Archives for October 2008


Tonight was Elisheva’s night. Tonight we celebrated Elisheva’s becoming a bat mitzvah. It was a celebration that was very special because Elisheva is a very special girl. She is very clever and bright and she is very conscientious. She enjoys reading and learning and she is serious about her school work. She is a person who strives for perfection in the things she does. She is a person who achieves excellence. She has a kind and sweet demeanor and she is delightful to be with.

I wanted to speak in public to Elisheva, and perhaps I will write out what I was going to say or perhaps I will put it on YouTube, but the main idea I wanted to get across to her is that with the firm foundation she has been given by her parents intellectually, religiously, and morally, the world is out there for her to make what she wants of her life– that she should seek her passion and learn and study and create and do the things that interest her and excite her. I wanted to tell her that there are many women who she could emulate, but the secret is that she can be her own hero. She can create the masterpiece that is her life. She can write its story; she can paint the picture; she can compose the music. It is all in her hands. I know that she will create something beautiful.

Mazal tov, Elisheva. I love you!

Melanie Phillips

This article was printed in this publication

Is America really going to do this?
Friday, 24th October 2008

The impact of the financial crisis on the American presidential election has somewhat obscured the most important reason why the prospect of an Obama presidency is giving so many people nightmares. This is the fear that, if he wins, US defences will be emasculated at a time of unprecedented international peril and the enemies of America and the free world will seize their opportunity to destroy the west.

Personally, I don’t give any credence to the ‘support’ for one candidate over the other that has been expressed by the enemies of civilisation (Iran and Hamas ‘support’ Obama, while an al Qaeda blogger ‘supports’ McCain). Their agenda is simply to sow confusion and promote American recriminations and disarray. Nor do I set much store by many of the remarks made by either candidate during the latter stages of this election campaign, since under this kind of pressure both will now say pretty much anything to win it. The New York Times has run a useful analysis of the candidates’ foreign policy campaign statements which shows how Obama has carefully tacked to the ‘hard power’ agenda while McCain has in turn nodded towards ‘soft power’.

No, the only way to assess their position is to look at each man in the round, at what his general attitude is towards war and self-defence, aggression and appeasement, the values of the west and those of its enemies and – perhaps most crucially of all – the nature of the advisers and associates to whom he is listening. As I have said before, I do not trust McCain; I think his judgment is erratic and impetuous, and sometimes wrong. But on the big picture, he gets it. He will defend America and the free world whereas Obama will undermine them and aid their enemies.

Here’s why. McCain believes in protecting and defending America as it is. Obama tells the world he is ashamed of America and wants to change it into something else. McCain stands for American exceptionalism, the belief that American values are superior to tyrannies. Obama stands for the expiation of America’s original sin in oppressing black people, the third world and the poor.

Obama thinks world conflicts are basically the west’s fault, and so it must right the injustices it has inflicted. That’s why he believes in ‘soft power’ — diplomacy, aid, rectifying ‘grievances’ (thus legitimising them, encouraging terror and promoting injustice) and resolving conflict by talking. As a result, he will take an axe to America’s defences at the very time when they need to be built up. He has said he will ‘cut investments in unproven missile defense systems’; he will ‘not weaponize space’; he will ‘slow our development of future combat systems’; and he will also ‘not develop nuclear weapons,’ pledging to seek ‘deep cuts’ in America’s arsenal, thus unilaterally disabling its nuclear deterrent as Russia and China engage in massive military buildups.

McCain understands that an Islamic war of conquest is being waged on a number of diverse fronts which all have to be seen in relation to each other. For Obama, however, the real source of evil in the world is America. The evil represented by Iran and the Islamic jihadists is apparently all America’s fault. ‘A lot of evil’s been perpetuated based on the claim that we were fighting evil,’ he said. Last May, he dismissed Iran as a tiny place which posed no threat to the US — before reversing himself the very next day when he said Iran was a great threat which had to be defeated. He has also said that Hezbollah and Hamas have ‘legitimate grievances’. Really? And what might they be? Their grievances are a) the existence of Israel b) its support by America c) the absence of salafist Islam in the world. Does Obama think these ‘grievances’ are legitimate?

To solve world conflict, Obama places his faith in the UN club of terror and tyranny, which is currently fuelling the murderous global demonisation of Israel for having the temerity to defend itself and is even now preparing for a rerun of its own anti-Jew hate-fest of Durban 2, which preceded 9/11 by a matter of days.

McCain understands that Israel is the victim rather than the victimiser in the Middle East, that it is surrounded by genocidal enemies whose undiminished intention is to destroy it as a Jewish state, and that is both the first line of defence against the Islamist attack on the free world and its most immediate and important target.

Obama dismisses the threat from Islamism, shows zero grasp of the strategic threat to the region and the world from the encirclement of Israel by Iran, displays a similar failure to grasp the strategic importance of Iraq, thinks Israel is instead the source of Arab and Muslim aggression against the west, believes that a Palestinian state would promote world peace and considers that Israel – particularly through the ‘settlements’ – is the principal obstacle to that happy outcome. Accordingly, Obama has said he wants Israel to return to its 1967 borders – actually the strategically indefensible 1948 cease-fire line, known accordingly as the ‘Auschwitz borders’.

Obama would thus speak to Iran’s genocidal mullahs without preconditions on his side (the same mullahs have now laid down their own preconditions for America: pull all US troops out of the Middle East, and abandon support for ‘Zionist’ Israel) but has said he would have problems dealing with an Israeli government headed by a member of Israel’s Likud Party. In similar vein, it is notable that Obama opposed the congressional resolution labelling the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization, which passed the Senate by a wide margin with support from both parties. And had he had his way, there would have been no ‘surge’ in Iraq and America would instead have run up the white flag, with the incalculable bloodbath and strengthening of the jihad that would have followed.

Obama assumes that Islamic terrorism is driven by despair, poverty, inflammatory US policy and the American presence on Muslim soil in the Persian Gulf. Thus he adopts the agenda of the Islamists themselves. This is not surprising since many of his connections suggest that that the man who may be elected President of a country upon which the Islamists have declared war is himself firmly in the Islamists’ camp. Daniel Pipes lists Obama’s extensive connections to Islamists in general and the Nation of Islam in particular, and concludes with this astounding observation:

Obama’s multiple links to anti-Americans and subversives mean he would fail the standard security clearance process for Federal employees. Islamic aggression represents America’s strategic enemy; Obama’s many insalubrious connections raise grave doubts about his fitness to serve as America’s commander-in-chief.

The hatred that these Islamist connections entertain towards Israel is reflected amongst Obama’s own advisers. With one notable exception in Dennis Ross, whose late arrival in Camp Obama suggests a cosmetic exercise designed to allay alarm among Israel supporters, his advisers are overwhelmingly not only hostile to Israel but perpetrate the loathesome canard that Jews have too much power over American policy.

The former Carter adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, for example, not only denounced Israel’s war against Hezbollah thus:

I think what the Israelis are doing today [2006] for example in Lebanon is in effect– maybe not in intent – the killing of hostages

but also supports Mearsheimer and Walt’s notorious smear that the Jews have subverted America’s foreign policy in the interests of Israel. Merrill McPeak, vice chairman of Obama’s campaign and his chief military adviser, has similarly blamed problems in the Middle East on the influence of people who live in New York City and Miami (guess who) whom no ‘politician wants to run against’ and who he says exercise undue influence on America’s foreign affairs. Most revolting of all is Samantha Power, a very close adviser whom Obama fired for calling Hillary a ‘monster’ but who says she still expects to be in Obama’s administration. Not only has Power has advocated the ending of all aid to Israel and redirecting it to the Palestinians, but she has spoken about the need to land a ‘mammoth force’ of US troops in Israel to protect the Palestinians from Israeli attempts at genocide (sic) — and has complained that criticism of Barack Obama all too often came down to what was ‘good for the Jews’.

There are, alas, many in the west for whom all this is music to their ears. Whether through wickedness, ideology, stupidity or derangement, they firmly believe that the ultimate source of conflict in the world derives at root from America and Israel, whose societies, culture and values they want to see emasculated or destroyed altogether. They are drooling at the prospect that an Obama presidency will bring that about. The rest of us can’t sleep at night.

Alan Reynolds on Obama’s Economic Plan

There is an article from the Wall Street Journal located here. that analyzes the plan. Before voting, it would be a good idea to read it. Essentially it says that given an analysis of the spending plan and the taxation plan, the numbers are far from being able to reconcile.

If the repeated associations with radicals and with ACORN and with unverified credit card contributions doesn’t worry you, maybe your own pocketbook will.


Despite the fact that each fall the holidays assault us week after week, it’s always sad the moment I realize that they are over. This year we kept a low profile because I have been coughing non-stop for weeks. Aside from children and grandchildren, we have had no guests. So when we put away the sukkah this morning, it was with a feeling of missed opportunities.

The days are already shorter and the weather is moderating and soon things will be back to “normal.” Next week we have a meeting with the woman who guided the trip to Vietnam and Cambodia last year about the logistics of the upcoming trip, a Bat Mitzvah (a granddaughter) and a wedding (the son of friends) and a meeting with some of the people who will be traveling with us to Vietnam and Cambodia. Now I am reading everything I can find on the subject and preparing my talks and getting together material to give out to the participants.

Another priority is making two more blankets for two more anticipated (b’sha’ah tovah) grandchildren- one due in December and one in January.

Oh yes, and the other priority: TO STOP COUGHING!!!!!!


I haven’t been writing recently for a few reasons. One reason is that I have had a cold/cough that has persisted for over 6 weeks and still seems to be going strong despite antibiotics and inhalers and cold medicine and nasal spray (all prescribed by Dr. Nonchalant).

The second reason is this: I have become more and more disappointed by the US election process. I, of course, have my reasons for my preferences and I feel a responsibility to my children and grandchildren to talk about what I consider a threat to their very lives. When people with differing points of view have written me, both on and off line, I have read what they had to say and what they recommended I read, and I have watched and listened to the various video clips and sound bites they have sent me. I think it’s important to be informed.

What I don’t like are the tactics that are being employed by those on the Obama side of the fence who are saying that people who don’t vote for Obama are either stupid or racist. What I don’t like is that when questions that I consider legitimate are raised, the campaign functionaries try to kill the messenger. Poor “Joe the plumber” has been all but eviscerated. And what does Obama say about it? Nothing. Nothing. This is the same campaign that criticized Palin for not responding to a remark that after FBI investigation of over 100 people was found to have been heard only by the reporter who wrote of it. What did Obama say about that attack on Palin? Oh. Nothing. How can this party have the gall to claim the moral high ground?

Let me put myself on record as neither stupid nor racist. In all of the years I have lived, I am fairly certain that I have never acted in a manner that was racist and never judged a person by the color of his/her skin. I have already cast my absentee ballot (which is unlikely to ever be opened, because I am voting in NY and the election there will not be close) and my only considerations were the future of the United States of America and the future of my grandchildren. Honesty, integrity, and commitment to the ideals of the United States of America outweigh political correctness and the “ends justify the means” behavior of the left liberals. And, with some trepidation I want to end with a prayer that G-d indeed bless America.

See this:

The eye has it

Yesterday was a wonderful day. It started out with a birthday party for Hadas who grows more beautiful each day. Attending the party among others, were her 5 siblings and 13 cousins– which made it a very special day for me too.

In the evening, we drove to Netanya where Ariel (11), the oldest son of our son Akiva, sang as part of the “Pirchei HaGiva” choir in a large presentation in the center of town. We were met there by my dear cousin Debbie, her warm and kind husband, Mike, and their lovely daughter, Adina. Of course, Ariel’s parents and siblings also attended. The only question was “where was Ariel?” The best we can tell, his right eye attended the concert. It was definitely his. We presume the rest of his face was there too (hopefully he was using his mouth to sing along), but we were not able to see anything but his eye either with our naked eyes or on the huge video screens that were on either side of the stage.

However, the singing was wonderful and we are certain it was Ariel who made it particularly wonderful. We hope that next time he sings, we will get to see more of his face.


Can it really be that it was fifteen years ago when Hadas was born? That beautiful baby, daughter of my own daughter, first of the new generation, first native born Israeli in our family. Can it really be fifteen years since that trek from the center of Jerusalem to Ein Kerem that my two younger sons and I took to visit my daughter and the baby on shabbat? We walked in the blazing sun for miles to visit them, backpack loaded with food and cold drinks. How excited and happy we were!

Had we known then what an amazing, terrific, delightful person Hadas would become, I can’t imagine we could have been any more excited. Over the years as we watched her grow and saw her intellect at work, experienced her humor and wit, we realized more and more what a special person she is. she is bright and clever. She dances with grace; she sings beautifully.

On our trip to China last year, I could not have had a better companion. She is interested in learning and experiencing new things, picking up a few key Chinese phrases, learning how to bargain. She made friends easily with the other girls on the trip, and I was please to see that she is a person one can count on. She made sure to bring home something special for each of her family members and she chose their gifts with care. She is the kind of person that every savta wishes her granddaughter could be.

Happy birthday Hadas! I love you.

From small acorns

The complete article with links documenting its facts is taken from Commentary Magazine here

From Small Acorns . . .
Jennifer Rubin – 10.09.2008 – 7:08 PM

The Bill Ayers connection continues to percolate. John McCain expresses the view that it is about truthfulness. He has a new ad. And so does the RNC. An Ayers victim pops up to tell his story.

Meanwhile, considerable evidence surfaces that as late as 1996 Barack Obama was a member of the New Party, a local Chicago branch of the Socialist Party. Relevant documents have been scrubbed from the New Party website but not before they were snatched by the Internet Archive Association. It seems someone really doesn’t want anyone poking around in Obama’s past. (If you spot similarities to the fight for disclosure of the Annenberg Challenge documents you are not alone.)

And more comes out about ACORN’s massive voter fraud activities. The latter gets some attention from Rep. John Boehner and from McCain . Obama seems to deny involvement with ACORN but the facts are fairly clear: he worked as a trainer, served as a lawyer and sat on the Woods Fund which gave them nearly $200K in funding up through 2002. Oh, and his presidential campaign has paid them $800,000 in voter registration efforts.

The media yawns. That’s expected but becoming increasingly hard to justify unless you beleive the mission of the media requires them to ignore any information harmful to Obama. Let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say that McCain was the member of the John Birch Society up until 1996. Let’s say McCain worked for a group accused of diluting African America votes through vote fraud and sat on a board which doled out money to this group. But that’s not all: let’s say McCain attended a church where white separatism was preached. To top off our hypothetical, McCain started his career in the home of an abortion clinic bomber, sat on his foundation, appeared on panels with him and favorably reviewed his book.

Would any of that be a “distraction“? It seems clear that any one of those facts, let alone all of them, would be disqualifying. And if McCain in the Right Wing Nut hypothetical refused to talk about it, or lied about whether his bomber friend was “just” a guy in the neighborhood, would the media say “Oh gosh, too late in the campaign to discuss that“?

What is becoming inescapable is that Obama until his U.S. Senate run openly identified with and closely associated himself with a cast of far Left characters. Maybe he didn’t buy their philosophy or he was never around when they were spouting hatred of the United States. Maybe he grew out of them and now views them as fringe characters. We don’t know because he continues to deny that he was even part of this circle.

Some voters won’t care. Others will get nervous that he’s a closet radical. But the real concern for him and his supporters is that voters who matter in key swing states will get the sense that Obama has shown a peculiar tendency to associate with a bizarre crowd and now is lying. As Rudy Giuliani put it “It’s called judgment or lack thereof.” Whether ordinary voters finally get the sense that something is troubling in all this remains to be seen. But the danger is that at the very least, they might get the sense that he’s not being honest with them about who he is and what he believes, or at least believed until very recently.

To have and to have not*

As usual, things around here are busy. I have been busy signing people up for our incredibly fabulous trip to Vietnam and Cambodia (leaving on November 24). I have shared our training experience with a French speaking guide who is going to be traveling with a French speaking group alongside our group. We will be visiting sites separately, but will be staying in hotels and taking flights together. Yesterday I had a particularly fantastic morning with my daughters. Rachel picked Leah and me up and drove us to Raanana where we enjoyed shopping at our favorite store (“Big Deal”) and stopped for some delicious felafel sandwiches enhanced by goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.

Today, instead of biking at the gym, I went into the jacuzzi and steam room hoping to knock out this cough that has been with me for the last month. I think I was partially successful since although i am still coughing, it is less often.

*This afternoon, in an effort to make it possible to upload pictures to the web, my daughter Leah tried to upgrade me to a newer version of wordpress. To say that she ran into a nasty interface would be like saying that it got a little wet in Thailand when they had the tsunami. For a while, everything I had written in the last 3.5 years was lost in cyberspace. I madly began downloading Google’s cache of each month of the site. I have about 20 gazillion pages of text and didn’t get it all, but wonder of wonders, she got it all back!!!!

And… tonight I did something I have been waiting to do for a long time. I’ll give you a hint: It’s on a par with riding the ducks for treatment of depression. What? You guessed it? You must have seen it too…..

Mamma Mia!

It was silly and over the top, but I loved it. I love the music. I love the dancing. I even love the costumes and sets and photography. For the duration of the movie and the credits, I was in another place just having a really really good time. Oh, and Sir Kicksalot liked it too.

If you are voting for Obama, I think you had better see these

These are two videos that show the tactics of the people who support Obama, — indoctrination of young. I have not seen anything like it– not even in China. The second was so creepy that it was removed from YouTube. I imagine the first will be too.


and this