Thursday, February 22, 2007

This Date in Jewish History

15 years ago - Menachem Begin z'l, Israel's 6th Prime Minister, passed away.

One of the greatest leaders in modern Jewish history ... If only today we had him as our leader ... If only ...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Request Granted

For those of you who asked for a picture, here you go:

Friday, February 16, 2007

4th Down

February 17th marks my 4 year anniversary in Israel. So much has happened in such a short period of time that writing about it would take a few hours. So I won't bore you with the details of the two stints of reserve duty, or the two promotions at IDT, or meeting my fiancee, but instead, I'll bore you with a few stories of the days leading up to my departure from the good ole US and A.

While getting ready to leave the US, I said goodbye to almost all my good friends from high school and university. The only person whom I had not had a chance to say goodbye to was one of my closest friends from uni, Brian. While pretending to study for SOM (School of Management) tests & helping to manage the fledgling Binghamton Club Footy team during my second year in Binghamton, Brian and I had become close friends. We shared many a good times and I was rather disappointed that I wouldn't be able to say goodbye to him due to his touring of Oz & New Zealand. The second to last weekend, the Binghamton crew took me out to a bar in New York City. As I walked in, a familiar face was already there smiling. Brian had decided to cut his trip short to say goodbye to me. After my usual 'faint' antics, we spent the night talking and laughing like the good ole days. It reminds me of a quote from S.E. Hinton's That Was Then, This Is Now: "If you have two friends in your lifetime, you're lucky. If you have one good friend, you're more than lucky."

Waiting in the coffee shop in Newark with my 'rents a few hrs before my flight was due to depart for Tel Aviv was extremely difficult. Being very close to them, I knew I would miss their constant warmth, love & support. In those same moments of sadness and teary eyes however, I could see how proud they were of me. Their eldest son was following his dreams, taking a similar path they had followed as young adults, and trying to plant his roots in Israel. It was still hard to hug and then kiss them good bye. As I walked away to the entrance gate, I still remember their faces from the glances I took as I turned around ... that rare emotion of 'Happy yet Sad' etched on their faces.

Four years ... I still remember writing the entry about three years and within the blink of an eye, I'm sitting here, engaged and still happily looking forward to life in this wonderful country. Here's to writing an entry on #5!


It doesn't happen too often when I struggle with words, but tonight is definitely one of those nights. It's not the fact that I'm on the last pages of one chapter of my life, it's just that I'm so overwhelmed emotionally by the fact that I've taken the next step with the most incredible person I've ever met (sorry Seth, you were a close second though). Words are really failing me here ... but I will say it's just an amazing feeling when you know you've met the person (Her name, if you're wondering is Talya) who will share your life and your dreams with you in the future. 30 years after my dad proposed to my mom, I accidentally (honest) chose the same day to pop the question. I hope that my marriage to Talya will be as blessed as theirs has been ...

"When you're not with me, I feel as though I'm not complete"
Albert Einstein

Monday, February 12, 2007

Highlights from the Anglo-Israel Cup

Another 'routine' save:

Goalmouth scramble:

A cheeky chip ... saved!

'The fight':

The key penalty save:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

There's Only One Team in Israel

Jerusalem defeats Tel Aviv to capture first Anglo-Israel cup

TEL AVIV, Feb 11 (AP) - There were scenes of jubilation tonight at Tel Aviv's Kiryat Shalom stadium as the Jerusalem Anglo team stunned the favored Tel Aviv Anglo team in a dramatic penalty shootout to win the first ever Anglo-Israel cup. The first leg in Jerusalem had left the Tel Aviv team trailing 7-5, but a full size pitch would give the home team the chance it needed to overturn the deficit and win the cup. The game started off at a frantic pace, with Jerusalem taking an early lead through an own goal after some confusion in the Tel Aviv box. Tel Aviv picked up their game almost immediately and started dominating the play. Some fantastic defending by the defensive quartet of Dan Kosky, Seth Freedman, Ben Green & Danny Newman ensured the 3 goal cushion remained intact. However late in the first half, Tel Aviv's now famous 'Mr. Binky' scored on an easy tap in to level the scores. With the score tied 1-1 at half time, Tel Aviv would throw caution into the wind and attack Jerusalem's goal non-stop throughout the second half. The remaining 45 minutes were spent almost entirely in the Jerusalem half, and the constant pressure eventually paid off with two goals off corner kicks. A 3-1 full time score left the game tied at 8-8 on aggregate with a penalty shootout on the cards.

Tel Aviv won the coin flip and decided to kick first. Tel Aviv converted their first kick, and Jerusalem's imposing defensive midfielder, Raffy Wreschner, would tie the score by converting his kick. A mis-kick by Tel Aviv's next penalty taker would allow Jerusalem to take a lead through Danny Newman's successful spot kick. Tel Aviv's captain would then see his spot kick brilliantly saved by Avram Piha as he extended himself fully to his left to push the ball around the post. South African born striker Ari Rudolph would calmly dispose of his penalty giving the Jerusalem team a 3-1 lead. Tel Aviv would bury their next spot kick, leaving Seth Freedman, Jerusalem's bruising fullback, with the opportunity to win the cup. Freedman duly obliged and turned out to celebrate with his on-rushing teammates. Jersualem had overcome the odds to win the first ever Anglo-Israel Cup. Jerusalem's captain, Dan Kosky, accepted the trophy and cheekily commented, "There's only one team in Israel."

After the game, we caught up with the penalty shootout heroes. When questioned about his heroics, Freedman commented about the lack of respect shown to his team, "Binky fears Iran will hit, but he should have worried about Jerusalem because we hit much harder." Piha, who made some difficult saves throughout the match, expressed his delight in lifting the trophy, "The lads did brilliantly. All credit to this fantastic team and we look forward to re-claiming our trophy again come next year." With that, they were off to the locker rooms to celebrate with their teammates. Quite a wonderful night for the football and Jerusalem in particular, a city that in less than 4 days, has captured two major sporting trophies.

Below is exclusive footage of the winning kick by the aforementioned Freedman:

The winning 11:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It has Begun.

One of the lead headlines in Haaretz today read as follows:

A senior nuclear physicist involved in Iran's nuclear program who died under mysterious circumstances two weeks ago was killed by the Mossad, according to a report released in a U.S. website this weekend.

For more, click here.

Many will remember that as Israel prepared his daring strike on Osirak in 1981, the Mossad started assassinating Iraqi physicists. Is this the start of Israel's assault on Iran? Only time will tell ...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hall of Fame Material

Michael Irvin left but one question unanswered when a cervical spine injury ended his playing career in 1999: Would his tremendous numbers be enough to overshadow his off the field problems and allow him deserved entry into the Hall of Fame?

Well today, after being deprived of the honor in 2005 and 2006, Irvin was rightly voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Under the tutelage of Jimmy Johnson, Irvin became of one of college football's most dominating WRs. His rare combination of size, speed and strength allowed him to set Miami school records in career receptions, receiving yards and TD receptions. After a dominating college career, Irvin was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Cowboys, and within a year, would again be coached by Jimmy Johnson. After two injury plagued seasons in 1989 & 1990, Irvin announced his arrival to the NFL with 93 receptions (a Cowboys record) and a league leading 1,523 receiving yards. Irvin's performances, along with those of QB Troy Aikman, RB Emmit Smith and an extremely talented Dallas Cowboys team, led to three Super Bowl victories in four years (A record recently equalled by the New England Patriots). Irvin would retire in 1999 after setting numerous Cowboys & NFL records:
  • 750 Receptions (Leads Cowboys, 10th All time)
  • 11,904 Receiving yards (Leads Cowboys, 9th All time)
  • 65 Receiving TDs (Leads Cowboys)
  • 47 Career 100 Yds Receiving games (Leads Cowboys, 3rd All time)
  • Leads Cowboys and 2nd all time in postseason receptions (87), receiving yards (1315) and 100 Yds Receiving games.
  • Picked for the NFL's all-decade team of the 1990s and 5 Pro-Bowls
Irvin's off the field problems tarnished his image around the league. In 1996, Irvin pleaded no-contest to cocaine charges and was suspended for the first 5 games of the following NFL season. He was also falsely accused of sexually assaulting a woman, which bought along more negative media coverage to Irvin and the organization. Despite all these altercations, Irvin still remained the unquestionable leader of one of history's most dominant teams, displaying the passion and emotion that carried the franchise throughout the 1990s.

Michael Irvin will now take his place amongst history's greatest, a place where he belongs. Congrats to the Playmaker.