Restoration in Hebron

By Yocheved - Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kumah restores & maintains the tombs of Ruth & Yishai in Hevron annually & you can help!

Click here for a video of the 1st major upgrade. You will see how much has already been done to transform and honor this ancient site. It is a great way to connect to the holy city of Hebron and make a lasting impact. King David (the son of Yishai) started his kingdom in Hebron and remained for seven years. The tomb of Yishai and Ruth (King Davids grandmother) is adjacent to the probable location of Davids ancient palace. There is a staircase from the palace wall that is still extant and has been visited by Jews for centuries. Now, as promised, the Jewish people are returning to their home in Hebron and we want it to be beautiful and welcoming to everyone. Join in and help us with upgrades to this special site this year.

1. New Lighting
2. New Grass
3. Maintain and Expand the Flower Beds

Last year we commissioned a special illuminated stone marker (shown below) to place at the site, listing the ancestry of King David (which of course, begins with Ruth, who is buried at the site).

It says: “And Boaz took Ruth to be a wife unto him and she bore a son. And she called his name Oved. And he is the father of Yishai, the father of David.”

This week Kumah calls on all lovers of Abraham (who is buried in Hebron), Jews, Christians, Muslims, spiritual seekers of all paths, to take part in the beautification of the city of Hebron. Avraham is the anchor of everything we believe in, he is the founder of the love of G-d, the belief in the one G-d. This Shabbat Chaya Sara we will be joined by 30,000 visitors on our annual pilgrimage to Hebron to return to our foundations, to be strengthened personally, as Jews, and as humanity. Absolutely everyone can have the honor of giving nachat (parental pride and joy) to Avraham and Sara and also to Adam and Chava (Eve) (who according to tradition are also buried in Hebron). This holy city is the inheritance of all mankind. Lets join together to give homage to the founders of humanity by caring for the peace & prosperity of Hebron and by making it clean, beautiful, and welcoming to the world.

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Aliyah Revolution CD Brings Israel Into Your Life With Music

By Yocheved - Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012

The Aliyah Revolution CD is a wonderful way to bring Israel into your life and your family with music and good feelings. The collection of songs, donated by the artists, has become a classic. If you dont have a copy, you need one! So get in touch with us at Kumah and we will get one out to you right away. Here are all the details on the Aliyah Revolution Album page of our website.

For more audio inspiration visit the radio show website of Kumahs founder, Yishai Fleisher, for all the latest installments of the Yishai Fleisher Show.

Filed in Aliyah, Jewish Pride
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So Much For Livnis Peace

By Yishai - Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The sign reads, Bibi Leiberman tragedy. Livni peace. Livni negotiated the end of Lebanon 2 and agreed that the UN would make sure that Hezbollah wouldnt re-arm. Then they had 5000 rockets, now they have 50k. So much for Livnis peace. Quipy slogans wont erase facts.

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Yehonatans song  for Jonathan Pollard

By Uriah - Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I once wrote this song in a letter to Jonathan. It tells of his long distance, but unwavering, love for his wife and the Jewish people, as well as the yearning of the Jewish people as a whole for Hashem in this bitter exile. Feel free to share with those youd like to remind of Jonathan and for the more instrumentally inclined I would love to hear it put to music. As this is the time of our freedom, may we merit to see Jonathan back home a free and healthy man soon.


Behind the bars within my heart

My thoughts begin to stray

With all this pain I start to ask

Why it has to be this way?

But then my thoughts, they turn to you

And suddenly Im free

I never have forgotten you

So please dont forget me


Father wont you take me by the hand?

And lead me straight to your promised land

And all that weve done wrong

Wont you please set right?

The road is hard and oh so long

Traveled by singers of a solemn song

But within all this darkness

Youve shown me the light

Please bring redemption, set me free!!

And let the whole world proclaim and see

That theres a G-d in Israel tonight

Yes, theres a G-d in Israel tonight.


Stuck inside this concrete pit

Underneath the ground

My enemies, they never stop

To try and bring me down

And the flame of hope lights up my heart

From deep within this hole

They have have trapped my body

But theyll never trap my soul


Father wont you take me by the hand?

And lead me straight to your promised land

And all that weve done wrong

Wont you please set right?

The road is hard and oh so long

Traveled by singers of a solemn song

But within all this darkness

Youve shown me the light

Please bring redemption, set me free!!

And let the whole world proclaim and see

That theres a G-d in Israel tonight

Yes, theres a G-d in Israel tonight.


Another week, another month

The years go on and on

Its sometimes hard to smile

After being here so long

My love for you is strong enough

To always show a way

To not give up and hold on tight

And live another day


Father wont you take me by the hand?

And lead me straight to your promised land

And all that weve done wrong

Wont you please set right?

The road is hard and oh so long

Traveled by singers of a solemn song

But within all this darkness

Youve shown me the light

Please bring redemption, set me free!!

And let the whole world proclaim and see

That theres a G-d in Israel tonight

Yes, theres a G-d in Israel tonight.

Filed in Activism, America, Exile, Music, Uncategorized, Uriah
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Coming FROM America

By Uriah - Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For your reading pleasure& here is a nice description of some of the more significant lifestyle adjustments and challenges olim go through in the words of somebody going through it herself right now:

In America I drove a Camry


In a skype call with the family back in America on Purim my father told me something Ive never heard him say before about living here, Youre very brave.

True life here isnt always for the squeemish of heart and theres no use pretending otherwise but its also NOT impossible either. I think she hits the nail square on the head at the end, Its not effortless to live here. But its Home.

There truly is no place like home eh? :)

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Hello world!

By Pinchas - Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 has now moved to a new server. Please let us know if something is not working correctly. Oh, and make Aliyah!

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Yehuda HaKohens Weekly Torah Thoughts: PARSHAT VAYIGASH

By Yishai - Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011

Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt in the region of Goshen; they acquired property in it and they were fruitful and multiplied greatly. (BEREISHIT 47:27)

On this verse, the Kli Yakar comments that the Children of Israel no longer regarded themselves as aliens sojourning in Egypt but rather as permanent residents. He further explains that so completely settled did they become that they did not wish to leave Egypt and HaShem had to remove them by force. Those who did not wish to leave died during the three days of darkness.

Israel settled in Egypt, established deep roots and enjoyed material success, setting a pattern that would come to define Jewish behavior in later exiles. Nearly every foreign land that we have settled in throughout history was initially a safe refuge, yet Jews have often attempted to turn these places of temporary shelter into permanent dwellings. And in almost every instance, the natural order of history has reacted by shattering our false sense of security on foreign soil and reminding us that we are not yet home in our own country.

Had the dove found a resting place, it would not have returned. A similar verse is, `She dwells among the nations; she finds no rest (EICHA 1:3). If they found rest, they would not return. Similar also is DEVARIM 28:65, `Among the nations you will feel insecure; there will be no place for your foot to rest. If they found rest, they would not return. (Bereishit Rabbah 33:6)

The Gaon of Vilna was agitated by the thought of Jews suffering atrocities due to our remaining in the Diaspora of our own free will at a time when it becomes possible to return to our borders. In the first chapter of Kol HaTor, the Gaons teachings on Mashiach ben Yosef and the Redemption process (compiled by his student Rabbi Hillel Rivlin of Shklov), there is mention of refugees.

Refugees in Zion. The fifth principle is that `for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape… and among the remnant, those whom the L-rd will call. (YOEL 3:5) Since according to Midrash Tanchuma, Zion is in the line of Mashiach ben Yosef, whatever befell Yosef befell Zion. The Gaon said that this is hinted at also in the word `among the remnant which in numerical values equals `Mashiach ben Yosef (566), by means of whom, according to the Gaon, the ingathering of the exiles will be accomplished. As the number of ingathered increases, so the Sitra Achra (evil forces) will increase its strength. Then another prosecutor will be added, against those who do not strengthen the ingathering of exiles after the beginning of the Redemption has started with the ingathering, for then in `Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape… and among the remnant& A word to the wise is sufficient. This distressed the Gaon a great deal.

The question is often raised why so many otherwise faithful Jews choose to voluntarily live in exile from their homeland if the Torah so clearly dictates the need for the Jewish Nation to reside in Eretz Yisrael? And why do we sometimes even find learned rabbis who go as far as to reject the existence of a Divine commandment to live in our own country? In the fifth chapter of Kol HaTor, the Gaon is quoted as explaining the inner reason why many great scholars do not encourage their followers to actively participate in the Redemption process.

The Sin of the Spies& hovers over the Nation of Israel in every generation… How strong is the power of the Sitra Achra that it succeeds in hiding from the eyes of our holy fathers the dangers of the klipot; from the eyes of Avraham our father, the klipah of exile& and in the time of the Mashiach, the Sitra Achra attacks the guardians of Torah with blinders… Many of the sinners in this great sin of, `They despised the cherished land, and also many of the guardians of Torah, will not know or understand that they are caught in the Sin of the Spies, that they have been sucked into the Sin of the Spies in many false ideas and empty claims, and they cover their ideas with the already proven fallacy that the mitzvah of the settlement of Israel no longer applies in our day, an opinion which has already been disproven by the giants of the world, the Rishonim and Achronim.

Anything that delays the sanctification of G-Ds Name consequentially profanes it. By rejecting the mitzvah to build a Hebrew Nation in Eretz Yisrael and magnify HaShems Divine Ideal to mankind, many otherwise righteous individuals have become guilty of decreasing the universal perception of His all encompassing Oneness.

See – HaShem, your G-D, has placed the land before you; go up and possess, as HaShem, G-D of your forefathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear and do not lose resolve. (DEVARIM 1:21)

The Ramban clearly explains (Positive Commandment 4 in his supplement to the Rambams Sefer HaMitzvot) that this mitzvah of conquering and living in the Land of Israel is a commandment for every generation at all times. The Shulchan Aruch states conclusively on this issue (Even HaEzer 75, Pitchei Tshuva 6) that all of the arbitrators of Torah Law (Rishonim and Achronim) follow the opinion of the Ramban.

Because history demands that our exile be eliminated, Jews can no longer reside securely in the Diaspora. By neglecting to willingly return home to their soil, Jews are essentially scorning not only their own peoples national aspirations but also the Torah. And because the condition of Jews living outside our borders is both an unnatural situation and an objective desecration of G-Ds holy Name, one way or another it will come to an end.

What sustains the Jewish Diaspora today is a psychological enslavement largely focused on personal security and individual success. The Maharal of Prague explains in Netzach Yisrael that this mental slavery is hinted at within the Hebrew language. The only difference between the words gola (exile) and Geula (Redemption) is the letter Aleph, which possesses the numerical value of one.

Whoever chooses to remains in the exile, thereby fighting the historic tide of Israels Redemption, is only doing so because he lacks the idea of One – the complete belief in the unity of Israel and HaShem – in G-D being One and His Name being One over and beyond all that exists. Only by arriving at the awareness of One – the intrinsic unity and collective destiny of Am Yisrael – will Jews be able to break free from our psychological prisons of egoism and accept our roles as parts of the greater Israeli whole. We will be able to perceive HaShems unity in history and Creation and will be able to fully devote ourselves to the Zionist revolution currently underway. And once the Hebrew Nation is psychologically free, we can focus on living up to our national mission as a kingdom of priests and holy nation that will shine Divine light to all of mankind.

Shabbat Shalom.

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Malkah Scarfs Down Doughnuts Online

By Malkah - Posted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Filed in Chanukah, Food, Malkah
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Become a Legend

By Uriah - Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One of the themes of Channukah commonly focused on is the idea of dispelling darkness with light. This is physically represented by the central mitzvah of Channukah – lighting the Menorah. Conceptually it is the light of Torah dispelling the darkness of Greek thought and culture. One may make the mistake of oversimplifying things by taking this to mean that the good guys (us) beat the bad guys (them). Yet such a surface analysis of this holiday ignores the subtle difference between our victory over our enemies during Channukah versus other victories such as Purim or Pesach. Light dispelling darkness isnt just about the good side winning and the bad side losing.

What is darkness? When a room is dark everything in it will serve as a stumbling block for you to trip over as you grope about no matter what each particular object may be. The darkness isnt empty, but actually contains something which while it is concealed in the darkness serves to hinder and endanger you. Yet once you shine a light into the room and are able to discern where each object is and what it does, not only do you not trip over them but you can suddenly use them to your advantage. And perhaps this is why Chazal refer to ancient Greece as darkness and often refer to Torah as light. The Greeks glorified beauty and aesthetics, strength, the sciences and wisdom. Often the desire for these things leads a person down a self-destructive path, but if one is able to shine the light of Torah onto these areas and figure out a way to use them for the service of Hashem, they can actually become great tools for accomplishing this purpose.

It is with this idea in mind that I would like to take one of the classics of ancient Greek culture – literature, and attempt to shine a little light of Torah into it. I have a bit of a habit (Im not quite sure if its a bad one or not) when it comes to reading literary classics, semi-classics, or cult classics. Often I hear of a book whose plot or theme catches my interest but I just dont have the time to read it. Rather than trek to the local library or whip out the debit card and hop on Amazon, I often just look it up on Wikipedia or some crib notes website and skim through a general outline of the story as well as some commentary and critical analysis. Call it lazy, call it cheating, call it whatever you like. Between work, family, Torah, and an ADD attention span to boot, sometimes you have to get by with what works. Anyway, several years ago a zombie genre movie came out starring Will Smith titled, “I Am Legend.” I dont remember it being a particularly good flick, but then Ive also seen a lot worse. Recently I found out that it was based on a book by the same title which was actually the basis for several other films as well (including Omega Man – one Ive never personally seen but may have to look up on Wikipedia one of these days). After seeing a bit about the original plot I read up on it and it seems to be a fascinating story.

Apparently, there is some sort of global nuclear war which starts causing major changes in the weather spawning a large amount of dust storms. These dust storms carry on their winds some sort of fungus or bacteria which, upon infection, causes one to become a vampire. Protagonist Robert Neville, who seems to be naturally immune to the disease, finds himself alone as the last normal human on Earth – an Earth teeming with vampires. By day he travels the deserted streets of Los Angeles salvaging food, gathering supplies for survival and defense, and researching whatever scientific material he can to study the disease, find its cause and possibly even a cure. By night he barricades himself in his home as scores of vampires surround his house trying to break in. They throw rocks at his windows and mocking taunts at his ears as they try to break both his defenses and his resolve. As the morning light creeps over the horizon they scatter and he arms himself with garlic, a mallet and several stakes as he starts his daily routine over again. As the afternoon sun starts to set he races home every day to ensure hes locked safe inside before the assault begins anew. He can no longer peep through the openings outside as the better looking of the lady vampires constantly try to seduce him and tempt him to leave the confines of his household fortress. He decides to soundproof the walls as they temptingly call out to him and his former neighbor keeps shouting “Come out Neville!” The only thing that gets him through the loneliness and misery is spending his nights chain smoking and drinking himself into a stupor.

While the plot summaries provide some fascinating details about the story, well cut to the end where perhaps the most intriguing moment occurs. Eventually Neville is captured by the vampires and set to be executed as punishment for all the vampires he has killed as well as because of the danger he poses if left alive. He finds that they are planning on rebuilding society, and creating a new humanity of vampire-diseased peoples. He swallows some cyanide pills to put himself to death and during his last moments ponders the profound irony of it all. For hundreds if not thousands of years, the vampire has been an object of legend – a mysterious fearful being of the night. Yet in the new vampire society the world of vampires and the life of the night will be common place and parents will scare their children with stories of the terrifying human who stalked them in the daylight hours  slaying them in their sleep. Pondering how he will be remembered as a frightening myth of the new world, he declares with one of his last breaths, “I am legend.”

Now, while this may be an interesting story (or at least I think so), what on Earth can we learn out of it about Channukah? Often in our battles with our Yetzer Hara we find ourselves to be Robert Neville. While we try to hunker down in our homes, places of learning and prayer, or just a safe place within our mind, we have to wait out constant bombardments from the other side. Sometimes its the assaults to our willpower like the rocks at the windows and the attempts to tear down the door. Sometimes its the siren temptation of lust like the female vampires driving Neville crazy. Sometimes its the shock at our lack of humanity when were driven into conflict with others, like Neville contemplating how he would ruthlessly decimate vampires for his own survival even though he knew deep down that before they were infected they were normal people just like him. And sometimes, like the the repetitive call of his neighbor simply stating, “Come out!”  sometimes its just the simple bitterness of the Yetzer trying to tell us to just give up already and join the party. Why fight so hard and so long when theres no hope of winning or outlasting anyway?

The Maccabees also spent year after year during the conflict fighting a war they had no chance of winning. The enemy used every form of physical might, intellectual appeal and lust to crush the values of Torah. Not only that but even the overwhelming majority of their Jewish brethren fought them along side the Greeks. It was literally them against the entire world. How many freezing cold winter nights did they spend in tents caves or forests in the hills outside Jerusalem? How many years were taken off their lives from the stress of fighting for survival on a daily basis and constantly being stalked by an unstoppable enemy force? How much ridicule must they have suffered at the hands of the Hellenized Jews encouraging them to just accept the new way and give up on an seemingly antiquated and irrelevant past. Yet look at what they accomplished. Neville as well, though he ended up dying in the end, felt a great sense of accomplishment at having forever been sealed in the history of his enemy as their greatest symbol of fear. And so too with us. Often we may feel spiritually hunkered down in a little hole with no respite from the onslaught of the world around us and our own internal battles. We may feel completely alone in the world as if nobody shares our struggles or understands. Yet we can take great encouragement that the reason we are getting hit so hard from the other side is precisely because we have the potential to accomplish so much. We may see ourselves as insignificant or full of failings. Yet the fact we manage to hold on in the face of whatever spiritual, physical, or other adversity we may be grappling with turns our very obstacles into a testimony of our personal greatness.

Filed in Books, Chanukah, Jewish Holidays, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Uriah
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Where Have All the Maccabees Gone?

By Malkah - Posted: Sunday, December 25, 2011

GENIUS. Thanks to my mother-in-law, Zhenia Fleisher, for cluing me into this.


By Gerald Blidstein

From Tradition, Vol. 18 No. I, Summer 1979

…uphold… ideas long enough, frequently enough, and with inspiration, and some young people are not only going to believe in them, they are going to believe in them with the fervor of the young and even arrange their lives and their sense of honor by them. Willie Morris, North Towards Home

The American Jewish community relates to Israel much as American popular culture relates to death: both Israel and death are the subjects of incessant, indeed compulsive, attention but both always happen to somebody else. Nor is my bracketing of Israel and death a literary device, an attention-getter, alone. For despite the imagery of life, both physical (making the desert bloom) and cultural (national renaissance) , there are also images of death: the six million dead as a prelude to the State, the unending sacrifice of life that feeds its survival. And finally, a set of images that has won great popularity: Massada/Yavneh. Massada  communal suicide as the guarantor of integrity or intransigence (depending on your point of view). Yavneh  a community devoted to Torah and its ongoing vitality; but Yavneh presumed the death of the second Jewish Commonwealth and was reared on its ashes  a sinister image for these days.

My topic, though, is more prosaic than these opening comments suggest. I am interested in the implications of the fact that Israel happens to somebody else, or in other words, with the failure of the American Jewish community in developing an imperative of aliyah. The implications of this fact are usually seen within the Israeli context: what will the absence of Western immigrants mean to Israeli society, to its industry and technology, and even to its democracy? Where has Israel failed the Western oleh? How can Israel create a climate (spiritual or economic) that will attract the American Jew? This perspective is not necessarily false. But it is certainly a partial perspective at best, and from the point of view of American Jews an irrelevant perspective at worst. The issue for American Jews really is: what does this failure imply as to the nature of American Judaism? What does it imply about Jewish education in the broadest sense of that term, about the content  emotional as well as intellectual  of the Jewish heritage as it is taught in 20th-century America? Actually, it seems to me that this is by far the more productive perspective.

The attitude of young American Jews to Israel as a possible imperative for themselves is usually a function of American Judaism, not a response to the reality of Israel. Many American Jews do consider themselves informed about the shortcomings of Israeli life, of course. I don t believe, however, that this knowledge is the crucial factor influencing young American Jews against aliyah. On the contrary; the expertise is required to silence wistful yearnings for Zion and its community. The young man who yields to information is, in any case, not being pursued by anything more seductive.

It is true, of course, that a small number of American Jews do get to Israel, and a proportion of these return to North America. Better to have loved and lost/than never to have loved at all. The question that American Judaism ought to confront is: why do so many not love at all? How has our heritage been so skewered as to produce this feeble vision of peoplehood? On a recent visit to the States I noticed, with grim amusement, that a leading Anglo-Jewish weekly carried columns four weeks running on how to explore Polish cemeteries in search of family roots. So that s where the action is! More seriously: something is awry in the emotional life of the Jewish body politic.

Jewish history and Jewish thought compete well in the marketplace of our time; the fault is not intellectual. In some in way, the will and the emotions are not engaged. To put it another way: educated, traditional, young Jews do not feel the hunger to live in a Jewish state. And so American Jews who care about the fullness of the Jewish future, must ask: what has been killed?

The juices of Jewish history do run towards a restoration of Jewish peoplehood in Israel. Or more carefully: the Jew who loves his people wishes to experience its fullness, and the adventure, the challenge, of Jewish fullness today is in Israel. The Jew who identifies with his people wishes to be at the cutting edge of its history and that, today, is in Israel. The various adaptive forms taken by Jewish life in galut (the autonomous medieval community; the shtetl) also point in the same direction not because they demonstrate the transience of Diaspora communities, but because they disclose the historic Jewish thrust for independence. The American Jewish community acknowledges these facts on a political level, but denies them on the personal, existential one. This denial, like most denials demands its price. It can be made only by truncating Jewish experience by starving its soul. To anybody who has lived in Israel, the thriving Jewish communities of the United States (and I recognize their achievements) are mere torsos of the Jewish people. At the same time they pose the haunting question: how have so many young educated Jews been alienated from essential components of their people s past, from a past that points the will and the heart to a clear destiny?

Now, I am not a naif. On the intellectual level, I know that the tree of Jewish history can be sliced in various ways (obviously, though, I believe that one way cuts against the grain and the other, with it!). Realistically put, I know that Babylon has always existed (but as a success-story, not as a value!) alongside Jerusalem; that even the young aim at careers, status, stability and that they know that these are more easily had in America. But all these considerations ought be only one side (if even the dominant side) of the coin. The other side should be the personal thrust towards klal yisroel, the movement towards the emotional and existential core that even today is a fact in Israel. Yet this side of the coin is not current. Is Jerusalem not even fit to hold a candle to Babylon? The question does not seek an empirical answer. Rather, it points to the failure of nerve, the selective paralysis of will, that is at work. I, for one, am not willing to take at face value the claim that the situation described is simply another instance of the classic tension between Torah (or spirituality) and nationalism. It is much more likely that we are witness to a (no less classic) skewering of Jewish spirituality itself, a communal accommodation to stability and case.

If this is the case, the all-but-effective elimination of Israel from the personal agenda of today s American Jew is a symptom of destructive forces cutting away at our people s roots. Israel, today, is the single most significant issue facing the Jew.

The response to this opportunity is perhaps more crucial to the Jews of New York and Los Angeles than it is to the Jews of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv.

Professor Blidstein, a member of TRADITION s Editorial Board, teaches Judaic Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel.

Filed in Aliyah, America, Jewish Pride, Malkah, Rants
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