Friday, December 28, 2007

Shabbat Shalom! 12/28/07

Mizmor l'Da-vid

LAAF-Eternal Rains of Fire

LAAF-Liberation Army Against Freedom! Not so good with the rockets red glare.

PS: Dutch safety campaign on fireworks

Jewish Apartheid

Apartheid is a term used to denote the brutal tactics of South Africa against its black population. But there is another apartheid that has been going on since the creation of the Jewish State of Israel. Almost one million Jews were expelled from Arab countries after Israel declared its statehood.

The Arab-Israeli conflict produced two refugee groups, Palestinian and Jewish, yet world attention has largely focused on the Palestinian refugees. The reason is that Israel solved the Jewish refugee problem by resettling them. Meanwhile, the Arab world has not adequately responded to the Palestinian refugee problem, refusing to permanently resettle enough of them, and using them as political pawns against Israel. Both refugee groups numbered about 900,000. Though many were peaceful or passive, many Palestinian refugees were openly hostile and violent against the notion of any Jewish state. In contrast, Jews in the Arab world identified themselves with their respective countries and posed no threat to them.

The of Palestinians left voluntarily after Arab rulers told them to wait for the annihilation of the new Jewish State of Israel. The Jews who fled Arab countries had no choice. It was either flee or die.

Today, there are very few Jews in Arab Islamic countries.

All other Muslim states are Judenrein.

In about 5 years, the Shia state of Iran will also be Judenrein and for the first time since the 7th century Islam will have succeeded in making life so intolerable for their Jewish citizens that all 23 Muslim states on planet earth—I'm including Gaza as the Pali state—will be rendered Judenrein.

Oh, the Christians in Gaza are not doing very well, their days are quite clearly numbered.

Okay, there are about 2,000 Jews hanging on by a thread in Morocco. They will be gone in one generation. Who knows what the next king's policies will usher in. There have already been terrorist attacks against the Moroccan Jewish community. The writing is on the wall.

No Jews in Jordan. No Jews in Algeria. No Jews in Tunisia. Saudi Arabia officially bars Jews from setting foot on Saudi soil. Charming local custom. Yemen, maybe 100 old and dying Jews. Syria, the same. Egypt, the same. Libya, none. Iraq, done. Afghanistan, one crazy old Jew who lives in the Kabul synagogue all by himself. Pakistan? You've got to be kidding. No Jews in the UAE.

It is illegal for a Jew to enter Saudi Arabia. Iranian Jews are facing an ever increasing threat. And all because of the creation of the Jewish State of Israel. Arab countries say that the Jewish state has taken over historically Arab lands. The irony of that statement is ludicrous. The Turks controlled this land from the Seljuk Turks(11th century to 13th century) to the Ottoman empire(13th century to the 20th century).

There has been a Jewish presence in Israel for thousands of years. Jews were the majority in most cities until the 1929 Arab riots forced them out of cities such as Hebron. When the first Zionists started coming to Palestine, they bought land from the Turkish rulers. Land that was mostly swamp and desert. They reclaimed the land and built it up and in so doing, increased the economic opportunities. These opportunities were attractive to many Arabs and they started coming in.

In Israel, Muslims are elected to the Knesset. Muslim holy sites are respected. Jewish holy sites, on the other hand, face the threat of destruction once they fall into the Palestinian Authority hands. There are no Jews in Gaza and yet the terrorists still lob Kassams into the Israeli city of Sderot. Gazan Christians are leaving in droves because of the threats they face. Bethlehem, before the Palestinian Authority took over, used to have a Christian majority. And yet people like Jimmy Carter call Israel the apartheid state. It seems there is Jewish and Christian apartheid going on and the culprits are the Arab states.

Jewish apartheid has been a problem faced by the world for thousands of years. I do not understand the hatred others show to Jews and now to Israel. Anti-Semitism has never gone away. It is on the increase world-wide and even in this country it has reached a state that Jewish shuls, schools, community centers, and citizens face the threat of attacks to such an extent extra security measures must be taken.

Again, I do not understand this Jewish apartheid. I cannot comprehend the visceral hate shown to Jews and to the Jewish State of Israel. I do not understand why some people, when they see my Magen David, have a look of disgust upon their faces. I do not understand Jewish apartheid.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


One of the most common crimes against a civilian population during times of war is rape. UN Peace Keeping forces are notorious for the amount of rapes they commit. What does it mean when armed forces don't commit rape?

If it is the Israeli Defense Forces, there can only be one conclusion: "In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done."

This is the conclusion Hebrew University doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan draws. Basically, what she is saying is that lack of rapes committed by IDF in Judea and Samaria has the same effects as if the rapes had occurred!! She also concludes that the women are not raped because they are dehumanized in the soldier's eyes.

This logic is so twisted that I cannot believe it is given serious academic credence. Rape dehumanizes the person who is assaulted. Rape is the same across the world: It is a vile act in which no regard is shown to the victim.

Makor Rishon editor Amnon Lord, who first publicized the story, wrote that not only did researcher Nitzan not consider Jewish tradition as an explanation, but neither did she "raise the possibility that her initial assumption - namely, that the situation in Judea and Samaria is just like any other situation of conquest - may be wrong."

Demographic Fears
Nitzan's paper did, however, give much space to the explanation that the Israeli soldiers refrained from rape out of demographic considerations. She explained at length how fearful the Jewish population is of the growing Arab population, and how in cases of wartime rape, the baby is generally assumed to be of the mother's nationality.

"It is noteworthy," Lord concludes, "that Palestinian propaganda around the world frequently accuses Israelis of murder and rape. Such that this situation is unique: An army is found blameworthy of rape, and is also blameworthy of not raping."

How desparate can one become in order to prove that Israelis are evil? Does showing human decency now constitute an effort to dehumanize? Natzin's paper is just one more in a long effort to discredit Israel's decency toward others, especially Palestinians. If IDF soldiers aren't raping women than surely it has to be something other than morals.

Natzin's paper is worse than the multitude of the long string of double standards applied to Israel. The IDF soldiers have done nothing and yet her paper accuses them as if they were UN soldiers in the Congo.

New Traditions

Yesterday, I didn't go to the movies or go eat Chinese food. Instead, I spent the day reading. I stopped at Barnes & Noble and picked up a couple of books. Someone had grabbed the last copy of Stephen King's The Stand. I made do with two others: Christopher Tolkien's The Unfinished Tales and Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. As much as I enjoy reading science fiction, it perplexes me how I've never read the last.

I started the Tolkien book and it is just as fascinating as The Lord of the Rings series even though J.R.R. Tolkien's son finished some of the tales.

Yesterday was a very good day for reading. The sun did not make an appearance until late afternoon and it was too cold and windy to take photos. It was a good day to just sit back and relax inside. My son had to work. In short, a very peaceful day.

I had the option of going to my family's Christmas celebration but as last year, I didn't. I love my family and it is great to see everyone. I just knew I would feel uncomfortable in seemingly partaking in festivities I don't believe in. And there is always the explanations of why I can't eat this and that because of keeping kosher.

Next year? Who knows, maybe I'll get around to the Jewish tradition of going to the movies and eating Chinese on Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Eggnog and Who

The Captain's Quarters has an interesting poll.

I can't imagine having Hillary, Huckabee, or Romney over for a chat and a bit of eggnog. They don't seem like the type to engage in fun conversations. I can picture Hillary in her condescending voice or perhaps since this is Mississippi, her having another go at a fake Southern accent. Romney seems likable enough, just not the type to have a beer with. Huckabee reminds me of those preachers from the Christian channel skits from Saturday Night Live.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Beinoni Niggun

I meant to post this yesterday before Shabbat but didn't have the chance.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


From the Sun Herald's Sound Off:

Holidays defined

• Do you realize why they call them the holidays? Because when you get on the road and get in the store and put up with people and get home and you realize all that hollering has put you in a daze. Hence, Holler-daze.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Israel: The Jewish State

Israel: The Jewish State
Israel: The Jewish State
Israel: The Jewish State
Israel: The Jewish State

The above needs to be repeated a few million more times for those who just don't get it. Israel is a Jewish state for Jewish people. This simple concept seems to be a sticking for many people. Palestinian "peace" negotiators and Arab state leaders to name a few. It is ironic that those Saudi Arabians who went to Annapolis say a state should not be based on a religion. That is rich coming from a country like the Saudi Arabia where it is against the law to practice any religion other than Islam.

The latest objector for Israel identifying itself as a Jewish state is the Catholic Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah.

In his address, which he read in Arabic and English, Sabbah said Israel should abandon its Jewish character in favor of a ''political, normal state for Christians, Muslims and Jews.''

Sounds reasonable. Except the Jewish State of Israel is already a 'political, normal state for Christians, Muslims, and Jews'. Churches, mosques, synagogues, Bahai temples, and other religious houses exist side-by-side in the Jewish State of Israel and all are free to practice their religion. There are a few exceptions. Jews cannot visit at well their holiest site. It is currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock mosque.

Anyway. All this ranting and objecting about Israel being a Jewish State is just another attempt to try to delegitimize Israel's existence. Repeat after me, Israel: The Jewish State.

Pelosi Achieves a Victory!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been very ineffective in her leadership role since the Democrats now have a majority in Congress. But she, at last, achieve a victory: Green the Capitol. But this victory is limited. Those dastardly Senators refuse to give up their fried foods!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Believe

Kol Sasson is The University of Maryland's Jewish A Capella Group. In this video, they are singing Ani Ma-amin(I Believe).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Star Wars

A galaxy faces a deadly menace from far, far, away. The weapon of choice: a deadly beam of energy from a black hole in the midst of the "death star" galaxy.

Scientists say the energy beam can cut a swath of destruction but yet allow for the formation of new stars in the galaxy that is facing the onslaught of energy.

Anniversary Edition

Yesterday was the third anniversary of Haveil Havalim. This edition, as usual, has many great posts. Enjoy Haveil Havalim 145.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


The past couple of weeks have been interesting. There is a paucity of Jewish things you can buy along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I had written before about my quest to find a Magen David necklace. One jewelry store had two! I finally ordered one on-line and started wearing it a few weeks ago.

Wal-mart has five shelves that are about 3 feet wide where kosher food items can be found. They also have Shabbat and Hanukkah candles! Winn-Dixie sells Challah! They are also promoting kosher food items that are available. None of the stores here sell kosher meats. I'm learning the joys of cooking with soy products like Boca's ground meat substitute.

During Hanukkah, when someone would wish me a Merry Christmas, I would respond with Happy Hanukkah. Fortunately, my experience was a lot better than this guy's. You would think people in Mississippi would be more prejudiced about things like that than some in New York. Mississippi: The Progressive State!!

One of the newer experiences I had this year was a search for Hanukkah cards. The only stores they could be found were at Wal-greens. I make an effort to thank the store's managers. And in doing so has led to some interesting encounters. Mostly, people are curious. One asked how to make a Star of David using strings of lights.

Lately, a lot of people have asked what do I do on Christmas. After watching the video below I first saw at Mark's: I now say, "Eat Chinese and go to the movies".

I'll do just what I did last year as well: go and take pictures.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Unequal Justice in Mississippi

On February 6, 2006, Jessie Lee Williams Jr., died at the hands of the Harrison County sheriff deputies who were booking him. Deputy Teel was found guilty on three counts and has been sentenced to two terms. Justice worked in this case and part of had to do with the policy of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department to video-tape bookings. Anyone can access the booking area of the county jail.

Contrast that openness with the actions of the Boston police. I digress. That is another issue.

Justice in Mississippi worked for Jessie Lee Williams, Jr. But Cory Maye still languishes in prison. He shot and killed police officer Ron Jones after the police barged into his home under the "no-knock rule". The police were executing a warrant for a drug dealer who lived in the other side of a duplex where Mayes and his family lived.

It is a tragic and sad story that really shouldn't have happened. A father, Cory Mayes, had no idea who the intruders to his home were. He just knew he and his little girl were in danger. It is a nightmare scenario played out time and again with the "no-knock rule". Police officers enter the wrong dwelling or invade homes with little more than the word of someone who may just be passing on information in an effort to gain a lighter charge. The "no-knock rule" reeks of injustice and is an erosion of the basic rights of American citizens.

Two families have no peace. The family of Officer Ron Jones grieves and as justice is sought to right the wrong to Cory Mayes, the Jones' family will have wounds reopened. Cory Mayes' children are growing up without him. He has to make do with sending cards and telephone calls. From reading of this case, he shouldn't be in prison at all. At least Mayes no longer faces the death penalty. But he shouldn't be in prison at all. A wrong address, police officers barging in at night, a father with a gun protecting his child from unknown intruders: is a life sentence justice?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

8th Night

Sweet Charity

Americans are very giving people. And I'm proud to say that even though Mississippi is consistently ranks lowest in most charts: it's people are generous and place Mississippi in the top of the charts for charitable donations(per capita). No one wants to see people suffering and the natural instinct is to help. The caveat, "let the buyer beware", is no less true for charitable donations or governmental financial aid. There are watch-dog groups that rate organizations on how well money donated ends up in the hands of the people it is meant for. The Governmental Accounting Office does the same. After Hurricane Katrina, the GAO showed where to close to a billion dollars was misappropriated.

These watch-dogs are not trying to discourage donations or aid. They serve a vital function to ensure donations and aid are going to the people who need it. This brings us to the most unwatched aid. There seems to be accountability for how this aid is spent. Billions of dollars have been sent in an effort to improve the lives of these people and yet there is very little to show for it other than the beautiful mansions and very large bank accounts of those who pocket the money.

I'm talking about the billions of aid for the Palestinians. Whether it is aid from the European Union, the UN, or other aid, there is very little accounting of how the money is actually spent and what it is used for.

This from The Long Palestinian Money Trail should be an eye-opener to many:

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the international community has shown unprecedented generosity toward Palestinians, donating approximately $5 billion to the Palestinian Authority. The World Bank noted recently that 'donor disbursements to the Palestinians currently amount to approximately $1 billion per year or $310 per person ― one of the highest per capita rates in the history of foreign assistance.' (By comparison, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II provided $68 per year, in today's dollars, to Europeans.)

There is more at Boker Tov Audits the PA's Books.

More financial aid is given to the PA than to most of Africa. Why isn't there accountability on how this money is spent? You can go on-line and check the rating of most charitable causes and even governmental departments to see where the money goes and what it is used for. Why isn't there something like that for the aid the PA receives? What projects is the aid used for?

Monday, December 10, 2007


At last night's hanukkiah lighting, one of my fellow congregants told me about a rare version of Hatikvah as sung by Al Jolson. She e-mailed it to me and I wanted to share with you.

Click to listen

Sunday, December 9, 2007

6th Night

Tonight, the Mississippi Gulf Coast had it's first public Hanukkah lighting. Chabad of New Orleans sponsored it and my congregation, Beth Israel of Biloxi, participated. Our new shul is to be built in Gulfport. Hopefully, groundbreaking will be held in a few months. Our shul in Biloxi was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Tonight, in addition to remembering the victory of the few over the many, these lights serve as a dedication and a promise that our congregation will grow and continue to add light to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Psalm 93:

The ocean sounds, HaShem,
the ocean sounds its thunder,
the ocean sounds its pounding.

Above the thunder of the mighty waters,
more majestic than the breakers of the sea
is HaShem, majestic on high.

Let the lights we kindle shine forth for the world to see. May they illumine our lives and fill us with gratitude for those who came before us, whose will and courage, time and again, kept the flame of faith from extinction.

Latkes! Latkes!

Jack is hosting the Haveil Havalim 144 - Too Many Latkes Edition.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Shabbat Shalom! 12/07/07

Chicken Soup & TCM

Yesterday, I had to leave work early because of some sort of bug. With this one, I was having chills and neck pain. I go home and sleep for a few hours. The neck pain is still there but the chills are gone. Instead of trying to do a bunch of stuff last night, after I lit the Hanukkah candles, I fixed some chicken noodle soup (who knew Wal-Mart now carries kosher soup!) and wrapped myself in my favorite blue blankie and turned the TV to Turner Classic Movies. The soup, the Irene Dunne movies, the blue blankie, and sinus/cold/allergy medicine did wonders. I'm still not up to par but am able to work today. But I still will leave early because of Shabbat.

Buddhist Power Struggle

The Mississippi Gulf Coast has a range of religious groups. There are Bahais, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Buddhists. I would never have expected to read about Buddhists with a headline like this: Police Break Up fights at Buddhist Temple. The Buddhist Temple is in one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Katrina. It usually sits placidly along the same street where there is a Korean Baptist Church among others.

Glancing at it from the street, it is serene. Head monk Thien Tri should be commended for his efforts to rebuild the temple area. From the article, board members who left immediately after Hurricane Katrina are trying to horn in. Not good.

Light Up the World

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jewish Greenies

In an effort to stem global warming, an Israeli group suggests lighting one less candle for each night of Hanukkah. It defeats what Hanukkah is about. The hanukkiah is to be placed so that it can be visible to the outside. The lights serve as a reminder of winning over those who would oppress religious freedom and the lights are a reminder of the re-dedication of the Temple after it had been defiled. The lights are to blaze forth and to be seen by all.

These Jewish greenies are wrong in their approach. Lighting one less candle a night will hardly make a dent in pollution. It also defeats the purpose of Hannukah. This idea only serves one purpose: more publicity for the group that purposed it. And it distracts from the ongoing endeavours that can make a difference.

Seambiotic has a plan and it is a good one. It reduces polltion emitted by coal-burning smoke stacks and the resultant product is more a more cost-effective biofuel.

The simplicity of the idea is what will make it workable.

Israel's Seambiotic is employing algae as a biofuel that could also reduce pollution from coal power plants. Executives said the method channels carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning smokestacks through pools of skeletonema algae, which in turn converts to fuel.
Algae was said to be capable of manufacturing 30 times more oil than crops currently used for biofuel production.

Using algae to both clean pollution from coal-burning plants and to produce a biofuel will help more than calling on people to light one less candle each night of Hannukah. The candle idea makes about as much sense as having a conference on global climate(warming) change and having 10,000 people fly to it.

Nah. My lights will blaze forth each night and as I gaze upon the candles, I'll remember those days of old when the light of freedom blazed forth.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. How many other words are there for when the writer's muse has fled? Share freely!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Great Dictator

Several months ago, after watching some excerpts of Chaplin's movie The Great Dictator at various sites, I bought a copy and watched it last week. The movie was poignant and bittersweet. It captured the megalomania of both Hitler and Mussolini. It spoke of the horror of Nuremberg laws against Jews and it made a farce of how various news sources did not report the context of Hitler's speeches when he called for the extermination of Jews.

Chaplin was unique at the time. When Hollywood refused to make any movies portraying Hitler for what he was, Chaplin used his money and talent to expose Hitler. Though the film was satire, it did offer a glimpse of the horror of what Jews were facing in Germany because of the Nuremberg laws. Chaplin also said he would not have made the film if he had known true extent of Hitler's atrocities against Jews.

After the movie, there was commentary about the impact the movie had. It showed how it served as a beacon of hope to those across Europe who were in the midst of Hitler's blitzkrieg. One of the commentators stood out. The interviewee is Reinhard Spitzy, a former SS officer and member of Hitler's inner circle and he made the comment, "Hitler was no killjoy". You could see the admiration this sick individual still had for Hitler.

Chaplin was courageous for making this movie. He did it at a time when no one wanted to confront the evil Hitler represented. And that same cowardliness is going on in Hollywood and across the world today. Movie makers are afraid of portraying jihadists for what they are: murderers with a sick ideology. Instead, they portray US soldiers as the villains. They produce quasi-documentaries equating the victim of a suicide bomber to the murderer who killed.

This moral sickness extends to the news media. It also extends to college campuses. In the guise of cultural and moral equivalency: suicide bombers(murderers) are seen as being just regular people trying to overcome obstacles. Never mind the obstacles in question are Iraqi, Afghans, Pakistani, Indian, and Israeli children, women, and men. It doesn't seem to matter to these supporters of groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorists groups that the victims of these murderers are people full of hopes and dreams.

What is more important to these people full of moral sickness is to tear down those who are fighting against such blatant and inhuman murders: the United States and Israel.

Hollywood needs another Chaplin. The world needs another Churchill. The world needs someone who is willing the confront the jihadists, dictators and totalitarians the world has in its midst today. Ahmadnejad, Nasrallah, Chavez, Mugabe, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and General Ne Win are just a few. That would be the true test of courage: going against the flow of criticizing the United States and Israel and instead confronting those who are the real terrorists and violators of human rights.