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Life of Yeshiva Guys in Israel: July 2009

Life of Yeshiva Guys in Israel

A Pictorial, Vidorial, and Textorial Panorama of the Life of Yeshiva Guys in Eretz Yisroel (Israel). Join us as we discover Eretz Yisroel and all it has to offer Yeshiva Bochurim.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Moderates: Sit Down! Argufying DovBear's (Non)Point

I always get a little upset when I come across such posts. In this one, DovBear has posted from a guest (Fozzie) that he believes the time has come for Centrist Orthodoxy to stand up. I say the time is long overdue for them to SIT DOWN.

The truth of the matter is that it is not the extreme-right's fault. It being the recent scandals so gleefully covered by the secular press. For just a quick look at how the media distorts things, take a look at this post by the (un)venerable Yechiel Spira, or at Aish HaTorah's HonestReproting.

What we have here, aside from the obvious media misreporting, is a simple case if misunderstanding the cause and effect of the way these things work.

Example: Can you imagine, for a moment, R' Chaim Kanievsky, R' Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, or any of our other leaders being caught in such a scandal. No. Of course not. Why? Becuase a real, true Yid does not allow such things to happen.

Therefore, and I am saddened to have to be forced to say this, but the fact of the matter is that these Yidden are simply not representative of the extreme right. Like the Telsher Rosh Yeshiva used to say when asked how frum Yidden could cheat on their taxes: "And what about frum Yidden who eat on Yom Kippur? That is right...they aren't frum. And neither are the tax cheaters". Same here.

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"V'Lo Tzammah LaMayim"...

But if you would be thirsty, we have this very special truck to take care of that.

Simply line up, hold out your cup, and receive cool, refreshing liquid beverages.

For Free!!!

Beat that, Good Humor Dude!

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Medrash Movers (or Medrash Masmidim)

Busted in Rechavia shlepping a seforim shrank.

Now why would they need that?

Just joshin'.

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"Tear This Wall Down"!...

..."For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom".

They're building a partition in Mekor HaShefa. What next?
Who will join us loyal Yeshiva Guys in protest of this desecration of our
freedom to roam freely in Mekor HaShefa? Who will fight with us?

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Rabbi Menachem Porush

Coming out of the Prima Kings Hotel, Motzei Ta'anis.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Feeling the Heat

Boom. “Fire”, someone screams! Bang. Its one o’clock in the morning, and we’re shpatziring down a street in Zichron Moshe area. When we hear the shout, we whip around. Someone on the street shouts again, “Fire”! I look up to see a conflagration erupt out of an abandoned building’s second story yawning mouths. Flames are leaping and licking out of them, and perched on a makeshift porch is a half man halfway dressed. He looks like he walked right out of a Hollywood set, dressed to play the part of a homeless, clotheless man begging on Second Avenue for pennies. He does have a white, now gray, undershirt on, but otherwise…People on the street begin screaming at him to come down; “Tayrid, adoni”. Nothin’ doin’. This guy’s home is going up, and he’s determined to go down with it. No one is sure of what to do. People running about, and I’m just standing there, taking it all in. Meanwhile, explosions of an unknown nature are taking place within the building.

(You can spot the scarring in the form of the black residue left on the wall of the building in the above picture. The porch referred to above is also the pictured one).

A fight erupts amongst the bochurim and crowd. Soon, an impromptu Halachic debate is taking place. The big question is whether or not to call the Fire Dep’t. You see, in Israel the fire squad that answers the call will most likely be composed of Yidden, thereby involving chillul Shabbos issues, aside from the call itself. Since the fire shows no signs of abating, and has the potential to spread and cause potential sakanas nefoshos, the decision is made to call the fire department.

By now, some quick thinking bochur has arranged a pair of pajama pants for the homeless fellow; after donning them in full view of the assemblage, he finally descends from his perch. Muttering all the while about the terrible forces that bombed his home.

And now the p’shat:

This building, located for the most part on Rechov Chofetz Chayim with a back door on Rechov Pri Chadash, has been abandoned ever since I came, and ever since the guys I know came. Inquiry among the old-timers of Pri Chadash yields the fascinating fact that in fact, this building was never occupied at all, due to the fact the municipalities' original building permit on it lapsed in middle of construction. Leaving the building empty, as well as available for emergency garbage disposal and other such worthwhile purposes. The local Yerushalmi kids use it as their version of the “Haunted House”. Which is actually quite wonderful, since I can’t imagine where else they’d burn off their excess energy.

One day, this enterprising homeless Jew decides that he needs to find an apartment. He shows up at this building, passes the entrance exam, and successfully wins the nomination to become chairman of the Building Committee. And he’s been there ever since. Until his home goes up in flames. So what happened?

Well, according to the best information available, this guy is a connoisseur of not merely your standard Marloboro fare, but indeed Marloboros Plus. V’hameivin yavin. Anyway, he is most likely familiar with the commandment to rest and enjoy Shabbos, so he attempts to fulfill it in the manner he knows best. And promptly passes out on his mattress, or what passes for it. Soon, the still lit joint starts burning a hole in the mattress, and the fire catches to the other assorted refuse in the shack. And the rest is history.

The fire department arrives, and soon after the Mishtara. Faint cries of “Shabbos” are heard in the background, but no one seriously challenges Jerusalem's Finest. The firemen put out the fire in a matter of minutes, and before you can daven a Yerushlayamir mincha all that remains are copious amounts of smoke pouring out of the cavernous second story openings. The policeman talks the nutjob, takes some notes on his dupe pad, talks to some of the crowd, and quickly disappears.

Now, all that is left are the black stains on the walls, a slightly hyper crowd, and our local nut job. He not-so-graciously thanks the two bochurim who saved his life (and donated a pair of pajama pants to him), and ambles off to parts unknown.

Postscript: I later overhear that he strolled into a random bochurim’s dira at 5AM, requesting a place to sleep. They bounced him out. I assume they had little desire for a no cost heating solution.

And that’s an average Friday in Geulah folks. Plenty of entertainment all around, a bit of Torah, some police action, and most importantly, a fire.

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A La Sartorialist

Pardon me for being so very pretentious, but this guy just demanded it.

Check him out...a little bit of army, a little bit of red, and a little bit of...

I don't even know how to categorize that coat thingamajig.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kosel Kalling: My Friday Night Seudah Gamble

(Guest Posted by the Anonymous Bochur)

It’s Friday night, and I’m in that same place again. Wondering where to eat the seudah. One of the most classic of yeshiva bochur conundrums, the options are fairly numerous, and the spectrum quite varied. Obviously, I didn’t have a specific invitation, and I along with my friend were klerring the various options. Brodstein? Shwadron? A different open house? Or perhaps a chilled dira seudah? All these and more are heavily debated, each undergoing deep scrutiny before being rejected for some reason or other.

After much give-and-take, my friend and I decide we’re going to go to the Wall to find a meal. Should be interesting, right? Used to be, us Jews would make the pilgrimage to the Wall from all over the world to pray, but nevermore. Today, the Kosel is one of the best places to find a meal Friday night. We don’t enjoy the half hour brisk walk through the old city, being that we are, of course, late. We do, however, notice at least three separate Birthright tours, each with around 50 chevra or so. One of the teenagers of the group, a real Harry-ess is ticked with the loud comments coming from behind her and she calls out in perfect Har Nof style Ivrit “Sheket”. We’re rolling with laughter as we hurry along.

We finally reach the Kosel, and discover that the place is basically empty. We figure that we’re too late; I’m envisioning not-too-appetizing hard rolls from last week with some chummous older than that, but not to worry. As we walk up the path to the Wall, we’re offered two places to eat, not including the great Jeff Seidel option. Who by the way, has the most interesting brown/white shoes I’ve ever seen on a frum yid on Shabbos. Or any other time for that matter.

The latter of our two invitations came from a fine fellow who was clearly a Lubavitcher, although that didn’t put me off. A quick, potentially sensitive question later (“Do you eat Rabbanut Mehadrin”?) and an equally quick “I’m here on vacation and everything has been cooked by a fine Meah Shearim caterer” response settles our Kashrus worries.

We agree to meet our host at the Kippah stand after we finish Ma’ariv. While we daven, our Lubavitcher friend manages to snag three more lost souls, and together we make our way to the most amazing dira I’ve ever been in. Not kidding. This guy was staying in a dira with THE ULTIMATE VIEW. That’s right, look out the panoramic living room window and see the Wall. And all the holy yidden assembled there to pray…or find a meal. And when you’re through doing that, turn around to watch TV on the 50” Sony Bravia HDTV. Life is good for some people.

Turns out that one of the people he’s hooked is a completely lost yeshiva bochur, of sorts. He’s learning here for the summer…sort of. Where’s he learning? The JTS. Seriously. I never knew this, but apparently, at the JTS yeshiva program here in Israel, there are 100 people. 50 guys and 50 girls. I ask half jokingly if they learn b’chavrusa with the other gender and he responds positively. I’m blown away. I feel like screaming at him, but manage to control myself. The other two people are an uninteresting couple (both teachers) from Queens who have nothing particularly interesting to say, except when the Messianic age schmooze begins. At that point, the lady perks up, and declares that she “would not want to live in that age”. Why not, we all ask in unison? She answers with this really weird moshel from…The Lord of the Rings. Something about Gollum and the Hobbit. I kid you not.

But by far the coolest part of the meal is the friend of our host who lives full time in the old city. A fascinating fellow, he lectures internationally on the Jewish faith, how it relates, or doesn’t, to Islam and Christianity, and in the process had scuba dived just about everywhere. Basically, we sit enraptured by the Jewish people’s history for almost five hours. In between, we discuss politics- both Israeli and American, cooking- how to make the nastiest cholent ever, and everything in between.

But this guy’s big shtick is the Messianic era. He has Tanach on his fingertips, and throughout the meal quotes liberally from it; chapter and verse too. And when one of the guests asks something out of John, he answers her with chapter and verse too!

By the end of the meal, us (my friend and I) and this guy have gotten into a mildly heated debate about Zionists, Ben Hecht, and Chassidish Rebbes while everyone else looks on. Soon, though, we decide that the time has come to end the meal (its one o’clock by now, and our host is poofing away- he’s retired some time ago). We bentsch and make our way out of there. According to the Conservative bochur, it was, and I quote directly, “the perfect Shabbat evening”. I couldn’t agree more.

So the next time you’re stuck for a meal on Friday night, head down to the Kosel; you may not enjoy the meal, but you’ll likely have an experience to remember. After all, this is the most interesting city in the world!

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Original Mitzvah

Check out this guy's right hand (on your left, duh).

He's holding a half eaten apple. Granny Smith, if you're wondering.
So what's so interesting about that, you wonder.

Here what:

I was walking along that road, and I happened to notice an apple about 10 feet in front of me. This bochur did too, but instead of just noticing it, he picked it up and placed it on the wall to his right.


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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Street Rulez

Need to get somewhere in Eretz Yisroel in a hurry?

No time to waste on trafficky side streets?

No problem. Just go the wrong way down a one way street.


Friday, July 17, 2009

One Yid's Chillul Hashem is the other Yid's Kiddush Hashem

And that, folks, is exactly what is going on here.

I must say, that as an occasional (former?) reader of the infamous VIN and YWN news blogs, I was quite disappointed at their biased coverage of the two recent hafganah affairs in our Holy City. And here comes the kicker...their bias was towards the secular! In fact, the type of chareidi hating, Brisk-bashing, anti- frum fest that was going on in the inspired comments below those articles was nothing short of sickening. And to think that these frum websites were goreim those comments from frum yidden. Whatever happened to Hilchos Lashon Hara???

It is critical, especially when dealing with remote media channels, to verify and double verify such type of information before passing it on. The scenes described in the above mentioned news outlets are simply copied from various secular media agencies, and NOT TRUE. (Yes, the secular media does have a bias against the chareidim. Wake up.)
That ostensibly frum news channels run stories, and particularly of the volatile and potentially Chillul Hashem causing type we're discussing, without due diligence in their fact checking is worse than atrocious. Its assur.

And its high time someone said something about it. So there you go. I hate to be a hater, but it had to be said.

And if you're in any way confused about what the flip I'm talking about,...then move on- this blog ain't for you.

(Above photo taken on Yechezkel, near Kikar Shabbos, on Thu., July 16th).

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sign(als) Grounded

The Sign at the end of Imrei Binah, where it meets Sorotzkin, near Ahavas Torah.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Rice Guy of Malchei Yisroel

This dude was killin' and chillin' them all over Malchei Yisroel the other night.

What he does is this:
You tell him your name. For a nominal fee, he will write it down- in Ivrit- on a grain of rice.
While these microscopic painters are nothing new at tourist hotspots all over the world, apparently, Malchei Yisroel has finally made it onto the list.

Welcome to the big leagues, M"Y. Here's hoping you can compete. L'chaim!

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Street Artist of Dovid Yelen

I feel like I'm in Paris. Who knew?

Note the partially cut-off Shabbos Machoh patchkaville on the lower right.

Anyway, I'm acting as this artiste's agent; want to purchase? Let me know.

Just kidding.

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Water from Eden

For those of you who've been here or are here, this won't seem weird, but for everyone else...

The guy on the right is the representative from the national water company. No, he didn't just escape from prison, although from the bright blue coveralls he's wearing you might be inclined to think so.

In fact, he's going about his job, which involves bringing water to various diras throughout Yerushalayim. The thing is, without saying bad on our Holy City, most all the chutznikim, including all bochurim, require the bottled water that this fine fellow is assisting in distribution.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Lag B'Omer Business

Serious looking kid. Sure looks like he knows how to wield that wheelbarrow.

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Walking Home

After a tough days work. Note the heavy duty bookbags.

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Rabbi Leibel Soleveitchik- R' Berel's Son

Walking down Rechov Yakov Meir.

In fine form today.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Of Cats and Men

Only question is, who is the cat, and who is the man? Seriously, though, doesn't this guy bear a startling resemblance to your favorite block mouser?

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HaRav HaGaon R' Shmuel Aurbach

Just take a look at that smile.
And tell me if you've ever seen R' A.Y. smile like that. As if.

Yup, a real Gadol. Old school. Yup.

Totally Tefillin

Indeed, the indigenous indigents in fact insist on incongruously inching along in...


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The Case for Learning in Israel

Lately, as it has become the fashion to send to bochurim to Eretz Yisroel, it has become all the rage to bash Eretz Yisroel. They say: What's the point? There's no hashgacha there anyway! Better they should learn here...All this and more, I've heard, echoing throughout the minds of concerned parents across America. And indeed, they have a point. Its true, there is much less hashgacha here in Eretz Yisroel. There is, however, at the same time, much more hashgacha; albeit a different kind of hasgacha. The Hashgacha. And as frum yidden, we all believe in that higher hashgacha. I'm not referring to the Great Hashgacha here; I'm referring to Torah, and its unique brand of protection that it, and only it, can provide.

While it may be true that bochurim here have the time of their life, and that bochurim here have tons of fun, and that bochurim here...yada yada yada, its also true that bochurim here grow in ways they never could in America. The reasons for this are as many as they are few. That is, many reasons have been proffered, but I'd stick with the Gemara;
"Aveerah D'Yisroel Machkim".

I rest my case.

(Photo by turmsegler)

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I Scream for Ice Cream Reloaded

Remember the ding-dong niggun of the Good Humor man from those faraway shores of America? That cheerful tune that invoked panic attacks in adults across America? That triggered those Pavlovian reactions in kids, regardless of race, color or creed?

Well, folks, its back! Indeed, I'd thought those days were behind me, once I'd made my way to these fine shores. But it seems that the Good Humor man has found his place here at last.

Of course, you don't think he's called the Good Humor truck, do you? Or that the truck is that same hulking monstrosity you fondly recall? Nope, it's been slimmed down, Israeli style.

Introducing...the Strauss man.

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Protesting the "Machoh" Protesters

Everyone's favorite illiterate yeshivishe blog (U'kshmo kain hu") recently ran a piece submitted by a lady who claims to live near the area of the recent Hafganos near Kikar Shabbos...

The Yeshiva World » Out Of The Mailbag: American Bochrim Wrecking Havoc At Hafganos » Frum Jewish News

What to say here? Unquestionably, she has a point. Bochurim do need hashgacha. For example, I am familiar with one wild hoodlum who maintains some sort of blog, chronicling his experiences in Israel...probably using that unfiltered Internet in his dira, late at night. Also, its true, rov guys do go to have fun. See the action. Perhaps heckle a mishtara or two. You get the point.

At the same time, there are many bochurim who attend these rallies because of a deep seated need to register their feelings of protest at the medina's treatment of our city. Personally, I'm familiar with at least two bochurim who are locked up, and no doubt; the feelings of pain for our holy Yerushalayim are there. And when these fine, upstanding young men suffer for what they believe in, who are we to deride them? Are they really so different than the many Yerushalayimer men who attend these protests?

She quotes, and I quote, "R’ Avraham Yehoshua of Brisk said this week when one of his bochrim were arrested, “vos tut a bochur bei a mechoa?” - what is a bochur doing by a protest? (Bold and italics mine).

As she may or may not know, our good Rosh Yeshiva is the inveterate politician. Always playing to the crowd. Seriously, take not a word he says publicly seriously.

Either way,the bochur who was arrested?
And does he regret it?
See the above paragraphs.

'Nuff said.

Oh. Almost forgot my cutesy little quote.
"V'shavu vanim l'gvulam". Amen.

(Photo by sonnglod)

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