Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Modern Miracle!

I don't usually like the stories that talk about miracles, especially at a time when others do not receive miracles. It is true that Baruch Hashem very few Israelis were killed in the recent Gaza war (a fact which the UN and the world now uses to support the claim that Israelis are war criminals). But the lives of those few who were killed, and of the many who were injured are also a huge loss to the Jewish people, and musn't be belittled.

G-d has plans that we can't understand, and whatever happens is for the best. The hand of G-d is visible to those who wish to see it and invisible to those who don't.

Despite that, this story is worth sharing and publicising. A soldier sent to Gaza the day after his wedding is difficult enough to grasp. Then the fact that he was critically injured and not expected to live makes for a very tragic story indeed. Now, three weeks later, he was released from hospital for rehab.

Baruch Rofeh Cholim. And just as G-d healed this person, may He heal all the sick of Israel.

Here is the story from Ynet

Three weeks after they gave him mere hours to live, the paratrooper officer critically wounded in Operation Cast Lead saluted his doctors farewell – and left the hospital.

Platoon commander 2nd Lt. Aharon Karov, 22, was ordered to cut his leave short and report for duty in Gaza the morning after his wedding to Tzvia, 19. She was by his side on Tuesday as he said goodbye to the doctors who saved his life at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. The young officer will continue his rehabilitation at the Shiba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer.

"Physically he can do just about everything, but he is still very weak and hasn't regained his strength yet," his father, Rabbi Ze'ev Karov said. "He can walk and move all his limbs, although movement is limited in his left arm, which has 300 pieces of shrapnel imbedded in it."

"This morning he put on his tefillin (phylacteries) by himself, I wanted to let him but he wouldn't let me. He has to communicate for now with his hands and his eyes, because his oral cavity was injured.

"He has amazing, tremendous will power," Rabbi Karov added. "Several times he asked me, through sign language, if his legs were okay. He tried to get up but couldn't, and I explained to him that his muscles were lax. But he is so motivated, and he's aware of his condition.

Aharon's doctors also agree his rapid recovery is nothing short of miraculous. Trauma Unit chief at Beilinson, Professor Pierre Zinger: "When he was brought in everyone was pessimistic and thought his hours were numbered. The injuries were very bad, but in the end there was no injury to the brain."

Another doctor who came to say goodbye was Dr. Steve Jackson, the neurosurgeon who operated on Karov immediately after his injury. "Things were extremely bad, I told the family he serious head trauma. They all cried, his wife too, and I told her: 'God willing, I'll yet circumcise your son,' and then she smiled."

Jackson, a major in the Golani Brigade, saluted Karov as they said goodbye.

Karov's family agreed to allow cameras to capture his emotional departure from the hospital "to strengthen the Israeli people," his father said. "We want to show them that there is no despairing. That everything can happen, on the personal level and the national one."

Another soldier who was seriously wounded in the operation, Golani infantry soldier Cpl. Ben Shpitzer, was also transferred to the rehabilitation institute on Tuesday. He and Karov were ward neighbors while at Beilinson, and plan to share a room during their recovery process.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Installing Hebrew in Linpus on Acer Aspire One

I recently bought myself an Acer aspireOne netbook computer. It is cheap and lightweight, which were my two main requirements. And, just for something different (and to save a small amount of money) I decided to get the linux linpus version. Linux has both advantages and disadvantages over windows, which I won't go into right now. Since I do a lot of work in Hebrew it was very important for me to be able to type in Hebrew. Unfortunately this took a lot of time. On the other hand, now that I've managed to do it (thanks to all the wonderful websites out there who are only too happy to help newbie linux people) it is so exciting. I whooped with you! I want to share it with you as well (in case you also decide to go the linux route).

I'm a complete novice at this, and take no responsibility for anything if it goes wrong. Make backups and say tehillim before you start. Also, even though I think this is what I did to get it to work, please leave comments if I've left out a stage, or said something dangerous.

(It is really not hard, believe me – if I could do it...)

There are two separate things that need doing – you will need to change the keyboard layout, and also to install the Hebrew pack for open office.

Let's deal with the keyboard first (as this is what took me the most time)

First you need to download the keymap for Hebrew. I found that on this site:

now you need the keymap for Hebrew for linux. So right click on this link and save it (somewhere)

Hopefully you remember where you saved it – if not open the downloads folder in firefox and right click on and click on “open in containing folder” which will show you where it is (look at the address bar on the top of the page)

now open your terminal window by going to files -> my documents and then clicking the file menu and selecting terminal (there are other shortcuts to do that – if you know them, fine, if not you'll learn).

To install the keymaps you have to navigate to where you saved the file (inside the terminal window). You do that by typing cd [directory]. For example, if you saved it in 'downloads' you would type cd Downloads.

Then type the following line

cp -v /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/il

now change back to the main directory by typing cd

then type sudo mousepad /etc/X11/xorg.conf

you will see a section entitled “input device”
In the line Option "XkbLayout" you will see some letters inside “” separated by commas (or perhaps only two letters with no commas). You want to add 'il' to the list (separated by a comma but no space).

Now save that file and restart your computer. Hopefully on the bottom where you have the language in addition to your EN or UK or whatever language you will also have a flag of Israel. You can switch between languages by either clicking on that icon, or using shift+alt.

The next part is to install the Hebrew addons for Open Office. But I'm too tired now, so that will have to wait for another post.