Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Catriel Lev's call to action

Catriel Lev asked me to post this here:

THIS IS A LONG Posting, but ITS MAIN POINT IS SUMMARIZED in the following two paragraphs:

I am starting an initiative to rid our neighborhood of its intolerance and violence problems; I call it the Vaad LeHatzneah Lechet im Elokecha (הועד להצנע לכת עם אלקיך), based upon the verse in Michah (6:8) – but the name is much less important than the goal! I am not naïve; the problems may never be totally eradicated, but if we make that our goal, we should be able to reach something like 90-99% success over the course of the years that this initiative will have to operate! We need the participation of many, many people from each of the communities which comprise Ramat Bet Shemesh – so this initiative is for all of you: Dati, Chareidi, Masorati and Chiloni!

I urge everyone else who has the courage and the determination to work with me to build a coherent non-violent solution to contact me by Email (clev@actcom.com) so that we can set up a LONG list of MANY people who will be willing to stand up and be counted to stop the Chillul Hahshem.

Some DETAILS of This Initiative:
First of all, this type of initiative will clearly need years to turn back the unhealthy tide that has caused so much Chillul Hashem and grief to residents of our city! I am looking for other like-minded people from Bet Shemesh FROM ALL COMMUNITIES – we can only do this with serious public Chareidi community participation as well as participation of the other communities in our fair city! I am NOT looking for people who want REVENGE or the like! We need people with the courage and the determination to work to build a coherent non-violent solution – and non-violent solutions almost always take more time to effect than violent ones!

I ask for people to have courage and determination because people have already been threatened with regard to these issues, and we can expect that there will be further threats (and perhaps physical attacks) as this initiative progresses. HOWEVER, I am certain that it behooves us to develop the courage and determination to take action, even if it entails some risk, so that we have a chance to "turn the tide" and not just leave our neighborhood open to more and more violence and intolerance!

We must pursue positive steps with calculated plans to make EVERYONE feel as welcome as possible in our community; and this means working out practical "programs" that will halt violence (or at least reduce it in the utmost) and will "force" violent types to find outlets for their nervous energy in activities that neither injure nor offend others. So this requires all of us to "step back" from our anger at the despicable actions which have occurred, and realize that those who have been performing these actions are also our fellow Jews, and that there are ways to direct them to non-offensive behavior. That they may deserve to be punished is beside the point – WHAT WE NEED IS A TRULY PLEASANT COMMUNITY ATMOSPHERE, so we also have to be ready to deal with the needs of the people who have been behaving offensively!

The most elementary part of a solution is having reasonable people from all communities unite for the common goal of eliminating violence as a way to deal with community issues. The vast majority of people from all communities are disgusted with the violence by "hooligans" that is besmirching the name of our city (at least, I believe that the vast majority thinks this way, and I sincerely hope that I am not being naïve in this belief), but this "silent majority" opinion has not yet coalesced into a form that can be used for positive action.

There are three basic points on which we must take positive action:

1. Getting everyone who disapproves of violence to refrain from any actions which might make the hooligans who commit violent acts appear to be celebrities. They have already become celebrities to a certain extent, and we must work on removing this celebrity status. This, of course, includes approaching Rabbis who have not yet opposed the violence and to show them how opposing the violence will improve the community (in addition to being required Halachically, as an EIDAH CHAREIDIT wall poster requiring a cessation of the violence emphasizes – see http://rbsanews.blogspot.com/2007/07/kol-koreh-against-violence.html, which was publicized on this blog spot), and how they can utilize the energies of these hooligans for positive activities (see point #3).

2. Getting the hooligans to cease violence. This is, of course, extremely difficult; but enough strong community social pressure can produce the desired result! This will probably take years of repeated step-by-step social action: first, making community leaders truly aware that the vast majority oppose this hooliganism; second, convincing them that they can make a difference if they continually speak out against the violence (and showing the positivist attitude that even if it does not make an immediate impact the first time, it can have a cumulative effect if it is consistently followed up), third getting through to the hooligans themselves (most, or all, of whom are known in their communities).

3. Rehabilitating the hooligans (most, or all, of whom are known to participate in other activities [like "Tishes", and Hachnasot Sifrei Torah] in order to find "action"): This means having their communities develop programs which can channel the "nervous energy" which these hooligans put into violence, and use it for positive actions (there are some well known examples of this occurring). Perhaps the extremist communities need to provide a Simchat Torah-like affair once a month, and maybe even many of these people who are at present besmirching the good name of Bet Shemesh can be "roped into" activities that help the community (building rooms for Talmudei Torah, helping people build Succot, bringing food to the elderly and the sick, helping people get to hospitals when necessary, etc.). Their community leaders who know them should be trying to channel that "nervous energy" which is often let out in unseemly manners, so that it is let out in ways that can make a positive contribution to the community.

I think that the community leaders who are not at present expressing themselves will NOT do what I suggest here unless there is serious social pressure, and sincere desire to change things among the "silent majority of peaceful Chareidim" (despite the almost certain knowledge that it will engender threats against them) along with the members of the other communities; and I hope that these step-by-step plans can turn around the situation eventually. There do not appear to be any easy solutions, but I have just outlined the skeleton of a coherent non-violent solution.

However, I am not naive – it will probably get worse before it gets better! This why I am appealing to reasonable people from all communities to Email me and let us begin serious POSITIVE action, and we can only do this with serious public Chareidi participation! I have spoken to some Chareidi Rabbis, and will speak to more, but they all seem to agree with me that the solution can only come from the grassroots average people having the courage to confront the situation and to make it clear that they will not tolerate violence and demand that all disagreements (whether they be ideological, Halachic or otherwise) be voiced without violence and with kavod for the other people involved.Let us attempt to "turn back the tide" of violence and to perform a true Kiddush Hashem before it is too late!

Catriel Lev
Telephone: 02-991-4332

Mobile Phone: 054-762-9332

WANTED: First-hand accounts of incidents of violence in Beit Shemesh

It seems that the level of violence in our city has increased. In order to figure out how to address this problem, it is important to first define exactly what the problem *is*.

If you personally experienced an act of violence - someone spitting on you, throwing a rock at you,verbally abusing you, making you feel fearful in any way - please describe it in detail and send it to me or post it here. (Where were you, what happened,who was the violent party, etc.)

Secondly, if you would like to help me begin to work on this issue,please let me know. I believe that many solutions exist, and we can work together to make Beit Shemesh a better place.


Sharon Ra'anan SRaanan@nds.com

(02) 589-4147 0545-665-105

Sunday, July 29, 2007



On Wednesday, August 1, 2007, in the RBS Matnas

8:15 pm Lecture (in English) given by young author Shifra Shomron from Neve Dekalim, based on her book GRAINS OF SAND, THE FALL OF NEVE DEKALIM. The book has received wonderful reviews on Arutz 7. After the talk, the author will answer questions (in Hebrew or English) and will sell and autograph copies of the book (69 shekels)

9:15 pm Documentary Film (in Hebrew, possibly with English subtitles) -- A brand new documentary about the expulsion from Gush Katif, in its PREMIER showing! Produced by a film school student from Gan Or, who briefly lived in RBS after the destruction of her home.

The evening will be in the presence of Vice Mayor Shalom Lerner, under the auspices of the city's Moreshet Yisrael Department, in cooperation with the RBS Matnas and Lema'an Achai's Gush Katif Fund.

Entrance is free.
Gush Katif ribbons and bracelets will be for sale and donations to the Gush Katif Fund will be welcome.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Emergency medical center

A source has just emailed me that an emergency medical center (with a tipul nimratz and a birthing center) has already been zoned for across the traffic circle from HaYarkon and HaYarden.

An agreement has been signed by Iryat Beit Shemesh and Hadassah (presumably Hadassah hospitals) and Mada.

This info came from Agaf Hahandassah some 8 - 10 months ago.

More on the new Mercaz

10 Michlelet -25,000 sq mt
13 Kenyon SHopping Mall - 15,000 sq mt 6 Floors
14 Hall for Simchas or Banquets or Conferences I guees
15 Court
16 New Iriyah Building 12 Floors

Likrat Kallah Sept 5th annual fundraiser with Sara Yocheved Rigler at the RBSA Matnas

Likrat Kallah has already helped 291 kallahs (and -tomorrow G-d willling we will help another 23).

We have an annual fundraiser and it is going to be on Sept. 5 at the Matnas with Sara Yocheved Rigler, author of Artscroll's 2nd best selling book, Holy Woman.

Admission is a gift for a needy kallah worth at least 40 NIS or a minimum monetary donation of 40 NIS.

Doors open at 7:45 with raffle and refreshments. Speaker to follow.

Hope to see you there
Sadeena Pinhasik

New Mercaz on it's way!

There are plans for a new Mercaz Mischari right next to RBSA down from where Nachal Ayalon is about 10 minutes away.

Sources say its supposed to contain a new Michlala, New Iriyah Office buildings, A large Simcha Hall and more!

Is this the worst or greatest thing ever to happen to RBSA?
Will we turn into downtown Manhattan during rush hour?
What will be with real estate property values will they rise or fall?

Greater Beit Shemesh with over 80,000 people and growing needs a Hospital. "Would you support the building of a full service Hospital in place of a Merkas Mischari?

Take a minute to comment pro or con and please take the Polls on the right!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bostoner Rebbitzen's Weekly Shiur

The women of RBS are invited to the Bostoner Rebbitzen's weekly Shiur

When: Mondays at 11am

Topic: "Bringing Hashem into our lives"

Where: At the Bostoner Bais Midrash (Ezras Nashim) Nachal Soreq RBSA

Saturday, July 21, 2007

RBSA Breslov Shabbaton a great success!

There was a great Breslov Shabbaton in Lev HaTorah this past Shabbos.

Great Breslov Rabbanim and Mashpi'im including Rav Burshtein, Rav Bergman, Rav Koenig, Rav Kramer and Rav Maimon spoke and taught for men and Mrs Nisenbaum for women.

I was only able to attend the Shalosh Seudos but thanks to R' Hamburg and R' Rubel for organizing an unbelievable Shabbaton full of ruach, and inspiration!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Kol Koreh Against Violence

Thanks to Dov Krulwich for sending this in. I too saw it hanging near the RBSA mercaz.
Poster against violence in general and spec. not to throw rocks, not to burn garbage in the streets, not to damage property because it is not derech haTorah.
Signed by Rabbis of Eida Charedit:
R' Moshe Sternbuch, R' Meir Brandsdorfer, R' Avrahm Yitzhak Ulman, R' Naftali Frankel, R' Yehoshua Rosenberger (Rav of Rama in RBS B) R' Yaakov Mendel Yarovitch and the GaB"D R' Yitzhak Yuvia Weiss

Please send in other newsworthy items from RBS A and I will be happy to post (at my discretion)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

RBS A News - RBS A Graffiti cleaned up by Haredim who care

RBS A Graffiti cleaned up by Haredim who care

Ramat Bet Shemesh has been getting much negative publicity lately as some hooligans masquerading as Torah adherents use violence and vandalism to get across messages of anger and intolerance.

Although the media often fails to distinguish there are two separate neighborhood in RBS, Alef & Beit and while RBSB is mostly Charedi Alef is an eclectic mix.

Unfortunately although there are many righteous pious and G-d fearing Torah Jews in RBSB, it is also home to a few hotheads who make everyone's lives miserable. Although I agree with them that they should be allowed to hang signs in Bet and Alef the violence and vandalism that erupted as a result of the signs unwarranted removal was wrong and gives us a very negative picture.

Yesterday several Charedi Avreichim who care about the defacing of RBSA by vandals took to the streets and brushed and cleaned the offensive graffiti to send a clear message:

"We are Torah Jews, we are the Charedi residents of RBS A and we want a clean neighborhood free from vandalism"

Here are some photos: