Thursday, September 28, 2006

Attacking The Custom Of Kapparot

Here's another silly article from ynetnews. Personally I use money for this custom, but to attack those that use chickens is really pretty silly.

The first kapparot basher is, you guessed it, a Reform "Rabbi":
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, from the Reform Movement, claims that this custom bespeaks a lack of compassion and mercy, attributes that generally characterize the Jewish people.

“Slaughtering chickens is an unfit custom that goes against Jewish feelings regarding animals”, he explains. “Judaism has always emphasized that the concepts of atonement, soul searching and repentance are dependent on an inner spiritual endeavor that man undertakes to correct his ways. The concept of Kapparot shifts the emphasis to external ritualistic expressions”.

Kariv contends that the ritual slaughter of the chickens, and the hardships they encounter on the way, cause unjustified suffering. “Anyone who walks through the markets can see that the manner in which the chickens are held before the Kapparot is insufferable. There is no veterinary supervision and no concern for the feelings of these poor creatures.”
I suggest that Kariv open the book of Leviticus before he opens his mouth. But then again, He and his colleagues are smarter than God, and they have already taken out any reference to the Temple and animal sacrifices out of their prayer books.

Next in line to bash the custom is Chedva Vanderbrook, a board member of the Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:
“It does not make sense that we are asking to purify ourselves on Yom Kippur through the slaughter of a helpless animal,” says Chedva Vanderbrook, a board member of the Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“Waving a slaughtered chicken around the head is a pagan custom that should be abolished. The slaughter poisons and hardens man’s heart. It is absurd that people are asking for life by taking the life of another creature, especially when Kapparot can be done with money”.

Vanderbrook, a social worker by profession, claims that in light of the welfare crisis in this country it is better to think of more efficient ways to practice Kapparot: “Needy people, who once received the slaughtered chicken, would today prefer a cooked and prepared chicken, and would always prefer money. In many cases the chickens are not given to poor people, but are cruelly tossed to the side."

As a child, Vanderbrook experienced Kapparot and to this day, she claims that she will never forget the sights and sounds.

“We would buy chickens a few days before Yom Kippur and they would wander through our garden,” she retells, “Before Yom Kippur the butcher would arrive and I would go to my room and hide under the covers in order to not hear the cries of the chickens. It was a difficult and cruel experience. Children who are exposed to this custom either become cruel adults or are traumatized.
Yeah, right. The ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem are just full of cruel or traumatized people. By the way, are these the same animal rights activists that were so concerned about cats and dogs when people were cruelly thrown out of their homes?

The article does end on a good note with a quote from Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu:
Despite this many people will still choose to continue slaughtering the chickens. One can hope that they will try to prevent any abuse on the way to the slaughter. The chief Rabbi of Tzfat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, explains that Jewish ritual slaughter is the least painful way to kill chicken or cattle.

According to him, kosher Jewish slaughter is “ done in a way that the chicken feels no pain”. When it comes to the custom of Kapparot, Rabbi Eliyahu says that one must be very careful in how one handles the animals, and “that one should take extreme care not to harm them”.

“The Torah does not forbid the use of animals for work or for food, but the Torah does teach us to be considerate of them and forbids cruelty towards animals”, he stresses. “This is a very important commandment; Judaism preceded the world by 3000 years in regard to its concern for animals.”
For those who would like to learn more about the custom here are a couple of links.

Rabbi Meir Kahane And Israel's Leadership Crisis

Yesterday I had a discussion with a non-religious, left-leaning friend about poliitics and we both bemoaned the lack of a worthy leader to lead the State of Israel at the present time. Then I came upon a long interview with Rabbi Meir Kahane, and I thought how much we lost when this man was murdered. The entire interview is amazing, and certainly worth reading. However, this particular snippet really caught my eye:
Q: Do you expect to come to power through elections alone?

A: Yes... But if you ask me what is going to happen in this country in the near future, I’d answer that things aren’t that simple. The economic problems are so very serious; the government is a fraud, just like every other government. Democracy breeds governments that are fraudulent, because a government which has to rely on its voters for its existence cannot tell the truth. The bitter truth. If they say: ‘We have to cut down on this… we must reduce that... people won t vote for them. Therefore the government has to lie. That’s what democracy is all about! Democracy is like a compost, it nurtures fraud and lies. And it must lead to a dictatorship eventually. Because since a democratic government doesn’t have the courage to take the steps that are needed, problems are bound to get worse, and in the end the people will accept dictatorship. This train of events may happen here, precisely because the majority of people in this country have no experience of democracy. Even without Kahane, democracy means nothing to them. Therefore we might get a dictatorship here, if the unemployment situation gets worse.

Q: In your opinion, who would be the best candidate as a dictator?

A. At this moment, Sharon, without any doubt. He has the best claim. But he is a very, very bad person.

Q: Why?

A: He is very bad! I’m not talking about his political views. I don’t judge him according to his views. He’s bad. He’s a liar. He has no moral principles. He has no ideals. He’s capable of doing anything, and I’m just as afraid of him as the Left are.
We can't say that we weren't warned!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Generation That Doesn't Know Pollard

From time to time I meet American Jewish youth visiting in Israel. Not to long ago I met a guy who must have been about 25 years old on the bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Outside of the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem we passed some activists that were handing out "FREE POLLARD" leaflets (in Hebrew). I asked my American acquaintance if he knew who Pollard was. He replied, "No," and I was really disappointed. But then again, this young man was probably about 5 years old when Pollard was incarcenated!

On Rosh HaShannah among our dinner guests were two bright young women who are spending a year studying in Israel. I thought to myself, "These women weren't even born when Jonathan Pollard entered prison. In spite of this, they must have heard of them." Imagine my disappointment when they told me that they have no idea who he is.

I cry not for Jonathan Pollard. True, he is suffering. However, I cry for American Jewry which has apparently lost its backbone, if it ever had one. During these Ten Days of Repentance, the abandonement of Jonathan Pollard is a sin that is sitting heavily upon all of us.

השיבינו ה' אליך ונשובה

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

To Be A Holy Nation

These days between Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur are a time for introspection and making a true effort for self improvement. The subject of "Shmirat HaBrit" is one that is often swept under the carpet. This is a shame considering the seriousness of the matter. Arutz 7 has an important article dealing with the subject and providing important links. Check it out.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Preparations For Rosh HaShannah

In Israel we are very busy getting ready to greet the New Year. There is a lot of shopping to do, a lot of cooking to do. Where will we daven this year? Which guests are coming to stay with us? Which Divrei Torah will be said? The coronation of the King is about to take place. May it be a good year for Israel and for all of the world.

In the meantime a lonely Jew sits isolated in a jail cell in the "land of the free and the home of the brave". As we eat apples with honey and all of the other delicacies, he will probably receive his regular prison rations. The man, a victim of a terrible injustice, has been languishing in prison for over twenty years. His name is Jonathan Pollard.

His Jewish brothers do not really care. He is an embarassment for them, a nightmare for law abiding American Jews afraid of being accused of dual loyalty. No!!! We are more German than the Germans American than the Americans! Stars and Stripes forever! Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet! The Israeli politicians that used him are also embarassed by him and have done nothing to help him. He was thrown away by those corrupt "leaders" like one that throws a paper cup into the garbage. For them he is gone and forgotten.

Some of us have not forgotten you, O Yohanatan! Rabbi Aviner for instance:
Did you know that Jonathan Pollard is in an American prison because he spied for the benefit of Israel, and is slowly bleeding to death before our very eyes, and no one knows how much time remains; and that every single day that he is there, we are, every one of us, liable for the sin of "Al ta'amod al dam re'eycha" - "Do not stand idly by your brother's blood"?

Did you know that Jonathan Pollard did not do damage to the United States, but rather gave us information about Iranian, Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian nuclear, chemical and biological warfare capabilities - all being developed for use against Israel - and information on ballistic missile development by these countries; as well as information on up-coming terrorist attacks planned against Israeli civilian targets? This was information that should have been supplied to Israel according to official US policy at the time, but which was being illegally withheld. Because Pollard relayed the information to us, he saved thousands of lives. Did you know that every single day that he remains in prison, we are liable for the sin of: "If you refrain from rescuing those who are taken to death and those on the verge of being slain - and you will claim 'But, we did not know about this.'"? (Mishlei [Proverbs] 24:11)
May the upcoming year be the year that Jonathan Pollard is set free.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Controversy Surrounds Burial Of Herzl’s Children In Israel

Arutz 7 reports:
The remains of two of Theodore Herzl's children will be brought to Israel this week from France for reburial, according to the wishes of the Zionist leader. Herzl's remains were brought to Israel in 1949.

The children, Paula and Hans, will be reburied in the Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem. The coffins will be flown to Israel on Tuesday night and the remains will be reburied the following day. A third child died in the Holocaust.

Although I consider Arutz 7 to be the best source of news from Israel, I think that here they have committed the sin of omission. It is no simple matter that Herzl’s offspring, in particular his son Hans, are being buried next to their father, as Charles Bremner reports from Paris:
The transfer ends decades of delays and wrangling over the remains of Pauline Herzl, who died in Bordeaux of an apparent drug overdose in 1930, and Hans Herzl who shot himself dead there the day after in an act of grief.

Herzl, who died in Vienna in 1904 at the age of 44, wanted his descendants to be buried in the Jewish state that he hoped would one day be created.

The three Herzl children, who were brought up to be future “royalty” of a Zionist nation, were long an embarrassment to Israel’s founders.

The religious establishment opposed the return because suicide is forbidden in Judaism and because Hans had converted to Christianity.

Herzl’s other daughter, Trude, who was also mentally disturbed, died in 1943 in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. Her remains were never identified.
This article from the Jewish Agency web site covers Hans’ spiritual wanderings in more detail:
Hans lived in London, alone and destitute, eking out a living mainly by translating his father's writings. In 1924, 20 years after his father's death, Hans, desperate for a change in his life, joined the Baptist Church; then, in rapid succession, became a Catholic, a Protestant, a Unitarian and a Quaker, oscillating wildly between the delusions of grandeur that had gripped his father and bouts of depression brought on by his sense of abject failure.
So how is it that Hans is being brought to burial in a Jewish cemetery if he converted to Christianity and committed suicide? Back to the Bremner article:
Investigations showed that Hans, who was educated in England, had reverted to Judaism and joined a London Synagogue.

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Ammar approved the reburial on Mount Herzl, the national cemetery where the Zionist founder was buried in 1949, after being convinced of Hans’s reconversion. His mental illness mitigated his act of suicide, the religious leaders decided.
Speaking of controversy, MK Zevulun Orlev gets the “anti-democracy” award by trying to prevent the distribution of a CD which exposes the negative side of Herzl and other Zionist leaders. Read the article and don’t miss the talkbacks. The knee-jerk reaction of some people, and their inability to deal with the issue at hand are truly amazing.

Update: Here's the video that Orlev is upset about. (It is a simplistic and one-sided view of these leaders, nevertheless certain facts about these leaders that have been hidden from the general public and are worth knowing are presented here.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rabin's Deliberations

Eitan Haber strikes again. Yes, another article in Ynetnews, where Haber invokes the name of Rabin in vain. Let's take a look:
The main concern of every prime minister, defense minister, chief of staff and each cabinet minister individually, should be the security of the nation – but also the safety of human beings.

Every prime minister and every minister should regard every soldier, male and female, in the standing and reserve army as though they were his own sons and daughters, and to ask whether the assignment at hand is that crucial that they would have sent their own children to face the imminent danger.
So far so good. But then Haber makes the mistake of invoking the holy name:
I can only give a personal example: While Yitzhak Rabin served as defense and prime minister, for six whole months he deliberated over the preparations for the abduction of Mustafa Dirani, who had been holding kidnapped airman Ron Arad.

Some 82 soldiers, if my memory doesn't fail me, were sent deep inside Lebanese territory to the heart of the danger, in order to collect information on Ron Arad.

What would have happened, heaven forbid, if the two choppers had been brought down with the soldiers (this incidentally happened a few years later)? How would have Rabin explained his decision to the country? Would he have explained how he prepared, deliberated and agonized until finally giving the order for the helicopters to take off?

Here are a few lines from the book written by the head of the intelligence unit at the time, Major General Uri Saguy: "During the planning phase, we asked ourselves whether we had the ability to execute such a complex mission…

I didn't envy him for a moment (Rabin), that he would be the one who would ultimately have to approve the operation. Rabin, in his way, probed and demanded and asked endless questions before arriving at his decisions…Rabin turned every stone as to be sure that the risk he was taking was a calculated risk.

He was a military man in every sense of the word – and was fully aware of the meaning and dangers involved in such a mission…

This is also very good and nice. Unfortunately Rabin did not exercise the same caution in diplomacy that he demonstrated as a military man. This is the guy who, in spite of all of the warnings of the intelligence community, brought Yasser Arafat and his thugs to "Gaza and Jericho first", and by doing so caused the death of thousands of Israelis and the wounding of myriads. The Oslo Agreements taught the world that terror pays, and I am of the opinion that the current global jihad is a direct result of this.

The Rabin legacy is not one of caution and deliberation. It is a legacy of carelessness, foolishness, ignorance, corrupt politics and hubris. Let's remember this as Rabinfest 2006 is only a month and a half away.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Silent Holocaust

Tzvi Fishman writes another important article.

Peace With Moslems

As the latest diaglogue between Christians and Moslems continues, Islam History Professor Moshe Sharon of Hebrew University explains why there will never be true peace between Israel and our Moslem neighbors:
The veteran expert on Islam says that Western officials fail to grasp that the Arab and Islamic world truly see Israel’s establishment as a “reversal of history” and are therefore unable to ever accept peaceful relations with it. From Moslems’ perspective, “Islamic territory was taken away from Islam by Jews. You know by now that this can never be accepted, not even one meter. So everyone who thinks Tel Aviv is safe is making a grave mistake. Territory which at one time was dominated by Islamic rule, now has become non-Moslem. Non-Moslems are independent of Islamic rule and Jews have created their own independent state. It is anathema. Worse, Israel, a non-Moslem state, is ruling over Moslems. It is unthinkable that non-Moslems should rule over Moslems.”
Olmert, Livni, Peres, etc. did you get that?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Selichot This Motzei Shabbat

Believe it or not, I am really looking forward to this! I love selichot! Read this old post to see why.

Today's Links

Australian Activist Realizes The Truth

The ISM-Terror Connection (hat tip: Backspin)

Media Monkeys on our Backs

The Palestinian Arab Death Cult Lifestyle

No longer the political fringe

From 9/11 to 9/13

Update: Yesterday I blogged about commuting to Tel Aviv, and today I read the following at INN:
The Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, known as the ‘white elephant’ of Tel Aviv, may be shut due to deficient safety conditions. The building opened to the public in 1993 after decades from planning to construction, a structure that has been plagued with misfortune since opening day.

Tel Aviv City Hall officials on Thursday will call upon the city’s magistrate’s court to issue the closure order after determining the central bus station lacks an adequate sprinkler system, adding there are other safety hazards as well.

Bus station operators state this is not so, but City Hall insists that due to the safety violations, the bus station’s operating permit will not be renewed.
With all of the deficiencies of the "new" Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, the old one was worse! Let's see what happens.

Another update:

Goodbye Barak (and good riddance)


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Commuting To Tel Aviv

The curse of Adam (with the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread) has hit me with full force as I am now commuting from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

For those of you who don't know, the journey from the dry mountain air of Jerusalem to the humid seaside of Tel Aviv is, without traffic jams, only 45 minutes apart. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem not only differ in climate, they are two different worlds with different personalities. The differences between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are so vast that it is mind boggling.

In any case, it takes me an hour and a half from the time I leave my Jerusalem home until I get to my Tel Aviv office, and an hour and a half to get back home. If I did not wake up early and pray in a Terah minyan it would take even longer to get to TA, as the traffic jams get worse the later it gets. At work I live on caffeine, and as the week goes by I lack more and more sleep. On the Sabbath I catch up on a lot of the sleep that I missed during the week.

There are also advantages to working in Tel Aviv. The city has a charm all its own that can be appreciated even from a die hard Jerusalemite. And of course, it has one very precious thing that Jerusalem lacks: the sea.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Today's Picks

Jameel finds a great editorial in...The Guardian.

Sultan Knish tells us about Ben Hecht.

Batya shares her thoughts on Israel's leadership crisis.

Larry Derfner
tries to take on Caroline Glick but ends up with his foot in his mouth. First he writes:
I'm writing about this because I was one of the reporters on the Moassi beachfront on that June 28 that the column describes, and the behavior of the young settlers there that day wasn't innocent at all, which is what readers of Glick's column would conclude. One of those settlers did in fact try to murder that Palestinian teenager, and he had help. I don't know if it was Cytryn who hit the Palestinian boy in the head with a rock thrown full force from a few feet away, but I know that one of those Jewish marauders did, and others tried to join in the attack. And while this was the worst violent crime they committed during those three days on the Gaza beachfront, it was by no means the only one.
Then he writes:
I got to the beachfront a little after the incident for which Cytryn is standing trial, so I didn't see it with my own eyes. But a TV cameraman showed me the raw footage he'd shot, and I watched it a few times. The images still in my memory are fleeting, but I remember seeing an IDF soldier with a rifle standing with a Palestinian boy - Halil Mejeida, 18 - in his custody behind a wall. I remember seeing a boy hoisting himself atop the wall and hurling a rock at Mejeida, and another boy trying to get at Mejeida, who was lying on the ground as the soldier tried to protect him.
According to Israel National News, the "raw footage" that Derfner saw was fauxtography:
Regarding the alleged "lynching," A.D. said the television footage of an Arab lying on the ground and then two Jewish boys running towards him and throwing rocks at him was a distortion of what actually happened. "That's not the story!" he said. "I saw this same Arab get hit in the head with a rock - and yet he continued to throw rocks, like a tiger, for the next 15 minutes! And then I saw some reporters go over to him and tell him to lie down and act as if he was unconscious. Later on, he was taken out walking on his own, holding on to a soldier..."

And finally the Derfner enlightens us with more "information":
I don't know how long Mejeida stayed in the hospital, and I don't know what kind of condition he was in when he got out, but was the media account of that incident a "fabrication" of "a crime that was never committed," as Glick's column has it?
Derfner "didn't see" and "doesn't know", but that doesn't prevent him from writing. These are your journalists, O Israel.

By the way, be sure to check out The (not) Forgotten Prisoners of Zion blog which has been covering the Cytryn case. See also Israel National News.

Update: An article in Hebrew about the Meshulami family.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mazuz Disqualifies Two Members of Olmert's Inquiry Commission

I previously wrote in the post entitled Saving Olmert's Hide:
I personally saw an article in HaYisraeli, showing how most if not all those appointed by Olmert to investigate the war have received favors from Olmert in the past or are in need of favors in the future. Too bad that I did not save the article, and too bad that HaYisraeli doesn't have on online edition!
Olmert does not know that you just cannot fool all the people all the time! His Inquiry Cover-up Committee received another blow today as two of its members are disqualified:
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has disqualified David Haivri and Yedidya Ya’ari from serving on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Edmoni Commission investigating government actions during the war in Lebanon.

Mazuz explained that there is a conflict of interests, with Haivri serving as the Boeing representative in Israel and Ya’ari being affiliated with the quasi-governmental Rafael weapons development firm.

Mazuz’s legal opinion comes ahead of a Movement for Quality Government petition to the Supreme Court seeking to have the two disqualified for obvious conflict of interests.

The move is yet another embarrassment for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is under mounting pressure to approve an independent state commission of inquiry into the war.
It looks like the rule of Ehud Olmert, probably Israel's worst Prime Minister ever, is nearing its end.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Where Is Tovya!

Has he been kidnapped? Did he go to Yeshiva to immerse himself in learning? Did he get married? No online presense since February 2006! Where is he? This inquiring mind wants to know!

A Special Place In Hell

Check out this op-ed in Ha'aretz, and see what The Muquata posted about it.

Those that promote appeasement are the ones that deserve "A Special Place In Hell" for all the misery that they have caused.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Saving Olmert's Hide

Read how Ha'aretz columnist Yoel Marcus is trying to save Olmert's hide:
Yes, there were bungles that need to be investigated. If Olmert were the prime minister of England maybe he would save his skin by sacking Amir Peretz and Dan Halutz. Maybe he would be chucked out himself. But with so much anger over the mismanagement of the war, the dilapidated state of the bomb shelters and the way the home front was left to fend for itself, it was obvious that the clamor for a commission of inquiry would not be given up easily.

Olmert has chosen to appoint three investigation committees, one for each aspect of the war. He has said no to a state commission of inquiry. This time, he is right. A year-long probe, with lawyers, witnesses and a war of Gog and Magog raging at home while the Gaza and Palestinian front still looms before us, is a luxury we cannot afford.

It is important to investigate, to fix whatever needs to be fixed, and kick out those who have screwed up, but we don't need a state commission to do it. Anyone who wants a judge is free to petition the High Court. Israel is a democracy, and leaders can be brought down when the country goes to the polls or by a majority vote in the Knesset. In the end, the voter has the last word. There is no reason to drive the country insane with a state probe.
It is no secret here in Israel that the investigation committees that Olmert set up lack teeth, as pointed out by INN:
Olmert's committees would have no authority to subpoena witnesses or to have officials fired, whereas a state commission of inquiry would have these authorities.
What's worse is the idea of those being investigated appointing their own investigators:
Lawmakers have stated that despite the impressive lineup on the committees, the move by the prime minister wreaks of an attempted cover-up, insisting a self-appointed commission cannot legitimately investigate the actions of the very government that appointed and oversees it.
(I personally saw an article in HaYisraeli, showing how most if not all those appointed by Olmert to investigate the war have received favors from Olmert in the past or are in need of favors in the future. Too bad that I did not save the article, and too bad that HaYisraeli doesn't have on online edition!)

It is sad that a journalist like Yoel Marcus would choose to support such an obvious attempt at hiding the truth.

Don't Delete That Blog!

Mirty stopped blogging and deleted her blog. Someone else took her blogger user and sent us all to Detroit.

How long will it take for jrants to remove this blog from the index?
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