Friday, October 4, 2019

How Honest Do You Have to Be? By Hanna Perlberger and THE ONLY HOPE - THE NATIONAL REFERENDUM and Museums of Krakow, the Men, and cars of steel

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Disconnection from our inner wisdom and worth are the cause of so much suffering

 This disconnect is what destroyed the beit hamikdosh and it destroys our inner sense of holiness.


Love Yehuda Lave

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. Carol Burnett comedian

  Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. Carol Burnett comedian

  Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you're going to live your life. Joel Osteen preacher

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. Albert Einstein scientist

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Richard Bach  

Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent. Billy Graham preacher

  The whole point is to live life and be - to use all the colors in the crayon box. RuPaul

My fashion philosophy is, if you're not covered in dog hair, your life is empty. Elayne Boosler comedian

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. Buddha icon

Fatherhood is not an elected position. You cannot vote me out of office. Randy Gasbergen, Cartoonist

Museums of Krakow, the Men and cars of steel 090219

While waiting to see the view from the top of the museum of culture (it didn't open until 10) I go to see two small museums in the building the men and cars of steel and the doll house museum

Written in 1977, has anything changed?

Nissan -5737   April-1977




The election of a national emergency government for four full years, consisting of one party (rather than the impossible coalition of today) that will be obliged and have full power to implement the following program:


A)   Putting an end to the Arab uprising with all means that the army

deems necessary.  This will include automatic and compulsory expulsions of law-violators and their families, the free use of weapons against stone-throwers and other attackers of Israelis, as well as permission for Jewish civilians traveling in the territories and under attack, to use their weapons freely in the same manner as soldiers.


B)   The annexation of the liberated areas (Judea, Samaria, Gaza) by

 incorporating them into the State of Israel.  Full Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel, including the Temple Mount, and free Jewish settlement throughout the land.


C)   Offering both the Arabs of the territories and those within the

pre-1967 Israel the choice of: 1) remaining in the land with full individual rights (cultural, social, religious, economic) but no national ones (they will not be citizens, will not vote, nor sit in the Knesset) as they recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, 2) leaving the country willingly with compensation for property or, 3) refusing both of the above and being removed from the land.


D)   Dismantling the country's present bureaucratic, government-

bobbled economy and introducing a free economy with private initiative, incentives to investors, and freedom from obsessive regulation and red tape.  The opportunity to make Israel an economic super-power lies down the road of free enterprise.


E)   A total overhaul of the country's educational system to put an end

 to the disastrous ideological bankruptcy of the young Israeli who has little if any knowledge and emotional links with Zionism, Judaism, or Jewishness.  A curriculum that will include large doses of Jewish values and Jewish sources as well as Jewish national pride and Zionism, taught by ideologically competent teachers.


F)    The creation of a new state television and radio authority with

 positive values toward Judaism and Jewish nationalism.  An end to the deliberate distortions of the news and the undermining of national morale and values.


G)   The compulsory learning by every Jewish youngster of a manual

trade so as to recreate the Jewish worker that was the dream of Zionism and is the basis of any normal national economy and state. 

 At the end of four years, another referendum will be held to see if the people agree that the aims of the national emergency government have been achieved or if another four years will be needed.


The referendum will declare and mandate that, if approved the Knesset will be dissolved and a free election held within 30 days to elect one party with full and absolute powers and obligations to implement the program mandated by the referendum.  Any party or list will be eligible to run and be elected on condition that it pledge to full accept and fully implement the above program.


This will be the reply to the enemies of Israel who dream of its destruction.  This will be the reply to those within the State whose policies would destroy the Jewish body and eliminate the Jewish soul.


As World War II struck Great Britain with all the frightening implications of defeat, British democracy froze the democratic political system, suspended elections and major political rights.  It did so because Great Britain faced a threat to all that was dear to it.  How much more should Israel, faced with a threat to its very existence, not shrink from this.


And one can fairly taste the reaction of the demagogues of democracy to the above. On every high hill and under every leafy tree the declaimers of democracy cry out in well-rehearsed fury: This is a threat to democracy!


Ah, how shrill the squeal of the stuck, the bowl of the hypocrites of political history. They bemoan the threat to democracy. They warn against the treat to democracy.  The democracy that does not exist and that never really did in the state of heartbreak.  Israel.


How Honest Do You Have to Be? By Hanna Perlberger

All Depends ...

We've all heard the joke: How do you know when a lawyer is lying? When his lips are moving. Sadly, that joke is not reserved for the legal profession. Whether it's in the public arena, such as fake politicians and fake news, or counterfeit goods, sham charities, shell corporations, etc., blatant fabrication seems to be the new norm.

What is the truth anyway?

I saw a promotion for a continuing legal education seminar titled "Lawyers and Lies," which looks at the difference between what we are supposed to learn in kindergarten, such as honesty being an unquestioned virtue, and how the law sees it. Apparently, lawyers are held to something called the standard of "Required Honesty," which is how the Professional Rules of Conduct play out depending on the relationship between the attorney-speaker and the subject. Anyone who takes the webinar is guaranteed to learn how cultural values shape what we call a "lie" and explore negotiation ethics as to the difference between bargaining and lying. Some less than scrupulous lawyers may even find new ways to justify shaping the truth, while others may feel they have been naïve and have been more compliant and honest than was required.

Having graduated from law school 30 years ago, I signed up for the seminar, curious to learn the official boundaries between outright lying and effective lawyering. What would the Torah have to say about that?

Behind Closed Tents

Ki Tavo is known as the Torah portion of "blessings and curses," and it describes a curious ceremony, like a mass verbal referendum, which would take place when the Jewish nation enters the Land of Israel. The people will encounter two mountains: Mount Ebal, which is barren and bleak, and Mount Gerizim, a lush and verdant slope. Half of the tribes will ascend one mountain and half the other, while the priests and the Holy Ark remain in the middle.

The priests will turn towards each mountain and utter 12 proclamations that bring either blessings or curses upon the Jewish people, to which they will reply "Amen." If the Jewish people comply and act properly, G‑d will bless them with economic prosperity and safety. But if the Jewish people violate these prohibitions, then they will be cursed with economic disaster, family disharmony and foreign conquest. Full-out transparency and disclosure—and we ratified it.

So what are these 12 specific behaviors that would teeter us between blessings and curses? Are they simply the Ten Commandments, plus two? Oddly, on their face, they have nothing to do with what we think would be the central tenets and behaviors that would be paramount to driving national destiny. Rather, the prohibitions are for things like setting up secret idols, abusing one's elders, secretly moving property lines, committing incest and variations thereof, being a hitman and killing innocent people, issuing unjust verdicts against the oppressed, taking advantage of the disabled, etc.

What all these behaviors have in common is that they're done in secret. Further, it tends to be someone in a position of power or control who is violating the foundations of relationships, civic duties or social norms. Finally, the victim has no recourse or protection.

How many prominent figures have gone down after being exposed for privately committing the very behaviors they publicly protest? How many people craftily put forth a clean and honest image while every night they sweep their dirt under the proverbial carpet? And how many victims of abuse fear retaliation—or not being believed—even more than the violence they experienced?

In the Torah world, there is no such thing as"what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"—that whatever goes on behind closed doors or the privacy of one's home is OK. The Jewish people were about to stake their claim in the homeland and become a functioning society. The directive of Ki Tavo was to root out that which corrupts and destroys an organism from within: the cancer of hypocrisy, which can only live in the shadowy world of secrecy. A spiritually sick nation cannot fulfill its mission of serving G‑d, and as His emissary, be a light unto the nations. Consequently, to violate these precepts is to write their own ticket of destruction and exile.

You're Not Smarter Than G‑d

The ceremony on the mountains is a reaffirmation of the covenant between the Jewish people, G‑d and His commandments. The hallmark of a covenantal society is that it is holistic; we are all in this together, we are responsible for each other, and the actions of individuals affect society at large.

In contrast, as the promotional materials promised, as long as your behavior falls within the parameters of "Required Honesty," you can legally fool others. You can even fool yourself. But you're really deluded if you think you can fool G‑d.

The Cost of Deception

In the end, I was too embarrassed for my profession to take the seminar. I didn't want to reward the continuing education committee for its bad taste, and I didn't want to see fellow lawyers using their minds in this way (although there are plenty of respectable and honest attorneys out there). Says the prophet Isaiah: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."

Even if we can get away with it (and even if someone is not aware that he or she has been cheated or harmed in some way), these violations are far from harmless. On the contrary, Ki Tavo warns us that the cost of the deceptions that betray our values, deceives others and surreptitiously unravels the very fabric of society is not a price that any of us should be willing to pay.

Source: Commentary of Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra on Deuteronomy 27:14.

By Hanna Perlberger Hanna Perlberger is an author, attorney, spiritual teacher and coach. She speaks to people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning and spiritual engagement.

Historic Home to Khazars and Cantonists, Astrakhan Gets a Mikvah City's first ritual bath in 90 years a certain sign of Jewish revival By Menachem Posner

The Jewish community of Astrakhan has roots that go back to the dawn of recorded history in Eastern Europe. Situated near the salt mines of Lake Baskunchak, northwest of the Caspian Sea in the southernmost reaches of Russia, Astrakhan has experienced the historical ebbs and flows of Jewish trade and settlement. It was well known to the rabbis of the Talmud, who referred to the "salt of Astrakhan" by name, noting that it was coarser than the "salt of Sodom," common in the Holy Land (Beitza 39a).

It is unlikely that a Jewish community was there in the Talmudic era; the first written record of Jews living in the region is from the mid-10th century. The Jewish community at the time was believed to be Khazars, a tribe of noble warriors who had converted to Judaism centuries beforehand.

Most of what is known about the group, which vanished in the early centuries of the second millennium, comes from a letter from their king to Hasdai ibn Shaprut of Cordoba, Spain. But for the last century, Astrakhan has been without one of the most central and important features of any Jewish community: a mikvah.

The more recent Jewish community of Astrakhan, like other cities where some Jews were permitted to live outside the Pale of Jewish Settlement, was developed in the 19th century by the "Cantonists," Jewish boys who had been forced into the Russian army for 25-year terms of service. After that ordeal, they and their children were granted the privilege of settling in parts of the Russian empire normally forbidden to Jews, including Astrakhan.

The city had actually been included in the Pale in 1804, but then excluded in 1825, and Jews were forced to leave the city in 1835. The Jewish soldiers were thus the only legal Jewish denizens of the city, and a community was eventually formed.

The community's first rabbi was Rabbi Leib Daikhes, who worked to enhance Jewish observance in what is sometimes called Russia's southernmost city.

Communism Takes Its Toll The luxurious new facility

But decades of Communist repression of religion took their toll, and the local mikvah, housed in the grand Choral Synagogue, was forced to close in 1929. In the ensuing decades, Jewish life in the public sphere continued to dwindle to the point that only the city's "Nusach Sefard" synagogue was left functioning.

But the Jewish identity remained strong, with some local Jews even maintaining the tradition that they are descendants of the Khazar converts of more than 1,000 years ago.

In the post-Communist era, the community regrouped in 2003 and reconstructed its synagogue on the same grounds of its original place of worship, maintaining many architectural elements of the synagogue built by the Cantonists.

Since 2010, the community of approximately 1,500 Jews has been served by Rabbi Yisroel and Deborah Melamed, co-directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Astrakhan. As Jewish knowledge and observance grew, the need for a mikvah became more and more acute.

Before Taya Kuzmin, a local hairstylist, got married in 2015, she and her husband discussed that mikvah would be an important element of their marriage. Having seen the beautiful mikvah in Moscow, she was determined to observe the mitzvah in Astrakhan.

"The nearest mikvah to us was in Volgograd, a six-hour bus ride one way," explained Deborah Melamed. "The other option was to take the 12-hour train ride to Saratov or a two-hour flight to Moscow."

In the post-Communist era, the Jewish community regrouped in 2003 and reconstructed its synagogue on the same grounds of its original place of worship, maintaining many architectural elements of the synagogue built by the Cantonists.

Kuzmin recalls taking the bus to Volgograd, rushing through the mikvah procedure in order to catch the overnight bus home and arriving to work the next day exhausted.

She then asked her husband to see about using a local body of water, the Volga River. When mikvah night came, Melamed accompanied her to the riverbank. At first, all seemed fine, and even the sight of a nearby prison bathed in floodlights couldn't dampen their optimism and excitement.

As they approached the water's edge, they were greeted by swarming mosquitoes, reptiles and rodents that they could only feel and hear in the tall grasses, but not see.

"I repeated the Shema Yisrael prayer over and over again," she said, "hoping it would get me through the ordeal. "I felt I could not do it again; I was terrified of swimming in the dark. My knees trembled, and I knew this would be the first and last time I would use the river as a mikvah. The moments afterwards are a time for personal prayers, and I prayed that we get our own proper mikvah right here in Astrakhan."

After that frightful experience in the river, Melamed and her husband decided that the time had come for their city to once again have a proper mikvah of its own.

With the help of generous funders, local as well as international, a beautiful mikvah was built on the synagogue complex.

The grand opening, held on Sept. 4, was attended by a roster of local dignitaries, including Alexander Zhilkin, the former governor of Astrakhan.

Charity boxes designed in local motifs. Some local Jews maintain the tradition that they are descendants of the Khazar converts of more than 1,000 years ago.

The proceedings were overseen by Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, New York-based Rabbi Shlomo Fallman, and Rabbi Abraham Waldman of Mikvah Ramu and Professor Daikhes from Moscow, a supporter of the community and a descendant of Rabbi Leib Daikhes.

Following the rabbinic principle that "one mitzvah pulls another in its wake," three young men used the opportunity to undergo brit milah, taking for themselves the Jewish names of Dovid, Akiva and Binyomin.

Mazal tov!

See you Sunday bli neder-- Shabbat Shalom--Remember Yom Kippur is next Tuesday (starts Monday night)

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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