Friday, February 22, 2013

Purim News: Jewish Home Party Concerned - Ayelet Shaked is Becoming Observant

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Ayelet Shaked, the young, Tel-Aviv-born, secularist who was strategically placed high up in the Jewish Home party list in order to draw votes from the non-religious public, is becoming observant. Party leaders are  worried.

Ayelet Shaked to Rabbi Ronsky: "When I become fully religious,
I hope to have a beard like yours."

"If this trend continues," said an unnamed party leader, "we will have to ask some of the religious Knesset members in our party to remove their yarmulkes and discontinue public Jewish observance."

The news first broke when Shaked's neighbors reported that her car didn't move from her driveway for the entirety of the Shabbat for the third week straight. Following that, a Shaked garbologist found in the family's trash the wrappings of a package of "cholent meat" and "kishke."

The evidence climaxed when this young Chabad boy asked his Rabbi if it was OK that he helped Shaked don tefillin at the Kotel:

"It was the first time a woman approached me. I didn't know what to do.
My Rabbi's cellular phone was busy." Photo:

After the party convened an urgent session to deliberate the issue, activists purchased for the Shaked family season tickets to the HaPoel Tel Aviv soccer games (held on Shabbat). Furthermore, at the induction ceremony to the Knesset, the party presented her with a gift of the complete writings of  Friedrich Nietzsche. A party leader explained, "We are confident that we can be mechazek her in her secular convictions in order to safeguard her like a prize etrog. We are in consultation with a Chabad Rabbi regarding special mivtzaim aimed at the Shaked family."

Rabbi Rick Jacobs blessed the party leaders:
Jacobs to Bennett: "You should be matzliach in the merit of the mitzvah:
kol hamekayem nefesh achas m'yisroel ... k'ilu  kiyem olam maleh!"

The idea for this blogpost was stolen in broad daylight from the Purim issue of Besheva Magazine, 2013 by confessed thief Baruch Gordon.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sick and Tired of Dating...

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The years passed and Yisca was unsuccessful in finding her match. Propositions continued to flow in from various directions, but she felt she was growing sick and tired of the dating scene. She meets a new guy with high hopes, but after a rendez-vous or two, the energy dissipates: either she or he is not interested, or both.

Yisca felt she needed divine intervention, without which she couldn't continue much longer.

She began a period of intensive prayer. She filled her shemonah esrei (silent devotion) with lengthy personal inserts, meditated alone for hours, and visited the tombs of tzadikim (righteous saints) all over Israel, especially the tomb of Yonatan Ben Uziel, whose grave site is, according to tradition, imbued with special powers to help one find his/her spouse.
Amuka - the tomb of Yonatan Ben Uziel in the north
The new guys kept coming and going.

Yisca lost hope and didn't know what to do. All her efforts brought no results, and her multitude of prayers didn't deliver the prince on a white horse. "What more can I do, Master of the Universe, that I haven't already done," she asked.

One Shabbat morning, Yisca felt that she had reached the end. She was broken. "How much more can I suffer? What can I do to convince Hashem (G-d) that I have no strength left for another date," she thought to herself.

The answer suddenly came to her: "I will hold a demonstration in front of Hashem like protesters do in front of the Prime Minister's residence!" But where does one hold such a protest? Yisca figured that the best place to demonstrate would be in front of the remnants of Hashem's official residence - the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

"I am coming to demonstrate against you at the Western Wall," Yisca declared to Hashem. "You must understand that I have no strength left. I will not leave until you deliver me my match - the true one meant for me.  Until what age can I live with my parents, and watch their sorrow and pain?" A tear formed on her cheek, as she reviewed the reasons for the protest.

After the Shabbat morning meal, Yisca informed her mother that she was walking to the Western Wall to pray there.

"Are you out of your mind," shrieked the alarmed mother, "to walk from Mevasseret Tziyon to the Western Wall? Do you know how far it is? It's over 9 miles (15 kilometers)!"

"I don't care mother," Yisca responded forcefully. "I am going to pray that I get married soon."

"OK, that's fine to pray at the Western Wall, but wait until the end of Shabbat on Saturday night when you can take the first bus," the mother reasoned.

"No!" insisted the daughter. "I want Hashem to see that I am broken. I have already prayed at the Western Wall numerous times, and I still don't have a ring on my finger."

"But there is a heat wave today. You may faint," the mother said hoping to register with her daughter's common sense.

"Don't worry, mother. I'll be OK."

The mother's plea fell on deaf ears, and Yisca was on her way. She started walking along the highway past Motza towards Jerusalem. The uphill was intense, and she felt the heat. She paused to drink from her water bottle, and continued completely determined to reach the entrance to Jerusalem, cross town on Jaffe Street to the Old City, and finally make the descent to the Western Wall - the gates of prayer to heaven.

Women praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

"I will convince You Hashem that my time has come to get married," she muttered to herself adding, "This time I won't budge until you answer me."

The uphill climb combined with the heat was debilitating. Yisca's water bottle was empty. She closed her eyes and began to feel dizzy. Before she understood what was happening to her, she lost consciousness and keeled over on the side of the Jerusalem Highway. A driver saw her on the ground and called for an ambulance which arrived in minutes.

A Magen David volunteer named Ariel began treating the unconscious young woman and raised her, together with a colleague, on a stretcher and into the ambulance. On the way to hospital, she opened her eyes and began coming back to herself. Ariel gave her cold water to drink.

"May I ask what you were doing walking to Jerusalem," Ariel inquired. Yisca didn't know what to answer, and after a moment of silence, told him the truth: "I was on my way to the Western Wall to pray."

"But what was so urgent? Why on Shabbat," asked the young volunteer who was wearing a knitted yarmulka on his head.

Bewildered, Yisca smiled and didn't answer.

Her determination impressed the young man, and he engaged her in conversation until their arrival at the hospital. Ariel escorted her inside and saw to it that she receive immediate treatment. He returned to the Magen David base to await further emergency calls.

A few days passed, and Yisca's cellular phone rang. A girl on the other end introduced herself as Ariel's cousin and asked in his name if Yisca would agree to go out with him on a date. "Yes, yes, absolutely," Yisca answered without a moment's hesitation.

A few months later, Ariel and Yisca stood together under the chuppah (wedding canopy) in Jerusalem.

[See also: Save Yourself From the Singles Swamp]

The above story was published in the Feb. 14, 2013 edition of Besheva Newspaper, published by the Arutz Sheva group.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

What Jewish Town Had Highest Voter Turnout in Jan. 2013 Elections?

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What Jewish town had the highest voter turnout in Israel's January 2013 elections? Or asked differently, what town's population gives a damn about what happens in the State of Israel more than any other, and was most motivated to influence the national course of events by bothering to vote? 

The Jewish town with the highest voter turnout in the January 2013 Israel elections was Bet El, located  just north of Jerusalem. 

The Avraham Ohavi Synagogue in Bet El
Eighty-six percent of Bet El residents went to polling stations to make their voices count.

In comparison, voter turnout in Jerusalem was 61.6%, Tel Aviv 59%, Bnei Brak 72.4%, and Um El Fahm (Arab town in Galilee) 59%. The overall national voter turnout was 66.6%.

In Tel Aviv, the party which won the most votes was Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (20.73%).  In Jerusalem, the party which won the most votes was the religious-hareidi Yahadut HaTorah (22%).

In another important statistic, the IDF recently announced that Bet El has the highest percentage of draftees who join combat units – also 86%!

Future combat soldiers in Bet El

The families of Bet El are rock solid! Bet El is also home to the renowned Bet El Institutions and the IDF Preparatory Academy which educate their students to national responsibility and readiness to sacrifice for the Jewish People.

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