Banot Aliyah

“There is never a question that is bad, just wrong answers.”


My neighbor’s daughter is religious, but you could see her skirts rising, necklines dropping, and less respect for Rebbium and halachah.  Until she started going (on her own free will!) to Banot Aliyah an evening of classes designed for Beis Yaacov graduates.

Chaya Rivka Davis nee’ Kaufman never went off the derech (OTD), but she recognized how easy it is to get there.  “When I was 17, I was very popular among my classmates, but I felt empty inside.  I felt this great need to be busy all the time. I put pictures of all my friends on the wall to prove to myself how popular I was.  Yet it didn’t free me from my emptiness. I was pursuing happiness in the wrong places.

I took upon myself, then, not to watch any movies or listen to non-Jewish music. It was difficult, but it was so helpful. That year I listened to only shiruim especially of Rabbi Zechariah Wallenstein. It helped me to get strong.” (Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein is the founder of Ateres Naava Seminary for Girls and Women in Brooklyn, having a tremendous impact on their growing and changing through learning Torah.)

Using Rabbi Wallerstein as a model, Chaya Rivka began to think how to help other young women.  Knowing how easy it is to feel not connected she recognizes how precarious and dangerous that is for a young adult.

“I saw girls floundering with emptiness and sometimes looking where they shouldn’t be.”  Teenagers and young adults need to feel connected to their home and their friends, and if one is missing, they will seek otherwise.  The girls who come from a disruptive home life, whether there might be abuse, divorce, or simply a lack of structure or dialog, need answers to why we do the things we do. The same girls who find it difficult to listen to rules usually have questions, which haven’t been answered (and at times, they were not given a chance to ask). Ironically, they will be the ones accepted (if at all) to lower level academic schools that often have restrictive demands on the girls without necessarily offering explanations. Asking questions can at times mark them as ‘not religious enough for the school’s standards’. Yet, that is what they crave; a place to ask questions.

Chaya Rivka emphasizes, “There is never a question that is bad, just wrong answers.”

Chaya Rivka Davis, a young married 23-year-old, mother of a son and daughter, has seen some of these girls end up on the street. “I just had to do something.” And she did.  She has started a movement; Bnot Aliyah. It offers classes on the fundamentals of Judaism, has activities and even more. She advertises on Facebook and other social media and depends on word of mouth to get the fun, learning interactive program known.  Already after only five months, she has at least once a week a speaker, or activity for young women (married or otherwise) pulling in the top speakers in the Jerusalem English Baeli Teshuva Scene; Rav Moshe Zeldman, Rabbi Gavriel Friedman, Reb. Tsiporah Heller, Reb Silvia Schatz, Rav Dovid Gotlieb, and more. Together there are two branches (in Jerusalem and Ramat Beit Shemesh) and she is reaching 20-30 girls each week, without a budget.

Mrs. Davis is now trying to get donations to help build Bnot Aliyah so she can reach more girls, who want to learn and grow.

How did Chaya Rivka start?

Chaya Rivka Davis was born in Israel and lived in the Jerusalem area for most of her life. Her parents are American baeli teshuva, and until she was eleven, the family lived in Israel. From first to third grade, she learned in a Yiddish school, then a standard Israeli haredi Beis Yaakov in Beit Shemesh. Her family moved to Chile for half-a-year, when she was eleven, to do kiruv. Afterwards, they moved to Lakewood for three years. At the tender age of fourteen, the family returned to Israel. Loneliness and need to make new friends was a struggle for Chaya Rivka as it would be for anybody.

Chaya Rivka reflects, “When girls struggle with the religious aspect of their lives, it is a symptom, it’s not the cause. It means there is an issue underlying everything . Maybe they are not connecting, or they don’t understand, and sometimes they don’t really pursue the issue, just letting it go. But, slowly but surely their dress changes, their actions change, their friends change, and gradually one day they are not religious.”

She knew she had to do something when she saw a friend of the family, who at fifteen was quickly becoming an OTD statistic. “I couldn’t watch it happen.” Chaya Rivka decided it was her job to help.  She spoke to people she knew in the kiruv krovim circles and was recommended to talk with Rabbi Moshe Zeldman from Aish HaTorah. He proved to be challenging to catch. Yet after a few weeks of perseverance, she caught up with him just as he arrived back in the Holy Land.

“If you had spoken to me before,” he informed her, “I would not have been interested.  I teach boys who are baeli teshuva, I don’t have any knowledge of girls and women and certainly not teaching women who have learned in the Beis Yaakov system.  It is a very different education.  When I was in America, the FFB (Frum From Birth) women surprised me by demanding classes.  All women are in need of asking basic questions and are looking for deeper meanings than they were taught in Beis Yaakov. “

Rav Zeldman continued, “I actually started preparing a 5-week course for women.  So, yes I would be delighted and proud to be part of your amazing organization. I want to be part of bringing women together who have gone through the system, know a lot about Yiddishkeit, yet want to deepen their connection and become Bnot Aliyah.”

Although most of the women attending have had a religious background, they enjoy the baeli teshuva approach.

What is the difference between the Baeli Teshuva and FFB approach?

When children learn from a young age essential concepts, many times their first impression is what stays with them. The issue may not develop beyond an immature understanding nor blossom to a deeper level if the student is not challenged and aided.  Therefore, religious girls (or boys) who have learned about Hashem starting from the age of three or younger may never really advance their entire conception of HaKodesh Baruch Hu past the simpler concepts of a child.  What does it mean that Hashem is our Father, our King, and our Judge? How are we supposed to relate to Hashem? How are we to speak to him? When?  Do we really understand the deepness in the halachos that we do?

Those who came to Judaism at an older age, however, were taught on an adult level with a more sophisticated understanding. Their more mature perception help develop a stronger connection with their belief system or at least give them a more profound grasp on basic or ritualistic ideas. The years of learning, however, cannot be easily made up nor compare to the very fibers of an FFB in their understanding Torah.

Yet simple questions may never been asked. Why does the kallah go around her chassan seven times? Why do women light the Shabbos candles before we say a bracha? How can free will exist with Hashem knowing everything past and future? And more.  These ideas are so interwoven in a frum from birth’s experience; they may never have stopped to ask the questions.  Baalei teshuva, however, have asked these questions and are used to getting answers; with profound responses.

Chaya Rivka was greatly bothered when she heard married women saying they had questions on fundamental concepts but did not ask nor knew where to go for answers. Their complacency response ‘when I’m 120, I’ll know’ infuriated her.

“That is wrong!  This is our heritage. It is a travesty not to have a connection to Hashem.  We have to know whom we are crying out to. Kids should be taught to ask any question they want.  If a teacher cannot answer a question on hashkafah, it is usually because the teachers don’t have a clear understanding themselves, not because there was something wrong with the question.  Every Jew is entitled to have the tools to grow.  Stagnation from a lack of knowledge only breeds danger.”

Chaya Rivka wants young girls to be connected. “I want to create a group where young women can feel comfortable and develop real relationships, a real connection to the Creator, the Master of the World, where they can ask their questions they always wanted to ask, and get real answers.”

Hadas Bat El cofounder of Bnot Aliyah and runs the branch in Beit Shemesh envisions the program‘s objective as in “giving clarity to the Beis Yaakov girl who hasn’t grasp the basic concepts of Judaism. We talk about important topics like emuna, how do we know Hashem is in our lives, how do we know he loves us, how do we have free will.  All those kind of subjects.  The classes are interactive.  The girls love it.  I see how it is helping so many people.”

One of the participants mentioned how just being part of a group of questioning women, she has learned so much.  She gains not only from the answers but even the questions that are asked.  It is profoundly broadening her understanding more than she ever knew before.

Rav Gav Freidman, from Aish HaTorah, asked the girls in his shiur one evening, “What are we all looking for?” Surprisingly he answered, ‘happiness’. “We are looking for happiness.  What is happiness?  Is it just a feeling good?  No, it is more specific.  Happiness is the sensation you get when you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Happiness is when you’re accomplishments are meaningful to you within the job you are supposed to be doing.  G-d crated the world so that each person has their own tafkid, their own job. When a person fulfills their own job that is meant especially for them, they feel incredible happiness. How do you know what your job is? Look in your toolbox.  Look and see what capabilities, talents, and interests you have.  When you accomplish the job that G-d created for you within the Torah guidelines (which G-d gave to us on a national level) we feel happiness.”

Chaya Rivka is creating a place where our precious neshamos (and future mothers and builders of Klal Yisrael) can learn to be happy in the framework of Torah.  How? By giving them the best tool ever; knowledge (and excitement).

Don’t you want to be a part of it?

Contact Bnot Aliyah:


The Mysterious Shirts’ Pockets (Another story with the granddaughters)


By Bracha, Tova, Esti and Safta

Safta received the magnets in the mail, which she placed on the fridge. Each one showed the boys picture next to the Rosh Hashanah apple dipped in honey. They were wearing the same blue and green striped shirt.  Only there was one difference, the pockets were on different sides. Meir’s pocket didn’t have a button but Shlomo’s was closed.

As their cousins Bracha Tova and Esti, examined the magnets, they began to realize there was a mystery.  Why were the pockets on different sides of their shirts? Thinking of ideas, they came up with a few solutions.  Maybe the shirts were bought that way, or maybe they originally had two pockets and their aunt had taken one of them off on each shirt without realizing she took the opposite ones. Or maybe one of the shirts was meant for a girl since not only was the pocket on the other side but so were the buttons that ran down the front.

As they were pondering the issue, Meir and Shlomo walked into Safta’s house wearing the very same shirts. After giving them a large hug and kiss, the girls noticed right away the shirt’s pockets were on the same side not opposite.  The mystery was greater.

Grabbing their cousins’ hands, they ran to the fridge and examined the magnets again. They realized it wasn’t the shirts that had opposite pockets but only the picture. They figured out that the gannet had flipped the picture around when making the magnets.

Bracha, Tova, and Esti figured out the mystery and started to look for another puzzle to solve.



The Power of a Smile 

By Rachel Frid
Lately, I heard a wonderful story about saving someone’s life with a simple “good morning”.
There’s also the famous story told about the Shochet (ritual slaughterer) who was locked in the factory’s freezer at the end of the day. The guard, who was so used to his greeting upon entering and leaving, saved him after realizing that he hadn’t said good night to him that evening.
Actually, I have my own story to tell. At one point in my “career”, I took an on-line job. Seemingly simple, there was an art to it and it didn’t go well for me. One day I called an office and the nurse answered, telling me what she thought of me, kind words ranging from liar to con artist. After that phone call, I decided to finish the day and quit.
My next call was answered by Tony, clerk by profession, stand-up comedian by nature. He made me laugh and I could almost see him smiling over the phone. Feeling encouraged, I decided to keep the job. Eventually, I learned “the ropes”. That job taught me a lot and I guess I owe it all to Tony.
How many people do we pass in a day? Who couldn’t use a smile or a friendly word? Tony did not know that he was saving my family’s finances by making me laugh, but that’s what he did. 
This month is the Yahrtzeit of my father, Mr. Leo Reich, Zatzal. He was an illustrious teacher. As a distinguished Rosh Yeshiva said at his funeral, “his soul burned with the longing to teach Jewish children about Judaism.” He taught for over sixty years and was loved by all of his students. Amazingly though, almost every one of the hundreds of people who came to the Shivah (house of mourning) said the exact same words, “Mr. Reich always greeted me with a smile.” It is true that my father loved people and was truly interested in them, but there is something more to be learned here. If years later what people remembered was his smile and the simple “how have you been?” that went with it, doesn’t that show how much they needed that smile, that show of interest?
If we open our hearts and share a little warmth, it could very well be the good deed needed to tip the scales this year, for us, for Am Yisroel and for the whole world.
May we all be blessed with a year of happiness, good health and warmth from Above.
Shana Tova,
Rochel Frid
Dear Friends,


Since my husband was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, we have become mountain climbers.  With G-d’s help, and the support of dear family and friends we have been able to reach some level of stability. R’ Dovid is fully cognizant, but this cruel disease has left him paralyzed and dependent on life support.

We began this campaign when we found ourselves falling into debt and were afraid that we would not be able to keep up home care.  Thanks to and your ongoing support, we have been able to hire day and night caregivers and handle many other never-ending expenses. Each month when we can pay for proper care, we are so thankful! We would not be functioning without your donations, but our challenges are ongoing, so please feel free to share this campaign with your community and friends.

In addition, we are inviting you to spread light in the world. To do something pure. To do something GOOD. Please join our “Love Your Neighbor Challenge”. You can choose a good deed (examples below) to do in the merit of a speedy recovery for Dovid Yehoshua Ben Leba Malka.

We are so grateful for your support. Every little bit helps. **PRESS the RED button to donate now or press “read more” to make a TAX FREE donation.



1. Online: Visit Fill in the requested information and click on “send a contribution” towards the bottom of the page.

2. PHONE. Call toll free 1888-633-2188 24 hours a day. Please specify that the contribution is for fund #2605.

3. CHECK. Make your check payable to American Friends of Kupat Hair. Please attach a note specifying that the contribution is for fund #2605. Mail your check to American Friends of Kupat Hair, 4415 14th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11219.
*Examples of Bright Ideas for the Love Your Neighbor ChallengeI accept upon myself for the merit and recovery of Dovid Yehoshua Ben Leba Malka:

1. To smile when I walk in the door of my house and leave my problems outside.

2. Greet an acquaintance with a smile.

3. Call someone who lives alone to ask how they are.

4. Ask a close family member how he or she is doing.

5. Offer to help someone who is overburdened with chores.

6. Resolve not to speak maliciously about others for two hours everyday.

7. Ask forgiveness even if I think I was in the right.

8. Forgive someone who has wronged me.  

and/or take upon yourself to learn 2 laws of Shmirat Halashon (guarding one’s speech) using one of the books/links on the subject.

Getting it Right

It is over a week and a half since I woke up with my right foot in process of swelling and turning deep angry red and purple. The doctor immediately recommended antibiotics. He told me I had cellulitis, and warned me that it would be a long time before I would see my foot look normal again.  In spite of its rather large out of shape of the norm and sporting a deep red sheen, I am not considered a dangerous case.  My foot is just red, in other cases, it can travel up the blood stream, turn all sorts of colors, blister into ugly formations, but worse it can affect the whole body-making one truly feel sick especially with a high burning fever.  I had just a red foot to contend with.

After the 3rd day not seeing any progress, it was discovered I was under dosing myself.  The doctor decided to put me on IV which I could get administrated from the nurse’s room in our local kupat holim, the medical fund, which is usually a two-minute walk from my house now became my only exercise of 10 minutes a day.

Except for Shabbos, which I went back to the right dosage of the oral pills, I was being stuck every day with needles.  (One of the nurses left me such a bruise at least Thank G-d it was on the other arm).  Back on Sunday, back in the doctor’s office, he was not happy with the progress of my sickness, though I thought I saw improvement.

“You know before antibiotics were invented, people did improve just slowly. In your case, something is wrong.”  First deciding that I must be suffering from the blow that might have caused the whole process a full two weeks earlier, he prescribed an anti-inflammatory to help that progress a bit faster.  He also agreed to put me back on an IV. On the computer writing out my prescription, he noticed he had prescribed the week previous the wrong prescription!  Incredibly embarrassed and with a large deal of remorse, he apologized. For the entire week, I had under-dosed the antibiotic I needed, first by my mistake and then by the doctor.

Now on day two taking the right dosage, improvement is dramatic. I can walk unaided (I went from a cane to crutches depending on the pain).  Moreover, I’m getting incredibly bored being limited to my house and the kupat holim.

Ironically, at least from the doctor’s viewpoint, I actually was happy to hear he had misdiagnosed me.  It gave me so much hope.  If it was wrong, now I had a chance to get it right and faster!

Elul is the month we are in right now which is exactly a month away from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur the days of repentance.  The entire month of Elul is for preparation towards those holy days. We are to use the entire month to prepare ourselves for the new Jewish year.  By recognizing the mistakes, the sins, the wrong approaches, we have done is part of the work. Nevertheless, we do not need to get too sad or nervous about it.  Rather we should recognize the time as an incredible opportunity that Hashem has given us to try again.  And maybe this time we will get it right.

Hodesh, Elul, Tov!



Dudu, the Scruffy Penguin

Dudu, the Scruffy Penguin

By Bracha and Tova Goldberg and Safta

We went to visit the penguins yesterday at the zoo.  We noticed that the oldest penguin sat there watching over his family; most likely most of them were his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  He seemed to have an eye on us as well.  What he didn’t know was that he had turned quite gray and his feathers were all of a mess.  His normal tuxedo was untidy and scruffy. We were wondering why.

Apparently, it all began that morning when the old penguin, whose name was Dudu, went into the water to get his morning exercise. The zoo attendant, Haim, came just then to feed the colony of penguins. As you can imagine, the entire colony came running to get their fish.  Well, you can’t call it running by a penguin because they waddle. They all waddled over to Haim and waited in line like they do every day for their personal fish and a good word from Haim.

Dudu was in the water and swam to the side of the pond where the Haim was standing with his buckets of fish. When he got on to land, he slipped and somersaulted in front of everyone.  He slid into the bucket, and all the fish fell out. This caused a ruckus by all the younger folks jumping at the chance to get their fish earlier than expected.  Dudu was covered with fish since he landed under the bucket.  Thus, all the penguins were nibbling at him as they tried to get their breakfast.  That is why Dudu’s feathers were all astray.

Since he is so old, he had gotten out of the habit of pruning himself on a regular basis.  Since he gotten up in the morning and already did his morning toiletry duties, it hadn’t occurred for him to do it again.

We came a bit after this story happened and that is how we found him sitting there quite a mess while he tried to catch his breath for the escapade.  Although Dudu had been covered with fish, no one had noticed including Haim, the zoo attendant, that Dudu didn’t get anything to eat.

There Dudu sat forlornly with no one showing him any care.  Since the Penguins were regularly fed one fish at a time, Haim, realized that someone hadn’t eaten since there was one fish left over in the bucket. None of the Penguins seemed upset.

Haim looked around trying to figure out which penguin missed his meal that morning.  Since he knew all their names and personalities, he looked them over and called them out.  They were all busy eating.  That is when he noticed Dudu just sitting there looking at us.  Haim went over to the old fellow.

“Dudu! Hey, old man, where is your fish?  You had quite a fall today.  Is that why you are sitting here in a mess?” Haim petted Dudu’s head.

Dudu jumped back and looked hurt.  Haim realized he was the one who didn’t get breakfast and threw the fish at Dudu.  Dudu caught it and swallowed happily.  He still didn’t clean his feathers until he took another bath that day.

That is why; we found out, Dudu was a scruffy Penguin.


Putin: “I Know the Secret of Jewish Survival”

Guest Article – Even Putin knows the secret of the Jewish survival!

Putin: “I Know the Secret of Jewish Survival”Guest Article
The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef once had an amazing meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Here’s a short vignette of the meeting in the rabbi’s words:

“I had a meeting with Putin the President of Russia. I thought we’d have a short meeting with a few pictures for a few minutes but I was surprised; he sat with me for an hour and a quarter! Where did he have the time to do this? He spoke the whole time, he doesn’t know Hebrew and I don’t know Russian but we had our ambassador there who was interpreting between us.”

“He started explaining what Greek culture is, what Egyptian culture is and what Roman culture is. He kept explaining and expounding on the topic and I’m listening to what seems to be a history lesson. Then he turned to me suddenly, surprising me and asked me: “Honorable Rabbi, tell me… all the other cultures disappeared. Who remembers Greek culture today? Who knows what Roman culture or Egyptian culture is today? Nobody knows what these are anymore. You the Jewish nation, you remained! Can you explain to me how is it that you remain and all those other cultures were erased from the world? Rabbi, please give me an explanation for this! I started trying to explain like in outreach seminars which explain basic concepts in Judaism, but he interrupted me and said: “Don’t answer me, I’ll answer you.”

“What did he tell me? Remember he is not Jewish and not someone who came back to Judaism; he is the non-Jewish president of half the world, of Russia and what did he tell me? He told me: “You remain in the merit of your rabbis and of your Torah! Your rabbis spread Torah and in the merit of this you remain.”

“To hear such an answer from a non-Jewish president… he knows the truth! He acknowledged the truth that we remain in the merit of our Torah. The nation of Israel exists only in the merit of our Torah! Therefore let us all strengthen ourselves in our Torah. May the merit of the Torah help to build the Holy Temple speedily in our days, May the Torah protect you all and grant you good health and clear vision and a long life. May we merit seeing the final redemption speedily and in our days, Amen!

The Kotel Controversary Continues

Below are the responses to a couple of articles who are still demanding Israel reject a 3500-year tradition (that is men and women separate when praying). Reform has had abysmal failure in passing on their traditions. Intermarriage rates over 60% and children leaving the fold.  Besides the many who have sided with the Palestinian lies with no serious back up of knowledge due to the liberal university’s political correctness policies.

The two articles I responded to (written below with links if you want to check it out) are written by people I admire.  The first has a comment from an old and valued friend who is the grandson of the great innovator Jacob Blaustein.  The other is Professor Allen Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard Law School – one of the most articulate speakers in this generation.

Although I disagree with both men, it is utter respect, and only in dialogue.  Tell me what you think.

Going to the Wall

by Francine Klagsbrun


This is a fallacy to think Orthodox called their brothers by horrible names. I am Orthodox and I have never heard of such language. It is true there is anger that the Reform have destroyed the Jewish people – look at the statistics barely 30% of this generation will marry a Jew and it has been proven the children of such marriages are not interested in being Jewish. In my book, that spell failure big time. The Orthodox, on the other hand, are multiplying and are not trying to quickly change to keep up with political correctness.


Yet, any person whose mother was Jewish is a Jew, regardless whether they keep kosher, Shabbos, or any of the other mitzvahs that are given to us for the Torah. In fact, out of the 613 mitzvot, many of them are not kept today because we don’t have a Temple. Those walls are surrounding that Temple that we are missing.  We pray the building of the new Temple so we will merit the possibility of keeping all the mitzvot.  The Reform do not pray for the return of the Temple, and actually, they despise the concept – yet suddenly they need to pray at the Kotel – the western wall surrounding and protecting the Temple?  Do you realize the hypocrisy underplaying this controversy?  When the UN voted against the Kotel and its environs as a Jewish symbol; did the Women of the Wall protest? Did the Reform? No!  They don’t care. It is only a stage for protest.


The Robinson Arch sanctuary is so large and set aside for those who want to have egalitarian services. How do I know it is so large? Because it lies empty, except for a few bar mitzvahs once and awhile. It is hard to see anyone there. The Reform does not care about praying at the wall unless there are news cameras to catch the sight of women wearing tefillin. (It would be nice to see some Reform men wearing tefillin as well.) It is all a spectacle. Anat Hoffman (WOW) and rabbi Jacobs (reform) made a clip to show off the smallness of size of the platform.  They lied!!!  They showed only the tiny platform (large enough to stand a minyan of people) that one can stand and touch the stones of the Wall. They did not show the much larger and beautiful platform that 100 people could stand on with shade, chairs, and a bina!


The only thing that has changed is the entrance is not going to go over the land where the Arabs like to climb to the top, but instead, the area has its own simple entrance. The wooden structure is over the very rocks that the Romans threw down on Tish B’Av when they destroyed the Temple in 70AD. History is part of the very sight.


Most Israelis do not want to pray in an egalitarian place – the majority prefers the Orthodox shuls (to be the shul they don’t go to). If the reform wants so much power to have a say in internal affairs – come, make aliyah, and make a party. Otherwise, remember this is a democratic JEWISH state. Money is nice, but it isn’t everything.


I’m sure when Jacob Blaustein came he was respectful of the minyan that was being held there then. Moreover, I’m sure he didn’t come with the news reporters of the world to show off some sacred ritual being done wrong. He came with honor and intention to pray to the G-d that gave us his Torah.

Discussion on Algemeiner 

Alan Dershowitz: So Now American Zionists Want to Boycott Israel

Comment by Tziyona Kantrowitz Still Pending


I love listening to Alan Dershowitz and am inescapable logic and wisdom. However, this time I think he got it wrong.

Israel is not America. It is a democracy (and actually a much more legitimate democracy since there are more than two parties), but it is not a place where there is freedom of religion. It is a Jewish state, the only Jewish state in the world.

That means the Jewish protocol is respected. All government meetings and across the board are kosher, and the government does not function on Shabbos. That means shuls, and religious places are protected by the government and kept with an official Orthodox look (men and women separated). In addition, because it is a democracy as well, it proves to be the way most Israelis like it. In Israel, unlike America, but more in tune with other Jews around the world, the orthodox system is the shul that Israelis don’t go to. (They do not find reform or conservative legitimate at all.)

This doesn’t go against that Israel has become the safest and best place for growth for Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. It is a pluralistic government when it comes to other religions, but it will not become pluralistic when it comes to Judaism. As we have seen the demise of the Jewish people through the followings of the Reform, who don’t even want to live in the land of Israel but feel perfectly capable of telling Israel what to do. The Reform and followed by the Conservative movements have brought havoc on to the Jewish people. Their stance about the Kotel is particularly ridiculous, since most Reform do not care about the Temple, which is what the Kotel is all about, nor do they find it important to pray at the wall unless news cameras are watching.

The ultra-religious do not wield an unhealthy control over anybody, they have the same power as any other small (and we are talking about small) party. However, all and all, the Israeli mindset is not into integrating the Kotel for some radical women who put on tefillin once a month for the TV cameras. They like the Kotel as is.

Reform leader declares: ‘We don’t want to pray at a second class Kotel’

Non-Orthodox Jews (especially the Reform and Women of the Wall) are all up and arms about the Kotel. Let’s examine their claims:

  1. There is no place for them. WRONG – for years already there is a lovely platform lying over the rocks that give witness to the destruction of the Holy Temple by the Romans in 70AD on Tish B’av.
  2. The plaza is only second class rated. Well, that is a personal opinion, but I have no idea where they get that statement. It is the scene of our heritage; it is right next to the plaza for women and the southern wall, which was at the time of the Temple the entrance of the separated stairs leading up to the Temple.  It is actually near the ramps that the people used to enter the Holy Temple. What exactly is second rate?
  3. They don’t have an entrance near the other plazas. True, they have their own entrance which is much more assessable and without the need to go through the long lines, nor pay – as one needs to do if they want to go into the southern quarter).
  4. The Orthodox take the whole plaza and don’t let anyone else in. WRONG. It is true it is forbidden for women to bring in a sefer Torah to read at an all-women-minyan. It is prohibited for women to put on tefillin and a tallit even on the women side. (For mixed and women minyan there is the section as mentioned above.) However, anyone can come in otherwise.  Any Jew; religious or secular, or even non-Jews – anyone – but it is a holy place and needs to be respected.
  5. Only when the Orthodox came was the plaza split, for years the wall was open to everyone. NOT EXACTLY, TRUE.  From 1948-1967 the entrance was impossible to get to because of the Arab’s houses and garbage they threw onto the ground so the Temple would be desecrated.  (That is why the gate is still called dung or garbage gate). Before people would come to pray, but the wall was not split, there wasn’t room and the Jews were not in charge.  Yet any picture you look at from those days – those who came were all Orthodox.  There was barely any tourism. The Kotel is the closest place we have to the holy of holies in the Temple – and the Temple was always separated between men and women, that is why the Rabbis enacted the same law for the only connection we have to the Temple today.  (Moreover, cohanim and Israelim, and taraha and tamei, and Jew and non-Jew – there were many separations.)

Now it is my turn:  If the Reform cares so much about the Kotel and its access- answer these questions:

  1. Why don’t you believe or pray for the Holy Temple? Where is it in your prayer books? Why is the Kotel meaningful to you at all anyway?
  2. Why didn’t you support Israel when it comes to BDS? Why aren’t you on campus helping Jewish Students from being shouted down?
  3. Why were you supporting Obama when he was systematically trying to harm Israel? Why didn’t you protest the Iranian proposal? Why did you not protest all the building freezes?  Did you think that the terrorists’ killing is acceptable because we build houses?
  4. Where were your cries when UN voted against the Kotel‘s Jewish history?
  5. Why didn’t you cry out when Obama slipped the Palestinians millions of dollars in the last few hours of his presidency?
  6. Why don’t you care about the future of the Jewish people and stop intermarriage? When your statistics stand over 60% of non-orthodox Jews intermarry y how can, you come and tell us how to conduct our holy spots?
  7. The Reform is so angry because of an entrance? The reform delegation in Israel acted the same as the misguided seniors of college who walk out of audiences when a right wing person might speak like the vice president of United States. Alternatively, they yell down when someone says something they don’t like.  If you are so sensitive to your needs, and you couldn’t come to the table to talk to the Prime Minister of Israel, does that prove you could care less about the Jewish people and Israel?  You didn’t even protest for all the things above!
  8. And on top of it all, the Reform think they can dictate who a Jew is? Why bother bringing in goyim into the Jewish people if they are not interested in keeping anything that is part of the Jewish people.
  9. Reform Jews believe in hesed, Tikun olam – which are beautiful concepts (of course we may not agree what needs fixing….) but why do they think that makes them Jewish? There aren’t righteous gentiles? What makes a Jew different that a non-Jew? If the Reform movement can not answer that question (and I don’t believe they can) – there is no right for the reform to ask their kids to be Jews – which is what is happening.  And that is why we can’t leave you in charge of our holy sites or the laws of conversion.


Could Be Worse

(You should check with your accountant with any financial information gleaned from here.)

We are bemoaning our fate filling out our taxes this year.  The letter combinations of FBAR, FACTA, Pfic on any funds outside of America including the apparently evil ‘mutual fund’ (the ones the bank recommends) has all come to haunt us.  (If you are an American expatriate with investments in your local area- read Israel-, you should know these terms. Just saying.) The cruelest part of the American demands isn’t the declarations we need to make or even the tax they demand on each gain (and they could care less how much we lost) of every sale our mutual fund(s) make; it is the means we need to research this information.

I used to have a false notion that everyone should be able to fill out their own taxes. A Masters or Accounting degree was for businesses and various problems. We usually have gone the expensive route due to our total inadequacies in the area.  However, to fill out the Pfic one must take a company to process the information with a minimum 5 hours at $250 an hour (and another 16% for VAT- for the Israeli government’s take)- though they warn you most need a minimum 15 hours.  One of our accountant’s clients paid 100,000 dollars to be processed for a $7 bill!  Do you get the imbalance here?

Personally, I would like to offer a deal with the IRS – can I just pay you $1000 and we’ll call it even? However, no one is interested in my generosity; they want to make sure they milked us for all the money that they think we have been squirreling away from their reach and reward all those that ‘help’ us.

Escorting our accountant out the door (yes, she came to us since she knew we might be in a little shock), she gave me a curious look when I said, “Thank G-d it is only money.”  She is religious, so it wasn’t the notion that surprised her. I think she could see deeper and realize that the words were right, but doubted any deepness to my faith. I hadn’t seen the damage yet.

Like Rabbi Akiva who was sent a pauper (who didn’t have even straw to sleep on and his wife was about to give birth) to make Akiva feel richer. His comfort came from the knowledge that there are always people even in worse situations. Hashem started pointing out to us that very day others hardships.

One family friend I knew was in worse financial trouble due to the same issues (though they made more money – so G-d willing that will offset their issues.) Another friend came by just the same day and told me of the horrible situation her daughter found herself involving divorce, abuse and child custody battles being fought in the court. Another friend’s daughter has been incapable of fighting her mental illness. My neighbor lost her dear father and needs to comfort her elderly mother who seems completely at a loss. Again, on the same day, another friend told me of her granddaughter’s birth, which had complications, which may require serious intervention.

Seriously, thank G-d, He has been so kind to us.  It is only money.

Nevertheless, I find it strange that we are comforted by recognizing the hardships of others.  It is important to know of our friends’ troubles. I hope that it means we remember to keep them in our prayers and find ways to help in some capacity. However, isn’t there a cruelness in this method to be comforted by other’s tragedies?

Our lives though were never meant to be smooth and placid.  We learn through hardships.  A diamond isn’t worth more than its potential unless it has been sanded down and polished.  We all face difficulties if we are living. (That is why evil people may have it easier – they aren’t truly considered living and have forfeited the right to be given opportunities for teshuva or growth.) We can suffer through financial, medical, faith-related, or marriage issues (just to touch a few), but all problems are here to teach us something, whether it is punitive, an opportunity to provide us a greater yehoshua or a test. Nevertheless, it is always for our good; it is our task to take the challenge and grow.

Recognizing there are others that are going through hard times as well, is comforting, we are not being singled out, but part of the people who G-d loves and is given steps to improve ourselves regularly. G-d willing we can face our troubles with a real belief in Hashem.

Like I said before, (and I hope to continually only need to say), Thank G-d it is only money.


The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards

The behavior of much of the media, but especially The New York Times, was a disgrace. I don’t believe it ever will recover the public trust it squandered.

By Michael Goodwin from the The New York Post

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 20, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar.

PURSUING TRUTH • DEFENDING LIBERTY SINCE 1844 mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close. It’s not exactly breaking news that most journalists lean left. I used to do that myself. I grew up at The New York Times, so I’m familiar with the species. For most of the media, bias grew out of the social revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. Fueled by the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, the media jumped on the anti-authority bandwagon writ large. The deal was sealed with Watergate, when journalism was viewed as more trusted than government—and far more exciting and glamorous. Think Robert Redford in All the President’s Men. Ever since, young people became journalists because they wanted to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, find a Deep Throat, and bring down a president. Of course, most of them only wanted to bring down a Republican president. That’s because liberalism is baked into the journalism cake.

During the years I spent teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism, I often found myself telling my students that the job of the reporter was “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m not even sure where I first heard that line, but it still captures the way most journalists think about what they do. Translate the first part of that compassionate-sounding idea into the daily decisions about what makes news, and it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that every person afflicted by something is entitled to help. Or, as liberals like to say, “Government is what we do together.” From there, it’s a short drive to the conclusion that every problem has a government solution. The rest of that journalistic ethos— “afflict the comfortable”—leads to the knee-jerk support of endless taxation. Somebody has to pay for that government intervention the media loves to demand. In the same vein, and for the same reason, the average reporter will support every conceivable regulation as a way to equalize conditions for the poor. He will also give sympathetic coverage to groups like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.

A New Dimension I knew all of this about the media mindset going into the 2016 presidential campaign. But I was still shocked at what happened. This was not naïve liberalism run amok. This was a whole new approach to politics. No one in modern times had seen anything like it. As with grief, there were several stages. In the beginning, Donald Trump’s candidacy was treated as an outlandish publicity stunt, as though he wasn’t a serious candidate and should be treated as a circus act. But television executives quickly made a surprising discovery: the more they put Trump on the air, the higher their ratings climbed. Ratings are money. So news shows started devoting hours and hours simply to pointing the cameras at Trump and letting them run. As his rallies grew, the coverage grew. The candidate nobody in the media took seriously was attracting the most people to his events and getting the most news coverage. Newspapers got in on the game too. Trump, unlike most of his opponents, was always available to the press, and could be counted on to say something outrageous or controversial that made a headline. He made news by being a spectacle. Despite the mockery of journalists and late-night comics, something extraordinary was happening. Trump was dominating a campaign none of the smart money thought he could win. And then, suddenly, he was winning. Only when the crowded Republican field began to thin and Trump kept racking up primary and caucus victories did the media’s tone grow more serious. One study estimated that Trump had received so much free airtime that if he had had to buy it, the price would have been $2 billion. The realization that they had helped Trump’s rise seemed to make many executives, producers, and journalists furious. By the time he secured the nomination and the general election rolled around, they were gunning for him. Only two people now had a chance to be president, and the overwhelming media consensus was that it could not be Donald Trump. They would make sure of that. The coverage of him grew so vicious and one-sided that last August I wrote a column on the unprecedented bias. Under the headline “American Journalism Is Collapsing Before Our Eyes,” I wrote that the so-called cream of the media crop was “engaged in a naked display of partisanship” designed to bury Trump and elect Hillary Clinton. The evidence was on the front page, the back page, the culture pages, even the sports pages. It was at the top of the broadcast and at the bottom of the broadcast. Day in, day out, in every media market in America, Trump was savaged like no other candidate in memory. We were watching the total collapse of standards, with fairness and balance tossed overboard. Every story was an opinion masquerading as news, and every opinion ran in the same direction—toward Clinton and away from Trump.

For the most part, I blame The New York Times and The Washington Post for causing this breakdown. The two leading liberal newspapers were trying to top each other in their demonization of Trump and his supporters. They set the tone, and most of the rest of the media followed like lemmings. On one level, tougher scrutiny of Trump was clearly defensible. He had a controversial career and lifestyle, and he was seeking the presidency as his first job in government. He also provided lots of fuel with some of his outrageous words and deeds during the campaign. But from the beginning there was also a second element to the lopsided coverage.

The New York Times has not endorsed a Republican for president since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, meaning it would back a dead raccoon if it had a “D” after its name. Think of it—George McGovern over Richard Nixon? Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan? Walter Mondale over Reagan? Any Democrat would do. And The Washington Post, which only started making editorial endorsements in the 1970s, has never once endorsed a Republican for president.

But again, I want to emphasize that 2016 had those predictable elements plus a whole new dimension. This time, the papers dropped the pretense of fairness and jumped headlong into the tank for one candidate over the other. The Times media reporter began a story this way: If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalist tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him? I read that paragraph and I thought to myself, well, that’s actually an easy question. If you feel that way about Trump, normal journalistic ethics would dictate that you shouldn’t cover him. You cannot be fair. And you shouldn’t be covering Hillary Clinton either, because you’ve already decided who should be president. Go cover sports or entertainment. Yet the Times media reporter rationalized the obvious bias he had just acknowledged, citing the view that Clinton was “normal” and Trump was not.

I found the whole concept appalling. What happened to fairness? What happened to standards? I’ll tell you what happened to them. The Times top editor, Dean Baquet, eliminated them. In an interview last October with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Baquet admitted that the piece by his media reporter had nailed his own thinking. Trump “challenged our language,” he said, and Trump “will have changed journalism.” Of the daily struggle for fairness, Baquet had this to say: “I think that Trump has ended that struggle. . . . We now say stuff. We fact check him. We write it more powerfully that [what he says is] false.”

Baquet was being too modest. Trump was challenging, sure, but it was Baquet who changed journalism. He’s the one who decided that the standards of fairness and nonpartisanship could be abandoned without consequence. With that decision, Baquet also changed the basic news story formula. To the age-old elements of who, what, when, where, and why, he added the reporter’s opinion. Now the floodgates were open, and virtually every so-called news article reflected a clear bias against Trump. Stories, photos, headlines, placement in the paper—all the tools that writers and editors have— were summoned to the battle. The goal was to pick the next president. Thus began the spate of stories, which continues today, in which the Times routinely calls Trump a liar in its news pages and headlines. Again, the contrast with the past is striking.

The Times never called Barack Obama a liar, despite such obvious opportunities as “you can keep your doctor” and “the Benghazi attack was caused by an internet video.” Indeed, the Times and The Washington Post, along with most of the White House press corps, spent eight years cheerleading the Obama administration, seeing not a smidgen of corruption or dishonesty. They have been tougher on Hillary Clinton during her long career. But they still never called her a liar, despite such doozies as “I set up my own computer server so I would only need one device,” “I turned over all the government emails,” and “I never sent or received classified emails.” All those were lies, but not to the national media.

Only statements by Trump were fair game. As we know now, most of the media totally missed Trump’s appeal to millions upon millions of Americans. The prejudice against him blinded those news organizations to what was happening in the country. Even more incredibly, I believe the bias and hostility directed at Trump backfired. The feeling that the election was, in part, a referendum on the media, gave some voters an extra incentive to vote for Trump. A vote for him was a vote against the media and against Washington.

Not incidentally, Trump used that sentiment to his advantage, often revving up his crowds with Stories, photos, headlines, placement in the paper—all the tools that writers and editors have—were summoned to the battle. The goal was to pick the next president.

He still does. If I haven’t made it clear, let me do so now. The behavior of much of the media, but especially The New York Times, was a disgrace. I don’t believe it ever will recover the public trust it squandered. The Times’ previous reputation for having the highest standards was legitimate. Those standards were developed over decades to force reporters and editors to be fair and to gain public trust. The commitment to fairness made The New York Times the flagship of American journalism. But standards are like laws in the sense that they are designed to guide your behavior in good times and in bad. Consistent adherence to them was the source of the Times’ credibility. And eliminating them has made the paper less than ordinary. Its only standards now are double standards. I say this with great sadness.

I was blessed to grow up at the Times, getting a clerical job right out of college and working my way onto the reporting staff, where I worked for a decade. It was the formative experience of my career where I learned most of what I know about reporting and writing. Alas, it was a different newspaper then. Abe Rosenthal was the editor in those days, and long before we’d ever heard the phrase “zero tolerance,” that’s what Abe practiced toward conflicts of interest and reporters’ opinions. He set the rules and everybody knew it.

Here is a true story about how Abe Rosenthal resolved a conflict of interest. A young woman was hired by the Times from one of the Philadelphia newspapers. But soon after she arrived in New York, a story broke in Philly that she had had a romantic affair with a political figure she had covered, and that she had accepted a fur coat and other expensive gifts from him. When he saw the story, Abe called the woman into his office and asked her if it were true. When she said yes, he told her to clean out her desk—that she was finished at the Times and would never work there again. As word spread through the newsroom, some reporters took the woman’s side and rushed in to tell Abe that firing her was too harsh. He listened for about 30 seconds, raised his hand for silence, and said (this is slightly bowdlerized): “I don’t care if you have a romantic affair with an elephant on your personal time, but then you can’t cover the circus for the paper.” Case closed.

The conflict of interest policy was clear, absolute, and unforgettable. As for reporters’ opinions, Abe had a similar approach. He didn’t want them in the news pages. And if you put them in, he took them out. They belonged in the opinion pages only, which were managed separately. Abe said he knew reporters tended to lean left and would find ways to sneak their views into the stories. So he saw his job as steering the paper slightly to the right. “That way,” he said, “the paper would end up in the middle.” He was well known for this attitude, which he summed up as “keeping the paper straight.” He even said he wanted his epitaph to read, “He kept the paper straight.” Like most people, I thought this was a joke. But after I related all this in a column last year, his widow contacted me and said it wasn’t a joke—that, in fact, Abe’s tombstone reads, “He kept the paper straight.” She sent me a picture to prove it. I published that picture of his tombstone alongside a column where I excoriated the Times for its election coverage. Sadly, the Times’ high standards were buried with Abe Rosenthal.

Looking to the Future Which brings us to the crucial questions. Can the American media be fixed? And is there anything that we The behavior of much of the media, but especially The New York Times, was a disgrace. I don’t believe it ever will recover the public trust it squandered as individuals can do to make a difference? The short answer to the first question is, “No, it can’t be fixed.”

The 2016 election was the media’s Humpty Dumpty moment. It fell off the wall, shattered into a million pieces, and can’t be put back together again. In case there is any doubt, 2017 is confirming that the standards are still dead. The orgy of visceral Trump-bashing continues unabated. But the future of journalism isn’t all gloom and doom. In fact, if we accept the new reality of widespread bias and seize the potential it offers, there is room for optimism. Consider this—the election showed the country is roughly divided 50-50 between people who will vote for a Democrat and people who will vote for a Republican. But our national media is more like 80-20 in favor of Democrats. While the media should, in theory, broadly reflect the public, it doesn’t. Too much of the media acts like a special interest group. Detached from the greater good, it exists to promote its own interest and the political party with which it is aligned. Ronald Reagan’s optimism is often expressed in a story that is surely apocryphal, but irresistible. He is said to have come across a barn full of horse manure and remarked cheerfully that there must be a pony in it somewhere. I suggest we look at the media landscape in a similar fashion. The mismatch between the mainstream media and the public’s sensibilities means there is a vast untapped market for news and views that are not now represented.

To realize that potential, we only need three ingredients, and we already have them: first, free speech; second, capitalism and free markets; and the third ingredient is you, the consumers of news. Free speech is under assault, most obviously on many college campuses, but also in the news media, which presents a conformist view to its audience and gets a politically segregated audience in return. Look at the letters section in The New York Times—virtually every reader who writes in agrees with the opinions of the paper. This isn’t a miracle; it’s a bubble. Liberals used to love to say, “I don’t agree with your opinion, but I would fight to the death for your right to express it.” You don’t hear that anymore from the Left. Now they want to shut you up if you don’t agree. And they are having some success. But there is a countervailing force. Look at what happened this winter when the Left organized boycotts of department stores that carried Ivanka Trump’s clothing and jewelry. Nordstrom folded like a cheap suit, but Trump’s supporters rallied on social media and Ivanka’s company had its best month ever.

This is the model I have in mind for the media. It is similar to how FOX News got started. Rupert Murdoch thought there was an untapped market for a more fair and balanced news channel, and he recruited Roger Ailes to start it more than 20 years ago. Ailes found a niche market alright—half the country! Incredible advances in technology are also on the side of free speech. The explosion of choices makes it almost impossible to silence all dissent and gain a monopoly, though certainly Facebook and Google are trying. As for the necessity of preserving capitalism, look around the world. Nations without economic liberty usually have little or no dissent. That’s not a coincidence.

In this, I’m reminded of an enduring image from the Occupy Wall Street movement. That movement was a pestilence, egged on by The mismatch between the mainstream media and the public’s sensibilities means there is a vast untapped market for news and views that are not now represented. President Obama and others who view other people’s wealth as a crime against the common good. This attitude was on vivid display as the protesters held up their iPhones to demand the end of capitalism. As I wrote at the time, did they believe Steve Jobs made each and every Apple product one at a time in his garage? Did they not have a clue about how capital markets make life better for more people than any other system known to man? They had no clue. And neither do many government officials, who think they can kill the golden goose and still get golden eggs.

Which brings me to the third necessary ingredient in determining where we go from here. It’s you. I urge you to support the media you like. As the great writer and thinker Midge Decter once put it, “You have to join the side you’re on.” It’s no secret that newspapers and magazines are losing readers and money and shedding staff. Some of them are good newspapers. Some of them are good magazines. There are also many wonderful, thoughtful, small publications and websites that exist on a shoestring. Don’t let them die. Subscribe or contribute to those you enjoy. Give subscriptions to friends. Put your money where your heart and mind are. An expanded media landscape that better reflects the diversity of public preferences would, in time, help create a more level political and cultural arena. That would be a great thing. So again I urge you: join the side you’re on. ■


MICHAEL GOODWIN is the chief political columnist for The New York Post. He has a B.A. in English literature from Columbia College and has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining the Post in 2009, he was the political columnist for The New York Daily News, where he served as executive editor and editorial page editor and led its editorial board to a Pulitzer Prize. Prior to that, he worked for 16 years at The New York Times, beginning as a clerk and rising to City Hall Bureau Chief. He is the coauthor of I, Koch and editor of New York Comes Back. The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards Michael Goodwin The New York Post The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 20, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar.

Imprimis-The-Demise-of-Journalistic-Standards-May-June-2017.  “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.” MAY/JUNE 2017 • VOLUME 46, NUMBER 5/6 < 3

Quora question: What are the main differences between dating within Orthodox Judaism and dating in the secular world?

Orthodox have a 7% divorce rate while the overall Jewish rate is more than 50% and for the general population over 65%!

In the Orthodox (I can really only speak of my experience – which is only through my kids – we are Haredim though not Chassidim), each group is slightly different but work on the same principals.

First of all, dating is for marriage. Dating is not to just go out and have a good time or meet someone nice to spend a little time with. Marriage is considered the ultimate in building a person and the goal of every child.

So how does it work? Just remember not everything is exactly the same – but it is all similar in each group. We send resumes to shaddachim. This is similar to a resume that one sends to a job. And if you think about it the whole approach might sound like a business deal, but what is the most important thing in a person’s life? -Their spouse and children. We treat it with the same reverence and concern. A person doesn’t hire someone else without checking their background, their skills, their desires and then have interviews. Shouldn’t that be the minimum one does for their spouse?

The resume lists family information, school and work information, a general description of how the person would describe themselves, and what they are looking for in a spouse and then references from family friends, friends, work or school/yeshiva references, and their Rabbi or Rebbetzin’s phone numbers.

The Shaddachan (the matchmaker – which can be a friend, family member, a professional, male or female) suggests the idea to both sides. (In our circles it usually is to the parents.)

Both sides look into it. They call the references and then they do Jewish geography, they figure someone else they know well who knows the girl/boy or family and ask questions.

If both sides agree (and at this point if there are money expectations it is told over) then a date is made.

The first date is just to find out if they enjoy each other’s company. (Since the homework has already been done to see if they are on the same page for major issues – their goals in life, where they want to live (Israel or abroad – in general terms).

The second date is similar but gets into more serious issues.

The third date is to bring up anything that normally would turn the other side off but is not major (Serous problems should be ironed out in the beginning (such as previous cancer, divorced, children, etc; previous sickness, crazy family member, or something. And again it is to get more serious.

Usually, by the 4th or 5th date, it is pretty clear whether they are going to get engaged, but it can continue until both sides are 100% clear (though it should be understood there really isn’t anything 100% clarity in anything.)

The boy rarely actually pops the question without knowing for sure from the shadchan that she is ready to say yes. Then they go out again, then meet at the girl’s family and invite the boy’s side over. Families meet. (Sometimes the parents meet before the first date.)

The shadchan has 3 jobs (and so if there are more than one person involved it gets divided – including payment). 1. To make the suggestion 2. To set up the dates 3. to guide the couple along the way.

Chassidim are a bit faster in the dating but much more thorough in the checking out stage. They also usually meet 1–3 times in someone’s house not in hotel lobbies or restaurants, or parks. They also aren’t looking for chemistry, the click, they are looking to make sure they are interested in each other and nothing major would block them. They build the love afterward.

Actually, love is not a big equation in dating for either group. The understanding is true love is a relationship one has built and worked together which takes years. In the beginning, there can be ‘falling in love’ moment, but maybe not – and it really doesn’t matter – because that feeling is always a temporary feeling and can be very misleading. Having the same goals, and usually similar backgrounds are really what makes the relationship successful.

There are divorces, but so much lower than secular. Orthodox have a 7% divorce rate while the overall Jewish rate is more than 50% and for the general population over 65%!

And let me tell you watching my children get married through the system is pure naches – Jewish joy.

A Lesson from Snap Judgments

National fake news teaches us not to make snap judgments.

Story after story from the left media that has been against Trump and the Republicans has been proven to be false, made up or not a story.  It is from a hatred of Trump.  Incitement, impeachment, and other idiotic statements are continually blasted from every outlet. The crazy Bernie Sanders supporter that took shooting practice at the Republican baseball team was affected by these provocations.

The left does not know how to lose gracefully.  They stand at right-wing speakers and shout them down – thinking they have a right. (They are wrong.  No one has the right to shout down others; they have a right to listen, argue, and disagree.)

Believe me, most right-wingers were very upset to have Obama in office for eight years and for good reason he destroyed America’s standing in the international arena.  There were not demonstrations, picketing or pleas for impeachment.  People did not walk out when any of the staff members were speaking in any form.  There was not a daily dose of false news as there is today.

The entire political rampage the left has thrust at the national and international scene has caused a deep hatred in the American society.  There has always been division, different approaches and values in the country (in fact there once a war).  However, most times the country has acted democratically.  These false stories (fake news, as it is called) are feeding hatred in America that has not been seen in a long time.

There is a lesson deep in this muck.  How to improve my not speaking lashon hora skills. Since the media is so quick to find fault no matter how outrageous the story, it reminds me how important it is not to believe everything we hear.  About anyone!

I know anytime I heard Obama’s name in the same sentence with Israel – it was not going to bear well for us.  Just his name brought me to anger, and therefore it was hard to hear anything possibly could be good in his name.  I’m sure some day even Republicans will find something good about him. The same is true by Trump.  (Already seen is the amazing work of his UN ambassador Nikki Haley. She has made it clear the Israel bashing in the UN needs to be changed. She is a reason to shout for joy).

The halacha is that if someone is a rasha – a wicked one – then you don’t have to assume that anything he does is righteous – even if it looks like it.  The opposite is true for the Tzadik, even if you were to see a prestigious rabbi walk into a treif restaurant you are to assume there was a good reason.

When it comes to a benoni a person in the middle, where some of his actions are not great, and some are good, one is to give him the benefit of the doubt.   However, (as I learned once by R. Anthony Manning) one doesn’t have to judge him favorably across the board.  If you know he is weak in one area; then you can assume that the action you saw was probably not the best.

I’m not going to decide if either our presidents are closer to any of these definitive descriptions.  However, the important thing to learn from the media and their behavior is we should not be jumping to snap judgments. Perhaps we should be assuming that anything reported should be suspect of being false, exaggerated or at least missing a few details.  We (meaning I) need to react to all news, descriptions, or ‘gossip’ heard about anyone.  We should not make snap judgments.

As Rebbetzin Samet used to say in her amazing speeches about Lashon Hora, ‘we came in at Chapter Two.’ We just don’t ever know the whole story.

This doesn’t mean we can think that Obama had his best interest for Israel – because in that department he proved himself wicked.  We can assume that he really cared for the people of America, as the same as President Trump.

When seeing an Arab woman like Linda Sarsour telling of horrible lies about Israel, we can assume she is lying and wicked.  This though does not mean another Arab woman who has something to be said is of the same mindset.

On the personal level, when I hear noise in the kitchen in the middle of the night, I shouldn’t assume that one of my kids got home later than expected.  Maybe it was a cat, someone got up just recently, or the same someone just finished learning and hadn’t realized the time.  I am trying to step away from snap judgments that plague my emotions and fill my heart with anger.  Who knows, I probably got it wrong in the first place.

Learning not to make snap judgments should improve my emotional temperament and give me the clarity to see the good in others. Something that would be nice to be seen even at the national level too.






Jew or Jewess?

I don’t mind being called a Jew or Jewess. I am proud to be a Jewish women and thus if Jewess declares that meaning – why not. Women have a distinct role in Judaism and should not be offended to be reminded of their difference from men.

TheTisch: Rabbi Menachem Creditor's Blog: Articles on Women and Kippot

Jewish women would be much better off trying to learn and fulfill the feminine role opposed to trying take on the men’s position and special halachos. Women do not need to have a minyan, wear tefillin, tzitzit or a kippah. But women should pray daily, bring in Shabbos with lightening candles before the onset of Shabbos, keep the laws of Tahara Mishpacha, know the laws of challah, kashrus, Shabbos and all the other halachos that pertain to women special or together with men.

Shabbat – Drawing Down the Divine Radiance | Coming Into the Light ...  Mikvah with Tikvah: Jewish Rituals and OCD | | Center for Anxiety ...  Taking Challah

Judaism only survives because of the Jewish family; a man, woman, and their children. In other words, the Jewish nation is here because Jews and Jewess bring their Jewish children up in the Jewish tradition.

family Sharon &Barry 6.jpg

If only the Arab Leadership would Listen to their Constituents!

The following survey results are from

“An Arab-run survey of Arabs living in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza returned some surprising results, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 2.

For approximately half the Arabs living in the PA and Gaza, what interests them most is their personal economic welfare and stability, and not nationalistic ambitions or terrorism.

They want more interaction with Israelis, not less.

They want the Arab states in the region to be at peace with Israel.

Unlike BDS, they want more Israeli-owned workplaces near their homes (like SodaStream used to be) in Judea and Samaria providing them jobs.

They want Hamas to not attack Israel.

They aren’t bothered that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state.

They don’t like that terrorist families get special treatment.

In short, we can easily find a way to be at peace with some 50% of the Arab population in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, as they recognize the personal benefits of living together in peace with the Jewish people. It’s that remaining percentage who are still the problem.

Here are the results as shown by Channel 2.

66% don’t believe that families of prisoners [terrorists] deserve special financial benefits.

56% don’t care if the US Embassy is moved to Jerusalem.

43% want more Israeli companies to open up workplaces for them in the West Bank.

55% want the cease-fire with Hamas [and Israel] to continue.

57% are for a regional approach to a [peace] arrangement.”

It has been reported that protesters and anyone who complains that the Hamas leaders have been arrested and beaten up.  The people live without electricity except for 3 hours a day, because again their leaders have taken more than their share and are building tunnels.

As Golda Meir said, “When the Arab leaders cared more about their children than killing ours – then there will be peace.”


Does Orthodox Judaism have a Future?

Considering the past 2500 years, it would seem yes, Orthodox Judaism will survive, actually survive much longer than any other group of Jewish-ism.

Although the chart below makes it look bad for the Orthodox where only 1 in 10 American Jews are Orthodox:

Based on the report of having grandchildren the numbers look very different.

(This was in 1997 – which has been only multiplied in numbers in the last 20 years).

A story is told, after World War II, when it seem the Jewish people were lost, especially the Orthodox, who were a tiny group of even the dismal Jewish numbers. A religious man came into a religious bookstore and asked for a classic book in steep learning – only someone with a yeshiva background would have asked for such a book. The Jewish merchant was shocked and said he had one left, but couldn’t believe anyone really wanted that type of book anymore. He said to his friend, ‘well that will be the last book sold of its kind.’

The friend, who seem to have more faith than most said to him, “Yes you are right. According to nature, you are surely right.”

Then he went on to say, “But Jews never work according to nature.”

And we are seeing the miracles. The Orthodox are growing strong and in number. Imagine what the numbers would show us today.

According to a new Pew Report in 2013:

it was shown that “. The study reported that 10% of Jews were Orthodox, just 2% higher than a roughly approximate study from 10 years ago.

The new numbers give those findings a different cast.

As a proportion of the community, the Orthodox population more than doubles when you compare the demographic slice of middle-aged Jews with that of Jewish children based on the new data, according to Cohen. “Every year, the Orthodox population has been adding 5,000 Jews,” Cohen said. “The non-Orthodox population has been losing 10,000 Jews.”

The nationwide findings are in line with a 2012 study by UJA-Federation of New York. The study reported that 60% of Jewish children in the New York City area live in Orthodox homes.

Much of the growth appears to have come from the ultra-Orthodox including the Hasidic sectors. Though Pew did not break out age data for that sub-grouping, the survey found that of the 10% of Jews who identified as Orthodox, only 3% said they were Modern Orthodox.”

I think this proves the evidence is in. Yes, Orthodox Judaism will survive. The question is really will Reform, Conservative, and all the other groups that claim to be Jewish but have changed the basics of Orthodoxy, what will happen to them? Will they go the same as the Seduces, the Hellenist and all the other groups that have changed orthodoxy and did not survive?

Why we like Trump and not Obama: by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Words and silence matter: Trump vs. Obama

The current President’s  statements and omissions are all the more important in contrast to those of Obama.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld , 01/06/17 00:55

U.S President Donald Trump’s public statements during his visit to Israel are of importance irrespective of what he said in private to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority’s Mohammed Abbas. This is, even more, the case because of the damage a variety of statements — and lack of them — by his predecessor Barack Obama and the previous U.S administration have caused Israel.

President Trump speaks at Israel Museum

There is much criticism in the U.S of President Trump and his unpredictability. It comes mainly from those who wanted and expected his opponent, Hillary Clinton, to win the election. The attacks on the current president, however, do not diminish the importance of his words in Israel. The current President’s  statements are all the more important as — contrary to the case with his predecessor — one “gets what one sees” with Trump.

Obama’s distorted, overly positive view of the Muslim world was already apparent early in his presidency. In his first trip abroad in 2009, he traveled to the non-democratic state of Egypt where he was received by President Husni Mubarak. The 2008 report of Freedom House ranked Egypt as a non-free country with a rating of 5.5 on a scale from 1 as best to 7 as worst. The report stated: “Egypt received a downward trend arrow due to its suppression of journalists’ freedom of expression, repression of opposition groups, and the passage of constitutional amendments that hinder the judiciary’s ability to balance against executive excess. “

On that trip, Obama intentionally bypassed U.S ally Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. The American president did not berate the undemocratic character of the Egyptian regime. Instead in his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama apologized for Western “colonialism.” His sympathy did not help U.S. ally Mubarak during the Arab spring when Obama stabbed him in the back and pressured him to make concessions.

Obama hypocritically argued that his criticism of Netanyahu gave him credibility when defending the Jewish state in the world arena. But the Obama administration also regularly criticized Israel for “settlement building” as well as other issues and this stands in sharp contrast to Obama’s avoidance of linking terrorist acts to Islam. Nor did he mention the wide support for undemocratic behavior in the Muslim world.

Obama admitted that he refrained from using the words “Islamic terror” in describing Middle East extremism. The Obama administration referred to terror attacks by Muslims as “lone wolf attacks” and refused to use the term “radical Islam.” The terms “Islam” and “jihad,” “Islamic extremism,” radical Islamic terrorism,” and “radical Islam” were banned from US Security documents.

The U.S has for a long time been Israel’s main ally. If a U.S administration is repeatedly so critical of Israel while remaining silent about the criminal behavior of its enemies, this can be interpreted as a signal to other countries. It has a negative multiplier effect. The Europeans were most probably encouraged by Obama’s biased attitude to go beyond just criticizing Israel. Their labeling of goods from the territories while not doing the same for other similar areas in the world is an example. When Trump had already been elected as President, Obama let Israel down in yet another signal of encouragement to its enemies. The U.S abstained on Security Council resolution 2334 demanding an end to Israeli settlements. Trump had asked him to veto the resolution.

One would have expected international media to analyze these matters in some detail after the Trump Middle East visit. If one checks Google on this subject many reports focus on a comparison of the notes the two presidents wrote at Yad Vashem. This marginal subject became the first significant topic in a lengthy article in the Washington Post. It was titled “The huge contrast between Obama’s and Trump’s visits to Israel’s Holocaust memorial.”

Trump did not mention the two-state ‘solution’ in his speeches. Why should a U.S president preclude the outcome of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations? Or promise the creation of a second Palestinian state in addition to Jordan? Under Palestinian Authority leadership this state would be another corrupt Arab entity with substantial chances of failing. Yet another logical reason not to mention the two-state ‘solution’ is that the PA does not control the Gaza Strip.

Nor did Trump mention “settlements.” There was no reason to do so. The central topic in Trump’s speeches in the Middle East focused on the fight against terror. It is worth noting that Trump did mention to the Palestinians that they should stop glorifying terrorist murderers of civilians, which sometimes also include Americans.

After Trump’s visit, many European leaders may be nostalgic for Obama…
During his visit to Europe Trump continued to set the record straight. He reprimanded NATO leaders in Brussels, saying that 23 out of 28 did not meet their financial commitments to the organization. He said: “This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.” This was a euphemism for saying that they are parasites relying on the U.S.

The EU and several European states have been arrogantly telling Israel for many years how it should run its internal affairs. The idea that EU leaders are being told to own up to their commitments is considered unpleasant by many European leaders. From an Israeli viewpoint, it is very positive that Trump told them off on their failures.

After Trump’s visit, many European leaders may be nostalgic for Obama, who was partly responsible for letting the Middle East chaos develop and the diminishment of U.S standing in the world. Yet as Alan Dershowitz said about his fellow Harvard Law graduate Barack Obama: He will be remembered as “one of the worst presidents in the foreign policy arena,’ who created a ‘terrible conflict’ for people who share other tenets of his ideology.”

just saying…


A Story Going Around; How to Create the Demise of USA

“This speech was given by Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm on the perils of multiculturalism at the 2004 Immigration-Overpopulation Conference in Washington, D.C.

He titled it “A Plan to Destroy America.”

TRUTH should override everything. When it is spoken, it should be acknowledged quietly and without emotion.  TRUTH should be irrefutable.


Unfortunately, TRUTH today is being shouted down, ridiculed, ignored and disregarded.


Recently, there was an immigration overpopulation conference in Washington, DC, filled to capacity by many of America’s finest minds and leaders. A brilliant college professor by the name of Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, ‘Mexifornia,’ explaining how immigration – both legal and illegal was destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream.


Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave a stunning speech on how to destroy America.


The audience sat spellbound as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States. He said, ‘If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let’s destroy America. It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that ‘An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.”


‘Here is how they do it,’ Lamm said:


‘First, to destroy America, turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country…  History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. The historical scholar, Seymour Lipset, put it this way: ‘The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy.’ Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, and Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, Corsicans and Muslims.’


Lamm went on:


‘Second, to destroy America, invent ‘multiculturalism’ and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. Make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal; that there are no cultural differences. Make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due solely to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds.


‘Third, we could make the United States an ‘Hispanic Quebec ‘ without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: ‘The apparent success of our own multi-ethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentric and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.’ Lamm said, ‘I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America enforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities.’



‘Fourth, I would make our fastest-growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school.’



‘My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of ‘Victimology.’ I would get all minorities to think that their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority.’


‘My sixth plan for America’s downfall would include dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other – that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precept. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature, and they worshiped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic games. A common enemy, Persia, threatened their liberty. Yet all these bonds were not strong enough to overcome two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell. ‘E. Pluribus Unum’ — From many, one. In that historical reality, if we put the emphasis on the ‘Pluribus’ instead of the ‘Unum,’ we will ‘Balkanize’  America as surely as Kosovo.’



‘Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits. Make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of ‘diversity.’ I would find a word similar to ‘heretic’ in the 16th century – that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like ‘racist’ or ‘xenophobe’ halt discussion and debate. Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having established multi-cultum, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of ‘Victimology,’ I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good. I would make every individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them.’


In the last minute of his speech, Governor Lamm wiped his brow. Profound silence followed. Finally, he said, ‘Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis’s book ‘Mexifornia.’ His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don’t read that book.’


There was no applause. A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew that everything Lamm enumerated was proceeding methodically, quietly, darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today. Discussion is being suppressed. Over 100 languages are ripping the foundation of our educational system and national cohesiveness. Even barbaric cultures that practice female genital mutilation are growing as we celebrate ‘diversity.’ American jobs are vanishing into the Third World as corporations create a Third World in America Take note of California and other states. To date, ten million illegal aliens and growing fast. It is reminiscent of George Orwell’s book ‘1984.’ In that story, three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: ‘War is peace,’ ‘Freedom is slavery,’ and ‘Ignorance is strength.’


Governor Lamm walked back to his seat. It dawned on everyone at the conference that our nation and the future of this great democracy is deeply in trouble and worsening fast. If we don’t get this immigration monster stopped within three years, it will rage like a California wildfire and destroy everything in its path, especially The American Dream.


If you care for and love our country as much as I do, take the time to pass this on just as I did.”

(passed on to me and now to you.)



The Anger of a Conservative

Political Correctness and all that is wrong about it.

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My daughter, a mother of 3, was driving alone (thank G-d she didn’t have the kids with her) when she passed an Arab high school, which she needs to go by every time she leaves her yashuv (small town.) Three boys stood there as she took the bend waiting for her with rocks in their hands. She saw them but realized there was nothing she could do and prayed the damage would only be on her car.  She was blessed. Her windshield which is government issued ‘shatter-proof’ from rocks, meaning a rock can penetrate the window (and G-d forbid can kill someone if thrown hard enough or hit in a vulnerable spot) was hit on the passenger side. The window itself stayed somewhat intact.  (Pictures are included to see the damage.)  Every bump she hit afterward a little glass would be knocked off the web-like fissure falling into the empty passenger seat.

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Considering the fear and danger, she remained in control. She drove to the army who told her to report it to the police. By the time she got to Betar’s just recently moved police station to represent all the gush area in my city, they had pictures of her car.  My daughter will need to pay the 6000nis on her own and G-d willing the government will pay back at some future date. My daughter is a victim of the courageous acts Linda Sarsour encourages in her speeches across America’s college campus, as well as the actions rewarded by the Palestinian government.

Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab-American Association of ...   Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas 

On college campus across America women like Linda Sarsour, an Arab woman who supports female mutilation, terrorism, praises murderers, and honors death to anyone who is for the Jewish people is welcomed with open arms on the college campus.  However, Vice President Pence, (a very nice person in his own right), college students cannot stand the thought of sharing the same room with him.  So when asked to speak at a college graduation, the students walked out.

The new moral code of American youth (the millennium) ‘political correctness’ is corrupted, immoral, bankrupt of any true value and misguided. Those students who can’t hear the name of Trump or be in the presence of the American Vice President, or listen to right wing speakers that might have a different opinion than them, but can accept murders as their leaders are such a scary picture of America’s future.

Even left wing, a writer for the liberal Jewish Journal, David Suissa was shocked by a UCLA Professor Saree Makdisi and English professor, with a Lebanese background, who in a debate asked, “What’s wrong with Jews being a minority in Israel?” Trying to excuse the crazy suggestion, Suissa suggests that perhaps the professor thought he was addressing an Arab audience (opposed to the Jewish population that was there).  Is that an excuse?

Decency, Manners, Balanced viewpoints, the college students of today should be disciplined, shaken up to learn what is right and wrong and be taught political correctness should not be used as a moral compass. Morality is determined if it is universal and accepted as a norm in society.  Political correctness is constantly changing and on a continual search of finding a new norm.  A new group of people who have supposedly been shunned and thus in the new ‘moral’ age of now their rights needs to be exonerated.  If they had been accused in the steeped old day thought processes as being sinful, then surely today they are now heroes and should be our leaders. Everything notion is right without any proof, unless of course you are republican, religious, or disagree with them.

Moreover, while I am ranting and raving about the millennium generation (just love that term) I have another observation.  There is no depth.  (Not too surprising since dialogue is forbidden.) There is not a + b = c understanding.  Without knowledge of the history of what has come before or to recognize the implication of actions, people remain rudderless and in a quagmire.

It is a new world with no points of decency, righteousness or moral barometers to judge by.  Judgment is only against those who demand truth to be eternal ordained by G-d.  Everyone else: they just stick to their rights and feel they don’t have any obligations.

A Jewish Perspective on Numbers; 1-10

Jewish significance of numbers 1-10.

What is One?

The obvious is G-d.  There is only one G-d. There is only one sun and moon and earth and universe for us.  Only one people called the Jews and only one Eretz Yisrael.  There is only one Torah though many ways to understand and best to dig deep.
One is the smallest real number that has value but usually implies power.  There is only one king, president, or César.  There can only be one boss or captain. We have only one head, one mind, one heart.
One is unique, special, and irreplaceable.Jerusalem photos pictures - Israel Photo Art Capturing ...
We have only one mother and one father.  When a Jewish person sits shiva for the death of a parent it is a significantly longer time than for other relatives.  Spouses can be replaced (at least in the sense a person can remarry).  There can be many brothers and sisters and even other children.  However, there can only be one mother and only one father; so one needs to mourn (keep the laws of mourning) for parents for a year as opposed to every other relative a month is enough.
One can be the unity of many parts that unify and recognize their companionship and connection enough to be called one.  United States, United Kingdom are examples of this phenomenon.
There can only be one first born and only one youngest. There can only one pideon haben (ceremony for the first child if a boy born) and one strange custom of dancing with little brooms when the last child gets married.
Moreover, there can only be one of you and one of me.  We are all unique and can be called the one and only.

What is Two?

G-d created man…male and female He created them 
The world started with two; man and woman. All the animals were first made as a couple and again when they came on Noah’s ark.  Look in nature; there are two in all our sights; heaven and earth, night and day, land and sea, hills and the valleys.
We have two arms attached to two hands, and then the parallel in our legs.  We have two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the body is divided into a front and a back, the upper half and lower half, the right side and the left side.
... cartoon happy cartoon man free cartoon vector stock happy man cartoon
Two implies opposite; though it does not have to mean in the negative terms; rather in the complimentary terms.  A couple can be different from each other, but hopefully, they supplement the missing pieces so when they join to create a united front – we call marriage- they are complete.
At Havdalah (the ceremony demarking the departure of Shabbos; we list more coupled distinctions; between Israel and other nations, between the sacred and profane/secular, between light and darkness, between the Sabbath and the rest of the days.  Havdalah Blessings and Songs | Temple Sholom
It is a strange world; today people want to imply there are more than just man and women. Suddenly transgenders are supposedly people who straddle the abyss in between. But in reality, they can only be one or the other with great sympathy for the other side.
There were two stones embossed with the words of the 10 commandments split in 5 on each.  This is to teach us; we have to build 2 relationships; one a relationship between G-d and ourselves and the other equal in importance our relationship with others (man to man).
Two is the only even number that is a primary number. This is understandable since it is the first even number. And perhaps from here, we learn that though all even numbers can be divided with 2, when you go back to the basic; there is only the primary base – a man and women, a couple; the start of every family; which should not be divided.
Bet – ב is two; the second letter in the Hebrew alphabet. ‘Bet’ is also the same word for a home. (Most of the Hebrew letters name is also a word for something else – which we then can learn deeper meanings.) The beginning of a home – a Beit is a married couple.

What is Three?

Three is the first number that can create an object, a triangle.  A chair needs a minimum of three legs to stand.  Three is a primary number – a number that can’t be divided but only is built on. It is the beginning of solidness. By Jewish law, once an event happens three times it is hazakah it is to be expected again for good or bad.
Frenchi Home Furnishing 3-Tier Corner Stand, Cherry New | eBay
Many of the sayings in Pereke Avot (The Ethics of our Fathers) are based on three things:
  • Shimon the Righteous would say: The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of God, and deeds of kindness. 1:2
  • Yehoshua ben Perachiah and Nitai of Arbel received from them. Yehoshua ben Perachia says, “Make for yourself a mentor, acquire for yourself a friend and judge every person as meritorious.” 1:6
  • Nitai of Arbel says: “Distance [yourself] from a bad neighbor, do not befriend an evildoer and do not despair of punishment.”1:7
  • He [Rabbi Hillel] used to say: If I am not for me, who will be for me? And when I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, then when? 1:14
  • Rabban Gamliel says, “Make for yourself a mentor, remove yourself from doubt and do not frequently tithe by estimation.” 1:16
  • Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says, “On three things the world stands: on judgment, on truth, and on peace, as it is said (Zachariah 8:16), ‘Judge truth and the justice of peace in your gates.’ 1:18
  • Akavia ben Mahalalel says: Keep your eye on three things, and you will not come to sin: Know from where you came, and to where you are going, and before Whom you are destined to give an account and a reckoning. From where did you come? 3:1
  • Rabbi Yishmael says: Be yielding to an elder, pleasant to a youth and greet every person with joy. 3:12
  • Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua says: Let the honor of your student be dear to you as your own, and the honor of your fellow like the reverence of your teacher, and the reverence of your teacher like the reverence of Heaven. 4:12
  • Rabbi Elazar HaKapor says: Envy, lust, and honor drive a man from the world. 4:21
 Why is the number three used as the basis to understand?  When a person has an idea it is one central thought, but only after there are at least three conditions to support the idea will it be substantiated – given validity.  Again the concept of three is to be based on solid ground.
We have three primary relationships in life. We have to learn to live with one’s self, with God, and with others. We have three resources to function in the world: thought, speech, and action. Time itself is divided into three categories: the past, the present, and the future.
On Rosh Hashana we have again reminded of the three prong approach: “Teshuva (Return), Tefillah, (Prayer) and Tzedakah (Righteousness) avert the bad decree.”
Our nation was started with three fathers; Abraham who epitomized the characteristic of loving kindness, Issac who represented moral strength and Jacob was known for honesty.

What is Four?

Four is the matriarchs: Sara, Rivka, Rachel, and Leah. Four in Hebrew is a Dalet – a door.  A door has four corners and works on a hinge allowing the entrance and exit of all those who want to be contained in the house.  Four is the basic shape of stability; a table, chair, stool, desk all have four legs as well as a square and a rectangle – the most basic shape seen in architecture.
There have been four exiles in Jewish history; Egypt, Persia, Greece, and now we are considered in the longest exile of all – Rome – the western ideology.  We celebrate each end of exile with wine and good food – Pesach, Purim, and Chanukah.  Imagine the great holiday we will enjoy when this long and final exile will end and redemption will be here with the heralding in the age of Mashiach.
The Jewish holidays have many samples of four.
The Four Sons - by Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf | Stuff to Read Later | Pint ...     Passover Seder Wine שאף הן היו באותו הנס”: rabbi ...Purim Vocabulary & Mitzvot Flashcards - ProProfs Flashcards MakerThe four species in question are an etrog (a citrus fruit native to ...
  • There are the four sons: the wise, the wicked, the simple, and the one who doesn’t know how to ask.
  • There are four cups of wine that allude to the four redemptions.
  • There are four species of trees bearing fruit we take on Succos: the esrog; the pretty and beautiful in its smell, the lulav the long straight one, the hadasim which are nice and the arava which bear no fruit, smell, or pretty sight.
  • The symbols of different Jews, but without all of the types we could not survive or fulfill the mitzvah.
  • There are four mitzvot on Purim; mishte – a drinking meal, mishloch manos, megillah, Matanot l’Evyonim – giving to the poor.
Four is a four-letter word.  As well as love and hate, work and play, and pray and seek.

What is Five?

The Five Books Of Moses (Torah) | Judaism | Pinterest

Five are the books of Moses – the Chumash.  Five are the books of Psalms – Tehillim.  The Muslims pray 5 times a day which is believed to be taken from the Jews Yom Kippur service when Jews prostrate themselves (like we see the Muslims do) and have 5 set playing times; Maariv, Scharchis, Mussaf, Mincha, and Nehila.
The 10 commandments were written on 2 luchos – tablets – two of them each with 5 commandments. The division demonstrates the parallel of each commandment to each other. One tablet represented the Jews relationship with other men and the other tablet is the relationship a Jew has with his G-d. And yet they are intertwined with each other.
Five is a primary number.  Five is half way when everything is based on ten.
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Five is our fingers and our toes.  Although only the starfish have 5 appendages, since most animals have appendages that come coupled in pairs of two; yet most animals have 5 fingers, toes, claws, nails, or whatever they are called on any particular animal.
The expression “Give me 5” means approval with a slap of a handshake.  “High 5” similar meaning but done in a higher altitude. “Five by five” is a phrase used in radio communication to mean, “I understand you perfectly”.
The American government sits in a building that is laid out a like a 5 pointed star and is called the pentagon. Growing up I remember the “Jackson 5” (when little Michael was cute and young) and Hawaii 5-O – a detective story.
We have 5 senses; smelling, seeing, feeling, hearing and tasting. It is through these senses that we understand our world and can contemplate the wonders of our world.

Event Experiences: Meetings for the Senses: Associations Now

What is Six?

Star of David, computer generated image - Png file, Attent… | Flickr

Six is the books of Mishna.
The Star of David has 6 points (2 inverted triangles).
The world was created in six days and G-d rested on the seventh.  Each day has its partner; Sunday with Monday, Tuesday with Wednesday, Thursday with Friday and Shabbos which had none.  Shabbos was then partnered with the Jewish people.
The Pesach seder plate has six items.
  • The charozes: the sweet apple mixture there to represent the mud that was used to make bricks.
  • The marror: horseradish; to remember the bitterness of the exile
  • Hazeret: Typically romaine lettuce, the roots are bitter tasting.
  • Karpas: Celery or Parsley is used, representing spring. The vegetable is dipped into salt water. This symbolizes the tears of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.
  • Zeroa: To remember the roasted lamb that was used as the Pesach offering the Karbon: shank bone or a chicken wing or chicken neck is used on the plate.
  • Beitzah: A hardboiled egg, a reminder of life that transcends death.Seder Plate
When we shake the lulav we point in six directions: up, down, right, left, forward and back; signifying that G-d is in all the directions; his worldly presence surrounds us.
Lulav and Etrog
In mathematics, a perfect number is when all the numbers that divide into it (excluding the number itself) when added equal the sum of the number itself. 1+2+3=6. In addition, when the number is including into the formula and then divided in half it equals again the number itself. (1+2+3+6)/2 = 6
Perfect numbers are rare. The Ancient Greeks recognized four perfect numbers: 6 – 28 – 496 – 8,128. Throughout history, perfect numbers have fascinated mathematicians and more perfect numbers have been discovered.
A dice and a cube have 6 numbers, and braille is based on six dots. We talk about the sixth sense when we mean someone has an intuition about something. The number 6 is the atomic number for carbon. The standard flute has six holes. The standard guitar has six strings.

What is Seven?

Israel Menorah Jerusalem, Israel | Israel and the Holy Lands | Pinter ...

The Omer (the time between Pesach and Shavuos that is counted)  is seven weeks multiplied by seven days.  Forty-nine days to count, to improve, to build one’s seven midos – character traits to reach the pinnacle of the 50th the day gave us the Torah.
What are the midos?
  • There is Chesed – selfless kindness, the trait associated with Avroham.
  • Geuvrah – restraint, the one who can fight the evil inclination characterized by Yitzhak.
  • Tiferes is symmetry, balance characterized by Yaacov who was the summation of Avroham and Yitzhak his grandfather and father.
  • The fourth mida (and the week of the Omer) is Netzach meaning eternity. To be able to see the long view and understanding everything is good even what seems bad for us.  This is Moshe who brought down to us the everlasting Torah.
  • Hod is beauty, an eternal beauty connected to hodiah – thankfulness. A person who is kind to everyone, polite and greets all with a smile and gratitude has hod.  Yehoshua is hod.
  • Yesod is the foundation. It is the foundation which connects kedusha the Holiness of Hashem into this temporal world. Yosef who fought his inner desires successfully is yasod.
  • The seventh is malchut royalty. Malchus is the combination of all the other midos and put into action. Dovid HaMelech is Malchus.
... OF LIGHT Judaism 7week Omer KABBALAH course CD-ROM by Yonassan Gershom
There are seven days in the week in every calendar (at least that I know of). This is not necessarily logical. If the solar year would have chosen six days, not only would it have been an even number, every year would have the same date.  January first would always be Sunday, and the holidays would fall out the same day every year (that is the secular holidays based on the solar year, not Jewish holidays – those would still be late or early as some like to acknowledge them.   For us Jews, it would be a catastrophe. One week Shabbos would be on Saturday, the next Sunday, and etc. causing havoc in the workplace and confusion for the masses.  By having seven days already implies a notion of a day off – Shabbos (which didn’t always exist.) Once the Russians tried to abrogate the entire calendar and created a 10 day week – it didn’t last too long.  I have a feeling the vodka use got multiplied during that time. Even in the ancient world, there have been attempts of longer or shorter weeks, and yet it has always come back to the 7 day week – with a Shabbos set by its side – with no equal.
How to Keep This Shabbos in Samoa? STAR-K Tells Us How (Samoa ...
Succos is seven days (with an extra day for Simchas Torah) as well as Pesach.  The Shabbos of the land is shmittah, where G-d commanded to rest the earth and go learn for a year every seven years.
In the Beis HaMakdash, the Temple stood the golden menorah – with seven branches – the symbol of the Jewish people, which was lit every day by the Cohen gadol.  The Temple Institute: The Holy Temple Menorah Today
Seven represents completion.  An octave is 7 musical notes– do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, and topped off with do again. The rainbow has seven colors: Red – Orange – Yellow – Green – Blue – Indigo -Violet (ROY G BIV).
There are seven laws of Noah the 7 mitzvot non-Jews need to follow and are ultimately judged by
  1. Thou shall not worship Idols
  2. Thou shall not Blaspheme
  3. Thou shall not murder
  4. Thou shall not have immoral relationships
  5. Thou shall not steal
  6. Thou shall Respect all Living Creatures
  7. Thou Shall Set up Courts of Law
There are Seven Seas:
Results for 7 Seas Of The World.
  1. the Arctic Ocean
  2. the North Atlantic Ocean
  3. the South Atlantic Ocean
  4. the Indian Ocean
  5. the North Pacific Ocean
  6. the South Pacific Ocean
  7. the Southern (or Antarctic) Ocean
The notion of 7th heaven which has its basis in Kaballah is an understanding of the 7 sacred halls, 7 steps, and the 7 worlds one needs to climb to the Holy of Hollies.
In the ancient time, there were the classic seven wonders:
About The Seven Wonders of The Ancient World
  1. Great Pyramid of Giza
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  4. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  6. Colossus of Rhodes
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria
Only the Great Pyramid of Giza still exists.
The Group of 7 (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
G7 meeting starts in Lubeck | Vestnik Kavkaza
Seven is considered the number most connected to nature; the way of life. Eight goes into the supernatural, the number above nature – but that is the start of another blog.

What is Eight?

Chanukah - Wilshire Boulevard Temple

Eight represents above nature as in the eighth day of Chanukah. Eight days of Succos. The first 7 days are for the whole world to celebrate and we live outside in the Succah. Then we add one more day – Simchas Torah to celebrate alone in our homes with G-d.
It is the eighth

brit mila baby bris

What is Nine?

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Nine is the months needed before a baby is born. Nine is the belief of the amount lives given to a cat. Nine is a number that can be written upside down to create another number – 6.
Letters And Numbers: Number 69 - Stock Illustration I3036689 at ...

day a baby boy is given a Brit Mila entering them into the covenant of Abraham.

Nine is the last single digit in the number system.
Nine is 3 times 3; the third square number.  Badger Basket 9 Cubby Storage Unit - Bookcases at Hayneedle
Nine is the highest single-digit number in the decimal system. It is the second non-unitary square prime of the form (p2) and the first that is odd. All subsequent squares of this form are odd.

What is Ten?

Ten is the system we base our mathematics on.  Everything is based on multiples of 10; 10, 100, 1000, 10000, and on. In mathematics, a power of 10 is any of the integer powers of the number ten; in other words, ten multiplied by itself a certain number of times (when the power is a positive integer). By definition, the number one is a power (the zeroth power) of ten. The first few non-negative powers of ten are:
1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 1000000, 10000000
Thursday, November 10, 2016
There were 10 plagues against the Egyptians until they let the Jews go.  There are 10 commandments given on the tablets to Moses on Mount Sinai.
In order to pray, there must be 10 men to make a minyan.  Thus ten represents a congregation and not a simple group of people.  By making a minyan the whole becomes greater than ten single men. The greatest Rav of today davening by himself does not have the power of 10 simple men who pray together.  He can’t even say Kaddish without others.  Ten means people become a kehillah – a community.



What is Seven? The Number Series

Seven; the omer, the menorah, the octave, the days of the week, etc.

Now, we are in the midst of counting the Omer;  seven weeks multiplied by seven days.  Forty-nine days to count, to improve, to build one’s seven midos – character traits to reach the pinnacle of the 50th the day gave us the Torah.  What are the midos? There is Chesed – selfless kindness, the trait associated with Avroham.Geuvrah – restraint, the one who can fight his aitza hora – the evil inclination characterized by Yitzhak. Tiferes is symmetry, balance characterized by Yaacov who was the summation of Avroham and Yitzhak his grandfather and father. The fourth mida (and the week of the Omer) is Netzach meaning eternity.  To be able to see the long view and understanding everything is good even what seems bad for us.  This is Moshe who brought down to us the everlasting Torah.  Hod is beauty, an eternal beauty connected to hodiah – thankfulness. A person who is kind to everyone, polite and greets all with a smile and gratitude has hod. Yehoshua is hod. Yesod is the foundation. It is the foundation which connects kedusha the Holiness of Hashem into this temporal world. Yosef who fought his eitzah hora successfully is yasod. The seventh is malchuot royalty. Malchus is the combination of all the other midos and put into action.  Dovid HaMelech is Malchus.

There are seven days in the week in every calendar (at least that I know of). This is not necessarily logical. If the solar year would have chosen six days, not only would it have been an even number, every year would have the same date.  January first would always be Sunday, and the holidays would fall out the same day every year (that is the secular holidays based on the solar year, not Jewish holidays – those would still be late or early as some like to acknowledge them.   For us Jews, it would be a catastrophe. One week Shabbos would be on Saturday, the next Sunday, and etc. causing havoc in the workplace and confusion for the masses.  By having seven days already implies a notion of a day off – Shabbos (which didn’t always exist.) Once the Russians tried to abrogate the entire calendar and created a 10 day week – it didn’t last too long.  I have a feeling the vodka use got multiplied during that time. Even in the ancient world, there have been attempts of longer or shorter weeks, and yet it has always come back to the 7 day week – with a Shabbos set by its side – with no equal.

Seven also has personal significance for me.  It is the number of children I have and the name of my third daughter (Elisheva – nicknamed; Shevi, since she was born at the beginning of Shabbos and was the 7th night of Chanukah) and it represents the best day of the week, Shabbos.

Succos is seven days(with an extra day for Simchas Torah) as well as Pesach.  The Shabbos of the land is shmittah, where G-d commanded to rest the earth and go learn for a year every seven years.

In the Beis HaMakdash, the Temple stood the golden menorah – with seven branches  – the symbol of the Jewish people, which was lit every day by the Cohen gadol.

Seven represents completion.  An octave is 7 musical notes– do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, and topped off with do again. The rainbow has seven colors: Red – Orange – Yellow – Green – Blue – Indigo -Violet (ROY G BIV).

There are seven laws of Noah the 7 mitzvot non-Jews need to follow and are ultimately judged by:

  1. Thou shall not worship Idols
  2. Thou shall not Blaspheme
  3. Thou shall not murder
  4. Thou shall not have immoral relationships
  5. Thou shall not steal
  6. Thou shall Respect all Living Creatures
  7. Thou Shall Set up Courts of Law

There is the Seven Seas:

  1. the Arctic Ocean
  2. the North Atlantic Ocean
  3. the South Atlantic Ocean
  4. the Indian Ocean
  5. the North Pacific Ocean
  6. the South Pacific Ocean
  7. the Southern (or Antarctic) Ocean

The notion of 7th heaven which has its basis in Kaballah of the 7 sacred halls, steps, worlds one needs to climb to the Holy of Hollies.

In the ancient time there were the classic seven wonders:

  1. Great Pyramid of Giza
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  4. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  6. Colossus of Rhodes
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria

Only the Great Pyramid of Giza still exists.

The Group of 7 (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Seven is considered the number most connected to nature; the way of life. Eight goes into the supernatural, the number above nature – but that is the start of another blog.

Happy counting.