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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘majority’

June Bride, 1951

Friday, June 15th, 2012

From “Jews in Minnesota,” by Hyman Berman‏ and Linda Mack Schlof:

“The wedding of Clarice Sherman and Mel Zuckman at Tifereth B’nai Jacob in North Minneapolis, 1951.

“At a Jewish wedding, the bride and groom stand under a chupah or wedding canopy symbolizing their future home.

“As long as Jews remained in the compact geographical areas where they were a dominant majority, they continued to attend Orthodox synagogues while moving away from the strict requirements as individuals. American secular life increasingly challenged the rigid traditionalism of Orthodox Judaism.”

Demolition Babies

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Israeli children playing in the Ulpana Hill neighborhood of Beit El in Judea and Samaria. The Israeli government is looking for ways to sidestep a ruling by the Supreme Court to demolish Ulpana before July 1, following a land ownership dispute between Arab sellers more than a decade ago. The proclivity of Israel’s leftist legal system to inflict harm on the Jewish settlement movement may have reached a point here where the vast majority of Jews on either side of the green line would reject it.

When Is A Single Witness Believed?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

At the end of parshas Metzora the Torah discusses the halachos of when a woman becomes a niddah. The Torah says that a woman who becomes a niddah must count seven days from when she stops seeing blood, and then becomes tahor by immersing in a mikveh. The Gemara in Kesubos 72a says that a woman is believed when she counts the seven days on her own. Tosafos in Gittin 2b says that this is the source from the Torah for the rule that eid echad ne’eman b’issurim (one person is believed concerning issurim). Rashi in Yevamos 88a says that the source for this halacha is due to the fact that if the aforementioned rule was not so, no one would be able to eat from his fellow or even from his own household (and apparently that is not possible).

Testimony of two witnesses is always believed, even when it contradicts a chazakah – a halachic rule that states that when there is an unknown we should assume that everything remained status quo. There is a machlokes Rishonim whether the testimony of one person is accepted when it contradicts a chazakah. For example, a live animal is prohibited to be eaten since it is not shechted. If one person will testify that it was shechted, his testimony will contradict the chazakah that it was not shechted. Tosafos, the Rush, and the Mordechai hold that one witness is not believed against a chazakah. The Rashba believes that one witness is believed, even when contradicting a chazakah.

The Shev Shmeitza 6:7 asks the following question: the Gemara (Yevamos 119b) says that when determining a doubt one should follow the rov (majority) over a chazakah. This is known as ruba v’chazakah, ruba adif. Mathematically, since a rov is greater than a chazakah and a chazakah is greater than one witness (according to some Rishonim), we should infer that a rov is greater than one witness. Therefore if three pieces of meat get mixed up (two non-kosher and one kosher) and one witness says that he knows which is the kosher piece, he should not be believed. Since there is a doubt as to which piece is kosher and the halacha of following the rov is telling us that the selected piece is from the majority (non-kosher), one witness cannot contradict the rov and testify which piece is kosher. But today’s norm dictates that this is not the correct halacha. Why? Because it is common for marketplaces to contain a majority of non-kosher meat and only a minority of kosher meat, and the seller is to be believed when saying which pieces are kosher.

The Chelkas Yoev writes that there is an explicit tosefta in Pesachim at the end of the fifth perek that says that one witness is believed over a rov. The Pnei Yehoshua (Kiddushin 63b) also says that one witness will be believed over a rov. He explains that the rule that one witness is not believed against a chazakah only applies when the chazakah is foolproof. However when the chazakah is weakened prior to the testimony of the witness, the witness will be believed. The Pnei Yehoshua adds that a chazakah that is not weakened is even stronger than a rov. Based on this there is no longer any indication that a rov is stronger than one witness. Thus in the case of the marketplace that contains a majority of non-kosher meat, one witness will be believed.

The Shev Shmeitza disagrees with the Pnei Yehoshua and offers another suggestion. The only case where one witness is not believed against a chazakah is when even according to his testimony, the item was forbidden at one point and he is attempting to remove it from its current status. However, if according to his testimony the item was never forbidden, his testimony is not considered contradictory to the chazakah and thus he is believed. The same would apply when one witness testifies about a case that has a rov. As a result, in the case of the pieces of meat that were mixed up, the witness testified that he always knew which piece was kosher; therefore, according to his testimony, there is no mixture and thus there is no rov. If the pieces are not mixed, a rov does not apply since there is no doubt. Therefore his testimony is not contradicting the rov. Hence he is believed.

If a single witness would testify that he found an animal to be treif, his testimony would directly contradict the rov that states that the majority of animals are not treif. He may be believed on a different merit but, according to the Rishonim that say that a single witness is not believed against a chazakah, he would not be believed against a rov as well.

Meretz Chief’s Anti-Semitic, Anti-Brooklyn Slur Gets Pass from Media, ‘Anglos’ Are Enraged

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Earlier this week, Meretz Chairperson MK Zahava Gal-On had a severe case of hoof and mouth disease when, while speaking to the Army Radio, she said it would be intolerable for Israel’s future to be decided by a bunch of “Yehudonim from Brooklyn.”

“Yehudon” was accepted by early 20th Century Hebrew translators as a proper literary substitute for the Polish slur “Zhid.” Over the years, as the culture expanded and Palestinian and later Israeli Jews wished to express contempt for Diaspora Jews, “Yehudon” took its place in the living language in the context of a court Jew, a weakling Jew, a money-grubbing Jew – but from a very particular, Sabra, point of view.

Over time, the left in Israel began to use the term “Yehudon” to express their loathing for the ultra-Orthodox (settlers have been dubbed “Mitnachlon”), reawakening the original, anti-Semitic roots of the word.

At the same time, there have been references – especially in stormy online forums – where the right has been naming Israeli leftists “Yehudonim,” depicting them as gutless servants of the EU. The somewhat pathetic members of the Neturei Karta sect serving the Palestinian cause have been getting the Y-bomb from both sides.

Gal-on’s unfortunate use of the Y-word came during a discussion of new pending legislation, which the right is hoping to use in restraining Israel’s hyperactive high court. The current version requires a majority of 65 members of Knesset to overturn a Supreme Court decision. Gal-On was outraged.

First, on the eve of Yom HaShoah, she equated the possibility of a future right-wing majority overturning a Supreme Court decision with the Nazis’ method of wielding a thin, but oppressive parliamentary majority to enforce mob rule.

Then she really stepped in it.

“If 10 Knesset seats are enough to change how Israel decides whether to go to war with Iran or not, organized groups will come from Brooklyn and get the right to vote. All the decisions about life and death here, whether to evacuate the territories, whether to authorize outposts, those people sitting in New York or Brooklyn will decide for us?”

And here is where she kind of lost it: “Groups of Yehudonim…” and a quick fix, no apology: “Yehudim, organized in the Diaspora, will decide how we live here?” Gal-On proceeded, perhaps concerned that whatever she had said that day, right or wrong, would be ignored to make media room for the faux pas.

Israel’s mainstream media didn’t make much of the incident. Perhaps they were too busy destroying the career of an IDF officer who was caught on YouTube restraining a crowd of pro-Palestinian trespassers.

The Meretz MK was quick to come up with the conditional apology, the modern politician’s way of saying she did nothing wrong, but if anyone decides to feel hurt, she’s sorry for them. “I don’t know how it happened, and I corrected myself immediately,” she stated. “If somebody was hurt, I apologize. Don’t analyze this or start to give it any hidden meanings.”

A spokesperson for Yisrael Beytenu Anglos – supporters of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s party – told The Jewish Press that it actually makes sense to try and assess those hidden meanings, because, as that renowned ‘Zhid’ psychiatrist Freud said, there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

“As Anglos in Israel we are outraged by Gal-On’s disgraceful comments. These type of comments should not pass without strong condemnation and we call for a complete retraction and full apology, especially when our friends and relatives in the Diaspora are disparaged in such an ugly manner. Furthermore, the lack of outrage by Gal-On’s ideological compatriots demonstrates the abject hypocrisy of those who constantly try and stifle the Nationalist Camp’s freedom of expression while ignoring the incitement amongst their own.

“In addition, her invocation of the Holocaust for political point-scoring is unacceptable and should not be part of acceptable discourse. These comments, taken as a whole, reflect very badly on Gal-On and her party and should be remedied immediately.”

Nevertheless, we hardly believe Gal-On’s poor offensive words would cost her even one vote among the readers of this website…

Yisrael Beytenu Anglos is the division of the Yisrael Beytenu party for the English-speaking community in Israel. Their Facebook page is www.facebook.com/beytenuenglish

NY High Court: Ramaz Nurse Can Sue Under Whistleblower Law

Monday, April 16th, 2012

A former school nurse at the Ramaz School in New York who says she was fired for reporting a possible case of child abuse can sue the school under the state’s whistleblower law.

The New York State Court of Appeals (which is that state’s highest court) ruled on April 12 in a 3-2 vote that Joyce Villarin can sue the school for retaliatory termination, upholding a 2010 decision from Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling.

In 2007, a student at the school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side came to Villarin with a “prominent injury” on his cheek that he told her was inflicted by his father. The father admitted to Villarin that he had hit his son and did not express remorse, according to the lawsuit.

Ramaz encouraged Villarin, who had been working at the school for a year when the incident occurred, not to report the incident to authorities. She was fired in April 2008 after reporting the incident because the school said she was “not a team player.”

Villarin sued the school in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2009, arguing that the state’s Social Services Law obligated her to report the potential abuse. Under the law, school officials must report to state authorities a reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused or mistreated.

The majority of judges agreed with Villarin, saying that her claim “falls within both the letter and the spirit of the private-employee whistleblower statute.” The judges said if she had not reported the potential abuse she would have been subject to “civil liability for failing to report it.”

Knesset Speaker: Elections in September; New Law Will Reduce Power of High Court; Pollard Will Go Free

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) is convinced that elections for Israel’s next government will be held in five months, this coming September. In his opinion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing at least two serious problems—the Tal Law and the state budget—which require setting priorities under pressures from special interest groups within the coalition government.

“There are social and economic issues, there are also elections in the United States. Netanyahu will prefer to put those problems behind, not before him, which is why he will seek the ballot box,” Rivlin told Ma’ariv in a special holiday interview, to be published Thursday.

There’s one major reason why Rivlin is interested in going to the voter soon: he does not believe that the current Knesset could pass the legislation titled “Basic Law: Legislation,” which has been stirring up a political storm in recent days. Rivlin believes that the proposed law, much of it his own brainchild, could receive a majority in the current Knesset, especially if Netanyahu decided not to support it.

Rivlin delivered the new Basic Law regarding legislation to Justice Minister Ya’akov Neeman. The bill is designed to dramatically change the balance of power between the Supreme Court and the Knesset. According to the proposed law, the Supreme Court will, for the first time, be given explicit authority to overturn laws – but a majority of 65 Knesset members will suffice to overturn the court’s decision.

Rivlin believes that much of the resistance to his bill is not based on the merit of giving the legislator a more equal footing with the court over disputed laws, but, rather, over the size of the special majority needed to overturn a court decision. He thinks that many more MKs would join him if the bill called for a special majority of 70.

To date, inside the coalition government, Rivlin’s bill is being opposed by ministers Ehud Barak, Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, by Likud MK Yariv Levin, and by senior legal officials.

Rivlin explained in his particularly unique language the issues his bill is intended to resolve:

“MKs from the right have been complaining that they are legislating on the basis of political considerations, and then the court comes and interprets their intentions in a way that is the exact opposite of what they had in mind. It’s like (Israel’s poet laureate Nachman) Bialik’s poem ‘Ken La’Tzipor’ (The Bird’s Nest). I can say that the bird is an eagle, someone else can say that the bird is a parrot, a third one says it’s a hoopoe. Comes the Court and determines that the bird is an elephant. This cannot be.”

In the same interview, Rivlin says he is certain that the efforts being made by President Shimon Peres to free Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard will be successful.

“Peres will bring him home,” Rivlin declares, and with the same breath he attacks US Jews, who stayed clear of the Pollard affair. “Unfortunately, they abandoned Pollard,” says Rivlin. “They all think he’s lucky they didn’t give him the death penalty.”

Fleeing Islamists to US, Omar Sharif’s Grandson Comes Out as Gay and Jewish

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

“I write this article in fear,” starts Omar Sharif Jr.’s revelatory article in the Advocate, which dishes out coming out stories to fit every pallet. This one involves an Egyptian TV and screen actor, grandson of a Hollywood legend, who fled his homeland for the safety of America. And he’s probably Jewish, too.

His coming out has taken place against a background of “fear for my country, fear for my family, and fear for myself. My parents will be shocked to read it, surely preferring I stay in the shadows and keep silent, at least for the time being.”

He left an Egypt that is becoming progressively intolerant of all kinds of minorities, as extremist Muslim parties have gained absolute majority in Parliament. He confides:

“I write this article despite the inherent risks associated because as we stand idle at what we hoped would be the pinnacle of Egyptian modern history, I worry that a fall from the top could be the most devastating. I write, with healthy respect for the dangers that may come, for fear that Egypt’s Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward.

“And so I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay.”

Actually, since his mother is the Jewish, the tormented star is a Jew. So now he has two very good reasons not to go home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/omar-sharifs-grandson-comes-out-as-gay-and-jewish/2012/03/22/

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