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Israeli songster Naomi Shemer’s sukkot song about Shlomit’s special sukkah—a  sukkah shalom* took a touching turn this year when Drs. Khalil and Reem Bakly— an Muslim Arab dentist couple from Upper Nazareth** built a (100% kosher) sukkah on their balcony with a stunning view of the Galilee, ordered a ton of kosher food and invited their neighbors—Jews and Arab—to drop in during the week-long holiday; in Jerusalem, a Muslim Arab Egged bus driver from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al Amud  turned his pubic bus which plies the route to and from the Kotel (Western Wall) into a sukkah on wheels  decked out in decorative fruits and tinsel hanging from the roof.

      In both cases, the initiators said they viewed their actions asthe symbol of peaceful coexistence and hope. (Ynet) Photo credit:  Temple Emanu-el website – NYC


* The sukkah is portrayed in the Jewish liturgy and prayer as a symbol of peace, known in Hebrew as the sukkat shalom (“spread over us Your tabernacle of peace”).


** one-quarter of Upper Nazareth’s roughly 40,000 residents are Arabs



Think you’ve heard everything? Think again. 

      The Nobel Peace Prize this year is being awarded to the nuclear disarmament NGO International Campaign for the Abolishment of NuclearWeapons (ICAN). What did the Israeli representative and a founding member of ICAN Sharon Dolev have to say on this festive occasion?                 Dolev declared: “Iran is a partner in the Non-Proliferation Treaty*, unlike Israelm.” Dolev clarified: “I’m embarrassed to say this…it’s a bit sad to see Iran in the room and not the Israelis, except me.”

      What about the ‘elephant in the room’?

      What elephant?! (Ynet) Photo credit: Elephant in the Room, CGIAR


* Signatories to the NPT declare their nuclear programs are purely for peaceful, energy and medical purposes…



Anyone who has visited an Israeli city can’t help noticing the number of alley cats…and municipal initiatives to provide ground level water troughs for cats and dogs as an integral part of water fountains for people.*

      While stray cats keep the rat and mice population down, Israel’s Ministry of Health has just distributed a directive to Israeli hospitals specifying employees should not encourage cats to ‘set up house’ on hospital grounds. A pilot at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon found that closing doors and not feeding or putting out water for the cats leads to “a migration of cats off hospital premises into nearby neighborhoods.” (Stragglers were caught and shown the door…)

      Cats can be found not only on hospital grounds and wandering about the lobby, gathering outside kitchens and occasionally strolling down the corridor in a ward. Perhaps the last straw for the Ministry was that at one unnamed Israeli hospital a cat ‘fell’ through an acoustic ceiling into the lap of a dialysis patent. (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: ShoCATs     


* For example in Kfar Saba where ShoCATs (Hebrew for watering troughs) are being installed to collect water that would normally just go down the drain, after the NGO Let Animals Live collected 31,000 NIS (approximately $7,000) in crowd funding.



Who isn’t familiar with the gigantic inflatable castles, obstacle courses and water slides where kids can bounce to their life’s content. Shimon Balzam, the operator behind Kfitza B’Hana’ah (‘Jump for Fun’) that rents out such amusements has taken inflatable bouncers to new heights…Crown Heights to be specific: a replica of the venerated Labovicher Rabbi’s iconic three-storey red-brick house at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. A similar inflatable for Breslov hassids is on the way. 

      Balzam says he also had ideas for other venerated sites, but after conferring with rabbis, had second thoughts about an army of screaming kids bouncing around inside the Second Temple. Neverthelsss, the Hassid promises inflatable bouncers with IDF themes and Eretz Yisroel are in the works. (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: Kfitza bHana’ah website and the Real Mccoy in Brooklyn     




After an attempted suicide by an inmate trying to slit her wrists with a blunt instrument…causing superficial scratches, the Israel Prison Service decided not to take any chances, and ordered all the woman inmates at the Neve Tirtza Penitentiary to remove the rib supporters under push-up bras (the blunt instrument) claiming the metal, plastic or resin U-shaped ‘bones’ of such underwire bras could be used to attack staff, inflict self-injury, or…pick locks. (Yediot) Photo credit: Underwire bras – Wikipedia  




Remember the April 2017 Chelm story (“Chocoholics Unite”) about Israel’s most popular brand of chocolate spread—HaShachar HaOleh? 

      If you need proof that ‘we eat with our eyes, not only with our noses and our tongues’…a new label for HaShachar chocolate spread with a yellow cartoon character (on some labels hugging a bunch of bananas) made the Israeli public go bananas.

      Hundreds of complaints flowed into the manufacturer that HaShachar had polluted their product’s vintage flavor with banana flavoring. The owners said there was no additive whatsoever in the “special edition” label designed to spruce up the looks of the container that from the looks of it, hadn’t changed since 1955, and he swore they would never shortchange their loyal customers by “changing the recipe.”

      What remains a mystery is who chose the odd mascot, and who added the bananas. (Yediot) Photo credit: HaShachar HaOleh website



At the beginning of October Chelm featured a story about the sit-down protests of disabled persons, noting an agreement had been reached just before Yom Kippur between the protest leaders and the government. Some of the protesters who rejected the compromise agreement are continuing to block intersections and were issued 500 NIS ($143) fines for “obstructing traffic” on Route 1 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.   

            Immediately, public spirited individuals jumped in to establish a crowd funding campaign to collect money to pay the fines.*

            The initiators sought to collect 30,000 NIS ($8,570).

            The public donated 82,558 NIS ($23,588) within three weeks…and still counting, allowing them to continue the struggle. (Israel HaYom, Yediot)