Poll finds broad pessimism over economy

More than three in four Americans think the United States is in a
recession according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll released on Tuesday.
Not since September 1992, two months before President George H.W. Bush
lost his re-election bid, have so many Americans said the economy was
in such bad shape, USA Today reported.
Seventy-six percent of to those polled said the economy is in
recession, compared to 22 percent who said it is not, USA Today said.
Asked if the United States could slip into a depression lasting several
years, 59 percent said it was likely and 79 percent said they were
worried about it, the newspaper reported.
The poll was completed on Sunday, the same day the U.S. Federal Reserve
offered to extend direct lending to security firms for the first since
the Great Depression and backed the JP Morgan Chase buyoutof investment
bank Bear Stearns.
The poll results reflect a slide in confidence that economists say
could make the U.S. economy worse, the article said.
Brian Bethune of economic forecaster Global Insight said the pessimism
“creates more problems.”
“When people experience higher gasoline prices, higher heating costs,
fewer employment opportunities, housing prices going down, the common
sense conclusion …

Shushan Purim

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
Are you a resident of a “walled city”? If so, you'll celebrate Purim on
a different day than other Jews.
The Megillah (Esther 9:20-22) says that the Jews prevailed over their
enemies on the 13th of Adar, and on the 14th they feasted to celebrate
the victory. But in Shushan the capital, the battle lasted another day
and the holiday was not celebrated until the 15th.
When the Sages instituted Purim, they took into account that Shushan
was a walled city, and made the following stipulation: While most
cities celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar, cities which were walled at
the time of Joshua (Yehoshua Bin Nun) should celebrate a special Purim
— called “Shushan Purim” — on the 15th of Adar.
(The Sages originally considered making Shushan Purim conditional on
whether a city was walled from the time of Achashverosh — because the
victory occurred at that time. However, as not to honor a Persian city
more than the Land of Israel, which was in ruins at the time of the
Purim miracle, the Sages made “Purim on the 15th” conditional on cities
walled from the time of Joshua.)
The only city that was …

Shushan Purim

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
Are you a resident of a “walled city”? If so, you'll celebrate Purim on
a different day than other Jews.
The Megillah (Esther 9:20-22) says that the Jews prevailed over their
enemies on the 13th of Adar, and on the 14th they feasted to celebrate
the victory. But in Shushan the capital, the battle lasted another day
and the holiday was not celebrated until the 15th.
When the Sages instituted Purim, they took into account that Shushan
was a walled city, and made the following stipulation: While most
cities celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar, cities which were walled at
the time of Joshua (Yehoshua Bin Nun) should celebrate a special Purim
— called “Shushan Purim” — on the 15th of Adar.
(The Sages originally considered making Shushan Purim conditional on
whether a city was walled from the time of Achashverosh — because the
victory occurred at that time. However, as not to honor a Persian city
more than the Land of Israel, which was in ruins at the time of the
Purim miracle, the Sages made “Purim on the 15th” conditional on cities
walled from the time of Joshua.)
The only city that was …

Israel to hold massive emergency drill

Yaakov Katz ,
In the face of a possible escalation with Syria and Iran's efforts to
obtain a nuclear weapon, parts of the country will shut down next month
in what security officials say will be the largest emergency exercise
in Israel's history.
The drill, which is being organized by the newly-established National
Emergency Authority, will take place over five days starting on Sunday,
April 6.
But first, on Tuesday, a first-of-its-kind hospital emergency exercise
will take place to see how Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center would
cope with a Grad missile hitting a five-story hospitalization building
and an outpatient clinic's laboratory filled with toxic chemicals and a
fire breaking out, requiring patients to be lowered from the roof.
Around 100 firemen, 10 fire service vehicles and various other
equipment, as well as doctors and nurses, will participate in the
drill, to be held between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Preparations for the April exercise are being overseen by Deputy
Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i.
On the first day of the drill, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will convene
the cabinet in Jerusalem in response to an “enemy attack” and to decide
on an Israeli response.
Based on a lesson learned in the …

Shifting towards Israel?

Canada's political stance has become more pronounced in recent months,
analysts say
JERUSALEM–A United Nations panel voted overwhelmingly this month to
condemn Israel for a recent armed incursion in the Gaza Strip that
claimed more than 120 lives, many of them civilian.
Thirty-three member countries of the 47-seat UN Human Rights Council
endorsed the resolution, which accused Israel of war crimes in its
ongoing battles against Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Those in favour of censuring the Jewish state included China, India and
Russia. Thirteen countries abstained, among them seven European
governments.
But one nation stood alone against the denunciation of Israel, and that
country was not the United States – Israel's leading foreign supporter
– or even Israel itself, for neither country has a seat on the human
rights body.
Instead, the lone dissenter was Canada.
“We're very happy that we see things in a similar way,” Carmela Shamir,
deputy director of the North America division at Israel's Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, said in an interview last week.
“Canada has adopted several times in recent months very brave
positions.”
People are beginning to take notice.
“There is a widespread impression that Canada's position is more
pro-Israel than it has been …

Our God Is Greater Than Yours

As I heard the screams set off by the color red alarm, which sounds
just 15 seconds before the rockets slam into the city; as I saw the
terror-stricken faces and the frantic dashing for shelter; as I watched
scenes of shrapnel-peppered teenagers being loaded into ambulances in
front of their weeping friends, their siblings and parents shaking in
shock, small children screaming for their mommies; as I watched the
awful fear that now besets and hovers over yet another Jewish
community, as it has over untold numbers of Jewish communities in the
past, it was as if I could hear the exultant cries of the Arabs in the
Gaza Strip, who proclaimed as they watched the results of their
handiwork on the same You Tube channel I was viewing:
You’re a Jew, so we will terrorize you.
You’re a Jew, so we will maim you.
You’re a Jew, so we will kill you.
We’ll fire our Kassams,
And we’ll shoot off our mortars.
And though the ‘Color Red’ may send you scurrying for your holes
We will get you. We WILL get you.
And when your body lies bleeding and dismembered in the streets of
Sderot,
When your devastated …