Sunday, December 31, 2006

10th of teves

I'm sitting at my desk - cold and hungry. It is the 10th day of the month of Teves, a day that will live in infamy as the historical start of the Jewish troubles throughout the past 2000 years.
I recommend reading Yehuda Prero's description of the causes of some of our problems. We have a lot of the same problems today as the hatred is not just hatred, but used as rationale for for committing crimes against humanity in the name of our own religiosity.
In modern Israel, this is also the day of the kaddish, a day that anyone who doesn't know when their loved one died can sanctify God's name in memory of the deceased. This is like a religious Holocaust day.

May we merit the coming of Mashiach speedily in our days.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


New free calls from the US to Israel (and back). offers free calls between members.
Membership is free.

Calling a US cell phone from jajah is free but calling an Israeli cell phone costs 19 cents a minute.

The way it works is you put in the number you are calling and then hit dial on the computer. Your phone then rings and when you pick it up it says that it is connecting to the other caller and it calls the other caller. It is very cool.

Try it out and you can call us for free.

You can make free inter-Israel calls for free between land-lines. This means that you don't have to pay Bezek for inter-Israel calls either. Cell phones still cost.

The only negative is that your computer has to be on so you can click on the button to start the call. Slightly inconvenient but free.


We finally got snow. I've been waiting for 3 years for it. As I was walking home last night white flurries started slowly drifting to the ground. Then it started coming in a little bit harder. Within half an hour the ground outside was white with good packing snow. I had a little snowball fight with the neighbors. My eldest laid down on the sidewalk and made a snow angel. The kids were so excited.
I came inside after a bit to take the baby and give my wife a turn. She made a little snowman with the kids.
I brought my skis upstairs because I wanted to get a quick run before it all melted. But by the time the kids went to sleep, it was mostly gone from the street. Next time I'll have to start right away before it has a chance to disappear into the wet pavement.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

still under attack.

I've been asked, not only by the anonymous commenter a couple days ago, why I still have the Rock of Galilee under attack if the war has been over for 4 months.

Yesterday 2 boys were injured by rocket attacks in Sderot. 62 rockets have fallen in Sderot since the cease fire a month ago without injuring anybody and the government sits quietly and declares a policy of restraint. The Prime Minister kissed the leader of those sending rockets at us and welcomed him as a friendly head of state, gave him 100 million dollars, promised to remove road blocks and promised to free prisoners getting nothing in return.

Now that 2 boys have been injured there is an emergency security cabinet meeting. People are saying something must be done. This is absolutely ridiculous. Absolutely nothing has changed since the day before the boys got injured and the day after the boys got injured. The arabs didn't do anything differently, they shot the same type of rocket in the same general direction and this time 2 boys were in the way. If restraint was called for before, then restraint is called for now. If it is time to respond now, then the government is guilty of high negligence for not responding last week or last month. Why wait for someone to get hurt when that is obviously what is going to happen.

Train talk came up with a fascinating answer, declaring the inherent Judaism of this country. Until the rockets actually hit someone, the government fatalistically puts their faith in God that no one will get hurt. It is only after someone gets hurt that they see the message from God that if they don't do something they're in trouble.

This is either ridiculous or secular people's concept of God is ridiculous. The first rocket was the sign from God that we have to respond forcefully. There should be no waiting around until parents lose their children or children lose their parents before they see that rockets kill. There is a new road safety campaign going on, "Driving under the influence is murder in the first degree." I think it could just as easily read "Letting rockets fall on your cities without responding is murder in the first degree." Not everyone who drives drunk kills someone, but you don't want to take the chance.

In short, the Rock of Galilee feels that while the country is still under attack, the Galilee is also under attack. We may not be under direct missile threat at the moment but giving our enemies the green light to shower us with rockets while our leaders kneel before them will only make the enemy bolder.

The Guardian of Israel may never slumber nor sleep, but the people who are running this country still haven't gotten out of bed.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

separate seating

Most of you have heard the story of the lady who got beaten up on a Jerusalem bus because she was sitting in the front and some whack job beat her up because he wanted her to sit in the back. We almost had a similar situation today in the shared taxi down to the train station today.

This woman wants to get into the taxi but declares first that she won't sit next to men. She asks the guy in the front seat to switch seats and he refuses. I actually offered my seat because I thought that she didn't want to climb all the way into the back and I was on the first row of seats. She then stands outside saying "what are we going to do." I suggested to the taxi driver that we leave this wacko lady and she can find an all ladies van. I'm surprised no one got out and started beating her. Finally someone sitting next to his wife moved to another seat so that she could sit next to another woman. Then, I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it myself, this woman passes her fare up to the taxi driver by giving it to the man in front of her. No handkerchief involved, hand to hand. I turned around and yelled at her that it was completely inappropriate. She claimed that she never touched him while passing the money and I told her that wasn't an acceptable answer.

In the end we made it to the train with no other incidents.

Monday, December 25, 2006

regular day at work

We have a normal day at work and the only indication of any holiday is the reports in the newspaper about Bethlehem.

To all of my Christian readers, have a happy holiday and a happy new year.
This year Bethlehem was rocking though the visitors were a bit fearful that the Muslim radical leaders of Bethlehem would blow them all up. For some reason they didn't.
One of my children saw a decorated tree somewhere and asked me why people are decorating trees. I was very surprised that she had seen one, but I guess we do have a large percentage of non-Jews in the Galilee, so there is what to see.

In interesting news, Ethiopia attacked Somalia today with fighter jets. Does this shock anybody else? They don't even have telephones in Ethiopia!!! Where did Ethiopia get fighter jets from???? Do all third world countries have airplanes? Should this scare us?

For those who read Dag have you noticed how anti-chabad he has been in the past week? You might call him chabophobic.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

mom's gone

We had a wonderful shabbos with my sister and cousin joining us from Jerusalem. Mom won the scrabble game, though I came in a close second. When they left they took mom with them and now we are starting life again on our own. The 5th child gave way to the proposed name of a new joint venture called hydroponic pot, which is only 2 levels away from the baby's name.

Our next order of business is to make the child a US citizen. From what I understand, I just have to fill out some simple paperwork and take it to th US Embassy in Tel Aviv and presto she gets a US passport. The US passport is very valuable. It is a free ticket out if the nazis ever come to the Galilee to get us. It also means that she doesn't have to worry about a visa if she ever wants to fly to the US or any other country in the world where US citizens are welcome. We can get her Canadian citizenship too, but the only advantage of that is they would probably welcome her in Iran as well as US friendly countries.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

israeli fundraising

When I was in elementary school we had a chocolate milk machine for .10 a carton. On occassion, the milk in the machine was spoiled. When you got a milk carton that was spoiled you took it to Rabbi Freedman (may he rest in peace) who gave you back your dime. However, he wouldn't just give back your dime. He would smell it and taste it first and then sometimes tell you there wasn't any problem with it and give it back.
I was reminded of this when an employee at my office brought a carton of milk to the secretary (who is in charge of ordering food) and said this milk is spoiled, smell it. She looked at him in disgust and said, "if it smells bad, throw it in the garbage. I don't want to smell it."

Chanuka has been fun so far. The kids have gotten nice gifts and have been behaving wonderfully, especially in light of the changes that their new baby sister brought into the house.

Does anybody know if you can get items that you can put your own label on for fund-raising in Israel? Our girl's school is considering starting to a fund-raise, and I was looking at the girl scout cookie model as an opening event. For my elementary school we had sold chocolate bars (not chalev yisroel) door to door.

Israeli's don't really have the culture of fund-raising built into everything they do, because the government gives Jewish organizations a budget. However, the city is not giving the school the money it needs to fix up a lot of things that need fixing. There hasn't been a serious renovation since the school was built 40 years ago. The idea of the school administration was to go to America and get people to sponsor things, such as new playground equipment and then we would put up a nice sponsorship sign. I explained to them that in order to fundraise on that level you have to first build a connection with the people so they feel like it is their organization and only then will they donate. I suggested starting fund-raising through events and actions first and slowly building up to a level where we have the resources to fund-raise other places (if we still need to).

If anyone has any ideas, or knows anyone who wants to donate playground equipment in honor or memory of a loved one for Israeli children who were scarred by a recent war, please let me know.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Chanukah is the holiday of lights, camera, action, though not necessarily in that order. The miracles of the day started with action first, as the Maccabis beat the Greeks. Lights came second with the small flask of oil miraculously lasting for 8 days. Finally, the modern mitzva of Chanukah is camera, as we are required to publicize the miracles.

We are really enjoying Chanukah this wear with the new baby. Aura doesn't cry a lot and sleeps through the night. (or she doesn't, but I've heard she sleeps more then my new nephew.)

We had a gathering for chanukah at the office during which we lit candles, ate donuts and drank wine. The women tried to get everyone to sing chanukah songs, but the russians didn't know any of them and asked for the lyrics.

The arabs are killing each other off in the Gaza strip, which could be a good thing, if none of them are left standing, though somehow I don't see that happening. Syria is talking a good peace, but they walk like a duck so nobody believes them.

Our village charity is looking for volunteers for the next war. There are a number of volunteer positions that help support the official city workers including:
  • Delivering essentials to bomb shelters, both city and private
  • Visiting people and keeping their spirits up
  • Working in the command center
  • answering telephones
  • ...
I've been thinking of signing up, but it would mean that during the next war I would be committing to stay for the duration of the war. If my kids couldn't handle it, which they probably wouldn't be able to, then my wife would have to take them cross country by herself, which would be a hardship. OTOH, I'm not in miluim and don't currently do anything for the protection of the country, so this would be a very nice volunteer opportunity. During the next war, the office will probably be open, so I would only be able to volunteer at night. It's a toss up. A logical decision could be made now taking everything under consideration, but as soon as the missiles start falling, logic goes to pot.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Aura Tehilla

The new baby's name is Aura Tehilla. In keeping with safe Internet practices, we will not be posting pictures of Aura on the blog. This should keep her safe from Internet predators.

There are a lot of interesting nuances between this Israeli birth and all the previous American births. One thing that I thought was funny was the guy who walked into all the rooms in the maternity ward handing out his business card and asking, "Do you need a mohel?"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

mazel tov. girl

This was the SMS that I sent out last night to the israeli relatives. Baby girl Zacks was born at 5 PM. Thank God, everyone is happy and healthy.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

no baby yet

It's very hard to blog when you have big news coming up and your wife would get very upset if you posted regular updates on the process. There is something to be said for anonymous blogs, but I don't have time for both a regular one and an anonymous.

I have a lot to say about how proud the police is that they caught the rapist after he was on the loose for 2 weeks. They only got him because an anonymous relative called them and described the car he was driving and told them what road he was on. Even after they caught him, he almost got away with telling them his name was Osama.
He was caught in our neck of the woods, about 25 minutes from our village. Thank God he didn't rape anybody (or at least we haven't heard of anybody) while he was out. The Nahariya police took him into custody on Friday evening and then the prime minister violated shabbat to call the chief of police and congratulate him. I don't think congratulations are in order. It's not like the first time they caught him, this time they let him go.

Our religious public school is finally realizing that we cannot survive on government money alone and we are considering a new fund-raising campaign to supplement it. Israeli's don't understand fund-raising because they've never really had to do it, they would prefer to protest against the municipality who should buy the kids new playground equipment. Their second thought was just to collect the money from the US. Coming from a fundraising culture, where a month doesn't go by without some sort of event for one or more organizations, I have put together a list of fundraisers that we can start locally to bring in some needed cash. Girl Scout cookies are high on the list of things to do, but we are entering the winter months, so the kids probably will not be able to go door to door selling.
The upside in our area is that there are no other organizations fundraising, so we don't have to compete with anyone.

In any case, the baby will be born this week. We still haven't picked out a name, so suggestions are welcome (either boy or girl). Remember it is our first sabra, so the names should not have any yiddish in them.