Monday, February 27, 2006

JPost: The Bukharans are coming!

100 of my former neighbors, including maybe even my barber, are making Aliyah! I took this photo a year ago.

Gal Beckerman of the Jerusalem Post, reports:

100 members of the Bukharan Jewish community of New York are making aliya with their rabbi this summer. If the 'pioneer' group succeeds, thousands more may follow.

As many as 60,000 Bukharan Jews live in Queens. 'If there is peace in Israel, 70 percent of Bukharans will leave here and go there,' said community leader Aron Aronov. 'No question.'

'Unity is the most important thing for us. As long as we go together we can help each other survive the bad days and rejoice with one another on the good days.' - Mark Akbashev, 29

A giant map of Israel covered the wall behind Rabbi Michael Borochov as he sat last week in his office at Beit Gavriel, a Bukharan-Jewish community center in Forest Hills, Queens. A thick blanket of snow covered the ground outside, but it was Israel that was on his mind, both as an inspiration and as a burdensome responsibility. He's going to be making aliya in July. And he's bringing 100 Bukharan Jews from his congregation with him.

The move was Borochov's idea, but it sheds light on a tightly knit community that is almost uniquely suited for this type of communal action. It's not out of character for the Bukharans, who survived as they did for over 2,000 years in an isolated enclave in Central Asia with intact traditional practices and values. The return to Israel always had a central place in their faith.

This has remained true in spite of the fact that the Bukharan Jewish community that lives in Queens - numbering between 50,000 and 60,000 - has settled into a relatively comfortable existence since first arriving in the late 1980s. There is evidence everywhere that they have made large swathes of Forest Hills and Rego Park their own. The commercial strip of 108th Street, known locally as "Bukharan Broadway," is filled with kosher restaurants like Shalom where the smell of cumin, paprika and grilled lamb waft out onto the sidewalk.

Large multi-story community centers and synagogues abound, including a new one to be dedicated in March and funded by the Bukharan Jewish philanthropist Lev Leviev, which will house the organization over which he presides, the Bukharan Jewish Congress.

The younger generation, usually the weakest link in any community's effort to keep tradition alive, has also made efforts to keep the community as tight as possible. One example has been, a Web site started by a group of young Bukharans that now has 950 registered members and has become a hub of information about cultural events, as well as as a place for young Bukharan Jews to meet each other.

SITTING IN his office and stroking his long, silky black beard, Michael Borochov said he is proud of his own contribution to the community's development, transforming within 10 years a 100-family congregation based in Lefrak City, a major housing project in Queens, into one that, he said, has over 800 families today. This project has been his "baby," he said, and one of the hardest decisions he has had to make was leaving it all behind.

"But I knew," said Borochov, "that the community needs to see the example of their rabbi going before them. Immigration is never easy. When we left the Soviet Union, it was out of fear, we were scared. But now everyone is comfortable. For everyone, leaving is a risk. I'll show them that I can take the risk also."

Borochov contacted Michael Landsberg, executive director of the Jewish Agency's Aliya Department in North America, eight months ago with the idea and the Jewish Agency quickly came into the community to meet with the interested families. So far, according to Landsberg, 28 families have said they want to sign up and 12 have begun the process of applying for aliya. Borochov is confident that out of these, at least 20 families will make up the first group of what he calls "pioneers." With an average of five people per family, he figures about 100 people will be coming with him.

Over the past half-year, Borochov has taken two groups of families on pilot trips to look for the city they would live in once in Israel. This past November they settled on Ramat Beit Shemesh, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Initially, Borochov said, the group had looked at settlements within the West Bank - more for economic than ideological reasons - but the tumultuous scenes during the disengagement from Gaza last August made many families wary of moving to towns they might eventually have to evacuate.

The Jewish Agency has promised both individual and collective aide to the group and another organization, Nefesh B'Nefesh, whose mission is to facilitate North American aliya, has pledged additional funds.

The majority of families making up this initial group are young, the children of Bukharan immigrants who came to Queens when the Soviet Union fell. The list of jobs they have is varied, including a nurse, computer technician, and a barber. Now grown up and acculturated, they have come to the conclusion that America is not where they should be. They want to go to Israel, all for strongly Zionist reasons.

IN SOME families this has created conflict. Ronnie Vinnikov, the Jewish Agency's main emissary to New York's Russian Jewish community and someone who has worked closely with the Bukharan group, said that some members of the group have needed to go up against the wishes of their families in order to leave.

"Suddenly the parents are forced to wonder if they made a bad decision by bringing the kids here," Vinnikov said. "When the parents came to America it was for the good of the children; they thought they were bringing them to the best place. Now their children tell them no, this isn't the place for me."

Mark Akbashev, 29, a business manager and a student at Yeshiva University, will be leaving in the first group with his wife and two children. His parents and his wife's parents will be staying in Queens. Many people ask him why he would want to leave America where he has found success, he said. He answers simply that he is investing in his children's future by taking them to their land. His paternal grandfather, he notes, spent two years to get from Central Asia to Jerusalem just to gather some earth and bring it back. All he has to do, though, is take an 11-hour flight.

What finally helped Akbashev decide to make the move he had been contemplating for years was the idea of going as part of a group of families he has gotten to know through Borochov's congregation.

"Unity," Akbashev said, "is the most important thing for us. As long as we go together we can help each other survive the bad days and rejoice with one another on the good days."

This seems to be key to making this experiment work for the Bukharan Jews of New York. After all, the tool that Bukharans used to survive for so long, cut off from all other Jewish communities, was their sense of unity.

Ultimately, said Aron Aronov, the unofficial mayor of the Queens Bukharan Jews and a liaison to the Russian-speaking community for the New York Association for New Americans, that's what will help the summer's pioneers pull through.

An energetic man in his late 60s with bushy gray eyebrows who wears his plaid shirts buttoned up to the top, Aronov is trying single-handedly to keep Bukharan culture alive through a museum he has put together with his own money. Standing amidst multi-colored silks, paintings of bearded Bukharan rabbis, and rows of silver jewelry and golden yarmulkes, Aronov gave his verdict on whether a mass emigration of Bukharan Jews to Israel would be successful: "If there is peace in Israel, 70 percent of Bukharans will leave here and go there. No question."

Bukharan Jews are a fundamentally traditional people, Aronov said, calling his own community the "Jewish Taliban." If the Soviets couldn't stop them from being Jewish, America won't either, he said. And if they want to go to Israel, they will. The most important element is solidarity.

"Most Bukharans," Aronov said, "if you offered them all the money in the world and a palace in Finland, they would ask you only one question: Do any Bukharans live there?"

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Play Ball!

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.
- George F. Will

Last week here in Jerusalem, we dodged a blizzard, though we still got lots of rain, hail and chilly temps. This week has started out the extreme opposite. Beautiful clear blue skies with a warm sun beating down. Perfect baseball weather! Or softball more accurately. Yep – in yet another sign of an increasing American presence in Israel I was delighted to hear the crack of the baseball bat and the hollers of outfielders "calling the catch" as I made my way home past Gan Soccer. Too bad I didn’t have my good camera on me at the time. Took these shots with the emergency one.

Perhaps one day they will rename it Gan Baseball?

And the only clouds to appear today came at sundown. Here’s my view of today's sunset over Bayit Vegan in the distance.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A7: Chief Rabbi Asks Dalai Lama to Help Set up Religious UN in Jerusalem


From Arutz-7:

( Israel's Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yonah Metzger, meeting with the Dalai Lama, a Buddhist monk who is the leader of Tibet, suggested that representatives of the world's religions establish a United Nations in Jerusalem, representing religions instead of nations, like the UN currently based in New York.

"Instead of planning for nuclear war and buying tanks and fighter jets, it will invest in peace," Metzger said. He later reported that the Tibetan leader was very excited about the idea and offered to help advance it.

Also at the meeting was Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee (who is on good terms with the Roman Catholic Church), Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa, kadis (Ethiopian rabbis) and various Islamic sheikhs.

Also see the Jerusalem Post report here (or here).

Saturday, February 18, 2006

JPost on Nitzan: "Four Mothers"


Editor's Notes: Four mothers
David Horovitz
Feb. 16, 2006

The homes are painted encouraging shades of yellow. There are patches of verdant grass and playgrounds with brightly colored slides and swings. The sidewalks are paved with attractive reddish-brown stone. But even as the sun peers through the clouds and the rain takes a break, there's no mistaking the pall that hangs over the Nitzan "caravilla" neighborhood where 460 families of former Gaza residents are marking six months since their enforced evacuation.

This is a community in mourning. A community bereaved.

Pnina Hachmon, who found herself plucked from running Hof Ashkelon's kids' summer programs last July to set up and maintain the site on behalf of the council, speaks encouragingly about falling unemployment levels, and prefabs that have so far proved surprisingly resilient amid the winter storms, and 20 buses a day transporting children to 27 schools from Yavne to Beersheba.

But Hachmon lives in Bat Hadar, just outside Ashkelon. She is not one of the Gaza dispossessed.

Her secretary, Rahel, is the authentic voice of the Nitzan neighborhood - determinedly fielding calls and walk-in queries from the 3,800 new "locals" about everything from kindergarten registration to phone-line difficulties, trying to keep the prefab door from banging open and shut with a crash that rocks the office, and detailing her personal variant on the trauma that afflicts everyone here.

A mother of five who lived in secular Nisanit, in the north of the Strip, for 11 years, she and her family, like many - perhaps most - of the Gaza settlers, truly did not believe that disengagement was going to happen. "I was sure that, even at the last moment, the government would reconsider," she says. She signed up for a home here, two weeks before the scheduled pullout, only because "I had to be sure there'd be a roof over my children's heads if worse came to worst."

It did - and the blow, again as for so many Gaza families, was all the graver because of their resolute disinclination to believe it would fall and because of the government's delinquent planning. They were shifted to a Beersheba hotel and then to one in Ashkelon before their prefab was ready for occupation. In those first six weeks of post-pullout chaos her husband was hospitalized with anxiety attacks. By the time he was able to return to his job at a security company, they'd found they could manage without him. Now he's on a government-funded "project manager's course," says Rahel sadly. "Nothing will come of it. There'll be no real job. It's just a way of passing the days."

A few paces along from Pnina and Rahel's office, Yaffa Nahmani, formerly a resident of Gush Katif's largest settlement, Neveh Dekalim, runs a privately funded job-finding service and disputes the assertion that unemployment here has fallen much below 80 percent.

A mother of two whose parents also live at Nitzan, and also lived at Neveh Dekalim where they ran the supermarket, she broadcasts a message of despair even clearer than Rahel's. "People in the middle of their lives were just torn out, and for no reason," she protests, with a passion that flares, as though the pullout had happened yesterday, but then rapidly subsides into bitterness.

"They said leave and there'd be no rocket fire," she says dryly. "It's been the opposite. Now the rockets are falling on Ashkelon, and nothing is done. So much for the security argument."

(Rahel had told me, "It's only a miracle that the power station hasn't been hit so far.")

"Demographics?" Nahmani goes on. "So move the Arabs to one of the other Arab states. It would cost a lot less than the pullout did."

Like many of her relatives and friends, Nahmani does not intend to vote in next month's election. "I've lost my faith in our leadership," she says. "I don't care who gets chosen. Whoever it is, all they'll care about is their job, their fame, their status. They won't care about me."

Does that mean she no longer cares about the fate of her nation? "No, it's not that," she answers wanly. "That pains me a lot. But I'm grappling with my personal loss."

FACE UP on the grass by the front door of the Shaked "caravilla" is the road sign that used to direct visitors to their former settlement: Rafiah Yam. "We'd go back tomorrow if we could," says Orna Shaked, inviting me into her spotless 90-square-meter prefab, its floor newly cleaned, the chairs lifted onto the table, seats down, while the floor tiles dry.

Ami Shaked was a high-profile Gaza settler. He set up and headed the Gaza Coast Regional Council security apparatus. He shot and killed the Palestinian terrorist who murdered Jerusalem couple Rahel and Dov Kol as they headed home from a Shabbat at Ganei Tal late last July, three weeks before the pullout. "It was a miracle that he escaped that incident with his life," says Orna. "He was injured three times by terrorists in other attacks. He worked all hours of the day and night. He gave everything for the public good. And now he is nothing. He sends out his CVs. Nothing."

Orna worked in agriculture, growing tomatoes and eggplants and sweet potatoes and cucumbers. Now she is being offered jobs "as a chambermaid, as a salesperson in a shop. There's a limit," she says, "to what a person can take."

The Shakeds got a million shekels in compensation for their house, and will get more for the lost land, she says. She knows that, when she cites sums like that, the notion of her suffering now will resonate less. But if they cannot rebuild their lives, she says, the money will run out. And they've not been able to make any kind of new start so far.

"We were the victims of political games," Orna says helplessly. "What Labor and Meretz wanted, the Likud did."

Why did Ariel Sharon change course so dramatically? "To deflect attention from the corruption allegations swirling around him. He didn't believe those security and demography arguments. He was there at the founding of our yishuv. He was in the Gush a lot. He couldn't have believed the pullout was good for the state."

Shaked says she feels they were betrayed twice over. "We didn't sneak into Gaza. The state sent us. And for years we were the punch-bags. And we stood firm. If a neighbor got murdered or there was an attack on a bus, of course it scared you, but you moved on. And then the state decided we were no good." First betrayal.

"We had real lives there. We raised children. We had a business. The government wanted us out so much, but now nobody cares what has become of us. Why didn't the government prepare for us?" Second betrayal.

Orna Shaked has a message for families today who are where hers was 18 years ago, looking to settle beyond Israel's sovereign borders for ideological reasons: "Don't do it," she says. "They'll pull out of there, too. And the suffering is unbearable."

But for those Israelis living in Judea and Samaria already, she has another message: "The confrontation at Amona," she says, "shows we should have made more fuss. Then they wouldn't have forgotten us. Ami collected the weapons [from settlers prior to disengagement]. He helped spread a mood of non-violence."

She pauses, caresses the black hair of her baby who has just awoken from an afternoon nap, and rethinks. "Obviously I wouldn't want a soldier hurt," she sighs. "It's terrible that we are hurting each other and the Palestinians celebrate. So what I said about resisting, I said in anger and impotence: We didn't confront the soldiers and now we are forgotten."

The eldest of her five children, two weeks old when they moved to Rafiah Yam, has been in the army for four months now. She was supposed to have been drafted in early August, but that got postponed, for obvious reasons. She was supposed to serve in a combat unit, but decided she didn't want to, for obvious reasons.

"She is embarrassed to wear her uniform," says Orna, still stroking the baby's hair. "People here won't say hello to her when she's wearing it. So now she takes it off on the way home. She doesn't want to serve at all. We're making her do it. We ask her: 'What? You want to join your parents, sitting at home unemployed?'"

AND THEN, at the Hazut home at the southern side of Nitzan, the pall of grief lifts.

From the outside, of course, it looks no different - same prefab, some ivory clean shutters. But inside - a happy maelstrom of shopping bags and pots steaming on the stove and a bustling Yaffa Hazut, newly returned from the grocery store, trying to get too much done in too little time because she's one of 10 siblings and nine are married and the last, her 42-year-old sister, is getting engaged today!

"If you'd have called ahead, I'd have told you I couldn't possibly talk to you," she says gaily. "But since you're here... You want something to drink?"

You cook, I tell her. I'll sit here and ask you questions.

The Hazuts, she tells me, somehow coherent amid the fish and the bubbling vegetables, moved to Neveh Dekalim 19 years ago. "We moved for the quality of life. The ideology came afterwards. And the next generation" - the five kids - "with them it's even stronger."

Relatively speaking, she says, they've been lucky. Her husband was able to reestablish his factory, making doors and windows for the "secure rooms" mandatory in new homes, at the Ashkelon industrial zone, "although of course there were heavy losses involved in the relocation. And I'm teaching in a school in Ashkelon."

But it's been very hard on the kids, "none of whom have really found themselves" at their new schools. "I can cope with anything in this cube," she says. "But I can't have my children suffering, so I'm giving up my job next month to help them with their studies."

Like Yaffa Nahmani, Hazut says she hadn't been planning to vote but that after Amona she will. "I don't want any of them," she stresses. "But I really don't want Olmert. Sharon wouldn't have risked a civil war like Olmert did at Amona."

Her son joined the protesters at the outpost last month, and she said she'd feared he would confront soldiers. "But when I saw the behavior of the cops, I was so shocked that I felt no pity. I didn't want my son hurt, but I thought that if they got hit back, so be it."

Echoing Orna Shaked, she says that if there is another phase of disengagement, "we shouldn't go quietly," even though she acknowledges it risks splitting the people.

"We're behaving like Diaspora Jews, running away," she says. "We think we have to please the United States, the European Union. 'Do us a favor, recognize us, please.' Maybe we need a real split, a real breach, so that the world will understand. Even loss of life, which I prayed wouldn't happen in Gush Katif."

In almost the same breath, without acknowledging the contradiction, she muses that perhaps the Jewish people are about to relive the biblical experience of losing sovereignty "because maybe we haven't been good enough to each other."

Don't we need the US on our side? "Yes we do, but the way to please the US is for Olmert to say 'I can't divide this people. I'll have no people left.' Most of the officers' corps is national religious. The US has an interest in our being a strong, stable nation in an unstable Middle East. So don't destabilize that nation."

Hazut swears she'd be "celebrating" the pullout, and backing full independence for the Palestinians in Gaza, if that brought an end to terrorism and violence. "But they've chosen a leadership to destroy Israel. It doesn't matter how much we relinquish, in Islam we have no right to exist. If that's the jihad, why give in? We're a tiny country. Let's hold onto our land."

She says that the families here, broadly speaking, divide into two groups - those who watch the videos and look at the photo albums of their former lives time and again, and can't move on, and those who've tried to "pull down a screen" and look to the future. She's in the latter camp but partly, she says, because she can't bear to look back. "Maybe in a year so I'll be able to look at the pictures."

She looks up from the stove. "And maybe in a couple of years we'll have moved on from here. And the next group of the evicted will be moving in."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Siyum HaShas Photo Gallery Reloaded

Seems I haven’t logged into my "fotopic" account in over six months so it went "dormant" and didn’t let anyone view any of the pictures. To reactivate I simply had to log in.

Log in? I didn’t even remember the username I signed up with let alone the password!

Well they are back up again. (Wow B"H! I still don’t know how I managed to remember!)

Click here to view.
(Click on each photo to advance to the next.)


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More Photos of Tu B'Shevat in Chevron

See the Kumah post for an explanation of these photos.

Kumah, Arutz Sheva, and the Hevron community, teamed up for a wonderful day of planting, praying, and prancing. The Hevron Community had received permission to plant in an area adjacent to the Cave of the Partriarchs (Ma'arat HaMachpela). And Kumah was there to join them! Besides planting trees in Hevron the trip also included an English tour of the Jewish community, lunch, and prayer at Ma'arat HaMachpela along with a surpise treat at the end. Check the post at Kumah for full details of the trip.

Here are some extra photos that weren't posted on Kumah.

Yishai swears the Shomron Bus Co. is a pleasure to work with.

We passed "Yitzchok" (the giant Etrog) around on the bus and made a brocha on the smell.

Recent excavations revealed ancient Jewish homes. Some of the stones here were blackened from fire believed to be from the wars of Sancherev.

Everyone admired this view...

...but the view behind them was just as breathtaking.

Kever Yishai and Rus.

Still can't believe how green Eretz Yisrael is this year!

This is the new "Bet Menachem," home to several Jewish families, built on top of the excavations.

This part of the museum teaches about the 1929 massacre.

This memorial was made from tombstones from the Jewish Cemetery that was destroyed during the massacre.

Somebody wanted the stay by the Haddasah House longer...

Torah scrolls of the "Avraham Avienu" shul.

These houses were in the news recently. Jews were expelled from them - hopefully just temporarily. Around that corner at the end is where baby Shalhevet Pas was murdered by a sniper.

Mmmm. Lunch.

My sources tell me this was the Hornstipler Rebbe, Rav Sholom Friedman of Sanhederia.

Soldiers are armed and ready to plant.

First the speeches...

...which gets some people bored.

Play ba...err.. Plant trees!

Arutz-7's Tamar Yonah - with a "white grape" vine.

The officers lower a pomegranate tree.

Childern planting a date palm.

Hard work.

Some of the Kumah gang with a grape vine. Ma'arat HaMachpela in the background.


Beautiful flowers.

Tu B'Shevat seder.

Yishai holds up "Yitzchok" as we prayed for a good Etrog this year.

Wine came from the Bet El winery.

(I have loads of stunning pictures from our visit to Israeli Artist Boruch Nachshon which I plan to post next week - check back here!)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Posted Awesome Tu B'Shvat Pictures!

So I took about 300 pics but so far only posted around 30 on the Kumah blog.

Click here the view them.

And keep checking back here as I hope to get around to posting more pics here as well!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"OMG - David Lavon is ENGAGED!!!"

Now if this isn't total yentashkit I don't know what is... But hey, it seems this blog gets more hits from people searching for David Lavon than for people searching for Rav Kaduri. Now isn't that a sad commentary on Orthodox Judaism?

In anycase gals - read it and weep.

Mazel Tov Dave and Rachael!!!

Hat Tip: Sis Esther

The View From My Window

Sunset Over Bayit Vagen, Yerushalayim

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Paper Doesn't Know Right From Left - Literally!

So a hat tip goes to flat-mate Sammy for this one.

The Jerusalem Post's "Pictures of the Week" included this one:
(Link may change next week.)

The caption reads:

Olmert sticks to Sharon's vision of future map. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reviews a map of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc as he begins a tour of the area on Tuesday. At his left is Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.

But actually Shaul Mofaz is at his right. The man to his left has way too much hair to be Shaul Mofaz.

Defense Minister Mofaz

The AP actually released the photo with this caption:

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, second left, reviews a map of the Gush Etzion Jewish settlement block as he begins a tour of the area in the West Bank Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2006, by looking from an overview from a forest in Aminadav, near Jerusalem. Israel media reported that in an interview to be aired Tuesday Olmert said that he intends to hold on to all of Israel's major settlement blocs and smaller ones on the border with Jordan. Standing left is Israeli Defense Minister shaul Mofaz. (AP Photo/Jim Hollander, Pool)

But it seems the Jerusalem Post doesn't know our left is not the same left as someone facing us. Or perhaps it just confirms what we've been saying all along. The Jerusalem Post doesn't know its right from its left!

(Or at least they don't know who Shaul Mofaz is.)

Friday, February 10, 2006

David Lavon Spoofed: More Jewish Music Videos

The BangItOut blog reports about some new Jewish Music Videos: The Original Numa Numa (Remake 2), was filmed in Camp Simcha according to a user's comment on BIO. BIO maintains it still "doesn’t hold a candle to the bochrim from David Lavon’s original."

And judging from the number of hits this blog gets from people googling “Dave Lavon” they are probably right. See the BangItOut post here for more links including one for a YU David Lavon spoof!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

JIBs Congrats and a Very Special Request

Now that the JIB winners for “Best Series” have been announced I wanted to congratulate the winners on thier respective well deserved finishes. For me it was a real thrill for “Point of Pinchas” to be going up against such quality – what I call “major league” - blogs. It was even a greater honor to actually being competitive!

To be so competitive I was forced to “vigorously campaign” as it were. But actually it was a great excuse for shamelessly promoting my blog. I was forced to e-mail friends and family about it. I also plugged my blog on various popular message boards and mailing lists I use. So as a result of the JIBs, I ended up with nearly ten times the amount of traffic I normally get and I owe it all the “major league” blogs and of course to Dave from Israellycool (Vote for him here) and the Jerusalem Post. And as my blog got more hits people got to see and learn more about things that volunteers are doing to help the Gush Katif families.

Hopefully I can continue to post quality content and can use this JIBs boost as a stepping stone to further growth. Now if only I could come up with a good logo...

In the meantime here are the details of the winning serieses: (how do you make series plural?)

Jewlicious won the Gold for their “Hate Site of the Weak" Series. There different hate sites are exposed for the mental weaklings they really are.

Lazer Beams took the Silver for his well done 5-part “Trail of Tears” series linking the common backgrounds and plight of the Cherokee Indians and the Jewish people.

Hirhurim snagged the Bronze for an excessively detailed series analyzing the halachic bases for religious Zionism.

In the JIBs there are no “Honorable Mentions” but I would like to mention one anyway.

Elie from Elie's Expositions writes a most truly truly heartbreaking blog series about the loss of his 18 year old son Aaron, simply entitled “Aarons Story.” In fact after reading it I’d like to ask the JIB judges for a special request. I’d like to offer Elie my 118 votes. Along with his 86 votes this would virtually put him in a tie for the Gold. So Dave, what do ya say?

(And everyone else reading this post should at least read “Aaron’s Story.”)

Monday, February 06, 2006

One Last JIB Award, Vote for Dave!

Voting from the 2005 JIBs has now concluded but there’s still one more poll left open. You see, “Aussie Dave” put in months of hard work to bring these awards to fruition. He did this as a volunteer. He did it – in his own words “to bring attention to the plethora of Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel blogs out there, which I consider absolutely necessary in light of the mainstream media bias against Israel (and, to some extent, Jews).” He did not do it for all the “rubbish” we most ungratefully handed him. Yet, he still put up with us.

Ironically like last year, Dave and his blog, Israellycool – which almost certainly deserves “the gold” in every JIB category out there (except for maybe “best new blog” and perhaps “best student life blog”) will not be awarded a single JIB this year. You see Dave ruled himself to be ineligible. This despite the fact that no one would object to his inclusion (well most of us wouldn't).

So now here is our chance to thank Dave for all his hard work! Voting is now open right below. You can vote once every day. And this poll stays open forever!*

So let’s all give Dave our vote!

Best Jewish & Israeli Blog Promoter

* or till whenever...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Gush Katif Photo Blog Series

Sticky Post: This will remain on top till voting ends Feb. 2, 2006. Scroll down for new posts.

As the JIB awards are ongoing, for convenience I have linked together below the Gush Katif Photo Series posted here over the summer. Click on the photos below to view each complete post.

Photo Blog: Gush Katif Protests, Where was everybody?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Photo Blog: Planting, Not Uprooting!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Gaza's final evacuees (with pictures)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Update On The Pots of Dirt

Monday, September 12, 2005

We Filled Over 60,000 Flower Pots!!! (Photos!)
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Planting Trees in Nitzan (Photos!)
Thursday, September 29, 2005

If you enjoyed the photos you could vote by clicking here and selecting "Point of Pinchas" from the drop down menu. Thanks for your support!