Personal thoughts on current events, cultural events, Israel, Judaism, Jewish/Israel innovations and life from a Jewish perspective - read into that what you may.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A very insightful article on 'Rehab for an 'all-consuming peace addiction'. I highly recommend it

Ruthie Blum interviews Daniel Gordis of the Shalem Center in her latest article in the Jerusalem Post .

As one can understand from the article, Daniel Gordis once very much supported the peace process as well as the expulsion of Jews from Gaza (aka - the disengagement). However today he thinks differently.

As far as disengagement is concerned, in retrospect, there's no question that it was a mistake, in terms of Israel's security and defense. But I hesitate to call it an out-and-out mistake - without in any way minimizing the horrible human cost to the families who were uprooted - because I think we learned something we could only have learned by doing it. What no one can reasonably deny now is that the Right was right.

As someone who used to be left of center, I always believed that the Palestinians wanted the same things we did - that they sought two states for two peoples; that they wanted a country just like we did; that they wished for their children and grandchildren to flourish, just like we did. Disengagement proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was wrong - tragically wrong, but wrong nonetheless. Because what they had was an opportunity to begin to build some sort of autonomy. And it became clear that this is not what they had, or have, in mind. They are much more intent on destroying us than they are on building themselves. They're much more committed to our not having a future than to their having one.

First of all, it is rare to come upon a thinker of Mr.Gordis' stature and standing to admit what he does. It is not an easy step at and for this I take my hat off to him.

From another persepctive, however, I'm still very uneasy about these thoughts because I knew back in 1992 that the oslo "peace accords" were a huge mistake for Israel and I wasn't the only one who thought so. We protested furiously against the Israeli acceptance of the Oslo process. Yet our calls went unheeded and most of world Jewry got swept away with euphoria on how peace was around the corner, we just must understand that there is a price for peace, that any terrorist act is our sacrifice for peace - and the Jewish world bought it! 

So inside I'm so distraught that 16 years and thousands of innocent Israeli deaths have to pass for somany intellectual people to realize what Mr. Gordis expresses in the Jpost article.

On the other hand, I must admit that reality is reality and Mr. Gordis does a good job allowing us to understand that the Jewish psyche of hope and liberalism allows many Jews to dismiss the facts on the ground and put much time and effort into making their hopes and dreams for peace come true. Hence the willingness to put up with terrorism on the side of our "peace" partners for years and still march on the facade of a peace process and only waking up to what me and others knew all along, that the peace process has been a facade, after it has been finally proven to them - that the Arabs in Yehuda, Shomron and Gaza (because there is no such thing as a palestinian people, just ask Golda Meir) want to destroy the State of Israel and not live side-by-side with it in peace.

I have always said that this peace process would fail and that in the end Jews will live in all of Yehuda, Shomron and Gaza (yes, and Gaza) because the Arabs won't stop trying to destroy our nation and homeland and in the end it will be because of realism and not ideology that we will be settled throughout our Holy land. Their not letting up will just prove to more and more Jews and Israelis that they really have no intent on living side by side in peace with us. Too bad it just takes so long for so many Israelis and Jews so long to realize this lesson because in the meantime we are paying the price with our own lives for their stubborness to hold on to their hope and liberal attitudes that charges them to continue trying to make peace at all costs.

In the end, I must say thank you to Mr. Gordis for his intellectual honesty and I wish that many other of our brethren in Israel and abroad would follow his example and begin to be honest with themselves and reality that peace is just not attainable with people who want to destroy you. So what's the solution to have quiet. I much prefer doing what is necessary so that we can attain quiet instead of signing peace agreements that our just pieces of paper with signatures.

How do we attain quiet? That's for other posts.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It Doesn't Make A Difference, But it Should

The other day I posted the following Palestinian Media Watch video on twitter and facebook for people to see.

A Twitter friend of mine responded to me with the following "I can not believe how many Jews believe that we can make peace with the Arabs. Who do we talk to? 

The following is an answer to my friend that I felt deserved a blog post instead of 140 characters on Twitter. If anyone has a different opinion then the one I express below, please feel to share it with me and I'll share it with my Twitter friend as well.

My answer:
On the one hand this video is extremly significant, but on the other hand it is useless.

What do I mean?

Well, first of all it is significant because it is proof that the official leaders of the Arabs, currently living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, never have and never will recognize the State of Israel. (FYI - the man in the video, Dahlan, has always been one to the darlings of the US and the Israeli Left, a potential leader/partner to make "peace" with)

Therefore, it should be clear to all, that it is pure folly for Israel to hold peace talks, or continue a peace process to establish a "palestinian" state with a partner that never wants to recognize us and really only wants to destroy Israel and replace it with another Arab country (23rd, I think) in the Middle East.

In any normal country, this video like this about a peace processwould make huge news, huge! and create waves in the public as well as in diplomatic circles with great pressure to stop the charade of peace talks, because it would finally be clear to all that the peace talk is not about peace, but about tearing Israel up piece by piece.

But this is not so when it comes to Israel and the Jewish people. This is why this video is useless and why there really is no one to talk to. Because it's not important to talk to someone, but to talk to people who are open minded to listen, and this doesn't exist when it comes to the mass of the Israeli/Jewish public who want to continue the charade of peace talks or 2 states regardless of the facts that prove it's utter folly.

Why? Because people don't want to hear the truth, it's too depressing and it doesn't jive with the hopes and expectations that we Israelis/Jews want, so the video will fall largely on deaf ears within the population that can it most make an impact.

We Israelis/Jews have such a need to feel accepted by the nations of the world that facts don't bother us from doing what is necessary to help us gain "acceptence". If the world wants us to pursue a peace process, create a state for our enemies (that may eventually cause our own destruction) we will do so, even if we have to hide the facts of the reality from the Israeli public and the Jewish people worldwide. 

So nobody wants to hear that the peace process is a charade of the arab world to destroy Israel. Nobody wants to hear that Arafat went to Johanesburg, days after the Oslo agreement were signed, and gave a speech telling the public that he was just following Muhammed's lead of signing agreements with the enemy in order to weaken them to then destroy them later on when they are weak. And nobody is interested in hearing Dahlan say in the video that they have never recognized the State of Isreal. So the video really is useless.

It has been my feeling for a long time, that G-d works in strange ways, and when we don't want to listen to reality, he uses reality to bite us in the backend and finally wake us up. It's only with his radical wake up calls that we begin to wake up, but even then only in baby steps (hence the Qassam rockets for 8 years, the 2nd Lebanon war and the recent Gaza/Gush Katif war). Unfortunately the longer we hold on to our delusions the more radical wake up calls G-d will have to bring upon us in order to really wake up and change our minds about this "piece by piece" process.

I will continue posting these eye opening videos and posts as I find them, because they do help some people to wake up from the delusional peace process they once thought we were in, but for the masses, who can create the pressure for the changes necessary, I know they won't make an impact. That's just the way it is.

Monday, March 23, 2009


With a majority of the Western world appeasing terrorism (partly because of economic reasons and OIL!), it was refreshing to see the following commercial produced by the global car-maker - Honda.


Besides the fact that Honda makes great cars (yes, I'm the proud owner of one myself and very very satisfied), people should go out and buy their cars for being one of the few to say this message loud and clear. 

In other words THANK YOU HONDA for saying this message loud and clear.

While the US and the Western world now cajole the Hamas to give lip service to coming to terms with the existence of the State of Israel, while at the same time the world powers and the world media ignore the fact that the PLO/PA never recognized the existence of the State of Isreal ,
(which all adds up to the fact that the western world play nicey, nicey with terrorists) it is nice to know that at least a car company comes out and calls a spade a spade with regards to oil. It doesn't make up for the idiocy and hypocrisy of the western world and world media towards Israel, but it's at least something.

Supporting oil is supporting terrorism. Supporting terrorism because they "only" want to kill the Jews in Israel is leading about to the destruction of the West itself. Islam is not only out to destroy Israel, but the whole western world. They won't ever understand until it is to late, but at least Honda is willing to make some noise about how the oil industry is the fuel (sic) that feeds the terrorism machine.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rav Moshe Temple Ascends Har Habayit/the Temple Mount

For years I have had the urge to join the growing group of people who ascend the Temple Mount. To my own disappointment, I have still not done so, mostly because of my own doubts as to the halachik ramifications of such an act, compounded with my own laziness to sit down and learn the laws surrounding this very important and holy act.

This past week I had the pleasure of meeting Yehuda Glick, who runs the Temple Institute, with regards to doing a program together with the Temple Institute and this evening I had the fortune of finding this fascinating video of Rav Moshe Tendler going up to to Har Habayit/the Temple Mount. 

Now, I'm more encouraged than ever to finally sit down and study this issue in more depth and there is no better way than on the coattails of this fabulous video which includes Rav Moshe Tendler explaining the concept of Kedusha (holiness) in general, and specifically when applied to going up to Har Habayit. The length of the video is 17 minutes, but worth every second of your time, to see a gadol walking around Har Habayit and listening to him talk about some of the Torah concepts concerning Har Habayit.

For many years it has been the custom of Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler, famed posek, professor, and son-in-law of the great Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, זצ'ל to perform the commandment of 'Mora Mikdash' - showing reverence to G-d at the place of the Holy Temple, by ascending the Temple Mount in strict accordance with halacha - Jewish law. The Rabbi ascends the Mount every time he is in the land of Israel. He has made tens of visits to the Temple Mount. The recorded visit was filmed on the 23rd of Tevet, 5769 - January 19th, 2009.

Click here for a Jewish Press article with Rav Tender defending ascending to Har Habayit

Click here for a Haaretz article, which mentions Rav Tendler's ascending Har Habayit, titled "ULTRA-ORTHDOX PROHIBITION ON ENTERING TEMPLE MOUNT SPLINTERS" 
While the people of Isreal have heroes who are dedicated to saving lives, the Arabs living in the Jewish homeland have their sights on death.

Fathi Hamad, Hamas MK:
"We desire death like you desire life"

Thank you Fathi for making this message crystal clear to us all in the video below. Too bad the world doesn't listen to what you tell your own people and instead is focused on the new anti-semitism of anti-Israel/anti-Zionism that they do everything to side with the Arab aggersoors and very little to defend the Jewish/Israeli victims (i.e. pledging $900 million to rebuild areas in Gaza destroyed because of Arab aggression)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Hero's Deed that must be told

Not everyday does human kind come across such a person as was Noam Apter. His total self-acrifice and selflessness are admirable in an era of self-centeredness. His is a hero's story that must be told and retold, one generation to another. We are blessed to have had such a person lead such an example for us all. We would be even more blessed if he would be with us today to show us how to live according to those values through daily life as well. 

Sublime Heroism

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

 Here's the challenge: 
In your last seconds of life, with terrorists spraying bullets at you, would you:

 (1) try to kill those who are trying to kill you and all your people? 

(2) run for cover rather than be blown apart by bullets? Or 

 (3) Make Noam's choice, turn your back on the terrorists, even though you  have a sidearm, and leap to lock the doors and hurl away the key, so that  the murderers cannot kill the dozens of your fellow students in the 
room beyond?

 We will never know what choice we would make. But we do know what choice Noam Apter made, and he deserves our attention and gratitude. How often does it happen, that a soul is revealed, in its essence? The pure, virtuous soul of Noam Apter was revealed on Friday, December 27,  2002.  Most of the world missed that profound moment.

 Not a single mainstream media source mentioned Noam's actions, nor even  his name, outside of Israel. We are so caught up in the next deaths, the  next bombings and the latest number of body parts.  When a sublime act of heroism occurs, we don't even notice.

 Here's what happened. Listen, remember, and tell the story to others. It  deserves to be told.

Boys from the Otniel Yeshiva (religious university) outside of Hebron,  were hosting young men from another yeshiva, Har Etzion, for Shabbat. The  boys gathered together for Friday evening services, then made their way to  the dining hall. Noam Apter, 23, was in charge of the kitchen crew that  night. The Otniel boys all take turns cooking and serving. Yehuda Bamberger, 20, and Tzvi Ziman, 18, were also on kitchen duty. So was Gavriel Hotter, only 17, who was waiting for his 18th birthday so that he could officially join in the complete Hesder program.

Otniel and Har Etzion are Hesder Yeshivas. Students in these schools, although religious, also serve their country with rotations in the Israeli Defense Forces. They alternate Torah study, their religious duty, with military service, their national duty. 
Otniel is known as an "artsy" yeshiva, with courses that include drama and dancing. Noam's mother, Pirhiya, recently recalled his entrance interview.  Noam and the admissions Rabbi spent the time discussing the book Noam was reading, Catcher in the Rye.

After sunset, the boys streamed into the dining hall. The Otniel hosts  were already serving the first course of fish, salads, hummus and tehina.  The plates were cleared, and the soup course was underway. 

As the crew arranged the soup bowls on the platters, two terrorists dressed in Israeli military uniforms burst into the kitchen through an open service door. Their guns pumped bullets into Tzvi, Gavriel and Yehuda, who were gunned down where they stood. Tens of bullets were found in each of these boys. 

But Noam.
Noam, the "one in charge," had a sidearm. But with the bullets slicing the air and his friends, he never turned to fire. Noam lunged toward the door leading to the dining room. Though already shot in the back, Noam managed  to lock that door, and hurl the key out of reach. Noam's body was recovered there, at the door, riddled with bullets. But the terrorists could not get through the door to complete their mission: to gun down as many as possible of the dozens of young men inside.

This child of God, this Zionist soldier, with his last breaths, saved the  lives of dozens of others, rather than his own, and rather than try to take the lives of the murderers. This is a story of humanity at its apex.

The news reports, the few that ran, referred to Noam Apter as an unnamed
"Yeshiva student" and "settler" who was one of four killed by Palestinians. Of all the print media in the United States, there was exactly one mention of this young man by name. Only The New York Post shared the miracle of Noam with its readers.

I met Noam Apter last summer, when I and several friends went to Israel on a study and solidarity mission. Noam, an adorable young man with an M-16 rifle (it isn't incongruous in Israel), accompanied us as our guard. We were a bunch of middle-aged, fairly knowledgeable, somewhat observant, mostly left-leaning American Jews. But this young man touched us all.  I  told him to forget his girlfriend, because I have two daughters and I wanted him to marry one of them. 

 I just spoke with Yossi Apter, Noam's father, to share his grief. During our  conversation he remembered Noam told him what I said about my daughters. How sweet, how tragic. That trip to Israel was as close as I will ever get  to knowing a hero. 

If you share this story, you will be spreading the tiny drop of pure  goodness and decency in the sea of madness flowing from the Middle East.


postscript:  I still think of Noam very often, and always on Shabbat.  I think about Noam, and weep, when we sing Etz Chaim. 


Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Philadelphia, PA   USA


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wow! Israeli invention that allows paraplegics to walk! See it for yourself in this video:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Are you the One

12Tribe Films Foundation is expanding and they are now looking for 10  marketing/advertising interns who are go getters, results oriented, love movies and care about the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

With a presence in New York and Jerusalem, 12Tribe Films is now looking for talented students who will intern and work virtually from their homes or local coffee houses.

If you fit the bill and you are looking for a rewarding internship that will give you marketing/advertising experience, flexibility and a feeling of accomplishment, then apply today! 

The application deadline is March 25th

If this internship interests you, please fill out the application form below and 12Tribe Films will contact you if they see a fit. If you want to record a video to share telling about yourself and why you are a perfect fit for this internship, then please upload it to and place the link in the application form. 

All questions regarding this internship opportunity can be sent to avi at 12tribefilms dot org

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Purim Sameach to all!

We celebrate this miraculous holiday year after year, and even though it is a fabulous story with a miraculous end, many people don't understand how it relates to our current lives.

Well, if you ever asked: 'What does Purim have to do with today?' - this video is for you!