Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Passing of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu

Please follow the link and read the news item about the passing of this remarkable sage of our generation:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bnai Anusim

Check out the following website for those who have discovered their heritage for the first time:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Israeli Funeral - continued

At the conclusion of the seven day mourning period, the family visits the grave site and recites prayers for the visitation. Once the prayers have concluded, the family gathers at a table at the cemetery and has some cake and fruit before departing the grounds. In thirty days from the time of the person's death, family and friends will gather again to visit the grave site to remember their loved one.

Friday, May 7, 2010

An Israeli Funeral - Part 2

As the seven day mourning period is coming to a close, people were coming to visit in greater numbers to celebrate her life. After the evening prayers on Thursday, family and friends gathered at tables filled with food to further the celebration. Various people spoke while everyone was enjoying the gathering. It was good to see several family members who are disabled participating also.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An Israeli Funeral

Recently, our upstairs neighbor's mother on the wife's side died. Instead of having a sad atmosphere at a funeral home with people being very quiet when they come visit at the house, a tent was set up in the parking area of the driveway with tables and chairs for the family and visitors. The atmosphere was filled with reminiscence with laughter and lively conversations going on. When I came to visit, the wife's brother greeted me and immediately filled a cup with a soft drink for me without my asking and said, "Come and sit down and eat something," you are free to feel invited without an invitation. Yes, there are the chairs that are low in height and cushions on the ground for the family so they can be seated and/or lying in mourning, but other than that it would appear that a party was going on. In many parts of Israel, many funerals are observed similar to our experience. For example, in an apartment building that has an entrance patio, tables and chairs would be set up so family, friends, and neighbors can come and drop in and visit with the family.

Kaddish (the mourners' prayer for the departed) is recited during Scharit, Minchah, and Ma'ariv, the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. Kaddish can only be recited if a minyan (quorum of ten men) is present. So those who come to the minyan are not just family members: it is wide open.

The husband and wife's granddaughter with have her second birthday this week of mourning. She has been in and out of the house and involved with the family as they will celebrate life even with her grandmother's passing. As the little girl's mother said to me today, We must celebrate my grandmother's life.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lag B'Omer Update

The following link describes the rejoicing in honor of Ribi Shim'on bar Yohai.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lag B'Omer

This will be our next holiday update.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Kinneret at Passover

During Passover, many Sephardic Jews visit the tombs of the rabbis culminating at the end of the week with the celebration of Memoona which means "I believe in the coming of Maschiach."

Follow the link below to see more Passover pictures in Meira's photo album:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rabbi Yossi Ben Kisma on Gilad Shalit

Meira Kingberg
Yeoshua Kingberg

The Gilad Shalit story should be likened to the story in The Pesach Haggadah by the Ben Ish Chai pp.142-144. of Rabbi Yossi Ben Kisma's exchange with the Edomite officer.

The Ben Ish Chai tells the story of how the Edomite officer kidnapped the Rav's children and the Rav initially offered the officer 100 coins and bargained all the way down for no charge. The officer was afflicted with a severe stomach illness from the angel Michael sent by the Holy One, blessed be He. The illness became increasingly worse during the bargaining process until he let the children go. Furthermore, Rav Yossi demanded the children's salary be paid which totaled 80 coins. If the officer would have agreed initially to the 100 coins, he would have profited. Instead, he was afflicted with a severe aliment.

Perhaps the Israeli government should follow Rav Yossi's example in the Ben Ish Chai's parable. The Israeli government initially offers 100 prisoners in exchange for Gilad and decreases the offer by 10% every time they refuse. At the same time, our people cry out to HaKodesh Barachu just as Rav Yossi did. HaKodesh Barachu will afflict the enemy as their Edomite ancestor and unable to withstand the pain, will offer to release Gilad for the original offer. The government like Rav Yossi, must refuse their offer. This sequence of events will play out until Hamas pleads with us to take him off their hands. At this point, Israel must refuse to leave the negotiation and demand monetary compensation as did Rav Yossi. This compensation should be an amount substantial enough to cover the following: the actual pain and suffering Gilad endured, rehabilitation for as long as necessary, pain and suffering of his parents, reparations to the nation for the emotional pain of Gilad's ordeal, and finally, in the four years since his capture, Gilad would have completed his army service had he been free. He would have entered the workforce in his prime and been a contributing member of society. A formula has to be devised to determine the value of the contribution that was lost to the economy; contribution to the Gross Domestic Product as the fruit of his labor, taxes he would have paid and commerce he would have transacted in the market place. Modern methods of negotiation have not worked. We have grown too sophisticated to our good. Perhaps it's time to revert to the wisdom of our ancestors even communicated in simple parables such as this.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Passover Minhag

Follow the hyperlink to the minhag concerning round matzahs:

Sunday, March 21, 2010



Passover, one of the three pilgrimage festivals, is soon to be upon us. Aside from cleaning and inspecting for "hametz" (anything that contains leaven), is a time of remembering when our people would bring sacrifices to the Temple for seven days. (Lev. 23:8) The sacrificial system will be reinstated once the Temple is rebuilt and the Maschiach (Messiah) returns.

Also, we are to eat matzahs for seven days to remember HaShem's deliverance for us out of Egypt. (Ex. 12:15-20) During this time, we are to contemplate whether we are returning to Egypt in our thinking and return to HaShem.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teveria -weather update


Over the past three days, the Kinneret has risen 3 centimeters! We are thankful for everyone's prayers and that HaShem heard us!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Teveria -weather


Please pray for more rain in the northern part of Israel. It has been about 75 degrees and dry. Our rainy season isn't over until the end of March, the beginning of April.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flowers For Kitties by Meira Lettieri Kingberg

Yesterday we had the loveliest experience. We don’t know what triggered it. We’ve lived in Teveria for about two months now. We were in Ha’Ir as we call downtown, doing some errands. When we came home our landlord’s eldest, six year old Nataniel, called us over and gave us some flowers he’d just picked. Nataniel is probably the kid we know best. A little while later, he along with some of his friends and five year old sister came to my door with more flowers. This happened several times within a few minutes. Finally, they asked about the kitties and to please see them. These are religious kids so having pets is a novelty to them. Some of the kids were new to me in that I’d never spoken to them.

Well it was clear that was their motive but instead of just brashly asking to come in which they didn’t even do, they brought a gift as a sign of respect and not one, but one for each kid which is why they kept appearing before their request was made. This is so indicative of the Sephardic culture we have become immersed in. I remember when my mother and I went to Italy the first time. We went to check on my grandfather’s house. When the caretaker came with her little girl, the child kissed my mother’s hand (which would have been a bit excessive here and now) and also brought a hand picked bouquet. It was a sign of respect to Mom just as the flowers yesterday were a sign of respect to someone who had the power to grant a request. Powerful, ancient stuff this. But nonetheless charming and it brought tears to my eyes that these little ones who barely knew me would be able to interact so graciously with someone who could be their grandma.

Here's a link to a picture:


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Historic Teveria

Teveria has many Jews that have lived here for generations. For example, one family has been here for seven generations. It isn't unusual to come in contact with the families that had attended the Abulafiya (Etz Hahayim) synagogue or the Seniori synagogue located in the Jewish Court in the heart of the city located off the pedestrian promenade.

The Abulafiya synagogue is the site where the Ari (z"l) prayed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Snow BS"D

And now the weather service is predicting snow in the higher elevations from us such as Safed and the Golan Heights!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010



We are the thanking HaShem for the much needed rain for the past three days. The Kinneret is filling up!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hamat Teveria- Ancient Synagogue

Simchat Artzenu recently enjoyed a visit to the ancient synagogue at Hamat Teveria dating from the 4th century. One of the key remains is the mosaic floor which has been remarkably preserved and belongs to the Severus Synagogue. There are three inscriptions in the mosaic: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. This is extremely significant from the Talmudic period. It is evident in the inscriptions how paganism influenced the designer.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hannukah Beit- House Dedication

We recently had a Hannukah Beit or House Dedication for our new home in Teveria. Follow the link to see the photos: