st day of Tishrei, the 11th day of Cheshvan is the 41st day. 41 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word "eim," which means "mother," thus the 11th of Cheshvan is truly the Jewish Mother's Day.  Also , it is significant that conception is actualised in Shamayim as a reality on the 40th day from conception.  This is the day the soul enters the child and the 'sex' is determined.   This is also the day the bashert , or life 'match' or partner ~ of the same neshama ~ is chosen in Shamayim.  It is the day the pregnancy ~ life is breathed into the embryo & it becomes a fetus is actualised and acknowledged in Judaism.

The figure of our matriarch Rachel is the one most associated in Kabbalah with the building of Jewish nature, the inbred character of an individual who walks willingly and naturally in the Ha'Shems Derech.   Jewish nature and character, best exemplified by the patriarchs and matriarchs, calls upon an individual to perform G‑d's will out of his or her own accord, a state described by the sages as "acting without dictation [from Above]."   Just as our matriarch Ahava, "the mother of all life,"   is the mother of human nature,   so our matriarch Rachel is the mother of our unique Jewish nature.  The month of Cheshvan is thus the time to recommit to our mother's guidance and reconstitute our Jewish nature and character.

And so, at least 100,000 Jews ~ mostly women ~ are expected to visit Kever Rachel  ~ Rachel's Tomb ~  this weekend.  Her burial site,  located between Y'rushalayim  and Beit l'chem,  has been venerated by Jews for centuries.  Rachel's tomb is Judaism's third-holiest site, has been the scene of prayer and pilgrimage for more than three thousand years.  In 1622,  the Ottoman governor of Jerusalem permitted Jews to build walls and a dome over the grave, and they still stand today .... although further fortified and enclosed today.  

Rachel constantly mourns over the exile of her children, the Jewish people,  in fact, Rachel lost her own spiritual luxury ~ She gave up her place next to her husband a second time when, instead of a burial spot in the family plot in Hevron, she accepted a lonely burial,  on the side of a deserted road. She did this in order to be there for her children who would live tens of centuries later ....... Rachel is the quintessential Jewish mother, sacrificing for our well-being and security. This feeling of limitless love and motherly concern is what draws people to her tomb to this day.   In addition, Rachel herself was childless for many years before she was granted children. Women who are suffering from infertility, in particular, travel to her tomb to pray.


Rachel, the beloved wife of the third Patriarch, Ya'acov,  actually died in child birth on the way to Hevron returning to his family's home. They set out from Bayt-El,  but when they were still some distance from Efrat, Rachel went into childbirth, and she had hard labour. When her labour was at it's hardest, the midwife said to her, "Have no fear, for it's a living child you bear, another boy for you." But as she breathed her last, as she was dying, she named him Ben-Oni, but his father called him Benyamin.  So Rachel died. She was buried on the road to Efrat ~ now Beit l'chem.  Over her grave Ya'acov set up a pillar, it is the pillar at Rachel's grave to this day.  ~ Torah, Parshat Vayishlach  ~ Bereshis 35:16-21 ~

Ya'acov buried Rachel at this spot, rather than a the family burial plot at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron, (which has incidentally also been declared a 'mosque' by the UN) because he foresaw that his descendants would pass this site during the the forced exile to Babylon in the year 423 B.C.E.  And then Rachel would pray for their safety and ultimate return, as it's written ~ Rachel, weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children who are gone. Thus said HaShem ~ 'Restrain your voice from weeping, your eyes from shedding tears for there is reward for your labour' declares HaShem. 'They shall return from the enemy's land and there is hope for the future' declares HaShem  'Your children shall return to their own country'   ~  Yiramiyahy 3:15-17 ~

So Ya'acov set up a monument over her lonely grave site so that exiled Jews would recognize it and pray and be comforted as they were being led into captivity. Ancient writings describe the grave marker as 12 stones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel with one large stone that symbolized Ya'akov.

Since the time of her burial the Tomb of Rachel has always been a special place for prayer. To this very day, men and women go to Rachel's Tomb to shed tears and beg "Momma Rochel" to intercede with Ha'Shem on their behalf ~ for the health of a loved one or for Divine intervention for those in need. Rachel, the childless woman who ultimately became mother of the Jewish People, has become a special symbol of hope for childless women ~ teaching them the power of prayer. Hundreds of requests are sent every month to the Committee For Rachel's Tomb from Jews world wide, requesting prayers to be said on behalf of the ill, the childless and those in need of a special blessing.

The palestinian authority has claimed that Rachel's Tomb is holy to Muslims as the site of a mosque called the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque.   Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Rabbi of the Western Wall, has termed the decision “outrageous”.  “They have never said in the past that this was a Muslim holy site. The [UN] organization responsible for heritage has turned heritage into politics.”   Israel should think carefully about whether or not to cooperate with UNESCO in the future, he said.  Israel's Foreign Ministry has also denounced the UNESCO ruling.  Danny Ayalon will have no truck with this trash.  Under Ottoman rule, Rachel's Tomb was a Jewish site.  Only in 1996 did the PA begin to call the site the 'Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque', he said.

 From the Byzantine period until the 1800's Rachel's Tomb consisted of a tiny domed structure. It was Sir Moses Montifeori who renovated the Tomb in 1841 and added on an anteroom and enclosed the dome over the grave marker so that pilgrims could find shelter from the elements. The town of Bethlehem has grown several fold and where once Mother Rachel's Tomb was in an open area on the road side, today it stands in the centre of the town with one of the main streets passing right next to it.

Since 1948 Muslims have created their own cemetery surrounding the building on three sides. For political purposes, Muslims claim that Rachel's Tomb is one of their burial plots and that it contains a Muslim notable rather than Mother Rachel. This is absolute hogwash ..... it is a fabrication made up after the Jewish State of Israel was declared & stands alongside that other fiction, the 'palestinian' people!!

 This land has treasonably been granted to Arafat & the 'palestinian' people. The tomb has been enlarged & encased for it's protection as we see in the modern photograph above. The new Rachel's Tomb consists of the previous structure housed within the expanded and reinforced edifice. New additions include the 2 guard towers in the above picture. This new Rachel's Tomb complex is a modern and stately building that has been designed to protect the tomb and those inside, yet it's interior retains the intimacy and unique serenity that has been characteristic of Rachel's Tomb.

Tens of thousands of Jews will today visit Rachel's Tomb to mark the Matriarch's Yartheit  The tomb is located within Bethlehem city limits, but remained under Israeli control when the rest of Bethlehem was transferred to Palestinian Authority control.  Journalist Nadav Shragai, writing for Yisrael Hayom, noted that Muslims living in the land of Israel have historically referred to Rachel's Tomb as “Kubat Rahel,” the Arabic term for “Rachel's Tomb.”

Rachel's Tomb is a living symbol of Ha'Shem's promise to Rachel that her children will return to the Land Of Israel. Jewish life today thrives in Rachel's Tomb. In these days, despite the on-going war of attrition people still go to recite Tehillim, daven and learn Torah. Classes by renowned Jewish speakers are held there. Rachel's Tomb has also become a place of joy as Britot and Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations are held within it's walls. The Committee For Rachel's Tomb is sponsoring the Rachel's Tomb Educational Centre which reaches out to the thousands of teenagers visiting Israel and to Israeli students,  teaching Jewish heritage through the legacy of the Matriarch Rachel and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

And Ha'Shem answered Rachel's tears .... "Restrain your voice from weeping,  "Hold back your eyes from their tears.  For your work has its reward and your children shall return to their border."
~ Yirmiayhau 31.16 ~

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rocket Rain Requires Retribution!!!!

  " I woke up to blasts, held my baby close. We hear sirens and wonder what'll happen ~ this is our reality".   ~ Ashkelon business owner staying by shelter for safety ~ 

Since this morning,  Hamas, the 'palestinian' terrorist Government of the Gaza Strip has fired 78 missiles into the civilian South of Israel, injuring 5 people, 2 of them critically.  School has been cancelled and 1 million residents have been instructed to remain in sheltered places.  A House on Kibbutz Reim suffered a direct hit, and several others have been damaged.  Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich of the IDF Spokesman’s unit  informs that Two foreign nationals ~ Thai farm workers from the Kissufim area ~ were critically wounded by rocket fire and three or four additional civilians are suffering from lighter injuries.  Dozens more, especially children,  have been traumatised and are suffering PTSD symptoms.   The Home Front Command has ordered all civilians in the region to stay near their air-raid shelters and safe rooms as, due to their proximity to the Gaza Strip, they have only 15 seconds in which to find cover.

Lt. Col. Leibovich of the IDF stressed that all the targets of today’s rocket fire into Israel were, once again, civilian targets including small agricultural communities. She also noted that the majority of the rocket fire took place ~ as is frequently the case ~ during the early morning when children are on their way to school and adults travelling to work. Property damage was widespread, with at least one home sustaining a direct hit. The explosion occurred several feet from a man and wife who were eating breakfast, but the angle of the rocket caused the shrapnel to fly in the opposite direction, sparing the couple from injuries.   All schools and kindergartens in the area are closed.  Traffic is being reported as unusually light in the city.

   The Iron Dome missile defence system intercepted seven rockets fired from Gaza this Wednesday morning towards the southern port city of Ashkelon.  Thirteen more rockets caused widespread damage locally where they fell.   On Wednesday afternoon, the Iron Dome system near Ashkelon intercepted another Grad Katyusha missile, the eighth to be destroyed in less than 24 hours.  Gaza terrorists fired a barrage of eight rockets and mortar shells at the Ashkelon Regional Council district between noon and 1:30 p.m., but miraculously no one was physically injured in the attack. Numerous residents, however, were traumatized by this terror, and those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from previous attacks had symptoms triggered by the barrage. 

Lt. Col. Leibovich also gave details of the IDF’s responses to the rocket attacks ..... At midnight last night the IDF targeted a rocket-launching squad comprising three Hamas terrorists.  At 5 a.m. this morning the IDF targeted another squad which had just launched a rocket. At 7 a.m. the IDF targeted a rocket launching site: one of the pits dug by the terrorists in which the rocket-launcher is placed.  And at 8:20 a.m. the IDF targeted a weapons smuggling tunnel and other sites in the northern Gaza Strip.  The IDF’s retaliatory strikes killed at least one terrorist, the day after three others were struck down by aerial bombings.  Throughout the morning, Israeli aircraft again raided northern Gaza, targeting a "terror tunnel" and other sites, as ground troops fired at "terror activity sites"  in some cases with tank shells.     The IDF continues to retaliate, but officers readily admit they cannot prevent a massive onslaught of rockets, unless the military carries out a large-scale operation and possibly a ground incursion of Gaza.   My only response to this is ....... WHAT ARE THEY WAITING FOR??????   

Operation Cast Lead II is Long Overdue........  These Attacks are Acts of War.  Accordingly, War needs to be declared on these terrorists!!

Defence Minister Ehud Barak
issued the usual warnings to Hamas that if it does not cease firing, it will bear the consequences. But, he did not spell out what measures would be taken, but ground invasions, such as that in the Operation Cast Lead operation four years ago, have been the only vehicle to curtail rocket attacks.  After each withdrawal, the attacks resume, whether immediately or several weeks later, as has been the experience since the government expelled all Jews from Gaza and withdrew all military personnel in the summer of 2005.   And today's attacks and counter–attacks are the largest surge in violence since June.  The latest escalation began on Tuesday evening, shortly after the end of a high-profile visit to Gaza by the emir of Qatar, who was the first foreign leader to visit Gaza since Hamas ousted Fatah leaders from the area five years ago.  He brought with him $250 million earmarked for public projects, but said, “We would be happy if Gaza is built up and produces jobs". It is unthinkable that the emir of Qatar can come and give millions of dollars and they shoot rockets as a result.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today toured an Iron Dome battery near Ashkelon. During the tour he made the following remarks .... "We neither chose nor initiated this escalation but if it continues we are prepared for much more extensive and deeper action. In any case, we will continue with preventative operations. Whoever intends to attack Israeli citizens needs to know that he will bear the consequences. Today, I decided to accept a joint recommendation, along with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter, to complete the protection for residents of the south. As you know, we are protected up to 4.5 kilometers from the border with the Gaza Strip and we are protected up to a range of 7 kilometers thanks to Iron Dome batteries like the one you see here behind me, and we will continue to add Iron Dome batteries, which are operating very well. On the seam between 4.5 kilometers of full protection and the 7 kilometers afforded by Iron Dome, there is an area in which only educational institutions are protected, and I have decided today – following the staff work that I received – to adopt protection for this entire area, between 4.5 and 7 kilometers, and thus we will complete the defense of the residents of the south."
Why do the IDF continually supply Gaza  with Food and every requirement for life ??????

Different tactics now need to be tried. Like turning off the electric supply to Gaza. Like turning off the water supply. It is supplied by Israel. Like enforcing a total embargo by land and by sea. Nothing goes in, nothing goes out. By shutting down access to the Temple Mount to Arabs in Israel. By putting the PA hierarchy in Ramallah under seige. By assassinating the Hamas leadership, one after the next after the next. Same with convicted Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails. By returning Israeli's to their surrendered homes in Gush Katif and other sites in Gaza.  And most of all be resuming the "ground operations"  it successfully engaged in 2008's 'Operation Cast Lead'.  It's time for Cast Lead II to commence.

Why are 'palestinian' supplies allowed in to Gaza? Why are "ambulances" allowed out?   This happened this afternoon with two Gaza residents attending appointments in Israeli hospitals for treatments.  Who knows what they are capable of carrying into Israeli cities.  Why allow it??

And of course the  world's media are reporting it under the headline "Israel strikes Gaza in response to rockets", which gives the impression Israel is the aggressor.   What else???   

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Haunted by the Holocaust ... Poland in Pictures!!

She has such natural beauty, she could pass for a movie star.
She smiles, her demeanour relaxed. In normal times, this young woman would surely have enjoyed a bright and happy future, perhaps with a  husband, children, grandchildren.
But soon after this photograph was taken, she would face almost certain death.

These are AMAZING Pictures .... Hitler's photographer Hugo Jaeger took these photographs in a disused sugar factory turned makeshift Ghetto in the Polish town of Kutno at various times in 1939 and 1940, although he is usually is associated with depicting the 'glory' of the third reich.  This local ghetto was liquidated in early spring of 1942 and most of the Jews here pictures were gassed in Auschwitz.  Poland's Jewry & Culture are no more today .... So this is a Sad & Special Posting!

 Hugo Jaeger's photographs normally celebrate the glory and triumphalism of the Third Reich yet the remarkable colour images I have reproduced here were taken by the Führer’s personal photographer, a loyal follower given unprecedented access to the Third Reich’s elite.   Hugo Jaeger was allowed to travel with Hitler to record his appearances at rallies, intimate parties and in private moments. More usually he dedicated himself to lionising his leader and what the Nazis regarded as their most triumphant moments.  

Here, it appears, he seems simply to have been fascinated by faces from a different faith in a country under siege. He is said not to have shared Hitler’s unqualified hatred of Jews. Hence, whether he intended it or not, Jaeger’s camera captured an atmosphere rarely seen before horror and carnage overtook it.   Kutno, 75 miles west of Warsaw, had been bombarded and turned into a ghetto soon after Hitler’s invasion in September 1939.
After so many years, it is impossible to know for certain why so many people in the photographs are smiling.   None appears to have been forced to pose,  none seems to display any fear.    Its sugar factory would be  surrounded by barbed wire and used to imprison 8,000 Jews, crammed into appalling conditions.   Some would die of infection or starvation. Others would not live through the bitter cold of the winter.  The ghetto existed until 1942, when most of its surviving inhabitants were sent to death camps.  To the best of my knowledge no one in these pictures survived the horrors of the War.

Incredibly, these photographs did.  The Kutno ghetto was ‘liquidated’ as part of the Final Solution in the spring of 1942.  In 1945, as the Allies advanced into Germany, Jaeger knew he would be arrested and tried as a war criminal if he was caught with so many intimate photos of the defeated Führer.  So after secreting them, initially in a leather suitcase, he buried them in airtight glass jars outside Munich, returning from time to time to check they were safe.  Two decades after the war ended, he sold them to Life magazine in 1965.  Now,  the pictures have gone online at Life.com. Despite attempts to identify some of the subjects, no record was ever found of the smiling young woman or any of the citizens depicted here.  Historians said it would be astonishing if she or any had survived. At least the camera immortalised them.   These photos have been released to mark the official establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto in October 1940 and the entire set are on display at Life.com HERE!!

Watch with me ......    Each Photograph is individually captioned!



An elderly man with a yellow Star ~ denoting Jew fixed to his chest, speaks with German officers as he and other Jews are Rounded up!
In their tattered rags the two boys smile for the camera, but the man in the centre, most probably their father, has a look of distrust etched across his face for the foreign camera
These young Jewish girls couldn't possibly have imagined the horrors that lay ahead as they pose outside their tent in another haunting photograph taken by the ardent Nazi Hugo Jaeger
Jewish inhabitants of the Kutno Ghetto stand near a car which has been converted into a makeshift house in early 1940
An elderly Jewish woman bends over her stove while a man, his Star badge clearly visible, watches over her in the Kutno Ghetto
A Jewish woman uses a washing board to clean clothes in the Kutno

While most Jaeger's photographs focus on the glory and triumphalism of the Reich, here he has chosen instead to capture the misery of the conquered people instead
A young woman clutches a jug as she escorts an elderly Jewish Scholar through the Kutno Ghetto in early 1940. One of the Saddest Images

Life .... An Ariel View!

With their clean clothes and hair neatly coiffured, these three young women do not, at first glance, appear anything like Jaeger's other subjects. But look closer and you find their star as on the coat of the girl on the left

In 1942, as part of Hitler's 'final solution' the Nazis began Operation Reinhardt, the plan to eliminate all of Poland's Jews. In the spring of 1942 the Kutno Ghetto itself was 'liquidated'

No one in the above pictures survived.  All perished in Auschwicz.   All Statistics ~ Some of Six Million!

 Taken from the Daily Mail ..... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2219304/Haunting-smile-girl-facing-Holocaust-How-Hitlers-PERSONAL-photographer-captured-history-plight-Jews-Nazi-occupied-Poland.html

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What A Difference A Year Makes!!

I have blogged very regularly about the captivity of Gilad Shalit since I first became aware of his kidnapping & continuing captivity sometime in early 2007, the year after his abduction.  I blogged every birthday and the anniversary of his kidnap.  Also annually on Pesach (Pidyon Shvuyim) because it was always appropriate and on 4th July anniversaries, because it was not only Independance Day in America, but because it was the anniversary of Operation Thunderbolt, when the IDF rescued more than 100 of our people held hostage at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.  It seemed a similar scenario to me and I always likened the two.  It makes me Smile today to Salute the first anniversary of his release and return home, B"H!!

Sgt Gilad Shalit was Released exactly One Year Ago today ~ 18th October, 2011.

Gilad (19 at the time of his abduction, 25 at the time of his release) was born on August 28, 1986. The son of Aviva and Noam Shalit, brother to Yoel and Hadas and both an Israeli and French citizen. Gilad was kidnapped when his army unit was attached by Hamas terrorists on June 25th, 2006.  Gilad was born in Nahariya but was raised from the age of two in Mitzpe Hila in the western Galilee. He graduated with distinction from the science class of Manor Kabri High School and began his military service about a year before his abduction ~ at the end of July 2005.  Despite a low medical profile, he preferred to serve in a combat unit, and followed his elder brother Yoel into the Armoured Corps.

On June 25th, 2006, Shalit, then a corporal, was captured in a cross border raid near the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Gaza Strip by palestinian terrorists and was held hostage by Hamas since that time until this day last year. During the attack, in which the terrorists dug underneath the border before emerging and subsequently spraying automatic fire and grenades, two IDF soldiers (
Pavel Slutsker and Chanan Barak, z'l) were killed and three other soldier were also wounded.  Gilad too was wounded when captured.

The IDF released this statement on his capture ..... "At 5:40 AM, a squad of terrorists from the Hamas and Popular Resistance Committee organizations, infiltrated into Israeli territory in the area of the Kerem Shalom and Sufa border crossings through a tunnel that was dug from the area of Rafah. The terrorists, under cover of mortar and anti-tank missile fire, attacked a number of military targets, among them a tank. IDF forces immediately responded in force, from which at least two of the terrorists were killed.  This terror attack was perpetrated with help from Hamas generals and had the go ahead from the Hamas leadership. The IDF subsequently holds the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas as responsible for this dastardly attack and for the fate of the kidnapped soldier".

The IDF immediately launched
Operation Summer Rains in which infantry units advanced into Gaza in an attempt to secure the release the immediate release of Shalit. The operation though was unsuccessful and within a matter of weeks the Hezbollah abduction of soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev into Lebanon turned Israel's attention to their northern flank. Israel initially stated that it would not negotiate for the release of Shalit, but international intervention from Egypt, Germany and the European Union resulted in eventual efforts to work out an exchange deal.

On August 28th, 2011, Israel marked Shalit's twenty-fifth birthday,  his sixth in captivity.  In anticipation of his birthday, Shalit's parents ~ who had begun camping outside the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem as a sign of public protest more than a year earlier in 2010 ~ released a letter they hoped would reach Gilad.  In the letter, his parents wrote, "You must believe that we do not forget you, we do not forget the fact that next Sunday you will be 25 years old, that this is your sixth birthday in captivity, that more than a fifth of your young life has been spent in a dungeon, a Hamas pit."

The last sign of life released by Hamas had been in October 2009 when the terrorist organization released a video of the soldier in which a gaunt & subdued Shalit could be seen reading a written message that called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to do everything in his power to free him.  Hamas shrank from providing any other proof that Shalit was still alive despite repeated requests to do so.

Finally, on October 11th, 2011, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the signing of an  exchange deal to secure the release of Shalit. Put together with help from German mediators and the Egyptian government, the deal stipulates that Israel will release 1,027 palestinian prisoners in a staggered move over the following months. The Government approved the agreement by a large majority in its Cabinet of 26 ministers in favour and 3 against.  So, one Jewish life is worth 1,000 arab lives ..... and it was they who set this perameter.  Israel must remember it for the future!

During the discussions outlines were heard by the heads of the security services, Director of the Shin Bet Yoram Cohen, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, Director of the Mossad Tamir Pardo. and the Prime Minister's special envoy to the negotiations David Meidan, presented the agreement and its various aspects and expressed their support in it.   But,  the decision to release mass murderers of Jews & Israeli's who would return to their genocidal goals upon release was a bitter and rancorous one. And,  Prime Minister
Benyamin Netanyahu acknowledged .....  "This is a difficult decision to make, but a leadership is examined in moments like these, in its ability to make difficult decisions. I am bringing Gilad Shalit home, to his parents Noam and Aviva, his brother Yoel, his sister Hadas, his grandfather Zvi, and the people of Israel."

In the early afternoon of October 18th, 2011, One year ago today,  Sergeant Gilad Shalit was set free and returned to Israel and his waiting parents after 1,940 days in Hamas captivity.  Preliminary medical and psychological exams were performed on Shalit at an IDF base in the south of the country and he was deemed healthy and strong enough to meet his parents and travel home.  Shalit was promoted to the rank of Sergeant first class,  his Freedom purchased.
Gilad is the first captured Israeli soldier to be released alive in 26 years.

I think the photographs above show the effect of his year at home ..... Shalom Gilad Shalit!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hidden of the Holocaust!!

Saved Jewish Children ~ Orphans of the Shoah!

I'm Reviving Music Monday for today (at least!).  Music is Special to the Soul ... a language that connects wordlessly .....  Sometimes!  

And for today ...  A Song & A Story.  I've wanted to tell this tale for quite some time now .... I've saved it in my store for someday.  That day is today.   It is an amazing tale, a true tale,  turned to tune by Yaakov Shwekey (whom I love musically too!).  Rabbi Lazer Brody ran a new video of the song last week & that prompted me to use it and also tell this tale out loud at last  .......  it needs telling for sure & not only in a blog.  I'm going to try do something too, maybe some travels & a book!

The Video below is the most amazing song  ~  'Shema Yisroel' by Yaakov Shwekey ~

This legend is attributed to R' Yosef Kahaneman zt'l, the Ponevezhe Rov,  (Of Blessed Memory), who saved orphaned Jewish children from catholic orphanages after the close of World War II.   It has been told countless times already,   and Rav Kahaneman was suddenly brain illuminated knowing full well that the Sh'ma would remain embedded in a Jewish child's mind long after other memories faded. This is how Ha'Shem works  in our world .....  touching us,  Suddenly!

The Sh'ma is an affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in One G*d.   The obligation for each of us to recite the Sh'ma is separate from the obligation to pray and a Jew is obligated to say Sh'ma in the morning and at night (apart from daily davening) and it is the last word to leave our lips before we die.  And generally the first words we remember our Ima whisper to our ears as we go to sleep as tiny girls or boys  .....boys begin to daily davening including recitation of the Sh'ma at three years old!!

During World War II, countless Jewish parents gave their children to xtian neighbours or 'friends', or orphanages and convents in the hopes of saving them.  The parents expected that they, or their relatives, would claim them back if they survived the war, but when Rabbis or relatives finally tracked down the children, the priests and nuns who had been their caretakers insisted that no children from Jewish homes were in their institutions. Thus, they were not only stripped of their entire families, they were also stripped of their real souls.  Jewish Neshamot.  Their whole identities .... Many remain hidden to this day.

The legend tells us that after the Shoah, Rov Yosef Kahaneman, himself a Shoah Survivor,  began searching for the Jewish children who had survived the war.  He learned that many Jewish children had been placed in various monasteries, so he approached the priest  or person in charge of each, and asked that the Jewish children be released into their care.  The priests ALL  responded, "You must have documentation".   But the kind of documentation that the priest wanted was unobtainable at the end of the war. He then asked to see the list of names of children in the monastery and as they read the list, pointed to names that belonged to Jewish children. "I'm sorry," the priest said, "Miller is a German name, and Markovich is a Russian name, and Swersky is a Polish name. You can't prove that these are Jewish children and if you can't prove which children are Jewish, and do it very quickly, you will have to leave".

You see pope pius XII had issued an edict that children, Jewish children, once 'baptised' to become xtian could no longer be returned or raised by their Jewish families in complete concordance with catholic law.   It is estimated that thousands of Jewish children were left with xtian monasteries or families by their Jewish parents during the Holocaust, in the hope that they would thus survive the war. However, many of these children were never claimed, returned or told of their Jewish background because of their secret 'baptism'.

A letter from pope pius XII to his representative in Paris on November 20th, 1946,  shows that he ordered Jewish babies baptized during the Holocaust not to be returned to their parents. The recipient of the letter, Angelo Roncalli, who was later to become pope John XXIII, disagreed with & often disobeyed these instructions.   

The  Ponevezhe Rov finally asked and was miraculously granted permission to enter the children's quarters to see them before their bedtime.  That evening the Rabbi entered the dormitory holding row upon row of little beds where the children ~ many of whom had been in the monastery since the start of the war in 1939 ~ were going to sleep.   He slowly walked through the aisles of beds, calling out, "Shema Yisrael--(Hear, Israel), Ha'Shem is our G*d, Ha'Shem is One!"   

One by one, children burst into tears and shrieked, "Mommy!" "Maman!" "Momma!" "Mamushka!" in each of their native tongues,  mostly Yiddish.  The priest had succeeded in teaching them about the Trinity, the New Testament, the xtian saviour and how to say Mass, and other abberant things,  but the one thing he could not do was erase the children's memories of their Jewish Mothers ~ now murdered ~ putting them to bed every night with the Sh'ma on their lips.

Former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau ~ himself a Child Shoah Survivor of Buchenwald ~ has said that the Holocaust-era Pope pius XII refused several requests by Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog to meet with him before and during the war to discuss how the church could either help save Jewish lives or locate Jewish orphans cared for by catholic families.  It should also be noted that  the present pope person Ratzinger has refused to release the names or records of these children to Jewish organisztions even today & Yad L’Achim director Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz  comments .....  “Even today, not returning the children means a continuation of the Holocaust"!!!!

 Jewish Singer Yaakov Shwekey has used the legend to create this beautiful song. Sad!!

(Don't be discouraged by the first 60 seconds which tells the story of Rabbi Kahaneman in Hebrew, it's gorgeous, and wait till the Song itself, it will blow you away!).

He raised his hand to wave goodbye
Saw the pain in mother´s eyes
who left her little precious boy of four

In a citadel of ashen stone

that preached a faith unlike his own
Perhaps he just may yet survive this war

In the shadow stood a man in black

My child he said, you must not look back
Yet one image lingered, the tears on her face
And mother´s words from their last embrace

Shema, Shema Yisroel

Know that there is but one G-d above
When you feel pain, when you rejoice
know how he longs to hear your voice
Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad

Deep within the iron gate

Far from the stench of war and hate
he knew not of a world gone insane

You must believe us, he was told

Our faith alone can save your soul
Please let us heal your wounds and ease your pain

He tried not to forget his past, his home

But he was so very young and all alone
While visions of his shtetl, once vivid and clear
began to fade, and all but disappeared

Shema, Shema Yisroel

Know that there is but one G-d above
When you feel pain, when you rejoice
know how he longs to hear your voice
Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad

The winds of war had finally passed

one man took on a sacred task
to bring the scattered jewish children home

He travelled far, from place to place

A quest to reignite the faith
of those sent into hiding long ago

He entered the fortress grey and cold

Your kind is not among us, he was told

Hashem above, he whispered, please don´t let me fail

As he began to sing
Shema Yisroel

Shema, Shema Yisroel

Know that there is but one G-d above
When you feel pain, when you rejoice
know how he longs to hear your voice
Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad

Shema, Shema Yisroel

Know that there is but one G-d above
When you feel pain, when you rejoice
know how he longs to hear your voice
Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad

Shema, Shema Yisroel

Know that there is but one G-d above
When you feel pain, when you rejoice
know how he longs to hear your voice
Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad

Please say,

Shema, Shema Yisroel
Know that there is but, but one G-d above
When you feel pain, when you rejoice
know how he longs to hear our voice
Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad
Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Atonement, Appeasement & Attrition!!

On October 6th, in 1973, 39 years ago today, Egypt and Syria launched a co-ordinated attack against Israel. It was Yom Kippur ~ Israel's (Judaism's) Holiest day ~ a day of Atonement & Affliction. And it was One affliction Israel did not immediately expect. Israelis were davening in Synagogue, imploring Ha'Shems mercies for the year to come, and forgiveness for the year just past. The Yom Kippur War began with a joint surprise attack by our Arab enemy when Egypt and Syria crossed ceasefire lines to enter Israel in the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights. The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian attack across the heavily-fortified Suez Canal during the first three days, after which they dug in, settling into a stalemate. In the north, the Syrians attacked the Golan Heights at the same time and initially made threatening gains against the greatly outnumbered defenders, but their momentum waned.

Egypt and Syria's coordinated surprise attack against Israel was immense. The equivalent of the total forces of NATO in Europe were mobilized on Israel's borders. On the Golan Heights, approximately 180 Israeli tanks faced an onslaught of 1,400 Syrian tanks. Along the Suez Canal, 436 Israeli defenders were attacked by 80,000 Egyptians. At least nine Arab states, including four non-Middle Eastern nations, actively aided the Egyptian-Syrian war effort. Thrown onto the defensive during the first two days of fighting, Israel mobilized its reserves and eventually repulsed the invaders and carried the war deep into Syria and Egypt. The Arab states were swiftly resupplied by sea and air from the Soviet Union, which rejected American efforts to work toward an immediate cease­fire. As a result, the United States belatedly began its own airlift to Israel ... typically, way too belated to matter at all!!

Within a week, Israel recovered and launched a four-day counter offensive, driving deep into Syria itself. Two weeks later, Egypt was saved from a disastrous defeat by the UN Security Council, which had failed to act while the tide was in the Arabs' favour. The Soviet Union showed no interest in initiating peacemaking efforts while it looked like the Arabs might win. The same was true for Anti Semitic UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim. (Waldheim's service with a World War II German army unit guilty of war crimes in the Balkans resulted in his being barred from entering the United States after his election as President of Austria).  On October 22nd, the Security Council adopted Resolution 338 calling for "all parties to the present fighting to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately."     The vote came on the day that Israeli forces cut off and isolated the Egyptian Third Army and were in a position to destroy it. We had turned the situation right around, the Egyptians went back on the offensive, but were decisively defeated ~ the IDF then counterattacked at the seam between two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal, and advanced southward and westward in over a week of heavy fighting.  Victory at hand.

Victory for Israel meant between 2,520 and 2,800 killed in action. An additional 7,250 soldiers were wounded. Some 293 Israelis were captured. Approximately 400 Israeli tanks were destroyed. Another 600 were disabled. The Israeli Air Force lost 102 aircraft & two helicopters were also shot down. But Victory is Victory!!!!

Defeat in this war humiliated the Arab world .... let's remember this, & how our Arab enemy issued the "three no's", resolving that there would be "no peace, no recognition and no negotiation with Israel". They haven't changed their minds, just their strategy. Why have we changed ours?? Let's remember our forthrightness under Ha'Shem & our astounding victory in battle this Yom Kippur & may it lead to a decisive change in our Strategy in our present 'peace' negotiations. Appeasment Never Works!!!!

What lessons are still to be learned from a war Israel fought 39 years ago today?

The current wave of Blatant Anti-Semitism & Anti-Israel demonization in Europe and elsewhere was prefigured then, in the months after the Yom Kippur War.  The Arab oil boycott turned Israel into a pariah ~ fewer countries had diplomatic relations with the Jewish state than with the PLO, which didn’t even pretend to seek anything but Israel’s destruction. The UN General Assembly gave a standing ovation to Yasser Arafat, who wore a pistol to the session and preached the destruction of a UN member state, the Jewish State of Israel.  This war taught Israel that it must be ever-vigilant in terms of intelligence and that it must rebuild deterrence to avoid enemy countries attacking again.

Zionism was supposed to represent Jews’ final strategy for acceptance, ending their status as a ghost people haunting the nations, as Zionist Leo Pinsker put it.  But, not only has Zionism failed to win Jews acceptance,  Zionism itself has become the pretext for the latest assault on Jewish legitimacy. Why does every attempt to create a normal Jewish relationship with the world seem to fail?  Because we are seeking to please International opinion into accepting the Jewish State of Israel on Equal terms. I don't think they will ever do this. Ever, except over our dead bodies. Destruction of Judaism .... that is the world's Desire, this Yom Kippur, as last Yom Kippur, as Yom Kippur 1973!!

Yom Kippur, a day of introspection for Jews, also a day of remembrance for our personal dead,  will also always be a day of remembrance for those who died keeping Israel safe on its holiest day.  Why do the Goyim always pick our Holidays to attack ... No Respect for Ha'Shem, in fact a Hatred for Him and His holy Torah.  And the people of His Torah ..... Jews!!

Despite the Israel Defence Forces' ultimate success on the battlefield, the war is somehow considered a diplomatic and military failure. The only possible 'fail' I can identify is that Israel SHOULD HAVE GONE ON TO CRUSH THE ARAB STATES AND RECLAIM ALL LAND THAT HAS BEEN BEQUEATHED TO B'NEI YISRAEL BY HASHEM.  Leadership 'failed' then ... as now. 

"in military terms Israel would recognize its achievement in the war as having few historic parallels. Reeling from a surprise attack on two fronts with the bulk of its army still unmobilized, and confronted by staggering new battlefield realities, Israel's situation was one that could readily bring strong nations to their knees. Yet, within days, it had regained its footing and in less than two weeks it was threatening both enemy capitals, an achievement having few historical parallels. Israel faced not just the Egyptian and Syrian armies but much of the Arab world, and did so with the arm it had most relied on, the air force, tied behind its back. As a military feat, the IDF’s performance in the Yom Kippur War dwarfed that in the Six Day War. Victory emerged from motivation that came from the deepest layers of the nation’s being and from basic military skills that compensated for the grave errors of leadership" ~ Abraham Rabinovich, 'The Yom Kippur War' p. 498.

"The removal of all Arabs who refuse to accept the exclusive, unquestioned Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael is not only logical and normal for any Jew with a modicum of an instinct for self-preservation; it is also the Jewish halakic obligation. It is important that we know this in order to realize what true “Jewishness” really dictates and in order to instill in ourselves the faith and assurance that if we do this, all the nations in the world will be incapable of harming Israel.

The Jewish people are not merely one more nation. "Though I put an end to all the nations among whom thou art scattered, but I will never put an end to thee" (Yirmayahu 30:11).   Israel is indestructible. It is unique, it is holy, it is the Chosen of Ha'Shem, it has a reason for being. Its national uniqueness is built on an idea, on an ideology, that it alone has. The Jew is selected and obligated to be a religio-nation, commanded to obey the laws and follow the path of Torah. The Covenant. The Jewish people took upon itself the yoke of Ha'Shem, acknowledging Him as G*d and observing His laws. The Almighty chose them as His unique people, pledging that they would be indestructible and would live in peace and prosperity in their own land, Eretz Yisrael".
~ Rabbi Meir Kehane, 'They Must Go' ~

A NEW Documentary by Israeli Filmaker Yuval Delshad ~ I've only watched this part, which is one of three.