Wednesday, July 29, 2015 

British Haredi extremist backs funding for Lev Tahor

It looks like the Islamized Haredi cult has its backers in Britain as well, including an awful rabbi who was once accused of covering up sexual abuse himself:
Leading Charedi rabbis have supported a fundraising event for Shlomo Helbrans, whose strictly Orthodox group has previously been investigated for child abuse.

Helbrans is a convicted kidnapper who heads Lev Tahor, a cult of around 50 families which settled in Canada in 2003. The entire group emigrated to Guatemala last year to evade an investigation by child protection services.

The event in Stamford Hill, north London, on Monday night was aimed at raising money to support Helbrans’s group, and was backed by Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC).

In a flyer which was distributed in synagogues throughout the Stamford Hill area, Rabbi Padwa told community members to donate to the group.

He wrote: “The congregation ‘Lev Tahor’, whose dwelling was in the land of Canada, and suddenly the anger of the local government fell upon them, with the aid of informers ("mosrim"), and they began to interfere and make decrees, and to interfere with matters of educating boys and girls, so that they were forced to uproot from their dwelling and they went to the state of Guatemala, fleeing.

“And there in their new place they are in a dire situation and have almost nothing.”
Padwa was once recorded discouraging people from reporting cases of sexual assault, and it's not new for people like him to be siding with aggressors behind closed doors. This is absolutely shameful and does nothing to help put an end to such awful abuse.

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Haredi plane passenger refused to sit next to woman on Canadian airline

Here we have another example of a Haredi gender bigot who insulted a lady's intellect, this time on a plane route to Canada:
A former Halifax chef wants an apology from Porter Airlines, alleging she was asked to move from her seat to accommodate a man who did not want to sit beside a woman for religious reasons.

Christine Flynn, 31, said she was buckled in and waiting for Porter Airlines Flight 121 from Newark, N.J. to Toronto to take off early on Monday morning when an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man approached.

"He came down the aisle, he didn't actually look at me … or make eye contact. He turned to the gentleman across the aisle and said, 'Change.'"

Flynn said she was confused at first, wondering why the man was speaking to the other passenger and gesturing toward her. The man didn't speak to her directly, but Flynn said it's clear to her that he didn't want to sit next to her because she's a woman.

Flynn said she might have been willing to accommodate the man had he spoken to her directly and politely asked her to switch seats. She admits language may have been a factor — saying his English "wasn't terrific" — but said his refusal to even make eye contact was offensive.

"He could have made a plan, he could have put in a request," Flynn said in an interview Wednesday on CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "When someone doesn't look at you, and when someone doesn't acknowledge you as person because of your gender, you're a lot less willing to be accommodating.

"Leaving it to the last minute and expecting me to move is appalling. He's expecting me to fall in to that archetypical feminine role and acquiesce."
I'd say she's right to refuse such an insulting request if the dummy wasn't even willing to look her direct in the eye. After somebody else was willing to change seats with the man, she said:
Flynn says she's frustrated she was asked to move and upset others on the flight were willing to help the man.
She's right about this too. They should not have to assist a gender bigot any more than they would assist a racist. When will some people learn?

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Cursing Muhammed can lead to arrest in Israel

Anybody who's a realist and knows how the leftist mindset dominating some of the Israel police would know that as early as 1997, there were incidents where Jews were arrested for insulting the false prophet. Here's one recent example:
Jerusalem District Police arrested a Jewish youth Monday who is suspected of incitement at the Temple Mount, where he allegedly repeatedly called out "Muhammad is a pig." The incident marked the second such arrest of a Jewish visitor to the Temple Mount for making the insult to Islam's prophet in recent days.

Police arrested the youth based on a video clip which allegedly shows him taunting Muslims with the insult outside the gates of the Temple Mount in the Old City on Sunday.

The youth was arrested Monday morning upon arriving at the Western Wall and was being interrogated.

The police emphasized that they would not allow such provocations and disturbance to public order by Jews or Muslims at the holy site.

The incident came amid heightened tensions at the Temple Mount, which saw large-scale rioting on Sunday and the arrest of a Jewish woman last week, who also nearly sparked riots when she yelled, "Muhammad is a pig."

The confrontation for which 20-year-old Avia Morris was arrested last week was also recorded by a witness, and went viral shortly thereafter, further inflaming tensions.
And on that note, here's an article about that case too, where the lady tells how the police ignored harrassment during an Old City tour:
Morris spoke with The Jerusalem Post to explain in her own words what happened.

"For the entire 40 minute walk through the Old City to the Temple Mount, a group of Arab women followed us yelling Allah Akbar and Itbach al-Yahud [Kill the Jews in Arabic], as well as a number of curse words," she said. "We asked the police to keep them further away but they did not stop them. Instead, they let the women continue insult the Jewish faith and the Jewish people in our holiest place in the world."

Morris knew that she would be arrested immediately if she said anything while on the Temple Mount itself, so she remained stoic along with the rest in the group. However, the same group of women returned as soon as the group left the Temple Mount. Morris said she could no longer stay quiet as they continued their taunts and even made the symbol of Islamic State.

"By that point, I felt if I continued to stay quiet and if we continue to hide our heads, we would be like the Jews in exile who are afraid of non Jews and that aren't able to fight back. So I decided that it would be a disgrace to not say something back so I said 'Muhammad is a pig'... and after that, they were finally moved away from us."

On Friday afternoon, the day after the incident, police showed up at Morris's home and arrested her, only hours before the beginning of Shabbat, for allegedly inciting violence and for making an insult to a religious sentiment. She was released on the condition that she maintain a certain distance from the Old City for a week.

Following the incident and the posting of the video, commenters on Facebook went wild, supporting the taunting Muslim women and worst of all, called for Morris and her one-year-old daughter to be murdered. She said that police have not arrested nor taken action against any of these people.

Morris attempted to file a complaint with police following the death threats, but was told she cannot since it must be filed at the police station located in the Old City, from which she is forbidden to enter for the next week. Morris said police brushed off the matter. "They told me 'Fine, so next week [you'll file the complaint]." And in the meantime, while I wasn't able to filed a complaint, a complaint was filed against me and they arrested me."

"So this is not discrimination on the Temple Mount? That the Arab women can do whatever they want and we can't even whisper under our breath or respond in any sort of way? And the police aren't even letting me file a complaint over people threatening murder?"
It most definitely is discrimination. And, it's very serious. The police officials who put her through this crap should be truly ashamed of themselves. Here's one more related account, and Daniel Pipes provides more important notes:
2. This fits into a pattern going back at least to 1997, of the Israeli authorities arresting non-Muslims who offend Islamic sensibilities. For details, see my "Israelis Insult Muslims, Face Criminal Charges."
This is very dangerous, and shows that here in the country, much like in Europe, we have a problem with alleged lawmakers imposing laws against blasphemy to appease Islamofascists who by contrast will not be punished for their own crimes. It's something that must be challenged, and I encourage everyone who cares to protest. This is no more acceptable in Israel than it is in Europe.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015 

Another ex-Haredi commits suicide

A woman named Faigy Mayer, who'd left the Haredi Belz clan at least 5 years ago, committed suicide by jumping from a building. And from a last letter she wrote to a friend, it's clear they did enough to aggravate her:
On July 12, Faigy Mayer, a 30-year-old New Yorker who left Hasidic Judaism five years ago, sent one of her last messages to a close friend. She tried to explain how foreign the world was to her — even though she grew up in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

“I feel as though Hasidic Judaism shouldn’t exist at all,” Mayer wrote.

She went on to detail things about the ultra-Orthodox that most secular people know — “arranged marriages, strict segregation of the genders, the wife shaving her head, the couple having sex with the wife wearing a bra in the complete dark (hole in the sheet, anyone) but still producing thirteen children generally throughout her lifetime, working for cash only so that Uncle Sam can help with food stamps, Section 8 and Medicaid.”

Then there are things the secular world doesn’t know, things that make leaving seem insurmountable. Imagine not knowing that the sun is a star, or that there’s a solar system. Imagine not knowing what a human cell is, or what menstruation is, or, until you’re 18 and three weeks away from your arranged marriage, what sex is and how it works. Imagine never asking for a puppy growing up, because dogs bark, and that means they are beasts and demons. Imagine you have been told for your entire life that in the secular world, people mainly rape, pillage and murder, that it’s all a lawless meaningless free-for-all, and you are safe only in your little enclave, where these things do not happen.

You do not have an iPad, a TV, a battery-powered radio, because all secular culture is forbidden.
It's not often I see ex-Haredis who're this disgusted. And the Belz will have to come to terms with how their isolationist approach that's oppressive to women and insults their intellect led her to think this about them. I'd noticed in a fuller version of the letter that she seems to think the Belz are "right-wing". Unless something was changed by the press sources publishing it, I just don't understand how they conclude that a community using food stamps is "right-wing", when it's living on a socialist concept of welfare.

There's more about Mayer on The Forward. If we don't want ex-Haredis to commit suicide because they're devastated over excommunication, that's why more effort needs to be made to help them, and let them know why they shouldn't be too bothered about their families shunning them because they chose another path.

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Kerry admits Iran deal's not built on trust

He actually admitted this to Congress at a hearing on the issue:
Secretary of State John Kerry pitched the administration's controversial nuclear deal with Iran before a skeptical House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, pushing back against the allegation it would ease crippling sanctions forever in exchange for temporary concessions on weapons development.

"Iran has cheated on every agreement they've signed," said Rep. Ed Royce, the panel's chairman. With Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew waiting to testify, he asked if Tehran "has earned the right to be trusted" given its history.

Across hours in the witness chair, Kerry said "nothing in this deal is built on trust. Nothing."

He said that under the deal, Iran is "permanently banned" from developing a nuclear weapon, and many of the restrictions imposed would be in place "not just for 15 or 20 years, but for the lifetime" of its nuclear program.

As a result, he said, the United States will be able to "verifiably ensure" the nuclear program remains peaceful.

Kerry spoke as the administration picked up support for the deal from Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., a strong supporter of Israel who referred to his Jewish background in announcing his decision.

"I believe that Israel, the region and the world are far more secure if Iran does not move toward possession of a nuclear weapon," he said.
Whoever this Levin is, he's not a supporter of Israel as far as I'm concerned if he just goes along and backs the administration despite what Kerry's admitted, as though he thinks it'll give him legitimacy.

To make matters worse, Kerry's even indicated they might be willing to defend Iran from Israel's right to defend itself. The good news, depending on your view, is that he'll be skipping Israel on his next trip to the region. That's okay, because men who turn their backs on serious issues and act like nothing's wrong are not people we need to see around here.

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Outrage in France after bikini sunbather assaulted by Muslims

This assault took place in Reims, by 5 Muslim women who acted as self-appointed "public moralists" (Hat tip: Breitbart):
French social networks exploded with anger after a young woman was reportedly beaten up by a gang of girls and young women for wearing a bikini in a park.

Authorities have not identified the attackers but most commentators have assumed that they were Muslims.

Protesters organised a demonstration in bikinis and other bathing costumes in the park where the attack occurred, in Reims in northern France. Although drizzle and cold winds meant only about a dozen people turned out, hundreds across France responded to a Twitter appeal by the anti-racist organisation SOS Racisme to post images of themselves or others wearing skimpy bathing costumes in public places, under the hashtag #jeportemonmaillotauparc (I wear my swimsuit in the park).

The five attackers, aged 16 to 24, were quickly arrested and the three oldest have been remanded to appear in court in September, while two girls aged 16 and 17 face further questioning. The authorities have not named them but said that they all came from housing estates with large Muslim populations.
Whether or not the victim was of north African background herself, the behavior of the attackers was abominable. Notice how the Independent says the commentators "assumed", and then they proceed to offer strong hints confirming! The protestors are doing the right thing to react with more bikinis, and when the weather is right, bring bundles of them. The 5 creepy women should be sent to see psychologists.

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Border police should be ashamed of themselves for violently evacuating Beit El buildings

There was an awful clash between people in Beit El and border police who were going to evacuate buildings that the leftists in the superme court want torn down:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to work to authorize 24 illegal housing units in Beit El, after Border Police violently evacuated scores of activists who were camping out in the half-completed structures early Tuesday morning.

“Our stance with regard to the Beit El homes is clear. We oppose their demolition and are working through legal means to prevent this,” Netanyahu said.

He added that the government's position to the High Court of Justice would call for the buildings not to be razed given that they have received all the necessary authorizations by the Civil Administration and the Beit El Council.

“We are working to support the settlement enterprise and are doing so in compliance with the law,” he said.

He issued his statement after the Border Police moved into Beit El in a surprise move early Tuesday morning in advance of the anticipated demolition of two apartment buildings with 24 housing units, that were initially built without the necessary permits.

Even Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked who had visited Beit El late Monday night had no idea that the Border Police planned to station a unit by the buildings.

The contractor began work on the homes in 2010 and the buildings are still under construction. He received permits authorizing the building only last week.

In the interim, the NGO Yesh Din together with the Palestinian land owners of the property, petitioned the High Court of Justice to force the IDF to halt the project and raze the structures.

In June, the HCJ ordered the buildings to be taken down by the end of July because they lacked the necessary permits. The ruling did not address the issue of Palestinian land ownership because the lots in questions were seized by the state in 1979 under a legal procedure that was acceptable at that time, even though it has since been discontinued.

The HCJ in its June ruling said that the issue was not whether or not the buildings could be approved, but rather that they were constructed illegally.

It is now in the process of hearing final appeals on the mater and another court ruling on the matter is pending.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said he opposed the demolition of the homes and has taken legal steps to help prevent it.

“I spoke with Bayit Yehudi ministers yesterday and told them that we [the IDF] would not act before a High Court of Justice ruling. [However] we will act in accordance with the law and any Supreme Court decisions,” Ya’alon said.
Shaked suspects that Yaalon had something to do with the border police actions. They owe a serious apology for the horrific behavior they displayed, and I will not accept any defenses that the civilians are to blame. Yaalon too is going to have to prove himself worthy now.

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Monday, July 27, 2015 

It's not too late to repair Ariel Sharon's mistake in Gaza

Moshe Arens wrote that if Israel's government wants to, it can resettle northern Gaza:
Ariel Sharon may have taken to his grave the real reason for his decision to uproot over 10,000 Israeli settlers from their homes 10 years ago. The fact is, a majority of Israelis supported his decision at the time, many trusting that his judgment would improve Israel’s security.

Who would question the security opinion of the general who led Israel’s soldiers across the Suez Canal in the crucial hours of the Yom Kippur War? Ten years later, after three major Israel Defense Forces operations in the Gaza Strip and thousands of rockets falling on a good part of Israel, it’s clear to most that he was wrong.

Not only do the polls indicate that most Israelis now believe that Sharon's withdrawal was a mistake, but, believe it or not, they insist they thought it was a mistake at the time. So much for denial on a grand scale.

A number of aspects of Sharon’s decision seem inexplicable to this day. Why in addition to the uprooting of the Gaza settlers in Gush Katif and Netzarim did he also decide to uproot the settlers at the Strip’s northern tip — Dugit, Elei Sinai and Nisanit — which brought Ashkelon within range of Qassam rockets that could be launched from there?

Was he laboring under the illusion that by withdrawing right up to the armistice line concluded in February 1949 with Egypt, which left the Egyptian army in control of Gaza, he would improve Israel’s international standing?

Just look at the “improvement” in Israel’s international standing since the disengagement. Leaving these settlements in place would not have changed a thing in that regard. But to much of the public the slogan “getting out of Gaza” overpowered all rhyme or reason. It was good riddance to bad rubbish as far as they were concerned. For all they cared we should have let the Egyptian army stay there.

But most puzzling was Sharon’s decision to uproot the settlers of Kadim, Sa-Nur, Homesh and Ganim in northern Samaria. In four weeks we will mark 10 years since that totally irrational act. With all the attention drawn to the uprooting of the settlers of Gush Katif 10 years ago, these settlements seem to have been forgotten by most.

What possible reason was there for this outrageous action, carried out in the wake of the destruction of the settlements in the Gaza area? Not accompanied by an IDF withdrawal as in Gush Katif, what could their destruction possibly accomplish besides inflicting suffering on the settlers there? We will probably never know the reason, if there was any, behind this foul act.

Are these unfortunate acts irreversible? Will we see settlers returning to the areas where once stood their homes that have been destroyed?

Barring some cataclysmic events, Gush Katif will remain under some kind of Palestinian control for the foreseeable future. But the situation in Gaza’s northern tip could have been changed during any one of the three IDF operations in the area, most recently during Operation Protective Edge a year ago.

The area where once existed the settlements of Dugit, Elei Sinai and Nisanit could have been occupied and retained by the IDF, thus providing at least a partial security improvement for the inhabitants of the Ashkelon area. The settlers could have returned. It was an opportunity missed.

Quite different is the situation of the destroyed settlements Kadim, Sa-Nur, Homesh and Ganim in northern Samaria. The area remains under IDF control. There seems to be no reason not to let the settlers return to their homes there. That would at least partially correct the injustice committed there 10 years ago. The time has come to give it some serious thought.
I fully agree with that. What Sharon did at the time caused heavy damage that'll take eons to repair, and for that he should be remembered as a disgrace, which in fact, he was.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015 

Kerry blames the victims

The Jerusalem Post editorial wrote about secretary of state John Kerry's acting like Israel is the problem, not Iran:
Iran is run by fundamentalist, apocalyptic mullahs who have no qualms about using violence to promote their expansionist designs throughout the Middle East, from Syria and Lebanon to Iraq and Yemen. The regime persecutes its own people, dealing out death sentences to homosexuals, oppressing religious minorities such as the Baha’is and incarcerating journalists, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

US President Barack Obama openly admits that the Islamic Republic is anti-Semitic and promotes terrorism around the world. He is well aware that Iran’s leaders regularly call for the destruction of the US and Israel. One of them is Qassem Suleimani, head of the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards expeditionary unit, who is responsible for exporting Iranian terrorism and training Shi’ite forces that killed US military personnel in Iraq. Another is Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who during a recent rally in Tehran again praised his people for calling for the demise of the US and Israel.

Yet it is Israel that US Secretary of State John Kerry is threatening, for daring to try to protect itself from the existential threat presented by the Islamic Republic’s warmongering leaders

In two appearances last week, he warned Israel that it would be blamed if it dared to act against Iran.

On NBC’s Today show, Kerry said that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be an “enormous mistake.”

“If they bombed them, sure, I presume Iran would then have a reason to say, ‘Well, this is why we need a bomb,’” he said.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, Kerry said Israel’s international isolation would increase should the US Congress reject the nuclear deal.

“I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn it, our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed, and we would lose Europe and China and Russia with respect to whatever military action we might have to take, because we will have turned our backs on a very legitimate program that allows us to put their program to the test over these next years,” Kerry said.

One could easily get the impression from Kerry that Israel, not Iran, is the big threat to Middle East stability.
He probably also considers Congressional members a threat to stability; note that he's spoken against them too. A very irresponsible man, he's a shame to the nation and does nothing to improve the state of the world either.

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Conservative synagoge in Modiin booby trapped

It seems an insulting prank was pulled at a Conservative synagogue in the town of Modiin:
A Conservative synagogue in central Israel filed a complaint with police after it was booby trapped on Tisha b’Av eve.

The front doors of the Yedid Nefesh synagogue in Modiin were blocked with potted plants and ropes were tied in front of other synagogue exits in order to trip congregants leaving the building while members were inside for services on Saturday night, the Masorti movement in Israel reported Sunday on its Facebook page.

There are no suspects and the motivation, whether denominational friction or mischief, was unknown.

Masorti, the Israeli branch of the Conservative movement, called the episode one of “baseless hatred,” which is what is said to have brought about the destruction of the Second Temple commemorated on Tisha b’Av.

The incident “could have ended in serious bodily harm,” the post said. “The congregants went home with a great sense of unease.”

Six years ago, the front doors of the synagogue were set on fire in an arson attack.
There's no way to tell if it was some Haredi hoodlums who did this. But if it was, then this could've been the result of the Shas minister David Azoulay's bigoted statements against non-Orthodox denominations. That's the worst part of his tirade; he could've incited hostility against Conservative and Reform movements for all the wrong reasons. That's why he'll have to apologize for the damage he may have caused, if he's smart. And any Orthodox movements in the town proper would do well to condemn the act.

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A riot that was planned

This riot at the al-Aqsa mosque was clearly planned from the start:
Jerusalem police clashed Sunday morning with a group of Arab youths, some of them masked, who barricaded themselves overnight inside the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

The youths collected stones, wooden boards and planks, and fireworks to make firebombs in preparations for a riot with Israel Police as well as to disrupt those visiting the Temple Mount for Tisha B'Av, the fast marking the Temple's destruction.

They used shoe racks, steel bars, and ropes to block doors to the Al Aqsa Mosque from being closed - also in preparation for a violent confrontation with police officers.

As Police and Border Patrol forces, under the command of Jerusalem District Commander Moshe Edri, entered the Temple Mount compound, masked rioters fled into mosque, from where they threw dozens of rocks and cements blocks at the police.

They also shot fireworks and sprayed the security forces with an unidentified fluid, lightly injuring four of the policeman

Despite the escalating violence, police managed to prevent further injuries by closing the doors of the mosque, with the rioters trapped inside, and restoring quiet to the Temple Mount, allowing visitors to enter.
They should've been kept trapped inside. Just a whole lot of monsters who don't deserve citizenship in this country.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015 

Today's Jewish crowd in USA is too assimilated and lacks meaning in life

Tzvi Fishman wrote about how today's Jews in the diaspora, like in America for example, are out of touch with reality and lack direction.

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Friday, July 24, 2015 

Haredi and secular Jews rarely interact

According to a recent survey by Gesher:
The survey, called the “Israeli Unity Index” and published Wednesday by Gesher, an organization that aims to build bridges between the religious and secular in Israel, found that 45 percent of haredim had no interaction at all with secular Jews. One-fifth of secular Jews reported having little interaction with haredim. It was the first such survey by the group.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with one being the lowest, secular Israelis gave a 2 rating, on average, as to whether they would like having a haredi family member. Haredi respondents rated the idea of having a secular family member even lower, at 1.7. Respondents who rated themselves “traditional” or religious had higher rates of interaction with both haredi and secular Jews.
From what I'm reading here, it sounds as though Haredis are less enthusiastic about certain interactions than seculars are. The most valid guess is that they dislike the influence of the non-Haredi world, unlike most simpler religious types who have little or no issues, and remain religious traditional no matter what they think of secular culture.

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Kerry plays know-it-all

Leave it to John Kerry to act like he knows better than concerned Israeli politicians do:
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday it would be a huge mistake if Israel decided to take unilateral military action against Iran over its nuclear program in the future.

Kerry was asked in an NBC "Today" show interview if the nuclear deal reached last week between would make it more likely that Israel might attempt a military or cyber attack on Tehran.

"That'd be an enormous mistake, a huge mistake with grave consequences for Israel and for the region, and I don't think it's necessary," Kerry said.
I think it's a big mistake for Kerry to be panning Israel's government when there's danger boiling away in the dungeons of Iran's dictatorship. But this is typical of Kerry, to preach inaction, and then only ensure that danger and evil have more chance of being perpetrated.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015 

Has Orthodox Judaism ever been rewritten and censored?

The Forward reviewed a book by Marc B. Shapiro about how Haredis, if anyone, seem to have rewritten the bible to suit their visions, another clue that their take on Judaism could be taught differently than what it used to be, and also says the problem's not limited to just them:
Orthodox Jews — especially Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox Jews — like to think of their religious practice as the most authentic form of Judaism. “We traditionally observant Jews… seek to observe the Torah’s mandate, as it has been preserved by the traditional Jewish transmitters over the ages” wrote Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for the Orthodox umbrella group Agudath Israel of America, in a 2012 article for the Forward. “Our differentness reflects only our fealty to the Judaism of the Ages,” he wrote in another piece last year. That was a public relations professional in the Forward; similar and stronger language is ubiquitous in Orthodox media.

In fact, historians and sociologists have long debunked the changelessness of Haredi life; differences in dress, lifestyle and ritual practice between contemporary and historical orthodoxies are well documented. Like other forms of fundamentalist religion, Haredi Judaism isn’t a strict continuation of the past, but a reaction against modernity. Its belief in its own authenticity is a theological self-conception, not a historical reality.
Yeah, I realized that part. The censorious MO they employ nowadays is just what counts as particularly anti-modern; a violation of the argument against gneivat daat (deceit). Now let's get to some of the parts about what's been censored in their visions, and what could've been:
Shapiro’s scholarship has been so important, in part because of Orthodoxy’s own success at covering up inconvenient aspects of its past. And in his latest book, Shapiro shows how far Orthodoxy has gone to make its textual legacy consistent with its present culture. Granted, the number of texts that have been overtly censored is relatively small in comparison with the overall corpus of rabbinic writing. But even a relatively small number turns out, on the whole, to be rather large. And what Shapiro demonstrates is that this kind of censorship is programmatic, intentional and has a history going back to the Bible itself.

Consider, for example, a change made to the Shulhan Arukh , Yosef Karo’s authoritative 16th-century code of Jewish law. In discussing the pre-Yom Kippur ritual of kaparot , in which one’s sins are symbolically transferred to a chicken, Karo refers to the practice as a “foolish custom.” (Other authorities went further, calling it a pagan practice.) Although that comment appeared in the first 18 printings of the work, it disappeared in the 18th century and is still generally omitted — a decision based on the fact that kaparot is now a normative Jewish observance. But should this change in practice justify distorting the historical text of the Shulhan Arukh? The goal, seemingly, is to give the false impression that one of the most important legal authorities in Jewish history had no problem with a now-commonplace ceremony. And “If Karo is not safe from censorship,” Shapiro writes, "I daresay that no text is safe."
I'm sure they're not. No matter what you think of a specific practice, that's no justification for obliterating it from the official texts. Just come up with a modern book about customs that argues why you think it's worth keeping around and isn't a pagan practice.
Such instances of censorship are not limited to obscure legal or theological matters, either. Recent years have seen bans, censorship, and suppression of books and other documents that have challenged an increasingly extreme status quo. Shapiro points to the now-notorious practice of Photoshopping women out of news photos, as well as to the censoring of historical pictures of prominent religious women who are not dressed according to present-day standards of “modesty.” “That perhaps these ‘chosheve’ [important] people had different views of tseniut [modesty] matters is not even considered,” he notes dryly.
As a modern day problem, that's something I'm already well aware of. It's total disrespect for history.
Shapiro pays particular attention to shifts in religious politics, and to the treatment of figures like Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Abraham Isaac Kook, who, though widely admired in their lifetimes, have fallen out of favor since their deaths. In the case of Kook, who is considered to be the ideological father of religious Zionism, hundreds of books have been censored in order to remove his approbations from the books’ front pages, despite the fact that the authors of those works desired to include them. “The fear of associating with Kook… is a reflection of the extremism that has taken root in Haredi Judaism,” Shapiro writes. As a result, he argues, Kook “has been the victim of more censorship and simple omission of facts for the sake of Haredi ideology than any other figure.”
I wouldn't be surprised if biblical Deborah isn't considered a worthy example to the extremists of today, because of the excellent example she sets as a prominent woman in ancient times who worked as a judge and political figure. All this censorship is disturbing and doesn't help Judaism - Orthodox or otherwise - one bit.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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