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Friday, January 23, 2015

Euphonic Friday: Open Your Heart Edition

Six months after Eyal Yifrach HY”D, Gil-Ad Sha’ar HY”D, and Naftali Fraenkel HY”D were kidnapped and brutally murdered by terrorists, their classmates and families released a beautiful song in their memory.

Entitled “Ptach Libcha B’Rachamim” (“Open Your Heart With Mercy”), the song contains poetic allusions to the three boys’ names, focuses on the incredible unity that we all experienced during the summer, and serves as a heartfelt prayer that the unity be rekindled.

Noted Israeli artists David D’Or and Ilan Kenan wrote the lyrics and music, and the song was recorded by renowned singers Koby Aflalo, David Broza, Yishai Ribo, Yonatan Razel, Avraham Fried, and David D’Or.

Here are the moving lyrics:

פתח ליבך ברחמים על בניך
קולם לדורות ישמע
בשמים ניצבים לעד דבריך
ובארץ המצא לנו נחמה
איכה היו השלושה לאחד
וציוו לנו חיים
עלו לתומם כאייל נעקד
על מזבח הבנים
שמים בכו מעל לגלעד
והארץ רעשה
מתוך נפתולי הלב שרעד
חייכו בתמונה השלושה

פתח ליבך.......

ובין מייצרים בקרוב עלי מרעים
התגלו במסך האבק
שקרים שבתוך מנהרות מסתתרים
מזימות שנורו למרחק
הרוח נשבה ישנה חדשה
וקרבה לבבות רחוקים
מתוך תעצומות הנפש ביקשה
לא ליפול גם כשלא מבינים

פתח ליבך.......

ובתוך הטירוף בין מרדף לנרדף
תעלה זעקה לשלום הנכסף
והעם שעייף משינאת החינם
יתאחד בחיבוק אחים

פתח ליבך......

May the coming week be filled with besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael.

!שבת שלום ומבורך

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fine Arts Friday: 5775 Calendar Edition

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for maternal boasting. Proceed at your own risk.

So, in case you were wondering – and I can’t imagine that you weren’t - here’s the thing about neglecting one’s blog:

It turns out – and yes, this came as quite a surprise for me, too - that when one allows days weeks months to go by without making time for blogging, one finds oneself with a rather extensive collection of partially-written posts.

I mean, consider the following images, which have been rattling around my Drafts folder since before Rosh Hashanah.

As veteran Our Shiputzim readers will no doubt recall, every year my mother puts together a family calendar, and the various grandchildren prepare the artwork.

Here are the Shiputzim kids’ beautiful contributions (I warned you that there would be boasting… :-)) to the 5775 calendar:

Jan2015Parshat Shmot - January 2015
(Roughly corresponding to Tevet-Shvat 5775)

May2015Bikurim (Shavuot) - May 2015
(Roughly corresponding to Iyar-Sivan 5775)

As always, please be sure to click on the pictures for a much better view.

Stay safe, warm, and dry, and have a wonderful Shabbat!
!שבת שלום ומבורך

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pre-storm housekeeping

As the entire country stocks up and braces for last year’s major winter storm – because why shouldn’t we take it for granted that this week’s storm will be an exact copy of the blizzard of December 2013? – now’s probably a good time to take care of some blogging housekeeping by finally sharing some post-Chanukah thoughts.

But first, I hope you all had a wonderful, joyous, and light-filled Chanukah!

IMG_6199Zot Chanukah 5775

And now without further ado, some post-Chanukah notes:

1) Before he summarily and abruptly resigned, the former education minister decided, for reasons best known to himself, to shorten Chanukah vacation – to the dismay and indignation of schoolchildren across the country.

And since it soon became apparent that the change was – like many of the former minister’s so-called reforms – hastily conceived and poorly implemented, the kids weren’t the only ones who were annoyed.

Because the result was that no two Shiputzim kids had the exact same vacation schedule, and thus, your humble blogger spent much of Chanukah asking, “Remind me again. Who is off tomorrow?

2) Due to a bit of car trouble (hopefully more about THAT in an upcoming post), we found ourselves homebound more than we originally planned.

But it turned out that our unintended staycation had a silver lining.

With nothing else to do, the younger Shiputzim kids had a chance to watch both “The Princess Bride” and “Singin’ in the Rain,” and now YZG and I can say that we’ve fulfilled two of our essential parental obligations…

Winking smile

Stay safe, warm, and dry, and enjoy the snow!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fine Arts Friday: Shmuel I Edition

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for maternal boasting. Proceed at your own risk.

In lieu of an unconvincing apology or even a lame excuse for my prolonged blogging absence - and with your permission, of course - I think I’ll just jump right back in. Here goes:

A certain Shiputzim daughter had to make a diorama for her Navi class this week and decided to focus on the following psukim from Sefer Shmuel I:

“וַיַעֲשׂוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים כֵּן וַיִקְחוּ שְׁתֵּי פָרוֹת עָלוֹת וַיַאַסְרוּם בָּעֲגָלָה וְאֶת בְּנֵיהֶם כָּלוּ בַבָּיִת. וַיָשִׂמוּ אֶת אֲרוֹן ה’ אֶל הָעֲגָלָה וְאֵת הָאַרְגַז וְאֵת עַכְבְּרֵי הַזָהָב…”

“And the men did so, and they took two lactating cows and hitched them to the wagon; and they confined their calves in the house. And they placed the Ark of Hashem on the wagon, and the box and the golden mice…”
(Shmuel I 6:10-11)

As always, please feel free to click on the pictures for a much better view:IMG_5836IMG_5840IMG_5841IMG_5844IMG_5845

My favorite parts are the golden mice in the box and also the Kruvim on top of the Aron.

And yes, cows DO seem to appear in many projects here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog). Why do you ask?

Winking smile

!שבת שלום ומבורך

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taking a stand

Every few years, without fail, there comes a point during Chodesh Irgun when the typical Anglo parent decides that he or she is fed up and isn’t going to take it anymore.

Helpless in the face of paint-splattered clothes, late nights, and kvetchy kids, said Anglo parent finally declares that it’s time to take a stand.

After all, online griping or even commiserating with other beleaguered parents in real life only goes so far.

Unfortunately, however, seeing as we don’t live between the covers of a melodramatic Gothic novel, locking the kids in their rooms and forbidding them from participating in Chodesh Irgun isn’t really an option. And given the current political climate, neither is demanding that the Education Ministry, the Knesset, or even the Supreme Court outlaw the entire endeavor.

But one is determined not to give up without some sort of fight, and so one makes a tiny, insignificant gesture that fools no one but oneself.

For instance, as one’s beloved offspring head out to the snif (the inevitably rickety caravan or lean-to that serves as the youth group’s headquarters) to “paint walls,” “rehearse,” or whatever it is that they’re calling it these days, one demands, “Call me when you get there! And don’t forget to take your umbrella!

If all goes according to plan, the offspring in question obligingly groan and hopefully even roll their eyes before shrugging and doing as they’ve been told.

Ha! Take THAT, Chodesh Irgun!” one secretly exults.

Of course, since it’s been raining rather steadily all week, and since making a phone call isn’t a big deal, deep down one is well aware that the kids would have taken the phones and umbrellas with them anyway.

But then again, during Chodesh Irgun, even the most meaningless parental “victory” is as good as it’s going to get…

Open-mouthed smile

!שבוע טוב ומזל טוב לשבט החדש

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Much ado about nothing

To read the international press over the past few days, or to listen to the ranting and raving of certain members of Israel’s political and chattering classes is to be told that liberal Western values - democracy, equality, civil rights, nondiscrimination, and so on – have come under attack.

Over and over, the self-styled protectors of all that is good and noble intone that any version of the proposed law to define Israel as the Jewish national homeland is a despicable piece of legislation being shoved down Israel’s collective throats by racist and fascist right-wingers.

But as Haviv Rettig Gur demonstrates in his excellent analysis, the reality is very, very different. And in fact, what is actually going on is far more disturbing:

“Ministers shouting untruths about a constitution-altering bill at the cabinet table and then proudly leaking news of their bickering; an attorney general lecturing ministers against approving private member bills on constitutional matters, without mentioning that that was precisely how previous constitutional revolutions, ones with which he more readily agreed, had been passed; centrist legislation that is transmuted through sheer political posturing and media ignorance into a far-right proposal...”

If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to read the whole thing.

May we soon be privileged to witness besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Euphonic Friday: Yearning For Hashem’s Salvation Edition

In light of recent events, the conclusion of Yaakov Avinu’s blessing to his son Dan in Parshat Vayechi perfectly encapsulates Am Yisrael’s collective mood – especially here in Eretz Yisrael:

לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִיתִי ה’.

“For Your salvation I yearn, Hashem!”
(Breishit 49:18)

Shlomo Katz recently released a hauntingly beautiful rendition of this pasuk:

From Shlomo Katz’s new “Likrat Shabbat” album

שבת שלום וחודש טוב!

Shabbat shalom, and may the coming week and month be filled with besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

It’s the dark flip side of living in a small, remarkably interconnected country.

It’s the sobering, solemn fact that nearly every terror attack is bound to affect someone separated from you by a mere degree or two of separation.

And as the number of victims of a specific terror attack increases, the likelihood that you have a personal connection with the victims and/or their families increases as well.

Because each and every victim encompasses an entire world, and the holy victims HY”D of the shocking massacre in Har Nof were no exceptions.

The four Torah scholars, who died al kiddush Hashem, and the heroic Druze police officer, who gave his life for Am Yisrael, were husbands, fathers, grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and cousins.

They each left behind beautiful families and close-knit communities, neighbors and friends, coworkers and fellow congregants.

In this particular case, we know the brother and parents of one victim very well, and sadly, we also have direct and indirect ties to several of the other victims.

ה’ יקום דמם ויהי זכרם ברוך.

May Hashem avenge their blood; may their memories be blessed; and may their dear families be consoled among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.