To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.
According to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, the Holocaust never happened. Even more malevolent than Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust is the clear inference that Israel owes its creation to the Holocaust.
Contrary to Ahmadinejad’s version of history, the million or so Jews who fled the Soviet Union were victims of Russian xenophobia, not the Holocaust. It was Ethopian intolerance, not the Gestapo, that prompted the immigration to Israel of the Falasha Jews. And the Sephardim, who now constitute more than half of Israel’s Jewish population, were not driven out by Nazi fiat but by Arab and Iranian belligerence.
The remark made to First Lieutenant Chaim Spilman by an old yeshiva rebbe of his – that he, this rebbe, must have not pinched and hit him hard enough when he taught him because look at the way Mr. Spilman turned out – disgusted me beyond words (“A Seder in Saddam’s Palace,” op-ed, March 17). Based on his inspirational article, I’d say Mr. Spilman is a Jewish hero. The fact that the style of yarmulke or the type of pants he wears could elicit such a disparaging comment from this rebbe speaks volumes about the superficiality of much of what passes for frumkeit in our day and age.
Something tells me that it wasn’t just Mr. Spilman’s yarmulke and pants that bothered this rebbe. I wouldn’t be shocked if it is the very idea of a Jew – let alone an Orthodox Jew – enlisting in the military that is so foreign, so “goyish,” if you will, to this rebbe and others of like mentality. I couldn’t disagree more. Frum Jews like Chaim Spilman do us all proud. Would that we had more like him.
I was appalled to read the March 10 “Lessons In Emunah” column. We are commanded to be tomim – wholehearted – with Hashem. (Devorim 18:13). This means, and has meant for millennia, that we address our requests to Hashem through prayer. We don’t pray to idols and we don’t pray to dead people.
There is not one word about Hashem in this woman’s story; there is only a description about how she petitioned the deceased Lubavitcher Rebbe to help her. If “Shoshana K.” wanted divine assistance, she was bound by halacha to address herself to the God of Israel.
The m’forshim explain that when Moshe Rabeinu died Hashem kept his burial place a secret so that it should not become a shrine that would attract those who might be misguided by his greatness into deifying him. Was the Lubavitcher Rebbe holier than Moshe Rabeinu?
Evolution: The Argument Continues
Zev Stern’s statement (Letters, March 17) that one should take challenges to evolution before scientific organizations or publications is pathetic. It would be like walking into a Kangaroo court. These people’s faith in evolution is well entrenched; they’re not about to take dissenting views seriously.The Jewish Press and other such publications are precisely where challenges to evolution should be taken. You can only have a problem with this if you have no answers to these challenges.
Space exploration speaks volumes of scientists’ misdirected assumptions about life on Earth, which thrives in every nook and cranny, under the most adverse conditions: at the bottom of the ocean; near water vents of several hundred degrees Fahrenheit mixed with poisonous sulfuric acid; in the desert; in 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in some parts of Antarctica.
It’s inconceivable that something as tenacious and as resilient as life has not left its mark on any other planet or moon. Mars once had water, according to scientists. We shouldn’t have to dig for life. If it got wiped out, we should find bones strewn throughout.
How do you account for billions of species in earth’s history and not so much as a one-celled organism (certainly not an elephant) on other planets? Evolution? It certainly doesn’t seem like it.
In view of the lack of evidence for evolution, that it is still being advocated by some Orthodox Jews is indeed perplexing.
Despite 150 years of searching worldwide, paleontologists have given up hope of ever finding even one transitional fossil, let alone a single set to close the gaps between the phyla, classes or even species, to support the supposed evolutionary line. “Neither Darwin, nor any Darwinian has ever given an actual causal explanation of any single organism or any single organ” (Sir Karl Popper).
The stupendous myth of prehistoric men, missing link ape-men and man-apes is based entirely on the discretionary reconstruction of a very few, widely dispersed, bone shards. Java Man was found to have been based on an ordinary gibbon’s skull, Orce Man on a donkey’s skull, Ramapithicus on an orang utang, Pithecanthropus on an elephant’s knee cap. The sole evidence brought to support evolution and the existence of Nebraska Man, in the famous 1922 Scopes Trial, turned out to be the tooth of an extinct pig!
Entire imaginary phantom populations of supposed sub-humans – Cro Magnon Man, Neanderthal Man, Peking Man, Galley Hill Man, Fontechevade Man, Swanscombe Man, Grimaldi Man, Nutcracker Man, Olduvai Man, Wadjak Man, Leakey’s 1470 Man etc.etc. – are now acknowledged as being 100 percent true modern homo sapiens.
Piltdown Man was for 50 years ensconced in the textbooks as absolute proof of evolution until exposed as an expertly contrived hoax conceived at the highest levels.
‘Theory’ In Name Only
I hope the following will once and for all put an end to the debates on evolution and the young vs. old Earth.
One of the most cogent and verifiable streams of data proving the Earth is more than 6,000 years old comes from observing the half-life of radionuclides. Elements such as thorium and uranium have naturally-occurring half-lives in the millions and billions of years of age. Their radioactive decay gave rise to the shorter-lived nuclides, such as radon, and the stable element, lead.
Chemists and physicists can explain far better than I how these elements only arise from other elements. Lest you think that radioactive elements speed up or slow down their rates of decay at random, I would posit that the violation of the laws of thermodynamics would cause such a state of chaos that nothing in modern life would be possible. No automobiles. No cell phones. No computers. The rate of decay is a measurable constant, and those of you with children learning natural logarithms in calculus can glance in their books and see the formula that is used to calculate the rate of decay.
Evolution is a theory in the sense that Kepler’s theory of planetary motion is a theory. If Kepler were not correct, then Neil Armstrong would have had an ordinary July in 1969. Evolution is a theory in the sense that Copernicus and Galileo formulated theories about the solar system. It’s a theory in the sense that Einstein’s relativity is speculation and not a fact of modern physics. The same can be said of quantum physics and mechanics, and the wave/particle nature of light. These have been measured, verified, established. So, too, predictions based on evolution have been verified and have borne amazing observations in biology.
If you believe in the heliocentric solar system (for which espousal Galileo was tried by the papal Inquisitor in Rome), you believe in a scientific theory with as much validity as evolution.
But then again, the Flat-Earth Society has its adherents too. At the websitehttp://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flatearth.html, Christians who read the Bible literally insist that a young Earth and a 6 day creation means the Earth is not a spherical object (well, oblate spheroid, but near enough to a sphere), but rather is flat as a matzah.
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In a world where people question whether they should be engaged, we are a reminder that all Jews are responsible for one another.
My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.
All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.
Abbas has been adding new layers of rhetoric to his tactical campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem
Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible
Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?
Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.
Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.
Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.
It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”
Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.
How can it be called a failed school when it has only been open a year?
Don’t Touch Nixon, He Saved my Life My sentiments too on our late President Nixon. Although my last name does not meet the culture, I have suffered heavily acts of anti semitism over the years(in the work place) when it is learned, (ie), I’ve taken off for Yom Kippur, just as one example. I truly understand […]
Peace must start from the ground up, not with grand slogans coming from pontificating politicians.
Let’s think what OUR interest is, and act according to it.
This past Friday, I went shopping at a local supermarket and noticed a piece of paper on the floor with what looked like Hebrew lettering. On closer examination, I was shocked to see that this small pamphlet with some form off advertising contained the full text of “Krias Shma al Hamitta,” (the Shma Israel recited […]
Dear Editor, I read with interest Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu’s February 24, 2013 article entitled, Women of the Wall Rabbi Calls Knesset Achashverosh. In 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision that allows Women of the Wall to pray at the Kotel once a month on Rosh Hodesh. That is why Women of the Wall only […]
Today is my brother’s second yartzheit and a Torah was dedicated in his memory.
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