Archive for July, 2005
I’d like to know what hit you the ‘wrong’ way (about Neve Daniel). We are also looking for a community we would like to live in. We have already visited kochav yakov and I’d like to know what you think of it since you have been there too. Have you been anywhere else and what were your impressions?
Here are the things that hit us the wrong way about Neve Daniel (note: we were there for just one Shabbat – these observations are based on our experiences then and on conversations that we had. I am just listing here the things that hit us the “wrong way”. Everything else was good. Overall it is a very nice community, one where we still see as a potential place to move to, some day):
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Time to leave now. Looks like the US is being Revoked!
I have just received the below article from my teacher, Rav Chaim Eisen (the mesader kiddushin at our wedding). Rav Eisen has taught at various yeshivot in Israel and lectured extensively on Jewish thought and Jewish philosophy throughout Israel and the US. He recently relocated with his family to Gush Katif. I just received the following article from him via email, along with the following request:
My one request is that you please do your utmost to disseminate this article as widely as possible. If anything I have written here is new to you, it is probably going to be new to many other people as well. I believe that, at present, it is a crucially important mitzvah to distribute this information far and wide, to stimulate discussion and, I pray, action. Due to the urgency of the matter, I beg of you not to delay. While I don’t want to sound melodramatic, I ask you please to help BY FORWARDING THIS ARTICLE TODAY TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK — JEW AND NON-JEW — WHO HAS A CONSCIENCE.
That’s all for now. The article follows. May we henceforth have only good news to share, abundantly and always, among all of us and all those who remain faithful to the House of Israel and all worthy humanity. All the best, and Shabbat Shalom.
Our Move to Gush Katif
by Chaim Eisen
Having just moved to Neve Dekalim, my family and I consider ourselves truly privileged to be among the newer members of an extraordinary group of people – the residents of Gush Katif. I refer not only to the oft-stated verities. We all know that the lands upon which the Gush was built were liberated with the Gaza strip in the wake of the Six Day War in 1967, precipitated directly by unilateral Egyptian aggression. This land, well within even the most restrictive interpretations of the borders of the Biblically ordained Promised Land, was a desolate wasteland. All of it was either previously owned by Jews (like Kefar Darom), state-owned, or ownerless – and legally unclaimed by any sovereign country. Our nation has lived here since Abraham and Sara and Isaac and Rebecca, at least 37 centuries ago. Even during two millennia of exile, Jews subsisted here almost continuously, until the British expelled them from Gaza, during the Arab pogroms and massacres of 1929. During the 1948 War of Independence, Kefar Darom heroically defended the fledgling state against the attacking Egyptian army, but eventually it was overrun. It was courageously reestablished immediately after the Six Day War. The resettling of the entire area was conceived by the Labor government of Golda Meir 35 years ago, as part of a network of Jewish villages, to impede Arab terror emanating from the Gaza strip. Some of the most dedicated idealists of this generation lovingly built the 21 towns and villages here over the intervening years, with reiterated encouragement by successive governments on the left and on the right. Overcoming daunting odds, the quiet farmers of Gush Katif not only caused the desert literally to bloom but also established a vast agricultural and industrial base, generating thousands of jobs and revenues of several hundred million shekalim annually. In doing so, they also provided employment and infrastructure for their Arab neighbors, which raised the latter’s standard of living immeasurably – until the Arabs launched a genocidal war of death and destruction to drive all the Jews from their midst. The true greatness of the farmers and workers of Gush Katif, however, was tested and proved with incomparably greater force in the crucible of suffering, during the past five years’ war of unrelenting terror.
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Last Friday, as British police frantically searched for four presumed suicide bombers on the run, the people of London had a glimpse of what the people of Israel live with daily. The explosive devices of all four men had failed to go off properly on London’s transport system the day before, and the men had subsequently escaped.
Throughout Friday there were roadblocks and house searches throughout London. Closed-circuit TV footage of the four was released to the public in the afternoon, and by evening two suspects had been taken into custody. The people of London expressed the fear of “living with terror 24/7,” the world expressed its sympathy, and there was much supportive and understanding coverage of Britain’s plight by international media and politicians.
Palestinian terrorists have carried out over 25,000 attacks on Israelis since September 2000, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. Israeli security forces have thwarted thousands of attacks, and Israelis have grown used to living with manhunts of the kind seen in London on Friday; yet they are barely reported abroad…
(Via Divrei Moshe)
The security forces of the Palestinian Authority are divided, weak, overstaffed, badly motivated and underarmed, and more attention must be paid to building up institutions rather than personalities, says the first independent survey of the complicated Palestinian security environment since the death of Yasir Arafat…
From the NY Times (free registration required). And if for them to be critical of anything PLO is worthy of attention in its own right.
I have heard from a number of people that one of the hardest adjustments for a North American oleh to make is the loss of Sundays. Having one day a week with “no responsibilities” (at least as far as work is concerned) is a great luxury and sanity-saver. Israel, as a Jewish state, does not celebrate Sunday as a day of rest. So even when Shabbat ends at 8pm, you still have to go to work tomorrow morning (and clean up, etc). Definitely a bummer.
However, I can now personally attest to a good way to get used to not having Sundays as a day off: have a baby. Especially a two-and-a-half week old cutie who is in the middle of a growth spurt and loves to eat every 1.5-2.5 hours, round-the-clock.
But you have to admit, he is really cute.
My wife and I dress in a way that gives our religion and level of observance away (I wear a kippa and my tzitzis are usually visible, my wife wears skirts and long-sleeve shirts and covers her hair). Because of this (so we postulate) many people who are Jewish but do not advertise it (or try their best to blend in with the goyish surroundings) go out of their way to let us know of their Jewish ancestry.
- The woman who lives in our courtyard. She passed us today (on Shabbat) wearing some very not-tzniut clothing. She commented on our beautiful baby and asked what is his name. “Moshe” we replied. So she said “eizeh shem tov. Oh, by the way, my husband is Israeli”.
- While our pediatrician was checking the baby in the hospital, we asked her “Do you see any reason why we couldn’t have the circumcision next Wednesday” to which she replied “I don’t think you will have any problems with having the bris on time”
- The nurse who gave my wife an ultra-sound. We were talking about how hot the upcoming weekend was suppossed to be. The nurse told my wife “If you go to shul make sure to drink lots of water.”
- This guy on his cell phone
- All of the other secular Israelis who wish me a Shabbat Shalom while I am walking to shul and they are standing outside of the Taco Restaurant
- The woman at my work who, when she found out we were going to be having a baby told me (out of the blue) “if you happen to need a mohel, we have a great guy for you to use
- Many more similar incidents that I do not remember right now
Read Double tax trouble for US olim by Debbie Inker at Globes Online. (If you are having trouble getting to the article, try here instead). This article talks about how American olim could suffer some serious tax setbacks due to lack of a social security tax treaty between Israel and the USA. I had not heard of this before – looks like something I should definitely start thinking about (though I don’t know how much good it will do me since things are the way they are. I’ll just need to talk to a good accountant familiar with both the US and Israel. Anyone have any references?).
Update: a friend of mine emailed me the following:
I asked my dad about the tax article on your blog; he is a CPA in both countries and handles these issues on a regular basis.
He said the article is accurate, except “anyone smart” works around it: The double tax only effects the self employed in Israel. In some cases, there are benifits to paying US social security taxes. For people who don’t have a reason to pay US social security tax, they create an Israeli corporation for which they are the only employee. This sidesteps this issue entirely. This takes some paperwork, perhaps a lawyer, and changes they way they do payroll, but eliminates the need to pay US social security tax.
Moral of the story: get yourself a good accountant!