Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Kiev 5/31/06

I have just returned from our talmud shiur's trip to Israel, Kiev and Prague.Our group 23 in all,toured the negev quite extensively.Our two previous trips were dedicated to the North,and the areas of Yehuda and Shomrom.
Last year we presented a sefer torah to the Israeli navy at Ashdod.This year we were pleased to present a portable x-ray machine to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.
Among the speakers who visited with our group were Wendy Singer, head of the AIPAC office in Israel, and the noted author Yossi Klein Halevy.
From Israel (after eight days) we flew to Kiev.I have been to Ukraine a number of times.With the election of Yushenko as President ,the people have a greater feeling of freedom.Jewish life is making a valiant effort to revive itself.There are 600 Jewish cultural and religious organizations in the country.
In addition , the country boasts of three Chief Rabbis.Two of them are Chabad and although on the surface all is peaceful between the groups, it is not difficult to discern a tension and competition in the air.
Aliyah has slowed and as in outher countries of the FSU ,the majority of those making aliyah are not halachic Jews.Although the Jewish schools including Chabad would like to attract only halachic Jews as students,it is only the OU in Kharkov that sticks to that position 100%

Friday, May 12, 2006

American financial aid for disengagement? 11/12/06

Here is my problem.
I do not believe that at the present time there is any strategic ,military or political reason to have Israeli forces withdraw (converge ?, disengage ? ) from their present homes and settlements.70,000 Israelis would be affected.
Hamas seeks Israels destruction and given the opportunity would stop at nothing to accomplish that goal..
Rockets are fired,explosives smuggled,and suicide bombers are being caught every day.The world is not prepared to recognize any withdrawal done unilaterally as a final border status.Even the Israeli government has weakened on setting up a fund to pay PA workers,even though it would lessen the pressure on Hamas.
Enter PM Olmert, who now comes to Washington.It is not clear what he desires beyond political support.It is rumorerd he will ask for 12 billion dollars in Congressional apprropriations to pay for the disengagement.
We would be crazy to approve such an amount ,considering our budget defIcit and the fact that Israel promised to end economic aid requests this coming year .
The question is: Should members of the the pro-Israel political community in the US stay silent vs oppose or support any such fund request, if they do not believe in the Olmert plan?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Boynton Beach-a new ashkenazic congregation 5/9/06

My wife and I had the pleasure to spend shabbat with the new Ashkenazic minyan in Boynton Beach Florida this week.They are celebrating their 6 month anniversary and are eagerly working toward establishing a permanent home in the area. In the season, they had as many as 60 plus people at their minyan, and of course a lesser amount presently.They had a huge Purim Seudah,and are now planning a full learning program for Shevuoth.
It is exciting to see see their enthusiasm,especially of the younger members with children.In view of the fact that Boynton Beach is the fastest growing Jewish community in South Florida,I really believe that once the new congregation,named Anshei Chesed finds a home , its membership will rapidly grow. Many individuals of ashkenazic tradition feel comfortable in an environment that stresses not only our traditions, but real scholarship and learning. It appears to me after speaking at length to its President Adam Rosen, that this is their goal.Already they have had scholars-in- residence , and Yeshiva Students coming for weekends. I was happy to deliver the sermon both this shabbat and in Dec, 2005.
With the area so beautiful and full of new homes, it will not take long for the property values to match Boca Raton.
Already the first glatt restaurant has opened in Boynton , and all kosher facilities are readily available in Delray Beach, Boca and W Palm Beach all a few minutes drive from Boyton.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Todays Demonstrations MAY DAY !

How interesting that on the holiday of socialism/communism millions of illegals are threatening to demonstate.Those who have not learned our language, convert our national anthem to another language,fill up our hospitals and public schools and march with the Mexican flag to demand citizenship present a frightening picture as they march by the half-millions.
We are the children of immigrants,and I have always admired the Vietnamese and other oriental immigrants who without money or language came legally to our shores and succeeded within 20 years of fully living the American dream.
Our grandparents came here legally and with difficulty learned the language and culture.They became Americans and tried to follow the laws of the land.That millions can enter our borders without any papers is a great security risk to us.More than a few korans have been found discarded at our southern border.
It is true that most just want to make a living but we are a nation of laws, and firstly we must build a fence and stop the flow.Then and only then, can we tackle the problem of deporting the majority, while allowing a sensible program for those who have been here for a DOCUMENTED significant period of time (say 6-10 years) .
May Day represents a culture that is foreign to our capitalistic democracy.These demonstrations likewise are a foreign concept.They seek the goal of subverting our laws=making the illegal,legal . In no other situation, do I recall lawbreakers marching en masse and in effect threatening our institutions if they arenot granted amnesty and reward.The marches are a wake-up call.