Sunday, April 19, 2015

Video: Michael Douglas On Antisemitism

I watched this clip this morning.

And I couldn't help but think: What useless angst! Why should someone who is NOT JEWISH suffer due to antisemitism? What's the point?

I mean, for me, antisemitism mostly helps me hold my head higher. The more they hate me, the more it strengthens me, makes me proud of who I am.

But what does it do for someone like Michael Douglas or his son Dylan? They aren't Jewish. Are they trying to invent meaning for themselves in a meaningless world? It's kind of piteous, you ask me (not that you asked me).

Ditto when he talks about how Dylan's request for a bar mitzvah made him and Catherine (Zeta Jones) proud, and "brought a lot of spirituality into our lives."

I would suggest it brought no such thing into their lives. A bar mitzvah is not a coming of age party, it's the point where JEWISH men attain the age of mitzvot: they now have to keep the Torah commandments or suffer the consequences. The reason Jews make such a fuss about it is to show our joy and gratitude for having the Torah, and for being worthy of living a Torah lifestyle, constrained and enhanced by the mitzvot.

Dylan is NOT JEWISH and therefore will never attain the age of mitzvot, will never have to keep the Torah commandments, will never be WORTHY of keeping the mitzvot, and will therefore, never suffer the consequences of not doing so.

So basically, they threw a party for something that didn't happen. An expensive party, I'll grant you, considering they did it up big in Jerusalem, but still, just a party to celebrate a lie.

I know. I'm just nasty. *sigh*

It's too bad when someone has to suffer antisemitism when that person isn't even Jewish. It's just a bummer, with no bright side, whatsoever.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Haveil Havalim, Parshat Tazria Metzora, the Passover has Passed Over Edition

Haveil Havalim, Parshat Tazria Metzora, the Passover has Passed Over Edition
Vanities of Vanities. All is Vanity at the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival weekly roundup

The scrubbing is over, the seder is over, and even the matzoh crumbs have been swept away. Passover has officially PASSED OVER, the holiday just a dim memory (or nightmare, depending upon your perspective). We needed that pause in the routine, and the spiritual fill ‘er up. And now we’re ready to get back to work.

For bloggers this means getting back to doing what we love best: WRITING. For me, it also meant taking a deep breath and summoning up the courage to host the weekly Haveil Havalim international Jewish blog carnival. Let me tell you about that.

It all started with Soccer Dad, of the late Soccer Dad blog. He decided Jewish bloggers should be taking turns showcasing our collective work as a weekly blog roundup. After coordinating the effort for more than a decade, he retired, but the Haveil Havalim blog roundup continues to this day, now coordinated and publicized via the Haveil Havalim Facebook Page.

We hope you’ll spend some time, reading the offerings here, and if you like what you see and you’re a blogger, please join in the fun by joining our Facebook page.

Send It To Batya

Next week's Haveil Havalim will be hosted by Batya Medad of Shiloh Musings and Me-Ander. Wanna participate? Send your links to Batya at with a one-line description of your post and HH as the subject line. The weekly deadline is before Shabbat whatever time that is in your time zone wherever you are.
Phew. How am I doing so far?
This week, Batya Medad hashed out for the reader the dangers of a unity government, explaining how compared to the actual election, forming a government is Bibi’s real and very serious headache. Talk about stress, speaking of which, Batya feels the stress of the Israeli media, regarding Holocaust Day is all wrong.

The Tel Aviv pundits want Holocaust Day to be experienced on a universal level, but Batya says better we should experience it on a national level and get rid of the Sephardi/Ashkenazi divide. Is there any Sephardi Jew in Israel who doesn’t have a relative who perished in the Shoah? It’s about time we allowed the Holocaust to unite us as one Jewish people.
Surprised that Batya, who is meticulous about sharing her thoughts, has been less than wordy lately? Blame it on the vagaries of connectivity. Check out how Batya lost and found her internet connection.
Robert J. Avrech over at Seraphic Secret wrote about his friend Sol Teichman for Holocaust Day, excerpting a section of Teichman’s moving memoir, The Long Journey Home, about the death march to Dachau. The recounting paints a vivid picture for the reader. I always think how lucky we are to have living witnesses to testify for us about the horrors of the Holocaust. The next generation will be hard-pressed to make the Holocaust come alive as the all-too-real national catastrophe it is. These witnesses are a precious resource, and they aren’t getting any younger.

Not About Hygiene

Next up, Ben-Tzion Spitz, over at Ben-Tzion (the blog), talks about bugs and keeping kosher. Drop of milk falls into a HUMONGOUS pot of beef stew? No biggie. But keep those bug bits far away from your food. No. It’s not about hygiene. You’ll have to go visit the blog to find out why.
Reb Akiva weaves for the reader the Holocaust survival tale of his father in-law, A’H, and how his legacy lives on through his children and grandchildren. Even though Holocaust Day is over, this is a story worth reading because it ends in triumph. Check it out over at mpaths.
Over at the The Rebbitzen’s Husband Rechovot blog, we are treated to a reblog of Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner’s piece on the laws of kashrut and labels, both permanent and transient. Linked to the original piece in Toronto Torah, this is a discussion of Parshat Shemini and why we can, for instance, eat a cow but not a pig. Well, not literally, but rather, why some creations of God are labeled “unclean.” It’s an interesting enough question, with a fascinating answer.
Rachel Hopkins over at Heading Upwards offers up a recounting of how the six members of her ulpan chose to observe Israel’s Holocaust Day (Yom HaShoah). It was a compelling way to connect to the day, and worthy of imitation. The fact that it was all done in Hebrew, got Rachel kind of emo. The reader will enjoy this vicarious glimpse into the journey of a new Olah.
At Aliyah by Accident, Gila Rose treats us to a hilarious rambling about judgmental people, raising twins, the lovely cross-outs on Pesach to-do lists, and more. Why is it so much fun reading about other people’s chaotic lives? I dunno, but Gila Rose is FUNNY. In particular when she contrasts and compares what Shoham and Sivan EAT.
Not the actual twins in question.

Chaviva tells us everything we wanted to know about the custom of the Shlissel Challa by referring us to her very complete article at She offers us a bit of a tease over at The Kvetching Editor. Got a yen to make a key-shaped loaf of bread? This blog’s for YOU.
Do you believe it’s all from Hashem? Ester does over at the It’s All From Hashem blog. And that’s exactly the thought that came to her when she found something while cleaning for Pesach that gave her something of a shock. It’s a shock most of us wouldn’t mind experiencing Erev Pesach! Read all about it here.

Miriam Green writes about her mother and the daily agony of watching her struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, over at her blog The Lost Kitchen. Pesach was an especially difficult week and Miriam found herself giving in to tears. As always, she ends on an upbeat note with her Uncle Zev's BROWNIES as an offering of comfort food. They sound GOOD.

Just in time for Yom Haatzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, Jacob Richman over at the Good News From Israel blog offers readers a chance to bone up on their Hebrew skills with this short and sweet English-Hebrew glossary of terms specific to Independence Day. He makes it look easy! You can do this. Promise.

At Machat, the Ma'ale Adumim English Speakers Community Website, Richman serves up Photos of the Ma’ale Adumim Machol Midbar Dance Troupe Rehearsal and don't they look amazing?? It's no wonder--they've been invited to perform at the Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations in the Dominican Republic! Whoa. That's impressive. (The costumes are stunning but even more beautiful? The smiles on those young faces, the future face of Israel!)

Romi Sussman at Sussman's b'Aretz wrote a lovely blog about what it is to bring Israeli souls into the world. It's what Yom HaShoah/Yom HaAtzmaut means to a lot of us who gave up a life elsewhere for the meaning that only a life in Israel can bring. Our ancestors weren't as lucky. It wasn't so easy to get here or remain here. Have the tissues handy when you read this one!

❤ Irene

Irene Rabinowitz has been blogging at the Times of Israel about her impending Aliyah to Israel and now has actually made Aliyah which means she is now blogging about having made Aliyah to Israel. You go GIRL! (I'll admit I'm a fan. Just say "Aliyah" and you've got me in your corner). Irene has two blogs to offer up for this addition of Haveil Havalim, one for Holocaust Day and one for Israeli Independence Day. Okay, so the truth is, she wrote the former piece last year. But it's a wonderful piece and heck, it's evergreen. Highly recommended by me. Because I love Irene. Did I already say that?

It seems like just yesterday Israel Pickholtz asked my advice on how to start a blog. He only wanted to write a single blog piece for a specific purpose. I guess it's like Lay's potato chips. No one can eat just one. Because here he is, still shooting out amazing blog pieces on genealogical topics, his specialty, three years later. This week he wrote about the difference between writing for readers and writing for listeners and how a favorite relative helped him sort it out. Read all about it at All My Foreparents.
Last but not least, yours truly got her first piece into the English language edition of Israel Hayom. It’s a piece about Iran’s attitude toward Israel and the Jews. What the article doesn’t say is what made me write it in the first place. There I was, minding my own business, going through my Google News newsfeed when I got slapped in the face by the title of an op-ed, Iran never threatened to 'wipe Israel off the map.' I clicked through. That op-ed made me see RED. But I knew The Baltimore Sun would never print a rebuttal. *sigh*
I did the next best thing and wrote my piece, Iran: It’s the Thought That Counts.
After the piece was accepted for publication, I decided to go ahead and send in my rebuttal to The Baltimore Sun. That was Wednesday and I still have yet to see my letter appear. I really don’t think it will happen. But you never know.

Thanks for reading my first Haveil Havalim edition. If I missed your amazing, stand-out far-out fantasmagoric blog, please share your link in the comments section, below.

Oh, and don’t forget to stop by our Facebook page. It’s really an incredible opportunity. What writer doesn’t like promotion??