Beit Shemesh, united against extremists.

The protest in Beit Shemesh was impressive. We really did have all kinds of people – people with dreads, people with payot, women with head coverings, women with leggings, kids with their parents, charedi guys willing to speak to the news cameras, women holding pamphlets, men holding signs thanking god for making them women.

I do have to say, it was disappointing that, while there were many dynamic male speakers – charedi and non – there were no females on stage except for Na’ama’s mother, who gave a great 2-minute thank you to the crowd. If there were female politicians in the crowd, why didn’t they speak?

Anyway, it was a good kickoff to what I hope becomes a bigger movement for awareness, togetherness and change in our Israeli society and even our Jewish religion. Both entities of our people suffer from misunderstanding and mis-prioritization.

Here’s a bit of what I saw (scroll over photos for captions/translations):

Until next time, reporting live…


Protesting violence and extremism in Beit Shemesh.

The House of Sun has been pretty dark lately. And by pretty dark, I mean as dark as a ten-layer burqa on a Jewish woman.

I  haven’t written about it here, but you can learn more about the abuse of 8-year-old dati leumi Na’ama Margolies, signs ordering women how to modestly walk the streets, and the  whole drama that erupted because of the Orot Banot elementary school that opened in Ramat Beit Shemesh this year.

Well, tonight is the public, national beginning/culmination of the Jew vs Jew misfortune in Beit Shemesh with an expected 10,000-person protest outside the girls’ school. People from all across the country, from all stripes, are expected to join together against the violence and extremism that has grown from the extreme Haredi sector here.

I think this is messy. Jew vs Jew is  bound to be. But even within the protesting camp, where there will inevitably be plenty of Beit Shemesh haredim opposed to the extremism (finally) – will the secular folks from out of town get that? Will they assume they are the evil ones? Will they begin to see the difference between dati leumi, haredi lite and haredi? Are secular people from across Israel prepared to learn that there are plenty of peaceful, respectful haredim out there? Among us? That they are related to us, married to our family members, that they hold jobs AND learn Torah, that they want to live and let live?

The protest is scheduled for 6pm on Sderot Herzog, Beit Shemesh.


Mitzvah boyzSo I don’t believe in ‘a religious God’ or whatever, I’m only human and can only grasp so much, but for me, it’s safe to think that the Universe and its Ways are what guide the world with the Force of… whatever it is keeping us all moving.

But this, what I’m about to describe, is straight out of one of the Charedi story books my mother-in-law just bought for the kids. The only thing missing was that I’m not a little boy in an oversized kippa.

On my way back from a walk this morning, when I passed the mailboxes, I noticed a letter on the ground. I picked it up and it was from the traffic authority. I saw that it was addressed to an apartment not too far, so I figured I’d walk it to the owner. I turned around, headed toward the address, slipped it behind the family-name sign on the door, and went back the way I came.

When I got back to the mailboxes, I saw a kippa sruga Sephardi dude in his late 50s/early 60s looking around the sidewalk. I watched him for a few seconds and realized he was probably the envelope owner. I walked up to him and asked him if he lost a letter.

He looked really confused (obviously) and said, yeah. I told him I had found it and put it on his door. He still looked confused so I repeated it. His face lit up and he thanked me and I said no problem, and walked off.

First of all, I feel I even told this story in the voice of one of those Charedi story books.

Secondly, the fact that the dude was religious could mean I was a pawn in the universe of religion, where I served as the person giving back good karma in the form of a big fat juicy mitzva to the religious dude who’s racked up enough points.

Thirdly, maybe I wasn’t that pawn, but walking home, I did feel like a little cartoon-drawn Charedi boy with an oversized kippa and curly payos, returning with a happiness that runs quite deep into the Universe.

On the first night of Chanukah…

We accomplished the complete package (ok, sorta): Chanukiyah, fried ktzitzot, sufganiyot, dreidel and a townie Chanukah celebration at the local schools, complete with minors marching with lit torches.

I guess we can just go ahead and wrap this holiday up now.

(Confession: I feel like Cultural Israel takes this holiday SO INCREDIBLY SERIOUSLY and the traditions associated with it are MUST-HAVE and I’m a terrible parent if we haven’t checked it off the list. Just sayin’.)

Joshua’s messing with us.

“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.”

I remember learning it in 4th grade and it seriously always stuck with me. It was a ‘holy shit, dude’ moment back then, and it remained so for many years. Until one day, walking somewhere in Israel, I noticed something in the sky.

It was late afternoon and the moon was out. And the sun was chillin just across the way.

Honest to universe, the first thing I thought of was good ole Yehoshua. And ever since then, every time I see it – and I see it often – I consider that it just makes sense now.

Last Friday, I saw my lil friend, daytime Moon, at 8:18am. Now, come on – לא להגזים – that’s just too much. Either get a room, you two, or go back to where you belong.

When you mix Jews, legalities, Facebook…

Facebook + Jew vs Jew + lawsuit?

Not the first time this has happened, Mark Zuckerberg(s)!

Israeli entrepreneur becomes Mark Zuckerberg to fight Facebook

But we had to have known some Israeli would have the balls to do this:

Israeli entrepreneur Rotem Guez has legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg in response to legal threats from Facebook. The 32 year old Haifa resident runs a website called “Likestore” which sells Facebook “likes” in bulk charging prices of NIS 500-10,000 for 1,000-10,000 “likes.”

Last week, Guez received a letter from a law firm representing Facebook demanding that he close his business. Guez insists that his business is legal and decided to change his name to that of Facebook founder and CEO to see if Facebook is prepared to sue him.

My favorite part:

At first the clerk refused to change his name describing it as “misleading the public” but Guez’s insistence that “Zuckerberg” is a nice Jewish name convinced her to register the change.

So who’s the bigger Sucker(berg) – the billionaire Mark or the dude who can’t legally change his name again for seven years?