'Copenhagenising' Vancouver











Ice-cream canapes & the 'sartorialist-on-wheels'!!!...

...it's all happening in Gastown with Vancouver Cycle Chic!!!

Why Worry?


Clink the link above for five  minutes of sublime music from true master-craftsmen. Treasure this because when they are gone something unique in the world of music will be over.

This music makes my skin tingle with pleasure and I think I've got something in my eye.

The comments on You Tube really say it all but please add your opinion here!




In the very early days!


The Red Heifer and The Noahide

Noahidenations.com



                                                                       Parashas Chukas:
         The Red Heifer: Honoring the Purity of Shem and the Holy Land
                                                                 [Background of Red Heifer]
In this week’s Torah Portion of “Chukas”, the Para Adumah is the most perplexing topic in the entire Torah. Since the Torah was given, there has been one question that has stumped the minds of every scholar, even the great wisdom of King Solomon: what is the meaning [even on any level] of the mysterious command imposed upon the Jewish People – The Para Adumah [Red Heifer]? Even as there may be success in answering this enigma, the ultimate answer evades the most diligent scholar each time; for every door that we go through, the outcome will be a fresh set of doors to investigate and once again ponder the appropriate path that will grant adequate understanding of the challenge known as the Para Adumah.
                        [Noahides and their hidden interest of the Red Heifer]
When we gaze at the terrain of Torah students of today, we interestingly find that it is not only “one” nation who is enthralled with the anticipation of returning to a state of Holiness that can only be achieved with the return of the Para Adumah in a fully functioning Torah state of affairs, for there is yet another – The Noahide Nations all over the World equally anticipate and yearn for this return to Holiness. We see this very clearly today, as there are tremendous efforts underway to reclaim the merit of possessing the Para Adumah and existing in this state of purity, in the Land of Israel; The Noahides are one of the main idealists furthering along the attempt to locate the elusive [purity of] The Red Heifer. [Purity and Holiness are two separate concepts; holiness is he who is separate, i.e. the Noahide from the rest of the World, whereas purity is the concept to remedy impurity, a reality and affliction (not only by sin, but by contact with the dead) that is imposed on the holy, i.e. Jews and in this case, Noahides] This may seem as a simple observation that does not warrant any further investigation, but one must ask, “where does this precedent come from,” for Gentiles to have a vested interest in something that would seem to garner no interest, namely the Para Adumah. If one were to invest thought and research [within Torah] perhaps the Torah does make this quite [unclearly] clear! Not only does the Torah allude to this eternal secret as being in relation to the Noahide, but there is absolute reason to consider that it is the very Noahides themselves that make the mystery of the Para Adumah!
      [Red Heifer and the enigmatic text description in text of Torah; explaining “Ger”]
When we look into the Torah Verses of the Para Adumah, along with the basic instructions, details, and background of the sacred Mitzvah [commandment], there comes a strange detail that ends the Torah’s account of what will be the resting place of the ashes of the Para Adumah. If one looks to “Bamidbar” 19:10 – “…and it should be to The Children of Israel and to the “Ger” that dwells amongst you, an eternal [mysterious] decree” [והיתה לבני ישראל ולגר הגר בתוכם לחקת עולם] as we have learned with Jethro, who was also called a “Ger” along with the precedent to identify Noahides as “Gerim”, here too one not only can, but should make the same distinction. A Ger loosely means a convert [to Judaism], but in Devarim 14:21 in reference to the forbidden act of mixing milk and meat, the Torah identifies the Ger [literally dweller] to be a Noahide in particular. Let us not forget Aravnah the Noahide who sold the Temple Mount [expressing his direct connection to the heart of the Land of Israel] to King David as well, of which the Metzudas David commentary lists Aravnah as a “Ger Tzedek” [the righteous Ger] which is usually in reference to a Righteous Jewish Convert, yet the commentators have made it quite clear that this reference when spoken of Aravnah is a sure reference to his being a Noahide. [Thus the righteous Ger is the righteous Noahide when deviating from the other connotation of convert] Now that we have an absolute Torah principle that “Gerim” [plural for Ger] can [and often] refer to a Noahide, the Para Adumah scenario begins to make more sense [and ultimately leads to a greater path of confusion, as the Para Adumah never makes absolute sense, yet we have now pushed the envelope even further, with breaking through and making sense in the text, more questions are sure to follow!] when we identify “the Ger who dwells amongst you” as a Noahide.
                              [Torah commentary of text of Red Heifer]
Before we get into the particulars of how this works we need a basis, and that basis comes in the form of the Commentator “The Even Ezra.” The Even Ezra states in conjunction with the text in our verse [Bamidbar 19:10]:” [and for the Ger who dwells amongst you…] ‘So that it should be A Land of Israel of Holiness, for the [Glory is there/ Honor is there/ Honor of Shem (ben Noah); all 3 connotations are valid as the word for Glory/Honor “כבוד” has 2 meanings and the word for there and Shem “שם” has 2 meanings.]
                        [Why the Noahide is the “Ger” of the text]
If we take this Even Ezra literally and in context, while thinking into the text of the Torah in this same way, [that we are referring to a Convert to Judaism and not a Noahide] the explanation becomes rather difficult! [Thus forcing the conclusion that we do in fact speak of the Noahide] Why would the Torah need to state the Convert “living amongst you?” If this is an eternal decree, and therefore in context of a time when there will be a Third and final Temple, it should be obvious since the Convert lives amongst you. In this frame of thought, he should simply be considered as a Jew without being singled out as a Convert, as in this area there is no distinctive difference in sanctity. [There are levels of holiness of the Jewish People: Priest – Levi – Yisrael; the Yisrael and the Convert weigh the same, and thus there is not a sub-Jew standard on any level] And in this way, the Even Ezra does not make sense as being spoken of the Convert since obviously the Land would never suffer from the Convert; additionally the Convert does not convert for the sake of inheriting Land – even allegorically. Thus the logical conclusion is that the verse is in reference to the Noahide.
               [Noahides and Israel via commentary of “Shem”]
Once we identify the Noahide in this verse, we can open up the doors of perception that baffle the mind when contemplating the Para Adumah. The first and most literal yet abstract reason this is a Noahide reference to the Para Adumah[as per the Even Ezra] is the usage of the word “שם” / Shem in the commentary. To put it simply: Noahides will one day be intrigued to live in the same Land as their Great forefather Shem. The Torah allows for this when it speaks of the “Ger Toshav” – “The Gentile who lives in the Land” and is a fervent follower of the 7 Laws of Noah as the Torah demands [belief in the system told over to Moses].
        [Question: why then the Noahide and his affiliation of the Red Heifer]
The other way of understanding the Noahide here, is to simply take it literally because the extreme literal path makes no sense and leaves us without understanding, as shown before. On this level, the Torah makes an observation that the Noahide has already realized from his own life experience: he is connected to the Jewish People. From that moment on, even living in the Land of Israel [as Shem did and since the Land is the True Glory] is a possibility. The fact that the Para Adumah is a mystery [which we have solved now on some level – which proves to be consistent with study of the Para Adumah since it led to an even bigger question, one based on understanding!] does not contradict the fact that we have introduced a new facet to the never ending discovery of the Para Adumah. What we have done is shown a new question in Torah, one that sheds light on the nature of the Para Adumah: what is the connection of the Noahide and the Jew? The answer is simple: they unite under the umbrella of purity within the waters of the Para Adumah.
           [Practicality of the Noahide and the Red Heifer]
It would seem that the Torah’s mystery in the Para Adumah is the secret of the Noahide, and that he is connected to the Jewish People in a way that maybe can’t be simply answered, to the point that the Torah says “you can’t figure it out totally!” One attempt to answer is that the Land must remain Holy, and the unification in the Land is this Purity of the Para Adumah. The constant purity amongst Jews and Noahides eradicates any schism of any potential separation, for the connection of the two people in the Land [a Land of the One-ness of God] must be a perfect seal, after all, the Light is going out to the Nations as One. [Not to be confused: One; as Genesis states the concept: “Like One”] This would in fact be the basis of why we learn Mikveh / ritual bathing from Jethro in relation to Noahides as a proactive practice. With a precedent of bathing in waters of  the Para Adumah for a level of the highest degree of Purity [even if the association to the Para Adumah coupled with the need of purity and affiliation with Israel is a mystery], then all the more so any type of ritual bath [even not on the sanctity of the Para Adumah] would be a meritorious and practical custom, one that could acclimate the Noahide to the Para Adumah, withholding the mitzvah as a foreign object before coming to the Land if he indeed does decide to dwell amongst Israel. [It could also serve as a Torah imposed fence so that if one happens upon the Land in haste he will be accustomed to ritual bath and not subject the Land to something alien and inappropriate]
      [The gentile vs. the Noahide – “Adam”; Noahide and his Learning Torah]
In the Talmud Yevamos 61a the question arises about the nature of a “gentile” and his status of being impure after his death and upon burial. The decision is left as a bit of a question, yet there is one offshoot that the Talmud investigates: The Noahide who learns the Torah is compared to a High Priest, in that they share the name “Adam.” [(High level) Man]  King David also told over that, “The ‘Land’ is given to Bnei Adam.” Here the Bnei Adam would signal those who repaired Adam through Torah as opposed to the Bnei Adam who perpetuate his sin. [It should be noted the expression “repair of Adam has the same gematria as Torah, 611] It would then seem that the Talmud is issuing a secret of the Para Adumah text, proving that a Noahide does indeed merit the purification of the Red Heifer, and that the Noahide has a distinct connection to Israel. After all, Abraham is called “the Hebrew” and Shem is called the “Father of all Hebrews.” Perhaps by being knowingly connected to Shem invokes the Para Adumah as a need of one’s soul. [Every non-Jew called “Adam” has a direct relationship to Shem, even the original Adam, as Shem and Noah are the repair of the sin of Adam, as all were brought out by him.] It should be noted that Para Adumah is spelled in Hebrew, “פרה אדמה” – notice that “Adumah” is really “The Adam” when  we unscramble the letters. It is now clearly understood why the Noahides today have vested interest in the sacred Para Adumah: They are directly involved with its qualities for deep, personal, and mysterious reasons.
           [The Noahide and his root back to Shem: a connection to Red Heifer]
The text will always remain a mystery in the absolute sense, but at least at this juncture we find an answer to many of Torah’s perplexing questions as to what is the reality of the Noahide on many levels. One thing remains perfectly clear, in that the rationale is traced directly back to Shem, as the Noahide who awakens his soul on its root level identifies with Shem and the existence of the Supernal Adam. [Adam in reference to learning Torah] The entire passage in the Torah would remain a bit unclear if it were not for a simple support in the name of Shem, as we mentioned amidst the commentaries. Once the Even Ezra explained the Torah’s Simple Meaning to go along with a difficult passage of Torah by the inclusion of a rogue “Shem” quotation, the door of many possibilities was once again opened in the one place in Torah that we would expect no less, the Para Adumah. What seems like a locked door in the face of many may just be a challenge to find a key called Shem. The key may not unlock every door, but at least it allowed the Noahide to enter where he is destined to be: alongside the Jewish people [in the sanctity of Torah study and way of life], and if that place is the Land of Israel, it is easy to conclude that Shem foresaw that too, as his yeshiva is in Israel.  If Shem made Israel possible after the Ark [and through his righteousness he still teaches through the Living Torah, as we saw with the Even Ezra], then the dream comes true when not only Jews, but Noahides as well, unite through the holy waters of the Para Adumah. It is only fitting that this key to understanding the Para Adumah, should come from the merit of an equally massive Torah concept: The Torah that comes through the hand of Shem ben Noah.

Rabbi David P. Katz

Shabbat Shalom!

I could do with a dose of Dunning-Kruger

After a pretty dire first half of the week I'm better again now. Last night only three of us attended the depression meet-up - two new faces and myself. One of the guys looked 25, wore a wedding ring and a thick black Krapmandu jacket, and promptly announced in his Aussie accent that he worked for Telecom. So I clearly had nothing in common with him at all. Except we got chatting and he turned out to be 34 and have rather similar experiences with depression and social anxiety as me. The other bloke was in his early fifties and his battle with depression wasn't too dissimilar to mine either.

I've almost finished Bad Science. It's all fascinating stuff, and it's presented in an entertaining and accessible way for people like me who aren't medical graduates. I find the Dunning-Kruger effect intriguing and very believable: basically it means incompetent people overestimate their abilities because they're too incompetent to recognise their incompetence! Competent people, according to Dunning and Kruger, tend to assess their level of proficiency more accurately. I think the reason why competent people estimate their level of competence more accurately is very simple: by and large people have quite high levels of self-confidence (I never cease to be amazed by just how self-confident some people appear to be). Most people tend to rate themselves as being above average at any given task (80% of people think they're above-average drivers) so those who actually are above average are justified in their assessment. I also reckon an element of "the more you know, the more you know you don't know" plays a part.

By the way, I'm one of the few who don't think their driving skill is above average. There a only a few things that I think I'm any good at, and those tend not to matter very much.

Work is going OK. I rate my level of competence in my job as average at best. I still despair at some of the letters we send out to our customers especially when we ask about medical conditions. Many of the letters are poorly written and show a distinct lack of sensitivity. However it's 2012 so nobody cares how you write as long as you get the message across, and in a large company it's best just to follow the process and not to ask questions.

More[h] Torah!



Click Here For Parashas Bo With Ramban!


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  • Am Yisrael and Hashem
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I want to live here!!!!!! xx

MUSIC...LUIZ BONFA

Here's something that the husband put me on to: Brazilian guitarist and composer Luiz Bonfa.

As one of the key Brazilian artists to take Latin Jazz sounds of Bossa Nova to the world in the 60's (thanks to some beautiful records on iconic record label Verve), Bonfa has been overshadowed by his contemporaries such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto and Sergio Mendes.

However Bonfa's sound has always been on the cooler, sophisticated and sexy side of Bossa rather then the cheesy 'Girl from Ipanema' standards.

The laid back sophisticated grooves of some of Bonfa's early work were also a huge influence on Thievery Corporation and a number of more current acts who are working in the downbeat, chillout and Lounge styles.

Most newsworthy of late though is that Bonfa was sampled by Gotye for his world conquering smash 'somebody that I used to know'. It's nice in a way to think that Bonfa's family are now receiving some nice royalty cheques thanks to a well placed sample.

Also interesting to see that the below track 'Seville' was the point of inspiration for Gotye to start writing that track - so interesting to think about the creative processes involved and how inspiration can take so many different forms.

Have a listen below and if interested, check out some of his classic full length albums on Verve:
Plays and sings Bossa Nova (1963)
Luiz Bonfa and Sta Getz - Jazz Samba Encore (1963)

Perfect Caipirinha music!










Sacred Canada: Agents Of Erev Rav



Israel is getting heavily involved with Canada, and in Banking [amongst the many Wisdoms of the World] for example, Canada is "showing the leadership."

Is there a deeper Edomite reality within Canada ready to come out with the association of Erev Rav?

In Yoma 10a, it discusses Nations such as Magog, Yavan, etc, and the Talmud there investigates the War of Iran and Edom in the End of Days.

One thing to note, "Gomer" is identified as Germany [an obvious Amalek/Edomite personality] and "Magog" is linked with "קנדיא" / Canada?!

Are we seeing Edom coming out of the  woodwork in association with the Erev Rav preparing for a global leap of dominance? [not to mention China in the East]

Point being: End Game characters are taking place, and it seems Canada is a "Rabim", tagging along with the greater "Pax Judaica Rabim", the question is: is this in the name of performing evil - of which Hashem says: in the Rabim do not go after it!


Jpost.com:


With Canada’s widespread experience in natural resources regulation and development and Israel’s eminence as an innovation hub, the two countries would make ideal partners for collaborative advancement in both traditional and renewable energy fields, a Canadian minister told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

“We have a lot of experience in offshore drilling and governmental [procedure], and we have a lot of experience in the extraction of non-conventional oil,” Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said, during an interview in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.

“Israel is a hotbed of innovation and technological activity. I think we can learn from each other. I think there’s real potential to use our presence in the resource sector to work with the Israeli government in a commercially advantageous way for both countries,” he added, stressing Canada’s commitment to the existence of the Jewish state.

Oliver, of the Conservative party, was elected to the House of Commons in 2011 and assumed his ministerial office on May 18 of that year, representing the Eglinton- Lawrence District, a district northwest – and including a portion – of Toronto. Prior to entering politics, Oliver was an investment banker, and he earned an MBA from Harvard University and both bachelors and law degrees from McGill University.

As of Monday evening, Oliver had met with Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon, the solar company HelioFocus, representatives from defense electronics firm Elbit Systems, researchers at the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, oil shale developers at Israel Energy Initiatives and Israel Renewable Energy Association head Eitan Parness. He had also already visited Yad Vashem, and had dinner with Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau on Monday night.

After meeting with Oliver on Monday night, the two ministers agreed to enhance their cooperation on energy security, environmental sustainability and economic development, according to Landau’s office.

Officials from both countries will seek to meet bilaterally more often, and as an initial step, Oliver and Landau may engage in reciprocal visits to Canada and Israel in order to build up their relationships in the energy sector, Landau’s office said. Only about $1.4 billion in annual trade currently exists between Canada and Israel, a number that Oliver told the Post he hoped would increase soon. “Now that Israel has discovered significant offshore gas and oil shale on land there are real opportunities to work together,” he said.

Natural resources make up about 10 percent of the Canadian economy – and 60-70% of that tenth is from oil and natural gas. Canada has a 174 billion-barrel oil reserve predominantly in oil sands, the largest in world, and recently hit number two in the world in uranium production. The country is also number two or three in the world in natural gas and hydroelectricity, according to Oliver. Meanwhile, although Canada continues to develop its expansive natural gas and oil reserves, the government has also devoted a significant effort – and $10 billion [Canadian dollars] – toward the advancement of clean and alternative energies, like wind, biomass and solar, Oliver said. “There’s potential here,” Oliver said. “We want to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.” As part of the Stephen Harper government’s overall 2012 Economic Action Plan, Oliver recently helped spearhead a policy called Responsible Resource Development, which he presented publicly at the 5th World Forum on Energy Regulation in Quebec City in May.

Responsible Resource Development is based on four main pillars – to make project reviews more predictable and timely, reduce duplication of project reviews, strengthen environmental protection and enhance consultations with Aboriginal people, according to his office. The policy would aim to eliminate inefficiencies and place time limits on reviews, while maximizing safety and environmental protection, by introducing weighty financial penalties for violators of conditions set by reviews. The plan should become law before July 1, Oliver told the Post. A week before presenting the Responsible Resource Development plan, Oliver had responded to a backlash from Canadian environmental groups about ongoing fossil fuel development in Canada, saying: “Extraordinary potential exists in every region of our country – natural gas in British Columbia, oil and minerals on the Prairies, the Ring of Fire in Ontario, Plan Nord in Quebec, hydro power and oil and gas in Atlantic Canada and mining in Canada’s North.”

The natural resources sector, he had explained, directly employs more than 750,000 Canadians, and is responsible for 10% of Canada’s $1.5 trillion economy and 40% of exports. Similar to the contention around oil shale and natural gas in Israel, in Canada environmentalists are strongly fighting against the ongoing development of oil sands and natural gas reserves – what Oliver called “a huge debate.” On Tuesday morning in Israel, environmental activists led by the Green Course movement gathered in front of the Knesset in protest of oil shale drilling by Israel Energy Initiatives – one of the companies Oliver met with – in the Adullam region. Gadi Kolker, one of the Green Course leaders, had charged that the Energy and Water Ministry was giving the oil shale firm “special treatment” and that there was a stark lack of regulations regarding oil drilling.

The way the Canadian government aims to appease both resource developers and environmentalists is through fact-based discussion, followed up by a strict regulatory system, in which an independent body performs analyses of each project – “to determine that it’s safe for Canada, safe for Canadians,” Oliver said. This will be even further regulated as soon as the Responsible Resource Development policy passes in the Senate, he added. “That might not satisfy some of our environmental groups anyway, but what you hope is that you can have a dialogue with people,” he said. “There are some groups that are unalterably against resource development,” Oliver added. While the oil sands reserves are expansive, they actually only encompass one one-thousandth of arboreal forests in Canada, and only emit one one-thousandth of global emissions, according to Oliver. All of the lands are rehabilitated after extraction, he explained. “An obligation is imposed on Canadian companies,” Oliver said. Most crucial, he said, is the idea that an outside, objective environmental review process takes place on any project before it is allowed to begin. While Oliver stressed that green growth and therefore the continued development of renewable energies is essential, he noted that the energy economy must still largely be based on traditional energy sources – on fossil fuels – for the time being. “You have to be rooted in the facts,” he said.

One of these facts, he explained, is that according to the International Energy Agency, energy demand will continue growing in the next two and a half decades, and conventional energy sources will remain dominant during this time. “Alternative energy is not going to supplant conventional sources of energy for the foreseeable future. That’s just reality,” Oliver said. “That doesn’t mean that the governments shouldn’t assist in technology improvements to make alternative energy more viable, including solar and maybe wind and biomass.”

The Canadian government, for example has already invested the $10 billion [Canadian dollars] in renewable energy and energy efficiency development, as well as reducing Canada’s environmental footprint, according to Oliver. “You don’t build an economy based on dreams,” Oliver said. “You have to have a vision, but it has to be rooted in reality.” While his government will continue to be present in assisting research and development sites, technology and early stage development, he stressed that the government should not be “over the long-term supporting any economic form of energy.” “At the end of the day it’s either the consumer or the taxpayer who foots the bill,” Oliver said. “It’s great to talk about these areas and to see what we can do to make the breakthroughs necessary, but it has a long way to go.”


The World parters up against God, and ironically, Hashem uses this as a catalyst of the Geulah!

My Heroes (36): Alan Turing

This week saw the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth.

This is, ultimately, an extremely sad story. The name of Alan Turing should be as famous as Einstein and Newton and when he died at the age of of 41 in 1954 he should have had a state funeral. All he got was a public apology on behalf of the British government from Gordon Brown as recently as 2009. Read on to find out why.....




Alan Turing



He was an English mathematician, cryptanalyst and war-time codebreaker who had studied at Princeton in the US from 1936 to 1938. During the Second World War when Britain was standing alone against the Axis Powers and near to starvation because German U-boats were destroying Atlantic convoys bringing food to the United Kingdom. Churchill was, secretly, extremely worried. The Germans had invented the Enigma Machine which was a very advanced encoding device through which the submarines received their daily information. Realising that breaking the code was absolutely essential Turing, already known as a brilliant young mathematician, was put in charge of the top-secret 'Hut 8' at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. Thanks to his brilliant efforts the secrets of Enigma were discovered with an almost instant beneficial effect on the safety of Atlantic shipping. What went on at Bletchley Park remained highly secret until long after the end of the war. In fact one of the worlds first electronic computers which used thousands of thermionic valves (tubes) was smashed to pieces after the war. The government presumably must have thought it was too dangerous to be kept going. After all, what possible use could there be for computers in peacetime?




This leads to Turing's other great claim to fame; he is generally recognised as the actual inventor of the electronic computer. Although this may be arguable, he did invent the concepts of a processor and of memory storage using binary code. He never received any public recognition of his heroic actions.




Are you wondering, dear reader, why this might be?







Alan Turing was gay at a time when homosexual practices were criminal in the UK and he had been charged with indecency two years before his death. He died of cyanide poisoning and a half eaten apple was found at his bed-side but it was never tested for poison. This has led to various conspiracy theories. His distraught mother strenuously denied that he had committed suicide and it has been postulated that the manner of his death had been a deliberately ambiguous act to spare his mother' feelings.                                                                                                                      


The late Steve Jobs denied that the half-eaten Apple trademark was a silent tribute to Turing but said "I wish to God that it had been".







It is deeply ironic that a man whose actions helped to saved thousands of lives could not save himself in the society of 1950s Britain.  It is not by chance that Google purchased his papers to donate to the London Science Museum; they know their very existence might not have happened without him.


Leonardo DiCaprio is reportedly due to star as Turing in a new film tentatively titled 'Enigma'. Good casting if he can get the stiff formal 1950's English accent right.







Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, England, secret headquarters of code-breakers during WW11. It is now a museum.



Under attack

Last night I attended the autism group and felt a little uncomfortable there. I missed the bus home and didn't fancy waiting for the next one so I walked - surprisingly it only took me half an hour. But then when I got back I had a panic attack. I'm talking a proper out-of-body what-the-****'s-going-on experience here, the likes of which I haven't had in years. Luckily it didn't last too long.

This week has so far been a struggle. Everything just feels grey and black and hopeless. We've all moved desks in the office. My new position - right next to my boss - has upped the ante a bit. I'll try and get an initial assessment for CBT tomorrow - if I can remember.

This latest depressive spell is probably just a random occurrence but last week's letter from the council generated shock waves that I could have done without.

90, 96, 98, 04, 06, 12, ...

Yesterday morning Italy knocked England out of Euro 2012 on penalties. Giuseppe didn't seem to mind too much. It's the sixth time England have been dumped out of a major tournament in that way.

The 1990 shoot-out loss to the Germans was gut-wrenching for a ten-year-old boy but when '96 rolled around (those Germans again) I was far less bothered.

A pattern looks to be emerging; it points to more heartbreak for England in the World Cup in Brazil. But, according to Bad Science, perhaps I'm seeing a pattern where none exists.

Trading Tosfos For Tanks!



The Haredi World is being pushed out of the Yeshiva.  Pre-WWII, the learning was largely more successful and contained much better ratios in every aspect. Unfortunately today's majority post-WWII is not producing Gadlus B' Torah, i.e. where are the next wave of Gedolim [under the age of 100?!]

The equation is simple: The Yeshiva World should contain more structure and inspiration as opposed to spitting out raw material and inflated numbers.

Israeli society is being aided and ripened by the aspects of the army, to the point that Google's CEO has credited [his investment's success' in Israel] due to Israeli Army requirements.

Whether Haredim like it or not, admit it or not: The Army is calling and it may lead to a more productive Israeli Society; a more Biblical Israel as well: Talmidei Chachamim that understand part of Torah is War.

Jpost.com:



Thousands of haredi community members gathered in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood in the early hours of Monday morning to protest plans to draft the ultra-Orthodox into national service.

Police estimated that at least 5,000 men, women and children turned out at Kikar Shabbat, where leading rabbis of the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit organization led impassioned prayers to “avert the decree of army enlistment.” The highest authority of the Eda Haredit, Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, addressed the crowd, telling parents not to despair or be afraid of the forces of the state.

“This is our task, to teach our children the value of selfsacrifice for the sake of the Torah,” said Weiss. “We will not allow them to take yeshiva students to the army or the police. It is incumbent on us to give up our lives and not to stray from the path... The yeshivot are a tower of light for Judaism.”

Weiss added that proposed ideas such as integrating Torah study with military service are also unacceptable.

Rabbi Moshe Shternbach, head of the Eda Haredit Rabbinical Court, was similarly defiant. “We are the true soldiers of the Jewish people,” he said of the thousands of haredim studying in yeshivot.

“A soldier who abandons his post is considered a traitor, and so to with us it is forbidden to leave one’s post.” “The Zionists expelled the Arabs from the Land of Israel, what right do they have to disturb those who study Torah?” continued Shternbach.

“The only merit we have to be in this place is the merit of Torah and mitzvot, yet this they want to take from us.” The demonstration was called to protest new legislation currently being formulated in the Knesset to bring men from the haredi sector into military and national service programs. The Keshev Committee tasked with drafting the proposals is expected to present its recommendations in the coming days.

In February, the High Court of Justice struck down the “Tal Law,” enacted in 2002, which had provided a legal framework for full-time yeshiva students to indefinitely defer military or national service. There are currently 54,000 full-time yeshiva students who are exempted from army service within the framework of the Tal Law, which will expire on August 1.

Surprisingly, one of the most senior rabbis of the mainstream haredi community, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, was also present at the demonstration. The leaders of the non-hassidic stream of the haredi community do not generally associate themselves with the activities of the more hardline Eda Haredit. “We have to give up our lives against a decree which is part of our existence,” Auerbach declared.

“It is not possible that they will enter the world of Torah with compromises of quotas [for the number of yeshiva students exempt from national service], or that they can tell us who is an exceptional student [who can get an exemption] and who has to enlist.

We can’t give them a foot in the door.” The Eda Haredit leaders, who were assembled on a platform overlooking the square, led traditional mourning prayers typically said on fast days and times of distress for the Jewish people, with the shofar blown intermittently during the various prayers and supplications.

Some of the rabbis and crowd members wore sackcloth draped over their clothes, and small sachets of ashes were distributed that demonstrators sprinkled on themselves as a sign of mourning and contrition. The protest was called for 5 a.m. because that is when the gates of heaven open to receive prayer, said Pini Rosenberg, a spokesman for the demonstration on behalf of the Eda Haredit.

“We’re seeing the enlistment here of a large part of the haredi community and its leaders, and this huge gathering is saying today ‘no to decrees, no to compromises, we’re against all forms of the [military] draft,’” said Rosenberg. He added that in recent days rabbinical leaders of the community have appealed for funds from abroad to subsidize the yeshivot, should the new legislation substantially reduce state support.

Asked what the community will do if a law demanding obligatory military or national service for all is passed, Rosenberg said that the government should prepare 50,000 prison spaces to absorb yeshiva students who will refuse to be drafted. Also on Monday, a report on Ynet claimed that in a meeting with Keshev Committee chairman MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) on Sunday, Interior Minister and Shas chairman Eli Yishai described the efforts to draft haredi yeshiva students as a transgression within Jewish law that one must die for, rather than violate. According to the report, Yishai compared the draft to the three prohibitions that cannot be transgressed under any circumstances – murder, illicit sexual relations and idolatry.

However, a spokesman for the minister categorically denied that Yishai had compared drafting haredim into the army to these prohibitions. He explained that what Yishai meant was that coercively drafting haredim into the army would lead the moderate factions of the community to declare that enlisting in the IDF would be prohibited under any circumstances.

COVETING...

A tiny bit of colour on a Winters day x


Oriental Exile: Path To Pax Judaica



ManPower. China. Erev Rav.
The Great Recipe For The Kibbutz That Will be The World Headquarters Out Of Zion Called:
Pax Judaica.
The Last Ruling Power.
...And Then There Was The Ani Riding On A Donkey!
What may seem like "all day" is actually Sunset fast approaching.
Shabbat Shalom! [B''H (5772-6000)]

Jweekly:

The Israel China Cultural Festival taking place around the Bay Area this month has provided a marvelous opportunity to celebrate the growing ties between the two countries.

It’s a sign not only of positive bilateral relations but also of close bonds between the Chinese and Jewish people.

Unlike much of the rest of the world, there is no history of anti-Semitism in China. Jews have had business connections there for centuries, and Shanghai’s embrace of European Jews fleeing Hitler is a kindness never to be forgotten.

In addition, there is abundant evidence that the Chinese have a favorable view of Jews, admiring them for their intellectual achievements and ability to survive. They also see Jews as sharing Chinese values such as family and education.

Twenty years after China established diplo-matic ties with Israel, this has all translated into warming relations between the two. According to figures cited in the March issue of Foreign Policy magazine, bilateral trade amounts to nearly $10 billion, with China being Israel’s third largest export market.

More than 1,000 Israeli companies have opened for business in China, and there is talk of a bilateral free trade agreement sometime in the future. On the other side, Chinese delegations regularly turn up in Israel, clinching deals with Israeli high-tech companies.

To cite just one recent example, in February the countries’ finance ministers signed a $300 million deal to export Israeli water technology to China. Beyond business, last year China took part in the China-Israel Strategy and Security Symposium in Herzliya, signaling closer cooperation on security issues. This matters because, as the world’s second largest economy, China exerts enormous influence on world affairs.

That China is not in the pocket of Iran, Syria or the Arab bloc (though it does business with them) signals that China has chosen to be even-handed when it comes to the Middle East. Growing closer to Israel can only help. Which brings us back to the Israel China Cultural Festival.

With Silicon Valley and some 40,000 Israelis living in our region, and with China’s strong Pacific Coast presence, the Bay Area is a nexus for relations between China and Israel, between the Chinese and Jewish people. What with spiking Hamas rocket fire and Iran’s nuclear intransigence, it’s easy to get caught up in the bad news when it comes to Israel. Here’s something to feel good about. Thank you, China, and the Chinese people, for what we hope will be an enduring friendship.


Am Yisrael comes from Yaakov Avinu. We learn about "Plag HaMincha" from Yaakov Avinu, as when Yaakov wanted to daven Maariv at the site of the Beis Hamikdash, Hashem made a miracle:
He made the sunset on Yaakov and he the ground moved from under him, and he ended up at Har Bayis, and ushered in the night.
May Shabbos of "6000" find its way here in 5772, in the merit of Yaakov Avinu!

Have bike, will travel...

Biking Programme June 2012:

Townie leaving town!


Alta Lake, BC


Log cabin lakeside, Alta Lake, BC


Lupins lakeside, Alta Lake, BC


Valley trail underwater on way to Green Lake, BC


Par avion ou velo, Green Lake, BC


Valley trail to Lost Lake, BC


Lost Lake, BC - FOUND!!!

Biking Programme June 2013:

WHISTLER MOUNTAIN, BC!!!!!!! (chuckle, chuckle, chuckle!!!)