Monday, August 07, 2006

Focus on Eretz Yisrael

All of our hearts and minds are focused on Eretz Yisrael at this time--lebeinu b'mizrach, v'aanu besof hamaariv! It is quite possible that a ceasefire will be forced on Israel before it gets a chance to complete the job, to destroy and/or humble Hizbollah. I have heard talk that Israel may be forced to give up Har Dov/Shaba Farms( see links below). I hope that this will not happen.

I would like to write a bit on some ideas, usual and innovative, that people have been doing in terms of helping--t'zedokah v'chessed-- and what may also still be done. Feel free to add your ideas as well.

Chesed Organizations

I linked a few chesed and humanitarian organizations, at the bottom. There are many advertisements in the various Jewish newspapers that list organizations which do good work. Like any Tzedaka, one should ascertain that the organization is a worthy one. Feel free to add any links and/or names and information of your favorite organizations in the comment section.

Virtual Tourism

The economy in the Galil and Golan relies on tourism. Most of the hotels in these areas are completely empty. Hotels and restaurants provide employment, and have a ripple effect on the whole economy. The Presidents Conference is organizing an innovative "Virtual Israel" program where one can reserve vouchers for many hotels, which will be good for up to a year, in order to jumpstart the economy, and keep these hotels in business. The program is supposed to be up and running in the next day or so.

http://www.conferenceofpresidents.org/

http://www.hofesh-latzafon.co.il/english.asp

Educational Networks

Educational networks such as Migdal Ohr, Shuvu, Chinuch Atzmai, have schools throughout the country, and are providing summer programs for children which they service in the North. They will also need to think about the coming school year in September. I began this list, but it is incomplete! Please add any additional links regarding articles or links of educational networks or services which you have familiarity with, and which service this area of the country, to make this list comprehensive(Chabad, Mizrachi et. al.).

http://www.migdalohr.org/news_North-SC_01-Initiates.html

http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/article/760/

Visiting

New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind took a group of people, from various walks of life, on a Chizuk mission last week. The group delivered helmets and vests to Zaka, and visited Haifa and other cities in the North.

I listened on the Motzoei Shabbos "Dov Hikind Show" to an interview with one mission participant. Originally not aware of the mission, he was even willing to deliver pizza for "Pizza IDF", as long as he could give chizuk in some manner to soldiers! He then found out about this trip, and left his law practice to participate.

People have, unfortunately, cancelled reservations, even to Yerushalayim. However, I have heard that Israelis in regions of the country other than the North are going about their normal business. If someone can afford to travel to Israel at this time, this is certainly a wonderful thing to do.

IDF Uniforms: Physical and Spiritual

Some time ago, I read in the Jewish Press about someone who had been raising funds for bullet-proof vests for combat soldiers(approximately $1,000 a piece). This individual, a reservist, couldn't bear the fact that he had the necessary protective gear, while others didn't have it. He therefore set out to raise money for this purpose. I read this a while ago, and have no information on this. I imagine, however, that the army tries to gives out protective gear to those who need it most.

I, myself, witnessed a very interesting and inspiring incident this Tisha B'aav. I spent the Taanis at the "Tisha B'aav Program" at Ateres Chinka hall in Flatbush. Every year, over a thousand people come to hear lectures which are given throughout the day by various Rabbonim.

Between the speeches, a Rabbi from Matisdorf made an appeal for Tzitis for the IDF soldiers in Lebanon and elsewhere at (at $3 a pair his goal is 15,000 pairs=$45,000). People wanted to do something-- noseh b'ol im chaveiro-- and within 5 minutes, the person had so many checks and dollar bills that he couldn't hold them in his hand anymore! I asked him later in the day how much he had raised from the three or four appeals; he said a few thousand dollars! His organization is tax deductible, and he asks that one earmark the checks "Tzitis for soldiers". If you would like more information, please e-mail me for his contact info(I know this Rabbi is a reliable person).

The story behind the appeal is also interesting:

It seems that as many as 15,000 soldiers at the Lebanese front and elsewhere would be interested in wearing Tzitis. The army tries to get the cheapest bid for its purchases, and ordered these pairs from China! While the "Made in China" label is wonderful for toys and electronics, it is an Halachic disaster, and the army needed to discard all 15,000 pairs.

When a woman from Matisdorf found out about this, she contacted the above-mentioned Rabbi who made the appeal. It seems that army regulations require camouflage green for infantry combat units, but the standard white begadim are okay for all other divisions. As of this past Thursday, a number of pairs were supposed to already have been shipped to the front. Certainly, any soldier who desires to do the Mitzvah(at $3 a pair) should be able to do so. This is both a zechus for the soldiers and a potential kiruv opportunity.

Hasbara, and What We are Up Against

This first linked article, below, includes a draft of the U.N. resolution. However, the organization which posted the text is an extremely left-wing and anti-Israel one. It posts graphic pictures of the "Quana Massacre" and on August 12th, is planning a march against "U.S. and Israeli War Crimes".

According to the website:

" Numerous universities, libraries and research institutions have established a link to [the website, below] on their respective web sites. Global Research has received for three years in succession, the Goodwriters award, classified among the best 80 alternative news sites. Global Research has also become a source of specialized information for journalists"

Malcom Hoenlein has quoted a political analyst to the effect that "wars in the 21st Century will be won, significantly, based on ideas". I can also imagine them sending anti-Israel letters to the President and members of Congress. That is why it is vital that elected officials hear the pro-Israel side from Israel's supporters. May we merit to see Hashem thwart their intentions!

Below is the commentary on the proposed U.N. resolution, and plans for the anti-Israel march:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20060807&articleId=2916

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=A.N20060731&articleId=2869


Two Rambam's

The current situation provides an opportunity to focus on two basic and fundamental Rambam's, linked below. The first is in Hilchos Taanis(1: 1-3), and speaks about introspection and Teshuva upon public misfortune. The second one is in Hilchos Teshuva(3:11), and makes clear the vital necessity of becoming part of a community. By helping in various ways in the area of tzedaka v'chesed, in addition to the spiritual ways of accumulating zechusim by engaging in Tefillah and other Mitzvos, one fulfills the principles inherent in both of the above statements of the Rambam.

Links:

Rambam:

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/3901.htm

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/1503.htm

U.N. Resolutions and Mount Dov:

http://www.unitedjerusalem.org/index2.asp?id=782850

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=108704

Organizations(Not Exhaustive !):

http://www.yadeliezer.org/

http://www.ou.org/community_services/emergency_fund/

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=405451

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=411257

http://www.mifalchaim.org/eng/main.htm

http://www.hatzalah.org.il/north.php

http://www.zaka.org.il/en/

http://www.ezer-mizion.org.il/

http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2006/07/25/helping-israel/

http://ezra-lemarpe.org/ambulance02_e.html

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