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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘isn’

Talmud Underground

Friday, June 29th, 2012

An Ultra-Orthodox man reading the Talmud on the subway from Underground NY Public Library. The photo blog is a project of acclaimed street photographer, Ourit Ben-Haim. In an interview, Ben-Haim said that when she takes a photograph of someone reading she sees “people who are contemplating description of new possibilities. In this way, every book says that its reader is simply great.”

Given the number of Orthodox Jews that take the subway every day, this isn’t their first appearance on the photo blog either.

The Cult of Obama

Monday, June 25th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/06/cult-of-obama.html

The Corporate Cult evolved in the United States as a hybrid of the sales force of the corporation and the religious devotion of the cult. This type of entity might be a cult like Scientology, which used the aggressive and organized sales tactics and marketing campaigns of a corporation, or it could be a corporation like Apple, whose employees earn little, but feel a sense of satisfaction at being part of a meaningful entity.

The Obama Campaign is a fantastic marketing machine. It is constantly discovering new ways to sell things to people. But the problem is that it has no actual product. A company that goes corporate cult uses some of the tactics of a cult to inflate the value of its product. But a cult has no product except the sense of satisfaction that comes from being in the cult. The only things it sells are images of its leader, emblazoned everywhere, his books, speeches and photos, and these are used as tokens of membership in the cult.

In retrospect, the Cult of Obama had much in common with other cults. Like them it recruited young volunteers on campus. Its recruitment materials leaned heavily on books by its beloved leader. It promised them that a new age was coming and that they could be a big part of bringing it about. And its vector of introduction to older viewers was through a woman who has been accused of promoting cults on her popular television show.

Strip away the politics, forget the push and pull of the election issues, wipe the polar identities of the parties from your minds and take a fresh look at the 2008 campaign. Then compare the pitch to any of the major cults in the seventies and eighties. There really isn’t all that much of a difference. They’re all “Transformative” movements that promise to solve society’s problems by using new insights to create a wave of change that begins with “us”.

Even the political angle isn’t new. Jim Jones and his murderous child-abusing cult started out as community organizers for California Democrats, and leading politicians, including saintly hero Harvey Milk, covered for his crimes until the whole thing got too big and Jones got too crazy. Long before Obama, Lyndon LaRouche went the campus cult route and if you are morbidly curious, you can find videos where “LaRouche Youth,” who have broken ties with their families and friends, shout insane slogans while their glazed eyes stare fixedly into the camera.

The pitch is “Transformative” but it isn’t the world that is being transformed, only the participants, and the method of transformation is constant labor and omnipresent awareness of the program. That is where the Cult of Obama’s retention efforts fell through. Successful cults maintain control over a core cadre and use them to expand their base, but projects like Americorps did not come close to meeting those goals.

The corporate part of the Corporate Cult deals with adversity by redoubling the sales pitch. If sales fall, it finds more things to sell. The Obama Campaign is insanely intensifying its sales efforts, without understanding that its sales are falling because the value of the brand is failing. Many cult survivors dropped out during a similar phase when the cult supervisors pressured them to increase sales and recruitment, even as the cult was no longer relevant. When the history of this campaign is written, we will likely discover that the people on the inside were being just as ruthlessly pressured to achieve impossible goals to compensate for the failings of their candidate.

When businesses hysterically deluge you with offerings for their product, it’s a sign of fear. Obama’s campaign rolling out invitations to dinner with him and suggestions that you use your wedding to raise money for him stinks of that same fear. It’s ingenious from a marketing standpoint, but from that same standpoint, it’s also a bad tactic. The last thing that a company or a campaign wants to do is wear people out. But that is exactly what Obama is accomplishing by burning through his base for a short-term cash grab, when what he really needs is to have those people committed to him at the end.

Rubin Reports: Why Isn’t Obama Visiting Israel?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/06/why-isnt-obama-visiting-israel.html

By now it’s clear that President Barack Obama isn’t going to visit Israel in his term of office. And yet that’s pretty curious, isn’t it? After all, American politicians who seek Jewish support usually find a trip to Israel a pretty good way to claim pro-Israel credentials. And Obama has been desperate to do so, especially this year.

Why, then, isn’t Obama going to visit Israel? Of course, we cannot definitively answer that question but here are some thoughts:

–His personal distaste for Israel is so great that he doesn’t want to come here. Of course, he did do so once as a senator but now Obama may feel he can give freer rein to his feelings. While it is silly to say that Obama hates Israel and wants to destroy it, if you believe that he has a single warm feeling toward the Jewish state I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy. Certainly, Obama has an extreme personal dislike for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu–as he revealed to a microphone he didn’t know was on when meeting with French President Sarkozy. And while some of Obama’s best friends were Jewish they were also anti-Israel or, at best, in the we-know-better-than-those-dumb-Israelis camp.

–He fears being booed and rejected by Israelis. Let’s be clear, Israelis can behave like star-struck provincials ogling celebrities. There would be a certain amount of drooling worship of that type. Still, Obama is very unpopular here, too. There could be some nasty scenes of booing and anti-Obama signs that might persuade American Jews that all is not well.

–A visit to Israel is counter to Obama’s effort to distance himself from Israel and act as if he’s the buddy of Muslims, especially those who hate Israel. Of course he could go to Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq again since he’s been to all of those places.

For the last forty years American presidents have stood with Israel and urged Arab states to make peace with that country. Think of President Bill Clinton, for example. Their policies have been based on the principle that the United States can have excellent relations with both sides. And guess what? That policy worked as well as was possible. The radical Arabs would have opposed America under any conditions; the moderates worked closely with Washington. But no matter how much lip service Obama gives such a strategy–most of the time in front of Jewish groups–this is not Obama’s approach.

Of course, on such a trip Obama could drop in on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to show his passionate desire for a Palestinian state and love of that people. Yet this might not be enough in his mind to counter the cooties picked up in Israel that would supposedly horrify Muslims and Arabs. Moreover, it would be embarrassing to go and hang out with a PA leadership that is now in partnership with Hamas.

–The failure of his “peace process” policy to make any progress at all might make him want to stay away from reminding people of that fact. If anything, Obama set back Israel-Palestinian dealings. Obama cannot come and take credit for some breakthrough.

I suspect that all of the above reasons are factors in his staying away. As with so many other subjects, it’s amazing that this issue is not being discussed and analyzed at all.

Note: It has been pointed out that other presidents have not visited Israel in their first term. The point here is that Obama has been aware that he has faced an unusually high level of criticism on the Israel issue, that he has lost some Jewish support, and he has been eager to consolidate it in the face of a tough reelection race. Thus, from his own standpoint he has certain motives that might make him view a trip to Israel as beneficial. In addition, unlike other presidents who didn’t visit Israel in their first term, he has been next door three times in Egypt or Turkey yet chose not to include Israel. Incidentally, when Vice-President Joe Biden did visit Israel he used the occasion to engage in a very sharp and unjustified attack on Israel that violated a previous U.S. commitment (throwing a tantrum over a zoning board decision to move construction of some buildings one step down the line, though the administration had secretly agreed not to complain about Israeli construction in east Jerusalem in exchange for a nine-month Israeli construction freeze on the entire West Bank.

A Sane Israeli is a Leftist Mugged by Illegal African Migrants

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Israel has been under attack by the onslaught of illegal immigrants from Africa and over the past few months there has been an unbearable rise of crime — brutal rapes and assaults of teenagers and women in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netivot, Lod, Netanya, Eilat, Or Akiva, Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer, and more. These illegal job-seeking immigrants are being deemed as “refugees” by all sorts of “aid groups” in Israel, who vocally protest all government actions to evict these illegals — estimates ranging from 90,000 to 700,000. Many of the same “social justice” advocates who demand a better quality of life for Israel’s lower and middle class, are also demanding equal rights for these thousands of illegals as well.

These “activists” live in fiscal fantasyland.

Israel’s conservative fiscal policy is the last barrier preventing Israel from plunging into a recession that has befell most of the developed nations around the world since 2008. As the Eurozone stronger countries struggle to keep Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy afloat with hundreds of billions of Euro in bailout loans, Israel has no such financial sugar daddy. No one will bail out Israel’s fledgling economy if we over-spend. No one will come to our fiscal rescue if we go bankrupt providing services and social benefits to the tens of thousands of migrant workers who have illegally infiltrated Israel. We’re on our own, and our first responsibility is to ourselves.

Despite the ongoing rabble from the “refugee aid groups” who routinely pine on the Israeli guilty conscience that “we too were refugees, and its our responsibility to accept these illegal Africans,” MK Ophir Okunis correctly stated this morning on IDF Radio that 99% of these refugees are NOT legally considered refugees. Less than a few dozen have actually fled their countries due to political or military persecution and have directly entered Israel. They have all entered Israel via Egypt, via Libya, and via other countries. Once the refugee left their country where they were persecuted and entered another country where the threat of persecution ended, they are no longer refugees from their country of origin. As they continue their trek to Israel via other countries, they are no longer in search of protection, rather in search of opportunity and jobs. Entering Israel via Egypt they are here in the quest of economic opportunity and the benefits which Israel’s left are more than happy to offer.

Unfortunately, Israel as a Jewish Democracy cannot tolerate this situation; not economically, not demographically, and certainly — not the awful crime wave which has descended upon us.

Left leaning Israeli Journalist Guy Maroz slammed right-wing MKs in March 2010 for wanting to create “labor camps” for these illegal workers. He was among the most vocal activists demanding that Israel not deport the children of these illegal immigrants with their families.

Till it hit home for him.

Till he woke up and realized that the problem isn’t only in South Tel-Aviv or Eilat (which obviously aren’t his problem because he doesn’t live there)…and the illegals started flooding all of Israel, his hometown as well.

In a heartfelt letter to Israel’s Prime Minister via an opinion piece in NRG/Maariv, Maroz begs PM Netanyahu to take action against the surge of illegals:

“The writer of these lines, and his wife were among the most strident activists against the expulsion of the the children of [illegal African] foreign workers. That is why I permit myself to scream today, “No More. No more flooding of the streets and lives of Israel’s poorest citizens [South Tel Aviv].

This week a friend hesitantly told me, and she is one of the most enlightened and liberal people I know, ‘they have also come to us, to Hod Hasharon.”

And they have arrived here as well.”

Israel needs to quickly take decisive action to quash the illegal immigration from Africa.

This isn’t racism. This isn’t intolerance. This isn’t immoral.

This is self-preservation. This is the responsibility of survival of the Jewish State, for us, our children, and generations to come.

Follow the Muqata on Twitter.

Jerusalem vs. The Asifa

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I missed the Asifa. Admittedly, I wasn’t planning on going, though I do feel jealous of those software developers who managed to get 50,000 men (and an unknown number of women who participated remotely) to pay actual money to listen to a multi-hour sales pitch of their products, and then have their community leaders tell them to go buy them, which on top of that, they probably will.

Now that’s marketing to a captive audience.

Obviously internet filtering is important if you have kids in the house, and I guess for a closed, insulated community being hit on the head with the outside world it warrants an outing to Citi Field on a Sunday to find out how to protect yourself (and to get out of the Beis Medrash on a Rabbinically sanctioned field trip).

But in my mind, I was comparing it to another mass gathering that same Sunday – one I participated in with my family.

The Jerusalem Day Parade.

30,000 people, a significant number of them teenagers, mostly religious, gathered together to celebrate one of the modern, open, unexpected and important miracles of our day, the reunification of Jerusalem.

I admit that at one point I wondered, which gathering was the bigger Kiddush Hashem?

But mostly I asked myself, which one would inspire my children about the beauty and possibilities of Judaism?

A public gathering that demands yet even more conformity to community social pressures and standards, this time only to buy a kosher phone, or use an internet filter with the proper hechsher, or a gathering that thanks God for the incredible gift he gave us that actually we prayed for.

Obviously, one gathering isn’t mutually exclusive of the other.

I’m sure many of the Israeli yeshiva students who marched yesterday have internet filters in their homes.

But I wonder, how many men at the Asifa said Hallel that morning, or at least didn’t say Tachanun in commemoration of the miracle that occurred for all of Klal Yisrael, that they too benefit from whenever they visit their national homeland.

 

Dear Not a Jew -> Jew

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Dear Not a Jew – Jew, Beware!

I am enjoying your blogs at The Jewish Press about your journey to become a Jew. The question is – what kind of a Jew will you become? Will you become a proud builder of Israel, living a complete life of Torah in the Land of the Jews, or will you become a Jew of the exile, living as an outsider in a gentile land, surrounded by a gentile culture, voting for a gentile President, speaking a gentile language, and not knowing whether your children will remain Jewish or marry outside of the faith?

As the poet, Robert Frost, wrote: “Two paths diverged in a snowy wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

To help you on your journey, I would like to invite you to read my blogs, right here at The Jewish Press, where I will try my best to clarify just who we are as a People and what is the true meaning of Torah.

For instance, strictly speaking we really aren’t “Jews.” We are the “Children of Israel.” The word “Jew” doesn’t appear in the Torah. The word “Judaism” is an invention of the exile, meaning the “ism” of the People of Judah – which was the last tribe to be exiled from our Homeland – the Land of Israel. The real name of our religion is “Torah,” and Torah is much more than a list of ritual commandments and eating bagels and lox. The Torah is the NATIONAL CONSTITUTION of the NATION OF ISRAEL, including dozens of laws concerning the monarchy in Israel, the army of Israel, the judges of the Sanhedrin, the Holy Jerusalem Temple, and all of the laws that apply uniquely to the Land of Israel – and which cannot be practiced anywhere else. Let me ask you a simple question – can you have a Jewish government in America, or a Jewish army in Lakewood, or will the official language and calendar of the United States ever be Hebrew? Of course not. America is a gentile country. These basic elements of the Torah can only take place in Israel, where the Torah is meant to be observed.

So beware! Some people will tell you that if you put on tefillin in Brooklyn, you’ve reached the pinnacle of the Jewish journey, but it isn’t true. Other people will tell you we have to stay in exile until Mashiach arrives. But that isn’t true either. Hashem isn’t waiting for Mashiach. Before our very eyes, Hashem has brought millions of Jews back to Israel on His own, without waiting for Mashiach to do all the work. And be very careful what you read. You’ll find lots of books about Judaism, and lots of Jewish websites that have taken Eretz Yisrael out of the Torah completely. They’ll tell you everything about Yiddishkeit, but the Land of Israel isn’t mentioned. Yet the whole goal of the Torah, and the focus of our prayers for Redemption (Redemption from the exile), is to build a Torah society in the Land of Israel – and not in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, or Timbuktu.

As a convert-in-progress, seeking your path to Torah, the road which you choose at the beginning of the journey is very important. If you are skeptical about my advice, then let the Torah be your guide. When God first appeared to the father of the Nation of Israel, Avraham, He didn’t tell him to keep Shabbos, or put on tefillin, or to only eat in glatt kosher delis. The very first thing God told Avraham was to journey forth to the Land of Israel, to the Holy Land, the Land which God gave to the him and his descendents, Yitzhak and Yaacov, forever. The Land of Israel is the foundation of all the Jewish Nation, and the place Hashem wants us to be – just as it says again and again and again in the Torah.

So what happened? What went wrong with the game plan? Why are there so many Jews in America, and England, and Australia, and Mexico City? Now that God has once again opened the gates to our Homeland, and gathered millions of our scattered brothers and sisters from the four corners of the earth, and brought them back to the Land, just like He promised He would, just like the Prophets foretold, why don’t all the Jews in Diaspora come home? Why don’t they all rush to the airport to get on the next El Al plane, in order to actualize the yearning of 2000 years, “NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!” which is happening right now, in our time, for everyone to take a part in the dream?

Rubin Reports: Western Civilization Faces the Big Test – Citizens! Heal Your Societies or Go Over the Cliff

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/western-civilization-faces-big-test.html

The current political crisis in Europe, and in America as well, is not at all hard to understand. Think of it like this: society is not infinitely malleable. If you pull a rubber band far enough it is either going to snap back or it will break.

Western democracies have worked very well for 60 years now. They have been remarkably prosperous; remarkably peaceful. They defeated the Communist challenge. In a sense they—and I include the United States here—are victim of this very success.

Out of rational self-interest, the realities of electoral politics, and a strong sense—misguided or otherwise—the welfare state and the payment of entitlements have been expanding.

You can—as my grandmother used to say—throw around money like a drunken sailor until you run out of money.

The self-imposed burdens have reached, and exceeded, the limit of what these societies could finance. This problem has been highlighted, of course, by an economic recession but it is not the product of that business contraction.

Things have been made worse by the fact that most governments in power have tried to apply the very old policies that were making the societies ill in the first place. The situation is akin to the medical practice of centuries ago in which an already sickly patient was bled further by the application of leeches. Death often followed.

Those governments buried in the equivalent of “old-think” in the USSR have just three alternatives:

–Deny any of this is happening. Every penny spent is absolutely necessary to stop old people from starving, women from keeling over in their 30s, the globe from heating up like a tea kettle, and in short the mass extinction of the human race.

–Self-defense. Say that anyone who wants to recognize reality is a violent Nazi hater of women and a racist flat-earther.

–Use a scapegoat. If only taxes were raised on rich, greedy people then the party can go on uninterrupted.

Obviously, I’m being facetious but that when all the verbal foliage is cleared away that list is pretty accurate.

But what about those governments, or oppositions, that wanted to be responsible by limiting spending, reorganizing or reducing entitlements, and cutting their own payroll to a level that could be sustained?

Well, that’s an uphill battle as we’ve just seen in Greece. People don’t want to be told to sacrifice, especially because they suspect that the elite isn’t doing so and that this same elite is responsible for the mess. So they can be—easily?—manipulated into voting for those who tell them to eat, drink and be merry, with a minimal tax on billionaires and millionaires paying off the caterer.

If you can buy or import voting blocks to ensure your victory that also helps. Is any government in France from this moment on going to limit immigration, fight Islamism, cut back on vacations, and raise retirement ages and the length of the work week? That’s doubtful.

Now this is the very moment that democracy comes into play. It is in the hands of the voters to decide whether to face the music or default on paying the fiddler. Can they be made to understand in the face of a clueless mass media and a fantasy-intoxicated intellectual class what is at stake and what needs to be done? Ask again in November.

Something very important should also be made clear here: political stances and solutions are not historically permanent. I would argue that liberalism (and a dose of the social democrats) was the best solution for the West’s problems in 1900. But it is no longer 1900. Huge social reforms have been made; out-groups have been brought into the fold with equal rights. The balance has shifted and that reality must now be the starting point in facing reality.

Could it possibly be that a government that has grown steadily for so many decades might have become too big? Is it conceivable that regulations imposed by the thousands have become too onerous? Is it within the realm of the real world that the burden of salaries and retirements for those who draw government pay checks have become too onerous? Might it be true that if you keep dividing society into warring groups they will eventually go to war against each other?

Or is this all a fantasy of a reactionary, evil, woman-hating racist mindset that should be dismissed by any civilized being?

Democracy is based on the idea that the average citizen is wise enough to understand what his society and country must do to survive and to do better, or at least minimally well. We are now going to find out whether that proposition is accurate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-western-civilization-faces-the-big-test-citizens-heal-your-societies-or-go-over-the-cliff/2012/05/08/

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