26 April 2016

Jew Hatred on Campus? Suggestions for Parents and Students, part 1

18 Nisan 5776



Part 1 | Part 2

Since the academic year — and graduation season —are quickly approaching, I thought I’d address this important topic now, while Jewish moms and dads are stressing more than ever about their children’s transition into the future…and not only academically…

Congratulations in advance! Your Jewish child is about to graduate high school and is on the fast track for college or university, or so we hope. Or do we?

By way of introduction, this post is written more from a student’s point of view because I have some experience over a period of 27 years (though not continuously, thankfully), much of it salient to this post. My first three years of college were in the late 1970s, and my last year turned into six torturous years of holding down work and school at the same time in the late 1990s-early 2000s, making me one of the few returnees to college, aged 40 and over, who actually graduated. Politics regarding Jews have changed a great deal during these times, and have changed yet again now: In the 1970s, Jews were held in favor, as other students were, but the trend has been downward since then, at least in my experience and what I can manage to find out by other means. 

I got a glimpse of the very beginnings of what we are seeing now back about 2001 or 2002, when I took an urban studies class with a professor who opened the course with a description turning the Exodus from Egypt around: Instead of describing how the ancient Hebrews were delivered from slavery, he did a very thorough job of dropping the Jewish People’s reputation through the crust of the earth, having us killing the entire Egyptian army on our way out (without mentioning any context — that we were slaves of Pharaoh or anything prior to that event) and in a class shortly thereafter outed himself as…a former Nazi; not merely a sympathizer, but the real thing, from Prussia in Germany (sorry — I didn’t have or use a tape recorder and never anticipated such a thing, or I’d have whatever recording I would have managed to sneak out digitized and posted somewhere long ago!). 

I later confirmed this with a former professor of mine, who was then the head of the Holocaust Studies department, who has since passed on; I do not recall any suggestions she had for me as to what I should do; apparently the other teachers had not been able to get rid of him or were in favor of him staying on. 

I was the only Jew in the class, to make matters worse, and the only commuter. I glared at him (he stood quite tall, well over 6 feet, I’m sure — an achievement considering he was just turning 80 if I recall correctly — so staring him down was impossible) throughout the entire 15 weeks of that course. I was very close to graduation at that point, so I didn’t drop the course – but I let him have my stare and I managed to also study and pass all my tests and earn an A. Fortunately, no more words about Jews were said after that intro. This educator was an outlier then; he is more like the norm now. 

I admit to some shame that I did not find a way to somehow eradicate the evil this man represented; yet, I wonder how many others like him were scattered around the US and elsewhere, in academia and other professional environments. My final answer, of course, was to make aliyah to the land that the Nazis, ysh”v, sought to destroy, but were prevented from doing so by G-d Almighty. It was around this time that I realized that whatever I was doing to maintain my attachment to G-d (and connect Him with Judaism) wasn’t enough. I knew better than to argue with someone who would one-up me every time only because he had his talking points and I hadn’t done my homework. This experience was to herald a new chapter in my journey back.

If I had to do this again, I would not take the same path, but would try to find a skill or trade where the focus is the subject itself and the payoff in terms of professional/job opportunities just as great; and I would try to find a place to learn Torah in addition. Or better yet, Torah first and job skills second, something like Naaleh or Machon Meir in Jerusalem (but I would also need to learn from some Sephardic/Mizrahi Torah giants too. These folks concentrate mostly on the Ashkenazi ones.).

Now, about you, gentle reader. Whether you are hoping for a doctor, a lawyer, a rabbi, a teacher or a movie producer, or have realized that your child always had a penchant for taking things apart and putting them back together…and “has the knack”…or wants to break the stereotypical mold altogether — I’m sure you can think of many other lines of work or profession; I may not be quite caught up with the times and I am certainly unaware of your child’s talents and capabilities — the details don’t really matter as much as the environment you are sending your budding genius to. Will it be worth all the hard work and sacrifice you have put into the development of the precious creation with whom you as parents have partnered with HaShem to bring into the world and raise to this point? 



 Dilbert: He has the knack...
(If you want to watch the full episode that was on television: here!)

Anyway, chances are that s/he has already been introduced to anti-Semitism in grade and high school and is really fed up with it and wondering whether it will ever end. It hasn’t helped your young offspring’s self-esteem and love for his/her people, has it? 

Alternatively, if the child has been sheltered all these years from that nasty element, college is the last place you want him or her to meet it. After all, college tuition is an investment in your child’s future ability to gain employment and maintain it. Other life lessons are, or should be, optional. Today’s college campuses have not been showing their appreciation for this effort on the part of Jewish parents (not to mention Jewish supporters of entire professions) to ensure the next generation’s future — and that of the rest of the students by their extracurricular contributions — as well as they used to. As late as 2003 colleges hadn’t heard of the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement, and the annual Israel Apartheid Week that promotes it, hadn’t begun yet (the latter would, two years later, in Toronto.). Nowadays, however, debate as we know it isn’t popular; so, even if you think your child will get a chance to fight back with words in a civil manner, read this and think again. Also, Israelis have finally found out BDS’s terrorist ties. Can English-speaking countries be far behind?

Here is a link to many testimonies from current students at 82 US major campuses (at least one of them Ivy League) nationwide as to how disruptive campus life has become due to increasingly aggressive anti-Jew organizations who have been allowed by administrators to behave as they please, with few exceptions (so far, University of Pennsylvania is one of the exceptions according to one student in the link immediately above. And Ivy League. And has a kosher cafeteria! But very expensive. I didn't go there.). How do you feel about this coming from so many different campuses? And the US isn’t alone. Canadian and British students also suffer. Is it my imagination, or do other countries' academic institutions "offer" the same experience?

Here’s Jack Englehard, of Indecent Exposure fame who more recently wrote the controversial The Bathsheba Deadline, also wrote this and more for Arutz Sheva.

All this, in 11 short years.

If you feel I have spelled out the situation well (which largely depends on whether what I’m reading and hearing is correct), your hair must be going grey just reading this. I don’t blame you, and I empathize with you! You have some big decisions to make, and not much time to make them. This is why I’ve written this post before graduation: To at least start the conversation, even though I may not know everything about it. I hope you can summon some composure to consider a few ideas, and the willingness to think a bit outside the box, not only for the sake of your children, but also for the sake of their future children and beyond.


If your high-schooler still has a year or more to go, you can take a breather for now; however, you still might want to follow me here.

17 April 2016

More Are With Us Than With Them: The Jewish Idea Continues

9 Nisan 5776

This is a reposting of Meir Ettinger's first blog post from 3 February 2015 on Kol haYehudi, translated to English. Devash's challenge continues.

Hat tips to: Tomer DevorahThe Voice of the Jewish Heart Will Not be Silent


It Looks like There Are Not So Many of Us
but in Truth, More are With Us than with them

After receiving administrative orders, I, Meir Ettinger am opening a blog on Kol HaYehudi.

Two weeks ago, I received administrative orders to stay away from Yehuda and Shomron, plus a few other boundaries that I am forbidden to cross. I was placed in an interrogation room, into which entered a man who called himself Shoham. He brought with him the document detailing my restrictions. Shoham began to talk to me in a tone meant to frighten me. The truth is that I didn’t manage to bring full attention to what he was saying because I was a little bit busy with thoughts of where I would go in order to continue to progress with my work. Also I was thinking about how I could be effective once I am outside of Yehuda and Shomron. But, mainly I remember that Shoham was pressing me about my writings that were published on Kol HaYehudi. It seemed like Shoham, or whatever name they are calling him, does not like Kol HaYehudi. It was in this moment that I accepted upon myself to open a permanent blog on Kol HaYehudi.

Among the many directives that were in the administrative orders, such as not to go to Yehuda and Shomron, as well as other restrictions on where I can go, was the requirement that I visit the police station every week, to sign that I am still alive. This is the reason I thought, that to make their work easier, I would try to publish something here once a week so in case there are some problems with the computer, and Shoham will not get the update that I am still alive, he can see my blog post here and continue sleeping b’shalva, without worrying about my peace and personal security.

HaShem told him to curse
There has been a debate for years as to how to deal with administrative orders. In the last years, we have seen this phenomenon of administrative orders becoming a daily thing. It looks like the government is becoming more and more afraid of the people.

We can learn much from the deeds of Dovid HaMelech, detailed in the story of his escape from Abshalom. In the middle of the escape and while on the road, Dovid HaMelech met Shimi ben Gera, who cursed him with many curses. Avishai ben Tsruya wanted to kill Shimi but Dovid HaMelech told him no, saying HaShem had placed the curses in his mouth.

The Jews from the pitiful anti-Jewish department in Shabak, who are signing these administrative orders, all of those who took on the names Aidan, Itama, Shoham, Avichai, Dan or whatever name they are using, all of them are poor of nefesh and are like children growing up among wolves. We have to remember that from their side they are absolutely certain that they are helping Am Israel and they really think that we are threatening the broken reed upon which they are sitting. Of course, none of them is clean from cruelty and evil. And each one will be brought to judgment by HaShem. But, for now the majority of the government is sure about the correctness of its way.

The possibilities we have in our hands to fight against these orders are limited and we are “speechless” like the “sheep before the shearer.” Right now it is very hard to imagine that we can succeed in explaining to and convincing people so far away from HaShem and from His Torah. And even for those among them who are keeping the mitzvot, they are so deeply corrupted by the governmental structure that it is hard to open their eyes to their mistake. B’ezrat HaShem in time our efforts will work and the realities will change. We will also reach them and they will, in the end, be at the head of the camp.

The tzibbur in general is nearing fatigue from this struggle and for those who are ready to carry on, it is a shame that he should be taken off his main task in life. Instead of fighting the orders, it is more worthwhile to be focused on our main task which is teshuva—personal and for Am Israel. Because of this, in relationship to the orders and to those who are giving them, we must focus on the pasuk, “HaShem said to him curse.” We shall continue in our work wherever we are or wherever they put us—to call in the name of HaShem and disseminate Jewish ideas. When we will be successful in our deeds the orders and restrictions will be canceled as a consequence.

More are with us than them
The King of Aram issued an arrest order for Elisha HaNavi. In the morning the servant of the Tzaddik awakened and saw that the entire city was surrounded by heavily armed soldiers. With worry he asked Elisha HaNavi, “You my Lord, what will we do?” Elisha answered him simply, “don’t be afraid because more are with us than with them.” Elisha prayed and said, “HaShem, open please his eyes to see,” and HaShem opened the eyes of the boy and behold there was a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.”

For most of us our eyes are a little bit tired and we feel lonely in the battle against the crushing powers of MOSAD. We have to pray intensely that HaShem will show us all the Jews who are with us—more than with them.

The privileged ones already see and know of the miracles that HaShem is doing and will do each and every day. They see how He is escorting His trusted soldiers. Those who are not yet privileged to see can for certain ask others in Anshei Yehudi, because they know all the miracles better than anyone else.

We, b’ezrat HaShem, have been privileged since we received the last orders to see how many Jews are with us, how great is the warmth and love with which we are surrounded, how many gifts we have received, and telephone calls all of which makes us stronger. We see the simple love of our close and far-away friends. We see how many good Jews want to help!

More are with us than with them.

 ***


 Amen! More reading:


How the Hilltop Youth Are Presented as the Worst Enemy of Israel | G-d Bless Meir Ettinger... | Israel to Deploy Extra Troops around Temple Mount ahead of Pesach | Jewish minor under Shaba"k interrogation rushed to hospital | R' Meir Kahane: The Great Sabbath (1989)

10 April 2016

Bless the Budding Fruit Trees During Nisan

3 Nisan 5776

This post is dedicated to my mother, Rivka bat Nazira, on the occasion of her Hebrew birthday, which was during the day today. May she merit to make aliyah to the place of her mother's birth, as this is the desire of her heart.


Pomegranate (rimon) blossoms - CDG

 Starting today (which was the 2nd of Nisan during the day - and only because Rosh Hodesh was on Shabbat), Jews get the privilege of going out among the fruit trees blossoming here in our precious homeland and blessing them - especially in Israel!!!

Once a year, in our alternate New Year (the other, more usual one, we call Rosh haShana, which occurs in Tishrei), is this done. While it is preferred to give the blessing as soon as possible after Rosh Hodesh, it may be done all month. Last year I believe I did it during Hol haMoed Pesah because I didn't have time to do it earlier; this year, I took time today to bless them early!

Lemon (limon) blossoms - CDG

 As my Rav from the States, Yeshuah Toledano, zz"l, used to say, the month of Nisan is the nation of Israel's birthday: Not the state, but the People. This is the month we were taken out of Mitzrayim (not modern Egypt, but the nation that was there back then), from slavery to the Egyptians to obedience to HaShem, our G-d...

Cherry (duvdevan) blossoms - CDG


...and from the land of Mitzrayim (double-constriction) to the land of beauty, goodness and spaciousness, Eretz Yisrael (we did have to conquer it back from the Kana'anim first; and, today, we have made it so hard for ourselves that I think Yehoshua bin Nun would be ashamed.).

And, by the way, these trees were not growing while the Jews were gone from the land! These very kinds of fruit growths, among others, were the very first sign of the impending return of the Jewish People for the Complete Redemption, as the prophet Yeshayahu says (35:1):

א יְשֻׂשׂוּם מִדְבָּר וְצִיָּה וְתָגֵל עֲרָבָה וְתִפְרַח כַּחֲבַצָּלֶת

1 Desert and wasteland shall rejoice over them, and the plain shall rejoice and shall blossom like a rose havatzelet.

Havatzelet: neither rose nor lily, but its own group of flowers, native to Israel. Look them up and find more (in Hebrew of course)!

Continue to read this short chapter (10 p'sukim) and you'll see the inevitability of the nation of Israel possessing this land, and no other. We are even called the Redeemed of Zion!

The Birkath haIlanoth (Blessing of the Fruit Trees) goes as follows:

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם, שלא חיסר בעולמו דבר ,וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובים ליהנות בהם בני אדם
Transliteration: Baruch Ata Ado-nai, E-loheinu, Melech Ha'olam, shelo hasair b'olamo kloom, ubara bo briyot tovot v'ilanot tovot, leihanot bahem b'nai adam.

Translation: Blessed are You, G‑d, our Lord, King of the Universe, that His world is not lacking anything, and He created in it good creations and good trees for the pleasure of mankind.

May this Nisan, 5776, be the month we see the beginning of open Ge'ulah Shlemah that has been so awaited and longed for!

***

Today's video (really, it's audio with the album cover on the video portion) is a long-playing record (Yes, shudder if you like...if you listen to the whole thing, you deserve it! A small part of it is pretty poor due to skipping and scratches. This album was never put on CD as far as I know.) my mother had when I was a child of perhaps 3 or 4 years old. Every song on it has memories for me! I apologize to the men among my readers who do not listen to women singing — it features Geula Gill, a Temanit (Yemeni)-Israeli songstress with a multifaceted career since the 1950s.

The song most relevant to this post is "Yesusum" — the words, which are from Isaiah 35:1 and skip down to the 2nd half of v. 6, are to be found at 21:08. I have to transliterate because Blogger isn't cooperating with Hebrew right now...

Yesusum, yesusum midbar v'tziah
V'tagel, v'tagel, tagel aravah
V'tifrah, v'tifrah k'havatzelet
V'tifrah, v'tifrah k'havatzelet


Ki nivke'u bamidbar mayim unehalim ba’arava
Ki nivke'u bamidbar mayim unehalim ba’arava

Isaiah 35:6b translates: For water has broken out in the desert and streams in the plain.




More reading:

Ilan, Ilan | Tel Shiloh on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Nisan | On Herut (Freedom/Obligation) | Pesah Matters, part 1: Definition of Hametz | Pesah Matters, part 2: Coverings, Cucumbers and Gebrokts | How to Kasher for Pesah: Kashrut.org |





06 April 2016

Meir Ettinger: Worst Criminal on Earth?

27 Adar Bet 5776

Meir Ettinger, front.                   Basel Awidat/Flash 90


Meir Ettinger's newborn son was named Netzach Binyamin this past Monday. But he was unable to attend.

This reminds me of how American soldiers coming home from Vietnam used to be persecuted, making their post-traumatic stress disorder worse. Many people felt that the soldiers didn't try hard enough to stay out of the war. But what we didn't know years ago has come back to haunt us in Israel.

Some years ago my husband and I befriended a family who were friends with someone I worked with, and visited them one day. The man of the family had indeed served in 'Nam and seen things that one would wish only on our worst enemies, maybe. Yes, grown men shot down little children...who were holding toys out to them that had bombs embedded in them. This man was obviously in a dilemma as to how to communicate this without being shot at himself. Fortunately a lot of time had gone by and I had grown up, and become able to accept that unbelievable situations like these could occur, even though the very thought of them is nauseating.

What does this have to do with Meir? Because he and his wife (and now, son) are considered Hilltop Youth, they are persecuted for their goal of adding to Israel from the territory that has already been given to us, and note the heavily loaded, exaggerated terms (compared to a Jewish form of ISIS, etc.) used in the Wikipedia definition (of course, the youth themselves cannot be allowed to define themselves!). This is on top of his being from the Kahane family, which condemns him already — and if you think I'm exaggerating, consider that his grandfather, uncle and aunt were assassinated by Arabs in an attempt to severely intimidate the extended family, if not exterminate it, may it never be.

Arutz 7 reports concerning the refusal to let Meir attend his first-born son's brith milah:

Attorney Ariel Atari who represented Ettinger in court said in response: "It is the right of a person that his son not begin his life within the walls of the prison. IPS's argument in court that there is not enough time to prepare logistics to release him today is scandalous, given the fact that we applied for an appeal for eight days already. The reality in which an administrative detainee, with no incriminating evidence against him, cannot leave to attend his son’s circumcision, whereas a terrorist convicted of murder would be granted leave - should infuriate every law-abiding citizen."

But the concept of "thought crime" was invented for such as Meir Ettinger, I am convinced. It's only because of what he wrote on the Internet, the expression of his ideas — and not plans — that he is in jail now. This, while books like Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are selling like wildfire, and practically setting wild fires, elsewhere without any consequences for the publishers and the fundraisers. It confirms any thoughts that there might be a conspiracy, first to dispirit the Jew and then to destroy him. And, though I hate to say it, some Jews in high places are in on it, thinking they will be spared in the aftermath. They should learn this lesson while there is still time: If you agree that Israel should be dismantled and all Jews wiped out, and you are a Jew, you will be among the first to go. You have to be an example, you know.

The spiritually aware know better. They sense Mashiach in the air, with retribution not far behind. May the Victory of the Son of the Right Hand (and of all knowing Jews, as well as those of the rest of the world who appreciate it) be revealed quickly!

Mazal tov, Meir, Moriyah, Netzach Binyamin and family. May you increase with joy and may nothing harmful touch you.


Release Meir Ettinger! | Zaro Chayo v'Kayomo! (May his child(ren) live and endure!) | Brith of Netzach Binyamin ben Meir David Chai: Exclusive Pictures |