Monday, March 31, 2008

The Story of Noah

Noah is a cancer survivor. He is in 60's. And his story is typical of the determination and resoluteness many on the Mississippi Gulf Coast have shown since Hurricane Katrina. He choose not to evacuate. Like many, he could not conceive of a hurricane worse than Hurricane Camille. Hurricane Camille's storm surge 24 feet. Hurricane Katrina's storm surge, according to NOAA, was 28 feet. Those four feet made Hurricane Katrina a storm who swath of destruction is still unimaginable.

Noah stayed in his home. His home was a approximately a quarter of a mile from Biloxi's Back Bay. He watched as the water rose and kept rising. He sought shelter in his attic and through there watched as Katrina's surge mowed down everything in its path. He watched as the wall of water destroyed his home. He survived and when the waters receded, he saw that nothing much was left on his street and that there was a vast emptiness all the way to the bay.

His response was typical of so many along the Gulf Coast. He and his neighbors checked on one another. None had homes that were habitable. None had food or water. But they helped one another as best as they could.

What was left of his home was eventually torn down. He was provided with a FEMA trailer. He has been on the waiting list for a Katrina Cottage. It arrived last week!!! He is only waiting for the electricity to be hooked up which should happen some time this week. He gave me permission to take photos and to tell his story.

The Katrina Cottages are small. Their design utilizes the space well. Their biggest advantage is they provide a great deal more protection than FEMA trailers. Also, their design blends in well with the architecture which predominated the Mississippi Gulf Coast before Katrina.

More and more of these cottages dot the landscape. Not only do they provide vital shelter but they give more of a sense of permanence than the FEMA trailers. The ubiquitous FEMA trailers are receding into memory. The cottages do so much more than provide shelter. Those who live in them now have a sense of home. And those who look at them, take delight in the appearance.

Like the flowers of spring, the pink, yellow, blue, and grey shades of the Katrina Cottages offer a vision of rejuvenation.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

World Opinion

It has been troubling to see all the anti-Zionism and anti-Israel stuff coming from all quarters. The UN Human Rights Commission is a farce. It is an exclusive club which apparently exists only to point out the supposed transgressions of the Jewish State of Israel. From the Commission's point of view, those in Darfur, Tibet, Burma, the Congo, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and other places are just out of luck. There is apparently no need to condemn the Sudanese, the military leaders of Burma and human rights violators elsewhere, for the only human rights violations in the world are being done by the Israelis. Never mind that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have committed more human rights violations against their own people. And of course, the suicide bombers, those who fire the Qassam rockets, the stone throwers, and others who seek to murder and maim Israeli citizens can be excused by the standards of the UN Human Rights Commission.

For the past two Shabbats, I've been reading Rabbi Telushkin's Jewish Wisdom. On the section regarding anti-Semitism, I found this to be very interesting:

Anti-Semitism: The Double Standard

The fellows who say to you, "I expect more of the Jews." don't believe them. They expect less. What they're really saying is, "Okay, we know you're a bunch of ravenous bastards, and given half the chance you'd eat up half the world, let alone poor Palestine. We know all these things about you, and so we're going to get you now. And how? Every time you make a move, we're going to say, 'But we expect more of the Jews, Jews are supposed to behave better.'"

Jews are supposed to behave better? After all that has happened? I would have thought it was the non-Jews whose behaviour could stand a little improvement. Why are we the only people who belong to this wonderful exclusive moral club that's behaving badly?
---Philip Roth, The Counterlife, pages 178-179

A prime example of this type of thinking is Jimmy Carter. This kind of thinking is harmful to all. It promotes and enables those who seek to murder Israelis indiscriminately. The Qassams Palestinian terrorists fire at Israel are not aimed at military targets: They are aimed at civilians. This is a clear violation of International Law. And yet, when these violations, 7,000 since 2000, occur, there are those who try to justify them and say, "Look at the harm the Israelis have done! Those poor, poor, Palestinians have no choice!". The thing is, they do have a choice. There would be peace now if the Palestinian terrorists stopped their murderous attacks. There would be peace now if radical Palestinian imams would stop preaching hate. There would be peace now if Palestinian text books taught more science, true history, and less hatred of Israelis.

If the Palestinians were to be held to the same standards as Israelis, there would be peace now.

The Waffle Edition

Life in Israel is hosting Haveil Havalim 160-The Waffle Edition.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Off Target

After learning that Rabbi Nosson came from the same town as my great-grandfather and grandfather, I've been seeking more information. Sites such as A Simple Jew give me a much needed break during my day at work. In searching more about Rabbi Nachman, I've come across videos at Youtube full of joyous music that gladden my heart and bring a smile. I saw many with Lazer Brody. Since my experience has been largely positive, I did a search on Lazer Brody. For some reason, the first post I came to was his Katrina's Message. While he was writing his words, I and my family were experiencing the winds of Hurricane Katrina and as those long 8 hours wore on, we all knew it was bad. Just watching as a neighbors home was destroyed and listening to the howling of the wind told us that.

So it was with shock I read Lazer's Katrina message.

Katrina is hitting just as the bulldozers are completing the destruction of Gush Katif. The Talmud teaches that Hashem administers the world according to the "ATFAT" principle, in other words, "a turn for a turn" (for an elaboration of the ATFAT principle, see Chapter Six of The Trail to Tranquility). My heart tells me that there's a link between the forced expulsion of 8500 people from their blood, sweat, and tear-soaked homes in Israeli Gaza and between the nearly 850,000 people who are forced to flee from their homes in Louisiana. Sharon, at the prodding of the American government, has destroyed hallowed centers of prayer, Torah learning, and settlement in the Land of Israel. Hashem isn't wasting much time in showing His wrath. In fact, Katrina has chosen Ms. Rice's home state as a target; I humbly believe that the unfortunate people of Louisiana can blame Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice for their misfortune. This is a classic ATFAT situation: He who creates exiles in the Holy Land, will have a hundred-fold exiles in his own land.

It was a shock because as the people of Gush Katif were being forced out of their homes, I was sitting in Mississippi with tears in my eyes. I wrote and tried to understand the stupidity of the Israeli and US governments . The tears for men and women of Gush Katif were rolling when I saw the video of one of the last services held at a synagogue in Gush Katif. Even now, I commiserate with the citizens who once lived in the beautiful homes of Gush Katif and who have yet to rebuild their homes elsewhere in Israel.

For there are still so many here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast who have yet to rebuild their homes. They were not forced out by the US government but by a force of nature. While the winds, the rains, and the surge were swirling around, mixed in the terror was awe for Hashem.

We praise You, Hashem, Sovereign of the universe, Source of creation and its wonders.

We praise You, Hashen, Sovereign of the universe, whose power and might pervade the world

And after the storm had passed, more prayers were given.

Just and Holy G-d,
receive our fear, our shame, our grief, our anger.
Help us to overcome them,
to use these energies in the service of healing.

Like the citizens of Gush Katif, we needed to heal. And even after 2 1/2 years, the healing is not completed. We still feel the shame of having our homes and livelihoods knocked out from under us. We still feel the anger and the grief of our losses. We still have our fears and they come the guise of dreams and worries that we will be struck once again. The start of every hurricane season leaves me with the taste of bile.

I really don't understand Lazer's "a turn for a turn". For if Hashem had really sent Hurricane Katrina because of Gush Katif, He was certainly way off target. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are full of people who support Israel. Why should Hashem punish us? Is it because Secretary of State Rice is from Alabama? If so, why did Alabama have so little damage when compared to Mississippi and Louisiana? After all Alabama had few homes destroyed. Mississippi had around 100,000homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina or that had to be demolished later. New Orleans and the surrounding area had around the same number that were flooded.

The lesson I learned from Hashem was to be humble about the forces of nature. And the greatest lesson I learned, that with all the faults of the government of the United States, its people are its greatest asset. For after the winds died down, after the waters receded, we were struck by another deluge. The number of volunteers who poured in and helped us dig out of the ruble inspired awe. The number of volunteers who mourned with us as we buried our dead inspired awe. the number of volunteers who helped to feed us and to clothe us inspired awe. And the number of volunteers, even after 2 1/2 years, who still work with us side-by-side, inspire awe and gratitude.

The prayers of fear have been replaced with ones of joy and thanksgiving.

We praise You, Eternal G-d, Sovereign of the universe: You call us to holiness. We give thanks for all whose labor benefits the world.

Sovereign G-d of the universe, for the wonder I have experienced in this place, I give thanks.

We praise You, Eternal G-d, Sovereign of the universe, for the life-giving waters of the sea.

We praise You, Eternal G-d, Sovereign of the universe: You are the Source of all good.

The healing continues. The fears and uncertainties of the future have receded along with the massive storm surge and the mighty winds. Many of the refugees have returned home. And while still much needs to be done, with the continued guidance of Hashem, we are rebuilding. Perhaps Hashem's target did not miss the mark: He guided so many to help. When so many become their brother's keepers, much good is done and Hashem's presence can be felt.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Exclusive: Video of Hillary Under Sniper Fire!

Question Answered

During the excursion of Israel into Lebanon in 2006, I was over at my Mom's and we were watching the news. She asked why were the news media so biased against Israel. At the time, I could only offer an example of the bias of the BBC.

Now, comes a press release from an organization that should support objective news: International Federation of Journalists.

While the press release seeks to stop the Palestinian Authority and Hamas from intimidating reporters in the West Bank and Gaza, the choice of the following words make me wonder how objective reporters really are when reporting on Israel:

“This intimidation and political bullying of journalists does great damage to the Palestinian cause,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It undermines efforts of journalists throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip to work together to build a unified media movement in favour of stability and democratic development.”

Why should a journalist group be concerned about the harm done to the "Palestinian cause"? And why should a group work for a "unified media movement"? Shouldn't the news be less concerned with unification and more concerned with reporting: who, what, when, where, and why? The thing is, the bias against Israel usually doesn't report the why of Israel's actions or news reports tend to downplay the terrorist actions that prompt Israel to defend her people.

The post at Israellycool doesn't point out the some of the flagrant ways the words chosen by journalists harm and demonize Israel. Also, little is reported on the ongoing terrorist activities by Israel's supposed 'peace partners'. The Palestinians are now claiming Israel is committing genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The sad thing is, people who are being brutalized and murdered by tyrannical governments around the world are being ignored because of all the focus on Israel and the Palestinians. The real genocide in places such as Darfur is ignored. Buddhists monks in Burma and now Tibet are struggling to have their stories told. The UN Human Rights Commission condemns Israel while ignoring the brutal tactics of Chavez and Mugabe. Food aid meant for the starving in Africa is shanghaied by those with the most guns and the people is meant for continue to starve.

The cronies of Kim Jong are now beginning to face the food shortages the rest of North Korea has faced for decades. Political and religious prisoners languish in jails across the Middle East. Women are still second class citizens in many parts of the world. Little more than slaves and yet, all the focus is one tiny country in which the rights of women and all religious denominations are respected: Israel. And less people have died in 60 years of conflict in Israel than have died in one week in the Congo.

Dennis Prager asks Why Do Palestinians Get Much More Attention Than Tibetans?

Why is the only Jewish state in the world the focus of so much vilification and outright hatred? That is a question that has plagued mankind for around 2,000 years.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The weather has been much too nice to blog about anything serious.

Mazel Tov to Seraphic Secret!

Don't forget to link to Jack!

Gail has a fun quiz. I have raven eyes!


You have Raven Eyes!
Positive Traits: Intellectual, Wise, Experienced, Honest, Trustworthy
Negative Traits: Pompous, Condescending, Withdrawn, Pessimistic, Depressed

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Housing Market

Glenn Reynolds has an interesting post regarding some of the reasons for the housing market. One reader e-mailed the following:

I seriously believe the glut of real estate-oriented shows on HGTV and TLC is partially to blame. Those networks run endless programs about young couples who build or buy houses, do a few basic upgrades, and then turn around and sell them for unbelievable profits in just a year or two. I think people watch these shows and truly project themselves into them, believing that anybody can make money off any house, at any time and in any housing market. There have been many times where I've seen a house priced way above market value and thought, "That person's seen one too many episodes of 'My House is Worth WHAT?'."

I watch "My house is Worth WHAT?" And I remember one couple who had just bought a new home in the Southwest(Phoenix, I believe). The bought the house mainly to turn it over and reap a profit. It was a newly constructed home and the price they paid was around $400,000.00. They talked a little bit about the financing they chose. They opted for a loan in which they just paid the interest. Their payments were $1,600.00 a month for just interest! Talk about having heads in the sand.

Many on that show are not looking to sell their homes. They want to be able to procure loans to finance things such as their children's education. And while talking about a loan on the value of the house, it comes down to taking out a second mortgage. Dressing it up as a home equity loan doesn't change that fact. And these loans are based on an already inflated value of the home.

There has been much speculation on the some of the programs out there in which a person can buy a home without having a down payment. Many states, such as Mississippi, help with the down payment. From my experience, these programs are beneficial. But certain factors must be met in order for them to work effectively. The lenders and realtors need to stop trying to insist that a potential home buyer can afford mortgage payments that are more than 30% of a person's gross income. Buyers must learn to budget within their means and build up a good credit rating.

Home ownership is one of the lasting dreams of American citizens. But when reality collides with fantasy, problems such as the current sub-prime crisis will occur. If your income is $80,000 a year, you cannot afford that $400,000.00 home. And a home equity loan is just dressed up words for a second mortgage.

Spring Senryu

Yes folks, it is that time of year for me: Allergy season!!!

Senryu for Oak Pollen

Beautiful green
Spring sneezes
Summer shade

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Cat, a Dog, a Tree, and a Car

One pit bull(with two puppies tagging along) who targets cats: Check

One highly aggrevated cat that dislikes dogs: Check

One oak tree that shelters all sorts of animals within it's limbs and branches: Check

One car: Check

Write your idea of the sequence of events that transpired. I'm going to go and finish preparations for Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom Y'all!

Happy Purim!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Together 4 Israel

Join today and stand Together 4 Israel.


Most people react with horror when innocent school students are slain without any provocation. I wanted to believe that all the reports coming from Gaza and the West Bank of people celebrating the deaths of 8 innocent students were staged. There is still a part of me that hopes that the majority of Palestinians do want to live side-by-side with Israel in peace. I'm always the optimist. But certain factors have always dampened those hopes: the hate-filled toward Jews/Israel in Palestinian school books, the hate-filled children's programming spewed out by the Palestinian Authority, the lack of any real effort by the Palestinian Authority to build up an infrastructure to promote businesses and healthy living, and mostly the idea that a child's greatest hope in life is to become a suicide bomber. All of these factors have led to a spiraling culture of death amongst Palestinians.

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also shows unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

The pollster, Khalil Shikaki, said he was shocked because the survey, taken last week, showed greater support for violence than any other he had conducted over the past 15 years in the Palestinian areas. Never before, he said, had a majority favored an end to negotiations or the shooting of rockets at Israel...

Further in the article I first read at Solomonia, a staggering 84% of Palestinians support the idea it is okay to murder teenage students as they study. I'm sure some half-wits will try to twist and manipulate the poll numbers in order to blame Israel. I really thought blaming the victim was so passe. But I guess when it is those bloody and evil Zionists, all rules of human rights go out the door.

Billions and billions in international aid has been given to help the Palestinians build up their lives. Greenhouses were given to them after Israel disengaged from Gaza and they were in ruins after the Palestinians dismantled them and dug tunnels to smuggle weapons. Israel had an industrial zone in which Gazans could have good jobs. The zone was continually frought with murderous attacks against Israelis and Israel was forced to close it.

At some point, people need to stop excusing the deadly temper tantrums of the Palestinians. But I suppose the excuses will keep coming and more innocents will be torn apart by rifle fire. I can't thinking about the Columbine shootings. I saw the tail end of a program about it the other night. While there was an effort to understand the mental state of the murderers, I noticed no one blamed the victims. Why should the murders of 8 yeshiva students be treated any differently?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thank You


Blair Gnome Project

The Sun has the video! Spooky stuff!


Today marks the 5 year anniversary of the United States war in Iraq. Things are settling down and the Iraqis are edging ever closer to having a terror free life. The markets are reopening and many that had fled the country are returning to their homes. Going into Iraq is and remains a part of the Global War Against Terror. After the 9-11 attacks, the US invaded Afghanistan in response. operation enduring Freedom has led to progress in Afghanistan. There is still much work to be done in both countries and as each struggles to implement democracies, there are some short-comings in each. It is a start.

The men and women who serve in the United States Forces have done an outstanding job in the war against terror. From the Horn of Africa to Afghanistan: their actions are helping so many to be able to lives their lives without fear and have disposed of brutal dictators and repressive regimes. Against fierce criticism from the news media and protests by fanatical groups such as Code Pink: they have kept the eye on the mission and have done well. My disillusionment is not with the United States Armed Forces but with the Commander in Chief and the Secretary of State.

When President Bush made his speeches for justifying US military action in both Afghanistan and Iraq, he pledged that those who commit terror and those who support terror would have no place to hide. He pledged there would be no negotiations with terrorists. He pledged the funds of terrorists would dry up after financial accounts were frozen.

Much has been done in stopping the terror funding. However, not enough has been done. Funds still flow into the coffers of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Fatah, the Taliban, etc. Iran and Syria are still the kingmakers in terrorism. Saudi Arabia still funds world-wide distribution of Wahhabism. Al Qaeda and many other terror groups follow this stringent and brutal form of Islam.

I suppose I was a bit naive in believing that when he meant no terrorist would have a hiding place, he meant all terrorists, not just those who aim at US citizens. See, there is a country that has been on the front-line of terror attacks for decades: Israel. I still admire President Bush for not meeting with Arafat. Early in his presidency, Bush seemed very committed to wiping out terrorists groups no matter where they were. But in his second term, he seems more worried about leaving a legacy.

If US cities were bombarded on a daily basis, he would not hesitate to go after and eradicate the terrorists responsible. If US citizens faced daily commutes in which terrorists sought to murder by throwing Molotov cocktails, stones, suicide bombers, and by firing on drivers, he would would go after the those responsible and jail them. If US schools were targeted by terrorists and students murdered, he would not hesitate in using military force to eradicate the terrorists.

In other words, he would do everything in his power to preserve the lives of United States citizens. But since his re-election and since appointing Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State, he doesn't seem to think other countries should be able to do what-ever is their power to protect the lives of their citizens. I should amend that statement. It is only Israel that Bush and Company asks that negotiations with terrorists take place.

They are just the latest in politicians around the world which think Israel is the country which should not be able to respond to brutal terror attacks. The United Nations started a deadly trend when it gave observant status to the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1974. I guess if you want to murder US diplomats, hijack airplanes, murder Olympic athletes, and employ other acts of terrorism: it is okay by the United Nations. Just make sure your targets are aimed at Israel. By giving the PLO such status, the UN basically said screw Israel. The UN's decision gave carte blanche to terrorists who only seek to murder civilians: International Law be damned.

Since then, the PLO has supposedly transformed itself into "moderate" Fatah. Just because the suits the terrorist now wear are better than previously, it doesn't change the heart of the PLO, now Fatah. The PLO was formed with one aim in mind: the complete and utter destruction of Israel "from the river to the sea". Fatah gives lip service about seeking peace with Israel. But have you noticed that any time any new peace proposal is on the table, the Palestinians ramp up violent attacks against Israeli citizens? Since President Bush and Co. have started the latest proposals for peace, there have been more attacks against Israeli citizens. There have been more Qassams fired into Israeli towns. There has been the brutal of slaughter of Israeli students. Who wants peace? It doesn't appear to be the Palestinians.

With each act of murder, with Qassam fired into Sderot, while condemning the attacks, Bush and Co. call on Israel to show a restraint that would be unheard of in the United States or any other country. Instead of withholding funding to the Palestinian Authority after it was learned that two Fatah security officers were involved in the deaths of two Israeli hikers, more US money is being sent for the Palestinian "security forces".

Rice had the stupidity of likening the Palestinians to the struggles faced by blacks during the Civil Rights Movement. She ignores why Israel needs checkpoints. She ignores why Israel needs a security fence. She ignores why it is imperative for Israelis to curtail movement of Palestinians.

In 2003, Bush made a strong stance and spewed much rhetoric by saying terrorists will have no place to hide and that those who support them will be punished. In the past few years he has given lie to those words. By his new "peace accords", he is allowing terrorists to hide openly. It is a political game in which the human rights of Israelis are to be ignored. It is collective punishment against Israeli citizens. It emboldens the terrorists and the violence will continue.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So Not BFF

Marshall Ramsey of the Clarion-Ledger published this cartoon Sunday. Somehow, I didn't check out the Clarion-Ledger on Sunday. Sorry Ms. Clinton, Mississippi and you are not BFF.

Napkins Please

Every wondered what would happen if the food court at a mall ran out of napkins? Thanks to the folks at Improv Everywhere, wonder no more:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I've been very impressed with the way Obama has been running his campaign. I've been embarrassed at the tactics of Clinton's campaign. She and her campaign staff go around the country spreading negative vibes. In other words, she is a divider. Geraldine Ferraro's comments that Obama would not be in the running if he were white is an unfair attack.

Obama has support among blacks and whites because he hasn't sought the divide and conquer route of Clinton.

Clinton and her campaign spew negativity. And at one time, I actually thought I might be able to vote for her. But that was early in the nomination process when it looked as if Huckabee might win the Republican nomination.

I'm drawn to Obama's ideas of having a more transparent government. The posting at a web-site of earmarks and all government spending sounds like a very good idea. I am troubled by his lack of experience and the advisers he has chosen for foreign policy. I need to further study his proposals on tax issues.

Every time I try to focus on Clinton, all that comes forth is this shrill ringing in my ears. She claims to have foreign policy experience. But I don't consider pillow talk with her husband as qualification for foreign policy or domestic policy for that matter. I remember her leading the charge for health care coverage when her husband was president. I don't remember too much about her plan. I do remember how she tried to ramrod it without explaining in detail how it was supposed to work. It was almost like she was trying to say trust me. Problem is I didn't trust her then. And I don't trust her now.

All in all, my decision of who to vote for in the November elections for president will not be based on who has the best sound-bite. It will be based on the candidates stances on issues and on the candidates experience. And as it stands, McCain will be my choice.

But I'm troubled by reports of McCain's hot temper. But his decades of experience should temper that. I will have to go with the elder even though I like Obama's charisma.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


In honor of all the attention is receiving because of the primaries today, I'm pointing y'all to my post, The Democrats Love Us Now!.

There's a lot of people who like Obama. They like his plans for a transparent government. They like his message of hope and change. Hillary Clinton's message is shrill and her derogatory comments about Mississippi have not been forgotten.

Neither has the fact that it is 2 1/2 years after Hurricane Katrina hit and not one major Democratic politician has visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Even with all the campaigning by Hillary and Obama, neither has visited Gulfport, Biloxi, Bay St Louis, Pass Christian, Moss Point, Escatawpa, Pascagoula, Lakeshore, or any of the other Coastal cities heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Oh well, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is largely Republican, no need to really see and understand what is needed for rebuilding. Move along, nothing to see here.

There may be a surprise in store for McCain though. There were 5 Ron Paul supporters at the beach urging people to vote for him!

Okay, okay. So McCain hasn't paid the Mississippi Gulf Coast a visit either. But he didn't hypocritically criticize President Bush and as far as I know, hasn't made any derogatory comments about Mississippi. Neither has Obama and I think that may give him the edge over Hillary.

Just A Word In Hebrew

I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul -
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.

Already, there are attempts to justify the brutal murders of 8 yeshiva students in Jerusalem. This blogger titled his post Murdered Israeli Settlers. This person, by calling the victims settlers, seeks to downplay the atrocity that occurred in Jerusalem. It is blaming the victims and not the murderer.

I have a question for the blogger: Do you think the murderer went and asked each of his victims where they lived before he shot them? These boys and young men were studying Torah when the bullets started spraying.

Every time an act of murder like this occurs, there is always the platitudes that it is the actions of the Israeli government, settlers, the wall, the security checks, ad nauseum, which have prompted the murderer to act.

No attention is giving to the hate that is taught in schools run by the Palestinian Authority. No attention is given to the television shows shown by the Palestinian Authority which tells Palestinian children that their highest aspiration should be to die as a suicide bomber.

No, to bloggers such as this person, the only blame should go to the victims.

From every quarter, Israel is asked to show restraint against the murder of her citizens and the constant bombardment of Sderot.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a visit to Jerusalem with a message from the Palestinians - not those in Gaza, mind you, the Palestinian leadership based in Ramallah. Rice promised that the PA is willing to renew talks with Israel. Although talking peace with Mahmoud Abbas at the moment is probably about as effective as me humming a song in response to The Situation. While the South is under fire from the Gaza Strip, despite the complete removal of all the Jewish communities there two years ago, and a terrorist whom someone armed - (Hamas? Hizbullah?) - can go on a killing spree in Jerusalem, it seems to be a strange time to talk about more compromises.

The Israel disengagement from Gaza was supposed to lead to a better chance for peace. Two and a half years later, the Kassams are starting to reach Ashkelon and Ashdod. Israel is accused of "collective punishment" when passive means of protecting her citizens are used. When power to Gaza is cut off for a few hours, "collective punishment" is yelled. When checkpoints and a wall are built, "collective punishment" is yelled.

Too few say anything about the "collective punishment" that the citizens of Sderot face from the Kassams that are aimed at school children. These Kassams are aimed indiscriminately toward the civilians living in Sderot. They are being "collectively punished" for being Israeli citizens living in an Israeli town.

There is no justification for the Kassam rocket attacks and there was no justification for the brutal murders of 8 yeshiva students. All of these acts of murder and attempted murder were and are premeditated.

Each and every time new peace efforts are called for, the Palestinians respond with an increase in violence. It was seen with the Oslo Accords and now with President Bush's calls for peace talks. Both sides must want peace in order for it to be achieved.

As Liat Collins pointed out in her column, No Other Country:

If we had Canada as a neighbor, we wouldn't be at war either. We wouldn't have to find a way to respond to an ongoing missile and terror onslaught on our cities and towns.
In the meantime, Israelis Left, Right and Center can carry on singing in unison, if not in harmony: "Ein li eretz aheret... " - "I have no other country..." It contains a message for Hamas and Hizbullah: "Kan hu beiti," here is my home, or as they say in Arabic: "Hon beiti." Learn to live with it.

H/t: Treppenwitz

Monday, March 10, 2008

Better Late Than Never

I meant to post this yesterday morning but had to print out some more material for Torah study. I decided I would post it yesterday afternoon, but again was sidetracked. I visited my Mom and ended up taking my brother's cat home! This is no nice kitty. She hissed and growled at my other cats for hours and I had to referee(mainly by petting the other cats so they would remain calm). Things finally settled down around 10:00pm. She would now allow my other cats within 2 feet of her before hissing and running away. No more growling! Progress!!!

Better late than never: Haveil Havalim - 157.

Friday, March 7, 2008



Of course there's a chance of snow tonight. For some reason, every March when I even start thinking about planting tomatoes, we have snow. This past week was no exception. Aftert clearing out the beds, I started thinking about what kind of tomato, pepper, and other plants to set out. Now we are forecast to have light snow!

Mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of light rain and very light snow in the evening. Colder. Lows in the lower 30s. Northwest winds 15 to 20 mph. No snow accumulation expected.


I do not know any of the victims from the latest Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis. I do know that 8 students from the seminary were slaughtered as they sought words of wisdom and truth from the Torah. The youngest was 15.

Avraham David Mozes, 16

Yehonadav Haim Hirshfeld, 19

I will leave my anger for another day for news organizations such as BBC who labeled this horrendous act of terrorism as an "incident". I will also leave my anger for another day as politicians across the world who call upon Israel to show restraint while its youth are slaughtered. I will leave my anger for another day for those who dare to compare the Israeli victims of terrorists to those who murdered them. I will leave my anger for another day at those who support terrorist groups like Hezbollah and proclaim, "We are Hezbollah".

Today, I will say prayers for the victims families. And I will say refuah shlema for those who are in the hospital:

Naftali ben Gila
Yonatan ben Avital
Shimon ben Tirza
Nadav ben Hadas
Reuven ben Naomi
Elchana ben Zehava

Israellycool is posting updates. Shabbat starts soon in Israel. And the IDF will be on high alert.

I will be studying Torah as I always do for Shabbat. And I will try to find some words of understanding of why the world thinks it is okay to spill Jewish blood. And I will sing zemirot with an added poignancy.

Baruch Dayan Emet:

Yochai Lipschitz, 18, of Jerusalem
Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, of Shiloh
Yonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, 19, of Kochav Hashahar
Neriah Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem
Roey Roth, 18, of Elkana
Segev Pniel Avihayil, 15, of Neveh Daniel
Avraham David Moses, 16, of Efrat
Maharata Trunoch, 26, of Ashdod

The Democrats Love Us Now!

There has been a dearth of major Democratic politicians who even recognize that Mississippi was hit hard when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore. But that is changing! In Mississippi, the primaries for the Presidential election are to be held next Tuesday. And guess who is showing up?

Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Canton, Mississippi. Why with her laser beam eyes, I'm sure she could she the damage from around 200 miles away!. Perhaps she couldn't make it to Biloxi or Gulfport because she was worried about crying or maybe she watched Foxnews to see the reports of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina!

In her 30-minute speech, Clinton took President Bush to task for his response to Hurricane Katrina, saying the president should not have needed a video from CNN to understand what was happening after the storm.

"The President did not respond to the needs of the people here in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana... " Clinton said. "We do not yet have the level of response and urgency that a national disaster, which turned into a national disgrace, deserves. I will do whatever I can to make up for lost time as your president.

It is funny how she lambastes President Bush for not immediately hopping on a plane on August 30, 2005 to inspect the damage. Frankly, a visit by President Bush at that time would have pulled valuable resources from ongoing rescue efforts along the Mississippi Coast and in New Orleans. Her message may have sounded more sincere if perhaps she stood on the steps(all that was left) of of McElroy's Restaurant in Biloxi. Or perhaps on the slab where the Seafood and Maritime Museum once stood. Or maybe the vast, empty lot where historic homes such as Grasslawn once stood. Or maybe, she could have just driven along Highway 90 and so the countless slabs and steps that are the only reminders of what was once there before Hurricane Katrina.

More money is needed for rebuilding the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans. I'll agree with her on that. But she is hypocrite for she has not visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She does not know the level of destruction. President Bush was made an honorary citizen for the number of visits he made to Biloxi and Gulfport after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Democratic leaders, including Hillary Clinton herself, were too busy with derogatory comments about Mississippi to bother to see for themselves the monumental task we face in rebuilding.

"I was shocked when I learned Iowa and Mississippi have never elected a woman governor, senator or member of Congress," Clinton told the paper. "There has got to be something at work here. How can Iowa be ranked with Mississippi? That's not the quality. That's not the communitarianism, that's not the openness I see in Iowa.'"

Oh, I see. Mississippi is a repressive and closed off state until she needs our votes. But even this comment wasn't as bad as the one Representative Charles Rangel made.

“Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?” Mr. Rangel said.

Hmm. Something seems to be in the water of New York and Washington D.C. It makes New Yorkers hate Mississippi!

Instead of her prickliness coming to see the damage for herself in cities such as Gulfport and Biloxi, she is sending her 'husband', Bill. After all, can't have her crying or possibly swooning over the devastation.

Oh, and Obama is supposed to be making a visit to Mississippi as well.

Thankfully, since McCain is unopposed in the primaries, we don't have to worry about a suck-up visit from him.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Another School Shooting

Not only that, but people are being attacked with stones and shot at as they drive down roads. Read more here. Oh, and don't forget about the town of Sderot that faces daily bombardment.

I expect more calls for Israeli "restraint". The Palestinians are on the war path and the world wants Israel to do nothing to endanger the "peace process". this "peace process" is a joke. Only one side wants peace and it is not the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are celebrating by handing out candy, just like they did after 9-11.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Slightly Different Approaches

A New Age Noah
submitted by: Jewlarious
Avg. RatingVotes: 152 Views: 9098

A new flood is foretold by the world's weather specialists and they say that nothing can be done about it. In three days, the waters will wipe out the world.

The Dalai Lama appears on television and pleads with everybody to turn to Buddhism. That way, they will at least reach enlightenment.

The Pope goes on television and says that the world must accept Christianity in order to attain salvation.

The Chief Rabbi of Israel takes a slightly different approach: "We all have three days to learn how to live under water."

It Isn't Just Oil

Glenn Reynolds points to the effectiveness of boycotting Citgo. Citgo supplies gas from Venezuela. Calls for boycotting Citgo began 2 years ago after Chavez spoke at the UN. The words of a tyrant are costly. But it was the actions of Chavez which prompted me more than his words. His brutal tactics against the citizens of Venezuela should not be rewarded.

I never did buy gas from Citgo so boycotting those gas stations were easy. But there are other ways to boycott. When a company needs lubricating oils for machinery, it is easy to to let a buyer know about Chavez and his tyranny. Happily, in my experience, the needed lubricants were not bought from Citgo.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I really, really thought I was starting to get over this. I rejoiced a few weeks ago when instead of feeling a sense of panic, I ran outside with my camera to take some shots of the awesome storm clouds. Even the multiple tornado warnings didn't faze me.

But yesterday I started having the flashbacks. There wasn't any thunder or lightening, just very strong winds. Those winds had an eerie keening that was reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina. It wasn't the strength of the winds yesterday that gave me a sense of unease. It was the keening.

During Hurricane Katrina, that keening was a constant presence for over 8 hours. In the months after, I would have nightmares about the sound of the wind. It wasn't so much the trees being blown down, I expect that during a hurricane. It wasn't watching parts of your sister's neighbor's house swirling and skipping along in the wind, I've seen that in previous hurricanes. In fact, during Hurricane Elena, part of my own roof was blown off.

No, no. The thing that gave me nightmares was the keening of the wind during Hurricane Katrina. The wind sounded as if though it wanted to destroy everything in its path and was searching for any means possible to get to you. From the sound of the wind, I just knew this was one bad, destructive storm. And it wasn't even the wind that caused the most damage.

After the winds died down and I was able to leave the shelter of my sister's home, the closer I came to my home, the more fearful I became. A 20 minute trip took more than twice as long. The firemen had done a great job of clearing major roads but the other ones were a maze to go through. Transformers were suspended in the middle of roads. Trees blocked the way and debris from damaged homes had to be avoided. And all of this was 12 miles inland, far from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina's storm surge.

And the closer I came to my home, the more damage I saw. Somehow, I was one of the lucky ones. The homes next to me, behind me, and across the street suffered from major roof damage. My home had only the soffit and fascia on the south and east sides ripped off. No roof damage. No blown out windows. Heck, I didn't even have any trees blown down.

But it was the drive home that lent credibility to my fears that the keening of Hurricane Katrina's winds portended a very, very, very destructive storm. And then the news reports started coming in about the lethal storm surge that caused havoc from Lakeshore Mississippi to Escatawpa Mississippi. The 66 miles of beach front and a quarter mile inland and some places, a mile or more inland, were wiped clean. No homes, no businesses, no familiar landscapes existed any longer. Only the miles and miles of debris were left.

And yesterday, the keening of the wind brought back the first shock of realizing my world had literally turned upside down. Listening to the news on a battery powered radio came the realization that the place I worked out had been swept out to sea along with much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The frantic calls trying to reach my son to make sure he was okay. As I've written before, my landline worked just long enough that afternoon so that I could hear my son's voice and know that he and his Dad's family were okay. All of my family had stayed at my sister's. Now we had to wait to see if my brother's home close to the beach had survived and to see if my Mom and sister's home in Biloxi had survived.

My youngest sister didn't know if she still had a job. She did, but it would be almost a year before repairs were finished and she could go back to work there. My youngest brother no longer had a job either. Working close to beach or Biloxi's Back Bay has many benefits but 8 hours can change all that.

I was able to conitune working as the company I worked for began the long and ardous task of clean-up and then started the rebuilding. My office is still the trailer rented 3 weeks after Katrina. Work is supposed to begin soon. The main focus was to have the plant rebuilt and operational. My sister found and held two jobs until the place she worked before Katrina reopened the doors on the one year anniversary of Katrina. The place my youngest brother worked may or may not ever rebuild. He has been working steadily for a glazier since Hurricane Katrina.

Even though three of us were out of work for a short period of time and two of us had major damage to our homes, my family was one of the lucky ones. We lost no family memebrs and we lost no friends.

And the keening of the wind yesterday brought back a flood of memories. It is going to be a rough week. Once those memories come to the fore-front, it is hard to overcome the fear of having your world change in just 8 hours.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Main Entry: en·abler
Pronunciation: \i-ˈnā-blər, -bəl-ər\
Function: noun
Date: 1615
: one that enables another to achieve an end; especially : one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior

I really do not understand the enablers of terrorists such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and so many others. They seem to be justifying all acts of terror while downplaying the murderous intent of terrorists. Even after 9-11, many asked the question: Why do they hate us? These enablers try to alloy the blame of the murderers by saying it is US policy that led to the deaths of close to 3,000 innocent people who were just at work. I witnessed the same on a show about women on death row.

One of the women had tortured, raped, and murdered an 8 year old girl. Her defenders say the women had suffered the same type of abuse throughout her life. While one can have compassion for the abuse the women suffered as a child, it does not excuse her murder of an 8 year old.

The attempt for justification for murder can also be seen in the movie To Die in Jerusalem. I will not mention the vile murderer but will mention the young woman whose life was cut short: Rachel Levy.

Gila is a survivor of another suicide bomber. Just read her blog My Shrapnel. She has posted about this vile movie which serves no purpose but to allow the enabling of future murders.

Enabler is usually a term that is associated with those who help alcoholics, drug users, and others to continue their self-destructive behaviors. It can also be used for what I see going on today. Israel is widely condemned for any acts she takes to defend her citizens. By comparison, we are asked to try to understand the vile acts of terrorism by Palestinians. We are told that Israel's might is so much greater that the stone-throwing, the Kassams, the Molotov cocktails, the shootings, the stabbings, and the suicide bombings are just a 'natural response' to the supposed injustices Israel commits.

Herein lies the problem: Israel is supposed to just take her citizens in Sderot being bombarded with a daily barrage of Kassams. Israel is supposed to open her check-points even though the check-points have stopped numerous suicide bombers. Israel is condemned for a passive fence that has greatly reduced the number of suicide bombings. Israel is condemned if power is cut-off to Gaza. Never mind that it is from Gaza the rockets are launched. Israel is condemned for so-called 'collectively punishing' those in Gaza while little is said of the collective punishment Palestinian terrorists enacts on Israelis. Below, sums it up:

My parents attended a lecture in Jerusalem the other day. The speaker (not surprisingly) touched on the current 'situation'. At one point a woman in the audience stood up and said [I'm paraphrasing from my recollection of what my father related]; "Hamas has publicly asked Israel for a cease fire... so why hasn't Israel accepted? Do we want peace or do we want to keep on fighting?" Several people tried to shout her down but the speaker held up his hands and said that he wanted to respond. He said, "First of all, there are several words for 'peace' in Arabic... but Hamas isn't using any of them. What they are asking for is a temporary cessation of hostilities which is entirely in their interest and doesn't serve Israel's interests in the slightest. I think I speak for the government of Israel when I say that the instant Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel there will be an immediate cease fire." This is fairly obvious to me... so why doesn't anyone outside of Israel seem to understand this???

The rhetoric against Israel is so one-sided, it enables the terrorists to continue their deadly goals. Time and again Israel is singled out and we are to think of the Palestinians as a sort of later day David against Goliath. But why such singular emphasis on Israel? Why is there not a call for the Palestinian terrorists to stop their murderous attacks? Why were there so many people who willingly sided with terrorists by holding up signs that said "We Are Hezbollah" when Israel went into Lebanon? Why do so many churches call for divestment in Israel? Why so many calls for Israel to be boycotted?

Solomonia has provided links which I find very helpful. An excerpt below:

In their various activisms, Christian groups have often spoken for Judaism in a way that is troubling. These have asserted principals of Judaism to advance their anti-Israel case, have offered their own quirky interpretations of ‘what Judaism teaches’ or emphasizes, or have latched onto fringe groups that supported their chosen viewpoints as if these were representative of Judaism.

For example, Christian groups have continually asserted that Jewish claims to land are null and void, but that Jewish covenant obligations remain in force. In cases they have posited an idyllic view of Jews living in the Diaspora as modeling “community life not dependent on violence to sustain it. . . [They] ‘were able to maintain identity without turf or sword, community without sovereignty. They thereby demonstrated pragmatically the viability of the ethic of Jeremiah and Jesus.’” [As an observer, I must say, I’d be surprised if many Jews in the Diaspora would be particularly pleased to be credited with demonstrating the ethic of Jesus … and I’m certain most of the people who experienced this life as a minority population subject to humiliating laws and officially sanctioned persecution would not take the suggestion well that this was God’s eternal purpose for them.]

Solomonia has another post called Enablers of Murder. An excerpt:

...According to Israeli spokesman David Baker, "We have over 200,000 Israelis in range of Palestinian rockets. We cannot allow this to go on. These rocket attacks on Israelis are sheer terror, designed to kill or maim as many Israelis as possible." If the attacks do not stop, then by no stretch of the imagination can the Palestinian people be considered ready for peace or even seriously interested in it.

The only way they will stop is if the world finally stops giving the Palestinians a free pass and calls the Palestinian game for what it is. There would be no Israeli strikes if there were no Palestinian aggression. The Palestinians cannot whine about the peace process while continuing to shell Israeli civilians on a daily basis. Yet the world indulges them. So many people believe the myth that the Palestinians are victims, that they are underdogs, that they have no incentive to change their behavior or take any responsibility for their actions. Why should they, when every UN resolution favors their cause, when only Israel and the increasingly isolated United States dare to criticize them openly? When even in the United States many on the political left raise the Palestinian banner?

In order for there to be peace in Israel and for a Palestinian state to be viable: enablers must cease their actions. Justifying attempted and successful acts of murder will not bring peace. It will only embolden the murderers.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

# 156

Haveil Havalim is up!

Into Gaza

In an effort to stop the almost hourly Qassams fired by terrorists in Gaza, Israel has finally said enough is enough.

Israellycool is doing his usual superb job of posting.

The condemnations against Israel have already begun. Too bad those like the European Union and so many others cannot seem to have the same intensity in condemning the terrorists.