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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘rabbi’

Rabbi Asher Weiss Calls on All of Klal Israel to Support his Holy Work [video]

Monday, June 20th, 2016

R’ Asher Weiss has dedicated his life to continuing the quest started by his holy father and the Klausenberger Rebbe. As they survived the fires of Auschwitz, to rise up and rebuild Torah after the war, so too is R’ Asher Weiss creating a new army of Torah leaders.

Today Jews around the world have the opportunity to join with him to continue this holy work.

Join him in his life mission to inspire, teach and spread the light of Torah.

Hear R’ Asher Weiss tell in his own words the experience of his father in Auschwitz and how he fought to keep the light of Torah alive.

Jewish Press Staff

About “Rabbi” Lerner

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Editor’s note: Crawling out from under his rock, “Rabbi” Lerner emerged to address the nation to eulogize Muhammad Ali. Instead he used the moment as a platform to defame Israel. This is nothing new for Lerner. His claim to fame is being an anti-Semitic//anti-Israel “Rabbi.” Steven Plaut, recognized this “Rabbi” as a fraud a decade ago. The following is an article from 2006:

ABOUT “RABBI” LERNER

Is Tikkun’s Michael Lerner an Orthodox Jew?

Ok, I admit, this is not the most important news item, but you may
nevertheless find it of interest.

You know how Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun Magazine, claims to be an Orthodox Rabbi? And you know how we have been pointing out that he never graduated from any Rabbinic seminary and was never ordained a Rabbi at all.

Well, put all that aside for the moment. The question I want to raise is whether Lerner is Orthodox, as he always tells anyone willing to listen.

Well, I decided to put the matter to a test.

Let me explain.

Jewish holidays in Israel, such as Passover or Succot, last one day, but last two days everywhere in the Diaspora under Jewish law. In addition, there is a ten hour time zone gap between Israel and Berkeley, where Lerner nests. I decided to conduct an experiment to see if Lerner is religiously observant, or Orthodox.

On Passover, it was the evening after the holiday when I sent Lerner an email inquiry from Israel under a fake name. Let me make this clear: it was no longer holiday in Israel when I sent it out, but was still the first day of the two-day holiday in California. My plan was to see if Lerner would respond to the letter on the second day of the two-day holiday. (Some Reform Jews in the Diaspora only celebrate the first of the two-day holidays.)

As it turns out, I was wrong. Lerner responded to the letter when it was still the FIRST day of the two-day holiday! From the timing of the letter, he wrote it even while it was still the first of the two days of “Yom Tov”. Now “Yom Tov” or the holiday of Passover is when all work (other than cooking food) is prohibited by Judaism and – specifically – writing and operating electronic equipment is prohibited, including computers. But “Rabbi” Lerner was spending his holiday playing with his computer and conducting correspondence. No doubt his sabbath is spent the same way.

Let me emphasize that it is not my place to tell non-religious or
non-Orthodox Jews how to spend their holidays or how to live their lives. It is not my business if some Jew wishes to live his life as a secularist and play with his computer on the sabbath or on holidays.

Indeed I only mention this matter simply because of the hypocritical gall and outright dishonesty of this buffoon Lerner pretending to be an Orthodox Rabbi.

In my letter to Lerner under the false name, I asked him if he would be willing to silence all those questioning his “rabbinic” credentials by agreeing to take a spot quiz in Bible and Talmud. Personally, I am of the opinion that he has never read the Books of the Prophets in the Bible whose “ethics” he likes to cite when he promotes his New Age pro-LSD “liberation theology”. He wrote back (while it was still Yom Tov) that he would NOT agree to this and that he had no need to do so because he had been admitted
as a member of the California Board of Rabbis.

Here are his words:
>From : Rabbi Michael Lerner rabbilerner@tikkun.org
“Absolutely not. They are already sinners spreading *lashon hara (hearsay)*, so there is no possible reason to believe that they would be satisfied by anything. I am a member of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California, which did its own careful assessment of my qualifications as it does with every applicant.”

Now, as a matter of fact, the California Board of Rabbis does NOT check out anyone’s credentials who applies for membership. Membership is automatic and hardly constitutes proof that someone is a Rabbi. A few years back, a friend of mine and I began to register his goldfish as a “Rabbi” in the California Board of Rabbis, to prove the point. But we decided it would tarnish the name of the Board and embarrass the actual Rabbis who are members, so we called the prank off. The above statement by Lerner however does show how thoroughly dishonest he is.

In short, Michael Lerner is neither Orthodox nor a Rabbi. We DO know that he is an anti-Semite though, one who claims that Jews themselves are to blame for anti-Semitism!

Steven Plaut

Meet the Activist Rabbi and his Gay Bodyguard: the Knesset’s Most Incredible Allies

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Looking at the two newest lawmakers for the Likud party, you would never guess they were close friends: Yehuda Glick is a Brooklyn-born Orthodox rabbi who built his career on pressing for Jewish prayer on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount; Amir Ohana is the first openly gay parliamentarian of the center-right Likud party and founder of its LGBT Caucus.

Yet the two men share an extraordinarily unique bond that began in earnest in 2014 when Glick was gunned down by an Arab would-be assassin, an attack he miraculously survived. After being released from the hospital, the death threats continued pouring in – yet the police declined to provide protection.

That’s when Amir Ohana, a relatively unknown LGBT activist from the southern city of Be’er Sheva and a former agent with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), stepped in: he volunteered to be Glick’s personal bodyguard.

“I’m not a religious person, but I believe in freedom – and it was my honor to defend freedom,” Ohana, 40, explained in a recent interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that took place, together with Glick, 51, in Ohana’s office in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. “I don’t hold religious views but I can respect our legacy and our history as a people. What I want is for everyone to be free to pray wherever they want, and the Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews.”

The Temple Mount, however, also houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock complex – the third holiest site in Islam. The shrine has been a frequent flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and tensions surrounding the site – in particular Palestinian claims that Israelis, including Glick personally, are “invading” and “defiling” the complex by visiting – are widely seen as underlying the most recent wave of terror attacks against Israelis.

Because of that tension, for the last several months all members of the Israeli parliament – Jewish and Arab alike – have been banned from visiting the holy site by order of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud party. And in keeping with the “status quo” on the site: Jews may visit sections of the compound in small groups, and only during designated hours, but are evicted if they attempt to pray.

Both Glick and Ohana strongly protest this policy. Glick has been perhaps the most visible advocate of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and, with his striking red beard, has become something of an infamous figure in the Arabic-language media and social networking platforms, where he has been caricaturized as a serpentine villain.

Glick as snake

The hatred directed at Glick eventually led to his near-assassination and, later on, brought him together with Ohana – who is now, as chance would have it, his colleague in the Knesset.

The ‘Enemy of Al-Aqsa’

On the night of October 29, 2014, Glick was leaving an event at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. At 10:04 p.m. Mutaz Hijazi, a Palestinian from eastern Jerusalem, showed up on a motorbike.

“This guy stops right next to me on his motorcycle, wearing a white helmet and all black,” Glick recalled to TPS. “He says to me, in Hebrew, ‘I’m very sorry.’ I said, ‘What are you sorry about?’ I get close to him and he says to me, ‘You are an enemy of Al-Aqsa’ and he takes out a pistol and shoots four bullets into the center of my body.”

As Hijazi sped off, Glick staggered along with four bullets in his torso.

“My wife hid under the steering wheel. I saw that I was bleeding and – I have no explanation for this – I had no pain. I managed to walk maybe twenty yards, then I collapsed,” Glick said. “I heard Shai [Malka] say, ‘We just witnessed murder.’ He rips off my shirt and yells to me, ‘[Rabbi] Yehuda, don’t go! We need you!’ That was the last sentence I remember.”

Within a few hours, Israeli security agents – “Amir’s friends” in the Shin Bet, Glick says – discovered footage of Hijazi on the security camera from St. Andrew’s Scottish Church adjacent to the scene of the shooting. By 4 a.m. Israeli forces had tracked Hijazi to his family’s home in the Abu Tor neighborhood and, following a shootout on the roof, killed him.

Hijazi was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, but a local official of the mainstream Fatah party also claimed responsibility for the “heroic act.”

“I knew there were threats, but I didn’t really believe that it could happen,” Glick said of his attitude before the shooting. “I also believed we have a democratic country and people don’t kill people because they have different views.”

“Now he’s dead and I’m alive,” Glick summed up.

‘A Zealot for Human Rights’

For all the fury he attracts from extremists in the Arab world, as well as from his left wing colleagues (one of whom boycotted his swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset), Glick also faces a backlash from rightist Israelis who recoil from some of his more liberal ideas – including his acceptance of non-Orthodox Jews, his criticism of an Israeli soldier who shot an already-wounded Palestinian terrorist, and his extensive interfaith work (which, according to Glick, was sparked by hours spent in his Bedouin .

Ohana, too, finds himself in the odd position of fending off attacks from opposing sides of the aisle. As he attended the Tel Aviv Pride Parade nearly two weeks ago, despite remarks from some of his right-wing political allies who have crudely likened the to parade to a celebration of bestiality, Ohana also received threats from some in the largely liberal gay community who despise his nationalist politics – so much so that the police, in a twist of fate, decided to provide Ohana with a personal bodyguard for the march. (The interview with Glick and Ohana took place before massacre at the gay bar in Orlando this past weekend and before the terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market last week, at which Ohana happened to be present.)

“In Israel it’s quite unique. When you talk about right and left, unlike everywhere else in the world, you primarily talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Ohana explains. “So there is no reason why a person can’t be right wing – and even, as I’m sometimes called, a hawkish right winger – and yet support LGBT rights, women’s rights, freedom of speech, everything that is considered liberal. We are a liberal national party.”

Remarkably, despite all their drastically different backgrounds and religious beliefs, Glick and Ohana seem to share this view. Both men seem determined to fight for issues beyond their own sectarian interests – whether it’s Ohana, the LGBT activist, protecting Glick’s struggle for the Temple Mount, or Glick, the Orthodox rabbi, irritating his base by supporting non-Orthodox women’s prayer groups at the Western Wall, for example, and even gay rights.

“I’m a zealot when it comes to human rights and respecting every single human being,” Glick boasts. “I think that every single person deserves rights. I mean it’s obvious, you know, we’re living in a democratic country.”

Does he, then, support gay marriage, an impossibility under the current Israeli arrangement in which marriage is governed by the Orthodox rabbinate?

“I support that he should have every single right he deserves,” Glick says somewhat evasively, pointing to Ohana, and referring to Ohana’s partner: “I know that he has a wonderful mate.”

Yet when asked why he wouldn’t attend the Tel Aviv Pride Parade, Glick replied: “I don’t see a problem with [going to the parade], but I wouldn’t go because other people might see me as a problem,” adding that he went to visit Shira Banki, a teenage girl stabbed by a Jewish religious extremist at the Jerusalem Pride Parade in 2015, while she was in the hospital. Shortly afterward, Banki died of her wounds.

‘Jerusalem of Peace’

Glick was sworn in to his parliament post in late May, following the resignation of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. As our interview ended, he decided to inaugurate his new office by placing the ritual mezuzah on the doorpost – a small box holding verses of the Torah which is thought to protect one’s home.

Ohana tags along to Glick’s new office, borrowing a kippa from an aide, and the two hang the mezuzah together.

“I protected you once, so I may as well finish the job,” Ohana quips.

Glick then declares that his office has a name.

“This isn’t Yehuda Glick’s office,” he says. “It’s called ‘Jerusalem of Peace.’”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

8 Women Receive Orthodox Ordination in Largely Political Endeavor

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

On Tuesday night, according to a report by Ynet, eight women received certificates of Orthodox Jewish ordination in Jerusalem and selected for themselves various equivalents to the commonly used “Rav” or “Rabbi” by males: some picked “Rav,” instantly making the title unisex; others went with “Rabba,” which would be the female conjugation of the male title, although the term is not in everyday use; some went with “Rabbi,” which in the genderless English grammar has been a common title for Reform and Conservative women clergy for decades.

One preferred to go with “Doctor,” possibly recalling the shamanist attributes for which some Jewish scholars were once renowned. Or more simply, because she has a PhD, but no ordination.

No one went with the prevalent “Rebbetzin,” presumably because to become a Rebbetzin one doesn’t need to study, just marry well.

The ordination was given personally by Rabbi Daniel Landis, a YU graduate who is the head of the Pardes Institute, an open, co-ed and non-denominational Jewish learning community, based in Jerusalem and operating programs worldwide. Landis is also a senior member of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC).

In his message to the freshly ordained Orthodox female rabbis, Landis explored the fact that his graduates are different from ordinary ordained Orthodox rabbis not merely because of their sex, but in their emphasis on Jewish studies, and on any studying at all for that matter:

“I very quickly abandoned the ambition to achieve only rabbinic expertise, and moved on to the more important initiative of promoting you as creative scholars, with integrity, sensitivity and courage, who have access to the members of their generation,” Landis said.

“Yes, but can they pasken on a chicken?” you might ask. It appears that ruling on the mundane needs of rank and file Orthodox Jews was not the top priority of this ordination, which is not a comment on the quality of scholarship of the graduates. They simply appear to put a different emphasis on their future roles in the Jewish community:

Rav Avital Campbell-Hochstein, one of the graduates, said at the ordination ceremony: “Receiving the ordination is not merely a score for knowledge. Ordination, or permission, like halakha itself, is focusing on human beings, on the image of God. Human beings must be seen and heard. The halakha and the Torah are sensitive to the slimmest signs of humanness.” And so, she continued, “in order for halakha, which is an emanation of the will of God, to be relevant and applicable, we must first and foremost be attentive. Human dignity is our driving force. Halakha can be a divider and it can be a meeting ground. It can be a wall and it can be a bridge. Choosing between those component depends on the human beings who use it, and who represent it.”

So, basically, no paskening on chickens for now. Instead, there was a lot of talk about advancing the status of women in halakha and in Orthodox society. You may have to rely on someone else for your kashrut decisions, but in areas of marriage, conversion, and burial, these ordained female rabbis will make sure, as Rav Naama Levitz-Applbaum put it, “that women will be counted, in the full meaning of the word, and to feel as full partners along the path.”

Perhaps as the number of ordained Orthodox female rabbis grows and as each ordination ceases to be viewed as a revolution and starts to be more commonplace (as has been the case in every profession women have entered over the past two centuries) we’ll start hearing about women Orthodox rabbis who are not so heavily invested in the feminist politics of their role but in caring for their congregations. At which point we should be able to assess this fledgling but growing movement not based on our political views but instead on the concrete scholarship and the halakhic contribution of these female rabbis. Because, let’s face it, Orthodox Jews need rabbis to interpret halakha for them. They have plenty of social workers doing everything else.

JNi.Media

Senior Rabbi Condemns Court Ruling on Legalized Prostitution

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Rabbi Ratzon Arusi, the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Ono and member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, on Wednesday attacked vehemently the precedent ruling of Tel Aviv Municipal Court Judge Itai Hermelin, which empowered groups of sex workers to operate a legal brothel. Hermelin, who was elevated to municipal judge from his post as instructor for the Criminal Justice Clinic at Tel Aviv University, decided that since by closing down a building where prostitution took place he would be forcing the sex workers to take their business to the streets, he set up conditions under which sex workers could operate the facility legally.

Needless to say, this did not go well with Rabbi Arusi, whose community lies a few miles down the same major thoroughfare, Yitzhak Sadeh Street, where the building of ill repute stands. In a class he gave on Wednesday at the Natzach Israel yeshiva, which was recorded by Srugim, Rabbi Arusi accused Judge Hermelin of turning the entire state of Israel into “one big brothel.”

Rabbi Arusi, who is one of the top experts on integrating Jewish Law into Israeli State Law, criticized “a certain judge who permitted women to establish for themselves a house of ill repute and permitted men to acquire prostitution services. And that judge has declared that a woman’s possession of her own body is autonomous and the state may not interfere with her life and if this is what she desires — then if she opens a brothel by herself or with her friends it does not constitute an illegal act and she mustn’t be harassed. Likewise the customer is autonomous and if he desires prostitution services there’s no reason to prevent him from receiving them.”

As far as Rabbi Arusi is concerned, the Hermelin ruling might be that gulping sound at the end of the slippery slope of social and spiritual corruption that have engulfed Israel for decades. “He has brought us to the very state about which the prophet Isaiah screamed: ‘See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her — but now murderers!’ (Isaiah 1:21). The prophet didn’t refer only to prostitutes, of course. Corruption in government and in the judiciary is also considered prostitution.”

“Judaism is about the sanctity of life,” Rabbi Arusi insisted, explaining, “It means that man is not an animal, but a man, created in the image of God and behaving in this manner. He says yes to having a sex life, but in the framework of holiness and values, not promiscuity and licentiousness.”

It should be noted that the judge’s revolutionary ruling was inspired by the state prosecutor, who was attempting to expose the sex workers as liars, proving undeniably that the sex work in the building on Yitzhak Sadeh Street was actually run in an orderly fashion, in a manner befitting a permanent business. Soon enough, the judge began to wonder what purpose would be served by shutting down this well-organized facility of ill repute and dumping the women back on the street.

Of course, the downside is, as Rabbi Arusi said, not only accepting openly that one of the things Jews in the Jewish State are allowed to do is use sex workers, but that most Jews today don’t thing this is outrageous.

David Israel

Rabbi Kahane’s Grandson to Be Released into House Detention, Restrictions

Monday, May 30th, 2016

The good news is that Meir Ettinger, grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, is expected to be released on Wednesday, June 1, following 10 months of solitary confinement in administrative detention, meaning he never committed any crime, but former Defense Minsiter Meir Ya’alon was convinced he was going to commit bad things if only he were allowed to roam free. And so, in the same vein, although Ettinger will presumably be allowed to leave jail, he won’t be doing a lot of roaming, Hakol Hayehudi reported Monday.

An administrative decree signed by OC Central Command Maj. Gen. Roni Numa bans Ettinger from Judea and Samaria for a period of one year. Another decree, signed by GOC Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, bans Ettinger from Jerusalem and from the community of Yad Binyamin.

In addition, Ettinger must obey a night curfew for the next four months, and he has been banned from contacting a list of 92 acquaintances.

Ettinger is the second rightwing activist banned from contacting a long list of his friends — another young man was served last Friday with a decree running 87 names he is forbidden to contact.

Stay tuned for a solidarity with Meir Ettinger event his friends are organizing, which suggests that they’d be contacting him via YouTube.

Jewish activists Meir Ettinger and Evyatar Slonim were placed in administrative detention—an old British Mandate “temporary” regulation which is being employed by Israeli courts to incarcerate security risks whose alleged crimes cannot be proven—last August. They were then transferred to the security wing of Eshel prison near Be’er Sheva in early October.

Ettinger’s uncle, Binyamin Kahane, was killed with his wife Talya in a shooting attack near the settlement of Ofra in December 2000.

During his stay in isolation, his attorney, Sima Kochav, wrote: “They keep [Palestinian] security prisoners in this wing, which means the IPS is violating its mandate and risking the life of a prisoner needlessly. Not only have they damaged his conditions unreasonably, disproportionately and contrary to the ordinance, but they are, at this moment, risking his life in a tangible way. The [Arabs’] cells are adjacent to his cell.”

Kochav also pointed out that “while the prisoners exit to the yard, they knock on his cell doors, talk into his cell window, and threaten his life. Likewise during the outings, when the prisoners are in the yard, the detainee (Ettinger) is showered with curses, insults, and, worst of all, death threats. In addition, the prisoner in the cell next to Mr. Ettinger’s is banging on the walls throughout the night and shouting, in order to disturb and harm Mr. Ettinger.”

David Israel

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen: No More Ethiopian Immigrants

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, founder of and judge in the conversions office of the Chief Rabbinate, director of the Zomet Institute for the interface of halakhah and technology, and the editor-in-chief of the annual halakhic journal Techumin, is calling on government to refuse to bring to Israel yet another group of 9,000 Falash Mura from Ethiopia.

Writing in the website Srugim, Rosen says he’ll never forget the assembly of Beita Israel in a shack that served as synagogue in the middle of a forest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was visiting there in the late 1990s, as head of the conversions office, and now recalls that for the rank and file members, prayer constituted only one word: Urshalim (Jerusalem). That, according to Rosen, was an effort to bring home thousands of real Jews, who have since been integrated with varying degrees of success. But those Ethiopian Jews have little in common with the Ethiopians waiting to reach Israel these days.

The reason for the new wave of immigrations has little to do with the plight of Jews, according to Rosen, and much to do with Likud MK Avraham Neguise, an Ethiopian Jew, who, together with his comrade in arms MK David Amsalem, managed to squeeze out of Prime Minister Netanyahu a promise to fly in those 9,000 non-Jewish Falash Mura, in exchange for their voting with the coalition again. Herding 61 cats in his one-vote majority government, Netanyahu has had to do without those Neguise-Amsalem votes, which lost him several key bills during the winter session. Which is why the PM has pursued with such vigor his new coalition partner, Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu).

And each time MK Neguise, or foreign governments, or righteous lobbyists ask for another quota of Ethiopian immigrants who are Christian, not Jewish, they promise this is the last time. As in these 9,000 Falash Mura — it’s the last time.

Except that every time 9,000 Ethiopians board the planes out of Addis Ababa to Israel, 20,000 more take their place in the relocations camps. And Rabbi Rosen believes there are already more non-Jewish than Jewish Ethiopians in Israel. And more will keep coming.

The Falash Mura were unknown until Operation Solomon in 1991, when a number of them attempted to board the Israeli planes and were turned away. The Falash Mura said they were entitled to immigrate because they were Jews by ancestry, but the Israeli officials there saw them as non-Jews, since most had never practiced Judaism and were not considered by the Beta Israel as part of the community. In fact, even today, many in the Israeli Ethiopian community object to MK Neguise’s shenanigans.

Back in the 1990s, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) provided aid to the Falash Mura in Addis who had been left behind during Operation Solomon. Except that when all this food and medical care became available, more Falash Mura left their villages for Addis Ababa and overwhelmed the NACOEJ. The Joint Distribution Committee agreed to provide additional assistance on a humanitarian basis, without recognizing the Falash Mura as Jews who are entitled to immigrate to Israel.

A committee headed by Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban decided the Falash Mura should not be allowed to enter Israel under the Law of Return, but recommended that those refugees who were already in Addis Ababa would be allowed to come in on humanitarian grounds. But the humanitarian gesture only invited more Falash Mura to arrive with expectations of one-way tickets to the holy land. Israel estimated that fewer than 10,000 Falash Mura would be seeking immigration, but the number ballooned to more than 30,000, conditions in the relocation camps worsened, and Israel was embarrassed into taking many of them in.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbi-yisrael-rosen-no-more-ethiopian-immigrants/2016/05/26/

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