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Aliya - Why so Tough?

Unfortunately, not every Westerner immigrant succeeds in adapting to a totally new life in Israel. Many of those who have made abortive Aliya attempts come back to the West and tell horror stories that scare away anyone other than the lion-hearted who long for Zion no matter what. Without delving into specific common complaints - which is not our focus in this article - we still must ask ourselves, "Why is Aliya so tough?"

The Gemara answers simply, "Three things come with difficulty - Torah, a place in the World to Come, and the Land of Israel." All three intrinsically require sweat, blood and tears. That's a good explanation for the brain, but the heart needs something more.

Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk (1730-1788) was one of the prominent disciples of Rebbe Dovber, the Maggid of Mezeritch. Rebbe Menachem Mendel, together with Rebbe Avraham Kalisker, spearheaded the "Chassidic Aliya" in the latter part of the 18th Century, when some 300 Chassidim from Russia and the Ukraine settled in Tzfat and in Tiberias. There challenges were indescribable, for they were forced to deal with poverty, hostile neighbors and disease. Yet, their faith was so strong that they held on.

Rebbe Menachem Mendel minced no words: once in Israel, he wrote a letter to his followers who still lived outside of Israel. Among other things, he wrote: "Be aware that many transformations and developments will occur with every person who comes to the Land until they are established there." He explains that Hashemwants a person to love the Land of Israel, so much so that he must refine himself to the following three levels:

1. He should be able to find even the stones and dust of Israel pleasing;

2. He should even cherish the ruins of Israel;

3. He should be satisfied with a modest sustenance in Israel.

In point 3, Rebbe Menachem Mendel is telling his followers that if they want to succeed in Israel, they must strengthen their emuna, since emuna essentially is being satisfied with one's lot in life.

A person who is looking to live an American or Western lifestyle in Israel won't be able to refine himself to the degree where he truly loves the Land of Israel. Since the Land of Israel is rich on spirituality but limited in material amenities, the westerner who desires to perpetuate his western lifestyle will most surely be unsatisfied.

In addition, says the Rebbe, the Land of Israel "is not for thin-skinned people...it takes many years until the days of absorption are over and the newcomers live an integrated life." So, Israel requires loads of patience. Those who seek the path of least resistance won't find it in Aliya.

Moreover, Rebbe Menachem Mendel adds, "Whoever approaches the holiness of the Land must begin life anew." The level of holiness in the Land of Israel is much higher than outside, and a soul that comes here is like a reborn soul, which must start from scratch in building emuna and spiritual strength. An old parable about life in the Holy Land says that one's behavior in the king's palace must be much more refined than behavior in the cowshed. Accordingly, the Rebbe explains that one's acquired character traits from abroad are not necessarily compatible for the Holy Land. A person must go through a process of spiritual refinement, to the extent that he might feel that his brain is torn and shattered and he has no place to rest. But, Hashem is doing all of this for the best, by helping the new immigrant to be spiritually worthy of the Land.

The inner holiness of the Land of Israel doesn't come cheap; we certainly don't acquire it for free.

Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman of saintly and martyred memory says that the Land of Israel is the best place in the world for a person who seeks to get close to Hashem, but the worst place in the world for one who doesn't observe the Torah.

Successful Aliya requires preparation, and the best preparation is prayer, the more the better. May we soon see a massive Aliya, redemption and the ingathering of all our exiles, soon and in our time, amen!

Culture Shock in Israel

Expat to Israel

Working and living in a foreign country can be overwhelming - even shocking. This phenomenon of 'culture shock' is somewhat inevitable for expats, and while there might be ways to decrease the unpleasantness of the experience, it is something that happens to everyone, everywhere, and to varying degrees. Most experts believe that culture shock is related to one’s preparation for the changes they will face (their prior experience and knowledge of them), as well as their perception of them 'in reality' (their open-mindedness, their interest in the foreign culture, and the judgements they make). The effects of culture shock are also influenced by one’s awareness of culture shock itself, and the process one might go through. There are four stages of culture shock that expats go through, including the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase.

1. Honeymoon

The honeymoon stage includes a phase of bliss and excitement from experiencing new people and places. As a new immigrant, I had traveled to Israel countless times before I moved here. But the sense of exhilaration was undeniable during the first few months. Everyday life was an adventure. Using public transportation was a mission for the day, and getting lost was the thrill. Israelis can seem a bit tough and distant, but they will drop everything to help if you are lost or have a question. If I met Israelis on the street and they learned that I was a new immigrant, conversations were always incredibly encouraging, and would always lead to how they can help with my transition. Meeting Israelis was also exciting. They were always happy to speak English, and never quick to judge my pathetic attempts at Hebrew. Conversations seemed more direct and free, without a code of behavior. Boundaries felt limitless and connections seemed solid, honest, and genuine. The food was incredible. Fresh fruit and vegetables were a delight, especially because a cucumber tasted like a cucumber (rather than rubber), and the variety of fruit is endless. The dairy is phenomenal, especially the cottage cheese. The fresh Mediterranean diet was extraordinary. Culturally, the combination of so many different cultures and religions living amongst each other is incredible. I could hear 10 different languages on the streets of Tel Aviv in a day. And in Jerusalem, I could see a fully covered Muslim women standing next to a Jewish women, buying the same groceries at the market. It was amazing to witness.

2. Irritation to Anger

After a few months of bliss, I started to study Hebrew and look for a job. And then it hit me - “the irritation-to-anger stage.” Instead of viewing Israelis as nice and warm people, I found them aggressive and rude. Things seemed inefficient, unlike my well-organised and effective American way of life. I took the train every morning, which I used to think as an adventure and relaxing. But then I became annoyed and frustrated, feeling as if Israelis were worse than New Yorkers on the subway. People rushed to steal the only available seat, while I watched in rage and had to stand for the duration of the train. The train was no longer exciting, it was annoying! I was learning Hebrew, but I was realising how little I actually knew. The demands and expectations for me to be able to explain myself and understand Hebrew were increasing. So, I began to avoid situations where I needed Hebrew. I would make my husband answer the phone or go to the store. I didn’t want to be in big groups, where only Hebrew was being spoken. I am not normally the quiet one, but I became a good listener and observer (I actually became an expert on pretending to understand a conversation, when actually not understanding a thing!). I became annoyed and avoided situations where I needed to use Hebrew.

3. Rejection

After a few months of growing frustration, loneliness, and anxiousness, the rejection stage of culture shock began. I became incredibly frustrated and quite bitter. I no longer waited patiently for others to board the train and find their seats; I was throwing elbows and pushing people in order to get a seat. Why should they sit and I shouldn’t? Driving in Israel is also an experience. It can be a bit dangerous if you are not accustomed to it. I found it exciting when I first began driving here, as it was unbelievable and surprising how people drove. However, after six months of dealing with Israelis on the road, I had had enough. Using one's indicator is the law; however, it won’t get you anywhere. Most people won’t let you in and many people drive as if there is no one else on the road. It was shocking to see Israelis on the road, and eventually just appalling. And if the driving attitude wasn’t enough, the endless traffic can put you over the edge. What should be a 15-minute drive can sometimes take over an hour. My negative attitude about Israel didn’t stop with the traffic and train problems. I found the food boring and limited. I found the people imposing and aggressive. One day, I was in the supermarket with my sister and her new baby. A woman came to us and gave us some advice about how to care for the baby. A few months before, I would have regarded this action as incredibly thoughtful and warm. However, at this point, I judged her as obnoxious and pushy, and I asked my sister sarcastically, 'Did we ask for advice?' I found myself no longer trying to avoid situations, but rather, looking for situations to judge Israelis' differences, and to defend my own culture and habits.

4. Adjustment

And then FINALLY, I reached the adjustment phase. This phase is actually about understanding and embracing the new culture. It is about adapting from one’s previous lifestyle to one’s new culture. For me, this phase occurred only when I grew aware of my actual experience; when I could identify my withdrawal and my anger, and could choose to deal with it accordingly. I decided I could get incredibly angry and become a jerk on the road, or I could take a breath, drive carefully, and get home when I get home. I could be thankful when there was a seat on the train and be patient when there was not. I could identify aggression and avoid that behavior, and appreciate others’ sincerity and concern. Most of all, I grew to understand the bottom line: things are different - for better or for worse! The process of culture shock is dynamic and ongoing. What I struggled with upon arrival will reappear. And my coping mechanisms will change as I change. A few suggestions on how to deal with culture shock: Educate yourself on the culture - read, watch movies, talk to people Focus on what is controllable - focus on yourself! We can’t change the whole world, but we can change our own behaviour and attitude Pick your battles - some situations are less significant than they seem. Focus your energy on what is significant! Ask for help - ask other expats who have been in your situation Keep in touch with family and friends abroad - balance your 'worlds', as they are both important Remember that all changes are learning experiences. Nothing is permanent and everything changes. Below is a list of other notable differences in Israeli culture. Of course, this list is consists of generalisations and is only provided as an attempt to lessen the 'shock' of culture shock. Cultures are innately different, but being aware of these differences may help the shock of the experience, and make it a more enjoyable and exciting challenge. More relationship-oriented rather than rule-oriented (openness and bluntness is priority). In a business environment and depending on the company, rules can be somewhat ambiguous and less structured Compared to other cultures, Israeli’s manner of speech and interpersonal relations are less formal; Israel is much less hierarchical than other cultures (easier access to top leadership) Expression of opinions is highly valued - Israelis can be more assertive and spontaneous about their point-of-views and opinions, and this can be considered 'pushy'. Conflict avoidance is less popular among Israelis; they tend to confront differences, in order to resolve them using direct communication styles.  

Food Shopping in Israel - new! with pictures

Whenever I have questions about how to translate it, where to buy it or how to prepare it, I find the people in my circle of olim incredibly helpful. 

When I asked fellow olim to share their tips for food shopping in Israel, I was overwhelmed with hundreds of Facebook messages and emails. I went to work, culling the duplications, deleting the personal opinions (unless they were mine) and dividing the responses into information about specific food items and miscellaneous tips about food shopping in general. This took many, many hours more than I intended, but there's some really quality (and money-saving) information here.There is nothing about this post that pretends to be scientific or comprehensive. It's information that a very giving group of olim thought to share. I did my best to organize it. In some cases, Hebrew names are transliterated and in some case they are spelled in Hebrew letters. It depends on how I received the information.

My deep thanks to the members of the anglo olim community who responded so generously.
And now, here are some things we have learned along the way that might make things easier for you, whether you've yet to make aliyah or have already been living here for some time. Naturally, I take full responsibility for any errors.

SPECIFIC FOOD ITEMS

Apple sauce: Canned resek tapuchim is not actually apple sauce.  It has pits and skin. It can be used for baking.
Baking powder: Avkat afiya (אבקת אפיה) is baking powder, but it often says it in English as well.
Some advise importing baking powder. Sold in little packets, usually 10 per cellophane wrapper. One packet is about one scant Tbs.
Baking soda: Soda leshtiya (drinking soda) is baking soda.  It comes in little blue boxes next to the vanilla sugar. You can also find baking soda in decent-sized plastic containers (clear plastic, like the spice jars). It is sometimes labeled as Sodium Bicarbonate in English.
Bananas: It took me awhile to get used to Israeli bananas. They are slightly different. Although bananas are generally available year round, summer bananas often go from green to overripe without an edible stage in between. Winter bananas are much better. Also, Israeli bananas may look more brown and bruised than you're used to on the outside and still be perfect inside.
Bread:     There is great bread in Israel, but it's not always possible to find an exact duplicate for what you are used to.       There are a couple of brands of packaged, lower calorie breads that are widely available. There is no such thing as white bread in Israel. The closest is called לחם אחיד,  a government subsidized light rye. ·        There is also a government subsidized challah. It's very plain and very inexpensive. ·        Real Jewish rye bread is almost impossible to find unless you go to a special boutique like bakery such as Teller in Machane Yehudah (the shuk) in Jerusalem.
Bread crumbs: Come in cellophane bags, not cardboard canisters.
Broccoli: I had to forget all about the 10 oz boxes of chopped broccoli that were a staple in my American kitchen. I buy the 800 gram bags from the freezer case and I learned to slice the florets into smaller pieces for quiches and soups. I tried kitchen shears but a sharp knife on mostly defrosted florets works best. I've seen the price range by brand from 13 NIS to 40 NIS for the same amount of frozen broccoli. Bodek brand is available here but it's the highest priced.

 
Brussel sprouts: Frozen only. Imported. Not widely available.
Buttermilk: Rivion is the closest substitute, but you can often substitute with gil or leben. Or use milk and a bit of lemon juice.
Chicken:   ·         It's often cheaper fresh than frozen. ·         If you buy frozen, check the date it was frozen. ·         Whole chickens cut in quarters or eighths are not sold here. ·         Buy a decent pair of chicken shears and learn to cut up whole chickens. ·         White meat is often cheaper than dark. ·         There is a difference between chicken wings for cholent and normal ones.
Cooking cream: ·         Called shemenet l'vishul. ·         Comes in 250 ml and 500 ml cardboard boxes like juice boxes. ·         Comes in 23%, 15%, and 10%.  ·         There is also a pareve version, though that's harder to find. ·         Half and half doesn't exist here. If you want coffee cream buy 10% cooking cream.


Cornmeal/Cornflour/Cornstarch - "Cornflor" can be either cornmeal (sometimes called kemach tiras and sold in the same section of the store as beans) or cornstarch (sold in the baking aisle).
Cheese: ·         Lots of people mentioned that it was scary to use to cheese counter but so worth it. ·         Sliced and grated cheese are significantly cheaper when purchased from the cheese counters. ·         The cheese counter is also likely to have types of cheese that you won't find in packages - like cheddar and feta. ·         If it's not crowded at the cheese counter or the cheese stand in Machane Yehudah (the shuk), you can ask to taste different cheeses. ·         You can ask at the cheese counter to slice your cheese thin. ·         Tnuva makes cheddar but it's very very mild. Ask for something "charif yoter" (sharper). ·         Many supermarket deli counters have pre-sliced packages of popular cheeses, such as Gilboa and Emek. This obviates the need to wait in line and is the same cheese that you have sliced to order at the counter. There are also pre-packaged grated cheeses, such as mozzarella and parmesan. ·         If you go to the cheese counter and ask for a mix you get shredded scraps of whatever's left over at the time. ·        Gvina levana (white cheese) is like soft cream cheese, with a little less tang. ·         Hermon is like a salty farmers cheese or a way less salty feta. ·         Baby belle cheeses in the red wrappers are not kosher in the US but are kosher here. ·         The cheese market in Machane Yehudah (the shuk) in Jerusalem has amazing white cheddar cheese from England that is OU. ·         Israel has lots of other cheeses that you can't get kosher in the US. ·         Tiv Tam cheese can most closely be described as pressed cottage cheese, but it's actually strained gvina levana. It is also used as a substitute for Philadelphia cream cheese in cheesecake. It comes in a block wrapped in plastic see through wrap. It spoils quickly so buy it close to use.
Cream Cheese: ·         Philadelphia is occasionally found here, but it's expensive. ·         Gvinat shamenet which is the cream cheese sold in the rectangular containers has a softer consistency. There is one in a black and white speckled tub that looks like a cow pattern and spreads like light cream cheese from the US. ·         The one most like whipped cream cheese here is Napoleon brand (gold & white container)  gvina shamenet b'signon Tzarfati and comes in cups in a few varieties. The one with the yellow daisy is plain. ·         Some people make their own cream cheese.  Take a cheese cloth and hang Israeli 5% cream cheese over night and in the morning you will get the cream cheese you are used to. ·         Another way to make your own cream cheese: add 1/8 teaspoon salt to shamenet and let it strain. You are left with whipped cream cheese. ·         Some use Israeli gvina levana instead of American-style cream cheese for cheesecake
Crembo: A marshmallow, cookie and chocolate confection that's ubiquitous in the winter and nowhere to be found in the summer. Comes in mocha and vanilla, in 8 and 40-packs.


Dairy products: Like milk in the US, many dairy products in Israel come in different fat percentages. This is true for sour cream, hard cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt and, of course, milk.
Deli: ·         Pastrama is not pastrami. It's turkey breast in different incarnations. ·         Try כתף בקר as an affordable beef cold cut. ·         Pastrama cafrit is close to American turkey bologna.
Eggs: ·         There are two dates stamped on eggs. The earlier one is the freshness date if the eggs are unrefrigerated.  The second is the freshness date when they are kept cold. ·         Egg shells are not, ahem... pristine here. Washing them introduces bacteria into the egg. They are, however, generally much fresher. You'll get used to it.
Egg noodles: Called itriot beitzim
Fish: A great chart by fellow oleh Marc Gottlieb on the different kinds of fish available in Israel.
Flour: ·         White, whole wheat and 70% whole wheat are widely available. ·         Flour is sold by the kilo to avoid infestation. ·         Pre sifted is very expensive. Consider buying an electric sifter. ·         I have found the texture of the flour somewhat different, requiring that I add a bit more flour to some recipes.
Grains: Grains should not be bought in a corner store, but rather in one with a large turnover. When buying grains in cellophane, lift up one corner and check for webs, an indication of infestation.
Hawaij:  a Yemenite spice blend to give soups soup/cholent/stew a rich flavor.
Herbs:  Some herbs, including parsley (petrozilia), dill (shamir) and celantro or coriander (cuzbara) are highly perishable.  Cut them up and put them in small plastic bags and freeze. Use as needed.
Hot dogs:  Israeli hot dogs are generally chicken. Beef hot dogs are harder to find. Chofetz Chaim (a Jerusalem butcher that might be worth getting to know) sells beef hot dogs that are the closest to tasting like an American hot dog and they cost the same as the Israeli beef hot dogs. Also try the Tirat Zvi brand beef naknik americai which come in a package of six.
Ketchup: Israeli ketchup is sweeter. Heinz is widely available. We buy cheap Israeli ketchup for cooking and Heinz for french fries and burgers.
Lasagna: Comes in boxes about half the height of a 1-pound box. Dry lasagna is completely flat (no ruffled edges) and is both wider and thinner than lasagna in the US.

Leben: The pink and orange Yotvata brand leben tastes just like yogurt, is one-third the price and has natural colors  from carrots and beets.
Lemon syrup: Try Prigat brand lemon syrup to make lemonade and sweetened iced tea.
Margarine: One stick of American margarine/butter is 100 grams (half an Israeli stick).
Blue Bond stick margarines are widely available and come in yellow wrapper (unsalted), blue (salted), red (butter flavored). Yellow is best for baking.


Meat: Meat cuts in Israel take awhile to master. Here's Marc Gottlieb's great chart of the meatcuts you'll find in Israel. You can get basar chamim (chulent meat) already cut into chunks. Check that meat is kashered--sometimes it's sold without soaking/salting. Ground meat is often mixed with soy. Osher Ad and Rami Levy Mehadrin, both in Givat Shaul, have great selections of the OU Kashrut Israel line called "It's Fleisch" frozen meats with the names we are familiar with, such as brisket, corn beef, etc.
Milk: Skim milk is hard to find. Generally, you can find 1% (red) and 3% (blue). Whole milk is basically 3%. These are the opposite colors from the US.  Sometimes 1.5% is available. Milk comes in liter cartons and plastic bags. The bags are 1 liter, which is basically 4 cups. Milk in plastic bags is price-controlled and should cost the same anywhere. It is also cheaper in bags than in cartons.There are clear produce bags near the tubs of milk bags. I have found that the produce bags begin to tear if you put more than 2-3 bags of milk in them. ·         Milk doesn't have vitamin D added unless you buy Yotvata or Tnuva brand 3% milks.
Milk drinks: are milk with water and other flavors added
Oats:  Plain oats are found next to the sugar free stuff, or granola bars, health food, but never with flours, cereals, or grains. Instant oats can be found in almost any supermarket, but the price is around twice that of in the Machane Yehuda shuk, where you can also buy coarse oats. This is called Qvaker (from Quaker Oats.) There is Qvaker Dak-instant oats and Qvaker Ave-the coarse oats. You can also find these at a health food store.
Onions: Yellow (though they are called batzal lavan) and sometimes red onions are available. Raw onions are very strong here and peeling them is a challenge. I have never seen Vadalia onions in Israel.
Paprika: Paprika is sold with and without oil and hot and sweet. Hot paprika is not a bad substitute for cayenne pepper.

Parsnip:  Occasionally available in winter in limited markets.
Pastry: ·         Sufganiyot in Israel are not the same as American style donuts. ·         Herby Dan, Mr. Donut and Brooklyn Bake Shop have American style donuts. ·         Brooklyn Bake Shop has awesome black & white cookies (and a black & white cake) as well.
Pastry Dough/Pie Crust
It is possible to find prepared graham cracker crusts in Israel. If you use them, stock up when you see them because they are hit or miss. Some stores that cater to American olim sell pareve Oronoque prepared pie crusts, but they are very expensive. A great alternative is the widely available puff pastry dough . Comes in a sweet variety (called batzaik sh'marim - metukim in the green wrapper below) and a plain (batzaik alim). There are several brands. I have never been able to distinguish a flavor difference, so I just buy whichever is cheapest. They go on sale often.
Pickles: come in brine or in vinegar. Brine is most familiar to Americans.

Potatoes: Thin-skinned red and white potatoes are widely available. I hardly ever peel potatoes anymore. If a grocery store sells potatoes in a mesh bag, it's perfectly acceptable to open the mesh and take only the size and quantity of potatoes you need. I have seen fresh new potatoes (small) in the gourmet produce section. They are expensive. Since canned potatoes are hard to find here, I just use sliced fresh potatoes in my brisket. No russet/Idaho potatoes here.

Poultry: Marc Gottlieb's poultry chart.

Pizza sauce: יחין makes great lasagna and pizza sauce and they are very affordable. They come in tubs like the tomato paste.


Rubbing alcohol: comes in a tiny bottle and looks exactly like nail polish remover (acetone).
Salsa Rosa - a combination of sour cream and tomato sauce. Very common pasta sauce in restaurants.
Shamenet: Generally refers to sour cream (shamenet chamutza). But the word also refers to cooking cream (shamenet l'vishul), cream cheese (gvinat shamenet) and whipping cream (shamenet lhaktzafa which is 38%).
Silan:  Date syrup that makes a great substitute for honey or molasses.
Soup mix: Available in 1 Kg bags as well as the more familiar plastic tubs. Chicken soup mixes are available pareve and meat. Osem makes both without MSG. 


Sour cream: Called shamenet. Comes in 4-pack of small plastic tubs (200 ml each) or in 1/2 liter containers. Sour cream is a perfect substitute for ricotta in baked pasta dishes such as lasagna. Spices: Spices are often located close to the meat counter and not the baking aisle Here's Marc Gottlieb's chart of the names of spices in English, Hebrew and transliterated Hebrew: Here's Jacob Richman's spice chart.
Strawberries: Strawberry season in Israel is winter.
Sugar:  Sugar (white and brown) is a bit coarser than Americans are used to. White sugar comes in paper or 1 Kg clear plastic tubs. A kilo in a paper bag is much cheaper so I buy in paper and refill the plastic tubs. I reuse the tubs to store bread crumbs, rice and other grains. Brown sugar comes in the same 1 Kg clear plastic tubs. Both dark and light brown sugar are available. Dark and light brown sugar can sometimes be found in large plastic bags. Light brown sugar is called demerara sugar. Confectioner's (icing) sugar (אבקת סוכר) comes in small packets. One packet is 3/4 c.


Sweet red pepper: Gamba
Swiss chard: the mehadrin packages of what is called alei selek is actually swiss chard.
Techina: buy plain techina paste, add water, lemon, olive oil, garlic and spices for techina. Add water and honey for halava spread.
Tomato paste: Comes in cans and small red plastic tubs, generally two or four together. There are codes on tomato paste that refer to the thickness of the paste. Tomato paste concentration is measured in BX (pronounced 'bricks'). The higher numbers are more concentrated (less water). Tomato paste is typically sold in 22⁰BX or 28⁰BX. 22⁰BX is less concentrated than 28⁰BX. Some say 22⁰BX is tomato sauce.

Vanilla: Imitation vanilla is widely available. Real vanilla is very expensive. If you're a baker, you might want to import real vanilla or learn to make from vanilla bean and vodka.
Vanilla sugar: This is sugar made with vanilla beans or mixed with vanilla extract. Comes in small packets. One packet is a scant Tbs.
Vinegar: White vinegar here is synthetic. Natural vinegar here is light brown but tastes exactly like natural white vinegar from the states.
Yeast: Yeast comes in many different forms. Fresh yeast comes in 4 ounce cubes or in granulated form in packaged from the company Shmirit. Dry yeast is sold in the baking department, generally in 500 gram vacuum sealed foil packages.

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS
American products: Some stores in neighborhoods that cater to American immigrants carry a lot of imports that are not otherwise generally available.
Cartis Moadon: This is a store loyalty card. It's usually the first thing a cashier will ask you in any grocery store. "Cartis moadon?"
Cleaning the kumkum: If you use your kumkum (electric kettle) for a long time you will get calcium deposits inside.  Put in a few tablespoons of lemon salt (melah limon), boil the water and leave over night. In the morning, rinse it out and it will be all clean with no scrubbing.
Cooking from scratch: You will likely do much more cooking from scratch since many prepared/convenience foods are not available in Israel. It's often healthier, and definitely cheaper.
Grocery stores: All grocery stores offer delivery service in Israel, but stores in charedi areas in cities will often automatically offer delivery, without you needing to ask. Supersol (Shufersol) is a very good store brand and their products are worth trying. It's a different culture. In Israel, people will leave a half-empty cart on line, holding their place, while they finish their shopping. This annoys some people. You have to visit a fair number of stores to understand the lay of the land in terms of what is available. Many interesting items can be found in health food stores such as Eden Teva Market in Ramot. Prices are not the same in every branch of a store chain.
Kitniyot at Pesach: Oy! This is a whole separate discussion. Suffice it to say if you don't eat kitniyot on Pesach, you're going to need to take a knowledgeable friend to the store with you when you shop for Pesach. And you're going to need to learn the words, lo chashash kitniyot which means there is no suspicion of kitniyot and you can buy it and l'ochlei kitniyot, which means it's kosher for Passover for those who eat kitniyot. Stores in certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem, in Modi'in Illit and other cities that specifically cater to American and/or Ashkenazim will have more options than in most of Israel where the majority are kitniyot-eating Sefardim.
Learn metrics.
Make friends with your grocer. He can teach you tips about how things are used in Israel with which you are unfamiliar -- and you can get a Hebrew lesson in the bargain.
Packaging: Many more things are packaged in cellophane than in cardboard (e.g. bread crumbs, pasta, etc.)



Produce: Eating seasonal is a new concept. You can't always get what you want when you want it. On the other hand, it's always a joy when new fruits come into season. ·         On Sunday evenings, the fruits and vegetables at the Jerusalem shuk are cheaper than usual. ·         The internet is a great resource for learning how to use ingredients with which you are not familiar (e.g. kohlrabi, dragon fruit, etc.).
Quantities: Packages are generally much smaller in Israel. Perhaps that's due to the fact that people have less room to store things and there are no warehouse clubs here. ·         The one consistent exception is toilet paper which seems to come only in large quantities. ·         Certain common spices come in very large containers.  If you are buying something that sells in packages of 1 liter or 2 - check the price. People assume that per liter, the 1 liter will be more expensive. Amazingly enough - a lot of times, it is cheaper to buy two or three ONE liter bottles than to buy the two or three liter bottle.
Receipts: Look at your receipts after finishing grocery shopping. Sometimes you are entitled to free gifts that you can claim from the kupa rashit (service desk).
Sales: Sale price signs on grocery store shelves generally list the last four numbers of the UPC code for the products that are actually included in the sale price. CHECK THE CODE. Do not assume the merchandise above/below the sign is actually connected to the sale. Look at the sign. See if it says mogbal l' - restricted to x number of items- that means, you can buy only that number for the sale price; after that, it will be priced at full price.  When something is on sale "2 for..." or "3 for..." etc., you only get the discount if you buy that number of units.  

1+2: This means, buy two, get one free, NOT, buy one, get two free as I once thought when buying pasta. Remember, Hebrew reads right to left :-) Stores in Israel periodically run brand sales where everything from a particular brand is on sale - typically 20-25% off.

Translations: A GREAT tool in the grocery store is a smart phone and a translator app so you can translate words on packaging.
I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted now. Comments, corrections, clarifications are most welcome.

Dare to Dream/Dare to Build

 
 

Eve of Redemption Signs Our Sages Gave Us

Here's an article from the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe's magazine, Feb. 1943 (הקריאה והקדושה), roughly translated from Yiddish. I post it on this blog to serve as a preamble to a subsequent post wherein I'll maintain, to my utter dismay, that the gangster regime now in power, the ruler of Edom, will again triumph in the next presidential election. I will refer back to this article to remind readers what this Jewish leader of his generation forewarned his flock. I have this premonition of imminent disaster I feel compelled to share with you, later. [The highlighting is mine.]
Our sages, who foresaw that this last diaspora, called "Edom", would endure nearly two millennia, also foresaw that, as it winds down to its terminating stage, Torah will have become enfeebled among a majority of Jews, and this would therefore bring back the age-old national Jewish scourge - the FALSE PROPHETS. These false prophets would then lead Torah-empty Jews through all 49 degrees of impurity, unfortunately.
The end-stage period would then necessarily have to be a horribly bitter one. It would spell outright danger wherein multitudes of Jews will undergo waves of spiritual suicide, even conversion, G-d forbid.
Accordingly, the sages decided to foretell the signs that will usher in and constitute the Messianic era's birth pangs - in order to save at least a remnant of those being swept away; And also so that some Jews, here and there, will be able to console their distressed brethren by disclosing to them these very signs, just as this periodical has been doing for a year and a half now. We've been telling you we are in the eve of the Messianic era; That we've been foretold the tragedies that will unfold; And that we can attenuate these problems, or entirely prevent them from occurring - by tearing you away from the modern false prophets, so you return to the warm fold of Torah, back to the ways our forefathers practised.
Our sages knew saving the entire Jewish nation would be very difficult because the false prophets will not loosen their grip. On the contrary, they will exert their strongest, spiritual pogrom ever against the Jewish nation, until the very last moment when, as our sages tell us, they themselves will finally perish during physical pogroms against the Jews.
The sages took as their task to rescue the innocent victims of the false prophets, those who might even question or doubt one of two things; Either the false prophets, or, the Torah and its true prophets. It was for the benefit of these 50-50 Jews or 50-50 believers for whom the sages foretold us the many signs by which to recognize the eve of the Redemptive Era.
The many signs serve each person as however he will understand them. In truth, however, all the signs really boil down to but a single sign - for they all point to this one point, that "And against all the gods of Egypt will I avenge myself, for I am G-d" (Ex. 12, 12). And why so? In order to finally and totally discredit the false prophets, so the Jewish masses strip away their allegiance to them and from the various idols of Egypt the false prophets would have them worship.
The modern idols our false prophets energetically promoted, and succeeded in convincing a huge Jewish populace to follow them, are well known: Political Freedom, Economic Certainty, and Godless Zionism. These are the 3 primary false idols. These extend to other such "isms", like Bolshevism, Bundism, Yiddishism, and dozens others.
The signs of the Era of Redemption our sages depict start out as follows: "The son of David will not come until …" such and such happens. These signs portend the utter destruction of the above 3 "isms", for which the false prophets should be dishonored.
Our sages tell us that after the known, bloody wars, the entire world will be ruled by the kingdom of Edom, the one Ovadiah the Prophet refers to as "You are greatly despised" (Ov. 1, 2). This means many nations will be ruled over by unabashed tyrants and oppressors who will put an end to all hope for Political Freedom, Economic Certainty or whatever other culture!
"Moshiach will not come," our sages say, "until the following signs will manifest":
1) "All cheap dominion will disappear" from Jewish notion. This means to say, until all new systems of rule most Jews place their hope in, will reveal themselves as being cheap and worthless, as was evident with Bolshevism in Russia, and other such unavailing systems. 2) "Mankind will lose hope in any redemptive process." Note the exact words of the sages; They did not say, "Until the Jews", but rather all "mankind" will lose their faith in any redemptive process. 3) "All judges or police (protectors of Jews) pass into oblivion." 4) "All conceit passes from among Jews", because all will become poor and enslaved.
The 4 above signs indicate that the false prophecy of Political Freedom will be shattered. Not only Jews but the other nations too will be robbed of freedom. No longer will hope be held out for redemption, or for returning to previous times.
"Moshiach will not come," continue our sages, "until ...":
5) "The last penny of savings will disappear." 6) "When they seek a sliver of herring for an invalid but can't find one". We can thus imagine what smidgen of better foods healthy people will be able to find, who command less mercy than sick people.
From the latter 2 signs we easily note how the idol of Economic Certainty will also be shattered. And our sages offer several more signs that will convince everyone that the idol of Culture will also lie in a shambles.
They say, "Moshiach will not come until,"
7) "All governments in the world are under the control of G-d-deniers." 8) "The number of students will diminish." 9) "Every event will have several interpretations". This implies strong censorship; When nobody knows the truth, and everyone has a different version of what happened. 10) "All souls will leave their bodies", which could mean all mankind will be obsessed with hunger, when their only concern will be to to hold on to dear life, where, like animals, no thought is given to nourish the soul with spirituality.
Under a reign of avowed G-d-deniers who will abolish education for the masses, except for a privileged segment, entire populations will slave for the state, eking out enough only to survive. With a press akin to that of Nazi Minister of Propaganda Goebbels, the idol of Culture will obviously be smashed, just like its two other "idol friends", Political Freedom and Economic Certainty.
All these 10 signs of impending redemption our sages show us actually constitute one sole general sign regarding G-d's claim, "And against all the gods of Egypt will I avenge myself", where these signs merely indicate the many ways one can be poked in the eye, in that generation.

To College Grads: It's A Different Economy

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

College Grads: It's a Different Economy

The economy has changed in structural ways; preparing for the old economy is a sure path to disappointment.

Millions of young people will be graduating from college over the next four years, and unfortunately, they will be entering an economy that has changed in structural ways for the worse. It's easy to blame politics or the Baby Boomers (that's like shooting fish in a barrel), but the dynamics are deeper than policy or one generation's foolish belief in endless good times and rising housing prices.

1. Getting a college degree, even in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects, no longer guarantees a job. As I have often noted, producing more graduates does not magically create jobs. The economy can only support a certain number of jobs in any one field. Producing 10 times as many graduates in that field does not create 10 times more jobs.

According to this analysis of supply, employment, and wage trends in information technology (IT) and other high-tech fields, Guestworkers in the high-skill U.S. labor market (via B.C.), only half of those graduating with STEM degrees get jobs in STEM fields.

Interestingly, 36% of IT workers do not hold a college degree, and only 24% of IT workers have a four-year college degree. As one would expect in a nation with a strong tradition of immigration, many "guest workers" (i.e. people seeking citizenship via working in the U.S.) also have degrees in the STEM fields.

This report Where are the STEM jobs? (via B.C.) predicts 8.65 million STEM jobs in the U.S. by 2018, which is a mere 6% of the current workforce of 142 million.

2. Those millions of Baby Boomers clinging to their jobs can't afford to retire, partly as a result of Federal Reserve bubble-blowing and zero-interest rates. Now that cash earns nothing, having a $300,000 nestegg of lifetime savings generates only enough interest income to pay a few bills. In the days before the Fed manipulated the economy to serve the interests of the banking cartel and the state, such a sum would earn roughly $15,000 a year at 5%.

Those days are gone, thanks entirely to the Fed, which is blowing new asset bubbles and engaging in unprecedented financial repression, distorting the entire economy in self-reinforcing negative ways.

It's easy to blame Boomers for buying into the fantasy of ever-rising real estate, but it's not a generational issue; plenty of Gen-Xers also drank the "housing never goes down" Kool-Aid. The issue is: who inflated the bubbles with lax oversight, easy money and low interest rates? The Fed and the U.S. government's housing and financial oversight agencies.

3. Many of those Boomers clinging to jobs are doing so to support you. Yes, it's a fine irony, isn't it? If you got a decent full-time job, Mom and Dad could stop sending you money for rent, gas, etc. But since millions of Boomers have to keep their jobs to be able to support their unemployed offspring, there are fewer openings than there would be if Boomer Mom and Dad could quit and retire.

4. We now have a bifurcated economy: we have what's left of the open-market economy and we have the cartel-state economy of various rentier arrangements. A rentier arrangement is one in which the input costs can keep rising due to political power/protection while the output declines.

Our economy is now dominated by rentier arrangements. This is one of the core reasons it is stagnating, the other being a parasitic, corrupt financial sector that depends on phantom collateral and accounting trickery for its survival.

Rentier arrangements include the financial sector (hated by the public but politically sacrosanct), the National Security State (you can never have enough people spying on the world, including Americans), healthcare (costs triple while the availability of care and the health of the populace decline) and education (college tuition rises 600% when adjusted for inflation but a third of the graduates learned essentially nothing).

Protected from the discipline of the market, these quasi-monopolies vacuum up an ever-increasing share of the national income while their output/yield declines. Where $200 million bought four top-line fighter aircraft a decade ago, now it buys one; we have reached the point where we can't afford our own fighter aircraft. And many in the military conclude the $200 million-each F-35 Lightning (by some estimates of full program costs, $300 million each) is an underpowered, bug-ridden dog, less capable than competitors and the aircraft it replaces at four time the cost, the F-18 E/F Super Hornet.

For decades, those entering the rentier cartels were assured of lifetime security. Get a job in healthcare or education or the defense/national security sectors, and you had it made. But these bloated rentier arrangements are bankrupting the nation.

Lacking any limit on their cost inputs, these sectors have expanded at rates far exceeding the growth rate of the economy that supports them. Healthcare once absorbed roughly 5% of the economy; now it is consuming 18% and is on track to consume 20%. Healthcare alone will bankrupt the Federal government and the economy.

As a result, employment in the rentier arrangements will be less secure going forward. Right now, the Federal government can borrow $1 trillion every year because the Fed has manipulated interest rates to zero. At some point, rates will rise (for one reason or another) and the "free money" will become costly. That will eventually limit the state's ability to fund its favored cartels and rentier arrangements with borrowed money.

5. The private-sector economy is bifurcated as well. The sprawling global corporations can draw upon talent from around the world, so competition for those big-bucks corporate jobs is fierce. Small business, under pressure from higher taxes, global competition and skyrocketing healthcare costs, cannot afford to hire anyone who can't generate a net profit for the company on day one--if they hire anyone at all.

Mentoring, on-the-job training, all of that good stuff--everybody wants somebody else to have given you that. They want you productive on day one.

6. The older generations will have to adjust to demographic and financial realities. That the promises made for Social Security and Medicare cannot be kept is "obvious," but so politically dangerous that we cannot discuss this truth openly. As I have maintained for years (Boomers, Prepare to Fall on Your Swords June 2005), the Baby Boomers will have to let go of the impossible promises made to them by an expansive Savior State. If they refuse to do so voluntarily, then the younger generations will have to insist via political means.

Or we can passively do nothing and watch the whole entitlement system implode. That works, too, but it's messier than just dealing with demographic and financial realities.

7. There are two sets of laws now: one for the Elites and the state, and one for the rest of us. If you wonder why small business growth has shriveled, look no further than the over-regulated, legalistic thicket that awaits anyone starting or operating a business. It no longer makes sense to have employees; contract workers or arrangements between sole proprietors is the only way left to do business for most of us.

The rule of law has been undermined by corruption, political favoritism, and mindless regulation. That systemic failure leads to stagnation and cynicism.

8. We are a free-lance nation. Many people bemoan this, as they want everyone to have the security to be unproductive and never be fired. But that's the problem with the entire rentier cartel-state economy: cartels are skimming operations that are immune to market discipline or any limits on their cost structure. Incompetence has no cost in cartels, and neither does inefficiency.

These bloated fiefdoms and cartels keep growing while the economy stagnates, increasing their share of the national income at the expense of the rest of the economy (and there is an opportunity cost to this malinvestment--what else could we have done with these trillions squandered on rentier arrangements?). The cartel-state economy will collapse under its own weight.

There are opportunities, but they require a deep understanding of risk and security. A livelihood with day-to-day low-level insecurity and volatility is actually far more stable and secure than the cartel-state one that claims to be guaranteed.

The burdens of Fed manipulation and the cartel-state rentier arrangements will come home to roost between 2015-2017. Those who are willing to seek livelihoods in the non-cartel economy will likely have more security and satisfaction than those who believed that joining a rentier arrangement was a secure career.

There is a price to joining a parasitic rentier arrangement, a loss of integrity, agency and independence. Complicity in an unsustainable neofeudal society has a cost.

8 College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment

College: Is it Worth It?

What's more expensive than going to college? Until recently, the answer was easy: not going to college. Numerous studies over the years have shown that individuals with college degrees significantly out-earn those with high school degrees by $1 million or more over the course of a lifetime.

But as the cost of education increases faster than inflation and the economy remains relatively weak, people are beginning to question how they spend their education dollars. As student loans hit the $1 trillion mark and more and more graduates are faced with years of paying staggering monthly payments, many are starting to ask themselves, "Is it worth it?"

While there's no doubt that a college degree increases earning power and broadens opportunities, today's high cost of education means it makes sense to more carefully consider which degree you earn. When it comes to return on investment (ROI), not all degrees are considered equal. This article exposes eight college degrees with poor ROI.

Methodology

To calculate ROI for a specific degree, we first determined the overall cost of the degree. We allowed the degree holder four years to graduate. Using data from a recent College Board study, we assigned a figure of $37,343 as an average cost of a four-year public liberal arts degree, and a figure of $121,930 for degrees earned at four-year private colleges. The total cost included tuition, room and board, and books, and did not factor in scholarships or grants. We then determined the median cash compensation over the course of 30 years of typical jobs requiring that degree using Salary.com data. We used current Salary.com figures, but added 4.3% per year to account for inflation and cost of living increases. To determine ROI, we subtracted the cost of the degree from the gains over 30 years, then divided that figure by cost.

8. Sociology

People who enter the field of sociology generally are interested in helping their fellow man. Unfortunately, that kind of benevolence doesn't usually translate to wealth. Here are three jobs commonly held by sociology majors (click on job title and/or salary for more info):

SOCIAL WORKER

Median Salary: $47,121

30-Year Earnings: $2,779,195

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 73%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 21%

CORRECTIONS OFFICER

Median Salary: $39,630

30-Year Earnings: $2,337,376

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 61%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 18%

CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY COUNSELOR

Median Salary: $47,210

30-Year Earnings: $2,784,444

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 73%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 21%

7. Fine Arts

Artists are respected, revered and celebrated. The trick is achieving that status while they're still alive. After all, the term "starving artist" didn't come from nowhere. Here are three jobs commonly held by workers with a fine arts degree:

MUSEUM RESEARCH WORKER

Median Salary: $48,401

30-Year Earnings: $2,854,689

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 75%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 22%

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Median Salary: $47,753

30-Year Earnings: $2,816,470

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 74%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 22%

PAINTER/ILLUSTRATOR

Median Salary: $37,819

30-Year Earnings: $2,230,563

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 58%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 17%

6. Education

Ah teaching. One of the noblest professions. And while it stands to reason we'd pay great sums to the chosen few who shape the minds of future generations, it doesn't quite work out that way. Here are three commonly held jobs in education:

DAYCARE CENTER TEACHER

Median Salary: $27,910

30-Year Earnings: $1,646,131

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 43%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 13%

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER

Median Salary: $52,241

30-Year Earnings: $3,081,172

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 82%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 24%

HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER

Median Salary: $54,473

30-Year Earnings: $3,212,815

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 85%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 25%

5. Religious Studies/Theology

Talk about finding your calling. While devoting your life to the church and dedicating your life to the service of others is laudable, it's not going to leave you with a lot of profit after you earn your degree. Here are three commonly held jobs theological jobs:

RELIGIOUS EDUCATOR

Median Salary: $47,957

30-Year Earnings: $2,828,502

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 75%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 22%

CHAPLAIN -- HEALTHCARE

Median Salary: $51,127

30-Year Earnings: $3,015,174

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 80%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 24%

ASSOCIATE PASTOR

Median Salary: $61,811

30-Year Earnings: $3,645,610

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 96%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 29%

4. Hospitality/Tourism

You're the wizard behind the curtain. The one who's working like a dog to make it all happen while everyone else is enjoying the fruits of your labor. Unfortunately, there isn't always a lot of financial benefit after earning your degree. Here are three commonly held hospitality jobs:

MEETING/EVENT PLANNER

Median Salary: $55,476

30-Year Earnings: $3,271,972

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 87%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 26%

HOTEL RESIDENT MANAGER

Median Salary: $65,076

30-Year Earnings: $3,838,180

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 102%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 30%

CATERING MANAGER

Median Salary: $42,533

30-Year Earnings: $2,508,595

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 66%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 20%

3. Nutrition

It's hard work making sure everyone else eats right, preparing nutritious meals and/or checking to make sure the nation's food supply is up to snuff. But all that hard work and education necessary to land this job might not turn a huge profit.

DIETICIAN

Median Salary: $53,679

30-Year Earnings: $3,165,985

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 84%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 25%

FOOD SERVICES MANAGER

Median Salary: $56,711

30-Year Earnings: $3,344,813

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 89%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 27%

FOOD SCIENTIST

Median Salary: $64,019

30-Year Earnings: $3,775,838

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 100%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 30%

2. Psychology

We're starting to notice an unfortunate trend regarding doing work for others with minimal pay. Maybe you can get inside the head of someone influential and find out why workers in this field don't get paid more for these jobs:

HUMAN SERVICES WORKER

Median Salary: $22,738

30-Year Earnings: $1,341,086

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 35%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 10%

CAREER COUNSELOR - HIGHER EDUCATION

Median Salary: $43,384

30-Year Earnings: $2,558,787

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 68%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 20%

BEREAVEMENT COORDINATOR

Median Salary: $52,200

30-Year Earnings: $3,078,754

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 81%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 24%

1. Communications

You'd think the ink-stained newsrooms and TV studios are full of wealthy and famous journalists. Not quite. Although these skills require lots of education and training, they buried the lead regarding the lack of payoff. Check these communications jobs out:

COPYWRITER

Median Salary: $52,549

30-Year Earnings: $3,099,338

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 82%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 24%

NEWS REPORTER

Median Salary: $37,393

30-Year Earnings: $2,205,438

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 58%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 17%

MARKETING COORDINATOR

Median Salary: $50,455

30-Year Earnings: $2,975,834

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 79%

ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 23%

Be Prepared

We know money isn't everything. A lot of people do these jobs and have great and fulfilling careers. But as the cost of education increases, it's important to know if you'll get your money’s worth and see a postive ROI. Good luck.

Earn More Money No Matter Your Major

It doesn't matter whether you major in philosophy or physical education, you want to make as much money as possible. Luckily, Salary.com can help. The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.

If you can leave the United States, I would suggest you GET OUT NOW

By John Galt – March 29, 2010 Posted in: Economics
by John Galt March 29, 2010 While I was out playing happy camper in the Everglades and checking on my ‘local’ BOL, some news snuck through the system but thankfully good old Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge.com has the scoop: It’s Official – America Now Enforces Capital Controls This is not something I say lightly after reviewing this information and reinforcing...

by John Galt
March 29, 2010

While I was out playing happy camper in the Everglades and checking on my ‘local’ BOL, some news snuck through the system but thankfully good old Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge.com has the scoop:
It’s Official – America Now Enforces Capital Controls

This is not something I say lightly after reviewing this information and reinforcing the commentary from the Rangel rule which restricted and penalized voluntary emigration and/or renunciation of one’s citizenship from the United States.

If you can, even if it means a 75% loss of your fortunes, get out now.

If you have a universal skill set (Programmer, trader, medical skills, security skills, etc.) and can relocate with little resources, get out now.

If you have real estate holdings in certain nations (not Canada or Mexico) get out now.

The precursor to most major shifts within western civilization have always been the restrictions placed on the flow of capital. Without going off into woo-woo land on you, all I can say is that this is a warning shot that something major is about to occur which further restricts the freedoms of the citizens of this once great nation. When I did my radio show, I warned that this one event, a key moment or marker in any nation’s history was something to be taken deadly seriously. In my opinion it means that a currency realignment or change or outright revocation of rights taken for granted was certain with a 90 day, maybe if we’re lucky, 180 day window.

One more time:

If you can escape, do it now.

Good luck to all and God Bless.


Messages from Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi TOMER DEVORAH

Our esteemed rabbinical overseerer, Rav Yehuda, has requested that I translate and post the two most recent messages from Rav Nir Ben Artzi who has a reputation as one who speaks from something close to Ruach HaKodesh.

I'm not much of a translator, but it will at least make more sense than the online translators do. My profoundest apologies to the Rav, if I have misinterpreted or misrepresented his words in any way.

26 Shevat 5771

MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL IN THE LAND AND ACROSS THE WORLD,

from the mouth of HaRav Nir Ben Artzi, shlita on Parshat Mishpatim 5771

The King of all kings, HKB”H is announcing to the whole world, to the Holy Land and to the Jews, that they are the essence of the whole world and without the Jews – the world would have no existence. HKB”H is operating in all fields of endeavor, through the forces of nature, through computers, to create conflict between countries and within them.

Every country in this world is entangled. There will be revolution leading to the trash can [of history]. They will all fall into a trap. All the evil and the hatred, the jealousy, the murder, the fraud, the lies, the lust, the cravings and the abominations - everything will fall into the garbage and will be blotted out. HKB”H is creating a new, pure, holy, clean and spiritual world. This is the end of Tikun Olam.

Am Yisrael will rule over the whole world. The economy in the Land will [only continue to progress.] Eretz Yisrael will develop without end. All the countries of the world will make war upon Yerushalayim although only in order to destroy and overturn her… Because from there is the source of holiness and purity, the power and the light that energizes Eretz Yisrael and the whole world. This power operates against evil and against people who do not fulfill the ten commandments.

All the countries will make war with each other and will destroy each other. The country of Israel will develop and expand and will receive with abundance and open arms all the Jews from the world. Part understands and part even understands that the period of Jewish residence outside the Land of Israel (in impure lands) is to be ended. Because the Jew has a holy soul which needs to live in Holy Eretz Yisrael.

Dear Jews around the world, a Jew shouldn't take lightly, shouldn't play around with the Master of the World who is giving to you hints and you turn a page, or don’t do a spiritual accounting and continue on as usual like nothing is happening. Our Father in Heaven is a Father of mercy which extends only to a point and a little more and it’s reaching its end. Don’t play around with HKB”H. He comes to the Jews of the world with much love and great mercy. He’s doing everything so you will understand. Don’t miss these hints. It’s preferable now, with great honor, later it will be in great humiliation. If only you will be successful in arriving to Eretz Yisrael.

The Master of the World is collapsing the world’s economy. He’s collapsing Russia, Europe, America, every place. Because Jews live there. So that the Jews will come to Eretz Yisrael and to renew the world so that it will be a world of truth, integrity, peace and brotherhood. The floods will hurt every country outside of Holy Eretz Yisrael.

Volcanoes, earthquakes, severe storm winds will hurt every country outside of the Holy Eretz Yisrael. The Creator of the World is raising a standard – every week it’s higher and this won’t cease until the world’s repair is finished.

The rabbis in Eretz Yisrael – unite and unify everyone. Come together and be united even if Jews in the world are not being hurt, because you are the shield and the messengers of the Creator of the World to the People of Israel. Rabbis and heads of communities in the Diaspora, come urgently to prepare a base, to put down roots in holy ground, so it won't be too late.

Everyone who comes to Yerushalayim and wants to freeze her or to destroy Yerushalayim, this is relevant to the People of Israel, he will be hurt directly. Yerushalayim is the dear son of HKB"H.

Jews in Eretz Yisrael – every lie will be revealed. Everything will be revealed. It won't take years, but a much shorter time. Lie reveals lie, all the evil things that were done and are being done to you. Bribery, fraud, lust, greed, everything will be revealed.

Do teshuva, repair your character traits, confess to the Creator of the World. Hashem will help you. Jews, HKB"H is doing everything in order to build the People of Israel anew, clean and pure. And build the third Temple and reveal the King Messiah at every moment in our days.


HARAV NIR BEN ARTZI WARNS: "JEWS, COME UP URGENTLY TO YISRAEL"
'There is an expectation of a missile offensive from Lebanon and an earthquake in Israel," warns HaRav Nir Ben Artzi, who foresaw the revolution in Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt. He spoke on Radio Kol Chai with Mordechai Lavi. What are the messages of HaRav Ben-Artzi to the People of Israel, and what is forecast to occur the world over, the unexpected ups and downs? Listen to the strong words:


…"This is the time of the redemption of the People of Israel, the whole world is going to collapse," says HaRav Nir Ben Artzi. He pointed to the latest events in the world – floods and revolutions in the Arab countries. After Egypt and Tunisia, also Syria is expected to undergo a makeover, according to HaRav Ben Artzi.

And regarding the economy? "It will continue to collapse. In America as well as in Europe."

To the Jews, calls HaRav Ben Artzi, "Come up urgently to Eretz Yisrael. There will be an airlift to Eretz Yisrael. It's already begun and will increase from day to day. The Creator of the World desires that the People of Israel will come together and be as one."

MISSILES FROM LEBANON, REVOLUTION IN YEMIN
On the Iranian threat, says HaRav Ben Artzi: "There will be an operation to blow up what there is in Iran, and then Lebanon and Syria will operate together with [Hamas in] Aza. There will be operational cooperation among the four of them. HKB"H will not allow them [to succeed.]

The Americans, says HaRav Ben Artzi, will give permission to blow up the core in Iran at a certain stage.

From underground in Israel will arise tremendous treasures. "There will be revealed here a great treasure of oil," he predicted. "The world is going to change, the evil world will collapse, the whole world is insane, outside of the Land of Israel which is protected and guarded."

In his words, these are signs that HKB"H is giving to the world and we need to pay attention to them. "The severe winds will continue, mud in every place. In Yemin, Sudan and Morocco, complications. What is in Tunis will continue to be in every place."

During the special interview, HaRav Nir Ben Artzi also describes an expected military offensive from Lebanon. "They will fire isolated missiles from Lebanon that will cause a disturbance only in order to strengthen the People of Israel. The missiles will go in the direction of the sea."

I RECEIVED A GIFT FROM HASHEM
Also an earthquake is expected to befall Israel. "It will result in shaking, only in order that we will understand that HKB"H gives us good fortune. With Hashem, there is no difference between a Jew who is religious and one who is not."

About the powers that he was endowed with, says HaRav Nir Ben Artzi: "It's a gift from Hashem and I use it only for the good of the People of Israel. It’s impossible to explain."

On the divisions among the people: "All that there is, it will all be good. After there are disagreements and arguments – everything will work out. The People of Israel need to understand that there will always be these disturbances."

HaRav Ben Artzi was asked about the IDF conversion storm and he refused to address the issue. "There are Gedolei Torah who are working on this. Hashem will help them to go in the correct and good way."


Posted by Devash at 12:39 PM 5 comments


MESSAGE TO AM YISRAEL FOR PARSHAT SHEMOT

The whole world is in chaos. HKB”H is working at every level and in all directions in order to dismantle wickedness in the world, in order to take apart the material world, the old world and to build a new world. Today, everyone understands that there is Someone running the world. Not an understanding with intelligence, but with the heart and with the soul. A person feels that his soul indicates this to him. A Jew who fulfills the ten commandments is able to feel in the body, in the heart, in the spirit, in the brain and in the soul, the workings of HKB”H.

The Master of the World is using all the spirits of Heaven, the dry land, the sea, the wind and the fire. At this moment, there is snow in Europe and in other places there are strong and difficult winds and earthquakes or fires and Jew-hatred.

All this is happening and getting stronger from day to day and after that, from hour to hour and from minute to minute, until the great day of the revelation of Melech HaMashiach. All of the Jews in the whole world understand these hints. That the economy is coming apart and being destroyed in America and in Europe and in other places in the world and this will continue and will not stop. Everyone understands the hints. The Jews of the world are in fear and great anxiety. They don’t know where to go or where to come, they don’t know what the day will birth.

HKB”H is shaking the ground under their feet, shaking the Jews loose from the material and the money, shaking from many different directions, hatred is set to overpower them. Everything in order to return them to the Holy Land of Israel. The world is in chaos and the Land of Israel, the holy and pure land, is the most protected land, eternally, the place in which will be the best economy, eternally, the place which gives vitality and nourishment to the whole world, eternally.

Soon, a great aliya of Jews from throughout the world will be felt and publicized. Band after band, until the whole chain of Jews in the whole world will come up to the Land of Israel in a very short time. The King of all kings, HKB”H, promises to all the new immigrants and returning Jews to the Land of Israel, come and live in the Land of Israel, here will be the place where I will settle you and defend you, in purity and in holiness. From here – whoever desires can work in the whole world.

HKB”H promises abundant parnasa to every Jew. The Shechina has left the exile, the Shechina is no longer outside the Land of Israel. There is no longer success there. The blessing is in the Land of Israel. HKB”H has done all this. The destruction of the old, evil world, the building of a new world and preparing the world for the great day, the revelation of Mashiach ben David, in our days.

MESSAGE TO AM YISRAEL FOR PARSHAT VA'ERA

The King of all kings, HKB”H, is gathering up the whole world to hurl it into chaos, anxiety and panic. In every place in the world there is anxiety and panic, not knowing where to go or where to come or what the day will give birth to.

HKB”H is striking every place where there is arrogance, because this is the root of Divine punishment---arrogance. HKB”H is using hard and strong winds, using the sea, the water, the rains and floods. He’s using fire, whether it’s heat, fires or explosives, as a weapon to strike people. He’s using the earth, that ever since the Mabul the earth is in trauma and waits for the moment, the great day when the whole world will be holy and pure---earthquakes. And everything, in order to rock the world in order to shake it up, to unite, consolidate and unify all the Jews in the world, that they are Jews, to come to the Holy Land of Israel, the defended and the guarded.

HKB”H grounded the trains, the buses, the planes and ships in every place in the world. This will go on and increase in strength and suddenness, without the knowledge of the stargazers. It will be a surprise and will be known that this is not the work of man, this is directly from HKB”H.

The Master of the World is speaking with every Jew, from the simplest Jew who has no Torah and mitzvot to the holiest and purest Jew. HKB”H is speaking with everyone, commenting to everyone, not giving up on anyone.

The gentile infiltrators coming to the Land of Israel, not for nothing are they here. What is there for them to do in a little country like this? HKB”H has brought them here in order to wake up and shake up Am Yisrael, that they be united and unified and return in complete repentance.

The economy in America, Russia, Europe and other countries is going to crash. Every Jew that will live in the Land of Israel consistently, if he desires to work outside the land—he will have blessing and success---but only on condition that he will live in the land and goes out only on short trips and returns to the Land of Israel.

The Shechinah has left the rest of the world and is located in the Holy Land of Israel. She completed her task in the exile. Therefore, the world is in chaos, in panic and difficult anxiety. There is no one to protect the Jews outside the Land of Israel. They have no defense. HKB”H wants to unite all the Jews, that they are Jews that belong in the Holy Land of Israel.

This is not a temporary thing. It will go on and get stronger, week after week, day after day, hour after hour, until it arrives to a situation of every minute, hard things are happening in the world, until the great day of Melech HaMashiach’s revelation arrives.

The rabbis---it’s upon them to unite and unify, Ashkenazim, Sefardim and Chareidim. To go out and to rescue Am Yisrael and the Jews all over the world. This is their task and you are obligated to him. To unify and unite, to make shalom bayit among Am Yisrael, to be united and to be one heart---everyone.

This is the time, this is the hour and these are the hints to all the rabbis in the land. Noach was the one who erred. Moshe Rabeinu did not err. Mashiach is on the way to be revealed in our days.


Posted by Devash

RFID chips and Privacy

ScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2008) — A research article published in the current issue of the International Journal of Intellectual Property Management suggests that Big Brother could be opening a privacy and security Pandora's Box if human rights, particularly regarding data protection are not addressed in the design of new RFID applications.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips can be found tagging everything from groceries and clothing to the experimental swipe-free credit cards used to pay for those goods. In library cards, warehouse inventories, and under-skin pet tags. They are also used for prisoner and parole tags, in hospital patient wristbands, and in smart passports.

According to Eleni Kosta and Jos Dumortier of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, the benefits of RFID technology in innovation are beyond question. However, the threats posed to personal privacy should be taken into account at the design phase of the applications. Their increasingly widespread deployment means individuals do not necessarily know when, how and what kind of information about them is being transmitted at any given time from an RFID in a passport, in their shopping bags, or even when they visit the library.

RFID tags are powerful devices for use in a wide array of applications: stock inventory, logistics, security finance, buildings, and across international borders. However, they provide a seemingly innocuous medium for the collection and transmission of personal data, as well as the ability to track the movements of people.

The European Union has already recognized some of the concerns being raised. A recent European Commission report, "Communication on RFID" emphasized that privacy and security should be built into RFID information systems before their widespread deployment. Moreover,

European legislation on data protection applies to RFID technology when it entails the processing of personal data, Kosta and Dumortier point out. However, it is not always clear whether or not information stored on or transmitted via an RFID tag is personal data.

"In order to achieve a common approach towards RFID technology at the

European level, a unified interpretation of what is perceived as personal data is necessary," the team explains. "When information about an individual, such as name, age and nationality, is directly stored in an RFID tag, it is beyond doubt that it qualifies as personal data."

However, there are many instances when the information seemingly cannot be directly linked to an individual, but by linking the RFID tag number to a back-end database can be correlated with a credit card payment, for instance, and so provide indirect identification of the individual. "In this case, even if the data seem anonymous at first sight, the processing falls under the scope of application of the Data Protection

Directive, as the data can be easily linked to the credit card data", the team explains. Even vaguer are the cases when the information on the RFID tag cannot be linked to an actual person, or at least significant effort is needed for a link to be made.

The team counter the argument that honest citizens have nothing to fear from RFID. "A surveillance society where RFID tags reveal personal information and enable the tracking and tracing of the individuals, shall be contested, as every law-abiding citizen should be free from any kind of monitoring," they say.

An immigrant family shops at the local Supermarket.

Did you know that your bank, credit card company, insurance company, brokerage, and other companies you do business with can legally sell the personal information they collect from you to telemarketers, direct mailers, retailers, and others? Is it okay with you if these companies sell your social security number, credit card spending habits, account balances, or monthly income information to companies that want to use the information to target the people who are most likely to purchase their products or services?

The privacy notices you've no doubt been receiving in the mail from financial institutions you do business with probably ended up in your trash can, a move that you may come to regret unless you act quickly. These notices were NOT junk mail. Federal law now requires companies that collect personal information about you to give you the option to refuse to allow them to sell your personal information. But if you don't "opt-out" by responding to the notices or contacting these companies directly, your personal information can be sold to anybody willing to pay the price.

In some cases, those willing to pay the price have been criminals who illegally used the information to run scams where millions of dollars of bogus charges were charged to credit cards.

Your right to opt-out is limited, due to flaws in the law that do not protect consumers, but it is still worthwhile to opt-out. It's also worthwhile to write to your Congressional representatives to let them know that you expect them to pass legislation that will better protect the privacy of consumers.

If you're among the millions of Americans that tossed these privacy notices in the trash, you can still protect your personal financial information by contacting each of the financial institutions you do business with and instructing them NOT to disclose information about you to non-affiliated companies. Privacy Rights Now offers a sample form letter on their site that you can use or adapt.

When you open new accounts at financial institutions, or when a financial institution you do business with changes its privacy policies, you'll receive privacy notices in the mail. To protect your privacy, follow the instructions in the notices (you may have to complete a form or call a toll-free number).

In 2011 The Baby Boomers Start To Turn 65: 16 Statistics About The Coming Retirement Crisis That Will Drop Your Jaw

Do you hear that rumble in the distance? That is the Baby Boomers - they are getting ready to retire. On January 1st, 2011 the very first Baby Boomers turn 65. Millions upon millions of them are rushing towards retirement age and they have been promised that the rest of us are going to take care of them. Only there is a huge problem. We don't have the money. It simply isn't there. But the millions of Baby Boomers getting ready to retire are counting on that money to be there. This all comes at a really bad time for a federal government that is already flat broke and for a national economy that is already teetering on the brink of disaster.

So just who are the Baby Boomers? Well, they are the most famous generation in American history. The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Baby Boomers as those born between January 1st, 1946 and December 31st, 1964. You see, after U.S. troops returned from World War II, they quickly settled down and everyone started having lots and lots of babies. This gigantic generations has transformed America as they have passed through every stage of life. Now they are getting ready to retire.

If you add 65 years to January 1st, 1946 you get January 1st, 2011.

The moment when the first Baby Boomers reach retirement age has arrived.

The day of reckoning that so many have talked about for so many years is here.

Today, America's elderly are living longer and the cost of health care is rising dramatically. Those two factors are going to make it incredibly expensive to take care of all of these retiring Baby Boomers.

Meanwhile, the sad truth is that the vast majority of Baby Boomers have not adequately saved for retirement. For many of them, their home equity was destroyed by the recent financial crisis. For others, their 401ks were devastated when the stock market tanked.

Meanwhile, company pension plans across America are woefully underfunded. Many state and local government pension programs are absolute disasters. The federal government has already begun to pay out more in Social Security benefits than they are taking in, and the years ahead look downright apocalyptic for the Social Security program.

If we are not careful all of these Baby Boomers are going to push us into national bankruptcy. We simply cannot afford all of the promises that we have made to them. The following are 16 statistics about the coming retirement crisis that will drop your jaw.....

#1 Beginning January 1st, 2011 every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.

#2 According to one recent survey, 36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything at all to retirement savings.

#3 Most Baby Boomers do not have a traditional pension plan because they have been going out of style over the past 30 years. Just consider the following quote from Time Magazine: The traditional pension plan is disappearing. In 1980, some 39 percent of private-sector workers had a pension that guaranteed a steady payout during retirement. Today that number stands closer to 15 percent, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, D.C.

#4 Over 30 percent of U.S. investors currently in their sixties have more than 80 percent of their 401k invested in equities. So what happens if the stock market crashes again?

#5 35% of Americans already over the age of 65 rely almost entirely on Social Security payments alone.

#6 According to another recent survey, 24% of U.S. workers admit that they have postponed their planned retirement age at least once during the past year.

#7 Approximately 3 out of 4 Americans start claiming Social Security benefits the moment they are eligible at age 62. Most are doing this out of necessity. However, by claiming Social Security early they get locked in at a much lower amount than if they would have waited.

#8 Pension consultant Girard Miller recently told California's Little Hoover Commission that state and local government bodies in the state of California have $325 billion in combined unfunded pension liabilities. When you break that down, it comes to $22,000 for every single working adult in California.

#9 According to a recent report from Stanford University, California's three biggest pension funds are as much as $500 billion short of meeting future retiree benefit obligations.

#10 It has been reported that the $33.7 billion Illinois Teachers Retirement System is 61% underfunded and is on the verge of complete collapse.

#11 Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua D. Rauh of Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management recently calculated the combined pension liability for all 50 U.S. states. What they found was that the 50 states are collectively facing $5.17 trillion in pension obligations, but they only have $1.94 trillion set aside in state pension funds. That is a difference of 3.2 trillion dollars. So where in the world is all of that extra money going to come from? Most of the states are already completely broke and on the verge of bankruptcy.

#12 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes in 2010. That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016. Sadly, in the years ahead these "Social Security deficits" are scheduled to become absolutely horrific as hordes of Baby Boomers start to retire.

#13 In 1950, each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers. In 2010, each retiree's Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 U.S. workers. By 2025, it is projected that there will be approximately two U.S. workers for each retiree. How in the world can the system possibly continue to function properly with numbers like that?

#14 According to a recent U.S. government report, soaring interest costs on the U.S. national debt plus rapidly escalating spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will absorb approximately 92 cents of every single dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019. That is before a single dollar is spent on anything else.

#15 After analyzing Congressional Budget Office data, Boston University economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff concluded that the U.S. government is facing a "fiscal gap" of $202 trillion dollars. A big chunk of that is made up of future obligations to Social Security and Medicare recipients.

#16 According to a recent AARP survey of Baby Boomers, 40 percent of them plan to work "until they drop".

Companies all over America have been dropping their pension plans in anticipation of the time when the Baby Boomers would retire. 401k programs were supposed to be part of the answer, but if the stock market crashes again, it is absolutely going to devastate the Baby Boomers.

State and local governments are scrambling to find ways to pay out all the benefits that they have been promising. Many state and local governments will be forced into some very hard choices by the hordes of Baby Boomers that will now be retiring.

Of course whenever a big financial crisis comes along these days everyone looks to the federal government to fix the problem. But the truth is that after fixing crisis after crisis the federal government is flat broke.

At our current pace, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

But our politicians just keep spending money. In order to pay the Baby Boomers what they are owed the federal government may indeed go into even more debt and have the Federal Reserve print up a bunch more money.

So in the end, Baby Boomers may get most of what they are owed. Of course it may be with radically devalued dollars. Already we are watching those on fixed incomes being devastated by the rising cost of food, gas, heat and health care.

What is going to happen one day when prices have risen so much that the checks that our seniors are getting are not enough to heat their homes?

What are we going to do when those on fixed incomes are buying dog food because it is all that they can afford?

We are rapidly reaching a tipping point. As the first Baby Boomers retire the system is going to do okay. But as millions start pouring into the system it is going to start breaking down.

No, there is not much that we can do about it now. We should have been planning for all of this all along. Americans should have been saving for retirement and governments should have been setting money aside.

But it didn't happen.

Now we pay the price