Saturday, December 31, 2011

What the secular witch - hunt is causing

"Mavet LeHaredim – Death to the Haredim" – Graffiti in the Israeli town of Ashdod. 

Tonight in Mea Shearim ...

Mass demonstration against the ongoing secular media propaganda towards haredi society

I don't see it as appropriate letting children participate in the demonstration. And especially not in the form of victims with stars from the Third Reich !

More Photos HERE !

Friday, December 30, 2011

Not always THE HAREDIM !


Surprisingly, Israel's left - wing paper HA’ARETZ has published a positive and very realistic article on the ongoing propaganda against anything ultra - Orthodox. Unfortunately, there are reports where Haredim got attacked by secular Jews. This is a shame for our country and for entire Judaism.  The same when some nutty Sikarikim attack others who don't think their way.

Parashat Vayigash: "The Jewish Task in Galut"

Yeshiva in Bnei Brak

Photo: Miriam Woelke


This week's Torah reading is Parashat Vayigash. Yehudah approaches Yosef (Vayigash elav Yehudah). Yehudah is the only one of the brothers confronting Yosef and making a point. 

Chassidic commentaries ask the question why the Torah doesn't make it clear that Yehudah is really approaching Yosef, as it only says that he approaches HIM. Who is HIM ? When you read a bit further you know that it is Yosef he approaches. However, there are commentaries, e.g. the Sefat Emet or Rabbi Elimelech of Lejansk, stating that Yehudah is also getting closer to G - d. He is trying to protect his brother Benjamin and puts the material world aside. Yehudah uses his emotions without loosing any tact towards the Egyptian viceroy Yosef. Just like a Zaddik (righteous person) should stand before G - d.

In Parashat Vayigash we see how the Jews (then Yaakov's family) is slowly moving into Galut (Diaspora). G - d has a special plan and Jewish literature is providing answers why we have to live outside Israel. The Jewish Kabbalah teaches us about sparks (Nitzozot), the fallen sparks during the creation process. G - d's plan was to give mankind free will and thus He had to withdraw during the creation process in order not to create an entirely perfect world. If G - d had created a perfect world, we could not have any free will but behave in a perfect sense. However, our task as Jews is to perfect this world by doing Mitzvot, pray, giving Zedakah, etc. 

The so - called sparks can be found all over the world. Nevertheless, don't take this concept literally and start digging out fallen sparks.:-) This is simply a symbolic kabbalistic concept developed by Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the ARIZAL) ! What the concept means is that we have to elevate those sparks in order to perfect the world. For instance, by saying a blessing over food. After elevating everything, Meshiach will come. However, the Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin lists us further varieties how Meshiach is going to come. 

What fascinates me about this Parasha is Yehudah speaking up and Jews being send to Galut. I like people standing up for their rights and ideas. As someone growing up in the Diaspora I know what it means living outside Israel. American Jewry as well as the English may have a much more convenient Diaspora life, as I had in Germany. Although Chabad has become a large institution in Germany, it is still hard finding kosher food. Finding the right Synagogue, as there are too many Reform communities. And even if you are part of an Orthodox community, one needs to go according to their German rules and doesn't have a choice by looking for another community. 

I do not envy Yosef and the rest of his family moving down to Egypt. They already knew that living in Israel (then Canaan) is not that easy but from my point of view it is worth living here. But this was G - d's plan and one of the reasosn why the Jews had to move there was the task of picking up sparks. Elevating the negative into something positive. Commentators tell us that there aren't any sparks left in Egypt, as Moshe and the Israelites had collected them all. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

All of us against Israel's pitiful Left


Photos you won't see in the media but on a special Facebook Group :

Radical secular Israeli woman spitting at a Haredi in Jerusalem's Machane Yehudah Market. Apparently the picture was already taken in 2008.

Every Friday afternoon, a group of chassidic men is taking care that the market traders in Machane Yehudah close on time before Shabbat. The Haredi on the picture is one of those guys checking the traders. It may sound crazy but in Tel Aviv we don't face this kind of problem, as the traders of the Carmel Market very much close on time. Even before, as they think about going home and not getting more and more Shekels into their till. Also during the week, the stands at the Carmel Market are closing down between 6 - 7pm. The Machane Yehudah Market, on the other hand, is open until at least 8.00 or 8.30pm.

Radical left - wing Israeli greeting the Israeli flag with the Hitlergruss (Sieg Heil). This happened at a demonstration in Tel Aviv at the beginning of Dec. 2011. 

Israel's famous left - wing activist Dafni Leef participating in an Arab demonstration demanding more rights for Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails.

Israel's Media and its haredi hatred

This week, the haredi press is accusing the secular press of putting more fuel into the hatred issue. Secular papers as YEDIOT ACHARONOT ask women to complain about Haredim to the police in case they are spit at or assaulted. On the other hand, the haredi site KIKAR SHABBAT reports about Haredim being attacked by secular Jews. 

Belzer Rebbe meets Toldot Aharon Admor

It looks like a miracle: The Belzer Rebbe sitting next to the Toldot Aharon Rebbe. Where ? At the Shiva of the wife of Jerusalem's Kaliver Rebbe. The Rebbitzen passed away this Chanukkah at the age of 94.

After years of fighting between Toldot Aharon and Belz, the meeting looks like Meshiach is on his way.:-)

Ribono shel Olam


Before we go to bed, we Jews pray the so - called “Bedtime Shema”. A special prayer consisting of different prayers and Psalms ending with “Adon Olam”. After we finish the entire “Bedtime Shema”, we do not speak anymore but go to sleep. 

The first prayer of the “Bedtime Shema” is called “Ribono shel Olam – Master of the Universe”. In this prayer, we examine our deeds of the day. The good ones as well as negative deeds. We ask G – d to judge us merciful and not use any punishment giving each of us more suffering in life. 

As the Talmud Tractate Berachot 5 teaches, Jews who undergo bad periods of times and suffering should examine their deeds. If they cannot find any negative deeds they should handle the issue as if they had neglected their Torah studies. 

I am not at all saying that if someone is unemployed, sick or poor is guilty of having acted in a negative way ! However, everything happening in our lives is up to G – d and should teach us something. Positive and negative incidents. 

What we also do while praying “Ribono shel Olam” is forgiving other people who have hurt or offended us during the day. It depends on my forgiveness mood whether I say this prayer or rather leave it out and start with the second one “HaMapil”. If I am not able to sincerely forgive someone but still say the prayer, does it mean the prayer or forgiveness counts ? Saying a prayer with no true intention ? I don’t think that this is right. On the other hand, if we ask G – d to be merciful why shouldn’t we act the same way ? 

I came to the conclusion that we shouldn’t take everything too seriously when other people offend us. There are times when it is wise to simply ignore other people’s sayings and actions but there are also times when we must defend ourselves. It can be hard to forgive and I sometimes still leave out the prayer.


REINCARNATIONS in Talmud and Prayer

Wednesday, December 28, 2011



Israel’s leftist paper YEDIOT ACHARONOT (Online it is called YNET) is spreading more propaganda referring to a new haredi scandal. Beit Shemesh is already out and now a female soldier was mocked on a haredi bus in Jerusalem. It seems like anyone is suddenly using haredi buses and causing a mess. If any Haredi complains, the person provoking is immediately calling YEDIOT ACHARONOT. 

Strange because hardly anyone before has ever complained. Also strange that have never faced any problems while traveling in pants or walking through Bnei Brak or other haredi areas in pants. I admit that I don’t enter certain areas wearing pants. Those areas with modesty signs. Example: I do not enter the Mea Shearim market or the Batei Ungarin in pants ! 

Furthermore, I won’t stand right in front of the Western Wall (Kotel) while wearing pants. When I come to the Kotel in pants I stand behind the separation between Kotel and tourists. When I come in a skirt, I stand right at the wall praying. Those decisions I have made for myself and try not to hurt anyone else’s feelings. I do respect haredi neighbourhoods and don’t enter the strictest areas in pants. I also respect G – d and don’t approach the Kotel in pants. 

When you go to an opera or theatre performance, you also dress up in a special way. Even the St. Peter’s Church at the Vatican only allows visitors dressed modestly and not wearing a bathing suit or short pants. 

Almost two years ago I wrote an article about an incident happening to me on haredi bus lines. I wasn’t yelled at but just the opposite happened. Unfortunately, not too many media sites report about positive matters.

Haredim "hunting" Chilonim (secular Jews)

Why is the Israeli press running wild against Haredim ?


I have been asking myself these days, why Israel's secular and mainly left - wing press is running so much propaganda against haredi society. Iran's atomic bombs, Palestinian terror, poverty in Israel, unemployment ... hardly any word about those topics in the news but only Haredim. Israeli society sees its freedom in danger when a few Sikarikim in Beit Shemesh freak around. 

Who is behind those media stories and who may gain an advantage from a self - made war against Orthodox Judaism ?

Sultan Knish has an amazing answer:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

“Your father married a Schickse ?”


About 15 years ago, I got to know a young woman from a European German speaking country who was visiting Israel. I met her, more or less, by accident and she told me that her father was Jewish but her mother wasn’t. As everyone notices, the young woman was not Jewish, as her mother wasn’t. 

As a matter of fact, A. came to Israel in order to go to a Beit Din and convert. She had participated in an Orthodox conversion course in her country of origin and wanted to finish her process in Israel. I, on the other hand, was in my outreach mood and asked her if she wants to come to friends of mine in Mea Shearim. Chassidim she can communicate with, as their Yiddish was more German sounding than Yiddish. A. was happy getting such an opportunity. “Wow, a Shabbat meal in Mea Shearim. That’s something !” 

A. had a good job in her country of origin and was an academic. However, she was handicapped because she had a crippled hand. It is very hard to explain but I knew in advance that Mea Shearim would stare at her hand. Nevertheless, I took A. to the promised Shabbat meal and hoped that everything goes fine. Our host family was happy to see her but their eyes caught the crippled hand. No one said anything but people usually do stare. 

A. told our hostess about her upcoming Beit Din and that her father was Jewish but had married a Gentile woman. “Your father married a Schickse ?” The hostess was shocked. At the same moment she looked at the crippled hand and I immediately guessed what went on in the mind of the hostess. Apparently A. had the same guess and when we left she announced that she would never go there again. Not to Mea Shearim and not to any further ultra – Orthodox family. On our way back I was busy trying to explain and calm down emotions but, in the end, I didn’t succeed. A. passed the Beit Din, went back to her country of origin and I have never seen her since. 

What really bothered me personally was that A., due to the remark about her mother, accused all Israelis of being rude and not only Mea Shearim. “She would never make Aliyah but rather stay in her own country”. I always see it like “Some people fit into Israel and others don’t. No matter what”. A. neither fit nor made any attempt to change his status. She came, passed and went back to her country where she feels at home. She doesn’t see Israel as her place and I don’t think that this is only because of her being handicapped. Israel is just not her world but, hopefully, her approach may have changed in the course of time.

President Shimon Peres against anti - haredi Propaganda

President Shimon Peres with a journalist of the haredi news site "Kikar Shabbat".


Even Israel's President Shimon Peres seems to have enough of our media constantly picking on the entire haredi society. 

The majority of Haredim doesn't share such fanatic points of view and would not insist on a gender separation on buses or sidewalks. Those fanatics (Sikarikim) are a small minority and because it is them causing trouble, the entire haredi society is being doomed.

Those causing the most damage due to their anti - haredi hatred reports are the newspaper “Yediot Acharonot” and the TV channel “Arutz 2”. 

I am just asking myself why YEDIOT is now spreading its wild propaganda. First, Tanya Rosenblit is seen as a new feminist "Meshiach" and afterwards, the left - wing media re - discovered the subject "Beit Shemesh".

The eight and last Chanukkah Candle

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Ancient Caves

Near Arad / Israel

Monday, December 26, 2011

ISRAEL: The Role of the Gender Separation


It is Chanukkah and we are supposed to commemorate and celebrate the miracle of the oil as well as the Maccabim beating the evil Greeks. Instead, Israel's secular press decided to lead a war against haredi society as a whole. No difference is being made between Haredim, Sikarikim, Neturei Karta or "Taliban" women. A Haredi is a Haredi and this is it ! They are all fanatics, hate women and yell at little girls. The Toldot Aharon Rebbe David Kahn compared the present media war against Haredim to the time of the Maccabim and their evil counterpart. Not the Greeks but the Hellenists (Jews would adopted Greek culture and religion). As a matter of fact, I have already had the same thought as the Rebbe. 

A Haredi commentating at a haredi forum wrote that the secular press obviously forgets that even the national religious girl Na’ama Margolis goes to a religious girl's school where no boys are allowed. The press needs headlines and haredi society sells well. Especially these days where the left - wing paper "Yediot Acharonot" needs more readers, as the free paper "Israel Hayom" has become a more than serious competitor. 

The female role is in danger because there is a gender separation in Jewish Orthodoxy. However, why do Orthodox men demand a gender separation ? In a Synagogue, for instance ? The reason seems to be of hardly any meaning but, as a matter of fact, there is a meaning. To me, it sometimes does seem a bit awkward and exaggerated. I have nothing against any separation at a Synagogue but, for me, it is enough when two men or women sit together on a bus. It doesn't mean that the entire bus has to undergo a separation process. 

It is known that men apparently cannot control themselves as well as women and thus, women have to behave in order not to arise the male negative side (Yetzer HaRah). This is why women need do be separated. That men don't start starring at them and get immodest thoughts. 

Regarding the present chaos in Beit Shemesh: A few years ago I was invited at friend's for a Shabbat. Chassidim and they explained me how seculars as well as the national religious neighbours keep on provoking the haredi population. On the other hand, it is a majority of Haredim freaking out in such a negative manner. The Sikarikim are trying to gain more power and even threaten their haredi neighbours. Just look at the case of the “Or HaChaim” in Mea Shearim. 

It is impossible to say THE haredi population because haredi society is divided into more than 100 directions or groups. Who is a haredi and what kind of ideology is behind chassidic groups, the Litvish or some undefinable black hats ? 

As long as my own life is not being limited, I don't care about a gender separation in Beit Shemesh. Nevertheless, I do feel sorry for those Haredim being threatened by the Sikarikim. Another question is whether secular Israelis treat women much better than haredi society ? Reality is that women are discriminated when it comes to jobs, salaries and having a career.In case where a woman is running a company, the male business partner mostly asks for the real owner, as he is expecting a man sitting there to deal with and not a woman. 

A further thought: Has anyone ever spoken to haredi women and asked them for their opinion on the issue ? Do they all feel disciminated or is it just the worldly liberal ideology turning them into victims ?

The seventh Chanukkah Candle

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Modesty War in Beit Shemesh


A few days ago, the 8 – year – old national religious girl Na’ama Margolis was attacked by Haredim who started yelling at her. The girl’s behaviour and clothing weren’t too appropriate. Since, the national religious movement as well as the secular press have been running wild. It seems to become a fashion accusing the entire haredi society and the national religious like using the opportunity of pointing out how "great" they are. Finally they can feel so liberal and understanding compared to all those "fanatic" Haredim. 

I am not yet going deeper into the subject and will do so in a separate article later on at night. 

Na'ama Margolis

Photo: Kikar Shabbat

In the meantime some further news: The Beit Shemesh Municipality, Mayor Moshe Abutbul together with the police decided putting up some 400 security cameras in the streets. Also around the national religious girls’s school “Orot Banot” where Na’ama Margolis studies. 

Yesterday, the Municipality decided to take down any signs in public streets saying that men and women should not gather together. The following night, various Haredim again hung up those signs. The haredi part of the town is going wild, as more and more Israeli TV stations keep on streaming in taking pictures of Haredim. However, the Haredim of Beit Shemesh claim that it is only a few nutties from the Sikariki group causing trouble. 

Here are some photos from a Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Beit Midrash and a modesty sign right in its front asking women to use the other side of the road. 

Women are being asked not to gather at this place.

Beit Midrash of Chassidut Toldot Avraham Yitzchak in Beit Shemesh

The modesty sign in front of the Beit Midrash.

Actually I was surprised and keep on asking myself whether the sign was set up by the chassidic group itself or by the Sikarikim.

See all photos HERE !

Pictures from Jerusalem

View over the new city from Jaffa Gate

View from the Jewish Quarter / Old City towards the Mount of Olives (Har Ha'ze'itim)

Between Temple Mount and Western Wall (Kotel). In the Background you can see the Al Aksa Mosque (with the round roof). However, don't mix up the Al Aksa Mosque with the Dome of the Rock, as both are two separate entities on top of the Temple Mount.

The Kotel with the Dome of the Rock in the background

In the Muslim Quarter of the Old City

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The sixth Chanukkah Candle

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Rosh Chodesh TEVET

The SOREK Cave near Jerusalem


Tonight, tomorrow and on Tuesday, we celebrate Rosh Chodesh Tevet, the beginning of the new Jewish month Tevet. Rosh Chodesh is always time for renewal and we should use especially this time to make positive changes in our lives.

The Rosh Chodesh even gets more Kedusha (Holiness), as we still light the Chanukkah candles. Chanukkah is the only holiday taking place in two months; it starts in Kislev and ends in Tevet. Every additional candle raises our Simcha (joy) and increases our inner light. According to kabbalistic and chassidic literature, everyone has his or her personal individual inner light in order to light up the world. For this reason, it is extremely important that each of us lights his own Chanukkiah at home. When you go through Jewish religious areas you can see many Chanukkiot standing in the windows and it is customary that even small cildren light their own candles.

According to the "Sefer Yetzirah", every Jewish month hat its own colour, letter, tribe, organ, horoscope and human sense. The colour of Tevet is blue, the tribe is the Tribe of Dan, the human sense is the anger, the letter is the AYIN, the horoscope is Capricorn and the organ is the liver.

Historically, Tevet, Tammuz and Av are the worst months for the Jewish People. All of them are connected with negative events in Jewish history. Especially the 10th Tevet which I will describe in a later article.

Our task in the month of Tevet is to fight our own anger. The Talmud Berachot 61b sees the liver in charge of our anger and in Tevet we should transform our negative anger into positive anger. According to the Chozeh of Lublin (Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz) we have the ability to take something negative (such as jealousy) and change it into something positive.
But how can jealousy be positive ?
At the moment when I am jealous of other people who became more religious than I am. They succeed in keeping the Mitzwot and I do not. Eventually this will lead me to make higher efforts in order to reach higher levels of observance as well.
The same with the negative anger. We have to overcome our own ego and strive for more perfection.

General halachic rules for Rosh Chodesh:

1) We do not fast.

2) We add the "Ya'ale VeYavo - prayer" in the Birkat HaMazon

3) Usually women do not do any work at home such as laundry, cleaning, etc.

Have a great Rosh Chodesh and a successful Chodesh Tevet and Chanukkah Sameach !!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chanukkah Sameach - Happy Chanukkah !

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Nittel Nacht - Xmas Eve


Tonight, 24th December 2011 (28th / 29th Kislev), the Christian world starts celebrating the birth of the false Meshiach J. This particular night when J. was supposed to be born, Chassidim call "NITTEL NACHT - NITTEL NIGHT" and keep the custom of not studying Torah from approx. 7pm until midnight. The time when J. was born. See also the "Schulchan Aruch or the Chatam Sofer on this topic.

Most chassidic groups keep the custom of Nittel Nacht and many of them treat this matter very seriously. For instance, the Lubavitcher (Chabad) where the Chassidim play chess until midnight.

Kabbalistically speaking, the false Meshiach J. and his followers may gain special spiritual powers by our Torah studies - according to the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe Shalom Dov Baer (Rashab), 1860 - 1920. The Rebbe said that we shouldn't waste our time when we don't study Torah but play chess. 

Nevertheless, not all chassidic group keep the "chess custom"; such as Vishnitz. However, chess is having a positive influence on our intellect similar to Torah study.


Details about Nittel Nacht and its history "Hirhurim".

Chabadnikim playing chass during Nittel Nacht. 

I spoke to a Chabad Rabbi and was told that the custom from refraining from Torah study even applies to Erev Shabbat. An interesting question, however, would be whether the cause may be an evil J. or rather the anti - Semite who, later on spread Christianity: The Apostle Paul.

"The woman from Hebron" - A Palestinian Photoshop ?


While reading one of the news site of the Lebanese terror gang “Hizbollah”, I stumbled over a photo where I immediately thought that it must be photoshopped. Maybe it is not but, to me, it does look like a fake. Simply because something doesn't fit. First it reminded me of the Israeli army evacuating another Jewish settlement and the teenage girl rather looks like showing a fist to the soldiers. 

I started doing some research on the photo, got an answer but, at the same time, further questions came along. By the way, no one has ever mentioned the name of the photographer.

The picture was obviously taken in Hebron and it shows a Jewish boy kicking a Palestinian woman. At the same time, a Jewish teenage girl is trying to snatch the headcover of the same Palestinian woman.

Besides a short article on “Huffington Post”, only Arab and pro - Palestinian sites / blogs have been referring to the incident. The "Huffington Post" doesn't deliver any additional information either. However, on all sites, the picture always remains the same but the content of the articles changes. For instance, the “International Middle East Media Center” uses the photo in an article published on 22 September 2011. The 44 – year - old Palestinian woman Intisar Al Rajabi was hospitalized the day before, as she got attacked by Jewish settlers in the southern part of Hebron. There are more sites publishing the same text and the picture around the same date. 

The readership looks at the photo and thinks that it shows the actual incident when the woman got attacked. The strange thing is that another blog had already published the picture in an article from 7 July 2011. An article with basically the same content: A Palestinian woman had been attacked by Jewish settlers in Hebron. 

How come that Mrs Intisar Al Rajabi was only hospitalized at the end of September ? Or does the photo not show the same victim ? 

It even gets better: 
Another site had already published the same photo on 26 August 2009 !!! 

My question is: "What does the picture really show ? Is it real or just another bad example of Palestinian propaganda "Made in Pallywood "?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How do we cover the Torah Scrolls ?

 Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

Jerusalem: A store where Synagogues can buy covers for their Torah scrolls. The traditional Sephardi Torah box. Round shape and made of metal or wood. Ashkenazi Jews prefer covering the Torah scroll with a fabric usually made of silk. 

A Generation of Schnorrers

Seen in Tel Aviv

Photo: Miriam Woelke


Yes, it is Chanukkah and we all should have some positive thoughts. Nevertheless, these days I keep on asking myself why so many religious institutions as well as Rabbis are asking for donations. Of course, they need support and money but sending out constant e - mails begging for donations may not be of such a great help. Honestly, it sometimes really gets on my nerves. 

What is even more upsetting are children from certains Rabbis who see their parents living from donations; so, why should they (those children) look for a job ? I personally know Litvishe guys who don't even participate in a lot of Yeshiva studies but just hang around. In Internet Cafes. One even got married a few years ago, has children and recently bought a house in Beit Shemesh. But do you think that this guy has ever worked in his life ? Not once !
Those are the moments when I am asking myself what I do wrong. I work and still don't own a house. If I don't work, I don't have a place to live and nothing to eat either. It really bothers me that there are many religious kids who don't have any intention of doing something in their lives. The parents receive donations, so why should the kids don't use this money for their own well being ?

I don't give any money to religious institutions and especially not to the Schnorrer kiddies. First of all, when you support religious institutions, the main amount of donations goes into red tape. Fundraisers get their commission, the institution needs to cover its bills such as rent, electricity, phones, etc. 

What I do prefer is giving money to people with a goal in life. To a religious artist, computer developer, scientist or enterpreneur. One who is doing something and doesn't only sit and say "I am Rabbi so - and - so's son and this is why I have to receive donations from you !"

It is the responsibility of a parent to raise his child to a human being with a goal in life. Achieving something and be proud of what one has gained or learn from the mistakes when you fail. But do something in life and don't only walk around shaking a cup in your hand !

South Korean Film Team at the Ponevezh Yeshiva


A film team from South Korea was visiting the famous PONEVEZH Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. The South Koreans were investigating an interesting thought: Why are many Jews so intelligent ? Just look at the high amount of Noble Price winners. Thus, the answer must have its roots in the history of Talmud study. 

It is true that Talmud study is anything but easy and it always drives me mad myself when, after a couple of minutes, a former question ends up in another new ten questions.

Ponevezh is located in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv and is considered a posh Yeshiva. Your father shouldbe a well respected Rabbi and you should have a great reputation. Otherwise you will not get accepted there. Moreover, Ponevezh is a kind of conservative, meaning that the students don't go to watch movies or destroy their reputation in any way.

The result of Talmud study should be that the student is changing his life in a positive way !

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Men touching women on public Israeli buses


After all the fuss Tanya Rosenblit caused with her provocation on a Mehadrin bus from Ashdod to Jerusalem, many Israeli women have started asking themselves whether a gender separation really stands for discrimination. The latest poll among women from Tel Aviv shows an interesting result: Many women complained about men touching them on public buses. Once those men are caught, they justify themselves by saying that the bus is too crowded and thus, one has to get closer to the person standing next to him. 

A while ago, quite a few national religious women made the same statement and preferred separated buses, as then they are not being starred at. I am against separated buses but there are situations when I would prefer having one. I remember a scene from a few years back when a young haredi man started touching a young married woman on the Jerusalem Egged bus line 15. While going to the haredi Givat Sha’ul neighbourhood, the bus was packed with Beit Yaakov girls and a young haredi guy in his 20ies started getting closer to a married woman. She told him three times not to touch her or get closer to her. First the guy didn’t care and started again. However, when the woman raised her voice and people started staring at him, he finally stopped his attempts. 

I witnessed the whole scene and found the behaviour of the Haredi more than disgusting. If I had been the woman, I would have slapped him right in his face.

Chanukkah Atmosphere in Tel Aviv ?


So far, I haven't noticed any special Chanukkah atmosphere in Tel Aviv. People are lighting Chanukkiyot and Chabad is around all over the city but still, it is not the same as being in Jerusalem or in Zfat. I may go to Jerusalem next Monday and take pictures in Mea Shearim. If I can't make it, I will definitely go to Bnei Brak. 

Chabadnikkim are handing out Chanukkiyot in Tel Aviv. For free and even where I work, a Chanukkiya was handed it. I just went over, said the blessings and lit the candles for the two guys working. They are totally secular and don't necessarily keep kosher but I told them to do something for their Neshama (soul). And ... it worked !

Here is my Chanukkiya at home. I usually don't use oil because I, somehow, always drop the glass vessels.

Photos: Miriam Woelke

Chanukkah 5772 / 2011: Admorim lighting Chanukkiot

The Pinks - Karlin Rebbe

The Amshinover Rebbe

The Stropkover Rebbe

In Chassidut Toldot Avraham Yitzchak

See all pictures HERE !

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chanukkah Miracle


Chanukkah everywhere we look. No matter if secular or religious, Jews all over the world love to light Chanukkah candles. 

More than 2000 years ago, G – d caused a miracle by letting the kosher oil of the Menorah last for eight days instead of only one day. Therefore, Chanukkah stands for the miracle of the oil and not necessarily for the success of the Maccabim against the Greeks. 

Miracle, Miracle … Let’s admit. Every Chanukkah, we are all waiting for our own personal miracle in life. It doesn’t matter in what area of our lives but it is this particular holiday giving us hope. And from my personal experience I can say that, sometimes, Chanukkah miracles are really happening. 

Chanukkah Samaech – Happy Chanukkah and that G – d may grant little miracles to each one of us.

Chanukkah in Jerusalem

Chanukkah has started tonight and we lit the first of eight candles. The picture shows a Chanukkiah in Jerusalem, built of thousands of small lights.

The Truth about Tanya Rosenblit


The truth about Tanya Rosenblit differs a lot from the left - wing media articles:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chanukkah Insights

Chanukkah 2010 / 5771 in Jerusalem's Nachlaot neighbourhood 

Photos: Miriam Woelke

Tuesday night, Dec. 20, or 25th Kislev, is already the first night of Chanukkah. Chanukkah lasts for eight days and is the only holiday where the event took actually place in Israel. Especially in Jerusalem and in the Beit HaMikdash. It is a rabbinic holiday stipulated by the Sanhedrin. For the first time, Chanukkah was already celebrated one year after the Greeks were thrown out of the Temple.

Chanukkah is a Jewish holiday although other religions such as Christianity like to steal Jewish holidays and claim them as their own. The Chashmonaim (Maccabim) were Cohanim and fought against idol worship in Israel. They fought for Judaism and the Jewish people and if they knew today how other religions use their ideas for their own selfish purposes, the Chashmonaim would turn around in their graves. Xmas and Chanukkah have nothing whatsoever in common and whoever tries to connect them kicks the ideals of the Chashmonaim with his feet.

I am not mentioning the whole Chanukkah - history but I would like to give some insights instead. 

The goal of the Greek - Syrian occupation was to destroy the Jewish religion. Studying Torah, keeping Shabbat and Brit Milah (circumcision) was forbidden according to the law. In 165 B.C.E., the Chashmonaim won the war against the Greek idol worshipers and brought back the spirituality to the Jewish people. The Greeks concentrated on materialism and the beauty of the body whereas the Jews wanted to keep their religion. It was not only a physical war but also a spiritual. The Neshama fought against materialism. 

The real miracle of Chanukkah is not the military actions of the Maccabim but the burning of the Menorah for eight days (see Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apta in his book "Ohev Israel", the Sefat Emet and many others). After the Maccabim re - conquered the Temple, they only found one tiny bottle of kosher olive oil which hadn't been used for idol worship. With this amount, the Menorah was only to burn for one day but miracoulesly the oil lasted for eight days. In that time, the Jews were able to produce more kosher olive oil. 

In Kabbalah and Chassidut, the eight days of Chanukkah and the miracle are timeless. For G - d, time does not exist because He is infinite. Time only exists for us and is implanted in our DNA. The upper (higher) spiritual worlds of G - d do not know time. There, past, present and future coexist and all three times happen together. Therefore, Chanukkah is timeless.

But why miracle ? What exactly is a miracle ?

For us a miracle is always something supernatural. Something is happening against nature and we are unable to explain it with our human understanding. We have no logical explanation for it. But not everything which seems to be a miracle is really a miracle. G - d is always able to change nature and at the time of the Chashmonaim He did. Thus, the Temple Menorah burnt for eight days instead of one. 

Chassidut sees the Chanukkah candles as Jewish Neshamot (souls). The light itself is considered to be the "Or HaGanuz - the Hidden Light" which G - d created on the very first day of Creation. This hidden light will only be back in the time of Meschiach (see Bnei Yissachar and others). The eight days are a spiritual journey of body and soul. Food, candles and the history represent body and meditation; joy, warmth and light represent the soul. 

The light of Chanukkah has the power to reach every single Jew, no matter how far he is from his Jewish roots. His soul (Neshama) still contains the spark which enables him to connect directly to G - d (Rabbi Shmuel Bozorowsky, the present Admor of Chassidut Slonim in Jerusalem). This spark always remains with a Jew, even after his death. At the time of the resurrection, the spark will come to life again (Bnei Yissachar). 

The Sefat Emet (one of the previous Rebbes of Chassidut Gur) considers each Chanukkah as a spiritual renewal. Especially for the Jews in the Diaspora. The Chanukkah light reminds them of their Jewish identity and, at the same time, of the difficulties of living in the Diaspora. The war of the Maccabim shows us that we should never give up hope because we Jews have the spiritual power to change everything. G - d can change nature any time and bring us the Ge'ulah. 

Have a great and spiritual Chanukkah wherever you are - Chanukkah Sameach !