Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jameel's pro YU problem

Jameel Rasheed, of muqata fame, with his pro-YU hashkafik acceptance of the fact that a book written by the nephew of the Netziv said that Volozhiner's learned secular studies , has driven away potential olim. A commenter on the Muqata blog specifically blamed Jameel's hashkafa as to why he would not move to Israel. In order to promote aliya, Jameel has to make a choice. Should he stop spewing his hashkafic opinions and driving off potentials or should he say to hell with him, we don't want those kind of olim anyway.

It is debatable whether accepting a statement written in the book "My Uncle, the Netziv" would be considered YU hashkafa. Another way of looking at it is that a hashkafa that bashes secular learning is not following the Volozhiner hashkafa and using the story of why the Netziv closed the yeshiva is misrepresenting the facts which would indicate that they are violating the commandment "Stay far away from the untruth."

It could be that the anonymous commentor simply does not know how to read and assumes that if his rebbe said something it must be 100% true and therefore it is Jameel who is lying by quoting the book.

I would bet that Jameel will not change his pro-YU hashkafa until aliyah slows down about 50-70%. Once that happens you can expect more posts from Jameel about the evils of reading and thinking. He will probably post more anti-army posts and talk about the benefits of burning trash in the streets to let people know you are angry about something.

i said I wouldn't...

When I moved to Israel 5 years ago, I didn't have any intention of leaving. ever. And I said it a number of times, in front of a number of people.
This coming week, I am leaving the land of Israel for a short much needed vacation. We are leaving all of our children, something we have only done for a single night in the past 10 years, for a full week as we head off to Rhodes, Greece.
I wanted to go for 3 nights, but the specials were all for 4 nights. My wife didn't want to go to Turkey and there was a good deal in Greece, so we booked.
I don't know what we're going to do there, but it will be a lot of fun. There is no kosher food there, so we will live out the week on the food we are bringing and fresh vegetables. I've heard you can get international kosher food in the supermarket, but we'll have to wait and see about that. I think I can live for a week on carrots and cucumbers if they confiscate my salami at the border. There''s also fresh fish, that only need fins and scales to be kosher, you can kill them any way you want.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

pesach final camping day

I look at the news today and Gary, IN has made the headlines. !@#$ing Gary, IN.
Everyone I know who drove by Gary, IN on occassion had the same thing to say about it. It was as if a haze hung over the city and you would just look at it as you are driving into Chicago and just blurt out, beeping Gary, Indiana. You knew you were getting close because an awful feeling comes over you and you look at this place and think, nuclear salvation, and then you see the sign that says Welcome to Gary.

Back to Pesach.
We woke up in the morning and planned on heading over to Nachal Elal. This was supposed to be our major hike, 4 km, 2 waterfalls and walking alongside a flowing stream. Some friends told us they wanted to join us, but they hadn't made it to the campgrounds because their baby was sick. They called and said they were coming and it would only take them a couple of hours to get here. We went slowly and found stuff to do, we had to stop in a grocery store to get stuff for lunch, etc.. But when we finally got to the start of the trail, our friends were still nowhere close by and they were then thinking about another tiyul because it was so hot. It was 100 degree heat, but very dry so you really didn't feel it. We bathed the kids in sunscreen and brought 12 liters of water and started down the trail. It was a lot of fun getting down into the wadi, not a simple grandparents trail, but a real climb. We made it to the first waterfall and everyone dunked their heads and got sprayed on and after playing for a bit, it was time to head on out. We started walking and soon in, we saw that the forest had burned. Someone had told me that there had been a fire there, but I wasn't expecting the destruction that we saw. Everything was black and the ground was covered in ash. There was no shade. We continued onwards and after about half an hour past through the burnt part. Other then that, the scenery was amazing. We found a nice large spring of water to eat lunch at, and the kids played in the water for a nice amount of time. We continued onwards, it was hot and the kids were a bit cranky. By the time we got to the 2nd waterfall, my wife looked down at what we would have to do to get to the waterfall and then get back up and said there was no way that we were going down there. We were standing at the top of the waterfall and we would have to climb all the way down and then all the way back up.
We bypassed the fall, though it looked very refreshing and I would have loved to jump in. By the time we reached the end, we were n our last lit of water, or so. The kids were all beyond exhausted and I was happy we hadn't gone down to play in the last waterfall.
We all got popsicles at the end of the tiyul (which makes it all worth it) and our friends who had only done a small tiyul in the area picked us up and brought us to our car. (Which was really nice because I didn't want to start hitchhiking at that point.

After that we headed for home for a relaxing end of chag. We went to the beach the next day and found a giant dead turtle floating in a small cove. The final day of chol hamoed we went to nachal kziv and walked through the stream for about an hour.

Good times.

Friday, May 02, 2008

pesach cont.

Have you ever chamsaed someone while driving? It is much more gratifying then giving someone the finger, because first of all it is 5 fingers and a palm you are giving them which is 5 times as much and also because when you chamsa someone the curses that go along with it are much more severe. For example, a truck (yes an 18 wheeler TRUCK) decided that the line of traffic in front of him was going too slowly so he pulled onto the shoulder and sped past. I chamsaed him twice and among other things that I yelled at him was that he should get raped by the same camel 50 times.
To throw a chamsa at someone you put your 3 middle fingers together and strewtch out your thumb and your pinky and yell chamsa alecha (חמסא עליך in hebrew) Then while your fingers are still in the chamsa position you yell ridiculous curses containing what you would like to happen to him, his mother, his wives, his mistresses, his children, his posessions,...

In any case, I digress. Back to the pesach tiyul.

After Ein Tina, we were discussing the next plans with ourr friends and they decided not to continue with us, but we were going in the same direction so we continued onwards together and then one friend said that yesterday the bridge crossing the Jordan river was out and he found a dirt road through the fields that connected to another bridge and we could cross there. So we cut onto a dirt road and drove through fields until we found the second bridge and crossed the Jordan. We had planned to stop along the river for lunch, but there were no places with shade so we kept going onwards. We considered various options and decided that instead of BBQing we would just eat when we got to Keshet Yonaton, which was supposed to be a kosher lemahdrin place. When we got there they told me that it was too late to order and that they don't eat until 7PM anyways. So there we were without meat (except for deli slices) and no restaurant. So we decided to head on down to Ein Gev, where there was supposed an eretz yisroel festival. We drive down towards Ein Gev, or how we thought the map showed would be a good way to get there, and we didn't see any kosher restaurants on the way and there was no road to ein gev. We finally turned into what looked like a parking lot right where the road was supposed to be and it was blocked by police and soldiers. They asked what we wanted and I said we were trying to figure out how to get to Ein Gev. After discussing it they said that this was a road and it went to Ein Gev, but we should drive very carefully. So we went down a windy, steep road filled with potholes and surrounded on both sides by a barbed wire fence that had signs be careful of land mines. It was a fun drive and we finally got to Ein Gev and the children are starving. We walked through Ein Gev and there was no festival. There were signs that there was going to be a festival, but I think it was a Music Festival and it was only after dark. When we got to the end of the sidewalk there was a restaurant and a lot of ashkenazic looking religious looking people were walking in. We decided it probably wasn't our kind of kosher and offered the kids matza and meat slices. None of them were very happy. I finally decided to check out the kashrus of the restaurant and walked in and asked. They had a rabanut kosher for pesach without kitniyos. So I decided that we could eat there. Another religious person came and decided to tell me about the restaurant. He said that about 10 years ago the restaurant made a deal with the rabanut that they really wanted to be kosher, but they needed to be open on shabbos. The deal was that they use different dishes and an Arab cook on shabbos, so it is as if it is a separate restaturant. He said if I considered that toi be kosher then I could eat there. I thanked him for the information and said that I thought that was a great compromise. Who knew that religious people knew how to make that kind of compromise. So we went in to eat.
We had fish, the kids mostly ate salad and everyone was happy. President Peres walked in the door as we were walking out, so I wished him a happy holiday and he responded in kind.
We then headed back to the campground (we went the other way back) and slept well.

We counted Day 3 in the omer.

To be continued