Sunday, September 30, 2012

Easy assemble Sukkah

Inviting mystical guests to the sukkah

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Be happy

9 Things You Can Do to Be Happy in the Next 30 Minutes

Surprising ways to instantly improve your mood.

By Gretchen Rubin
Man jumpingJoy Gosney
Being happier doesn't have to be a long-term ambition. You can start right now. In the next 30 minutes, tackle as many of the following suggestions as possible. Not only will these tasks themselves increase your happiness, but the mere fact that you've achieved some concrete goals will boost your mood.

1. Raise your activity level to pump up your energy. If you're on the phone, stand up and pace. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Put more energy into your voice. Take a brisk 10-minute walk. Even better...

2. Take a walk outside. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning.

3. Reach out. Send an e-mail to a friend you haven't seen in a while, or reach out to someone new. Having close bonds with other people is one of the most important keys to happiness. When you act in a friendly way, not only will others feel more friendly toward you, but you'll also strengthen your feelings of friendliness for other people.

4. Rid yourself of a nagging task. Deal with that insurance problem, purchase something you need, or make that long-postponed appointment with the dentist. Crossing an irksome chore off your to-do list will give you a rush of elation.

5. Create a more serene environment. Outer order contributes to inner peace, so spend some time organizing bills and tackling the piles in the kitchen. A large stack of little tasks can feel overwhelming, but often just a few minutes of work can make a sizable dent. Set the timer for 10 minutes and see what you can do.

6. Do a good deed. Introduce two people by e-mail, take a minute to pass along useful information, or deliver some gratifying praise. In fact, you can also...

7. Save someone's life. Sign up to be an organ donor, and remember to tell your family about your decision. Do good, feel good―it really works!

8. Act happy. Fake it 'til you feel it. Research shows that even an artificially induced smile boosts your mood. And if you're smiling, other people will perceive you as being friendlier and more approachable.

9. Learn something new. Think of a subject that you wish you knew more about and spend 15 minutes on the Internet reading about it, or go to a bookstore and buy a book about it. But be honest! Pick a topic that really interests you, not something you think you "should" or "need to" learn about.

Some people worry that wanting to be happier is a selfish goal, but in fact, research shows that happier people are more sociable, likable, healthy, and productive―and they're more inclined to help other people. By working to boost your own happiness, you're making other people happier, too.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Obama betrays Israel

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

13 reasons to build a sukkah

Who is Morsi of Egypt?

PT News
September 25, 2012
  Be the first of your friends to like this.

New Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is being received as a visiting dignitary in New York this week for meetings surrounding the opening of the United Nations' General Assembly. He is scheduled toaddress the assemblyWednesday morning and is meeting with U.S. officials and other dignitaries.
On Tuesday, as the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report noted, he is to appear with former President Bill Clinton at the closing plenary of Clinton's Global Initiative conference.
The man being showered with attention as a respectable international leader may rank shy only of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when it comes to anti-Semitism and bluster against the state of Israel.
He was the subject of a front-page story in Sunday's New York Times, in which he claimed Egypt is not moving toward theocracy, but acknowledged being shaped by an organization that seeks a global Islamic state.
"I grew up with the Muslim Brotherhood," he said in the Times interview. "I learned my principles in the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned how to love my country with the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned politics with the Brotherhood. I was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood."
In a 2005 article touting Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary candidates, Morsi invoked the Brotherhood's motto in making the case that "Islam is the solution":
"God is our goal. The Messenger is our example. The Quran is our constitution; Jihad is our way and death for the sake of God the highest aspiration."
He repeated that theme during a campaign appearance last May, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) showed, leading the crowd in chanting "The Quran is our constitution. The Prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration."
That could help explain his affection for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which was created to be a terrorist branch of the Brotherhood, and which has a series of anti-Semitic statements in its charter.
"In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised,
it says. Elsewhere, it says "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."
Since December, Morsi has met with Hamas leaders Khaled MeshaalIsmail Haniyeh andMousa Abu Marzook. He also is eager to see Hamas open an office in Cairo. "Support for the Palestinian cause is a duty upon us we will discharge," Morsi said. "In fact, the Egyptian role for Gaza and Hamas after the revolution is a distinctive one."
In April 2011, he "called on Arab and Islamic regimes and governments to address and stop continuing Zionist crimes against the Gaza Strip," the Brotherhood's Ikhwanonline website reported. "Dr. Morsi called for the Palestinian resistance to be supported with money, weapons and equipment to challenge this Zionist aggression, stressing that Arab regimes deal in the same way as before with the suffering of our brothers in Gaza."
In 2008, he called for international aid to Gaza, which he said was needed to stop the "bloodthirsty Zionist usurper created by injustice and international terrorism." An Israeli blockade on Gaza, imposed to stop the terrorist group from importing weapons and explosives supplies for terrorist attacks, was part of "American-Zionist plots which aim to eliminate the Palestinian cause," he said.
"We will sacrifice for you with our blood and our children and our money," Morsi said. "Our hands are in your hands to keep you steadfast raising the banner of the right in the first cause of the Muslims first. May God strengthen you and strengthen your backs and increase your faith. May He grant you victory over our enemy and your enemy."
"We are with you," he said in a 2009 article. "May God accept you, and your deeds not leave you. Go

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If you didn't do tashlich yet

As you know on Rosh Hashanah, there is a ceremony called Tashlich
    Jews traditionally go to a body of running water such as the ocean, a stream or a river to pray and throw in breadcrumbs. This symbolizes throwing away one’s sins, which the fish devour.

   Occasionally, people ask what kinds of breadcrumbs should be thrown.   Here are suggestions for breads which may be most appropriate for specific sins.

  1) For Ordinary Sins…………………White Bread

  2) For Erotic Sins…………………..French Bread

  3) For Dark Sins……………………Pumpernickel

  4) For Complex Sins…………………Multi Grain

  5) For Sins of Indecision……………..Waffles

  6) For Sins Committed in Haste……...Matzos

  7) For Sins in Chutzpah……………...Fresh Bread

  8) For Substance Abuse……………...Stoned Wheat

  9) For Committing Auto Theft………Caraway

10) For Timidity or Cowardice……….Milk Toast

11) For Ill Temperedness……………..Sourdough

12) For Silliness or Eccentricity……...Nut Bread

13) For Unnecessary Chances………..Hero Bread

14) For Excessive Irony……………...Rye Bread

15) For War Mongering……………...Kaiser Roll

16) For Dressing Immodestly………..Tarts

17) For Lechery or Promiscuity……...Hot Buns

18) For Promiscuity with Gentiles…...Hot Cross Buns

19) For Racist Attitudes……………...Crackers

20) For Being Holier Than Thou…….Bagels

21) For Overeating………………......Stuffing

22) For Indecent Photography………Cheesecake

23) For Raising Your Voice Too Often…………......Challah

24) For Pride or Egotism…………...Puff Pastry

25) For Sycophancy or Ass Kissing…………...Brownies

26) For Being Overly Smothering……………Angel Food Cake

27) For Trashing the Environment………......Dumpling

28) For Telling or E-Mailing Bad Jokes or Puns…..Corn Bread

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Teshuva Repentance

Why Rabbi Wolpe has to vote for Romney

Rabbi Wolpe gave the following talk where he says the one issue fore this election is who will stop Iran. If that is the criteria, there is only one choice. Mitt Romney. Obama has appeased Iran, fought tough sanctions, refused to draw red lines. Netanyahu is beside himself with worry. And Obama is encouraging terrorism around the world.
Here is the evidence. Wolpe's speech follows. In my opinion, you vote for Obama, you are giving green light to Iran and betraying Israel

1. Obama has stalled and delayed and appeased Iran as they march forward to develop nuclear weapons and daily say they want to wipe out Israel. Israel's prime minister accused the U.S. on Tuesday of dragging its feet in the face of an imminent threat. With intelligence reports that Iran has been working on computer simulations of nuclear explosions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly scolded the Obama administration for refusing to lay down a red line which would trigger a military strike."If Iran knows that there is no red line, if Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it's doing. It's continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu seemed to be reacting to remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who told a radio interviewer two days ago there is still time to head off Iran's nuclear program."We're not setting deadlines. We're watching very carefully about what they do, because it's always been more about their actions than their words," Clinton said.
According to one report from a European intelligence agency, Iran recently bought computer codes for simulating nuclear explosions from North Korea. That doesn't mean Iran has decided to build a weapon, but it does mean it is developing the capability to build a weapon and Netanyahu seems fed up with American patience. "The world tells Israel: 'Wait, there's still time.' And I say: 'Wait for what? Wait until when?'" Netanyahu said. "Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don't have a moral right to place a red light before Israel."
2.. He has tried to bully, threaten, intimidated and repeatedly turned his back on Israel ( 49 borders, no building in Jerusalem) and had the word Jerusalem removed from the DNC platform as well as Hamas as terror, and Palestinans no right of return,. He realized that Jerusalem's omission was an error and lied and said he did not know, and when he instructed them to put it back, they did, but over a majority loud chorus of boos from the delegates. DNC convention has featured a large Muslim extremist sub convention.
3.He foolishly encouraged and embraced Arab Spring,which is turning into Arab nightmare. He helped push out our best Arab ally of the largest Arab nation Egypt Mubarack, to be replaced by terrorist Muslim brotherhood leaders. Muslims are rioting against the US in 20 nations today and Obama and his proxies have continued to lie, saying the cause was that movie when it was all planned and orchestrated in advance, as the evidence shows.
4. He forbade the CIA and FBI from using the words Muslim or Islam when they investigate, making it impossible to do their job and caled Fort Hood massacre of a Muslim killing our soldiers shouting allah akbar workplace violence.

5. Obama hired Muslim brotherhood tied terrorists to the government is aiding the Muslim brotherhood dominated Egypt by reducing their debt and doing military exercises with them, while scaling back our exercises with Israel.

Why I’m A One-Issue Voter
The rabbi who gave the benediction at the DNC asks, Which candidate will prevent nuclear terror?

By Rabbi David Wolpe | September 19, 2012

Demonstrators hold up a Quran during a protest outside the Swiss embassy in Tehran, capital of Iran, on Sept. 13, 2012.
I have never voted in a Presidential election on one issue alone, but I will this year.
We all know there are crucial economic and social issues. If you are out of a job, what could be more pressing? There are foreign policy challenges with Russia, China, North Korea and the Middle East. I do not mean to minimize the urgency of these issues. But this year, for me, they must all take a back seat.
Although I recently delivered the benediction at the Democratic National Convention, I considered the act religious, not political — a blessing, not an endorsement. My decision this year will be simple: I will vote for whichever candidate seems likelier to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
There are two words that symbolize the terror of the twentieth century: Auschwitz and Hiroshima. An Iranian bomb threatens to combine them both. It portends the destruction of an entire nation and an entire people in a moment. However hard it may be to imagine such wholesale slaughter, if history has taught us nothing else, it has taught that today’s delusions of madmen can become tomorrow’s reality.
The problem is not one person. True, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad describes Israel as an “insult to humanity” and “a cancerous tumor,” and calls for its “disappearance.” But it is equally true that in May, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Major-General Seyed Hassan Firouzabadi, said: “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause [and] that is the full annihilation of Israel.” And in June, Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told a United Nations-sponsored anti-drug conference that the Jews were responsible for the spread of illegal drugs around the world, that the Zionists control the international drug trade, and that they had ordered doctors to kill black babies.
Experts from Israel’s former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and others point to a genuine concern that Iran would bomb Israel. So those like The New York Times‘ Bill Keller whodeclare that Iran would not use the bomb are foisting their own humanitarian criteria on people who do not share them. The reasoning seems to be: “Since for me it is unthinkable, it must be impossible.” But we have learned to our cost in the twentieth century, when it comes to atrocity, the unthinkable is indeed possible. “Containing” a nuclear Iran is the opposite of real politik; it is fantasy politik.
After all, even if we stipulate for a moment that Iran would not bomb Israel, the problem is hardly solved. Would they give nuclear weapons to proxies in Hezbollah? Of course not, right? Who would trust Hezbollah with a nuclear weapon? But we have seen in Pakistan that a single brilliant, unscrupulous man can change the nuclear balance. And even if the regime were itself restrained, and exercised an improbable degree of discipline, what would its nervous neighbors do? Saudi Arabia is not likely to stand idly by while its neighbor attains instant hegemony. They know with whom they are dealing, even if we sometimes forget: After all, the long, savage Iran–Iraq war was fought largely by children given a “token” to ensure their entrance to heaven should they be martyred. That is not a mentality designed to encourage confidence in international restraint and wisdom.
This week was Rosh Hashana, the day in the Jewish tradition that the world was created. Another sacred scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, went through the mind of Robert Oppenheimeras he saw the first atom bomb explode near Los Alamos: “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
With the exception of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, humanity has managed to restrain itself from deploying this most awful of weapons, the one that can indeed destroy worlds. We stand before an iron law of history: you cannot unmake what has been made. Once Iran has a nuclear bomb, the world will never look the same. Not only Israelis, but the West will never sleep easily in its bed. Stopping Iran will not feed your family, get you a job or open a factory. It will not elevate the level of public discourse or bring manufacturing back from China. It will merely ensure that the free world, beginning with Israel but not ending there, will not live under the shadow of annihilation. To our presidential candidates: show me you have a way to do that, and you’ve got my vote.

Yom Kippur

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our leaders do not understand the threat

The reign of imagination

September 13, 2012, 4:11 PM
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libya cairo embassies.jpg
As he suffocated to death at the US Consulate in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the US, did US Ambassador Christopher Stevens understand why he and his fellow Americans were being murdered? 

From what we have learned of this man since he was killed, it is clear that he was extremely courageous. He stole into Benghazi in April 2011 on a cargo ship to serve as chief US liaison officer to the rebel forces fighting Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He did the business of the US government in makeshift offices and moved from safe house to safe house under what can only be considered dire conditions of combat.

But did he understand the forces he was unleashing? 

Stevens arrived in Benghazi at an early phase of US involvement in the rebellion against Gaddafi, a former US foe who had been neutered since 2004. But even then it was clear that the rebels with whom he worked included jihadist fighters associated with al-Qaida. Their significance became obvious when just after the regime fell in November 2011, rebel forces foisted the flag of al-Qaida over the courthouse in Benghazi.

Did Stevens understand what this meant? Perhaps he did. But his boss, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, certainly didn't. Following Tuesday's attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Clinton said, "Today, many Americans are asking - indeed, I asked myself - how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be."

Clinton, the bewildered stewardess of US foreign policy, then proclaimed with utter certainty that there is nothing to be concerned about. "We must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group - not the people or government of Libya," she said.

Of course, what she failed to mention was that after the rebels felled Gaddafi's regime - with US support - they began imposing Islamic law over large swathes of the country.

Clinton was not the only senior US official who didn't understand why Stevens and three other Americans were murdered or why the US Consulate in Benghazi was reduced to a smoldering ruin.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thinks that the party responsible for the Muslim violence against the US on the anniversary of September 11 is a kook in Florida who enjoys saying nasty things about Islam.

The day after the murderous assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi, and in the face of an ongoing mob assault on the US Embassy in Cairo, and on US embassies in Yemen and Tunis, Dempsey called Pastor Terry Jones in Florida and asked him to withdraw his support for a film that depicts Muhammad in a negative fashion.

Dempsey's spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told Reuters, "In a brief call, Gen. Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause. He asked Mr. Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film."

Dempsey's belief that a third-rate riff on Muhammad supported by a marginal figure in Florida is the cause of the terrorist attacks on US embassies is not simply shocking. It is devastating.

It means that the senior officer in the US military is of the opinion that the party to blame for the assaults on US government installations overseas was an American pastor. To prevent the recurrence of such incidents, freedom of speech must be constrained.

And Dempsey is not the only senior US military commander who harbors this delusion.

A similar response was voiced by Gen. George Casey, the US Army chief of staff, in the wake of the massacre of US forces at Ft. Hood in November 2009 by Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan. Hassan, who had been in contact with al-Qaida commander Anwar al-Awlaki and described himself as a "soldier of Islam," was clearly acting out of Islamic jihadist motivations when he shot his fellow soldiers.

And yet, responding to the attack, Casey said that worse than the massacre itself - that is, more sacred than the lives of his own soldiers - was the notion that "our diversity" should fall casualty to Hassan's murderous attack. In his words, "Our diversity not only in our army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."

A word about the much mentioned film about Muhammad is in order. The film was apparently released about a year ago. It received little notice until last month when a Salafi television station in Egypt broadcast it.

In light of the response, the purpose of the broadcast was self-evident. The broadcasters screened the film to incite anti-American violence.

Had they not been interested in attacking the US, they would not have screened the film.

They sought a pretext for attacking America. If the film had never been created, they would have found another - equally ridiculous - pretext.

And here we come to the nature of the attacks against America that occurred on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 jihadist attacks.

A cursory consideration of the events that took place - and are still taking place - makes clear that these were not acts of spontaneous rage about an amateur Internet movie. They were premeditated. In Egypt, the mob attack on the embassy followed the screening of the anti-Islam flick on jihadist television. It was led by Muhammad al-Zawahiri - the brother of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The US's first official response to the assault on its embassy in Cairo came in the form of a Twitter feed from the embassy apologizing to Muslims for the film.

The day before the attacks, al-Qaida released a video of Ayman al-Zawahiri in which he called for his co-religionists to attack the US in retribution for the killing - in June - of his second in command Abu Al Yahya al-Libi by a US drone in Pakistan.

Zawahiri specifically asked for the strongest act of retribution to be carried out in Libya.

As for the attack in Libya, it apparently came as no surprise to some US officials on the ground. In an online posting the night before he was killed, US Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith warned of the impending strike. Smith wrote, "Assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures."

The coordinated, premeditated nature of the attack was self-evident. The assailants were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. They knew the location of the secret safe house to which the US consular officials fled. They laid ambush to a Marine force sent to rescue the 37 Americans hiding at the safe house. And yet, Clinton and Dempsey either could not fathom why the attack occurred, or blamed an irrelevant pastor in Florida.

Like Dempsey, the US media were swift to focus the blame for the attacks on the film. The New York Times was quick to report - falsely - that the film's creator was an Israeli Jew. It took an entire day for that bit of misinformation to be dispelled. But the campaign to blame the attacks on the movie creators continued.

By Wednesday afternoon the media shifted the focus of discussion on the still ongoing attacks from the film to an all-out assault on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney became the target of media attention for his temerity in attacking as "disgraceful" the administration's initial apologetic response to the attacks on the embassies.

FOLLOWING THE September 11 attacks, the US Congress formed the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and charged it with determining the causes of the assault and recommending a course of action for the government to follow to prevent such attacks from happening again. It took the commission members nearly three years to finish their report. In the end, they claimed that the chief failure enabling the attacks was "one of imagination."

Unfortunately for the US, the commissioners had things backwards. It wasn't that imagination failed America before September 11. It was that imagination reigned in America. And it still does.

It's just that the land of make-believe occupied by the US foreign policy elite has shifted.

Until September 11, 2001, the US foreign policy elite was of the opinion that the chief threat to US national security was the fact that the US was a "hyperpower."

That is, the chief threat to the US was the US itself. 

After September 11, the US decided that the main threat to the US was "terror," against which the US declared war. The perpetrators of terrorism were rarely mentioned, and when they were they were belittled as "marginal forces."

Those forces, of course are anything but marginal. The Islamic ideology of jihad is the predominant ideology in the Muslim world today.

The rallying cry of al-Qaida - the shehada - is the cry of Muslim faith. Jihadist Islam is the predominant form of Islam worshiped in mosques throughout the world. And the ideology of jihad is an ideology of war against the non-Islamic world led by the US.

Then-president George W. Bush and his administration imagined a world where the actual enemies of the US were marginal forces in Islam. They then determined - based on nothing - that the masses of the Muslim world from Gaza to Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond were simply Jeffersonian democrats living under the jackboot. If freed from tyranny, they would become liberal democrats nearly indistinguishable from regular Americans.

With President Barack Obama's inauguration, the imaginary world inhabited by the American foreign policy elite shifted again. Obama and his advisers agree that jihadist Islam is the predominant force in the Muslim world. But in their imaginary world, jihadist Islam is a good thing for America.

Hence, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan is Obama's closest confidante in the Middle East despite his transformation of Turkey from a pro-Western secular republic into a pro-Iranian Islamic republic in which secularists are jailed without trial for years on end.

Hence Israel - the first target of jihadist Islam's bid for global supremacy - is a strategic burden rather than an ally to the US.

Hence the US abandoned its most stalwart ally in the Arab world, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and supported the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the most strategically vital state in the Arab world.

Hence it supported a Libyan rebel force penetrated by al-Qaida.

Hence it is setting the stage for the reinstitution of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

It is impossible to know the thoughts that crossed Stevens' mind as he lay dying in Benghazi. But what is clear enough is that as long as imagination reigns supreme, freedom will be imperiled.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

About the shofar

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I have no problem with this regulation on milah

The New York City Board of Health unanimously passed a regulation on Thursday that will require consent from parents before an infant can have a form of Jewish ritual circumcision, prevalent in parts of the ultra-Orthodox community, in which the circumciser uses his mouth to remove blood from the incision.

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In a morning meeting, the nine-member panel of doctors and public health professionals said that thoughthe regulation had been challenged by some Orthodox Jewish religious authorities as an unconstitutional infringement of their religious freedom, the risk of disease from the ancient procedure was serious enough to warrant action.
Indeed, some panel members said they believed that requiring consent did not go far enough. “It’s crazy that we allow this to go on,” said Dr. Joel A. Forman, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Infectious disease experts widely agree that the oral contact, known in Hebrew as metzitzah b’peh, creates a risk of transmission of herpes that can be deadly to infants, because of their underdeveloped immune systems. Between 2004 and 2011, the city learned of 11 herpes infections it said were most likely caused by the practice. Two of those babies died; at least two others suffered brain damage.
While most ritual circumcisers, known as mohelim, no longer use oral contact to pull blood away from the circumcision incision — they use gauze or sterile glass pipettes instead — the practice has been strongly defended by ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis who believe the practice is both safe and faithful to Talmudic codes. More than 200 ultra-Orthodox rabbis have ordered their adherents not to comply with the regulation.
“This process is being created without a shred of evidence,” said Rabbi William Handler, one of a few ultra-Orthodox Jews who gathered outside the meeting in protest. “The city is lying, and slandering compassionate rabbis.”
In an effort to educate parents, the city will now require ritual circumcisers to inform parents in writing if they will use direct oral contact during the circumcision, and must receive their written consent. The consent form states that the health department advises against the procedure because of the possibility of herpes transmission, which may cause brain damage or death. The mohelim must keep that permission document on hand for one year.
Failure to comply may result in warning letters or fines to the mohelim. Enforcement, though, will be based on investigation of specific complaints and herpes cases, not spot checks or raids, and there are no mandatory punishments, said Dr. Jay K. Varma, the city’s deputy commissioner for disease control.
Orthodox groups, including Agudath Israel of America and the Central Rabbinical Congress, have announced that they plan to sue the city to block the regulation, which is scheduled to go into effect 30 days from official publication of the rule.
“We are convinced that this amendment will be thrown out by the courts,” said Rabbi David Niederman, a Satmar Hasidic leader.
The city believes about 3,600 male infants are circumcised with direct oral suction each year and estimates their risk of contracting herpes at roughly 1 in 4,000. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called the procedure unsafe and recommended against it.
But among doctors that work with ultra-Orthodox families, there is some doubt whether regulation is the right course.
“They feel that if their child doesn’t have the metzitzah b’peh, he is not Jewish, so this, to them, is the most important act that they can do for their son in life,” said Dr. Kenneth I. Glassberg, the director of the division of pediatric urology at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian.
“Medically, I don’t approve of it,” he added of the oral contact, “but if you’re asking me, ‘Does it cause harm?’, I haven’t seen enough proof that it causes harm.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Muslim persecution of Christians

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 09:51 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)
I occasionally click through to Willie Brown’s rambling column in the San Francisco Chronicle–he’s obviously trying to channel or emulate the format of the legendary Herb Caen–in large part because I always regarded Brown as the smartest and most able politician in America during his heyday as Speaker of the California State Assembly.  He flummoxed Republicans at every turn (and several ethics investigations, too, if you believe the rumors).
Today he doesn’t think much of Eastwooding, but then there’s this interesting paragraph on public employee unions:
As reforms go, the pension deal that Sacramento lawmakers reached last week is just a start to correct the mistakes that former lawmakers, including me, have made over the years.
But for all the talk about how the changes were needed to make the governor’s tax plan more palatable to voters this fall, the fact is that lawmakers bucked the unions for one reason and one reason only: They want to keep their jobs.
The unions are really bent out of shape because they weren’t allowed in the room during the negotiations, as they usually are. But why should they be in the room?
The world is changing. Years ago it was the likes of Southern Pacific and other big businesses calling the shots in Sacramento, and we were all highly critical of them.
These days it’s labor. That’s not the portrayal union leaders like to see in the media, but it’s the truth.
Real reform would be barring labor leaders from sitting on state pension boards. The boards ought to be made up of money managers who are concerned with how much cash is going in and out of the fund. There is no justification for any trustee on a pension board being more interested in spreading benefits than paying for them.   (Emphasis added.)
Willie better start checking for a horse’s head in his basement (or tailor’s dressing room more likely).

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 08:09 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)
I’ve given up following the Eurozone crisis on a daily basis—as has much of the media it seems—because it has settled into Groundhog Day territory.  Greece—still a basket case.  Spain—still having trouble selling its bonds.  Italy and France—still behaving irresponsibly.  Germany: cough up more dough you tight-fisted Teutonic bastards.  How long can this circus go on?  It’s been going on for better than two years now at least, and perhaps the crisis might well be patched up for a long while yet.
But not forever, and the end of “forever” may be coming into sight.  Germany has finally gotten France over the last few weeks to tell the Greeks that “No” really means “NO” about further bailouts.  The New York Times reports ominously that more and more multinational companies are beginning to prepare for Greece to exit from the Euro.  This sounds really serious:
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has looked into filling trucks with cash and sending them over the Greek border so clients can continue to pay local employees and suppliers in the event money is unavailable. Ford has configured its computer systems so they will be able to immediately handle a new Greek currency.
Walter Russell Mead offers a good roundup of the scene this morning, including this warning about Spain:
Meanwhile, Spain’s situation continues to deteriorate, with the country visibly spiraling toward some kind of bailout. Any new funding from the ECB will come with much tougher conditions than the easy funding that got Spain (and Europe) through the summer without a meltdown. . .
But the real ground zero of the Eurozone crisis may be shifting to France:
But without any doubt, the worst news is coming from France. It’s not that France is headed down the tubes like the PIIGS. Yet. But with a major French bank (Credit Immobilier de France) needing a bailout, unemployment rising above the psychologically crucial 3 million mark, and a stubbornly high budget deficit despite a round of tax hikes and spending cuts, things are not looking good. And as Businessweek reports, bond investors are showing early signs of skittishness. French debt currently earns only about a two percent interest rate; it wouldn’t take much for investors to push those yields above 4 or even 5 percent if perceptions of Europe and France continue to deteriorate. France has benefited from a “safe haven” perception, but that perception looks vulnerable to the autumn storms that now seem to be sweeping toward the EU.
This may explain why France has joined the Germans in telling the Greeks that the game is over for them.  The French had been playing something of a double game up to this point, but even the new French socialist government may be starting to get the message that they’re in deep deep trouble themselves.  Dan Mitchell offers additional observations in his indispensible blog.  Both Mitchell and Mead say the thing to watch is French bond rates.  If they spike like Spain and Italy, the next inflection point of the Eurozone crisis will be at hand.
What might set this off?  Hmmm—how about the prospect that Obama is re-elected?

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 07:40 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)
I tell ya, that Eastwood guy started something.  Wish I didn’t have to catch a plane back to Washington today, or I’d be talking to empty chairs and checking out the local scene.  The empty chair bids to become a better political statement than the old fashioned lawn sign. Can we get a clever bumper sticker from somewhere?  Enjoy:

Revenge for the Churchill bust exile
Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without a mashup.  (Hat tip: BadgerPundit/William Jacobson at LegalInsurrection/PL reader Jean Y.)

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 07:29 AM PDT
(John Hinderaker)
At the Middle East Forum, Raymond Ibrahim continues his series on Muslim persecution of Christians around the world. It is remarkable how many such instances occur, even though, as Ibrahim says, he provides only a sampling. Ibrahim is doing a great service with his monthly compilations. We can only hope that somewhere, policymakers and voters are paying attention.
This is how Ibrahim sums up the month of July:
Several reports appearing in July indicate that Christian minorities all around the Muslim world—especially women and children—are being abducted, tortured, raped, forced to convert to Islam, and/or enslaved.
In Egypt, at least 550 such cases have been documented in the last five years, and have only increased since the revolution. Christians who manage to escape back to their families often find the government siding with their Muslim abductors. One young mother who recently testified before the Helsinki Commission explained how she was snatched in broad daylight, as her abductor shouted to bystanders while dragging her to a waiting taxi, “No one interfere! She is an enemy of Islam.”
Identical reports are emerging from Pakistan, where “persecution, kidnapping and abduction of Christian women and girls,” including many married women with children, are on the rise. Last year the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that 1800 Christian and Hindu girls were forcibly converted to Islam. Most recently, the sister of a pastor was “kidnapped raped and forcibly converted to Islam.” She “was kidnapped around a month ago by some Muslim men while returning home from college. She was held for days, suffered sexual abuse, threats and violence. In such a state of terror and exhaustion, first she was coerced into converting to Islam, and then marriage. Her family reported the incident to the police station in Chunian, but no investigations have been conducted and instead her abductors have presented a report to the court attesting to the girl now being Muslim and legally married. Among other things, the girl is a minor and, according to the law, marriage is not permitted to minors.”
The tiny Palestinian Christian community in the Hamas-run Gaza strip is also under siege and charges that five Christians were abducted and pressured into converting to Islam. Because they made this forced conversion charge known, “members of the Christian community now fear reprisal attacks by Muslim extremists.” Some have appealed to the Vatican and Christian groups and churches in the West for help. Yet “we only hear voices telling us to stay where we are and to stop making too much noise,” said a Christian man living in Gaza City: “If they continue to turn a blind eye to our tragedy, in a few months there will be no Christians left in Palestine. Today it’s happening in the Gaza Strip, tomorrow it will take place in Bethlehem.”
To that depressing catalog I will add only a couple more items; please do follow the link and read them all:
Kenya: Seven Islamic jihadis launched simultaneous grenade and gunfire attacks on two churches while the congregations were at prayer. Five militants attacked the Africa Inland Church, killing 17 people and wounding approximately 60, including many women and children; two other Muslim terrorists attacked the nearby Catholic Church, wounding three. …
Nigeria: In what is being described as an ongoing genocide of Christians, over 65 people, including two politicians, were killed in triple attacks on Christians. First, Muslims destroyed 43 Christian-owned farms. Nobody was arrested. Then they attacked nine Christian villages around the city of Jos, killing dozens of people. “They came in hundreds,” said an official, “Some had police uniforms and some even had bulletproof vests.” In one instance, Christians fleeing the violence took refuge in the house of a local church leader, which was bombed and more than 50 Christians were burned alive, including the pastor’s wife and children. Then the Muslims attacked the funeral for the victims of the village raids, killing several more people. Security forces said Muslim Fulani herdsmen were responsible but Islamic militant group Boko Haram issued a statement saying “We thank Allah for the successful attack.” Separately, Islamic motorcycle assassins gunned down four Christians. …
South Africa: The Islamic terror group Al Shabaab is accused of murdering 14 Christians, all Ethiopians, in the Western Cape. A Christian bishop, also a former police inspector, fears more of his flock will be targeted: “We want authorities to do something because we know this is the work of al-Shabaab. If nothing is done, the Ethiopian population will be depleted… [those who died are] holy martyrs who have died because they are Christians.” Meanwhile, Father Mike Williams of the Anglican Catholic Church also revealed that members of his congregation have been targeted by gunmen “with connections to Muslim extremists,” saying that “In July, we have lost seven members of our church.”