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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Norway Wants to Limit Circumcisions to Hospital Rooms

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Norway’s health minister said Wednesday the countryman no intention of banning religious circumcisions but should restrict the religious practice to be carried out only in hospitals.

“If the children are circumcised in hospitals by competent personnel, we will prevent complications,” Health Minister Bent Høie told the Aftenposten newspaper. “This is the most realistic way to ensure the little guys against damage. All the other proposals risk exposing the boys to injury.”

He said that stories last year that the government would ban circumcision were totally untrue, but Anne Lindboe, Norway Children’s Ombudswoman, said last year, “This is not due to any lack of understanding of minorities or religious traditions, but because the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky.”

“A ban on something that is so common for religious or cultural reasons would not be for the good of the children,” he was reported as saying by Norway’s English-language The Local newspaper.

Jewish boys traditionally are circumcised in a ceremony in the synagogue or in a banquet hall, where a festive meal immediately follows the ceremony.

The health minister’s attempt to make sure that circumcision is carried out under hospital sterility also would turn the rite into a totally sterile ceremony.

There still are voices in Norway calling for banning circumcision of babies or young boys.

He estimated that some 2,000 ritual circumcisions would be carried out in Norwegian hospitals annually, and said that the government had yet to decide who would bear the cost.

Tel Aviv Mayor: Opening Shops on Shabbat ‘Won’t Disturb Anyone’

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

A change in the Tel Aviv law that would allow stores to open on the Sabbath “will not disturb anyone,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai stated in an open and written reply to Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel.

The rabbi said that the proposed permission for stores to open on the day of rest would desecrate the sanctity of the Sabbath.

Mayor Huldai claimed that only one percent of businesses in the city will be able to open on Sabbath and will be in areas where operation won’t bother anyone.

There are flaws in Mayor Huldai’s reasoning. He assumes that Jews in secular neighborhoods will not be disturbed by stores opening on the Sabbath.

He is dead wrong. There are no statistics, but it is safe to say that a sizeable number of “secular” Jews respect and love the sanctity of the Sabbath, even if they don’t observe it.

Moreover, the “one percent” of stores that he says would open on Shabbat, if allowed, is only the beginning. Competitors will be forced to follow suit.

Pro-secular activists always argue that preventing stores from opening on the Sabbath is “religious coercion,” a phrase that always brings out the catcalls for “freedom” from religious influence on the law.

There are laws that prevent business in certain neighborhoods form operating in the middle of the night, but “social coercion” is legitimate.

There are laws that prevent businesses, and residents, from making too much noise, but “environmental coercion” is permissible.

Any law restricts the freedom of some people, and that is allowed, but the secular fundamentalists cannot tolerate the thought of Judaism being an influence on laws in a Jewish state, for the simple reason they do not wan’t a Jewish state.

Hay want a state where Jews can live and practice their religion as they wish, son ,long as the their prayers in synagogues do not disturb the neighbors and so long as not too many people clog the sidewalk when walking back and forth to synagogue on the Sabbath, and so long as the Orthodox Jews don’t dare take affront at parades of homosexuals.

The anti-Orthodox activists don’t admit that they are practicing secular coercion.

Jordan Says Law Prevents Jews from Praying on Temple Mount

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Jordan’s State Minister for Media Affairs warned on Monday that Israel’s allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount and “allowing extremist settlers to violate the sanctity of Al Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police and army, will ignite violence and religious extremism in the region.”

Jordan’s official Petra News Agency reported that the minister, Mohammed Momani, pointed “to the religious importance of Al Aqsa Mosque to 1.7 billion Muslims as it is one of Islam’s three holiest sites and Islam’s first Qiblah.”

No mention was made that the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, and the Jordan Times stated, “By law, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site and although non-Muslim visitors are permitted, such high-profile visits by right-wing government figures are very rare and tend to stoke tensions.”

The statement referred to Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who frequently visits the Temple Mount and did so on Sunday, prompting Arabs to riot and throw rocks at policemen.

“Jordan rejects Israeli escalation in Al-Aqsa as well as measures that allow radicals to violate Al-Aqsa under protection of police and occupation forces,” Momani said.

Contrary to the Jordanian report, there is no law barring Jews from praying at the Temple Mount. The Chief Rabbinate, citing Jewish laws, forbids Jews from ascending to the location where the First and Holy Temples once stood. An increasing number of national religious rabbis allow and often encourage Jews to ascend to certain parts of the Temple Mount, after immersing in a mikveh (ritual bath).

The “law” against praying on the Temple Mount is imposed by the Muslim authorities on the Temple Mount, whose a ”custodianship” was granted by Israel to Jordan, the same Jordan that closed all holy sites to Jews and Christians during its occupation of the Old City of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria from 1949 to 1967.

The question remains why the Arabs are so afraid that a Jew will pray on the Temple Mount? The standard answer is that they are afraid that Jews will eventually build a synagogue there. The Arab world loves to be paranoia that the Jews in Israel secretly want to undermine the Al Aqsa mosque and cause its collapse, making way for the building of the Third Temple.

That idea is ridiculous, if for no other reason than 99 percent of the construction workers in Israel are Arabs. Can you see Arabs going to work to build the Third Temple in place of the Al Aqsa mosque?

But there is another reason the Arabs don’t want Jews praying there, or anywhere else for that matter. God might listen to the Jews’ prayers.

The Muslims are big on making themselves heard. The loudspeakers at every mosque in the world, especially in liberal Israel, produce enough noise pollution to put a Madonna concert to shame.

The loudspeakers routinely drown out Jewish prayers at the Patriarchs’ Cave in Hebron and often at the Western Wall. It brings to mind the shouts of the idol worshippers whom the Prophet Elijah challenged to offer sacrifices and bring rain to break a drought.

When the rain did not come, he asked them, “Wha’ happened? Maybe your gods are asleep? Yell a bit louder and wake them up.”

When the idol worshippers gave up, Elijah offered sacrifices, doused the altar with water and prayed to God, Who responded with a holy message – rain.

The Muslim idiots don’t realize that the essence of Jewish prayers are the Shema, recited out loud with the second verse said in a faint whisper that no one except the worshipper and God can hear, and the Silent Prayer, known as the Amidah, which is recited three times day.

God responds to prayers, not noise, and the more noise Jordan makes, the more God is going to hear the whispered prayers of Jews, even those prayers that cannot be said on the Temple Mount because of Islamic paranoia, which is the real incitement to violence.

The video below shows one of those Muslims on the Temple Mount cursing Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who was ushered by policemen off the Temple Mount lest his presence “incite violence.”

What Do Catholic Nuns Care about the Book of Esther?

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

A collaboration between an order of nuns and a British Jewish scribe to restore an ancient Hebrew scroll telling the story of Purim is drawing attention as a sign of progress in Catholic-Jewish relations.

Sofer (scribe) Mordechai Pinchas restored a megillah (scroll) of the Book of Esther and returned it to the Benedictine Tyburn Nuns at a London ceremony last week.

The parchment was written in Venice, Italy in the 18th century. It was donated to the order of nuns by Jordan and Lorraine Cherrick from St. Louis, Mo. The scroll is “a biblical artifact symbolizing ever-deepening Jewish-Catholic relations,” said Mother General Xavier McMonagle, according to the British Catholic Herald.

“It all shows something more than academic theological exercise. We get to know each other as real people. You can tell there is something deeper going on,” she said.

The Book of Esther tells the story of how Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai save the Jews from extermination by Haman, the royal advisor to King Ahasuerus of Persia. Jews around the world commemorate annually on the holiday of Purim, which this year begins after Shabbat on March 15.

According to McMonagle, the figure of Esther “has remained very powerful in Catholic Christian religion, devotion, and spirituality as a symbol, an image, and a model of powerful intercession with God to change the course of human events from bad to good.”

“The need for Esther’s example is ever present in our minds, whether we are Christians or Jews,” McMonagle said. “Esther is a memorial, a living point of confidence that God can change things for the better, and he can do it even by working miracles.”

Formerly known as the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre, the Tyburn Nuns received their nickname due to the location of their motherhouse, which stands next to the site of the Tyburn gallows. Their 105 canonized or beatified Catholic martyrs were executed during the Reformation era.

Dallas Rabbi Sued for Running Home-Based Synagogue

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

A Dallas-area rabbi who uses his home as a synagogue is being sued by a neighbor who says it has lowered his property values.

Rabbi Yaakov Rich told the local Fox affiliate Fox4 in a video posted Wednesday that his 3,700-square-foot home is a synagogue with about 25 members. A website identifies his synagogue as Congregation Toras Chaim, with the tag line, “An intimate space … Grow at your pace.”

The website also announces that the Liberty Institute, a conservative Christian advocacy and legal defense organization, has agreed to represent the congregation in the current lawsuit.

“We just want to have our religious freedom to be able to pray and to study in this house,” Rich told Fox.

David Schneider, who lives across the street from the home-based synagogue, is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages from Rich, saying that the synagogue has caused a decline in the value of his home.

Rich asserts that property values rise around Orthodox synagogues because adherents have to be able to walk to their places of worship and will pay more to buy a home in the area.

Rich recently filed with the city for a certificate stating that he runs a congregation in the home at the request of the city, which can then ask him to adhere to city and state building codes.

Tel Aviv School Bans Students’ New Year’s Santa Claus Hats

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Students from Russian descent and who learn at a Tel Aviv high school are up in a arms over their principal’s threat to suspend them from school for insisting on wearing Santa Claus hats to mark the end of the secular year and the beginning of 2014.

The Ministry of Education denied that the principal suspended one of the students who refused to obey the order, the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot newspaper reported.

Santa Claus is associated with Christmas, but the students said they have a tradition of coming to school on December 31 with Santa Claus hats.

The Education Ministry explained that the principal simply was enforcing a nationwide policy that students wear the same style of clothes and appear properly dressed in class. It said that the students could dress as they please during recess, even if they want to put on Santa Claus hats.

There are an estimated 300,000 former Soviet bloc immigrants who are not Jewish and are living in Israel, thanks to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was anxious to boost the non-Arab population at all costs, especially at the cost of a Jewish state.

Whether or not the students at the Tel Aviv school are Jewish or not, they obviously have little Jewish identity.

“I have learned in this school since the seventh grade, and every December 31 we arrive with Santa Claus hats to commemorate the new year,” one girl said. “In previous years, we also arranged parties.”

And along comes a new principal who is a party pooper.

This it’s not a matter or religious or cultural coercion. It is a matter of ignorance.

“This very insulting,” said the girl. “I was born in Israel, and my mother was born in Russia. We are not talking about a political issue but a hat that symbolizes the beginning of the new year.”

A ninth-grader said, “I would expect the principal to identify with us or at least allow us to keep the custom. It does not disturb or damage anyone.”

Oh, really?

Wouldn’t it be interesting if a bunch of Russian olim at the school were to come closer to Judaism and start wearing a kippa to class? I wonder how tolerant the other students would be. They would be as tolerant as my junior high school principal was in the 1950s, when I dared to put on a kippa when eating lunch in the cafeteria and organize a minyan for Grace after Meals. The principal hauled me into his office with a threat of suspension for the offense of wearing a hat in school, a no-no in those days.

Before people start throwing around the mis-used word “democracy,” Israel is a Jewish state. A large majority of Israeli Jews keep kosher, on one level or another. A large majority of Israeli Jews honor the Sabbath, even if they are not strictly observant.

An overwhelming of Israeli Jews, converts or not, know their roots start with the forefather Avraham. They know that Santa Claus is not just a funny looking character but rather a dangerous symbol of materialism that insults the character and values of Judaism.

The entire Santa Claus hat issue is an anecdote, even a funny anecdote, but it symbolizes the issue of a Jewish state.

There are those who are willing to sacrifice Judaism on the altar of “freedom”  to do as one pleases so long as it is not a Haredi Jew wearing a shtreimel in a public park.

Illegal African immigrants have a right to stay in Israel. Bedouin men have a right to marry as many women as they want, with the government paying them for child support, as they proliferate to the point of reducing Jews to a minority.

British Rabbis Scold Orthodox Shul for Letting Women Hold Torah

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The British organization of orthodox communities has scolded a London orthodox synagogue for allowing women to hold and pass around a Torah scroll in the women’s section during prayers on Shabbat.

The incident has caused far less sensation than the more extreme and public campaign of the so-called Women of the Wall, a group of approximately 100 women who for years have campaigned to claim that “equality” means they can not only hold a Torah Scroll but also can read it at the Western Wall, adjacent to the Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, and in violation of the desires of most daily worshippers there.

Men, unlike women, have an obligation to pray in a minyan with at least nine other men and to hear the Torah scroll being read on Mondays, Thursday, holidays, Shabbat and holidays.

Women’s involvement in public prayer has become more pronounced in recent years, and orthodox Jewish “women’s only” minyans are not uncommon in the United States.

In almost all orthodox synagogues, the Torah scroll is taken out of the ark for reading and is carried through the men’s section, although women in many synagogues are able to touch it as it passes their sections.

The Golders Green United Synagogue has now allowed it to be handed over to a woman, who then passes it around the women’s section until it is returned for reading or to the ark.

Rabbis could raise the issue of Jewish law that perhaps a man cannot touch a Torah scroll that has been handled by a woman who is not ritually clean because of her menstrual period, but the overwhelming issue is the traditional separation of sexes and involvement in prayers as a matter of modesty. The fear is that once one traditional barrier is broken, all of the barriers will be battered down.

Professor Benny Chain, chairman of Golders Green United Synagogue, said, “People have said what an emotional experience it is and that they feel much more involved in the service,” the London Jewish Chronicle reported.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, head of the rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, condemned the practice as “Reform-influenced,” explaining that women handling the Torah and “breaches of this nature” come “from the influence of the Reform.”

The issue in the Diaspora usually arises during Simchat Torah, following the holiday of Sukkot. Women in American communities in Israel and others in the United States hold their own minyan for the holiday, read from the Torah scrolls and dance with them, as men have done for centuries.

The most outstanding aspect of the event of women holding a Torah scroll in the Golders Green synagogue is that is has not captured attention among the anti-Orthodox crowd and media elsewhere.

The New York Times took it on itself this year to sponsor the Women of the Wall campaign on its pages, inciting the American Jewish community to fury over the very idea of women not having the “right” to disturb centuries of tradition  at the Western Wall, all in the name of democracy and not Judaism.

Their claim that the Western Wall is a public place, and therefore open to all, holds not water. The Western Wall is a synagogue and is legally under the authority of the Western Wall Rabbi, misguided or not in not allowing women to hold their own minyan in other areas that would not disturb the public at large.

Unlike the Women of the Wall, the carrying of the Torah scroll by women in an orthodox synagogue is not a political campaign and is far more of a challenge to orthodox Jewry in the Diaspora. It raises a far more serious challenge to Orthodox rabbis throughout the world.

In Israel, where most Jews are “secular” but observe many Jewish laws and are generally respectful of tradition, “women’s rights” is of far less interest, The New York Times and the Women of the Wall notwithstanding.

Norway Official Wants to ‘Educate’ Jews against Circumcision

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The anti-circumcision bill in Norway, which the country’s foreign minister vows will not become law, is being pushed by the country’s child welfare adviser who wants Jews and Muslims to understand that causing pain is tantamount to a sin far worse than violating the Jewish law of circumcision.

New legislation on non-medical circumcision of boys under 18 is scheduled to be introduced before mid-April.

“With good information about risk, pain and lack of health benefits of the intervention, I think parents from minorities would voluntarily abstain from circumcising children,” Anne Lindboe, Norway’s Children’s Ombudsmen, told the Norwegian Aftenpost daily last week.

Her claims are questionable to say the least, but lest she be accused of trying to negate religious practice, she has a solution to those Jews who insists on upholding the ritual that is the physical bond among Jews since Abraham and which is the bond with God, for which Jews have been cursed and killed.

Her solution, reported here, is simply to perform a “symbolic ritual,” presumably one in which the baby will not cry, God forbid.

It would be easy to criticize her for ignorance of Judaism, but why expect a non-Jewish pediatrician from one of the most anti-Semitic countries in Europe to understand Jewish law and belief?

Lindboe is a pediatrician. She has seen children abused and even killed by parents, some of them mentally disturbed, drunk or simply wicked, and she puts them in the same basket as normal parents who circumcise their baby boys.

“We introduced a law on violence against children even though we had reason to believe that individuals would still be beaten and mistreated,” she told the newspaper,, dismissing concerns raised in Norwegian media that a ban on ritual circumcision would mean that parents would perform it illegally.

“If 15 years is set as the minimum age, we expect Norwegian parents follow and respect the law,” said Lindboe, a longtime advocate of the criminalization of ritual circumcision, which she considers a form of abuse and infringement of children’s rights to “physical integrity.”

“I think it’s disrespectful towards minorities to assume that they are going to break the law,” she added, showing an unbelievable ignorance of the very concept of any religion.

Her thinking, so to speak, reflects a modern and sterile philosophy that there is no such thing as “religious law” if a government views it as wrong.

Her attitude also reflects a modern view, often Christian, that no one has to suffer in life. Smile, have a nice day and don’t struggle with everyday difficulties that cause pain.

It is the same type of bleeding heart mentality that is behind “engagement” with monsters like Syrian President Bassar al-Assad and with masters of evil, such as the Islamic regime in Iran.

Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish Community of Oslo, told JTA he did not expect her campaign to lead to a ban on ritual circumcision in Norway. The country’s new Foreign Minister Børge Brende has promised the Simon Wiesenthal Center that “the Norwegian Government recognizes the importance of ritual male circumcision for the Jewish community in Norway…[and] it will not propose a ban on ritual circumcision.”

Regardless of whether Norway keeps its promise, the anti-circumcision campaign is alive and well around the world, even  though Germany passed legislation last year to protect Jews and Muslims’ right to circumcise their children.

As reported here and here, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly passed a non-binding resolution to ban ritual circumcision.

Some politicians in Quebec, a long-time bastion of anti-Semitism, have floated the idea of a ban.

Jews in Quebec have no fear of a ban, but more worrisome is the thinking, or lack of thinking, in which intelligent people want to see the world as the cover of a Saturday Evening Post magazine from the 1950s, or as a Woodstock festival, where no one has to struggle and everyone lives in complacence.

The problem with the dream world is that it leaves it defenseless against the Assads and Ayatollahs.

Linboe’s “no pain” world  that she wants to replace religious circumcision, about which she knows only a bit of the physical side and less than nothing about the metaphysical side, is a world that pretends evil does not exist and therefore does not have to be fought.

The Wiesenthal Center has said about all of the campaigns to ban circumcision, “Historically, such draconian actions were taken by tyrants, dictators and mass murderers. Today we are confronted with such initiatives being proposed and passed in democracies.”

The results are the same, but that doesn’t matter to the anti-circumcision crowd. The only thing that matters is that they don’t feel the pain when an Iranian or Hezbollah nuclear bomb blows up in their back yard.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/norway-official-wants-to-educate-jews-against-circumcision/2013/11/25/

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