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Purim Torah

The Questions about Purim

"This wicked Haman" (7:6)

QUESTION: In the Haggadah of Pesach we are told that the way to deal with a rasha is to knock out his teeth. There is no doubt that Haman was a rasha , so why didn't Mordechai knock out Haman's teeth?
ANSWER: According to the Midrash, Achashveirosh once sent two divisions of his army to battle. One was headed by Haman and the other by Mordechai. He gave each one an equal supply of food. Haman was careless and let his soldiers finish the food in a short period of time. Desperately, he came to Mordechai and begged him to give him some of his food, but Mordechai refused. Haman, fearing that his soldiers would revolt against him, sold himself to Mordechai as a slave and, thus, Mordechai supplied him with food.
When a Jewish master knocks out the tooth of his non-Jewish servant he becomes free (Shemot 21:26). Not wanting to lose such a slave as Haman, Mordechai refrained from knocking out Haman's teeth.

"And Vaizata" (9:9)

QUESTION: Why is the name "Vaizata" written with a long "vav"?
ANSWER: According to halachah (see comments of Rabbi Y.F. Perla to Sefer HaMitzvot of R' Saadiah Gaon, positive Mitzvah, 86, 87, 88, vol. I. p. 612, for extensive disucssion of this issue), when a person has ten cows (beheimot), he is to bring them into a room and let them come out through a door one by one. The tenth cow to pass through the door is considered ma'aseir beheimah, and is given to the Kohen . If the tenth cow jumps through the roof, the farmer is not obligated to give it away to the Kohen as ma'aser beheimah.
The Kohanim in Shushan Habirah considered Haman's ten sons as ten animals. Haman also thought very little of his children, and agreed with the Kohanim that they were like beheimot. A Kohen came to Haman and told him that since his children were like animals, he was supposed to give one of them away as ma'aseir beheimah . Haman agreed with the Kohen and told him that he would take them into a room and let them walk out one by one. After nine of Haman's children walked out and Vaizata was about to come through, Haman grabbed him, and attempted to pull him by his head through the roof. The Kohen, wanting to get him, tried to pull him by his feet through the door. Thus, Vaizata was stretched, and the big "vav" symbolizes this.

"On the thirteenth day of the month Adar and Noach..." (9:17)

QUESTION: What is Noach's connection with the Megillah ?
ANSWER: Haman was very upset with Mordechai and did not know how to deal with the problem. His wife Zeresh suggested that he make gallows 50 amot (cubits) high upon which they would hang Mordechai. Haman ran all around town, searching for a massive wooden beam. Suddenly, he remembered that many years ago Noach built a Teivah which was 50 amot wide, so he must have very large pieces of lumber. Haman searched until he finally found Noach and said to him, "Do me a favor, please lend me a wooden beam 50 amot long."
Old Noach asked wicked Haman, "Could you tell me what you need this for?" Haman replied, "I want to hang Mordechai." Old Noach began to yell, "Are you crazy? Do you think I am going to permit you to hang Mordechai the Tzaddik on my lumber?" Haman began to fight with old Noach, trying to get the beam away from him. Noach held on to it with all his might, but unfortunately, Haman, being much younger, dragged the beam together with Noach all the way into the Megillah .

"Sending portions a man to his friend" (9:19)

QUESTION: The word "ish" — a man — is superfluous?
ANSWER: An apikores — heretic — who bore a grudge against the town Rabbi, for vehemently ridiculing and denouncing him, decided that Purim would be an opportune time to get even with him. To fulfill the Mitzvah of mishlo'ach manot, he bought a few pounds of chopped liver which he molded into the form of a pig, put it on a platter, and sent it to the Rabbi. When the Rabbi received it, he took a portrait of himself, put it on a platter, and sent it to "his friend" with the following explanation:
"For a long time I have been bothered with an extra word in the Megillah . When mishlo'ach manot is mentioned in Megillah, we are told 'mishlo'ach manot ish lerei'eihu' — sending portions, a man to his friend. I always wondered, it would have been sufficient to say 'mishlo'ach manot lerei'eihu' — sending portions to a friend, without the extra word 'ish'? After receiving your thoughtful package, my question was answered. The Megillah is saying, the portions being sent should consist of 'ish' — the type of person you are. Obviously, you fulfilled the Mitzvah accurately and sent me a description of yourself. To reciprocate, enclosed is my picture so you may have a vivid description of me."

"To observe annually the fourteenth day of Adar" (9:21)

QUESTION: Moshe Rabbeinu was born on the seventh of Adar, thus his brit took place on the 14th day of Adar, which is Purim . Was the brit performed before the reading of the Megillah or after?
ANSWER: Moshe was a great tzaddik and he died on the same day he was born. Since Moshe passed away on Shabbat, he was also born on Shabbat . Thus, his brit took place eight days later on Shabbat — 14 days in the month of Adar. Since it was Shabbat, the reading of the Megillah took place on Thursday the 12th of Adar.

"Observe them as days of feasting and gladness" (9:22)

QUESTION: Is eating a festive meal on Purim and becoming intoxicated a Torah rule or only a Rabbinic ordinance?
ANSWER: From the pasuk in Bereishit 21:8 "vaya'as Avraham mishteh gadol beyom higameil et Yitzchak" — "And Avraham made a great feast on the day Yitzchak was weaned" — we can derive that eating and drinking on Purim is a statute of the Torah.
The Torah is telling us that Avraham made a great feast and drinking party on the day of higomeil — which can be rearranged to spell the word Megillah, on Purim when the Megillah is read.
Since Avraham's festivities were in honor of Purim, why does it say higomeil and not Megillah ? This proves that during the Purim meal it is incumbent to become intoxicated to the extent that one does not know the difference between Megillah and higomeil.
If that is the case, why does the pasuk conclude "et Yitzchak"? What does Yitzchak have to do with the reading of Megillah ?
The reason is that from Yitzchak we learn an important halachah regarding Purim . The shofar is blown on Rosh Hashanah to recall of the Akeidah of Yitzchak. However, when Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat, our Rabbis tell us to refrain from blowing shofar because one may forget and carry the shofar four cubits in a public domain. Similarly, when Purim falls on Shabbat, the Megillah is not read for the same reason (Rosh Hashanah 29b).

"Concerned for the welfare of all his posterity" (10:3)

QUESTION: Why isn't Kaddish said after the reading of the Megillah ?"
ANSWER: Haman himself was hung on Pesach (Megillah 15a), and all his sons on the day before Purim, thus, there were no survivors left to say a Kaddish."

The Development of a Halacha

Reprinted with permission from Yosid For the Chosid

Many years ago, in a far away country, there was a well known rabbi who was consulted on all sorts of matters relating to the Jewish people. His wise counsel was sought from people of all walks of life, and his decisions were accepted by the community at large, as they understood that his rulings and pronouncements were divinely inspired.

So when one time he met with some parents of his students, and a few mothers complained that their children were not making their beds, he assured them that he would deal with the matter. That week, in his public address to his students, he mentioned that the students should always make sure to make their beds in the morning. When the person transcribing the speech wrote up his review of the talk, he made sure to emphasize the rabbi's intention. He wrote, ''The Rosh Yeshiva today ruled that one is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning.'' Word spread fast. The halacha had been established: One was obligated to make their bed.

Later that day, someone came to the Rosh Yeshiva and asked, ''I don't have time to make my bed before I go to davening. By the time I get back my mother is gone for the day so she doesn't think I make my bed, and isn't pleased. What should I do?''

After hearing the answer that was given, the halacha was suitably amended to say that the bed should be made as soon as one gets up. ''One is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning, as soon as he gets up.''

The next day, he was approached by a bochur that wanted to know, ''When you said 'as soon as he gets up', do you mean immediately - right when one steps out of the bed - or is one allowed some time first?

So they added to the text: ''One is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning, soon after he gets up.''

''How long soon after?'' he was immediately asked. ''How much time exactly?'' 10-15 minutes, he replied, figuring that's a reasonable amount of time. And so it was added: ''One is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning, within 10-15 minutes from when he gets up.'' The bochurim found this to be a satisfactory resolution, but unsurprisingly, it resulted in some bochurim insisting that it should be made by 10 minutes, and others saying it was fine to wait even 15 minutes. After some time, they settled on an unofficial resolution by considering 10 minutes to be the first zman, and 15 minutes the second zman. Things went along smoothly until one day a bochur came over and explained to him a problem he had run into. ''My roommate doesn't like the way I make my bed! He claims it's not really made!'' ''What do you mean?'', asked the Rosh Yeshiva. ''Well, he claims that for a bed to be considered 'made' the pillow needs to be on top and the sides need to be even or tucked in, and I just lay out the cover on top, covering everything, however it comes out. What should I do?''

The Rosh Yeshiva mulled this over for a while, and replied: You're allowed to make it however your family does it. What's acceptable to your mother (or father) is acceptable here. Hakol k'minhago.

An addition was added to the halacha: ''One is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning, within 10-15 minutes from when he gets up. The manner of making the bed should be done according to one's established minhag.''

(Later that week when the bochurim went home for the weekend, many parents were somewhat confused when they were asked by their sons, ''What is the minhag of our family of how to make our beds?'', but they figured it was all part of the tremendous spiritual growth they could see in their young bnei torah.)

One morning a few weeks later, as shacharis was beginning, the Rosh Yeshiva was notified about an argument that had broken out between 2 bochurim. Approaching their room, he heard loud shouting through the closed door. As he entered, he found one of the bochurim vehemently yelling at the other. Seeing him come in, the young man turned to him and exclaimed loudly, ''Rebbe! I'm so glad you're here! I tried to get him to make his bed but he wouldn't listen! He just ignored me, and now it's 5 minutes after the zman, and look - his bed is still not made!''

Before the Rosh Yeshiva had a chance to respond, the other bochur quickly spoke up in his defense, ''That's not true. I only got out of bed 2 minutes ago! I still have 8 minutes until the zman!''

''Yes, he only got out of bed 2 minutes ago. But he woke up 20 minutes ago! That means he should have made his bed 10 minutes ago!''

It was clear that there needed to be some clarification: When the psak was issued that a bed must be made 10-15 minutes after getting up, did 'after getting up' mean after waking up ('m'sha'as kumuso') or did it mean after getting out of bed ('m'sha'as yitziaso')? At this point a small crowd had gathered around the room and a vociferous discussion had broken out. Everyone started buzzing, talking, sharing their thoughts of why it meant this interpretation and not the other one. Realizing what was happening, the Rosh Yeshiva put an abrupt stop to it all by loudly demanding that everyone should immediately go to davening and they would deal with it later on.

By lunchtime that day the Rosh Yeshiva had still not addressed the burning issue and a fierce debate had already broken out in the halls of the yeshiva. Even the rabbeim had gotten involved. Some felt that the halacha had to mean from when a person got out of bed, because as they explained, ''if it meant 'from when he woke up' then the first thing he would have to do upon awaking would be to look at his clock and remember the time. But this can't be, because we all know that the first thing a person must do when he wakes up is say 'modeh ani'.

Therefore it must mean 'from when he gets out of bed'.'' In spite of this convincing logic others still held it was better to be machmir and go by from when a person wakes up and not to wait until he gets outof bed. They pointed out that all that was needed to avoid the above-mentioned conflict was to first say modeh ani and then subtract 15 seconds from whenever he first looks at the clock. ''But not all clocks have second hands on them,'' countered the first opinion, ''and besides, it is too easy to forget the exact time including the seconds.'' The machmirim had a ready response: ''Firstly, someone who cares about the halacha properly can make sure to have a clock with seconds on it, and secondly, he should also have a paper and pen next to his clock so he can mark down the proper time, in order to avoid the chance of forgetting it.''

Seeing that positions had already been staked out in this dispute, the Rosh Yeshiva decided not to voice his own opinion and instead told everyone to go by whatever their rebbe held.

Unfortunately, this had the effect of causing a lot of machlokes in the school as some people didn't agree with their rabbeim, and resented being forced out of their beds sooner than they preferred.

The problems were soon settled when a young illuy came up with an ingenious solution. He pointed out that even though someone had woken up, if they had in mind that they were sleeping it was like they actually were, since 'machshava k'ma'ase'.

Although his reasoning was roundly rejected by many others, it satisfied those lazier bochurim and they let the matter slide. No one was much surprised at their reaction, as these sorts of students

had already demonstrated their laxity of the halacha when it was realized that they were deliberately getting dressed while still sitting in their bed, in order to give themselves more time until the zman of 'when you get up' would commence (according to the shita of m'sha'as yitziaso).

For a brief while the yeshiva had some complaints from bochurim who wanted to switch rooms because their roommates were not keeping what they felt was the right zman for making their beds. Already very disturbed by the problems that the previous issue had caused and not wanting to cause any more machlokes in the yeshiva, the Rosh Yeshiva wisely dealt with the problem by declaring that if anyone was concerned about another not making the zman, they were allowed to make the other persons bed for them, as long as the first one had da'as that the other would be yotzei for himself. He also said that the person making the bed didn't have to specific da'as because obviously if he was making it he had da'as to do such a thing. Despite that, it wasn't uncommon to hear people loudly declaring, ''Have in mind to be yotzei so-and-so when making his bed!''

Some months after the initial psak was issued, an enterprising bochur started selling a unique clock that had a special alarm. The alarm would wake you up, and when you pushed the right button it would turn off and ring 9 minutes later to remind you that you had 1 minute left to make your bed. He actually also made a second one that gave you 14 minutes instead of 9, but no one bought it since they felt it was better not to be meikel.

Another issue that the yeshiva had to resolve was that according to the opinions that one must make their beds from when they first woke up, what was to be done if someone fell asleep again shortly after waking up? After much learned discussion it was decided that falling back asleep wasn't a problem, and the zman only started after the real, final wakingup. This was derived from the situation of if one woke up in the middle of the night: Was he then obligated to make his bed shortly after? For a brief time, some people in the yeshiva began to follow this custom. But when the Rosh Yeshiva ruled that it wasn't necessary, they understood from that that the zman only began after the last, real waking up.

These events all occurred many, many years ago, and boruch hashem nowadays it isn't as heated an issue as it once was. Everyone understands and accepts the principles of eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim chaim, minhag avoseinu b'yadeinu, ba'al nefesh yachmir, and shomer p'saim hashem. Each person has a tradition or chumra that he's entitled to follow. In addition, there have been many wonderful books written on this subject, most recently Artscroll's splendid translation of Hilchos Ish U'Mitoso, which sheds much light on this subject for the average layman (also available in a laminated, newly type-set, pocket edition that one can keep by their bed!). However, legend has it that if you go to this yeshiva and poke in on some of the rooms, you'll still occasionally find a bochur here and there that tries to be extra zahir in this inyan and - even on a cold winter night -will sleep on top of his carefully made blanket so that he never will - chas v'chalila! - find his bed unmade past the proper zman!

''Ratzah hakadosh baruch hu l'zakos es yisroel, l'fichach hirba lahem torah u'mitzvos!''

''To receive a laminated, large print edition of the special tefila to say before making your bed, please send a fax to 1800-BE-ZAHIR with your proper mailing address and we will be glad to send you one free of charge. ''This publication is in memory of Masha Mushka bas Pesha Pushka o''h.''

Please do not read this publication in untzniyusdik places, before you daven, during chazaras hashatz, in the middle of leining, during shiur or seder, while operating heavy machinery, on the Internet, in the mikva, or while under the influence of da'as torah.

'' This publication is not intended to be used as a guide to practical halacha. All halachic questions should be directed to your local ultra-orthodox halachic authority.''

The Internet is assur.

From the First Chapter of Masechet Star Trek


Rabbi Kirk said:

Space, the final frontier.These are the voyages of the star ship Enterprise, its five year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!

Added Rabbi Roddenbery: Unless the ratings slip too low.


Said Rav Archer: There is a question whether the amount of space left to explore is greater than or equal to the amount of space between Rav T'Pol's ears.
Laughed Rav T'Pol: That Rav Archer! What a great sense of humour. He's always kidding around.
Asked Rav Paris: Since Rav Archer was not kidding around and in fact is never kidding around, what does Rav T'Pol's reply mean?
Responded Rav Janeway: Don't answer that question, Rav Paris...

The Final Frontier
Rav Janeway taught: From this phrase we have always understood that it is a mitzvah to leave the comfort and safety of the Federation and explore. How much greater a mitzvah is it, therefore, to attempt to return home when you have been sent away against your will.
Whispered Rav Torres to Rav Kim: I do not follow our teacher's logic.
Replied Rav Kim: Nothing on our show makes sense. Thus, the words of our teachers are not required to either.

These are the voyages
It happened once that Rav Kira, Rav Phlox, Rav O'Brien, Rav Jake the son of Rav Sisko, and Rav Bashir were sitting in Quark's bar, playing darts and Dabo and Dahm Jah't all through the night until Ops paged them and declared, "Sirs, it is time to begin the day shift!"
Said Rav Phlox: "Behold, I am as one who is three hundred years old, and yet I did not know the meaning of this verse until Rav Odo explained it. These are the voyages. Had it read this is the voyage, it would imply a short-lived mission with little relevance. But these are the voyages implies an importance that has lasted long after the original ship was destroyed. The Bajorans, however, explain it this way: this is means in this world only; these are includes the land of syndication as well.
Star ship Enterprise Rav Data asked: To which Enterprise is the mishna referring?
Replied Rav Picard: It does not matter, so long as it has the designation NCC-1701.
But Rav Sisko taught: the same commandments stated in the mishna apply to those serving on space stations as well, for have we not proved on Deep Space Nine that one can meet as many species by sitting still as one can by moving about?
Rav Kira cautioned: Should you reside on a space station, do not get too attached to your runabouts, as they tend to crash quite easily.
And Rav Chakotay added in the name of Rav Janeway: The commandments apply even if your ship does not carry the name Enterprise.

Five year mission
Rav Picard said: Its ongoing mission is the correct reading of the text, as no one can predict the length of a mission. For did not Rav Kirk's own mission last for a mere three years on television, plus six movies, and ours was on TV for seven years, and we have made two movies. From this we learn that setting a time constraint is a mistake; however, this does not stop us from messing with timelines whenever the powers that be think it would make an interesting episode.

Strange new worlds
Rav Riker taught: if the world is too strange or too new, then the captain is forbidden to beam down to it.
Replied Rav Picard: Nonsense! The captain, too, is entitled to away missions. From this we learn that in some instances it is permitted to follow the opinion of Rav Picard; in all others, a majority of ranking officers plus two phaser baits should be sent down in his stead. But when do we follow the opinion of Rav Picard? When there are ancient ruins on the planet.

New life
Rav Worf taught: It is forbidden to seek out new life, in case it turns out to be a tribble.
Rav Picard objected: We must always seek out new life, even if it turns out to be a tribble, even if it turns out to be a mass of gelatinous goo.
Rav Data complained: Even gelatinous goo we are commanded to seek and accept, and yet time and time again it must be proven that I am alive!
Rav Odo replied: Don't malign gelatinous goo.
Rav Phlox asked: Am I required to seek out new life, even though I have the memories of seven other lives in a slug in my stomach?
Replied Rav Sisko: This is not a life-time bound mitzvah; therefore, you must observe it no matter how many lives you have lived.
And the Doctor asked: Am I alive? To this, Rav Janeway had no answer.

New civilizations
Rav Troi said: This applies even to old civilizations, of which only ruins remain, because then the captain is obligated to go on an away mission.
Rav O'Brien argued: We should not be compelled to seek out new civilizations, because so many times before the civilizations we have encoun tered have wanted to exterminate us! But most au thorities agree that ceasing to fulfil this mitzvah would result in a very boring show, and so Rav O'Brien was overruled.

To boldly go
Said Rav Wesley: The text should read to ''baldly go''.
Cautioned Rav LaForge: Do not say that within the hearing of Rav Picard, for you may offend him. For the merits of a captain and his crew are not to be judged by the amount of hair on their heads.
Added Rav Riker: Of course, it doesn't hurt the ratings. (Steinshaltz notes: Though not explicitly written in this instance, one must assume that this passage is consistent with all other sayings of Rav Wesley which, by consensus of the majority, are generally ignored).

Where no man has gone before
Rav Picard taught: Though no man is the correct reading of the text, I believe this is a case where La'akor davar meen ha'Torah applies. We will consider the verse to read where no one has gone before. To which all the rabbis assembled agreed, except Rav Quark, who may be excused on the ground that he is a Ferengi.
The ratings slip too low Asked Rav T'Pol: Have not our ratings slipped lower than that of the original series? Should we not therefore suffer the same fate as the original series? It was for this question that Rav T'Pol was thrown out of the house of study, and out the airlock.

Purim "Torah" is a traditional feature of our holiday. It consists of various forms of parodying the tradition. There exist elaborate parodies of the Talmud as well as other standard traditional texts. Perhaps, this is all to say, that it is important to be able to laugh on Purim at even the things that we take seriously during the course of the year, lest we become sanctimonious.

La'yehudim hayta ora v'simcha v'sasson v'eekar, ken t'hiyeh lanu.

Purim Torah Of Sushi Purim


What is Sushi Purim, why do we observe it, and what are its laws and statutes?

In Chapter 9 of the Mackerilla, the Book of Oyster, we read in v. 18 that "the Jews who were in Sushi had assembled both on the 13th and 14th days of the month (of Adar), and rested on the 15th day, making that a day of feasting and joy."

Our sages understood this verse to mean that, just as they feasted "in Sushi", they also feasted "on Sushi". As Sushi was a walled city, those who live in a walled city must also feast on sushi on this day.

What does it mean to feast on sushi? This means only kosher sushi, which may be vegetable or fish sushi, nigiri (on bed of rice) or maki (roll), and either cooked or raw. Some poskim say that sashimi is also sushi for the purpose of the mitzvah. What is the minimum amount of sushi to constitute a feast? The majority decision renders, at least 3 orders of nigiri and 2 of maki, per person. The Rambam disagrees, stating that there must additionally be at least one portion of salmon roe, colored purple to recall the cloak of white linen and purple which Mordecai wore when he left the king's presence (Book of Oyster, Ch. 8 v. 15). A lengthy explanation of this opinion, and related hilkhot, can be studied in his famous work, Guide for the Purple Eggs.

Most authorities agree that the sushi seudah is invalid without the requisite k'zayis of wasabi (blindingly hot green horseradish). However, we are cautioned not to say a b'rachah on the wasabi, as one must not say a b'rachah when ingesting substances which place one's health in jeopardy.

Each person who participates fully in the sushi seudah, including the required amount of wasabi, should also say Birkat HaGomel at the earliest opportunity.

Oyster Ha Malka
The SushiQueen

[Author unknown]

Hilkhot Purim

The mitzvah of Adloyadah (drinking until one is unable to distinguish between Baruch Mordechai and Arur Haman) is incumbent upon all Jews, unless such drinking endangers their health, in which case poppyseed hamentashen may be substituted. To achieve the equivalent effect of 8 oz. of 100 proof Shlivovitz, it is recommended to consume 500 poppyseed hamentashen. Any less and you have not fulfilled the mitzvah. Some authorities in the Conservative Movement permit the use of prune hamentashen, but most prohibit it for fear of violating the principles of sh'lom bayit and bal tashkhit, which modern poskim interpret broadly to include all environmental issues, including air quality. Orthodox authorities do not allow any exemptions from the primary mitzvah of Adloyadah except for children under three. Nursing infants, while under the age of three, are not exempt, because they receive the benefit of their mothers' observance of the mitzvah, proving that nursing women are also not exempt. There is a makhloket amongst Orthodox authorities as to whether non-nursing women are exempt from observing this most important mitzvah. Therefore, to resolve any doubts, the Ashkenazic authorities have issued a p'sak din that all women must nurse babies on Purim. If they don't have a baby of their own to nurse, they may borrow one from a nursing mother. Since this will require all mothers with nursing infants to loan their babies to other women, nursing women are thus rendered exempt from the mitzvah. They may, however, fulfill it by eating the required minimum amount of prune hamentashen.

by Rabbi Tracy G. Klirs

This video was produced with the assistance of the following families:

Kiddush Club in the news!
Kiddush Club in the news!
Makor Rishon (Israel)
June 28, 2012
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The new IKC Baseball shirt
(mock up - actual shirt to be posted when delivered)

From: "Eden Glasman"
Date: May 9, 2013 8:32 AM
Subject: Many thanks for a generous gift
Cc: "Daniella Kolodny",

Dear Rabbi Simon,

My name is Eden Glasman and I work for Noam, the youth movement for Masorti Judaism. We are based in north London, UK. My four colleagues and I work on projects such as summer and winter camps, Israel tour and gap year, educational trips to Europe, weekly leadership training and community work in Masorti synagogues.

Rabbi Daniella Kolodny was kind enough to pass on two sets of tefillin, received by Rabbi Chaim Weiner, to us. We are extremely grateful. Owning our own tefillin means being able to actively encourage our young people to lay them. Most of our members' experience of tefillin is glimpsing older members use them in synagogue without really understanding what they are about. Having our own sets means giving them a sense of ownership over the prayer process and closer engagement with tradition.

We are an egalitarian movement and want both our male and female members to be Jewishly literate and knowledgeable in Halacha. As part of the process of engaging young people more closely with Jewish practices, we are undertaking learning from Masorti Rabbis in different Halachot. After carrying them out for set periods of time we write blog posts to share with the wider movement. Our next Halachic undertaking will be the daily laying of tefillin at the beginning of our working day for two weeks. Now that we have some, we can begin this process, and can pass on the knowledge gained to younger members - starting with our upcoming summer event in north Wales involving around 450 young people.

On behalf of all my colleagues I would like to thank you for this gift and opportunity. We hope that the mitzvah of laying tefillin will be carried out by many people in many different places for years to come!

Best wishes,
The Noam Mazkirut (Eden, Sam, Lily, Jamie, and Jo)

Noam Movement Worker
Kol Nefesh Community Worker
020 8349 6650 (ext 24)

On Wednesday, February 20, 2013, Allan Gottesman (#5), Mike Perloff, Rabbi Bob Golub, Executive Director, MERCAZ-USA and I (#1) traveled to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC to meet with Noam Katz, Minister of Public Diplomacy and Miriam Katz, Director of National Initiatives, Public Diplomacy, to talk about funding for the next series of Israel Advocacy seminars that we have been running with MERCAZ-USA and MERCAZ-Canada. We talked about a number of items, and worked on plans for the next series, which we think will be in South Florida, San Francisco and New England. Right now we have funding for the first 2 and once the Israeli government is formed, We expect the funding will be "green-lighted" to continue the series. We talked about expanding the programme to other groups and going to ARZA (Reform Zionist) and RZA (Orthodox Zionist) among other Zionist groups. We have had some involvement of people outside of our Masorti community at the first 3 events, in particular Christian Zionists, and we all agreed that broadening the effort would be beneficial. The meeting was very productive and at the end, when Noam asked if there was anything else, I said, "yes, let's get some photos."

So Noam and Miriam begin to line us up - no electronics are allowed inside the embassy so we had no camera or cell phones - and I said "Where's the ambassador?"

So Noam went out and brought back Ambassador Michael Oren. Quick introductions all round and then Allan Gottesman says "We have a presentation for you, these are the FJMC's Yom Hashoa Yellow Candles" and gives them to Mr Oren.

He mentioned that he knew about the programme and took one in his hand for the first photo. We asked that he light it on Yom Hashoa, and a promise was made, and his assistant mentioned that it would be on the Ambassador's FaceBook page. He thought we were finished with him . . .

Allan says "We have another presentation, this one's from the International Kiddush Club" and we gave him an IKC Tallit bag, the IKC Kiddush Cup, the IKC Pin and a membership card, and wouldn't you know it, there was a small bottle of scotch inside the bag.

At this point Mr Oren remarked, "Now you're talking, this is great!" and we took the second photo. We told him about our fundraising for the Tefillin Fund, about the article in the Times of Israel and our website. I think we made his day!

Sometimes we have just too much fun doing this stuff. But it's all good.


Check out the new "Jews in Space" page
The International Kiddush Club
The same situation does not occur in the less affluent parts of the world and we are doing our best to raise money to help. In these areas, without large Jewish populations and Federations, the Jewish population can sometimes feel very isolated and ignored. To this date we have raised somehwere over $22,500 USD in our quest and have handed out hundreds of tefillin and hundreds of mezuzot.
We are the fun raising and fund raising group, but we do not send the items ourselves. Please contact your local rabbi to see if he or she is able to help you. That's who we go through to distribute most of our items. We have also assisted the Masorti congregations in India by matching them to a donor who sent retired chumashim and siddurim to the congregations in Mumbai.
We do good things.

If you'd like to sponsor a set of tefillin, e-mail us.

The Kiddush Club in the Jerusalem Post!
Scotland's West Dunbartonshire Council
a new level of stupidity

Visit the Kiddush Club's Scotch Lobby Update page for more information

What we do; Our aim is to raise funds to purchase tefillin and mezuzot for those who cannot afford them in Latin America and other areas of the world.
In North America, Great Britain and Israel, there are s
  1. NEWS! Chivas Brothers and Morrison Bowmore in Scotland and the U.S are strong supporters of the Jewish community. They have been in contact with us and assure us that they have worked to remove the boycott. They should not be boycotted.
  2. Loch Lomond Distillery Co. Ltd has responded and they are lobbying on our behalf. They should not be boycotted.
  3. Our lobbying efforts are working. Withe the help of these 3 firms and the publicity generated, the local council for Dundee voted down a boycott proposal by 22-2. The pressure is paying off, and the companies that are working with us are helping to persuade other councils that a boycott of Israel is not in their best interest. The 3 firms need to be applauded for their quick response and for their help. Again, the scotch should not be boycotted.
  4. Remember, it's not about the Scotch, it's now entirely about the Boycott of Israel and Israeli products by West Dunbartonshire Council.
  5. If you know of other products produced in West Dunbartonshire, let us know, we'll work with those firms to enlist them in our efforts.
  6. Scotland produces many fine items, and there is no need to tar the entire country with this yellow brush.

As you may have heard or read, the West Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland has decided to participate in the BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) against Israel. No sense trying to figure out how these poor Scots have any connection to the situation, but they have decided to boycott Israeli products and to mark anything Israeli in their local shops with an identifier (probably a yellow star?) to warn people of the source of origin.
misguided idiots live here Jameel Rashid, the author of the pro-Israeli blog "Muqata" suggests that we boycott the products that are best known to have their origins in West Dunbartonshire Council, Scotland, ie, Scotch Whisky from certain distilleries.
This is a wonderful idea, unless of course you must have your Bowmore or Glenlivet (and many others on the list). You could still partake in Macalan or Balvenie or Lagavulin, so the sky will not be falling. There is a complete list below, and we pledge not to use these brands at our next meeting, unless they come from stock already purchased. (no sense wasting good whisky)
We would suggest that if you are going to be writing to these poor dolts to complain about the boycott to do it very soon, because they might find out that their Intel based computers need to go out in the trash as the CPUs were developed and produced Israel, and that their Microsoft Windows operating system and their MS Office suites had heavy Israeli development. You won't be able to MSN them, nor Skype them, because those too were developed in Israel. We won't mention the other products (medicines, technology, etc) that are sole sourced from Israel, but suffice to say that those who are boycotting 100% will have short and unhappy lives.
So e-mail them quickly, before they revert to painting themselves blue and hugging trees. If you live in Canada, you can't mail them, because the posties are going on strike tonight - not blamed on Israel, yet.
Here's the contact info for the West Dunbartonshire Council: Read the blog, and let the silly Scots know that you are p*ss*d.
It's time to turn this around and make the dolts realize that the rope has 2 ends and we have a lot more pull than some shepherds and barley farmers.

1 of Fifths
The International Kiddush Club

The Official Scotch Whisky Counter-Boycott Page
Original location:
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