Holiday Sale

20-percent-sale-web
Now through December 31, 2016, all items (excluding memberships) in the TZP Store are discounted 20% off the regular prices.* No coupon required; the discount will be applied automatically at checkout.

You’ll find great stocking stuffers like patches, lighters, knives, binoculars, and earplugs, and more.


* Does not apply to Queensboro or CafePress store items; only those offered directly through the TZP Store.

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Single-Handed, but with Angels at his side

On the 30th & 31’s of October, 1950, Tibor “Ted” Rubin was having a particularly crappy couple of days at work.

Having recently become a “GI Joe” for his new country,  Tibor found out that Jew Hatred was not merely a European phenomenon.  Sent as a rifleman to Korea, his sergeant simply delighted in “volunteering” “that Jew” repeatedly for the most dangerous of missions.

Now, Tibor was tasked with single-handedly covering the other soldiers’ retreat in the face of a massive enemy advance.

tibor-rubin-1

But, armed with not a small helping internal strength, remarkable bravery, and the help of Heaven, Tibor prevailed again and again.  On those two days, and on many other occasions both before and since, he not only survived, but heroically aided his fellow soldiers, with resolve, ingenuity, and good humor.

Tibor Rubin was born to a middle-class family in Paszto, Hungary, in 1929.  When the Nazi’s came, his parents tried to smuggle him to the relative safety of Switzerland.  He was caught in Italy and sent to Mauthausen.  His sister and stepmother were murdered in Auschwicz, and his father in Buchenwald.

When American troops liberated the prisoners at Mauthausen, Tibor sought a new live in America. He was determined to repay this “debt”, by joining the U.S. Army.  Due to his difficulty with English, it took three tries to be accepted.

In 2005, he receive the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit’s line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin’s gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.”

FILE -In this Sept. 23, 2005 file photo, President Bush presents the Medal of Honor to Cpl. Tibor Rubin, in the East Room at the White House. Rubin, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who joined the U.S. Army after his liberation from the Nazis and earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Korean War, has died in California. He was 86. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)
 (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)

A new book on his story; Single Handed, by Daniel M. Cohen, came out this past summer

Here, also, is a brief oral history from the late Mr. Rubin himself, who passed away this past December.  May his memory be a blessing.

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Give me Land Lots of Land

I see a lot of stories daily about how carrying a concealed weapon has saved someone’s life, or the life of someone they love. These stories usually take place in a urban setting. It might be a fairly empty parking lot at 2200 or someone’s home, but most of the stories are more urban. I suppose that makes sense, more people.

But when many people think of the rural areas, they tend to think more of the tough, self-reliant type of folks, like Roy Rogers, the Cartwrights or Little House on the Prairie.

What set me down this thought path was a story I saw the other day and it reminded me of when I first moved to my current home, many, many years ago. I considered living places and found the pet deposit for two horses, a flock of chickens, four cats and three dogs was very spendy. I also am temperamentally unsuited to living in a city, so farm it was and I moved from a smaller farm to this one. When I would go to the barn to do chores I took all the dogs with me, family outing as it were. Not long after I had lived here I was coming back to the house from the barn and a man I had never seen was standing near the stock gate. Not a dog had barked, the wind must have been blowing the other direction. Nothing happened, he had heard from someone that I might be someone to talk to about training a horse. But it made me very aware of my vulnerability. No matter what else was going on in my life, this was something I needed to address. I didn’t really know any of my neighbors yet, so most people that stopped by would have been “strangers”. It was long before concealed carry laws or castle doctrine laws were in effect. It’s not that I didn’t have tools, I did. I needed to have them where they could be used. A .357 is dandy, unless it’s in the house, so I started doing things differently. But while laws weren’t in place to protect me, I could get access to the tools that would allow me to protect myself. Some states have laws protecting you only in your home or car, some, anyplace you legally have a right to be including any place on your property, not just your home.

So how did I get to thinking back all those years ago? I saw a story about yet another Jewish farmer in Israel who might be facing charges for shooting an Arab. I will never say farmers in America have it easy. I’ve known better since I was two. But farmers in Israel have a whole different set of dangers. The arabs and bedouins there cut fence, steal livestock, kill livestock, ruin orchards, poison guard dogs, attack the farmers and their families and sometimes kill them. Sadly, sometimes the government forces that are tasked with protecting the farmers seem to favor protecting the arab farmers. Whether it is yet another example of trying not to offend the world, or the police just don’t want to bother with it, I don’t know. Some farmers have been driven off their land, some have had to give up raising livestock, but it is most certain that many farmers in Israel face challenges and dangers that we over here do not face on a daily basis. The case that had been going on was of a farmer that had three arabs show up to steal his truck. He heard a noise and went outside, there they were with a metal bar and three to one odds. He fired in the air and was unaware that he had even hit one. When security forces finally showed up they found the body in a nearby field.

The mayor of the town defended the farmer, saying many such attacks occur during daily, and are repeated with no fear of reprisals. The mayor of the town thinks the U.S. has it right.

“Sunday’s shooting in Beit Elazri was justified,” Naim concludes. “It was an act of self-defense, and prevented innocent people from getting hurt. Every thief must know that he might die. It must be anchored in law, just as in the cradle of democracy, the United States, where every citizen has the right to self-defense of his body and his property, including the shooting of trespassers.”

I don’t know that we shoot trespassers all that much, but his point that we should have the right to defend ourselves, and criminals know we have the right and ability to defend ourselves, and that should slow them down some. Unless you live in a state with a lot of liberals where ever criminal life is sacred, yours not so much. This is made possible by electing liberal politicians because they think rights come from them, not G-d.

Farmers have gone to jail for defending themselves against four to one odds, for example Shai Dromi. While he was acquitted on manslaughter charges he was convicted of having an illegal weapon. It was his father’s. The good thing that came of the mess was it did start to make people aware of what the farmers face on a daily basis.

Now happily the farmer accused this time, has been cleared by the police of any wrong doing, so he won’t be spending time in jail.

Another good thing that came out of this is MKs Amir Ohana and Eitan Broshi submitted a petition that called for a emergency meeting to discuss the issue of self-defense in rural areas. Hopefully more than discussion will come of it. Since MK Ohana is involved, I am kind of thinking something more will.

Another thing I found very interesting was comments by Dr. Jodi Broder, Head of the Clinical Social Law program. I’m the one that put some of this in bold, not Dr. Broder.

Dr. Broder explained why, in his view, proactive self-defense is justified: “We, as citizens, gave the State all the rights over our defense and our property, under the assumption that it would uphold those values, but what happens when the State doesn’t defend its citizens?” he asked. In such a reality, he asserts, the right of a citizen to defend himself and his property returns to him.

Broder qualifies this assertion, however, noting, “not under every circumstance, but within the parameters of self-defense. You are allowed to defend yourself when there is an immediate danger to your life or property. In such a reality, when nobody else is around to defend you and you react in a proportional manner, not in order to punish but only to defend; when the burglar is endangering me or another or our property, I am allowed to defend as long as immediate action is required and the State is not present to supply this defense.”

In response to the question of whether there is an ethical problem with the fact that the same State that does not supply defense for citizens also limits citizens’ ability to defend themselves, Broder replied, “It is impossible to live in a situation in which there are no rules and each man is his own lawmaker. A burglar also has rights which we, as a state, choose to uphold. You may defend, but not punish.

“One of the problems in the State is that the government does not supply adequate defense of property in certain communities, and people feel existential danger and danger to their property; we may see reactions that seem disproportionate at first glance, but when you consider that the Police are probably not coming, and there’s nobody who’s going to help, and it’s my property and my life, the picture changes.”

First, I don’t think we should ever give over our rights to protect ourselves, I’m not suggesting we do so. I also find it interesting that the Israelis are allowed to use force when the criminal is stealing things. In America it’s usually only to defend life. Of course what they are stealing may well affect your livelihood, but I find this variance interesting as well. Second and I think this applies to any of us, the prosecutor in their nice warm, well lit office, reading over the police report as they thoughtfully sip their fresh cup of coffee is going decide someone’s future, or lack of one. They will decide if your response was proportional or not. Consider having someone like Kathleen Kane as the prosecutor. Kane was a Bloomberg backed anti-gun candidate. YESH! But I also see how his comments could apply to gun free zones, they chose to forbid us the ability to defend ourselves, then they have chosen that responsibility. An old discussion, I know. I’m not talking burger joints, I’m thinking more like hospitals, government buildings. Places of worship are targets as well, but I think their response to how they wish to handle these things has more autonomy, but I could be wrong. But back to the prosecutor, you have a person in their nice office, possibly who has never been in a rural area deciding what is going to happen to you based on what has already happened to you, when you were all alone at 0300 in the middle of a field.

And realistically? Whether a field in the middle of the night or supermarket parking lot during the day, it doesn’t matter much. If something bad happens, and you “need” someone else to come help you there is a good chance that may not happen in time.

Just some things to think about as election day looms and you might have a chance to ask your state candidates some questions.

Another thing that popped up as I was poking around to see how this particular farmer came out was that some of the farmers in 2008 began to band together forming modern versions of HaShomer. It was founded by Yoel Zilberman when his father told him he was going bankrupt and going to have to leave the farm. HaShomer HaChadash, The New Guardians, was formed to help protect the farmers and allow them to continue farming in a financially sound manner. It is now a big active program.

Founder Yoel Zilberman, can tell you about it. It’s a very interesting story. Subtitled, luckily.

So thinking back on when I first moved here, and looking at the dangers these farmers in Israel face daily I’ve had some thoughts. Urban or rural, we all face dangers. The dangers these Israeli farmers face are more like the things someone living in the gun free zone utopia of Chicago would face, with just about as much help from the system at times. But then any raw milk or organic farmer may have faced the same dangers in America. Only instead of from Bedouins, from a alphabet soup of state and federal agencies. The big difference is, when it’s the farmer rather than the Chicago resident that faces the danger it can affect a lot of people. The farmers produce food, and when that doesn’t happen it causes problems for a lot of people. The Israeli farmers are getting help now, not from the government so much, as regular people all pitching in to help. It’s sort of like a program we had in America for a while called “Ranch Rescue”. But the foundation of all these programs was the same as the old days of the Cartwrights and Roy Rogers. It was people pitching in to help each other to over come challenges and threats. People that weren’t relying on the system, but each other. As the weather changes and we prepare for storms knowing our neighbors and having plans and ways we could help each other might be a very good idea. We’ve had hurricanes in one part of the country, we will have snow and ice coming for other parts of the country, and then we move into tornado and rain and flood season. Sometimes you know there’s bad weather headed your way, and sometimes, it’s just there.

And because I like to end with something a little nice, here’s a short little scene from Eish Kodesh. It really is beautiful isn’t it?

https://www.facebook.com/398799110143354/videos/1192120390811218/

 

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Hasbara

Recently UNESCO passed a resolution, for the second time this year, attempting to sever the Jewish People, and the modern State of Israel, from Har Habayit; the Temple Mount.  Yes, the leveled hilltop where the First & Second Temples stood.  The exhibition of such raw hubris in that vote is jaw-dropping.

Lots of ruffled feathers ensued.  The Chair of UNESCO distanced herself & even got death threats.  Mexico fired their (Jewish) ambassador to the UN when he walked out.  Others wanted a do-over.

This stupid vote, one of hundreds of stupid UN votes, is hardly the last.  Some believe that Obama has at least one last nut-kick waiting for Israel, before he leaves office.  Probably so.

During the past few weeks, I have also (against my better judgment) seen chunks of the second and third Presidential Debates between Mr. Trump & Mrs. Clinton.  I was mostly interested in the tactical skills utilized and the degree of overt bias the “moderators” exhibited.  Plenty there to chew on.

What surprised me, however, was when the 2nd Amendment came up.  Hillary was carefully prepped, and exhibited all the attributes of a skilled politician, masterfully stroking her “base” while proffering poll-tested, oleaginous, statements to the “undecided” voter.

Then, like a groggy man stepping in dog-poo in the dark, Mr. Trump maundered about, desperately trying to be all things to everyone. And failing, pitiably.

Most of the response to the UNESCO vote in the Jewish world has been the same time-worn things.  Shock that the presumed leaders of the non-Jewish world still resent and hate them, despite numberless abasements and concessions, spanning two-thousand years of exile.

The tough-talkers typically fall back to established modes of “Hasbara”.  Explanation.  As if Titus, or Martin Luther, or Tomás de Torquemada, or Bogdan Chmielnicki, or Iosif Dzhugashvili, or Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, were merely misinformed about the true nature of the Jew and his mission in this World.  Right.

Likewise, most of the 2nd Amendment groups, starting with that greatest advocate for (and often actual author of) victim disarmament legislation, the National Rifle Association, mewl about. Mincing words, and sharpening their dagger to stab US in the back when the next NRA “A” rated legislator barks.

Think about that the next time some NRA stooge talks about how they oppose “new” laws and only want the Government to enforce “existing” gun laws.  Ahhh…  But, we all have to be reasonable.  Right? Law abiding.

Law. Abiding.

Is a “law” that contravenes the plain wording of the Constitution a “law”?  What if the Constitution was amended to require the gassing of the Gun-Owners, or Jews, or Muslims, or Gays, or Redheads?

A few Jews are openly calling for Israel to withdraw from fishhook stuffed things like the Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Government, and all that money.  American taxpayers’ money.

Some folks have long argued that, history or not, being in the United Nations is a very bad thing (for both Israel, and the U.S., for that matter) and that they should get out. Now.

The late Mike Vandeboegh, of blessed memory, was steadfast in his resolve to both be immovable on principle, and savvy on tactics.  To fight the fight, as much as was possible, with “clean hands”.  A few… sadly, a very few… others in this fight, follow his example.

Most others are satisfied with 2nd Amendment “hasbara”, and relying on the NRA & their Republican politicians “make the best deal we could get” in every future battle.  The slow trudge into a muddy pit, I say.

Each of us has our “Line”.  At least, I sure hope so. The point beyond which we will say “NO”, and mean it.

When do we say…NO? When do we MEAN IT?  Worth thinking about.

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Robert Avrech on Jews and guns

Author and script writer Robert Avrech was an old friend and colleague of Aaron Zelman’s. Unlike Aaron, he is still with us and still going strong.

Although he wrote this piece a month ago, it’s timeless and a must-read.

A sample:

Before our son Ariel Chaim ZT”L passed away in 2003 at the age of twenty-two, he and I spent a good deal of time discussing the Second Amendment, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Ariel was amazed that so many American Jews – overwhelmingly liberal and secular – aligned themselves with the advocates of gun control, in reality a movement to banish the private ownership of guns by lawful citizens.

During the Los Angeles riots of 1992, my wife Karen and I, Ariel and Offspring #2, were inside a film theater. Abruptly, an angry mob congregated outside; soon they were trying to break down the doors. Trapped inside, we were all terrified. I held Offspring#2 in my arms; she shivered like a frightened rabbit. Karen gripped Ariel’s hand.

“Don’t worry,” we were assured, “the police will be here soon.”

But the police did not arrive that night, nor did they protect the city from arson, looting and murder. In fact, we watched in disbelief as news cameras captured images of police officers standing idly by while looters gleefully committed their crimes.

A few days later, I purchased a pistol, a 1911 .45 ACP.

I bought a gun because I realized that the day will most certainly again arrive when civil order breaks down and we are flung into a cruel Hobbesian landscape.

Here’s my three part series on the LA Riots, Jew Without a Gun.

As Ariel’s conservative political opinions took form, he logically and ethically fell on the side of legal gun ownership. But because he was first and foremost a Torah Jew, first and foremost a Talmudic scholar, Ariel placed gun ownership into the framework of Jewish law, halacha.

Ariel wanted to put down his ideas on paper. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to write an article on halacha and gun ownership.

And so I humbly jot down a few of Ariel’s ideas. This article is not meant to be comprehensive. It is but a snapshot of our discussions. Any mistakes in this article are mine and mine alone. I write from an imperfect memory, from conversations with my beloved son held years ago, and from the few notes he managed to scribble while sick and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

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Chag Sukkot Samach! And GET….

Or חג סוכות שמח

Sukkot is the last of the three pilgrimage festivals. The other two are Pesach and Shavuot. Those are the festivals that the Torah commands to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Following Yom Kippur, which is a very solemn holiday, Sukkot is joyous. Sukkot is commanded in the Torah in Vayikra, Leviticus 23.

33 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 34 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths 1 to the Lord. 35 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. 36 For seven days you shall present food offerings to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.

And

39 On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40 And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your G-d seven days. 41 You shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your G-d.”

Now, about this business of dwelling in booths when G-d got brought the children out of Egypt. For a time, G-d also had a booth, the tent of meeting, the Tabernacle. It was during this time while they were dwelling in the Sinai that the Ark of the Covenant was created. After the children were in the land that G-d lead them, they set up the Tabernacle and the Ark. In Shiloh. And there it remained until the first Temple was built in Jerusalem. It was to Shiloh back then that the people journeyed three times a year with their offerings. It was there that for 369 years in the 11th and 12th century B.C.E. that Jewish spiritual life was centered.

In 957 B.C.E. King Solomon began construction of the Temple on the site chosen by his Father, King David. David has chosen the spot in Jerusalem where Avraham had been prepared to offer up his son. Before King David ruled from Jerusalem, he was anointed king and ruled from Hebron. For the next 400 or so years Jews were able to go to the Temple in Jerusalem. That ended in 597 B.C.E. when Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem. Little point of interest about Hebron, it is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world

So, the command is to go to Jerusalem for the festival of Sukkot. The Temple, Beit HaMikdash has been there since 957 B.C.E. And it was on that spot that the Second Temple was built.

Islam was created in the 7th century. C.E.

And this concludes the history portion of our column.

Back-story is good though.

So it is with great shock, I tell you…..forget that. There is no shock on this end. Not a shred. But I will still tell you UNESCO has decided that there is NO connection to the Jewish people on the Temple Mount, Beit HaMikdash. And the Uninformed Nitwits Erroneously Spouting Complete Ordure, (UNESCO), wrote up their little proposal in which they said the Temple Mount AND the Western Wall are EXCLUSIVELY a muslim holy site. They put their Jewish Hebrew names in brackets, making it seem as though it was not valid, just a claim someone made.

Do you ever feel like you just woke up in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode?

The response was pretty quick from some. Most Israeli politicians responded at once. In America Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen were joined by Jerrold Nadler in sending a letter from many in Congress to the UNESCO executive board condemning the decision and urging opposition. And to get their heads out, never mind, to get their heads on straight. While most of the world was outraged the F.A., the Falestinian Authority expressed pleasure with the announcement. No shock there.

Let me ask a question here, if mohammerhead tied his horse to the Western Wall, which is a retaining wall from the JEWISH temple, where do muslims think the wall came from he tied his horse to? Apparently mohammerhead had never taught his horses to ground tie.

So, if this piece of ordure resolution had been allowed to stand, let me tell you what it would look like. Currently on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, Jews and Christians are not allowed to pray. Only muslims are allowed to pray there. There are ten gates for muslims to enter. Only one for Jews and Christians, and you will stand in line to be allowed in, you can be thrown off for any or no reason. Because the Al Aqsa mosque is located there. Why?

Over the centuries, the Muslims who eventually took control of Jerusalem built two mosques on the Temple Mount, the site of the two Jewish Temples. (This was no coincidence; it is a common Islamic custom to build mosques on the sites of other people’s holy places.) Since any attempt to level these mosques would lead to an international Muslim holy war (jihad) against Israel, the Temple cannot be rebuilt in the foreseeable future.

Now you understand a bit more why the muslims wanted to build a mosque on the site of the twin towers, at ground zero?

Now, at the Western Wall, which is under Israeli control, Jews, Christians and muslims are allowed to just walk up and pray. You might have to wait for a spot to get to the wall, but that is determined by how many people are there, and how long it takes them to walk away from a spot. People just kind of line up behind people standing far enough back as to be respectful.

For a bit more on the political climate at the Temple Mount this is a good article.

But let us go back even a bit further. Let’s take a look at Hebron, shall we? Where King David ruled before he relocated to Jerusalem. In Hebron you will find the Cave of Machpelah. It is the world’s most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people. The cave is divided into three rooms, Jews and Christians have no access to the largest room except 10 days a year. Would you like to go to the cave? You will only be able to go with armed Israeli guards to protect you. You see, the muslims, the pieceful Falestinians have control of this site as well.

Now let’s go back a little further, to Shiloh. Shiloh is located in Shomron. And Shomron and Judea are what some people call the “West Bank”. It is not the West Bank, it is Judea and Shomron, or Samaria if you will. It is not “occupied territory”. It is in Israel, and there are Jews living in Israel, and some of them live in Judea and Shomron, Samaria. Caroline Glick had a column out recently regarding, basically, Israeli sovereignty. I don’t know of any other country in the world that has to justify building homes in their country. They do not have to justify to the UN, the US, the EU or anyone else when they build homes, they just do so. Part of Caroline’s column pointed out that Israel is going to have to change how it looks at things, and how it approaches solutions.

For a generation Israel’s governments have rejected the idea that we can succeed if we resist the UN. It is time that we abandon this defeatist attitude and work diligently to broker deals with member states to reduce the room for Obama and Clinton, if she is elected, to maneuver against us in the Security Council.

And

Over the past eight years of the Obama Administration, US condemnations of Israeli construction beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including in Jerusalem, have become steadily more obsessive.

This has been part of an unambiguous policy to delegitimize Israel in America. Until Obama entered the White House in 2009, there was a clear difference between the attitudes of Europe and the attitude of the United States towards us. Under Obama we have witnessed the Europeanization of American attitudes towards the State of Israel.

So far, Obama’s efforts have only been successful in the Democratic Party. Party activists have worked hand in hand with anti-Israel movements, most notably the BDS movement. In addition, several Democratic lawmakers have shown their willingness to abandon Israel, and that number is growing.

And it’s working. I recently worked a Ethnic event where many countries come together in a park, we have food sometimes, and sometimes our dance group comes and performs, usually some goodies from Israel to sell, maps, brochures and other information we give out and we answer questions. This was our first time to have some of our goods from Lev HaOlam. I was sitting there minding the table and watching people when a lady came up to the table, took a look at me, and our table and asked “how many mooooslims go to your church”? You ask the girl with the big Magen David on her shirt how many mooooslims (that’s how she said it, drawing out the ooooo) go to her “church”? Lady, you are a bit confused on your religions aren’t you? Told her none, moooooslims go to mosques. I explained this is a cultural event, not a religious event. There were people there from many countries. The point is the country the culture, our table was sponsored by the JCC, not a particular Synagogue. She then informed me that Israel is a mooooslim country. I kid you not. I informed her “It is the ONE JEWISH state in the world, and it IS JEWISH”. I perhaps was a bit adamant. She said there were more moooooslims living there than Jews. No, there aren’t.

This is a battle, and it’s not about “co-existing”. If you think it is re-read the part about how other religions that have ties to the Temple Mount, Har HaBeit, are allowed to worship there. They aren’t. Read the part about Hebron again, how others can go see the holy sites without armed guards, they can’t. You can not “co-exist” with someone that wants to wipe you out.

So here it is, Sukkot, one of the three pilgrimages when we are suppose to go to Har HaBeit. And UNESCO says it’s not Jewish.

They did back off, apparently even the Director made a statement.

UNESCO chairman Michael Verbes said, “I am aware of the connection between Israel and Jerusalem, and I will never deny it. Jerusalem’s Old City and its walls are a UNESCO world heritage site since 1982, and have been recorded as being holy to three religions. This is our stance on the issue, and it trumps all decisions that the principal committee has recently made.”

The UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova also spoke out against it, though not very strongly. Even this tepid defense of Israel has earned her death threats. She now had additional protection.

But in this article lies a key to part of the problem.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett was unimpressed by Bokova’s statement, however, saying it was not enough.

“The Al Aqsa Mosque [or] Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of Muslims, is also the Har HaBayit – or Temple Mount – whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism,” Bokova said in a statement Friday, according to Haaretz.

No, no it isn’t Naftali. Har HaBeit is. The Western Wall is just the closest we can get to Har HaBeit right now because Moshe Dayan handed it over to the muslims. And that’s why we can’t go there for Sukkot.

But this is about far more than Sukkot, this is about a world that is buying a historically false narrative that Jews didn’t live in Israel. It’s about erasing the past so it’s easier to erase the present. It’s about attacks on Jews living in their historic homelands of Judea and Samaria and those attacks being excused by the world, the mainstream media and the democrat party as “justified” or perhaps understandable because they lived in “settlements”. They lived in the “occupied territories”. So, democratic party, liberals, media, UN, EU and UNESCO, where exactly is it you think Jews should be allowed to live. Because the same attacks in Judea, Shomron and Hebron are being carried out in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Yafo. Where is it that you think we should be allowed to build our Sukkah?

Crickets.???

Well, here’s the deal. Sukkahs are up, prayers are being said, meals are being eaten and conversation is taking place. It’s a joyous festival. So as far as UNESCO, US liberals and democrats, EU and UN? Chag Sukkot Samach, now get out of my Sukkah!

Bibi & barry discuss Sukkot
Bibi & barry discuss Sukkot
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Poll: What do YOU do after the election?

Starting with today’s poll, we’ll be going to a monthly, rather than weekly, polling schedule. We figure that lets us better cover big, important issues.

We may have bonus polls occasionally, but otherwise look for a poll about mid-month, every month.

To make up for any poll-addiction withdrawal symptoms, today’s poll is a double:

What will you do if Trump wins the presidential election?

And

What will you do if Clinton wins the presidential election?

Both polls are below, or you can use the links above.

Each poll has similar questions, but with a few that are customized to the particular candidate. Please answer both polls no matter which candidate you support or if you support neither of them — and select as many answers as apply.



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About the Israeli Mauser rifle contest

We are very sorry to announce that we’ve had to call off the Israeli Mauser rifle contest. Refunds are going out to the entrants now.

Unfortunately, interest in the competition was not enough even to cover the cost of the rifle. In addition, contest rules were widely misunderstood; we received quite a few essays without entry fees and entry fees without essays.

Things might have gone better had we been able to structure this as a pure raffle, with no mini-essay required. Unfortunately, that would have been illegal for us.

If you entered, you should be receiving a refund soon. PayPal refunds are already going out and refunds of snail-mailed entry fees will follow. Thank you very much for your participation and for the wonderful, heartfelt reasons you expressed for wanting to win this firearm.

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Turning Around

 

teshuvah

Yesterday, Claire wrote a most inspiring post. It reminded me of a great, and true, story my rabbi told our congregation on the first day of Rosh Hashana services, this year.

Recently the rabbi received a phone call from someone in our town informing him that there was a survivor of the “camps”; a man in his 90’s, living not far away. They asked if the rabbi would mind making a visit.

Mind?! He jumped at the chance.

Going over, he envisioned a frail old man,… perhaps on his death-bed. Not at all. Old? Sure. But, alert, healthy, and mobile.

During their conversation, the man explained that since those dark days, for some seventy-five years, he had been angry… furious… with G-d.

Finally, his anger had abated. Once again, he wanted to grow closer to G-d, but did not know where, or how, to begin, after so much time had passed.

The rabbi immediately took out a pair of Tefillin, and helped the man remember how to put them on. He then guided the man through reciting the Shema, and a few other blessings and prayers.

Seventy-five years of estrangement, alienation and loss, had melted away in a few minutes of kindness and encouragement. Teshuvah at work

We all tend to focus on what appears wrong in this World. But, there is boundless good, everywhere we really look, as well.

sealed

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Catastrophes and second chances

Two wondrous news stories this week got me thinking about our upcoming — and disastrously non-wondrous — presidential election.

Neither of the stories had the slightest thing to do with electoral politics. Quite the opposite. They are rather amazing “feelgood” stories. Neither has anything to do with the U.S. or politics at all. But both are about the triumph of individuals or small groups over decades, or even millennia, of adversity.

First is the tale of Ysrael Kristal. He just celebrated his bar mitzvah.

He also just got named as the world’s oldest man by Guinness. Yes, he finally celebrated his bar mitzvah at the age of 113.

As a young boy, Polish-born Yisrael Kristal looked forward to turning 13 when he could celebrate his bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ritual. But that was 1916 and World War I crushed that hope. Little did he know that he would wait a century for that ceremony.

Kristal barely survived the next world war as a prisoner in Auschwitz. After WWII, he rebuilt his life in Israel, raising a family and opening a business. Earlier this year, he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest man.

Some accomplishment, eh? And after so much tragedy and loss.

Then there are the Lemba people of Zimbabwe.

They are black Africans. Physically, they resemble other sub-Saharan tribespeople. But their own legends and traditions have told them they are Jews. Part of the Diaspora. From Israel. And what do you know? A few years ago, DNA analysis backed up those legends.

Lemba men carry the Cohen Modal Haplotype, a set of Y chromosome characteristics typical of the Jewish priesthood, at about the same rate as that of major Jewish populations. For many, the genetic findings validated the Lemba’s connection to Judaism, further inspiring their quest to reconnect with the faith. Their relationship with the larger Jewish community is now helping them preserve their culture and look out for vulnerable community members just as Lemba traditions once did.

And now they’re building their first synagogue with help from a U.S.-based group that serves isolated, emerging, or returning Jewish communities. This and other help come at a perfect time, when the tribe has been struggling to take care of itself and its members.

So after 100 years Ysrael Kristal celebrates his coming of age and after thousands of years, the Lemba discover their true identity and begin to build a spiritual base to match their cultural and genetic one.

—–

But why would their heartwarming stories bring me to think of the no-good-news election lying less than a month ahead of us?

I’ll get to that in a second, but first I have to say I’m speaking only for myself when I talk politics. The Zelman Partisans as an organization takes no position on the presidential race (or any other). A couple of our board members are Trump supporters. A few more of us here on the blog consider Trump to be, shall we say slightly untrustworthy on Second Amendment issues and all other issues of life, liberty, and the universe. No one hereabouts is insane enough to v*te for Hillary Clinton because even though she lies about everything else, we believe her 100% when she says she wants the “Australian option” on our guns and gun rights.

But I think it’s clear to most everybody that this election is a rolling catastrophe, and that — whoever wins, whatever happens — the catastrophe will continue to roll long beyond the inauguration of the next president of the U.S. We are in angry, desperate, perilous times — and may only be at the beginning of them.

Maybe these perils will pass and we’ll emerge safe and prosperous in a few years. But maybe we’ll end up in WWIII. Or a deeper-than-ever depression. Maybe we’ll end up with either “left-wing” or “right-wing” brownshirts in the streets. Curbs on free speech. Border walls that fence us in but fail to fence others out. Increasing surveillance, with increasing “security” breaches that leave us far less secure. No matter who wins, we’ll almost certainly end up with further restrictions on our gun rights (perhaps mild, perhaps draconian). We are already so polarized that it’s certain that the losing side will nurse grudges while the winning side gloats and tries to wield power by executive diktat. Faction will continue all-out-war with faction and any illusion of the rule of law or respect for the poor old battered Constitution will be shattered. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the indomitable bureaucracy will march on, controlling life more and more — as it always does, no matter what party imagines it’s in power.

You can argue all you want about which side is less bad. But you can’t credibly argue that our immediate political future looks good.

We are in for hard times. And our freedoms — any of them, probably all of them — are going to suffer.

Quite possibly in the next few years and beyond, we’ll have moments, and more than moments, years, maybe decades, in which we lose both freedom and hope. We’ll despair. Some of us will be tempted to surrender. Friends will betray friends. Causes will implode. Losses will pile up. Injustices will pierce us to the heart. Good people will be punished for harmless deeds. Innocent people will be forced to turn outlaw. Many will suffer. Many will break down in grief.

So for those moments, I point you back to Ysrael Kristal and the Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe. They were lost but now are found. They suffered but ultimately triumphed.

And so bloody damn well will the keepers of freedom and the defenders of individual life.

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