June 30, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

And out of Lawrence will come.... Talmud Torah, Take Two?

Via Bloghd in the name of Orthomom, evidence that the day school trend has peaked... and alternatives are being sought:
A group of Orthodox families, frustrated with the rising costs of tuition for a yeshiva education, has approached the Lawrence Public Schools about using district school buildings to educate their children.

Kenny Gluck and Jonathan Isler, both of Woodmere, have organized a Committee for Supplemental Yeshiva Programs, comprising Orthodox parents in the Five Towns, to test the feasibility of joining forces with the Lawrence schools. The parents said they are paying between $6,000 and $18,000 a year to educate a child in the yeshivas. They would pay about $1,500 to bring a religious instructor into the public schools after school hours to educate their children. The students would study with other public-school children during the regular school day and then receive their religious education after hours in the public-school building.

Gluck said the partnership would benefit the public schools as well, since many private-school parents have been complaining that they are paying high school taxes and not receiving their fair share of services from the school district. He added that the partnership may be the turning point in getting a school budget passed in Lawrence, since a District 15 budget has not been approved since 2002, forcing the district to work on contingency budgets.

Gluck said that school administrators have been approached and are extremely open to the idea. Gluck and Isler have been discussing the possibility for the past two years, they said.

"I think it's great," said Superintendent Dr. John Fitzsimons. "I would love to be filling up these classes."

I'd love to hear a quote from Bar Ilan's Menachem Friedman on this. It seems that the Modern Orthodox lifestyle and demographics may be no more sustainable than their Haredi cousins.

June 29, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Kids these days

Might I suggest that anyone allocating a million or more dollars in Jewish communal money who hasn't read Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds - Kaiser Family Foundation is guilty of malpractice?

June 24, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

A liberal's view of Iraq

Cadenhead neails it:
As much as I want a positive outcome in Iraq, in spite of my opposition to the war, I can't see it happening under a White House more serious about fighting Democrats than terrorists.

June 23, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Tie an Orange Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes
Cities may bulldoze people's homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development, a divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday, giving local governments broad power to seize private property to generate tax revenue.

In a scathing dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the decision bowed to the rich and powerful at the expense of middle-class Americans. The 5-4 decision means that homeowners will have more limited rights.

Tax revenue, my friends, tax revenue. Not to avoid the costs of policing a third world country, not to keep a promise to the Empire. People's homes and lives and neighborhoods are being destroyed in Connecticut to build a shopping mall.

So forgive me if I don't cry for you, Gush Katif and Neve Dekalim.

June 19, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Maps.Google.Com has trouble recognizing Israel

I blame the programmers, but no doubt the folks at Camera will be blaming something more sinister. Google Maps has quietly added the rest of the globe to its service... and in the process, set themselves up for controversy.

Click through map of Israel and then zoom in or out one setting. Ooops! There goes "Israel".

No doubt someone will blow this into a scandal in the coming week and Google's coporate PR will struggle to set things right. Personally, I'd rather they spend the time putting in real mapping information for the Holy Land, so we can all see the route of the great wall and study satellite phots of our old Jerusalem stomping grounds.

June 17, 2005

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

Informed Schorsch

Hey Yudel, why is it up to a guest blogger to break this news?

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

They shall be for frontlets between thine eyes...


Oh wait -- he's Iranian? Never mind.

June 16, 2005

June 15, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Bob Dylan tangles with a Catholic mother, 1962

It's Only Rock 'N Roll is selling a 1962 letter from Dylan's girlfriend Susan Rotolo to her mother, in which the 18-year-old complains about her mother's attitude:
"you often put Bob down in his presence...by telling him that his parents never taught him manners...then you turned to Mrs. Evans and remarked 'This is the jerk Bob Zimmerman Dylan, the one Suze likes'...when i called you from Rome last week that Bob (once again) hinted to me about marriage...all you raved about was that there were plenty of good catholic boys....
(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

The Hasid next door

Peter Applebome asks all the right questions in a debate over the construction of a yeshiva and boarding school in the Rockland County, NY town of Airmont:

Then there's the question of what's a religious prejudice and what's an aesthetic or a land-use one? You don't have to spend much time in Rockland County to realize just how much the growth of dense, cluttered Orthodox towns like Monsey and New Square is the eternal thread in civic discourse. So, you don't have to be anti-Jewish to be skeptical of the school project here.

"I wouldn't want it, and I'm Jewish," said Leo Bellows, an 84-year-old retiree who was waiting for his sandwich at Joseph's Gourmet. "Once the Hasids come in, they want to take over the entire territory."

Then there is Barry Kostrinsky, a Rockland resident since 1987. "I wouldn't want to say anything bad about another religious Jew, but to me, this isn't about religion, it's about people wanting their own space."

So, whether this is really about religion or culture or even class is a little muddy. But even if they don't admit it, what both sides probably agree on is that when people argue about Hillside Avenue, they're really not arguing about Hillside Avenue.

"The opposition is less about what's going to be on this street and more about what's going to be on the other streets around it," Mr. Lynch said.

June 10, 2005

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

The faith of the fathers

From the the Star-Ledger:

The primary guardian should choose a child's religious upbringing, a New Jersey appeals panel ruled yesterday in siding with a divorced Jewish father who did not want his children to attend classes about his former wife's Catholic faith.

Read the ruling here.

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

Who needs Hebrew?

An American oleh wrote me excitedly about this, calling it "the most important initiative in years":

The first phase of the "Hebrew in America" program will be launched next fall with the introduction and intensification of Hebrew language immersion programs in fifteen local early childhood programs in Northern New Jersey.

As my friend explained:

If Hebrew is thrown away in the US, the split between there and here becomes official and irreparable.

And my kneejerk reaction:

The phrase 'pissing against the wind' comes to mind. We can get a core of already committed jews, already conversant in Hebrew, to ramp up their studies. You can even get a slightly less committed ring to learn a few more phrases or fund a few more Hebrew language studies courses in the community or colleges. But anything more ambitious? You can't sustain an interest in a language unless it is woven into the warp and woof of everyay life. Jews were traditionally trilingual, at least, because there felt a NEED for Torah study, a need to converse with their neighbors in Yiddish, and a need to converse with the gentiles in their native tongues. What NEED does Hebrew literacy fulfill in this day and age? To converse with Israelis, most of whom speak English anyway? > I'm urging my kids to learn chinese, so at least someone can speak to our overlords in the year 2020.

(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

A study in orange

The sight of all those orange shirts along Fifth Avenue during the Salute to Israel Parade brought me back to the simpler days of Jewish dissent, when folks who backed the policies of the Israeli government were called "pro-Israel" and those who didn't were called "self-hating."

June 6, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Bush propagandist: Jews not "regular people"

Thanks to Media Matters for America for the catch.

(Reb Yudel)

Mighty Christian of you, Xulon!

I recently stumbled across a Google ad leading me toXulon Press, which promises:
Christian book publishing made fast, easy, and affordable

Have you written a Christian book? Xulon Press is the world's largest Christian publisher. We give Christian authors everything they need to get published.

Sounds good enough, if you're into that sort of thing. At least until you get to the claim that Xulon Press is
Affordable. Start for only $1,499, plus get up to 70% off when you buy copies.
Affordable? Compared to what?

Certainly not compared to print-on-demand pioneer iUniverse, whoseiUniverse, whose most lavish package is only $799.

Thanks, Xulon Press, for validating my post-election hunch: If you want to make money hand-over-fist in today's America, slap a cross or a fish on your product, raise the price, and wait for the rubes to send you money.

I guess that's one way to serve Jesus: Make sure that if he returns to America, it feels just like his old Judean stomping grounds.

June 5, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Is Aish.com a new denomination of Judaism, or just a new brand?

Now Aish HaTorah is seeding their own network of campus rabbis, according to this posting on JewishJobs.com:
Orthodox Rabbi will live on or near the Columbia University campus in NYC. Rabbi will be responsible for running programs for unaffiliated college students and forming strong relationships with them. This will include having students over for Shabbat meals, running events of interest to their demographic, and eventually referring students to further study in Israel or yeshiva.

Salary based on experience

Email resume as Word Document to rick@kiruv.com

Other benefits: Aish Hatorah will pay for your apartment near Columbia

June 3, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Bush silent in face of Bashir's SCUDs?

From the New York Times: Syria Test-Fires 3 Scud Missiles, Israelis Say:

Syria test-fired three Scud missiles last Friday, including one that broke up over Turkish territory and showered missile parts down onto unsuspecting Turkish farmers, Israeli military officials revealed Thursday.

These were the first such Syrian missile tests since 2001, the Israelis said, and were part of a Syrian missile development project using North Korean technology and designed, the Israelis contend, to deliver air-burst chemical weapons. The missiles included one older Scud B, with a range of about 185 miles, and two Scud D's, the Israelis say they believe, with a range of about 435 miles.


Israeli officials, who are familiar with the intelligence but asked that their names or departments not be identified, decided to publicize the tests in part because they were puzzled by the American silence about them, and because Israel sees them as part of a troubling pattern of behavior by Mr. Assad.

Tip of the kova tembel to AmericaBlog, who asks some good questions:

Now why would the White House say nothing about the May 27 SCUD missile tests that Syria launched?

...Could it be that this doesn not fit with the talking points of the administration about a safer Middle East?

(Reb Yudel)

Separation Dreams

Last night I had my second dream concerning Israeli politics. The first was many years ago: I was playing handball against the kotel, with Yasser Arafat.

Last night's dream, I was walking with some junior IDF officer who was responsible for mapping the separation line. It seemed odd that someone so junior was doing this, and that it was so close to the actual withdrawal. Then I realized that the line he was marking was in the backyard of some houses in my hometown of Rochester. The street immediately facing the shul was to still be in the Israeli side of the line, but the few blocks over were to be Palestinian.

I was struck by how little warning the affected residents were getting.

Then I realized that we were in Rochester, and it seemed rather odd that the Palestinians were getting an area of Rochester.

The officer showed me a map, and explained that just as the Palestinians had their separated yet theoretically "contiguous" areas of Jerusalem in the north (Shuafat, I guess), the south, and the east -- east, in this case, being a few thousand miles east in Rochester.

Next thing I knew I was in the Rochester shul, but the political part was over.

June 2, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Yudelson's cure for Internet pornography

News comes that Sex sites get a new .xxx home to call their own:

The .xxx domain is for porn sites

A proposal to create net domains ending .xxx has been approved by the body that oversees the net's addressing system.

Sexually explicit sites will be encouraged to move to the new domains to make it easier for people to filter and avoid them.

So how do we sequester pornography onto the .xxx internet without censoring the rest?

There's a simple law that can take care of it (but since it allows porn at all, I doubt congress will pass it, even though most of us parents will support it):

Web sites in the .xxx domain can determine the jurisdiction of choice and corresponding "community standards" for all obscenity suits filed against them.

The result: Anyone who fears they may be prosecuted for *obscentity* in Cincinatti will register in .xxx, so they only have to deal with San Fernando standards.

The various art, literature, health, etc. sites who have worried about "indecency" laws will remain safe.

Parents can safely harbor the illusion that their children will only be exposed to obscenity on street corners and while rifling through their sock drawers, not when they're supposed to be writing a book report.

June 1, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Give a Yid a Blog

and you'll laugh a bit. But give Air Time desktop publishing software, and you have a joke suitable for framing:
The first in a series of magazine covers that I hope will give you a taste of the blogs I read on a regular basis.
(Reb Yudel)

Tuition lessons

Air Time has Fun with Tuition (and Photoshop) as he responds to tuition complaints with a poster
"which, in my opinion, should be hung up at every Mikvah and Yichud Room in America."
Yasher Koach!
(Andrew Silow-Carroll)

He's, you know, a child of Lithuanian immigrants

When is it relevant for a newspaper to mention a subject's religion or ethnicity? A recent article in the Times talked about how fans of the British soccer team Manchester United hate their new American owner, Floridian Malcolm Glazer. According to reporter Sarah Lyall, various British newspapers have pilloried Glazer for his “personal qualities,” which

“extend to rapaciousness, ruthlessness, meanness, megalomania, unflattering facial hair and a propensity, The Daily Mail says, for ‘wearing his trouser waistband ludicrously high.’”

It sounds like a casting call for Shylock. Could their be more to the anger that Lyall's not telling us?