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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘letter’

Can Women say Kaddish?

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

When a parent dies one of the things done during the year long mourning period is to say Kaddish. This is usually done by a son. The idea behind that is to build up Zechuyos (merit) for the Niftar (the deceased).

The reason we do that is based on the idea that most people do not live a sin free life and before one merits his final place in Olam HaBa, the soul has to go through a ‘cleansing period’ whereby it pays for sins it committed during its brief stay in the body. By doing things in the merit of the Niftar it is hoped that the punishment it gets during this ‘cleansing period’ will be reduced.

This is a universal practice in Judaism. No matter how great – or not so great – the deceased parent was, assuming he was not a Rasha the practice is to say Kaddish for the same amount of time (11 months. Saying Kaddish for more than 11 months implies that the deceased was a Rasha). Why Kaddish was established as opposed to other ways of bringing merit to the deceased is beyond the scope of this post.

The question arises as to whether a woman can say Kaddish for a parent. There are differences of opinion about that. I am not here to Paskin. That is beyond my pay grade. But I believe there are Poskim that permit it.You would think that a woman saying Kaddish for a parent in Shul was tantamount to using profanity the way some people react to it. That is not OK. From a letter submitted to JOFA:

No, you can’t say kaddish because you’re a woman… Shh! Why can’t you keep your voice quiet!? We can hear you over the mechitza!… [The silence when no one says amen to my kaddish recitation]… You know, it doesn’t actually count when a daughter says kaddish… Couldn’t you get your husband or father to say kaddish instead?… It would be much more respectful if you didn’t say kaddish… Is there a man who is REALLY saying kaddish for your mom?

No one has a right to criticize any woman for saying Kaddish for a deceased parent. No matter what their opinion is about the permissibly or effectiveness of it. To say the things said to one such woman contained in this letter (reproduced above), is not only insensitive, but in my view a disgusting psychological abuse of another human being. An abuse of the type Chazal had some very harsh words for: Kol HaMelaben Pnei Chavero B’Rabim K’ilu Shofech Damo! Embarrassing some one publicly is tantamount to murder.

Kayla Jacobs submitted this letter as a reason for needing JOFA – the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance.

I submit that she does not need JOFA for that. I am not a member of JOFA and I am as outraged by such comments as she and any Orthodox Feminist is. Justifiably so. But do we really need a Feminist organization to protest this kind of insensitivity on the part of some ignorant people? Or do we need common sense?

Where is the empathy? Where is the Jewish Soul? Where is the brain?!

What kind of human being would insult a woman who is expressing the best way she knows how her mourning for a parent?

I do not see this as a feminist issue at all. This is a human issue. And if there are more than a few people in the religious world who are like this, the fault lies in the Chinuch they get. Either in the home or in the school. Or both.

Not that they aren’t entitled to their views with respect to who gets to say Kaddish and who doesn’t. Honorable people can disagree about that. But in how to treat a fellow human being. Especially one who is suffering the loss of a parent. The disgusting comments contained in that letter is not how that is done. Those kinds of statements can only lead down a different road. One that will require offspring to say Kaddish for more than 11 months.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

RCA Statement on Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

In the years since the Rabbinical Council of America’s first comment about JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), “the only Jewish based organization dedicated to assisting individuals with unwanted same sex attractions move from gay to straight” in January, 2004, in which we suggested that rabbis might refer congregants to them for reparative therapy, many concerns about JONAH and reparative therapy have been raised.

As rabbis trained in Jewish law and values, we base our religious positions regarding medical matters on the best research and advice of experts and scholars in those areas, along with concern for the religious, emotional, and physical welfare of those impacted by our decisions. Our responsibility is to apply halakhic (Jewish legal) values to those opinions.

Based on consultation with a wide range of mental health experts and therapists who informed us of the lack of scientifically rigorous studies that support the effectiveness of therapies to change sexual orientation, a review of literature written by experts and major medical and mental health organizations, and based upon reports of the negative and, at times, deleterious consequences to clients of some of the interventions endorsed by JONAH, the Rabbinical Council of America decided in 2011, as part of an overall statement on the Jewish attitude towards homosexuality, to withdraw its original letter referencing JONAH. Despite numerous attempts by the RCA to have mention of that original letter removed from the JONAH website, our calls, letters, and emails remain unanswered. As Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the RCA, stated in 2011, “We want it taken down. JONAH said it was a letter of support, but if you read the letter it is not. They took an informational statement and reprinted it, and the use of that as an endorsement is an error.”

We believe that properly trained mental health professionals who abide by the values and ethics of their professions can and do make a difference in the lives of their patients and clients. The RCA believes that responsible therapists, in partnership with amenable clients, should be able to work on whatever issues those clients voluntarily bring to their session. Allegations made against JONAH lead us to question whether JONAH meets those standards.

Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University and author of the 1974 Encyclopedia Judaica Year Book article, “Judaism and the Modern Attitude to Homosexuality,” the first contemporary article to address the issue from the perspective of Jewish law and philosophy, had originally commended the work of JONAH. In response to the negative reports about JONAH’s activities and concerns expressed to him by respected mental health professionals, Dr. Lamm withdrew his endorsement of JONAH.

About the RCA:

The Rabbinical Council of America, with national headquarters in New York City, is a professional organization serving more than 1000 Orthodox Rabbis in the United States of America, Canada, Israel, and around the world. Membership is comprised of duly ordained Orthodox Rabbis who serve in positions of the congregational rabbinate, Jewish education, chaplaincies, and other allied fields of Jewish communal work

For further information about this statement, you may contact:

Rabbi Mark Dratch Executive Vice President

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin
President

U.S. Senators Urge Morsi to Halt Gaza Arms Smuggling

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

A bipartisan slate of U.S. senators urged Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to crack down on arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip.

“In order for the cease-fire to hold, it is imperative that your government bolster its efforts to halt all weapons smuggling taking place via both overland and underground routes,” said the letter, which was initiated by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and signed by another 16 senators.

In the letter, sent Tuesday, the senators said they were “encouraged” by the “constructive role” Morsi played in brokering a cease-fire to the most recent Hamas-Israel conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“This is all the more important in light of the potential easing of restrictions on the movement of people and goods through Gaza border crossings as a condition of the cease-fire you helped to broker,” they said. “Preventing Hamas from re-arming is just one step in helping to prevent violence from erupting again.”

Oh No, Not Him Again: Anthony Weiner Testing the Water?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

In one of politics most recent ignominious flights from respectability, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned his office in June, 2011, after it was exposed that he had a habit of “sexting” young women he met online with pictures of his barely clad private parts.

But if  you have consigned Weiner to the bin of history or source of tasteless jokes, you may have underestimated him.

Weiner, 47, who used to represent part of the Rockaways section of New York City which was slammed by Hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago, wrote an op-ed along with Congressman Meeks, who still represents the area.  The op-ed, published in the New York Daily News yesterday, Nov 28, was essentially a call for more funding, better transportation and improved protection from natural disasters – some might also describe it as a stump speech – for a community that was devastated by the storm.

This is not the first time Weiner has reared his head since his awkward exit from office less than 18 months ago.  In fact, Weiner reactivated his infamous twitter account during Hurricane Sandy, when he issued a call for help for the besieged community.

Other than these few forays, Weiner has largely been mentioned in the news only as the other half of a power couple – his wife, Huma Mahmood Abedin, works as Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Abedin, an American of Pakistani descent, was the target of criticism by a small group of conservative members of Congress who were alarmed by her alleged connection to Islamist extremists, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cong. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other Republicans, including Cong. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Cong. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) sent a letter to the U.S. State Department Deputy Inspector General this past summer.  In the letter, the congressmembers asked that there be an investigation into whether there has been an Islamist infiltration of the U.S. government, based upon research presented in various publications.  Abedin was specifically mentioned in that letter because her mother, her late father and her brother all were allegedly members of, or had connections to, Muslim Brotherhood organizations.

Those allegations ended up doing more harm to Bachmann and her colleagues than to Abedin, as not only Hillary and Bill Clinton defended her, but prominent Republicans such as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Speaker of the House, Cong. John Boehner (R-OHIO), blasted Bachmann for conducting what they essentially called a witch hunt.

Anthony Weiner is Jewish and was widely considered one of Israel’s most ardent defenders in Congress.  Weiner and Abedin had a son, Jordan, over the summer.  The reception for Jordan’s bris was held in the multi-million dollar Park Avenue apartment the couple moved into after Weiner resigned from office.  The apartment is owned by Jack Rosen, head of the American Jewish Congress and a huge financial supporter of the Clintons.

If Weiner is considering another political run, he already has a potential campaign war chest of $ 3.9 million.

There has been talk that Weiner might be eying the New York City mayoral seat.  If so, a poll conducted this summer by NY1-Marist poll shows New Yorkers are not enthusiastic, with 58% responding that they did not want Weiner to run, and just 25% in favor.

That same poll asked New Yorkers for their take on several other potential NYC mayoral candidates, including another disgraced Jewish New York Democratic politician, Eliot Spitzer.  Spitzer fared only slightly better than Weiner, with 57% opposing his run and 30% in favor.  Spitzer, New York State’s former governor, was forced to resign his office in March, 2008, after his repeated liaisons with prostitutes was exposed.

Nobel Laureates, Notables Say Military Tie with Israel “Unconscionable”, Call for Boycott

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, artists and activists are calling for a military boycott of Israel following the recent attempt by the Jewish state to protect its citizens in the south from rocket barrages from Gaza.

In a letter signed by 52 prominent figures, including Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez, Pink Floyd performer Roger Waters, movie directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach and others, the group called the US, EU, and other countries “complicit” in the death of Palestinians in Gaza due to their purchase and sale of weapons to Israel.

An article by England’s Guardian newspaper quotes the letter as saying:

“Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel’s decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel,” the letter says.

“While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel’s military complex through its research programmes.”

The letter calls Brazilian, Indian, and South Korean military ties “unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom”.

UPDATED: Hamas Psych Ops Emails

Monday, November 19th, 2012

You may have gotten an email from “Moshe Rooter” in the past day. If you did, then congratulations, Hamas or one of their affiliate terrorist organizations has decided to reach out to you.

The email links to a series of videos.

The first two are of a jeep blowing up. Presumably this is the jeep that was hit by the anti-tank missile just before Operation Amud Anan began, when 4 IDF soldiers were injured by Gazan terrorists.

The third video claims to show an Israeli drone that was shot down during Operation Amud Anan. A military expert who viewed the video tells us that claim is very unlikely based on what can be seen in the video.

The writing in the email and the video is in Hebrew, and from the text body, it’s clear the sender wants you to believe that the sender is an Israeli (he writes “our soldiers”).

But when you watch the video, the sharp-eyed viewer will immediately realize the translator mixed up the letters B and P, a common mistake among Arabs who can’t pronounce the “P” sound (as in Palestine). Both letters sound the same to Arab ears.

The translator took a stab as to which letter it was, and guessed wrong.

The more interesting question is, how did they get your email?

As near as we’ve been able to figure, they’ve been collecting them from forwarded emails. When someone forwarded your Israel/Jewish related email you sent out, at some point it must have reached one of their operatives and they added it to their list.

The alternative is that they’ve compiled a list of influential Jews, and then found their emails.

We’re flattered, if that’s the case.

UPDATE: They’ve sent out a new email identifying themselves as one of the many splinter terror groups.

Likud Anglo Candidate Suspends Campaign in Solidarity with IDF and Southern Residents

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Likud Knesset Candidate Daniel Tauber declared a suspension of campaign activities in solidarity with the residents of the South and the IDF.

Tauber also said he would request that the Likud delay the date of primaries, currently scheduled for November 25th, saying that, “Campaigns should not be brought to fever pitch as our soldiers are risking their lives fighting our enemies and residents of the South are forced to hide in fear.”

In a letter to supporters, Tauber called for the elimination of “Hamas and any other terrorist group operating within the Land of Israel or on our borders” arguing that, “As long as terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah continue to operate with impunity millions of our citizens will be under threat and Israel will be constraining geopolitically.”

On Thursday evening, Tauber instructed his campaign volunteers to stop contacting Likud members until Sunday evening, when the situation could be reviewed and the campaign could determine how to proceed in an appropriate manner.

Tauber ended his letter with the prayer “that justice is meted out to Hamas and all the enemies of the Jewish people.”

Tauber is also executive-director of Likud Anglos and has in the past urged Likud Members of Knesset and Minister not to be restrained in pursuing terrorists out of fear of international pressure.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/likud-anglo-candidate-suspends-campaign-in-solidarity-with-idf-and-southern-residents/2012/11/16/

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