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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘information’

Kosher or Not, the Internet Cannot be Stopped

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

In yet another tour-de-force, Mrs. Judy Brown does an excellent job in evaluating the impact of the internet on Orthodox Jewry. I think she has put her finger on exactly what the greatest danger is. It isn’t porn. It is knowledge. Knowledge not generated by the Torah but knowledge generated by the entire world. She calls them gentiles. And characterizes the internet as “Gentiles at the Gates.” But there are plenty of Jews who contribute non Torah – even anti Torah  knowledge to the world wide web.

Mrs. Brown tells the story of one Lakewood family where a daughter was given permission to use the internet for a homework assignment  Long story short, the information she inadvertently encountered eventually led her go “Off The Derech.”

That devastated the family. They threw out their computer after the fact no doubt regretting ever having it. They also cut off all ties to that daughter – who has since left home – fearing the negative influences she would have on her siblings. Obviously the wrong move, but not the subject of this post.

In essence Mrs. Brown seems to be capitulating to Charedi rabbinic leaders desire to rid the community of all internet access. Here is how she puts it:

Technology can trample on this way of life, claim some souls here and there, but the well-shackled mind is ultimately stronger than any knowledge thrown at it. Sacred ignorance has survived the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, democracy, world-changing scientific discoveries and women’s liberation. It has endured two millennia of knowledge and change. It will survive this, too.

The idea of a well-shackled mind being in a superior position to battle going OTD is certainly understandable. But in practice, the mind can no longer stay well-shackled. The internet is not only here to stay. Its ubiquity is increasing by leaps and bounds via the smart phone. No ban in the world has the power to stop it. It is like spitting in the wind.

Nor do I concede that ignorance is in any way sacred.

Surely being ignorant of all the questions and challenges to our faith would serve to keep us devout. But ignorance is being increasingly replaced by the ability to gain instant answers to difficult questions. No longer will a child be scolded for asking a tough question and retreat in shame for even thinking to ask it. If it is unanswered – or worse derided by a parent, Rebbe, or teacher, the internet is right there for the asking with answers galore. Answers that are anything but devout.

So even if ignorance is bliss (or sacred) it is disappearing from the masses like no other time in history. Bright and curious people are going to have these questions and seek answers to them somewhere.

This is nothing like withstanding the winds of enlightenment a couple of centuries ago. Those winds were responsible for many a devout Jew to going off the Derech. The stories of some of the great young minds of the great Yeshivos in Europe becoming heretics are legendary.

But that took diligence. A student had to go out of his way, to a library or to attend a University and buy into the convincing arguments of heretical thought being taught in books and universities there. Being unprepared hashkafically for the challenges encountered, they bought into the arguments and became heretics.

But today, all that is brought into the home in an instant. There is no point in trying to legislate it out of the home. Saying the internet is Assur is more futile than saying college is Assur. All the haranguing in the world will not impact all but the few.

All the bible thumping… all the scare tactics about saving the soul will just not work on vast numbers of Jews. That should be obvious by the fact that internet Asifa  scare tactics haven’t really changed things all that much.

Even if we accept the numbers quoted by Mrs. Brown one in four families inBoroPark- one of the largest enclaves of Charedi Jews in the world – has internet access. Even with filters, it’s virtually impossible to filter out all the information that would lead a child – or even an adult in many cases – into going OTD! Filtering out smut is one thing. Filtering out information that is not strictly Torah based is another. I don’t think it is even possible.

Calendar Of Events

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

WHAT: PJ Library Miami, along with Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and the Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC will host a special morning with Ronni Litz Julien. Julien is a nutritionist and author who will present “Think Outside the Lunchbox,” new ideas for feeding healthy food to your kids. A light kosher breakfast will be served.

WHERE: Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC, 4221 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach

WHEN: Tuesday, October 30 at 9:30 a.m.

CONTACT: For more information or to RSVP e-mail: pjlibrary@jewishmiami.org

* * * * *

WHAT: Author, Doreen Rappaport presents her latest book, Beyond Courage, the untold story of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. This is the tale of the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews across 11 Nazi-occupied countries during World War II. The presentation is open to the community

WHERE: Dave and Mary Alper JCC, 11155 SW 112 Avenue

WHEN: Friday, October 26, 1:15 p.m.-3 p.m.

COST: No Charge

CONTACT: Marcy Levitt, e-mail mleavitt@alperjcc.org or call 305-9000 ext 268

* * * * *

WHAT: Kesher’s Annual Holiday Shopping Boutique – amazing merchandise all under one roof

WHERE: MAR JCC Gymnasium, 18900 NE 25th Ave., North Miami Beach

WHEN: Thursday, November 1, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

CONTACT: Ilene Weinkle (e-mail IWeinkle@Kesherld.com or call 305-792-7060)

* * * * *

WHAT: The Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the New World Symphony will Present “Inside the Music: Songs of the Holocaust,” a musical celebration of the incredible spirit that kept many alive during the time of the Shoah and a tribute to those who perished.

WHERE: The New World Center, 500 17th Street, Miami

WHEN: Tuesday, November 13 at 7 p.m.

CONTACT & COST: Tickets are free of charge and must be reserved in advance. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-673-3331

Charisma and how to Reach Out and Touch Others

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai, who is currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces, presents a piece from Stanford University’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast discussing charisma and how one can build their charisma and how the information presented here can be used to reach out and touch others.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Crystal Clear As The Waters
Speak In The Manner Of One’s Teacher
(Shabbos 15a)

A mikveh must have, minimally, forty se’ah of water that has gathered in it by natural means. This precludes the use of mayim she’uvin – water that was drawn in a vessel to fill the mikveh. If a significant amount of mayim she’uvin fell into a mikveh before it contained the minimum forty se’ah of naturally-gathered water, all the water in the mikveh is disqualified. The question is: What constitutes a significant amount?

A Dispute Even In Expression

The Gemara cites a mishnah in Eduyos (1:3). Hillel says a hin of drawn water (three kabim) renders the mikveh unfit. Shammai maintains the measure is nine kabim. The Gemara notes Hillel’s unusual usage of the hin measure as opposed to the kab measure (which, the Ravad explains, is the term usually used in mishnayos) and explains that a person is required to speak in the manner of his teachers. Since Hillel was a student of Shemayah and Avtalyon who used the hin measure as opposed to the kab measure, he too used that measure.

Mispronouncing Hebrew

The Rambam (Pirush Hamishnayos, Eduyos, at the beginning, cited by Rabbenu Ovadiyah Mi’Bartenura) offers a unique explanation of the Gemara. He says that Shemayah and Avtalyon were converts who came from a nation where people were unable to properly pronounce the letter “heh.” They would pronounce it as an aleph. Thus, they would pronounce “hin” as “in.” In deference to his teachers, Hillel too would pronounce “hin” as “in.”

No Reason To Copy Mispronunciations

The Vilna Gaon (novella to Shabbos ad loc.) explains the mishnah in a similar fashion but rejects the notion that one is obligated to mimic one’s teacher’s mispronunciation of words. He explains that when the Gemara states that Hillel copied his teachers’ pronunciation, what it means is the following: Shemayah and Avtalyon used to preface the word “hin” with “maleh.” In other words, they used to say “maleh hin” even though saying “maleh” is redundant since, by definition, a hin is always maleh (just like a kab is always maleh which is why Shammai in the Gemara just says “kabim” and not “maleh kabim”).

Concern For A Halachic Misunderstanding

Why, indeed, did Shemayah and Avtalyon say “maleh hin”? Because they were concerned that people might misunderstand them. Since they couldn’t pronounce a “heh” properly, people might think they were saying “ein” – which means “no” – instead of “hin.” People would thus conclude that drawn water does not disqualify a mikveh. By adding the word “maleh,” Shemayah and Avtalyon made clear that they meant to say the word “hin,” not “ein.”

Even though, Hillel, whose pronunciation was fine, had no reason to add the word “maleh,” he did so nevertheless so as not to deviate from his teachers’ manner of speech.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf, published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Man Who Found Majdi Halbi Wants His Reward

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Ibrahim Kozli, the man that found the body of missing Druze soldier Majdi Halbi is demanding the NIS 10 million reward that the organization “Born to Be Free” (L’Chofesh Nolad) was offering for information leading to his (and other missing soldiers) being found.

“Born to Be Free” was established as an NGO in 2004 by former military personnel and public figures, with the goal of locating all of Israel’s missing soldiers.

One of their main tools was advertising in Arab countries and territories a NIS 10 million reward for information leading to the finding and return of the missing IDF soldiers.

In 2011, the Israeli government decided to stop funding the NGO, which they had been doing at the cost of NIS 11 million per year. It was decided that the NGO was not bringing in results – information leading to the missing soldiers.

In 2012, the NGO announced that it was shutting down for financial reasons.

This greatly upset the families of the missing soldiers at the time, and the government stated that they were still searching for the missing soldiers using other means.

Related story: Remains of Druze-Israeli Soldier Missing for Seven Years Identified

Three Rabbis Sue City over Metzitzah B’peh

Friday, October 12th, 2012

A lawsuit filed Thursday by Jewish organizations and three rabbis argues that a new NY City rule requiring parental consent for metzitzah b’peh, a post-circumcision ritual that involves oral suction in order to stimulate blood flow in the traumatized organ, violates the First Amendment, the NY Daily News reports.

The new rule, which take effect Oct. 21, requires mohels who perform the metzitzah b’peh to provide parents with a document they must sign, containing information about the health risks involved.

City officials say babies may contract herpes from the practice, and they cite 11 cases between 2004 and 2011, including two fatalities.

The lawsuit argues that the new rule violates the constitutional freedom of religion.

“Government cannot compel the transmission of messages that the speaker does not want to express — especially when the speaker is operating in an area of heightened First Amendment protection, such as a religious ritual,” the lawsuit argues.

City officials said they are planning to fight the suit “vigorously.”

“The city’s highest obligation is to protect its children; therefore, it is important that parents know the risks associated with the practice,” Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.

It has been argued that the city is yet to prove that the herpes contracted by the babies was the same virus carried by the mohel. Another argument made regarding this issue, is that babies whose mothers are carriers of herpes receive immunity to the virus in the womb, and that only babies born to uninfected mothers are in danger from metzitzah b’peh.

Those two arguments are crucial to understanding the current law suit, because it is possible that the babies who received metzitzah b’peh from a mohel contracted their herpes from a third person and not via the genitalia.

It is estimated that about 80 percent of American adults are carriers of oral herpes (cold sores).

The Launch of BBC Watch

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Fans of this blog have often asked why we do not monitor British media institutions other than the Guardian for anti-Israel bias – a query to which we have not had an answer.

Until now.

Recognizing the importance of the BBC in shaping world-wide opinion, a new site, BBC Watch, has been launched which will monitor BBC coverage of Israel and the Middle East.

BBC Watch – a sister project of CiF Watch with the independent support of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) – will provide comprehensive monitoring of the BBC’s coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to ensure adherence to the BBC’s own editorial guidelines.

A few of the more egregious problems at the BBC will be familiar to many CiF Watch readers:

* The BBC demonstrates a disproportionate focus on Israel in relation to other countries in the Middle East – a trend which continued even through the ‘Arab Spring.

* The BBC’s Middle East editor frequently displays an egregious lack of objectivity, portraying Israel in an overwhelmingly negative light and the Palestinians in a positive light.

* The BBC is self-regulating, and has been less than transparent and open to change in response to substantive criticism.

Inspired by CiF Watch’s success in holding the Guardian accountable, BBC Watch will strive to curb the spread of inaccurate or misleading information and distortions at the BBC by fact-checking and providing relevant historical context and complimentary information .

In the case of an organisation as widely viewed, heard and trusted as the BBC, it is vital that misinformation be corrected before it spreads world-wide.

CiF Watch’s Hadar Sela, Managing Editor of the new BBC Watch site, explained the new site’s mission:

Two organisations which formerly monitored BBC output – ‘Just Journalism’ and Trevor Asserson’s ‘BBC Watch’ website – have ceased operations in recent years, exacerbating the need for close and regular monitoring of the world’s most influential broadcaster.”  BBC Watch will seek to build upon and develop the work already done by those organisations in order to continue the monitoring of BBC output on the subject of Israel and to examine the broadcaster’s adherence to its legal obligation to produce accurate and impartial reporting as a service to its funding public.

The BBC’s responsibility, as defined in the Royal Charter, includes the obligation to inform its funders – i.e. the license fee-paying British public.  This obligation is emphasized in the agreement between the BBC and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport:

In developing (and reviewing) the purpose remit for sustaining citizenship and civil society, the [BBC] Trust must, amongst other things, seek to ensure that the BBC gives information about, and increases understanding of, the world through accurate and impartial news, other information, and analysis of current events and ideas.

BBC Watch intends to diligently hold the BBC accountable to this standard.

Visit CifWatch.com.

Whose Drone is it Anyway?

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Speculation and rumor are rife in Israel as the question is asked, “Whose drone was it?”

Part of what is driving the rumor mill is the minimally released information from the IDF, the very serious question of how the drone flew so long over Israel uncontested, and what appears to be a leaked IDF photo that censored some markings on the UAV which may have indicated who may have either built or sent it.

The mainstream explanation is that the drone was sent by Iran via Hezbollah in Lebanon to spy on Dimona or to test Israel’s defenses.

A former Lebanese general said on Iranian TV that the UAV was an American drone that may have lost its way.

One Israeli rumor-monger said the drone was American made, and of the kind that may have been sold to Egypt.

On  Sunday morning, the Lebanese TV channel “Al Meyadin’, which is associated with Hezbollah, claimed the UAV was launched and controlled by Hezbollah.

The IDF still hasn’t said if the drone was remote-controlled or using a pre-programmed path and a GPS.

But the IDF should know the answers to at least some of these important questions already, so once it decides to release the information to the public, at least some of the rumors will go away.

What follows next is a decision on how Israel will react to the enemy incursion, once the enemy is identified.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/whos-drone-is-it-anyway/2012/10/07/

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