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May 27, 2016 / 19 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’

Left-Wing Leader Wants Uri Ariel Deported over ‘Deport Cats’ Program

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Meretz party leader Zahava Gal-On wants to do to Agriculture Minster Uri Ariel what he wants to do to stray cats. In one word, “deportation.”

Ariel, strongly identified with the national religious community, has said he wants to launch a program to rid Israel of its stray cat population explosion by deporting them to other countries rather than castrating them, which violates Jewish law.

Sterilizing cats or dogs by spraying generally is an accepted procedure under Jewish law but is not a one-time solution.

Gal-On is appalled at the thought of expelling the poor cats and suggest that it is Ariel who should leave the country. She said:

I don’t know if there a Jewish law on this subject, but when the minister who is responsible for animal rights suggests something that violates basic morals, the time has come to find a country that will be willing to accept him.

It is not clear exactly what basic moral principle would be violated by deporting cats, which is a lot more humane and causes less suffering than removing their reproductive organs.

Perhaps the leader of the left-wing party is concerned that the felines will be worse off in other countries instead of fighting each other in Israel’s trash containers for an evening meal.

Stray cats are a national plague. They are not stupid animals, and many families have reported that they have to leave their windows closed because cats use their paws to open the screen window in the summer.

Unloading groceries from the car also can result in missing fish and meat if the trunk or side door of the car is open and unattended for more than a few seconds.

Ariel, who usually is in the headlines for his insistence that Jews be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, raised a storm of protest with his suggestion to deport cats.

More than 10,000 people have signed an anti-deportation petition that states:

Following your decision, tens of millions of cats in the streets will suffer from hunger, and the financial burden on citizens will only get worse.

There are kittens everywhere, their mothers are run over and the kittens are left at the mercy of the government.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Kapparot ‘Sacrificial Chicken’ Ritual Gets Green Light in New York

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The much-embattled Jewish ritual of using a purchased, donated live chicken as a “kapparah,” or sacrifice with which to absolve one’s sins before Yom Kippur has been given a green light in New York.

The purchased chicken is returned to the organization after completing the prayer and is then ritually slaughtered and donated to the poor for food. In some communities money has replaced the rite where chickens have become unavailable or where politics have made the issue so unpalatable that it community leaders no longer have the energy to cope with the fallout.

State Supreme Court Justice Debra James decided against a petition by The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, ruling there was insufficient evidence to prove the ritual a public nuisance, the New York Post reported last week.

The lawsuit was filed this past July and named several rabbis, synagogues, the New York Police Department and New York City as well. It accused the NYC Health Department and the NYPD of aiding and abetting in the ritual by blocking off streets and sidewalks, and not enforcing city and state health and animal cruelty laws.

Various animal rights organizations, including PETA at one point, have annually made the same attempt.

Rabbi Shea Hecht, chairman of the board of the Chabad-Lubavitch-linked National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education (NCFJE), told JewishPress.com in a phone call on Sunday the organization is greatly relieved the judge upheld the ancient custom.

“We are very happy and proud that the Judge held up our Constitutional rights, which are based on freedom of religion, and has allowed us to keep this ancient minhag (custom). Although we recognize that this issue is not over,” he added, “we are thankful to God that we have the opportunity to carry out this important mitzvah to its fullest measure.”

The ritual is carried out as follows:

The live chicken is held above one’s head, and then slowly moved around in three sets of three circles as the petitioner recites a prayer that speaks of the “shadow of death… foolish sinners, afflicted because of their sinful ways and their wrongdoings.”

At no time is it considered permissible to handle the bird roughly, nor is it permissible to torment or upset the bird in any way, which itself is considered the separate sin of tza’ar ba’alei chaim (causing distress to a live creature of God).

The prayer (a brief excerpt follows) goes on to urge repentance, and describe how to expiate one’s sins on the day before Yom Kippur.

“They cry out to the Lord in their distress; He saves them from their afflictions. Redeem him from going down to the grave; I have found expiation [for him]… This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my expiation. This rooster/hen shall go to its death and I shall proceed to a good, long life and peace.”

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Co-Creator of ‘The Simpsons Dies from Cancer

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Sam Simon, the co-creator of The Simpsons, an animal rights advocate and philanthropist died at his Palisades, California home Sunday at the age of 59 following a four-year struggle against colon cancer. He won nine Emmy awards in his career and helped launch The Simpsons, now in its 26th season. Simon, who was Jewish, donated his wealth to charities and established the Sam Simon Foundation for saving dogs and training many of them to help the blind and other handicapped people. He also funded a food bank in Los Angeles.

His career began with a script he submitted to ABC for its “Taxi” program. ABC liked it and later hired Simon. After other successes, such as “Cheers” on NBC and “The Tracey Ullman Show” on Fox, Simon, worked with James L. Brooks and cartoonist Matt Groening to create The Simpsons.

“With ‘The Simpsons,’ people didn’t know what they were gonna see,” Simon once said. “They didn’t have a clue.” The show was given time and free reign to flourish by the fledgling Fox network, which desperately needed a hit. “I don’t think you get that sort of creative freedom with any broadcast shows today.” He left The Simpsons team in 1994 with a fortune in royalties that earned several million dollars a year and which he donated for his foundation and other causes. “I have a desire to help animals,” Simon said in an interview with Reuters in 2014. “It’s my money and I get to do what I want with it. It’s an expensive hobby I picked up at the end of my life.”

Below is a video of some of the funniest moments on The Simpsons.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Danish Jewish Leader Disputes Report of Ban on Kosher Slaughter

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

The president of Denmark’s Jewish community has disputed a government minister’s claims that new regulations would outlaw all kosher slaughter in the country.

“We find this an odd statement,” Finn Schwarz, the community’s president, told JTA on Thursday about statements made earlier in the week by Agriculture Minister Dan Jorgensen to the Ritzau news agency.

Jorgensen was speaking about slaughter without prior stunning — a requirement for kosher certification of meat in Jewish Orthodox law and for halal certification of meat for observant Muslims. Jorgensen said, “I am in favor of religious slaughter, but it must be done in a way that does not bring pain to the animal. This can be accomplished only by stunning.”

Danish Jews already agreed in 1998 to the certification as kosher of meat from cattle that were stunned with non-penetrative captive bolt pistols, Schwarz said, adding that the decision was made in consultation with the British Chief Rabbi’s office. The new regulation will not ban the slaughter of animals after stunning with non-penetrative captive bolts, he added.

The new regulations, regardless of how they are interpreted, do not directly affect Denmark’s 6,000 Jews because there are not kosher slaughterhouses in the country. All kosher meat is imported.

The European Jewish Press reported Thursday that European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg told a Jewish leader during a meeting in Brussels that the new Danish legislation regulating ritual slaughter in the country contradicts European laws that ensure the right of religious groups to perform ritual slaughtering.

Jewish Orthodox law and Muslim law require animals be intact and conscious when they are killed. Non-penetrative captive bolts were permitted because they do not wound the animal, which is slaughtered immediately after being knocked on the head.

Rabbi Yitzi Loewenthal of Copenhagen said the agreement on the use of captive-bolt, non-penetrating pistols may have applied to post-cut stunning, a procedure in which the animal’s head is knocked immediately after its neck is cut. Some rabbis have allowed the procedure elsewhere in the world. However, because shechitah is not regularly performed in Denmark, some issues regarding the procedure are not immediately clear, Loewenthal said.

JTA

Lithuania’s Support of Ritual Slaughter May Turn the Tide

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The Lithuanian parliament has taken the first steps to legal ritual slaughter in what could be move that turns the tide against the wave of initiatives in Europe to defend the “rights of animals” as a higher priority that freedom of religious practices.

“The fact that Lithuania currently holds the Presidency of the European Union means that this law will have an extremely strong symbolic significance for the rest of Europe,” said Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor.

The bill passed its first reading in the parliament by a lopsided margin of 51-2.

Religious slaughter was banned in Poland on January 1 after its Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights legislation, and there have been other attempts in Europe to ban religious traditions like circumcision.

“We face significant opposition to our traditions in Europe, but we are glad to be winning some significant victories for freedom of religion on our continent,” Kantor said. “Freedom of religion is one of the EU’s founding pillars and those who fight against it are compromising the principles of tolerance and mutual respect which the new Europe is supposed to be built upon.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Council of Europe Says Ritual Circumcision Won’t Be Banned

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Council of Europe has assured President Shimon Peres that Europe will not ban religious circumcision despite last week’s non-binding resolution of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly that cited circumcision of males as a violation of human rights and equated it with female genital mutilation.

President Peres wrote on Monday to Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, to protest the resolution. Although it has no legal significance, the Council is very influential on decisions by the European Union.

Jangland said male circumcision did not violate human rights, and Daniel Holtgen, the Director of Communications at the Council of Europe, sent a tweet quoting Jagland as saying, “Female genital mutilation violates human rights. Male circumcision does not.”

The resolution angered Muslims as well as Jews. It called for European states to “promote further awareness in their societies of the potential risks of some of these procedures,” which the assembly lists as the circumcision of boys, early childhood interventions in the case of intersexual children and the coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.

Marlene Rupprecht, the rapporteur behind the resolution, claimed the text did not aim to “stigmatize any religious community or its practices” but simply called for public debate “aimed at reaching a wide consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity.”

While Jagland’s statements were good news for Jews and also for Muslims, it is scary that we are so susceptible to the threat of a ban on circumcision that we have to be grateful to someone deciding to suspend what would be a death sentence to Judaism.

Jews have died rather than accept decrees against circumcision, but today’s trend to use “human rights”  and “animal rights” to disguise campaigns that deprive Jewish rights is more subtle and devious than the open anti-Semitism of the past.

A judge in a German province earlier this year banned circumcision, leading to an uproar that prompted the national parliament to make it clear that ritual circumcision is legal.

The anti-circumcision movement is increasingly popular in Scandinavia, where the influx of Muslims also is a factor behind the campaign to prohibit the religious rite.

Jews and Muslims are constantly threatened with a ban on local slaughtering of animals according to Jewish and Muslim laws, which prohibit the method of stunning before using the knife. There are some leniencies in Muslim law.

The most recent controversy is in Poland, which banned ritual slaughter this year but where Jews now have to be thankful to the Catholic Church for supporting the rights of Jews and Muslims to slaughter animals according to religious laws.

The Polish parliament in July rejected a bill, sponsored by the government, to legalize kosher slaughter, but Pope Francis recently has voiced concern over the ban.

“Animal rights” supporters have successfully campaigned in Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland to outlaw kosher slaughter.

The European Union’s official policy states, “European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter” generally requires stunning before slaughter, but allows member states to allow exemptions for religious slaughter.”

Holland two years nearly outlawed kosher slaughter after the Animal Rights Party managed to convince the Lower House of parliament to pass a bill, which was rejected by the Upper House, to ban the practice.

Israel is the only country that comes to mind where Jewish rights still are unquestionably more important than “animals’ rights.”

As for circumcision, the only argument might be over “Metzitzah b’peh.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Haredi Leader: Wearing a Shtreimel Is Chilul Hashem

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim, chairman of Ha’edah Hacharedit, an anti-Zionist faction in the Haredi public in Israel, estimated at between 50 and 100 thousand followers, surprised many on Tuesday when he called on Chassidim to give up their animal-fur traditional shtreimel hats and switch to synthetic fur.

In a conference of animal rights activists, Rabbi Pappenheim, a Yeke (German Jew) who is well respected within the Haredi world, said that the shtreimels are made with disregard to the law prohibiting the causing of needless pain to animals (tza’ar ba’alei chayim).

The shtreimel is a fur hat worn on Shabbat and holidays by Haredi men, especially Chassidim, after they get married. In Jerusalem, the shtreimel is also worn by “Yerushalmi Jews,” members of the original Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem—from their bar-mitzvah on.

The shtreimel is made from the tips of the tail of sable, mink, marten (weasels), or fox, costing anywhere from one to five thousand dollars–since it takes about 30 animals to make one shtreimel. The synthetic fur shtreimel is more common in Israel than elsewhere.

According to the website RespectForAnimals.com, the fur animals are raised in rows of small cages (2 ft. long by 1 ft. wide and 1 ft. high) and are fed with dollops of paste placed on the top of the cage. Water is supplied by hose and nipple.

Slaughter methods of these animals include gassing (using vehicle exhaust), neck breaking, lethal injection and electrocution (using electrodes clamped in the mouth and inserted in the rectum).

Rabbi Pappenheim said that because of the wide public discussion of the need to stop needless pain to animals, wearing a shtreimel today constitutes Chilul Hashem – desecration of God’s name.

“We live in an era in which people are more stringent and they make a lot of noise about tza’ar ba’alei chayim. So we must stop this custom of hurting animals,” he sais, according to Ma’ariv.

“Some would say that the synthetic shtreimel is not as beautiful,” Rabbi Pappenheim argued, “but I say, do we need to be more chassidish than [mythic founder of the Chassidic movement] the Ba’al Shem Tov? I don’t believe the shtreimels worn by the students of the Ba’al Shem Tov were more beautiful [than the synthetic shtreimels].”

He told his listeners that when his own children wanted to buy him a new shtreimel, he insisted: “I told them, only synthetic.”

Other participants in the animal rights conference included Rabbi Pappenheim’s grandson, Shmuel Pappenheim, and Yehuda Schein of Beit Shemesh, founder of the organization Chemla – an acronym for Haredim volunteering to help animals (the word also means “pity”).

Attorney Yossi Wolfson of the NGO Let Animals Live, and one of the founders of Anonymous for Anila Rights, and Dr. Yael Shemesh of the Bible Studies Dept. at Bar Ilan University.

Despite his support for the synthetic shtreimel, Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim objected to the idea of legislation to promote its use. “I believe in evolution, not revolution,” he said. we should get to a point where people would be ashamed to wear anything but a synthetic shtreimel.”

Schein said Haredi Jews should be at the forefront of animal rights issues, together with secular Israelis.

Israeli Haredi journalist Israel Gelis, who has written extensively on the shtreimel (it began as an attempt by the gentiles to humiliate Jews, which we turned into a badge of honor) told The Jewish Press that the only driving force that could cause a Haredi man to opt for a synthetic shtreimel is its cost: they sell in Israel for about $600.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/haredi-leader-wearing-a-shtreimel-is-chilul-hashem/2013/08/22/

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