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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Orthodox Judaism’

Hollywood Star Zooey Deschanel Converted to ‘Judaism’

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Another Hollywood star has discovered and converted to Judaism, but it is not clear if the change was carried out according to Jewish law.

Zooey Deschanel revealed she converted, shortly before giving birth to a baby girl, at the request of her husband, Jacob Pechenik in June, while she was pregnant. Pechenik is producing an upcoming movie in which his new wife stars.

A wild guess is that it was not an Orthodox conversion, which means that their child is not recognized as Jewish by traditional Jewish law.

Her mother is a Catholic, and her father is a Quaker, but she said they did not object to her conversion.

The star of the New Girl sitcom was quoted by US Weekly as having said:

I don’t attach myself to any one religion. My family is liberal. I was raised in the ‘you can be whatever you want’ kind of way. And in the end, I was like, ‘Eh.’

Zooey, 35, and her husband named their daughter “Elsie Otter,” which sounds as Jewish as “Zooey.”

She said on the Today Show:

We just really liked the name Elsie and then we both love otters, they’re very sweet and they’re also smart. They use tools…they hold hands while they sleep…They’re wonderful animals.

Zooey previously was married to a non-Jew and divorced after two years.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Islamist Stabs Jew, Punches Rabbi in Marseille, France

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Rabbi Yehuda Malul of the Menuchat Shalom synagogue in Marseilles, France, was attacked this past weekend with another congregant while on their way to morning prayers.

The synagogue is located in the center of the southern French city, where there are many hareidi-religious Jews, synagogues and yeshivot.

According to a report posted on the Hebrew-language website Bhadarei Haredim, the attacker was a “young man of Arab appearance.”

The rabbi, who spoke with a writer at the website, said the attacker yelled, “Yahud, Allahu Akbar!” The attacker punched the rabbi with his fists, and he shouted again, “Itbah al-Yahud!” as the rabbi fell to the ground.

When the rabbi’s companion went to the rabbi’s side to try to protect him, the attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed the man in the abdomen.

The rabbi told the site that he was “not hurt” and continued on to the synagogue. However, his companion was rushed to the hospital where doctors “said it was a real miracle, and that the knife was blocked due to the heavy coat he was wearing. If not for the coat, the injury could have been critical.”

The attacker had been released only a few days earlier from prison, according to the rabbi, who said the incident was “frightening” when taken in context of the normal Marseilles lifestyle.

“Here in Marseilles, it’s not like Paris,” he said, “ we have had no anti-Semitic incidents; that this has happened at a time of stabbings in Israel is frightening, especially since after the stabbing the stabber continued to curse the Jews after being arrested by police.”

On Sunday, the Jewish community in Marseilles is set to hold a solidarity rally for Israel, walking from the city center to the Israeli consulate.

Hana Levi Julian

Court Rules Jimmy Kimmel Can Make Fun of ‘Flying Rabbi’

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

(JNi.media) A New York court sided with funny man Jimmy Kimmel and found the use of “flying rabbi” Daniel Edward Sondik’s popular YouTube clips was not a violation of intellectual property. Daniel Edward Sondik, a resident of Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he is known as the “flying rabbi,” is a Jewish street preacher. He argued that the skit made him into a “laughingstock,” and appealed the initial decision over the parodic segment that showed the Catholic late night host receiving advice from Sondik in Yiddish. Bob Tolchin, Sondik’s attorney, expressed dismay at the ruling, which he said was “unfortunate,” according to the Daily News. Tolchin described his client as a “sweet, earnest guy,” and added, “What happened on a human level was not a fair thing. You take a guy who is a little eccentric and make a joke out of him. That was deeply hurtful to him. That was a sleazy thing they did.” Then Tolchin stated: “Jimmy Fallon (another late night host) is funnier.”

In a 2010 show, Jimmy Kimmel made parody of LeBron James’ meeting with high profile rabbi Yeshayahu Pinto and then featured himself consulting with the zealous Borough Park personality after saying that he also asks advice of Rabbi Pinto. Although the footage of the gag was taken directly from Sondik’s YouTube videos, Justice David Schmidt said that since the clip was used as part of a comedic routine, the event itself (i.e. LeBron James meeting with Rabbi Pinto) was newsworthy and Sondik looks nothing like Rabbi Pinto and could not be mistaken for him, the appearance of the video could not be deemed as “commercial use.” A New York Law Journal noted that Sondik’s image was “not used or advertising or trade purposes.”

Jimmy Kimmel seemed to be poking fun as much at LeBron James as he was “the flying rabbi,” when he designed the skit around a photo of the athlete seeking business advice from Rabbi Pinto, then showed himself, Kimmel, appearing to converse with Sondik. An argument could be made that once someone puts a large number of posts on YouTube, they have turned themselves into a public figure and may be available to ridicule. Then again, at the risk of being perceived as unkind, perhaps comedians should be cautious and only dish it out to true celebrities, who can take it and may actually benefit from it. However, since Kimmel has won the case, there doesn’t seem to be a disincentive for these kinds of pranks in the future. Of course, even if Kimmel had lost, there is little doubt he could have handled the settlement, given his salary at ABC.

In 2011, the New York Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by Sondik. He bolstered his case using California as well as New York law, since the clip was created in California, where common law has certain regulations on appropriation of a likeness, and in New York the claim was that Sondik’s image was used for advertisement and trade. The court threw out the claims based on California law, since Sondik is a New York resident, and said Kimmel’s use did not violate New York Civil Rights law because it was within the public interest. Attorney Tolchin said that the fact that the show made millions of dollars was enough reason for Sondik to claim he was being exploited. “If you’re a private citizen,” said Tolchin, “you shouldn’t find yourself being used for skits.”

The clip showed Sondik dressed in Chassidic garb and chanting somewhat incoherently at Jimmy Kimmel, who looked at him with a confused expression on his face. The clip drew more applause than laughter from the audience, although Sondik said the clip was intended to make him look “like a fool.” Judge David Schmidt denied that the comedy sketch was mean spirited: “Even though the plaintiff is not a public figure, there is no allegation in the complaint or inference that can be drawn from the DVD suggesting that the use of the plaintiff’s clip was mean spirited or intended to injure such that its use would be excluded from First Amendment protection.”


Animal Rights Activists Physically Prevent Kapparot in Ashdod [video]

Monday, September 21st, 2015

(JNi.media) A clash broke out Sunday night between ultra-Orthodox residents of Ashdod’s Third Quarter who were out to fulfill the custom of kapparot with chickens — and animal rights activists who tried to physically prevent them from carrying out the ritual, Haredim 10 reported.

The incident took place near the Belz Hasidic Institutions on Khativat Ha’Negev Street, when activists protested against the residents.

The activists turned over crates full of chickens, sprayed the birds with water, and even stole some of them.

As the struggle between the two parties ensued, police were called in and kept the activists out of the way.

An Eye Witnes told Haredim 10: “They broke into our territory and did here as they pleased. They stole chickens one by one into cars that were waiting on the street and just kept us physically from observing the custom of Kapparot. All this despite our explanations that the ritual is being done properly and there are no instances of cruelty to animals.”

A La’hish Region police spokesperson said: “A report was received at 5:30 PM at the 100 center (the local 911) of the Southern District Police, regarding a number of people who entered into the Belz Yeshiva on Khativat Ha’Negev Street in the city of Ashdod. Apparently they splashed water on chickens that were being offered for sale in the compound, which violated public order.

“Ashdod Police patrol cars arrived at the scene, and detained and removed some ten men and women (who are not residents of Ashdod) who were violating the public order. Apparently, the background to the event is the opposition of groups associated with animal rights to the practice of Kapparot.

“An inquiry by the officers at the scene indicated that there was no violence at all on the part of the demonstrators.

“At this point (Sunday night) police is on hand to maintain public order. The demonstrators have left and for the time being there is quiet in the yeshiva compound.”


Analysis: New Pew Report Has Seen the Jewish American Future and It’s Orthodox

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(JNi.media) The Pew Research Center has issued a further analysis of its 2013 survey of US Jews which, at the time, shattered some people’s long held beliefs about the Jewish community in America. The 2013 survey found that Orthodox Jews comprise 10% of the 5.3 million Jewish adults (ages 18 and older) in the US, but, as the new report puts is, “a survey is a snapshot in time that, by itself, cannot show growth in the size of a population.” What the new report is showing, based on the same findings, is that Orthodox Jews are likely “growing, both in absolute number and as a percentage of the US Jewish community.” In the race to dominate the Jewish community in America, the Orthodox are miles ahead of everyone else:

• The median age of Orthodox adults (40 years old) is better than a decade younger than the median age of other Jewish adults (52).

• More than two-thirds of Orthodox adults are married (69%), compared with less than half of other Jewish adults (49%).

• The Orthodox get married younger and bear at least twice as many children as other Jews (4.1 vs. 1.7 children ever born to adults ages 40-59).

• The Orthodox are more likely than other Jews to have large families: almost half (48%) of child bearing Orthodox Jews have four or more children—a mere 9% of other Jewish parents have this size families.

• Finally: practically all Orthodox Jewish parents (98%) say they raise their children Jewish, compared with 78% of other Jewish parents. Orthodox Jews are much more likely than other Jews to have attended a Jewish day school, yeshiva or Jewish summer camp while growing up, and they are more likely to send their children to the same programs.

That’s a strategy for domination. The numbers may not show it today, but one generation at these respective rates of growth could wipe the distance between the Orthodox and the other denominations.

And as competitions usually tend to go, as the Orthodox “threat” continues to loom, attacks on every aspect of the Orthodox, especially ultra-Orthodox lifestyle, will be forthcoming from a fast shrinking non-Orthodox community, as well as from unaffiliated Jews.

The Pew analysis itself already uses the kind of belligerent language US Orthodox Jews should expect from traditionally liberal to left-wing Jewish publications: “Indeed, in a few ways, Orthodox Jews more closely resemble white evangelical Protestants than they resemble other US Jews,” notes the new Pew report, carelessly blending the religious Jewish tradition with a tradition Jews consider repugnant for some of its “pagan” values.

The new Pew report states: “For example, similarly large majorities of Orthodox Jews (83%) and white evangelicals (86%) say that religion is very important in their lives, while only about one-fifth of other Jewish Americans (20%) say the same.” But the term “religion” means very different things to Orthodox Jews than to other communities: to Orthodox Jews, religion means adherence to a complex set of laws and a lifetime engagement in studying those laws as an intellectual pursuit for its own sake. Also, to many Orthodox Jews, their Jewishness is not so much a religion as a familial connection to their own ilk, to being a link in a historic chain, and to remaining socially isolated from non-Jews. To the evangelicals, “religion” might mean the reverse of that: a literal adherence to biblical law, rather than an interpretive approach; and spreading and expanding their faith among as many strangers as they can. Both communities practice “religion” the same way both gazelles and lions practice running–for very different reasons.


Princeton U. to Get ‘Plastic’ Eruv [video]

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Princeton University will install an eruv next week, allowing several dozen observant Jewish students to carry on Shabbat.

Jewish law prohibits carrying anything, even a baby carriage, unless there is  technical boundary that transforms a public area into a private one.

Central Jersey.com reported:

The school said it was approached by Jewish students and others about having something that is in place in communities that are home to peer institutions of the university as well as in hundreds of towns nationwide where observant Jews live.

A former Orthodox rabbi at the Center for Jewish Life, David Wolkenfeld investigated putting up an eruv five years ago but was told there was no feasible way to construct it.

Princeton director of community and regional affairs Kristin S. Appelget explained that plastic tubing known as lechies would be installed this week on 60 utility poles, according to the website that either PSE&G or Verizon own., according to the website,

Both companies gave permission to use their poles, something that other companies do not always allow.

Below, an Allentown, Pennsylvania rabbis explains the eruv that uses utility poles.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Ashkenazi Hareidi MK Now Cabinet Minister for First Time in 60 Years

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Hareidi Knesset Member Yaakov Litzman now is a full-fledged Cabinet minister, the first time since the days of the Ben-Gurion government that Ashkenazi rabbinical leaders have approved the position.

Unlike the Shas Hareidi Sephardi party, the Ashkenazi Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism party always has insisted that its Knesset Members not take a full Cabinet post, even if in effect they serve as minister, such as Deputy Health Minister Litzman.

The party did not want its members to carry out the responsibility of a full-fledged Cabinet minister, a post that could place Hareidim in a conflict with issues of Jewish law, such as abortion.

An appeal by an NGO to the High Court that a deputy minister cannot serve as minister without being called as such. The judges ruled in favor of the petitioners, leaving the Torah sages little choice but to allow Litzman to become a Cabinet member, with certain unspecified limits.

Torah sages from several Hareidi sects, including Vishnitz, attended a meeting Thursday morning that the Rebbe of Gur organized to discuss the spread of Shabbat violations in the country.

When the topic of Litzman’s becoming a Cabinet minister came up for discussion, and after a telephone conversation with the Rebbe of Belz, approval was given for Litzman to become a Cabinet minister, and he was blessed to “sanctify G-d’s name.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ashkenazi-hareidi-mk-now-cabinet-minister-for-first-time-in-60-years/2015/08/27/

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