December 2005 Archives



7th light. ()

and Shavua Tov

and a very Happy New Year to all!!!

Light and more light


6th light. ()

Happy Chanuka and Shabbat Shalom.



5th light. ()



"Nobody needs checkpoints in the Holy Land, this is the Holy Land and it should be treated as a holy area,"

[Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah] is quoted as saying just before Christmas.

But, unfortunately, he's wrong. Dead wrong.

West Bank bombing: First lieutenant Uri Binmo, 21, was killed and three other soldiers were wounded Thursday morning after a suicide bomber struck at an army roadblock near a West Bank village in the Tul Karem region.

Four Palestinians were also killed in the incident, including the bomber. Security authorities estimate the explosive device, which was particularly powerful, was designed to be used for an attack in Israel during Chanukah.

Here's how it went down:

The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, after a Palestinian cab approached a roadblock set up earlier by IDF troops deployed in the area following an intelligence tip.

The terrorist disembarked from the cab and spoke to one of the officers on the scene, who asked him to undo his jacked, prompting a giant explosion – the result of a 15-kilograms (33 pounds) explosive belt. The officer was killed instantly, as were the bomber and three other Palestinians. Army officials are looking into the identity of other passengers in the taxi and are estimating that one of them was tasked with leading the bomber to his destination.

Anyone who says that "nobody needs checkpoints" may as well just admit that he's ok with Jews getting blown up in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and Netanya. That's where this guy was headed with his 15 kilo explosive belt. Anyone who says that "the Holy Land . . . should be treated as a holy area" needs to turn his face toward Nablus and Jenin and Ramallah, needs to turn his face toward Mahmoud Abbas when he opens his mouth.



4th light. ()



3rd light. ()

Too many, too soon


Yet another classy actor gone way before his time. Via Strange Women Lying in Ponds, a sad farewell to Vincent Schiavelli.

Lung cancer. Figures. But in addition to the many film roles I've enjoyed him in, back in April, 1997, Schiavelli (a renowned cookbook author) contributed a wonderful and inspiring article to Saveur Magazine, full of delicious recipes from his native Sicily. My favorite was a carbohydrate extravaganza called Tumala d'Andrea -- a kind of casserole consisting of a shell of bread crumb-coated cheesy arborio rice surrounding a filling of pasta, tomato sauce, meat (optional), more cheese and peas. A lot of work, but too good. (You can also find the recipe here, in Schiavelli's memoir "Bruculinu, America : Remembrances of Sicilian-American Brooklyn, Told in Stories and Recipes.")

Arrivederci, Vincent.



2nd light. ()

That Narnia thing


Sorry, but I find it extremely odd that anyone thinks there's a question here. I mean, this isn't exactly news. With or without the letter, it was common knowledge when I was a teenager (and that was a very long time ago).

Narnia's lion really is Jesus

Christopher Morgan

AN unpublished letter from the novelist C S Lewis has provided conclusive proof of the Christian message in his Narnia children’s books.

In the letter, sent to a child fan in 1961, Lewis writes: “The whole Narnian story is about Christ.” It has been found by Walter Hooper, literary adviser to the Lewis estate.

[ . . . ]

On one side church groups, backed by the film’s producer Disney, are promoting the story’s message as Christian, with Jesus represented by Aslan saving a world fallen into sin.

Others say it is just an adventure story that draws on a variety of religious and folklore sources. Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, said recently: “Churches in Britain and America are promoting the film as a Christian film, but it’s not . . . and the Narnia books aren’t Christian novels.”

The letter, written from Magdalene College, Cambridge, where Lewis was a don, contradicts this. “Supposing there really was a world like Narnia . . . and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?” he wrote.

“The stories are my answer. Since Narnia is a world of talking beasts, I thought he would become a talking beast there as he became a man here. I pictured him becoming a lion there because a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; b) Christ is called ‘the lion of Judah’ in the Bible.”

This 1961 letter, by the way, isn't really news either. It shows up, rather matter-of-factly, in this essay posted at Slate back in 2001.

So, whether or not everyone notices it, and whether or not the film version pushes it to the fore or into the background, there just can't be any serious question that the Christian symbolism is there.

That said, ... so what? It's a movie. It's entertainment. Since when has symbolism in films, Christian or otherwise, become controversial? If the threat of exposure to it bothers you, don't see it. This one's truly a mystery to me.


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1st light. ()

Season of light


To all who are celebrating it today, a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for peace and joy in the year to come.



There's an interesting interview at Isracast today with Dr. Dan Schueftan of Haifa University on the recent rocket attacks against Ashkelon, Israel's new "security zone" in the northern Gaza Strip and the future of the 'road map.'

This "security zone" thing, by the way, is not, I repeat not, a new idea. And it hasn't worked too well in the past, either.

Shabbat Shalom.

Slip of the tongue


Only two days after his primary victory, Bibi shows his true colors. In hi def.

New Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu delayed the Likud's Knesset elections by six days on Wednesday to allow him to take the legal steps necessary to oust right-wing activist Moshe Feiglin from the party.

The Likud central committee was set to elect the party's Knesset slate on January 3. Netanyahu delayed the election to January 9, because he wanted to first hold a vote on preventing anyone with a conviction from running for Knesset with the party, a vote that required two weeks notice.

"There will not be room in our party for corruption and extremist lawbreaking," Netanyahu told the Likud faction. "Our party will work to restore its image to the good old days of Menachem Begin."

Ah, yes, "the good old days." Begin must be spinning in his grave.

You see, while Feiglin isn't exactly my cup of tea, the first few times I read this article, I could have sworn it said that Bibi wanted to prevent "anyone with conviction" from running on the Likud ticket. And I still think that's a more accurate reflection of his agenda.



Just when I thought I couldn't be shocked by Reuters' amazingly blatant bias any longer, I see this over at

In a breathtaking example of why I no longer read, and rarely quote the Reuters news agency, we have this years Israel-as-Grinch story. The inaccuracies abound:

Bethlehem walled off by Israel this Christmas
21 Dec 2005 09:12:01 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Megan Goldin

Meryl somehow manages to make this story funny and pathetic at the same time. Go read.
Then compare this AP story published in The Guardian, no less, a few days ago:

Israeli Army to Ease Access to Bethlehem

Monday December 19, 2005 11:31 PM

AP Photo JRL124
Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel will ease access to Bethlehem during Christmas in a "calculated risk'' meant to let Christian pilgrims celebrate the holiday freely in the West Bank town, security officials said Monday.

Israeli Lt. Col. Aviv Feigel said pilgrims will not need permission from the army to enter the town, the traditional birthplace of Jesus. The military also will try to speed entry by conducting spot checks of random tourist buses rather than checking every bus, he said.

Arab Israelis and Christian Palestinians will be allowed to drive into Bethlehem, Feigel said.

"We are taking a calculated risk by easing steps and that is because we are well aware of the importance of Bethlehem,'' Feigel told reporters.

He also said Palestinian Christians will be allowed into Israel to visit family. Restrictions are to be eased starting Dec. 24 until Jan. 18, when the Armenian church celebrates Christmas, he said.

Reuters takes seeing the glass half empty to a whole new level.

And yet more

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Mitch Webber (of the sadly defunct blog Red & Blue) has yet another excellent essay on 'Munich' published at the NY Sun (subscription required)! Here, too, you'll find more background information than you've likely seen elsewhere.

The most misleading omission from Munich is Germany's response to the massacre. Germany released the Black September terrorists less than two months after they had killed eleven innocent civilians. Israel had to hunt down Black September, because Germany didn't value Jewish lives enough to capture, try, and imprison those who kill Israelis on German soil. (Also missing from the film is any mention of Germany's refusal to allow the Israeli Olympians their own security detail, despite credible threats to their safety, and Germany's refusal to let Israel conduct a rescue operation.) Meir said that she was "literally physically sickened"by Germany's capitulation. She continued, "I think that there is not one single terrorist held in prison anywhere in the world. Everyone else gives in."

But Mitch makes one observation in particular that I'd like to address.

Spielberg and Kushner end up glorifying Jewish victims, but deploring those who would keep Jews from becoming victims. Their sense of Jewish tragedy blinds them to the possibility of Jewish heroism.

As I've said to anyone who cared to listen over the past few days, I think it's a bit more than that. I'd suggest that Spielberg isn't blinded to the possibility of Jewish heroism, he's just enormously uncomfortable with it. And he shares that discomfort with too many of his "tribe." Jews as victims, Jews as martyrs, Jews as persecuted wretched souls rescued by noble gentiles, Spielberg and his ilk can sympathize with, even admire. Jews defending themselves, striking back at their enemies, standing their ground and saving themselves, not so much.

The essence of this attitude is captured in one of the most oft-quoted lines from 'Munich:' "Jews don't do wrong because our enemies do wrong. We're supposed to be righteous!"

Oddly enough, Israel itself seems to suffer from this same affliction, and Jews all over the world seem to expect Israel to live up to their own conceptions of supreme righteousness. She's expected to turn the other cheek, bow her neck to the sword, rely on the grace of others for her salvation. Where did this notion come from? Certainly not from our tradition.

As long as we continue to think this way, we're going to continue to be the victims, the martyrs, the persecuted. Maybe some of us will be more comfortable with that role -- if they survive. Personally, though, I'd prefer the cold-blooded execution of a dozen murdering terrorists to the explosion of a busload of schoolchildren, any day.

More on 'Munich'

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Andrea Levin of CAMERA has a thoughtful and informative take on this latest film fiasco, but so far I can only find it at IMRA.

Steven Spielberg and an army of well-paid consultants and spinmeisters are pulling out all the stops to promote Munich and fend off damaging criticism of the movie about the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes and the effort to track down the crime's masterminds. The campaign has even included courting family members of the slain men for endorsements to blunt a gathering storm of negative commentary from the likes of David Brooks in the New York Times, Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic and Andrea Peyser in the New York Post.

I've read Wieseltier's and Peyser's reviews (all three require registration). Peyser's is worth reading, but Levin's is much more substantive.

Briefly, the movie presents, via pulse-pounding scenes of kidnaping, death, stalking and more death, the message that Israel was brutal, bungling and immoral in its reaction to the massacre. True, the hostage-takers were also brutal; but dispossessing Palestinians, we soon learn, lies at the root.

Cultured Palestinians passionately explain: "We are for twenty-four years the world's largest refugee population. Our homes taken from us. Living in camps. No future. No food. Nothing decent for our children."

In Munich there are no Palestinians clamoring for the destruction of Israel - as all Palestinian groups did then and, regrettably, leading groups continue to do today. On the contrary, in a contrived encounter between Avner, the movie's lead, and a PLO member, the latter insists he simply wants a homeland. He also blames Jews for turning the Palestinians "into animals" and charges them with exploiting guilt over the Holocaust.

In all of this one sees the biases of Tony Kushner, the radical playwright brought in by Spielberg to reshape the script. Kushner has repeatedly called the creation of Israel a "mistake,"blamed Israel for "the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people,"and advocated policies to undermine the state.

For those who've been taken by surprise by Spielberg's approach to this film, I'd like to point out that Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities posted a heads up on this well over a year ago. (Hmmm. The original post seems to be missing. But the Google cache still has it here, for now.)

Anyway, read the rest of Levin's review. It includes some important facts and background, some of which you won't find in too many other discussions of the film.

How appropriate

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TEL AVIV, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Steven Spielberg has hired one of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's top strategists to market his controversial new film about Israel's retaliation for the Palestinian attack on its team at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Eyal Arad, who helped mastermind the recent Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, said on Sunday he was promoting the film "Munich" in the Jewish state, where it has already stirred fierce debate.

More at Kesher Talk.

As predicted


It really was never a matter of "if," but only of "when:"

A Kassam rocket, fired from the former Jewish community of Dugit in northern Gaza, fell in an Israeli industrial zone, just south of the city of Ashkelon, on Sunday afternoon.

No damage or injuries were reported in the attack.

The rocket attack, the second against Ashkelon in the past three days, came perilously close to strategic targets in the area. Those targets include a major oil pipeline, a power plant, and a desalination plant.

A successful strike against such targets could impact severely on day-to-day life in Israel, with particularly harmful ramifications for hundreds of thousands of people living in the southern part of the country.

The ‘Al Aksa Division,’ the military wing of the Islamic Jihad terror group took credit for the strike. The terror group released a statement referring to Ashkelon as a “settlement.” That term, while commonly used to refer to Jewish towns in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, is often used by terror groups to connote a community set up in occupied territory.

For those who don't know, Ashkelon is well within Israel's 1967 borders. But apparently not far enough. Not any more.

(And, yes, I do know that Sharon had a minor stroke today. I'd say that was pretty predictable, as well. He should recover fully and retire, take some of the weight off his shoulders and everywhere else and go enjoy some quality time with his family and his horses in good health.)

RIP John Spencer


Damn! Damn! Damn!

A fine actor and a fine man. He'll be missed.

Suppose they gave a war


and no one came.

What's with Fox News? First Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson (two TV personalities that I detest) invent a phoney "war on Christmas," and now Fox has invited inveterate Israel basher and probable antisemite Bob Novak to join its team. At least CNN had the good sense to let him go.

"Fair and balanced?" I don't think so. Not for a while now, and this is the last straw. I'll be looking elsewhere for my TV news from now on.

Reality and fantasy


On December 11th, Caroline Glick received the Ben Hecht Award for Excellence in Journalism in the Middle East at the annual ZOA dinner in New York. You can read the full text of her speech here, at Israpundit.

Ashrawi: "peace activist"


Who knew?

On the backdrop of ongoing violent assaults against electoral offices, Lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi warned on Wednesday against disrupting or postponing the legislative election, scheduled for January 25, held the Palestinian National authority (PNA) responsible for the security chaos and urged the ruling Fatah movement to put its house in order, saying that “Fatah cannot unilaterally decide the fate of the electoral process.”

Ashrawi told reporters that she was speaking on behalf of the “Liberty List” that will be announced on Thursday.

This "Liberty List" is actually interesting*, and Ashrawi has arguably been among the more moderate palestinian spokespeople, but this description by the Palestine Media Center is just plain odd.

The veteran Palestinian peace activist was reacting to violence on Tuesday, which resulted in the closure of the CEC offices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in protest.

The violence is a “very dangerous escalation that must be faced firmly by the PNA,” Ashrawi said.

In her interview with Ashrawi for the Jersualem Post last December (original link gone, of course), Ruthie Blum called her "a self-proclaimed reformist and human rights activist." That's a bit closer to the mark.

*By the way, reputed Liberty List member Yasser Abed Rabbo just happens to be the founder and director of the PMC.

Speaking of birthdays


How about this one?

In the first event of its kind in Israel's history, an endangered Asian Elephant in Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo has given birth to a baby elephant after fertility treatment and an arduous labor.

The mother, named Tamar, was in labor for four hours – at which point a live internet broadcast of the birth was halted and veterinary staff decided to hasten the birth. Two hour later the calf was born – healthy and weighing 198 pounds.

The baby elephant, its birth, and a live broadcast of it with its mom during daylight hours can be viewed by clicking here.

The baby elephant is the first to be born in Israel and just the 11th Asian Elephant on earth to be born through the complex fertility method.

52 already


See, other bloggers feint and dodge about their age. Not me. At least not this year.

I have to confess that I've never really gotten the whole reluctance to disclose your age thing. I mean, back when the common wisdom was "don't trust anyone over thirty," it was understandable that you might not want to admit you were, um, over thirty. If you wanted to be trusted, that is. Well it's been a while since I could pretend I was under thirty. (I'm still pretty trustworthy, though.)

Nevertheless, these birthdays do seem to me to be coming much too frequently now.

Anyway, today I shovelled snow. Quite a lot of it. Proving, I guess, that despite my age I'm not quite over the hill yet.

Shabbat Shalom.

Still not official


So the International Committee of the Red Cross voted today (by a tally of 98 to 27 with 10 abstentions) to recognize the red crystal thingy as an official symbol, thus paving the way for Israel to join the ICRC as a full member. The adoption of the neutral, non-religious symbol, you see, allows Israel's Magen David Adom emergency medical service to function internationally without displaying the offensive Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David). There must be no Jewish symbol allowed alongside the Red Cross and Red Crescent, so without the convenient Red Crystal thingy, no membership for Israel. Yet, there is a small (and I mean tiny) exception (a lot more detail here).


Any country can adopt the red crystal symbol, according to the ICRC Web site. The cross, crescent or crystal must be used alone for what is termed "protective'' use, to safeguard relief workers. In addition, other symbols, such as Israel's red shield, can be used within its national territory, while it can be used on foreign territory only if it is displayed inside the red crystal, and by agreement with the other nation.

Meanwhile, Israel's membership in the ICRC is still not a done deal. According to the ADL,

This vote does not automatically lead to MDA's membership in the ICRC. A number of organizational bodies must adopt the changes and vote to officially recognize MDA, including the 181-member International General Assembly, which must approve the changes with a two-thirds vote.

Meryl's got this exactly right. She's done quite a bit of homework, too. And while Israel is swallowing this slap in the face in the interest of facilitating her own humanitarian efforts toward the rest of the world (think about that for a minute), we shouldn't mistake it for "acceptance" by the ICRC. Grudging toleration, maybe, but no more.

Imagine a club that, after decades of discrimination, allows Jews to join on the condition that they refrain from revealing their Jewishness in any way. "We'll let you in as long as you promise not to remind us that you're a Jew."

Israel truly does occupy the position among (most of) the nations that the Jews have always occupied among (most of) the Gentiles.

Update: this column at Ynet is excellent.

Make the "Red Crystal" the new symbol of the entire organization. Make every emergency services agency use the crystal as the main symbol, and let everyone put their own preferred national or religious symbol inside. That's really the only way to be fair.

Uh, yeah.

15 minutes


Andy Warhol once famously said that, in the future, everyone would be world famous for 15 minutes. Perhaps the same can be said of popularity. Seductive, usually fleeting and often won at the price of integrity.

Daniel Pipes had a great column Monday in Front Page Magazine. Israel, U.N. Favorite.

Since 1992, Israel's hapless leaders have followed a policy of appeasement in the hopes that "timely concessions to disgruntled nations whose grievances had some legitimacy [would succeed in] … defusing difficulties and promoting peace and goodwill."

But, in a perpetually relevant comment dating to the dark days of 1940, Winston Churchill warned that "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." The U.N. crocodile has shown it is satiated but briefly by Israel, returning after each "painful concession" with an even more voracious appetite. Will Israelis ever again understand that wars are won through victory, not retreat?

Don't miss.



Some days, the Jerusalem Post headlines alone are so entertaining, depressing and/or mystifying that a glance at the front page suffices to make or ruin my day. Well, not really, but you almost don't even need to follow the links (which is good, because they periodically expire).

Here's a representative batch from tonight (for as long as the links last):

Jihad slams PA for arresting members -- by Khaled Abu Toameh, of course -- follow the link on this one.

Last minute talks held with Syria over adoption of neutral Red Cross symbol -- and the decision couldn't be in better hands ... could it?

Seattle synagogue 'Kadima' welcomes PM's adoption of name -- who cares? Oh, wait. This requires a short quote:

The Seattle Reconstructionist congregation Kadima "welcomes members from all backgrounds, including multicultural, gay, and lesbian households," according to its Web site, and now it's welcoming Ariel Sharon's adoption of its name.

Well, allrighty then.

ElBaradei: No 'smoking gun' in Iran -- well, allrighty then, again. Whew! Glad that's over. Aren't you?

MKs change focus from security to poverty -- 'cause a poll said it's more important. Better dead or maimed than poor, I guess. (And, no, I'm not making light of the very real and often overlooked horror of poverty in Israel, but well, this is Israel, and I dare say there's at least a partial causal connection there.)

Israelis told to leave Sinai -- again? Oh, they mean the tourists. New kidnapping alerts, it seems. Hey, ain't peace wunnerful?

And that's a wrap. Hmmm. Not a word on the Al-Arian trial. Well, there's more than enough elsewhere.

But while we're at Tampa Bay's 10 News, I can't resist one more:

Model accused of hiring hit man to kill for cheese

Police in Memphis say a woman mistook a block of white cheese for a cocaine stash and tried to hire a hit man to kill four men and steal it.

Police say Jessica Sandy Booth was mistaken about the hit man, too. He was an undercover policeman.

Beat that.

OT - cats

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Matt and Vicky have adopted out one of their "Hurricane Kitties." OMG, these have to be the most blogogenic kittens I've ever seen. I woulda been ready to drive on out to Arkansas to pick one up myself, but since I'm hooked up with a cat-allergic kinda guy, that's sorta outa the question (and why am I talking like this?).

Anyway, the adoptive family looks nice. Really nice. I approve (as if anyone cares). Meanwhile, it looks like the little naughty kitty has got herself a home with the Drachenbergs. Lucky kitties, both.

Bombing in Netanya


A Fox News reporter on TV this morning described Netanya as an Israeli "village" "near the seam line," giving the impression that it's practically in the West Bank. Well, that's only a bit misleading. The West Bank town that the bomber came from is, in fact, only a few kilometers away. But Netanya is a beachfront community (and a bit large for a "village"). It has its back to the sea. Fox has inadvertantly pointed out, once again, just how indefensible the 1967 borders actually were.

Meanwhile Dr. Aaron Lerner at IMRA offers this commentary:

Israel Radio correspondents noted that it is expected that the bomber made his way to the mall through a crossing point in the separation fence. It should be noted that while some separation fence advocates genuinely believed that the fence would stop terror attacks that many of its supporters see the fence more as a device to ultimately bring about Israeli retreats in the West Bank while bypassing the need for public debate before the retreat lines are set. The fence hasn't stopped terror - Israeli security operations inside the West Bank have - operations that won't be possible after the retreat expected after the elections.

I'm thinking that's probably right. (The suicide mass murderer, by the way, was 18 years old.) Hey, and I'm still waiting for those disenagement dividends.

Meanwhile, it doesn't matter how many candidates Netanyahu pressures to drop out of the race for the Likud leadership. The party is on life support, and it needed fresh blood and a point man (or woman) with some integrity to bring it back. Bibi's not that man.

Katif today


As we lucky ones prepare to close down the week to enjoy Shabbat (or Friday night, the weekend) in the warm comfort of our own homes, I read this message from Rachel Saperstein, a former resident of the Gush Katif community of Neve Dekalim:

A letter arrived from the Bezek Telephone Company. We will have to pay a penalty of IS 280, the letter stated, for breaking our one-year contract for internet use.“The government through us out in August” we countered. “They destroyed our phone lines. Sue the government for breach of contract.” We are awaiting their reply.

Twenty-three Neve Dekalim families received a letter from SELAH – The Expulsion Authority. “We don’t deny you lived in Neve Dekalim. But you rented privately rather than through the local council. So you are not entitled to housing in Nitzan, or compensation of any kind. You have six days to vacate your hotel!”

Five other families received letters saying “Though you rented privately we will allow you to rent a ‘caravilla’ of 60 square meters. But it must be in an area ‘everyone has turned down’.”

We all signed a petition today – Everyone goes or no one goes to Nitzan. And we all will live in the same neighborhood.

Slowly, very slowly, the families are moving out of the hotels and into the prized, paper-thin fiberglass trailers. “Congratulations you have received a prized key!” says their letter.

Like many others Moshe and I have received neither letter nor key nor compensation of any kind, and are simply left in limbo.

Ship containers packed, stored and guarded by the IDF are now reaching the Nitzan Displaced Persons camp. Many have been broken into. Furniture, appliances and clothing were stolen or vandalized. Half-eaten food strewn about by the packers lay moldering in the containers, giving off a stench. Rats left their mark.

But there are those who make a difference. The Band-Aid Fund has sent seed money to each family as it moves into its trailer. But the needs, the replacements, the small items, cost so much. Paying off the mortgage of the destroyed homes, food, electricity, water, payments for the container rental eats away at the small government advance.

Avery Harris of Petach Tikva moves peripatetically among the hotels, tent cities and trailers looking for leaders and encourages their endeavors. Mark Launer of Jerusalem helped establish the Student Loan Fund.

Unemployment among our people is nearly 80%. Rabbi Yosef Rimon of Alon Shvut, a volunteer, has opened an employment agency in Nitzan using the internet as his tool. “Job Katif” is bringing in the data to place our people in jobs. College volunteers help write CV’s and prepare for interviews. Rav Rimon has managed to place people in satisfying jobs and this has made all the difference.

And so we see light, a small light barely flickering. Despite government pronouncements of “a solution for all” there is no help, only the harassment of the authorities. But the decency of private individuals who have come to help, people like yourselves, is making all the difference.

You can read more about the Sapersteins and the ongoing shande that is the legacy of the "disengagement" here. (And, yes, Tim, after 37 years in Israel, they still have Brooklyn accents.)

Shabbat Shalom.

ZAKA needs your help


This post by Meryl reminded me that, for some reason, I never published the one below. I thought I did, but apparently not. Anyway, here it is, more than two months later (some of the links no longer work -- I'll try to fix later):

Whenever there's a disaster in Israel, they're there. Searching for body parts and vital fluids in order to provide the victims with a proper Jewish burial, or as close as possible. Whether it's a terrorist attack, a highway accident, a train wreak or a fire,

And not only in Israel. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, ZAKA volunteers came to New Orleans to assist in the recovery and identification of flood victims and in the rescue of Torah scrolls from synagogues. They've also sent volunteers to help the tsunami victims in Thailand and the terror victims in Taba.

But ZAKA is in deep financial trouble. Last week, the organization filed for receivership in the Jerusalem District Court. They've launced an aggressive donation campaign in France, and there have been informal talks about a take-over by Magen David Adom.

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