Wednesday, 30 April 2014

I've never known a God like Hashem before ..

never known a God
like Hashem before
Now just like in
a Psalm from days of yore
Even though I'm a Lesbian Jew,
Astrophysicist I should know
God doesn't exist at all
But still God Came a knockin
knockin on
my door
true Torah Jew and all
And I've never
met a God like him before
In a day of listening to Torah
I wanted more
And I praise him
with or without a prayer shawl
Cos now I'm doing
teshuva on the floor
And I've never
known a God like him before
The way God loves me
He doesn't hate my sexuality
I ‘m not talking metaphorically
No way that im talking analogically!
Know that I'm
talkin bout the way I feel
And I'm gonna praise God at the
Shabbat meal
And I've never
know a God like him before
Show fundies the door
Because Torah says love
your brothers and sisters
Some more
Adapted from -

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Am Yisrael Chai!

Am Yisrael Chai- The children of Israel still liveth- was one of the exclamations made by Rabbi Leslie Hardman, the British[Orthodox, Welsh-Jewish] Army Chaplain who was part of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen death camp, after the first Shabbat of the liberation of the camp, in 1945, after the singing of Hatikvah. Perhaps it is difficult for others to understand the determination of Jews, to never, ever suffer such a fate again & that we have Hatikvah- The Hope.

Of which,  the Jewish anthem [ upon which the national anthem of Israel & tune is taken from]:

"As long as in the heart, within, 
A Jewish soul still yearns, 
And onward, towards the ends of the east, 
An eye still gazes toward Zion; 


Our hope is not yet lost, 
The hope of two thousand years, 
To be a free people in our land, 
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Our hope is not yet lost, 
The ancient hope, 
To return to the land of our fathers, 
The city where David encamped. 

As long as tears from our eyes 
Flow like benevolent rain, 
And throngs of our countrymen 
Still pay homage at the graves of (our) fathers; 

As long as our precious Wall 
Appears before our eyes, 
And over the destruction of our [G-d's] Temple 
An eye still wells up with tears; 

As long as the waters of the Jordan 
In fullness swell its banks, 
And (down) to the Sea of Galilee 
With tumultuous noise fall; 

As long as on the barren highways 
The humbled city gates mark, 
And among the ruins of Jerusalem 
A daughter of Zion still cries; 

As long as pure tears 
Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation, 
And to mourn for Zion at the watch of night 
She still rises in the middle of the nights; 

As long as drops of blood in our veins 
Flow back and forth, 
And upon the graves of our fathers 
Dewdrops still fall; 

Hear, O my brothers in the lands of exile, 
The voice of our Prophets, 
(Who declare) That only with the very last Jew — 
Only there is the end of our hope! 

Go, my people, return in peace to your land 
The balm in Gilead, your healer in Jerusalem, 
Your healer is G-d, the wisdom of His heart, 
Go my people in peace, healing is imminent... "

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Today's rambling train of thought

Yesterday was the last day of Passover and in part because my first wife was a 'rebel'  Chabad-Lubavitch,  [for whom and for my mother, father & uncle, we lit  a Yahrtzeit  candle], my immediate family continue a Chabad custom of the 'Messiah's feast', a celebration of the past week but is also hopefully looking o the arrival of the Messiah (with our Bible verse being Isaiah 10, 32 to 12 end).

Today is Irsu Chag, that is the day after a festival has ended, so I was able to re buy the family Chamtez from Mr Chang. And not a moment too soon as today is St George's Day,as well as Shakespeare's birthday, so I can of course raise a pint to both. Shakespeare needs little introduction as he is world famous, but St George probably does.Now it is typical of the English that they tend to celebrate Ireland's national day more than their own and apparently a good chunk do not even know when St George's day actually is. It is also ironic that St George wasn't actually English but Turkish or Middle Eastern, who allegedly slew a dragon; however I am in part middle eastern, Jewish, but also British, so perhaps St George is the right 'multicultural' figure for our age and should continue as a celebrated Englishmen?

Every nation needs its legends, just as the Jewish nation has been reciting its own history over the past week and as I said in my post below, I cannot see why people take issue with the idea of  England not being a Christian country, besides which if I can believe in burning bushes, plagues and partings of mighty seas, then the English should believe in their national day, St George and dragon slaying. 

Now to go and have a beer and celebrate these 2 celebrated Englishmen.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

David Cameron, Christianity, secularists upset & sincerity

A few points on this issue (background here, here and here ) -

1. I don't have a problem with anyone, let alone the PM calling the UK a 'Christian Country', for the same reasons that Stephen Pollard,editor of the Jewish Chronicle, noted during  The World at One Radio 4 show yesterday [see here - 13 minutes in] . The letter was from the usual atheist and secular suspects [less Richard Dawkins- I believe the Telegraph blogs think his is a deep cover Christian?] so can be taken in that light as nothing particularly special.

2. I don't have a problem with Cameron being a Christian or saying Christians need to be bolder and Evangelise (providing they accept they'll get a critical response). Only 2 people know Cameron's true beliefs - himself and the Almighty. We'll leave it to the 2 of them to work this out together.

3. Given that Cameron spearheaded Same Sex Marriage and his government is at some controversy with his own Church over food banks, people will wonder how all of this stacks against his Christian beliefs. Sure people of faith on the political left will emphasise the 'social' aspect of faith, look after the poor etc and people of faith on the political right with emphasise the other 'social' -that is social conservatism, but Cameron seems to have emphasised neither and has therefore opened himself up to an enormous amount of criticism when people try and compare his actions with the belief people think he should hold, according to Christian belief. 

4. Whatever Cameron's beliefs, his people (i.e. advisers and cronies) are clearly inept and should be sacked. I mean for a former PR/spin doctor, man he isn't playing this very well.No sooner had Cameron started to talk about his faith, a story breaks about his constituency office calling the police and preventing the Bishop of Oxford and others from personally giving Cameron a petition on food banks (which the office apparently knew of in advance). I don't know about anyone else, but if the Rabbi comes to your house, then you don't call the police, in fact you welcome him as a guest. Cameron couldn't even play the game of polite politics. It would have taken nothing to receive the petition with good grace and politeness. This sort of thing does make him look insincere in his religion conviction & (unfairly or not) reinforces the attacks from the left.

Shirat HaYam- Song of the Sea

The focus of the 7th day of Passover (yesterday), was the parting of the red sea.  Over a meal of Masgouf (a middle eastern Fish dish), we contemplated this great miracle of G-d. We sing the following song, which is from Shemot [Exodus] Chapter 15 : 1-21.

These are my daughter's thoughts, in her D'var Torah,  as shared around the dinner table yesterday, :
  • Men and women, young and old,the whole community of Israel sung this song. So we are all part of one larger community which gives thanks to G-d.
  • Even when we can't see a way out of a difficult situation, G-d is with us, even if it not as obvious as a pillar of fire or cloud. 
  • Even after the events of the Passover &  Pharaoh letting our ancestors go, they were still whinging and moaning ;what's changed about the Jewish people  in 4,000 years?
  • The events of the Exodus haven't been verified by Egyptology or ancient Egyptian writers, but what has been verified is that the Egyptians did not document their defeats, even going so far as to delete and destroy mention and record of political adversaries/traitors; no ruler of an empire who also proclaimed himself to be the living Ra (chief of the gods) would admit to being beaten by a bunch of rag tag slaves & their one God. 

Hebrew -
אָ֣ז יָשִֽׁיר־מֹשֶׁה֩ וּבְנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֤ה הַזֹּאת֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לֵאמֹ֑ר אָשִׁ֤ירָה לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה ס֥וּס וְרֹכְבֹ֖ו רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם

עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֔הּ וַֽיְהִי־לִ֖י לִֽישׁוּעָ֑ה זֶ֤ה אֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ אֱלֹהֵ֥י אָבִ֖י וַאֲרֹמְמֶֽנְהוּ

יְהוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה יְהוָ֖ה שְׁמֹֽו
מַרְכְּבֹ֥ת פַּרְעֹ֛ה וְחֵילֹ֖ו יָרָ֣ה בַיָּ֑ם וּמִבְחַ֥ר שָֽׁלִשָׁ֖יו טֻבְּע֥וּ בְיַם־סֽוּף
תְּהֹמֹ֖ת יְכַסְיֻ֑מוּ יָרְד֥וּ בִמְצֹולֹ֖ת כְּמֹו־אָֽבֶן
יְמִֽינְךָ֣ יְהוָ֔ה נֶאְדָּרִ֖י בַּכֹּ֑חַ יְמִֽינְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה תִּרְעַ֥ץ אֹויֵֽב
וּבְרֹ֥ב גְּאֹונְךָ֖ תַּהֲרֹ֣ס קָמֶ֑יךָ תְּשַׁלַּח֙ חֲרֹ֣נְךָ֔ יֹאכְלֵ֖מֹו כַּקַּֽשׁ
וּבְר֤וּחַ אַפֶּ֙יךָ֙ נֶ֣עֶרְמוּ מַ֔יִם נִצְּב֥וּ כְמֹו־נֵ֖ד נֹזְלִ֑ים קָֽפְא֥וּ תְהֹמֹ֖ת בְּלֶב־יָֽם
אָמַ֥ר אֹויֵ֛ב אֶרְדֹּ֥ף אַשִּׂ֖יג אֲחַלֵּ֣ק שָׁלָ֑ל תִּמְלָאֵ֣מֹו נַפְשִׁ֔י אָרִ֣יק חַרְבִּ֔י תֹּורִישֵׁ֖מֹו יָדִֽי
נָשַׁ֥פְתָּ בְרוּחֲךָ֖ כִּסָּ֣מֹו יָ֑ם צָֽלֲלוּ֙ כַּֽעֹופֶ֔רֶת בְּמַ֖יִם אַדִּירִֽים
מִֽי־כָמֹ֤כָה בָּֽאֵלִם֙ יְהוָ֔ה מִ֥י כָּמֹ֖כָה נֶאְדָּ֣ר בַּקֹּ֑דֶשׁ נֹורָ֥א תְהִלֹּ֖ת עֹ֥שֵׂה פֶֽלֶא
נָטִ֙יתָ֙ יְמִ֣ינְךָ֔ תִּבְלָעֵ֖מֹו אָֽרֶץ
נָחִ֥יתָ בְחַסְדְּךָ֖ עַם־ז֣וּ גָּאָ֑לְתָּ נֵהַ֥לְתָּ בְעָזְּךָ֖ אֶל־נְוֵ֥ה קָדְשֶֽׁךָ
שָֽׁמְע֥וּ עַמִּ֖ים יִרְגָּז֑וּן חִ֣יל אָחַ֔ז יֹשְׁבֵ֖י פְּלָֽשֶׁת
אָ֤ז נִבְהֲלוּ֙ אַלּוּפֵ֣י אֱדֹ֔ום אֵילֵ֣י מֹואָ֔ב יֹֽאחֲזֵ֖מֹו רָ֑עַד נָמֹ֕גוּ כֹּ֖ל יֹשְׁבֵ֥י כְנָֽעַן
תִּפֹּ֨ל עֲלֵיהֶ֤ם אֵימָ֙תָה֙ וָפַ֔חַד בִּגְדֹ֥ל זְרֹועֲךָ֖ יִדְּמ֣וּ כָּאָ֑בֶן עַד־יַעֲבֹ֤ר עַמְּךָ֙ יְהוָ֔ה עַֽד־יַעֲבֹ֖ר עַם־ז֥וּ קָנִֽיתָ
תְּבִאֵ֗מֹו וְתִטָּעֵ֙מֹו֙ בְּהַ֣ר נַחֲלָֽתְךָ֔ מָכֹ֧ון לְשִׁבְתְּךָ֛ פָּעַ֖לְתָּ יְהוָ֑ה מִקְּדָ֕שׁ אֲדֹנָ֖י כֹּונְנ֥וּ יָדֶֽיךָ
יְהוָ֥ה ׀ יִמְלֹ֖ךְ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד
כִּ֣י בָא֩ ס֨וּס פַּרְעֹ֜ה בְּרִכְבֹּ֤ו וּבְפָרָשָׁיו֙ בַּיָּ֔ם וַיָּ֧שֶׁב יְהוָ֛ה עֲלֵהֶ֖ם אֶת־מֵ֣י הַיָּ֑ם וּבְנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל הָלְכ֥וּ בַיַּבָּשָׁ֖ה בְּתֹ֥וךְ הַיָּֽם
וַתִּקַּח֩ מִרְיָ֨ם הַנְּבִיאָ֜ה אֲחֹ֧ות אַהֲרֹ֛ן אֶת־הַתֹּ֖ף בְּיָדָ֑הּ וַתֵּצֶ֤אןָ כָֽל־הַנָּשִׁים֙ אַחֲרֶ֔יהָ בְּתֻפִּ֖ים וּבִמְחֹלֹֽת
וַתַּ֥עַן לָהֶ֖ם מִרְיָ֑ם שִׁ֤ירוּ לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה ס֥וּס וְרֹכְבֹ֖ו רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם
וַיַּסַּ֨ע מֹשֶׁ֤ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ מִיַּם־ס֔וּף וַיֵּצְא֖וּ אֶל־מִדְבַּר־שׁ֑וּר וַיֵּלְכ֧וּ שְׁלֹֽשֶׁת־יָמִ֛ים בַּמִּדְבָּ֖ר וְלֹא־מָ֥צְאוּ מָֽיִם
וַיָּבֹ֣אוּ מָרָ֔תָה וְלֹ֣א יָֽכְל֗וּ לִשְׁתֹּ֥ת מַ֙יִם֙ מִמָּרָ֔ה כִּ֥י מָרִ֖ים הֵ֑ם עַל־כֵּ֥ן קָרָֽא־שְׁמָ֖הּ מָרָֽה
וַיִּלֹּ֧נוּ הָעָ֛ם עַל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹ֖ר מַה־נִּשְׁתֶּֽה
וַיִּצְעַ֣ק אֶל־יְהוָ֗ה וַיֹּורֵ֤הוּ יְהוָה֙ עֵ֔ץ וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ֙ אֶל־הַמַּ֔יִם וַֽיִּמְתְּק֖וּ הַמָּ֑יִם שָׁ֣ם שָׂ֥ם לֹ֛ו חֹ֥ק וּמִשְׁפָּ֖ט וְשָׁ֥ם נִסָּֽהוּ
וַיֹּאמֶר֩ אִם־שָׁמֹ֨ועַ תִּשְׁמַ֜ע לְקֹ֣ול ׀ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ וְהַיָּשָׁ֤ר בְּעֵינָיו֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְהַֽאֲזַנְתָּ֙ לְמִצְוֹתָ֔יו וְשָׁמַרְתָּ֖ כָּל־חֻקָּ֑יו כָּֽל־הַמַּֽחֲלָ֞ה אֲשֶׁר־שַׂ֤מְתִּי בְמִצְרַ֙יִם֙ לֹא־אָשִׂ֣ים עָלֶ֔יךָ כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה רֹפְאֶֽךָ
וַיָּבֹ֣אוּ אֵילִ֔מָה וְשָׁ֗ם שְׁתֵּ֥ים עֶשְׂרֵ֛ה עֵינֹ֥ת מַ֖יִם וְשִׁבְעִ֣ים תְּמָרִ֑ים וַיַּחֲנוּ־שָׁ֖ם עַל־הַמָּֽיִם

English -
‘I will sing to the L-rd, for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.
‘The L-rd is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The L-rd is a warrior; the L-rd is his name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, L-rd, was majestic in power.
Your right hand, L-rd, shattered the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you.
You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.
By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up.
The surging waters stood up like a wall; the deep waters congealed
in the heart of the sea.
The enemy boasted, “I will pursue, I will overtake them.
“I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them.
“I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.”
But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Who among the gods is like you, L-rd?
Who is like you – majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory, working wonders?
You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies.
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people of Canaan will melt away; terror and dread will fall on them.
By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone –
until your people pass by, L-rd, until the people you bought pass by.
You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance – 

the place, L-rd, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, L-rd, your hands established.
The L-rd reigns for ever and ever.


I like to get my notices done and out of the way. So here goes ;

1. You'll see that we've beefed up the 'pages' section, now moved to the right hand side bar, which contain what we think are important posts or points of discussion, so feel free to comment on these as there isn't a 'time limit' on them before posting gets disabled.

2. I see, via my e-mail tray,  that the 'blog roll' has upset one or two individuals, for linking to atheist & Christian sites (I will add to these on recommendation and as I encounter people online). Now quite simply, I couldn't  give a shit about what people think about the blog choice of I, Hannah & Esther,  because what we wish to read and link to is OUR business and no-one else's. If you disagree, get your own blog. They are free and easy to set up. You will see that some of the blogs are atheist, others Christian, others Jewish (of various hues). I make no apology for this, because when I read a blog I'm interested in the content of what is being said, not the tribal affiliation of the author; having interesting comments is also a plus factor.  The reality is that if one is to take seriously and literally  the[ Orthodox ]Jewish message of Jews being chosen and a light to the nations, one cannot do this if one is in a self imposed ghetto of his own making!!

3. I like to wear a black hat, it is simple as that. Just because Wiki tells you that Haredi Jews wear hats and I'm Sephardi doesn't mean that Sephardi can't wear nice black hats. If you want a stereotype blog that is like the PR room of a big corp, forget this blog. You're better off with one of the big popular Jewish sites,  such as,not mine. Also please don't tell me, on my own blog, whether or not I should be posting on this particular day or that day. I've already checked much of this out, so stop being a wannabee Posek/Rabbi for me.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Passover 2014 reflections

This is my own personal thoughts on this years Passover - 

During the intermediate days, it has been great to have festive evening meal, which have included  incredibly excellent D'var Torah reflections each day (Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and looking forward to tonight's talk on the parting of the Red Sea, by my eldest). The special Shabbat this Friday was also an enjoyable affair.

Passover Seder 
As for our two Passover Seders; it was great as ever to have family and friends, Jewish and not Jewish, gathered to celebrate another Passover .It was good to see Mrs K in a Sari as the meals are an important occasion we 'dress up' in our best; for me that was black lounge suite & broad brimmed hat, I DON'T, however, wear a shritmel. Each seder each started at about 7 and ended  well after 1 am (formally at least, I believe that Hannah, Sam and a few others continued discussing & drinking till at least 5 am).  Food  was bountiful, presented in a  traditional style on the first night and Tapas the second night, see HERE for the food and wine menu.

Theological truth/insight 
I think for me the bit that I really picked up on this year was the message of Psalm 136, which we sing as part of the Seder, which has been particularly pertinent for me personally, for other people I know and for our family generally. I believe it is a self explanatory song, so won't bother with a homily or anything further :

1Give thanks to the Lord because He is good, for His kindness is eternal.
א. הוֹדוּ לַיהֹוָה כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
2. Give thanks to the God of the angels, for His kindness is eternal.ב. הוֹדוּ לֵאלֹהֵי הָאֱלֹהִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
3Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His kindness is eternal.ג. הוֹדוּ לַאֲדֹנֵי הָאֲדֹנִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
4To Him Who performs great wonders alone, for His kindness is eternal.ד. לְעֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֹת גְּדֹלוֹת לְבַדּוֹ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
5To Him Who made the heavens with understanding, for His kindness is eternal.ה. לְעֹשֵׂה הַשָּׁמַיִם בִּתְבוּנָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
6To Him Who spread out the earth over the water, for His kindness is eternal.ו. לְרֹקַע הָאָרֶץ עַל הַמָּיִם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
7To Him Who made great luminaries, for His kindness is eternal.ז. לְעֹשֵׂה אוֹרִים גְּדֹלִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
8The sun to rule by day, for His kindness is eternal.ח. אֶת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת בַּיּוֹם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
9The moon and stars to rule at night, for His kindness is eternal.ט. אֶת הַיָּרֵחַ וְכוֹכָבִים לְמֶמְשְׁלוֹת בַּלָּיְלָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
10To Him Who smote the Egyptians with their firstborn, for His kindness is eternal.י. לְמַכֵּה מִצְרַיִם בִּבְכוֹרֵיהֶם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
11And He took Israel from their midst, for His kindness is eternal.יא. וַיּוֹצֵא יִשְׂרָאֵל מִתּוֹכָם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
12With a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, for His kindness is eternal.יב. בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
13To Him Who cut the Sea of Reeds asunder, for His kindness is eternal.יג. לְגֹזֵר יַם סוּף לִגְזָרִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
14And caused Israel to cross in its midst, for His kindness is eternal.יד. וְהֶעֱבִיר יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתוֹכוֹ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
15And He threw Pharaoh and his host into the Sea of Reeds, for His kindness is eternal.טו. וְנִעֵר פַּרְעֹה וְחֵילוֹ בְיַם סוּף כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
16To Him Who led His people in the desert, for His kindness is eternal.טז. לְמוֹלִיךְ עַמּוֹ בַּמִּדְבָּר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
17To Him Who smote great kings, for His kindness is eternal.יז. לְמַכֵּה מְלָכִים גְּדֹלִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
18And slew mighty kings, for His kindness is eternal.יח. וַיַּהֲרֹג מְלָכִים אַדִּירִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
19Sihon the king of the Amorites, for His kindness is eternal.יט. לְסִיחוֹן מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
20And Og the king of Bashan, for His kindness is eternal.כ. וּלְעוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
21And He gave their land as an inheritance, for His kindness is eternal.כא. וְנָתַן אַרְצָם לְנַחֲלָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
22An inheritance to Israel His servant, for His kindness is eternal.כב. נַחֲלָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַבְדּוֹ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
23Who remembered us in our humble state, for His kindness is eternal.כג. שֶׁבְּשִׁפְלֵנוּ זָכַר לָנוּ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
24And He rescued us from our adversaries, for His kindness is eternal.כד. וַיִּפְרְקֵנוּ מִצָּרֵינוּ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
25Who gives bread to all flesh, for His kindness is eternal.כה. נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:
26Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His kindness is eternal.כו. הוֹדוּ לְאֵל הַשָּׁמָיִם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ:

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Are us Jews the only ones willing to speak out for Middle Eastern Christians ?

Via the Wall Street Journal, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations,Ron Prosor,  wrote the following piece, which includes : 
The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26% of the Middle East's population. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have lived in the Middle East since their faith was born.
The scene unfolding in the Middle East is ominously familiar. At the end of World War II, almost one million Jews lived in Arab lands. The creation of Israel in 1948 precipitated an invasion of five Arab armies. When they were unable to annihilate the newborn state militarily, Arab leaders launched a campaign of terror and expulsion that decimated their ancient Jewish communities. They succeeded in purging 800,000 Jews from their lands.
Today, Israel, which I represent at the United Nations, is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population. Its Christian community has increased from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today, in large measure because of the freedoms Christians are afforded.
So, sadly, after Arab and Islamic regimes ethnically cleansed their countries of their Jewish populations, they are now turning on their more numerous Christian brethren. It is sad that in the UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby,  is more concerned with dealing (or rather NOT dealing)with the consequences of gay marriage than he is his fellow Christians.  It should also be noted that the former Chief Rabbi of the UK, Jonathan Sacks, spoke out about middle eastern Christians a couple of years ago, in a debate in the House of Lords:

Is it now down to us Jews to speak up for Christians, given that their own leadership is impotent and unable to give a voice to their fellows in the middle east?  

UPDATE  : 21/4/2014

When I read this letter attacking Cameron for his sudden pro-Christian 'speeches', even though he has done no such thing,  by the usual suspects regarding whether Britain is a Christian country or not, I was going to write a blog post on it. Until a Christian friend of mine pointed out to me that it is utterly true- Britain is not a Christian country- it is a culturally western, post Christian- pagan country, with a large Islamic minority, which unlike other minorities (including us) is seemingly unable to tackle extremism in its own community and potentially infiltrating schools with extremist Islamic propaganda. People can make their own conclusions about this and consequences.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Most earth like planet found & extraterrestrial life?

Hi All,

This was one of the most fascinating discussions we had at our Shabbat table yesterday, following the latest announcement that the 'most earth like planet yet' has been discovered. It's called Kelper 186, slightly larger than earth, but apparently large enough to hold water and close enough to the planet's star, it could be like earth and therefore it could have extraterrestrial life and apparently might look like this : 

Artist's impression of Kepler 186f

I've always taken such issues in my stride, for suggesting some form of extraterrestrial life does exist is perfectly logical. Our own galaxy has around 200 billion plus stars (suns) - if only 1% of these (an extremely conservative %) had a planet similar to our own that is 2 billion potential earths; if only a further 1% had any life on it that would be 20 million planets and say a further 1% had intelligent life that is 200,000 civilisations. With mathematics like that, I think it is certain there is indeed extraterrestrial life out there.

But that is the secular science. What does Orthodox Judaism say about this? From my own research, I do believe that there was Orthodox Rabbi (who was also a physicists) Aryeh Kaplan, who was quite comfortable with this idea, an argument of his is here. It also seems that the Lubavitcher Rebbe, had no such problems with the idea of extra terrestrial life. Such are the arguments from the more mystical ends of the Orthodox Jewish spectrum, but does anyone from the rationalist Orthodox school have a view on this? To me I read that in Genesis G-d creates the stars and the universe. Why should extraterrestrial life, therefore, be in contradiction to the Torah?

But what do readers think ? Is this idea Biblical and in line with Torah or this heresy? And if life does exist on other planets, are the other 'chosen' people out there? Or would alien life forms be required to follow some form of the seven laws of Noah?  As we are continuing to celebrate Passover- itself an intervention of the divine- and in particular as we remember the parting of the red sea- is there not room for one further revelation or miracle of creation ? [these were some of the things we ended up discussing at midnight last night!]

I'll leave people to think and comment.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Blog so far ...

We've been reviewing the readership for this blog and we are all quite pleased that despite being just a couple of months old, we are getting a fair readership (about 3,000 unique visitors in total and about 40 to 50 individuals per day) given that this blog hasn't advertised & isn't written by lay  people who are not even remotely 'famous'... our 'religious' posts seem to get the most viewing figures,  key word searches for this blog have been ' hot gay Jews', 'Kavanagh Torah Weblog' & 'Orthodox Sephardi Blogs'. What is even more surprising is where the readership comes from. Below is the geographical representation of the blog readership so far, which is surprisingly global in scope :
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Canada 
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Kenya
  • China
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Israel
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Australia 
  • New Zealand
  • Venezuela 
  • Mexico
We've also agreed not to pre-moderate comments, so please don't abuse this, although to be honest moderation has become tiresome and detracts from other projects we wish to undertake-but we'd all still post here with no comments and no readership, as we're not doing this for vainglory.Next week, we all hope to be a bit more active in blogging. So stay tuned!


Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Investor

'On a warm summer's evenin' on a train bound for Northampton,
I met up with the investor; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin' out the window at the darkness
'Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, "Son, I've made my life out of readin' people's faces,
And knowin' what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you don't mind my sayin', I can see you're out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I'll  give you some advice."

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to buy 'em, know when to sell 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the due diligence is done

Now Ev'ry investor knows that the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to sell away and knowing what to buy.
'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to have hard assets before
Russia invades the Ukraine’

So when he'd finished speakin', he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette ate his Smaltz herring and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the investor, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to buy 'em, know when to sell 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.

You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the due diligence is done.'

Monday, 14 April 2014

Open thread

As we approach Passover week, please feel free to use this thread as an open thread to discuss whatever you want. Serious or semi serious posts will resume next week. And following feedback we will include more religious reflection in forthcoming posts.

Happy Passover!

Chag Sameach!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Off for a week....

Well, I'm off  serious blogging for a week . It is the lead up to Shabbat and then Passover. So much to do and so little time.... so in the meantime enjoy some passover songs!

See you all soon

Chag Sameach!

Shabbat Shalom!


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The BNP, Fish 'N Chips & Judaism , sorry Zionism

Today I had the 'pleasure' of leaflets from the BNP, which if people do not already know is a far right British political party. Now for several years, the BNP under its leader Nick Griffin [MEP], has been insisting for years that they are not racist or anti- semitic. 

Except when our Nick says this :

'An unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists and Zionist supremacists has schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation with the deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands. As indigenous resistance to this human genetic modification industry grows, the criminal elite seeks new ways to camouflage their project. First, their immigrant pawns were temporary guest workers. Then it was a multiracial experiment. Then they were refugees. Then the answer to a shrinking population. Different excuses, different lies. And asylum is just another one, but the real aim stays the same: the biggest genocide in human history, the final solution of the Christian European problem. This crime demands a new set of Nuremberg trials and you people will be in the dock.'

Get that? 'Zionist supremacists' are responsible for immigration to 'breed 'us' out of existence'.

Right, OK hold the phone here, hold the phone ! It gets better, especially when one reads the BNP view on the Ukraine :

'The greatest irony of all is that, while naive Ukrainian nationalists blame Russia for the murder of millions during the 1930s, the Bolsheviks were overwhelmingly not Russian at all, although the majority of their victims were.Indeed, the radical Jewish racism and supremacism and anti-Christian hatred that in the 1930s produced the Bolshevik terror, now largely find their outlet in the extreme Zionism, anti-white fanaticism and globalism of the neo-cons.The Ukrainian nationalists who provided the backbone of the recent revolution/coup against the elected but pro-Russian government are undoubtedly sincere, but they have been manipulated, organised, funded and armed by sinister forces in the West, which are in reality very far from being Western'

Yes it is all the Jews, sorry , Zionist's fault [somehow].The BNP linkage of “Jewish racism”, “extreme Zionism”, “anti-white fanaticism” and “globalism” may seem bizarre to a person of reason anyone with a quarter of a brain cell which has been dissected by a newt with a heavy pair of shopping and poor eyesight , but it makes perfect sense in the strange, conspiracy-addled world of the far right.

As for Jewish, sorry Zionist contribution to British culture :
Oh dear what a terrible, Jewish, sorry Zionist conspiracy that we've forced 'indigenous' British to adopt as their national dish Sephardi Jewish food....

Why I am a Conservative

“I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.”

Benjamin Disraeli, Conservative politician and first Jewish [Sephardi] born British Prime Minister 1867, 1874-1880.

The lie of Israel ethnic cleansing- debunked

Ethnic cleansing , according to Wiki is  defined  as thus :

"Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic or religious groups from a given territory with the intent of creating a territory inhabited by people of a homogeneous or pure ethnicity, religion, culture, and history. The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), as well as mass murder, and intimidation"

One of the most vile accusations regarding the state of Israel is that she is somehow such an 'ethnic cleanser'- see here, here, and here  for just 3 examples a  1 second google search can come up with.Sadly there was 3,068,000 articles according to google search on Israel and ethnic cleansing, found in 0.38 seconds .

The propaganda does not, however, stand up to the facts. Firstly in Israel pre 1967  boundaries, the facts are as follows( source )  :
Arab jewish population in Israel Palestine 1949 to 2006

I draw to the reader's attention the FACT that in 1949, after the apparent 'ethnic cleansing' of Palestine, Jews made up 86.4% of Israel's population & you will also note that the Jewish percentage has been gradually declining, so by 2006 that proportion was down to 79.2%.

Hardly evidence of 'ethnic cleansing' & let us not forget that Israel's non Jewish citizens have  :

* An ability to vote in general elections & to be represented in the democratically elective body, called the Knesset

* Freedom of Speech

* Equality before the law

* The same privileges, benefits and rights as any other citizen

* Freedom of religion

Where else is this allowed in the middle east?? 

Turning now to the 'occupied territories' of the West Bank and Gaza and the Arab popualation we see that the population has steadily increased since Israel 'conquered' the land in 1967  : 

Where is this alleged 'ethnic cleansing'?
West bank and gaza strip arab population 1948 to 2005

Another point of contention is the ridiculous demands that Israel give its capital , Jerusalem, to the Palestinians. But what's this? A majority of Jerusalem is in fact JEWISH :

Jerusalem jewish muslim christian population 1910 to 2005
What happened to the right of self determination of  people, does this not apply to Jewish Israelis ? 

We can see from the statistical  facts that there is NO ethnic cleansing going on in Israel or by Israel.... But as my sister has  noted , Arab & Muslim regimes have a track record which they won't admit to; for it is  they are the real ethnic cleansers of the middle east and did so less than 3 years after the murderous Fascist swines of Nazi Germany, who began with ethnic cleansing of Jews &  tried to exterminate every last and every single Jew on the earth [Source &  here ] :


In summary the population of non-Jewish Palestine has experienced a growth rate of 700%;  Sephardi Jews of the Middle East, outside of Israel a decrease of 99.9%.

Who is the real ethnic cleanser ?