Born on this day: August 25, 1949 - Gene Simmons, bassist and vocalist of KISS (born Chaim Weitz in Tirat Carmel (Haifa), Israel). Happy 67th Birthday, Gene!!


“I was a JYP trainee for about a year during my first year of high school before being let go. After that, I ended up going to China to study. Then suddenly, I thought, ‘Why should their judgment of me and decision become my judgment and decision too? Why am I putting a limit on what I can do?’ So, I decided to try again, and that’s how I became a member of EXID.”

Submission – Official Map: the Carmelit Underground Funicular, Haifa, Israel

Submitted by Adam Susaneck, who says:

My favorite from Israel: the Carmelit. The Carmelit is an underground funicular in Haifa, Israel, which traverses the city’s primary geographic feature, Mt. Carmel. The Carmelit, opened in 1959, is one of the world’s shortest subways at only just over a mile, and is the only subway in Israel. The map shows notable attractions near each stop.

Transit Maps says:

This is a great submission, Adam. It combines two rarities: a fully-underground funicular system and an illustrated map, so it scores double points!

I definitely enjoy the “naive art” illustration style – check out the adorable trains, cranes and ships along the waterfront – but do the names of the actual stations have to be so darn small? Thank goodness for the six giant logos and the secondary list of station names off to the right, without which there’d be an awful lot of squinting going on.

Our rating: A charming illustrated map that suits the touristic nature of the line these days. The minuscule labelling isn’t ideal, but there’s only six stations to remember, so it’s not really a huge problem. Three stars.

Khalid Jabara's murderer charged, was out on bond for hitting Jabara's mother with a car.

Beginning in July 2013, Stanley Majors posed a constant threat to the Jabaras, a Christian family of Lebanese descent living next door.  

His threats escalated to violence when he hit 65-year-old Haifa Jabara with his car.  After admitting to the crime, Majors was arrested and jailed to await trial, but in May, District Judge William LaFortune ignored pleas from the Jabaras and their lawyers to keep Majors locked up, and the future murderer was released on $60,000 bond.  Three months later, after Khalid Jabara called 911 because of a tip from Stephen Schmauss, Majors’ husband, that Majors was armed and out for trouble, police went to the scene to investigate.  There was no answer at Majors’ residence, so they left, and less than ten minutes later, Majors shot Khalid Jabara on his front porch.

How many ways did this country and our judicial system fail this Lebanese family?  This is the future we have to look forward to if Donald Trump is elected President.

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Prior to the Ha’Shoah, there were over 10 million speakers of Yiddish; 85% of the Jews who died in the Holocaust were Yiddish speakers, leading to a massive decline in the use of the language. Nowadays, Yiddish can still be heard in Hassidic communities or households of Ashkenazic descent.


Yiddish stories (MP3/Hebrew transliteration/English translation)

  1. http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/Stories.html

The Tanakh (Hebrew Scripture) in Yiddish

  1. http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/texts/yehoyesh/tanList.htm
  2. http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/texts/schauss/welcome.htm
  3. http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/texts/mendl/welcome.htm

The Tanakh in Yiddish Literature

  1. http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/texts/manger/medresh.htm

Yiddish Journals

  1. http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/reference/Biblio/introduc.htm
  2. http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/tmr/TMR.htm

Other Yiddish learning/in-depth immersion resources:

http://www.ibiblio.org/yiddish/ (Best site for Yiddish novices hands down)

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL29C3727AB8E1654C (Yiddish Youtube lessons)

http://www.yiddishdictionaryonline.com/ (Yiddish online dictionary)

http://www.yiddishculture.org/ (Yiddish culture beginner intro)

http://www.yv.org/ (Yiddish radio)

Grammar of the Yiddish Language, by Dovid Katz (PDF)

Universal Yiddish Encyclopedia 

Unlikely Facebook Friendship Saves Afghan Baby With Heart Defect

They had never met, but they were Facebook friends connected across thousands of miles. Together the two digital acquaintances — a young English teacher in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and a retired State Department official living in Haifa, Israel — collaborated to save a baby in Pakistan with life-threatening congenital heart problems.

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Wounded Syrian girl’s hematological disease cured in Haifa
Six-year-old now returning to first grade with a new backpack, and an uncertain future.

Six-year-old now returning to first grade with a new backpack, and an uncertain future.

[Continue to site to see the video]

A six-year-old girl from Syria who was treated for her wound and a blood disease at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center was discharged and sent home on Tuesday after her new Israeli friends held a farewell party and gave her with many gifts, including a first-grade backpack – in the hope that her school is still standing.

She was one of the 140 Syrian civilians – men, women and children – that Rambam doctors, nurses and other personnel have treated over the past three years of civil war there. However, the departure of “B” was especially emotional for everyone. Wearing a white dress and shoes and a little silver crown, “B” was the guest of honor at a farewell party held by an entire department, where Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druse stood together with tears in their eyes, hugging her and worrying about the future that awaits her.

The girl arrived at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital in early February as a small, scared, and wounded child. Once she recovered from the injuries that brought her across the border to Israel, the medical team noted from her blood tests that she suffered from a blood disease that was due to poor bone marrow function.

For Israeli children with this disease, the treatment is straightforward and generally yields good results: A bone marrow donor is found, the child is isolated from infection, the bone marrow transplant is performed and, if all goes well, the child recovers.

However, for a Syrian child, the entire process is much more complicated.

At this point, the Israeli government stepped in to help “B”’s medical team, led by Dr. Irena Zeidman and Dr.

Ayelet Ben-Barak. They managed to reach the child’s relatives in Syria and bring back blood samples from several family members to find out if they were potential donors.

“I’ll never forget when they first brought in those test tubes, discreetly wrapped in dish towels,” recalls Iris Porat, one of the nurses who cared for “B” throughout her hospitalization.

Happily, “B”’s brother was a perfect match.

With the help of the government, “B”’s brother crossed the border from Syria and was brought to Rambam.

It took two weeks to complete the bone marrow donation, after which he returned home while “B” and her mother remained in the department, while they and the doctors waited to see if the transplant had succeeded.

It wasn’t easy for the mother and daughter, who had arrived from what is still considered an enemy country, to spend more than six months completely cut off from their family. Grace Yaakov, a social worker in the pediatric oncology department, worked tirelessly to create a support system for the two. Non-profits from the Arab sector, as well as parents of Jewish and Arab patients, all, did their part to support “B,” who sometimes spent weeks in isolation.

They showered her with clothing, home-cooked food, books, movies, and games, anything to help the two feel more at home.

The girl captured everyone’s hearts with her clever, happy, and curious personality. She especially enjoyed the holiday celebrations and even dressed up in costume for Purim. She also lost no opportunity to share how much she missed her siblings and the spring near her small village, somewhere in the battle zone in Syria. Yesterday, “B’”s hospitalization came to an end.

The happy, smiling girl – who said she dreams of one day becoming a fashion designer – entered a room with tables of cakes and gifts, the sound of clapping and the drumming of traditional Arab darbuka drums. A slide show of photos from “B”’s time at Rambam was shown, and Ashwak El-rabia, an Arab nonprofit that assists children with cancer, gave her a tablet in which she could store her memories and a backpack for her first year of school.

After all the parting messages, some of which were painstakingly read in Arabic by Jewish doctors and nurses, the mother asked to read her own thank you wishes. In a small voice, she said: “I would lie if I said that I expected the kind of humanity I discovered here. I am grateful for your care and sensitivity; may God protect you. And we will always remember what you did for us.”