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Switch to Forum Live View The Heart of Jewish Life - Israel
3 years ago  ::  Jul 17, 2011 - 6:45AM #161
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

I wrote a while back about a week-long camp the local youth group was organiziang for handicapped kids. They not only run the activities and take care of the children (feeding, washing, dressing if necessary), but raised the money (over $10,000) needed to operate it.


This Shabbat I went to a kiddush in honor sponsored by the youth group for the participants and the community. We had a handicapped boy stay with us.


I am really amazed by our kids. They took a tremendous respnsibility (too much, I think), and are working terribly hard. When I saw how much love and kindness they were sharing with those boys and girls, mostly in wheel chairs, some with twisted limbs and garbled speech - and the joy that they were getting out of it, I was jealous of them.


At 16, I don't think I could have done that. I don't know if I could do it today with such ease and happiness.


Israeli kids are more spontaneous, resourceful and free than American kids. They are not always great at planning things in advance, but they rise to the occasion. They are very independent (too independent sometimes) and capable. They have tremendous self-confidence.


Kids who are products of youth movements are even more capable and resourceful. These are not like shul youth groups that are managed by an adult - at the local level the oldest leader is right out of high school, and the programming and activities are run by younger teenagers. The national leaders who organize the biggest projects are adults, themselves graduates of the movement.


 

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2011 - 5:31AM #162
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

Today is the 17th of Tammuz, a fast day that marks the breach of Jerusalem's city walls and the discontinuation of the daily sacrifices in the First Temple. It begins a three week long period of mourning that culminates on the 9th of Av, the anniversary of the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem.


This afternoon, in Jerusalem's Safra Square, there is a program of study sessoins dedicated to Judaism and social justice, sponsored by Ma'agalei Tzedek (Circles of Righteousness), an organizations that acts to promote social justice (fair treatment towards employees, rights for the handicapped, helping people to leave the cycle of poverty, etc.).


What's the connection? The Biblical prophets often criticized the nation for neglecting the poor and vulnerable, and reminded us that holiness and immorality cannot co-exist. The destruction of both Temples was the result of a moral and religious decline in the Jewish people. As long as righteousness does not prevail in our society, ther is no hope of rebuilding our Holy Temple.


Here's a link to the English magazine of Ma'agalei Tzedek: www.edah.org/mtzenglish.pdf

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 22, 2011 - 2:57AM #163
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

I'm always excited when an archeological find sheds light on our glorious past:


link: www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.asp...



Archaeologists Discover High Priest's Bell?


Archaeologists have discovered a rare gold bell during an excavation in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem.

by Elad Benari
Published: 21/07/11, 11:21 PM



 




Rare ancient bell

Israel Antiquities Authority



Archaeologists have discovered a rare gold bell with a small loop at its end. The finding was made during an archaeological excavation in the City of David National Park (near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem) by the Israel Antiquities Authority in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Ir David Foundation.


The directors of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, said after the finding, “The bell looked as if it was sewn on the garment worn by a man of high authority in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period.


“The bell was exposed in the city’s main drainage channel of that period, between the layers of dirt that had been piled on the floor of the channel,” they continued. “This drainage channel was built and hewn west to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and drained the rainfall in the different parts of the city, through the City of David and the Shiloah Pool to the Kidron valley.”


The excavation area, above the drain, is located in the main street of Jerusalem which rose from the Shiloah Pool in the City of David. In this street an interchange was built through which people entered the Temple Mount. The remains of this interchange are what is known today as Robinson’s Arch. Archaeologists believe that the eminent man walked the streets of Jerusalem in the area of Robinson’s Arch and lost the golden bell which fell off his outfit into the drain beneath the street.


Jewish sources say that the high priests who served in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem used to hang golden bells on the edges of their coats. The book of Exodus (Shemot), for example, contains a description of the coat of Aaron the high priest in which it is said that coat contains, “bells of gold.”


While it is unknown if the bell belonged to one of the high priests, archaeologists have not ruled out the possibility.



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3 years ago  ::  Jul 25, 2011 - 8:06PM #164
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,900

Jul 22, 2011 -- 2:57AM, NahumS wrote:


I'm always excited when an archeological find sheds light on our glorious past:




BS"D


I don't know if I'd call our past "glorious" as it has things to be proud of and things to be ashamed of in equal measure IMHO.  But I am with you in your excitement.  If that bell somehow does turn out to be from a priestly garment I will be happy to know it as well.

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 26, 2011 - 9:38AM #165
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

Buns -


There is so much we can learn from our past, good and bad! It really would be a thrill if we could prove that this cam from the Beit HaMikdash.

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 27, 2011 - 3:08AM #166
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

Regarding the camp that local kids organized for handicapped children - here's a link to youtube to the clip that they made. There are scenes from Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo and the Kotel.


www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxiZTlV3URE&feat...

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 04, 2011 - 4:02AM #167
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

Jul 13, 2010 -- 5:00AM, NahumS wrote:


I just came back from two days of study at the Herzog College, affiliated with Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut. The subject was the Bible, and the lecturers were very good to excellent. I heard lectures on the order of the Biblical narrative (why subjects are introduced in a way that is not chronological), the treatment of non-Jews in the Land of Israel, the book of Iyov (Job) or why we don't need all the answers to maintain faith, the contenders for David's throne, holding G-d to humane standards (when divine and human ethics conflict), the 13 qualities of Divine mercy, and much more. I plan to return tomorrow, but today I'm needed at work.


It's accepted in Israel that workers can take off a number of days a year for continuing education and get paid for the days missed from work and sometimes get reimbursed for part of the course.


This program attracts thousands of people - a good half of them apparently retired people, but lots of teachers and students as well, all from the Religious Zionist sector of Israeli society. The Alon Shvut Yeshiva campus is beautiful - it's south of Jerusalem, half-way to Hebron. The weather is even cooler there since it's in the hills. This is an area that fell to Arab forces in 1948 and Jewish settlement was uprooted there - to be rebuilt by retournees in 1967. "Alon Shvut" means Oak of Return - the large tree was visable from the Isreali border/cease-fire lines, and the expelled families vowed to return. In 1967 that became possible, and a bloc of settlements was established, including K'far Etzion (a kibbutz), Alon Shvut, Efrat, Neve Daniel, Elazar, Bat Ayin, Migdal Oz and others. It's about 25 minutes from the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, and around an hour from my home in the Judean Desert. It's quiet there now, with few terror attacks and little tension with the local Arabs. A really lovely spot and a wonderful program that reminds me of another good reason to live here.


 





I'm quoting last year's post since I just returned from the same program at the Herzog College on Bible.


My wife and I could only take one day off, so we went yesterday to attend five lectures. I chose one on whether the creation story is a cornerstone of Jewish faith, one on Haman's decrees, bringing up the Ark of the Covenant and the death of Uzza, the Tabernacle and Temple, profaning G-d's name in Ezekiel.


The lectures were all very good to outstanding. Some attracted hundreds of participants- and there were many different lectures to choose from, all on Tanach. One of the lectures I attended was given by a professor who taught me at Yeshiva U. some 35 years ago!


The area is beautiful - rolling hills, vineyards, neat communities nestled in the greenery.


My married daughter will be moving to one of these nearby communities next week, right after
Tish'a B'Av.

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 11, 2011 - 10:18AM #168
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

Tish'a B'Av is over - and the mountains of laundry have shrunken.


The custom is to refrain from doing laundry and wearing newly laundered clothes until the tenth of Av at midday. At 12:45 my wife asked my son "What time is it?" His answer: "Laundry time ". And it was.


We kept busy on Tish'a B'Av. At night we went to hear Eicha - the book of Lamentations read. In the morning I went to shul for morning services, and afterwards remained for the traditional reading of kinnot - liturgical poems on the destruction and subsequent tragedies in Jewish history. Personally, I enjoy the poetry. A few explanations were interspersed, and that made it more interesting. Last year I bought a commentary  on the Kinnot by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik (Koren publishers) that enriched my whole understanding of Tish'a B'av. Afterwards there were a few lectures, and later, a holocaust movie. I had my own reading matter (archeology of Jerusalem and holocaust memoirs) that filled up the time as well.


I attended a talk that dealt with an interesting  question. We know that idol worship is by far a more serious crime than causeless hatred - yet the First Temple (that was destroyed because of idol worship, murder and sexual immorality ) was rebuilt after 70 years, while the second temple, destroyed because of causeless hatred, remains destroyed to this day.


Here are a few of the answers from the sources. The First Temple was a resting place for the Divine presence. Idol worship rendered that meaningless. The second Temple was not graced with the manifestations of the Divine presence - but it was the very center of national life in Judea. Without a cohesive, functioning society, it became an empty shell and could not survive.


Another answer: Idol worship is an individual sin, as were murder and sexual immorality. The individual is punished for individual sins - but the destruction of the Temple was a collective punishment, for a collective sin.


Another analysis of the period describes the Second Temple period as one of intense religiousity - but everyone suspected that the other was a secret heretic, schismatic, etc. G-d has no need for such "tzadikim" and their Temple.


Another expalnation related to the effects of senseless hatred and, while other sins may be more serious, the results of causeless hatred are more bitter than any other sin, since it undermines society's basic fabric.


The general message was that mutual responsibility, committment to others even if we have severe disagreements with them - are essential if we want to maintain a Jewish society.


This is against the background of widespread protests in Israel for social justice and mutual responsibility.


Yesterday, I led a tour of the Temple Mount "on the seam between mourning and consolation." We focussed on themes that touched on both topics, relating to the Temple, linking Tish'a B'Av and Shabbat Nahamu, the Sabbath of Consolation that follows it.

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 11, 2011 - 10:37AM #169
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

I just found these wonderful historic pictures of Eretz Yisrael - take a look!


www.israeldailypicture.com/

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 15, 2011 - 2:45AM #170
NahumS
Posts: 1,698

Today is the 15th of Av - a  minor holiday. Even in diaspora communities it is marked with refraining from reciting Tahanun (a prayer of supplication), ommitted on Purim, Hannukah, Lag B'omer, Rosh Hodesh and on other holidays.


The Talmud mentions several reasons for the celebration, which was marked in Temple times by the young maidens dressed in white, going out to the vineyards to dance. Young men would come to watch, and choose a wife.


Beautiful girls would say: Choose a wife for her beauty, for a wife is only for beauty.


Girls from fine families would say: Choose a wife for family, for that is the purpose of a wife.


What would the plain ones say? Choose a wife for the sake of heaven .... but cover her with gold jewelry.


The Talmud goes on to say that all Jewish girls are lovely, only poverty makes them ugly.


Here is some more info: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_B\'Av


Evidently, in First Temple times , this was a very significant holiday. Some connect it with the tabernacle in Shilo that preceded the First Temple.


 


 

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