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Monday, July 15, 2013

AISH HATORAH, THE TEMPLE AND 9th AV


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If location, location and location are the three  most important points in real estate, then Aish HaTorah’s Jerusalem World Center must have the world’s most prime spot.
Situated opposite the Kotel, the Western Wall, the remaining wall of the Temple which stood closest to the Holy of Holies of the  Temple, this beautiful new building is put to tremendous use.
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Anyone, male, female, young, mature, from anywhere in the world is invited to drop in and  join a class or two, or three  of the constantly ongoing ‘Essentials’ program, just to get a taste of their Jewish heritage. No prior booking is needed.
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Entrance is from the Jewish Quarter, off Misgav Ledach street and the classes take place on this entrance floor.
You don’t even have to take a class, you can just walk in and sit down and relax in the beautiful a/c  rooms.
You can also  take  the opportunity to watch some of the videos of the teachings of Aish’s dean and founder, Rabbi Noah Weinberg who passed away in 2009 a short time before the opening of the new center. Thousands of young Jews owe their Jewish identities to Rabbi Weinberg who gave his entire life to helping Jewish kids ( and not so kids) realize what pleasure, fun, inner peace and excitement they were missing by not learning about their Jewish heritage.

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Look up and savor the incredible  glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, the most successful and talented glass artist in the world. Entitled, “Fire and Water,” the multi-dimensional, two-story-tall sculpture encompasses the name of Aish HaTorah ( Fire of the Torah)

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If you go up to the roof, apart from a breathtaking panoramic view of Jerusalem , the Kotel

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there is also a  1.2-ton model of the Holy Temple .
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It is constructed at a scale of 1:60, built with  authentic materials like gold, silver, wood and Jerusalem stone.
As we approach the Fast of the  9th of Av, the date of the destruction of both of our Holy Temples, there couldn’t be a better time to decide to learn what it is we are mourning and missing.
For more information about Aish click here.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

YAD VASHEM– Still so much to learn and remember

Yad Vashem in Jerusalem is the Jewish People’s living memorial to the Holocaust.
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It safeguards the memory of those who were slaughtered and teaches future generations about the unspeakable horrors.

Many people think that if they’ve visited it once then there’s no point in going again – but they are so wrong. The area that Yad Vashem covers both physically and emotionally, is vast and there are new exhibits constantly being organized.
On a recent visit I saw  the shul/ synagogue.
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Apart from being used for regular prayers it is also used for people who want a place to say  Kaddish, or to sit down and pray after an emotional visit.

It contains various items of Judaica from shuls all over Europe including  four Arks for storing the Sifrei Torah which all came from Rumania and were procured for Yad Vashem with the help of  Rumanian government.

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Next door to the shul is a new exhibit to honor the Righteous Amongst the Nations who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
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Inside there are five areas with seating to watch different films depicting the different ways in which people were saved, including those who took in children and returned them to the Jewish authorities after the war, those who hid families in cellars, countries where someone in the the government intervened and rescued them and those where both the Jews and the non-Jews were discovered by the Nazis and killed.

The stories are both fascinating and very moving and shed a new light on the history of Jews saved by Gentiles.

We then visited the new Learning Centre also known as the “Center for Major Questions Arising from the Holocaust,” which attempts to discuss and give opinions on  the many  theological, societal and military questions raised by the Holocaust.

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Some are just not answerable, i.e. Why did G’d let the Holocaust happen, but are still discussed. Others are given a selection of answers from various appropriate people / authorities, i.e. Why did the Allied Air Force not bomb the tracks to Auschwitz.

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Yad Vashem has also launched a new more urgent collection of personal items that are, or were,  in the possession of survivors. Our guide told us many stories of items that children of survivors thought were of not much interest, but for others provided an only link to their parents/ grandparents who perished.

Yad Vashem works very hard to trace people ( or their descendents) mentioned in letters/ notebooks or identified on photos it receives.

As Eli Wiesel once said- Anyone who listens to a witness, becomes a  witness himself.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

WI-FI –YOU MUST BE KIDDING

Do you know what wi-fi actually means?

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It means wire-free…you know… without any wires.

Did you hear me, I said without wires!!!

Would you like to come to my home and see just how many wi-fi wires we possess…dozens, probably hundreds..in bags, boxes, closets shelves, drawers …full to  overflowing with wires …with either an electric plug or a computer USB connection at one end and a  VERY wide variety of other connections at the other end of every shape, style and size.

I don’t know where most of them came from and I haven’t a clue what they belong to. But I’m convinced that if I throw any of them out- tomorrow I’ll be sure to need it.

This is a very small selection of wires I use every day for my so called wi-fi stuff either to listen to my MP3, download photos, recharge my Kindle and cell phone and various other necessary activities in this wi-fi age.

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I remember when the word wireless meant just that – no wires. The radio ran on batteries – no ifs and buts.

Buy ROBERTS Revival RD60 DAB Digital Radio Online at johnlewis.com

Ah - life was uncomplicated in those days.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ISRAELI DRIVERS- THE GOOD NEWS


Israeli drivers have a pretty awful reputation – and I have to admit that it’s often warranted. But that’s why I’d like to point out two really  great professional drivers I met up with this week.
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One was behind us  driving a juggernaut when we approached the road works near Malcha Mall in Jerusalem. Suddenly the road was blocked and we were diverted to another road without any explanation of where this would take us. Our driver, not surprisingly hesitated, and the truck which was quite close behind us had to brake and swerved to overtake us with just a hairbreadth of room.

We followed behind him and as we both stopped at  the  next traffic lights he climbed down from his high perch and came over to us – we assumed to give us a piece of his mind.

But no, we were very pleasantly surprised when he signaled to me to open the window and said “ I can see you were confused by the detour. Can I help?”

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The second incident  occurred last night as I was standing at as bus stop inside Modiin Elite just after midnight waiting for the last bus back home to Jerusalem.
An internal bus passed by, and then another one pulled in. I waved for him to continue but he opened his doors.
“If you don’t want this bus then what are you waiting for?” the driver asked.

When I said I was waiting for the Jerusalem bus he signaled for me to get on . “ There are no more buses to Jerusalem from here. I’ll take you as far as I can towards the entrance to the town and with any luck you’ll still catch the last bus that leaves from there”.

And thanks to his thoughtfulness I did.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

PANTRY PACKERS

Making a Difference on your vacation.

Next time you visit Israel set aside 90 minutes to help the needy.

Visit Colel Chabad’s Pantry Packers center in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood and spend some time  packing up  healthy food products for distribution to needy families all over Israel.

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After watching a video, explaining the importance of the work you’ll be doing, you’ll be given  your own apron, plastic gloves  and hat to keep everything clean. Then, using ultra modern equipment  you will pack, label and stack  family sized packages of food staples.

This organization provides 80 different food items to 5000 families every week.

 

Packing food for the needy in Israel

It’ll add meaning to your visit.

Call 02-6260035 to arrange a visit. It’s free and suitable for all ages.

Of course you don’t have to be a tourist to help.

Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

TEMECH CONFERENCE 2013


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Naomi Elbinger, conference organizer opening the conference
Many of the attendees at  The Temech Conference for Women in Business, which took place in the Ramada Hotel this week, have been looking forward to it since last year’s conference.

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience and the information, insights, tips and skills, not to mention the networking opportunities we all receive at this conference give many of us the impetus we need to try that bit harder.

This year one of the main features of setting up a successful business that was stressed was building up your own brand- being instantly recognizable and letting your customers know what makes you one step ahead of any competition. What your business offers that others don’t.

Branding advice from new immigrant and  ultra successful  businesswoman Jamie Geller of ‘Quick and Kosher’ fame, halachic advice from Rav Yitzchak Berkovits, inspiration in her inimitable style from Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, networking groups  and various workshops in both Hebrew and English were all orchestrated perfectly by conference organizer Naomi Elbinger.

Yashar Koach to Naomi,  her talented staff of volunteers who worked 24/6  the weeks before the conference as well as the Temech supporters without whom the conference and organization wouldn’t exist.

We’re already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

POPES, POLITICAL PARTIES AND PESACH

A new Pope has been elected, a new Israeli government has been formed (I think – but you never know there could be another crisis along the road paved with so many poor intentions!)… there are changes afoot in the world at large …

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and I’m in my kitchen making Pesach.
This is the time of year when no matter what…Pesach has to come first.
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The house is spring-cleaned- thanks to my wonderful daughters who left their husbands and babies and came to rescue me after I dislocated my shoulder … wot you forgot about that!!
And now we’re down to the real nitty-gritty a.k.a. chametz in the kitchen.
My husband still keeps hoping that I’ll find a packet of lamb-chops hidden away in the back of the freezer like we did once, about 15 years ago.
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It was a small pack that my late mother had brought us  from England with just a few chops in – definitely not enough for all of our seven wonderful  children. And in any case, they wouldn’t have appreciated them… or so we kept telling ourselves.
So we gave them money to go out to the pizza shop and pamper themselves with pizza, ice cream, drinks and goodies …..and I cooked the lamb chops for our supper.

We did enjoy them – and the kids had the best supper of their lives.

So what terrible parenting sins do you  have to admit to – so many are committed during the week before Pesach