Friday, September 30, 2005

Sorry Guys

My brain's in the weeds today. Wish I could do a more meaningful post, but I just can't bring myself to put my thoughts together.

So I'll wish Shabbat Shalom and L'Shana Tova (tho this isn't my official New Year's post) to whom it applies...and everyone else, have a great weekend.

Maybe I need coffee. Hmm...


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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Not Again

It's LA wild fire season, and they're really bad right now. I thought they were pretty far from me but I just went out to put on my sprinklers and the smell of ash was in the air. Oy. Reminds me of the fires from the LA riots several years ago.


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The Flip-side of Cindy Sheehan

This is a letter from a father who lost his son in Iraq. Disgusted by Cindy Sheehan (as many are), he wrote to Larry Elder this beautiful note. Also, if you go to the link, Elder included some rather choice quotes of Ms. Sheehan (that's for you, Gindy). Here are the very moving words from Paul A. Castellano.

I was a philosophy professor; I am a former Marine; I am a conservative; and I am absolutely furious at Cindy Sheehan.

Why is this woman receiving the attention she is getting? Why is the media giving this woman the opportunity to profligately disseminate an obviously radical left-wing platform when there are those of us who are experiencing the same loss of a child killed in Iraq, and yet we don't get the opportunity to appear before thousands of people to share our thoughts and platforms? Is it because they support her and yet can't express the same views without losing credibility?

I didn't vote for the president in the 2000 election. I didn't trust his politics. When he was elected in 2004, he was my choice only as a protest vote. . . . Yet after 9/11 (I am a former New Yorker), I thought he demonstrated that he was a leader. When he decided to fight terrorism abroad, I was encouraged. My son then decided to enlist in the Army. As a former Marine, I couldn't oppose him, yet I wanted him to wait until the heat of the conflict passed. He refused; he was resolute; he wanted to go.

My understanding is that Mrs. Sheehan's son volunteered three times, including the mission that finally took his life. My son didn't volunteer for the mission that took his life. Her son was killed in the line of duty and should receive all honors that go with that sacrifice. My son was killed (28 Jan 05) protecting the Iraqi people during the preparation leading up to the elections in Iraq. My son died four days shy of his 21st birthday, and he was killed by friendly fire.

Now let me ask you, who has more of a right to go barnstorming around the country vilifying the president than I? Friendly fire, Larry. How dare she insult and degrade the memory of her son, my son and all the men and women killed there by her shameless politicking! I understand better than most the depth, breadth, width and length of her grief at the loss of a child. I am reminded every day of his loss; I miss him more than words could ever express. I, however, would never dishonor him or others by a selfish, self-serving display of radical politics wrapped in false pain.

I carry a unit pin from the 25th infantry division with me constantly, as a reminder of my son's service. I wear his dog tags along with mine as reminder of his sacrifice. Every time I see Mrs. Sheehan I cry out of anger, rage, disappointment and frustration at the dishonor she has levied on those who have fallen.

My son Stephen (pronounced Steven) Castellano, and dare I say all others who have died providing for the freedom of Iraq people, deserves better. . .

By the way, I supported the president in his decision -- and still do.

Sincerely, Paul A. Castellano


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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Commander in Chief

OK, so I watched the new network show about the presidency -- being filled by a woman (my friend calls it Breast Wing) -- which premiered last night. There were some things to like, some cliches and some stuff that just left me scratching my head.

I like the premise -- the first female president, how her husband and family handle it, etc. Right off the bat, we meet her (Geena Davis), as she is in France trying to secure their help in getting the release of a Nigerian woman who is about to be stoned to death for adultery. When Geena becomes president, she is even more determined to free this woman -- but now she has the power of the free world behind her. When it's pointed out to Geena that the Islamic countries won't like a female president (people are trying to get her to resign so the Speaker, Donald Sutherland, can take over), she says they'll just have to get used to it.

While I applaud the writers for diving into this particular subject matter (lord knows the West Wing screws it up every time they try), they certainly oversimplified a HUGE thing going on. First, gee.... it's great that she wants to rescue this one woman. But this isn't realistic. She can't butt her -- and our air force -- into Nigeria's business like that. And does she intend to do this for every woman who stands ready to be stoned? And in only Nigeria or every country? The climax scene had her bringing the Nigerian ambassador into what I'm guessing was the situation room. There, she lays out their plan to send a commando unit to extract the woman. The ambassador backs down and says he'll call the big cheese. HOLD THE PHONE FOLKS. Isn't stuff like that supposed to be covert? Do you really announce you're going to invade another country?! Doesn't make sense to me. Of course, Hollywood style, Nigeria cooperates and as Geena gives her first big speech to the country, the woman is turned over to our troops (who were allowed to land there?!?!). I think a more suitable, realistic ending would have been that as the President gives her speech, we see the woman killed anyway. Now THAT would have been something.


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Sometimes Money Can Buy Happiness

It shouldn't come as a shock that oil-rich Arabs have been using their money to buy influence in this country. They've poured millions of dollars into our universities in an effort to promote their world view through various Middle Eastern Studies departments (with quite a bit of success I might add) and they've recently purchased a not insignificant share of Fox News, presumably with the same goal in mind...to influence the way Americans think. And now they've even attempted to corrupt the system used to decide the order in which people will receive organ transplants.

So far the Saudis have managed to influence our State Department, our colleges, and our media (and let's not forget who's been funding the madrassas that are filled to capacity with terrorists-in-training just waiting for their shot at the 72 virgins). And now they're using their huge bank accounts to manipulate a system that should strive to be scrupulously fair in its decision-making process in order to retain the public trust. Granted, the system isn't without flaws (the issue of Mickey Mantle comes to mind), but just maybe there's something about a Saudi national being bankrolled by the obscenely wealthy Saudi Embassy and getting a donated liver ahead of somebody who was closer to the top of the list that really bugs me.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Another 9/11 Legacy

Ezra HaLevi writes at Arutz Sheva that according to former Shabak (General Security Services) head, Avi Dichter, the US had a defense embargo on Israel prior to 9/11. Of course, it was enacted at the start of the Oslo War, so we all know whom to thank. Apparently it was because of Israel's policy of targeted killings, and the US didn't want "their" helicopters used in this way (thank you, Europe, for the right amount of pressure, btw).

"The embargo was lifted after the 9/11 attacks", Dichter said in his speech, going on to insinuate that the US itself was forced to adopt the same policy in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Once again we have proof that we were behind the curve in realizing the terrorist threat facing the world until it affected us. Before that, we sat in pious judgment while our ally was being brutally attacked by this vicious and heartless enemy. But not only did we judge, we acted. We put an embargo! Now, I can't say I'm thrilled it took Bush so long to repeal it, but at least he finally stopped the hypocrisy.

The Dems need to lead the fight against the Islamist enemies if they want to be taken seriously in '08. They have a lot to make up for.


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Monday, September 26, 2005

Two for the Price...

After seeing the entry below, Rory's cats wanted to join the action. I'm simply giving Rory a hand with the photo upload.


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Monday Can Be Beautiful

I felt like today needed a pick-me-up.

My boyfriend brought me back the table centerpiece from an event he went to and, as you can see, I'm not the only one who is captivated by it.


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Saturday, September 24, 2005

You MUST Watch This!

What am I so excited about? Tomorrow, Sunday Sept. 25, is the annual Chabad telethon! I'm serious -- this is Must-See TV and incredibly entertaining. Is there really anything better than when they look at the tote board and yell, "Voight, get out here" and all the rabbis start dancing, joined by righteous gentile, actor Jon Voight, whose fundraising efforts, to quote Jewhoo.com, would be impressive even if he were Jewish. If it's not showing on TV in your area, click here to watch on the 'Net. The organization does so much good. Please check it out.


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Friday, September 23, 2005

It Never Ends

On Sept. 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., a conference entitled, "Terrorism, Security, and America's Purpose" was held. One of the speakers was a man by the name of Stephen Walt. According to someone I met who attended, he spoke of how the alliance with Israel is a detriment to the United States and that we should pressure Israel to give the Palestinians a state. The man's assertions went unchallenged. So was this a pro-Arab conference? Is he a fringe member of some whacked-out group? Were the people there anti-Semites?

Actually, it was sponsored by the New America Foundation, a respected Washington think tank. The audience included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, retired General Wesley Clark and Senator Joe Biden. And the man himself? Next in line to become the dean of Harvard. We're hardly talking fringe, folks. Unless higher education itself has become fringe, which isn't as far-fetched as it sounds.

You can read some of his writings to see for yourself how tragically uninformed this man is who has some of the best of our children's education in his hands. To say I'm disappointed that the people who attended sat by and said nothing as this man suggested we turn on our staunchest ally would be... well... an understatement.


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Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Enemy Within

Maybe it's because I once lived in Brooklyn. Maybe it's because I used to go back there to shop at an Arab-owned store, belonging to a recent immigrant, when I couldn't find the things I needed in the suburb I lived in. Or maybe it's because these shop owners weren't like the ones who came before them, the ones who boasted about the fact that a lot of their customers were Israelis who came to buy the Middle Eastern foods of their childhoods. Maybe that's the reason why this story didn't surprise me.

NY 1 News:

"The owner of a Brooklyn ice cream shop was convicted of illegally funneling millions of dollars overseas in connection with a major terrorism investigation.

A jury has found Abad Elfgeeh guilty of transferring more than $21 million without a license, using bank accounts linked to his Brooklyn storefront.

Prosecutors say a Yemeni cleric used Elfgeeh's store to funnel money to the Al-Qaeda terror network and the Hamas militant group.

The cleric was convicted of suporting terrorism. Elfgeeh was not charged with any terrorism-related crimes.

Defense lawyers say Elfgeeh ran a non-profit community service. He faces up to 15 years in prison."

By now it should have become apparent that there are people living in this country who are using the freedoms afforded them as a means to undermine our society. In some cases they're terrorist sympathizers, in some cases they're active supporters, and they pose a serious threat to our way of life.

I don't know the reason why the shop owner wasn't charged with any terrorist-related crimes. Was he unaware that the money was being funneled to terrorist organizations? Apparently so, although one can't help but think that the Yemini cleric chose his shop for a reason. After all, if he really wanted to fool the authorities, maybe he should have found a way to channel the funds through a kosher deli. But, after the subway bombings in Britain, it's become painfully apparent that there are people living among us, taking advantage of everything a democratic, western society has to offer...and trying their damndest to destroy it.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Musharraf's Historic Turn

Daniel Pipes discusses his amazing speech and the surprising warming up of relations between Israel and Pakistan. A couple of nights ago, I learned why this might be happening.

I was at an AIPAC event with someone high up in LA's homeland security. He related a story about one of Musharraf's assassination attempts. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to share the specifics, but suffice it to say that one of the attempts was foiled because of... drum roll please... Israeli technology. I can't think of a better reason to start showing Israel a little respect... can you?


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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"The Conscience of the Holocaust" Has Died

This is a very sad day. Rather than try to find the words, I will instead post this alert I received from his organization:

Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi Hunter, has died in Vienna at the age of 96.

Said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the International Human Rights NGO named in Mr. Wiesenthal’s honor:

"Simon Wiesenthal was the conscience of the Holocaust.

When the Holocaust ended in 1945 and the whole world went home to forget, he alone remained behind to remember. He did not forget.

He became the permanent representative of the victims, determined to bring the perpetrators of the history’s greatest crime to justice. There was no press conference, and no president, prime minister, or world leader announced his appointment. He just took the job. It was a job no one else wanted.

The task was overwhelming. The cause had few friends. The Allies were already focused on the Cold War, the survivors were rebuilding their shattered lives and Simon Wiesenthal was all alone, combining the role of both prosecutor and detective at the same time.

Overcoming the world’s indifference and apathy, Simon Wiesenthal helped bring over 1,100 Nazi War Criminals before the bar of Justice."

Click here to help them continue their good work.


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My Fight with the BBC

Here was my first subtle note to them:

Your coverage of the Palestinians setting fire to the temples in Gaza was vile. You justified it? You have been accused for a while now of being morally bankrupt in your coverage of the Middle East. You're obviously very comfortable with that. I'd like to see how you'd cover it if that happened in Northern Ireland or something like that. You get hit by suicide bombs and have learned NOTHING about terrorism. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

They responded with this charmer:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding a report on our News Website from our Middle East Correspondent, Orla Guerin, on the Palestinian return to the Gaza settlements.

Orla Guerin was in no way trying to "justify" the actions of Palestinian mobs in this report. Her reference to the Palestinians' sense of having time stolen from them was an attempt to give context to their actions - not to justify them.

As I am sure you are aware, the UN believes that settlements - to which Orla Guerin was referring to in this report when she used the word "stole" - have no legal validity and obstruct the peace process (e.g. Security Council Resolution 446, 22 March 1979). Many governments also hold that Israeli settlements contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that 'The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. '

The British Foreign Office gives this statement on its website:

"Our policy on settlements is clear: settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace ... continuing illegal Israeli settlement activity threatens the prospects for a two-state solution and is an obstacle to peace."

In United Nations Security Council Resolution 465 (1980), the Security Council demanded that Israel "dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction or planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem."

Accordingly, we do not agree with the assertion that this report sought to "rationalize the Palestinian mob violence". The use of the word "stole" was a reference to Israel's occupation of this land for the previous thirty-eight years following the 1967 war.

Regards

BBC Information

So I decided to write them back, but it bounced, saying I needed to resubmit in a form. I say screw that at this point and figured I'd just post it here for you guys:

You are still appearing to me to be morally bankrupt. How did Israel "steal" the territory? Who had it before? The Palestinians? Nope. Egypt had Gaza. How did they lose it? THEY attacked Israel and then LOST. I don't see YOUR country giving back any land. By expecting Israel to do so (which they frankly are willing to do if they ever were promised to be left alone and not killed on a daily basis), you are showing a penchant for anti-Semitism. You are holding Israel to a standard even your own country isn't willing to live up to.

As for this...

"As I am sure you are aware, the UN believes that settlements - to which Orla Guerin was referring to in this report when she used the word "stole" - have no legal validity and obstruct the peace process"

Where to begin on this jibberish. They are not an obstacle to peace. What is, you ask? The fact that Palestinians refuse to acknowledge Israel's right to be in that part of the world, period. Even more surprising, you're going to use the UN's actions to justify something? Are you on crack? The UN also doesn't think the deaths of hundreds of thousands (or is it up to millions?) in Darfur is genocide. They're a toothless lion and even more useless. Next thing you know, you'll be quoting your dangerous misfit twins, George Galloway and Ken Livingstone, as paragons of right thinking. If you do that, you'll simply be proving yourself a joke and dangerously ignorant.

Sincerely,
Esther


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Monday, September 19, 2005

The Taste of Freedom

And I don't mean Iraq.

My short-term job has ended! Woohoo! So now I'm free to blog and read your blogs. Course, it does have a downside... like no paycheck coming in, but I can't say I'm upset by the tradeoff. Sometimes it's best to move on to something less crazy.

So what'd I miss?


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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Moderate Palestinians: Please Take Control!

What's there to love about the Palestinians (and by saying that I mean the ones who are terrorists, not the caught-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place civilians)? Why on earth should anyone care about these people when they appear to contribute nothing to society but mayhem, despair and death? I could live with their contributing nothing if they didn't make things worse. But they do! I won't even go back to the PLO antics, etc. Let's simply take a look at their recent actions post Gaza disengagement.

Torching Synagogues -- After mobs of marauding Palestinians set fire to several of the synagogues abandoned in the now empty Jewish settlements, machinery was sent in to raze whatever was left standing.

Looting -- Yesterday Gaza, today the West Bank: Hundreds of Palestinian villagers from the northern West Bank raided Saturday the evacuated settlement of Homesh after realizing there were no IDF troops in the area.

Smuggling -- Large quantities of weapons, including anti-tank missiles, have been pouring into the Gaza Strip through the porous Egyptian border, IDF and Shin Bet officials warned Friday.

Lawlessness -- Chaos after the Israeli military pullout this week is raising serious questions about the PA's ability to assert control.

Then one of my favorites...

Ridiculous Double Speak -- Palestinian minister slams Israeli decision to leave synagogues intact, claiming it was a political trap.

Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post seems dumbfounded by the situation too.

After the firebombing came the looting of the destroyed Jewish communities. Then came the looting of the hothouses which had been bought for the Palestinians by wealthy Jews in the US who decided to buy them so that the Palestinians could reap what their expelled Israeli brethren had sown.

Sometime between destroying the abandoned synagogues, looting the destroyed Jewish villages, tearing apart the hothouses, throwing grenades at IDF patrols guarding Moshav Netiv Ha'asara and shooting mortars at Sderot, the Palestinians discovered Egypt. At the direction of Hamas, and with the help of PA militias and Egyptian soldiers, thousands of Palestinians crossed the wall separating Palestinian Rafah from Egyptian Rafah. Among the merrymakers, unknown numbers of terrorists crossed back and forth shuttling arms and reinforcements into Gaza in unknown quantities. IDF commanders looked on, and impotently stated that there is a high probability that al-Qaida operatives are among the newcomers. Oh well.


All the opportunities to make themselves a better life and yet they still can't get it together. How many chances must they be given? How many different ways can they show us that all they want is for all the Jews to die before someone steps up and says, "No more!" I mean someone besides Israel. Is the rest of the world so anti-Semitic that they don't mind how morally bankrupt they look supporting these savages?


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Thursday, September 15, 2005

America's Dark Side

Putting aside for the moment my own feeling that there are times when the State Department functions as if it might belong on this country's list of terrorist-sympathizing organizations, this latest development is enough to make anybody who's disgusted by Foggy Bottom's headlong rush into dhimmitude, absolutely livid.

Reading Caroline Glick's article
, I was reminded of how, after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, when America lost over 240 brave young men, then Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, in a revoltingly obsequious effort to keep from offending our Arab "allies," refused to allow wounded Marines to be taken to hospitals in neighboring Israel, where they've had altogether too much experience treating gravely injured soldiers. So, instead, they were flown to our Air Force Base in Germany and critical hours were added to the trip in an emergency situation when minutes and even seconds count. I hope none of those Marines died as a result of the delay. I don't think any did, but the fact that there existed a mindset in this country that made it possible to put the sensibilities of Arab despots ahead of the lives of American citizens was unconscionable. Now there are survivors of Hurricane Katrina who've lost everything and could benefit from what the Israelis were offering to send us. But, even after 9/11, it would appear that not offending Arab countries still takes precedence over the lives of American citizens.


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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blackout

I was affected by the Los Angeles blackout yesterday. My hands were full of food, having gone out to get lunch for myself and an ailing co-worker pal (his poor back!). I was riding up in the elevator to our 5th floor office space when suddenly the elevator stopped and everything went dark. It was pretty shocking. I heard voices directly on the other side of the door. I sorta yelped for help. No reaction. I tried the "door open" button. Nothing. I contemplated the alarm but thought, "Eh. Not yet." Yelped again. Tried the "door open" button again but this time it worked! Freedom!

So some random worker caused this? Sounds fishy to me. Perhaps I've just become too cynical about terror to believe in innocent accidents. Or maybe I watch too much 24.


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Monday, September 12, 2005

Heartbroken

I was just over at Rachel Ann’s site and read about the death of little Susan Anne Catherine Torres from heart failure. For those of you who don’t remember, soon after her mom learned she was pregnant, she found out she had cancer and quickly fell into a coma. She was kept alive until the baby was old enough to live outside of the womb. She was born Aug. 2. My heart goes out to her family and all who loved her during her short but inspiring life.


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Operation Pet Lift

I'm sure many of you join me in concern for the pets along the Gulf Coast. Now comes news of the first major airlift of dogs rescued from the region. They were brought to California, thanks to Texas oil tycoon Boone Pickens and his wife Madeleine. The move was organized by PetRelocation.com. It's just a drop in the bucket but there is some good news.

The Humane Society's Dave Pauli, director of the Gonzales facility, said 200 animals were shipped out Sunday by truck to Houston, but rescue teams expected to bring in about 300 more in the afternoon.

About 200 animals have been reunited with their owners at the facility.

"That's what keeps us going," Pauli said. "Every one of them brings a tear to your eyes and makes these sleepless nights worth it."


Amen to that.


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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Before The World Changed

I took this picture when I was about 16 years old. I never imagined I'd outlast them. Neither they, nor the people murdered within, will ever be forgotten.


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September 11, 2001

I'm sure there isn't one of us who will ever forget where we were on one of the darkest days for our country. I was watching the news on a local New York channel and they were the only ones, at that point, who were carrying the report of the first plane crashing into the Trade Center. At first it appeared to be some sort of tragic accident, perhaps a pilot losing control of the plane, and it wasn't immediately obvious that it was a commercial airliner. Some eyewitnesses were identifying it as something more like a small private plane (which is why anybody who works in law enforcement will tell you that the majority of people are notoriously unreliable witnesses). But, at the moment the second plane slammed into that building, my first thought was about my brother, who worked near the Trade Center, although mercifully I didn't know it was just a block away, but the second was that it was Osama bin Laden's handiwork. Why? It was simple. He alone had both the motivation and the resources to carry out such an audacious attack. Why so many people who should have known better seemed to be so muddled (as if there were some long list of culprits who could have been behind such a devastating attack) I'll never know. Sadly, though, it seemed to foreshadow what was apparently a serious intelligence failure. But, today I want to remember the victims and their families, and I want to remember the Twin Towers the way they looked from my office window...and I want to remember how lucky we were that my brother was just far enough away.


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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Here's How YOU Can Help!

Hat tip to the Seawitch for this one. Visit Homefront Six here and post a comment before Thursday and the blog owner will donate a dollar towards hurricane relief. You can do it!

Seawitch also needs your help locating someone.


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The Celebrity Hebrew Tattoo

While not particularly interested in the private lives of celebrities (Okay, I'm not at all interested), I do admit to having a certain fondness for quirky stories like this one.

By now, I would imagine that some of you may be familiar with the term "Kabbalah" thanks to the likes of Madonna and Britney Spears. Now, I have to admit that I grew up with virtually no formal Jewish education to speak of. (In fact, the only reason my brother had a bar mitzvah was because my grandmother was still alive), but I did develop a nodding acquaintance with some rather esoteric Jewish subjects thanks to my father's Orthodox childhood, and one I knew was that Kabbalah was definitely not for civilians. In fact, I've since learned that it's only supposed to be practiced by Orthodox married man over a certain age.

So, imagine my astonishment when I discovered there was "Kabbalah for the masses." And as if that weren't bad enough, something I had always taken as gospel, which is that Jews were never supposed to be tattooed, also fell by the wayside the first time I was in Israel and saw a lifeguard with a tattoo, in the days before everybody and their mother had one. I have to admit I was pretty shocked because I had always heard that if you had a tattoo, among other things, you could never be buried in a Jewish cemetery, something I would have thought could be very problematic in Israel where, until recently, even atheists were buried in Orthodox cemeteries. (That's a subject I could write volumes about, but I'd have to be prepared to take the heat once I do). So, now it looks as if we've arrived at the point where Madonna can practice Kabbalah and Jews can get tattoos. What's the world coming to?


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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Red Panda Makes Aliyah

This being my official entry into the blogosphere, I though I would do a piece on one or the other of my favorite subjects: Israel and animals. But, now it looks as if I can get two for the price of one. A while back, I saw some of these little darlings at the Bronx Zoo in NYC, and if you've ever had the urge to keep a wild animal as a pet, this is definitely the one. One day I may go off on my rant about how Congress absolutely has to do something about banning the sale of wild animals to private individuals, but I'll leave that for another day. But, if anybody's planning to trip to Israel, the Biblical Zoo is something you really ought to see.


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Proud of the Libby Family

I was born and raised inside the beltway, so I’m especially proud of this story. While I don’t know them, the Libby family of Rockville, Maryland, has taken in 11 people who were left homeless by hurricane Katrina. You should read their story. Sort of gives a person hope.


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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Welcome Rory!

Just wanted to let you all know that Rory is now a member of the Blogway team and will be contributing posts officially rather than as a guest. WooHoo!


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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I've Been Hit with the 7 Things Meme

Grrr.... Mark snagged me. I won't be doing this to anyone else but if you want to do it, go ahead. Here are my answers.

7 things I plan to do before I die:

Spend time with my family
Return to Israel
See Australia
Learn Hebrew
Live by the ocean
Own a home
Make a difference in someone's life

7 things I can do:

Defend Israel in conversation
Play piano
Photography
Cook/grill
Answer almost any question about soap operas
Teach anyone from 6 months to over 70 to swim
Play Texas Hold'em

7 things I cannot do:

Sing
Drive without cursing
Hold my tongue when I see injustice
Stay out of trouble
Skydive
Watch TV without heckling
Stay employed for longer than 2 years at a time

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

Sense of humor
Eyes
Intelligence
Way they dress
Smile
Love for animals
Things in common

7 things I say most often:

Yup.
That's some shit.
I like my iddy. (Elvis's word for ice cream)
Oy.
They interrupted my soap!
Who knocked that over?! (to my cats)
I love you.

7 celebrity crushes:

Mine are lame, aren't necessarily current and probably not known by most people...

Lane Davies
Greg Vaughan
Grant Goodeve (Loved Eight is Enough, so sue me)
Carl T. Evans
Scott Bryce
Paul Rudd
David Selby

7 people I want to do this:

Jump in anyone cause I'm not namin' names...


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Monday, September 05, 2005

Torn Together

I hope everyone is able to enjoy Labor Day today.

Israel has been going through one of the worst forms of labor -- soldiers removing people from their own homes and land. Here is a beautiful photo essay by Tzvi Freeman for Chabad.org that will touch your heart. Watch and feel pride for all that Israel is. Hat tip to Naomi Ragen.


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Saturday, September 03, 2005

I'm Curious...

So I just saw on the Fox News ticker that Abu Mazen wants to return to peace talks once Israel has completed the Gaza withdrawal and that he fully expects to see a Palestinian state by next year. So why am I curious?

Because I want to know who the hell he thinks he is to feel he can make demands? So Israel does all the work, risks a civil war and he feels like he's done something to move a step forward and should be rewarded? What has he done so far? Let me list his current headline "accomplishments" here:

Terrorists reject PA calls to disarm.

Mazen condemns suicide bomb. (Notice it doesn't say that he stopped one.)

Soldiers Uninjured in Pipe Bomb Attack

Gunfire Directed at Soldiers Near Nisani

PA Has Double Amount of Allowed Weapons

Abbas Encourages Students to be Martyrs

Bomb Attack Against IDF In Samar

I guess I could go on, but you get the idea.


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Friday, September 02, 2005

Rory Takes Over!

This post is actually courtesy of Rory, though I’ve edited it together, so don’t blame her for the wording -- simply the content. Well, not blame... oh you know what I mean.

Ariel Sharon has written to Bush, and he’s offering to send Israeli doctors and nurses as well as field hospitals, medical supplies for existing hospitals and equipment to set up temporary housing to the areas affected by the hurricane.

I just saw that same crawl again and what it said exactly is that Sharon is offering to send “hundreds of Israeli doctors, nurses and specialists” in addition to the equipment I mentioned. For a country as small as Israel, I would think sending that many highly trained medical people would constitute a significant contribution.

Apparently Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary (and a real [bleep!] as far as I’m concerned) said that, contrary to a report in the Financial Times of London, European nations were not going to release some of their emergency petroleum reserves to help the U.S. I don’t know what, if anything else, they may do, but I thought this was an interesting contrast to the report about what Israel has offered to do to help us.

Also, Patrick over at Clarity & Resolve has a link to the ASPCA’s disaster relief fund. Maybe, you’d want to put up their website, since you seem to have a lot of animal lovers visiting your blog.

All of this was great info to know, Rory. Thanks! Animal lovers, please check out Patrick’s post that I linked to above.


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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Article of Interest

Hat tip to my pal Sahbra for the following about the Jewish community -- in regards to Katrina.

The 12,000 Jews of New Orleans
By Hillel Fendel

The Jewish community throughout southern the United States, and elsewhere as well, has awoken to the plight of their co-religionists affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, for instance, has established an emergency fund, and has already sent $100,000 to the Gulf Coast to support victims. The umbrella United Jewish Communities (UJC) has established a fund to aid victims in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, the Western Florida panhandle and other affected areas. Other Jewish groups that have established or opened relief funds for Katrina victims are the Union for Reform Judaism ("www.urj.org"), B’nai B’rith ("www.bnaibrith.org") and Chabad-Lubavitch of Louisiana ("www.chabadneworleans.com").

In addition to sending money, however, many Jewish households in the area have opened their doors to the refugees streaming out of New Orleans and other areas. Many of the 10-12,000 Jews of New Orleans came to Houston, where most of them appear to have family. "The Chabad of Houston community has thrown open its doors widely," wrote one displaced Louisiana Jew. "The Chabad staff here has been inundated with calls and emails offering to host people and give food."

Adam Bronstone, community relations director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, himself settled into temporary quarters at the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston on Tuesday. Nearly 150 New Orleans refugees have taken shelter in a Jewish camp - Henry S. Jacobs Camp - in Utica, Mississippi.

Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin, who serves as Chabad Director in New Orleans' Tulane University, found refuge with his family at the the Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Center in Gainesville, Florida. He has established a type of command post there, helping other refugees communicate with relatives and find relief centers.

The New Orleans Chabad chapter is continuing its efforts on behalf of the local Jewish community via the internet. It explains the immediate needs in a terse paragraph:

"At present, the people of the New Orleans Metro area are uprooted from their homes and communities. Evacuees may be without permanent homes for a month or more. Homes, businesses and lives have been destroyed by this storm. For the next several weeks, Chabad is ready to provide assistance using its network of centers throughout the region. Chabad representatives are able to assist with food, finding housing, and providing spiritual and emotional comfort. We urge evacuees to turn to the local Chabad centers for assistance" - including those in Houston, Austin, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham, Tallahassee, and Atlanta.

Just before the storm hit, worshipers in New Orleans synagogues moved Torah scrolls out of what they thought was harm's way - but they have no way of knowing yet whether their efforts were not in vain.

Congregation Beth Israel in another hard-hit city, Biloxi, Miss., is located two blocks from the beach, in an area reportedly hit by 12 feet of water. No word has yet been received as to how the synagogue fared, but many buildings in the area were destroyed. Concern has also been expressed about Touro Synagogue in New Orleans, said to be the oldest Jewish house of worship in the U.S. outside of the original 13 colonies.


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