Posts Tagged With: jewish

Chanukah Hanukkah Beginning in About Two Weeks

Shalom Y’all:

Chanukah Hanukkah is almost here. We light the first candle on the evening of December 6. For you last minuters, these bibs, onesies, t shirts and sweatshirts for kids are great gifts.

Hanukkah kids Maccabee Hoodie

Let’s Go Maccabees!

My First Chanukah Bib

Light the lights.

Hanukkah Dreidel Onesie

Spin the Dreidel.

Mommy's Latke Chanukah Hanukkah Sweatshirt

A real delight!

Dreidel Champ T Shirt

The best.

To see JewTee’s entire collection of Chanukah Hanukkah shirts, bibs, onesies, and gifts for kids and adults, click here.

In this midst of all last week’s horror, a bit of good news: Jonathan Pollard, the convicted American spy accused of passing secret information to Israel, was finally released this past Friday after thirty years in jail. But his troubles are far from over. He has to stay in the United States for the next five years and check in regularly with his parole officer. Furthermore, just to make sure he does not attempt to escape from  America, he is required to wear an electronic bracelet at all times.

Originally, he was not allowed to have any internet access (in today’s world that’s an information blackout), but his pro bono lawyers managed to allow him access if his computer usage is monitored at all times. This would include any computer he uses during the course of his employment. Needless to say, no employer would agree to have its computers monitored. He was offered a job as an analyst in a financial firm, but obviously he will not be able to accept the job offer if his work computer is monitored.

His lawyers have appealed these conditions and a hearing is expected to be held this coming week in a New York court. HIs lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman have called these conditions unreasonable, vindictive and unlawful. They say there is no reason to monitor Pollard because, after thirty years, he has no information that would be valuable to anyone. Furthermore, his disclosure of this stale information would result in a quick return to jail to serve out the rest of his life sentence.  This type of monitoring is generally used only for pedophiles, stalkers and those who are a danger to others. Pollard certainly does not fall into this category.

Two New York Congressmen, Eliot Engel and Jerrold Nadler asked US Attorney- General Loretta Lynch to allow Pollard to move to Israel if he renounces his American citizenship, like the Cuban spy who was allowed to return to Cuba after he renounced his American citizenship. No word yet on her response.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu asked President Obama to intervene to allow Pollard to go to Israel, but the President said he will not intervene.

One day all the facts in this strange case will come to light. Starting with the judge’s decision to hand down a life sentence for a crime which is usually punished with two to four years jail time, to the government’s failure to live up to its promises on the plea deal, to his Lebanese attorney’s failure to file a timely appeal to the life sentence, to the failure to obtain parole much earlier, the book on this case will be a runaway best seller. However, the likelihood it will be written and published anytime soon is quite remote.

At least Pollard is out of jail and can live relatively freely now.

Update: Pollard is under a house curfew from 7AM to 7PM every day. This means he cannot leave the house to go to synagogue before 7AM and after 7PM. Furthermore, he cannot accept dinner invitations on weekdays or the Sabbath that will entail his return to the house after 7PM.

As if this were not bad enough, even when he is allowed out- between 7AM and 7PM he is only permitted to go to a small area within New York City. This despite the fact that he is obligated to wear his GPS bracelet 24/7.

Since not only will his home computer be monitored, but his business computer as well, his prospective employer has withdrawn the job offer since that business, and any other business as well, does not want the government constantly monitoring its communications and actions.

This is freedom?

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Jewish Baby and Kids T Shirts and Gifts, Jonathan Pollard, Politics, Pollard | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chanukah Hanukkah Is Almost Here

Shalom Y’All:

It’s been almost four months since we made aliyah, but it seems like years.

During this time In Israel we bought a new car, a new stovetop,  a new TV, and various small appliances which we should have bought in the States.

We’ve prayed in  a number of different synagogues, seen an excellent play in English, been invited to a Shabbat meal with two couples we did not know before, attended an Israeli wedding, and celebrated  the High Holidays, Sukkot and Simchat Torah here.

Despite the fact that the neighborhood we live in has both religious and secular residents, there were few cars on the street on Rosh Hashanah and no cars at all on Yom Kippur. In fact, on Yom Kippur, many kids ride their bikes on the streets throughout Israel since the streets are free of vehicles. On Sukkot, many food establishments have their own succahs and it is very interesting to see multiple sukkot on streets with restaurants. Jerusalem and many other cities have large public sukkot featuring free entertainment. There is a festive holiday atmosphere in Israel throughout Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

We’ve also spent loads of time filing out forms, including those required to: open a bank account and a checking account,  buy a car, obtain an Israeli Driver’s license-which requires multiple completed forms, an eye test , at least one driving lesson and a driving test, even though we have American licenses – obtain temporary Israeli passports issued after being in Israel for at least three months, but less than a year.

I also attend an Ulpan (one run by the City of Jerusalem) three days a week from 8:30 AM (everything begins early in Israel) to 1 PM. The Ulpan is a school for learning the Hebrew language. The government pays for the first 500 hours of instruction, which, at three days a week, is about ten months. The school administrator tests every student before she assigns them to a class. Those with no knowledge of Hebrew are assigned to a class which meets five days a week, while those with fairly good Hebrew skills attend only twice a week. The rest are three day a weekers. While instruction is in Hebrew, there is, in my humble opinion, too much of an emphasis on grammar. Too little time is spent on conversation. This may be because the classes are too large to engage in meaningful conversation.

The classes composition is like a mini UN. My class has a number of French speaking students from France, a Spanish and Portuguese speaking student from Brazil, English speakers from the United States, a Danish student, an Australian, a Canadian and other students whose origins I do not know since they are new.

It’s getting cool in Jerusalem, although it’s still much warmer in the southern part of the country.  Somehow, I neglected to take everyday turtlenecks with me and I have yet to find a store that sells them. Shipping them from America is very expensive, as the cost of shipping often exceeds the cost of the purchase. The only thing to do is to wait until someone I know visits Israel and is willing to bring a few items with them for me. It seems Israelis do not wear turtlenecks, although I’m not sure why. Correction: I have been told of a store that sells turtlenecks in Geula, a religious neighborhood in Jerusalem.

On a more serious note, there is a slight undercurrent of anxiety in the country due to the  Arab violence. While the threat is real, statistically the probability of any particular person getting hurt is much much less than the chances of getting hurt in an auto accident. Still, it’s unnerving and people at bus stops, for example, try to sit or stand with their backs to the wall. It’s most unfortunate that the incitement by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Isis has created a situation where young Arabs are led to believe that stabbing and killing a Jew is somehow defending Jerusalem for Islam and a desirable act. Building additional barriers around Jerusalem and increased intelligence have helped curb the violence here and the majority of the incidents are now taking place in the territories.  But, hopefully, this too shall pass. In the meantime, Jews are just a tad more careful and those licensed to carry firearms are increasingly doing so.

On a brighter note, Chanukah Hanukkah begins in three weeks. Here are some unique Chanukah shirts and gifts:

Make Latkes Chanukah T-Shirt

Funny Latkes Chanukah t Shirt

Hanukkah Lights Hooded Sweatshirt

Funny Hanukkah Lites Hoodie

Real Men Make Latkes Chanukah Tank Top

It takes a Real Man to Make a Perfect Hanukkah Latke

Oy To The World Funny Jewish Zip Hoodie

Funny Hanukkah Hoodie and Oh So True.

These shirts and hoodies come in many sizes, styles and colors. Buy one for yourself or give them as Chanukah gifts. See the entire collection at JewTee’s Chanukah Hanukkah Shirts and Gifts.

Categories: Aliya, aliyah, Israel, It Happened In Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Jewish T Shirts and Gifts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aliyah Adventure Part 3

Shalom:

I managed to divide our possessions into three:  to be shipped to Israel,  to be stored in a warehouse and to be given away. I couldn’t believe how much stuff I had accumulated in the years we lived in the house and how much of it I really didn’t need or didn’t even know I had. The give away stuff filled many boxes and contractor bags.

Before the shipping company came, we separated out everything that was going to Israel. When the company representative came, he looked at all the stuff and estimated the size of the container we would need- 20′, rather than the larger 40′. That was a relief because there’s no way a three bedroom apartment could hold the contents of the larger container.

The shipping company came, packed our stuff and loaded it into the container, which would not be opened until it arrived at our apartment in Israel. A much smaller truck came and took the stuff designated for the warehouse. Now we were left with everything we decided to give away. After the kids decided what they wished to have, we invited friends, then neighbors to take whatever they wished. A substantial amount remained. A call to a trash removal company and their estimate of the charges for removing the trash, convinced us that we had to figure out another way to dispose of the leftovers. We decided to simply pack it into boxes and contractor bags and put it in front of the house for passerby to take. This proved to be a win win idea. However, some stuff still remained and at the end we had to call the trash removal company to haul it all away the morning we left for the airport.

There was a ceremony at the airport for those going on the Nefesh B’Nefesh (the organization that helps those wishing to make Aliyah) charter flight and their family and friends. It consisted of speeches and more speeches, with refreshments on hand to keep people awake.

The flight was uneventful. When we arrived at Ben Gurion airport, we were loaded onto buses which drove us to an used terminal in the airport. When we stepped off the bus, we were greeted by soldiers and well wishers singing Hebrew songs and waving Israeli flags. It was very touching.

Inside the terminal, reunions with family and friends who came to greet the new arrivals and more speeches and refreshments. Then the passengers proceeded upstairs for processing and for their first payment of 1250 Israeli Shekels (about $300). Families receive more money and retirees a bit less. Future payments are sent to the home of the passenger and continue monthly for about 6 months. This money is intended to help new citizens ease their way into Israeli life. Everyone also enrolled in the health plan of their choice. Basic coverage is free for a year.

Two days later, we were given our Israeli passports, officially making us citizens of Israel. Photographers were on hand to record the occasion and produce magnet mementos.  Customs officials met with those who sent lifts to clear their shipments. Refreshments were enjoyed by all.

We were told to open a checking account at a local bank so that the Ministry of Absorption could send us our monthly checks. This was not an easy as it sounds. Choosing a bank in Israel must be done carefully. Most banks charge fees for both withdrawing and depositing money. A few do not. So it’s depositor beware.

Several days later, immigrants in the Jerusalem area met with representatives of the Absorption Agency to learn of the benefits to which they are entitled as new immigrants (Olim) and to give the Ministry the checking account numbers to which their monthly checks should be sent.

After this,we Olim are on our own, but we do have a Nefesh B’Nefesh representative to call should we have questions or encounter difficulties.

Categories: Aliya, aliyah, Israel, Jewish | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Aliya Adventures- Part 2 The Moving Blues-Part 1

Shalom Y’all:

The next step, which perhaps should have been done much earlier, was to find a place to live. We were initially looking to buy an apartment, but the deal for the apartment we wanted fell thorough.  At first we persisted in trying to buy another apartment since we felt that any money paid toward rent would be a waste. However, buying an apartment without actually seeing it is very difficult. My son-in-law went to see a few apartments for us and even took multiple pictures of the apartments. However, nothing quite met our specifications.

As the departure date grew closer, we got increasingly nervous and decided we would have to rent initially.

Our search for agents also proved difficult. Most of the agents we contacted had two or three apartments to show and after that they simply stopped looking for others. We were growing increasingly desperate. Many apartments that were advertised online were unavailable. Finally, we settled for a three bedroom apartment which did not have everything we wanted, was in so so condition, and was more than we hoped to pay. But as we had to live somewhere, it would have to do. Also, since we found it through an agent, we would have to pay a month’s rent for his services.

Now a word about Israeli apartments. Unfurnished Israeli apartments come without anything and by that that I mean anything- no appliances, closets, furniture, etc. Just plain empty. Renters are required to buy appliances, furniture and wardrobes and either take it all with them when they move, or sell them to the landlord and/or next renter. Then there are semi furnished apartments which come with appliances and maybe wardrobes, which Israelis use instead of closets. Finally there are furnished apartments which come with everything.

We were hoping to get a semi furnished apartment so that we could take our own furniture and ultimately move it to an apartment we would buy. This apartment was furnished, but the landlord agreed to remove whatever items we wished.

Since some of our kids live in Israel and some in the States, we decided that, although we had to sell our house, we would need to have a place to stay in the States when we come to visit our kids in America.  Our feeling is that for a for a week or two it’s OK to stay with the kids, but after that we become a burden. So we decided to buy a mother daughter house with one of our kids. However, since this house is not yet identified, much less purchased, we would have to put any furniture, appliances, clothes, or household stuff we wished to bring into paid storage.

Finally, since Israel uses 220 voltage instead of America’s 110, all our electrical appliances would not work in Israel unless we purchased a heavy duty transformer. We decided not to do so.  So we had to decide what to do with our appliances, both large and small.

Essentially we had to divide the contents of our house into five categories- Israel, storage in America,  remaining in the house, donations and disposal.

This meant going through the entire house and garage and evaluating their contents. I had no idea I owned so much stuff until I had to sift through it. Things I hadn’t seen for many years suddenly appeared. And, even though I hadn’t had a need for them all these years, now that I had them I had to decide what to do with them. For example, my vinyl records. At first I thought they must be worth loads of money, but a quick trip on Google convinced me that they were not worth selling. I would have to give them away since I had no means of listening to them. Old suitcases and various carrying bags would also have to be given away or disposed of, as would old cameras, phones and clothes.

There are various companies that ship possessions to Israel. But they all basically have three types of containers- shared, 20 foot and 40 foot. Obviously, the larger the container the greater the price. Companies send out appraisers to review the contents of the house or apartment and decide on the size of the container required. This means that what will be sent to Israel should be separated out so the shipper will be able to make an accurate judgement.

So the first thing we did was decide what to take to Israel. We decided to take neither large appliances nor small ones. We also decided not to take our couches, but to leave them in storage for our American home, since we did not know if the couches would fit into our rented apartment or our future apartment. That hurt, since these couches were barely a year old and I really liked them. Deciding which clothes and books to take was even more difficult, since we knew space would be an issue. Despite all my attempts to prune down my choices, I’m sure I still took much more than I will have room for.

To Be Continued

Categories: Israel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Aliyah Adventures Part 1- Documents, Documents

Shalom Y’all:

Sorry I haven’t written in such a long time, but we’ve busy with Aliyah activities.

We decided to make aliyah after our pilot trip during December and January. Proceeding with aliyah meant the following:

First we had to decide whether we could afford to keep our house while paying for the rental or purchase of an apartment in Israel. The answer to that question was a no brainer- we could not. So we had to arrange for the sale of our house. We had intended to sell it without an agent, but an agent persuaded us that going solo would mean that lots of curiosity seekers and unqualified buyers would come to see our house, while he assured us, he would bring only real buyers to see it. Of course, he wanted an exclusive. We agreed to give him an exclusive for 45 days, after which the sale would be open to all. Of course, if we found the buyer ourselves, we would not be obligated to pay him a commission.

The agent assured us that we did not have to “stage” the house, but we did do our best to straighten it out. After two weeks, we had a buyer whom the agent convinced to meet our price. Contracts were drawn up and signed and the closing was set for mid May, with the stipulation that if we stayed in the house beyond that date, we would pay rent. As we are not planning to leave until mid July, that was a given.

Then we had to gather up all our original government documents including: passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc. and obtain a letter from a Rabbi certifying our Jewishness. The latter was necessary to enter Israel under the Law of Return, which grants every Jew the right to settle in Israel. Then we had to fax these documents to Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization that assists those making aliyah.

Now for most people while gathering the above is an inconvenience, for me it was much more difficult. I was born in Amsterdam Holland and the Dutch have not yet made birth certificates available online. Furthermore, at the time of my birth, the city was divided into different sectors and each produced their own birth certificates. After locating the area of my birth, we requested the birth certificate only to be told that there was a fee for it, roughly $17, which would have to be paid in Dutch currency. No, they don’t take credit cards, checks, or bank wires. Only cold hard cash. Our appeals fell on deaf ears and finally they suggested we ask a friend or relative living in Holland to bring the money to them. Luckily, I still have cousins who live in Amsterdam and one of them graciously agreed to pay the fee and procure the document. I’m not sure what would have happened had I had no contacts in Holland.

The birth certificate turned out to be hand written in Dutch. Surprise. At first, the Nefesh B’Nefesh officials we were working with asked that we get an official translation since they could not find my name, nor the names of my parents, nor my date of birth. Once we pointed these things out to them, they were satisfied. Or so it seemed.

My husband, who was born in Belgium, had much less of a problem since his Belgian birth certificate contained English headings for the pertinent data and was free.

After all the documents were reviewed and approved by Nefesh B’Nefesh, we, as do all aliyah applicants, had to make an appointment with the Jewish agency and present the original documents to the interviewer. The interviewer asks questions, reviews the documents and makes recommendations as to whether the person should be allowed to make aliyah. Within two weeks or so, the applicant is informed of the decision. Most, if not all applicants, are approved, as so were we.

The next step is deciding the date of the Aliyah and booking a flight with Nefesh B’Nefesh to Israel. The flight is heavily subsidized and people can either fly on a group or charter flight. or make their own arrangements. We decided to take a charter flight, which means flying with El Al on a special flight on which everyone is making Aliya. These flights are often met by Israeli government representatives at the airport and all processing for citizenship is done on the plane and in the airport. Arrangements for processing can also be made on the other types of flights.

Part Two – Moving Madness

Categories: Aliya, Israel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Anti Semitism Disguised As Anti Israel Protests

Shalom Y’all:

Less than seventy years after the end of World War II and the Holocaust, it is frightening to see the amount of anti semitism being unleashed by Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli war on Hamas in Gaza. The war didn’t create anti semitism. It just gave people free reign to couch it as criticism of Israel.

In case you think I’m over reacting, check out these Youtube videos .

Anti Semitism In Europe

Anti Semitism In Europe 2

Anti Semitism In Paris

Anti Semitism In Europe 3

Anti Semitism In Spain

These are but a few of the videos showing how anti Israel pro Gaza Hamas rallies have turned into anti semitic hate feasts, and how hatred of the Jews has resulted in violent actions actions against Jews and their property.

Unfortunately, Anti Semitism is not limited to Europe. It is also growing in the United States. Here are a few links to videos showing what happened at Pro Gaza Anti Israel rallies in our country:

Anti Semitism Increases At Pro Gaza Rallies

Anti Semitism At Boston Pro Gaza Rally

The bottom line: It’s OK to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza. But when protestors start  spouting anti semitic slogans, they have crossed the line from acceptable to totally unacceptable, from criticism of Israel to anti semitism.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Gaza War, Israel, Jewish, Middle East, Politics | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

UNWRA Foments Hatred Towards Israel

Shalom:

In a previous post, I complained about the United Nations Human Rights Council. Today I would like to address the stance of UNWRA towards Israel.

The formation of the State Of Israel resulted in the creation of both Jewish and Arab refugees.

Between 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jews were forced to flee from the Arab lands in which many of them had lived for over a thousand years. Over half a million of these Jewish refugees were absorbed in the newly created tiny State of Israel without any compensation from the Arab lands who had confiscated their property and possessions. The United Nations also did not provide any assistance.

About 700,000 Arabs living in Palestine either fled or were forced to flee. Unlike Israel, the many neighboring large Arab countries did not absorb these refugees. Instead, in 1949, the United Nations created UNWRA, the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.”

The workload of UNWRA should be lessening each year, as the original refugees pass on. However, the United Nations in its infinite “wisdom”, decided to broaden the definition of a refugee, for Palestinians only, from a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster to include patrilineal descendants of the original refugees as well. So, had the usual definition of refugee been used, the number of Palestinian refugees today would be between 30,000 to 50,000. Instead, the number is between five to six million.

Of course, UNWRA’s staff has had to grow and continues to grow as the number of refugees increases. UNWRA also administers large “Palestinian refugee” camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and provides social services there as well.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 1.25 million “Palestinian refugees,” live in Gaza, about two thirds of its population. About half of Gaza’s residents receive UNWRA food supplies and more than a quarter live in UNRWA refugee camps. UNWRA runs 245 schools, 22 medical facilities and eight refugee camps in Gaza. It employs more than 11,000 people and is Gaza’s second largest employer 

Rather than seeking to resolve the problem by encouraging Arab countries to absorb the “refugees,” maintaining neutrality, or trying to lessen the negative view of Israel held by many in Gaza, UNWRA is perpetuating the tradition of hate by fostering the “refugees” unattainable goal of returning to Israel by any means possible, including violence.

To see a distressing graphic representation of the propaganda UNWRA teaches in their schools, click on the following : UNWRA Teaches Palestinian Students that Israel Is Palestine.

To see an organization, whose raison d’être is to bring peace to the world,  encourage educators to teach this type of propaganda in its schools is kafkaesque and a real tragedy. How can Israel ever make peace with people who have been taught since childhood that destroying Israel is their life’s mission?

Categories: Gaza, Israel, Jewish Blog, Middle East, Politics, Pro Israel Post, United Nations, UNWRA, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Use of “Disproportionate Force”

Shalom:

We have been hearing a lot lately about Israel’s use of “disproportionate force.” I would like to pose the question, What is “‘proportionate force?” Should Israel send unguided rockets into civilian areas of Gaza? Should it dig tunnels into areas near Gazan homes and try to kill and/or abduct the arabs living in the home and surrounding areas? Should its soldiers dress like Hamas “fighters” and try to kill members of Hamas and civilians? 

Some have claimed that while Hamas’ methods are lamentable, Hamas basically has no choice since they are fighting a much better equipped force. Hamas does have choices. Its tunnels can lead to military areas, not civilian homes. Its fighters can don uniforms so it will be easy to distinguish civilians from militants. It can store its armaments and weapons in areas other than schools, homes and mosques, and it can fire from less densely populated areas.

Furthermore, Hamas could have used the money and supplies it received to build houses and develop industry to strengthen the economy. However, Hamas, the ruling terrorist entity elected by the population, uses whatever resources it has towards the purchase and manufacture of military supplies and deep concrete tunnels. So Israel blockades Gaza to try to prevent the flow of military equipment and building material.

Moreover, had the Gazans wanted peace, they could have restarted the very profitable agricultural business that existed when the Jews were in Gaza, using the hothouses left by Israel. Their failure to do so and their election of Hamas to lead them shows that their main interest is confrontation, not coexistence. 

But let’s get back to the main point, “disproportionate force.” What did the United States do in Afghanistan post 9/11? Did it send a few planes? Did it hold peace process meetings with Al-Qaeda? Did it just ask for an international boycott of Afghanistan?

No. It sent over a hundred thousand troops to Afghanistan to fight the enemy. Do I fault them? Not in the least. When a small group, such as Al-Qaeda or Hamas, attacks a larger entity such as the United States or Israel, they can and should expect that these countries will do all they can to keep their citizens safe. America had had enough of Al-Qaeda’s terrorism and it set out to destroy it. One of a country’s main functions is to protect its citizens. Less is not acceptable. So yes, if a small entity attacks a larger entity it can be expected to feel the full force of the larger entity directed against it. The only example of disproportionate force I can conceive of is the use of nuclear or chemical weapons.

When a country’s citizens are forced to run to bomb shelters every few minutes, totally disrupting their lives and causing untold numbers of new PTSD cases; when people are loathe to step out of their homes for fear that they will be kidnapped or killed by terrorists popping out of a hole; then yes, it’s Israel’s duty to do all it can to end the terrorism. 

War is a nasty business. Unfortunately, civilians are often caught in the crossfire and many die as a result. In Afghanistan, for example, although almost 2200 US soldiers have died, the death toll for civilians is over 21,000.

Israel has tried to mitigate civilian deaths by warning residents of an area of immanent attack. No other army has ever done so. With all that, there have been many civilian deaths. The number would have been greatly reduced had Hamas cared enough about the safety and security of Gaza residents to build bomb shelters, rather than tunnels;  locate its armaments and tunnels away from civilian facilities; dressed its soldiers in uniforms so they could clearly be distinguished from civilians; shot from non civilian areas; and advised those in danger to leave their homes. 

Israel is fighting for its existence. Its enemies include Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. But let’s not fool ourselves. Those, like Hamas and the other terrorist groups, who want Israel wiped off the map also hate the United States and other freedom loving countries. A less than complete victory by Israel is a victory for terrorists and the forces of evil worldwide.

Categories: Anti Hamas Post, Gaza War, Hamas, Israel, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Middle East, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Happened In Israel The “Stolen” Car

Shalom Y’All:

Here’s another It Happened in Israel story:

Since Stan and Fran like to explore all parts of Israel, they decided to rent a car for entire six month period of their stay in Israel. They had previously rented cars In Israel and found the cars provided by most of the major car rental companies were not well maintained, both cosmetically and internally.

This year’s rental began the same way with the first car returned because the idler was too weak. The next car they got had lots of miles under its hood, was not particularly clean, but ran well initially, before it started shaking.

One Thursday evening Fran and Stan decided to go out to eat in Jerusalem and then go to a comedy club with an English-speaking show. They decided to go again to a restaurant they had been to earlier in the week because the food was good and the service fairly quick. The restaurant was located off a major intersection.

They found a spot close to the restaurant, and had another enjoyable meal. They left the restaurant and set out to retrieve the car to proceed to the club. Since the car did not have a remote control, they were unable to signal it. So they walked to where they remembered leaving the car, but alas, it was not there. They walked up and down the block several times and looked across the street. The car was nowhere to be seen.

Slightly panicky, Stan called the car company from which they had rented. The car company told them to get to a police station, which was about 20 minutes away by car, right away. A police car happened to driving down the street on which they were standing, so they flagged the car. The officers told them to call 100 to report the theft and drove away.

Stan called 100 and told them the details of the theft. They instructed him to go to any police station within the next 12 hours to file a report, but they assured him that the theft was now in the computer.

Stan called the car company and told them he had reported the theft to the police and that it was now in the computer. The car company took his phone number and assured him they would call him back.

So Stan and Fran waited. Luckily for them there was a shopping mall just across the street, so they waited there. While they were waiting, Stan compiled a list of all the things that had been in the car. Fran was especially upset about her bridge camera which she had foolishly left in the car. Stan bemoaned the loss of the fresh fruits he had purchased earlier in the day, especially the strawberries. They also called their daughter, Sarah, at whose house they were staying, who advised them to go to the comedy show and take the bus home afterwards.

Stan and Fran decided not to go to the show, but to wait for the car company’s return call. They waited and waited. After about two hours and no word from the car company, they decided to give it up and return to Bet Shemesh, the city in which they were staying, which is about 35 minutes by car from where they were.

First they called their daughter, Sarah, in Bet Shemesh. Their son-in-law, Danny, offered to pick them up, but by the time he would get there they could already be home. Sarah recommended a car service which, for 150 NIS, ($43), would take them door to door. Stan called the company, but it had no cars available. So they decided to take a bus to the central bus station and from there catch a bus to Bet Shemesh.

The bus to the Central bus station came after about 15 minutes. That cost them 7 NIS. They had to cross over a grassy area to catch the next bus and noticed a homeless man warming himself next to a fire he had constructed in an area close by. That was heart warming.

The bus to Bet Shemesh came about 10 minutes later and cost 16 NIS. While on the bus, Stan decided to call the car company to ask why he had not heard from them. They responded that they were unable to do anything until they got a copy of the police report. When Stan told them the Police said the report was in the system, they explained that they needed a physical copy of the report filed at a Police Station. So Stan and Fran decided to go to the Bet Shemesh Police station immediately after arriving at their daughter’s house. (Incidentally, in Israel all police officers are part of the same police force-i.e. the police are a national force. So the report does not have to be filed in the same city where the crime took place.) Shortly after this conversation, Stan’s phone died. It had heard enough.

Stan and Fran arrived at Sarah’s home about 10:30 P.M. Danny volunteered to take them to the Bet Shemesh police station to help with the language barrier. The first officer they encountered was very rude, but he directed them to an office to wait for another officer who would prepare the report. A young lady appeared, took them all into an office, and prepared a hand written report of the theft and the possessions left in the car, including the strawberries.

The officer was incredulous that Stan and Fran had come to the Bet Shemesh Police Station to file the report, since there was a police station about a minute’s walk from the block from where the car had been stolen. She was also puzzled that the theft occurred on a well lit block full of people. She was efficient, personable and had a good sense of humor. She explained that, although she was preparing the report, it still had to be entered into the computer and sent to the Jerusalem Police Station close to where the car had been stolen. This would probably happen overnight.

When they got back home,Danny urged them to call the car company to let them know the police report would be in the system early the next day. When Stan called using Fran’s cell phone, the woman on the phone shouted, “We found it. We found it.” They said the car had been found very close to where it was reported stolen and asked Stan to pick it up then. It was now 11:30 P.M. They said they had tried to call Stan’s phone earlier, but there was no answer.

Danny offered to drive Stan to Jerusalem to pick up the car, but Danny had to go to leave for work early the next morning. Since the round trip to Jerusalem would mean coming home well after midnight, Stan explained to the car company that he could not pick up the car now, as he was in Bet Shemesh. The car company said they would send an employee to Sarah’s house in Bet Shemesh to pick up the keys and that employee would then drive the car to Bet Shemesh early the next morning.

After a night spent reassuring each other that the car really had been parked where they thought it had been, Stan got up early to await the arrival of the car. Meanwhile, the car company’s office in Bet Shemesh called to say the car was parked at their office and would be delivered to Sarah’s house within the next half hour. Stan waited and waited.

After about an hour, he called the car rental company’s headquarters office at the Tel Aviv airport and was told,” The car’s at our Jerusalem office. Come and empty it. We’ve cancelled your contract and will pay you any money due.” They claimed it cost them too much in manpower (5 employees) to investigate the”theft” and find the car and that Fran and Stan were no longer welcome as renters. They also said they could not empty the car themselves and send its contents to Bet Shemesh since that would make them open to charges of stealing some possessions. Furthermore, since it was Friday, the car rental office in Jerusalem was closing at 1:30 P.M.

Stan quickly took a cab to a small car rental office in Bet Shemesh and rented another car. He returned, picked up Fran and together they drove to Jerusalem to empty the car. When they finally found the car rental office (the address given did not match the actual location), they discovered that the car’s contents had already been emptied into bags which were waiting for them in an office. They searched the car anyway and found a few additional items which the rental company had missed. They also obtained the address where the car had been found.

Like perpetrators returning to the scene of a crime, Fran and Stan drove to the place from which they thought their car had been stolen.  They then walked from there to where it had been found. Lo and behold, it was just across the main intersection from where they thought they had parked it. It turns out they were so sure where they had parked that they had checked only two of the four intersecting streets.  They had never bothered to check the other two.

They drove home a bit chagrined and wondering if they were”losing it.” But they decided the problem was that they had recently eaten at the same restaurant and simply remembered the previous parking spot, rather than the current one.

This story bothers me. Distraught tourists in a foreign country call their car rental company and report their car stolen. Shouldn’t the company’s first response be to tell the tourists to check all four intersecting blocks to make sure they did not simply forgot where they had parked? Shouldn’t the police have told them the same thing? Since most Israeli rental cars have LoJack like sensors, why didn’t the car company activate them immediately? Why didn’t the car company tell them a Police station was just up the block , instead of advising them to go to a far away station? Finally, I am amazed at the rude behavior of the rental company. I would reveal the name of the company, but Stan and Fran are still deciding whether to write to its Chief executive to file a complaint.

Incidentally, the strawberries were still good.

The morale of this story: Always write down or photograph where you park your car, especially when you’re in a foreign country. Don’t call the cops unless you’ve checked all streets intersecting the street on which you thought you parked. And finally, don’t eat in the same restaurant twice in the same week unless it has its own small parking lot.

To express my appreciation to the manager of the car rental company for a job well done, I’ve decided to dedicate this t shirt design to him:

If Only You Had A Brain Shirts

Just think, if only you could.

 

Categories: Israel, It Happened In Israel, Jewish, Jewish Blog | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Lag B’Omer 2013 Videos

Shalom Y’All:

Last night and today religious Jews celebrated Lag B’Omer, a day of happiness commemorating both the temporary cessation of the plague that killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students and the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Bonfires are traditionally lit the night of Lag B’Omer to commemorate the mystical light brought into the world with Rabbi Shimon’s teachings,  especially the day he died, when he revealed the wisdom of the Zohar, the foundation of Kabbalah, to his students.

The largest Lag B’Omer celebration takes place in and around the city of Meron in Northern Israel where Rabbi Shimon’s tomb is located. Tens of thousands attend the celebration which includes around the clock singing and dancing.

Religious parents who do not cut their son’s hair until the age of three, often give their son his first haircut on Lag B’Omer in Meron.

Here are the two videos showing the festivities:

The first one is a short video of a bonfire in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.

Lag B’Omer Video Brooklyn

The next one is a a video of the Lag B’Omer celebration in Meron, courtesy of YouTube. It’s poor quality, but gives an idea of what goes on there.

Lag B’Omer Video Meron

Enjoy!

Categories: Jewish, Jewish T Shirts and Gifts, Lag B'Omer 2013, Video | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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