April 29, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Does the president hate me because I'm a Democrat, a Jewish liberal, or because I'm Middle Class?

Bush Redefines “Better Off”

So to sell his tax cuts, Bush implied that anything under $100,000 was “low income.” Now, to sell his Social Security package, anything over $20,000 is “better off.”

Wow. What a great deal for those of us making in the middle of that range.

Oh, and speaking of being in the bullseye: How's the hunt for Bin Laden doing? Just wondering, Georgie boy.

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

Frist: I didn't mean to pass over the Jews

Interesting, but I don't remember Bill Frist sending me, a Jewish newspaper editor, a press release before. But I just got one today, which in part reads:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) yesterday submitted the following statement to be included with his remarks in the Congressional Record. The remarks explore Passover's lessons for dealing with the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. I thought you might be interested in considering this piece to be included in a guest column section of your paper.

They also include some very insiderish stuff:

Jewish law dictates, however, that the Jewish people must do more on Passover than merely remember their ancestors’ time in bondage. They must strive to reenact the experience.

The sender was Elie Teichman, the majority leader's Deputy Press Secretary and a Univ. or Maryland grad once described as "considering rabbinical school."

I may be wrong, but I think I smell a little outreach to the "people of faith" who may have felt left out of last Sunday's "Historic Simulcast."

(Reb Yudel)

What's up with the UJC?

Marty Kraar had a vision for a centrally-funded, central organization for North American Jewry. It looks like the UJC has chosen the short-term task of low expectations and parochialism. From The Jewish Week last month:

The United Jewish Communities, under the leadership of a new director who wants to refocus the agency on fund raising and service to local communities, fired a number of executives this week who were instrumental in broadening the UJC in recent years.


On Wednesday, the group dismissed Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, vice president of Jewish Renaissance and Renewal; Bob Hyfler, senior vice president for Research and Development; Rabbi Eric Lankin, director of religious and education activities; Yoav Ben-Horin, director of the agency’s Israel and Overseas pillar; and Lorraine Blass, senior planner.

Remember: It's not a 20th century American Jewish organization if it's not willing to eat the seed corn!

(Reb Yudel)

A bit of belated Benedict blogging

Call me paranoid, but I get a tingly feeling on my spine when I hear former members of Hitler Youth whine about the "dictatorship of relativism". It's not as Benedicts sainted (literally!) predecessor had any real problems with the dictatorship of absolutism.The Washington Post reports on Ratzinger's selection:

These sessions were also covered by an oath of secrecy. But several cardinals made clear on Wednesday that the march of secularization across Western Europe was the number one problem on their minds, and that Ratzinger seemed to be part of the solution.

The new pope, said George, the Chicago archbishop, "understands Western society" and "is very well prepared" for the task of revitalizing Christianity in affluent, secular cultures.

On Monday morning, the cardinals attended the traditional Mass for the election of a pope at St. Peter's, where Ratzinger gave a stinging homily against the West's creeping "dictatorship of relativism." Those who hold firmly to belief in God and moral absolutes, he said, are accused of fundamentalism, while the only socially acceptable attitude seems to be that everything is relative and nothing is clearly right or wrong.

In effect, it laid out the philosophy behind Ratzinger's two decades of work as head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

(Reb Yudel)

Funny how you didn't see conservatives call for term limits for the Pope....

The Volokh Conspiracy demonstrates Bush era triangulation. First, have Congressional leadership issue not-so-veiled threats for judges. Then, have the house intellectuals offer the "reasonable" solution of term limits:

Steven Calabresi and I have a Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed advocating 18 year term limits for Supreme Court Justices, which anticipates the Duke conference on ours and other such proposals that will be held on Saturday.

April 28, 2005

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

Frank Rich: That old-time secularism

In the latest in my ongoing series on The New York Times' Jewish columnists, I celebrate Frank Rich's resurrection of ethnic, universalistic, secular Jewish humanism:

Jews like Rich continue to defy these predictions, demonstrating that an ethnic Jewish ethos is still a powerful force in the 21st century. As long as assimilated Jews retain their strong presence in the arts, journalism, academia, and politics — and as long as they consider their fields to be under assault — they will continue to be motivated not by the synagogue but by the strong undercurrents of Jewish history. And as long as powerful Americans use code words like the “East Coast elites,” we write off these kinds of Jewish thinkers and activists at our own peril.

April 22, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Yo! Talk to the Rock!

Security vs. Rebuilding: Kurdish Town Loses Out reports the New York Times:

For years Nuradeen Ghreeb has dreamed of bringing clean drinking water to his hometown. That town happens to be Halabja, where 17 years ago he and his parents cowered in a basement as Saddam Hussein's airplanes attacked with chemical weapons, killing at least 5,000 people.

But on Sunday, Mr. Nuradeen learned that his dream was over, because the United States had canceled the water project it had planned here as part of a vast effort to rebuild Iraq after the 2003 invasion. Ordinarily a quiet and reserved civil engineer, he sat on one of his beloved water pipes on hearing the news and wept, his tears glistening in the afternoon sun.

"If the Americans think that training the Iraqi Army comes before clean drinking water for the people of Halabja," he said quietly, "then we can't expect anything from them."

The Halabja project, worth around $10 million, accounted for a small fraction of the $18.4 billion that Congress approved in 2003 for the reconstruction of Iraq, including $4 billion for water and sewage projects. But with the outbreak of insurgency in central and southern Iraq last year, the United States shifted $3.4 billion from water, electricity and oil projects to pay for training and equipping the Iraqi Army and police forces.

Hey, kvetchers! Don't you know your Bible? Talk to the rock and you'll get all the water you want....

Tip of the hat to Get Your War On

April 20, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Time is on the side of terror

Orcinus asks:

How did it come to pass that, on the 10th anniversary of the second-worst act of terrorism on American soil -- the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City -- one of the nation's best-known newsmagazines completely ignores the date and its meaning , and instead devotes its cover to plumping for a woman who has made light of the bombing?

(Reb Yudel)

Anti-Zionists take up Holocaust denial

The Stop the expulsion! group opposes the withdrawal from Gaza settlements.

I call them anti-Zionist because they see the creation of a Jewish government as a blight in God's plan. As the Libertarians can tell you, once you have a government, it will start telling you to do things you don't want to do.

They're Holocaust deniers because they seem to forget that what made the Holocaust infinitely worse than, say, the Expulsion from Spain, is that the Nazis were lying when they told the Jews they were being relocated.

The Jews deported from Warsaw were not relocated; they were exterminated in gas chambers.

Perhaps once the folks don't have to pass through Palestinian territory if they want to leave their villas, they can spend more time visiting Yad Vashem and less reading the collected works of David Irving.

April 18, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Beating the numbers in the war on terror

In the Vietnam War, the military succeeded in beating the numbers, with the help of inflated body counts and deflated estimates of enemy strength. It didn't help win the war, but it helped lots of soldiers earn some stars.

It looks like the Bush Administration is trying a similar tack in the battle against bin Laden, as the Detroit Free Press reports:
As terrorist attack numbers grow, scorekeeping is to stop


The State Department has decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.

Hey, what's a 20-year run, anyway?

Incidentally, do you know that the majority of the terrorist attacks in the '85 report that happened in the U.S. were presumed to have been caried out by Jewish extremists?

(Reb Yudel)

Why do Republicans hate most people of faith?

FaithForward:


It is time for us to state, simply and directly, that we can affirm faith while disagreeing with the Republican legislative agenda. By "we," I mean anyone who can get under that statement.

You don't have to be religious yourself.

You don't even have to be a Democrat.

You just have to be willing to say that you are willing to affirm faith, but you don't believe that it should be used as a weapon in a partisan campaign to increase the political power of a single party in the American commonwealth.

(Reb Yudel)

Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff move America toward Traditional values

Given that Rabbi Daniel Lapin is credited with introducting Tom Delay to Jack Abramoff, it's not surprising that the latter is a member of Rabbi Lapin's Toward Tradition group.

It's impossible to track all the details of the Abramoff scandal, but this little tidbit from several years back provides a useful reminder that the values of Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay -- and presumably Rabbi Lapin -- can indeed be traced to the Torah as interpreted by the rabbis.

The story of Sodom, in particular.

To find out more about Jack Abramoff as a Sodomite -- or at least a defende of the same -- read this
Salon Newsreal on Tom DeLay, defender of sweatshops:

Wages in the factories average about $3 per hour -- more than $2 less than the U.S. minimum wage of $5.15. No overtime is paid for a 70-hour work week. But that's hardly the worst of it. Far away from the swank beachside hotels, luxurious golf courses and the thousands of Japanese tourists snorkling around sunken U.S. Navy landing craft in the clear waters, some 31,000 textile workers live penned up like cattle by armed soldiers and barbed wire, and squeezed head to toe into filthy sleeping barracks, all of which was documented on film by U.S. investigators last year.

(Reb Yudel)

James Dobson and the culture of death

Remember: It's mostly not about fomenting religious warfare on the second night of Pesach. The main agenda is bare naked hatred of sex in general, and the female sex in particular. Read the The Light Of Reason for details.
(Reb Yudel)

Ehud Manor, 1941-2005

RadioHazak: Ehud Manor, 1941-2005

It seems that someone in heaven is planning a big production and is short a songwriter: In the past year we've lost Naomi Shemer, Arik Lavi, Uzi Hitman, Tzila Dagan and now Ehud, too.

April 17, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Seda Club

ShaBot 6000 meets 50 Cent for Pesach. Rated PG-13. Happy Pesach, Mother ****er!

April 14, 2005

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

Jew vs. Jew, Texas-style

This week the NJ Jewish News interviews David Romanoff, a businessman in Elizabeth who helped organize this week's protests against the Gaza disengagement plan as President Bush meant Prime Minister Sharon:

Romanoff, a warmly hospitable man and the father of eight, said that while he isn’t part of any formal organization or party, his views are shared by a growing number of American Jews. Romanoff brushed aside polls showing American Jews support the plan by a three-to-one margin and the expressions of support for the plan from Jewish leadership, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represents 52 national Jewish organizations. Ahead of Monday’s meeting, the Presidents Conference issued a statement praising Sharon’s “bold decision to implement the Disengagement Plan, a difficult and demanding action that Israel is taking in the search for security and peace in the Middle East.”

Romanoff insisted that opinion is shifting as people learn more. “We’re not reactionaries; we’re mainstream Jews,” he said.

Plus, see my full list of celebrity iPod playlists, including Columbia President Lee Bollinger's:

"Reviewing the Situation,” Oliver! soundtrack
“No One To Blame,” Anita Baker
“See No Evil,” REM
“Kids (What’s the matter with kids today?),”
Bye Bye Birdie soundtrack
“Teach Your Children,” Crosby, Stills and Nash
“We’re Not Sorry,” Urinetown soundtrack
“Til the Money Runs Out,” Tom Waits
“Brother Can You Spare a Dime?,” Yip Harburg

April 12, 2005

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

What else is on Bush's iPod?

What else is on Bush's iPod? YudelLine readers get a sneak peek at my column this week, which uncovers playlists of the rich and famous:


George W. Bush (Mideast peace playlist)

“With God on Our Side,” Bob Dylan
“Give Peace a Chance,” John Lennon
“Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Simon and Garfunkel
“I Want to Hold Your Hand,” The Beatles
“Please, Please, Please,” James Brown
“I Walk the Line,” Johnny Cash
“You've Got a Friend,” Carole King
“Am I Asking Too Much,” Dinah Washington
“What's He Building?” Tom Waits
“Don't Push Me,” 50 Cent
“I Should Have Stayed In Bed,” The Bee Gees

April 11, 2005

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

Lapin's latest wildly inappropriate Nazi analogy

“My first reaction was that it was déjà vu. This was the Nazis marching in Skokie.”

-- Rabbi Daniel Lapin, leader of the Seattle-based Toward Tradition, reacting to news of a 10-day gay pride festival that will culminate in a march through Jerusalem. “I’m not saying that the homosexuals are Nazis,” Lapin continued. “I am saying that there is such a thing as deliberate provocation.”

April 10, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Rabbi Aryeh Spero, would-be court Jew for American theocracy

Or perhaps court jester is the most likely term. What is it about these DeLay-loving, freedom-hating right-wingers that lead them to inevitable ridiculous hypocrisies?

Take Rabbi Aryeh Spero (please!), who attracted my notice as a speaker at the Conference for An American Theocracy, is rabbi at Beit Hadassah Synagogue in Great Neck, New York.

Beit Hadassah Synagoge. In Great Neck.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Gush Emunim movement, which sought to hasten the messianic redemption by settling Jews throughout Judea and Samaria, Beit Hadassah might bring up images of grey-haired Hadassah ladies knitting sweaters for Israeli orphans.

Wrong.

Beit Hadassah was the building in Hebron where Rabbi Moshe Levinger and his followers began their project of settlement in the heart of Hebron.

How on earth do you name a synagogue -- in Great Neck, Long Island, of all places! -- for a place that stands for the centrality, sanctity and self-sacrifice demanded by the Land of Israel?

I guess that takes the same sort of chutzpah as being the sort of rabbi who endorses a Christian interpretation of the Bible.... and wants that interpretation to rule America. As Congress Daily reported about the conference Spero took part in:

Christian conservatives and a core group of congressional supporters are launching a significant new push to restructure the federal judicial system to reflect a more explicitly biblical world view, in the hopes that these changes will pave the way for broader social and political changes, leaders of the movement said.
Among Rabbi Aryeh Spero's soul-mates were the avowedly Stalinist:
lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, “upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law.”

Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his “bottom line” for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. “He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: ‘no man, no problem,’ ” Vieira said.

The full Stalin quote, for those who don’t recognize it, is “Death solves all problems: no man, no problem.”

For the record, according to the Washington Post,
The conference was organized during the height of the Schiavo controversy by a new group, the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration. This was no collection of fringe characters. The two-day program listed two House members; aides to two senators; representatives from the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America; conservative activists Alan Keyes and Morton C. Blackwell; the lawyer for Terri Schiavo’s parents; Alabama’s “Ten Commandments” judge, Roy Moore; and DeLay, who canceled to attend the pope’s funeral.
Speaking as a Jew -- though not a Judeo- -- I find this damn frightening. I can only assume that the learned Rabbi Spero believes that Stalin (and Lenin) would have been better for the Jews if only they had some rabbis among their cadres....

(Reb Yudel)

What it means to be a Party hack

The Abstract Factory: In which Jonah Goldberg performs feats that bend the laws of space and time

The fact is, Goldberg doesn't care in the least whether what he says is true and well-reasoned, and neither do his backers and readers. Goldberg's function is not to say things that are true, nor is his function to present a reasoned argument. Goldberg's function is to spew forth some roughly grammatical stream of words that appear to reinforce conservatarian ideology, so that his readers can listen, nod, and feel vindicated in their beliefs.

And --- this is what's really maddening, all the outrages I've brought up wouldn't matter in the least except for this point --- virtually all right-leaning commentators, running the gamut from David Brooks to Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Reynolds, whether consciously or not, perform roughly the same function, and they're wildly effective. The entire right-wing movement is like a hovercraft floating on the perpetually roaring whirlwind of sub-rational, self-reinforcing nonsense that gusts through the minds of its adherents. It goes on and on and on, and nobody stops the people who feed it; most of the time, nobody with a prominent voice even stands up to them and calls them on their nonsense. For writing this column, and numerous other pieces of garbage like it, for filling people's minds with offal, Jonah Goldberg will never face judgment; he'll die peacefully, with a fat bank account and a kid gloves obituary.

(Reb Yudel)

Kids these days!

The Seattle Times: Living: Adolescent sex not as common as parents think

The rumors [of sexual adventures at bar mitzvahs] have been a boon for Evan Wofsy, a middle-school teacher from Livingston, N.J., who doubles on weekends as the Bar Mitzvah Bouncer, a tamer of 13-year-olds at fancy affairs.

Anxious parents, including plenty from North Jersey, hire him to make sure kids don't misbehave on the bus between the synagogue and the banquet hall, or in the bathrooms, alcoves and parking lots outside the party room. He gets enough calls to keep him and a few teacher friends chaperoning more than 200 parties a year.

"Do the kids try and make out? Oh, absolutely," Wofsy says. "But more than that? It just doesn't happen. I can't say what goes on when I'm not there, but even when the kids tell me the stuff they've heard, they admit they've never actually seen any of it happen. I think things get fabricated: One thing happens and overnight, there are 14 versions of the story, none of them accurate. That's how middle-school kids are.

"Not that these kids don't keep me busy. They have food fights, throw things out of the bus window, wrestle, put toilet paper rolls in the toilet to clog it, pull fire alarms or break things or hurl party favors at each other. I've got to tell you, keeping these kids from being sexual is the last thing I have to worry about."

(Reb Yudel)

Reminder: Rabbi Lappin's pals are teaching their kids to convert your kids!

From the Forward:


"The past 12 years have seen a proliferation of evangelical Christian novels written for children and young adults that feature Jewish characters," Mark Stover declares in his report, "A Kinder, Gentler Teaching of Contempt? Jews and Judaism in Contemporary Protestant Evangelical Children's Fiction."

"Many of these books are, at their essence, conversion narratives," Stover wrote. The children's books stress the importance of "Jews converting to Christianity" and "the implicit emptiness of Jewish spirituality," according to Stover, a reference librarian at San Diego State University.

The conversion theme is alluded to in a blurb promoting the 31st installment of the junior "Left Behind" series, "Escape to Masada," which finds Israelis and Christians rushing from Jerusalem, fearing for their lives. Even amid such chaos, the blurb declares, the evangelical teenagers "continue their search for more people who need to hear the truth" about the return of Jesus.

(Reb Yudel)

Philadelphia Federation drinks, gags on Mort Klein's anti-Zionist koolaid; Israel pays the price

Forward Newspaper Online
The Philadelphia Jewish Federation withdrew its $100,000 donation to a Washington-based group, The Israel Project, which had planned to use the money to set up an office in Jerusalem that is aimed at working with the foreign press corps there. The relationship between the two groups ended after it was revealed that the Philadelphia federation had named a critic of Israel's Gaza disengagement plan to lead the project.
(Reb Yudel)

Synagogue Dues and Don'ts

The Synagogue-Goer’s Bill Of Rights - The Jewish Week
You have the right to pray with your family. Some of us like to have a synagogue experience as an entire family, while others like to have an adult experience of prayer, as our children have their own separate age-appropriate experience. Both of these desires are valid, but even those who seek adult experiences must understand that a synagogue is a place for every generation. To create the next generation of adult synagogue-goers, we have to make Jews feel welcome at every stage of life.
(Reb Yudel)

Stupid Jew Watch: Wolf Blitzer

Media Matters for America reports on how former Jerusalem Post correspondent Wolf Blitzer uses his religious ignorance to advance the Republican appropriation of Pope John Paul II:
Wolf Blitzer "not so sure" liberal CNN host Begala is "a good Catholic"
(Reb Yudel)

Republicans: Good Ol' Partying with your tax dollars

Via Eschaton and AMERICAblog :

Ok, so you know how the GOP is looking for new ways for you to invest your social security funds? Those private accounts? Take a look at how they invest money in their favorite red state, Ohio....

According to the April 6th edition of the Toledo Blade, the state has taken to investing in rare coins. No Kidding. Rare coins. Through a major GOP fundraiser, of course.

April 9, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Alabama Catholics for pluralism

Preacher angers Alabama students at the University of Alabama; Catholic students appeal to pluralism to defend their beliefs:


Lauren Coles, a freshman accounting major who is Catholic [said, about the visiting Pentecostal preacher,] "He has no idea what he is talking about. He has no right to tell me I'm going to hell."


Jay Rosenberger, a freshman majoring in management information systems and also a Catholic student, was angered by Morris' "insensitive" teachings.


"I really don't like his idea that I'm going to hell because I'm from a specific group," he said. "It didn't surprise me [hearing the preacher say that], but to hear it right to my face hurts a little bit."


Does Cardinal Ratzinger know what's going on with his Bible-Belt flock?

April 8, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Army Cancels Special Ops Bible Project, Seeks to Create Loophole to Evade FOIA Request

Old news, yes, but read this dispatch from Binghamton nonetheless.
(Reb Yudel)

Culture of Life vs. Culture of Cell Culture Worship

Another piece by yours truly in the New ersey Jewish News: Conference stresses promise of stem cell research

With Acting Governor Richard Codey pushing to make New Jersey a global leader in stem cell research, the Jewish community’s support for such research is taking on heightened political significance....

Codey hopes the legislature will place a referendum for a $230 million bond to support stem cell research on the November ballot, something that will instantly transform a seemingly esoteric Jewish-Catholic debate over the humanity of very young embryos into the stuff of political action and, no doubt, mud slinging.

It's going to be amusing to watch the Aryeh Speros and Jeff Balabons defend Catholic theology at the expense of Jewish lives as this issue develops....

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

Are we coddling our college kids?

My column this week weighs in on the Columbia University brouhaha, asking if perhaps Jewish leaders shoot themselves in the foot when they geshrei about a "crisis of anti-Semitism" in academia.


It’s become a reflex within much of the organized Jewish community to equate pro-Palestinian rhetoric and scholarship with anti-Semitism. But in the case of the Columbia mess, it ended up hurting the students’ cause by in effect lowering the bar on faculty expectations. And it sends messages to prospective college students that campuses with healthy and exciting Jewish communities are hostile territory.

April 7, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

How many Jewish Week readers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

That's not funny!
(Reb Yudel)

JTS Gives Up on Getting Good Press

That's my take-away from this Jewish Week article noting the 20th anniversary of the first female Conservative rabbi:
The spokeswoman at JTS seemed a bit on edge. “How do I know who this is?” she demanded. “I’m not familiar with your byline.”
Also noteworthy: The revial of the JTS non-egalitarian minyan, and the second JTS musmekhet to be hired by a 500-member congregation.
(Reb Yudel)

Yitz Greenberg on JPII

From the Forward Newspaper:

Jews are disproportionately liberal, politically and theologically, and they held the pope's conservatism in Church policy against him. Therefore, most never fully understood, still less appreciated, his broader theological framework.

He maintained that his pro-tradition, pro-family, pro-life, anti-feminist, anti-gay teachings — combined with his opposition to the death penalty, his Common Good doctrine critique of free-market capitalism and his challenge to the use of force in international relations — added up to a defense of the culture of life.

In retrospect, John Paul's Jewish critics judged him too harshly.

Up until his reign, a willingness to expand the post-Vatican II trends and pursue more positive attitudes toward Jews and Judaism went hand-in-hand with theological liberalism. Both policies involved a critique of the tradition and acknowledgment of past failures.

But John Paul cut that connection. While he bent the church to his will to check liberal trends on many social issues, he extended Vatican II's opening to Jews and Judaism.

In the end, he went toward the Jews where no pope had ever gone before.

I daresay that when the dust of history settles, the Jewish community will recognize him as one of the most righteous of the gentile nations.

April 6, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

President breaks oath to preserve constitution, again

U.S. Constitution, article 14, section 4:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

(Reb Yudel)

Yair Sheleg on Religious Zionism at a crossroads

Haaretz : Historic decision for religious Zionism

During the past decades, two different streams have been claimants to religious Zionism. One of them, which we'll call "the spirit of Bnei Akiva," regards Zionism as part of a general process of returning to historic reality, of integration with and consideration toward the family of nations. Therefore, it has also adopted the values of modern culture.

The other stream, referred to as hardali (nationalist and ultra-Orthodox), is itself divided into two.

Its "messianic" component regards Zionism as part of the process of mythic redemption, which is supposed to lead to the renewal of the Kingdom of Israel and realization of the ideal of a solitary people who "ignore the goyim."

The "earthly" component of the hardali stream did not nurture plans of redemption, but it also failed to understand the significance of responsibility and the new conditions of sovereign life. It believed that the same halakha that developed in the Diaspora could also continue to be maintained under conditions of sovereignty.

The common denominator between these two components of the hardali stream is a blindness to the reality of Israeli life and to the fact that a failure to internalize what the conditions of sovereignty mean is liable itself to lead to their ruin.

Due the fact that both of these streams wear similar knitted kippa and serve in the IDF, the sharp differences in worldview were blurred - not only for those looking in from outside, but even more critically, within the stream itself.

(Reb Yudel)

In response to Bush pressure on settlements, Sharon adopts Kerry line

Jerusalem Post: PM pushes for more sensitive pullout
(Reb Yudel)

Lashon Hora or Mozi Shem Ra?

Only Rabbi Mordechai Tendler knows for sure....

April 4, 2005

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

Let our students go!

NJ Jewish News reports that Rutgers University has reinstated its study abroad program in Israel.

Plus, personnel news from the Solomon Schechter of Essex and Union.

April 2, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Teaneck University Fires Neo-Nazi Adjunct

Via Eschaton comes this tale from the FDU student newspaper:

Jacques Pluss, an adjunct professor at the Metropolitan Campus, openly discussed his March 21 dismissal from Fairleigh Dickinson in a 44-minute interview on a website of the National Socialist Movement designed with swastikas and a picture of Adolf Hitler.

Pluss said he was "removed" from his classroom duties when he received a brief phone call at 5:30 p.m. from the department chairman who, he said, told him he was being released "for the convenience of the university" the following day. "I was stolen away in the night," he said. Pluss reported that he will be paid his salary through the end of this semester. He also said he will retire from "the academic world" and devote himself to the cause of the White Aryan Race Nation.

I guess David Horowitz has a point about right-wingers getting a fair shake on campus after all.

(Reb Yudel)

Everything you wanted to know about Chabad

mentalblog.com asks about his blog,
How did this blog turned into Crown Heights and Boro Park, the very places I did my best to leave behind?
Maybe it's the informative interviews with a wide variety of people about Chabad, combined with first-hand knowledge?

In any event, MentalBlog seems like the definitive source of Chabad info, one that deserves more reading -- and links -- than I have been able to give it.

(Reb Yudel)

The Shin Bet's Challenge

Haaretz reports:

A 2005-model Yigal Amir won't stand a chance against Sharon's guards. But that doesn't matter, because the risk is liable to come from a completely different direction.
Fascinating article.

(Reb Yudel)

Is there an author in the house?

What do Harold Schulweis, Harold Kushner, Lawrence Kushner, Joseph Roth, Philip Roth and Henry Roth have in common?

Play David Holzel's Literary Drinking Game and find out! Harold Schulweis Harold Kushner Lawrence Kushner

(Reb Yudel)

The Jerusalem Post on Orthodox Women Rabbis

Jerusalem Post reports:

In 1994, Prof. Mimi Feigelson, a Torah scholar, expert in hassidic thought, and student of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, was the first woman ever known to receive an Orthodox ordination in Israel. A dual-citizen of Israel and the US, and currently teaching in the US, she told a Jewish newspaper in San Francisco in 2002 that for many years she had kept her ordination a secret, for fear of alienating her Orthodox peers.

"I live within the Orthodox world; that is my spiritual community. I did not want to be marginalized for something that is halachically permissible. So in order to honor the community I live within, this is the choice I made," she said.

There are rumors that over 30 years ago, Carlebach may have ordained an Israeli woman, who died very young, and whose ordination never became public knowledge.

Goodman-Thau, the only other woman besides Feigelson known to have received an Orthodox ordination in Israel, also works primarily abroad as an academic and with Jewish communities of many streams (see box). In 2000, Jerusalem Rabbi Yonatan Chipman, a Torah scholar, translator and essayist, decided to ordain Goodman-Thau, explaining: "I was convinced of her knowledge and mastery of practical Halacha. I researched it, and as strange as it seems, there is not really a halachic obstacle. Strictly speaking, in our day, the title of rabbi is a person proven to have mastery of Jewish sources, Jewish law and method of ruling."

Chipman, who studied with Soloveitchik and at the Har Etzion Yeshiva, in addition to 15-plus years of private studies, received his ordination from the late Rabbi Yehuda Gershuni. The modern tradition of individual rabbis and institutions conferring ordination dates to the 13th century, he says.


April 1, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Tangled up in Midrash: Bob Dylan, Rabbi Glaser and Genesis 33:4

Ralph the Sacred River combines Dylanology and Torah study:

I've been reading A Simple Twist of Fate: Bob Dylan and the Making of "Blood on the Tracks" by Andy Gill and Kevin Odegard. This book tells you everything you could ever want to know about the making of that classic record, all the way down to the brand name of the mike used on the kick drum in the Minnesota sessions (Shure M57).

What truly intrigued me, however, was the appearance on page 102 of the puncta extraordinaria of Genesis 33:4....