Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ohio Prisons Deny Messianic Jews Kosher Food, Label Them Protestants


Thank G-d. I am so glad that someone is seeing these parasites for what they are. They are not Jews. As Ohio so well names them: They are Protestants.

They don't need kosher food. They don't need services on Shabbat. They are xtians.

I hope they do take it to court and it becomes official that they are protestants.

When you believe in JC, you are not a practicing religious Jew. You are a practicing religious xtian.

There is nothing wrong with being a xtian. Why don't they just admit what they are? Are they ashamed of being xtians?

I have no problem with xtians who say they are xtians, but parasites who say they are Jews in order to lure unknowing Jews to xtianity are the lowest form of life.

Messianic Jewish inmates claim discrimination

Ohio prisons label them Protestants, deny them more-costly kosher meals
Friday, July 18, 2008 3:16 AM
By Meredith Heagney

Messianic Jews believe in Jesus. But they still consider themselves as faithful to Judaism as anyone else.

They want to eat kosher meals, avoiding pork and shellfish and not mixing meat and dairy products. But if they are inmates in Ohio prisons, they are out of luck. Kosher meals are a privilege afforded only to traditional Jews.

In Ohio prisons, Messianic Jews are labeled Protestants.

At least four prisoners at Richland Correctional Institution in Mansfield have filed grievances, alleging discrimination by a Christian-led prison system.

They also contend that they're denied a consistent place to worship on their Sabbath, which lasts from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown.

"This grievance is all about discrimination of a religious sect, and the conspiracy for the deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution," wrote Richland inmate Ronald Lutz, 64. He is serving 17 years for attempted theft, forgery, extortion and other crimes.

The prison argues that kosher meals aren't a basic tenet of faith for Messianic Jews. And with a tight budget, the prison system is opting to feed them the cheaper non-kosher meals.

Federal law says the government cannot impede the religious exercise of a prisoner unless those restrictions support a compelling governmental interest. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that law in 2005 when it came under attack by Ohio prison officials.

Nobody is being discriminated against, said the Rev. Gary Sims, religious-services administrator for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

He revoked kosher privileges for Messianic Jews in 2004 after consulting with Messianic Jewish rabbis, who told him the special meals weren't essential.

Prison budgets are tight, Sims said. A non-kosher meal costs about 95 cents; a kosher one, between $5 and $6.

The Messianic Jews at the Richland prison have to meet on Sundays because there's no volunteer to serve them on their Sabbath, and the regular chaplains are off, Sims said.

The prison system is re-evaluating its religious-accommodation policies, said Sims, who couldn't say whether any of the rules regarding Messianic Judaism might change.

Rabbi Howard Silverman of Beth Messiah Congregation in Gahanna, a Messianic congregation, acknowledges that although keeping kosher is an important tradition, it is not a law for Messianic Jews.

Sims doesn't know how many Messianic Jews are among Ohio's 50,000 inmates because they're classified as Protestants.

The inmates have an ally on the outside. The Rev. Mark Butler teaches three Bible classes a week at the Marion prison and said inmates there have the same complaints. Butler practices Messianic Judaism.

"It feels like a part of them is being denied," Butler said.

The Messianic Jews receive kosher meals on Jewish holidays, Sims said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Rutherford Institute, a Virginia civil-liberties organization, are investigating the Messianic Jews' complaints.

But for now, the Messianic Jews must eat what's on their plates.

'We are not IDF's Punching Bag'


About damn time they started speaking up.

The libel against them has been going on too long.

Judea/Samaria Jews Talk Tough
by Ze'ev Ben-Yechiel

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria lashed out Thursday at their treatment
by the Israeli Defense Forces after a day of tense clashes in those
regions, promising to exact a 'price' in response to the IDF's physical
aggression, refusal to protect them, and above all the way the IDF treats
them in the media.

"We're not the IDF's punching bag," they proclaimed in a statement from the
Binyamin-area 'Homesh First' activist headquarters, referring to several
instances throughout the day when the army spokesperson's office accused
Jewish civilians of violently attacking soldiers. The civilians were
vehemently denying that they assaulted any troops, and some of them plan to
sue the army for libel.

Confrontations broke out Thursday in several locations between local Jewish
residents and Israeli armed forces, in which the IDF was sent in to forcibly
remove Jewish residents from their homes. The first incident of the day
occurred at 11 a.m., when Yasam special police forces conducted a raid on
the outpost of Adei Ad, near Shiloh in Samaria, and carted away a bus that
was being used as living quarters.

The Binyamin activist headquarters said in response that if the security
forces continue to harass Jewish pioneers in the existing communities, they
will have to deal with the pioneers in new locations as well.

In another confrontation at Adei Ad, two Jewish men were arrested by Israeli
forces after one of them snatched a rifle from a soldier and fired it into
the air. IDF spokesmen described the incident as another violent act
committed by 'settlers,' and denied any wrongdoing in the incident. The
civilian involved in the incident claimed that he took the weapon to save
his life from Arab assailants, while the soldiers did nothing to protect

Homesh First said the man who took the gun was an air-conditioning
technician from Jerusalem who was travelling with a passenger from the town
of Kedumim to Itamar in Samaria. The two were attacked by dozens of Arabs
who pelted his car with rocks and then attempted to extract him from the car
to lynch him. Panic-stricken, he ran to a group of IDF soldiers standing
nearby who refused to do anything. Desperate for the soldiers to do their
job, he gave up trying to convince them, took the weapon of one of the
soldiers, fired in the air and then gave it back. It remains unclear whether
the civilian took the rifle forcibly or the soldier agreed to let the
civilian use it.

'Army must apologize for false report'
After the initial statements from the IDF accusing the Jewish civilians,
police determined that the lives of the two men had truly been in danger,
and that their car had indeed been seriously damaged by rocks thrown by Arab
rioters. The two were released immediately.

So far no apology for the false report has come from the IDF spokesman's
office. Nor has there been any investigation into why the soldiers, who saw
two Jewish civilians in mortal danger at the hands of an Arab mob, failed to
act to protect them, even when the Jews begged them to.

Homesh First said it expected the IDF to issue a formal apology for
releasing the "negligent" report.

In yet another incident, the IDF said that during an altercation with a
group of Jews at Havat Gilad, one of the Jews threatened a soldier with
bodily harm by brandishing a knife and pressing it to the soldier's neck.
The army spokesman's report said that the Jew then grabbed the soldier's
helmet and fled the scene. The soldier was unharmed.

Ynet quoted military spokesmen as saying that the incident was viewed
"severely" and would be dealt with. "A red line has been crossed here, this
is very serious," said the spokesmen.

However, the Havat Gilad Jews vehemently denied that anyone from their group
had threatened a soldier with a knife or in any way. Meanwhile they
confirmed that a helmet had indeed been stolen from a soldier, and said it
would be returned to the military promptly.

Itai Zar founded Havat Gilad (Gilad's Farm) and named it after his brother,
who was killed in an Arab terror attack. He told reporters that the army's
claims "are utter lies. There were two witnesses here - one of them the
regional security officer and the other one a lawyer. They both saw the
helmet being taken from the soldier, but there were no threats made with a
knife. Therefore, we intend to sue the IDF Spokesman's Office."

Friday, July 25, 2008

IDF vets train NY Jewish paramilitaries


Every synagogue in America should have at least one member train with this group!

We need to be prepared to deal with the new reality here in America--the reality of the possibility (G-d forbid!) of a terrorist attack in our communities.

We all walk around like sheep! Who knows what to do? Who is prepared? Who can defend us?

Yes, yes. I know that most of us have a hired security person for our services--but what happens if something occurs in our community when there are no services? What happens if something occurs when we aren't expecting it? What happens if someone takes out the security personnel first? Then what?

We need to rely upon ourselves too. We must not rely on miracles.

Go ahead, think I am a crazy paranoid person. I would rather be thought a crazy paranoid person who gets you to think for a moment than having you walk around with a target on your kippah and no way to defend yourself.

Please please please! Get your synagogue to make plans and share them with the membership. Have a drill! Who can get the children out? Who will help the elderly? Who will grab the Torahs??

Do you have a plan? Do you know how to turn off the gas? Do you know basic first aid and CPR? Do you know how to contain a hazardous substance? Do you know what to do if, suddenly, there is no electricity, no communications, and no help?

Find out! Find out now, before it is too late!

Jul 25, 2008 0:15 | Updated Jul 25, 2008 8:13

Yonatan Stern, the "Sgan Mefaked Hakita" (deputy squad commander) of Kitat Konenut New York, insists his "paramilitary emergency armed response team" is no "group of vigilantes or a JDL [Jewish Defense League]."

"The goal of the organization is to have a competent and professional group of armed volunteers ready to respond to a threat at a moment's notice in any area where Jews reside," explains the Israeli combat veteran.

"We do not carry out demonstrations or political activity of any kind as we have no political agenda. Our agenda is to protect Jews wherever and whenever necessary and by any means needed."

On Friday, the third session of the group's training camp will begin in the Catskills woodlands of upstate New York, on land belonging to a Jewish supporter of the organization. With tuition at $400, the group expects 15 participants and five instructors for the 10 days of training. Participation has doubled since the group began three years ago.

Kitat Konenut New York is modeled on the rapid response teams in the West Bank settlements that are often the first to act when terrorist attacks or other emergencies take place. The group bills itself as religious-Zionist but nonpolitical.

American Jews have "felt a false sense of security in the United States," Stern believes, "because historically there has been less anti-Semitism than in other countries. But there have been incidents - neo-Nazi terrorist attacks, Arab terrorist attacks. Jews have to be vigilant."

"The threat is not from the American people or government," he adds, but from "terrorist sleeper cells that want to target Jews. These people are very dangerous and the FBI issues warnings against them very often," he said, citing the FBI's warning, after the killing of Hizbullah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February, that the Lebanese group might carry out terror attacks on Jewish communities.

"The average American is friendly to Jews, but we're worried about those individuals on the periphery of society," Stern says.

The group was founded in the summer of 2006 in response to the shooting attack at the Jewish federation of Seattle premises by local Muslim Naveed Haq.

"We realized there is a need for this kind of organization, and as Israeli combat veterans living in the US, we have the skills and ability to respond to this," Stern says.

The group's MySpace page details the camp's regimen, which includes training in the IDF's Krav Maga martial art, use of non-lethal weapons and identification of suspicious objects, but also sharpshooter and assault rifle training, infantry exercises and endurance marches. Explanatory literature lists a large number of weapons with which participants can expect to train.

"We believe all Jews in the US must be legally armed and trained," Stern says, "and towards this goal we hold paramilitary training camps to train and equip Jewish American youth."

The group's literature notes emphatically that all firearms used in training "are 100% legal and in compliance with all federal, state and local laws."

"We strongly believe in the constitutional right to bear arms and we express this right to its fullest," it adds.

The group claims to be "well-connected with the New York police and fire departments" and it invites "all members of the law enforcement community to join in our life-saving activities."

Stern says, "We are all legally armed and carry radios and cellphones" during all hours of the day, and even on Shabbat, "as we need to be constantly ready to respond to any incident."

The camp literature also promises discussions on Torah and Halacha, understanding and confronting terrorism, fighting anti-Semitism, the history of the Zionist movement in the Land of Israel, and encouraging participants to "know your rights and learn how every American can and must be legally armed and how to express the Second Amendment" - the right to bear arms.

Funded by tuition money and a handful of private donors, the group does not exclude secular Jews, Stern says, but asks that they respect the Orthodox nature of the camp by observing Shabbat in public and refraining from bringing non-kosher food.

"We wouldn't have a problem with non-Jews coming either," says Stern, "but no non-Jew has applied thus far."

New code aims to prevent sexual harassment in religious schools


Last year my son, who attends a religious school, was absent for a test in his gemorah class.

He was told by his teacher that he could make up the test by coming by his house after school the next week.

I called the principal and explained that I would prefer that my son take the test at school. The principal seemed preplexed. He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t allow my son to take the test at the teacher’s home.

I explained that it wasn’t that I feared the teacher was inappropriate, as I knew it was common for the boys to make up assignments after school at the teacher’s home, but I feared that this practice was dangerous for the teacher.

I explained that I have taught for many years, and I would never be alone in an office with the door shut with a student EVER—even a student of the same gender. I would fear that the student, in an effort to gain control over me and my grading, could accuse me of doing something inappropriate. It would be the student’s word against mine, and the administration could only, out of prudence, suspend me until things were sorted out. This would destroy my reputation in a moment. It wouldn’t matter that I was innocent. In order to prevent this possibility, I always meet at the school, when others are around, with the door wide open.

I suggested that the teacher suspend his practice immediately, in order to protect himself and the reputation of the school.

The principal was still mystified by my comments, but agreed to look into the policy.

I am not suggesting that any religious teacher who conducts lessons at home is up to something bad. I am suggesting, however, that they are setting themselves up for some horrible rumors, legal action, and/or destruction to their reputation.

In addition, rabbis should only meet with students when their parents and/or other staff members are around and the door is wide open. They can also be caught up in false accusations that could be fatal to their professional reputation.

I am happy to see this code—not only to protect those who may be harassed, but to protect those who may be accused of harassment as well.


Takana Forum releases new code of rules prohibiting teachers from meeting alone with students of opposite sex, among other things

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 07.25.08, 14:13 / Israel Jewish Scene

Takana Forum, an organization that handles cases of sexual harassment within the religious community, has released a new code of rules to be followed by the religious education system.

The code includes rules prohibiting teachers from meeting with students outside of the schools, or if they must, an object must be placed between them in order to create a barrier.

Takana was established in 2003, and since then has vastly expanded its activities. The code published recently by the forum's secretariat includes rules for proper behavior to be observed by teachers and other figures of authority in their dealings with students under their control. An ethical code for those dealing with sexual harassment cases was also published.

For example, the code dictates that a personal conversation between an authority figure and a student of the opposite sex should take place only in the school, during working hours, and while other people are present in the building. It also determines that a personal comment about the modesty of a girl's dress should be given by a female.

Takana also determines that special counselors should be appointed in order to deal with problems of a sexual nature within the educational institutes, and whenever an authority figure recognizes such a problem the student should be referred to a counselor of his or her own sex.

The forum also recommends that the institutions take "preventative measures" such as annual lectures about sexual harassment in which students can participate in a discussion teaching them about their options in case they are sexually harassed.

'Word of God in doing right'
The ethical code refers to the work of the Takana Forum members, and determines that "one should never cover up any wrong-doing on the grounds that exposing it will lead to blasphemy. Just the opposite, the word of God is in doing what is right." The members are also encouraged to file orderly criminal complaints against the offenders.

"The code is not a substitute for the laws preventing sexual harassment, but rather a supplement for these laws, and symbolizes their adaptation to the social framework of the religious public," the forum states.

Takana was established with the aim of "developing a model for dealing from within the religious community with trauma of a sexual nature imposed by an authority figure on those under his supervision or influence." After studying the issue from its legal and religious perspective, two years ago the forum's members began to deal with complaints of sexual harassment that came from within the religious education system.

The forum's secretariat receives the complaints and decides whether they are suitable for discussion within this framework. When a case is found suitable the secretary appoints an assembly that is composed of a rabbi, an educational advisor, a professional therapist, and a legal consultant, in order to handle the case.

During recent months the forum has attempted to assimilate the new code by conducting various courses, in an effort to raise the religious community's awareness to sexual harrasment and the need to deal with it.

The course includes workshops and lectures about subjects such as the body, sexuality, relationships between the sexes, and characteristics of sexual harassment from psychological, religious, ethical, cultural, and legal perspectives.

Historian Michael Ladeen denies ‘warmonger’ label
by dan pine
staff writer

Recent news of the Bush administration making diplomatic overtures to Iran –– including possibly opening a consular station in Tehran –– shocked many conservatives.

Historian Michael Ladeen was not one of them.

“It’s a professional compulsion,” says the fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “Diplomats want diplomatic contact in diplomatic buildings. If you think of the State Department as a business, its products are treaties, embassies and consulates.”

Sardonic wit aside, Ladeen is a controversial voice on geopolitical matters, especially regarding terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

To his detractors from the Daily Kos set, Ladeen is a paleoconservative warmonger, largely because he has long supported aggressive responses to enemies of Israel and the United States.

He once said in a speech to an American Enterprise Institute gathering in the early ’90s, “Every 10 years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall just to show the world we mean business.”

Ladeen, 66, asserts his views have been misrepresented.

“I have always been violently opposed to military action in Iran,” he said last week while in San Francisco for a lecture sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition. “Iran is a country tailor-made for nonviolent democratic revolution. It’s ready to go. In Iran you have 70 to 90 percent who hate the regime, love America and want to live in peace with their neighbors.”

Not that he wants to go easy on Iran’s radical Shiite regime, which has run the country since 1979. If there’s pressure to be applied, Ladeen wants the West to press harder.

“I’ve spent my adult life studying evil –– fascism, communism, terrorism,” he says, “and if there’s one thing I learned, [it’s that] when someone stands up, pounds his chest and says ‘I’m gonna kill you all,’ take him seriously. He means it. When they drag 100,000 people into the streets and chant ‘Death to America,’ I think it means they want to kill us.”

That study of evil began in earnest with the L.A. native’s graduate studies in modern European history and fascism.

“Like every other Jew my age, my immediate ancestors had a terrible time in the first part of the 20th century, and I wanted to understand why,” he says. “Why didn’t anyone do anything about it? Why did the Jews get on the cattle cars? These are the questions that drove me to be a historian in the first place.”

Ladeen served in the Reagan administration as a special adviser to then-Secretary of State Alexander Haig and later as a consultant to National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane. Ladeen later was accused of complicity in the forged Italian documents that claimed Saddam Hussein sought nuclear materials from Niger –– a claim that served as a pretext for the Iraq war.

Ladeen denies the charge, claiming he was against invasion. However, writing in the conservative National Journal in 2002 before the Iraq war, Ladeen said of the Middle East, “One can only hope we turn the region into a cauldron and faster, please.”

Still, he minimizes his impact on events.

“You’ll hear about me [that] I can talk to [the president] anytime I want to, where as in reality I only met Bush once in a long line at a Chanukah party,” he says. “People live in a fantasy world where they think there are secret people out there with enormous power in the shadows.”

As for Iran, which is fast becoming a nuclear player, Ladeen sees a big problem looming for Israel and the West.

“Iran will keep after us until they win or are defeated,” he says. “But I think we can defeat them politically. Everyone says we either talk or bomb, but that’s not true.

“There’s at least one other option: Support revolution. It’s fun and it’s not hard, and it’s what America should do.”

Meanwhile, lest anyone accuse Ladeen of being a chickenhawk, he is quick to note that his three children currently serve with the Marines. One son twice deployed to Iraq, another recently graduated from officer candidate school, and his daughter works in the Pentagon.

How does it feel to have his kids potentially in harm’s way as they defend their country?

Says Ladeen: “It stinks.”

Rabbi Angel on Parashat Mattoth

Jordan River
by Rabbi Marc D. Angel

As the Israelites prepared to enter the promised land, the tribes of Reuben and Gad approached Moses with a request. They stated that they had many flocks, and that they preferred not to cross the Jordan.

They wanted to establish themselves on this side of the Jordan, and were willing to forego territory in the land of Canaan.
Of course, their request implied that they were "seceding" from the Israelite nation, in the sense that they would not share in the promised land, and would not have to face the coming wars along with the rest of the Israelites.

Moses was outraged. "Will your brothers go to war while you sit here?" The tribes of Reuben and Gad reassured Moses that their men would go along with the rest of the nation, would fight in the battles, and then later would return to the territory on the other side of the Jordan. With this assurance, Moses granted them their request.
Why was Moses so agitated with them in the first place?

1) the tribes of Reuben and Gad seemed to be interested primarily in their own comfort and material wellbeing; they put their interests above the needs of the entire nation.

2) by suggesting that they stay on the other side of the Jordan, these tribes were not only shirking their national responsibilities, but were damaging the morale of the people. The other tribes would feel weakened and betrayed if Reuben and Gad did not join them in the conquest of Canaan.

3) once people's morale is low, it is all the more difficult to lead them to victory.

The question that Moses asked Reuben and Gad is a question that needs to be asked of us in each generation. "Will your brothers go to war while you sit here?" The Jewish people in Israel and throughout the diaspora faces numerous challenges.

We need all our strength and energy to withstand enemies, anti-Semites and anti-Zionists. We need tremendous will and fortitude to maintain our Jewish educational system, our religious and cultural way of life, our beautiful family life. We need to resist the external and internal forces that undermine our physical and spiritual wellbeing. To face these challenges, we need 100% participation.

When Jews say: let others take these responsibilities, let others pay the bills, let others make the sacrifices--they undermine the strength and morale of the entire people of Israel. When Jews say: let me take care of my own needs, and let me not be concerned with the responsibilities to the entire people--they follow the bad example of Reuben and Gad.

As Moses replied to those tribes, we need to respond to ourselves and to others: will your brothers and sisters go to war, wage the battles, make the sacrifices, build the nation---while you sit idly by?
Each of us needs to be reminded on a regular basis that we are part of a great Jewish nation with a great destiny.
Each of us is vital to the wellbeing of the nation. Each of us has the privilege and honor of doing our share to advance the cause.

IDF Col. Baram Targets Kedumim Mayor Daniella Weiss, Rabbi Gadi Ben-Zimra in bid to "Deal with Settler Provocateurs"


So, to counter the protests against your pogroms, you propose more pogroms, Col. Baram? Something tells me that this strategy will soon prove a failure.

One does not target some of the most respected Yesha leaders and their schools without finding significant resistance to your way of doing things.

So far, the religious Zionist public has tried to play by the rules. When confronted by police and IDF and border guards during the expulsion, Yesha leaders tried to keep the community from boiling over. These leaders tried to give people hope and asked them not to be violent with our own Jewish brothers and sisters.

However, the government didn't respect that. The government responded by beating protesters, incarcerating our youth, and destroying our property and our synagogues with reckless and brutal regularity. You have arrested our community security personnel for minor offenses, you have taken our community weapons, and you have refused to protect our people.

The Yesha leaders and rabbis tried to reassure the public that, if they just played by the rules, the government would provide for those they expelled from communities like Amona and Gush Katif.

However, the government didn't respect that. Three years later, our refugees are still living in temporary housing, their communities ravaged, the people unemployed, marriages and families put under enormous pressure and, for what? Did the promised "peace" arrive? Were the people treated with respect and honor?

The government responded by treating the refugees from Gush Katif as less than human. They didn't keep communities together, they didn't protect the property of those communities, they didn't respect the religious items of those communities.

They allowed public buildings left behind to be made into terrorist training camps and Ketusha rocket pads, and refused to respond to the terrorists.

Now, what should Daniella Weiss and the Yeshiva rabbis do? They warned everyone, including the Yesha council about what would happen. They said the government should not be trusted. The government tied the hands of the Yesha Council, just as they said they would! The government made every concession the Yesha Council made into a thorn in their eye. The government made every promise the Yesha Council made into a lie! The Yesha Council was undermined and the Yesha movement was thrown into disarray.

But Daniella Weiss--a true woman of valor, a true patriot, a true Zionist--prevailed. Her reputation and the reputation of the Yesha Rabbis tried to protect Jews from Jews. They, alone, are the reason why this country didn't fall into a civil war.

Now you turn on them too? Now you make them the enemy so that you don't have to confront your own stinking horrid government, a government has made a mockery of what used to be one of the strongest nations in the world? We see debauchery, greed, injustice, and lies where honor, loyalty, justice and honesty should prevail.

You are surprised that there begins to be a backlash? You are surprised that the support for these failed policies has dried up?

When people have found that justice is not possible, when they have tried all possible legal remedies, and when they have still been brutalized and incarcerated, they have only one course of action left to them.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

It’s called Revolution. I think it won't be long, dear Col. Baram.

When it happens, how many will be with you?

Look around.

See who has weapons and training and strength of conviction. See who has morality and ethics and knowledge. See what is the future, and what is the past--and think to yourself, "Should I throw gasoline on this situation?"

Religious Zionists are tired of being ignored because they have tried to play by the rules. They are sick of sitting on their hands while others are treated with kid gloves.

Yesha and Jerusalem are tender dry. Any words or actions may cause a spark, and any spark may bloom into a conflagration.

The leaders of Yesha have been patient, holding a match in their hands and trying to keep the friction away.

How long will they do this, Col. Baram? How long can they do this when you, yourself, are promising to deliver that friction?

I don't know about you, but when someone messes with my kids or with my community leaders or with my rabbi, I take it very very personally.

I am sure that this is not just my response. I have a feeling it is a HUMAN response.

I am just praying that everyone knows what they are getting themselves into and has made very careful plans to that effect.

Last update - 10:56 25/07/2008
IDF commander: We must deal with settler 'provocateurs'
By Uri Blau and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondents

The outgoing commander of the Samaria Brigade, Col. Amir Baram, last month told Israel Defense Forces and legal officials that efforts should be made to "deal with provocateurs" among settlement leaders.

Baram cited Kedumim Mayor Daniella Weiss and Rabbi Gadi Ben-Zimra, who heads an Orthodox girls' high school in the northern West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Levona as specific examples.

At that meeting, with IDF officers and officials from the State Prosecutor's Office, Baram focused in particular on two yeshivas in the northern West Bank whose students have been party to crimes against Palestinians in the area.

One, called Dorshei Yihudcha, is located in Yitzhar and headed by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, an associate of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg, who headed the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva that was formerly located at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. Shapira is among the rabbis who signed a manifesto in support of the suspects in a brutal attack on two Arab youths on Holocaust Remembrance Day in May.

"The community's moderates are unable to exert their authority over the yeshiva boys, and there are many complaints in the area," Baram was quoted as saying. "Two yeshiva boys recently went into a nearby Palestinian village to set fire to Palestinian cars, but they were caught and beaten, and the army had to extricate them."

The second yeshiva is Shiru Lamelech, located at the Havat Gilad outpost. Baram said that a number of "problematic" youths study at that yeshiva.

Baram cited the illegal outpost of Shvut Ami as another source of problems, saying that stone-throwing by residents continues despite a permanent IDF presence there.

Violence follows removal of trailer from West Bank outpost

Two men were released from custody on Thursday after having been detained earlier in the day for firing in the air when Palestinians threw stones at their cars. Police said that the two had acted properly, since their lives were endangered by the stone-throwing.

The incident, which took place at the Yitzhar junction in the northern West Bank, was one of a series of violent incidents that followed yesterday's removal of a residential trailer from the nearby outpost of Adei Ad.

In another incident, settlers from Yitzhar reportedly threw stones at the main road on their way back to Yitzhar from Adei Ad.

At the same time, the police and the Israel Defense Forces received reports that rocks had been thrown by Israelis in the nearby Palestinian village of Burin. Police and soldiers mounted an unsuccessful search for the stone-throwers.

In the shooting incident, one of the men stopped his car close to an IDF vehicle, took a weapon from one of the soldiers and fired into the air several times. The other driver fired his own weapon.

Yitzhar residents said the man who seized the soldier's gun was not a resident of the settlement, but rather an air-conditioning technician from Jerusalem.

"He happened to be at the site and was hit by stones, and since the IDF did not respond, he decided to do something," explained one.

Regarding the trailer's removal, a Yitzhar resident said: "The police and the Civil Administration think they can come and evacuate like a 'hit and run.' So we decided that for every attempt to evacuate, we would exact a price throughout the area. The tiniest evacuation will result in incidents all day long, so it will be clear we don't give up easily."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One Event--Two News Stories. You Decide.


Two versions of the same story. First A7-- where they say the arabs attacked, then the JP—where they say the “settlers” attacked.

Interesting. I’m sure the court will find with the JP and convict the men who were trying to protect lives and shooting INTO THE AIR to disperse the rioting arabs.

OK, here you go:

First, the A7’s version:

Arab Rock Attack in Samaria, Civilians Fire in Air

( Arabs threw rocks at cars near Yitzhar Junction in Samaria Thursday. A civilian who saw that the soldiers present were not doing anything took a soldier’s gun and fired in the air. Another civilian who was armed also fired his weapon in the air.

The two Jewish civilians were detained for questioning.

My comment on the validity of the A7 story:

For days and days and days, the arabs have been attacking cars and trucks and busses in Samaria with stones and firebombs. Several people have been injured and many buses have been badly damaged.

Almost nothing has been done to protect the movement of Israelis in Samaria, and people are fearing for their lives just to drive to the store or to work.

This story seems completely plausible, considering the circumstances of the past few weeks.

Now the JP Version (See my comments below):

24, 2008 14:23 | Updated Jul 24, 2008 15:09

Driver grabs gun from soldier as settlers riot in W. Bank

Settlers from Yitzhar ran riot Thursday, clashing with Palestinians and security forces, following the evacuation of a bus in the nearby Adey-Ad illegal outpost in the West Bank.

Six security force members were wounded in the riots, including one seriously when she was hit in the head by a stone. Eleven settlers were also hurt.

Judea and Samaria police said they received a report saying that at one point during the clashes, an Israeli driver pulled over his vehicle near an IDF jeep after being targeted by Palestinian stone throwers, got out of the car, and snatched a gun from a soldier, firing a number of times in the air.

A second Israeli driver also reportedly fired in the air with his personal firearm. There were no casualties reported during the incident and Judea and Samaria police detained the two Israelis for questioning.

According to reports, after the Adey-Ad bus was evacuated, the Yitzhar settlers gathered at the site, at which point the police told them to return to their homes.

While dispersing, a riot broke out and the youth began throwing stones at cars at Shiloh Junction and setting tires on fire.

Palestinians claimed that as the riot progressed, some 150 settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in the village of Burin near Nablus. Burin is the closest village to the settlement of Yitzhar.

According to the Palestinian claims, sections of their fields were set alight, cars damaged and dozens of farmers attacked.

AP contributed to this report

My comment on the validity of the JP story:

We are expected to swallow a lot of silly facts with no explanation. Why were the soldiers evacuating the bus? Was the bus some sort of “illegal outpost” that they were required to evacuate? Probably not. The bus was probably being evacuated because it had been attacked by arab stone throwers, and those traveling on the bus were probably resisting evacuation because they were afraid of being assaulted and believed the bus to be a much safer place for them to wait.

Also, the JP shows its immediate bias by saying “Illegal Outpost” and using the term “settler” to refer to Israeli citizens. Both are loaded terms, used to try to bias the reader against the victims of the stone throwing.

The story is very vague about who is being dispersed, and who is throwing the stones, and insinuates that the stones are being thrown by Jews. However the story reads, “While dispersing, a riot broke out and the youth began throwing stones at cars at Shiloh Junction and setting tires on fire.”

Up until now the story has been very clear in assigning blame to Jews, but becomes suddenly vague about who is throwing the stones. Also, “11 settlers” were injured, but no report on arabs being injured. Hmmm. Strange that the Israeli citizens were being injured by their own stones, is it not? I guess they are so inept and throwing stones that they hit their own heads with them? Maybe they need lessons from the arabs who, a paragraph later, are reported to be attacking vehicles with stones, “Judea and Samaria police said they received a report saying that at one point during the clashes, an Israeli driver pulled over his vehicle near an IDF jeep after being targeted by Palestinian stone throwers, got out of the car, and snatched a gun from a soldier, firing a number of times in the air.”

Ah! It was the arabs throwing stones, but we are not supposed to pay attention to that. No! We must pay attention to the “settler” who, in his crazed state as a Zionist manipulator, has grabbed the gun of a soldier and fired—not at the arabs, not at the soldiers, not at the border police—but IN THE AIR. Horrifying!! I am sure this is why the border policeman was injured BY A STONE. It must have dislodged itself from the bullet in the air!!

(By the way, the soldier in question should have a court martial. A soldier must always protect his/her weapon no matter what. He/she is lucky someone dangerous didn't grab it and kill everyone there.)

Then, we are further horrified to hear a second crazed “settler” used his “personal firearm” to shoot—not at the arabs, not at the soldeirs, not at the border police—but IN THE AIR.

Of course, there were no arabs detained, only the “settlers” who are evil incarnate. Then, of course, the arabs start telling a tale of how their farms are being burned and their people attacked by the crazed settlers who, I am assuming, were traveling on the bus only to locate hapless arab farmers to attack!

If you look further, I think you will find that the “AP” reporter probably also works for the “Palestinian” newspaper Al-Ayyam. I am guessing it is Ali Daraghmeh reporting—as it looks like his style. Pretty long story for no byline, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grand Jury Testimony from Rosenberg Trial To Be Released


The ONLY spies executed in the 20th Century were the Rosenbergs. (Although the Solviet Archives later confirmed that the Rosenbergs had been spies for Russia, it did not confirm that the nuclear secrets had been shared by the Rosenbergs.)

Now Pollard rots in prison, with the longest conviction for spying--life in prison.

Coincidence that they are Jews? Coincidence they were both spying for "friendly" countries (Russia was a US alli during WWI and WWII). Hmmmm.

By the way, David Tenenbaum was the subject of a government report which detailed how the US Army's religious bias led to espionage charges against him. See a great collection of articles regarding this case on the Pollard website.

Here's a little background on the
espionage act, if you don't know much about it. It was passed in 1917 just after the Bolshevik revolution in order to protect the United States from socialism. It prescribed a $10,000 fine and 20 years' imprisonment for interfering with recruiting of troops, disclosing information about national defence and refusing military duty. Approximately 900 people were imprisoned in the first year after the act was approved, mostly anti-war activists such as Eugene V. Debs, Bill Haywood, Philip Randolph, Victor Berger, John Reed, Max Eastman, and Emma Goldman.

On 23rd August six members of the Frayhayt, a group of Jewish anarchists based in New York were arrested. Charged under the Espionage Act, the group were accused of publishing articles in the Der Shturm that undermined the American war effort. This included criticizing the United States government for invading Russia after the Bolshevik government signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty.

One of the group, Jacob Schwartz, was so badly beaten by the police when he was arrested that he died soon afterwards. Mollie Steimer was found guilty and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment. Three of the men, Samuel Lipman, Hyman Lachowsky and Jacob Abrahams received twenty years.

Over 450 conscientious objectors were imprisoned as a result of this legislation including Rose Pastor Stokes who was sentenced to ten years in prison for saying, in a letter to the Kansas City Star, that "no government which is for the profiteers can also be for the people, and I am for the people while the government is for the profiteers." Soon afterwards Kate Richards O'Hare was sentenced to five years for making an anti-war speech in North Dakota.

The socialist journal, The Masses was prosecuted in 1918 under the Espionage Act. It was claimed by the authorities that articles by Floyd Dell and Max Eastman and cartoons by Art Young, Boardman Robinson and H. J. Glintenkamp had undermined the war effort. The legal action that followed forced the journal to cease publication.

During the Red Scare (1919-20) A. Mitchell Palmer, the attorney general and his special assistant, John Edgar Hoover, used the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act to launch a campaign against radicals and left-wing organizations. Under these two laws 1500 people were arrested for disloyalty.

Posted: 4:02 am
July 23, 2008

Nearly all the secret grand-jury testimony from the sensational 1950s Ethel and Julius Rosenberg espionage case will be made public, a Manhattan federal judge said yesterday, with at least one glaring omission - that of Ethel's turncoat brother.

US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein - responding to a petition led by a group of historians and backed by the executed Cold War couple's grown children - agreed to release testimony of all but 10 of the more than 40 grand-jury witnesses in the case.

The judge did not say when the testimony would be made public, but lawyers indicated it would occur in the fall.

The released testimony is from witnesses who have either died or consented to have their statements made public.

But one witness who refused to allow his testimony to be made public was David Greenglass, Ethel's older brother.

Greenglass is infamous for implicating his sister. He has since said he was pressured to lie by the feds.

The testimony of Greenglass, whom his sister called "Doovey," was crucial to the government's weak case against Ethel, and is credited with sending her to the electric chair.

The Rosenbergs, originally from The Bronx, were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and sent to the electric chair at Sing Sing in 1953.

Years of research indicate that Julius was a spy, while Ethel's role remains unclear.

Israel Needs a Probe to Understand Gush Katif Evacuees Were Not Treated Well??




Please tell me, do they need a PROBE to know that the people of Gush Katif were not treated properly, that they have no homes, that they have no jobs, and that all the promises made to them were lies?

Do they need a probe to know that the money that was promised was never used for the correct purpose?

Do they need a probe to know that they made one of the biggest mistakes in Jewish history?

This is so stupid. How much money will this take? How much time? What will be accomplished?

They will make a report, right? The report will take four months to edit, two months to publish, a month to distribute. Then, of course, there will be another six months needed to decide what to do after the report is published. Then, like Winograd, it will be ignored.

Meanwhile, children are growing up in homes where parents are depressed, out of work, and without the homes and farms and businesses they spent their lives building. They are divorced from their communities, their synagogues, and their friends. Their learning has been interrupted, the lives ruined. They face college with no money, adulthood with no community. Four years is a long time in a child’s life.

Jul 23, 2008 15:45 | Updated Jul 23, 2008 22:30
State may probe treatment of evacuees

The Knesset State Control Committee will vote next week on a proposal to establish a state commission of inquiry to examine the paper trail of the funds earmarked for those evacuated during 2005's disengagement from the Gaza Strip and part of northern Samaria, MK Amira Dotan (Kadima) said Wednesday.

Doran spoke at a meeting of the Knesset Forum for Gush Katif Evacuees that was held to mark the third anniversary of disengagement.

She said she decided to call for the investigation after legislators "had exhausted all of the other parliamentary tools at our disposal."

In a statement released to the media, the Disengagement Authority and the Prime Minister's Office said that they both planned to cooperate with the committee or in fact any group that planned to investigate the treatment of the evacuees.

But the Authority warned that it also expected any investigatory body would also explore "the actions of the parliamentarians that made false promises to the evacuees and in so doing, delayed the process."

In a press conference held Tuesday, the Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office Ra'anan Dinur cautioned the media against false statements that would be made by parliamentarians with respect to the treatment of the evacuees.

A state commission of inquiry - appointed at the behest of the Knesset's State Control Committee - is the highest level of investigative committee that can be established.

Dotan's announcement was met with enthusiasm by many of the Gush Katif evacuees who were present in the room.

MK Zevulun Orlev (National Union/National Religious Party), chairman of the State Control Committee, said the committee would vote on the proposal next Wednesday, and that he already had a solid majority to approve the measure.

Orlev warned, however, that after Dotan's announcement, the government was likely to pressure committee members to abstain in the vote. Nevertheless, Orlev remained confident that the measure would pass.

"We have no choice but to establish this probe because the government has proved to be obtuse and has disseminated lies [regarding aid to evacuees]," Orlev said. He said establishment of a commission would be the most drastic step that Knesset members could take to force the government to address the problems facing evacuees.

The process is expected to go quickly - immediately after the vote on Wednesday, Orlev plans on sending the requisite letter to Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch requesting her to appoint commission members. The appointment process usually takes a number of days; during that time, Orlev will write the formal request for funding for the commission, to be submitted to Knesset director-general Avi Balashnikov.

Should the Knesset vote go as planned, the commission could be up and running before the High Holy Days.

After that, the length of time until the commission delivers its conclusions is dependant on its mandate.

"If we reach, together with the evacuees, an understanding that it is more important to ask what the state needs to do to find solutions to evacuees' problems than to delve into the history and come up with 'personal conclusions' about who is responsible, the commission will complete its work more quickly," Orlev said.

"It is important to me to reveal all of the bad intentions and neglect on the part of people in the government, but it is even more important to find solutions to the evacuees' problems than to make political hay," he said.

On Tuesday it was revealed that only 7 percent to 8% of the evacuees have begun building permanent homes, according to statistics released by the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday.

Out of 24 new communal sites where the ex-Gaza residents will live, work is ongoing at only seven, PMO director-general Ra'anan Dinur said.

Looking back over the past four years of the Disengagement Authority's operation, he acknowledged that "we made mistakes. If you ask if today we would have done it better, yes we would have."

Dinur said he was proud that the authority was now doing its best to provide the evacuees with solutions they wanted.

Israeli Public Housing Going Condo?


OK, there is a bill to approve the sale of public housing, at a discount, to those who live in it.

First, I like this idea because it means that Jews will OWN their own property, making it a lot less likely that the government will sacrifice it to some future "peace agreement"--especially the housing located in Jerusalem.

Then again, I am worried that some of that public housing is housing arabs, and the idea that they can buy their property in Jewish neighborhoods may make the problems we are having even more acute.

OK, the last concern--what if you can't afford to buy your housing? How will the administration of large apartment buildings be handled when part of the people are tenants and part are owners? How will this change the dynamics.

I doubt all these issues have been dealt with, we are talking about the people who can't even get a house built for the people from Gush Katif . . . and I am predicting a grand mess.

If I were you, I would wait before I put my money down until I knew all the details!

Jul 23, 2008 10:42 | Updated Jul 23, 2008 10:45
Knesset, Finance Ministry agree to sell public housing at discount

Postponed for nearly a decade, a public-housing bill that will allow residents of government housing to buy their residences at discounted rates is finally taking shape.

The Knesset Economics Committee on Tuesday unanimously passed the bill presented by MK Ran Cohen (Meretz) and MK Yoram Marciano (Labor) in second and third readings. It will be presented to the Knesset plenum for final approval next week.

"After living in uncertainty for a period of about 10 years, this is good news that offers a solution for thousands of public-housing residents," said Cohen.

The public-housing bill is aimed at giving public-housing residents the ability to buy their apartments from the state at a high discount, depending on the number of years and the number of people living in public housing, as well as the geographical area. The bill was first submitted to the Knesset in 1999 but has since been frozen within the Economics Arrangements Law.

The bill was passed after intensive negotiations over the past few days between MKs and representatives of the Finance Ministry over the maximal discount on selling public housing, with a compromise reached only minutes before the vote. The Knesset members had requested a maximal discount of 90 percent, while the Finance Ministry would not agree to any discounts above 50%.

According to the compromise, a couple living in public housing located in the center of the country for 30 years will be entitled to a discount of 67%. For families, the maximal discount will be 90% in the periphery and 82.5% in the center.

Under the terms of the agreement, the law will only come into effect in 2011, though the sale of public-housing apartments will already commence four weeks after the bill is passed by the Knesset.

The bill specifies that 75% of the money generated from the sale of public-housing units will be invested in creating new housing solutions such as public-housing units and renovations. The remainder will be allocated for related purposes other than public housing, such as neighborhood rehabilitation.

People Prefer P'skim Via WWW


I highly doubt that the sites are more accessible than a rabbi.

Most rabbis are surprisingly accessible. However, people don't go to their rabbi, call their rabbi, e-mail their rabbi. Why?

In addition to what this survey says, I would bet that they would find that most people don't want to
"inconvenience" their rabbi. They assume that the rabbi has much more important things to do than answer their phone to answer a question or help.

Also, as the survey reveals, some may fear their rabbi, assuming that the rabbi would judge them and see them as less religious than they should be if they didn't the a question (like our rabbis all think we are perfect or something. Get real!).

Some don't want to ask an "embarrassing" question.

The most common complaint I hear from rabbis is that people are turning to the internet or to the Shulchan Aruch, thinking they can figure out a halachic question on their own without talking to their rabbi.

Meanwhile, the rabbi sits, waiting for people to call, wanting people to ask, waiting for people to stop by--and finding out too late that people who didn't ask have now gotten themselves into a halachic conundrum when all they had to do was PICK UP THE PHONE!!

I think one of the best things a rabbi can do is set up an anonymous way for their members to contact them--for example a blog (easily to set up on e-blogs!)--and let their members ask via the anonymous "comment" posting available there. The rabbi can set up "moderate comments" so that the "comments" are not automatically posted, and the rabbi can answer the question anonymously--and even set up a blog entry dealing with the question in depth.

As far as "embarrassing" questions (usually dealing with family purity), most women don't know that they can call the rabbi's wife, ask if she would ask the rabbi a question without sharing who it is from, and call back with the answer. In this way the question can be handled female to female and privately from the rabbi. If you do this, I highly recommend that you hide your number when you make the call to the rabbi's wife, otherwise the rabbi will know who it is from even if the rabbi's wife doesn't say.

Remember, we are people of the book, but it is unwise to use the Shulchan Aruch or a website for finding answers. Why? Because, as it was explained to me once, each p'sk is like a prescription from a doctor. One who was suffering from a similar condition to their friend would not ask their friend to share the prescription they were given. It could be dangerous! The doctor is aware of specific health concerns that the patient has, and one person's prescription may not be used for another patient. Each specific condition must be looked at with the doctor's understanding of the patient and the drugs available.

Similarily, each P'sk must be made with the rabbi's understanding of the person and the laws available. Sometimes things which look cut-and-dried in one place in the Shulchan Aruch may be addressed completely differently in another place. It takes the experience and knowledge of a well trained rabbi to determine how each question should be answered.

In addition, the survey reveals that a lot of people don't want to be bound by the P'sk of their own rabbi, so they ask anonymously on the internet. This does not need to be done if one knows how to ask a question. If you do not want to be bound by a P'sk (i.e. you have an idea that you know what the rabbi will say, and you don't think you can do it), don't ask the question specifically because you will be bound by the answer. Instead, ask the question in a general way.

Here's an example:

Specific (you would be bound by answer): Rabbi, do I have to cover my hair after I am married, and how should I cover it?

General (You would not be bound by the answer): Rabbi, what are your thoughts about hair coverings? Do you think all women should cover their hair, and what do you think is the best way to cover it?

The difference is one is asking for a personal P'sk "Do I have to . . . " and the other is asking for a general opinion "What are your thoughts about . . . ."


Rising popularity in use of internet rabbis

Joint survey conducted by Ynet, Gesher reveals that 68% of surfers on Halachic Q&A sites say internet more accessible than rabbis,7340,L-3571715,00.html
Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 07.23.08, 08:17 / Israel Jewish Scene

The various Jewish section sites on the internet hold a collection of hundreds of thousands of Halachic (Jewish law) Questions and Answers. The rabbis supplying the answers justify the virtual communication between rabbis and the public and explain that for many, this is their only link.

However, there are those who warn about the loss of a personal connection between a rabbi and his community, saying the phenomenon “disrespects the Halacha.” What do the surfers have to say?

A survey conducted for Ynet Judaism and the Gesher organization revealed that most people turning to the Q&A sections do so for technical reasons like internet accessibility and lack of accessibility to rabbis.

Moreover, some choose the virtual option because they are embarrassed to face the rabbi or fear committing to his ruling.

The Ynet-Gesher survey was conducted by the Mutagim Institute and included 500 respondents representative of the Jewish, adult, Hebrew-speaking population in Israel. It was conducted before the third annual conference for Judaism, society and internet.

In the first part of the questionnaire, the participants were asked, “If you indeed ask Judaism-related questions on the internet why do you do so?” Seventy-nine percent said that they don’t tend to turn to rabbis in this manner and 21% seek rabbis’ counsel in this fashion for various reasons.

Amongst the surfers who use the relevant Q&As, 58% explained that the internet is more accessible to them than rabbis and 10% said that they do not have contact with any rabbi.

However, seven percent revealed that they are interested in clarifying a Halachic opinion without committing to act in accordance with it. Five percent said that they are embarrassed of asking questions in front of the rabbis because of the issue at hand.

None of those asked said they are embarrassed of meeting the rabbi himself and the rest refused to explain why they choose these Q&As.

The second question in the survey was, “do you use the internet for ‘Jewish purposes’ and if so, what are they?” Seventy-two percent answered that they do not surf sites which provide assistance on Jewish-related subjects, and the rest of the participants use the web for ‘Jewish purposes.’

Amongst the users of these sites, 28% said that they mainly clarify details regarding religious services or related information like the address of the local Rabbinate, a nearby mikveh (ritual bath) or a kosher restaurant.

Twenty-seven percent receive updates on these sites pertaining to what is happening in the Jewish world. Twenty-three percent study Jewish texts online and 16% turn to rabbis with Halachic and moral questions on the internet Q&As. The remaining interviewees refused to give details.

Removing religious boundaries
Amongst the different religious denominations, the survey revealed that ultra-Orthodox people study Jewish texts and are updated on Jewish news around the world, (50% for each option).

The religious and secular Israelis asked, search the Web mainly for Jewish information (39% and 27% respectively). Traditional Jews surf the Jewish news site as well, (31%)

Gesher Director Shoshi Becker said, “We see that people tend to turn to the internet as a source for answers or world Jewish news mainly because the internet provides more accessible information than people do. I have no doubt that the number of those turning to sites containing Jewish-related material will increase yearly.”

“The fact that the issue of Judaism is completely open to users and not branded to one stream of Judaism or another is the root of the internet’s strength.

“From my ‘Gesher’ perspective this is a wonderful tool which removes boundaries between religious, secular, traditional and ultra-Orthodox Jews and allows Jews around the world accessibility to Jewish contents.”

The editor-in-chief of the “Kipa” website said, “There is no doubt that as the years pass we are feeling the growth in the number of questions asked to rabbis on the internet. The fact that most of these people noted that they don’t have an accessible rabbi who will answer their questions, only proves the great need for virtual Q&As.”

“It is important to remember that the Q&A sections like that seen in ‘Kipa’ are responsible for quite a few changes occurring in the religious public and are providing rabbis a bi-directional relationship with their communities, a connection which unfortunately did not exist in the past.”

Estelle Getty Moves to Golden Girl World Beyond


May G-d comfort her family, friends, and fans.


Goodbye Golden Girl: Comic actress Estelle Getty dies at 84

By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press

Estelle Getty, the diminutive actress who spent 40 years struggling for success before landing a role of a lifetime in 1985 as the sarcastic octogenarian Sophia Petrillo on TV's The Golden Girls, has died. She was 84.

Getty, who suffered from advanced dementia, died at about 5:30 A.M. Tuesday at her Hollywood Boulevard home, said her son, Carl Gettleman of Santa Monica.

"She was loved throughout the world in six continents, and if they loved sitcoms in Antarctica she would have been loved on seven continents," her son said. "She was one of the most talented comedic actresses who ever lived."

The Golden Girls, featuring four female retirees sharing a house in Miami, grew out of NBC programming chief Brandon Tartikoff's belief that television was ignoring its older viewers.

Three of its stars had already appeared in previous series: Bea Arthur in Maude, Betty White in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rue McClanahan in Mama's Family. The last character to be cast was Sophia Petrillo, the feisty 80-something mother of Arthur's character.

When she auditioned, Getty was appearing on stage in Hollywood as the carping Jewish mother in Harvey Fierstein's play Torch Song Trilogy. In her early 60s, she flunked her Golden Girls test twice because it was believed she didn't look old enough to play 80.

"I could understand that," she told an interviewer a year after the show debuted, "I walk fast, I move fast, I talk fast."

She came prepared for the third audition, however, wearing dowdy clothes and telling an NBC makeup artist, "To you this is just a job. To me it's my entire career down the toilet unless you make me look 80." The artist did, Getty got the job and won two Emmys.

It culminated a long struggle for success during which Getty worked low-paying office jobs to help support her family while she tried to make it as a stage actress.

"I knew I could be seduced by success in another field, so I'd say, 'Don't promote me, please,'" she recalled.

She started her career acting for the Yiddish theater, before appearing in small parts in a handful of films and TV movies, including Tootsie, Deadly Force and Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story.

After her success in The Golden Girls, other roles came her way. She played Cher's mother in Mask, Sylvester Stallone's in Stop or My Mom Will Shoot and Barry Manilow's in the TV film Copacabana. Other credits included Mannequin and Stuart Little (as the voice of Grandma Estelle).

The Golden Girls, which ran from 1985 to 1992, was an immediate hit, and Sophia, who began as a minor character, soon evolved into a major one.

Audiences particularly loved the verbal zingers Getty would hurl at the other three. When McClanahan's libidinous character Blanche once complained that her life was an open book, Sophia shot back, "Your life's an open blouse."

Getty had gained a knack for one-liners in her late teens when she did standup comedy at a Catskills hotel. Female comedians were rare in those days, however, and she bombed.

Undeterred, she continued to pursue a career in entertainment, and while her parents were encouraging, her father also insisted that she learn office skills so she would have something to fall back on.

Born Estelle Scher to Jewish Polish immigrants in New York, Getty fell in love with theater when she saw a vaudeville show at age 4.

She married New York businessman Arthur Gettleman (the source of her stage name) in 1947, and they had two sons, Carl and Barry. The marriage prevailed despite her long absences on the road and in The Golden Girls.

Getty was evasive about her height, acknowledging only that she was under 5 feet and under 100 pounds.

In addition to her son Carl, Getty is survived by son Barry Gettleman, of Miami; a brother, David Scher of London; and a sister, Rosilyn Howard of Las Vegas.