Israel, Judaism

Terrorist Killed by His Own Rock

A friend of mine sent me this email, and I found it fascinating! If anyone doubts Hashem’s absolute justice, let them check out this story:

(INN, 18 Jan 09) A Palestinian Authority Arab who stoned cars in Samaria was killed by one of his own rocks, police have concluded. A Jewish man held in connection with the death has been released.

The Arab teenager hurled heavy stones at Israeli-owned vehicles along a Samaria highway last Tuesday evening. He managed to hit one car, which was driven by a resident of the nearby town of Emmanuel.

Fearing further attacks, the driver fired a single shot in the air to frighten away the stone-thrower. He then contacted local security officers to report both the attack and his own response.

A short time later, Israeli paramedics received a report of an Arab teen found unconscious and badly wounded next to a highway. The teen suffered a serious head injury that appeared to be a bullet wound. Medical personnel rushed to the scene but were unable to save the young Arab, who died a short time later.

Police originally believed that the resident of Emmanuel who reported firing in the air had in fact fired at his attacker, killing him. The man was arrested and questioned. However, an initial forensic report showed that the attacker had not been killed by a bullet, and the detainee was released.

A final forensic report, released over the weekend, showed that the attacker was killed when a stone he threw hit the car driven by the man from Emmanuel. The stone hit the car’s tire and bounced back at high speed, hitting the attacker and leaving him with a fatal head injury.

Down home they say, “What comes around, goes around.” A person has to remember that if he the trap he sets for others will end up ensnaring him.

Here’s the link for the source of the story:

Facebook, Judaism, media, Politics, Random, school

Professor Obama

Like many yesterday, I took the time to watch inauguration ceremonies.

The location: From the seat of my Magazine Journalism class. For me, it seemed different not sitting @ home watching something like this, rather @ school. But I don’t think it’s that unusual nowadays that technology has allowed us access to pretty much whatever we want, wherever we are.

Nonetheless, our entire class was fixated towards the overhead screen at the front of the class and with several others were right outside our class watching off an even bigger screen in the main atrium of the HP Campus @ Centennial College. Having President Obama in a sense “give us lecture” with his inauguration speech was fun to watch.

Things that stood out from yesterday’s proceedings:

1) Rick Warren reciting the Shema: Talk about catching me off guard… I was sitting @ my desk working on an in-class assignment meanwhile the CNN feed is being shown on the overhead because our Prof wanted to watch it. I wasn’t constantly watching, but I heard everything loud and clear. All of sudden I hear the words “Hear O Israel…” and I’m thinking What? I turn to look and yes indeed, Rick Warren was reciting the Shema. For those who don’t know, the Shema is the most important verse in Judaism. Written in the Torah, it’s recitation represents a fulfilment of the paramount commandment of acceptance of G-d’s absolute sovereignty (Artscroll Siddur). Good for Warren, who’s also a pastor, for reciting the holy words. Jews all around the world watching must have felt special @ that moment…

2) Wow did Chief Justice John Roberts screw up reciting the words for Obama during the swearing in. He said way too much for him to repeat afterwards and spoke way to fast. To be honest, Obama did look a little nervous. And @ one point I actually thought he said one of the words wrong… And every time I watched a replay on the news, you didn’t hear the mistakes, rather a quick snippet of Obama reciting a line or two. Wonder if anyone else noticed it?

3) My mom asked this one: “What if Obama has to go to the washroom?”
It’s not like he can’t go during the speeches, parades, balls, or whatever event that requires him to be on television. They probably snuck him out in between proceedings.

4) How much bloody coverage Michelle Obama’s dresses get: Okay, I maybe conservative in this case but honestly, is it really that important to know every single detail about the clothes worn by the First Lady? Maybe it’s because I’m a guy too… At one point when discussing the dress, I actually learned something interesting about the dress – it had to do with the tradition of these balls and the likeness of Michelle Obama towards Jackie Kennedy and what they both symbolize to the American public. Fine. But they still went overboard with the coverage…

5) The balls: 10 Balls? He had to go to 10? And dance @ them all? The same dance? Talk about patience… It’s actually quite admirable to see someone who genuinely seems to enjoy and care about all the places and things he saw and heard. Must be gratitude. Michelle Obama on the other hand… you could tell her attention span was dwindling @ times…

6) CNN’s Live Feed + Facebook Statuses: How cool was that? In addition to watching the inauguration, you could also check your friend’s Facebook statuses too. In fact, most of them were probably watching the inauguration the same way you were too. I was very impressed.

So January 20th, will be a day history will never forget.
They better not forget it. I had my Bar Mitzvah on January 20th (2001).

blog stuff, Facebook, Israel, Judaism, media

Israel Videos on Facebook Database

Since Operation Cast Lead began a few weeks ago, Jewish communities all over the world have been showing their support for Israel and its cause. Of those communities, one in particular that has done a tremendous job in utilizing it’s capabilities to do so. It’s a community that knows no geographical boundaries, differentiations on levels of observance, or even political affiliation. It’s a community that I’m very familiar with, and if you’ve ever read a post of mine, you’re most likely a member of it too. (Even if you think you don’t… yet spend too much time in it anyways…)

I’m talking about the Internet community, particularly the Facebook community.

When the operation began, many of my fellow Jews were quick to publicly express their support for Israel on Facebook. Such a tool enables a person so many opportunities to express themselves and in the case of these people, they’ve made wise decisions upon how they choose to do so.

Occasionally Facebook gets a bad rap because it can sometimes act as a source for time-wasters, laziness, procrastinators, and other unnecessary activities of which you could be better spending your time doing something better. Like exercise. Or playing a musical instrument. You know, normal stuff.

However, in Judaism there’s an important concept of how everything created in this world so it could serve a purpose in doing the will of G-d. Of course we could use our body or any other physical object like a computer anyway we want, but what true benefit does it serve when there’s no purpose behind it’s use?

What I’m getting @ is that anyone can doodle around on Facebook, but you can also do something productive with it as well. The important thing is that you have a choice, and these people have made conscious decisions to use Facebook as a tool for supporting Israel. Such a noteworthy act is certainly considered that of doing the will of G-d. And even if you’re not Jewish, the concept also rings true. We have resources and we can utilize them anyway we want. Or we can maximize potential – both ours and the object’s.

This brings me to the videos. They get posted by the masses, people see them, they enjoy, get inspired and if they want, they can send the link to a friend. Too often do we get these moments of inspiration and sources of it, yet they become forgotten. When I say forgotten in terms of Facebook, I mean they become old posts as new posts arise everyday on your homepage…

What I propose is we preserve those videos (and other sources of information and inspiration), with its own place. A database where you can find them quick and easy.

So that rather than having to scramble around Youtube, or your other friend’s Facebook page, or go back through multiple pages of Facebook Posted Item pages, there’s an easy source for all these videos that have arose over the past few weeks.

Take it from a wannabe journalist, it makes life a lot easier to not have become a temporary detective when having to look for these things. With easy access, we can prove to those who disagree us and portray Israel as the aggressor and disturbers of peace.

Please join me in this endeavor if you desire. You too can use Facebook for more than a place just to waste time…

This the link to my Facebook Page:
I’ve made a list in the “Notes” section on the left side of the page where you can post videos and a forum where you can help contribute. You can also post links and messages on my blog in the comments section. Or you send me an email @

Thanks for taking the time to read this message.


Two Days + Two Rallies + Two Issues = One Cause

“Tevy, the world is going crazy right now.”

That was the first thing I heard as I stepped into my buddy Josh’s van that was picking me up to go to the rally. I thought to myself yeah, it’s crazy, but let’s go do something about it.

In case you’ve been living in a cave (like the terrorists), or a bomb shelter (like those been put there by terrorists) or simply been hiding out somewhere, not paying attention to anything (like the Hamas soldiers who hide in civilian areas, calling on Israel to retaliate and make the world pressure them even more while mindlessly firing rockets into Israel without any regard as where they may land), ** the world is going through some crazy times as we speak. I speak, in case you haven’t noticed by now, specifically about the military crisis that’s going on between Israel and Hamas. I haven’t devoted a post entirely to Israel yet, but like Israel, who unfortunately didn’t do very much when being bombarded by rockets and other attacks from Gaza since 2005, they decided to finally fire back. And now it’s my turn…

Within the span of 24 hours, I attended 2 rallies in support of Israel. The first one was organized by the UJA Federation (UJA- United Jewish Appeal) and entitled “The Rally for the People of Israel and Freedom from Terror.” Geared towards the entire Jewish Community of Toronto, the rally featured a number of speakers including one of my new favourite people: the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for Thornhill (I even got to talk with him after the event was done!). Over 5,000 people attended the event which was held at Beth Tzedec Synagogue this past Thursday night (Jan 8).

The second event was a smaller, yet very enthusiastic protest at the Ontario CUPE Regional Office. Organized by the Jewish Defence League, it was arranged in opposition of a recent proposition made by CUPE Ontario (Canadian Union of Public Employees) to ban Israeli academics teaching in Ontario universities as its own protest against a Dec. 29 bombing that damaged a university in Gaza. At least 40 people showed up Friday (Jan 9) afternoon outside the Milner Avenue offices in the blistering cold weather to give CUPE and their despicable president Syd Ryan, a piece of their minds. This is the same CUPE (which is made up of several divisions within the province) that’s responsible for the two-month long strike at York University too.

**Before I go on about the rallies, I just want to make clear that even I’ll probably make it very clear what my views are within these writings/reports, but I won’t go on 100 different rants about the whole conflict. At least in this post…maybe another time. I was very close to ranting about CUPE when the story first came out, but then the rallies came up I held off and decided to write about them instead. And in all honesty, who doesn’t go on a rant when talking about Israel and the Palestinians?

The first rally was something of your typical citywide rally and by the standards of Jewish community in Toronto that means two things are always evident: Lots of people & Lots of different people coming in solidarity. I’d say over the past 8 years since the conflict has escalated, I have never seen a citywide rally held by the Toronto Jewish community lacking in attendees. And what’s even more special is that no matter what your affiliation, all types of Jews come out to support. I mentioned to Josh’s brother Mike that you end finding someone you know at these rallies everywhere you look. It could be one of your best friends, a cousin, friend’s sister, uncle’s band mate, or random guys you haven’t seen for years since you attended public high school (Check marks on all those for yours truly)! Josh saw it a little differently, saying that unfortunately it takes someone else to knock the Jews as a whole in order for us to stop bickering with one another on regular basis and come together in solidarity. Nonetheless, the amount of people and solidarity was tremendous.

(Quick fact: Beth Tzedec is the largest synagogue in Canada. At the rally, not only was the massive main hall filled to capacity, but so was the adjacent chapel on the main floor, the reception hall on the second floor, and then people also began rallying outside the main entrance in cold! The three of us started out in the reception hall, but eventually moved into the hall later on.)

In addition to Peter Kent (whom Josh dubbed ‘The Man’), other speakers at ‘the sit-down and listen to prominent individuals embrace and Israel and inspire the crowd’ rally included Amir Gissin, Consul General of Israel to Toronto, who emphasized the significance of the public support the community must show in face of opposing public opinion.

Reiterating the Canadian government’s support for Israel, Peter Kent drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd. “Tonight, I am here, we are here, to stand with Israel,” Kent said. “Canada maintains these rocket attacks are the cause of this current crisis, and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against the continued attacks by Hamas.”

However, Kent also reiterated the government’s desire for an enduring peace and sustainable ceasefire, followed by a call for a Palestinian State. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding this conflict, I don’t think you will find one elected official, no matter what side or position they or their government/party holds on the conflict, who won’t be calling for ceasefire and for peaceful resolutions to take place. To me, that’s expected political talk… You may not agree with everything that’s said because due to several borders that exist between both entities, you know that it’s not as easy as it sounds. For Israel, I’d say hear it, accept it, but continue to push or support the government to support Israel.

I say this because of what keynote speaker Alon Pinkas, the former Consul General of Israel in New York, had to say. Offering some very intriguing insights and analysis of the on-going conflict, he personified what the operation should accomplish: “to exact an overwhelming military price on Hamas,” but not destroy it entirely. I especially liked what he had to say about the ridiculous concept of proportionality, in relation to the world saying Israel is not responding in proportion to what Hamas has done to them. He said that by using their (Hamas and the media’s) definition of proportional response would mean doing exactly what they do in return; an eye for an eye. That means firing 3000+ rockets arbitrarily into Gaza without concern for where they land, not warning civilians when attacks are coming and to take cover, not providing humanitarian aid, and blowing up buses with the intention of killing innocent people. Another thing he touched on was something I’ve wondered whether the world will ever understand: the ineptitude of the Palestinians to make smart decisions and constantly waste opportunities to better help themselves. If you do your research, you’ll be amazed to discover that Israel has offered multiple peace proposals over the years, and every single time, the Palestinian ruling body has said no. Not ceasefires. I’m talking about legitimate peace offers that have Israel giving up territory to Palestinian control and rule.

Also part of the rally was a live satellite feed to Israel at 3:45 a.m., from Beersheva, of the bigger cities facing a threat of rocket attacks from Gaza. Yossi Tanuri, Director General, United Israel Canada, new Beersheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich, as well as other valiant Israelis gave the crowd a firsthand look as to what they’ve had to deal with in the past few weeks. One of the most moving parts of evening took place during this segment, when video footage was shown of a live attack occurring Beersheva. It started with a Tanuri speaking outside a school that was close to a previous attack, only to be interrupted by the sounds of sirens notifying the town of an imminent incoming attack. The video than shows Tanuri and others rushing into the school bomb shelter and others throughout the city scrambling for shelter (from other footages mixed in). An explosion follows and is shown in the video. Soon after Tanuri and the arise from the shelter to see that it was the school they were hiding in that was hit, with the rocket landing in the middle of an empty classroom.

The second rally, which brought a significant number of Jews to Scarborough (literally along my bus route), was more of a ‘let’s make some noise to show that we won’t stand for these kind of actions’ rally. I don’t like being judgmental about these events because of their main goals and purposes, but the event time it was planned for was doomed to prevent a greater number of people from coming. Friday afternoon in the wintertime is not the best time for a rally. Too many Jews have too many things going on before Shabbat to go out Scarberia and protest outside in the cold. (Read one of my future blogs for a personal experience of that nature!). Still, they’re no better than a recent group of coward protesters who showed up at the Israeli Consulate last week on a Saturday afternoon, or to many Jews – Shabbat (aka, when we can’t mobilize and defend ourselves in bigger numbers for obvious reasons…)

For those who are unfamiliar with this issue, earlier last week CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan called for the boycott of Israeli academics and educators who do not condemn the Dec. 29 bombing of the Islamic University in Gaza and “the assault on Gaza in general.” He also called the resolution a reasonable response to the attack, which he likened to the torching of books by Nazis during the Second World War. He eventually apologized for the Nazi remarks, but refused to retract the proposed resolution. Here’s one of the first reports to come out on it:

For me the rally was a great opportunity to not only show my support but to also practice a few on-site journalism reporting techniques. I came well in hand with a voice recorder, camera, and video camera, while waving a flag and raising a sign at the same time**

**Okay, I know what you’re thinking fellow journalism students (you too Ellin, I know your reading this), but where’s my objectivity? Yes, this report/writing is only for the blog and personal benefit, and not for an actual news outlet, but I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: even though I’m trying to be a wannabe journalist, which means utilizing every opportunity to push ‘the journalistic mindset’ button (I’ll come up with a better name and post later), I also won’t hesitate giving those who speak the truth and follow those morals and beliefs that I greatly value proper and valuable exposure when the moment is acceptable and appropriate. One day I’ll make a post that purely focuses on the challenges of maintaining objectivity when reporting on an issue one has a clear and definitive view on.

As for what I have to say about the whole issue, hey, I did go to rally on my own accord… I went because like those who attended, I don’t support the actions of CUPE. They not only criticize Israel unfairly, but set a bad precendent when attempting to pull off these kind of boycotts. The concept behind it all – why CUPE is doing, misrepresents a public union and all it’s members by associating it with a policy on an international (that it honestly has no business sticking its nose in). Where were they when Russia went into Georgia? Or China to Tibet? Why not boycott them for their academics? If you plan on reading the article in the link above, be sure to take a look at some of the other related articles dealing with the issue, such as Jonathan Kay’s column:

Bottom line, it was nice to see the Jewish community step up for Israel. The rallies may have different but they both made it know that the community has no problem with proudly expressing their support for Israel.

Israel, Judaism, Opinion, Yeshiva

Blood: This Day In Yeshiva History- January 3 (with a current twist)

I meant to write this last night but I met up with a few people I hadn’t seen in a while. Priorities, Priorities… Here’s what I wrote in my journal:

Big Day today. Magen David Edom came today to the yeshiva for us to donate blood. I donated for the first time in my life. It made me feel great too. My mom talked to me about it beforehand and she really encouraged me to do it. She said that she’d done it several times and more importantly, it was donated blood that help prolong Bubby’s life. That gave me even greater incentive to participate.”
Bubby is the Yiddish name for grandmother. My Bubby passed away a little over a year at the time – Nov 2004. I actually forgot about this detail about the whole experience, but nonetheless it’s noteworthy to recall because of how important she was to me and it gives me great joy to simply bring her up in conversation.

But here’s the current twist: My dad showed me this article he was emailed on Wednesday. The article was entitled “Filthy Jewish Blood”.
Talk about an attention catching title. I won’t spoil it, but it basically discusses the under-reported practice of Jewish humanitarianism – TO THE PALESTINIANS IN GAZA.

That’s right. To the same place they just sent ground troops last night. I can’t help but wonder if the roles were reversed, would the Palestinians consider a similar practice?

When I look back to when I gave blood that day, I thought about how much of a service to the country I was doing by giving my blood to those who need it. I thought of victims of terror attacks, hospital patients, soldiers in combat… pretty much anyone who’d be in need in blood to keep on living. Like my Bubby.

But to Palestinians in Gaza?
Wouldn’t that seem a little counterproductive?

The other day I posted an article written by my friend who discussed her experiences as a medic who had to care for an actual terrorist. She mentioned that regardless of who or why, human life should be protected and preserved if means to do so are available. Human dignity shouldn’t be compromised regardless of the situation. The article makes that very clear in a very creative manner by asking you to put yourself in the shoes of an Israeli solider facing the body of wounded Palestinian who just tried to kill you.

But the article goes on to another point. The articles mentions how in addition to humanitarian relief, several trucks of blood were sent in from Jordan.

Jordan? Why blood from there? Didn’t I just give blood? Didn’t I just mention that regardless of who it is and why, human dignity comes first? What’s the story here?

It turns out my blood isn’t good enough…

The article explains:

“The truth is, just as Israel has had to come to terms with a Red Diamond as its medical symbol abroad (since the International Red Cross made it clear that the Red Star of David is offensive to too much of the world), we have also somehow had to make peace with the fact that even our blood is considered sub-human and filthy by the very people with whom we are supposed to be making peace.“

I’m going to leave at that. I’ve posted the link of the article above. But here it is again:
It’s no coincidence that this article came out almost a few years after I blood @ my yeshiva in Israel.

Let me know what you think.

Hanukkah, Judaism, life, outline, Yeshiva

A Preview to “This Day In Yeshiva History- January 3” (background info)

Well it’s actually because I can’t get the full post out in time before shabbat comes in 4:34. So I’ll give a quick sneak preview before I post the whole thing tomorrow night.

I spent a year in yeshiva (a Jewish school for Biblical studies, males only) in Jerusalem, Israel. That year spanned from September 2005-June 2006. The name of the yeshiva was Ohr David, an American yeshiva (all the guys who went there are American, except us Canadians). The place was recommended to me by my rabbi @ NCSY, a Jewish youth organization I’d been involved with in high school. I also had connections through an NCSY summer camp called Camp Sports I attended in Baltimore, where a lot of the guys who went there eventually went to Ohr David. I won’t call it a Baal Teshuva yeshiva – for Jews who weren’t religious when born and brought up but are re-connecting) but there were some BTs there, like me. I’d say it was more for guys who had potential but failed to realize it, guys who had issues at home and needed a place to just grow and prosper. We actually had a great mix of guys from different walks of Jewish life, from different places, upbringings, and where we were holding in our Yiddishkeit. But we all had one thing in common – we were all looking to improve ourselves one way or another. There was just 55 of us at most, and soon enough as the year begun, we were family.T’ was the best year of my life.

In fact the Lunar calender this year is on the exact time set it was that year – which means that all the holidays and when they will fall on the secular calendar are on the exact day of the week with exactly the same circumstances – i.e. the sixth day of Hanukkah that year fell on shabbat (Saturday), which also happens to be Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month) = that also happened this year. I know that because its the longest Birkat Hamazon (Grace after Meals) you can say – because of the inclusions. So I’m interested to see what similarities evolve between this year and that year.

I wasn’t exactly sure when I was going to do write this because the Hebrew date at the time was the 3rd of Tevet, which was just after Hannukah (which ends on the 2nd). I was also unsure about what date I was going to write about because a lot happened at that time. I figured I’d go with the english date for now, because I had another article I wanted to write on the last day of Hannukah, which was the day I wrote my previous two articles. I’ll decide later whether or not to keep to English or Hebrew dates, depending on the significance of the day and happening.

The 7th night of Hannukah, happened to be New Years, and a Saturday night, therefore once Shabbat was over, technically we could party if we wanted. Even though we were technically on a break over the Hannukah holiday, there were still some optional morning classes, we went to meals at our rabbis house almost every night of the holiday, and had a big party in the yeshiva of of the nights too. So New Years Day was pretty much our only day off. I spent it pretty well, which I tell in detail in the next post. Okay. So first I’ll recap. Being Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night) in Jerusalem on the night of December 31st, also the 7th night of Hanukkah. Surprisingly enough, I actually have an opportunity to do something for new years. I’ve never really cared about new years, it’s just another day to me. All I did was meet up with friends at a place and soon after midnight we headed back to yeshiva. Aside from not being the most important thing, we called it an early evening because 6 of us wanted to go to the Dead Sea for the day the next day, and we had to leave early to catch a bus to do so. That was a fun day.

I could have purely focused on that day but a few days ago, my dad read me something he was emailed, which seemed like such a coincidence considering what I was doing in yeshiva a few days later on the 3rd, so I decided to choose that topic while including something about the days before.

Hope you enjoy it!
Shabbat Shalom/Good Shabbos/Sabbatical Salutations and Benedictions

(don’t ask about the last greeting)