web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘letter’

Netanyahu Condemns Terror Attack Against US Embassy in Turkey

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Turkey, that happened on Friday.

Netanyahu sent the following letter to President Barack Obama:

Dear Mr. President,I was shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Ankara.

Such acts of wanton violence remind us of the dangers faced by those who courageously represent us abroad and of the threats which those who despise freedom continue to pose to those who love liberty and life.

Our hearts are with you, with bereaved family members, and with the American people.

Sincerely,
Benjamin Netanyahu

BJ Rabbis Halfheartedly Walk Back Pro-Palestine Email

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Do you still care about the three BJ rabbis who started WW3? Well, it turns out they did mean to write that email, but they didn’t mean to send that particular email out, it was only a draft, and they didn’t mean to co-sign the entire lineup of BJ leadership without their knowledge, that too was because of the draft.

Can somebody close the window over there?

The bottom line is: they’re not sorry they were happy about the PLO being recognized as a UN state – they’re still besides themselves with joy on that account…

“So the rabbis of B’nai Jeshurun are now expressing some ‘regret’ over their email endorsing the UN’s Palestine statehood vote, writes” JTA’s Daniel Treiman.

The straight forward JTA coverage lays out the facts:

Rabbis at B’nai Jeshurun are expressing “regret” over an email sent out by the prominent New York synagogue praising the United Nations vote to elevate Palestinians to non-member state status.

The rabbis of the Manhattan synagogue sent a note Thursday to congregants saying that their email last week endorsing the UN action had been sent prematurely and mistakenly listed several other synagogue officials as signatories.

“While we affirm the essence of our message, we feel that it is important to share with you that through a series of unfortunate internal errors, an incomplete and unedited draft of the letter was sent out which resulted in a tone which did not reflect the complexities and uncertainties of this moment,” the rabbis, Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol, wrote in their follow-up email.

The rabbis also wrote that they “regret the feelings of alienation that resulted from our letter.”

The latest email was first reported by The New York Jewish Week.

The original email, sent last Friday, drew both praise and outrage from members of the nondenominational Upper West Side synagogue, which is known for its liberal politics and lively services. The email and ensuing controversy drew significant media attention, including a front-page story in The New York Times on Wednesday.

“The vote at the UN yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world,” the original email stated. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition. Having gained independence ourselves in this way, we are especially conscious of this.”

In their follow-up, the three rabbis wrote that they are “passionate lovers of Israel” and are “unequivocally committed to Israel’s security, democracy and peace.”

They also wrote that the original email was a letter from them and that the synagogue’s cantor, board president, executive director and director of Israel engagement were listed mistakenly as signatories.

Treiman comments:

“The timing of the correction is curious. After all the original email was sent out six days ago, on Friday. (One might have thought that the shul would have moved more quickly to correct the inadvertent inclusion of four synagogue officials on an email about such a hot-button issue.)

“But the follow-up email only came after a backlash among some angry congregants (including sometime-attendee Alan Dershowitz, who challenged the shul’s rabbis to a debate) and a front-page(!) story in The New York Times (a paper that is often accused of giving short shrift to local news but apparently puts a premium on such news when it overlaps with Israel issues and Upper West Side Jewish liberalism).

“Incidentally, B’nai Jeshurun’s home page at one point on Thursday morning featured the following quote attributed to the three rabbis: “As rabbis, our job is… to court controversy and to raise disturbing questions many would be more content to leave in the background – and certainly outside the synagogue.”

I suppose to be “passionate lovers of Israel” means you never have to say you’re sorry…

 

Related: Cartoon

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”.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/nobel-laureates-notables-say-military-tie-with-israel-unconscionable-call-for-boycott/2012/11/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: