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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Yemenites of Jerusalem: Tale

Seeds of the PomegranateSeeds of the Pomegranate by Dvora Waysman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first book “ Pomegranate Pendent “ was release over twenty years ago. I read it on my honeymoon in Israel. Seeing the Yemenite gargush drew me to the book magnetically. This book is a great read for Young Adults, especially if their knowledge of Yemenite Judaism is scant. One criticism of this book is that it should have included more Yemenite culture and customs. I love that stuff and there are others like me. The book has no plot line so to speak.

The first book left off with the conclusion of Israel’s war for Independence. The family had to leave behind their old city Jerusalem home and they had to abandon their Yemenite Jewelry shop called “ The Pomegranate Pendent”. The pendant is also given to the brides as a sort of tradition so they will be fruitful and multiply.

The book starts off with the family in 1956 celebrating a ten year yertheit for Mazal the family patriarch. Sitting graveside they tell stories about her . Next comes the six day war and the narrators husband goes off to war. The story gives some insight as to how war effected families. Kobi comes back home depressed for several weeks . It is at a family gathering that Kobi suggests that they get back their old city home and reopen the Pomegranate Pendent. Which they do. It does good business of course.

The 73 war comes about. More interruptions from war. The family lives through these tragedies Along with the rest of the nation. As Yemenite in Israel they must deal with assimilation and losing their Yemenite ways. This happens when Dikla falls for an Ethiopian Jew. The narrators son URI decides to go to America and start a life there. It causes problems. But they get through these problems as they have for thousands of years.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Build Yourself Up!

Building Your Self-ImageBuilding Your Self-Image by Zelig Pliskin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why are some people super successful while others are even afraid to try? There could be a lot of reasons for this. Modern psychology has determined that self image or how we see ourselves has a direct impact in every area of life. People with a positive self image tend to be more successful. After all if you have a positive self image you. Tend to believe in yourself more and those that believe in themselves are not afraid to go for it when pursuing their goals. They are not afraid to take a risk. What if you don’t have a positive self image. The answer of course is to build one.

Rabbi Pliskin who I had the honor of meeting in Jerusalem many years ago on the Discovery Program through Aish Hatorah has crafted a brilliant book to help you build your self image. Techniques and saying are culled from the deep flowing sources in Judaism, along with modern psychology and neurolingusitic programming.

What can you do to build your self image? Well for one you can do acts of kindness. This activity will be stored in your brain and you will think of yourself as a kind person. This raises your self image. One can also master themselves by overcoming negative behaviors and learning to work with their emotions. Over come these obstacle and you already have the building block of a positive self image. An anchor is an concept from neurolingusitc programming. An anchor is an activity that provokes a certain emotion that can be positive or negative. Use the positive anchor to lift your spirits so you can excel. Rabbi Pliskin’s method employs affirmations and a lot of rethinking of how we view things. Difficult or adverse challenges help us grow and bring out the best of us. Remember once you overcome these obstacles you have over come another challenge and this is stored in your brain and it builds your self image. Even if you only reach your personal best once just remember that you did do it and that you can do it. This is added to your brain and it builds your self image.

This book could come real handy if you follow the advice within the pages. You definitely can boost your self image and when you feel better about yourself then you accomplish more. sometimes though i think you need to achieve something in order for your self image to properly grow.

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Last Jewish Gangster?

The Chronicles of The Last Jewish Gangster: From Meyer to MyronThe Chronicles of The Last Jewish Gangster: From Meyer to Myron by Myron Sugerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Italian and Jewish Immigrants got along really well together , especially in the underworld . Both groups were underdogs and often had to rely on their own community for justice and protection . The mob certainly provided that to both communities.
In fact the Italian mob and the Jewish mob grew up right along side each other, influenced each other worked together to form Murder incorporated.

Reading this tome will give good insight as to how things worked in the Jewish Underworld. Myron’s father was involved in bootlegging booze and selling slot machines, pinball machine and video poker machines. Myron got in on this business. His adventures in selling machines would take him all over the world to places like Nigeria, Greece, Israel , and several locations in South America.

I expected this to be more like The Godfather or Scarface. It instead this is an autobiography of a businessman man who deals with gambling machines. Not so much violence, but there is plenty of honor.a handshake seals the deal and everyone is as good as their word. That’s more honesty than you’ll find dealing with Attorneys or other people who work on the right side of the law.

I look at Myron Sugarman is a legit businessman not a criminal. Here is why, places like Atlantic City And Vegas can run legal gambling joints that people dump their money into but heaven forbid if they try it somewhere else. The government acts in favor of Atlantic City and shuts down the smaller gambling joints. Why is that? Why is it ok in Atlantic City but not Newark? The government makes arbitrary decisions, in fact they are a mob unto themselves.

Like mentioned earlier the immigrant communities often relied on the mob for justice and protection. Law enforcement and the outside world are not often friendly to immigrants , so who you gonna call? It was the Jewish mob that broke up the Nazi Bundt rallies and often quite violently. The Jewish mob also made sure that the Haganah was able to run the British blockade and get the weapons they needed.

Myron had a great relationship with Rebbe and Simon Wiesenthal. It was shortly after the Rebbe died that Myron lost a trial and pulled a two year prison term. Whenever things went awry on the legal front the Rebbe would always have advice that kept him out of jail.

The Jewish mob also helped bring Nazis to justice. Myron would meet Simon Wiesenthal in Vienna. The two would for a very close relationship. Myron would send donation and relay messages regarding the capture or elimination of Nazi war criminal. He was almost instrumental in capturing Joseph Mengele.

Despite being called a gangster I think Myron is a righteous man. It is not unethical to sell gambling machines when the govt arbitrarily decides who it is legal for and who it is not. He never killed anyone or sold drugs. Even when involved in less than legal ventures Myron always kept his eye open for the Jewish people.

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Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Mystic Menorah

The Way BackThe Way Back by Jonnie Schnytzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Hartbacher family legend goes back generations back to a time when the Cossack were massacring Jews in the Ukraine, a distant relative fought off a bunch of Cossacks with a Hanukkia or or a menorah. Later during the shoa or Holocaust a relative beats a Nazi to death and escapes a death camp. The menorah would be lost and one David Hartbacher will want to liberate it. David brakes into museums and steals Jewish artifacts so he can return them to their rightful Jewish owners.

On his last job he gets caught and serves some time in prison, upon his release his adventures only just begin. An archaeologist flees Egypt leaving his son behind in the hand of terrorists. Unfortunately for David two assassins follow. Razi is killed during the shootout but David kills an assassin. Off to Egypt to rescue the boy. Meanwhile the Mossad and the law enforcement get involved. Simultaneously in Egypt a Mossad handler is killed and so is his asset.

Back in Israel a cast a characters assemble to debate whether to go in or not. Limor is after Othman Aswad a terrorist who has killed lots of people and he is involved in white slavery. David gets caught by him. A cop gets sent to Benghazi to pinpoint and rescue. An assassin is after David for his role in liberating an artifact he had.

Funny how all these people’s lives are intertwined and they know each other. Strange coincidence. I liked how the author opened a window into the psyche of Israelis and the Mossad.great book to promote Jewish heroism and a great read for an adrenaline junkie.

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Closer Look at History

Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers: The history you weren't taught in schoolSpies, Sadists and Sorcerers: The history you weren't taught in school by Dominic Selwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

British author, Derek Selwood, has generated an easy to read book that gives the reader a different view of history . In fact it might be fair to suggest that the history we have been taught in school is not the real history that went down. Remember that History is always written by the winner.

Starting off in Roman times we have Josephus Flavius who wrote the Jewish Wars and ANtiquities of the Jews. He started out as a Jewish noble and aided in the fight against Rome . He was the only survivor. He ended up becoming a Roman citizen collecting a pension. He conveniently switched sides.

The author examines another Biblical era story the one o0f Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. There is not a shred of proof that it even happened or that the Israelites traversed the desert escaping from Egypt. His analysis is mostly speculative as he suggests that the 10- commandments were not written in Hebrew But rather in Egyptian hieroglyphics. This is all speculation.

He takes a stab at British History by revealing some real juicy details. You might be shocked to learn that when Henry the 8th broke away from Rome to found the Church of England , the people were not for it, rather they were devout Catholics. Cromwell and his henchman at the behest of Henry the 8th stormed thorugh country destroying works of art, looting Catholic Churches and monasteries and demolishing statues. Lots of people were killed. Prior to his break with Rome Henry the 8th was a devout Catholic.

I was not really shocked to learn that the British Royal family was of German descent. Something they were not proud of during the World Wars. Churchill made a big mistake at Gallipoli it costs him his job at the time. Inyat Noor Khan, an Indian Muslim naturalized to a British citizen died helping the British spy against the Nazis. She was super dedicated. There was a gentleman from Spain who ran a fake spy ring in Britain. His false information deceived the Nazis and helped the allies with winning the war.

Christopher Columbus has been in the news lately. They’re removing his statues and why not ? He was no hero, he did not discover America. He only made it to Hispaniola. The first person to discover America was Leif Ericsson . Columbus was brutal . He enslaved the Native Americans his fellow Europeans killed the Native Americans in the most brutal fashion just for the fun of it. The European arrival meant genocide for the Native Americans. The white settlers were as racist as Hitler. Their goal was the annihilation of the Native Americans. Politician documents prove this out.

Often it seems that things are not what they seem. We of the Western Nations are not always thee good guy . America the land of the free was won on the oppression and genocide of Native Americans and yes it was genocide . Everything from/ broken treaties, disease infected blanket and that fire water (Booze). During the WWII the Americans and allies proved themselves to be just as genocidal as Hitler. Want to challenge your world view then open this book and get ready to have your eyes opened .

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Saturday, December 1, 2018

On the Fringes of the Jewish Community

Mavericks, Mystics & False Messiahs : Episodes from the Margins of Jewish HistoryMavericks, Mystics & False Messiahs : Episodes from the Margins of Jewish History by Pinni Dunner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So much of Jewish history has been steered or guided by personalities that are on the fringes or the sidelines of the community. Pini Dunner writes about these eccentric Jews with an easy to read style that will grab you and not let you go.

Starting with the most famous of all Jewish misfits, Pini describes how Shabbtai Tzvi was born to an Ashkenazi business man in Izmir or Smyrna. Shabbtai Tzvi studied Torah and was rather gifted yet he was also sort of mad. He would do things like marry a Torah or turn a fast day into a feast day. He would commit various sins in order to hasten the redemption. Nathan of Gaza was his biggest publicist. As Shabbtai travels through various Jewish communities he picks up followers, causes controversy and gets run out of town. In 1666 he went to Istanbul to challenge the Sultan. Instead he got arrested and was forced to convert to Islam. After this some followed his example and most just left the fold. Shabbtai Tzvi caused a huge rift in THe a Jewish community as for several years after there was a witch hunt for Sabbatarians or people who still believed Shabbtai Tzvi was the messiah.

Another pretender was Dr. Falk in England. Emigrating from mainland Europe this fraudster professed powers to heal and write amulets. People believed in him and people liked him. What he practiced was a mixture of occultism and Judaism . He was called the Baal Shem of England and often times he is confused with the Baal Shem Tov. In fact when you see a picture of the Baal Shem Tov what you are seeing is not a picture of the Baal Shem Tov but rather the Baal Shem of England.

Perhaps one of the biggest feuds is a direct continuation of the Shabbtai Tzvi legacy. Even 100 years after his death there were still lots of Jews who were Sabbatians and tried to infiltrate their ideas into the Jewish community . While the majority of the Jewish community was against the Sabbatians some hidden ones could wield lots of influence. Yaakov Emden and eminent rabbi identifies Sabbatians inscriptions in amulets the Yonatan Eybeshutz wrote out. Soon controversy would engulf the world wide Jewish community over this.

In Germany the Get of Cleves divides the entire Jewish world against the Hamburg Beit Din. A man named Isaac gets married to a Jewish woman and then two weeks later he wants it annulled because he is paranoid that some people are after him. He flees to Britain. The grooms family believes that Yithack was insane but some in the community believe he was sane enough. The two eventually remarried.

Another British politician named Gordon was a convert to Judaism during the time of the American Revolution. Himself a catholic and of Scottish nobility. He himself wants to reinstate anti catholic laws to prevent them from going over to America and fighting the colonists. A riot ensues and he is blamed for its cause. For this he faces imprisonment but he escapes and discovers Judaism. He lives the rest of his life in prison but leading a good life and eating kosher food. When he died though his family did not respect his wishes which was to be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

Right st the beginning of the 20th century there was a European Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg. He made forgeries of two of the Maharals works. The first was the golem of Prague. There is nothing in the Maharals writing that talks anything of a golem. Then he forged a Maharals Haggadah. This brought about the controversy of the fifth cup of wine.

The most notorious swindler of them all was Ignatz Trbitch a Hungarians Jew. After his father dies he converts to Christianity marries the daughter of a sailor and tries to convert people all the while stealing golden watches. Next he works for a philanthropist it then burns his connection by excessive loans and thievery . He works with Nazis and then converts to Buddhism and tried to say he was the next Dalai Lama. He passed sometime between the two world wars.

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Mask of the Devil Shall Fall

Unmasking the Masquerade: Three Illusionists Investigate Deception, Fear, and the SupernaturalUnmasking the Masquerade: Three Illusionists Investigate Deception, Fear, and the Supernatural by Rod Robison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Three illusionists, mentalists or stage magician set forward to write to write a book that debunks psychic phenomena and occult magic. They say it is all false and they build powerful arguments that will have you walking away convinced. Now here is the thing all three of them are devout Christians and have been involved in Christian outreach. Now might not be the time for me to appear to be preaching Christianity since I am a Jew who has dabbled in paganism and a Christian missionary was killed doing something stupid.

No less the book makes sense. The first writer discusses the phenomena of faeries, spiritism etc. the first writer even offered thousands of dollars to anyone who could do a legi psychic act in laboratory situations. Thus far no one has come forward. He explain how the the mediums who supposedly spoke to the dead. Their helpers or gimmicks would make wrapping noises and certain tricks would make the table much move. Cold readings were done by reading a persons body and making vague questions comments that lead the psychic to the right answer. Sometimes they got it wrong and tried to cover it up. The cottingly faeries was another hoax,later admitted to later by the girls that they were fakes. Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle bought into it. The Lincoln family bought into spiritism.

The second author discusses the biblical definition of magic and what exactly Satans powers really are. He is not as strong as he is made out to be. Most people, devout Christians included have their beliefs about the occult that are derived from movies. Satan cannot cause sickness, hurl curses or even raise the dead. Humans do not have this power either. Only God does. Satan is actually gods servant. His job is to tempt men to sin, to test them. Most tricks that the magicians did in biblical times were just thst trickery and deception. Pharaoh magicians could not keep up with Moses because Moses had real power while they had trickery.

The last part is more ideological and in this part the author lays claim that Jesus is the Messiah and he was no mere magician. It states that the miracles he pulled off could not be mere tricks because to walk on water or multiplication of fish and loaves could not be faked and any magic trick needs to be set up in advance.

Regardless if you are Christian or not if you are the type drawn to spiritual movements then this is a book you want to read. There are plenty of fakes out there, psychics, mediums,faith healers, Hindu saints. They will make things materialize out of thin air, this is stage magic. They may heal someone but belief is strong and it could be psychosomatic.


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Baba-Sali

Baba-Sali
Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.