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May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘judaism’

Wasserman-Schultz Puts Stamp of Approval on Intermarriage

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has done somersaults after making a comment noting the “the problem of intermarriage” in the Jewish community and then insisting she does not oppose it.

It is a bit bewildering that Wasserman Schultz, who also is head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), felt the need to retract a comment that should not have raised too many eyebrows.

Her remarks were made at a Jewish Federation event, in which she said:

We have the problem of assimilation. We have the problem of intermarriage. We have the problem that too many generations of Jews don’t realize the importance of our institutions strengthening our community—particularly with the rise of anti-Semitism and global intolerance.

The playback must have sounded too committed to her and anyone, mostly in the Reform Movement, whose idea of “commitment” is not to be committed to anything, such as the Torah, that interferes with the individual as the judge and jury of what is wrong and right.

Here is how she backtracked:

At an annual Jewish community event in my congressional district, I spoke about my personal connection to Judaism and in a larger context about the loss of Jewish identity and the importance of connecting younger generations to the institutions and values that make up our community. I do not oppose intermarriage; in fact, members of my family, including my husband, are a product of it.

Is it guilt that was behind her repentance? Does she feel guilty for saying intermarriage is a “problem” when members of her family are a “product of intermarriage”?

Is it forbidden to say that intermarriage is a problem?

Apparently so.

Wasserman Schultz has implicitly put her stamp of approval on the “problem” of assimilation, which is estimated at 60 percent in the United States.

Reform Judaism does not officially oppose or favor intermarriage, although there is a clear trend of its clergy to officiate at weddings between a Jew and a non-Jew.

Polls show that only 25 percent of children of intermarried couples identify themselves as Jewish, and the term “Jewish” can be understood in its widest and most liberal interpretation that gives a person the self-satisfaction of calling himself a Jew while wolfing down a cheeseburger on Yom Kippur.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel quoted Ira M. Sheskin, of Cooper City, director of the University of Miami’s Jewish Demography Project, as saying, “There’s no question that there’s significant concern in the Jewish community over the percentage of people who are choosing not to marry Jews… From the point of view of a community that wants to see itself around in the next 100 years, it’s not a good trend.”

Wasserman Schultz’ Conservative synagogue Rabbi Adam Watstein told the Florida newspaper that “intermarriage is a feature of the reality of the Jewish community in the United States.”

That is true if the Jewish community accepts intermarriage. It is not true if it does not.

Prof. Sheskin mentioned that there is intermarriage in his own family, but that didn’t stop him from forecasting the obvious result of intermarriage for Judaism.

Wasserman Schultz couldn’t go that far, and her justification of what she admits is a “problem” is one more alarm siren for what remains of American Jewry.

Pope Says Catholics should not ‘Breed like Rabbits’

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Catholics should be “responsible” parents and not “breed like rabbits,” Pope Francis commented to reporters while traveling from the Philippines Monday.

He still is against contraception and noted that the church has approved other ways to make sure there are not too many Bugs Bunny Catholics running around

“God gives you methods to be responsible,” he said, adding that natural birth control should be practiced by avoiding relations when a woman is able to conceive.

So much for the first mitzvah in the Bible, unless the Old Testament no longer exists for Catholics.

Jewish law takes a direct opposite approach and prohibits a man from even touching a woman when he is ritually impure and cannot conceive.

The pope is consistent his disregarding ancient texts. Not only did does he dismiss the first mitzvah, he also chose to use rabbits as his analogy instead of citing a Talmudic text in Berachot 22a, where rabbis teach that couples should take it easy on intimate relations and practice a bit of self-restraint and not act like “roosters.”

Maybe the pope prefers rabbits because they are not kosher.

The pope also lambasted “ideological colonization,” meaning countries conditioning aid to the promotion on birth control and permissiveness, if not encouragement, of homosexuality.

“Every people deserves to conserve its identity without being ideologically colonized,” Pope Francis said.

So it seems that the pope wants to encourage the holiness of family by restricting sexual relations, especially if it means having more children who can build more families.

But too much birth control has backfired in the past.

Isn’t the virgin Mary the mother of Catholicism?

Today is a Fast Day and not ‘Happy New Year’ Day

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

The Fast of the 10th of Tevet is today, January 1, and Chief Rabbi David Lau has asked Jews all over the world to say the mourner’s Kaddish prayer in memory of Holocaust victims.

He emphasized that with the ever-closer eventuality of the death of Holocaust survivors 70 years after the end of the Nazi death machine, there are less relatives alive to recite the prayer.

The fast marks the day on which the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem began in the year 588 BCE, an event which eventually led to the destruction on the Temple 20 years later and the first exile from Israel.

The fast day, which is observed from slightly before sunrise to after sunset, is commemorated shortly after Hanukkah.

The Chief Rabbinate 64 years ago, declared that the 10th of Tevet also is “Holocaust Day” in memory of the Nazis’ victims whose date of death is unknown.

“According to Jewish Law, if the day of death is unknown, a relative chooses which day on which to say Kaddish.”

The government-mandated Holocaust Day is in Nissan, a month when Jewish law does not allow public eulogies. Israel’s secular media, along with foreign media, have a field day every year photographing Haredim who walk while others stand at attention when a siren sounds nationwide to mark Holocaust Day in Nissan.

Haredim also have a problem with the custom of standing at attention, which they consider a non-Jewish custom.

The same media fail to note that in the Hebrew month of Tevet, Haredim mark Holocaust Day, as well as fast, while most of the secular part of the country acts as if nothing happened, except for this year, when they also party without realizing that the day marks the circumcision of the same man in whose name millions of Jews have been massacred over the centuries.

The Day Jews Prayed in a Minyan on the Temple Mount

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

The issue of whether or not to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount is bound to come up for heated discussion before the elections March 17, but a rarely shown photograph proves that Jews once managed to pray there with a minyan, the minimum of 10 men needed for public prayer.

Jewish Home Knesset Member Uri Ariel and Likud MK Moshe Feiglin have been the most prominent legislators insisting that Israel change the “status quo” and allow Jews to pray at the holy site.

The official status quo, as reported here several weeks ago, has been replaced by a new status quo in which Jews still are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount but also are restricted in their visits, even without praying.

The police implemented the new and unofficial status quo by limiting the number of Jews at the site and often closing it to Jews for reasons of “security,” meaning they don’t want to deal with Muslim rioters.

The 1995 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan not only does not specifically prohibit prayer by non-Muslims but also leaves it open as a possibility.

Paragraph 3 of the treaty states:

The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

Regardless, the government policy not long after the Six-Day War in 1967 was to ban Jews form praying there. However, visiting was common.

Amos A., now in his 60s, told The Jewish Press that his father took him to all of the holy sites where Jordan had barred Jews. ”We went to the Patriarchs Cave in Hevron, Rachel’s Tomb at Bethlehem and the Temple Mount. No one said a word.”

He added that he and his father did not pray on the Temple Mount.

At that time, the Chief Rabbinate ruled that it is forbidden for Jews even to visit the Temple Mount, because of all kinds of issues of impurity and prohibitions of any Jew to walk on the ruins over the area where the High Priest entered only once a year, on Yom Kippur.

Very few rabbis were willing to question the opinion of the Rabbinate at the time, but that has changed in recent years. There now is an increasing number of prominent national religious rabbis who permit walking in certain areas of the holy site. Some also permit praying on condition of immersion in a ritual bath beforehand

Around 1980, give or take year, a group of 10 Jewish men, some posing as tourists, formed a minyan and prayed on the Temple Mount, as seen in the photograph above.

Yisrael Medad, a resident of Samaria, a former activist and now a blogger whose writing also appears on The Jewish Press, was one of the 10 men who formed a minyan.

The prayer service took place between 1979 and 1981, as he recalls. The picture shows nine men, with Medad on the far right. The 10th men was the photographer.

“It was one of the very, very few times that Jews have prayed on the Temple Mount,” Medad told The Jewish Press. “The group sneaked in and was able to pray until a Muslim guard was getting very upset and told us to stop. We motioned to him to wait because we were in the middle of the Amidah prayer,” the silent prayer in which interruptions are not allowed.

Medad said the guard “may have simply thought we were just looking around and not praying, but when he realized what was happening, he called the police, who hauled the men away.”

Wounded IDF Soldier’s Faith Shows How Israel Survives

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Second Lt. Aharon Karov, less than 24 hours after his own wedding, left his bride and returned to his vase in southern Israel to serve as a commander and led his soldiers into battle at the start of Operation Cast Lead.

He was critically wounded on the night of January 12, 2009, when Karov and his soldiers entered northern Gaza. They followed detailed intelligence information which led them to various houses and structures where terrorists were hiding. When they arrived at one of these houses, a powerful explosive was activated.

Between 300 and 500 metal fragments penetrated his body, and he suffered from a major injury in his head and upper body.

Moments later, a complex rescue mission began to save the wounded officer. IDF medics performed life-saving procedures on the battlefield and in the air as Karov was evacuated by helicopter.

Over the next 12 hours, Karov underwent a set of complex and dangerous surgeries in order to remove part of his skull. His family was told that he was in critical condition and Karov was named the most severely wounded soldier during Operation Cast Lead.

Three weeks later, against all odds, Karov was released from the hospital to begin rehabilitation.

Karov began his recovery with a deep commitment to the treatments prescribed to him by the doctors as well as a bundle of support from his family. The process was long, exhausting, and touched the heart of the entire nation. Thousands of letters of encouragement and blessing strengthened him and aided him during his journey towards recovery.

This officer’s remarkable improvement is considered a miracle. When he regained the ability to speak, Karov’s first words were dedicated to his wife. He called her on the phone and told her, “Tzvia, I love you.”

Roughly two months after the incident in Gaza, Karov’s soldiers finished their training. Karov, who insisted on being a part of the ceremony for his soldiers, stood on his legs for almost 2 hours despite his physical condition. At the end of the ceremony, he pinned his soldiers with a pin declaring them fighters, and was then promoted to the rank of Lieutenant by the Paratroopers’ Brigade Commander.

Step-by-step, word-by-word, Karov inspired the entire nation. His condition improved faster than anyone would have believed and not long after his injury Karov did the impossible and participated in various races and even a marathon. The young couple also grew their family and Karov’s wife gave birth to two children: a girl who was born a year and a half after the incident and a boy a few years later.

Today, Karov shares his story across the country, mostly with young men and women who are about to join the army.

Even though the physical injury was deep and severe, his spirit was strengthened.

Operation Cast Lead restored quite in southern Israel for a couple of years, but the legacy established by Karov and many other soldiers will last for many generations to come.

Aharon Karov leaving the hospital.

Aharon Karov leaving the hospital.

Technion Robot Lights Hanukkah Candles – but What about the Blessings? [video]

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

High schools students have programmed a robotic trio at Technion University to light Hanukkah candles as well as pour olive oil for the lighting and serve “sufganiyot,” the traditional fried doughnuts.

“The robots we built are programmed to respond to noise, and start operating upon the sound of three hand claps,” said Mor Pikman, an Ort Bialik 10th grader student participating in the program.

Another student, Kfir Lavie, added, “As part of the program, we developed a special program that makes the robot light Hanukkah candles according to the right order, and then place the candle used for lighting at the spot of the ‘Shamash,’ the ‘attendant’ candle. For humans this is a simple task, but for a robot it is quite complex, and required hours of programming work until we were able to accomplish it in the best possible way.”

“Technion’s Center for Robotics and Digital Technology is a meeting place between high-schoolers and university students who are developing and advancing methods for technology education,” said Associate Prof. Igor Verner, the Head of the Center, and the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies and Technology Education at Technion’s Department of Education in Science and Technology. “The goal of the Center is to teach youngsters about technology through the introduction of a robot…. The movements of the robots they developed on their own, through studies they conducted on a robot’s movement operations.”

In the video below, a human being recites the blessings over the lighting of Hanukkah candles and then lights the candle in the hands of the robot, which – or who – proceeds to light all of the candles and returns the Shamash to its proper place.

There are mitzvahs that a person can perform through a messenger, even a robot, and there are others, such as listening to the shofar on Rosh HaShanah, which cannot be delegated to anyone else.

As for lighting candles, is there a difference between a robot and someone whose arm was amputated and uses prosthesis to light the candles?

But if the students teach the robot next year to recite the blessings, there is no question that it has not performed the mitzvah on behalf of someone else.

Perhaps the students can develop a robot that can digest sufganiyot.

Arabs Imitate Ancient Greeks and Vandalize Joseph’s Tomb

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

More than 1,000 Jews visiting Joseph’s Tomb (Kever Yosef) in Shechem Sunday night discovered that Palestinian Authority Arabs vandalized the holy site for the umpteenth time.

The vandals destroyed the electric system, but the Jews, under IDF protection, lit a menorah on the sixth night of Hanukkah, which commemorates the victory of the Maccabeans over the Greek conquerors who desecrated the Holy Temple nearly 2000 years ago.

Israel surrendered open access to Joseph’s Tomb in 2001 after a terrorist attack, allowing a violation of the Oslo Accords protecting the rights of all religions to visit holy sites to become an accepted principle.

Leftists and plain President Obama-Arabs read the news differently.

The “Alternative News. Org” website reported, “1,000 Israelis raided the northern West Bank area of Nablus [Shechem] Sunday night to pray at Joseph’s Tomb, located on the outskirts of the city….

“Joseph’s Tomb is located in Area A of the West Bank, under full security and administrative control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Although entry into Joseph’s Tomb requires permission and coordination with the PA, the Israeli civilians and troops entered without either.”

Every time a Jew visits the Temple Mount or Joseph’s Tomb, and soon the Dead Sea can be added to the list, it is a “raid.”

As for the report that they entered without permission, the IDF told The Jewish Press Monday morning that simply is not true. “There was coordination,” a spokeswoman said.

Alternative News also conveniently omitted the wording of the Oslo Accords that specifically reserves the rights of Jews to visit Joseph’s Tomb, among others, and requires “both sides shall respect and protect the listed below religious rights of Jews, Christians, Moslems and Samaritans.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arabs-imitate-ancient-greeks-and-vandalize-josephs-tomb/2014/12/22/

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