The idea of prayer is to inwardly have a private dialogue with the Creator. Speak to Him just as you might speak with a friend who is paying attention and listening.
All around you may be noise, traffic, planes, telephones. Inwardly, too, may be a preoccupation with hassles, business dealings, quarrels, competition, desires.
But prayer brings you suddenly to… quiet. The inward silence creates a barrier to the flow of noise, and it is as if there is silence and calm all around. Tranquility is yours!
Love Yehuda Lave
Man flies off Mountain in Norway
Prehistoric 'Stonehenge' monument in Golan Heights fuels mystery
GOLAN HEIGHTS Driving past it, one of the most mysterious structures in the Middle East is easy to miss. The prehistoric stone monument went unnoticed for centuries in a bare expanse of field on the Golan Heights.
After Israel captured the territory from Syria in a 1967 war, archaeologists studying an aerial survey spotted a pattern of stone circles not visible from the ground. Subsequent excavations revealed it was one of the oldest and largest structures in the region.
Known as Rujm el-Hiri in Arabic, meaning the "stone heap of the wild cat", the complex has five concentric circles, the largest more than 500 feet (152 m) wide, and a massive burial chamber in the middle. Its Hebrew name Gilgal Refaim, or "wheel of giants", refers to an ancient race of giants mentioned in the Bible.
It is up to 5,000 years old, according to most estimates, making it a contemporary of England's Stonehenge. Unlike the more famous monument built with about 100 huge stones topped by lintels, the Golan structure is made of piles of thousands of smaller basalt rocks that together weigh over 40,000 tons.
"It's an enigmatic site. We have bits of information, but not the whole picture," said Uri Berger, an expert on megalithic tombs with the Israel Antiquities Authority.
"Scientists come and are amazed by the site and think up their own theories."
No one knows who built it, he said. Some think it might have been a nomadic civilization that settled the area, but it would have required a tremendous support network that itinerants might not have had.
There could be an astrological significance. On the shortest and longest days of the year - the June and December solstices - the sunrise lines up with openings in the rocks, he said.
Standing on the ground inside the complex, it looks like a labyrinth of crumbling stone walls overgrown with weeds. From on top of the five-meter-high burial mound, it is possible to make out a circular pattern. Only from the air does the impressive shape of a massive bull's-eye clearly emerge.
Shards of pottery and flint tools were found in various excavations to help date the site, Berger said. Scholars generally agree that construction started as early as 3,500 BC and other parts may have been added to over the next two thousand years.
The complex is in an area now used for training by Israel's military, but visitors can explore the walls and crawl into the 20-foot-long burial chamber on weekends and holidays.
Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/11/us-archaeology-golanheights-idUSKCN0T017Y20151111#epx0GCVBXILcW0cC.99
Menorah Bong to help stoned Jews celebrate Hanukkah
The Atkins Schmaltz Diet:If you get this and you are not Jewish ~ I cannot even begin to explain.This actually goes back 2 generations or 3 if you are under 50!The Atkins Schmaltz DietBefore we start, there are some variations in ingredients because of the various types of Jewish taste. (Polack, Litvack and Gallicianer). Just as we Jews have six seasons of the year (winter, spring, summer, fall, the slack season, and the busy season), we all focus on a main ingredient which, unfortunately and undeservedly, has disappeared from our diet. I'm talking, of course, about SCHMALTZ (chicken fat). SCHMALTZ has, for centuries, been the prime ingredient in almost every Jewish dish and I feel it's time to revive it to its rightful place in our homes. (I have plans to distribute it in a green glass Gucci bottle with a label clearly saying: "low fat, no cholesterol, Newman's Choice, extra virgin SCHMALTZ." (It can't miss!)Then there are grebenes ~ pieces of chicken skin, deep fried in SCHMALTZ, onions and salt until crispy brown (Jewish bacon). This makes a great appetizer for the next cardiologist's convention.There's also a nice chicken fricassee (stew) using the heart, gorgle (neck), pipick (a great delicacy, given to the favorite child, usually me), a fleegle (wing) or two, some ayelech (little premature eggs) and other various chicken innards, in a broth of SCHMALTZ, water, paprika, etc.We also have knishes (filled dough) and the eternal question,"Will that be liver, beef, potatoes or all three?"Other time-tested favorites are kishkeh, and its poor cousin, helzel (chicken or goose neck). Kishkeh is the gut of the cow, bought by the foot at the Kosher butcher. It is turned inside out, scalded and scraped. One end is sewn up and a mixture of flour, SCHMALTZ, onions, eggs, salt, pepper, etc... is spooned into the open end and squished down until it is full. The other end is sewn and the whole thing is boiled. Yummy!My personal all-time favorite is watching my Zaida (grandpa) munch on boiled chicken feet.For our next course we always had chicken soup with pieces of yellow-white, rubbery chicken skin floating in a greasy sea of lokshen (noodles), farfel (broken bits of matzah), tzibbeles (onions), mondlech (soup nuts), kneidlach (dumplings), kasha, (groats) kliskelech and marech (marrow bones)The main course, as I recall, was either boiled chicken, flanken, kackletten (hockfleish ~ chopped meat), and sometimes rib steaks, which were served either well done, burned or cremated.Occasionally we had barbecued liver done to a burned and hardened perfection in our own coal furnace. Since we couldn't have milk with our meat meals, beverages consisted of cheap soda (Kik, Dominion Dry, seltzer in the spritz bottles).Growing up Jewish:If you are Jewish, and grew up in city with a large Jewish population, or are gentile with Jewish friends or associates, the following will invoke heartfelt memories, so read on...The Yiddish word for Today is PULKES (PUHL-kees) Translation: THIGHS. Please note: this word has been traced back to the language of one of the original Tribes of Israel, the Cellulites.The only good advice that your Jewish mother gave you was: "Go already! You might meet somebody!"You grew up thinking it was normal for someone to shout "Are you okay?" through the bathroom door when you were in there longer than 3 minutes.Your family dog responded to commands in Yiddish.Every Saturday morning your father went to the neighborhood deli (called an "appetitizing store") for whitefish salad, whitefish "chubs"), lox (nova if you were rich!), herring, corned beef, roast beef, cole slaw, potato salad, a 1/2~dozen huge barrel pickles which you reached into the brine for, a dozen assorted bagels, cream cheese and rye bread with seeds (sliced while he waited). All of which would be strictly off~limits until Sunday morning.Every Sunday afternoon was spent visiting your grandparents and/or other relatives.You experienced the phenomenon of 50 people fitting into a 10~foot~wide dining room hitting each other with plastic plates trying to get to a deli tray.You had at least one female relative who penciled on eyebrows which were always asymmetrical.You thought pasta was stuff used exclusively for Kugel and kasha with bowties.You were as tall as your grandmother by the age of seven.You were as tall as your grandfather by age seven and a half.You never knew anyone whose last name didn't end in one of 5 standard suffixes (berg, baum , man, stein and witz).You were surprised to discover that wine doesn't always taste like cranberry sauce.You can look at gefilte fish and not turn green.When your mother smacked you really hard, she continued to make you feel bad for hurting her hand.You can understand Yiddish but you can't speak it.You know how to pronounce numerous Yiddish words and use them correctly in context, yet you don't know exactly what they mean. Kaynahurra.You're still angry at your parents for not speaking both Yiddish and English to you when you were a baby.You have at least one ancestor who is somehow related to your spouse's ancestor.Your grandparent's newly washed linoleum floor was covered with the NY Times, which your grandparents couldn't read.You thought speaking loud was normal.You considered your Bar or Bat Mitzvah a "Get Out of Hebrew School Free" card.You think eating half a jar of dill pickles is a wholesome snack.You're compelled to mention your grandmother's "steel cannonballs" upon seeing fluffy matzo balls served at restaurants.You buy 3 shopping bags worth of hot bagels on every trip to NYC and ship them home via FedEx. (Or, if you live near NYC or Philadelphia or another Jewish city hub, you drive 3 hours just to buy a dozen "real" bagels.)Your mother or grandmother took personal pride when a Jew was noted for some accomplishment (showbiz, medicine, politics, etc...) and was ashamed and embarrassed when a Jew was accused of a crime ~ as if they were relatives.You thought only non~Jews went to sleep away colleges. Jews went to city schools ~ unless they had scholarships or made an Ivy League school.And finally, you knew that Sunday night and the night after any Jewish holiday was designated for Chinese food.Zei gezunt!
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A call for unity and expressing outrage
The world is experiencing a clash of civilizations with satanic forces seeking to revert to the Dark Ages. In this context, the behavior of the Palestinians has now descended to such barbaric depths that in a rational world, Israel should have the unequivocal support of all civilized people.
However, hypocritical global leaders, devoid of moral compass, have abandoned us. They relate to Israel and those seeking its destruction with moral equivalence and opportunistically collaborate with rogue states. Moral relativism has paved the way for a realpolitik in the democratic world, which no longer relates to concepts like good and evil.
George Orwell undoubtedly could have devoted another book to the doublespeak adopted in relation to Israel. Global leaders are not merely indifferent to the fact that innocent Israeli citizens are targeted for assassination by youngsters transformed into frenzied religious lunatics by their leaders. They even condemn Israelis for defending themselves.
Western leaders refuse to recognize, that in the same way the Nazis successfully transformed Germany into a society endorsing genocide, Palestinian leaders have inculcated children, from kindergarten onward, with the notion that being killed in the process of murdering Jews is the highest form of religious martyrdom.
Our "peace partner," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, "blesses the blood" shed in killing Jews, glorifies debased murderers, and provides millions of dollars of funds received from foreign governments as monthly salaries to those murderers in jail and pensions for their families. The bloodlust generated by frenzied lies about Jews threatening to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and substituting it with a Jewish Temple is promoted through the mosques, schools, media and Facebook and via other social media.
Yet whilst mayhem prevails as millions of people have been displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands have been butchered, the European Union carries a resolution effectively paving the way for sanctions against Israeli products produced over the Green Line. It is a shocking reflection on the cynicism of Europeans, whose soil was drenched with Jewish blood during the Holocaust, that they so cravenly betray Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East — an oasis of tranquility in a sea of barbarism — which is surrounded by neighbors openly baying for its destruction.
Even the president of the United States, our purported ally, contributes toward this poison by calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to reduce the incitement.
Israel is on the front lines and must seek more effective means of publicizing the fact that the current Palestinian Authority is a criminal regime that promotes a culture of death — a barbaric society whose feral hatred of Jews and Israel is on a par with Hamas and ISIS.
We must repeat again and again that the Arab-Israel conflict is not a dispute between two peoples over land. The reality is that the Palestinian Authority (no less than Hamas) adamantly refuses to recognize Jewish sovereignty, as evidenced when both Yasser Arafat and Abbas even declined to make counteroffers when Prime Minister Ehud Barak and subsequently Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 97% of the territories previously occupied by the Jordanians.
In order to make the world understand, Israel must focus on two issues — national unity and a far more aggressive presentation of our narrative and exposure of the criminal nature of our adversaries.
National unity is crucial and will immensely strengthen us. It is scandalous that in the current circumstances, our government operates on the basis of a hairline majority of one, virtually neutralizing any flexibility of the prime minister.
The fact is that today there is a genuine consensus among Israeli Jews, the vast majority of whom believe that to annex the territories and absorb millions of additional Arabs would result in a binational state and the end of the Zionist dream. In addition, with the absence of a peace treaty and security, there is also firm opposition to ceding additional territories to the corrupt Palestinian Authority whose hatred of Israel is indistinguishable from Hamas, which in the absence of the IDF, would in all likelihood have assumed control over territories.
Even the prominent left-wing ideologue Professor Shlomo Avineri and one of the key architects of the Oslo Accords, Dr. Yossi Beilin, admit that those proposals no longer apply as the PA's present leadership has proven to be utterly opposed to the existence of a sovereign Jewish state. There is also a broad consensus concerning the disastrous agreement consummated by the Obama administration with Iran.
Under these circumstances, the Zionist political parties should unite to face the challenges. Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Lieberman all share ambitions to become prime minister. But now, if they share any concern for the national interest, they should temporarily set aside their personal ambitions and unite. Likewise, Prime Minister Netanyahu should make every effort to enable them to join his government with dignity.
Needless to say, Herzog, Lapid and Lieberman would actually enhance their status with voters if they demonstrated a willingness to act in the national interest during these critical times instead of behaving like petty feuding politicians.
A unity government would curtail the continuous calls on Netanyahu to be more accommodating when he has already reached a total stalemate with the duplicitous Abbas. No other opposition leader has a realistic formula for moving beyond Netanyahu's current policies until such time as Palestinian leaders arise who are genuinely committed to coexistence. This is currently not on the horizon. Indeed, Netanyahu has ceded far beyond what the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had repeatedly personally pledged were red lines beyond which he would not cross.
A unity government would largely neutralize the poisonous propaganda emanating from delusional Israeli and Jewish leftists who, despite being fringe elements, inflict tremendous damage on Israel's standing by dismissing all of Netanyahu's policies as emanating from the extreme Right.
Such a government would also unite Jews in the Diaspora, many of whom are reeling under the pressures they face and would be reassured that their support for Israel is not for a narrow government or right-wing group, but effectively endorses the consensual will of the nation.
The second component is a need for the government to revolutionize foreign policy and cooperate with Jews and friends of Israel to promote Israel's narrative, which is distorted by Arabs and extreme leftist propaganda.
The Palestinians' cult of death and their ongoing determination to destroy Israel must be exposed; they are the underlying reasons why negotiations are doomed to fail in the foreseeable future, despite the fact that Israel has undertaken to conduct talks without preconditions.
We must also repeatedly expose the hypocrisy and double standards displayed by Western nations.
Many may argue that it is not worth the effort because the power of the Arab bloc, anti-Semitism, and the prevailing cynical and immoral approach adopted by most Western countries in relation to foreign policy will transcend truth and morality. Yet ultimately truth is invariably vindicated and we must exert major efforts to prevent our narrative from being distorted and ensure that our own future generations retain their national pride and appreciate the morality of our cause.
Let us be clear: Israel is confronted by painful challenges. But don't be influenced by the prophets of doom. Life goes on in Israel. We have faced far greater threats in the past and overcome them. Terrorism dates back long before the state was even established and has never ceased.
We must also retain a sense of perspective. While each casualty is a human tragedy that impacts on the entire nation, far more Israelis are killed in road accidents than by terror attacks. It is also important to be assured that Israel has never been as strong as it is today and has the capacity of defending itself and deterring the combined forces of all the barbarians seeking our destruction.
Israel Update - Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky: Big Man with a Big Heart
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by Rabbi Moshe Cohen
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Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky: Big Man with a Big HeartFighting the terrorists in the Har Nof shul, he undoubtedly saved many people's lives.
Aryeh Kupinsky was a big man with a long, red beard. He towered over almost everyone. But what really made him stand out was that he always had a big smile.
Aryeh was a doer, always in motion. Long legs taking great strides, powerful arms reaching out with great sweeping gestures. And what was Aryeh doing? He was always helping someone. He lived for others. His first thought was never for himself.
As Rabbi Jonathan Taub put it so well, Aryeh was simply incapable of being a guest at someone's simcha. If he was there early, he would single-handedly flip over tables and set them on their feet. He often did not leave until everything was put away. A friend once insisted that Aryeh sit, enjoy himself, and let those who were hired do the work. That didn't stop Aryeh from lugging in all of the cartons of drinks that he spotted outside of hall and loading them into the refrigerator.
How many times had I heard him say, "What can I do to help?"
When I first came to yeshiva nearly two decades ago, someone told to me, "Aryeh Kupinsky is a person who would do anything, for anyone, at any time." When he was a student living in a dorm, he had put up a sign, "Please borrow anything – no need to ask." Who does that?
Aryeh acted quickly and quietly. He asked for no recognition, and many were unaware of things that he had done. For example, on Tisha b'Av for years Neve has hosted a popular program featuring superb lecturers. By 2 PM everyone has gone home. Well, nearly everyone. There was one man who made sure that the Sefer Torah and two Haftarah scrolls that were used for davening were returned from the dining room to the Shul, and that the Aron Kodesh was properly locked. That was Aryeh.
Aryeh was a deeply emotional, passionate person. His passion was particularly evident when it came to learning Torah. He was a Torah scholar who loved learning. When we learned together for a brief period as study partners, he would get fired up at the drop of a hat.
The truth is that over the years, when I would meet up with Aryeh, my heart would sometimes fall. Aryeh was always bothered by something. He was constantly nursing a question in learning, turning it over, gnawing at it, trying to resolve it. And he would share it with you when he saw you. There was no such thing as, "Interesting! I'll have to think about it." Nor was it possible to simply suggest an answer. Any possible solution had to be analyzed, weighed for merits and demerits, and then discussed again. When I "didn't have the time" for this process, I would feel somewhat exasperated. How I would love to be able to experience such a delay again...
Although Aryeh was always doing for others, it did not come at the expense of his own family. He was an utterly dedicated husband and father. After leaving Kollel where he learned full time, Aryeh continued to set aside a few hours every to learn Torah as he worked, first as a Mashgiach and then in computers, to support his family. Because his wife, Yaakova, has an excellent job with great benefits – and staggeringly long hours – Aryeh took on much of the housework, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of his kids, to enable his wife to keep to her schedule. Although he had been praying for many years at Kehilas Bnei Torah, the Har Nof shul that was attacked, he had only recently switched to the 6:25 minyan in order to get home earlier and help his wife. The massacre took place during this minyan.
His Daughter's Death
Two years ago, just days after Tisha b'Av, Aryeh's daughter Chaya did not wake up. She was just shy of her 14th birthday. Chaya had been mature for her age. She had been the one to shoulder much of the burden in the house, acting as almost a second mother to her siblings. After her untimely passing, her parents found personally composed prayers, pages long, which she apparently had expressed daily.
Aryeh was inconsolable after Chaya's death. Everything reminded him of her and tears were never far below the surface. For much of the next two years, the family did not eat their Friday night Shabbos meal at home, as this family time was too painful for Aryeh to experience without his beloved eldest daughter. Sitting at another family's table allowed him to mitigate some of the sorrow. Only when giving his other precious children the Friday night blessings Aryeh was unable to contain his grief and broke down with heart-wrenching sobs.
But Aryeh would not allow himself to wallow in pain. Assemblies were held in Chaya's memory, inspiring others to spiritually grow. Aryeh often said that it was a great source of comfort to him that so many people changed their lives for the better as a result of Chaya's death. Yaakova Kupinsky believes that these words, heard so often by the family, serve as a focus for them now at this enormously difficult point in their lives.
But Aryeh wanted to do more. He sought to establish something permanent in Chaya's memory. We live in a world with so many kindhearted Jews where there are literally hundreds of categories of "gemachs" – various types of free loans listed in Jewish directories worldwide. But Aryeh Kupinsky, ba'al chesed extraordinaire, managed to found a gemach so rare that to the best of my knowledge there is only one other one in existence. A freezer gemach! He purchased a number of medium-sized freezers and advertised that they would be available free of charge for use for Jewish holidays and private celebrations. He told me with a mixture of incredulity and regret that before Rosh Hashanah he had to turn down 92 applicants. Just days before Aryeh was so brutally taken from us, he was attempting to figure out how to acquire more freezers for this noble purpose.
What elevated Aryeh's gemach from merely unique to awe-inspiring, however, was the manner in which he ran it. Har Nof is built around a mountain. Every street is on another level. The entire neighborhood is made up of long, winding streets, and steep, winding staircases.
At his funeral a mutual friend told me that that he yelled at Aryeh the last time they had met. He bumped into Aryeh as he was transporting a freezer from one recipient to another, on a two-wheeled handcart. This was the only mode of transportation employed by the gemach – hand-wheeled, bumped up and down every step and along every roadway. And there was only one "employee" – Aryeh.
"Are you crazy?!" our friend asked Aryeh. "Isn't it enough that you lend people a freezer for free? Let them pay 50 shekel for delivery!"
Aryeh recoiled. "This is my chesed (my opportunity to do an act of kindness)!" he protested.
On that fateful Tuesday morning when the men praying became aware of the evil terrorists, they ran for their lives. Not so Aryeh. Numerous reports have Aryeh screaming at everyone in the shul to run, while he made sure that they could. He hurled shtenders, chairs, siddurim – whatever came to hand – at the terrorists to distract them, at one point physically restraining one of them. There were others who followed his example. After taking multiple blows – some intended for others – Aryeh fell. There is no doubt that he saved people's lives.
There was an unexpected delay when we arrived at his intended burial plot in Har HaMenuchos where Ayreh's daughter, Chaya, is buried. The gaping hole in the ground was not quite long enough. We waited in the dark while the Chevra Kadisha took out their tools, and finally the earth reluctantly took Aryeh back.
Aryeh Kupinsky was indeed a big man. But his heart was ever bigger.