Breaking news: 'Combination certificate' to replace green pass, vaccine passport by end of June and A Timely Review: The Taming of The Jew by Tuvia Tenenbom By Guest Author and The Story Behind Kiddush Levana By Saul Jay Singer and The Origins Of My Baseball Career (Part III) By Irwin Cohen -and A tale of two disturbances by Shalom Pollock
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.
'Combination certificate' to replace green pass, vaccine passport by end of June
New pass will include all relevant coronavirus information on vaccinations, recovery etc.
By the end of June, the first "vaccination passports" issued to Israelis (following the administration of two Pfizer vaccine doses) will expire, leading to worries by some – mostly those who are planning to travel abroad – that they will have to submit to PCR testing and perhaps even to quarantine restrictions.
Yediot Aharonot submitted an inquiry to the Health Ministry on the issue, and received a comprehensive reply addressing all travel-related concerns. The Ministry also divulged that a new "combination certificate" will shortly be issued to anyone who has either been vaccinated against the coronavirus, or has been confirmed to have recovered from it. This new certificate will be valid until the end of 2021, and will replace both the "green pass" and the "vaccine passports" issued until now.
In response to Ynet's query, the Health Ministry stated: "The Ministry is in the process of creating a 'combination certificate' that will replace vaccination and immunity passports [granted to those who have been confirmed to have recovered from coronavirus], which will include all details of vaccinations and recovery [from disease]. The launch of this combination certificate is expected shortly, and it will be valid until the end of 2021, as things currently stand."
The Ministry later clarified that, "The combination certificate should be launched by the end of June. The first certificates to expire are the recovery certificates, of which the earliest will expire on June 30th."
Despite reassurances, many of those who have already purchased tickets for travel abroad are now concerned that they will be forced to take a coronavirus test once their vaccine passport/green pass expires – even though many countries, including those in the European Union, do not demand tests for those who have been vaccinated, and do not impose quarantine.
At the beginning of May, the Health Ministry actually announced the extension of the validity of the green pass because of the efficacy of the vaccine, only later to decide to scrap the pass altogether. Now, officials in the Ministry are working on the development of a combination passport that will be issue to vaccinated and recovered people alike, to replace both the green pass and the vaccine passport. The Ministry has also promised that a situation will not arise in which a person who has either been vaccinated or has recovered from the coronavirus will arrive at the airport or a border crossing only to find himself with an invalid pass.
Also this week, the Health Ministry publicized updated regulations for entering and exiting the country, and clarified that, "Anyone entering the country (both citizens and foreigners, including those who have recovered from Covid-19 and those who have been vaccinated against it), from anywhere abroad, who was abroad for more than 72 hours, is required to present, upon boarding a plane from their country of origin, a negative PCR test that was administered up to 72 hours before take-off or entry into Israel."
The Ministry also stated that, "All those entering the country (both citizens and foreigners and including the vaccinated and those who have recovered from coronavirus) are required to fill out a declaration upon entry to Israel, less than 24 hours before taking off to Israel, and to present it to a representative of the airline company."
In addition, all those entering the country are required to take a PCR test when they arrive. From June 6th, the cost of the test will be borne by the person taking it and will not be covered by the State. If the test is ordered in advance, before taking off, it will cost 80 shekels; for those paying on arrival who have not ordered in advance, it will cost 100 shekels at the airport. The test can also be taken at various other locations across the country, and the price will vary accordingly.
Until the combined certificate is launched, all passengers leaving the country will have to present a recovery certificate when they enter the airport terminal, or alternatively a vaccine passport, or a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before take-off.
Citizens and Israeli residents (except for exceptional cases that receive authorization from the exceptional cases committee) are not permitted to leave the country for countries where the risk of contracting coronavirus is deemed to be high – Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico, Russia. This does not apply to those whose "stay" in these countries is limited to a period of less than 12 hours within an airport (for a connecting flight).
The list of countries for which a travel warning has been issued: Namibia, Uruguay, The Seychelles, Bolivia, The Maldives, Nepal, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Tunisia. The Health Ministry has announced that, "If there is no significant improvement in the level of contagion in these countries, they are expected to enter the list of countries where the risk of contracting coronavirus is high. The general public is asked to keep updated on the situation and make their plans accordingly."
All travelers arriving in Israel from countries where the risk of contagion is high must enter home quarantine according to Health Ministry guidelines. The Health Ministry advises against all non-essential travel to countries where Covid-19 contagion rates are high, even if the rates are not sufficiently high to bar them officially from traveling there.
It is the responsibility of all travelers to check the entrance policies for their place(s) of destination, and to comply with their regulations. Regulations for travelers leaving Israel can be found on the Health Ministry's website, which includes information on taking the PCR test.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
SportsBaseball Insider The Origins Of My Baseball Career (Part III) By Irwin Cohen -
In my last column, I related that I called into a sports radio show and got to speaking with the host who invited me to come down to the studio the next week to introduce my favorite player. I of course agreed, and as I drove home the next week after writing up an introduction and reading it on air, I realized that I enjoyed writing for radio far more than the work I was doing at Detroit's City Hall.
So I came up with a plan. Since I was spending most of my lunch hours at a nearby public library reading out-of-town newspapers, I decided to use the information I learned in the sports sections of those papers to my advantage. I called my favorite sportswriter, Joe Falls of the Detroit Free Press, and identified myself as "Mr. Baseball." I told him I enjoyed his writing style and was sending him some information he could use.
The following Sunday, I was surprised to see a couple of paragraphs I had written in his Sunday column with the lead-in: "Mr. Baseball says…" I kept feeding him information for the next few weeks and "Mr. Baseball" kept appearing. Finally, I called him again, told him my real name, and then said that instead of sending him something, I would bring it over personally.
"You don't look like Mr. Baseball," Falls said when he saw me for the first time. "But come with me. I'm going to make you a star," he said. I gave Falls my envelope with my next offerings and followed him past several desks, mostly unoccupied as it was lunch hour.
We came to the photography department and Falls told the only person in the room, "Take his picture." Then Falls told me I should leave after the photographer was finished with me.
I went back to my regular job and had no idea what Falls would do next. The next day, I opened the paper to the first page of the sports section where Falls' column appeared several days a week. I was surprised to see my picture below his usual masthead.
He wrote: "once in a while you come across an Irwin Cohen. He's 31 and sends me material and I'd like to show you some of it. It's good stuff and he has a good touch for what's newsy. Frankly, I'm fascinated that someone with no experience in the newspaper business could have such a feeling for it."
After Falls unmasked "Mr. Baseball," he turned over the rest of the column to what I had written. In shul that morning, several people also found out who "Mr. Baseball" was as they read Falls' column religiously.
A few days after my unmasking, I noticed a small publication near the cashier stations of a supermarket. It had a great color photo of Tigers manager Ralph Houk on the cover with a "Free, Take One," sign nearby. So I took a few copies and perused one of them when I got home. The publication – All Sports TV Guide – had television listings for the week and contained many ads and an occasional sports article.
Recently retired pitcher Denny McLain was listed as the boss of the publication and an ad in it sought sales people and writers. I called and made an appointment to see McLain. With the hand that won a fantastic 31 games in 1968, McLain waved me into his office. By the time I was ushered out, I was a baseball writer for the magazine at 15 dollars an article. The Tigers gave me field access prior to games and I was able to interview players.
I developed a relationship with other young writers and sportscasters and we tossed the idea of launching a baseball-only publication. That's how I soon became the editor and publisher of a monthly tabloid called The Baseball Bulletin. That in turn earned me a press pass to every major league ballpark and their press boxes, dugouts, and clubhouses. I was able to interview many of the greats of the 1970s and prior decades too, including such players as Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg.
Then it was on to a front office career with the Detroit Tigers and now my stint as a baseball columnist for The Jewish Press.
A Timely Review: The Taming of The Jew by Tuvia Tenenbom
If J.D. Salinger and John Steinbeck collaborated on antisemitism in the UK, they might have written The Taming of the Jew, author Tuvia Tenenbom's fifth travelogue exploring the oldest bias on the planet. Instead of Steinbeck's poodle Charlie, Tenenbom's sometimes-companion is a nameless eagle that Tenenbom relies on to plot his course as he zig-zags through Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales often under the guise of Toby, a German journalist or a Jordanian national.
Tenenbom distracts readers with well-paced humor and an almost-adolescent sense of wonderment. He keeps the reader entertained—indeed even laughing—as he addresses the pervasive bigotry and hatred of Jews that still exists across the pond. Tenenbom lets the reader into his head with a chatty style that suggests the book documents only a few weeks and great happenstance. Not so. Tenenbom, who cut his teeth in the theater, is a skilled journalist; he spent months researching and planning the six-month foray that lays bare the racist heart still beating strong in the British and Irish Isles.
Tenenbom's love of theater provides one of many lenses for the reader to examine the conscience of Europe's anglophiles. The British, he notes, are the best theater actors. This also makes them the best liars which explains how their disdain for Jews is so easily obscured and ignored. The reader is treated to punchy but honest short reviews of the many plays Tenenbom sees but it is 'The Full Monty,' an-male British comedy performed naked, that becomes a metaphor not only for English antisemitism but for the new, politically-correct world of intersectionality.
While the author's primary intent is to investigate British and Irish views on Jews, Tenenbom successfully pulls the reader into the cultural mores that divide the Island nations as well as the many they share, some of them hilarious and chortle-worthy. Few will miss the irony of repeated claims of societal hospitality and commitment to kindness while expressing bold-faced hatred for Jews. Conversation all but shuts down once the author challenges false assertions about Jews or Israel with fact.
The book opens in Dublin where hard-won appointments made under the auspices of discussing Brexit with local elected officials are cancelled at the last minute, a scene that repeats itself throughout the book. Tenenbom's true identity as an Israeli-born American author, playwright and journalist with expertise on the subject of antisemitism proves to be a big obstacle, as one official ominously declares "we know who you are." For much of the book, Tenenbom's interactions—everyone from ordinary students to officials as well-placed as England's former Labor party leader, Jeremy Corbin—rely on his theatrical prowess, quick wit, ad lib skill, fluency in several languages including Arabic, but mostly, his incredible talent for disguising himself and convincing those he meets to speak freely.
The writing itself offers Tenenbom's intellectual honesty in local dialect that would make Steinbeck proud. Tenenbom stands witness to a constant pro-Arab Palestinian sentiment and false narrative. Evidence revealed by Tenenbom of in-bred hatred harbored by regular people would disgust any normal person if the victims were anything but Jewish. Tenenbom's ability to engender trust, even as voice recorders and cameras accompany him, confirms, in their own words, a culture with deep-rooted antisemitism and hatred of Jews that is always present but usually just below the surface. Today, the oldest tropes of Jew hatred prevail amongst the educated to the tradesman in lobbies of the best hotels as well as the local pubs. Such attitudes—under a false flag of human rights—upend fact and reality: Terrorists who murder Jews can be heroes fighting against such nefarious activities as Jews building housing in Israel's capital city or Israeli police jailing mass murderers. The Jews, according to the scores of people Tenenbom interviewed, should not live amongst them and deserve abuse.
Despite the evidence to the contrary, no one, it seems, is willing to even admit such bias exists. British history informs the reader that failure to identify the existence of baseless hatred should not really be unexpected. Finding out that British Jews are equally unwilling or perhaps afraid to acknowledge such bias exists, however, is at once surprising and disturbing. The Jews of the UK and Ireland have been tamed to ignore the chatter of hatred. The silence of Jews around the world when Jews are being attacked, as they are today in Israel as thousands of rockets are fired at civilians, perhaps explains the longevity of such hate: If Jews don't value their lives, at least they can remain the world's oldest scapegoat.
Be forewarned: This is not a feel-good book though it is well-laced with humor. It is a fast read but the subject matter is anything but light. "You have to wake the people up first," Malcolm X once said, "then you'll get action." Tenenbom is ringing the alarm bells; it's time for Jews to open their eyes. Those who care about history, Jews, Britain, Israel or the future should not pass on this book.
(The Taming of The Jew, Tuvia Tenenbom, Gefen Publishing, Reviewed by H. Fragman Abramson)
A tale of two disturbances. by Shalom Pollock
The Rosh Hashana before last, a small group of worshipers gathered at the "Kotel Hakatan"(a portion of the Western Wall tucked inside the Muslim Quarter in the Old City) As the shofar was blown the Muslim neighbors complained to the police. The law enforcers immediately swooped down on the worshipers and broke up the service even dragging some away as they prayed the silent amida prayer. Brutalized, the group was dragged off to the police station where they were further humiliated. This kind of treatment of religious and nationalist Jews seems to be the policy of Israeli law enforcement for quite some time and its fires are continually stoked by the media, academia, courts and press. This is not a new revelation.
It also does not surprise me that every morning at about 4:30 I am roused from my sleep by blaring loudspeakers coming from the Arab village mosque located about a mile from my house in Jerusalem. This booming, rude awakening is not just my own gripe. I know that, because when I call the police each morning, I am told that hundreds call about this disturbance. They tell me" it is being taken care of.."but it can't be solved in one night.." It's been months of almost daily calling. Each time the same silly procedure. They always want to know my name and where I live. And.?
When I explain that it has "been taken care of now for months. Am I doomed to be awoken each morning at 4:30...?"
Sometimes I am transferred to someone else in the room apparently more informed and with greater authority. The things I hear form these guys in charge...! You can plotz! One told me, "Its their prayers, what do you want? Like I should understand that their prayers should wake me up and I am just unreasonable. Or, "It's a very complicated issue. When Jews blow a shofar on Rosh Hashana at the Wall it isn't complicated in the least. It is cut and clear.
Finally, today I received what clearly the true answer. The man with the higher rank in the room got on the phone to tell me that, "It is dangerous to enter the Arab areas."
How far we have come. It is not dangerous to brutalize Jewish worshipers or to destroy a Jewish home in Hebron and terrorizing a family of nine at two a.m., or expelling ten thousand Jews from their homes and breaking heads along the way (Remember Amona?) No, that is not dangerous. Police and soldiers are well trained and rewarded for that
Well, this is the bizzarro world of Israel today careening towards the abyss, Didn't the prophet say that there will come a time when right will be called wrong and wrong will called right? Sounds like we are their ladies and gentlemen. Hold on to your seats. The prophets indeed said it was going to be a very bumpy ride. We all have to hold on tight
In the Talmud, scholars discuss whether they would in fact want to live in the end times with all its difficulties and challenges.
I know that many of us cannot make heads or tails of the absolutely illogical and self-destructive policies of Israeli governments in this last generation. It's not us who simply don't get it
The Talmud scholars saw it coming long ago.
Shalom Pollack is a tour guide, filmmaker and writer in Jerusalem
He is writing a book, "Despite ourselves, I was there"
At the beginning of the lunar month, the moon is positioned between the earth and the sun, causing the illuminated side of the moon to face away from the earth and leaving the moon looking dark in the sky. A few days into the new month, the moon appears progressively until it reaches its fullness, and then it wanes until, again, it cannot be seen, and the cycle begins anew. Our Sages instituted a ritual pursuant to which one recites Kiddush Levana, or the "Sanctification of the Moon," upon seeing the moon at the first stage of its renewal.
The origins of the term are lost to antiquity. Its original name was most likely Birkat HaLevana (the "Blessing of the New Moon"), which is the title used by the Shulchan Aruch (OrachChayim 26) and by which it is known by Sefardim to this day, though some renowned Ashkenazic leaders, including the Rema (426:2), use that name as well.
Kiddush Levana is actually as much mystical as it is ritual. The commentators explain that by reciting this blessing one essentially acknowledges that it is G-d who has created the universe.
The details of the ceremony have evolved over many centuries, but what has remained constant is that each month, shortly after the appearance of the new moon, Jews gather outdoors, usually after Maariv, to recite the blessing and a series of prayers in praise of the moon's cycle of renewal. Contrary to the erroneous belief of many, the rite is the antithesis of "moon worship;" rather, it is an unambiguous affirmation of, and gratitude for, G-d's continuing mastery over nature.
The first known source for this rite is the Talmud in Sanhedrin 42a, which teaches in the name of Rav Yochanan that "anyone who blesses the new moon is as if he has greeted the Shechina (the Divine Presence)," and codifies the basic blessing recited to this day:
Praised are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who created the skies with His word, and all heaven's host with the breath of His mouth. He gave them appointed times and roles, and they never miss their cues, doing their Creator's bidding with gladness and joy. He is the true Creator who acts faithfully, and He has told the moon to renew itself. It is a beautiful crown for the people carried by G-d from birth [i.e., Israel], who will likewise be renewed in the future in order to proclaim the beauty of their Creator for His glorious majesty. Praised are you Hashem, who renews new moons.
Kabbalists later added Psalm 148, which famously praises G-d and proclaims that "sun and moon praise Him . . for He commanded and they were created and He established them forever . . ." The Aleinu prayer was added as an expression of G-d's infinite kingship over the entire world, and other changes were effected over time.
The Talmud Yerushalmi in Brachot codifies Kiddush Levana with other blessings of praise recited over natural wonders, such as mountains, oceans and rainbows, any time a person is emotionally moved by G-d's incredible natural creations. Interestingly, many synagogues would post the text of the prayer in large type outside the building, which is why the term "kiddush levana letters" has come to mean any text written in unusually large letters.
There are several interpretations of the ritual. One is that Kiddush Levana is an act that symbolizes an important way for Jews to come closer to their Creator, and to understand Him and appreciate Him through His astonishing creations. In that sense, the moon is particularly connected with this purpose because the Jewish people are often compared to it; just as G-d created the moon to reflect the light of the sun through dark nights, so He has charged the Jewish people to reflect holiness in a spiritually dark world.
A second interpretation proposes that G-d, as Creator, fashioned the moon to appear in a constant cycle of increasing and decreasing size so that we may internalize an important lesson with respect to His manifestation as the G-d of Jewish history. This idea was beautifully captured by Rav Sholom Noach Berezovsky, the Slonimer Rebbe, who wrote in his Sefer Netivot Shalom:
One could say that the idea of Israel counting [its months] according to the moon is that the moon has time when it is at the peak of its darkness and you don't even see a glimmer of light, but even at that peak of darkness you know that it will start to give light again and even return to its fullness. So, too, with the life of the Jewish people, which follows the example of the moon; the order of life for the Jewish people is that it has consecutive periods of darkness, and so many of its days are in exile where they suffer many evil challenges. However, Israel counts according to the moon so that even at the peak of their darkness, they know that they will return to give much light as they once did.
Kiddush Levana is thus a ritual of both faith and hope for the entire Jewish nation, providing a visceral way for us to contemplate the long arc of Jewish history.
Moreover, the phases of the moon are a metaphor for the Davidic dynasty, and Kiddush Levana is an expression of our belief that there will come a time – with the coming of the Messiah, a scion of the House of David – when the light of the Jewish nation will no longer be diminished and will eternally retain its illuminating power. It is for that reason that the custom is to sing David melech Yisrael chai v'kayam ("David, King of Israel, is alive and enduring") during the rite.
A third explanation focuses on the tradition to turn to at least three people – representing the three names for the moon in Hebrew, levana, yareach, and sahar – after the recitation of the prayer to wish them a hearty shalom aleichem (may peace be upon you). This is to demonstrate to G-d that just as we have now greeted Him to thank Him for the moon, his creation, so too do we immediately turn to His most beloved creation, the Jewish people, to greet and bless them.
A fascinating fourth etiological explanation has its origins in the Midrash, Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 60b. As unambiguously laid out by the creation verses of Genesis, the sun and the moon were originally created as equal in power until the moon, seeking greater power for itself and citing the unavoidable conflict arising out of the existence of the two equal rulers, approached G-d and pointedly asked: "Is it possible for two kings to wear one crown?"
According to another Medrash, the moon spoke metaphorically: "Blessed Holy One, Sovereign of the Universe, why have you created two worlds, this world and the world to come, one small and one great?" In both versions, the Creator's response is harsh and punitive: "Go then and diminish yourself."
However, while making clear that the sun will always retain its supremacy, G-d makes a series of gestures designed to placate the moon, which the moon rejects. Finally, G-d assures the moon that, although small, it will nonetheless be beloved to the Jewish people, who themselves are "small among the nations." Thus, we recite Kiddush Levana each month to mark G-d's promise to the moon. [It is interesting to note that there is a "Blessing of the Sun" but, recited only once every 28 years, it is the rarest prayer in Jewish liturgy.]
The ceremony is one of great joy, which some commentators explain is designed to recreate the joyful celebrations of the new month in Jerusalem during talmudic times. This is why the tradition is to recite it immediately after Shabbat on Saturday night – provided that the moon is visible and not totally covered by clouds – when the residue of the joy of Shabbat remains.
Moreover, the time immediately following Shabbat is a particularly auspicious time to recite Kiddush Levana for two additional reasons: First, because the people coming out of shul are dressed in their Shabbat finery, which is a most appropriate way to greet the Divine Presence and, second, because the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed on Saturday night and we pray for the Messiah to come and rebuild it speedily, in our day.
After the first moon landing on July 20, 1969, then-Tzahal Chief Chaplain (and later Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi) Shlomo Goren issued instructions about a change in Kiddush Levana: since the italicized portion of "As I dance before you and cannot touch you, so my enemies will not be able to touch me" is no longer true, Rav Goren replaced it with "As I dance toward you and do not touch you . . ."
Shown on these pages are a variety of items from my collection of Kiddush Levana materials. I am particularly drawn to the turn of the 19th century postcards exhibited here, particularly the beauty of their illuminative quality and the feelings they evoke with respect to the devout Jews who went out into the cold European night to perform this ancient rite of their ancestors.
This card and the next show Jews reciting Birkat Levana after the end of Yom Kippur.
It is interesting to note that many of the cards include wishes for a Happy New Year and, in fact, many Rosh Hashana greeting cards at the time featured a Kiddush Levana theme. This is not only because the birth of the new moon represents the birth of a new year, but also because of the custom in the month of Tishrei to hold off reciting Kiddush Levana until the night that Yom Kippur ends. As we leave our synagogues after Yom Kippur, we have been forgiven for all our sins and therefore emerge in a particular state of purity fit to receive the Divine Presence, which is the essence of Kiddush Levana.
Shown here is a beautiful handwritten Blessing of the Month written in Rotterdam in 1813 by Israel or Shmuel Katz (the first name is torn off at the bottom right). As early as 1610, the Rotterdam city fathers guaranteed freedom of worship to Jews and the right to build a synagogue and, by the end of the eighteenth century, 2,500 Jews lived in Rotterdam, the largest Jewish population in the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam.
Under the reign of King Willem I of the Netherlands, in 1814 – the year after this document was written – the Rotterdam Jewish community established its regional importance by being named the seat of the provincial chief rabbinate, and the Jewish population of the city went on to grow fourfold over the course of the nineteenth century.
Shown below is Welcoming the New Moon, an original etching drawn and signed by Joseph Budko.
Budko created a whole new Jewish iconography ranging from Zionist symbols to representations of the world of the shtetl of his youth. Developing a unique style which combined personal attitude with Jewish mentality and which synthesized Jewish tradition with a modern artistic approach, he was among an influential group of graphic Jewish artists who embraced the revival of the woodcut, a medium which lent itself perfectly to express the views of Israel and Jewish culture in various lands. He used the expressive form of the printing methods – etchings, woodcuts, and lithographs – to revive the use of graphic and book illustration in the Jewish art world.
Exhibited here is a Birkat Halevana (note the use of the Sephardi name) cardboard document issued by the Keren Ha-Torah of Agudat Yisrael in Germany (1940) containing the full text of the prayer on the verso (not shown here):
The Blessing of the New Moon is a welcome occasion to ask you the following questions: Have you paid your monthly fee? . . . Did your friends do the same? . . . Will you help Keren Ha-Torah to maintain 8 schools with 13 teachers and 370 children . . . It is so easy to be counted among those who demand and strengthen Torah in Germany ….
A document announcing the Blessing of the New Month in the Ukraine on ShabbatMevarchim HaChodesh,Adar Rishon, Parshat Mishpatim (Odessa, 1908). The molad (in general, the precise moment when the new moon is "born") is announced s taking place 49 minutes and 12 chlakim after 12.