31 August 2017

Daily Life Has Become Like A Disaster Movie

9 Elul 5777

Except that real life now far exceeds even the imaginations of the movie makers.
‘Regular day in Sochi’: Witnesses describe chilling plane landing through tornadoes (VIDEOS)

We've had a lot of events happen recently to direct our attention to the skies like a lunar eclipse followed by a historic solar eclipse with a spectacular meteor shower coming in between. Then the sky opened up and dropped 4 1/2 FEET of rain on Texas. Here is just the latest such occurrence set to take place tomorrow!
Largest asteroid in a century to whiz by Sept 1
The largest asteroid in more than a century will whiz safely past Earth on September 1 at a safe but unusually close distance of about 4.4 million miles (7 million kilometers), NASA said.
The asteroid was discovered in 1981, and is named Florence after the famed 19th century founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
...It is one of the biggest asteroids in the Earth's vicinity, and measures about 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) wide—or about the size of 30 Egyptian pyramids stuck together. [Strange analogy!]
Latest from the flood-ravaged areas of southeast Texas...
Family warns about unseen dangers after son is electrocuted in flood waters
...Andrew stepped in the yard unaware that a landscape light electrified the water. He stumbled and grabbed the lamppost, using his last words to warn his friend to stay away, his mother said.
"They couldn't even help my son. They couldn't resuscitate him. He was in electrified water," she said.
Water Rescues Underway at Two Flooded Port Arthur Nursing Homes
Explosions, black smoke rising at chemical plant damaged in Hurricane Harvey: Officials
A pair of explosions were heard early Thursday morning and black smoke was seen rising from a chemical plant near Houston compromised by flooding from Hurricane Harvey, officials said.
Arkema, Inc., which runs the plant, said in a release they were notified of the explosions by Harris County Emergency Operations at about 2 a.m. CDT. Harris County police said on Twitter that one deputy was taken to the hospital after inhaling fumes from the plant and nine other officers drove themselves to the hospital as a precaution.
...Arkema's CEO said on Wednesday that there was "no way to prevent" a possible explosion at the company's Crosby, Texas facility, which has been heavily flooded as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
“We have an unprecedented 6 feet of water at the plant,” Arkema President and CEO Rich Rowe said in comments made Wednesday. “We have lost primary power and two sources of emergency backup power.
"As a result, we have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire. The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it," he said.
The nation's largest oil refinery shuts down as Hurricane Harvey floods Texas

Oil and gas prices are expected to spike over the next week or more as about 10 refineries representing more than 15 percent of the nation's refining capacity are shut down in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Fill ’er up. Some DFW stations may run out of gas this Labor Day weekend
You may want to fill up your gas tank while you can.
On the eve of the busy Labor Day holiday weekend, convenience store operators and other gasoline retailers said Wednesday there’s a strong chance they will run out of fuel at some locations this weekend because of supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey.
“I called my family members and told them to fill up their tanks,” said John Benda, who owns three Fuel City stores in Haltom City and Dallas and is building a fourth in Saginaw. “I have never seen it this tight, since 1980, even when we were rationing.”
Multiple refineries have shut down in Houston, Baytown, Port Arthur and other areas slammed by Harvey and the historic flooding that followed. Some pipelines that move fuel out of the Gulf Coast also are down, Benda said.
I suspect a lot more freaky things to occur in the lead-up to the New Year 5778. HKB"H is determined to get our attention right now. Time is running out. No more "business as usual"!

29 August 2017

A Few Things You Need to Know

7 Elul 5777

Update on Houston Jewish Community: With Stores Flooded, Kosher Food Has Run Out in Houston

Here is something we've been warning was coming for years and here it is...
Israeli panel recommends new status for non-Jews with Jewish ties, says report
An Israeli government panel has recommended the creation of a new status for people with Jewish roots or links but who do not qualify for immigration, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday.The newly defined category would permit such people to remain in the country longer than the three months permitted under a tourist visa.
People qualifying for the new status would include tens of thousands of Poles with Jewish roots, many of whom are descendants of Jews who hid their identity during the Holocaust; descendants of Jews who forcibly converted during the Inquisitions; members of communities who claim to be descendants of the "lost tribes"; and so-called "Judaizing communities", meaning communities that have recently begun adopting Jewish practices – believed to number in the millions.
This will benefit Messianics and Epraimites like HaYovel. The goal is to simply flood
Israel with non-Jews and reduce Jews to a minority in the so-called "Jewish State." Next thing you know we'll have a non-Jewish prime minister.


Redemption, What's not holding it back? Section 1 of 6

Redemption, What's not holding it back? Section 2 of 6

Mashiach by Rosh Hashanah?

7 Elul 5777

The first week of Elul is already gone. Only three more weeks to Rosh Hashanah 5778!

From Yehudit's "prophecy"...
* The severe strikes on the U.S. will come thru wars and even more, thru powerful weather disasters.* The quick escalation of Moshiach ben Yosef will contribute to antisemitism.* Antisemitism will rise to unimaginable heights.* Jews of the United States will be forced to flee like fugitives, because those who survived the weather disasters will not be able to survive the tremendeous waves of hatred against them.* The survivors will arrive in Israel with only the clothes on their backs and Moshiach ben Yosef will reach out to help them.
Things are moving very quickly now. N Korea has crossed a red line by firing a missile through Japanese air space. The West will be forced to respond forcefully. 

I am not making any predictions, but I am truly expecting Mashiach any and every day. I expect him no later than Rosh Hashanah 5778 - motzai shvi'it!

28 August 2017

What Do They Say About "The Definition of Insanity"?

7 Elul 5777

May 29, 2015 - Houston floods inundate Jewish homes and 2 synagogues

...One of Houston’s major bayous runs alongside North and South Braeswood Boulevard, where two major synagogues are located and many of Houston’s Jews live. A number of residents had to be evacuated by watercraft, including a rabbi emeritus from United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, one of the two synagogues that suffered damage. The other damaged synagogue was the Reform temple Congregation Beth Israel.

Houston’s JCC also said two of its properties were flooded, including damages to a teen center, racquetball courts and a preschool gym.

No fatalities or major injuries were reported among the Jewish community.

“There’s water in every area of the shul — the main sanctuary, the social hall, the school wing, administrative offices. Luckily our Torahs were higher so they were not affected,” United Orthodox’s current spiritual leader, Rabbi Barry Gelman, reported by phone. Gelman had to flee his home during the rains as floodwaters rose.

“Almost every house in this neighborhood sustained serious flood damages — from 6 to 8 inches to 3 to 4 feet of water in every house,” he said. “This will keep many people out of their homes for months.”

April 20, 2016 - Houston Jewish Community Is Flooded Again

Just 11 months after a massive Memorial Day flood damaged about 500 Jewish homes (among more than 2,500 homes overall) and three synagogues in my current home city of Houston, what seems to me to be a flood of equal or greater magnitude on Monday wreaked renewed havoc on the Houston Jewish neighborhoods of Meyerland and Willow Meadows.

For scores of Jewish and other families in America’s fourth-largest city who are still rebuilding their homes after last year’s flood, today’s deluge likely means the devastating scenario of restarting that process from square one. The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston had already projected an 18-month recovery timetable, with a price tag of $3.5 million, for the local Jewish community’s individual flood victims and institutions following the May 2015 flood. Initial indications are that the congregation I belong to, United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, was hit even harder than it was last year — when damages to the synagogue facility exceeded $1 million. While I won’t often make opinionated statements in my writing, I can say with confidence that Houston’s Jewish community and all of Houston’s flooded neighborhoods are worthy of your thoughts and prayers.

August 28, 2017 - Help the Jewish Community of Houston

...The Jewish community in Houston, Texas has once again found itself in the crosshairs of a devastating storm that will likely cause even more damage in the next 24-48 hours, wrote the OU, adding:

“As the extent of the damage becomes clear, it is obvious that this community will need significant financial help in order to rebuild. Our community has answered the call before, and as Rosh Hashana approaches, we must answer the call again. Please enter your information below to donate.”

As a community, this is our opportunity to stand together and show our brothers and sisters in Houston that we stand with them in the spirit of Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh – that all of our people stand together as one.

I'd help them make aliyah, but rebuild for a third time in as many years?! That's nuts!! They're fighting Hashem and there's no winning that battle.

27 August 2017

"Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li"

6 Elul 5777

I don't know how many have been paying attention, but there has been a long string of tragic deaths over the past few weeks - more than usual - both in Israel and in frum communities in America. In my yishuv alone, in addition to the "yeshiva bochur" in the hit-and-run described above, who was my neighbor, another family of five lost three of their members in a motor vehicle accident last month. And so many of these tragedies have involved children!

The following comes from the Key to Redemption facebook page...
“My rebbe told me this in the name of the Vilna Gaon, of blessed memory. It is impossible to sow a field unless it has first been plowed. Similarly, the blockage in our heart—timtum ha-lev—prevents spiritual feelings from penetrating it. The hard peel surrounding the heart must first be pierced. Only then can spiritual insights be sown, and only then can fruit be expected to grow, in the form of changed attitudes. How can the hard soil of the heart be plowed? With strong emotional upheaval. This can come from sudden disaster or from great joy. When a person is in a state of great excitement, for whatever reason, his heart opens. A person can now impress on it whatever he likes. He can say to himself: Now is my chance. “ (Strive for Truth, Rabbi Eliyahu E. Dessler, Parshat Re’eh)
This is what is alluded to by the phrase, “The King is in the field” during the month of Elul. During the year it is harder to connect to Hashem. It takes a lot of effort and there are many obstacles by way of daily life, problems and challenges but in Elul Hashem comes towards us. He pursues us in a way. He says I am here, you just have to open your heart. Hashem created man because he wanted someone to give his love to. When we accept the Torah and mitzvoth we are accepting the terms of this love. We show our love to Hashem by obedience.
The first letter of each world of the phrase “ani l’dodi v dodi li”, I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, spell the word Elul in Hebrew. We are commanded to fear and LOVE Hashem but Elul is an opportune time to focus on our love for Him.
“You shall love Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your resources. Let these matters, which I command you today, be upon your heart.” (From the shema)
I can attest to the truth of these words. Having your heart plowed up is exactly what it feels like. But, oh Hashem, can we please have enough of the tragedies and now come to the joy? And what greater joy could there possibly be than to have these dead returned to us alive, whole and smiling.

Were I to meet the King in the field today, this would be my request: Blessed are You Hashem, Our God, King of the Universe - please - speed Mashiach on his way, bring him today and let the righteous dead begin to rise from their graves!

45 Days From Rosh Chodesh Elul

5 Elul 5777

Palestinians to Jared Kushner: In 45 Days, We Blow Up Your Peace Process - Breitbart  

The Palestinian Authority reportedly plans to give White House envoy Jared Kushner an ultimatum when he visits Ramallah on Thursday: deliver Israeli concessions in 45 days, or we blow up the peace process and go to the UN.

Did we just get a heads-up for GoguMagog at Sukkot?

22 August 2017

Forty Days of Purification

30 Menachem Av 5777
Rosh Chodesh Aleph

As shared by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi...

Elul – the month preceding Rosh Hashanah – begins a period of intensive introspection, of clarifying life's goals, and of coming closer to God. It is a time for realizing purpose in life – rather than perfunctorily going through the motions of living by amassing money and seeking gratification. It is a time when we step back and look at ourselves critically and honestly, as Jews have from time immemorial, with the intention of improving. The four Hebrew letters of the word Elul (aleph-lamed-vav-lamed) are the first letters of the four words Ani l'dodi v'dodi lee"I am to my Beloved and my Beloved is to me" (Song of Songs 6:3). These words sum up the relationship between God and His people. In other words, the month preceding Rosh Hashanah is a time when God reaches out to us, in an effort to create a more spiritually-inspiring atmosphere, one that stimulates teshuva (repentance – coming closer to Hashem).

Rewind 3,000 years to the Sinai Desert. God has spoken the Ten Commandments, and the Jews have built the Golden Calf. Moses desperately pleads with God to spare the nation. On the first day of Elul, Moses ascends Mount Sinai, and 40 days later – on the seminal Yom Kippur – he returned to the people, with a new, second set of stone tablets in hand. For us as well, the month of Elul begins a 40-day period that culminates in the year's holiest day, Yom Kippur.

Why 40? Forty is a number of cleansing and purification. Noah's Flood rains lasted 40 days, and the mikveh – the ritual purification bath – contains 40 measures of water. Elul is an enormous opportunity. During this time, many people increase their study of Torah and performance of good deeds. And many also do a daily cheshbon – an accounting of spiritual profit and loss.


Guilt is the pain of the spirit. It starts to act up when you have done something that is harmful to your soul. Instead of prompting bandages, antibiotic and painkillers it is meant to prompt feelings of regret and resolve never to repeat our spiritual failure [teshuvah]. The human being is unique in that we can change and grow. Guilt is the alarm system that tells us we are going in the wrong direction and have to make a behavioral adjustment.

Today when guilt strikes don't let it get you down. Appreciate the gift of G-d that warns you when you are in danger. Confront the problem with a plan to fix it! It's a minute that will save your life - literally!


Teshuva literally means "return." When we "do teshuva," we examine our ways, identify those areas where we are losing ground, and "return" to our own previous state of spiritual purity. And in the process, we "return" to our connection with the Almighty as well. Every transgression creates a block between us and the Almighty. Making teshuva reconnects us to our Father in Heaven.

The process of teshuva involves the following four steps:

Step 1 - Regret. Realize the extent of the damage and feel sincere regret.

Step 2 - Cessation. Immediately stop the harmful action.
Step 3 - Confession. Articulate the mistake and ask for forgiveness.
Step 4 - Resolution. Make a firm commitment not to repeat it in the future.

The "sins" we do teshuva for on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are the instances we fell short of our full potential self. One word for "sin" in Hebrew is chait, which means "missing the mark." The disparity between our full potential and our present reality fuels our heartfelt teshuva. We have tremendous potential, and when we strive to fix those things which need improvement we are coming closer to fulfilling the incredible potential latent within each and every one of us.


Confession is one of four crucial steps in the Teshuva process. However, some people fear confession believing that “I’m as rotten as my sins.” The human ego is too wobbly a table to load it up with a couple hundred pounds of wrong-doings. If I admit that I cheated on my exams, then I’m a despicable, dishonest cheat. If I admit that my outbursts of anger traumatize my children/employees/friends, then I’m an out-of-control, savage ogre. My wrong actions are not simply the garments that clothe my essential self; they become my image of who I really am. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Hebrew word chet does not mean sin at all. Chet appears in the Bible in reference to a slingshot which "missed the target." There is nothing inherently "bad" about that slingshot! Rather, a mistake was made ― due to a lack of focus, concentration or skill.

The same is true with us. When we engage in irresponsible or destructive behavior, we have simply misfired. Every human being has a soul, a pure piece of Godliness that distinguishes us from the animals. When we do something wrong, it is because the soul's "voice" has become temporarily muted by the roar of the physical body. This confusion is what we call the "Yetzer Hara." But our essence remains pure. We only need to make a few adjustments ― and we're back on target!

This is the idea of teshuva. Teshuva literally means "return." When we "do teshuva," we examine our ways, identify those areas where we are losing ground, and "return" to our own previous state of spiritual purity. And in the process, we "return" to our connection with the Almighty as well.

21 August 2017

Mashiach and Today's Solar Eclipse

29 Menachem Av 5777
Yom Kippur Katan

There are seven aliyot in a parshah, one for each day of the week. It is said that one can find hints and clues to the events of the day through reading the aliyah appropriate to that day. But, there are two ways to calculate it - either from Sunday to Shabbat or from the Wednesday preceeding to the Tuesday following Shabbat. Since today, Monday, has already been pointed out as a very important day, it being the occasion of The Great American Eclipse as well as Yom Kippur Katan prior to the new month of Elul, the month of repentance and preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, let's look at the sixth aliyah of Re'eh and the second aliyah of Shoftim.
Sixth Aliyah of Re'eh (Devarim 15:1-18)
1 At the end of seven years you will make a release.2 And this is the manner of the release; to release the hand of every creditor from what he lent his friend; he shall not exact from his friend or his brother, because time of the release for the Lord has arrived.3 From the foreigner you may exact; but what is yours with your brother, your hand shall release.4 However, there will be no needy among you, for the Lord will surely bless you in the land the Lord, your God, is giving you for an inheritance to possess.5 However, if you hearken to the voice of the Lord, your God, to be careful to do all this commandment, which I am commanding you today.6 For the Lord, your God, has blessed you, as He spoke to you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.7 If there will be among you a needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities, in your land the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, and you shall not close your hand from your needy brother.8 Rather, you shall open your hand to him, and you shall lend him sufficient for his needs, which he is lacking.9 Beware, lest there be in your heart an unfaithful thought, saying, "The seventh year, the year of release has approached," and you will begrudge your needy brother and not give him, and he will cry out to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin to you.10 You shall surely give him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him; for because of this thing the Lord, your God, will bless you in all your work and in all your endeavors.11 For there will never cease to be needy within the land. Therefore, I command you, saying, you shall surely open your hand to your brother, to your poor one, and to your needy one in your land.12 If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you for six years, and in the seventh year you shall send him forth free from you.13 And when you send him forth free from you, you shall not send him forth empty-handed.14 You shall surely provide him from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your vat, you shall give him from what the Lord, your God, has blessed you15 And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord, your God, redeemed you; therefore, I am commanding you this thing today.16 And it will be, if he says to you, "I will not leave you," because he loves you and your household, for it is good for him with you,17 Then you shall take an awl and put it through his ear and into the door, and he shall be a servant to you forever; and also to your maidservant you shall do likewise.18 You shall not be troubled when you send him free from you, for twice as much as a hired servant, he has served you six years, and the Lord, your God, will bless you in all that you shall do.
How interesting that slavery has been a major topic of converation in the US over the past week and here, on the day when all eyes are focused on that nation, this aliyah addresses that very issue.
Second Aliyah of Shoftim (Devarim:17:14-20)
14 When you come to the land the Lord, your God, is giving you, and you possess it and live therein, and you say, "I will set a king over myself, like all the nations around me,"15 you shall set a king over you, one whom the Lord, your God, chooses; from among your brothers, you shall set a king over yourself; you shall not appoint a foreigner over yourself, one who is not your brother.16 Only, he may not acquire many horses for himself, so that he will not bring the people back to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, for the Lord said to you, "You shall not return that way any more."17 And he shall not take many wives for himself, and his heart must not turn away, and he shall not acquire much silver and gold for himself.18 And it will be, when he sits upon his royal throne, that he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah on a scroll from [that Torah which is] before the Levitic kohanim.19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord, his God, to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes, to perform them,20 so that his heart will not be haughty over his brothers, and so that he will not turn away from the commandment, either to the right or to the left, in order that he may prolong [his] days in his kingdom, he and his sons, among Israel.
Wow! On the same day that the leading Western power of the gentile nations will experience a total eclipse of the sun by the moon, this aliyah discusses Israel's king! Halevai that the nations as represented by the sun will be eclipsed by Israel represented by the moon and crown her King Mashiach in accordance with G-d's instructions.
Commentary: A King in Israel
Israel as a nation had three commandments once it was established in its Land: (a) to request a king; (b) to eliminate the offspring of Amalek; and (c) to build the Temple (Sanhedrin 20b). Thus, it was not only permitted, but commanded that at some future point the nation should request a king; moreover, the prophecies about Messianic times, wihch represent Israel at its highest level, revolve around a king of the Davidic dynasty.
According to the nations' reckoning, today is Monday or Moon-day which follows after Sun-day. Today will surely be the moon's day as it merits to completely blot out the far larger, far brighter and far more powerful sun. 

If we take nothing else away from this event, let it be known and recalled that the day will surely come when Israel (the moon) will similarly eclipse the nations (the sun). When that day comes we will crown Mashiach our king and the moon will no longer be diminished, but will once again be equal to the sun as it was at the creation of the world.

Happy "Moon"-day!!

20 August 2017

To The 33rd Level And No Further?

28 Menachem Av 5777

Someone has been doing some figuring and has come up with the following interesting results regarding "The Great American Eclipse" to occur tomorrow across the United States:
...It begins in the 33rd state, ends at the 33rd parallel, and occurs on the 233rd day of the year, which is 33 weeks and 2 days into 2017. The eclipse will take 1 hour and 33 minutes to cross the country and occurs 133 days (inclusive) before the end of 2017.
All those 33s brought to mind Reb Dov Bar-Lieb's blog post in which he asserted that Eisav/Edom does not rise above the 33rd level of purity.
...The end for America is that it is dedicated to building Olam HaZeh, and will do whatever it can to prevent Mankind in general and Israel in particular from breaking through the 33rd level of purity. For above the 33rd level, the purpose for serving G-d is for its own sake.
Add to that the claim that Eisav/Edom's god Yeshu was cut off in his 33rd year. 

The fact that all these 33s are there and someone has noticed it and brought it to our attention says that it means something, but precisely what I can't definitively say. However, if I had to guess, I'd guess it means the US has reached some kind of limit where HKB"H is concerned.

And while the White House and the country itself are becoming ever more chaotic, they are relentlessly pursuing Israel - no doubt to their own detriment.

Arab foreign ministers proclaim: No peace without two-state solution
In preparation for the arrival of an American delegation to the Middle East, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority present a unified position: 'There is no peace without the establishment of a Palestinian state within the '67 borders.'
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority met on Saturday evening in Cairo to coordinate positions ahead of the expected arrival of an American delegation to the Middle East as part of the Trump administration's efforts to try to renew peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump to Send Delegation to Israel, Palestinian Authority and Arab States in New Peace Push
The delegation, headed by Jared Kushner, is expected to arrive in Israel in the last week of August.
For a nation which knows no limits and which accepts no limits, finding itself in a situation where limits are imposed upon it will be extremely difficult.

17 August 2017

The Jewish Connection to Charlottesville

25 Menachem Av 5777

By now, everyone knows what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia last Shabbat. I'm hearing Jews saying they have no opinion on it because it does not concern them. But, like everything that happens in the world, it does concern us because it is about us whether we realize it or not.

It was the Charlottesville City Council under the leadership of a Jewish mayor who made the decision to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee which was the instigating event for last Saturday's violence. And it was the ACLU, an organization traditionally associated with Jews, which petitioned the court the keep the rally at the location where violence broke out, against the request of city officials to move it to a more defensible venue.

The right-wing Conservatives hate leftist Jews because they are perceived to be promoters of homosexuality, loose morals, communism, socialism, race-mixing, etc. Via Hollywood, the media and the banking system, these Jews are perceived to be undermining the traditional fabric of society and culture and bringing the country to the point of destruction.

The leftist Democrats hate right-wing Jews for their "blind" support of Israel and anyone who takes a public pro-Israel stance which is usually right-wing Conservatives. It is their perception that the tight relationship between the government of Israel and Conservative leaders undermines peacemaking in the world and fuels the agenda of warmongers. They also have a sense, real or imagined, that the very soul of their country is at stake.

Like it or not, this watershed event will no doubt have far-reaching consequences for Jews everywhere. Because what affects one of us, affects all of us. And there is no winning side for Jews in this brewing civil war.

Why did Hitler hate Jews? 

14 August 2017

Israel: Pipeline For American Culture to the ME

22 Menachem Av 5777
JERUSALEM (AP) -- The NBA is heading to the Holy Land this week, bringing together some of the top emerging talent from across Europe as part of the league's push to attract more foreign players and expand its global reach.
...An NBA delegation, led by Commissioner Adam Silver, is in Israel as part of "Basketball Without Borders," a program that hosts training camps for top teenage players throughout the world.
...In an interview, Silver said the program aims to give players who have a legitimate chance of reaching the professional ranks a cultural and athletic experience that would be hard to match.
"It's a realization that in order to develop as an elite player at a relatively young age, you need to begin competing against other elite players. And also you need the benefit of top notch coaching," he said.
...Off the court, the program also promotes cultural awareness.
"Whatever region we're in, we educate the young folks about what's happening socially, politically, economically in the area they are in," Silver said. "It's life skills in addition to basketball. It's about the values of the game, like leadership and discipline and hard work and respect for each other."
Toward that goal, the program will sponsor a series of clinics and workshops for local youngsters that will include Israeli Jews as well as members of the Muslim, Christian and Druze minorities. Palestinian children from the West Bank will also be participating, Silver said. On Sunday, for instance, the program will dedicate a new "learn and play" center at Jerusalem's YMCA.
"We look for regions where we can have a bigger impact than just the game of basketball," Silver said.

..."What we'd like to see is using basketball to build bridges between cultures," he said. "I think it really is true that people, whether on a basketball court, or it's on a soccer pitch, when they compete together they see how much they really do have in common. In this case, it's a shared passion for basketball."
Also, the Israeli government, ever eager to mix Jews and non-Jews (especially among those of marriageable age) in the Holy Land, strikes again.
Dangling cash, Israel pushes universities to woo foreign students
The Council for Higher Education in Israel is seeking to attract international, Jewish and non-Jewish students to its universities to promote diversity and a more fertile exchange of ideas on its campuses.
...The council has allocated some NIS 300 million ($83 million) over six years to boost the number of foreign students in its universities and colleges. The idea is to make local academia more competitive with universities abroad and strengthen Israel’s branding as a country of international academic excellence. This will also help fight boycotts and increase diplomatic, social and economic ties with foreign countries, the council said.
“When you have people from different backgrounds you open yourself up to a variety of cultures and ways of thinking, and that enriches you,” Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, the chairman of the council, said in an interview. “This openness will enrich those who come from abroad, but also those who are here.”

13 August 2017

The "Post-Truth Era": Prelude to Mashiach

21 Menachem Av 5777

I only heard this phrase for the first time today. Since we know well that truth is the only basis for reality and that every lie must be wrapped around a bit of truth in order to exist due to this fact, it stands to reason that a complete detachment from truth will cause this entire "post-truth" world to collapse and disappear from reality. This is the necessary prelude to the revelation of Mashiach and a world of total truth. 

The stage is set.
Are we living in a post-truth era?
"Post-truth" was the Oxford Dictionaries’ international word of 2016.... It describes a situation “in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
...The Guardian's head of media Jane Martinson will be discussing the new era of post-truth and alternative facts with economist and BBC presenter Evan Davis and journalist and former Spectator editor Matthew d'Ancona, both of whom have recently published their accounts of the post-truth age. (Source)

The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life

At one time we had truth and lies. Now we have truth, lies, and statements that may not be true but we consider too benign to call false. Euphemisms abound. We’re “economical with the truth,” we “sweeten it,” or tell “the truth improved.” The term deceive gives way to spin. At worst we admit to “misspeaking,” or “exercising poor judgment.” Nor do we want to accuse others of lying. We say they’re in denial. A liar is “ethically challenged,” someone for whom “the truth is temporarily unavailable.”

This is post-truth. In the post-truth era, borders blur between truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, fiction and nonfiction. Deceiving others becomes a challenge, a game, and ultimately a habit. Research suggests that the average American tells lies on a daily basis. These fibs run the gamut from “I like sushi,” to “I love you.”

As the volume of strangers and acquaintances in our lives rises, so do opportunities to improve on the truth. The result is a widespread sense that much of what we’re told can’t be trusted. From potential mates to prospective employees, we’re no longer sure whom exactly we’re dealing with. Deception has become a routine part of the mating dance. Personnel officers take for granted that the resumes they read are padded. No wonder private investigation is a growth sector of the economy.

What motivates the casual dishonesty that’s become pandemic? Why do so many, even those with no apparent need to do so, feel a need to embellish their personal history? This question arises every time prominent figures are unmasked as fabulists: businesspeople, politicians, journalists, judges, military officers, police chiefs, beauty queens, newspaper reporters, South Carolina’s governor, the head of the United States Olympic Committee, and the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Branches are grafted onto their family trees. Unearned degrees show up on their resumes. Purchased medals appear in their display cases. Thousands of non-veterans say they fought in Vietnam. Scores more passed themselves off as Ground Zero rescue workers.

We can only understand the motives of such dissemblers by examining the sea in which they swim. Trends ranging from the postmodern disdain for “truth” to therapeutic non-judgment encourage deception. There is much incentive and little penalty for improving the “narrative” of one’s life. The increasing influence of therapists, entertainers, politicians, academics, and lawyers, with their flexible code of ethics, contribute to the post-truth era. So do ethical relativism, Boomer narcissism, the decline of community, and rise of the Internet.

Post-truthfulness builds a fragile social edifice based on wariness. It erodes the foundation of trust that underlies any healthy civilization. When enough of us peddle fantasy as fact, society loses its grounding in reality. Society would crumble altogether if we assumed others were as likely to dissemble as tell the truth. We are perilously close to that point. (Source)

11 August 2017

Watch Out for Falling Stars Tonight!

19 Menachem Av 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Eikav

Don't forget about the Perseid meteor shower!

The Perseid meteor shower will be visible from July 17 to August 24, with its peak on August 12 or 13. There will be good view from anywhere in the northern hemisphere; viewers close to the equator in the southern hemisphere may also see a few meteors low on the horizon.

The best time to look for meteors is between midnight and dawn, when the sky is dark and the radiant of the meteors is reasonably high.  (Source)

Spaceweather.com says: We recommend looking on the nights of Aug. 11th - 13th between the hours of 10:30 PM to 4:30 AM local time. Before midnight the meteor rate will start out low, then increase as the night wears on, peaking before sunrise when the constellation Perseus is high in the sky. Sky maps: Aug. 11, 12, 13.

"Whatever You Do It's Only For Your Own Good"

19 Menachem Av 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Eikev

~ Shabbat shalom ~

10 August 2017

An Unwanted Truth

18 Menachem Av 5777

None of these burning buildings collapsed because of fire...

And despite the fact that no fire in history has ever brought a hi-rise building down, we are supposed to believe that fire - not remotely on the scale of what you see above - brought down the Twin Towers and Building #7 at the World Trade Center.

Former NIST Employee Speaks Out On World Trade Centre Towers Collapse Investigation

If they can get away with this, what other nefarious machinations are they capable of?

09 August 2017


17 Menachem Av 5777

When I saw this headline BLOOD MOON LIGHTS SKY IN ECLIPSE PREQUEL (Aug 7), and put it together with BRIGHTEST METEOR SHOWER IN RECORDED HUMAN HISTORY (Aug 12), as well as THE 2017 SOLAR ECLIPSE WILL BE 'ONE OF THE EVENTS OF THE CENTURY (Aug 21), all following immediately after TU b'Av, I couldn't help wondering if it connects at all to this...
Sound a shofar in Zion and sound an alarm in My holy mountain; all the inhabitants of the land shall quake, for the day of the Lord has come, for it is near.
And I will perform signs in the heavens and on the earth: Blood, fire, and pillars of smoke.
...The sun shall turn to darkness, and the moon to blood, prior to the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
...The sun and the moon have darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining.
(Yoel 1:1, 2:3-4, 3:4, 4:15)
We are exactly two weeks before the beginning of Elul and five weeks from Rosh Hashanah:
...even now, says the Lord, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with lamentation. And rend your hearts and not your garments, and return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He repents of the evil. (Yoel 2:12-13)
Ten days after that is Yom Kippur and another twelve days beyond that brings us to Shemini Atzeret, the Day of Assembly following Hoshanah Rabbah. Is this verse an allusion to these three holidays?
Sound a shofar in Zion; proclaim a fast, call an assembly. (Yoel 2:15)
And who can ignore this call to a world war...
Announce this among the nations, prepare war, arouse the mighty men; all the men of war shall approach and ascend. (Yoel 4:9)

And the Lord shall roar from Zion, and from Jerusalem He shall give forth His voice, and the heavens and earth shall quake, and the Lord is a shelter to His people and a stronghold for the children of Israel. (Yoel 4:16)

"...even now, says the Lord, return to Me with all your heart,...."

08 August 2017

This Is a Story That You Have to Hear

17 Menachem Av 5777

With gratitude to Devorah Esther for sharing this story, may she go from strength to strength and with blessings poured out!

Adorned With Dignity - Day 50 Special Edition

 "My" Personal Testimony

You can find the whole series HERE.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Solar Eclipse a Disaster-in-the-Making?

16 Menachem Av 5777

Thirteen days to go...
Many States Preparing For Historic Eclipse Like A Natural Disaster
Americans across the U.S. will see the country’s first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years. While millions of people get ready to watch the Aug. 21 eclipse, local authorities are treating the event more like a natural disaster and are preparing for the worst.
The disaster prep work stems from the massive tourist attraction the solar eclipse has become. The eclipse’s path of totality, where the moon will almost completely block the sun, covers a 70-mile-wide lane that will cut across 12 states from Oregon to South Carolina. There are an estimated 12 million people in the eclipse’s path.
According to greatamericaneclipse.com, another 1.8 to 7.4-million people will travel into the path on Aug. 21. Several small towns and less populated states are preparing to see their populations double or even triple in the week leading up to the solar event.
Several counties in Idaho and Oregon have already issued emergency declarations. Local officials are citing increased public safety risks, financial damage, and excess costs of cleanup and property damage for the alerts.
On the East Coast, officials in South Carolina are reportedly stocking up on bottled water and port-a-potty services to prepare for the influx of tourists. The Red Cross is also setting up emergency shelters in the 12 affected states to help with possible emergencies that may overwhelm local governments.
Anyone who has ever seen a mass evacuation in front of a hurricane has some idea of what could happen when all these "eclipse tourists" all get on the road at the same time.  In gridlock, people run out of gas, they run out of drinking water and food (if they even thought to bring any along), and they run out of patience.

07 August 2017

Partial Lunar Eclipse Over Israel

16 Menachem Av 5777

About 7:45 pm, just after Moonrise in Israel...

About 8:50 pm in Israel...

At 9:20 pm at the peak of this partial Lunar Eclipse over Israel...

"For You have made me happy O Lord, with Your work; with the work of Your hands I shall exult. How great are Your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep."
(Tehillim 92.5-6)

Heads Up! Partial Lunar Eclipse Today/Tonight

15 Menachem Av 5777

Prelude to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse: A Partial Lunar Eclipse Occurs Monday

Much of the Eastern Hemisphere will be treated to a partial eclipse of the moon Monday (Aug. 7) — a prelude to the grand spectacle that awaits North Americans exactly two weeks later.

...You can watch the partial lunar eclipse live on Slooh.com beginning at 11:45 a.m. EDT (1545 GMT) [6:45 pm IST]. The webcast will last through 3:20 p.m. EDT (1920 GMT)[10:20 pm IST] and feature special guest commentators and live eclipse views from Slooh's partner observatories in Africa, Asia and Australia. You can also watch the webcast live on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.

03 August 2017

Shabbat Nachamu 5777

12 Menachem Av 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh

"The haftarah of Shabbat Nachamu is the first of the "seven consolations" - the seven haftarot which are read on the seven Shabbats following Tisha b'Av. These haftarot are taken from Yeshayahu and record the prophetic messages of consolation which Yeshayahu offered Israel."  (Our Heritage)

Nachmu Ami - Aaron Razel

~ Shabbat Shalom ~

"A Day At The Parade"

11 Menachem Av 5777

Most unfortunately, I cannot be there this year, but for those who can, the protesters will be meeting near the Begin Center at 5:00 pm. Take a bus as close as you can get. If you try walking through the crowds, you will be stopped at multiple checkpoints along the way.

I just have to say here that in my opinion, the worst crime of this illegal regime (neged the Torah and a non-democracy) is the way it protects all the enemies and criminals of the Jewish people with all the strength it can bring to bear while torturing, harassing, and expelling the righteous of the nation with that same "strength." Hashem should deliver us from this evil!

Consider Rabbi Richter's video testimony from last year as instructive...

Rav Richter's shiur June 22 2016. A Day at the "Pride" Parade in Jerusalem 5776/2016