Five for Friday

A normal five day week back at work was quite a pleasant change, if somewhat hectic. But the weekend is here, and it is time to get ready for Shabbat. Noah awaits. Meantime, here are a selection of links I have chosen for you.

And by way of a wee bonus, book review of the week is surely here. including this thumper:

“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”

Thanks to Guido Fawkes for the tip.

Shabbat Shalom!

Where are you Noah?

This Shabbat in shul, congregations throughout the world will read the portion Noah. That was at the back of my mind when I saw the following cartoon in a colleague’s cube. It was too good not to share:


Five for Friday

It is terrific to have another rest day off before the return to work. Even if Friday – especially during the early start months – is a bit of a strange day, dealing with loose ends is a better way of getting ready for work than going straight from holiday mode to desk mode.  Unfortunately for those observant Jews in the diaspora, they are enduring a three day chag and will not surface until motzei Shabbat. That is tough. For some, that alone is a reason to make aliyah!

I have not shirked my scheduled posting duty, so you will find a range of links for your interest, to kick the weekend off with something serious, sad, smile-inducing, or strange.

Shabbat Shalom!

Definition of a good break

So, last night we came home after a good Sukkot break. This morning I went out to do some errands. Everything went well until I returned home, to the front door entry system of the apartment block. A keypad. A security number.

Er, what was it again…?

Yes, that’s the definition of a good break: when you have relaxed so much, you cannot remember the security code for your front door.

Fortunately, while my brain was failing, the memory in my fingers came to my rescue by pressing on the buttons in the required order. Hardwired? Anyway, I made it home. And I’m going out again later to practice, just in case!

When an empty mind speaks

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has been speaking his mind, according to this Jerusalem Post report:

But Ban also had some choice words directed at Israel: “I fully understand the security threat from rockets above and tunnels below,” he said. “At the same time, the scale of the destruction in Gaza has left deep questions about proportionality.”

Unfortunately for Ban Ki Moon, proportionality is irrelevant. (It is worrying when someone holding such an elevated post is so out of touch with reality, and more comfortable with a biased narrative that is so thoroughly wrong – in many aspects. I wonder how much of his comments were driven by the Gaza protests against the man himself. No, they were not widely covered. But they did happen.) I suppose it’s further proof, if any more were needed, that the UN is a liability. It was a good idea, but it’s gone bad. And its Secretary General is an empty mind. Or, to put it another way, unfortunately for Ban Ki Moon, he is irrelevant.

Culture clash

Eilat. In the hotel. It has a pool. But there’s a problem if you want to swim:


I waited, and waited. But the lifeguard never came, so I never went swimming. Well, that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

That was the chag that was

So how was Sukkot for you?


We had a very pleasant break in Eilat before heading to Shosh and Michael Horesh’s for Simchat Torah.


On the night of Simchat Torah, Michael and I went to a Bnei Akivah minyan. When it came to the hakafot, the young lads did only two before heading off to do a tour of other shuls and to complete their hakafot. (A hakafot crawl! Cool!)


For schacharit, we went back to the same minyan. As they follow the sephardi tradition they do not do Yizkor. So, we joined in an ashkenazi minyan elsewhere for that prayer. It’s still the strangest part of being Jewish in Israel for me. You go from the heights of joy to the depths of remembering lost loved ones. From dreams to memories.

Eventually the melancholy mood passed, as always, and we could all take in that the chagim were just about over. That is also worth celebrating.

Be well one and all.