Monday, November 30, 2009

Pay to pray vayishlach 2

Vayishlach video

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving-A Jewish Holiday

An American Yom Tov

JEAN LEON GEROME FERRIS‘The First Thanksgiving’

By Dennis Prager
Published November 18, 2009, issue of November 27, 2009.
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Thanksgiving has always been my favorite national holiday. In fact, although I am a religious Jew (or rather, because I am a religious Jew), it rivals my favorite Jewish holidays for my affection.

It does so because it is quintessentially American, it is deeply religious without being denominational and it is based entirely on one of the most important, and noble, traits a human being can have — gratitude.

Gratitude is the foundation of both happiness and goodness. Neither happiness nor goodness is possible without gratitude. If all human beings were grateful, there would be little evil in the world.

It says an immense amount about America and its value system that it long ago began, and later officially enshrined, a national holiday just for the purpose of giving thanks.

It speaks to the centrality of God in American history (something many Jews, being deeply secularized, may not be happy about, but which is nevertheless a fact), and it speaks to the optimistic, happy and goodness-producing spirit that has been at the core of what I and others call Americanism.

American Jews should celebrate Thanksgiving with particular enthusiasm.

First, and most obvious, nowhere in Jewish history have we had it is as good for so long as we have had it in America. No individuals or groups have better reason to celebrate Thanksgiving in America than we Jews.

Second, Thanksgiving is the one day of the year in which we Jews celebrate the same religious holiday with the rest of America. By definition, Jews do not share a religion with the non-Jewish majority of Americans. But we do share our God (the God of Creation and the God of Israel) with the Christian majority. And this holiday alone affirms that.

Third, while all Jewish holidays are family-based, the Christian majority has only two national holidays that are family-centered — i.e., holidays in which a multi-generational meal is expected and for which people travel to be with their family: Christmas and Thanksgiving (the latter is the busiest travel time of the year). Obviously, while Jews may honor their non-Jewish friends’ celebrations of Christmas, Jews do not celebrate Christmas. So Jews share with the rest of America only one day a year of a family-based holiday — Thanksgiving. This day therefore joins us with our fellow Americans in a unique way.

True, some ultra-secular Jews may be uncomfortable with the idea of invoking God during the celebration of a national holiday. But even if one is opposed to thanking, or simply cannot thank, God, he should thank fate or luck or his ancestors for moving here, or the founders of this blessed country. Only good can come from having people get together to declare their gratitude as Americans. Indeed, given the overwhelming importance of gratitude in inculcating goodness and happiness in people, Thanksgiving is arguably America’s most important day of the year.

On the other end of the religious spectrum, some among the ultra-Orthodox deem it un-Jewish to celebrate a non-Jewish holy day. But a religious Jew who refuses to celebrate Thanksgiving ought not tell anyone — it would most likely constitute a chilul hashem (a desecration of God’s name before others). Just imagine how it sounds — “We religious Jews refuse to celebrate a day thanking God for our blessings because non-Jewish Americans celebrate it.”

In 1789, George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving proclamation with these words: “Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be….”

What could possibly be un-Jewish about that?

I recall with pride that in my Orthodox parents’ home on Thanksgiving we ritually washed our hands before the Thanksgiving meal and sang the Birkat Hamazon — the grace after meals — afterward as if it were a yom tov meal.

Indeed, Thanksgiving is literally a yom tov, a good day. The best there is.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and columnist. His latest project is the online Prager University, which can be accessed at

Sands book a lie

Home / Articles / Jewish Peoplehood Denied, While Israel’s Foes Applaud
Jewish Peoplehood Denied, While Israel’s Foes Applaud
By Hillel Halkin
Published June 24, 2009, issue of July 03, 2009.
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Although there is probably no book too foolish to go un-admired by someone, there are subjects for which the market for foolishness is especially large. Any list of these would have to include “Jews” and “Israel” near its top, as has once again been demonstrated by the granting of this year’s prestigious Aujourd’hui Award to the French translation of Israeli academic Shlomo Sand’s book “The Invention of the Jewish People.” (This is the title of the English edition, due to appear in September from left-wing publisher Verso.)

Sand’s book, which argues that there was no such thing as a Jewish people until one was “constructed” by Zionism and Jewish nationalism in the 19th century, would have attracted little notice had it been written by a professor of history at the University of Damascus. As the work of a supposed historian at the University of Tel Aviv, it is a scandal, a fashionably phrased political screed against Zionism that cherry-picks its data while pretending to be history. Alas, it will be accepted as history by many readers who are as dutifully impressed by its 568 footnotes, as were, it would seem, the French journalists on the Aujourd’hui panel.

Not that Sand gets everything wrong. His book is full of perfectly correct and quite unoriginal observations: some elaborating why today’s Jews are not all descendants of biblical Israelites and stem in part from ancestors who joined the Jewish people by religious conversion over the ages (although Sand’s treatment of the considerable genetic research on the subject is shockingly shoddy, he is not wholly wrong about the matter); some pointing out that Diaspora Jews never shared a single spoken language or material culture, let alone territory, as do most peoples; and some dwelling on the problematic nature of the State of Israel, which aspires to be Jewish, democratic and secular while denying non-Jews certain privileges extended to Jews and defining Jewishness in terms of traditional religious law. These are all issues worthy of discussion, and there is nothing wrong with raising them.

And yet to go from there to Sand’s absurd conclusions that the Jews, who considered themselves a distinct people from their early history, were “invented” as one in modern times; that their historical connection to Palestine is “imaginary,” because they are not descended in their entirety from ancient Palestinian Jewry; or that the idea of a Jewish state is therefore less acceptable than the idea of a French or Spanish state, demands a thoroughly dishonest manipulation of the facts. Indeed, if one is talking about the “construction” of national identities, an enterprise that numerous post-modernist historians of nationalism to whom Sand is indebted have written about, it is the French and Spanish who are the parvenus, having undertaken the task only in the late Middle Ages. And if you are looking for peoples who accomplished this even later, in the last two or three centuries, say, you might consider the Italians, the Germans, the Americans, the Brazilians, the Indians and a host of others (including those latest of latecomers, the Palestinians). You would never, unless you wanted to flaunt your ignorance, mention the Jews, who had a fully developed national consciousness at least 2,500 years ago.

But of course, no one would ever write a book challenging the idea of an Italian, German or Brazilian state, much less win any French prizes for it. It is only the Jews in regard to whom it is nowadays increasingly bon ton to argue that a country of their own is not for them. And should you have the bad manners to object that it is antisemitic to deny them a right that is granted to other peoples, you can now look forward to being answered: “Ah, my friend, the Jews have only imagined they are a people! If even a Jewish professor of history says so, it must be true.”

And yet the embarrassment of Jewishness has always made certain Jewish intellectuals not the last, but the first, to seek to discredit the idea of Jewish peoplehood. From the age of the French Revolution, a time at which few European gentiles doubted for a moment that the Jews were a separate people (and on the whole, a heartily disliked one), there were plenty of Jews who insisted that they were really just Frenchmen or Germans or Englishmen of “the Mosaic faith,” with no national ties to other Mosaicists living elsewhere. And by the same token, in the 1940s, when Hitler and his legions were confident that they were exterminating a people and not a mere religious profession, the so-called Canaanite movement, born in the bohemian cafés of Tel Aviv, made similar claims for the Jews of Palestine — who, it was said, were proud, sun-bronzed “Hebrews,” not to be confused with the pale-skinned juifs, Juden and zhidi of Europe then meekly trooping off to the gas chambers.

Shlomo Sand is in this tradition, a post-modernist Canaanite who need not, he thinks, suffer the indignity of belonging to the Jewish people because — what a relief! — no such people exists. No doubt, not a few of the thousands of Israelis who helped put Sand’s book on the best-seller list in Israel experienced a similar epiphany upon reading it. Even in a Jewish state, we now know, there will always be Jews who would rather be something else. You can, to paraphrase an old Zionist witticism, take the Jew out of the non-Jewish environment into which he dreams of assimilating, but you cannot take the assimilationist out of every Jew.

Unfortunately, there are even larger numbers of non-Jews who will be happy to believe Sand’s nonsense. Once upon a time, antisemitism consisted of the belief that the Jews were an incorrigible and pernicious people who could never be absorbed by other peoples. Today, it is trendy to hold that they are a non-people masquerading as a people in order to justify stealing another people’s homeland. Le plus ça change, le plus ça reste le même chose. As discouraging as it is to see Jewish intellectuals like Shlomo Sand aiding and abetting their people’s enemies, this too is not new under the sun.

Hillel Halkin is the author, most recently, of “A Strange Death: A Story Originating in Espionage, Betrayal, and Vengeance in a Village in Old Palestine” (Public Affairs, 2005) and “Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002).

Conservative kosher- ethical meat-will it reach gentiles?

Magen Tzedek: Model of the Jewish Future or Show Without an Audience?
The Polymath
By Jay Michaelson
Published November 18, 2009, issue of November 27, 2009. Forward

Now, along come the Conservative movement’s efforts to create a Magen Tzedek, a seal for food products that would certify conformity not to the ritual particulars of kashrut, but to the deeper and more profound requirements of Jewish social justice law.

I think the Magen Tzedek is a fantastic idea — if it works. It makes a strong case for Judaism’s ethical relevance, a 21st-century update of the old Hebrew National advertisements — “We answer to a higher authority.” In fact, the Magen Tzedek is even better than the original, which, after all, was a ritual “authority” only tangentially related to contemporary health or sanitary concerns, It is a “higher authority” on values that really matter, to religious Jews, secular Jews and non-Jews alike.

Imagine if Jews were known in America to be the super-ethical people instead of the super-ritual ones. We’re the people who won’t eat a hamburger unless the workers at the restaurant are paid a fair wage. We’re the ones who consider environmentalism to be a matter of religious concern. Because doing the right thing matters to God.

This is good P.R., to put it mildly, both “outwardly,” in terms of the wider population, and “inwardly,” in terms of the Jewish community. This is a Judaism that stands for something meaningful, something more compelling than Jewish survival, or the ritual purity of cloven-foot animals. (Full disclosure: I keep kosher myself.) I’m not saying that the Magen Tzedek would end antisemitism and assimilation, but it would be a potent weapon against them.

And, contrary to the objections of some, it’s grounded in authentic, ancient Jewish values. Of course, the specific details of living wages and green production are new, just like the details of how to kasher a microwave. These will, and should, be debated: Many current Magen Tzedek requirements do seem to be needlessly obscure and overly strict. But the basic principles are indubitable. And I would suggest that in the Age of Madoff, making our ethical reasoning as current, comprehensive and mandatory as our ritual reasoning is, itself, a Jewish obligation. As many Orthodox rabbis said this past Yom Kippur, we need to be glatt yosher (ethically ‘straight’) even more than glatt kosher.

But it’s that pesky adjective — mandatory — that will be the biggest obstacle to the Magen Tzedek’s success. Practicing Orthodox Jews simply will not eat food whose preparation wasn’t properly supervised, even if they’re really hungry and there is no alternative. Will practicing progressive Jews be similarly strict? Or will this be yet another optional practice that, like my egalitarian minyan at school, has the right values but no followers?

... But such behaviors are still on the fringes. Will they ever become mainstream enough to make obtaining a Magen Tzedek worth the financial and administrative costs of doing so? Will progressive Jews care as much about progressive values as traditional Jews care about traditional ones?

I am both despairing and hopeful.

Within the Jewish community, I have my doubts. Conservative Judaism probably has the largest gap between ideology and practice, and it’s not clear how the Magen Tzedek will be any different from the 100 other Conservative rules and regulations that most laypeople ignore.
But if the Magen Tzedek proceeds in its current direction, it will be of value far beyond the Jewish community. According to sources quoted in the Forward, the Magen Tzedek has the potential to be the most comprehensive “green seal” in America, and such seals matter economically. If the Magen Tzedek were to capture a share of this market — though, to be sure, there is already plenty of competition — it could indeed reach critical mass.

The dirty little secret of kashrut certification is that it works the same way. The kosher food industry has boomed in recent years: a 15% annual growth rate (compared with 4% for the food industry in general), and a $9 billion market. But according to a 2007 survey, 55% of kosher food consumers buy kosher because they believe it is healthier. And the majority of them are not Jewish.

This has to be the model for the Magen Tzedek — although not on the half-truth that kosher food is healthier, but on the whole truth that Tzedek food is more just. The takeaway is clear. If the Magen Tzedek gains traction among non-Jews who care about how their food is produced, it is sustainable. If it relies on Jewish observance patterns, it isn’t.

In a way, this is an unfortunate result — that a Jewish seal is of more value to gentiles than to Jews. But maybe it’s not so unfortunate at all.

In the coming century, sociologists tell us, Judaism will become less like an all-or-nothing proposition — ethnicity, identity, culture, nation and religion, all wrapped up in one — and more like one source of values, identity, spirituality and culture among many. We should get used to someone practicing Jewish dietary laws, Buddhist meditation and secular ethical values, whether that someone is born of a Jewish mother or not. Jewish culture and religion are going to survive not because of endogamy, but because they remain relevant to people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds who find them to be meaningful. Like it or not, the Kabbalah Centre, Matisyahu and the Magen Tzedek are the future of Judaism; they thrive not because the Jewish tribe maintains them, but because they appeal to a wide range of people.

This is a meaningful transition in the way Jewishness is understood. For some, it is terrifying. But for me, it represents a compelling model of how particularism can survive without ethnocentrism and despite assimilation — not quite a Judaism without Jews, but Judaism beyond the confines of the Jewish population. Yes, there will always be things that only Jews do: I don’t see the lulav and etrog suddenly holding universal appeal. But in the 21st century, progressive Judaism’s survival depends on its relevance to the other 99.9% of the world.

Thus, rather than seeing the Magen Tzedek’s dependence on non-Jews as a liability, I see it as an asset. Imagine an evening in which you enjoy African-American music, a Japanese-American car and Chinese-American food, and it’s all certified according to American Jewish ethical values. Could be worse.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Anne Roiphe nonsense about Israel

From a colleague:
In the Nov. 3 issue, (Wandering in the desert of occupation) Anne
Roiphe once again infuriates me. She speaks gently of a gentle Israel
which "would show the world how to be strong and good," and then goes
on to accuse Israel, especially its right wing, and people like me, of
being like cruel Brittania (with a picture of a British uniform
with the Star of David replacing the British head by the side of a
sword) ruling the weak world. Does she really believe that Arab
unfriendliness towards us began with her
so-called "Occupation?" What was the Mufti of Jerusalem doing in
Hitler's office in the forties? Why did seven armies invade us after
the UN gave us our birth certificate with the Partition Resolution?
What was Nasser trying to do to us before 1967? And Sadat in the Yom
Kippur War? Does she really think we are trying, even the yeshiva boy
settlers she loves to hate, to take over the West Bank and drive the
Palestinians out? She admits fearing suicide bombers. So what does
she want us to do? Accept Arab demands that we not be a Jewish State?
Go back to the lines of 1967? Allow Tel Aviv University professors
to deny us the right to national identity, and retain their tenure?
Stop building in Gilo? Tear down the wall that has kept suicide
bombers out of Israel? Bow to Obama's love-making with the Muslim
world and do exactly as he says? Study the peaceful visions of Isaiah
but not his predictions about Israel being served by the nations and
having its children nursed by gentile women?(see Isaiah 49.23 and
61.6)? We may be wandering in the desert of occupation, but that is
better than drowning in the sea.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Japanese View of the Palestinians'

Japanese View of the Palestinians'

Is the world just plain stupid?
An interesting questionnaire for Palestinian Advocates
By Yashiko Sagamori

If you are so sure that " Palestine , the country, goes back through most of recorded history," I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine :

1. When was it founded and by whom?

2. What were its borders?

3. What was its capital?

4. What were its major cities?

5. What constituted the basis of its economy?

6. What was its form of government?

7. Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?

8. Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?

9. What was the language of the country of Palestine ?

10. What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine ?

11. What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell what was the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan on that date.

12. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur?

You are lamenting the "low sinking" of a "once proud" nation. Please tell me, when exactly was that "nation" proud and what was it so proud of?

And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call "Palestinians" are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over -- or thrown out of -- the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?

I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day "Palestinians" to the Biblical Philistines: substituting etymology for history won't work here.

The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel ; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with military means, they decided to fight Israel by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it "the Palestinian people" and installed it in Gaza , Judea, and Samaria . How else can you explain the refusal by Jordan and Egypt to unconditionally accept back the "West Bank" and Gaza , respectively?

The fact is, Arabs populating Gaza, Judea, and Samaria have much less claim to nationhood than that Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino: at least that tribe had a constructive goal that motivated them. The so-called "Palestinians" have only one motivation: the destruction of Israel , and in my book that is not sufficient to consider them a nation" -- or anything else except what they really are: a terrorist organization that will one day be dismantled.

In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace in the Middle East . Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side should, pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization from the land of Israel and accepting Israel 's ancient sovereignty over Gaza , Judea, and Samaria . That will mark the end of the Palestinian people. What are you saying again was its beginning?

Video 1 on Toldot

A terrible movie

* n

If only the Coen brothers were serious.
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Stay until the very end of all the credits at the conclusion of the Coen brothers new movie, A Serious Man, and you'll see something I'm certain has never been done before in the history of Hollywood cinema. Viewers are reassured that, "No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture."

Unfortunately the statement is a blatant lie.

The harmed victims run the gamut from rabbis to God -- all of whom are mercilessly mocked in what is purported to be a modern day retelling of the biblical book of Job.

"No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture." Unfortunately the statement is a blatant lie.

Let's state at the outset that the Coen brothers are master craftsman. And that's precisely what makes the failures of this film so troublesome. Because they've won Oscars before, this movie is assured keen interest and attention. But David Denby, cinema critic of the New Yorker magazine, got it exactly right when in his review he wrote, "As a piece of moviemaking craft, A Serious Man is fascinating; in every other way, it's intolerable."

The film's emphasis on Jewish themes is probably more pervasive than any other film in recent memory. Would you believe an opening quote, without any elaboration, from the greatest of all Jewish biblical commentators, Rashi, followed by an eight-minute segment of an Eastern European shtetl story including a dybbuk, acted entirely in Yiddish with English subtitles!

What follows, seemingly unconnected to the prologue, is the harrowing tale of the endless misfortunes besetting Larry Gopnick, the 1967 Minneapolis suburban Jewish stand-in for the ancient Job. They are the contemporary equivalents of biblical curses: the imminent breakup of his marriage -- his wife wants to leave him for an obnoxious, smarmy character reverentially admired by his rabbi as "a serious man;" a career-threatening attempt to bribe him to change one of his students grades that leaves him threatened with a lawsuit for defamation; a son about to be bar mitzvahed addicted to pot and rock 'n roll and a daughter desperate to get a nose job as the American-Jewish rite of passage, joined by the moocher brother who moves in with no intention of ever leaving or getting a job.

As the world around him progressively falls apart, Larry wants to know why. Even though in his role as a junior professor of physics he teaches his classes the Uncertainty Principle, he still wants to believe that life makes some sense. He has been a devoted family man, a quiet neighbor, a hard-working professor -- an almost too-good-to-be-true man who turns down the advances of his seductress neighbor. If he cannot turn directly to God for an answer he contents himself with seeking a response from His rabbinic messengers. Surely those who carry the modern mantle of spiritual leadership must have some wisdom to impart to him.

So Larry meets with three spokesmen for the Almighty. And this is where the Coen brothers, who themselves grew up in a suburban area outside Minneapolis "detesting Hebrew school and their boring rabbis" at long last exact their revenge.

Each one of these encounters is more than black humor; it's defamation. Of course there will be those who will immediately counter my criticism with the putdown, "What's the matter, can't you take a joke?" But I somehow can't think it's funny when a film that sets out to explore a contemporary response to the why of human tragedy only finds it possible to offer us three eccentric fools as representatives of the wisdom of Judaism as it confronts the problem of human suffering.

Every meeting between Larry and a rabbi is a comedy "shtick." The first modern "prophet" is the young assistant standing in for his senior rabbi. The inanities coming out of his mouth, asking Larry to consider the beauty and profundity of the outdoor parking lot as a theological statement, elicited loud guffaws of laughter from the audience where I watched it. "What an idiot!" one man actually yelled out in the theater.

So Larry pleaded and actually got to meet an older rabbi. Here surely, I hoped, some semblance of wisdom would substitute for immature ramblings. But this meeting turned out to be even more preposterous than the first. To a man groping for guidance, the rabbi only had a meaningless story -- a story we later learn was a pat response to almost every questioner -- about mystical encrypted Hebrew messages in the teeth of "a goy" that begged God for help. Please don't ask what the story means. Although it's played out with flashbacks and is fully developed, it's obviously only meant to serve as a replay of the theme that rabbis masquerade as scholars, using nonsensical stories as substitutes for valid insights.

Larry desperately seeks a meeting with the third rabbi, the man commonly spoken of with awe as "the best and the brightest." He pleads with the rabbi's secretary for just a few moments time with the person whose profession obligates him above all to be available to the needy, the troubled, the seekers of spiritual solace. After venturing into the office in which we see the rabbi alone, the secretary returns to tell Larry that the rabbi is too busy to see him. When Larry, who noticed there was nobody with the rabbi, asked what he was busy with, he's told, "He is busy thinking."

The film offers no theological explanations for God's silence in the face of evil, only cheap gimmicks at the expense of the Creator.

Take that, all you rabbis who dared to mess with the Coen brothers when they were kids! Nobody will ever take you seriously any more.

And wait till you see what they did to the Hebrew school teacher in the movie. "No Jews were harmed in the making of this movie" indeed -- merely lampooned, satirized and stereotyped to anti-Semitic perfection.

But the one who suffers even more as victim of Coen mockery than rabbis and teachers is none other than God himself. With no defender of His ways other than the incompetent fools posing as spiritual leaders, the Almighty's mismanagement of the world deserves only scorn and laughter. Since the Coen brothers can claim no familiarity with theological explanations for God's silence in the face of evil -- a subject of monumental concern and discussion by some of the greatest rabbinic minds of the centuries -- they are left only with cheap gimmicks and snide jokes at the expense of the Creator.

The only answer they indirectly imply as a Jewish response to human suffering is remarkably enough a Christian approach thoroughly rejected by Judaism. The prologue, with its shtetl fantasy ghost tale, leaves us with a shrieking Jewess convinced that her family will now be cursed for generations -- shades of original sin and children being punished for the sins of their parents. So suburban Milwaukee Jews must end up suffering hundreds of years later to validate a religious concept embraced by others and considered untenable by Jewish faith that is guided by the biblical pronouncement that "children shall not be put to death for the sins of their fathers nor fathers put to death for the sins of their children"!

Remarkably enough, the time period covered by the film is 1967. No Jew sensitive to momentous moments of history can fail to recall that it was this very year that allowed us to witness a miraculous divine response to the suffering of the Jewish people. In 1967, in all of six days, Israel achieved a military victory that stills strains credulity and was viewed by millions as a supreme example of the hand of God in history. Indeed, many mark it as the true beginning of the Ba'al Tshuvah movement, the emergence of a powerful resurgence of returnees to Judaism, to God, and to religious commitment.

Nowhere in A Serious Man is there any hint of these historic events taking place contemporaneously with personal questioning of God's presence in human affairs, events that might allow for far greater perspective and understanding. Nowhere, in fact, in the movie is there anything serious to be found about the most serious question of our lives. The problem that Job immortalized, the Coens have trivialized. And to turn Job into a joke leaves us wishing that a truly "serious man," rather than two disgruntled Jews, would have taken up the noble challenge of a modern-day biblical sequel.


The course overseen by Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg is living waters to your mind and heart.

The course along with the Video’s; touches on all aspects of the Jewish faith. My family and I not only

took the course but also became “long distance members!” of Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation.

What a joy knowing we are members and support such a wonderful loving congregation. The Cantor Benjamin Warschawski

brings such a spiritual and inspirational blessing to the services.

His CD provides such an inspiration as his voice fills your home or car. My family and I would encourage everyone to pick

up a copy of this inspirational CD as a gift.

Shalom and practicing the Three L’s (find out what a life changer they are).

Clarence, Jane, Samantha and Stephanie; the Jackson Family

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fort Hood: How is it understood

My Opinion on Ft Hood
It was treason, motivated by Jihad.
1. He shouted allah akbar as he murdered our soldiers
2. Communicated regularly with a radical Iman who praised what he did
3. Spoke out against Muslims having to battle Muslims.
4. Posted regularly pro suicide bombings on radical websites
5. Terrorism usually is about civilians. He was US military killing US military, because he opposed US military policy. That is treason
See WSJ editorial Thursday quoted below

I think it is disgusting that much of the media is passing this off as mental illness. It is, only to the extent that hundreds of millions of muslims are then considered mentally ill for supporting violent jihad.
See my posts from WSJ quoted below

The Rabbinical Assembly has been debating this online recently, and I offered this as consensus and so far even the far left wingers have not contested it

1. Yes there are many terrorists groups and terrorists in the world, not all Muslim.
2. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but hundreds of millions of Muslims support violent Jihad
3. Every day there are Muslim terrorist acts in the world, see
You can't turn on yahoo or open the NYT without seeing daily acts of terror from Muslims, perpetrated to further the aims of Islam, in their view.
4. Many in Islam would like to bring the entire world under Islam, and destruction of Israel, the USA and Islamification of Europe is part of that plan. see
5. A substantial minority of Islamic youth in the USA support suicide bombing. The USA Today's headline was, POLL: 1 in 4 younger US Muslims support suicide bombiungs..
In Israel, Pew Study 2009: Bin Laden also has the support of most Muslims in the Palestinian territories (52%), Young Palestinians are far more likely to express positive views of the al Qaeda leader. Six-in-ten Palestinian Muslims under 30 say they have confidence in bin Laden;
6. Iran
a. is a Muslim nation
b.will most likely, if not already, develop nuclear weapons, and has stated it will share the technology with any Islamic nation
c. is a huge sponsor of terror worldwide and can be expected to give dirty nuks to terror groups
d. has threatened to destroy the USA and Israel

What to do about Fort Hood?
See if you agree with the editorial in the WSJ Tueday
essentially in light of Fort Hood they conclude it is clear
1. We have domestic Muslim terrorist problem
2. There will be Muslims in military. They must be vetted better and some may have to be mustered out
3. Let Lieberman's committee do a thorough investigation
"In the aftermath of these shootings, the best venue for exploring the domestic threat from radical Islam and what to do about it is Senator Joe Lieberman's proposed hearings into the Hasan murders"

From The Wall Street Journal editorial Tuesday
" Major Hasan is not just another nut. He volunteered himself into a larger Islamic jihad, whose political weapon of choice is the murder of innocents across the globe.
The Fort Hood massacre makes clear, again, that Islamic terror is unavoidably a domestic U.S. problem as well. There is a strain in American thinking that deludes itself in believing that somehow this force will occupy itself mainly with blowing up marketplaces in faraway Pakistan or Afghanistan. On Thursday, their problem was our problem...News reports piecing together Major Hasan's history suggest an association years ago with a pro-al Qaeda imam at a mosque in northern Virginia. That imam left for Yemen in 2002, and his lectures there in support of al Qaeda have appeared on the computers of terrorists suspects in the U.S., Canada and the U.K...Investigators are collecting information from Major Hasan's PC and his email traffic, with officials already noting that he spent time surfing radical Islamic Web sites. "

and from WSJ the same day

It can by now come as no surprise that the Fort Hood massacre yielded an instant flow of exculpatory media meditations on the stresses that must have weighed on the killer who mowed down 13 Americans and wounded 29 others. Still, the intense drive to wrap this clear case in a fog of mystery is eminently worthy of notice.
The tide of pronouncements and ruminations pointing to every cause for this event other than the one obvious to everyone in the rational world continues apace. Commentators, reporters, psychologists and, indeed, army spokesmen continue to warn portentously, "We don't yet know the motive for the shootings."What a puzzle this piece of vacuity must be to audiences hearing it, some, no doubt, with outrage. To those not terrorized by fear of offending Muslim sensitivities, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's motive was instantly clear: It was an act of terrorism by a man with a record of expressing virulent, anti-American, pro-jihadist sentiments. All were conspicuous signs of danger his Army superiors chose to ignore.What is hard to ignore, now, is the growing derangement on all matters involving terrorism and Muslim sensitivities. Its chief symptoms: a palpitating fear of discomfiting facts and a willingness to discard those facts and embrace the richest possible variety of ludicrous theories as to the motives behind an act of Islamic terrorism. All this we have seen before but never in such naked form. The days following the Fort Hood rampage have told us more than we want to know, perhaps, about the depth and reach of this epidemic.

and from today's WSJ opinion By JAMES TARANTO
In fact, this was not a terrorist attack. By definition, terrorism targets noncombatants. When an irregular force like al Qaeda attacks a military target, such as the bombing of the USS Cole, that is more accurately termed guerrilla warfare.

The real question here is not whether the attack was terrorism but whether it was an act of war as opposed to personal aggression. ABC News reports that "U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago" that the suspect "was attempting to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda," which if true certainly bolsters the case for the affirmative.

When a soldier attacks members of his own force in an act of war, it seems to us the most apt term is treason

And Islam's responsibility?
From WSJ Yesterday
From Berlin to Baghdad
Will the peoples of Islam tear down their walls as the people of Central and Eastern Europe tore down theirs?


For the peoples of Islam, the question can be squarely put: Will they tear down their walls in the manner in which the people of Central and Eastern Europe tore down theirs? The people of Islam are thus sorely tested. They will have to show their own fidelity to liberty. Strangers with big guns and ample means can ride into their midst with the best of intentions and skills, but it is their own world, their own civilization, that is now in history's scales.

Mr. Ajami, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author of "The Foreigner's Gift" (Free Press, 2007).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Organ donation

Hello, I have a few questions on organ donation. I need these questions answered by Monday Nov. 9/09.
1. Waht are the Jewish views on organ doantion? positive. it is a mitzvah
2.If someone were to come to you, asking if they were able to donate what would you say? yes
3.Are there any circumstances where organ donation would not be allowed? If so what are they? no, unless the donor was still alive. can't kill someone to get an organ.
4.Do you believe that it should be up to the next of kin to decide whether or not ones organs should be donated ? First up to the donor, if he can't, then yes.

Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it.

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Obma has it backwards on palestinian despair

In a speech to Israelis via satellite marking the Rabin's 14th anniv. of his murder, Obama said that "Israelis will not find true security while the Palestinians are gripped by hopelessness and despair." he is obviously suggesting it tis Israel's fault. he fails the Israel Test of George Gilder.

He has it backwards, just as he has it backwards on the US economy. He is suggesting it is Israel's fault. Israel is not causing their poverty. The Palestinians did great in relation to all their neighbors before all the foreign aid and have gone steeply downhill since. Before then, Israel's magnificent entrepreneurship spilled over to the territories. Even now, Israeli Arabs enjoy huge economic advantages over their fellow Arabs in neighboring states and throughout the region. Israel could uplift the Palestinian economy easily if they gave up terror and the dependency of foreign aid. Their despair is due to their leadership, not Israel. It is on their shoulders, not Israel, as Obama implied. All the evidence is in George Gilders book, The Israel Test. Israel built one of the world's greatest economic engines with no natural resources and a huge disadvantage in necessary percent of GNP devoted to military.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How can minnesota Jews support ellison? It is mind boggling

This muslim anti_israel congressman is supported by Jews in minnesota!!

And he got a great deal of support from the Jewish community in Minnesota…

Read Goldstone's report on Gaza
By: Rep. Keith Ellison
November 3, 2009 05:11 AM EST

Who is afraid of Richard Goldstone? No one should be. Not even the U.S. Congress — yet it is poised on Tuesday to condemn the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Goldstone report on violations of international law related to the Gaza war of late 2008.

Why the fear? Judge Goldstone is no Israel basher. He is famous for apprehending Nazi criminals in Argentina, for serving as chief prosecutor for the U.N. International Criminal Tribunals and for chairing the Independent International Commission on Kosovo. He is motivated by his struggle against apartheid in South Africa. A self-described Zionist, he serves as a trustee of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has said that “bringing war criminals to justice stems from the lessons of the Holocaust.”

At the outset, note that four sections of the Goldstone report deal with abuses by Hamas, including the launching of rockets into civilian towns in Israel. The report explicitly states that these rocket attacks are war crimes.

Yet despite Goldstone’s stellar reputation, the veracity of the report — and his motives — has been challenged. The detailed Goldstone report concludes that “the Israeli military operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population, and in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population.”

I agree with my congressional colleagues — and with Goldstone — that the initial U.N. resolution of Jan. 12, 2009, calling for an investigation of abuses committed during the Gaza crisis was one-sided, focusing exclusively on Israel. That resolution was used by some countries to criticize Israel without acknowledging the abuses by Hamas. Goldstone initially refused to lead the investigation because of the original flawed mandate.

But Goldstone pushed back. He succeeded in expanding the scope of the mission to include an examination of the actions of both Hamas and Israel.

Israel, however, refused to cooperate with the investigation because of the original “one-sided mandate.” What if Israel had participated from the beginning? It could have pointed out that the U.N. Human Rights Council has a history of unfairly singling out Israel for criticism. It could have described Hamas’s abuses, and it could have elaborated on the context of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, which includes a long history of attacks on civilians. Israel could have observed the difficulties of combat in urban areas. But instead, Israel condemned the effort and then attacked the final product.

I visited Sderot in southern Israel and saw the havoc and trauma created by Hamas rocket fire. Israelis there live with fear. I have condemned these attacks as war crimes and will continue to do so.

I also visited Gaza and witnessed the devastation wreaked by the recent war. I toured an American school and medical clinics devastated by Operation Cast Lead. A blockade keeps out items such as paper for textbooks and nutritious food. Gazans live in poverty, and most cannot drink their own water. These are cruel violations against the people of Gaza, 56 percent of whom are children.

The Goldstone report does not assign blame. It lays out the facts, as best as Goldstone could ascertain them, and offers recommendations for the future. Congress should use this report as a resource to understand a critical part of the world and to grasp fully the devastating human costs of the status quo.

Instead, Congress is poised to oppose the Goldstone report without holding a single hearing on a document that few members of Congress, if any, have read.

This is a mistake. The stance of this Congress will erode U.S. credibility in the post-Obama world, and it will tarnish our commitment to the principle that all nations must be held to the same standards. Rather than undermine the report or Goldstone, we are at risk of undermining Congress’s and President Barack Obama’s reputation as honest brokers.

Israel can still pursue its own investigation, and critics of the Goldstone report should recognize that Israel is strong enough to withstand inquiry. Self-reflection is one of the hallmarks of a strong democracy. In fact, Israel has investigated itself in the past in connection with the Sabra and Shatila incidents. When nations like the United States, Israel, South Africa and others have pursued the truth through investigations — however uncomfortable — their people and politics have emerged stronger.

We stand for the values of democracy, truth and justice. There is no reason for Congress, Israel or any other party to fear an honest judge. Richard Goldstone is such a judge, and his report should be studied, not dismissed.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

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