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Monday, January 30, 2006

" I suppose there'll be a war now, hmm? All that running around and shooting at one another.."

Full quote: "I suppose there'll be a war now, hmm? All that running around and shooting at one another. You would have thought sooner or later it'd go out of fashion."

First of all, I'd like to thank Elliot and JoeSettler for their guest posts over the last two days.

I saw this article this evening and just had to comment.

What do most political adversaries do when they get frustrated about losing an election? they go get drunk, eat a tub of ice cream, sulk in bed for a week, etc.

But not in Gaza, they go on....

Drive-by Shooting Sprees!!!!!!!

I love living in the civilized part of the world.


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Guest Blog from JoeSettler

As JerusalemCop’s latest guest blogger, I decided to write a meaningless blog that points out some observations that are somehow connected to JerusalemCop.

There is no doubt that one of the most unusual things I’ve noticed about Israel is not just the number of cops, but how many people actually view police service as a conventional or even desirable profession.

In America, I personally knew exactly one Jewish cop (and one Jewish FBI agent), though there are actually plenty of Jewish cops (such as the members of the Shomrim Society).

Here in Israel, wherever you turn, a not insignificant number of your neighbors either are or used to be cops (and I’m not talking about volunteer cops – even I did that for a little while), yet, I didn’t know a single cop that used to live in my neighborhood in the U.S. (though I somehow knew of plenty of people connected to the other side of the street).

True, in Israel, many people become policemen by default after having finished the army. They have no clue what to do with their lives and the police accept them cheerfully.

But others simply consider it a respectable job, which offers a decent pension, low retirement age, and other perks.

Yet how many Jewish mothers in America would kvell that their son is a cop. Here in Israel, people love to have cops as neighbors or in the family – I was told it’s a protektzia thing.

When JerusalemCop decided to give a shot at being an officer, I remember his American family was up in arms, and when he quit, they were quite relieved. Yet all his Israeli friends and family thought it was such a great idea.

I’ve given it some thought as to why.

I suspect that being a cop is one of the few government jobs that garners any respect even at the lowest entry level. Many Israelis simply see it simply as an extension of army service. The completely blurred line between serving in Mishmar Hagvul as your army service within the administration of the Police helps to even further that lack of distinction.

Israelis like it when the government takes care of them. For Israelis, their leaders are (replacement) father figures and Israelis like their father figures strong (Rabin, Sharon, Lenin).

So what could be more fulfilling to that image of a strong governmental father figure (but a position still attainable by the masses), than a Jewish cop?

Perhaps a JerusalemCop?

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– braham Lincoln

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Guest post from Elliott Cahan

Fellow Readers of JCOP:

My name is Elliott Cahan and I regularly write a blog about my family life in Modiin, Israel which you can find here. It is my honor to do a guest blog here for JCOP, but I have earned it by guessing what movie one of the quotes he posted came from (which by the way was Fiddler on the Roof).

Ironically, since I have my own blog, one might think that writing for someone else would be more of a burden then a reward. Oh, but how contra-ire, my friends. Writing in this forum allows me to venture into an area or subject that I really never deal with on my blog. Since, JCOP seems to be such a big movie fan, I thought I would give some thoughts to movies, and some of the movies I have seen lately and what I look for in a movie.

Recently, me and my better half have been watching more movies than usual. Most of them have been pretty good, but at least one we have found to be quite disturbing. In general, we both enjoy comedies and of course she loves them so call "chick flicks". I find that I'm really not into horror movies, sci-fi, and some dramas. Why do I tend to prefer comedies? It's pretty simple. When I watch a movie, I want to be taken away from the day to day, predictability of life, I want to see the absurd, I want to laugh and the more the better. I'm a fan of classics such as Airplane, Animal House, Blues Brothers, and Caddy Shack. I'll take Eddie Murphy, Rodney Dangerfield, Steve Martin, and others any day. We all need to laugh because we take life so seriously.

Maybe, that's why I tend to stay away from movies like "Saving Private Ryan" a movie that we saw recently (we're very behind by the way on the movies we've seen). While I haven't seen Spielberg's latest movie "Munich" I have the same problem with Private Ryan that some are having about Munich. In Ryan, the viewer is catapulted into a boat about to land at Normandy on D-Day. There is no historical context at all to the movie. There is a great deal of blood and gore. In fact, even though I have worked in the health care field, I was shocked by the gruesome details that I saw in the movie. Clearly, Spielberg is anti-war as deals with the conflict of 8 soldiers out on a mission to save one. I am upset with Spielberg's intellectual dishonesty of not giving his viewer the very important context of World War II and the true nature of good versus evil that existed in that conflict. When America joined the war after Pearl Harbor, the country was united against Germany and their Allies to a degree that we have rarely if ever witnessed since.

In any case, we were very shaken by the movie and had a hard time falling a sleep after wards. While we can argue and debate Spielberg's philosophy about the movie that is secondary to me than the other point I have made above. Since, we have moved to Israel, I think we have both realized or at least in the background is our awareness of the fragile peace, security, and to some extent tranquility that we have been blessed with since we have moved. However, life in Israel is much more intense and in your face than in the U.S. because of the security and political situation. Therefore, movies allow us to escape that reality and for a couple of hours be taken some where else to a different world that allows us to have fun or dream. I don't need Spielberg to lecture me for almost 3 hours about his view of war and such.

So, my friends, I think we will continue to watch movies like Serendipity, Dave, and Salah Shabbati. If you have any other recommendations I would welcome them.

Elliott Cahan

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"Rabbi, we've been waiting for the Messiah all our lives. Wouldn't now be a good time for him to come?"

Reading Jeru Guru's post today Tomorrow Never Knows got me thinking about the future too, but in a slightly different way.

Judaism and many other religions believe that there will eventually be a savior who comes to bring peace and justice in the world. Since I myself am a Jew, I will only speak about what Judaism believes, not other religions (I hope all non-Jews can forgive me for that.)

WE believe that at a certain time in the future, Massiach Ben David will arrive here and help bring the whole world into believing that Hashem is truly One. We don't know when that time will be, maybe in 100 years, 10 years, 1 year, 7 months, April or even Tomorrow, but we believe that it will happen someday.

The question I then ask you is what will change in our lives after that happens? Once Massiach is here, will we no longer work? Will we be bringing Korbanot (sacrifices) again in the Beit Hamikdash? Will the exploration of space be halted? Will we no longer have a need for many material things like cars, Jewelry, or money even?

If you believe that none of these things will change, then what difference will it make to our world when Massiach comes?

Will we stop watching sporting events? Will we just all sit and constantly learn Torah all day?

My beliefs fall somewhere between these two extremes.

Once Massiach comes, the world HAS to become different otherwise there would be no meaning to his coming.

On the other hand, with all the technological advances in the last 200 plus years, how can we just stop using technology?

What are some of your opinions?


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"This was to be a "private" meeting... I mean, who are these men?"

Well, I'm back..

From where you ask?

No where in particular, I've just been swamped with work and family business that I haven't had time to write since last Thursday.

Today I met Litvshe and Jameel for lunch. I have known both of them for over 10 years and since I hadn't seen Litvshe in about 7 years and Jameel in almost 2 years, I decided to meet up with them after a work-related meeting near their places of work. JoeSettler almost joined us, but he had a meeting of his own at that time.

Lunch was nice, we talked about lots of different things; blogging (of course); families; reminiscing about the early days of hi-tech; told different stories about flying (some good, some pretty horrible); tv shows; movies; you get the point. Litvshe even reconnected me with a friend with whom I worked 9 years ago that I didn't know was back living in Israel.

Jameel had to leave halfway thru because he needed to get home in time to pack for his flight to England this afternoon.

I didn't get a chance to tell them about a close call I once had on a flight back in May '94.

I was still in the Israeli army and was on my way to the states that night for my brother A.'s wedding. Earlier in the evening, I met a friend of mine who was also in the army with me and he returned to me a full magazine clip for a galil that I had leant him a few months earlier. I put it in my knapsack and forgot about it.

Mid-flight, I reached into my knapsack to take out a tape (before I switched to cd's for music) and lo and behold, I pulled out an ammo clip (YIKES!!!)

I didn't know what to do? Eventhough I was in the army, I knew I couldn't just tell the stewardess. I contemplated putting in the pouch of the chair next to me and possibly frame the person sitting next to me.

As thoughts raced thru my head of detainment and many hours of questions, I decided to take the risk and not do anything. I recalled that once in NY, security at Kennedy doesn't rescan your carry-on, so I figured I was safe.

After collecting the rest of my luggage at the conveyor belt, I walked slowly towards the exit, hoping that no one would catch me, because in America, the fact that I was an Israeli soldier didn't mean Jack.

Miraculously, I passed by the security without an incident and was on my way. I stayed at a friends house that evening who was more than willing to take the ammo off my hands

I didn't think much about the situation until I read about the following incident in 2002.

Israeli Lapse
In late January, an Israeli passenger unwittingly carried a gun in his hand luggage on a flight from Tel Aviv to New York, and Israeli airport officials still are trying to determine how their extensive security checks failed to find the gun.

The passenger boarded the El Al flight at Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv, the Israel Airports Authority said in a statement. Only after he landed at JFK airport in New York and arrived at his hotel did he realize that he had unintentionally brought his gun in his carry-on.

Fearing he might be arrested in New York for having a handgun, he turned it in at the Israeli Consulate, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported. He has since returned to Israel without his gun, the newspaper said.

Security at Ben Gurion airport is very strict. Travelers are told to arrive three hours early, and are subjected to detailed interviews and multiple luggage checks.

If El Al missed a handgun, one wonder what else US security misses.

Here's the link to the whole article.

I recall that many people from El Al security were reprimanded for that incident.

Wonder what would have happened had I actually reported my incident back in '94.

Still don't know which is worse and more absent-minded; bringing a gun on board a plane or just and ammo clip.

All in all, it was worth the lunch. Hopefully we wont wait as long til our next one.

Thanks to Litvshe and Jameel.

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Keep an eye on the new guy, he looks good."

Found a new blogger. Seems to be interesting material. Check out Rookie's blog.

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

"I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry for deliverance."

I received this by email today. I do not know the original authors name, so I could not get specific permission to print it, but since it was sent out on a community email list, I feel that I can post.

I Cry by Unknown

I cry, Arik Sharon.
I cry for ten thousand Jews whom you brutally forced from their homes.
I cry for the ten thousand Jews who live in hotel rooms, in poverty, and degradation.
I cry for the innocence of the young idealistic Jewish soldiers whom you
forced to participate in brutal crimes.
I cry for the glee of the world as they watched a Jewish prime minister
order his solders to beat Jews and bulldoze their homes.
I cry for the glee of the world as they wondered why Jews are upset when
they order areas to become Judenrein by force.
I cry for the kavod of the Jewish people and the God of Israel which you
I cry for the tens of innocent teens whom you imprisoned with hardened
criminals because they utilized their democratic right to protest your
I cry for the honorable soldiers and police who lost their livelihoods and
financial security because they refused to harm their brothers.
I cry for you, Arik Sharon.
I cry for a beloved hero of Israel who sank into corruption.
I cry for your good name which you besmirched.
I cry for your neshama, which you lost.

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"There are stories of coincidence and chance, and intersections and strange things told, and which is which and who only knows?"

A friend sent me this piece written by a woman in Beit Shemesh. She is so right....

(Printed with permission of the author)

No Coincidences Part II


Some of you may! think I've totally gone off the deep end, but if I can't say these things to you, I can't say them to anyone.

I have this image in my mind that while Sharon is lying in a coma down here, up in shomayim he is standing before a huge judge's desk - Hashem's - and a dramatic court case is being played out. It is taking a very long time to get through (perhaps as long as it takes GK refugees to be given proper recompense for their suffering). Rav Kaduri, shlit"a, is now, somehow, up there testifying as well. While all this is unfolding, the holy city of Chevron is being ripped away from Jews by fellow - and I am beginning to think that this is a very loose use of the term - Jews. Insanely, now some senior Fatah muckety muck has collapsed and is in some hospital in serious condition. What is going on?!?!

I just wish I knew what is right. All these Israeli politic! ians are having the time of their lives talking about ! throwing out ALL Jews from Chevron. Halutz is saying things like, "in other countries this would be labeled ‘anarchy'" How come it's not ancarchy when our enemies in Israel do these very same things, only using much more violence? How come it's not anarchy when enemies on Jewish land fire rockets and blow themselves up in places crowded with Jews? Jews won't let themselves be thrown out of our homes and WE'RE anarchists?

There is a principle (it might be Kabbalistic, but I'm not sure and I'm no expert) that once an act has been committed, it is easier for it to be committed the next time round. Once one kid shot up his school mates in Columbine, it became easier for other kids to do it and it occured repeatedly. Now that Sharon has opened the dam of Jews against Jews, every blasted politician is coming out and jumping on the bandwagon and repeating his actions, only loud! er and more viciously. Sharon gave the Jews of! GK a year and at least a promise (if not an actual delivery) of compensations. Now all the Sharon wanabees are throwing Jews out with almost no warning, no promise (false as they are) of compensation) and if you resist, they threaten (and actually begin) to make even larger areas of the Jewish land Judenrein. The Palestinians have called Jews Nazis, but regardless of what the world thinks, we have always known that this a calculated lie. I, the child of two survivors, could never imagine myself thinking that way of my fellow Jews. I never could, but now I can.

If Chevron - whose legal purchase is documented clearly in the Torah, and then again in modern times, the place where all our forefathers are buried - is negotiable, then anything is. It is not enough that the Meorat Hamachpeila, , which is on Jewish land, is open in its entirety to Jews ONLY TEN DAYS A YEAR while our ! enemies have access the entire rest of the year. &! nbsp;It is not enough that even though our holiest site, the Temple Mount, stands on Jewish land, yet Jews are not allowed to pray there while our enemies are. It is not enough that we have to have physical barriers and bullet proof busses to visit Rachel Imeinu. It is not enough that Yosef's tomb has been torn down by our enemies and rebuilt as a mosque! All this is not enough for the self destructive decision makers who control the army. Worse than not giving any value to Jewish spirituality and our spiritual holy places, they continue to make a mockery of them. They are targeting them in the attempt to wipe out anything spiritual that is ours, including people. They will not be sated until there is nothing left but Tel Aviv. Ironically, while our enemies within are trying to sanitize our religion of anything spiritual and holy, our enemies without know the value of Jewish spirituality. It is ! not by coincidence that all our holiest sites are! hot spots. Our enemies want control of our spiritual sites so they can keep us out. Our enemies understand the value of Jews praying in such spiritual places better than we, as a whole, understand its value.

If "Jews" can evict Jews and justify it by labeling their victims "extremists," then our enemies within can do anything they want. All they have to do is start referring to Jews in any given area as "extremists" and they automatically have carte blanche to throw them out.

Here are some very factual and obvious questions: As we proceed down this Roadmap that Olmert has given his full support to, has anyone defined where the limits are? Are we just playing this by ear and giving away pieces of our land until... what? Is there something that is supposed to happen that makes it the logical stopping point for giving away pieces of Israel? ! If chas v'shalom, let's say Ashkelon or Ashdod st! art getting hit so hard by terrorism that there is no way to maintain it safely unless there is a very high soldier to civilian ratio presence, do we then chop that city off? Is this the magic formula? When we get to boundaries where our enemies stop bothering us, then we stop retreating? You don't have to be brilliant to figure out where that mode of thinking leads. Are we waiting for a head's up from some other country to let us know that we've sacrificed enough of our land and we can now keep the rest? Who decides how much of our land goes away? Based on what rules? Do we have the right of refusal for certain strategic areas? Are we - gasp! - allowed to draw the line on certain holy places? Or do our enemies without get to decide what we must give them? Can any sane person believe that our enemies would voluntarily let us keep our holy sites and strategic sp! ots that would make the truncated land of Is! rael defensible? What's the plan!?!?! We are entitled to have a clear, definitive picture of what the plan is!! If they plan on drilling a hole in our boat, we have the right, as fellow passengers, to have a say in the matter.

We need Hashem's compassion. And we need it now.

Take care,
Tzirel Shaffren(who is really, really drained. Sorry for rambling)

She really summed up what many of us think about.

Thanks Tzirel.


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

"You're late, do you have no concept of time?"

Check out Shifra's Guest blog at the Muqata. It's an amazing post about the 18 minites on Erev Shabbat.

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Ah, there's always a catch"

This is a companion piece to my post at The Muqata.

Elchonon mentioned how easy it was for him to change his status. This reminded me of a story that happened to me about ten years ago.

I had always heard of the saying “Catch-22”, but I had never actually been in a situation which involved a “Catch-22”. The phrase “Catch-22”, has been brought into the English language from a novel by Joseph Heller called “Catch-22”. In the book, the main character is a pilot in the American Air Force. According to the Air Force rule book, in order for a pilot to be discharged from the service and never have to fly again, he would have to be insane. If a pilot were to claim that he was insane, then he couldn’t be discharged because what crazy person would claim that he was crazy. Therefore, he couldn’t be discharged because he couldn’t be crazy if he claimed that he was.

Ten year ago, I discovered my own personal “Catch-22”. In the four years proceeding I had been in Israel on three types of visas. The first was a regular tourist visa which in Israel is known as “B-2”. The second was a working tourist visa known as “B-1”. And the third was an “A-2”, which is a student visa. I was issued the “A-2” visa when I volunteered to join the Israeli Army. At the same time, I was given a fake Israeli identification number to be used only for army purposes.

After I finished my year and a half army service, I found out that a newly released soldier gets free health insurance for one year. Obviously, I went to go sign up. I also knew that in order to get a “B-1” visa, I would have to prove that I was covered by health insurance. At the first health insurance agency that I went to, Meuchedet, they informed me that even though I was a newly released soldier, I still wasn’t a citizen, so I couldn’t have free insurance. They told me that the price for a tourist was 400NIS a month and six month’s must be paid in advance. I obviously wasn’t planning on spending that kind of money, so I left and decided to go to a private insurance agency that wasn’t part of the government.

On my way to the private insurance company, I decided to try a different Israeli health agency, Maccabi thinking that perhaps they wouldn’t care if I wasn’t a citizen as long as I was a newly released soldier. After explaining my situation to them, they informed me that they would check with their main branch. After waiting close to an hour, they told me that the response from their main branch was that I could get the free insurance, but I had to visit Bituach Leumi (the Israeli equivalent of an American Social Security agency) to get a fake Israeli identity number because the number I received from the army was only to be used for army purposes.

The following day I went to Bituach Leumi and was informed that since I was, at the time, in the country on a “B-2” visa, I couldn’t get the fake identity number. The only way for a tourist to get a fake identity number would be if he was in the country on an “A-2” visa. I told them that I had an “A-2” visa since that was what was stamped in my passport. They said that I could use the unexpired “A-2”, but while on an “A-2” one is forbidden to work. So now I was caught in the net of a “Catch-22”. In order to work I needed to be covered by health insurance, but in order to get a fake identity number I needed to be on an “A-2” visa with which it is forbidden to work.

In the end, the story did have a happy ending. I decided not to pursue the health insurance, but after three weeks I received a health insurance card in the mail that stated that I was now covered by Maccabi.

I, of course, am very grateful that in this country there are many times where the right and the left hands don’t really know what the other is doing and it is sometimes, possible to slip through the cracks of bureaucracy.


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

"How dare you! When I came home, there was a man in my house."

Here is an amazing video about Gush Katif and Aza in general.

Very moving and emotional.

Check it out.


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"Police! Move and I'll kill you!"

Nothing like living in the Wild west...

It's a good thing that Israeli policemen don't act the same as the Palestinian ones.

In this article in the Jpost, we are given shocking examples of how Palestinian police "uphold" the law both on and off duty.


"On Thursday night, gunmen opened fire at the home of Youssef in Ramallah.

Policeman stationed outside the house responded by shooting indiscriminately, seriously injuring two passersby. "


Dozens of gunmen, including off-duty policemen, blocked two major roads in the Gaza Strip on Saturday

Good thing the PA is a democracy...
The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

"You want to do my job? Be my guest."

Check out my guest posting today at The Muqata.

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, January 12, 2006

"Well how come we're the only one marching every Friday night 12 miles full pack in the pitch dark."

Only in Israel....

I just saw this article on the Jpost which apparently was in Friday's paper.

First of all, i'm amazed that there is actually a city/town in Israel that doesn't have it's own mikve. You would think that living in a Jewish country, each community would try and make sure that there are the basic religious institutions, like a shul for instance and a mikve.

Here is a quote from mikvah.org

"Before exploring the deeper dimensions of this ritual, we must briefly examine the centrality of mikvah to Jewish life. Most Jews, even those who deem themselves secular, are familiar, at least conceptually, with religious observances such as the Sabbath, the dietary laws, Yom Kippur and a number of other Torah laws. Mikvah and Family Purity, on the other hand, are shrouded in obscurity pages torn out of the book, as it were. The observance of Family Purity is a biblical injunction of the highest order. The infraction of this law is equated with major transgressions such as eating chametz (leavened foods) on Passover, intentional violation of the fast on the holy day of Yom Kippur, and not entering into the covenant through ritual circumcision, brit milah.

Most Jews see the synagogue as the central institution in Jewish life. But Jewish Law states that constructing a mikvah takes precedence even over building a house of worship. Both a synagogue and a Torah Scroll, Judaism's most venerated treasure, may be sold to raise funds for the building of a mikvah. In fact, in the eyes of Jewish law, a group of Jewish families living together do not attain the status of a community if they do not have a communal mikvah.

This is so for a simple reason: private and even communal prayer can be held in virtually any location, and venues for the social functions of the synagogue can be found elsewhere. But Jewish married life, and therefore the birth of future generations in accordance with Halachah, is possible only where there is accessibility to a mikvah. It is no exaggeration to state that the mikvah is the touchstone of Jewish life and the portal to a Jewish future."

How is it possible that a community that has been around for almost 40 years, located in the heart of Israel, and a mere 15 minutes by car from Jerusalem, could be so adament against the idea of having a mikve in their area?

Why are all the self-hating Jews so vocal about completely keeping religion not just away from themselves but also for everyone else?

As stated in the Jpost article, going to the mikve is a private matter and many traditional Jewish women go, but wouldn't want anyone to know.

When Jews lived in smaller communities, it was a much shorter walk to the mikve and now-a-days with the ability to drive to the mikve on any weeknight, makes it easier. that could theoretically be the answer to this dilemma in Tzur Hadassah. Unfortunately, they don't take into consideration Friday night and any other Festival Eve where one cannot drive.

The example of Tzur Hadassah is at one extreme and is unique in that it has no mikve at all, but I know from friends that live in Modiin, where there are only 2 mikvaot in the whole city and both are a considerable walk from either of the two new communities being built (Buchman and Kaiser).

I think the Rabbanite needs to actually take these matters into their own hands and try and find solutions to this integral part of our Religious communities.

At least then we would have someone looking after our halachic needs...


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"I'll have that thirty-two Bob"

Well, today I turn 32.

It's hard to believe that I have now reached the point in life where I have been legaly able to drive for half of my life, tomorrow it will be for more than half.

This is my first birthday as a father. As well as my first birthday as a homeowner.

This is my Second birthday as a husband.

I have now celebrated two birthdays since I left the Police and three since I got engaged.

I have now celebrated 14 birthdays since coming to Israel.

As a child, I recall thinking about getting older, 32 seemed so far away. The truth is that I still remember as a kid trying to figure out how old I'll be at the Millenium, "26, wow, I'll be old". The millenium seemed so far away in the 80's, especially from a child's perspective.

It's actually funny that I'm writing this on my blog because I'm not a big birthday person. I generally dont tell people when it happens. If you know, you know, and if not, it doesnt bother me. No one in my office has a clue and only family and a few close friends call me up to wish me a happy birthday from all over the globe.

Last year, I even got a call from a friend who was in Australia.

I don't feel any different today than any other day. Don't feel older.

The question is should I feel any different?

What do u all think about celebrating your own birthday? do you feel yourself getting older? do you think that it's just a natural part of life?

Thanks for reading...


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Monday, January 09, 2006

"Whether or not what we experienced was an According to Hoyle miracle is insignificant. What is significant is that I felt the touch of God"

Jameel's post today about miracles got me thinking about the topic of miracles.

What exactly are miracles?

We so often hear the term and have absolutely no idea what it really means. If you look it up in the dictionary (Oxford), it states: “an extraordinary event attributed to some supernatural agency.” So in other words, a miracle is something that happens that couldn’t have occurred unless their was some sort of intervention (supernatural).

When people think of the concept of miracles, they think of “grand” events that have happened throughout history. Everyone in the world have different religions and beliefs that they follow. Therefore, depending on your religion/beliefs, prime examples of miracles could be the parting of the Red Sea, Jesus turning stones to bread, and Daniel being saved in the lions den. These miracles happened thousands of years ago, so how could they be related to our day to day lives? Especially in the agnostic world we live in. The fact is that if you look carefully at the world around us, you can see miracles happening every single day.

Simply by opening the paper you can see numerous examples day to day. Who hasn’t heard the stories of people who worked in the twin towers who “uncharacteristically” were late going to work on that fateful September 11th morning (due to a bris, slichot, or the West hempstead train not showing up) or the story of hand grenades being thrown during a terror attack (terror attack on Yoel Solomon street in Jerusalem on October 9, 1994) that never exploded (and yes, the pins had been pulled). Some people will excuse these stories as “luck” or perhaps coincidence or even stupidity on the part of the terrorists. I reject that. I don’t believe that there really is something called coincidence. Everything in the world happens for a reason; whether it be for good or bad.

My personal explanation of the term miracle is something that occurs that shouldn’t have naturally occurred. In October 1993, when I was in the IDF, I was witness to a miracle and I will never forget the events of that day. It was about 6 or 7 weeks into basic training and we were spending the week out in the field in the middle of the desert. On the third day, we were doing an exercise which involved digging trenches. Digging trenches in the sand of the desert isn’t a very easy task. When you scoop sand out from one side, it flows back in from the other. Once we finished digging, we were instructed to lie down in the trenches and put our gas masks on, and remain alert. Our commanders silently crept around and proceeded to “kill” us one by one in order to show us how insufficient our trenches were.

When they had finished “killing” everyone, we were instructed to gather for target practice. The commanders made a head count to made sure that everyone was present and then we set up the targets in front of a low dune. They chose ten of us, myself included, and had us all line up in front of the targets. We were then ordered to place our full ammunition clip on the ground 25 meters or so in front of our specified target and then to gather together 200 meters from the targets.

On the commanders orders, we sprinted to our ammunition clips, loaded them and proceeded to shoot at the targets. Of the ten of us, eight guns jammed due to excessive sand in the chambers. The two that were able to shoot were at the opposite extremes of the line (numbers 1 and 10). Our commander then proceeded to yell at us for not keeping the sand out of our guns (an impossible task when one is in the desert). Someone then asked “Hey, where’s Yossi?” In response someone said jokingly, “Maybe he fell asleep in his trench.”

At this point all the shouting from the commander stopped and everyone started to look for the “missing” Yossi. After a few minutes, he was found; fast asleep in his trench… on the opposite side of the dune we were shooting at. If our guns hadn’t failed to shoot, Yossi probably would’ve been wounded or perhaps even killed.

Miracles don’t have to be “grand” or affect world events. It’s possible that a small miracle can save one person’s life, and leave a lasting impression on an entire platoon of Israeli soldiers. The trick is to believe that miracles can and do happen even when you might not even realize that they are occurring.

Does anyone else have personal stories that involved a "miracle"?

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Last week movie quote answers: 1-7 Jan, 2006

Last week movie quote answers:

Sun - Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe - The Imposter (2002)

Tue - Ive Been slimed - Ghostbusters (1984) -Jameel got it

Wed - To me, journalism is, ah, like a hangover. You can read about it for years, but until you've actually experienced it, you have no conception of what it's really like. - Teacher's Pet (1958)

Thu - He's an idiot. Comes from upbringing. His parents are probably idiots too. Lorraine, if you ever have a kid that acts that way I'll disown you - Back to the Future - (1985) S got it

We had two winners, Jameel and S. Neither of them has come forward to claim their prize, so whenever they want, their prize is waiting in reception.

Hopefully we will have an entire week of winners next week.


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, January 08, 2006

"That Freud stuff's a bunch of hooey"

Talk about a Freudian slip... and in Haaretz no less

IDF closes radical organization in West Bank settlement of Tapuah

Here's the 2nd paragraph:

"The organization was SHOT down after military intelligence showed it was associated with the illegal Kach movement, the extreme right-wing political movement founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane."

Wishful thinking Haaretz?????

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

"Afraid facts mixed up."

I saw an interesting article this morning in haaretz by Uzi Benziman called A clear message is needed .

The article discusses the possible "legacy" of Sharon and in one paragraph I found two mistruths.

"He also said the separation fence did not mark permanent borders and approved construction in the area separating Ma'aleh Adumim from Jerusalem. In recent weeks, government funds have continued to flow to the settlements, including the illegal ones, and the army continues to avoid removing illegal outposts."

Based on blogs from Ze'ev and JoeSettler last week, these statements just aren't true.

Two examples of outposts that have been dismantled are Beit Hadegalim and Beerot Jonathan.

We can all see the pics on JoeSettlers site showing the physical removal of "settlers" (mostly young kids) from a new outpost and even the scenes that included the planting of a vineyard in honor of Jonathan Pollard. Another link about this outpost can be found here.

Here is a link about the planned removal of Jews from Hebron. (also a hat tip to JoeSettler)

Last week, Ze'ev spoke about E1 and how the gov't has halted building due to International pressure. (hmmmm)

The question now remains: Did Benziman not check his facts and "mistakenly" write those lies or is Ha'aretz (and possible Benziman himself) trying to once again put their spin on the facts?

You decide...

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, January 05, 2006

"He's an idiot. Comes from upbringing. His parents are probably idiots too. Lorraine, if you ever have a kid that acts that way I'll disown you."

First of all, I want to wish Ariel Sharon a speedy and full recovery, so he can enjoy his retirement and spend time with his children and grandchildren. (ad 120)

I came across an interesting article today in the Jpost regarding the parents of Rachel Corrie. You may recall Rachel's story from my post earlier this week.

This article talks about the "possible" attempted kidnapping of her parents while they were visiting the owner of the house their daughter died "protecting".

The story sounds like it was created for positive PR for Palestinian kidnappers, but who knows what's fact and what's fiction.

Apparently, while visiting their friend Samir Nasrallah, a pharmacist in Rafiah, Craig and Cindy Corrie were awoken in the middle of the night and came face to face with two armed gunmen. They told the Corrie's that they should come with them to a safer place. The couple refused and said they felt safe enough in Nasrallah's house. Since the Corrie's don't understand Arabic, most of the conversation was translated for them.

Craig Corrie says that "he feared it might be a kidnapping attempt, but that the situation was never described to him that way by his host."

So since Nasrallah didnt tell him that the armed men wanted to kidnap them, it didnt happen.

No wonder their daughter was so naive that she believed that standing in front of a bulldozer she could save a Palestinian house that was to be destroyed. She must have gotten her intelligence from her parents, who narrowly escaped kidnapping and shrug off that men with gun(s) might try and kidnap them just like other recent kidnap victims in the area. see my previous post.

Good thing there is no intelligence test before one can enter Gaza.....

On a side note, why doesn't anyone try and guess my movie quotes? Today's is an easy one.

Shabbat Shalom, C ya on Sunday.


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"Journalism is, ah, like a hangover. You can read about it for years, but until you've actually experienced it......"

Full Topic Quote: "To me, journalism is, ah, like a hangover. You can read about it for years, but until you've actually experienced it, you have no conception of what it's really like."


There is a great article today from KHALED ABU TOAMEH in the Jpost.

Finally an Arab who has the guts to speak his mind in the media. It has been well known for years that there is widespread corruption in the ranks of the PA, but as he states in his article, the media just misses these stories.

I think that it may be a bit more than just missing the story. Most journalists (in this part of the world at least) already have their opinions as to what they believe about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I dont blame them for that because I agree that it is very difficult to not form any kind of opinion when exposed to the conflict head-on.

Journalists (even professional ones of the highest caliber) will still only see what they want to see. Since the Journalistic world is very left wing and tends to be partial to the Palestinian side of the issues, these kind of articles are generally not published because even the newspapers themselves dont want to possibly be seen as being Pro-Israel.

An example would be Ha'aretz. Most of Ha'aretz's articles and opinion pieces can be deemed left wing. Some of them even (like this piece by Gideon Levy this past Sunday) can be declared outright Anti-Semitic. If Levy didn't write for an "Israeli" paper and himself wasn't a Jew (eventhough he seems to wish he wasn't) there would be outcries against his Anti-Semitic writing. Unfortunately, since his article is in Ha'aretz, the opposite is true. Most of the on-line respondents to his column cheer him on and wish to join in on his quest in the destruction of Judaism and the Jewish People.

Why is it that Jews can be Anti-Semitic to their own nation, but if Levy would have written about the Palestinians in the same fashion, he wouldn't be applauded, but rather would be villified by the world?

Double standard?????

Sounds like it....

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"I've been slimed"

I was tagged by Jameel for MEME 4

Here goes... (none of the answers are in any particular order)

Four jobs I've had in my life -
1. Policeman
2. Cafe Manager
3. Webmaster
4. Plumber

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. Shawshank Redemption
2. Best Years of our Lives
3. LOTR Trilogy
4. 12 Angry Men

Four places I've lived:
1. Jerusalem
2. Shfaram (during Police Academy)
3. New Jersey
4. Elkana

Four TV Shows I Love to watch
1. Lost
2. West Wing
3. Frasier
4. Cold Case

Four places I've been on vacation
1. Park City, Utah
2. Tijuana, Mexico
3. Lebanon (is army service considered vacation?)
4. Flagstaff, Arizona

Four websites I visit daily
1. http://goldderby.latimes.com/ (Oscar preview)
2. http://www.sandbox.com (Fantasy Baseball Site)
3. http://www.iso.ru (Internat'l Scrabble Online)
4. http://www.imdb.com (Int'l Movie Database)

Four of my favorite foods
1. Freshly baked bread
2. Steak
3. Pancakes
4. Shnitzel made properly

Four places you'd rather be:
There is NO place that I'd rather be than right here in Israel

Four books I'll read over and over again
1. Different Seasons - Stephen King (Has 3 great novellas- Shawshank, Apt Pupil and the Body)
2. The Bachman Books - Richard Bachman
3. Term Limits - Vince Flynn
4. The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster

I tag WestBankMama, MyBaldSheitel, JeruGuru, and if you will it.

and as a wedding present, I'm also tagging 32 and then some (if she has time during Sheva Brachot...)

Have fun.


The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, January 01, 2006

"Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe

What is wrong with these people?

Here, here,and here are perfect examples of how sane these Palestinian sympathizers are (NOT).

How many people do you know that would enter a foreign country (willingly) that has basically no law and where foreignors are being kidnapped left and right.

I think most of those people fit into the 3rd definition of the above quoted political cartoon by Daniel Freedman from 3 years ago after the unfortunate (and stupid) death of activist Rachel Corrie.

Why do all these "peaceniks" identify with thugs and bandits? I'm positive that this phenomena doesn't only apply to Israel, there are many countries in Central and South America, Africa and surprisingly even in Iraq that randomly kidnap foreignors. It must be rare for these foreignors to wish to stay after being kidnapped, even if you were treated "extremely well through the ordeal"

Stockholm syndrome maybe????

or maybe it's similar to the good girls who always date the sleezy, cool guys?

Does anyone have a plausible answer?


The guessing of the movie quotes has been non-existant.
Here are the answers to last weeks quotes

Sun - Bugs Bunny in Looney Tunes back in Action (2003)
Mon - Tron (1982)
Tues- American President (1995)
Wed - Horse Feathers (1932) Groucho Marx
Thur - Carpool (1996)

Thanks for reading....

The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

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