Thursday, January 28, 2010

On the Road Again

On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again.
                                                                    -Willie Nelson

Just a little past the Ides of February, I am set to embark on a fabulous trip. I am leaving Sioux Falls on Thursday, February 18th and meeting up with my daughter, Deb, and son-in-law, Josh, in Vienna, Austria on February 19th. After Carol and I visited them at their home in Zurich, Switzerland, Deb and I talked about my next trip to Europe going to Vienna. She and Josh are making a grand tour of the continent, while Josh works at Google – Zurich.

Vienna is a city rich with history. Being a history major in college (UT-Austin class of ’73), Vienna always fascinated me. The Holy Roman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of which Vienna was the capital, seemed to get lost. When we studied world history, we were consumed by Britain and France. We studied a bit of German history but mostly Bismarck and later and a very little Russian history. Vienna with its stands against the Ottoman Turks was mentioned but mostly ignored. The Holy Roman Empire was center stage for the throes of the Reformation. So much of the great musical talent has its roots in Vienna, with of course, Mozart being the premier example. But we also find connections to Beethoven, the Strauss’s, Brahms and many others.

I do not know, at least yet, what I plan to see or do. I am sure that there will be more to do than the 4 days that I will be there.

From Vienna, I am flying to Israel. Thankfully, I have been there many times. Yet landing at Ben Gurion Airport always sends chills of excitement down my spine. This trip is going to be part vacation and part volunteer work. The vacation is the 2 days that I will be staying at a spa on the Dead Sea. I don’t know if it is being at the lowest point on the earth or sitting in the waters of the saltiest sea on the planet or breathing in the bromide filled air or all of the above that make this such a relaxing site. I do not remember how many times I have been there but I always come away feeling fantastic.

The work part of the trip will be a day and an overnight visit to a small town in the middle of the Negev Desert, Dimona. Dimona has a relationship, similar to a sister city, with the small Jewish communities in America. Through the philanthropic efforts of these American cities, we are helping many needy people, especially children; find a better way of life. I am on the steering committee of our American effort and will be meeting with some of our counterparts in Dimona. While there, I will continue to work on a very special program that is particularly between Dimona and Sioux Falls. I will write more on that in another post. Just stay tuned.

The last part of my visit in Israel will be to stay with my first cousin, Wendy and her family. Wendy and Warren have 4 wonderful children and 1 grandchild. Spending Shabbat and enjoying their hospitality is so very, very special. I wish that Carol and I could reciprocate somehow. Well maybe some day.

Needless to say, I am extremely excited. Many new places to see and experience. Several places that I have been before to re-discover. I just can’t wait to get on the road again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Israel’s disproportionate response

As I stated in my previous post that I am unabashedly pro-Israel. This letter to the editor written in Canada's Jewish Tribune expresses my sentiments. In war terrible things happen that combatants try to prevent. Israel's defense forces may not be perfect. In war, like all armies, they have to make split second decisions on survival. No other country goes to Israel's extreme in attempting not to harm civilians. No other country's military is put under a microscope as is Israel's. Israel's response in Haiti and in other disasters shows how much she cares for the preservation of Human Life. I hope that the message rings loud and clear. Please enjoy this short letter.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Many countries and world leaders have accused Israel of responding disproportionately to aggression from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

However, it is time that the world press and media speak of another disproportionate response from Israel.

The terrible disastrous earthquake in Haiti has generated responses from many nations. The US has sent supplies and personnel, Britain sent 64 firemen and 8 volunteers, France sent troops for Search and Rescue. Many large and wealthy nations of the world sent money. The Arab and Moslem world sent very little.

Israel, a nation of 7.5 million people has sent a team of 220 people that include medical personnel and have established the largest field hospital in Haiti, treating up to 500 people a day, an experienced search and rescue team and medical supplies. As in previous earthquake disasters such as in Gujarat India in 2001 and in Turkey, in the bombings in Kenya, Israel has been one of the most generous givers of aid and assistance Turkey seems to have forgotten this help as its Muslim government is cozying up to Iran.

Judge Goldstone, where are you now? Eating your heart out and hanging your head down in shame, I hope.

The favourite occupation in the UN is Israel bashing. More resolutions have been passed condemning Israel than all the so-called democratic nations such as Sudan, China, Russia and others for their crimes against their minorities.

I think it is time that the world should know about Israel’s disproportionate response.
Please forward this to as many people as you can.

David Yehezkel
Montreal, QB

Thursday, January 21, 2010


For all of my friends who enjoyed “The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown, here is an article from the current issue of the Scottish Rite Journal on many of Dan’s quotes and descriptions of the House of the Temple. I toured the building about 10 years ago but I think I need to go back. Maybe next time when I am in DC I will take the “new” tour. I hope that you enjoy the article.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Humanitarian Assistance

I know that my prejudice shows that I am pro-Israel. I make no bones about that. I am just proud that this tiny little country understands the needs of those suffering and does all that it can to help. As much as she is maligned in the United Nations and in the world press, she did not ask what is in this for me. She just sent what she could to help in this terrible situation. I hope (and I know that it is a dream) that the world will take notice and before the next knee-jerk condemnation will look at her humanitarian actions.

Praise for Israeli mission in Haiti: ‘Only ones operating’

(I am copying the appropriate text from this web site as you need to scroll quite a ways down to get to this note.)

This CBS / Associated Press report lists countries providing aid to Haiti in the wake of that country’s devastating earthquake. Conspicuous by its absence is the entire Muslim world, including the extremely rich oil producing nations.
However, Arab countries do not discriminate against non-Muslim countries. Their help was missing after the earthquakes in Turkey and Iran and during war and famine in Muslim Africa too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Iran Divestment

Not often do we have the chance to truly make a difference. This year, the South Dakota Legislature is being presented with an opportunity to support our soldiers in the field in Iraq and AfghanistanA bill being sponsored by District 16 Representative Dan Lederman of Dakota Dunes is targeting the divestment of funds invested by the South Dakota Investment Council in companies that are doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Why should the South Dakota Investment Council divest itself of funds in companies doing business with IranThe primary answer is that Iran is a prime supporter of terrorism. Iran supplies terrorists with both supplies and money, which in turn are used against OUR young men and women in uniform who are fighting for freedom. One of the main weapons being supplied by the Iranians to the terrorists is called an Improvised Explosive Device or IED. The IED's armor piercing capability is incredible. The following is a list of several of South Dakota’s sons who have been killed in Iraq by these devices:

Daniel M. Cuka, 27, of Yankton, was killed Dec. 4, 2005, in Iraq after roadside bombs went off near his unit's Humvees.

Army Spc. Patrick Herried, 29, of Sioux Falls was killed Feb. 6, 2006, in Iraq when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle.

Army Spc. Allen Kokesh Jr., 21, of Yankton died Feb. 7, 2006, at an Army hospital in Texas of injuries suffered in a Dec. 4, 2005, roadside bombing that killed two other members of his unit.

Many others have been killed but these casualties can be directly attributed to Iran's support of terrorism. Can we look at their brothers and sisters in uniform, protecting us, and look them in the face and say that we did all that we could at home to aid them? The passage of this bill will be a definite YES!

Who will be against this bill? The SDIC in a letter to the South Dakota Legislative Research Council has already indicated that they do not want any oversight or prohibition on investing whatsoever. The majority of the letter is about the specific costs but I think their main argument is that this is “social investing”. I see it as nothing of the sort. I do not consider doing all we can to protect our service men and women, whose lives are in harm's way, to be “social investing”. With regard to their argument concerning costs, can they put a price on those people’s lives? Should they??

I hope that whoever reads this blog will contact their state legislators and voice strong support for the bill. If you belong to an organization, please consider passing a resolution supporting our service people and Iranian Divestment.

We truly have a unique opportunity. We can stand up and be counted. We can do our small part in this war on terrorism and the protection of our men and women in uniform. With everyone's help we can truly make a difference.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Uranium Is So Last Century — Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke (Wired Magazine - Jan. 2010)

Is Thorium the “Green” answer? From this article in the January 2010 issue of Wired Magazine, we are certainly led to believe this is so. A Thorium reactor is more efficient than a uranium reactor, would produce literally no nuclear waste, leave no by-products for terrorists to construct nuclear weapons, and the supply of the element is so plentiful as to be nearly inexhaustible. We can quit emitting carbon dioxide from coal fired electric generating plants. With inexpensive, dependable nuclear energy, we can stop funding the terrorists who live on our petrodollars. After reading this article, I am wondering what we are waiting on? I was brought up on the saying that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is right now. Well we didn’t build these plants 20 years ago so shouldn’t we be starting today?
I hope that you enjoy the article.
s. rosenthal

Uranium Is So Last Century — Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke

The thick hardbound volume was sitting on a shelf in a colleague’s office when Kirk Sorensen spotted it. A rookie NASA engineer at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Sorensen was researching nuclear-powered propulsion, and the book’s title — Fluid Fuel Reactors — jumped out at him. He picked it up and thumbed through it. Hours later, he was still reading, enchanted by the ideas but struggling with the arcane writing. “I took it home that night, but I didn’t understand all the nuclear terminology,” Sorensen says. He pored over it in the coming months, ultimately deciding that he held in his hands the key to the world’s energy future.

Published in 1958 under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission as part of its Atoms for Peace program, Fluid Fuel Reactors is a book only an engineer could love: a dense, 978-page account of research conducted at Oak Ridge National Lab, most of it under former director Alvin Weinberg. What caught Sorensen’s eye was the description of Weinberg’s experiments producing nuclear power with an element called thorium.

At the time, in 2000, Sorensen was just 25, engaged to be married and thrilled to be employed at his first serious job as a real aerospace engineer. A devout Mormon with a linebacker’s build and a marine’s crew cut, Sorensen made an unlikely iconoclast. But the book inspired him to pursue an intense study of nuclear energy over the next few years, during which he became convinced that thorium could solve the nuclear power industry’s most intractable problems. After it has been used as fuel for power plants, the element leaves behind minuscule amounts of waste. And that waste needs to be stored for only a few hundred years, not a few hundred thousand like other nuclear byproducts. Because it’s so plentiful in nature, it’s virtually inexhaustible. It’s also one of only a few substances that acts as a thermal breeder, in theory creating enough new fuel as it breaks down to sustain a high-temperature chain reaction indefinitely. And it would be virtually impossible for the byproducts of a thorium reactor to be used by terrorists or anyone else to make nuclear weapons. (my emphasis)

For the entire article, go to the following url: