Saturday, 30 December 2017

Jewish Immunization

It is no secret that I detest missionaries, especially the kind that misrepresent Jewish scriptures in order to lure innocent Jewish souls to join their religious and eschatological plan. It is also no secret that I am not the only one.

Detesting by itself, however, is not enough. Neither is protesting sufficient. In many cases I feel that "The lady doth protest too much” and does too little.

Recognizing that Yisrael has a missionary problem is a first and much needed step. However, it is clear by now that Yisraeli politicians and the current system will do little, if anything, to stop the spread of this virus that nibbles at us slowly with the eventual mission of removing the Jewish essence of Yisrael and replacing it with that of “The New Jerusalem,” as some openly declare. Some who claim to be friends of Yisrael, are familiar as missionaries on the radar of those who are on the lookout for them, at least by their overt (and sometimes by their cunningly and well crafted) covert agenda. They have infiltrated charitable Yisraeli institutions. They are given land to set camp and enter alliances in the Knesset with some MK’s and are supported by Yisraeli and Jewish enablers. They conduct interfaith services with their enablers, leaving many vulnerable to this innocent and so- called noble concept.

Too much money, power and side benefits are involved in the cooperation between all parties, needless to add, at the expense of Jewish identity of the Jewish, the ONLY Jewish Homeland. It is a collaboration that has seeped very deep, too deep to easily root it out, so it seems. Such nefarious alliances, including some of our own Likud members, have been documented, exposed, written about and discussed ad nauseam by many on various forums

What then can and should be done?

As a teacher of Jewish children in Eretz Yisrael, the country and the People I care about first and foremost, I am doing my share, I believe, in helping contain and eradicate this virus.

Education is my way of fighting it. I call it “Jewish immunization.” Knowledge, as we all know, is power. It is the knowledge of our wonderful tradition, our great history starting with the Tanach, which I believe is the best weapon to ward off any efforts by elements who try to steal Jewish souls, sometimes in deceitful ways, misrepresenting verses from the Tanach to try and convince Jews that it is their way which will bring an end to their misery and loss of direction and purpose in life.

Towards that end, I do not only teach them about our celebrated tradition, about our marvelous culture and history, I also educate myself about it. And there is so much to be educated about, so much to absorb. The more I learn and study it, the more I realize how little I know, yet, the more I learn it and delve into it, though, the prouder I am of it.

Imparting and passing on that knowledge, the pride which comes with that knowledge, is the greatest pleasure of being a teacher. When I address my students, and instruct them about it, I feel as if I am under a spell. I am thrilled, I experience the rush of adrenaline flowing rapidly through my essence. I can sense the invisible waves of delight and dignity that emanate from me. I look at their faces, I observe and study them.  The expression in the eyes of some, that shining look that tells me that they are swept by my enthusiasm and share my joy while silently partaking and basking in the art of knowledge. I can almost feel their Jewish roots strike and spread deeper filling the vacant corners of their young core, shaping their fragile universe and providing them with the security and firm Jewish foundations and existence that has kept our People going for a few thousand years. Their expression confirms to me that their Jewish identity is slowly being reinforced and that, hopefully, one day it might be as unshakable as mine.

This is when I know and am comforted by the understanding that they are on their way to fulfilling our destiny, our millennial old destiny.

What more could any Jewish teacher ask for?

Wishing all of you a great year in 2018.

Saturday, 23 December 2017


The Hebrew word תפילין (Tefillin or phylacteries in Greek) which is also referred in the Torah as טוֹטָפוֹת (totafot) describes a set of two small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from four sections of the Torah. These boxes are attached to leather straps. The word Tefillin is derived from the same root as the Hebrew word Tefilah (prayer) and these are worn by Jewish men during weekday morning prayers.
One of the boxes is placed on the left arm against the heart - the seat of emotions, and the attached leather strap is wound around the left hand, and around its middle finger. The other box is placed above the forehead -the seat of reason.
“In this manner,” according to Alexander Cowen, “our attention is directed to the head, heart and hand. It teaches us to dedicate ourselves to the service of G‑d in all that we think, feel and do. It is also to teach us not to be governed solely by the impulse of the heart, lest that lead us into error and transgression. Nor are we to be governed by reason alone, for that may lead to harsh materialism.
Placed on the arm opposite the heart, and on the head, the Tefillin signify the submission of one's mind, heart and actions to the Almighty, as well as the rule of intellect over emotion.”
Why have I decided to write about this subject now, you may ask?

A few days ago, I returned on an El Al flight from New York to Yisrael. As always, observant Jewish passengers perform this very important and several millennia old Mitzvah, one we are commanded in Devarim (Deuteronomy 6:8) “And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for ornaments between your eyes.”
Watching them filled my Jewish heart with joy and my cup of Jewish pride overflowed.

Sweet memories of my late father always surface before my eyes when I witness such scenes. They reconnect me with the beautiful days of my childhood when I would wake up to my father’s soft recitation of the morning prayer. His melodious chant was always filled with so much earnestness and sincerity. I would listen to him as he repeated the following verses from Hosea 2:21-22 while winding the leather strap around the middle finger of the left hand:
"וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי לְעוֹלָם וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי בְּצֶדֶק וּבְמִשְׁפָּט וּבְחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי בֶּאֱמוּנָה וְיָדַעַתְּ אֶת יְהוָה."
“And I will betroth you unto Me forever; and I will betroth you unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in compassion. And I will betroth you unto Me in faithfulness and you shall know The Lord.”
This particular verse, which is the second reason I elected to put my sentiments on paper, bears a great significance for me, as a Jew. It encapsulates the eternal covenant between G-d, Am Yisrael and our Jewish People. It allows us to get closer to satisfying our aspirations to know G-d, the One and Only G-d of Yisrael and His benevolence towards us.
This daily renewal of the vow of betrothal and the eternal love story between G-d and Am Yisrael coupled with its subsequent commitment and rewards is what the gift of being Jewish is all about. How many of us avow, daily, our alliances, loyalties or sacred covenants be they with partners, siblings or just friends and dear or loved ones?
Furthermore, the marks of the straps that are left on the skin of those who perform this Mitzvah remain for much longer after they are removed. They continue serve as a constant reminder of that which has kept us Jews and Am Yisrael the Eternal People.

This verse from Hosea and the Mitzvah of putting on Tefillin are also a reaffirmation that my unshakable Motto, נֵצַח יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יְשַׁקֵּר)Samuel 1 15:29 The Eternal of Yisrael shall never lie), is not merely another verse. It is a living proof that Jews are the People of Eternity and that G-d will never forsake us.
For as long as ONE Jew, yes ONE Jew only still performs it, just like in the words of Hatikvah, our Hope is not lost.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Time to Drain the University Swamps

I remember the days, not so long ago, when a biased university lecturer poisoning the minds of our youth made the news. Many would rise in rage, wring their hands and bemoan the sad reality of today’s academic institutions. Though names after names of such culprits keep popping up, what was then a cause for concern has, unfortunately, become the norm. Many simply seem to have gotten used to it.

I encountered such bias. It was quite an eye opener.

The year was 2000, more precisely, the fall of 2000. Let me take you back to that time and introduce you to a name that has run a familiar and blood pressure raising note in my mind. Meet Dr. Ron Macintyre, a senior lecturer in Political science at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Though I was myself a lecturer at that University, I had never met Macintyre. Unfortunately, his name was brought to my attention under some dismal and disturbing circumstances.

I happened one bright morning when I received a telephone call from a young student by the name of David B..

“Your name was given to me by the Yisraeli Embassy in Wellington,” he told me after he introduced himself. He was a freshman at the university and attended one of Dr. Macintyre’s classes. “I am in his POL 101,” he added.

Later, I discovered that many refer to Macintyre’s class as “PLO 101” due to his staunch pro-Palestinian stance.

“It started with him entering class on the first day wearing a Kaffiya while boasting that it was given to him by no other than Yassir Arafat,” David told me. “A visit to his office,” he added, “revealed walls adorned by photos with leaders from the Arab/Muslim world, ruthless leaders like Khaddaffi and others.”

No one should have a problem with such a display. Anyone can befriend and be photographed with whoever they wish. We could not, however, allow such alliances to interfere and affect the line of teaching in an academic institution.

Being a young and rather uninformed kiwi youngster, David was appalled at the anti Yisraeli and biased message delivered by Dr. Macintyre from the university podium. His strong sense of justice compelled him to contact the Yisraeli Embassy in Wellington in an effort to develop a more balanced view about the middle eastern conflict. They directed him to me.

David did not waste any time and called me promptly.

“Surely, we cannot let such antics go on,” he voiced his concern when we met for coffee a day later. “No, definitely not,” I thought to myself. “This is where I will need your help, though,” I added as I looked David straight into the eyes. “Are you ready?”

Both David and I established a strategy whereby we could monitor what information or rather disinformation Dr. Macintyre was feeding his students and, if and when necessary, report him to the university’s board.

We did not have to wait very long. During his last lecture before breaking away for the Christmas holiday in 2000, Dr. Macintyre showed his students a documentary entitled: “The Final Solution,” about the Nazi extermination of the Jews and other undesirables during WWII. At the end of the film, timed and perfectly synchronized with the end of the lecture, Dr. Macintyre asked his students to go home and “over the holidays” ponder whether that was not what the Jews were “currently” doing to the Palestinians.

How about that for twisting, toying with and tainting the brains of those who need to learn how to think instead of what to think?

David called me as soon as he came out of that lecture.

That afternoon, David and another justice seeking fellow student lodged, with my help, a formal complaint against Dr. Macintyre with the University Chancellor. I also sent a stern letter to all that were concerned expressing my dismay at such “academic conduct” as demonstrated by a member of the university staff.

A week later, I ran into the head of the Political Science Department of the University. “Dr. Macintyre showed me a copy of the letter you sent to us and asked if you were ‘for real,’” he told me. We had a good laugh.

You bet, Dr. Macintyre, you and all the “Dr. Macintyres” of this world, we are very much “for real” and we will chase you and your dirty tricks out of our campuses and drain the University swamps of you and your ilk!

 May we all have a Joyous Holidays Season full of honesty, truth and unbiased perspectives.