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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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Monday, November 19, 2018

Vampire Apocalypse

Prince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #11)Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The vampire world is changing. Technology is faster and more accurate than telepathy. Pictures are conveyed through iPhones rather than mental images. Two scientist , Seth and Fareed, are making strides in the way of medical technology. In fact there is a way for vampires to procreate and have children. Lestat has one named Victor.

Amidst all this change there is a voice that is telling the elder vampires to kill the younger fledgling vampires. Some of the elders give in to the voice while others are fighting it. Usually the vampires use their fire starting abililities. So the hunt goes on for Lestat and the elders to meet in New York. While in New York they try to figure who the voice is and what it wants.

Vampires were first born when the spirit Amel entered into the body of Queen Akasha . There after the vampire species spread from her. Once she was killed the core passed into Makare. It is from Makare that Amel wishes to escape. Once she dies Amel finds a new host. The Talamasca watches all the paranorlam stuff without interfering. We learn they were founded by a spirit and two vampires.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Original Vampire

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a classic this one, a mark of truly great fiction. In reality it is a fictional account of a leader long after he has been dead. I have read this story numerous times and each time I. Learn about some other detail that previous I had known hither of. The story is written from many point of view. Journal entries and letters describing what is going on make up the mainstay of the story.

Starting off , Jonathan Harker , a solicitor is off to Transylvania where in he is to sell the property of Carfax in England to the count. Upon arriving at the Castle Dracula he soon realizes that things just are not right. The count has strange habit, hides appearance changes very often and then there are those three strange ladies. Jonathan has no clue as to what is going on. He makes good on his plans to escape but it will take him weeks to finally end up in Budapest ,Hungary.

Meanwhile in England strange things are beginning to happen. A strange ship docks in England. No ones is piloting the boat and none of the crew have been left alive. A strange dog bounds off the ship. No one finds the dog but other strange things begin to happen. A wolf escapes from his cage and Mina’s friend Lucy begins to act strangely . Weird puncture mark form on her neck, she sleep walks at night and within a short time she becomes a vampire. She was engaged to Arthur Holmwood , the guy who runs the hospital. At this hospital is a very strange and deranged man named Renfield. Mr. Renfield has a fascination with collecting animals like spiders, birds and flies. He calls Dracula his lord and master.

As Lucy get more and more ill, Dr. Seward summons an old mentor named Abraham Von Helsing. He know about this stuff. When Lucy is fully turned to a vampire it is Van Helsing that knows how to kill her and stop her from drinking the blood of small children . But Dracula soon pursues Mina Murray who during the course of the story gets married to her fiancée Jonathan Harker. SHe is about to be turned into a vampire so the teams goal is to kill Dracula. They destroy his boxes of Earth and pursue him all the way Transylvania.

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Fallen Angel Who Joined the Mossad

The Spy Who Fell to EarthThe Spy Who Fell to Earth by Ahron Bregman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Marwan Ahsraf was one of the spies who literally changed the course of history as far as the Middle East goes. Marwan Ashraf was born to a middle class family in Cairo. He was given a beaureaughcratic job in the government and he ended up falling in love with Nasser’s daughter. This was not something that Nasser was too happy with . So he put Marwan under someone who would keep an eye him and report to Nasser on Marian’s doing. Eventually they move to London England where in MarwN gets caught up in gambling and driven to debt. After burning a connection of another royal Egyptian family , Marwan approaches the Mossad.

At first the Israelis were rather suspicious of him, I mean come on the son in law of Egypt’s President. But he gave over such good information . Later on he would become Sadat’s right hand man. He may have helped Israeli win the 73 war. Some still say he was a double agent.

Aharon Bregman solves the mystery and writes about it. This may have endangered Marwan. The writing goes back and forth for a few years between Marwan and Ahaharon. Eventually the word gets out and Marwan somehow falls off a fifth story apartment into a garden. To this day no one knows if it was suicide or murder.

The book is short and sparse on details . I would have expected more for my money. Glad I read read it for free off Amazon prime.

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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.