Friday, October 30, 2009

answering deligitimizers of Israel

Protesting the protesters

Israeli book tried to deligitimize Israel

One arguments in the arsenal to deligitimize Israel is to undermine the Zionist argument that the Jews right to that land is the best claim of any people to any land in history. The Arabs challenge that, arguing that modern Israel was created by European colonialists who have no ties to the land. Obama aided that view in his Cairo speech, saying Israel’s justification is the Holocaust, which Arabs deny occurred.
(JWR June 9 2009 Obama's stunning offense to Israel and the Jewish people By Anne Bayefsky President yet again makes his intentions clear | President Obama's Cairo speech was nothing short of an earthquake — a distortion of history, an insult to the Jewish people, and an abandonment of very real human-rights victims in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It is not surprising that Arabs and Muslims in a position to speak were enthusiastic. It is more surprising that American commentators are praising the speech for its political craftiness, rather than decrying its treachery of historic proportions. Obama equated the Holocaust to Palestinian "dislocation." In his words: "The Jewish people were persecuted. …anti-Semitism …culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust…. Six million Jews were killed…. On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland." This parallelism amounts to the fictitious Arab narrative that the deliberate mass murder of six million Jews for the crime of being Jewish is analogous to a Jewish-driven violation of Palestinian rights.
Some Left Wing Israeli Jews try and undermine Zionism similarly.
See today’s Oct 30 2009 Wall Street Journal Book Review Israel is the Where Do Jews Come From?
This much is known: In the mid-eighth century, the ruling elite of the Khazars, a Turkic tribe in Eurasia, converted to Judaism. Did the Khazar converts to Judaism remain Jews, and, if so, what became of them? Enter Shlomo Sand. In a new book, "The Invention of the Jewish People," the Tel Aviv University professor of history argues that large numbers of Khazar Jews migrated westward into Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania, where they played a decisive role in the establishment of Eastern European Jewry. The implications are far-reaching: If the bulk of Eastern European Jews are the descendents of Khazars—not the ancient Israelites—then most Jews have no ancestral links to Palestine. Put differently: If most Jews are not Semites, then what justification is there for a Jewish state in the Middle East? By attempting to demonstrate the Khazar origins of Eastern European Jewry, Mr. Sand—a self-described post-Zionist who believes that Israel needs to shed its Jewish identity to become a democracy—aims to undermine the idea of a Jewish state."The Invention of the Jewish People" is being translated into a dozen languages. Mr. Sand is delivering lectures this month in Los Angeles, Berkeley, New York and elsewhere.
""A few Jews in Eastern Europe presumably came from the Khazar kingdom, but nobody can responsibly claim that most of them are the descendents of Khazars," says Israel Bartal, a professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. According to Peter B. Golden, a professor of history at Rutgers University, the Khazars are likely one of a number of strains that shaped the Jewish population in Eastern Europe. But, he stresses, DNA studies have confirmed that the Middle Eastern strain is predominant.
Members of Stormfront, a self-described "white nationalist" Internet community, have predictably reacted to Mr. Sand's book with glee. Sands is worried about how the The Khazar theory, he knew, was an article of faith among anti-Semites and anti-Israel Arab politicians. I asked Sands how the forthcoming Arabic translation might be received in the Muslim world, where, he says, anti-Semitism is growing. I ask if the confident tenor of his book might exacerbate the problem. He falls quiet for a moment. "Maybe my tone was too affirmative on the question of the Khazars," he reluctantly concedes. "If I were to write it today I would be much more careful." Such an admission, however, is unlikely to sway the sinister conspiracists who find the Khazar theory a useful invention. —Mr. Goldstein is a staff editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education.
My Response:
1. Genetics show the link between modern Israelis and ancient near east.
From todays Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs DAILY ALERT
Scientist Solves Jewish Genealogy Riddles - Peter Goodspeed
Dr. Karl Skorecki works on the cutting edge of molecular science, revolutionizing medicine through genetics and the use of stem cells to test anti-cancer therapies. As a sideline, he has become world famous for applying genetics to genealogy and transforming history. He has found evidence to support traditional claims that modern-day Jewish priests, Cohanim, are descended from a single common male ancestor - biblically said to be Aaron, the older brother of Moses. He has also found that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews can trace their descent to four "founding mothers" who lived in Europe 1,000 years ago, and evidence that all Jewish communities share a common paternal origin in the Near East.
He is now director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences and a researcher at the Rambam-Technion University Medical Center in Haifa. (National Post-Canada)
2. Genetics is a Nazi argument anyway. Even if all Jews are descended from Khazar converts, which they don’t, they are part of the covenant of God promising the land to the Jews Genesis 12. Only way to deny that is deny the Bible.
3. How does this challenge the Arab Jews who lived in Babylonian empire since 586 BCE and now make up huge part of Israel population?
4. What do the anti-Zionists think happened to the Jews taken as slaves to Rome from Judea?
5. No nation has a better claim than Israel does for any land.
Moslems took their land by force from 8th century on. Americans stole USA from Natives. Etc Jews have rights from Bible, history, UN. Etc.

My alma mater and football

There was a time once when the University of Chicago was known for something other than economics and eggheads.

A century ago, Chicago was one of the kings of college football. Legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg prowled its sidelines. Seldom did Chicago even play road games. Foes came to the South Side because the paycheck was too good.
Ghosts of Gridirons Past

A glance at a handful of college football programs that dominated in earlier eras.

View Slideshow
Minnesota Athletic Communications

But 70 years ago this winter, the school disbanded its football team. The stadium became the birthplace of the atomic bomb, when the first controlled nuclear chain reaction was performed under its stands in 1942. Now a library stands there, which is exactly how Robert Hutchins would've liked it. "When I am minded to take exercise," said Mr. Hutchins, the school president who led the push to ax the team, "I sit down and wait until the mood has passed."

On a few campuses across the country, ghosts now reside where packed football stadiums once stood. At these schools, the autumn Saturday experience cherished at so many other colleges—a big game against a hated rival, with a championship possibly at stake—is gone, or is a shadow of what it used to be. The reasons run the gamut from high-minded academic standards, low-minded rule-breaking, changing times and just plain bad decisions...
But even the Ivies didn't go as far to demonstrate their commitment to education as Chicago. Mr. Hutchins, the school's president from 1929 to 1951, was convinced that football had the same relation to education that "bullfighting has to agriculture."

Mr. Hutchins never would've had enough support to ax the football team in 1939, historians say, if Chicago's teams had still been the mighty Monsters of the Midway. (That nickname, now associated with the NFL's Chicago Bears, originated with Mr. Stagg's Maroons; "Midway" refers to a park that runs through campus.) Aiding Mr. Hutchins's cause was Chicago's massive decline on the field—due in part to Chicago's higher academic standards. In 1939, Chicago's final major-college season, the Maroons lost 85-0 to Michigan and 61-0 to Ohio State and Harvard.

Dropping football helped build Chicago's image as a top destination for serious-minded graduate students and faculty. Over 80 Nobel Prize winners have studied, taught or researched at Chicago. "That's part of the magic of Chicago," says Robin Lester, who wrote a book about Mr. Stagg and Chicago football. "That's their thing. It's still a serious place for kids to get an education."

Today, Chicago is once again embracing athletics as part of a larger push to invest in campus life beyond the classroom. Last week, the school celebrated the 40-year anniversary of the return of varsity football; Chicago now plays on the non-athletic-scholarship Division III level. "We're still being true to the notion that it's not in the interest of universities to create mass-entertainment spectacles," says John Boyer, dean of Chicago's undergraduate college. "I always tell people that those games in '39 were the best thing that ever happened to us."

Countering protesters

The last 2 Israel related events i attended in downtown Chicago, Friends of IDF dinner and Israel Film Cinema opening night, had protesters outside advocating boycotts of Israel and shouting stop Israeli apartheid.

The people attending just hurried by. i couldn't stand it last night so started shouting back
"you advocate murder, support terrorists sending missiles at innocent people."

They had shocked looks like no one ever challenges them.

We need counter demonstrations/signs
Moslem Brotherhood
Suicide bombers
remember Beirut
Iranian terror
Holocaust deniers
and be out there with bullhorns too

shouting "Arab terrorists/murderers" over and over

Its like graffiti-if you let it go unchallenged, it just spreads

Jews linked to Israel genetically

Scientist Solves Jewish Genealogy Riddles - Peter Goodspeed
Dr. Karl Skorecki works on the cutting edge of molecular science, revolutionizing medicine through genetics and the use of stem cells to test anti-cancer therapies. As a sideline, he has become world famous for applying genetics to genealogy and transforming history. He has found evidence to support traditional claims that modern-day Jewish priests, Cohanim, are descended from a single common male ancestor - biblically said to be Aaron, the older brother of Moses. He has also found that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews can trace their descent to four "founding mothers" who lived in Europe 1,000 years ago, and evidence that all Jewish communities share a common paternal origin in the Near East.
The Y chromosome consists almost entirely of non-coding DNA, which is passed from father to son without recombination. Therefore the genetic information on a Y chromosome of a man living today is basically the same as that of his ancient male ancestors, with rare mutations that occur along hereditary lines. By tracking those neutral mutations or genetic markers, scientists can come up with the genetic signature of a man's male ancestry. Skorecki's test found an array of six common chromosomal markers in 97 of the 106 Cohens he tested. Calculations based on variations of the mutations rooted the men's shared ancestry 3,300 years ago, or the approximate time of Exodus. He also discovered the common set of genetic markers in both Ashkenazi (European) and Sephardic (North African) Cohens, indicating they shared the same ancestry before their communities were separated more than 1,000 years ago.
"It's like an archeological finding. But instead of digging up in the sand, we dig in contemporary DNA," Skorecki says. Skorecki moved from Toronto to Israel in 1995, where he is now director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences and a researcher at the Rambam-Technion University Medical Center in Haifa. (National Post-Canada)

New survey anti-semitism in USA

Poll: U.S. Anti-Semitic Attitudes Match Lowest Level Recorded
A nationwide survey of the American people released Thursday by ADL found that 12% of Americans hold anti-Semitic views, a decline from 15% in 2007 and matching the lowest figure ever recorded by ADL, in 1998. ADL national director Abraham Foxman said, "We can't dismiss that 12% of the American people means that there are still over 30 million Americans that hold anti-Semitic views." "The significant diminution of widespread prejudice against Jews is tempered by the manifestation of violence, conspiracy theories and insensitivities toward them."
"Some bad news remains a constant, such as 30% believing that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America, and 29% believing that Jews are responsible for the death of Christ. Equally of concern is that more than a quarter of African-Americans - 28% - hold anti-Semitic beliefs and more than a third of foreign-born Hispanics - 35% - have such attitudes." (Reuters)

Iran keps making a fool out of us

Iran Accused of Playing Games on Nuclear Deal - Richard Spencer
Britain and other EU nations were preparing to reject Iran's counterproposal on sending its uranium abroad for enrichment, raising the threat of a protracted confrontation and new sanctions. Britain, France and Germany believe Iran is trying to use the deal merely as a starting point for another protracted round of talks. During that time they think the Iranians could continue to enrich uranium and conduct more research on the scientific know-how necessary to turn it into a nuclear weapon. "It's like playing chess with a monkey," said one diplomat close to the talks. "You get them to checkmate, and then they swallow the king." (Telegraph-UK)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

righteousness and salvation

Q:i think you mention those that are rightious will go to heaven.... but what rightiousness are you talking about? is it Gods rightiousness that gets people to heaven because it cant possibly my own rightiousness... even if i tried to follow all of the comandments and slipped up on one then i have failed totally.. havnt i?
how does a person recieve God rightiousness is it through law or is it something more?

A: If you are a non jew then it the 7 laws of Bnai Noah. watch

How do non-Jews achieve salvation? Noahide laws JewU 155

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

J street's danger
Rosner's Domain: Roberta Seid on why J Street is bad for Israel


A couple of days ago I linked here to a long interview with J Street's founder Jeremy Ben-Ami. Now it's time for the opposition to speak up. And opposition means Roberta P. Seid.

Seid earned her doctorate at UC Berkeley in European Social History, taught Gender Studies and European history at the University of Southern California, and currently teaches a course on Israel at UC Irvine. She is Education/Research Director of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, and was a member of the America Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) which analyzed Palestinian and Israeli demography. Dr. Seid has authored and co-authored books and articles in these fields in both the scholarly and non-scholarly press.

She was answering my question on the way to J Street's conference - she's there to follow and protest, not to show support. Here we go:

1. How is J Street "frequently endorses anti-Israel, anti-Jewish narratives"?

In StandWithUs' extensive experience covering anti-Israel events, speakers, and organizations, we have found certain patterns: they exclude context, draw moral equivalencies, defend defamations and one-sided narratives under the banner of free speech, use half-truths and outright lies to stain Israel and Jews, or promote speakers who delegitimize Israel. Unfortunately, J Street has exhibited a pattern of doing some or all of these things.

Some examples: J Street:

Refused to condemn the bias and misrepresentations of the UN Goldstone Report, faulted the Israeli government for not cooperating with the investigation, and urged "the Israeli government to establish an independent state commission of inquiry to investigate the accusations, something Israel has done on several occasions in the past."

"7 Jewish Children" J Street endorsed Washington DC's J-Theater production of "7 Jewish Children" in March, 2009, claiming it would stimulate "rigorous intellectual engagement.”" Even the BBC would not air the piece after British Jewish leaders condemned it for historical distortions and for portraying "Israeli parents as inhuman triumphalists who care little about anything except their children's feelings and who teach them that Arabs are sub-human and must be hated."

Launched a public letter campaigns to support programs with anti-Israel bias, such as Bob Simon's "60 Minutes" biased view of the settlements in January, 2009. J Street launched a campaign to defend Simon against CAMERA and Abe Foxman's criticisms. Foxman called the show a "hatchet job on Israel."

Adopted the anti-Israel interpretation of why Charles Freeman did not get appointed to a top intelligence post in the Obama administration. J Street refused to take sides in this controversy, but afterwards objected to the outcome, writing that "It cannot be a litmus test for service in the American government that you have never criticized Israel or its policies publicly." In fact, the Freeman appointment was scuttled because of Freeman's apologia for China’s brutal crackdown in Tianamen Square in 1989, his position as president of MEPC, an Arab lobby group partially funded by Saudi Arabia and the Bin Laden family, and because he did not "criticize" Israel, but rather fulminated against it in a series of screeds that repeated false anti-Israel charges.

Praised Jimmy Carter without denouncing the misrepresentations and pernicious influence of Carter's book that claimed Israel had instituted apartheid vs the Palestinians. J Street posted and urged distribution of Nancy Kaptur's (D-OH) speech which called for Jimmy Carter's op ed against Israel actions in Gaza to be entered in the Congressional Record. Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street's executive director, praised Jimmy Carter in 2009: "You have to respect him, which I don't think everybody has done... And he deserves more respect and more thanks than he has gotten."

Blamed Israeli policy for Palestinian terrorism instead of recognizing the existence of extremist terrorist groups and strategy among Palestinians, portraying Palestinians solely as helpless victims instead of active agents in their policy choices. "But we're not doing a very good job at creating a secure home by conducting ourselves in this manner towards another people that are a minority, and that are powerless, and treating them in a way that forces them essentially to become terrorists, and leads to us being again in danger" (Ben-Ami in Salon interview).

2. Do you think criticizing Israel is necessarily "anti-Israel"? if not - where do you draw the line?

Of course criticizing Israeli policy is not inherently anti-Israel. Israelis do it all the time. There clearly will be different policies heatedly debated as Israel tries to deal with the difficult situation it is in today.

I think Sharansky did an excellent job clarifying when criticism of Israel crosses the line from being reasonable to unreasonable.

The line between what is legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Israel positions are those I mentioned in answer 1 above. I think Sharansky's "3 D's" are a good litmus test: Delegitimization of Israel; Double standards when judging Israeli actions; Demonization of Israel, particularly misrepresenting all it has done for peace and to improve the condition of its minorities. To his 3 D's, I would add "decontextualization" - ignoring the context for Israel's actions and drawing moral equivalencies between Israel and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah which would probably fit in Sharansky's "demonization."

More specifically: 1) Forcing Israel to adopt policies that are against the will of its democratically elected government; 2) Blaming Israel alone for the ongoing conflict and calling for pressure only on Israel to change policy, as J Street does; 3) Ignoring context, particularly the serious security threats Israel faces and could face in an imposed solution, and ignoring the failures of the PA and the problematic reality of it being able to be a peace partner when it is a divided between Hamas and Fatah.

3. J Street seems to be quite successful - do you agree with this assessment, and how do you explain this success?

J Street has gotten a lot of publicity. It's well funded and well connected, and has used a lot of major PR to get widespread attention. But how successful it will be remains to be seen. That's why our work is so important: Americans need to know what this organization actually stands for and whom it does or doesn't represent. Then they can make their decisions. Because so many American Jews oppose the policies they advocate, I tend to believe they will not be very popular in the Jewish community, though they very likely will continue to gather support from organizations and individuals who have generally been hostile to Israel.

4. You're "concerned because J Street echoes many of the charges in Walt and Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby, and denigrates mainstream Jewish organizations across the political spectrum". But J Street's founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami had said (in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, referring to Walt and Mearsheimer) that "when the analysis of that lobby veers over a line and essentially says that all of American foreign policy is controlled by this one lobby and this one interest group, to me, personally, this does smack of the kind of conspiracy theories contained in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This notion that somehow Jews control this country, they control our foreign policy, that there is some diabolical conspiracy behind the scenes, this is when you cross that line." So, can we now delete one concern from the list?

I read the Goldberg interview. Ben-Ami has tried to distance himself from the Walt-Mearsheimer book with good reason. But he cannot deny that he echoes many of its themes, and many of his claims do make it sound like there is a "diaboloical" conspiracy out there. It is no accident that Walt is so pleased J Street was founded.

After all, the whole raison d'etre for the founding of J Street is their claim that mainstream Jewish organizations do not represent mainstream young Jews or liberal Jews, that these Jews have had no voice or are silenced, and that there is a need for a new direction in America's relationship with Israel.

But Ben-Ami goes even further.

He paints all the mainstream Jewish organizations as right wing, and as imposing "one voice" on the Jewish community - despite the bipartisanship of AIPAC and the different alignments of different Jewish organizations. He even has argued that being "hawkish" on Israel is a litmus test for acceptance by mainstream Jewish organizations. Consider his comments to Salon:

"And it greatly disturbs me and it greatly disturbs a very large number of progressive American Jews, who believe very strongly in Israel but feel that the way in which the American Jewish community's voice has been expressed on these issues doesn't reflect our values or opinions. Only the voices of the far right have been heard. They've really hijacked the debate when it comes to Israel." Ben-Ami in Salon interview.

"Another key reason that J Street is urgently needed, Ben-Ami said, is to heal a dangerous and growing schism in the Jewish community... If we say that in order to be tied to the established Jewish community, either through federations or synagogues or any institutional entity, you have to go through a litmus test of 'do you stand with Israel right or wrong on everything' before we'll let you feel comfortable in our institutions, we're going to drive all these people away. We're going to lose an entire generation."

For his part, Ben-Ami said politicians on the Hill had reacted extremely positively to J Street's launch. "About the only thing that we can do to drive America away from Israel is to press our luck too far, keep on saying 'Is it pro-Israel enough?,' keep demanding that we have 32 preamble clauses that say how bad the Palestinians are." Ben-Ami said the politicians he spoke to wanted to make sure that the U.S.-Israel relationship was not damaged by such overkill, and were grateful that a new organization would "give them a little bit of relief from this constant pressure."

Similarly, in the issue about Charles Freeman's appointment, J Street expressed views that could have come from Walt and Mearsheimer - that "it cannot be a litmus test for service in the American government that you have never criticized Israel or its policies publicly," when in fact Freeman's rejection was not just because of his Israel positions, and when his "criticism" of Israel in fact included defamatory tirades that demonized and delegitimized Israel.

All these arguments resemble those of Walt and Mearsheimer.

5. Your Walt-Mearsheimer accusation is just an example to what many people might see as criticism too aggressive in tone and not properly nuanced when it comes to accuracy. Did you not cross a line when you've turned your legitimate criticism of J Street's into war of words that is hardly productive?

J Street is the group guilty of an aggressive tone and a total lack of nuance. It has painted mainstream American Jewish organizations with one brush as "right wing," and demanding "group think" for acceptance, and has made the preposterous claim that J Street alone is pro-peace, suggesting all these other groups are pro-war. That is nonsense and frankly dishonest.

I'm not sure what you’re referring to when you say we are "too aggressive" in tone. Our press releases, statements, and ads simply laid out J Street's positions with documentation. We consider these positions and methods harmful for Israel, but all we did was explain what those positions were. Readers can then make informed decisions. J Street never denied that it advocates these positions. Nor did we attack J Street's founders. We pointed out that J Street has donors and supporters who have been affiliated with groups or countries that have historically been hostile to Israel, from Human Rights Watch to a member of the NIAC. J Street didn't deny these affiliations. It defended them. But it is certainly legitimate to ask why such individuals would support a pro-Israel organization - or whether they would influence it in ways that could be harmful to Israel.

We are not engaged in a war of words with J Street. We just have very serious concerns about their positions, and we wanted to educate the public about J Street's positions.

6. Please explain your strategy: you think J Street is harmful, you think its ideas are wrong - how do you intend to try and oppose it in an effective way?

We are fulfilling our mission: education about Israel and issues related to Israel. We and others who are concerned about J Street have already succeeded because the problems with J Street's self-portrayal and its positions are now open and on the table, and being vigorously debated, as they should be.

7. Is there a danger that you're seen as "conservative" (namely, tend to be supportive of the Republican Party) - and that's effectively preventing you from being effective with most Jewish Americans? How can you convince the perplexed that your organization is not in the business of political character-assassination?

What does this have to do with the Republican party? We are looking at J Street's content and ideas, not their political affiliations. We have not used political labels, and this is the first time this question has been brought up in an interview. StandWithUs is non partisan. Our Board of Directors includes people from all parties and our students are a mix of liberal and conservative. We focus on correcting misconceptions and promoting education and information, not on endorsing political parties.

The issues about J Street are not about "conservative" and "republican" versus "democrat" and "liberal." They are about the American Jewish community and the best ways it can support Israel and further movement toward peace in the region. Unfortunately, J Street has tried to make this about liberal vs conservative in order to marginalize mainstream organizations and views, but support for Israel crosses party lines and the liberal-conservative divide. According to polls, 96% of Israelis feel the current U.S. administration's policies are not friendly to Israel. That result certainly crosses a wide political divide. The same is true here in the U.S.

We are certainly not in the business of "political character assassination." We are a non-partisan Israel education organization. J Street has every right to hold its opinions, express them, and form an organization to support them. Other American groups, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have an equal right to express their views and to challenge and debate J Street positions - and to inform the public about J Street positions that are cause for concern.

J Street isn't concerned about being seen as far left even though it recently affiliated with both the Union of Progressive Zionists and BrizTzedek. It seems rather that the groups that challenge J Street are from the mainstream though J Street has tried hard to marginalize them as "right wing" and "hawkish."

8. How can we measure your success or failure to achieve your goals?

The best way to measure our success or failure is by whether or not there is vigorous, thoughtful, and factual debate about J Street's positions and what it really represents. Our main goal is to bring clarity to the fact that the variety of groups under J Street's umbrella endorse positions that the vast mainstream of Israelis and supporters of Israel from other countries would find of grave concern and potentially harmful to Israel.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Birthright helps intermarriage

Jewish Marriage Tied to Israel Trip

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A new study found that rates of marriage outside the faith were sharply curbed among young Jews who have taken "birthright" trips to Israel, a development that could hearten Jewish leaders worried about assimilation.

Fears of shrinkage among the American Jewish population heightened after studies in the early 1990s showed that more than 50% of Jews were marrying non-Jews, potentially making it more difficult to pass the religion on to offspring. Most estimates of America's Jewish population place it a little higher than six million, although some demographers have argued it is higher. The U.S. census doesn't track people by faith.

Over the past decade, Taglit-Birthright Israel, a U.S. nonprofit founded by Jewish businessmen, has sponsored nearly 225,000 young Jewish adults for free 10-day educational tours of Israel as a way to foster Jewish identity. The program is also supported by the Israeli government.

While past studies have found that trip participants return with a greater appreciation of their Jewish roots, a study to be released Monday by Brandeis University researchers is the first to suggest that the trips also affect marriage behavior. Its results showed that 72% of those who went on the trip married within the faith, compared with 46% of people who applied for the trip but weren't selected in a lottery.

Study author Leonard Saxe said the findings show that "a high-quality educational experience can alter the trajectory of young peoples' lives.…They learn they can find meaning by being part of an ethnic and religious group." Mr. Saxe is a professor of Jewish community research and social policy.

The study was partly funded by Taglit-Birthright, but Mr. Saxe said that Brandeis researchers came up with the question on marriage on their own.

Taglit's founders and funders include Charles Bronfman, heir to the Seagram liquor empire, and Michael Steinhardt, a former hedge-fund manager.

The trips are open to those ages 18 to 26, who say they are Jewish and haven't previously traveled to Israel on a study program. The program spends about $3,000 per participant, and 40,000 people applied for 10,000 spots this past summer, said Deborah Camiel, spokeswoman for the organization.

The Brandeis study looked at 1,500 non-Orthodox Jewish adults who took Taglit trips or applied for one between 2001 and 2004. The Orthodox were excluded because they were presumed to have very high interfaith marriage rates regardless of Taglit trips.

In an interview, Mr. Steinhardt, 68 years old, says the study results were encouraging, but he is concerned that education in Jewish upbringing is falling short if one trip can make such a difference in marriage behavior. "Something is very much wrong" in upbringing, he says. Mr. Steinhardt, who describes himself as an atheist, has said he supports Taglit because he wants to pass along Judaism's humanistic values.

The issue of intermarriage and how to address it is controversial within Jewish culture. Christopher Winship, a sociologist at Harvard University who converted to Judaism 15 years after marrying a Jewish spouse, says there are two competing theories for solution. One is that Jews should embrace programs that dissuade people from intermarrying; the other says intermarriages are inevitable and that welcoming intermarried couples is the best way to ensure Jewish continuity.

A study published by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston found that 60% of children in interfaith families in the greater Boston Jewish community were being raised as Jews. These findings indicated that intermarriage may not be a big threat, said Mr. Winship.

Mr. Saxe said it isn't clear why the Taglit trips may have influenced marital choices.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

lech lcha

Monday, October 19, 2009

Video 3 on parashat Noah

Video 2 on parashat Noah

Video 1 on parashat Noah

good lessons

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN.. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN.. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice

TWENTY- ONE. Spend some time alone.

Friday, October 16, 2009

watch this on gaza

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mass weddings

Rev. Moon marries 45,000 in global mass wedding - Yahoo! News

"“The Omnipresent,” said a Rabbi, “is occupied in making marriages.” The levity of the saying lies in the ear of him who hears it; for by marriages the speaker meant all the wondrous combinations of the universe, whose issue makes our good and evil."

Rabbi Jose bar Chalafta, and his remark was made to a lady, possibly a Roman matron of high quality, in Sepphoris. Rabbi Jose was evidently an adept in meeting the puzzling questions of women, for as many as sixteen interviews between him and “matrons” are recorded in Agadic literature. Whether because prophetic of its subsequent popularity, or for some other reason, this particular dialogue in which Rabbi Jose bore so conspicuous a part is repeated in the Midrash Rabba alone not less than four times, besides appearing in other Midrashim. It will be as well, then, to reproduce the passage in a summarized form, for it may be fairly described as the locus classicus on the subject.

"“How long,” she asked, “did it take God to create the world?” and Rabbi Jose informed her that the time occupied was six days. “What has God been doing since that time?” continued the matron. “The Holy One,” answered the Rabbi, “has been sitting in Heaven arranging marriages."–"Indeed!" she replied, “I could do as much myself. I have thousands of slaves, and could marry them off in couples in a single hour. It is easy enough."–"I hope that you will find it so,” said Rabbi Jose. “In Heaven it is thought as difficult as the dividing of the Red Sea.” He then took his departure, while she assembled one thousand men-servants and as many maid-servants, and, marking them off in pairs, ordered them all to marry. On the day following this wholesale wedding, the poor victims came to their mistress in a woeful plight. One had a broken leg, another a black eye, a third a swollen nose; all were suffering from some ailment, but with one voice they joined in the cry, “Lady, unmarry us again!” Then the matron sent for Rabbi Jose, admitted that she had underrated the delicacy and difficulty of match-making, and wisely resolved to leave Heaven for the future to do its work in its own way."

The moral conveyed by this story may seem, however, to have been idealized by George Eliot almost out of recognition. This is hardly the case. Genius penetrates into the heart, even from a casual glance at the face of things. Though it is unlikely that she had ever seen the full passages in the Midrash to which she was alluding, yet her insight was not at fault. For the saying that God is occupied in making marriages is, in fact, associated in some passages of the Midrash with the far wider problems of man’s destiny, with the universal effort to explain the inequalities of fortune, and the changes with which the future is heavy.

Rabbi Jose’s proverbial explanation of connubial happiness was not merely a bon mot invented on the spur of the moment, to silence an awkward questioner. It was a firm conviction, which finds expression in more than one quaint utterance, but also in more than one matter-of-fact assertion. To take the latter first:

"“Rabbi Phineas in the name of Rabbi Abbahu said, We find in the Torah, in the Prophets, and in the Holy Writings, evidence that a man’s wife is chosen for him by the Holy One, blessed be He. Whence do we deduce it in the Torah? From Genesis xxiv. 50: Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said [in reference to Rebekah’s betrothal to Isaac], The thing proceedeth from the Lord. In the Prophets it is found in Judges xiv. 4 [where it is related how Samson wished to mate himself with a woman in Timnath, of the daughters of the Philistines], But his father and mother knew not that it was of the Lord. In the Holy Writings the same may be seen, for it is written (Proverbs xix. 14), House and riches are the inheritance of fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.“"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bolton on iran

OPTION 4 That leads, by process of elimination if nothing else, to the preemptive use of military force against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. No one argues that a successful strike would end the Iran problem, but that is not the point. Destroying key aspects of Iran’s program (such as the Esfahan uranium-conversion plant, the Natanz uranium-enrichment facility, the Arak heavy-water complex, and the Bushehr reactor) would buy time. Between two and five years is a reasonable estimate, and that is close to eternity, because during that period time would be on our side rather than on the proliferator’s.

President Obama is all but certain not to use force, so any decision regarding this option now rests with Israel alone. The revelation of the Qom site, and the risk that Iran has even more covert nuclear-related sites, may mean that the military option is already no longer viable: Destroying the known elements of Iran’s program will be risky and difficult enough, but the prospect of more unknown sites means that targeted military force cannot be relied upon to completely break Iran’s control over the nuclear fuel cycle. Israel would thus incur all the downsides of the attack without achieving its main goal.

Even if circumstances are not so parlous, Israel must now calculate that it has less time to act than it had before intelligence agencies confirmed Qom as a uranium-enrichment facility, meaning a strike may well happen within the next six months. A later attack is not precluded, and there is no red line beyond which it is unthinkable; nonetheless, every day that passes lowers Israel’s prospects for success, as Iran continues to protect and disperse its program, and as it acquires ever-stronger air defenses. While much has been speculated, pro and con, about the feasibility of an Israeli strike, one thing is certain: The Israelis have believed, at least until now, that they can succeed, and they will make the ultimate decision, one way or the other — not armchair pundits with incomplete information.

Many contend that the potential consequences of a preemptive strike are too horrible to contemplate, but such concerns are unlikely to deter Israel, since the result of not striking could well be a second Holocaust. The choice is not between the world as it stands today and the world after an Israeli attack; the choice is between the world after the attack and a world where Iran has nuclear weapons. That puts the oft-expressed fear of a spike in oil prices in context, at least for Israelis. Nor are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s promises of a “defense umbrella” reassuring. At its time of maximum peril, the Jewish state is not going to rely on the goodwill of anyone, friend or foe.

In any event, Iran is highly unlikely to retaliate in a way that could prompt a direct confrontation with the U.S. military (such as attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz or increasing terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens in Iraq or elsewhere), or that would paralyze its own economy (such as suspending oil exports). Iran’s most likely response would be to unleash rocket attacks against Israel through its proxy armies, Hezbollah and Hamas. This prospect certainly complicates Israel’s decision-making on whether to strike Iran. (Direct Iranian missile or air attacks against Israel are unlikely, since Israel might well respond with nuclear weapons.)

One important consideration that is often ignored: However much they might publicly protest, nearby Arab states would privately welcome an Israeli attack. These governments fear Iran’s nuclear program as much as Israel does, but they are powerless to stop it. If Israel does the job, they are in a perfect place: Iran’s nuclear program will be badly damaged, and they will have another opportunity to criticize Israel. This also explains why Arabs will not interdict Israeli overflights to and from Iran. Moreover, within Iran, not everyone will necessarily rally behind the government, especially given post–June 12 developments. Effective public diplomacy could make clear that the target is the mullahs’ weapons program, not the Iranian people, and might even provide new impetus for regime change.

With so many risks of failure and retaliation, the use of military force is hardly attractive to Israel or anyone else. Even so, the consequences of a nuclear Iran could be far more devastating. Israel has not hesitated to strike preemptively before, starting with the Six-Day War of 1967, and including the destruction of the Osirak reactor outside Baghdad in 1981 and the North Korean reactor in Syria in September 2007. Don’t bet on passivity now.

* * *

Iran’s nuclear-weapons program has cast a shadow over its region and the world for years. That kind of regime, with those kinds of weapons, is a continuing mortal threat to America’s friends and allies, and to international peace and security. Under President Bush, we had a chance to confront Iran’s challenge, but backed away from it. Under President Obama, we have a leader who doesn’t understand the magnitude of the threat, who flinches at unpleasant choices regarding force, and who believes that reductions of America’s own nuclear arsenal will persuade the IRGC to give up theirs. If Iran achieves its nuclear objectives, we will have only ourselves to blame.

Mr. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Israel's cancer survival

Israel cancer survival rate among world's highest

The Israel Cancer Association said Tuesday that the survival rate of cancer patients in Israel is among the highest in the world.

The Website of the Israel Cancer Association.

During a press conference ahead of a nationwide donation campaign to be held on October 19, the association revealed data of its activities in conjunction with the Health Ministry and national health services.

According to the data, 61.4 percent of Jewish men and 67.3% of Jewish women survive at least five years from the moment they are diagnosed as being sick with cancer. In the Arab sector, only 50.7% of men and 64.9% of women survive after at least five years.

Dr. Micha Barhana, who maintains records of cancer patients in Israel in the Health Ministry, said Israel is positioned higher than the United States, Finland, Italy, Norway and other countries. Israel also leads all European countries in the percentage of women regularly undergoing mammography.

Barhana said "one of the most influential factors regarding the chances of survival is the stage in which the disease is discovered. Public awareness, early diagnosis and new technologies" all affect the diagnosis of cancer.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hilarious-Jerusalem is a Jewish city for 3000 years

Tensions between Israelis and Arabs simmered as Arab rioters clashed with Israeli police and Palestinian leaders accused Israel of trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem.

The clashes began on September 27, the eve of Yom Kippur, when some 150 Arabs stoned a dozen or so Jews visiting the Temple Mount. Riots spread to several Arab neighborhoods in the Old City and lasted throughout Yom Kippur.

The violence resurfaced the next week when Israel restricted access to the Temple Mount while thousands of Jewish pilgrims visited the Western Wall for Sukkot observances.

“We will liberate al-Aksa with blood and fire,” an Islamic leader, Sheik Ra’ad Salah, told supporters in eastern Jerusalem, referring to the mosque on the Temple Mount. Salah was arrested October 6 for incitement.
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“We call on the Palestinian public to confront Israel and its plans,” Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad said in a statement on October 5.

With Arab religious figures calling on Palestinians to flock to the Temple Mount to protect Muslim holy sites, some Israeli commentators said the rhetoric was reminiscent of the fall of 2000, when violent clashes around the High Holidays erupted into the second intifada.

But a deputy police commissioner, Mickey Levy, told the Israeli news outlet Ynet that this kind of violence is common during the Jewish holidays. Mohammed Dahlan, a former Palestinian security chief and Fatah Party official, told Reuters that a full-blown uprising would only harm Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority condemned Israel for allowing Jews to visit the Temple Mount and called on the international community “to force Israel to halt its efforts to Jewify the city.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

J Street

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Sukkot Videos

Intro to Judaism terms #9 Terms Sukk/hannu/ JewU 227
Sukkot and Simhat Torah JewU 49
Sukkah 123 easy to assemble canvass JewU 238
Guests to the Sukkhah-ushpizim JewU 242
It's no bull-why sacrifice 70 in ancient times? Jewu 438 Rab
13 reasons to build a Sukkah Jewu 241 Rabbi Jonathan
Ginsburg www.jewu.
Sukkot Lulav and etrog shown and discussed JewU 240
Koheleth koheleth Ecclesiastes on Sukkot Jewu 439 Rabb
Sukkot-Hannukah connection JewU 244

Growing orthodox extremism

Israeli rabbis rule against 'Shabbat elevators'

By Michele Chabin, Religion News Service
JERUSALEM - Four influential ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Israel have decreed that Jews may not use so-called "Shabbat elevators," which enable observant Jews to use elevators without breaking rules against manual labor on the Sabbath.
This is the first time a group of such eminent rabbis has banned the use of Shabbat elevators, which have been in use for decades.

Generally, Shabbat elevators are set to automatically stop on every floor for 20 to 30 seconds on ascent and descent, precluding the need for people to press a button, which is considered a form of labor.

The ruling, which was signed by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv - arguably the most influential Torah sage in Israel - and Rabbis Nissim Karelitz, Chaim Kanievsky and Shmuel Halevy Wosner, could have major ramifications for hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Jews in Israel and around the world, many of whom rely on Shabbat elevators in hospitals, hotels and residential buildings.

The Knesset, Israel's parliament, passed a law eight years ago requiring buildings with more than one elevator to designate one for Shabbat use.

In their edict, issued the end of September, the rabbis said the way Shabbat elevators operate "is related to a grave prohibition against actual desecration of the Sabbath."

The rabbis said they felt compelled to rule on the elevators after receiving "a written and oral technical opinion" from certified elevator technicians and engineers.

"It was made clear to us that in using these elevators, either in ascent or descent, direct activation is created regarding doing work according to the Torah," the rabbis wrote. They noted that "the function of Shabbat-mode elevators change with technological developments."

Although the decree did not specify exactly what the problem is, prior rabbinical debates have focused on whether the number and weight of passengers influences the elevators' operation.

Many Jews expressed concern that the ruling does not address the use of Shabbat elevators by the ill and elderly. Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, director of the Tzomet Institute for Halacha (Jewish Law) and Technology, told Ynetnews that the rabbis had failed to consider all sides of the issue.

"I'm glad the majority of the public does not buy (into) rulings in this manner," Rozen said.

Jerome Abrams

Goldstone's damage

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A license to kill

By Moshe Arens

Tags: Goldstone Gaza Report

While the Goldstone report is being eagerly read in Israel and in capitals around the world, it is also being intensively studied by terrorists bent on destroying the State of Israel - and they must be breathing a sigh of relief.

This is not only because the Hamas terrorists in Gaza are in effect getting off scot-free in the report - they, in any case, did not have to be concerned about being brought before the International Court of Justice.

They can also interpret the report as international approbation for carrying out military operations from civilian population centers - schools, hospitals, refugee camps, etc. - as they did in the years when they were launching rockets into Israeli towns and villages in the south of Israel, and as they continued to do during the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

From the report it is clear to them that establishing military units and rocket launchers in civilian population centers will from now on be an effective military tactic that they can hope to apply with impunity, enjoying at least partial immunity from an Israeli response. That response is likely to be withheld out of concern that it will lead to Israel being charged with committing a war crime.

The report is in effect a license to kill - for Hamas, for Hezbollah, and for terrorists all over the world. No less.

"The bastards have changed the rules," Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon's vice president, supposedly said when his wrong-doings caught up with him. He resigned on October 10, 1973. That was 36 years ago, during the Yom Kippur War, a conventional battlefield war, tanks against tanks and soldiers against soldiers, with no civilians in the vicinity. And also no war crime inquiries.

But since that Israeli victory, things have changed. Faced by the overpowering force of the Israel Defense Forces, terror attacks against civilians have become the weapon of choice for Israel's enemies. And here the Goldstone report is changing the rules of warfare so as to favor the terrorists. As long as they operate in civilian surroundings, they should have nothing to worry about.

Hezbollah pioneered this tactic in Southern Lebanon, and put it into practice very effectively during the Second Lebanon War. Hamas in Gaza, tutored by Hezbollah, followed suit. And the Goldstone report has now enshrined it with international legalese, which may very well serve as a precedent in future encounters with terrorists.

This will have far-reaching effects on the war against terror, wherever it is being waged, and it will empower the terrorists, whether Justice Richard Goldstone realizes it or not. It will be especially damaging for Israel, whose civilians are under almost constant threat from terrorists.

During Operation Defensive Shield the IDF showed that the commonly held wisdom that terrorism could not be defeated by military means was dead wrong.

Whereas Palestinian terrorism could not be deterred, it could be physically eliminated by military means. The terrorists could be pursued into their lairs and destroyed, or brought to justice. Since then, terrorism from Judea and Samaria against Israeli civilians has essentially ceased. Now, after the Goldstone report, that kind of operation is going to be difficult to repeat.

The report is a blow to the war on terror everywhere and for all nations engaged in fighting terrorism. Hopefully, the nations of the world will have the strength and political will to reject the report, and make it clear to all that terror operations carried out from civilian areas are the war crime, and not the attempt to eliminate these attacks. That using civilians as a shield is a war crime.

If that does not happen, we can expect that areas densely populated by civilians will become the base for terrorist activities in many parts of the world - with the expectation that "international law" will provide them with immunity from counterattacks.

Israel, knowing that its existence is at stake, will find a way to defend itself even under these changed circumstances. But the peace process is bound to be set back. This will not be the time to take big risks.

Thank you Justice Goldstone. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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Ahmadinejad has no Jewish roots

Ahmadinejad has no Jewish roots

Rumours that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's family converted to Islam from Judaism are false. In fact, they are proud Shias

Meir Javedanfar
Monday October 5 2009

In June 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's meteoric rise from mayor of Tehran to president of one of the most influential countries in the Middle East took everyone by surprise. One of the main reasons for the astonishment was that so little was known about him.

One recently published claim about his background comes from an article in the Daily Telegraph. Entitled "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past", it claims that his family converted to Islam after his birth. The claim is based on a number of arguments, a key one being that his previous surname was Sabourjian which "derives from weaver of the sabour, the name for the Jewish tallit shawl in Persia".

Professor David Yeroshalmi, author of The Jews of Iran in the 19th century and an expert on Iranian Jewish communities, disputes the validity of this argument. "There is no such meaning for the word 'sabour' in any of the Persian Jewish dialects, nor does it mean Jewish prayer shawl in Persian. Also, the name Sabourjian is not a well-known Jewish name," he stated in a recent interview. In fact, Iranian Jews use the Hebrew word "tzitzit" to describe the Jewish prayer shawl. Yeroshalmi, a scholar at Tel Aviv University's Center for Iranian Studies, also went on to dispute the article's findings that the "-jian" ending to the name specifically showed the family had been practising Jews. "This ending is in no way sufficient to judge whether someone has a Jewish background. Many Muslim surnames have the same ending," he stated.

Upon closer inspection, a completely different interpretation of "Sabourjian" emerges. According to Robert Tait, a Guardian correspondent who travelled to Ahmadinejad's native village in 2005, the name "derives from thread painter ? sabor in Farsi ? a once common and humble occupation in the carpet industry in Semnan province, where Aradan is situated". This is confirmed by Kasra Naji, who also wrote a biography of Ahmadinejad and met his family in his native village. Carpet weaving or colouring carpet threads are not professions associated with Jews in Iran.

According to both Naji and Tait, Ahmadinejad's father Ahmad was in fact a religious Shia, who taught the Quran before and after Ahmadinejad's birth and their move to Tehran. So religious was Ahmad Sabourjian that he bought a house near a Hosseinieh, a religious club that he frequented during the holy month of Moharram to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hossein.

Moreover, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's mother is a Seyyede. This is a title given to women whose family are believed to be direct bloodline descendants of Prophet Muhammad. Male members are given the title of Seyyed, and include prominent figures such as Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei. In Judaism, this is equivalent to the Cohens, who are direct descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses. One has to be born into a Seyyed family: the title is never given to Muslims by birth, let alone converts. This makes it impossible for Ahmadinejad's mother to have been a Jew. In fact, she was so proud of her lineage that everyone in her native village of Aradan referred to her by her Islamic title, Seyyede.

The reason that Ahmadinejad's father changed his surname has more to do with the class struggle in Iran. When it became mandatory to adopt surnames, many people from rural areas chose names that represented their professions or that of their ancestors. This made them easily identifiable as townfolk. In many cases they changed their surnames upon moving to Tehran, in order to avoid snobbery and discrimination from residents of the capital.

The Sabourjians were one of many such families. Their surname was related to carpet-making, an industry that conjures up images of sweatshops. They changed it to Ahmadinejad in order to help them fit in. The new name was also chosen because it means from the race of Ahmad, one of the names given to Muhammad.

According to Ahmadinejad's relatives the new name emphasised the family's piety and their dedication to their religion and its founder. This is something that the president and his relatives in Tehran and Aradan have maintained to the present day. Not because they are trying to deny their past, but because they are proud of it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

bluffers guide to schul

The Bluffer's Guide to Going to Schul

Worried about looking like a lemon in schul? Finding the schul service impossible to follow?

Many people suffer from what is known in religious circles as "Mainstream judaism." No need to worry, however. Our team of spiritual healers have revised a cure, and we are making it available to you exclusively today. Please pass it on to anyone you know who may be suffering in silence. Schul Rules" is your handy-dandy ten-step guide to supreme synagogue confidence:

1. If you arrive after the start don't sit down right away, but instead open the book near the beginning and spend two or three minutes turning slowly through the pages while mumbling under your breath. If you recognize any of the Hebrew words, say one or two of them = little louder so those around you can hear.

2. Find a seat just behind someone who looks like he knows what's going on. (You can tell who this person is because he is likely to be mumbling to himself under his breath). Make sure this person is using the same prayer book =s you. Keep a note of what page he is on by glancing casually over his shoulder every now and again. A pair of strong magnifying glasses may help here.

3. When putting on the tallit, wrap it around your read for a few seconds while mumbling under your breath.

4. Liberally sprinkle your time in schul with more barely audible mumbles =s you look intently at the pages of your siddur. Again, the odd word, phrase or line spoken accurately and a little louder than the rest goes down very well.

5. Don't jump up whenever the person in front does so. He may be stretching his legs. Instead, wait a moment until a significant proportion of the congregation are standing In this way, even if they are all stretching their legs you won't look stupid.

6. See those guys near the front that are wandering around with an air of assurance? These are the shammosim. AVOID EYE CONTACT WITH THESE PEOPLE or you may find yourself being asked to do something strange and unfamiliar like opening the doors of the Aron HaKodesh or, heaven forbid, saying something in Hebrew out loud to e

7. The easiest way to look the part is to shockel. I =ave met people who have won international shockeling competitions without having a clue about where in the service they were. Advanced shockelers will even shockel when everyone else is sitting. (Of course, sometimes this may be a disguised leg-stretch).

shockeling is an =ntire lesson in itself, but there are two basic forms. The "lateral swing" is usually seen in ultra-orthodox congregations. Here the =ractitioner is perfectly still from the waist down (feet together, naturally), while the top half of the body repeatedly twists at =peed.

The "Hammerhead" is more prevalent in mainstream orthodox schuls, and, as the name suggests, the congregant looks as if he is trying to hang a nail into the floor with his head. (I say "his" because women =refer to use this time for kibitzing or kvelling over how wonderfully their grandson shockels.)

Shockeling mainly takes place during the silent Amidah This is about 10 pages during which you have no idea =here everyone else is. All you do know is that if the others were really reading all the prayers involved they would be contenders for the world speed-reading record.

You know when it starts because everyone takes three steps back, then three steps forward, then they vow. This is your cue to start shockeling while turning the pages of your prayer book approximately every 15 seconds. The end of the silent amidah is signaled by everyone taking three short steps back, bowing to =he left, the right and the center and then looking around to see if they won.

8. Is the Rabbi speaking in English, and yet you don't begin to understand what in the world he's babbling on =bout? If so, this is the sermon, and it's your job to look alive. Paying attention to the sermon is a skill that may take many years to master rather in the way that one learns how to solve cryptic crosswords. The formula for this particular puzzle is fairly simple: The narrative of Torah portion you have just heard plus something from local or national news equals "you should go to schul more regularly" or "your home isn't kosher enough."

9. Feel free to talk to people near you at any time. Business and sports are particularly appropriate topics =f conversation. Seeking kavanah and listening to the sermon will be segarded with deep suspicion in most communities.

10. If you can =eep your cool until the end of the service you will be rewarded. At last something that is familiar, and a chance to clear your throat and give it some "oomph" as you belt out Ein kelohaynu and Adon olam just like you did at cheder all those years =go.

One final word of warning: If it goes well, and you feel confident enough to go back for a second week running, you will be immediately and automatically classified as a regular. This means there is a very good chance you will be asked to be the next synagogue president.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sukkot videos

My Videos for Sukkot

Intro to Judaism terms #9 Terms Sukk/hannu/ JewU 227
Sukkot and Simhat Torah JewU 49
Sukkah 123 easy to assemble canvass JewU 238
Guests to the Sukkhah-ushpizim JewU 242
It's no bull-why sacrifice 70 in ancient times? Jewu 438 Rab
13 reasons to build a Sukkah Jewu 241 Rabbi Jonathan
Ginsburg www.jewu.
Sukkot Lulav and etrog shown and discussed JewU 240
Koheleth koheleth Ecclesiastes on Sukkot Jewu 439 Rabb
Sukkot-Hannukah connection JewU 244