UMAN Rosh HaShana: A Spiritual Journey

When people hear of Uman Rosh HaShana many different things comes to ones mind such as ״woah why do people leave Israel and go to Uman?” Or “dude Uman is awesome it’s like a Jewish rave.” It’s shocking that I actually went to Uman after hearing all the negative gossip from the various peanut galleries but there is an aspect of Uman that is not televised on the news and written in articles. First of all traveling to Uman for Rosh HaShanah is not an easy journey, it’s a spiritual experience that challenges your emuna (faith) and your gratitude. Besides leaving the comfort of your home and family to travel to celebrate Rosh HaShanah in Uman doesn’t make any sense(if you don’t know why your going) but for a Torah observant Jew that has a strong connection to the teachings of Rebbe Nachman it makes a lot of sense. Anyways the moment you step outside your house with your suitcase ready or in my case a giant camping backpack the obstacles start to begin….. Now I can write down each and every thing that happened to me on my spiritual journey in UMAN during Rosh HaShanah but instead I’m going to share with you one powerful story that has forever changed the way I think.

This story that I am about to share with you is a true story and just happened this past Monday morning when I was at the Kiev airport traveling back to Israel. First of all I almost missed my shuttle to the airport from UMAN because I didn’t hear my alarm and I think I only got like an 1hr30mins worth of sleep that night. Ok but I made it on a later shuttle with my big backpack and a plastic carrying on bag which had my Tefilin and 5 of my Sefarim and my Rabbis book as well, so 6 books total (and all of them are very important, especially my Tefilin.) You might be asking yourself ” well if it was so important why didn’t he put it his big back pack?” Well when I flew to Kiev they made me check my bag and I thought they would make me do it again which they did. Anyways back to the story….. So we we make it to the Kiev international airport where no employee speaks english fluently. We soon found out we were at the wrong terminal and our flight was taking off in about an 2hrs, so we were all over the place trying to figure out how to get to this other terminal.

After a 20min walk in the cold damp land of Ukraine we made it to Terminal B. While we were going through security I realized I didn’t have my plastic carrying on bag which had my Tefilin and books. Once we got through security and passport control I received a text message in Hebrew that someone found my stuff and I was so relieved, but the flight was going to be taking off in about an 1hr and now I had to go back to the other terminal where I just came from. So I went back to the other terminal and it wasn’t there. I checked everywhere. I called the guy who texted me that he found it and he told me that security wouldn’t let him take it through. I think he was trying to bring it to Israel for me. Well anyways it didn’t work and no one had any clue where it was.

Since I was tight on time because I had a flight to catch and was in the wrong terminal I made my way back to my terminal and to my gate to start boarding. The entire flight back to Israel I spoke to G-D. I remember telling him “I know everything happens for a reason and even though I don’t know why this had to happen to me I know everything is going to be okay.”

I was bummed out but I was trying remain positive….. Well yesterday I was trying to figure out how I’m going to afford a new pair of Tefilin because they are not cheap and my Rabbi was telling me try not to worry about it right now, I think he also told me that because for the past 4 days I’ve been under the weather and it’s not so smart to make decisions when you are not feeling good.

Well anyways yesterday I pushed myself to go to work, and while I was at work I received a phone call from an unknown number. I picked up the phone and the man only spoke Hebrew, but I was able to understand what he was saying. Do you know what he told me???? “יש לי תפילין וספרים ” (i have your tefilin and books)…. I was blown away.

This man must of found my stuff in Kiev and brought it back with him to Israel. He lives in a city that’s about 2hrs away from me.

This is what UMAN is about. It’s about hardships, and happiness, faith and gratitude at the exact same time. When hardships happen in our life how are we going to deal with it? When amazing things happen to us will we be grateful? On the surface UMAN looks like a party but it’s actually a doctors appointment for the soul, and everyone need to get a check up once a year.

UN RESOLUTION FALLOUT: PM Netanyahu Cancels Ukrainian PM’s Visit, Ukraine Responds

PM Netanyahu cancels the visit of the Ukrainian Prime Minister to Israel.  Kiev’s response; “The crisis in the Middle East is the deepest it has been throughout its history.”

Following the cancellation of the visit of Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, to Israel, the Ukrainian delegation to the United Nations responded to their support of the United Nations resolution against settlements in the Security Council.

“Unprecedented settlement activities by Israel in the palestinian territories does not help to deal with violence.”

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled on Saturday the visit of his Ukrainian counterpart following the state support for the UN resolution against settlements, a delegation of Ukraine to the United Nations issued a message explaining Kiev’s support for the resolution. “The search for a solution is now in the deepest crisis in history,” the statement read. “The lack of prospects for reviving the peace process between Israel and the palestinians has led to an escalation of the security situation in Israel and the West Bank on a daily basis. As a result, the unprecedented settlement activities of Israel in the palestinian territories does not help deal with the violence”, said the diplomats.

In their statement, the delegation noted that the decision that was finally approved was more lenient with Israel than the original resolution and included references to palestinian terror.

“The call to Israel to stop settlement activity as a prerequisite for resolving the conflict as part of a two-state solution is not new,” the statement said. “All parties call out for efforts to achieve peace and security in the Middle East.”

The delegation made a connection between the Russian occupation of Crimea and the Israeli occupation. For Ukraine, abstention or objection to the resolution calling for a cease of illegal actions in the territories that under international law are considered occupied territory, would be contrary to the struggle on the diplomatic front against the occupation of the Crimea and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions by Russia.

“These are political issues, about which positions cannot vary according to the political situation. There are national interests that do not often match the interests of our partners, especially Israel. Because of these interests, we cannot abstain or object,” it said.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a statement cancelling the visit of Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman to Israel, in protest against his country’s support for the draft resolution against settlements received on Friday by the UN Security Council. Groysman, who is the first Jewish Prime Minister of Ukraine elected last April, was to arrive in Israel on Wednesday.

Cancellation of the visit was one of a series of steps taken by the government following the adoption of resolution 2334 on Friday by the UN Security Council, with the support of all Council members. The United States abstained in the vote instead of vetoing the resolution.  The abstention by the Obama administration has set off a furor of reactions by Israel against all those who voted in favor of the resolution and the US.

BREAKING NEWS: Putin Retaliates for Ukraine’s Missile Violation

Just when you thought it was safe again, Putin is getting his sweet revenge for Ukraine’s missile test violation over Crimea.

UkrinForm a pro-Kiev Social Platform reports the following:

Militants launched 25 attacks on the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the ATO zone in Donbas over the past day, the ATO press center reports.

In particular, in Mariupol direction, terrorists used 120mm and 82mm mortars to shell Krasnohorivka and Talakovka. Also, militants fired on Marinka, using mortars, armored personnel carriers, air defense guns and large caliber machineguns.

In Donetsk direction, militants launched attacks on the Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka, using grenade launchers and large caliber machineguns.

In Luhansk direction, the Ukrainian troops in Novozvanivka came under 120mm and 82mm mortars attacks, while in Novooleksandrivka, Troitske and Krymske terrorists attacked the Ukrainian soldiers using grenade launchers of various systems. Terrorists also launched attacks on Stanitsa Luhanska.

Ignore the semantics used by the ATO to term rebels as terrorists and look at the bigger picture.  A NATO backed Ukraine fired missiles near Russian controlled Crimea expecting Putin to sit quiet. Putin never attacks direct.  His reaction is now clearly being felt in the war on Donbass as he has given the green light for a serious Russian backed rebel offensive.

Source: Google Maps
Source: Google Maps

Does anyone else see the coming clash between NATO and Russia?


Ukraine Fires Missiles on Russian Border, Will Putin Respond?

Despite Russian threats, NATO backed Ukraine went ahead with missile tests near Russian controlled Crimea on Thursday and Friday.

“No one will stop us,” Western backed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted. “We will be acting in the interests of the people of Ukraine!”

Although Ukraine insists that none of the missiles have landed within 30km of Russian controlled Crimea, Russia issued serious warnings to Ukraine before the missile test.

It was reported, “Unnamed sources in Ukraine have told local Ukrainian newspapers that they received a letter from Russia’s Defense Ministry effectively threatening Ukraine with a direct military response if Ukraine goes through with its planned missile test.”

With the Donbass reagion spiralling out of controll as Russian backed Ukrainians threaten an all out revolt against Kiev, Russian threats over the missile test put the ball back in Putin’s court.

With NATO pushing against Russia’s borders, it would seem unlikely that Putin will leave the latest provocation unanswered.  The only question is when and what exactly will be his response.

In the past Putin has opted for causing problems elsewhere in the globe such as Syria, but it seems more than likely that the focus in terms of a direct response will be the Donbass. In the coming days Russia will pour more weapons and support into the region in hopes the break away actually turns into a reality.


War Drums: Russia Threatens Ukraine Over Provocations on the Crimean Border

It has been reported that Moscow directly threatened Ukraine with missile attacks if the Ukrainian government goes through with its planned missile test on the Crimean border. Unnamed sources in Ukraine have told local Ukrainian newspapers that they received a letter from Russia’s Defense Ministry effectively threatening Ukraine with a direct military response if Ukraine goes through with its planned missile test.

Ukraine has denied it plans on testing any missiles near Russia. However, Russia is clear that it stands ready to not only shoot down the missiles, but retaliate against Ukraine directly. When asked if Russia really will retaliate Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The Kremlin would like Ukraine to refrain from violating international law and creating unsafe conditions for international flights over Russia.”

Is This For Real?

If the Russian aviation watchdog Rosaviatsia can be believed then yes, there is set to be a Ukrainian missile test after Dec. 1st. Rosaviatsia insists that Ukraine had unilaterally decided in violation of all international treaties to hold missile launches in Russia’s sovereign airspace near Crimea, in the area of civil and government planes’ routes, on December 1-2. If this goes through then expect Putin to finally go through with his plans to take a large chunk of eastern Ukraine as well as pick off targets with his S-300 and S-400 he placed there.

The Romney Factor

The assumption was that Donald Trump would be amicable to Russian interests. Yet, we see that his courtship of Mitt Romney and General Mattis means just the opposite.  Putin knows he may very well have been thrown off by betting on an easy relationship with the Donald.  He now seems to be on the move just in case he gets a far tougher hand than he thought after January 20th.

So, if the Ukrainians decide to go ahead with the test, buckle up, because Eastern Europe will be headed to war.



WAR DRUMS: Putin Places 40,000 Troops on Ukrainian Border, As Obama Moves Nukes Closer

In a move that risks pushing the region into all out war, Rissian President Putin positions 40,000 troops and armored vehicles on the border with Ukraine. The US took staleite photos of the troop movemements, witnessing new staging grounds being created with an array of units including combat troops. tanks, and fighters being deployed.

Navy Captain Danny Hernandez told the Washington Free Beacon that the exercises were being closely monitored.

Hernandez said: “We are extremely concerned about the increasing tensions near the administrative boundary between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine.

Crimea is  a disputed Russian province who voted in 2014 to leave the Ukraine and join the Russian Federation as an autnomous district.

Why is Obama Moving Nukes Closer?

Multiple sources have shared that the US is moving its 50 nukes from Turkey to Romania. The reason for the move is do the deterorating relations between USA and Turkey.The fact that the move also coincides with Russian expansion both in the Middle East and Eastern Europe has not been lost on experts.  The question remains as to why Obama is doing this in such a fashion with the end result essentially handing the Middle East over to Putin?

The answer lies in how Obama and his administration has viewed the situation in the Middle East from the very beginning of his Presidency and that is an unwinnable theatre that is far best left to others.  The challenge is, “the others” Obama thought would take over was not Russia, but rather organic political and religious forces already on the ground.  It remains to be seen if and when Obama will put his foot down with Russia.  The assumption is that the real redline for Obama is Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Headlines June 8: Israel Strikes Syrian Weapons, Bibi & Putin, NASA & Israel to Mars

Israeli Air Force jets attacked a missile storage facility in Syria over the weekend, targeting a number of military sites said to be housing advanced weaponry.
[The Jerusalem Post]


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the Kremlin, held a lengthy working meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They discussed a large number of issues including Syria and other regional issues pertaining to the national security of both countries. The two leaders discussed the continuation of regional coordination between their respective militaries, which has worked very well up until now. They also discussed agricultural issues (milk production with the assistance of Israeli technologies), the pensions agreement that was signed between the two countries, tourism, health, the manufacture of medicines and other issues.
[Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]


NASA chief expresses interest in Israel helping with manned mission to Mars‏
[Arutz Sheva]


Israel and Ukraine sign agreement for employment of Ukrainian construction workers
[Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that in just one or two meetings a rapprochement deal with Israel will be reached, indicating that the normalization talks started last December are reaching a close.
[Arutz Sheva]


Headlines June 1: Anti-BDS Drive at UN, 33 Terrorists Arrested, EU Warns Israel

Israel Launches Anti-Boycott Drive At The UN, In The Face Of Growing Acceptance Of BDS Movement

EU Warns Israel: Policy of Demolishing Palestinian Homes in Area C Will Harm Relations

Israel is set to sign an agreement with the Ukrainian government to provide thousands of Ukrainian construction workers with temporary work visas for Israel.
[The Jerusalem Post]

33 suspected terrorists arrested during police raid in eastern Jerusalem
[Arutz Sheva]

Jerusalem city hall orders halt to illegal Waqf construction on Temple Mount
[Times of Israel]

Israel Backs Saudi West Bank Peace Plan

3,300-year-old Egyptian amulet found by students in Tzipori, Israel

Can the Turkey-Russian War Break the Alliance System?

Are we in 1914 or 2016.  Sometimes with all of the alliances it’s hard to tell.  Then again when it comes to Syria there are some outliers that might just throw the alliance system out the window. With the war in Syria on the verge of turning into a much wider conflict it is important to understand how all the sides are stacked.

Russia, Iran, Syria, Armenia

The Shiite-Russian alliance has been steadily growing for some time. The pervading assumption has been Russia’s need for a Mediterranean port being behind his support of Assad.  With Turkey’s downing of the SU-24, Putin’s calculus has changed.

Long an opponent of Turkey’s expansionism, Putin used the SU-24 incident to turn the screws on Turkey’s Erdogan. Armenia, a close ally of Russia is being beefed up as a potential launching pad for attacks against Turkey.  Besides its alliance with Russia, Armenia has historical redresses with Turkey going back to the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

Iran and the Syrian government’s forces have become Russia’s ground troops in taking back the strategic Western part of the country. Russia has avoided a repeat of its Afghanistan debacle by using the Shiite armies to do its work. Besides that, the Shiites are giving Russia real geopolitical leverage against the region’s Sunni powers.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Gulf States

What makes the stakes so high in Syria, is the exacerbation of the Sunni-Shiite conflict.  With Russia in full concert with the Shiite led countries, the Sunni states like Saudi Arabia and Turkey see no other choice but to go into the fray.  The reasoning is simple: the Shiites with a resurgent Russia need to be stopped now or risk being too formidable once their gains are entrenched.

The Sunnis are 90% of the Islamic world, but the growing Shiite crescent creates a real strategic nightmare for them, effectively cutting the Sunni world in two and, of course, controlling key oil routes that will have a very real effect on future regional control.


Although conventional wisdom insists that NATO would issue the game changing Article 5 in the case of a Turkish-Russian war, it is not at all clear NATO will pick a side. Europe is very much dependent on Russian gas during the winter.  They are also trying to tamp down the off again on again conflict in East Ukraine and need Russia to help them.  As for Obama and the USA, getting into a war with Russia and the Shiites on behalf of Turkey and the gulf states is not something they want.  

With all of that being said, a full out war between Russia and Turkey will have large consequences for energy control, economy, and refugees.  NATO may have little choice but to jump into things on behalf of their most disliked member, Turkey, even if the gamble proves to be a negative one.

Greece, Cyprus, Israel

With Greece, Cyprus, and Israel’s new found partnership in energy, technology, and security all three of them are loath to pick sides in what is fast turning into a geopolitical typhoon.  Greece and Cyprus are arch enemies of Turkey and it is no surprise that Greece has made it clear that they see Russia as a friend and potential partner.  This of course puts Israel into an uncomfortable position.  At one hand, Israel has been seeking what is known as a neutral foreign policy for decades and, on the other hand, is still very much in the orbit of Europe and the USA.  

With Russian overflights of Israeli airspace increasing daily and new trade avenues opening up with the very countries aligned with Russia, it should no longer be surprising what side the government in Jerusalem picks. Then again, that would put it on the same side as its arch enemies, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.  Russia insists it has them in check, but trusting Putin has never been a good idea.

Of course, Bibi and Israel rather stay out of it and continue trading with all parties equally, but remaining neutral may no longer be an option.


The King of Jordan has vacillated between the West and Russia.  In many ways for the same reason Israel has. Surrounded by ISIS and Al Qaida, King Hussein’s rule is the most tenuous in the Middle East.  Assurances for his family and his throne’s safety are key.  If Russia can promise protection, then Jordan may very well switch sides.


Kurdistan has always been hard to read. Typically speaking, the Kurds (split between Turkey, Syria, and Iraq) have done their best to pick partners that would be willing to help them advance their independence agenda. In this case, Russia seems most willing to help defend and enhance Kurdish objectives; mainly because the Kurds are the single biggest domestic threat to Turkey.

If a Turkish-Russian war does materialize then the Kurds are Putin’s most important weapon.  They give Putin a Turkish domestic constituency primed for a violent uprising.  In addition, they are a formidable fighting force situated along the length of Turkey’s entire Southern border.  Coupled with the fact that Iraqi Kurdistan is oil rich makes them the lynchpin Putin needs.

What’s Next?

Full on war between Russia and Turkey and their respective allies seems almost certain at this point.  The question is: when? That depends much on Turkey’s actions in the next few days.  If the Turkish army continues to shell Northern Syria and even sends troops in then Russia will act. Russia will claim they have no choice but to capture the Bosphorous Straits, in order to defend against a Turkish closure to Russian vessels. At that point, the key actor to look at is NATO.  If they enter on the side of Turkey,  Russia will send their army into Ukraine. Once that happens all bets are off.