Sunday, December 21, 2014 

Harvard almost caved to anti-Israelists hostile to Sodastream

Harvard University almost stopped using Sodastream products because Muslim students opposed them. But the president of the university recognized the wrong and ensured common sense would prevail:
Harvard University’s president has requested an investigation into the decision by the university’s dining service to stop buying SodaStream equipment.

Drew Faust asked for an investigation into the decision, Provost Alan Garber told The Harvard Crimson student newspaper on Wednesday night.

The request came following an article written earlier in the day by the newspaper reporting that the university’s dining service agreed in April to halt buying the equipment following protests by Palestinian students and their supporters.

The dining service agreed to remove the SodaStream labels on existing water machines and purchase new ones from American companies after university officials met in April with members of the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

“Harvard University’s procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals’ views of highly contested matters of political controversy,” Garber wrote in an email statement to the Crimson late Wednesday night. “If this policy is not currently known or understood in some parts of the University, that will be rectified now.”

Garber said in the statement that neither he nor Faust was aware of the decision before reading about it in the newspaper. The existing machines are from a company acquired by SodaStream, an Israeli firm that has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement because of its factory in the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim.
I'm not sure if Sodastream is still running this kind of business, but the university shouldn't be allowing this kind of fanaticism to dominate their campus. In fact, universities shouldn't even be platforms for politics; I thought they were supposed to be for learning trades like science, medicine, and agriculture. Political nonsense should be the last thing any university or college wants littering their grounds with its toxic effects.

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Friday, December 19, 2014 

Lesbian rabbi in New Hampshire supports sharia

A bizarre story comes from New England:
A story from New Hampshire reminds us once again that liberals are often willing to commit suicide to prove how liberal they are.

It would be hard to imagine a more ridiculous scenario than a lesbian rabbi making a public stand in favor of adopting Sharia Law as the new ruling principles of any American state, but Rabbi Robin Nafshi of New Hampshire has done just that.

With the type of smug ”I’m a liberal, so I’m smarter than you” hubris only the sickest of liberals can muster, Rabbi Nafshi scolds her fellow Granite Staters in a piece she has curiously titled “The Misguided push to ban Sharia Law.”

Of course, the Rabbi takes an obligatory shot at Republicans as she whines that the final point in their statement of Party principles says, “Take any and all actions possible to protect against the implementation of any part of Sharia Law in New Hampshire, including legislation outlawing Sharia law.”

Her hollow argument makes a comparison between Sharia Law as the Muslim way of life and Halakhah, the Jewish way of life. This idiot must think that Jews cut the heads off homosexuals and blow up non-Jews in belief that doing so will ensure their place in paradise. Sure thing rabbi–not a dime’s with of difference, right?
If she's a Reform, she's one of the dumbest and most revolting in the business, shaming the religion she has no business being part of and shilling for one that would suppress her too. No wonder the Reform movement's collapsing today.

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Haredi thug who threatened Eli Yishai gets restraining order

A screwball was served a restraining order for making threats against the Shas defector, which simply isn't enough:
A Jerusalem judge on Thursday released the 25-year-old ultra-Orthodox man who threatened the life of Shas MK Eli Yishai earlier in the week, on the condition that he stay 100 meters away from the politician and not contact him or attend his political events for six months.

According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, Benjamin Yoshua Niki was arrested Monday after issuing a number of violent threats against Yishai at a raucous press conference earlier that day at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem.

Niki was among dozens of haredi Shas supporters who loudly interrupted the MK’s announcement that he will leave Shas to create a new party – called Ha’am Itanu – by screaming and attempting to accost Yishai.

Prior to the MK’s appearance on a podium at the gathering, a Shas supporter stormed the stage with a framed image of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef while screaming “[Yosef] is with us, with Shas!” amid a chorus of cheers by party loyalists.

Niki then allegedly shouted, “We have blood in our eyes! There is no separation between the end and the means! Yishai is a zero! We will hurt him!” before security personnel escorted Yishai to safety and removed his detractors from the banquet hall.

Police were called in after physical altercations erupted between Shas and Ha’am Itanu members, and Niki was subsequently placed under arrest, Rosenfeld said.

“He was arrested after making direct threats [against Yishai] and police are not taking any chances whatsoever,” he said.

Upon Niki’s release Thursday afternoon, the judge also ordered the 25-year-old and members of his family to have no contact with Yishai and stay away from the MK’s political gatherings for 180 days, Rosenfeld said.

Meanwhile, Yishai has since been assigned a security detail to protect him.
This is very serious, and the man shouldn't be released from custody. It's another sign of how badly the Haredi parties currently operating are plagued with maniacs committing violence in the name of the people they allegedly worship.

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Conversion today is a mess

The Canadian Jewish News has some worrisome reports about what conversion to Orthodox Judaism's sunk into these days:
Conversion has become the most contentious issue in modern Judaism. Both in Israel and in North America, tensions simmer over who can join the Jewish People, and what the standards are for admission.

While the majority of candidates convert to Judaism with few difficulties, the community’s internal politics can trip up the unlucky. The most egregious reports of converts being mistreated surfaced recently in Washington D.C., where Rabbi Barry Freundel was charged with voyeurism after a hidden camera was found in his synagogue’s mikvah. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Complaints about his treatment of converts, including demanding donations and requiring unpaid clerical work, which had been reported to the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) two years earlier, have also emerged.

Though the scandal has raised issues beyond conversion, it underscores the fact that potential converts can find themselves in a tenuous position, because they must rely on their sponsoring rabbi to help see them through the process of becoming a Jew.

[...] Rabbis, and particularly those who are members of beit dins (rabbinic courts), must walk a fine line between wanting to encourage converts and maintaining high standards. But in Toronto, critics claim the city’s Vaad Harabonim, the only body that can perform Orthodox conversions, has veered too far from community norms.

The Orthodox Vaad is far from transparent about the process, and its standards are “out of touch with reality,” Rabbi Grover says. The Toronto Vaad has no website, an uneven record of replying to candidates and is not welcoming to converts, he adds.

One Toronto Orthodox rabbi, who did not want to be named, says he has seen a number of serious candidates who were discouraged by the beit din.

“Some of the requirements they make go well beyond what Halachah requires. They are reflective of the religious and cultural norms within a particular segment of Orthodoxy, but are not reflective of more modern Orthodoxy,” he says.

For instance, one potential convert, who was already observing Shabbat and kashrut, was told she could never shake hands with a man, which would pose a problem for her in the business world where she worked. The demand was the final straw, and she ended up not pursuing conversion.

After a number of such incidents, the rabbi decided to stop sponsoring conversion candidates to the Toronto beit din and now suggests that they travel to a religious court in another city.
As noted further down, much of the rabbinate in Toronto is Haredi, so it's no surprise they could've made these insulting, meaningless demands.
By comparison, Montreal has two rabbinic courts that perform Orthodox conversions. Both groups, one modern Orthodox, the other haredi, have websites and publish codes of conduct outlining exactly what is required of candidates. Both beit dins in Montreal offer formal classes.

Leah (not her real name) learned first hand of the difficulties dealing with Toronto’s Orthodox beit din when she converted a few years ago.

She had converted through the Conservative movement when she was in her early 20s, shortly before she was married. Two decades later, she and her husband were attracted to an Orthodox shul, but they could not join and hold their son’s bar mitzvah there until she completed an Orthodox conversion. Although the family was living a committed Jewish life – the kids were in day school, their home was kosher – she found it to be a grueling process.

The lowest point in her conversion journey was when the beit din told her to change one of her children’s Hebrew names to a more biblical one. “They didn’t like the Hebrew name we chose,” she says.

But the biggest obstacle was the beit din’s attitude. “They were disrespectful of my time.” Meetings were cancelled, and “quite often it was on the spur of the moment.”

With three young children, a job and elderly parents living out of town, time was her most precious commodity.

Not only did she feel vulnerable, she felt the reputation and credibility of her sponsoring rabbi and his wife, who was her teacher, were also riding on the conversion.

“I considered going to Buffalo. I didn’t want to deal with the politics of the Toronto board,” she says.

Rabbi Asher Vale, director of Toronto’s Orthodox beit din denies that the body is out of touch with communal standards.

“In Toronto, most of the rabbinate is haredi. We accept people if they come from a modern Orthodox shul or from a haredi shul,” he says. “Our main thing is whether the person is going to make a commitment to Halachah. If they’re part of a community and have a sponsoring rabbi, we feel comfortable with that.”

For example, the beit din would not tell a convert that a knitted kippah was unacceptable, or that they could only wear white shirts, he says. Questions such as whether women are permitted to wear pants or must cover their hair would need to be addressed by the sponsoring rabbi, he says.
Anyone who's going to make petty demands whether a woman should wear pants or a hair covering does Judaism no favors. I don't take the Torontonian's word at face value, and I do think it's time some modern Orthodox movements were set up that are separate from the main ones. That could have a chance of making improvements.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014 

Women of the Wall light candles in women's section of Western Wall

After some lobbying, the group whose credentials are still suspect managed to do this:
Comedian Sarah Silverman made a rare appearance in the middle of a hot political dispute Thursday (Dec. 18) when she attended a Hanukkah menorah lighting alongside a group of Jewish feminists at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.

It was the first time women have lit the menorah at the site and it came after the rabbi in charge of the Western Wall refused a request from Women of the Wall to station a Hanukkah menorah in the women’s section. [...]

Anat Hoffman, the leader of Women of the Wall, a prayer group that has advocated for greater equality at the site, said guards at the wall’s entrance initially refused to allow anyone with a menorah onto the plaza.

Later, the group called the police and was allowed to enter.

[...] Women of the Wall is asking Jewish women around the world to take a photo of themselves lighting a Hanukkah menorah, upload it and send it to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the wall’s administrator, “to show him that women light candles all over the world.”
I sometimes get the vibe Rabinowitz is actually helping them deliberately. If he hadn't kept acting so hostile to non-Orthodox customs, WotW would still be marginal. The man is a total embarrassment, and doesn't deserve his position.

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EU removes Hamas from blacklist

A court for the EU has given its support for Hamas' barbarism by excising the jihadist gang from their blacklistings:
The European Union's second-highest court on Wednesday annulled the bloc's decision to keep Hamas on a list of terrorist organizations, but temporarily maintained the measures for a period of three months or until an appeal is closed.

The General Court of the European Union said the contested measures were not based on an examination of Hamas' acts but on imputations derived from the media and the Internet.

The court said it was nevertheless maintaining the effects of the measures in order to ensure that any possible future freezing of funds would be effective.
Uh uh, I don't buy their defense here. How do we know they haven't been giving Hamas some money and kickbacks under the table? This is nothing more than a show of weakness.
Israel is concerned Hamas may use the opportunity to renew its activities in Europe.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for Hamas to be immediately returned to the terrorist blacklist, saying Israel was not satisfied with the EU's explanation that the removal of Hamas from the list was merely a "technical matter."

"The burden of proof is on the European Union," Netanyahu said. "Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization, with the stated goal, in its charter, of destroying Israel. We will continue to fight against it with determination and strength, so that it will never achieve this aim."
Again, their defense for this pathetic cave-in does not work at all, and if they're really serious, they should return them to the blacklist immediately.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014 

Bill Cosby goes the race card route

Cosby's been mostly quiet since the sex abuse allegations came to the forefront over a month ago. But now, in an interview with the NY Post (via Breitbart), he's slipped further and pulled out a race card:
Let me say this. I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism, and when you do that, you have to go in with a neutral mind.
I could only hang my head further in despair and groan. What does race have to do with any of this? The Washington Post's Alyssa Rosenberg found this dismaying, and said:
...what is Cosby really asking for here? Should reporters display “a neutral mind” by covering each allegation as if they are independent from one another, rather than indicative of an alleged pattern of behavior? That’s a suggestion that casts objectivity as a kind of repetitive amnesia. If Cosby’s understanding of “the standards of excellence in journalism” requires reporters to get comment from all parties to a story, should Cosby’s repeated refusal to respond to the allegations against him mean that outlets can’t report on those allegations at all?

Or does neutrality mean weighing Cosby’s value against that of Beverly Johnson, who is also black? Against that of Cosby’s white accusers? Or against Hannibal Buress, a young black comedian who reminded audiences of the allegations against Cosby in a stand-up routine that went viral?

By appealing to “the black media” to uphold high standards, Cosby is implying that “white” outlets have violated these norms.
It stands in sharp contrast to the vision he presented in the Cosby Show, where racial issues were kept to a minimum. Now he's really deteriorated, and made it less possible to believe he's innocent. His statement's backfired pretty fast, as Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, found his words appalling.

It looks like Cosby's career is coming to an end on a very miserable note, and he's the one who got himself there.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014 

Eli Yishai splits from Shas to form new party

Former Shas MK Eli Yishai has left, apparently pushed out by Aryeh Deri, and will form a new party with one or two former members of Jewish Home:
Former Shas chairman MK Eli Yishai announced his departure on Monday from the party he served for 30 years, and declared that he is establishing a political faction, called Maran, to run in the upcoming elections.

At a press conference at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem and with an image of the revered former Shas spiritual leader, the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, at his side, Yishai, who predicted that his faction would secure 10 Knesset seats, declared that hundreds of thousands of people in the country would support his new party, whose name was oddly not announced.

“The people are with us, they want unity, they want to break down the walls between religious and nonreligious, between Sephardim and Ashkenazim,” said Yishai.

“The people want Torah, they want our traditions, Jewish values, decency and love of Israel. The nation wants true peace with our neighbors alongside love of the nation,” he continued, in a refrain designed to resonate with the national-religious community.

He insisted several times during his address that he is “leaving a party, but continuing the path of Maran [Yosef],” and took pains to point out that he is splitting from Shas to begin his own party with the blessing and support of Rabbi Meir Mazuz, a well-respected rabbinic figure in the Sephardi haredi world.

Securing the backing of Mazuz is an important step for Yishai in gaining legitimacy for his party and his decision to split from Shas in the eyes of the haredi community, although the weight of the four-member Council of Torah Sages – which includes one of Yosef’s sons – and the memory of Yosef himself, will be hard to overcome.
Some new polls have suggested otherwise. In any case, certain Shas supporters from yeshivas did not take kindly to this departure, and disrupted the press conference:
As the press conference was drawing to a close, several dozen Shas and Deri loyalists, mostly yeshiva students, laid siege to the conference room shouting “traitor” at Yishai, claiming that he was betraying Yosef and his wishes to preserve the unity of the Shas party.

Yishai was forced to cut short questions from the press, and his entourage extricated him from the room via a back door, as police personnel arrived at the scene to break up the disturbance.

In one especially poignant moment, a Deri loyalist grabbed hold of the picture of Yosef at the podium in a brief tussle with the Yishai activists at the event.
This is disturbing. Deri's claimed those hooligans don't speak for him, but the slapdash education they provide certainly led to this golem-like mentality.

As noted, several hours after the press conference, polls show that Shas will be getting its numbers halved. And with their dismal platforms - to say nothing of Deri's own standings, that's why they deserve it.

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Monday, December 15, 2014 

Jihadist held hostages in Australian store

The crisis has been stopped, and the jihadist, who came from Iran, is now dead, but tragically, so are at least 2 other people. From ABC (via Jihad Watch):
The gunman who had been holding people hostage inside a chocolate store in downtown Sydney has been killed, Australian police confirmed to ABC News.

And two other people have been killed, a highly place Australian source told ABC News.

The suspect had previously been identified as Man Monis by local news reports, and the manner in which he died still remains unclear but New South Wales police have confirmed his death. The identities of the two others killed were not immediately revealed.

Police stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in the early hours of Tuesday morning, local time, and three injuries have been reported, including one policeman.

Explosions of what were believed to be flash bang grenades were heard when police stormed the shop and while there were many loud noises, it is not clear if or how many shots were fired by either police or Monis during the face off.

At 10:19 a.m. ET, a group of at least seven heavily armed police officers went into the Lindt cafe under the cover of loud bangs of what local news Channel 9 is calling stun grenades. Shortly after the police stormed the café, at least two hostages emerged, looking visibly shaken.

A few minutes later, a few paramedics were seen entering the café behind police officers with medical packs — followed by at least two stretchers. The explosive police action came shortly after a new wave of hostages emerged from the shop.

Monis was believed to be a self-proclaimed Islamic “sheikh” who is known to Australian police because he was allegedly involved in dozens of counts of sexual assault, according to Australia’s 9News.

He was born in Iran as Manteghi Bourjerdi and migrated to Australia in 1996, according to the station.
This just confirms further why immigration from Islamic countries has to be curtailed according to religious ideological background.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014 

Sephardic family leaves Zichron Yaakov after Haredi Ashkenazi residents harrass them

The family whose sons were discriminated against at a Haredi school because they didn't meet the standards of other residents has left the neighborhood:
Talmud Torah Zichron Gavriel in Zichron Yaakov, which was closed last week by the local council head amid allegations of ethnic discrimination against two young pupils, reopened Wednesday, but without the boys, whose family has apparently left the city.

In a message the father sent to a relative and was shown to Haaretz, the man wrote that he and his father (the pupils’ grandfather) were on the verge of an emotional breakdown and had therefore chosen to leave the city. Several attempts to reach the father for comment were unsuccessful, and there were reports by relatives that the family had been given 120,000 shekels ($30,400) to leave town.

The school was closed last week at the order of Local Council Chairman Eli Abutbul because of the repeated harassment of two brothers who attended the school. While the student body is primarily Ashkenazi and the family in question is of Mizrahi background, sources in the town say the children were not being harassed for ethnic reasons but because the family was not considered “ultra-Orthodox enough” for the school.

A relative of the children, however, insisted that there was an ethnic element to the harassment, saying that as long as the Mizrahi families “kept their heads down,” everything was fine. But when a rumor spread that the father had “snitched” to the Education Ministry about the alleged mistreatment of his children, the family was subject to incessant abuse that included graffiti on their home, flowerpots broken in their yard, and even stones being thrown at them on the street.

After the school’s closure its administration filed a lawsuit to get it reopened, but withdrew the suit in the end.

Abutbul says that he agreed to reopen the school only after the administration made commitments in writing. “I didn’t back down; I waited until I got it in writing that the Haredi community in Zichron and the school they attended was committed to accept this family’s children into the school with no discrimination and without any more of what they’d done to them,” Abutbul told Haaretz. “I informed the Education Ministry, which was very pleased.”

Abutbul also said he had spoken on Tuesday to the father, who had thanked him and said the children were looking forward to returning to school, but that since then the father wasn’t answering his phone. “If he did something during the evening or overnight behind the backs of community residents who stood up for him and his family like a reinforced wall, or if the rumors are true that he took money and left the community after everything that we did for them, it reflects very poorly on him,” Abutbul said.

Others in the community say the family had no choice but to leave. “They exerted psychological pressure on the family. It was clear they wouldn’t survive,” said one resident.

The Education Ministry, meanwhile, said that although the local council had allowed the school to reopen, its process of issuing a closure order against the school was proceeding. “A pre-closure warning, as required by law, was sent to the institution yesterday,” the ministry said on Wednesday.

Attorney Smadar Tal-Tabibyan, representing the school, said, “The institution’s administration operated in accordance with the Education Ministry’s instructions throughout the period, and is saddened that outsiders with interests chose to conduct an unrelated campaign through the media and fan the flames on the children’s backs.”
It's regrettable how bigoted the parents of the other students could be, and everyone incited/discriminated against the family for being of a different ancestral background. In that case, the school most certainly should be closed, but all Haredis of Ashkenazi background who harassed the family should be penalized for the awful example they set for their own children.

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