Thursday, April 26, 2007




"Every man, your father and mother shall you fear and My Sabbaths shall you observe -I am Hashem your G-d."

Our sages learn from this verse that although everyone is required to respect his parents wishes, one may not violate the Sabbath even should aparent command one to do so.

There were once 3 brothers who went to different universities in order to learn. Each came back with a different wisdom. One developed a television-like unit that could see great distances. The second invented an air travel machine that traversed great distances in no time at all. The other brother discovered a natural healing formula which could cure a broad variety of maladies.

One day while viewing his video screen, the first brother discovered that a King’s daughter was deathly ill. The youngest brother immediately contacted his sibling who transported him and his elixir to the capital city. The treatment was effective and the princess returned to good health.

The elated monarch offered her hand in marriage to one of the team of heroes.

"Had I not seen the problem on my video the worst would have happened" claimed the first brother. "Without the speed of my aircraft we would have arrived at the palace too late" said the second.

"Yes," agreed the youngest, "However without my medicine nothing could have saved her."
The King, seeing some validity in each argument-turned to the princess and asked her to choose.

"As far as the past is concerned, you all contributed to my salvation," she observed," but as far as my future is concerned, should I suffer are lapse, it is the elixir that I will need"

She therefore chose the brother who had developed the miracle cure.
There are 3 partners in the process of bringing a person into the world-Hashem, mother and father. Once born, the human is dependent on G-d's sustenance and mercy for continued survival. Therefore, should parents ask a child to violate the laws of the Torah the child may not comply.

Shabbat Shalom

Diálogo de Civilizações


Sampaio convidado para Alto Representante do Diálogo das Civilizações
Jorge Sampaio acaba de ser convidado pelo secretário-geral das Nações Unidas para assumir o cargo de Alto Representante das Nações Unidas para o Diálogo das Civilizações. A ideia é responder ao aumento de tensões em todo o mundo, do extremismo e de conflitos de raíz política, cultural ou religiosa.

( 18:57 / 26 de Abril 07 )

Sampaio irá ter, entre várias funções, as da promoção de iniciativas políticas para fomentar o diálogo e compreensão entre os povos no respeito pela diversidade das suas culturas, civilizações e religiões, bem como contribuir para o reforço da vontade política colectiva em abordar os problemas e desequilíbrios mundiais de forma concertada.

O convite foi feito pelo próprio secretário-geral da ONU, Ban Ki Moon. Jorge Sampaio fica com um cargo equiparável a sub-secretário geral das Nações Unidas.

O nome de Jorge Sampaio foi sugerido pelo chefe do governo espanhol, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, impulsionador em 2005 da iniciativa da Aliança das Civilizações, que posteriormente apresentou às Nações Unidas.

A escolha do ex-presidente da República era ainda apoiada por várias outras nações, entre as quais a Turquia que também se envolveu directamente no projecto, que foi posteriormente apadrinhado pelo ex-secretário Geral da ONU Kofi Annan.

Até ao fim de Maio de 2008, Jorge Sampaio acumula estas funções com as de enviado especial para a Luta contra a Tuberculose.

Entretanto, o governo espanhol já aplaudiu a escolha do ex-presidente da República Jorge Sampaio para liderar a Aliança das Civilizações, realçando a sua «ampla experiência política» e conhecimento da realidade internacional.


Saudemos o Dr. Jorge Sampaio, LeChaim!

Andre Moshè Pereira, Koah Pr.

Metamei Mishkav u-Moshav

Rabino Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld

59. Things that Make Beds and Seats Impure

A man who is impure on account of a running issue [as it says "If any man has a flow in his flesh..."1], a menstruating woman [as it says "And if a woman flows, her flow being blood in her flesh... and if the flow of a woman's blood flows for many days..."2], and a woman who has given birth [as it says "If a woman conceives and gives birth..."3] are all sources of impurity. They make a utensil impure if they touch it, move it (even if it is earthenware), sit or lie on it (if it belongs to them and is fit for the purpose), or are covered by it, and they make a person impure if they touch him, move him, or are moved by him. Rabbinically, non-Jews are also sources of impurity in these ways.a

The body fluids of such a person and blood from the womb are sources of impurity by touch or movement, as it says "His flow is impure",1 and it says "And if the man with the flow spits on a pure man he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be impure until evening",4 and it says "And the unwell woman in her isolation and the man with his flow".5 A seat or bed that such a person has been on is also a source of impurity by touch or movement [as it says "And a man that touches his bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be impure until evening... and anyone that touches anything that is under him shall be impure until evening; and one who carries them shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be impure until evening... and anyone who touches her bed shall wash his clothes and and bathe in water and be impure until evening; and anyone who touches any utensil that she sits on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be impure until evening... and anyone who touches them shall be impure and shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be impure until evening"6].

A man who has had sexual relations with such a woman is a source of impurity like her, except that his seat or bed [and body fluids], though impure, are not sources of impurity, as it says "[And if a man lies with her... he is impure for seven days] and any bed that he lies on becomes impure".7,b

Such persons become pure when they have seven clean days (a total of fourteen days in the case of a woman who has given birth to a girl) and bathe [as it says "And if the man with the flow becomes pure from his flow he shall count seven days from his purification and wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in living water and be pure... and if she becomes pure from her flow she shall count seven days and afterwards become pure"8].c

1. Lev. 15:2ff a. 1:1; 2:10; 6:1,3; 8:1-3; Kelim 24:7
2. Lev. 15:l9ff, 25ff b. 1:8-9,12,14-15; 3:1-3; 6:2
3. Lev. 12:2,5 c. 5:1
4. Lev. 15:8
5. Lev. 15:23
6. Lev. 15:5,10,21-22,27
7. Lev. 15:24
8. Lev. 15:13,28

What is Paper Clips?

An inspiring production of The Johnson Group, in association with One Clip at a Time Films and Ergo Entertainment, "Paper Clips" tells the story of the students of Whitwell Middle School in rural Whitwell, Tennessee.

In 1998, the students embarked on a classroom project aimed at teaching about cultural diversity in a small community almost exclusively white and Christian. Their "Paper Clips" project sparked one of the most inspirational and profound lessons in tolerance, in the least likely of places.

Out of a desire to help students open their eyes to the diversity of the world beyond their insulated valley, the school's principal, Linda Hooper, created the "Paper Clips" project to help her students to grasp the enormity of human suffering during the Holocaust. The idea was to collect six million paper clips - one for each of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust - an idea that touched a chord among Holocaust survivors, their families and even world leaders and celebrities as word of the project spread.

Ultimately, the school project generated an international outpouring of support and encouragement that none of the students and teachers - nor the citizens of Whitwell - had ever envisioned.

What is ADL's involvement?

The Anti-Defamation League is deeply involved with "Paper Clips" and is committed to promoting the film's message. Early on in the production, One Clip at a Time Films brought the documentary to the attention of ADL, which immediately recognized and understood the value of this film as a wonderful educational tool. ADL has developed an educational curriculum to accompany a DVD version of the film that it will be making available to middle and high schools in spring 2005, once the commercial run of the film has ended.

ADL has held special screenings of "Paper Clips" around the country and is encouraging everyone to see this film.

The "Paper Clips" Story

The idea to collect paper clips was born when a student at Whitwell asked, "What is six million? I've never seen that before" - a reference to the six million European Jews who perished in the Nazi campaign of genocide during World War II. Hooper and her colleagues suggested that it might help the students to visualize the staggering number of Jewish and other victims of the Holocaust by finding an object to collect.

The students did some research, and discovered that citizens of Norway, where the paper clip was invented, wore paper clips on their lapels as a sign of patriotism and resistance against Nazi tyranny during the war years.

The film takes viewers from the initial stages of the project and follows it through to its fruition, as the project generates an outpouring of support from around the world as word spreads. When all was said and done, the students had amassed not only millions of paperclips, but thousands of letters from 19 countries and 49 states, as well as paper-clip contributions from the likes of Tom Hanks, Bill Cosby, Tom Bosley, George W. Bush, Steven Spielberg, Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton and many German citizens.

The project extended over several years and, in 2001, Whitwell dedicated a unique Holocaust memorial railcar, filled with paper clips and dedicated in an emotional ceremony on the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

"Paper Clips" is rated "G" with a running time of 78 minutes.

ADL Condemns British Union Of Journalists For Call To Boycott Israeli Products

New York, NY, April 16, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned a resolution passed by the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ) urging a boycott of Israeli products, calling the measure "highly politicized and blatantly biased."

The resolution, approved April 13 by a vote of 66 to 54 during the NUJ's Annual Delegate's Meeting, condemned the state of Israel for "the savage pre-planned attack on Lebanon" and the "slaughter of civilians in Gaza" and called for sanctions, including a proposed boycott of Israeli goods.

"It is shocking that a group representing journalists could approve such a highly politicized and blatantly biased statement, which is at odds with their profession's mandate to remain objective and unbiased observers," said Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

In a letter to Jeremy Dear, Secretary General of the NUJ, ADL said the resolution "violates the basic tenet of journalism – objectivity" and contradicts the union's own code of conduct, which calls for journalists to "eliminate distortion" and to ensure that "the information he/she disseminates is fair and accurate."

The NUJ resolution, "shockingly disregards key facts of the complex Arab-Israeli conflict, including Hezbollah's aggression against Israel in July 2006 and its seizure of Israeli soldiers from sovereign Israeli territory," added Messrs. Lewy and Foxman.

The union's action follows several recent high-profile attempts by UK-based groups to encourage boycotts against Israel, including the Association of University Teachers, which approved -- then later abandoned -- a boycott of Israeli universities. Earlier this month, Aosdana, Ireland's state-sponsored academy of creative artists, voted on a motion to "end all cooperation" with Israeli state-sponsored cultural events and institutions. The motion was defeated and condemned by the Irish government.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Abraham Foxman

Dear Andre Moshè Pereira,

Recently, the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ) passed an outrageous resolution that urges a boycott of Israeli products. ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman and National Chair Glen S. Lewy said the resolution "violates the basic tenet of journalism - objectivity."

What makes this resolution even more insidious is that it follows on the heels of similar resolutions by other British professional unions in recent years. These resolutions all have the same goal: maliciously undermining Israel.

This resolution, like the others, deliberately disregards key facts of the complex Arab-Israeli conflict, including Hezbollah's aggression against Israel in July 2006 and its seizure of Israeli soldiers from sovereign Israeli territory.

It is more critical than ever that we take a stand. Please sign the letter to the NUJ. We must do everything we can to fight divestment and boycotts against Israel.

Parashá Acharei Mos/Kedoshim

Rabino Berel Wein

The old Jewish bon mot is that acharei mot – after the death of a person - then kedoshim – the person is suddenly remembered only as being noble and holy. This attitude stems directly from the ancient Jewish tradition not to speak ill of those that have passed on. Naturally we are all aware that not everyone is deserving of the glowing eulogy bestowed upon the deceased but nevertheless Jewish protocol holds sway in these matters.

The Shulchan Aruch explicitly allows “some exaggeration” in the funeral orations over a deceased person. The measure of “some exaggeration” is purposely left vague and undefined and the good judgment of the eulogizer in the matter is encouraged. My father, of blessed memory, told me thatonce when he was a rabbi in Chicago, a noted Jewish mobster died. The family of the gangster was affiliated with the synagogue where my father served as rabbi and they insisted that my father eulogize their mobster relative at the funeral service.

In order to guarantee that there would be a respectable turnout of people at the funeral chapel for the service, the family engaged the services of a very famous cantor to sing the memorial prayers. They posted notices in the neighborhood about this cantor’s funeral-concert and naturally a large crowd turned out for the event. My poor father who was hard pressed to be able to say anything positive about the deceased finally declared in his necessarily brief eulogy: “The man must have done many good deeds and favors privately that we are unaware of, for look at the large crowd that has come here to the funeral chapel to pay him their last respects!”The Torah itself confirms this attitude and behavior towards the dead. The two sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, whose deaths are the subject of the first verse of the parsha of this week, were described in the Torah as causing their own deaths by “offering up a strange fire [of incense]” uponGod’s altar. The rabbis of the Talmud noted other failings in these two sons of Aharon – they refused to marry, they were intoxicated when entering the holy precincts of the Mishap, they had a rebellious attitude towards their elders, Moshe and Aharon, among other failings.

Yet we find that in discussing the matter with his bereaved brother Aharon, Moshe tells him that this is what God must have meant, so to speak, when He told Moshe b’krovai akadesh – through the death of those who are nearest and dearest to Heaven will God’s name be sanctified in the world. The Torah after pointing out their sin of the “strange fire” nevertheless continues to describe the deceased as krovai – My nearest and beloved ones.

From this it is apparent that we are not to dwell upon the faults and shortcomings of others, certainly not after their deaths. Judgment is God’s province and muckraking people after they are gone is not within Jewish tradition. The prohibition of lashon hara – negative bad speech – applies to speaking about the dead as well as the living.

Shabat shalom.


"Eight Chapters" Chapter Seven (Part 3)

Rabi Yaakov Feldman

Here's a layout of the twelve basic degrees of prophecy as Rambam understands them. The first two are actually stepping-stones to prophecy rather than prophecy per se, as we'll see.The first is termed “Divine Inspiration”, and those who attained it were inspired to engage in or to lead others in great, lofty, important deeds, though the one experiencing the inspiration couldn't prophesy.

And those who achieved the second degree, termed “The Spirit of Holiness”, had a sense of being overtaken by something or another quite impalpable that somehow moved them to wisdom, moral insight, or to engage in important civil action, but they too couldn't prophesy.Here's how the other degrees are depicted.

Those who achieved the third degree of prophecy would experience a vision in a dream; the fourth would involve hearing voices in a dream as well, without seeing anyone; the fifth involved being actually addressed by someone in a dream; and those who'd arrived at the sixth degree would be addressed by an angel in a dream.Those on the next levels would experience a revelation while fully awake. Those who'd arrived at the seventh level would be addressed by G-d’s voice, the eighth was characterized by having symbolic visions, the ninth by hearing voices in a vision, the tenth by a human form addressing the prophet in a vision, and those who'd attained the eleventh degree of prophecy would see an angel who'd then address them in a vision.

The twelfth degree of prophecy was unique to Moses, and we’ll describe it later on.Here's how the actual experience of prophecy was portrayed. The prophet would sit alone and concentrate while in a cheerful and benevolent mood. He’d then enter into a state of mind Rambam and others termed “active reason” and conjoin that frame of mind with G-d’s own “active reason”.

That implies that the prophet would consciously immerse his mind with thoughts of G-d and try to attune it to G-d's thoughts and intentions.An “emanation” would then flow down into the prophet’s intellect which would pass through to his creative mind -- though, as we said, a prophet could also receive a vision in a dream state -- which would itself allow for a vision that would then have the prophet shake and grow weak, and would temporarily confuse him but would become crystal clear to him after a time.

In any event, all prophets had to come under the tutelage of an older prophet when young, and had to have been of a certain type, which we'll explore next.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tfila LeShlom HaMedina

YOM Ha'atzmaut

A Sermon delivered by Rabbi Barry Gelman, Associate Rabbi, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY on the first anniversary of Prime Minister Rabin's Assassination.
I recall learning about President Kennedy as a young boy. My mother and father told me that they remember exactly where they were when they heard about the assassination. Many surely share this same memory. I also remember not believing my parents and going around asking may parents friends...where were you on the day that President Kennedy was assassinated?" Almost as if I was asking them to offer an alibi to me.
As a youngster it was hard for me to believe that one event had the power to make such a lasting impression on someone. I could not believe, that the news of any one event could carve out such a permanent spot in ones consciousness.
Now, somewhat unfortunately, I finally believe my parents. I understand exactly what they are referring to. I remember as I am sure many do... exactly where I was when I heard the news of the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin.
It was exactly one year ago today. It was a Shabbat afternoon and I was, as many were, preparing to daven Mincha.
The more people I speak to, the more I hear the same story..... In comes someone, running, running with the news that "He was shot!!, Rabin was shot!!" and as everyone waits in shock, nervous, wondering, who did it? Who could have done it? Was it an Arab? Was it a Jew? .... and a few long minutes later someone else comes running in with more news: Yitzchak Rabin had died from wounds inflicted by a Jew, a Jew wearing a kipa.
On a national level, as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin put it this week, the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin was the single greatest Chilul Hashem in all of Jewish history.
The Rambam clearly defines the gravity of a Chilul Hashem by the number of people who hear about it. And in this case, CNN, the Associated Press, and in fact every news media outlet throughout the world, was able to send images of the assassination and it's aftermath to billions of people across the globe instantaneously.
On a personal level, and I am sure that I am not alone. The fact is that assassination of Yitzchak Rabin has changed my life. My opinions on tolerance, politics and in fact my entire world view is now seen threw glasses tinted by this tragedy. Needless to say, my life as a Jew has been irrevocably altered by it as well.
Never again will I allow myself to take for granted concepts such as "love your neighbor as yourself' or "what is hurtful to you to do not do unto your neighbor," or "all Jews are responsible for one another, and for the actions of their fellow Jews." Never again will I be able to allow my family, my friends or my congregants to take these core Jewish concepts for granted either.
Having said all that, I really do NOT want to speak about the assassination this morning. We all have heard and read much about it and I could not possibly hope to add to the words of such great Jewish leaders as Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein, Rav Yehuda Amital, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, or Rabbi Avi Weiss, Rav Herschel Schecter and so many others.
However, I do want to talk about the state of affairs in Israel, and the rest of the Jewish world, exactly one year after this abhorable event. Allow me to put it in terms that are very close to home. How many of us who watch TV chose to watch the baseball playoffs instead of the Presidential or Vice Presidential debates?
It seems to me that no one cares anymore about the elections or about politics in general. Newsweek magazine reports that this year more than any other year, apathy afflicts the American political scene, and I sense that a similar phenomenon is taking place in Israel. One year after the one of the most dramatic events in the history of the State of Israel, the one word that describes the emotional status of the people in Israel is despair.
Now...please understand that such an attitude, if only applicable to only one side of the political fence would be acceptable, not ideal but not at all out of the ordinary. But what's going on in Israel now is across the board despair, from left to right, from frum to secular from young and old, new immigrant and vatik.
Basically it goes like this. The right wingers feel that Netanyahu is to soft, to hear them talk it sounds like he has turned into a DOVE. After all he plans to go ahead with the Hevron withdrawal doesn't he?
The left wingers are basically, still unwilling to believe or accept the results of the democratic elections which took place in May and have thrown up their hands in disbelief. Many still regard Shimon Peres as the "true" Prime Minister.
Now you would think that if all the Jews are unhappy, then at least the Arabs would be somewhat satisfied! Nope. They also feel that nothing of substance is happening and that Israel is basically spinning it's wheels in the negotiations and implementation of the Oslo accords.
Despair, Discouragement and depression have set in to all segments of Israeli society.
The truth is, that this is nothing new to our nation. Avraham Avinu himself underwent similar, if not greater setbacks in his attempt to settle peacefully in Eretz Yisrael.
All started off very rosy for Avraham. "Lech lecha meartzecha…" "Go forth from your the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse."
And when Avraham finally gets to Eretz Yisrael G-d again tells him. Lezaracha eten et ha'aretz hazot," To your offspring I will give this land." And in thanks Avraham builds an alter and offers sacrifices to G-d.
That's where the good stuff ends.
Almost immediately upon Avraham's arrival into the PROMISED land we read "And there was a famine in the land," and Avraham was forced to leave the land of Israel.
What kind of promise is that? Why would G-d bring a famine precisely at the moment of fulfillment of the promise? And as if that's not enough, after the famine when Avraham is able to return to E"Y he is met by yet another traumatic event .... WAR. "Four kings against five." A war that did indeed affect him personally in form of the kidnapping of his nephew Lot.
"And when Avraham heard that Lot had been taken captive, he armed his disciples.....and pursued the captures as far as Dan.
Avraham was deeply involved in this war. In fact the Midrash comments that Avraham's strength was weakened due to this chase.
So. We must ask the same question again. Why? Why all of these calamities in the promised land. Why can't Avraham simply receive the promised land in tranquillity?
We can even add to the question. Why would our promised land be the one place that is coveted by so many different nations? As the crossroads between Asia, Africa and Europe, there has always been strife surrounding the Holy Land. In our own lifetime we have seen war, and terrorism in a land we believe to be promised to us.
Why indeed.
Like so many other mysteries, the answer lies hidden in the question. Hakadosh Baruch Hu is using these events to teach Avraham a fundamental lesson. The land of Israel is not naturally equipped to bear crops or to bring forth independence or nationhood. As Rav Hirsch said... and please listen carefully to his words, how clearly he speaks to us all today. "The land of Israel, if left unnurtured is prone to famine and political upheaval. It is specifically because of despair, that it is destroyed!" This is the message that G-d passes on to Avraham very early in his career in Eretz Yisrael. It may not be easy, you will not be handed this land or even peaceful existence in this land, on a silver platter. Building a nation takes time ----- never lose hope ----- never despair.
A recently published article was entitled "A failure named Netanyahu." Please understand this is not a Netanyahu pep rally, but would anyone think of naming an article "The failure named Abraham?"
After all Avraham literally deserted the Holy land because of a famine. Perhaps Avraham's separation from Lot caused Lot's capture, Avraham apparently puts Sarah's life in danger by telling Pharaoh that she was his sister. Yet no one calls Abraham a failure. Did he make mistakes? Perhaps according to some, but a failure -- never.
Desperation is a terrible enemy of a Jew. It has no place in a Jew's vocabulary. If Avraham did make mistakes at least he never gave up hope. We never hear Avraham express that he will never succeed, that the promise from G-d is doomed to failure. He did not throw up his hands in disgust and walk away.
What have we learned since the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin? We have learned the negative trait called despair. We have not learned to untie or free ourselves, rather we have learned to tie our own hands.
I can't imagine that Avraham could have expected to be exiled from Eretz Yisrael or to face war almost immediately. Nonetheless, Avraham did not fall into depression, he took action.
It may sound like I am trying to wake up sleeping tigers but that's not the point. The point I am trying to make is not political, nor is it an attempt at a call to action, it is the simple statement that despair, the losing of hope, should not and cannot be our way.
Our hope, our Tikva, for 2,500 years was to have a homeland. Now our hope, our Tikva, is to have peace in that very same homeland, given back to us by the graces of HaShem 50 years ago. Just as our hope for a homeland was Bat Shnot Alpaim, 2000 years old, and we never let go, so should we never let go of our Hope, our Tikva, for peace.
If on the American front we as a society have given up caring, we dare not let the same attitude afflict us when it comes to our homeland, our Israel.
I don't dare claim to know the answer to the problems that Israel is facing today. But that's not the point. If we have in fact tied our own hands with despair, then the only way to untie them is with Hope, Tikva.
With our hands free we can reach out and embrace the future and all the good it promises with open arms.
There is a man in Yerushalayim named Rabbi Shlomo Aviner. He is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ateret Kohanin in the Old City right around the corner from The Kotel. This is one man among us who may have had good reason to give up hope on the government. He is an ardent right winger with strong political feelings. Listen closely to his words, written during the days of the Rabin/Peres Government. They are poetic and so meaningful to us today and I will try to so them justice with my translation:
"The time on Shabbat between Shacharit and Mussaf when the shliach tzibur prepares to say Tfila LeShlom HaMedina (The Prayer for the safety of The State) is the most joyous moment of my week.
"When I hear 'Avinu SheBashamayim Tzur Yisrael VeGoalo' (Our father in heaven, the rock of Israel and its savior) – I jump up like a spring – and I refuse to change one word.
"All the proofs in the world don't matter one bit, and the more ridicule I hear, the more I say this wondrous prayer.
"I feel like jumping up and telling the shliach tzibur (cantor) to say it again! and again! and again! I feel like getting up and kissing him.
"Even when the State and the government desecrate the sanctity of the Shabbat, I continue to pray for their safety. And even when they desecrate the sanctity of our land Shabbat, I continue to pray for their health. And I will not stop!
"Because it is my country. It is my State. It is my land, I have no other and I love it just the way it is. And this is my government, yes, THIS IS MY GOVERNMENT! and I'll repeat that thousands of times.
"I have serious reservations and criticisms about her, I have significant pain because of her, but it is my government.
"And when she is replaced by a better government, I will be very happy, but in the meantime it is my government and I will continue to pray for her with all my heart.
"And when she is replaced, I will pray for the next government and I will still say - This is My Government! and I will express my pride for all the world to see.
"We are no longer a downtrodden nation which has the government of a foreign nation to make decisions for us, I have a government of my own.
"Are you listening nations of the world?? Governments come and governments go but my pride is forever eternal. And if someone made a sticker that said "I say the Tfila LeShlom HaMedina" I would stick it on my briefcase and on the lapel of my jacket and the lapel of my coat. I would stick it on with pride.
"Pride is a loathsome attribute but this kind of pride is as pure as a newborn flower.
"And if this State and this government shall, Heaven forbid, enact laws that go against our Torah, I will cry bitterly of course and I will tell everyone that these laws are as the dust of the earth but I will continue to say the Tfila LeShlom HaMedina with joy and happiness.
"There are those who see shadows, and there are those who see the light that goes before the shadows. But isn't it obvious that where there are shadows there must be light? And this light is so, so sweet.
"This is precisely why I say, and will continue to say, the Tfila LeShlom HaMedina."
These are hardly words of despair. This are hopeful words, positive words. Words spoken by the lips of one man. Words I hope and pray to hear from the lips of many, many more Jews for many years to come.
Andre Moshè Pereira,

Koah, Presidente
Ceimom, Director


Rabbi Dovid Siegel

This week's haftorah presents the Jewish nation in a most unique context. In his last words of prophecy the prophet Amos describes the Jewish people in a very peculiar manner. He says in the name of Hashem, "Aren't you likened to the Kushites, to be Mine?" (9:7) Who are Kushites and in what way are the Jewish people compared to them? Chazal inthe Yalkut Shimoni (157) interpret the term Kushites to refer to the Ethiopian community whose skin color is distinctly different than all other nations. This physical distinction renders it virtually impossible for the Kushites to intermingle with anyone without maintaining their national identity. Chazal continue that in this same manner the Jewish people are distinctly different than all other nations. The moral and ethical code of the observant Jewish people inhibits them from intermingling with the nations of the world. The drastic skin color contrast of the Ethiopians serves as a striking analogy to the drastic ethical contrast between the Jewish people and all other nations.The prophet continues and reminds the Jewish people that it is this distinct ethical conduct which renders them Hashem's chosen people. After likening the Jewish people to the Kushites, the prophet completes his analogy with the profound words, "to be Mine". The Metzudos Dovid (9:7) explains this to mean that we are Hashem's people exclusively because ofour distinguished ethical conduct. He adds that we will remain Hashem's special nation as long as we possess elevated ethical standards. The prophet then draws our attention to our earliest origins and says, "Didn't Hashem bring you up from the land of Egypt?" (ad loc.) Malbim explains that these words allude to the distinguished qualities of the Jewish people in whose merit they were liberated from Egypt. Although they existed for two hundred years in the corrupt and immoral Egyptian environment they remained a distinct and distinguished entity. Their moral code of dress and speech reflected their pure attitudes about life which made intermingling with the Egyptians a virtual impossibility. For the most part, their Jewish values were not corrupted or distorted which allowed the Jews to remain distinguished and elevated. The prophet concludes our haftorah with this theme and promises our ultimate redemption from our extended exile. Amos says, "On that day I will establish the kingdom of Dovid.... so that you, upon whom My name rests, will inherit Edom and all nations." (9:11,12) Our identity with Hashem as a nation upon whom His name rests, will play a significant role in our final redemption. The Jewish people will inherit their archenemy Edom soley because of their identity with Hashem. Our elevated standards of morality will truly earn us the title of His people and in this merit we will be finally liberated from the world's corrupt influence and environment.This special lesson reflects the essence of this week's parsha, Kedoshim, which embodies Hashem's lofty call to us for spiritual elevation. The Torah begins and says, "Be holy for I, Hashem, am Holy." (Vayikra 19:2) Nachmanides (ad loc.) shares with us his classic insight into this mitzva."Be holy", says the Ramban, "refers to the introduction of sanctity and spirituality into every dimension of our lives." Even our physical and mundane activities should be directed towards Hashem. We are forbidden to excessively indulge in worldly pleasures and are expected to limit our passions and pleasures to productive and accomplishing acts. Morality and spirituality should encompass our entire being and our every action should ultimately become the service of Hashem. This philosophy is diametrically opposed to that of the nations of the world. To them physical pleasure and enjoyment have no restrictions or limitations and religion does not govern their passions or cravings. As said, our standards of morality are truly unique and it is this factor that elevates us and distinguishes us from amongst the nations of the world. The parsha concludes with this message and says, "And you shall be holy unto Me for I am holy and I have separated you from the nations to be Mine." As stated, we are Hashem's people because of our holiness -elevated moral and ethical standards - which truly separate us from the nations of the world. And in this merit we will soon experience our final redemption and be a nation unto Him, privileged to remain in His presence for eternity.


Rabbi Dovid Siegel

Kollel Toras Chaim Kiryat

Friday, April 20, 2007


Rabino Berel Wein

The disease of tzoraat, the description and cure of which occupies most ofthe subject matter of these two parshiyot that we read this Shabat, is closely linked in rabbinic thought and literature with the sin of speaking lashon hara – slander and idle gossip. The connection between the sin of lashon hara and the resultant punishment and consequence of tzoraat is not immediately obvious. And, the fact that tzoraat is no longer clearly definable or even present today further complicates this issue.

The sin of lashon hara unfortunately is still hale and hearty today but apparently its consequences have become invisible to us. One of the many explanations given as to the connection between lashon hara and tzoraat is that lashon hara attempted to “kill” and defame a person in private and secret – a discreet stab in the back tactic – so the punishment was a public physical disfigurement able to be seen by all.

But disfigurement is disfigurement only in relation to the appearance of the general population. If everyone is disfigured in a like manner, so to speak everyone has tzoraat, then no one is really disfigured and the punishment of tzoraat has lost its punch, its deterrent effect. Thus in biblical times, when lashon hara was not yet very common place, tzoraat was deemed a just punishment – a public exposure of the slanderer who “kills”secretly. But in later times, when in the words of the Talmud, “everyone is covered with the dust of lashon hara,” then tzoraat loses its effect. For as I stated earlier, a society where everyone is disfigured is a society where no one is deemed to be disfigured.

There is a further relationship between tzoraat and lashon hara. Speech, the gift of verbal communication and intercourse, is a uniquely human characteristic. The Targum Onkelos translates the phrase that God gave manthe breath of life as meaning that God gave man the gift of speech and communication. There is nothing therefore more definitive of being a human being than the ability to speak and talk to others.

There is nothing more dehumanizing than being horribly disfigured. All sorts of prosthetic devices have been created to help people minimize their disfigurement. Though our modern society has become more tolerant of people suffering from disfigurement than was the society of our grandparents, weall still feel that the disfigured person is less “human” than the rest of society. Thus the gift of speech promotes the great concept of human uniqueness while the punishment of tzoraat serves to minimize that person’s humanity in the eyes of others.

Lashon hara – evil, gossipy speech – dehumanizes us all. It takes a holy vessel, speech and communicative ability, and defiles it and turns it into an instrument of harm and tragedy.

Tzoraat came to remind us all of that basic lesson of life. And even though tzoraat is not visible amongst us today, our reading and studying of these two parshiyot of the Shabat serves as a vehicle for us to think about and appreciate the gift of speech given to humans and arrange our speech accordingly. We must wipe off the dust of lashon hara from our bodies and minds.

Shabat shalom.
Andre Moshè Pereira, Pres. Koah

Tzaraas: Spot the Problem

Rabi Chaim Levene

The Mitzvah: where a man sees tzaraas, a spot of leprosy on his skin, he is pronounced spiritually impure by the kohen and has to take leave of the Jewish camp to under go cleansing and spiritual rectification (Leviticus 13-14). Similar rules of impurity apply where tzaraas is found on clothing or on his house.

The appearance of tzaraas, leprosy was a major cause for concern.

It was a spiritual malaise - one that was unnaturally revealed through physical symptoms.
At any time, the soul, like the body, is either in a healthy or in a sickstate. An infected body necessitates a doctor's consultation where as thesickness of the soul requires the specialist consultation of the righteous Sages. They act in the capacity of spiritual physicians, to heal and cureany malady which inflicts the soul (Rambam, Introduction to Avos).

In Biblical times, where the Children of Israel lived on an elevated existence, G-dliness dwelled in their midst such that it penetrated everylevel of their lives – their bodies, their clothes and their homes. Thus,in the circumstances where the isolated sinner had fallen short of the exacting standards of his peers, either him, his clothing or his home was inflicted with tzaraas – a illness which was a kindness insofar as italerted him to his spiritual failings and prompted him into repentance (Ramban, Vayikra 14:47).

The ideal state is the co-existence and harmony between "body" and "soul"with one reflecting the other. The Shem MiShmuel explains how, in the sameway that the final departure of the "soul" leads to a radical transformation of the "body", similarly, defilement to the Jew's original state of "holiness" was mirrored in the "body". This was apparent in the appearance of tzaraas.

The main iniquity that is the cause for tzaraas, of course, is the crime of lashon hara , gossip or slander (Arachin 15-16).

The tragedy of lashon hara is revisiting of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. This creature, as the incarnation of evil, spoke the original slander against G-d which led to the forbidden eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Of course, the Primeval Sin was responsible for the entry of impurity into the world. And of the breakdown in the relationship between "body" and "soul" in the disobedience of G-d, which would ultimately lead to their complete separation in death.
So when a Jew utters lashon hara, he is emulating the disaster wrought bythe Serpent; a path that leads to spiritual contamination, isolation from G-d and distance from holiness.

Appropriately, the person with tzaraas is examined and pronounced impure by a Kohen, the priest whose service in the Temple is conducted in the utmost of purity. He becomes one of the 4 categories of people who areconsidered spiritually dead (Nedarim 64b), a corpse being the epitome of defilement and spiritual contamination. An outcast of society, he has to leave the sanctity of the Jewish camp wherein the Divine Presence rested as his leprous spot attests to his "inner" sinful behavior that is manifest "outwardly".

Where spiritually compromised, the spots of tzaraas appear on his body,clothes or homes. Now that the inner holiness of the Jewish soul has been sullied, he is no longer afforded the spiritual protection in all 3 environments where his affinity to G-dliness is revealed in the tefillintied to his body, in the tzitzis attached to his garment, or with the mezuzah on the door posts of his homes (Menachos 43b).

Only with the treatment of the sin, to spiritually cleanse his soul in full repentance, would the tzaraas disappear. Today, we are not fortunate to merit this spiritual malady to highlight our misdeeds.

But we still strive to make sure that G-dliness and holiness enter and penetrate every level of our lives – our bodies, our clothes and in ourhomes.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Terceira Classe

Scholem Aleichem

Se você tem de viajar de trem e – especialmente nas viagens longas – quer usufruir dela e aproveitar a experiência, evite a primeira e a segunda classes. A primeira classe, de qualquer maneira, está fora de cogitação, Deus o proteja dela! Naturalmente, não me refiro à viagem em si, que está longe de ser desagradável: a primeira classe é suntuosa, confortável, espaçosa e tem de tudo. Não é disso que falo, mas das pessoas, os passageiros. Que interesse pode ter para um judeu, eu lhe pergunto, viajar sozinho sem ter uma viva alma para conversar? Quando chega lá, você pode ter esquecido até para que serve a voz. Mesmo se der a sorte de chegar perto de algum passageiro, certamente vai ser um desses fazendeiros vulgares com as bochechas roxas como um trombonista, ou uma madame de nariz empinado e emburrada que nem uma sogra, ou então um turista de calça xadrez com os olhos grudados na janela que nem um incêndio o arranca de lá. Quando se viaja com tais tipos é depressão na certa.

Pensa que a segunda classe é algo melhor? Lá você estará cercado por tudo que é tipo de gente, obviamente nada diferentes de você mesmo, com as mesmas paixões humanas. Eles estão secos pra falar com você, na verdade morrem de curiosidade de saber para onde vai, de onde vem, quem é você... mas ficam lá, que nem manequins de alfaiate: o máximo que acontece são olhares. O vagão inteiro fez voto de silêncio. Por exemplo, bem à sua frente está sentado um almofadinha de unhas feitas e bigodinho, a quem você jura conhecer de algum lugar. Realmente, ele tem todos os sinais de ascendência... digamos, mosaica: isto é, o cara também é da sua tribo. E daí? Se você não lhe arranca uma palavra?... Ele parece satisfeito em enrolar o bigodinho, olhar pela janela e assobiar. Se você quer chatear um sujeito desses, melhor dizendo, enterrá-lo tão fundo que nem no dia da Ressurreição ele levanta – e antes providenciando que perto dele esteja sentado um cristão ou então alguma mocinha –, vire-se para ele e pergunte (mas em russo): “Estou enganado? Ou já tive o prazer de encontrá-lo em Berditchev [cidade russa conhecida como muito judaica]?” Acredite, isto é pior do que xingar a mãe dele. Por outro lado, se você estiver na Rússia e encontrar um tipo desses, melhor falar em polonês, mas querendo dizer, por exemplo: “Desculpe, excelência, mas, se não me engano, sou velho amigo do seu pai, de Yermelínetz [as aldeias de Scholem Aleichem levam, ironicamente, nomes de nobres ou aristocratas russos e poloneses da época ─ Yermelin, Kasril ─, mas acrescidos de sufixos diminutivos de evidente intenção pejorativa: Yermelínetz, Kasrílevke]. Ele não era lá empregado do conde Pototzki?” Isto não é, propriamente, um insulto, mas “Yermelínetz” e “empregado do conde Pototzki” significam, indisfarçavelmente: j-u-d-e-u.

Vou lhe contar um episódio que aconteceu comigo no trem postal. Tive de ir na segunda porque ele não tem terceira classe. Na minha frente está um gentleman, que pode ser tanto judeu como goi. Na verdade, parecia mais judeu... ou não? Quem sabe? Bem, era um belo jovem, bem barbeado, esportivamente vestido. Pinta de Don Juan. Por que Don Juan? Porque ele atirava olhares para uma coisinha bonitinha, uma mademoiselle de chapéu e pincenez no narizinho arrebitado. Embora recentes, pareciam velhos amigos. Ela lhe oferecia chocolates e ele a divertia com anedotas, a princípio armênias, depois judaicas. Eles riam às gargalhadas, que eram mais fortes nas anedotas de judeu, que ele contava com um jeito decididamente goyish, sem a menor suspeita de que eu ali pudesse ser judeu e acabasse ofendido. O romance progride: já sentam lado a lado, ele a olha nos olhos e ela brinca com a corrente do relógio no colete dele. De repente, numa estaçãozinha lá, me embarca no trem um judeu suarento, pálido e coxo, já com a mão esticada para o jovem, dizendo, no mais simples e puro ídish: “Oh, como vai? Eu já tinha te reconhecido pela vidraça da janela! Tenho notícias pra você do seu tio Zalman lá de Manestrishtch!” Não preciso dizer que o nosso Don Juan caiu fora naquela mesma estação deixando a coisinha bonitinha lá sentada. Mas não acabou a história. A mademoiselle – que, claro, não era ídish, senão por que teria ele batido em retirada assim tão precipitado? –, ela começou a juntar suas coisas para saltar algumas estações depois, sem me ter dito nada, nem me olhado, como se eu não existisse. Na plataforma da estação em que ela ia saltar está um patriarcal judeu de barba longa, tipo “nosso pai Avraham” e, ao lado, uma judia de peruca e dois gigantescos diamantes nas orelhas: “Riva querida!!!”, e caíram sobre a filha em lágrimas.

Sem comentários. Eu só quis introduzi-lo às pessoas que viajam de segunda classe e persuadi-lo a preferir a terceira: mesmo entre patrícios você pode se sentir um estranho. Na terceira classe você se sente em casa. Na verdade, se o vagão tem exclusivamente judeus, você vai se sentir... um pouco em casa demais. Aqui não é o máximo do luxo: se não usar os cotovelos dificilmente vai arranjar lugar sentado. Além do barulho ensurdecedor, não dá para saber onde acaba você e onde começa o vizinho (o que, aliás, é uma excelente maneira de conhecê-lo). Todo mundo sabe quem você é, de onde vem e o que faz: e você sabe tudo sobre eles. À noite, nada de problemas para adormecer – sempre haverá alguém com quem falar (e, se você não estiver a fim, sempre alguém falará por você). Aliás, para que dormir quando falar é melhor? Eu acho que devo alguns anos da minha vida a isso. Falando no trem, você sempre termina – mesmo com estranhos – fazendo algum negócio, arranjando casamento para alguma filha ou aprendendo algo de útil. Toda a conversa que você ouve sobre médicos, indigestão, dor de dente, nervoso, Karlsbad [luxuosa estação termal para tratamentos médicos] – tudo lero-lero? Pois olhe só: numa viagem, era um grupo de judeus, falávamos de médicos e receitas. Naqueles dias eu estava com problemas de estômago e um judeu de Kamenev me recomendou um remédio, espécie de pó. Disse que o tal pó – que era amarelo – lhe fora receitado por um dentista, não pelo médico, mas foi tiro e queda. O meu judeu me jurou que devia a vida ao tal pó amarelo, e que sem ele... nem queria pensar. E nem era preciso tomar inteiro o envelopinho, só duas ou três pitadas e pronto, me sentiria outro homem – não mais dor de estômago e nem mais esses médicos sanguessugas de dinheiro –, ao diabo com os curandeiros! E disse: “Se quiser, posso lhe dar um pouco do pó agora mesmo; você vai me agradecer pelo resto da vida.” Cheguei em casa e tomei duas ou três pitadas da coisa. Alguns minutos depois, fui atacado por uma dor como nunca antes havia sentido, de subir pelas paredes. Achei que era a hora do último suspiro. Chamaram um médico, depois outro... acabei voltando das portas da morte. Hoje sei que, se você encontrar um judeu de Kamenev no trem, mande ele mesmo tomar o pó amarelo. Cada lição tem seu preço.

Passada a noite, você acorda e... surpresa: deixou em casa os tefilin e o talit. Não tem problema, sem alarme: alguém sempre te empresta tudo que é preciso, você reza e pronto. Quer retribuir, certamente. “Ótimo, vai abrindo aí a mala, deve ter alguma coisa interessante aí, sabe como é? Viagem de trem e boa companhia sempre abrem o apetite, não tem aí qualquer coisa? Ah, claro que serve... vodca, bolo, um ovo cozido, meio salame e um pedaço de peixe! Ótimo. Se tiver também uma laranja ou maçã ou talvez um strudl? Nada disso? Tudo bem, não é vergonha nenhuma...” Felizmente você tem dois dedos de vinho numa garrafa: pois não faltam voluntários para provar, todos profundos conhecedores das boas marcas: “Este é um legítimo Moscatel da Bessarábia.”, “Nada disso, é um Akerman importado.”, “Que Moscatel, que Akerman? Não estão vendo que é um Koveshaner Bordeaux?” Um quarto especialista se aproxima, pega o copo, examina, cheira, pequeno gole e ruidosa deglutição, “Cavalheiros, não acredito que ninguém tenha acertado, mas devo lhes revelar que se trata de – nada menos – um verdadeiro, simples, puro e honesto vinho de kidush [ritual festivo] da melhor safra de Berditchev.” Todos concordam e o vagão inteiro fala mais alto do que sempre, aquecido pelo vinho e pela solidariedade. É hora de saltar, você não conhece a cidade nem seus hotéis. Não é problema: você vai ter tantas indicações de hotel quantos judeus houver no trem: “Você deve ir para o Hotel Frankfurt – é claro, limpo, simpático e barato ─ a melhor pechincha da cidade.” Outro contesta: “Frankfurt? É escuro, sujo, antipático e caro – a maior roubada da cidade! Ele deveria ir para o Hotel New York.” Um terceiro finaliza: “New York? Só se ele estiver com saudades dos percevejos da casa dele...”

Em uma palavra: viaje de terceira, é o conselho de um caixeiro viajante, um seu amigo à disposição. A gut shabes.

Oporto general and KOAH

Published: June 8, 1997

Oporto, Portugal's second-largest city and the capital of its port wine industry, is in the middle of a major restoration of its historic heart. The 1755 earthquake that heavily damaged Lisbon spared Oporto (known as Porto by the Portuguese). With many streets unchanged since the Middle Ages and an endless variety of tiles (azulejos) and wrought-iron balconies decorating its buildings, this city along the Douro River has a remarkably unspoiled assortment of architecture.

Now, these treasures are getting a freshening up. In the historic center, Barredo, much-needed restoration is being carried out under Fernando Namora, an architect who is an Oporto native; Barredo was added to Unesco's World Heritage Site list this year. Work is also under way in the districts of Ribeira and Miragaia.

A lively arts scene is nurtured by the Serralves Foundation, one of Portugal's most dynamic cultural centers. Art galleries are flourishing in the hilly, riverside Miragaia district, and farther upriver in Ribeira, several bars offer art exhibits, live jazz and rock and poetry readings.
Even after restoration, much of Oporto's charm will be hidden away in its labyrinth of steep streets. But now that the sun has finally won over the ocean mists of spring, signaling the approach of the hot, dry summer weather, the colorful tiled and painted building facades have come into their own.

The Feast of St. John, the city's patron saint, on June 24, occasions several days of celebration. On the 23d, streets fill with people tapping one another on the head with plastic hammers, a curious ritual that traces its roots to the 19th century, when the long-stemmed garlic flower was used in similar fashion in midsummer games that, in turn, came down from pagan celebrations. That evening, there will be fireworks over the Douro, and all-night dancing on the city's squares.
On June 24, barcos rabelos, the boats traditionally used to transport casks of port, will race on the river. Each port wine lodge, where the harvest from the Upper Douro is transferred to begin the aging process, still owns a boat (although they were long ago phased out of use), and the sight of the flotilla on the shimmering Douro is impressive.

The Serralves Foundation, in a large Art Deco house within an extensive park with fountains and a rose garden, is exhibiting works by the German artist Robert Schad, who creates steel sculptures, through June 22, followed by a retrospective of the Portuguese art scene in the late 1970's from July 3 to Sept. 7. The foundation -- which gets almost half of its money from public funds -- will also present the Jazz in the Park festival in the adjacent park on July 19 and 26 and Aug. 2, when the Dave Holland Quartet will perform. Tickets are $6.50 to $13, based on a rate of 154 escudos to the dollar. The foundation, 977 Rua de Serralves, (351-2) 617-2038, is open 2 to 8 P.M. weekdays; 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. weekends; closed Monday. $2.60.

The Soares dos Reis Museum is named after the 19th-century sculptor whose work is displayed there, along with Portuguese and international art. The museum is being restored; only the 19th-century galleries are open, as well as temporary exhibits. From July 31 to mid-September, Frederick William Fowler, a Scotsman who was a pioneer of photography in Portugal, will be the subject of an exhibition. The museum, on Rua D. Manuel II, (351-2) 200-7110, is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and 2 to 5:30 P.M. Admission: $2.25.

During Baroque Music Week, July 20 to 27, concerts will take place throughout the city. This year's program is devoted to Bach, and includes an organ recital by the Austrian organist Bernhard Gfrerer at the Cathedral on July 21 and a performance of the ''Magnificat'' by the Portuguese Ensemble Barroco Europeu at the Igreja da Lapa, a large 19th-century church on Largo da Lapa north of the historic center, on July 27. Free. Call or fax (351-2) 308-019.
The Ritmos-Festas do Mundo, a world-music festival, will fill the docks of Cais da Alfandega, between Miragaia and the river, with infectious rhythms at 8 P.M. on June 27 to 29. Bands from Brazil, Angola, Uzbekistan and Congo are expected. $3.25; (351-52) 646-800.


A day's tour could start at a cafe on the Praca da Ribeira, surrounded by buildings beautifully adorned with azulejos, with a view of the port wine lodges across the Douro and the open-air market nearby. Finish with tea and pastry at the aptly named Cafe Majestic, a mirrored 1920's tearoom awash with stucco angels at 112 Rua de Santa Catarina.

From Praca da Ribeira, it's a short walk to the Church of Sao Francisco on Rua Infante D. Henrique, with its stunning Baroque interior whose gilded carvings conceal the 14th-century Gothic structure. The church no longer holds regular services. It is principally used for concerts and theater productions. Open Monday to Saturday 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. May through September; 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. and 2 to 7 P.M. October through April; (351-2) 200-6493. $3.25.

Behind the church, the Stock Exchange (Palacio da Bolsa), circa 1840, bears witness to the city's rich trading history. Its monumental granite stairway is typical of the local stone-carving tradition; the Arabian Hall was inspired by the Alhambra in Granada. Open Monday to Friday 9 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and 2 to 5:30 P.M.; (351-2) 200-4497. Admission: $4.55 (includes a guided tour in English).

At 144 Rua das Carmelitas across from the church tower (Torre dos Clerigos) is the 1906 Lello & Irmao bookstore, with an extravagant neo-Gothic wooden stairway and stained-glass windows. Some of Portugal's greatest 19th-century writers, including the romantic poet Camilo de Castelo Branco and the novelist Eca de Queiros, were published by Lello & Irmao. (351-2) 200-2037.
Nearby on Praca Almeida Garrett, the waiting room of the 1896 Sao Bento train station is decorated with realistic azulejos, painted in 1930, depicting events in the city's history as well as rural life in northern Portugal.

The Cathedral, known as the Se, which started as a 12th-century fortress church, dominates the cityscape from atop the Pena Ventosa hill. The granite church has a graceful medieval cloister and twin buttressed towers, and the architectural elements range from Romanesque to Gothic to Baroque.

Beneath the Se is the Dom Luis I Bridge, built in 1886 by a Belgian firm that was inspired by the ironwork on Gustave Eiffel's railway bridge farther upriver. On the other side of the Dom Luis I Bridge, sprawling along the riverfront Vila Nova de Gaia district, are some 80 port wine lodges, creating a closely knit patchwork of orange-tile roofs. Most are open to visitors free, with a tasting culminating the tour, and two are noteworthy for more than the standard presentation.
At Sandeman, 3 Largo Miguel Bombarda, (351-2) 370-2293, there is a small museum with an exhibit on the barco rabelo. Open daily 10 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and 2 to 6 P.M. April through September; 9:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and 2 to 5:30 P.M. October through March.
A neighboring lodge, Ramos Pinto, has an extraordinary collection of advertising posters from the 1920's and 30's; reproductions can be purchased. The lodge is at 380 Avenida Ramos Pinto, (351-2) 300-716. Open weekdays 10 A.M. to 6 P.M., Saturday 10 A.M. to 1 P.M.

Where to Stay

All prices are for a double with breakfast.
The Grande Hotel do Porto, 197 Rua de Santa Catarina, (351-2) 200-8176, fax (351-2) 311-061, is in a five-story building commissioned in the 1880's by a prosperous Oporto native. Its comfortable, old-fashioned charm extends to the 100 spacious rooms, decorated in a standard spare style. $81.

For a view of the Atlantic, the Hotel Boa Vista, 58 Esplanada do Castelo, (351-2) 618-0083, fax (351-2) 617-3828, in the fashionable oceanside suburb of Foz, has a rooftop terrace. The 39 rooms are furnished in contemporary style. $91 to $101.

Budget: The Pensao Castelo de Santa Catarina, 1347 Rua de Santa Catarina, (351-2) 595-599, fax (351-2) 550-6613, looks like a miniature castle, faced with blue azulejos and set in a quiet garden. Many of its 25 rooms open onto the rose-filled inner garden. $49.

On the large, shady, mosaic-paved Praca Carlos Alberto, the Pensao Sao Marino, at number 59, (351-2) 325-499, a short walk from Torre dos Clerigos, is a family-run hotel. Its 14 rooms are clean and functional. $26 to $42.

Luxury: Even if you aren't a guest, the palatial Hotel Infante de Sagres, 62 Praca Dona Filipa de Lencastre, (351-2) 200-8101, fax 314-937, is worth a look. The reception rooms, some with carved wooden ceilings, are filled with Portuguese antiques and reproductions. The 74 rooms are decorated luxuriously. $114 to $179.

[View near by in the same building a Jewish association and initial Talmudim society - Kehillah Or Ahayim, next the palatial Hotel Infante de Sagres, -- Praca Dona Filipa de Lencastre, 22
Contact ]

In a more contemporary mode, the glass-clad Hotel Ipanema Park, 124 Rua de Serralves, (351-2) 610-4174, fax 610-2809, is in the Boavista district, the business and shopping area 10 minutes from downtown. It has a health club and two pools, and organizes chamber music concerts and film previews. The 281 rooms have the latest modern amenities and are decorated with Brazilian furniture. $130.

Where to Eat

All prices are for dinner for two with wine.
Among the many restaurants along the Ribeira docks, on the Douro's rocky banks, is the trendy Dom Tonho, 13-15 Cais da Ribeira, (351-2) 200-4307, owned by the rock star Rui Veloso. Its picture windows look out onto the river, (…) and any of the half-dozen or so cod dishes. $52.

The Taylor's port lodge, 250 Rua do Choupelo in Vila Nova de Gaia, (351-2) 370-0993, runs a delightful restaurant with a terrace and view of the city across the river. The menu changes daily and includes a choice of fish or meat. A glass of dry white and glass of tawny port are free. $52. Lunch only; closed weekends.

The fishing district of Matosinhos, five miles to the west, has a number of popular bistros, such as A Casa da Boa Gente, 160 Avenida de Serpa Pinto, (351-2) 938-0750, which serves fish fresh from the nearby market, grilled outside on the restaurant's doorstep and presented with a dash of olive oil, or baked with onions and potatoes. $26. Closed weekends.


O diário de Tal

UPenn doctoral candidate Stacey is currently in Yemen (being on the receiving end of impromptu stonings, cheerily identifying herself as part of a "third gender", and breezily ignoring US State Dept advisories).But now she weighs in on the situation in Lebanon:
I'm still in Sana'a, but wrapping up here with the intention of heading to Beirut by April 1st, so I've been contacting friends about sublets and whatnot. In one particularly chilling response, a fellow scholar/friend writes: As for things here, they're a bit too exciting for my taste. Gangs of shebab are riding around the streets at night from both the opposition and loyalist camps. Several people were shot over the weekend in Achrafieh/Gemayzeh....Meanwhile, there are very scary rumors about Ketaeb being in contact with Israel and plotting things for here. And this comes from both the Israeli press and rumors here. I really don't trust them, or Aoun. The Christian militia youth are spoiling for a fight, even though they'd be creamed. I think they feel Christians lost the war and they missed their glory days by not fighting in their own war - a very dangerous combination.Great. Her advice? Buy a refundable ticket.
You really have to love those academics don't you? The pro-Syrian elements are the "loyalists" and the pro-democracy demonstrators are the "opposition" who travel around in "Shebab". And of course they have us sinister Israelis down pat - always pulling the strings behind the scenes aren't we?I'm sure Stacey doesn't agree, disagree, or have a stance about her scholar friend's nomenclature or speculations of conspiracy; she just finds them chilling unlike the warm people in Yemen. But I'm fairly certain that the global media would jump on the opportunity to tell the story if things were as bad there as she seems to suspect.Update: Stacy responds to my sarcasm with a dose of her own, and writes that
Tal's basic objection seemed to be to my posting of a colleague's on-the-ground view of the evolving situation in Lebanon, and failure to condemn her use of the terms "Opposition" instead of "Pro-Democracy."This, of course, puts her in league with all but, say, Fox News...including many within the Opposition itself!
No. I made two observations: a) Stacey brooked no enthusiasm for the apparent emergence of an Arab trend towards democracy (an enthusiasm shared well beyond the Fox News viewership), and used conspiciously antiseptic language that masked the sense that there might be anything positive going on.b) Stacey's colleague made conspiratorial insinuations about Israelis pulling the strings behind the Lebanese political scene. These remarks were apparently such a commonplace that she doesn't even notice them (or notice my noticing them) or perhaps even find them worthy of skepticism. You'd be interested to know that Israelis don't like to be viewed as diabolical.

Sunday, February 27, 2005
Posted 4:25 PM by Tal
Imshin's blog has photos from the site of Friday's pigua. I don't have much to say about these things anymore.

Posted 2:23 PM by Tal
Disappointing concert by Roy Campbell's Pyramid Trio at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival last night. Rhythm section William Parker/Hamid Drake were terrific, but Campbell's trumpet playing was sloppy. And it got really strange when Campbell horribly and inexplicably began to "sing" some very makeshift lyrics for his compositions (something that he hasn't done much before according to Google).

Saturday, January 08, 2005
Posted 9:32 PM by Tal
This blog might still come back to life at some point. Life here is much less interesting these days, and there are so many blogs doing a good job of highlighting things from the Israeli media.Some Americans and Europeans try so hard not to be judgmental. This woman writes from Cairo where she is researching her PhD:
... Abu Mazen's electoral scheme may very well represent such a shift in thinking, a recognition that the most effective martyrs are not those who blow themselves up in cafes, but those who die while trying to care for their communities.
Well that would just be great ... maybe only the less effective martyrs would try to blow up Israelis in cafes. She wouldn't actually say to her hosts that the cult of martyrdom is bad, just that it's not effective for youngsters to kill themselves (just like ISMers who talk about Palestinian "suicide", Israeli victims aren't even on her conceptual radar).She's also not able to acknowledge that any current Palestinian moderation is at least partly due to the fact that the intifada failed to secure any gains ie. that the Israelis won.Update: Stacy responds in the comments
I should thank you for increasing traffic at my site by "reviewing" my comments regarding the Palestinian elections. You might note, however, that it was a post about the Palestinian elections, not a broader post about political violence, innocent victims, etc. You have no way of determining what my judgements are, or whether I am "capable" of acknowledging your truths. I may be, or I may not be, but you certainly have no way of knowing based on the little that you selected here.My blog rarely ventures off topic, and mainly focuses on discourse and the structuring effects of a particular kind of Islamist discource in Arab parliamentary practice (since this is the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation, and the reason for my frequent travel to Beirut and Sana'a). When it does go off topic, I certainly expect to "take fire", but I would hope that you see my post for what it was - a discursive analysis of Abbas' electoral campaign materials and campaign promotion, and not a broader manifesto on the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.Further, I found your assertions about what I would or would not say to my "hosts" to cross a line and violate your own rule on ad hominem attacks. First, you have no idea whether or not I have been "hosted" by Israel, as well, and whether that may have influenced by thinking on the Middle East. Second, you really have no idea what my relationship to Egypt is. As it happens, my husband took a job here to facilitate my regional travel, and neither of us do any research here or have an serious connection - we're just plain old expats. So to infer that my thoughts or words are couched because I am in some way endebted to some kind of aggregated concept of Arab "hosts" was both presumptious and unfairly dismissive.And as for the quote, which I believe you took out of context (but will allow readers to determine for themselves), the quote that preceeded it in the original post was by a friend who is a rabbi at a large NY congregation and visited us in Cairo en route to Jerusalem. It's his opinion, after years of working with Palestinian policymakers, and one which I share. You should, I would imagine, be more concerned about him then you are about me, since he stands a chance at disrupting your "base."
I will try to reply later, but most broadly:1. In this particular blog post (and the others that I scanned) you are adopting the "Islamist discourse" rather than merely analyzing it. Certainly you do not seem to be analyzing it in a critical manner. Dialog is admirable, but not when it requires adopting a "discourse" that "disadmits" things like moral objection to attacks on Israelis. 2. I don't have a "base". Also I'm not "concerned" with you. Like many blogs I just write what's on my mind. 3. I do apologize for assuming that your presence in Cairo was related to your PhD work when it is in fact during your travels to Beirut and Sanaa that you do your research. I don't see this a relevant to my central point. That said, I do regret the final sentence of my original post which dealt with broader political issues.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Posted 4:51 PM by Tal
Today already feels like the longest day ever since I started reading blogs.I'm concerned about what it would mean for Israel if Kerry wins. My primary impressions of Kerry revolve around his apparent lack of clear positions, his reputed reliance on polling, and his tilts to the far left of his party. To me this recalls Ehud Barak, who managed to do a fair amount of damage to this country.....

The Red Cow

Rabino Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld

Parah Adumah

One who has become impure through contact with a corpse is purified by sprinkling him on the third and seventh days with water in which the ashes of a red cow have been mixed, as it says "They shall take an unblemished red cow... and they shall take for the impure person some of [its] ashes and put on it living water in a vessel; and a pure man shall take hyssop and dip it in the water... and sprinkle on the impure person on the third day and on the seventh day... and he shall wash in water and be clean in the evening".
1 Those who slaughter the cow and prepare the ashes become impure for a day,
2 as do those who burn the sin-offerings that are not eaten and who take the scapegoat to the desert.
3 One who touches or moves the water before it has been sprinkled, except to sprinkle it, alsobecomes impure for a day, as it says "And one who sprinkles the water of isolation shall wash his clothes, and one who touches the water of isolation shall be impure until evening".

1. Num. 19:2-19 a. 5:1,4; 11:1; 15:1
2. Num. 19:7-8,10
3. Lev. 16:26,28

Friday, April 13, 2007


Sionismo revisionista.

Zeev Jabotinsky 1880 -1940 Zeev Jabotinsky nació en Odessa que estaba en su cúspide como centro de la actividad judía y sionista; sin embargo, Jabotinsky creció empapado más en la cultura rusa que en la judía. A los 18 años de edad se fue de Odessa, viajó a Suiza y posteriormente a Italia a estudiar derecho.

En Berna inició una carrera de escritor que no abandonaría en toda su vida. Los artículos de Jabotinsky eran tan populares, que en 1901 su periódico lo llamó de regreso a Odessa para integrar el equipo editorial. Bajo el impacto del pogrom de Kishinev en 1903, se vio inmerso rápidamente en las actividades de la autodefensa judía y en las actividades sionistas. Elegido como delegado al Sexto Congreso Sionista, Jabotinsky quedó profundamente impresionado por Herzl. Envidioso del fluido hebreo que escuchó hablar en el Congreso, Jabotinsky - que ya hablaba ruso, francés, inglés, alemán y varias lenguas eslavas - se abocó al estudio del hebreo, convirtiéndose en un exitoso orador y traductor.

Jabotinsky cobró fama como periodista profesional y publicista combatiente - pero por sobre todo, como un extraordinario y apasionado orador. Como tal, su tono y su mensaje infundían a las deliberaciones y aspiraciones sionistas un tono de urgencia, no siempre compartido por los otros líderes judíos.

Jabotinsky sostuvo la importancia del aprendizaje del hebreo, que consideraba un elemento central en la construcción de la nación. Si bien los sionistas socialistas estimulaban a los judíos a luchar por sus derechos civiles como judíos en sus países de origen, Jabotinsky era escéptico respecto a esta emancipación, sosteniendo que la salvación para los judíos - tanto a nivel personal como en el de una entidad nacional - se realizaría únicamente en la Tierra de Israel.
Al estallar la Primera Guerra Mundial en 1914, Jabotinsky, junto con Josef Trumpeldor, llamó a la creación de una fuerza judía combatiente que se uniera a los Aliados para liberar Palestina del dominio otomano. Convenció al gobierno británico para que permitiera la formación de tres batallones judíos. Hombre de acción tanto como de palabra, Jabotinsky se convirtió en oficial del 38o. Regimiento de Fusileros del Rey, que combatió con el general Allenby en 1917 y fue condecorado por encabezar la primera compañía que cruzó el río Jordán hacia Palestina. Después de la guerra, Jabotinsky quiso mantener una unidad judía como defensa contra la creciente hostilidad árabe al sionismo, pero la unidad fue licenciada por los británicos.
Habiéndose establecido con su esposa y sus dos hijos en Palestina, Jabotinsky pasó a ser el editor del diario hebreo Hadoar. Durante los disturbios árabes en Jerusalem en 1920, organizó la defensa judía. Subsecuentemente, Jabotinsky fue arrestado y sentenciado por una corte militar británica a 15 años de prisión por posesión ilegal de armas. Fue liberado algunos meses más tarde.

Vivió en Jerusalem entre 1927 y 1929. En 1930, mientras se encontraba en el exterior, la administración británica prohibió su regreso a Palestina cancelando su visa de retorno. Imposibilitado de volver a casa, desde entonces hasta su muerte, una década más tarde, Jabotinsky luchó por la causa sionista alrededor del mundo.

Seriamente alarmado por la subida al poder de Hitler en Alemania, Jabotinsky presionó en 1933 para que se realizara un boicot judío mundial contra Alemania, esperando quebrar a Alemania económicamente; pero los líderes judíos y sionistas se negaron a cooperar. Centró sus esfuerzos en la ayuda a los judíos para llegar a Palestina por todos los medios - legales o ilegales. Sintiendo que los judíos de Europa Oriental estaban en gran peligro, llamó, en 1936, a una "evacuación" de los judíos de Europa Oriental hacia Palestina para solucionar el problema judío.

Franco y cándido, Jabotinsky compareció ante la Comisión Real para Palestina en 1937 declarando que "la demanda por una mayoría judía no es nuestra aspiración máxima - es la mínima". Sosteniendo que muy pronto habría 3 a 4 millones de judíos europeos buscando un puerto seguro en Palestina. El y sus seguidores argüían que todo el territorio del Mandato original Británico sobre Palestina de 1920 - que comprendía toda la Tierra de Israel a ambos lados del río Jordán debía ser parte de la patria judía.

Cuando la Comisión Peel recomendó la partición de lo que quedaba de la Palestina Mandataria en dos estados, Jabotinsky se opuso al plan. Si bien el liderazgo sionista lo aceptó con reluctancia, considerando que un estado trunco era mejor que ningún estado, los árabes lo rechazaron.
Al empeorar las condiciones en Europa, Jabotinsky empezó a apoyar la resistencia armada clandestina contra los británicos en Palestina, y en 1937 pasó a ser oficialmente el comandante del Etzel - la organización militar clandestina revisionista. Continuó centrándose en el rescate de los judíos de Europa por todos los medios disponibles, incluyendo algunos de los primeros intentos de evadir las restricciones de inmigración por medio de la llegada clandestina de inmigrantes por mar. Sus planes para el futuro incluían la creación de un ejército judío que se formaría después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Jabotinsky murió repentinamente a consecuencia de un ataque cardíaco, el 4 de agosto de 1940 mientras visitaba un campamento juvenil que operaba en Nueva York el movimiento juvenil revisionista - Betar.

Jabotinsky dejó un legado intelectual de miles de trabajos y documentos - correspondencia, discursos, artículos publicados, panfletos y libros - incluyendo un diccionario inconcluso de rima en hebreo, pero los únicos efectos personales que tenía sobre sí en el momento de su muerte eran U$S 4 y una pipa.

A lo largo de su vida, Jabotinsky estaba convencido de que un estado judío era una necesidad histórica que habría de llegar. En sus escritos recordaba cómo, a la edad de seis años, había preguntado a su madre si "los judíos alguna vez tendrían un estado propio". Su madre le había contestado: "por supuesto, niño tonto".

Andre Moshè Pereira

Presidente KOaH, judeu transmontano

A última Carta

La última carta del comandante de la rebelión Mordejai Anilevich
23 de abril, 1943

Shalom Itzjak:
No sé qué escribirte, esta vez dejemos de lado los detalles personales. No tengo palabras para expresar mis sentimientos, hoy nos resulta evidente que todo lo sucedido supera en mucho lo previsto. Al oponernos a los alemanes hicimos más de lo que nuestras fuerzas nos permitían pero esas fuerzas van menguando cada vez más; estamos frente a la exterminación. Hemos obligado dos veces a los alemanes a huir, pero retornaron con fuerzas de nuevo.

Una de nuestras unidades mantuvo sus posiciones durante cuarenta minutos y hubo otra que resistió seis horas. Alijel cayó como un valiente junto a su ametralladora. Desde hace tres días está el ghetto en llamas. Anoche pasamos a la guerra de guerrillas. Haz de saber que el revolver no tiene valor alguno; necesitamos granadas, fusiles, ametralladoras y explosivos.

No puedo describirte en qué condiciones nos hallamos. Solamente unos pocos sobrevivirán; todos los demás habrán de sucumbir, tarde o temprano. Nuestro destino ya está sellado. En todos los refugios donde se hallan nuestros compañeros ya no es posible ni encender una vela por la noche por falta de aire.

Benditos seais vosotros que estáis afuera, puede que suceda un milagro y que algún día nos encontremos. Lo dudo, lo dudo mucho. La última aspiración de mi vida se ha cumplido, la autodefensa judía es ya un hecho. La resistencia judía y la venganza se han cumplido. Me despido de ti querido, feliz de mí que he sido uno de los primeros combatientes judíos del ghetto.
Mordejai Anilevich


Parasha Shemini

Rabbi Aron Tendler

Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person "goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.

1st & 2nd Aliyot: The Parsha begins on Nissan 1, 2449. The seven-day inauguration of Aharon and his sons was completed and the ceremonies for the Mizbeach's consecration had begun. Over 40 offerings would be brought on that first day, each requiring the direct ministrations of Aharon. Aharon blessed the nation with the standard priestly blessing after which Moshe and Aharon blessed the nation with the special Bracha of Psalm 90.

3rd Aliya: The deaths of Nadav and Avihu are recorded at the very same time that fire descended from heaven to light the Mizbeach. Their cousins removed the bodies of Nadav and Avihu from the courtyard of the Mishkan. Moshe instructs Aharon and his two remaining sons, Elazar and Isamar, that they are forbidden to overtly mourn the deaths of Nadav and Avihu in the standard manner. It is from here that we are taught the standard practices of tearing Kriyah and of mourners not cutting their hair.

4th & 5th Aliyot: Moshe instructs Aharon and his sons to continue the service of the Mizbeach's consecration. The first recorded difference in Halachik rulings is recorded between Moshe and Aharon as it pertained to the eating of the Rosh Chodesh offering. (Note 16-20, Stone EditionArtScroll pg. 595)

6th Aliya: The basic laws of Kosher and non-Kosher animals, fish, and fowl are recorded. Note that verses 11:4-7 is one of the established proofs for the divine authorship of the Torah.7th Aliya: The basic laws of purity and impurity are recorded. It is important to clarify that the Torah does not associate "Tummah" impurity and "Taharah" purity with good and bad. The entire process involves the concept of life and death and the symbolic emphasis that the Torah placeson serving G-d with optimism and vigor. So long as there is life there is the opportunity to grow in our relationship with G-d.

The question of "Why are we commanded to keep Kosher?" is answered in 11:44-47. The Torah clearly states that the reason to keep Kosher is to emulate G-d's sanctity. Sanctity "Kedusha" means being set apart and different. Just as G-d is apart from all things and divine in every way, so too are we to be set apart from all other nations and be different in the manner of our eating.


Haftorah Shemini Yishayah 27-28

This week's Haftorah takes place in 2892 869 b.c.e. Dovid had captured the City of Dovid from the Yevussi and wished to bring the Aron Hakodesh (Holy Ark) to what would become Yerushalayim. With great fanfare and celebration Dovid was bringing the Aron when Uzah ben Avinadav disgraced the Aron and died.

Reminiscent of the deaths of Nadav and Avihu at the consecration of the Mizbeach, the death of Uzah dampened the celebration and the Aron remained in the home of Oved for three months. When Dovid was informed of the tremendous blessings that had graced the home of Oved during those three months Dovid decided that it was appropriate to bring the Aron to Jerusalem.

Dovid, despite Michal's objection (daughter of Saul and Dovid's wife), danced and celebrated before the Aron without restraint or inhibition while bringing the Aron into the City of Dovid.Dovid asked permission from the prophet Nassan to build the Bais Hamikdash. Nassan told him that it was G-d's will that his son Shlomo (Solomon) not Dovid build the Bais Hamikdash. Dovid accepted G-d's decree but spent the remainder of his life preparing the materials and the means for his son to be able to build the Bais Hamikdash.
Shabat Shalom
Andre Moshè Pereira, Pres.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Israeli Dances

Subject: Video: Israeli Dances by a Jewish dance group in (dare I say it : France!)
If you have a few minutes, watch and enjoy this. We need all the energy we can get, to keep up the good fight. I've been watching this whenever I need to lift up my spirits..... .when it all seems so ominous

http://www.dailymot chanson/video/ xrkn8_adama

Nossa querida Chavera Sanda Abrami