Thursday, September 28, 2006

out to dinner

In ancient times when one wanted to express appreciation to God he would bring a sacrifice and have a nice meal. It is only after eating serious meat that one can truly express his feelings of gratitude towards God. Today, because of our sins, we do not have a temple where we can sacrifice to God. However, we do have steakhouses, which are very similar. Today, in recognition of God's symbolically wishing us a good year, we will be going out to eat (if my wife finds a babysitter) after which we will praise god for the food which he supplies the world and for this great land which he has given us.
In my experience, whenever we are in a bit of a need, God comes through at the 11th hour. (90th minute in hebrew) .
When my wife was almost due with our first child and I needed a real job to pay the bills, I found one. When my second daughter was born and we needed some more money, I found a new job the first month that we kept a balance on the credit card. When we moved to Israel, I found a job the month that the money was going to run out. Now, after the war and the end of the year, when finances were just starting to overtake us, a large tax credit check came in that should tide us over till the end of the year.
There are plenty of other examples of God letting us know that he is watching us. For example, my car window was broken in Canada (by Canadian hooligans) and it cost me $250 to fix it. When we got to the border later on the way home, they told me that my wife's visa had run out and it would normally cost me $250 but they would let it slide this time.

Immediately after rosh hashana is the time to look for signs of what to expect for the coming year. Some people get computer viruses, other people get checks in the mail. I thought we were going to start the new year in debt, but God had other plans. I think I was written in the good book again this year.

I think every reader should take a minute and think of some coincidence that happened to him/her, whether it be good or bad, and try to attribute that to God's showing his presence in the world.

I imagine that we will be heading to moshav liman, right below rosh hankira, for a nice dinner.

I also wanted to wish all of you an easy fast and a "good sealing." May we merit the coming of the moshiach this year, in the near future.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

holy city of tzfat

Last night I met my daughters and their school in the holy city of tzfat for a tour of the old city and then selichot. (It was slichot and not slichos, because it was done in the abuhav shul in the Morrocan tradition.) There were a number of small skits at the different places we went to about the holiness of Israel, in general, and Tzfat specifically. Parents were encouraged to accompany the children so I took the car to work and drove straight to tzfat.

First of all, the drive was amazing. From Haifa towards Karmiel and then continue on the Karmiel road to the Meron Interchange, and then up past meron to tzfat. This is some of the most gorgeous countryside in Israel. Driving, with the windows down and the music loud, is one of the most relaxing experiences (Warning: If you are doing it for 12 hours, listening to "It's the end of the world as we know it" by REM the entire trip it may make one of your passengers a bit crazy.) So I drove and drove and drove, about an hour from Haifa and really enjoyed the scenery.

Tzfat was enjoyable as well. The problem was they split up my kids classes for part of the time so I could only be with one of them at a time. I stayed with the younger one mostly, but also got to spend time with number 1.

The drive home was nice, thoug hit was pitch black. At one point there was what seemed to be a bad accident, with glass all over the highway and a bus stopped on the side, but I didn't see a really smashed up car. A minute later, I see some people on the highway waving people around the large body of a cow. It was very dark, so I probably wouldn't have see the cow if not for those people.

At work, my boss got a nasty virus on his computer.
He asked me how this was possible, as he always has virus checker running and is the only one at the company who gets the latest security patches for his computer and he doesn't open unexpected attachments, etc..

I replied, "and right after rosh hashana too"

He ignored my comment.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Lions Lost Again

I haven't seen a football game in over 3 years and I don't even know who any of the players are. Yet somehow it really bothers me that the Lions lost to the Bears. What makes it even worse is that I ride the train every morning with someone originally from Chicago. Its not like I have pride in the city of Detroit or a great hatred of the city of Chicago. Somewhere deeply ingrained in me is a need for the team of the city that I grew up in to win. God knows that the Lions will never make it to the Super Bowl, but if they did I would probably stay up all night watching them lose. I don't know what it is about sports that creates that magnetic pull that you are unable to break. It must be the first 18 years of life when every breath you take includes statistics and who is better and the most addictive part of all sports - the rivalry.
Because when it comes down to it, if the lions lose to the colts or
someone, I couldn't give a damn but after a loss to Chicago (or Green
Bay for that matter) I just have to say to the Lions, In the name of
all the people who have a connection to Detroit sports, you let us down.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

not today

I have a cold and it is really hampering my ability to think.

Monday, September 18, 2006

rosh hashana ramblings

My brother got a job after being in the country only 2 months :-) It
is so much easier to settle down after you have that whole earn a
living thing under control.

I walked into the production wing of our building with our production manager and the SMT Line manager starts yelling at her that she gave him the wrong cable. I turned to him and said, you don't have to yell. And he replied, there's already history involved. So the production manager counted to 10 slowly and then she blamed someone else for giving her the wrong information.

I just thought I would share that story with you. Normally, our office is very chilled out but it can get tense at times.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, is this friday evening. This is an evening where we begin to renew our acceptance of God, as our King. In order to prepare for it, the entire month beforehand is set aside in preparation. The reason why this can be such a fearful day is that once you stand in front of God and accept the crown, you also accept his intrinsic right to determine your fortune for the next year. On Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, He will look over you and say, you crowned me and that means that you also accepted my rules.

This year Rosh Hashana comes in the aftermath of the second Lebanese war, which the government is steadfast in its denial of a war ever happening or their responiblity for causing and then mismanaging it. This is a year that we can truly look at the sorry state of the human governance of the people of Israel and ask God to be our king. To lead us. To guide us. To represent us. Democracy isn't working for the people of Israel, and it never will. Power corrupts, only absolute power grants the ability for the leader to say, I don't need to be corrupt, for I have everything.

Only if we accept God as our king and he accepts us as his people can the Jewish people overcome the humiliation that democratic elections have thrown over us. That there needs to be a vote in the knesset as to whether Sodomites can proudly march in the holiest city in the world is an embarrassment to us as a people.

For those soldiers that were killed fighting for our country in Lebanon: May God avenge their blood.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

whats a beinish?

This shabbos I learned a new word - beinish means hesder boys. It's not deragotory, as far as I can tell, it stands for bnei yeshivat hesder. Sometimes you need a break from blogging for a good week in order to clear out your brain. I took a week off but didn't clear anything.

Does anyone know how to get invited to the Warren Buffett cocktail party at the King David? I really would like to get an invitation.

The police said they were probably going to indict the president because he couldn't refute _all_ of the claims against him. He completely wiped out about 80% of the claims as being utterly false.

I'm not saying that he didn't sell pardons for cash (though I would highly doubt it), but I don't get the impression that he raped anybody. Especially not 7 women who are all making ridiculous claims. One woman who claims she was violently raped walked out of his office right afterwards smiling. Shelly Yachminovich says her claims are very believable. Another couple women requested jobs from him after he raped them. I am not pro-rape, far from it - I am actually anti-rape. But just because a woman claims that it happens doesn't mean that it did. Women, for all their wit and charm, do not always tell the truth (I know this is hard to comprehend).

The president of the supreme court retired last week and we are very happy to be rid of him. He did not do vry much to advance the position of the Jews in the land of Israel.

I have to finish the first part of my sukka project this week. I am in the middle of straightening the land where i want to put the sukkah (and the pool next summer). Our land is very slanted and I started a straightening project with a spade/hoe and garden rake. About 25 square meters. At the very bottom I am 3 bricks high, as I built a little retaining wall to hold in the dirt. It's about 75% finished, but i have to work at night now in order to finish it.

On Friday we took the kids down to the agam to ride their bikes. One of the things about living in mountian country is that there are very few flat areas to teach children how to ride their bikes. So every once in a while we go down to the agam and teach them there. My number 2 got her training wheels off and she is proving to have very good balance. She only flipped over the handlebars once.

The new year is almost upon us. I want to wish all of you a happy, healthy sweet new year.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

its been a long couple weeks

I'm in a writing slump right now.
Hopefully I'll continue writing in the very near future.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

media media media

It is unclear what the purpose of the media is in Israel. Are they strictly a powerful force with an agenda that they are trying to push into reality, is their goal to get the regular folks to hate everything to do with authority or are they just publishing unethicval stories because that's what people want to read and they want to sell newspapers.

One of the lead stories today was about a car crash that killed 5 people.
A citizen called the police and said a car was driving recklessly. The station he called was not the correct one for the road he was on, so they told him who to call. He called the other station and they told him to fax in a report and they would look at it. Two hours later the car crash happened and it was the same type of car that the citizen had reported was driving recklessly.
The police responded to the story by saying that they send a police car out on the road and didn't find anything and are not positive that it was the same car that the guy complained about.
The point of the story was how bad the police are. Obviously they promised an investigation and there are certainly some things that could have been done better. For example, if you call 100 (911 in Israel), the people there should say thank you we'll check it out as soon as we can. If they aren't responsible for that section of the road then they should coordinate
with the people who are. They shouldn't tell the citizen to call someone else. He isn't reporting a stolen bicycle, he is reporting a real and current danger.
That being said, the reports that are out there have a very very minor aspect of the police version of the story. There was no reporting as to the possibility that the car crash was in fact the same car that the guy reported on. It happened to be the same make.
I agree that it is much sexier to have a report where the guy called and reported and the police ignored him and then the car got into an accident, but there was no investigative reporting to see if that actually happened. That is what could have happened.

Aside from that in todays exciting news, we have the guy in charge of intelligence in the northern area where the soldier kidnapping took place before the war broke out getting a promotion. This is in line with Olmert removing the blockade on Lebanon and saying "screw you" to the people of Israel. The cartoon in the yisraeli newspaper today was olmert talking to blair looking out over the big protest in rabin square yesterday saying, "they think I care."

It turns out his entire prime ministry is just one big "screw you" to the people of Israel. He thinks he is Louis XIV, in the grand words of train talk.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

talking points

I was once very cynical of talking points. Listening to all the pro-Democrat people talking about how algore had more gravitas then Bush. Each interview or news story had the exact same points, all dreamed up and written down by some spin doctors in the deomocratic national convention.
It was like nobody had any personality anymore and nobody had their own ideas on what issues were important.

"Now I'm a little bit older, I like to play just a little bit bolder," I realize how important talking points are in getting across a message that you believe in. Having 100 people talk about the exact same issue in their own words gives it much more weight and creates a much greater impression. The main problem with the democrats is that they weren't creative enough to give over the message in their own words and they just read the talking points sheet each time they were interviewed.

Using blogs, we have the power to promote our own agenda. To do this similar minded bloggers must unite under a loose umbrella where everyone maintains their uniqueness, yet talks about the issues that the central organization has determined is of critical importance at the moment. If everyone is talking about it, that will keep the issue on the table.

I think its time to start publishing talking points for pro Israel bloggers. What are the issues that the pro-Israeli blogging community want on the agenda. How can we promote that, etc.
This idea may start gaining steam over the next couple months, keep your eye out for it.

more on olmert's tactics

Here's a new spin:
Olmert purposefully made an improper request of the comptroller,
through the media, forcing him to respond publicly. He now has the
ability to claim that any reports against him from the comptroller's
office are a vendetta against him and should not be taken seriously.

Olmert's been reading way too many spy novels.

Monday, September 04, 2006

lindenstrauss is pissed

Happy Labor Day to those unfortunate of you still in America (or
Canada as it may be). Those of us here in the holy land are working

As I predicted, it was not a good idea for Olmert to take potshots at the comptroller via the media. The guy is responsible for finding corruption in the government and he let him have it. A large report was delivered to the attorney general's office with a recommendation to open a criminal investigation against the prime minister.
The prime minister responded, we would prefer the attorney general
investigates us. Could that be because they trust that the attorney
general will not find a problem with Olmert's abuses? We'll find out in the next couple weeks.

We decided to start getting prepared for the winter, which is rapidly approaching. So tonight, possibly, we are going to write up a list of what needs to be done so that we won't have leakage and other problems. This might mean that I will have to stop working on setting up a base for the pool, but technically I can do that right before the summer starts so I still have time.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

kfar natoosh - abandoned village

A kfar natoosh is a village in Israel that the Arabs abandoned when they fled from Israeli army during the war of independence. For various reasons, mostly because the village was considered too dangerously anti-Israeli or too close to the border for national security, Israel did not allow these villagers to return to their homes. Last summer we visited Baram, a kfar natoosh that included an ancient synagogue from the time before the arabs had taken over the land that they fled. From what I understand, every year the former villagers and/or their children petition the Supreme Court to let them return home and every year the supreme court says no. They have a yearly visit back to their ruins and point at their old houses and talk about what might have been if their army had been stronger and destroyed the Jewish State. It is now a national park and nobody is allowed to build on it, not Jew nor Arab.

Sarah recently went to a Jewish kfar natoosh, it was forcibly abandoned by the Israeli army last summer. Jews are not allowed to go there anymore, but Sarah and her daughter Rivki went back to look at what once was. The arabs in the area have not taken over the area, they have not built anything or used the land for anything. Its as if they are saying to us, you took away your people for no reason, we don't even want that part.

I wonder how many parallels there are between Baram and Chomesh.