Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shweky Concert

Last night we headed down to Caesarea for a Shweky concert in the old
Roman amphitheater. We actually went because my nephew was in the choir
and we wanted to see him perform. The choir did an excellent job.
Shweky's choreography has not changed very much in the past 9 years (or
so) when we saw him perform in the US. It was thoroughly entertaining.
The crowd had a small percentage of "not outwardly religious people"
(meaning men not wearing kipot and women not dressing according to the
modesty standards), which surprised me, but it seems like "chasidic"
music is really making a comeback among the secular. For those who
haven't seen it yet, I recommend going to you tube and searching for
אנחנו מאמינים בני מאמינים and watching the Lee Fishman video.

If you get the Shweky in Caesarea DVD that is coming out in the near
future and see us in it, please let me know.

Caesarea was very nice. We got there early and went to the port, where
there is a mixture of ruins and tourist shops. We ate at a nice outdoor
cafe, pricey but very good. There was a sign up that said the beach was
closed for swimming, but there were still plenty of people in the water.
There was even a small water slide in one section.

Friday, July 23, 2010

example of apparent "Turkish" email sting (עוקץ) in the wild

You may be aware that there are recommendations to change your email (and other) passwords following a reported heist and broadcast by Turkish hackers of tens of thousands of email addresses and passwords of Israelis which took place after the Mavi Marmara flotilla event. There is also indication that if your email address(es) and password(s) is not on the list (which may or may not be available any longer on the net) you should act as though it(they) are not secure.

This morning, I received what appears to be a cry for help from a friend.

Perhaps I should have immediately called this person to verify if this was real or not. Instead, I responded which is not recommended since in sender details IP is exposed. However, I am sharing their responses which may offer further detail and may be of use to readers of this posting.

In any case, I report it here as a heads-up to other people, and hopefully the relevant authorities in Israel who should be reading this.

In retrospect, there are several giveaways or tells that might have alerted me but this was good enough to get me motivated to want to help my friend. In fact, there is another spoiler or two but I will not reveal them openly here.

I did call my friend after the last response and he established that he was locked out of his yahoo account and was about to send "real" warnings to the email addresses he remembers that were on his contact list. He also reported the lock out to yahoo.

I now report this here, leaving out names.

Heads Up!!!

Email exchange:

first email received:

urgent help needed


I'm writing this with tears in my eyes,I came down here to London,England for a short vacation and i was mugged at gun point last night at the park of the hotel where i lodged all cash,credit cards and cell were stolen off me.

I've been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all,My flight leaves in less than 3hrs from now and am having problems settling the hotel bills.

The hotel manager won't let me leave until i settle the hotel bills now am freaked out.

I need your help.



I answered:

Just saw your email. I trust if you don't reply, that you are on your way back.
If you can answer and you are still in UK, supply hotel name and manager's name
and telephone number and anything else that can help us help you.



[my name], i actually have limited time on the internet as the hotel manager has directed that the phone in my room be disconnected. all they want is for meto settle their bills. You can call him on this number +447045791223.i am so glad you replied back to my email. I have nothing left on me and I'm grateful to God that i still have my life and my would have been worst if they made away with my passport.$1,300 will cover all my expenses but i will appreciate whatsoever you can afford to wire right now, I promise to refund it to you as soon as I arrive home. You can wire it to my name from a western union outlet around. Here are the details you need to get it to me;

Name - [the person you know]
Location - 22 St. John Street London, EC1M 4AY United Kingdom

I still have my passport so I can use it as identification, e-mail me the transfer details and the confirmation number include the amount sent.
we shall talk when this is over.


my answer:

Please tell me something that only you would know. So I can be sure it is you.


My wife's name is [her actual maiden name] she is a [profession] and am an [actual profession] .my abode is Canaan, Safed, Israel.[my name],it is me.....there's really no time to talk much...

(end of email thread)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Dinner in Yaara

It's been a while since I've last posted, though I'm sure you check the blog on a daily basis to see if the inspiration has hit me again. 13 years ago today (July 7), in an Italian section of Toronto next to highway 7 at a hall called "The Royalton" I got married. It was not only July 7th, apparently there was a Hebrew date too, and my BIL cares and knows what it is.

We can't go out this evening because of Book Club, and tomorrow night is English Shiur, Thursday night we're going camping... We actually had a dual celebration, the week before the kids got out of school, I took off a day and took my lovely wife on a 3 hour hike in the Yehudiya nature reserve. We had planned on going on the 7-8 hour hike, but we noticed 150 teenagers going on that hike when we arrived and decided, along with the advice of the guy who helps you choose a trail (I'm sure there is a title for him), to go on a shorter hike. We headed down the lower Zavyatan, a beautiful trail with a nice mountainside. Lots of interesting flora etc. There was nobody else on the trail, so we really got to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature's wonderland. After about an hour of walking we got to a very nice pool, very deep with lots of fish, and went swimming for a bit. We then went to a nice shady area for some lunch and climbed up the mountain. Very steep climb but thoroughly enjoyable.

Last night we finished our anniversary celebrations with Dinner in Ya'ara. Ya'ara (as everyone knows) is a small village about 5 minutes from Lebanon. Surprisingly, they have 2 kosher lemehadrin (super kosher) restaurants in the village. We had made a reservation at Beef Bahar and went there with another couple. You can find Ya'ara by taking the 70 up to Shlomi and keep on the road as it turns into the 899 until you see the sign directing you in. It's about a 20 minute drive from our village. The restaurant was very quaint and tzimmer-like. We ordered a first course of "fried things," which included Moroccan cigars, kubas and stuff like that, and a main course. They first brought out 12 different salads, bread and a large bowl of fries without asking us, which was very nice. The food was delicious and the portions were large.
The menu was pretty small, but it included a couple items for children

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

012 has lousy customer service

Kavei Zahav 012 has horrible customer service.

I highly recommend not using them for Internet.

This is the second time that I had an issue with them and each time I
had to talk to a manager.

The first time they promised to call me back 4 times and never did. I
finally insisted on talking to a manager, which solved the problem.
However, the frustration getting to that point was not worth it.

The story is that I wanted to cancel my service and they said I had an
18 month contract. I asked them for proof of the contract and they said
they would have to get the recording and someone would respond within 24
hours. 48 hours later I called them back, they said that was impossible
because it takes 3 days to get a recording from the outsourcing company.
They promised that someone would reply to me within 72 hours. 4 days
after that I called them back and they said they hadn't sent the request
yet but it would take 2 weeks. 2 weeks later I called back and at that
point I insisted on talking to a manager. After discussing it with her,
she checked and said, the recording is here, this wasn't outsourced. In
the end, my wife had agreed to the contract and had forgotten about it.
I can accept that, and agreed to keep the contract. It was just so

2 days ago I was called by 012 to renew my contract. I asked the
representative when my contract was up and she said it was in 3 weeks. I
foolishly believed her. I signed up with a different company and then
called to cancel 012. They told me it did not matter what the rep on the
phone said, my contract was for another 2 months and I would have to pay
a penalty. I asked them if I could hear the recording of the
conversation with the sales person and they said there was no record of
the conversation. Obviously, if I would have agreed to extend the
contract there would have been a recording of the conversation.

I finally agreed to a cancellation fee because the 48 shekels it cost me
was worth getting rid of them.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

prohibition on lying

Uncle Moshe has made me mad enough to break the silence and return to
the keyboard. I was preparing for my Pirkei Avos shiur yesterday when I
stumbled on a falsehood that has been perpetuated by Uncle Moshe for
many, many years. We are up to the 9th misha of the first perek, Shimon
ben shetach explains to judges how they should interrogate the witnesses
to determine if they are lying or not.

There are very few commentaries on this mishna, so I brought sources
from Sanhedrin about the process and the story of the 80 witches that he
killed. I got into the Ten Commandments etc.

Then I decided to veer on the subject to the issue of lying in general
and, remembering the Uncle Moshe song, I turned to the verse that says
מדבר שקר תרחק. As the song goes, "מדבר שקר תרחק never tell a lie, Hashem
knows just what happened there's no reason to deny, honesty is אמת make
sure all your words are true so tatti, mommy and Hashem will be so proud
of you." This indicates that the torah source for lying comes from that
pasuk. However, that pasuk is not talking about lying at all. It is an
admonition to judges to be straight in their judgements. The pasuk
before states "don't bias your judgement towards poor people and the one
after says don't take bribery.

It seems that Uncle Moshe is trying to teach children not to lie with a
lie. We can judge him favorably and assume he is ignorant and actually
thinks that that is the source of the prohibition. Until last night I
was also ignorant and assumed that was the source of the prohibition,
but that is only because of his song. The actual prohibition comes from
a pasuk in Lev 19:11, which states "don't steal, deny or lie, a man
among his people."

The talmud brings down a number of cases where it is permitted to lie,
including a famous argument between beis hillel and beis shammai about
whether you should say that a bride is beautiful even if she is not. We
follow the opinion of Beis Hillel which says that after someone buys
something you should compliment it instead of telling him what you
really think. There is no purpose in telling someone after they buy it
that it was an unwise purchase, unless there is actual benefit to the
buyer (and informing him that he has bad taste is not really considered
beneficial.) Since there is a very strict return policy on wives, it is
appropriate to tell the groom that his bride is beautiful even if you
don't really think so.

Here in the Galilee we are getting ready for Pesach. the question of the
year is whether we eat canola oil or not. The rabbi said there is no
clear ruling and I can either eat it or not eat it, my choice. So I'm
taking a poll with all the people who will be eating with us, as to
whether they have a problem with it and if everyone is good with it, we
will start using it this year.

The big pesach tiyul has not been determined yet.