Thursday, March 19, 2009

P.S. - Post (Trip) Script

With Purim and Shushan Purim over and done, and lacking several hours of sleep, Continental flight 85 left Ben Gurion Airport right on time last Wednesday. At 10:20am, we blew down the runway and into the air we went.

Unlike the outbound flight that brought me back to Eretz Yisrael two weeks before, the flight back to Newark was relatively empty, and very quiet. The energy that engulfed every millimeter of space while on our way to The Holy Land was now spent and thoughts of returning "Artza" were on all minds as we together spent the next thirteen and a half hours pushing headwinds toward New York City.
The food was good. The movies and television shows, abundant on individual TV screens that jettisoned from armrests, and sleep--- After two full days of Purim in Israel, sleep came easily.

What did not come easily, though, was the ability to discard the feeling of loss. The longing to tell the flight crew that we had all made a mistake in boarding, and would they--- Could they, please turn back and drop us off?

It is not that I am unhappy to be back in the States. On the contrary. I am thrilled to be with my family; To tell them about the Angel that I encountered in Jerusalem; The Karaoke Singing Rabbinical Students; Hannah's Bat Mitzvah; Purim, and the list continues... The loss, or feeling of loss happens to us all when we leave Israel. The experience that we just lived cannot be replicated anywhere on earth, and we know it. And we know, that we will carry with us a certain emptiness until we return.
It is this emptiness that is bittersweet. Bitter in that we have left a place which truly is our home of homes, and at the same time sweet for the same reason.

I believe that Thomas Wolfe was wrong when he penned, "You can't go home again". You can. And airlines leave every day from a city near you.

I was going to stop here, but I cannot do that. There is much more to say.

You can go home again (see above). Not only can you, but you must. We must. We must not forget that we have a home.

Even as this tiny country, the size of New Jersey is surrounded by millions of hostile individuals on three sides and by the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth, we need remember that this is our home, and we are obligated to protect her and to return to her.

We are obligated to protect her borders and to protect her citizenry. As her borders are our borders and her citizenry is עם ישראל. The Nation of Israel. It is written that when G-d gave the Torah to Israel, All of Israel was present at Sinai. This means that you were there, and so was I.

Our obligation does not end by taking a trip and playing tourist. Our obligation does not end by buying an Israel Bond, or donating Tzedaka to JNF (these are nice things to do, but...) Our obligation does not end by saying לשנה הבאה בירושלים during the Pesach Seder; Our obligation simply, does not end. Period.
Our obligation does not end, because Israel's obligation to us, does not end. Nor will it end, ever. It cannot end, and nor can our obligation to her end, for in the names of the Six Million of our Brethren who perished at the hands of the Nazis some sixty years ago, and the unnamed Millions who, during the course of the last three thousand years gave their lives for the sake of G-d's name, our obligation remains solid and unanamous. And so it should.

The following prayer is recited daily in Israel. Let us make it part of our daily prayers as well.
תפילה לחיילים
מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵינוּ הוּא יבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, מְגִנֵּי אֶרֶץ קָדְשֵׁנוּ. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָּלֵינוּ וְחַיָּלוֹתֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶגַע וּמַחֲלָה, וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם, רְפוּאָה שְׁלֵמָה לְכָל חוֹלֵיהֶם וּפְצוּעֵיהֶם, וְיִפְדֶּה בִּמְהֵרָה אֶת שְׁבוּיֵיהֶם. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.

“May he who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense forces and the security personnel who stand guard over our country and the cities of our God, from the Lebanese border to the Egyptian wilderness and from the Mediterranean Sea to the edges of the desert – or wherever they might be – on land, in the air or at sea.“May God cause our enemies who attack us to suffer defeat at the hands of our troops. May the Holy One, may He be blessed, shield and protect them from any adversity or anguish, any ordeal or suffering, and send blessing and success to everything they do. May He bring those who hate us under their sway, and glorify our forces with the crown of salvation and the mantle of victory, so that the verse: ‘The Lord your God marches with you to do battle for you against your enemies and to save you,’ will be fulfilled through them; and let us say, Amen.”

In addition, I thank you for including Gilad ben Aviva v'Noam Shalit in your prayers. He has been away from us for 999 days. May G-d return him to us in good health and good spirit.

From the Golah - The Diaspora, outside of our Home in Eretz Yisrael, I bid you good evening.

Ahavah u'Vrachot...

Love and blessings...


From the bottom of my heart, thank you to...

Erez B, Barry and Debby, Barry, Dave and Diane, Karen and Roni (double thanks), R'sCM, MB, RP, JR, BBM; of course HBS, Craig, Susan, Cindy and Andy, Gal, Guy, Mary, Alex and all my wonderful friends from HZ; Everyone from Herzl 75/76--- Miri, Roni, Liza - Mily and Amir (triple thanks - great food!) and others who wish to remain even more anonymous (MF); to Jay, Jill, Hannah and Eve, without you, it wouldn't have happened at all; and of course to my loving family- S, S, Z, D & T. Your love and support is a blessing in and of itself. Lest I forget, MLA and CWS, DLAOA and TBABAL. תודה רבה רבה.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Purim isn’t really Purim until you celebrate in Israel!

A few years ago, when the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix decided to hold a Communitywide Purim Celebration at the Ida Levine Campus of The Jewish Community Center. The idea was to bring the entire community together, and instead of local Synagogues each staging their own “Carnivals”, to have one big party. Well—It worked. For me, it worked, anyway, until I spent 48 straight hours in what I now call “The Purim Zone.”

Let’s talk about Purim for a moment: Persian King Ahashveros throws a party for all his drunk friends and asks his beautiful wife, Queen Vashti to strip for his buddies. She refuses and he sends her away in exile. In seeking a new wife to become Queen, the lovely Esther, a secular Jewess, and niece of Mordechai answers the call and has no qualms in letting her gowns fall by the wayside in the name of personal progress. (This woman is our heroine?)

Meanwhile, Haman, whose name is so villainous that we try to drown it out with moree and more noise every time his name is mentioned, plans a coup of the King and at the same time, plans to kill all of the Jews of Shushan. Mordechai gets word and alerts his niece who informs her King. Haman is hung and we (the Jewish People) dodge another bullet, sort to speak. Now we celebrate this “victory” ever y year, as it is written in the Book of Esther.

In the States, at least every State that I have lived in, Purim is really no big deal… A Shul Carnival with games like “Dunk the Rabbi”, or Ring Toss; Stale Homentaschen (three sided pastry usually filled with – poppy seed [yuck]) and lots of booze. Exactly where I would like to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Not.

For me, this year was a tad different! Purim blew into Tel Aviv on Monday at sundown with the “Megilla of Esther” being read in every street corner Synagogue. Noisemakers of every kind, shape and sound were used to drown out the wicked name of Haman; Ladies, Gentleman and Kids of all ages gathered together to read, sing, dance and truly celebrate this monument us day. And then? THEN the party, or shall I say parties, started. Every restaurant, bar, club, hotel, street, sidewalk or open area of Real Estate in Tel Aviv greeted revelers with abandon. Loud music could be heard into the streets and adjoining residential areas around the famous Allenby/Bialik intersection, and from Hayarkon Street, fireworks could be seen off the shore as far away as Yaffo southward and Ramat Aviv to the north of the city. One would have thought that it was Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. Alcohol was free flowing – and the streets were full. We started out at Kehillat Sinai, the Conservative Synagogue of Tel Aviv, and our hosts for Hannah’s Bat Mitzvah a two days prior and continued to at least five venues before turning in at five o’clock in the morning.

And the best part, was that as a Walled City, Jerusalem celebrates Purim the next day, so I could spend my final day at home, back in my favorite place on earth, and celebrate Purim all over again, with different new friends and at another home-away-from-home Synagogue, Moreshet Yisrael, located next to the Conservative Yeshivah on Agron Street, a few blocks away from the wonders of Rehov Ben Yehudah.

The drive into Jerusalem was of course, very different this time in. On the way into town two weeks ago, I was driven by Sherut (a taxi-van with other passengers) and wasn’t able to pay real attention to the views of the City as we entered. It was also beginning to darken outside, which didn’t’ help. Monday, though, around 2:00pm, I arrived at the top of the hill and stared into the most beautiful city on the face of this earth. Jerusalem of Gold was certainly living up to her name, and while cold outside, the sun was shining, just as she would, and the magical City of David sparkled under her bright rays.

Charedi Black Hatted Jews walked in small groups to and fro, and with a certain intentional brisk pace, as if to say, “Don’t Start Purim without us”, and children followed. Taxis hurried here and there and there was an electricity in the air, unfelt by me in a long time. Despite being exhausted by Monday night’s events, I was recharged, and ready to get to Moreshet by the suggested time of 6:45. The Megilla reading would start at 7:30. And did it ever. And the parties in Jerusalem on Tuesday night? Another Purim night in Jerusalem!

--Tomorrow: Leaving our home for where my stuff is...

From David’s City of Gold, I wish for you…

Ahavah u’Vrachot…
Love and Blessings…


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hannah Shoots-- Hannah SCORES!!!

In the Book of Samuel, we learn that Hannah was given a double portion from G-d because he loved her. Today, (because of Shabbat), you get a double portion from me. Enjoy!

The Wimpel read: Hannah Z (we don't need last names, right?). was called to the Torah on Shabbat Mincha Ki-Tisa, 11 Adar, 5769, Kehillat Sinai, Tel Aviv, Israel. It was pink, light blue and white. Hannah's favorite colors, and handcrafted by Phoenix's world renowned Silkstress, Gina Richmann.

I have been working with Hannah since the beginning of the school year and last evening, we celebrated her Bat Mitzvah. She read beautifully from Parshat Ki-Tisa and gave a remarkable D'var Torah.

I thank her entire family for this opportunity to share in this Simcha and for being here these past days.

There is much more to say about Hannah's Bat Mitzvah, but right now, I am still in awe of this special day. I will, however, send some love. a HUGE thank you to Rabbi Roberto Arbib, Hazzan Barry Meislin and the entire staff at Kehillat Sinai. Barry, you were the perfect host. Rav Todot!

Quickie Morning Blog Blurb...

* Since when do tourists pay for electricity on top of room charges and taxes? I was asked to pay some NIS130.00 for electricity! $30.00? for ELECTRICITY? That is definitely going to happen. I am wondering if I am going to be charged for the water I used while flushing the toilet!?!


* Here are a few names to look for, watch out for and keep your eyes and ears on - Shay Moshe- Moshe is a guitarist extraordinaire. Shay is a hip and amazingly energetic 25 year old, who sports dreadlocks and a crisp and sharp new sound. This kid is going places... Especially if he sticks with... Anat Ester Hitman. The only word I know to describe Anat in one word is WOW. Anat Ester is a wonderfully talented singer-songwriter who could be compared to some of the best of the best, but I won't. I can't. She is too good to be compared with the likes of Gali Atari, or Riki Gal, or Chava Alberstein... No. She is (advanced apologies to Gali, Riki or Chava if you are reading), in a word... Better.. She carries with her the innocence of age and the fortitude of experience. Anat Esther not only sings to the audience, she grabs them, strokes them and becomes one with them. The only entertainer that I have the ability to do this is Billy Joel, and we know how big he is.

Anat will get there. But first, she will keep wooing audiences here in Israel and retaining a certain ability to mesmerize a crowd like we rarely see. Tziki Laor plays also and provides terrific back-up vocals.

* Shay and Anat's success may also be attributed to their wondrous and dedicated manager-booker Andy Rosetti. I don't honestly know if I have ever seen a person, let alone a 22 year old former student, who fluently speaks more languages than I do (believe that one) work as hard as Andrea. She will not only do wonderful things in this industry, but her outlook on life is fresh, from the heart and exciting. She is exactly what this Country needs in our young adults.

* Happy 8th Birthday to CHEERS on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv. These guys know how or throw a party! Thanks!!!

* Remember Off the Wall Comedy in Jerusalem? Word is that this is THE place to be on Purim (Tuesday night). They are located in the basement at 34 Ben Yehuda Street. Be there, or be.. Hmm... not there?
I have just returned from my visit with the amazing folks at the Sderot Media Center. In case you haven't grabbed onto the idea yet, these are the people responsible for getting all of us the CORRECT and ACCURATE news relative to the goings-on in the South of Israel. All the while being under almost constant attack of Qassam Missiles and rockets from the Gaza Strip. These folks do one terrific job, working out of a sort of renovated house on HaHistradut Street.

Children play in parks which are equipped with bomb shelters, and some of these kids appear outwardly to be unaffected, but we know differently.

We found these kids playing in the park. This park sports, for safety and security reasons, a "Snake Maze" that is completely enclosed. Just for safety. A new indoor playground was just built for the children of Sderot, and it will be dedicated and open next week.
More on terror and victims of terror later.
From Tel Aviv-Yafo, on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, I bid you...
Ahavah u'Vrachot...Love and Blessings...


Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Busy Thursday and into Erev Shabbat

After very productive meetings at Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, the road to Tel Aviv awaited with a planned stop about half way in Modeiin to visit my friends and fellow UTJ list-server, Rabbi Aaron and Rona Michelson. Aaron and Rona told me about their guided tours and Kosher trips to the Far East. Far out!

An unplanned detour caused by another crazy in a tractor (READ: Terrorist Maniac that attacked a police car yelling Allah-Akhbar) caused a delay as many streets were closed due to the Pigua. The two policemen were slightly injured; The bulldozer idiot was filled with holes. He's done. Kol HaKavod to Police officer Eldad Bin Nun and the un-named taxi driver who assisted the wounded cops and filled this moron with lead.

If you ever find yourself in Modeiin with a few extra minutes and a hunger pain, stop by the House of Hummus on an obscure unpaved side street, next to a clothing shop of some kind. The schnitzel was excellent. Should you need to use the restroom, however, it is in a side building of sorts, and probably shouldn't be your first choice of "conveniences" (as restrooms are called in Hebrew), unless you really have to go!

Quick! When was the last time that you visited a friend whom you haven't seen in thirty years? For today, I will just tell you that should you not see a good friend in thirty years, shame on you - (yes- shame on me!) - Doing just that needs to be on your "Must do in my lifetime" list. Thank you Gross-Storch-Levavs. I look forward to seeing you again over Shabbat.

I am headed shortly to Haifa to participate in a Memorial Service for Tal Kehrmann. Five years ago yesterday, the pretty and spirited High Schooler was among 17 people murdered on Egged Bus number 37 by a terrorist homicide bomber. The Finish Tal's Camel Project has become very special to me. My students at The King David School and students of the Religious School at Har Zion Congregation in Scottsdale stepped up to the plate and hit a home run for Tal, as I will be delivering over 100 completed camels to Tal's father, Ron this afternoon. More on Tal, this project and One Heart ( later.

Tel Aviv is one of the World's most exciting and vibrant cities. I am thrilled to be here to help my friends, the Zweigs celebrate Hannah's Bat Mitzvah. YAY Hannah. Mazal Tov!

As Thursday night turns into Friday in this wonderful country of ours, I look back on the past eight days here and on the past twenty-five years away, and wonder--- How could I have been away for 25 years? I am truly blessed to be here, and I thank my family for allowing me this time away from them to be home.

Wishing you a Great Erev Shabbat Shalom from Tel Aviv.

Ahavah u'Vrachot...

Love and Blessings...


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I miss Jerusalem and I haven't even left yet!

In 1967, Naomi Shemer wrote of Jerusalem...

As clear as wine, the wind is flying
Among the dreamy pines
As evening light is slowly dying
And a lonely bell still chimes,
So many songs, so many stories
The stony hills recall ...
Around her heart my city carries
A lonely ancient wall.

Yerushalaim all of gold
Yerushalaim, bronze and light
Within my heart I shall treasure
Your song and sight.

This past week here in Jerusalem, I was blessed to see, hear and feel all of what Ms. Shemer so beautifully wrote.

What really made the week special were the places that welcomed me, and where I spent most of my time.

The Moshavah Germanit (The German Colony) is a spectacular area to live. The cosmopolitan feel of a Eurpoean city blended with Chasidism and Observance; The Neighborhood Centre which boasts a grocery store, a gym, barber shop and many other businesses opens its arms to all, and the terrific staff at "Caffit" ( makes you feel as if you have been a regular for years.

Moreshet Yisrael Masorti Synagogue and the Conservative Yeshivah are next to one another on Agron Street, a ten minute bus ride from the Moshavah. Rabbis Adam Frank and Shlomo Zachrow, as well as Rabbi Pesach Schindler will be very much missed by me, and I can't wait to get back there for more learning. Other students and Rabbanim alike became new old friends and if I were a betting man, I would absolutely wager that we will all stay great friends for many years to come. We have each, in our own way, touched the lives of the other. As it should be.


King David ruled these lands right around 3,000 years ago. Much of his Citadel and gardens continue to exist today, where they are now a museum. It is said that from the top of this Citadel, David saw a girl bathing. Her name was BatSheva. With its magnificent towers and amazingly crafted gates, walls and rooftops, it is easy to understand why this City is often called The City of David.

Parking in the Moshavah is interesting in its own right. Most parking places are not only private, but gated and can only be opened by either remote control, or by the towing company who will take your car away, should you try and park where you are not welcome. I understand from people with whom I have spoken, that the normal fine and towing fee exceeds NIS 800. To you and me, that's on the higher side of $200+.


Tomorrow we move on to Tel Aviv. It will be nice to get back to the big city and the beach, but there is no place on earth quite as special as this place.

Whether you call it The City of David, Yerushalayim, Al Quds or Jerusalem, it is from here that I bid you goodnight as I end my first week in Israel.

Ahavah u'Vrachot...
With love and blessings...


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Does the Number 4 Stop Here?

Public Transportation Israel Style:

After a small fiasco with an Arab cab driver yesterday, I though that I might try to be completely Israel tonight and jump on a bus.

--SIDE STORY-- Leaving Yad VaShem yesterday was difficult enough emotionally without having to decide between Ahmed, Muhammad, Abdul and Yusuf as cab drivers, so I took the one that "looked" the most *maybe Israeli* and told him where I needed to go.

I engaged in some small talk here and there about the weather - COLD! - the basketball game on TV last night, and every one's FAVORITE topic, האח הגדול VIP, Big Brother VIP. Before long (2 minutes into the ride) he stops the cab and asks if I will allow him to pick up additional passengers. This usually results in a lower fare for me, even though it may take a few extra minutes. AND, the first person that was already getting INTO the front seat of the taxi was an Ethiopian woman carrying a bag of laundry and a bag of fruit. I'm already feeling sorry for this lady. What am I going to say, NO? We travel about six minutes, and she gets out, pays him 20 Shekels, and we are on our way. For 36 seconds. Two high schoolers get on. They are headed to my street - Not my block, but Emek Refaim anyway you slice it. They give him another 20 and when MY ride should have cost maybe NIS30, I figured I was home free!

Until I got home three minutes later, and the driver (Yusuf) asked me for FIFTY SHEKELS!!! His reply? It is the METER! LOOK AT METER! he says in perfect Arabic Ivrit. I asked him if I could pay him 10 or we could go talk to the police lady on the corner. He took 15 and we were done. MORAL: Look for a sign in the car like a Mezuzah or Hebrew newspaper on the front seat, or something.

Bus fare in Jerusalem is NIS5.90 ($1.40), the cab is usually NIS30.00 ($4.75), so to save three bucks, I figured, if 14 year old kids can take a bus, why can't I?

In my heart of hearts, though, I knew that if I tried things that for others are simple, I would get myself into trouble, but even so, I tried and got on bus this evening! The number 4 picked me up right on Emek Refaim - about a 14 second walk from the apartment and headed north to King George and right to Ben Yehuda Street.

I assumed, apparently wrongly, that if I found the #4 bus headed in the EXACT OPPOSITE direction, with the SAME driver, it **should** take me right back from where I came. Right?

Not so right. The bus zigged this way, and zagged that way; Turned right on this street and turned left on that street, all the while letting passengers off the bus. Come to think of it, I did not see even ONE person get ON the bus tonight!

After twenty minutes or so, I noticed that there were two passengers left on board. A teenage girl with glasses and a book bag, and ME. And then, SHE got off. "Alright!" I figured. Non-Stop express home!! Only, the driver just sat there with the front door open looking at me and finally asking if I am going to get off or was I planning on sleeping on the sidewalk. This was the end of the line! In the middle of NOWHERE. Somewhere on top of Mount Scopus. Somewhere.

Not a cab in sight. No one. Nothing. I convinced him to at least take me back to where the Bus Garage is, and I could get a cab from there, and he did exactly that. Fifteen minutes later, after standing outside in the rain and 40 degree weather, a cab pulled up and sprinted me home. Exactly seven minutes away, for $20 Shekels!
Rabbi David Kilimnick is your typical Yeshivah raised and educated Rochester, New York kind of guy. He finishes the Yeshivah and gets Rabinnical Smicha and comes to Jerusalem. Why not? Jerusalem is happy to have him. His students would be thrilled and all would be terrific, right?

David decides that he is going to take a slightly different route and open his own "Pulpit". One different than ANY other in Jerusalem or anywhere in the world, for that matter.

David's place is located at Ben Yehudah Street 34, in the Basement, and the only prayers said there are from the long line of comics, both professional and amateur hoping to get a laugh or two from the packed house almost every night. Mondays are reserved for English Open Mikes, while Tuesdays welcome in a fantastic improv quartet which includes the very funny antics of Michal (originally from New York) and Yechezkel from Montreal.

The comics come from all walks of life and even include Rabbinical Students. One such student is the multi talented Gella Solomon, originally from Brooklyn and headed to JTS in Upper Manhattan this Summer. As a Rabbi, Gella will make noise and literally rock her Congregational World. She is just going to be THAT good. In her spare time, she got a killer singing voice and amazing comic timing. Watch her name: GELLA SOLOMON. We will be hearing from her in the coming years.

Off The Wall Comedy Basement is open Sunday through Thursday and can be found at
As we say goodnight from Jerusalem on this Tuesday, March 3, we must continue to remember that our brother Gilad Shalit remains in the hands of Terrorists. Please join me in asking G-d to remember Gilad today and every day, and to bring him home soon.

From the Moshavah HaGermanit in Jerusalem...
Ahavah u'Vrachot - Love and Blessings...


One Hour for Each Million

Located on the top of The Mountain of Remembrance, Yad VaShem (The Memorial and The Name) stands as an intense and beautifully created museum dedicated to the terror of our people between 1930 and 1945.

The sign at the entrance suggests that one might expect to spend between one and one half to three hours visiting the exhibits and paying respects. It took me six. About an hour for every million of our brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts and cousins who were brutally murdered in by the hands of the Nazis in World War II.
I had been to Yad VaShem before, in 1974 and again in 1980 or so, and though that I knew what to expect. I knew which exhibits I would remember, and which I might avoid - Some really bothered me when I was 13 years old.

Surprisingly, I did not recognize even one room. The museum is brand new, rebuilt and reopened in March, 2005.

I was in awe of the clean look; the sharp architecture, and the intentional concentration not on the WHATs, rather, on the WHOs and the WHENs of the Holocaust. There was very little concentration on the camps themselves, and much more detail paid to the victims. I will not and cannot dash off a list of every exhibit, but what I will say is that even an hour for every million, was probably not enough time.

Aside from the memorials, personal to each and every one of the Six Million, the walkway between the main entrance and the museum itself includes memorials to non-Jews, who hold their own place in history, by merely being human. Said humanity, however, was at significant personal risk to these heroes. People like Oskar Schindler who with little regard for their own safety stepped up and saved thousands of lives.

While running the risk of sounding like a Travel-Log, I will submit to you that one should never visit Jerusalem and miss Yad VaShem. In fact, maybe more of the world should visit Jerusalem because of Yad VaShem. Your eyes my tear up for six hours, but they are supposed to. If not, this tragedy or one like it could happen again. It is up to us to remember. Never again.

From Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, Goodnight.
Ahava u'Vrachot.. Love and Blessings...


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oh What a Hand! Sarah's Hand!!

Most of you might know that I was once a tremendous dope; An idiot beyond words; One of the most highly intelligent morons that ever lived, right? I'll answer that one for those of you who do not yet know: Right.

Why? Because for over 32 years - More than 2/3 of my life, I sucked on and inhaled poison. Intentionally! Some of you still do. If this speaks to you, quit. That's all I am going to say on this exact matter.

I am, however, going to address one issue that is left over from that STUPID habit, addiction, disease, idiocy, SFB (READ: s**t for brains), thing called smoking, and that is the fact that I destroyed my lungs. And because I did, I use certain medications in an inhalation machine on a daily basis, and if I cannot use my machine? Not a good thought. I also travel and carry oxygen with me, but that's another story for another day.


I knew that right about now, you'd be asking, so I will cut to the chase and in just a few words let you know that my machine, in Israel, requires an electrical transformer. I bought a regular $30 transformer before I left the States and had been told by the manufacturer that it would be adequate. They were wrong and so was I. What I needed was not just a regular transformer like what would be used for a cellphone or MP3 player, but apparently one used normally for items like Washing Machines or Clothes Dryers. I found this out by using the regular transformer to do a breathing treatment and having the machine turn off after 3 minutes.

Now I was stuck. It was late Friday afternoon when I learned this, and Shabbat was rapidly approaching. What was I going to do? How long could my tiny battery operated airplane machine last doing triple duty?

Quickly I called my good friend, Nomi Teplow (yes. THAT Nomi Teplow. Yes. The internationally famous recording artist, Nomi Teplow - HER--Yes. She's a friend of mine. Yeah, she's as nice as she seems in interviews. Yes, her voice really IS that good...) and she told me about an organization in Israel called YAD SARAH, or in English, SARAH'S HAND. YAD SARAH helps people. All people. And, they do it for free. You heard me. They help people at no cost.

Yad Sarah has 103 branches throughout Israel run by more than 6,000 volunteers, and saves the Israeli economy about $320 million a year in hospitalization and medical costs. Yad Sarah`s best-known service is the lending of medical and rehabilitative equipment on a short-term basis free of charge to anyone who needs it - from a stock of over 250,000 items, from crutches and wheelchairs to oxygen concentrators and electronic monitors.

Today, YAD SARAH, with no more than my Arizona Driver's License number, loaned me a compatible nebulizer for the balance of my stay. And it was absolutely free to me.

If you are able to give this year, or this month or... Yad Sarah would be happy to allow you to help them help others. They may be found at
From the "Interesting Fact Department" - - - Sunday in Israel is like Monday in the States. People work, kids go to school, life restarts. The week waits for Shabbat and in Jerusalem, Shabbat is ever the Queen that the poetry dictates. For Moslems, Friday is El Juma, the day of prayer and because of this, and adding into the equation that we must be finished with all of our work early in the afternoon, many businesses treat Friday as the first day of the weekend, creating a five day work week.
I had hoped to get to Jerusalem's
Mountains today, but rain and very cold weather knocked out that plan. Like we say in Arizona: Manana.
I finally turned on the television late last night and found a great channel on Israeli Cable. Its called 24 Musica. Sort of like... No, exactly like the old VH-1, save for the programming being all Israeli Music Videos. The videos are mostly concert footage, and rarely do they appear to be like US music videos, in that I am pretty sure that one does not need to be stoned to understand or appreciate these. They also had a show on this afternoon called ילדות רעות, literally translated to mean "Bad Girls". It was like an Israeli version of 90201 or One Tree Hill, but with lots of swearing. Same production quality, though. Ouch!

When you come here next, though, do NOT miss אח הגדול, BIG BROTHER VIP. Tonight was the premiere of a new season and there were hundreds of people standing out in the rain watching has-been celebrities walk the red carpet while on their way to be locked in for 12 weeks.

I did tell you that it has REALLY been raining, did I not? I don't really miss TV that much.

In this tiny country of 7,184,000 citizen residents, that live in an area smaller than that of the State of New Jersey, and surrounded by over 300 Million Arabs in 21 different countries, many would say that it is, but by the grace of G-d himself that Israel remains a sovereign nation. A nation that lives in a state of a constant security and readiness, yet a country that is able to carry out normal daily routines while maintaining a tremendous sense of humor and commitment to its citizenry, as well as a commitment to the Torah and the entire Jewish world.

I applaud you for joining me in prayer that the new government being formed by the Honourable Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party is able to continue the peace process while saving our dignity, the world's respect for us as a People as well as our military, and lastly the land promised to us by G-d and protected by the blood of our children for thousands of years.

I pray for the safety of our children serving in the IDF that protect our borders by land, air and sea and I join all of Klal Yisrael and the free world in praying for the safe return of Gilad Shalit, who has been held by the black arm of terror for over Nine Hundred and Eighty Days. I implore you to please do the same.

From the City of David, I wish you a goodnight.

Ahavah u'Vrachot...Love and Blessings always.


Some references to Yad Sarah are Courtesy of Yad Sarah and have been used without express permission.