OU calls for Aliyah

The The OU Jerusalem Center is calling for American Jews to make Aliyah

The OU Jerusalem Center Torah Tidbits #1185 B’chukotai 5776 torah-tidbits-1185whole


torah-tidbits
A Mitzva’s Messages – But first…

It’s the old, “I’d like to say a few words before I speak” line. Bear with me…
I recently spent Shabbat with a daughter and grandchildren while my son-in-law the doctor was in miluim. My 8 year old grandson asked me to learn with him in shul after Mincha. Momentarily surprised, I found out that those who stay to learn get a snack of some sort. Sure enough, after a pleasant Pirkei Avot session, my chavruta received an ARTIK, an ice pop. Turned out that he didn’t like its taste at all and dumped it in the nearest garbage pail, thereby making our learning more LISHMAH than expected.
MASHAL L’MA HADAVAR DOMEH? To what can this be compared? IM B’CHUKOTAI TEILEICHU… If you will keep My Torah and Mitzvot… HaShem says to the Jewish People: If you will be faithful to Me and keep the Torah and Mitzvot, then I will give you all kinds of wonderful things… (just read the beginning of the sedra) including – and you will dwell securely in your Land.
One wouldn’t expect people to say ‘No thank you’ to G-d for prosperity and peace. But how many Torah loving and observing Jews seem to say ‘Thanks but No Thanks’ for the opportunity to dwell in the Land?

For Naveh not to like the ices is one thing, but not jumping at the opportunity to live in Eretz Yisrael…

We could go on and on about this topic (and we often do), but for this week, we leave it to you to ponder…
Torah-tidbitCHIZUKandIDUDCHIZUK and IDUD for Olim & not-yet-Olim respectively

When Mark Twain visited Eretz Yisrael in 1867, he vividly described a pitiful and forlorn land: “Palestine is desolate and unlovely…. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, unpicturesque in shape… Palestine sits in sack cloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies… Where prosperity had reigned and fallen; where glory had flamed and gone out; where beauty had dwelt and passed away; where gladness was and sorrow is… We never saw a human being on the whole route… There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country…” What a contrast to the Eretz Yisrael of today!
Twain’s description is reminiscent of the Tochacha we read in our Parsha: “And I will make your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries into desolation… And I will bring the Land into desolation and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it” (Vayikra 26:31-32). In truth, the similarities are not by chance, for as Mark Twain contemplated the sad scene which met his eyes, he was reminded of these very verses, noting that: “No man can stand here [in this deserted area] and say the prophecy has not been fulfilled.”
What, though, is the point if this divine prophecy?Mark Twain's Palestine
Although the verses can be read as punishment for our sins, Rashi points to the positive results of the land being barren and inhospitable: this will deter our enemies from inhabiting the land in our absence. The Ramban similarly states that this verse contains a good tiding: The Land will not accommodate our enemies, it will not accept another nation, and it will only bloom for Am Yisrael.
The accuracy of these words is striking. None of the various conquerors of Eretz Yisrael have succeeded to bring it into prosperity. After coming on Aliya in the year 1267, the Ramban wrote to his son, writing as follows: “What shall I tell you concerning the condition of the Land… She is Ramban Shulgreatly forsaken and her desolation is great… The more sacred the place, the greater the devastation it has suffered. Yerushalyim is most desolate and devastated”. Those who pray in the Ramban Shul in the old city today, built upon the land bought back in 1267, cannot even begin to imagine what things were like back then.
What a sacrifice it must have been to have made Aliya to such desolation!
Having come here alone, we can feel the Ramban’s pain describing what he left behind: “I left my family, I forsook my house. There, with my sons and daughters, the sweet, dear children I brought up at my knees, I left also my soul. My heart and my eyes will dwell with them forever”. Ramban who believed that Yishuv HaAretz was a central part of the Torah was willing to pay this price in order to fulfill this Mitzva.
How easy Aliya is today when compared to the times of Ramban. Those making Aliya don’t experience the kind of pain and longing he describes, and they are treated to a convivial welcome as their plane touches down in Eretz Yisrael, a few hours after having taken off abroad.
Yet, despite it being relatively so easy to come today, many still keep away. In order to find some Idud, or positive encouragement, I would return to the beginning of the parsha, before we arrive at the lengthy Tochecha.
The divine promise we are treated to there, is short and sweet: “And I will walk among you and I will be your G-d and you shall be My People” (26:12).
Tu-b'Shevat-Seven-SpeciesThe Sforno explains this blessing saying that: “Wherever you walk I shall be with you. My presence is not restricted to one specific place. Rather, my Shefa is directed towards you wherever you, the righteous, are to be found.” What must one do in order to merit having the divine presence leave M’kom HaSh’china and come reside in their home? Is this blessing relevant only to Messianic times, when the divine Shefa will be spread out over the entire universe – visiting the righteous wherever they may be found?
It would seem that this is not necessarily so. In order to arrive at this blessing today, we must simply heed the words of Hillel who presents a very simple equation: “He Hillel, would say “If you come to my home I will come to your home” – this applies to Jews who would leave their gold and silver and come to Jerusalem for the pilgrim festivals (Regalim). The Sh’china would coddle and bless them saying: “And I will walk among you and I will be your G-d and you shall be My People” (Avot d’Rabbi Natan 27).
If you come here choosing to make G-d’s home your own, He will respond by residing, and walking with you!

Rabbi Yerachmiel Roness, Ramat Shiloh, Beit Shemesh

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yosef “Today thank God most of the nation of Israel is here in the land of Israel.”

Be part of the Majority. Make Aliyah Today!

It’s time to come home! Nefesh B’Nefesh: Live the Dream 1-866-4-ALIYAH UK 0800 075 7200 Come home to the Land of Emuna

Nefesh B'Nefesh: Live the Dream 1-866-4-ALIYAH UK 0800 075 7200 Come home to the Land of Emuna

Click the Banner for www. nbn.org.il

Six Days of Miracles

 

 

Sefirat Ha’Omer chart for 5776

omer-count-5776

Click to enlarge

Click to download PDF fileDownload the PDF version omer-count-5776     Count-the-omer

The Omer is counted every evening after nightfall, from the second night of Passover till the night before Shavuot
Forgot to count the Omer at night? Count the following day, but without a blessing. On subsequent nights, continue counting with a blessing as usual.The blessing is made only if every day has been counted; if you missed a day, say the day’s count without the blessing.
Omer-Blessing1

Check Calendar for today’s Count

Omer-Blessing2

Kavanot-of-Sefirat-HaOmer-5776

 

Israel is not America

Pew_2016.03.08_israel-survey-overview-jews
By Mr. Whiskers   09March2016 ג באדר ב׳ ה׳תשע״ו
OK, Everyone has seen the news about the new Pew Research Center poll about Israel’s Religiously Divided Society and even the Pew Research Center had to write something;7 key findings about religion and politics in Israel By
Click to download PDF file
Click on the pdf full report for all the details or just look below

But to try and place Israelis into a Diaspora box is all wrong. We have a different history then from the German Jews of the 1800s and their descendent that immigrated to the US in the 1880s -1920s from Europe. What Jews in America are not taking into account is all the Sephardic Jews from North Africa/Middle East that were not influenced by European History of the 1800s. Then there is the Baal Teshuva Movement of Jews returning to Hashem (G-d), when they realize there is more to life then the latest things.

Israelis are different from Americans – they look you straight in the eyes when they talk to you, and some will tell you what they see.

pg. 124 Vintage Wein by Dr. James David Weiss ISBN 0-899-06-599-6

Conversation with Rabbi Zevulun Leiberman Z’l 2004

…In the 1990s I had a short-but-memorable conversation with a Jew who was born in Syria and moved to New York City in 1959.

He insisted with great emphasis that when he left Syria in 1959, 99% of Jews in Syria observed Shabbat; and there was NOT EVEN ONE Jew in all of Syria who was a public-Shabbat-desecrator [Mechalel Shabbat Bepharhesia].

Maybe this happened because the Syrian Jews never accepted Reform or Conservative.

There was never a Reform or Conservative Syrian synagogue; only Orthodox.

Jerusalem’s Sephardic chief rabbi… said a new mixed-gender plaza at the Western Wall would constitute an “unforgivable wrong” that will “weaken Jerusalem” and the Jewish people.
The Sephardic chief Rabbi also suggested that if the non-Orthodox’s Jewish lineage was scrutinized “they would find themselves outside” of Judaism.
Comment: Your average Reform or Conservative member would be classified in Israel as secular hilonim and have nothing to do with the non-Torah movements.
To the Reform: Can you past the Jewish Agency Test of Being Jewish. If the Russian can do it so can You! or is The Sephardic chief Rabbi correct? Take the test and find out Call 1-866-4-ALIYAH and make Aliyah,

To quote Vic Rosenthal on March 10, 2016 Two peoples divided by a common religion (Vic Rosenthal)

…the non-Orthodox populations are very different. In Israel, most of them are “hiloni,” usually translated as ‘secular’, and about half as many identify as “masorati” or ‘traditional’ (not to be confused with the tiny Masorati movement, which is the Israeli branch of American Conservative Judaism).

Pew-2016.03.08_American-Jewish-vs-Israeli-Jewish-practiceThe survey describes Masoratim as holding the “middle ground between Orthodoxy and secularism.” Many Mizrachi Jews put themselves in this category. Although they vary widely in their degree of observance, one example is the man who votes for the ultra-Orthodox Shas party but still drives to the football stadium on Shabbat.

Neither of these groups correspond to anything in American Jewry. Israel’s secular hilonim are overwhelmingly married to other Jews (98%), they tend to be much more knowledgeable about Jewish texts (which they learn in school), they are more likely than unaffiliated American Jews to light candles before Shabbat, keep kosher, or attend a Pesach seder – even though 60% never go to a synagogue, and 40% of them say that they do not believe in God! But 28% of them oppose allowing Reform or Conservative rabbis to perform marriages in Israel, despite the fact that 88% believe that “religion should be kept separate from government policies.”…

intermarriage-by-religious-denomination-2013-Pew

In the US – intermarriage by religious denomination-2013-Pew Research Center

In America, about half of married non-Orthodox Jews have a non-Jewish spouse.

The unaffiliated American Jew is usually the assimilated Jew with no knowledge of Jewish texts or identification with Jewish traditions. And Reform Judaism has separated itself from Orthodoxy and even Conservative Judaism so much – both in practice and in philosophy (think of the Reform concept of tikkun olam as social action) – that those who insist that it is more like a different religion than a kind of Judaism have a cogent argument….

intermarriage in the US vs. Israel If you want a Jewish spouse and have your children marry Jewish spouses make Aliyah

intermarriage in the US vs. Israel If you want a Jewish spouse and have your children marry Jewish spouses make Aliyah

Pew Research Center

Non-Torah movements are 1% – 2%? That is a statistically close to ZERO. No Israeli Wants You because you are all talk and no action sitting in your easy chair in America. Except for the non-religious High Court who hate the Haredim and the Politicians that are concerned with getting Money and keeping the “Diaspora Happy”, the Reform and other non Torah “streams” are nothing in Israel.

If you really care about Israel – MAKE ALIYAH!!!! If you want Reform here, Move Here. Stop Crying and Whining and Do Something worthwhile, Make Aliyah Today and live your life in Israel.

A Purim Warning to American Jews

It’s time to come home! Nefesh B’Nefesh: Live the Dream 1-866-4-ALIYAH UK 0800 075 7200 Come home to the Land of Emuna

Nefesh B'Nefesh: Live the Dream 1-866-4-ALIYAH UK 0800 075 7200 Come home to the Land of Emuna

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 From Pew Research Center http://www.pewforum.org/2016/03/08/jewish-beliefs-and-practices/

Comparing religious observance among Jews from the former Soviet Union and their children

Remember the Jews were forced into a Communist Anti-religious life where if you were praying you would find yourself in a Soviet Labor Camp or Dead. remember the experience of  Natan Statanski the Soviet Refusenik who wanted to make Aliyah.

Pew_2016.03.08_Comparing-religious-observance-Soviet-and-their-childrenFirst- and second-generation immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU) make up roughly one-fifth of Jewish respondents in the Pew Research Center survey; 14% are immigrants and 5% are children of at least one immigrant parent. Overall, Jews who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union are less religious than Israeli Jews as a whole.

But the survey also finds that second-generation FSU Israelis are considerably more religiously observant than their parents’ generation. When it comes to Jewish subgroups, for example, 60% of those in the second generation say they are Hiloni, compared with 81% of first-generation immigrants. While 4% of first-generation immigrants say they are Haredi, among the second generation, this proportion has climbed to 14%.

Children of FSU immigrants also are much more likely than their parents to believe in God (70% vs. 55%). On this question, second-generation FSU immigrants are closer to Israeli Jews overall, 77% of whom say they believe in God.

Similarly, when it comes to Jewish religious practices such as lighting Sabbath candles, keeping kosher, holding or attending a traditional Seder and studying the Torah, children of FSU immigrants are considerably more active than the first generation. For example, children of FSU immigrants are about twice as likely as their parents to keep kosher, both in their home (50% vs. 24%) and outside their home (35% vs. 19%). And while about four-in-ten first-generation immigrants from the former Soviet Union (42%) say they eat pork, only 17% of second-generation FSU immigrants say they personally do so.

Pew_2016.03.08_Hillonim-lights-Shabbat-candlesPew_2016.03.08_israeli-jews-more-observantIsraeli Jews more observant than U.S. Jews

Share of Jews who are Orthodox is twice as large in Israel as in the U.S.

Although they share the same religion, Israeli Jews and U.S. Jews often do not practice Judaism the same way. Israeli Jews themselves range from very religious to secular, but they are, on average, more religiously observant than American Jews.

One driver of the religiosity gap between Israeli Jews and U.S. Jews is the fact that Orthodox Jews make up about one-in-five Jews in Israel (22%) but only one-in-ten Jewish adults in the United States (10%). In both countries, Orthodox Jews tend to be far more religiously observant than other Jews.

Israeli Jews more likely than U.S. Jews to observe Jewish rituals and practices

Israeli Jews are more observant than U.S. JewsOverall, Israeli Jews display more religious involvement than U.S. Jews on several measures. Roughly a quarter (27%) say they attend religious services at least weekly, more than double the share of American Jews who say the same (11%). Israeli Jews also are somewhat more likely than U.S. Jews to say religion is very important in their lives (30% vs. 26%), and considerably more likely to say they believe in God with absolute certainty (50% vs. 34%) and that they believe God gave Israel to the Jewish people (61% vs. 40%).

Additionally, Jews in Israel report more frequent participation in specific Jewish practices than do Jews in the U.S. For example, 56% of Israeli Jews say someone in their home always or usually lights Sabbath candles on Friday night, compared with 23% of U.S. Jews who say the same. Roughly six-in-ten Jews in Israel (63%) say they keep kosher in their home, nearly three times the share of American Jews who do this (22%). Israeli Jews also are more likely than U.S. Jews to say they hosted or attended a Seder for Passover (93% vs. 70%) and fasted all day on Yom Kippur (60% vs. 40%) in the last year.

Comment: In Israel the Holiday Shopping starts at lest 30 Day before the Holiday. The Store Ads and Specials are for all the Holidays, not just the major holidays like Rosh Hashana and Pesach (Passover).  Holidays like Chanukah, Shavuot, Purim, Tu B’Shevat, and Lag B’Omer along with other holidays like Yom HaAtzmaut, and Yom Yerushalayim are celebrated with great joy and happiness. There is the weekly reminder of being Jewish every week with Shabbat, both shopping and cooking for Shabbat and Shabbat itself. Do you have that in the States?

Jewish Pride, Connectedness and Responsibility in America

In the United States, younger Jews express lower levels of emotional attachment to Israel than do older Jews. Among Jews in Israel, however, the new survey finds few, if any, significant differences by age in attitudes toward U.S. Jews.
Israeli and American Jews also feel similar connections to the Jewish people more broadly defined. More than nine-in-ten in both groups say they are proud to be Jewish. Three-quarters or more of Jews in both countries say they feel a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people (88% in Israel, 75% in the U.S.). And more than half of Jews in Israel (55%) and a solid majority in the United States (63%) say they feel a special responsibility to care for fellow Jews in need around the world.
From: If American Jews and Israel Are Drifting Apart, What’s the Reason? by Elliott Abrams

 “[T]he disappearance of the sort of ethnic solidarity that prior generations enjoyed as a matter of course . . . [and] our high intermarriage rate . . . means that Jews of the next generation will increasingly be people with no childhood Jewish memories and no obvious reason to maintain Jewish friends, associations, and causes at the expense of non-Jewish ones.”reform rabbi Lawrence Hoffman,….

Similar findings relate to the sense of Jewish peoplehood. According to the Pew study, only 20 percent of Jews with a non-Jewish spouse say they are raising their children exclusively as Jews. When asked if they have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people, only 59 percent say yes—as against 92 percent of those married to Jews—and only 49 percent say they feel a special responsibility to care for Jews in need—as against 80 percent of those married to Jews.

The American Jewish community is more distant from Israel than in past generations because it is changing, is in significant ways growing weaker, and is less inclined and indeed less able to feel and express solidarity with other Jews here and abroad.

If you want to be a Proud Jew, Move here. Move to Israel and Make Aliyah Today.

It’s time to come home! Nefesh B’Nefesh: Live the Dream 1-866-4-ALIYAH UK 0800 075 7200 Come home to the Land of Emuna

Nefesh B'Nefesh: Live the Dream 1-866-4-ALIYAH UK 0800 075 7200 Come home to the Land of Emuna

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Alyah : mode d’emploi http://www.jewishagency.org/fr/aliyah/program/7618 Choisissez celle qui vous correspond et inscrivez-vous sur notre site Internet en cliquant ICI ou par téléphone, en appelant le Global Center au 0800 916 647
The Jewish Agency Global Service Center http://www.jewishagency.org/global_centerUS 1-866-835-0430 | UK 0-800-404-8984 | Canada 1-866-421-8912

Pew_2016.03.08_Proud-to-be-JewsIn Israel Jews feel pride, connectedness and responsibility in Jewish community

Across different age groups and educational, ethnic and religious backgrounds, the vast majority of Jews in Israel agree that they are proud to be Jewish and have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. And more than half of Jews in Israel (55%) say they have a special responsibility to take care of Jews in need around the world.
Fully 93% of Israeli Jews say they are proud to be Jewish. Haredi and Dati Jews almost universally say this (>99%), as do virtually all Masorti Jews (98%). Somewhat fewer Hilonim say this – however, 88% still say they are proud of this aspect of their identity.
Similarly, while Russian-speaking Jews are somewhat less likely than Hebrew- or Yiddish- speaking Jews to express pride in being Jewish, majorities among all three groups say they are proud to be Jewish.
Overwhelmingly, Israeli Jews have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. Fully 88% of Jews in Israel – including majorities in all four major religious subgroups – say they feel closely connected to the Jewish people.

Examples of Israeli Pride helping the world

War veterans suffering post-traumatic stress in the US; farmers in Senegal, India and China; young women in South Sudan; the wheelchair-bound in Africa; cardiac patients in Gaza and Iraq – all have received life-changing help and expertise from Israeli specialists.

Today we all know the story of Israel the startup nation. News of its technological prowess and incredible innovation has spread far and wide. But what many people don’t know is that Israel is exporting far more than just technology. It is also sharing its experience and skills in a whole range of humanitarian and environmental fields to help people everywhere live better, fuller and healthier lives.

Since Israel was founded in 1948, the country has set itself the goal of becoming a light unto the nations. In the early years of the state, despite austerity rationing, the Israeli government founded MASHAV, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Center for International Cooperation, as a vehicle to share Israel’s creative solutions with the rest of the developing world.

Israel remains true to that vision and every year, with little fanfare, and sometimes very little press attention, Israelis work long hours to find solutions and offer relief to some of the most pressing problems of our times.

From environmental breakthroughs that will help reduce greenhouse emissions, to technologies that can increase food production and save vital crops, to humanitarian aid missions in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters, Israelis are providing significant assistance.

Pew Research CenterPew_2016.03.08_Arabs-should-be-expelled-or-transferred-from-Israel

7-harsh-realities-crybully

Stop being a crybully about the Haredim having children and start caring about your wife and family of stead of getting the latest boy-toys.

How would you transfer a hostile Arab population? According to the Pew Research Center

Israeli Jews divided on the status of Arabs

Israeli Jews are divided on the question of whether Arabs should be allowed to live in the Jewish state. The survey asked Jews whether they strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that “Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.”








Ashkenazi, Mizrahi or Sephardi? Jewish ethnic identity in Israel

Israeli Jews are nearly evenly split between two Jewish ethnic identity groups – the Ashkenazim (45%) and the Sephardim or Mizrahim (48%). These two ethnic groups retain some distinct religious practices and cultural traditions associated with their ancestral roots. The chief rabbinate in Israel consists of two rabbis – one who is Ashkenazi and the other Sephardi.

The Ashkenazim (from the Hebrew term for Germany, Ashkenaz) trace their roots mainly to central and eastern Europe. (Indeed, a quarter of Israeli Ashkenazim say they speak primarily Russian at home.) Sephardim and Mizhrahim vary widely in their ancestral origin – from Spain’s Iberian Peninsula to the Middle East and Central Asia. Mizrahi (from Mizrah, meaning eastern in Hebrew) often is used interchangeably with Sephardi (or Sfaradit, meaning Spanish in Hebrew). Sephardim and Mizrahim have similar religious traditions and practices, distinct from those of the Ashkenazim. Sephardim typically trace their roots to ancestors who lived in Spain until they were expelled during the Spanish Inquisition. The Sephardim then migrated eastward and lived largely among the Mizrahim in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews are, on average, more religiously observant than their Ashkenazi counterparts. Fully two-thirds of Ashkenazim identify as secular (Hiloni) Jews, compared with about three-in-ten of Sephardim/Mizrahim (32%). A plurality of Sephardim/Mizrahim (42%) identify as Masortim.

Over the course of Israel’s modern history, the Sephardi/Mizrahi community has experienced problems with discrimination and marginalization.16 This survey finds, however, that a majority of Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews say there is not currently a lot of discrimination against Mizrahim in Israeli society (32% say there is a lot, 64% say there is not). However, it should be noted that Sephardim/Mizrahim are significantly more likely than Ashkenazim to say that Mizrahim face a lot of discrimination (32% vs. 9%).

Overall, the survey finds Ashkenazim in Israel are more likely than Sephardim/Mizrahim to give priority to their Israeli identity over their Jewish identity. Fully 42% of Ashkenazim say they are Israeli first and Jewish second, compared with 27% of Sephardim/Mizrahim who say this. While Ashkenazim are closely divided among those who say they are Israeli first and those who say they are Jewish first, among Sephardim/Mizrahim, the prevailing view is that they are Jewish first (53%).

Aliyah: Immigration to Israel

Aliyah, meaning ascent in Hebrew, is a term commonly used to describe Jewish immigration to Israel. From the late 1800s until 1939, there were five major waves of immigration to the land that would later become the State of Israel. These waves had distinct ethnic, socioeconomic and historical characteristics, from the largely Russian and Romanian wave that formed the first aliyah (1882-1903) to the fifth aliyah – also known as the German Aliyah – which took place in the period leading up to World War II (1929-1939).23 ). Immigrants to Israel prior to the establishment of the State of Israel were collectively known as the yishuv, or settlement. Although the naming of aliyah cohorts largely ended in 1939, the use of the word aliyah to describe Jewish immigration to the land of Israel continued.

There have been several points in Israel’s modern history when waves of immigrants arrived from particular countries or regions. For example, between 1949 and 1950, in what came to be known as kanfey nesharim, or Operation On Eagles’ Wings, the State of Israel airlifted nearly 50,000 Yemeni Jews to Israel. Similarly, the State of Israel conducted two airlifts in Ethiopia – Operation Moses in the mid-1980s and Operation Solomon in 1991. (The survey did not include enough interviews with either Yemeni Jews or Ethiopian Jews to analyze those groups separately.)

A large wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union began in 1989. In the early 1990s, nearly 800,000 immigrants arrived in Israel from the former Soviet Union (FSU).24 ). In this survey, about three-quarters of Jewish respondents from the former Soviet Union made aliyah between 1990 and 1999. An additional 15% of FSU Jews say they made aliyah from 2000 to 2014, while a similar share (12%) say they made aliyah prior to 1990. Most immigrants from the former Soviet Union (73%) say they continue to primarily speak Russian at home. For more information about immigration from the former Soviet Union, see this sidebar in chapter 5

Israeli Census DistrictsWho is included in the survey?

The survey includes interviews with citizens and residents living within the boundaries of Israel, as defined in the 2008 census conducted by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Jews were surveyed in all six census districts (Jerusalem, North, Haifa, Center, Tel Aviv and South) and in the West Bank.
Jewish residents of all areas categorized as “Judea and Samaria” (West Bank) by the Central Bureau of Statistics were eligible to be included in the sample. Some examples of West Bank communities where interviews were conducted include Beit Arye, Elkana, Ma’ale Adumim and Giv’at Ze’ev.

How religious groups are defined

The 2015 Pew Research Center survey of Israel includes interviews with 3,789 Jews, 871 Muslims, 468 Christians and 439 Druze. An additional 34 respondents belong to other religions or are religiously unaffiliated.
Respondents are analyzed as part of these religious groups based on their response to the following question: “What is your present religion, if any? Are you Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, another religion or no religion?”
All respondents classified as Muslims, Christians and Druze in this study identified themselves as such in response to the religious identity question. The vast majority of Jews (3,725) also said they are Jewish when asked about their religion. In addition, 64 respondents who identified as having “no religion” said, in response to a subsequent question, that they consider themselves Jewish aside from religion and had a Jewish upbringing (they were either raised Jewish in some way or had at least one Jewish parent). These respondents, who make up roughly 2% of the total Jewish sample, are classified as Jewish in this survey.
This approach parallels the methods used to define Jews in Pew Research Center’s 2013 survey of U.S. Jews, which included interviews with 3,475 Jewish respondents. But unlike in Israel, where the vast majority of Jews identified as Jewish by religion, in the U.S. survey roughly one-in-five Jews said they have no religion but that they consider themselves Jewish aside from religion and had a Jewish parent or upbringing.

The Mitzvah to Live in Eretz Yisrael

One should always live in the Land of Israel, even in a city where the majority are idol worshippers, and not in chutz la Aretz, even in a city where the majority are Jews. (Kesubos 110); also included in the Rambam (Hilchos Melachim Chapter 5)

Said the Holy One Blessed be He: A small group in the Land of Israel is dearer to Me than a full Sanhedrin outside the Land. (Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 86)

There are ten measures of Torah in the world. Nine are in Eretz Israel. and one in the rest of the world. (Esther Rabba)

Better is a dry piece of bread with tranquility in it than a house full of quarrelsome feasts (Mishle 17:1): Better is a dry piece of bread with tranquility in it: R. Yochanan said, “This refers to Eretz Israel, for even if a person eats (dry) bread and salt every day while dwelling in Eretz Israel, he is assured a portion in the World to Come…Than a house full of quarrelsome feasts: This refers to Chutz LaAretz, which is full of violence and robbery.” (Yalkut Shimoni 2:956)

Settling Eretz Israel is a Mitzvah that encompasses all the Torah, for all those who walk in it four Amot have a portion in the World to Come which is all life. (Or ha Chayim ha Kaddosh Devarim 30:20)

“It is preferable to dwell in the deserts of Eretz Israel than the palaces of Chutz LaAretz” (Bereshit Rabba 39:8).

 

Mr. Whiskers

What to do with Wigs
Mr. Whiskers: What’s this?
Mrs. Whiskers: Please take the trash out.
Mrs. Whiskers: Just some things I don’t need any more.
Mr. Whiskers:Eh… I’ll do it later.
Put your wigs in the Trash
Kichi:Oops.
Duke:The outside Cat’s need is greater then ours.
Other Cat:A New Look

Modesty for Women – Wig Vs Scarf

Modesty for Women – Wig Vs. Scarf

Rav Ovadia Yossef on Wigs / Sheitels (with English translation)

Tzniut Posters 012 Peah Nochrit (wigs)
This is Absolutely Forbidden!!!

There are more than 20 poskim who say that this is completely forbidden, it is absolutely forbidden to go out of the house into the public streets wearing a peah nochrit (wig). It is just as if you are going out with a completely uncovered head. Just like it is forbidden for a married woman to go out with her hair uncovered, it is equally forbidden for a married woman to go out with a wig on.
There was a great gaon, Rebbe Pinchas Horovitz, a world sized giant, Rebbe Pinchus Leibush Horovitz, he took his beit din with him and they took a Sefer Torah with them and they pronounced a cherem (a decree of excommunication) on any woman who would wear a peah nochrit (wig). Who can violate a cherem of a man as great as this?! He was a giant, a giant in Torah… To violate his cherem… Who would violate such a persons’ cherem? This is in addition to the fact that there were many Gaonim who have written explicitly that wigs are forbidden.

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Any Rav who is lenient regarding wigs will face judgement for it in the future!

The Gaon of Vilna writes in his sefer on the Mishnayot explicitly that wigs are forbidden.

The Gaon Yaabetz writes extensively in his sefer ‘Mor Uktziah’ and in his sefer ‘Tshuvot Yaabetz’ very explicitly that wigs are absolutely forbidden!

The Chatam Sofer writes, “After the Gaon Yaabetz has thusly said, it is certainly necessary to forbid wigs.”

The Maharif Chiyut in his sefer ‘Ish Chiyut’ writes in one of his teshuvot (halachic responsas), “It has already been forbidden by the greatest of the world and there is no room for leniency in this matter. Only the apikorsim (heretics), the minim and apikorsim are the ones who are lenient in this matter. Everyone else is very cautious in this matter.”

Rav Chaim MiSanz writes in his sefer ‘Shu”t Divrei Chaim’ as follows, “It is the actresses, wild and immodest women, they began with this practice. Many have learned from them, we have mixed with the goyim and learned from their ways.”
To my great sorrow, I have heard of many good girls who would prefer to wear a cloth head covering, and the boys, those learning in the Yeshivot are making conditions not to date them unless they commit to only wearing a wig after marriage. What Yeshiva students are these? These are ignoramuses, fools, wicked people! They are defaming the name of Hashem. People who ask for things like this learn in a yeshiva?! What Torah are they learning? They will have to face judgement for this in the future.
The author of the sefer ‘Atzei Arazim’ in Even Haezer writes,

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“I am certain that any Rav who is lenient in the matter of wigs will have to face judgement in the future!”

From the Jerusalem OU Center:  OU-ttidbits-1163-pg66-18Dec2015

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The Concept of Modesty

January 16, 2012 http://hazakweematz.blogspot.co.il/2012/01/concept-of-modesty.html

Modesty or tzniut is a very misunderstood concept in Judaism. It is not something that is necessarily defined by the clothes you wear, nor does it apply only to a woman, as we will soon explain G-d willing. When I looked up the actual word tzanua I found it to mean; decent, humble, modest and meek. I was thinking about it for some time, and it became clear to me that the whole concept of modesty only applies when you put G-d in the picture. That is, one has to be decent, humble, modest and meek in front of their Creator. Hashem then opened my eyes to find in Rebbe Nachman’s writings something which I believe will help us tie all the above together for a much better understanding of the concept of modesty. Following is a translation of Sichot HaRan #136:

Rebbe Natan writes: I heard a further discussion on the lesson appearing in Likkutei Moharan 172 on the verse, “The whole world is filled with His glory (Isaiah 6:3),” from one of my companions.

The main thing is to nullify every one of your negative personality traits. You must strive to do so until you have totally obliterated your ego, rendering it into absolute nothingness before G-d. Begin with one trait and annihilate it completely. Then work on your other traits, one at a time, until they are totally nonexistent. As you annihilate all the negative parts of your own personality, G-d’s glory will begin to shine through you and be revealed. It is written in Ezekiel 43:2, “And the Earth was alight with His glory.” G-d’s glory is like light.

The larger an object, the greater it’s shadow. A thin rod casts a very small shadow, while a more substantial object casts a larger shadow. A great building will cast an even larger shadow. As more light is obstructed, a greater shadow is cast. The same is true of G-d’s glory. The material obstructs the spiritual and casts a shadow. The denser the object, the deeper a shadow it will cast.

When you are bound to a negative emotion or desire, it obstructs G-d’s glory and casts a shadow. G-d’s light is then hidden from you. But as you nullify these emotions and desires, you also remove this shadow. And as the shadow departs, the light of G-d’s glory is revealed.

When a person is worthy of annihilating the shadow completely and making it into absolute nothingness, then G-d’s glory is revealed to all the earth. There is no obstructing shadow, and the light can shine through in all of its’ glory.

It is written, “The whole earth is filled with His glory.” ‘Filled’ is melo, which can also be read milo – from nothing. “From nothing is all the earth His glory.” When there is nothing – nothing casting a shadow and obstructing His light – then His glory is revealed in all the earth.

Now I think we can get back to our explanation of modesty. The real idea of being modest in front of Hashem lies in making yourself bitul nullified in front of Hashem. Then we can fulfil our mission and the true purpose of creation which is to reveal G-d to the whole world.

With that being said, let us now apply this new understanding to clothing and how we dress. If we are wearing our clothes in order to reveal, accentuate, draw attention to and display our bodies, than we are doing the exact opposite of what is necessary to allow G-d’s glory to shine through us. Instead of revealing Hashem through our dress, in this case we are using our clothing to in fact cast a bigger shadow which actually blocks out Hashem’s light.

It should also be clear to us now, that this concept applies equally to men and women. It is not anymore a question of how long or short your skirt is, how tight and stretchy it is, or how long and flowing that wig you are wearing is for women, and similarly for men, how tight and fitted your suit is, how pointy and shiny your shoes are, etc. Now we can look at modesty with a whole different approach; and that is, am I putting on my clothing to draw attention to myself, which takes away the attention from Hashem, or am I using my clothing to cover and conceal my body which will allow Hashem’s glory to fully shine through me. This should be the real question we ask ourselves every morning when we stand in front of the mirror and get dressed.

May we all merit being a fitting vessel to allow G-d’s light to shine through us, and may we be worthy of seeing the fulfilment of the prophecy that the whole world will be filled with G-d’s glory, Amen.

A Letter of Encouragement to Women by Rabbanit Leah Kook

July 17, 2012 http://hazakweematz.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/letter-of-encouragement-to-women-by.html

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Rabbanit Leah Kook Letter

 

To all my precious Rebbetzins and to all the good and kosher Daughters of Israel who are publicly sanctifying the name of Hashem. Our Father in Heaven is pleased with you, and the heavenly angels take pride in you. You resemble the Kohen Gadol who wore many beautiful and holy garments for the honor of Hashem. The Kohen atoned for the sins of Israel with his holy and pure garments, so too it is in our generation; women and precious girls who are wearing clothing for the honor of Hashem such as the shawl and respectable and holy head coverings are atoning for the generation. It’s worth it therefore to stay strong in spite of the bit of insult and mocking you may receive for the sake of our Father in Heaven and for the sake of our Holy Torah and for the sake of Tzniut (modesty)!

If you could only see what incredible pleasure you are bringing to the Creator of The World you would be as happy as Miriam the prophetess with her drums. Sara Shnirer who was the epitome of modesty and concealment, who was totally faithful and connected to her Father in Heaven, had stones thrown at her because of this. She was not upset; rather she turned to Hashem and said, “With these stones, I will build for Your honor the Beit Yaakov School.”

So it is the same with you, you holy and precious souls who are so beloved above. You are bringing joy to all the worlds with your modesty, head coverings, shawls, and extra coverings – done for the sake of Heaven with humility and happiness. With this we will build for our Father the righteous women’s gallery in the Heavenly Beit Hamikdash.

I love you all with all my soul and I pray for you all 24 hours a day. My feet are in Teveria, but my heart is in Yerushalayim the Holy City.

Your Tehillim are protecting all of Israel. Waiting every moment for the complete and final redemption, G-d willing.
Your sister, Leah Kook

Here are 2 sample videos, just search tichel, mitpachat, Tasmina

How to wear a Tichel/Mitpachat – Jewish Hair covering – Jewish Modesty

Pashmina Hair Wrapping How-To (tichel mitpachat)