Friday, 7 October 2011
Years ago when I saw him ranting for the first time I thought, this guy dislikes just about everybody, some of whom are our enemies, I bet he doesn't like us much either. Well, I took a shufty at his website and even I was horrified at how right I was. And dangerously well informed about Israel too, given his way with words.
From that day on I resolved (bli neder I hope) to have nothing to do with the man, however much he said what I wanted to hear.
Today I thought that in the spirit of Yom Kippur I'd give him one last chance.
The man may just have done tshuva.
Seems he is admitting that he was wrong about us and he has come out with a most unfunny (if still angry) video. Watch it at
I am not apologising for what I said about the man who was Pat Condell. But to Jews, repentance wipes out the man you were and creates a new man. And if in ignorance I may have continued to malign the new Pat Condell when I thought I was talking about the old Pat Condell, I deeply apologise. And if you know him, forward this message.
And if I have upset you, I apologise for that too.
Gmar hatima tova, Happy New Year and well over the Fast.
Rabbi Porat zt"l, he of the flashing eyes, unique midot and glorious Hebrew, will always be bound up in my memories of that unforgettable Shabbat. His eyes will flash no more.
Yesterday was the first time in 21 years (abroad) and in 10 years (here in Israel) that we read Mas'ei, the parasha of the 42 journeys of the Israelites in the wilderness, long enough in itself, without the addition of the similarly long parasha of Matot (tribes) which during most years makes it by far the longest Torah reading of any Shabbat in the year. Somehow my late father in law always seemed to be asked to read that week.
So we journeyed south, not quite to Sinai but to Gerar, the region where King Avimelech of the Philistines (not the nasty ones who fought the Israelites for generations but an earlier invader who for some reason had the same name – not unlike the spurious name chosen by the mixture of malcontents who arrived here during the 20th century and invented a peoplehood) put up our forefather Avraham for a time. Now they call it Gush Katif. Some say it was in the area of the Israelite tribe Shimon while others say Shimon didn't have an area of its own and was spread around the area of Judah. Others try to say it was neither, but they tend to be people who never read the Torah. Funny how they would never tell an astrophysicist he was wrong but everybody's an expert on Torah without reading it.
On the last leg of the 85 mile journey (there aren't too many trips that long you could make through populated parts of Israel without having to cross a more or less hostile Arab area, which in this case only occurs at Kefar Darom, a thousands of years old Jewish town destroyed most recently by the Egyptians in 1948 and due to suffer the same fate at the hands of brothers next week) we had to stop seven times to produce evidence that we had obtained electronic visas to visit somebody to whom we had a first-degree family relationship. Some of the youngsters in uniform seemed so nice and innocently interested in our plans that we half expected them to say "have a nice day, and thank you for choosing our junction". Others didn't seem to know what they were there for. All this added about an hour to the journey. Of course they all had their backs to their real enemies.
In Israel we have a game. We don't mention where a bomb falls in case the information may aid the enemy. So I won't tell you where we spent Shabbat even though I know full well that any spook reading this will have zero problem working it out.
So we arrived. We had quite a surprise in store for us. After reading of these sprawling mansions occupied by the parasitic "settlers" we were quite unprepared to discover the size of the house that a new family of three had opened for an unlimited time to five strangers since the house the newcomers had arranged to live in (with official permission) turned out to be only in the planning stage. Two modest bedrooms, one toilet, one bathroom and everything else in a room that could only be described as pleasantly petite. But all with exquisite, but thrifty, taste. Across the road lived a well known public figure who could surely have afforded so much more, but was living with his family in an identical place. And the public shelter was itself home to two very large haredi families. So how did the nine of us visitors squeeze in? Well, three were put up by neighbors, another three decided after all to visit friends in a different part of the Gush and the rest actually replaced the hosts, who conveniently decided to spend Shabbat with their folks in another town in the area. Because unlike the kibbutzim and 'most everywhere else where "Wandering Jews" live, here they put down roots. It seems that few young people have left the area where they grew up. And this despite the continuous uncertainty, government and press led propaganda, and 15,000 (FIFTEEN THOUSAND) attacks (including 6,000 rockets and mortar shells) in the last few years, that's nearly a pair for every man, woman and child… I am happy to report that we only heard one, distant, boom. Thank G-d most either miss their target or fail to explode, even though one "success" is too many.
Oh, and the weather. Did I mention the weather? The sizzling humidity that makes the shower seem hardly worth using. And people manage without airconditioning. Nu, what's the beach for? Oh, the jellyfish. Well, at least they seemed to have departed when we took the grandkids for a dip before sundown. Living just far enough from the coast to make the trip without a car problematic (buses don't seem to be something they have provided), they had not seen the sea at close quarters since they arrived.
And so began the Sabbath. And these people are Jews? You must be mistaken. Where else would you find them all going to a single synagogue?? No Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Yemenites, Haredim, Zionists, Toraniim, Modernists, they all do their thing together! They never heard the one about the Jew shipwrecked on a desert island who built a schul for himself and another one he wouldn't be seen dead in. At first it was standing room only but gradually chairs appeared in the aisles, chairs on the patio, chairs in the study hall, more and more people. Probably two for every person the place was built for. And then the stirring lesson from a student leader of my generation whose name continues after so many years to draw rapt attention from those young today. Singing the music of the late Rabbi Carlebach, dancing oblivious of the late hour and the heat, and then the swell of people outside. So many, many people in such a small town. It looked like a demonstration without the buses and the TV cameras. Maybe a thousand or more men, women and children of all ages, all radiant with the Sabbath joy. All in this little place they have nicknamed "eternity". Where everybody surrendered their guns in case they should be called violent and all rely on the armor of prayer and psalm.
I could go on. But let’s fast forward to the time we had to say au revoir. We looked for reasons to stay on and found them with no trouble. But exams beckon, there is work to do, we have a wedding to make, we must content ourselves with the amazing strength we drew from these people and return to the metropolis. On the return journey, facing the enemy this time, they only stopped us once, where we had to surrender our "virtual" visas and confirm, yes, one-year old Reut has indeed returned with us, she is sleeping in the back, what, you think we left her there to fight against the riot police?
We reach "civilization" after midnight and the car, ominously, refuses to enter the city. Half an hour later a technician arrives and we continue home. The next day at work we discover that a gang of leftist thugs sporting teeshirts of "noar meretz" tried to attack youngsters working on Friday at the offices of the "Yesha Council", representatives of the heroes we left behind, based in our office block. Oh how they would love their force to be met with force, but instead it is with love, smiles, flowers and candy and it enrages them. It takes a solid phalanx of brawny no nonsense employees of the French call center to scatter them, yelling obscenities as they retreat. At least this time they didn't bring feces to dump at the doorway.
I have come to a decision. I am 56 years old and have always believed in democracy. Basta*. I place on record that I am no longer prepared to defend to the death anybody's right to destroy my country. I will no longer support my Government right or wrong.
Monday, 14 September 2009
The New Year is upon us, but you knew that
The old year has had perhaps more than its fair share of those “who will be brought down” and to them we extend our earnest wishes for their rapid transfer to the ranks of those “who will be raised up”.
On a personal level we have seen the joy of those “who will be created” and give our sympathy for those less fortunate. We have seen parents/grandparents integrating happily into the life of our Holy Land and spare a thought for those deprived of the beauty of togetherness. We bear grateful witness to every single person returning to our country and look forward to the removal of the brakes, whatever they may be, on those who have not yet done so.
Politically we have been witness to an upsurge of those at home and abroad who would divide and destroy and we wish for the coming, speedily, of those who would unite and build up. Not everybody will agree but we call the latter, Mashiach.
We have seen the fear spread by an unfamiliar disease specifically foretold in the Gemara (Talmud), and give thanks that at least at this point it has been relatively contained – but for those who succumbed there is no “relative” and a single soul is a whole world.
To you all, a year of fulfillment, a year of contentment, a year of wholesomeness, a year of growth.
I am attaching two very different links, one a very 21c clip and the other a beautiful translation of the prayer which for me is the very engine of the month of Tishri. If you are not familiar with its history please go to the third link.
If we have in any way fallen short of the standards you are entitled to expect of us, please forgive us. If you fear we have taken offence and anything you have said or done, we have already forgiven.
Leshana tova tikatevu vetehatemu, may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
"Council only fills in part of a pothole - because it doesn't own the rest."I kid you not. Well, the place is called Bloxwich so what can we expect? www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1185467/Complete-half-wits-Council-fills-pothole--doesnt-rest.html
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Thursday, 7 May 2009
They once said that a black man would be president when pigs fly. His first 100 days and wham!! Pigs flu!
Comment: I am sure that while a few years ago the above description would have raised no issues, today perhaps my correspondent should have described him, not quite accurately, as an African American.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
They have accustomed us to think that the number of terrorists released will determine Gilad Schalit's release. Turns out that it doesn't. Gilad can be set free for $300m. There has never been so high a ransom set for one captive. The US intends to provide this sum for the reconstruction of Gaza. There is a slight chance that $300m will convince somebody to release Gilad. Please sign this petition, which will be given to the President of the USA with the request that the money be made conditional on Gilad's release ...
This is the gist of my reply:
A... - I have every sympathy for the Schalit family, who have not once but twice gone through the scenario of every parent's nightmares.
However, I have no desire whatever to encourage the president to give those people this ransom(and 300m is but a small part of the sums pledged) and I also do not believe you can buy Arabs with a cause as you can buy Westerners; in fact this is the very error all Western Governments (and our own) have been unable to comprehend up to now. It is simply not about money but principles, something Moslems seem as a group to be able to be pretty single minded about. The principles may be wretched and inhuman, but they stick to them like glue and they won't give up until Doomsday. Seems to me that's something the rest of us could learn from.
Furthermore, the president is getting enough contradictory messages from Jews as it is without confusing him still more. I for one would be happier if he were more interested in the security of seven million Israelis than he has been up to now, not just one Israeli, and would prefer he cease surrounding himself with folks who are hell-bent on "saving us from ourselves" in the words of one George Ball when the world was young. And if we can't get Gilad out by force of arms as we should have done three years ago it seems to me that he just isn't coming home.
You know, it reminds me of the recent High Court case in which they found against the Income Tax Authority's refusal to grant the cost of care for pre-schoolers as a deductible expense. I would normally be the last to cheer the tax man in his quest to take more of our hard earned cash, but this time they just happen to be right! I looked around and couldn't find any young Mum capable of complying with the requirements to make this claim unless she was filthy rich to start with!!! Better to give the money to the women who didn't have enough money to pay tax. And I am no socialist.
People think that spreading money around without consideration whether it goes in the right direction will solve everything. It won't.
Kind regards P.
Friday, 1 May 2009
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Monday, 27 April 2009
Friday, 24 April 2009
Welcome to Pith from Pinhas.
The original Pinhas was a pithy character who didn’t much like what was going on around him, picked up a spear and dealt with it. That earned him a Covenant of Peace, which is a pretty pithy thing to do with a spear. He then went on to live pithily ever after, and there are those who say he’s still with us, some 3300-odd years later, which makes him even older than me. Oh, and he was the only person ever given the surname Cohen (priest in Hebrew) in recognition of services rendered to the Jewish People. In later life (according to some) he changed his name to Elijah, took to prophecy and started flying around in fiery chariots, many years before the Wright brothers. He is said to visit every Jewish family Seder meal at Pesach (Passover) and every Jewish child who can stay up late enough is convinced he slips past big sis when she opens the front door and drinks from the oversized wine cup put out for him.
He also finds time to drop in on every Brit Mila (circumcision) ceremony where boys, usually at eight days old, get their names. And this is where I come in. Screaming and kicking, this Brit got the name Pinhas. So I had to start growing old pithily.
And there is no shortage in this benighted century of the kind of stuff that raised old (well he was actually very young at the time) Pinhas’s hackles, but I don’t know where to get a licence to carry a spear. What I do know is how to operate a qwerty keyboard with two fingers.
So in order to get my own bit of immortality I thought, why not start a blog? Everything is of course relative, and the only data retrieval system yet invented with a shelf life of more than a few years seems to be the old-fashioned book, but who knows? Somebody may even read this stuff.
I don’t mean to keep this to myself, and my mates are welcome to submit brief and pithy articles for publication. I am welcome to accept or reject them. And if you like what you see, you can try your luck at joining my mates too.
See you in cyberspace