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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Anti-Circumcision Group to Picket ACLU’s Marriage Equality Rally

Monday, July 15th, 2013

San Francisco anti-circumcision activists are planning to picket a campaign for marriage equality by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU )in Oakland Wednesday evening because the civil liberties group opposes circumcision bans.

The reasoning is based not only on mixing apples and oranges but also making them equal, just like boys and girls are born equal – from top to bottom.

Here is a civil liberties group campaigning for equality in marriage but is being picketed because it does not support the argument that there should be gender equality in the law that protects girls from circumcision.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has organized a screening of “The Campaign,” and members of Bay Area Intactivists said they will protest outside the event venue” to condemn the ACLU’s work denying boys equal protection from genital mutilation.”

The ACLU’s sin, in the eyes of anti-circumcision activists, is that it argued that the San Francisco Male Genital Mutilation Bill a ballot initiative two years ago to restrict non-therapeutic circumcision to consenting adults  violated the right of parents to have their sons circumcisions, according to Jewish law.

The ballot proposal never even reached the voting booths because  a San Francisco judge ruled that state law preempts the city from regulating medical professionals.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi removed the measure from the ballot in her order, stating, “The [California state] statute speaks directly to the issue of local regulation of medical procedures and leaves no room for localities to regulate in this area.”

But if you already are going to change the facts of life and disregard certain bodily differences between girls and boys, then why stick to other facts?

IntactNews, which reports on the “genital integrity movement,” reported that the removal of the proposal from the ballot was “squelching democracy by denying voters their voice.”

In other words, democracy is when you win and it is anti-democratic when you lose.

Once that reasoning can be understood, everything becomes clear.

Federal law protects girls from genital mutilation. IntactNews points out that the law does not stipulate any “religious or cultural exceptions.” If there are any readers who know of a religion that considers circumcision of girls a mitzvah, please raise your hand.

Following the court ruling striking the anti-circumcision proposal from the ballot, California passed a law making it illegal for local authorities to ban or restrict circumcisions. The ACLU backed the law, making it persona non grata for the activists.

By the way if you want to demonstrate against the ACLU next week, be warned that, according to Intact, “a limited number of signs will be available [but] you are also welcome to bring your own sign.”

Savaged for Daring to Name Savagery: Pamela Geller Attacked by Critics of Free Speech

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Pamela Geller, conservative commentator and blogger provocateur, is the executive director of the American Freeedom Defense Initiative.  AFDI created and paid for an ad campaign to run in several urban transit systems, in response to anti-Israel ads that ran in the same spaces.

The AFDI ads contain a paraphrase from the philosopher Ayn Rand: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.”  It concludes with: “Support Israel.  Defeat Jihad.”

The ads are already running on the sides of San Francisco buses, they began running today, September 24th, in New York City, and they were scheduled to begin appearing in the Washington, D.C. metro system.  However, the DC system balked, citing the violent rioting by Muslims allegedly inflamed by a YouTube video which presents an unflattering view of Mohammad, so Geller initiated an emergency court action at the end of last week to enforce her First Amendment rights.

Because there is so much misinformation both about Geller and her ad, The Jewish Press asked her to explain what her ad means, why it is scheduled to run this week, what the responses to it have been and, most importantly, why she continues to express her views so publicly, when she is repeatedly condemned by virtually the entire spectrum of mainstream media and even by other Jewish and pro-Israel groups.

First, let’s get the chronology and the geography straight.

2010, Seattle

In late 2010, in Seattle, Washington, anti-Israel groups sought to run advertisements on the side of municipal buses reading: “Israeli War Crimes: Your tax dollars at work. Stop30billion-Seattle.org.”  Just before the anti-Israel ads were about to go up, the county executive crafted a new policy banning all non-commercial advertisements.  The new policy enabled the municipality to reject not only the anti-Israel ad, but also two counter-ads that had been submitted, one of which was one proposed by Geller, the other one offered by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

September, 2011, New York

Last September, another series of anti-Israel ads went up in various transit systems including the one in New York City.  This ad shows two smiling dads – one Israeli, one “Palestinian,” with their young daughters.  The ad copy: “Be on our side.  We’re on the side of peace and Justice.  End U.S. military aid to Israel.” In other words, American tax dollars is being used to support Israeli militancy and injustice.  These ads ran in 18 NYC subway stops for a month, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

That same month, Geller’s organization, AFDI, submitted the anti-Jihad ad.  The MTA refused to run it, claiming the ad violated its advertising standards because it “demeans[s] an individual or group of individuals.”  AFDI claimed that rejection violated the U.S. Constitution. On September 227, 2011, AFDI, Pamela Geller, and AFDI’s  associate director, Robert Spencer, filed suit against the MTA claiming that the transit agency’s no-demeaning standard constitutes “viewpoint discrimination” and is unconstitutional and therefore the MTA’s rejection of AFDI’s ad unlawfully restricted their free speech.

September 2012, New York

On July 20, 2012, Judge Englemayer, the federal district court judge in New York before whom the matter was heard, ruled that the MTA’s  prohibition on “demeaning” language is unconstitutional and the ad must run.  Significantly, the court ruled that

the AFDI Ad is not only protected speech—it is core political speech. The Ad expresses AFDI’s pro-Israel perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, and implicitly calls for a pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy with regard to that conflict. The AFDI Ad is, further, a form of response to political ads on the same subject that have appeared in the same space.   As such, the AFDI Ad is afforded the highest level of protection under the First Amendment.

While AFDI was the victor in the case, Judge Engelmayer threw more than a few crumbs to the ad’s opponents.

For example, there was a fundamental disagreement over the use of the term “savage” – Geller claims it refers only to those committing acts of barbarism against innocent victims in the name of Islam.  Judge Englemayer, however, held that a reasonable person could conclude the term referred simply to Muslims.

What’s more, the judge practically wrote a recipe for the MTA to follow for rewriting its advertising policy so that a ban on an ad like AFDI’s could, in the future be upheld by a court.

An American Odyssey (Part 10)

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

San Francisco is a lovely city and we enjoyed its many tourist venues. The famous Lombard Street, known as “The Crookedest Street in the World,” was beautiful, with its floral decorations. We shopped at Pier 39, and we bought matching San Francisco jackets. We really needed them since it was cold in San Francisco. Barbara added to her magnet collection, which contains magnets from dozens of countries around the world that we have toured. She’d never been in a store that sold thousands of magnets and she just loved looking at all the magnets on the walls.

We enjoyed lunch with Barbara’s cousin, Paul Sedway, and his daughter at the Sabra Glatt Kosher Restaurant. After lunch, we drove through the city. We stopped at the Oakland Kosher store and found delicious tongue and other deli meats to replenish our dwindling supply. We played “Jewish geography” with one of the workers, who sent regards to his friend living in our community, Hashmonaim. It’s a small world!

The next morning, we loaded our van and continued north. Our first stop was the Jelly Belly Factory where we watched how they manufactured the delicious jellybeans. Jelly Belly is certified kosher by the OU and we enjoyed the free samples. My brother, Avi, purchased several pounds of the jellybeans to bring to his friends in Boca Raton’s Century Village. We also stopped at the Budweiser Brewery where we enjoyed the tour and the video, along with the beer (or Pepsi) and pretzels (also kosher certified). It was interesting to note that so many of the products that we found on our way were kosher.

We arrived in Sacramento towards noon and drove to Barbara’s brother’s home. Gary and Jody Cohen have a business marketing “Natural Value” line organic products all over America. While Barbara spent time with her brother, Gary, and visited stores that sold his products, Avi, Martha and I toured the California Railroad Museum, the local Imax Theater, Old Town, the Wells Fargo exhibit and the Aerospace Museum. There was a lot to see and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Dov at the California Railroad Museum.

After touring, we returned to Gary’s to relax and socialize. Gary had arranged rooms for us at the local Marriott Residence Inn. We drove to our first class accommodations and used the pool to cool off. The next morning, we were delighted to find many OU-certified packaged products at the hotel breakfast, including yogurts, granola, waffles and individually wrapped danishes.

Thursday morning was laundry day so we drove to a local Laundromat, loaded the machines, left the women to watch the clothes and headed to a JiffyLube to service the van. When we returned to Gary and Jody’s house, we found a delicious ice cream and whipped cream lunch, along with bagels and lox, waiting for us. We toured “The World Headquarters of Natural Value Foods” (Gary’s work rooms) and then returned to the motel to relax.

The next morning we loaded the van, enjoyed a delicious breakfast again and headed for Lake Tahoe. We passed the rushing waters of the Truckee River and stopped to view the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We drove around the very beautiful Lake Tahoe, stopped at one or two of the waterfalls, and crossed back into Nevada. At Carson City we stopped to take pictures of the State Legislature building named after Barbara’s late cousin, Marvin Sedway, who was a well-loved State Assemblyman.

Reno, Nevada was a bit disappointing. The streets were mostly empty and the gambling halls we looked into were pretty deserted. The economic downturn in the U.S. has had a serious impact on Reno. We toured the Fleishman Planetarium and Science Center and watched a “sky-dome” movie.

As I have noted several times, wherever we travel in the world, the most gracious hosts are usually the local Chabad families. Our hosts for Shabbat were Reno’s Chabad family, Rabbi Mendy and Sara Cumin and three of their eight children. We slept in their home and davened in the beautiful and newly-refurbished Chabad shul/school. Next door to the shul was the new mikveh building. The family views their task as convincing anyone becoming religious to leave and go to live in Israel. They have had some success in the past 16 years but seem to be the only religious family living in the area today. We had a minyan for Friday night and Shabbat morning, but for Shabbat Minchah there were just four of us. The fourth person was an Israeli I noticed walking around the shul. He was not personally religious, but every Shabbat in Israel he attended at least one service. We invited him in for Minchah and the rabbi invited him to a seuda shlishis in his home. It is always a pleasure to spend Shabbat with a Chabad family. Before we left, we gave the family some of the extra kosher packaged foods that we had in the car along with a donation for our aliyas on Shabbat.

An American Odyssey (Part 9)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

These days, Israel commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day, IDF Memorial Day and Israel Independence Day. I hope to write about these days sometime soon. For now, back to the Odyssey.

On Sunday morning, after breakfast at the Elite Café, we loaded the van, filled the gas tank and travelled the famous Route #1 from Los Angeles toward San Francisco, along the Pacific Ocean coast. It was the 4th of July weekend and the narrow route was crowded with miles of RV’s, campers and fellow travelers. Traffic was a bit slow along the way.

Our first pit stop was at the Santa Barbara wharf. My wife, Barbara, enjoyed stopping there to buy a refrigerator magnet with her name on it. We enjoyed the beautiful boardwalk and watched all of the tourists watching us. After a short visit, we drove along the highway, searching for a vacant table so that we could enjoy a picnic lunch.

From Santa Barbara, we drove to the very famous Hearst Castle, the beautiful former mansion of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Today the castle is run by the Parks Service and is considered a historical treasure of majestic beauty. With 165 rooms, three phenomenal swimming pools and 127 acres of gardens, terraces and walkways, it is a popular and very crowded tourist attraction. On jam-packed weekends, tours often have to be arranged in advance, so we just enjoyed the film about the history of the castle and, of course, visited the gift shop where Barbara and Martha enjoyed trying on the big, colorful hats that were for sale.

We left the castle and returned to Route #1. The traffic and the single-lane curvy road, with no cross road exits, was bumper-to-bumper for many miles. This 12-hour day of Sunday traffic became one of our longest days on the road, and we were exhausted when we arrived at our motel, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The next morning we stopped at the beautiful new home of our cousins Sara and Dave Benevento. The house is located in a forested area and has several spacious rooms. Dave works for a company that packages delicious berries (which we enjoyed with our breakfast yogurt). When we left Dave and Sara, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand and purchased freshly-packed, delicious California cherries.

We travelled a bit off the beaten track and drove to visit the James Lick Observatory. It is owned by the University of California and is located at the very top of Mount Hamilton (4,700 feet above sea level). The narrow, winding mountain-side road was a steep uphill climb (drive) to the top. Everyone, except for the driver, kept his or her eyes tightly shut during the scary ascent on this often single-lane road. It took over 75 minutes to reach the top (but only 30 minutes to travel down). The visit to the telescope room was very interesting and we heard an informative talk by one of the staff members. James Lick was a “generous miser” who grew wealthy dealing in California real estate. The telescope is used each clear night to observe the solar system and search for distant galaxies. The telescope needs darkness to work and light-pollution can be a problem.

We continued our drive on the beautiful scenic route to San Francisco with a stop at Menlo Park to visit my sister-in-law’s brother, Teddy Hamlet. Visiting relatives that we have not seen in a long while was one of the purposes of our trip. The local Glatt Kosher restaurant was, unfortunately, closed and the bagel place is open on Shabbos, so we could not go out for a meal. Some supplies from a stop at the local Walmart and our packaged meals served as dinner and we enjoyed the 4th of July fireworks from our motel room and via TV.

Next: San Francisco.

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

Nineteenth-Century Sabbath Observance

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
   (All quotes are fromThe Trend in Jewish Religious Observance in Mid-Nineteenth Century America” by Jeremiah J. Berman, Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (1893-1961) available online at www.ajhs.org/reference/adaje.cfm.)
   The previous two columns discussed kashrus and bris milah observance in America during the 19th century. The trend was that until about 1860 most Jews were careful to observe these mitzvos. However, in the latter part of the century many Jews abandoned keeping kosher both at home and in public. Bris milah, though, was generally observed throughout the entire century.

   Shmiras Shabbos followed a pattern similar to kashrus observance.

 

The Jews of the early part of the century honored the Sabbath. While individual Jews may have been lax in their observance of the day of rest, Jews in the main were observant. At least the contemporary Anglo-Jewish journals mirror no marked Sabbath violation. Many Jews then were peddlers or small businessmen and free to abstain from labor as they chose. This was particularly true in many small towns. Beginning with 1860, however, we read general and ever increasing complaints of Sabbath desecration. The change is aptly summarized in this report of 1882 from Cleveland:

             Sabbath observance is at a low ebb, and as a result the synagogues are poorly attended. Twenty-five years ago it was the exception to break the Sabbath and dietary laws, and it was a pleasure to see the crowded “schule,” and share in the happy social influences. That time has passed. There is no difference between the orthodox and the reformers in this respect.

 

Similar accounts emanated from Albany, Hartford, and other places.
During the 1860s there were concerted efforts on the part of a number of rabbis to have Jewish merchants close their businesses on Shabbos. An effort to strengthen shmiras Shabbos in San Francisco in 1865 was temporarily successful.
Interestingly, it was not just Orthodox rabbis who urged their congregants to keep Shabbos. Some of the cooperating merchants in San Francisco were members of Dr. Elkan Cohn’s Reform congregation.
Interior of the Lloyd Street Synagogue,
Baltimore, MD dedicated in 1845
Dr. Isaac M. Weiss of Cincinnati, a leader of the Reform movement during the 19th century, encouraged his followers to observe the Sabbath. David Einhorn, who in 1855 became the spiritual leader of the Reform Congregation Har Sinai in Baltimore, also urged his congregants to keep Shabbos.

Still, efforts to promote shmiras Shabbos often were not very successful.

 

           A bright spot in the general drab picture of Sabbath violation was Cincinnati in 1876. There, “a walk down Pearl Street on Saturday revealed the fact that almost every store owned by a co-religionist was c1osed.”

 

But this was by no means the norm. The trend in the 1850s and 1860s was toward more and more chillul Shabbos.

The 1860s saw Jewish butchers who were open on Saturdays.

 

H. Beermann, a meat dealer doing business at 466½-8th Avenue, New York City, in 1865 felt called upon in his advertising to state that he was closed on Sabbath. Henry Schloss, another meat dealer, located at 466-8th Avenue, made similar statements in his advertising four years later. Even shochtim in Philadelphia in 1867 were known to be Sabbath transgressors. They were responsible for this warning, issued by the Rev. Isaac Leeser, as secretary of the Philadelphia Board of Jewish Ministers, on Oct. 29, 1867:

To the Israelites of Philadelphia: It being against our laws to allow anyone to kill cattle or poultry for the use of Israelites who violate the Sabbath, the public are respectfully cautioned against buying meat or poultry killed by anyone who so offends.

 

It was not long before chillul Shabbos became public. Jewish organizations and societies began conducting balls on Friday evenings.

 

           The Sabbath eve of March 19, 1870, saw two balls in New York City – one under the auspices of the Noah Benevolent Society, and the other conducted by the Grand Lodge of the Free Men of Israe1. The B’nai B’rith of New Haven scheduled its ball in 1871 for Friday evening, January 20. Benefit concerts on Sabbath evenings presented a similar dour spectacle. In 1882, one was conducted at the Highland House in Cincinnati for the benefit of the Russian refugees. In 1884, one was held at Phoenix Hall, Detroit, under the auspices of the Hebrew Ladies Aid Society on Friday evening, February 29.

 

Shmiras Shabbos often meant a real loss in business income. Add to this the fact that in many places one was not allowed to open one’s business on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, and it is easy to understand the strong temptation to keep businesses open on Shabbos.

It got to the point where some Reform temples switched worship from Saturday to Sunday, though this change was never widely adopted because most Jews felt that it was both too radical and “un-Jewish.” Nonetheless, America by the latter part of the 19th century was well on its way to becoming a treife medina. It would not be until the middle of the 20th century that Orthodoxy, despite the dire predictions of its demise in America, would begin to develop into the vibrant force it is today.

 

 

 

Dr.Yitzchok Levine served as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey before retiring in 2008.He now teaches as an adjunct at Stevens.Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr.Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.

Random Thoughts A Month Into The Season

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011


   A local Orthodox attendance record was set at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Sunday Chol Hamoed Pesach as an estimated 500 frum fans were in the stands. They saw a good game as the Tigers downed the White Sox 3-0 on a beautiful sunny day. Seven families from my shul returned with suntans and they reported many shuls were represented in all sections of the downtown ballpark, about a 20-minute ride from my dugout.

 

*     *     *

 

   It’s great to see Cleveland have a great April. The Indians finished the month with an 18-8 record, the best record in the American League. Only the Philadelphia Phillies over in the National League matched the Indians’ record.

 

   If you want to visit a nice downtown ballpark and a nice Jewish community, take a trip to Cleveland. Only about seven miles straight up Cedar Street from the home of the Indians is Taylor Road, the main street in Cleveland Heights, hub of the Orthodox community. If you continue up Cedar, it takes you through other adjoining communities.

 

*     *     *

 

   Remember the good old days when we didn’t have to check our e-mails and people didn’t walk around with phones attached to their ears? And when we never heard of something called a “pitch count”?

 

   Pitchers were expected to finish what they started and the good ones did. In 1963 Warren Spahn was 42 years old but the great lefty enjoyed his 13th 20-win season. Amazing.

 

   Even more amazing was a game on July 2 of that year. Spahn started for the old Milwaukee Braves (for you younger fans, the Braves would move to Atlanta a couple of years later; the present-day Milwaukee Brewers wouldn’t come into being until 1970) and faced off against the great Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (who would finish the 1960s as the winningest pitcher of that decade) in San Francisco’s windy Candlestick Park.

 

   Both pitchers were still in the game, hooked up in a scoreless duel, when Willie Mays homered in the bottom of the 16th inning to tag Spahn with a 1-0 loss. Until Mays’s homer, each pitcher had yielded only eight hits.

 

*     *     *

 

   Good riddance to Manny Ramirez. As many of you know, he abruptly quit the Tampa Bay Rays when it became known that he failed his second drug test and faced a 100-game suspension.

 

   Tampa Bay overpaid him and gave him another chance after he failed in a short stint with the Chicago White Sox last season. Two years ago he wore out his welcome with the Dodgers when he failed his first test and served a 50-game suspension. Manny had a short run as a celebrity among celebrities as Hollywood became “Mannywood.”

 

   Ramirez quit with a .312 lifetime average, 2,574 career hits and 555 career homers. Who knows how many of Manny’s round-trippers were performance-enhanced? There should, however, be a separate wing at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for the steroid stars. They were great players and would still have been great without the added pump.

 

*     *     *

 

   I still can’t believe Andy Pettitte retired with a 240-138 career record. I thought the 38-year-old Pettitte would come back in May or June and try to win 10 games to reach 250 victories, giving him a much better shot at the Hall of Fame. His career ERA over 16 seasons is a pretty fair 3.88.

 

*     *     *

 

   Bengie Molina is the only player to be traded during the season and then face the team from whom he was traded in the World Series. Molina, who ended 2010 with the Texas Rangers, received two World Series rings. The veteran catcher has a silver ring for being on the losing team (Texas) and a gold one for being with San Francisco for the first few months of the season.

 

*     *     *

 

   When will Ichiro Suzuki reach 3,000 career hits? The steady 37-year-old Seattle outfielder, who’s had ten straight seasons of more than 200 hits, started this season with a career average of .331 and 2,244 hits.

 

   Ichiro got a late start in the majors as he starred in Japan’s big leagues before coming to this side of the ocean. Besides the bat, Ichiro can beat you with his speed, glove and arm. He’s a certain Hall of Famer.

 

 

   To order Irwin Cohen’s book on how an Orthodox Jew got into the baseball field, send a check for $19.95, payable to Irwin Cohen, 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Mi 48237. Cohen, president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, can be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

The Deceptive, Destructive Legacy Of Moishe Rosen

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Moishe Rosen, the Jewish convert to Christianity who founded the evangelical missionary group Jews for Jesus, died on May 19 in San Francisco after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 78. His passing presents an opportunity to reflect on the devastating effect he had on Jewish lives.

Born Martin Rosen in 1932 to immigrant Jewish parents, he was raised with a minimum Jewish education in Denver, Colorado. He converted to Christianity in 1953, at the age of 21, and in 1957 he was ordained a Baptist minister.

From 1957 to 1972 he worked as a missionary for the American Board of Missions to the Jews. After a falling out, reportedly over his controversial tactics, Rosen launched the San Francisco-based Jews for Jesus movement in 1973.

He believed “Judaism never saved anybody” and that unless you believe in Jesus you will burn in hell. This included the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Rosen’s message personified three New Testament passages: Romans 1:16 – “to the Jew first”; I Corinthians 9:20 – “to the Jews I became as a Jew that I might win Jews”; and Philippians 1:18 – “whether in pretense or in truth Christ is proclaimed I will rejoice.”

He aggressively targeted Jews for conversion and is responsible for the loss of countless young Jews and the destruction of thousands of Jewish families. He condemned Judaism as a “false religion” and once said, “The fact is we are not practicing any form of Judaism. We are practicing Christianity.” This didn’t stop him from encouraging the use of rabbinic Jewish practices, like lighting Shabbat candles, or wearing a yarmulke, in an attempt to masquerade Christianity in the guise of authentic Judaism.

Sadly, as a direct result of Rosen’s pioneering efforts, today there are over 1,000 missionary groups targeting Jews for conversion worldwide. With an annual budget exceeding $275 million, these groups have succeeded in converting hundreds of thousands of Jews in recent decades. A recent National Jewish Population Study estimated that more than 600,000 American Jews have converted to, or are affiliated with, a religion other than Judaism, the most dominant faith being Christianity.

Both Jewish and mainline Christian clergy condemned Rosen’s aggressive and controversial proselytizing methods. In 1990 Rev. David Selzer wrote, “Jews for Jesus is another attempt to deny Jewish identity to Jews as a Christian I oppose the group.”

In her doctoral dissertation on Jews for Jesus, Juliene Lipson describes how she infiltrated the group and discovered a disturbing side to Jews for Jesus and Rosen. According to Lipson, members agreed that “full submission to the leadership of Rosen is the will of God.” She also described a meeting where “members were asked to stand, whereupon [Rosen] struck each one across the face hard enough to knock them over.”

On the website www.UsedForJesus.com, ex-Jews for Jesus staff members testify to the abusive and cult-like atmosphere within Jews for Jesus, including the above mentioned “pain training” as well as shunning of former members, rigid restrictions to personal life, and raging and intense anger. I met Rosen on three occasions and each time witnessed his inexplicable outbursts of rage.

Rosen obviously ignored the words of the Rev. Billy Graham who wrote in a 1973 press release, “gimmicks, coercion and intimidation have no place in my evangelistic efforts.”

Rosen’s authoritarian personality elicited criticism from Jews and non-Jews. University of California at Berkley professor Dr. Margaret Singer, respected as a leading authority on cults and mind control, considered Jews for Jesus a cult. This was echoed by former Jews for Jesus member Ellen Kamensky who categorized the group as a destructive cult, and told me they misrepresented New Testament passage Luke 14:26 to convince her to cut off contact from her family.

Misuse of biblical passages to prove Jesus is the messiah is a mainstay of Jews for Jesus. Their proof-texts are either taken out of context or mistranslated. In one of their pamphlets they quote a non-existent passage from the Zohar concerning the Shema, in a pathetic attempt to prove the Trinity is a Jewish concept.

This brings me to what I consider to be Rosen’s second most deceptive tactic. On page 52 of his book Share the New Life With a Jew, he instructs missionaries to not get “sidetracked with discussion on the deity of Christ.” He continues to explain that as important as this doctrine may be, “correct theology is not what will save your friend.”

Uproar: Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

In a paper greeted enthusiastically at the May conference of the American Psychiatric Association, in San Francisco, a new name was given to a common problem, Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder. My initial response: another excuse to drug people. However, upon thinking it over, I think that the word embittered does describe the essence of a serious problem. Many of us suffer from some degree of jealousy and bitterness about the injustices in our lives. But does that make us embittered? I would hope not. So, what characterizes embittered people? Here are some actual examples (the names have been changed):

Chedva was so happy at her vort last Motzei Shabbos. Finally, at the age of 23, she has found her bashert. She likes her future mother-in-law and her future husband is a gentle soul who loves to learn, and is also a musician – just perfect for her! Her mood changed swiftly the next morning when her mother angrily attacked her, “I was up the entire night crying because of you.” “What did I do?” asked Chedva, feeling the life drain out of her body. “I was so insulted,” said her mother. “You talked to your future mother-in-law almost the entire time and kept taking pictures with her! You have no kibud horim!” Feeling like a sinner who deserved the death sentence, Chedva listened submissively as her mother blamed her for being one more source of misery in her life.

For years, Mina has kept the family tradition of bringing her children to visit her parents every Shabbos. However, last week, the weather in B’nai Brak was unbearable. Desperate for sleep after giving birth to her 10th child, she decided to stay home and rest, although she dutifully sent her older children to visit their grandparents. The next day, one relative after another called to berate her, “How dare you? Daddy was furious and didn’t stop talking about how offended he was that you didn’t show up, like he was going to have a heart attack from grief. Call right away and make amends.”

Shlomo’s mother constantly berated him, calling daily to complain about his wife. “Why wasn’t I the first to know about the pregnancy?” she raged. “Why is she so cold to me?” Shlomo didn’t know what to say. He felt he had to listen for kibud horim. But her complaints were like poison, driving a wedge between him and his wife, who refused to go to his parents’ house for Shabbos. Caught between two angry women, his stomach turned in fear and shame.

These parents are embittered people, determined to make those closest to them feel unlovable, stupid and inadequate. Although they are often powerful, socially active people who are convinced that no one is as devoted and self-sacrificing as they are, they can erupt like a nuclear reactor, spewing bitterness at family members or workers who fail to live up to their expectations. In addition, they are:

Dependent Bullies: They act helpless yet bully others into subservience. As long as people are listening to them, giving them gifts or acting submissive, they seem happy and quite adoring. However, the minute the attention stops, they become spiteful and will harangue their victims – “No one cares/helps/loves me! The more time you spend with them, the longer the list gets, as you inevitably disappoint them hundreds of times each day by your very presence. Whatever you do, you cannot do it fast enough or well enough for them. In their eyes, you are a failure – unless they want something from you, at which point they can become surprisingly gracious and charming!

Touchy in the Extreme: They take everything others do personally. Thus, they constantly feel insulted, neglected and rejected, by the most innocent actions of others – the fact that you didn’t fold the napkins to their liking, didn’t call more often or didn’t stay longer, didn’t wrap the gift or left footprints on the rug, etc. They think your actions are deliberately hurtful.

Insanely Jealous: They are sure that everyone else is happier, more loved, more successful or getting more attention than they are. If you try to get them to focus on the good in their lives, they get angrier. If you avoid them, they spend hours crying to others that you have insulted and abandoned them, inciting people to hate you.

Empty: Because they suffer from intense feelings of emptiness, they become even more anxious when anyone is relaxed or happy. To fill the empty void within themselves, they focus on some flaw in others or make false accusations, causing a huge fight and a very distracting uproar, which ruins every Shabbos meal or simcha.

Filled with Blame: They blame others for not being loyal, attentive, respectful, quick or smart enough to please them and make them happy.

Paranoid: They see signs of betrayal or abandonment in the fact that you are successful or show love for anything or anyone else.

Unstable: You never know what to expect, whether they will kiss you or kick you. You can’t know what will set off a jealous rage or explosive tirade, repeating their refrain, “No one loves or appreciates me. No one is as devoted as I am.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Like an anorexic who thinks she is fat, embittered people are sure that no one suffers as much as they do. Any attempt to even hint that they might not be seeing reality correctly will often cause them to attack you. You must focus on the three areas in which you do have choice, i.e., thought, speech and action. For example:

Avoid Shame: You can’t “fix” them. It is likely that they were abused or neglected in childhood, which resulted in an inability to trust people. Despite all your efforts to please, it will never be good enough. They can’t be pleased and will refuse all your helpful suggestions as to how they can feel less lonely, such as doing chesed, going to classes or seeking help.

Avoid False Hope: They will not change. Despite moments of passion and fun, especially when they want something from you, unless they make a firm commitment to change their thoughts and behaviors and without this intense effort the relationship will be like a “house of cards,” tumbling down the minute they feel hurt. Unfortunately, you are bound to do something that hurts them, even if it is simply not being available or tracking dirt onto the floor.

Disconnect: Research has shown that those who live or work with nasty-tempered people do suffer from more mental and physical illnesses, especially auto-immune diseases. Yet you may be addicted to them, thinking about them 24/7 – how to please them, how to avoid being attacked by them or how to recover from them. Avoid responding, and if possible, move away for sheer pikuach nefesh. Their lack of emotional maturity can cripple you.

Make Decisions: Create a sense of self-worth by being proud of your smallest decisions. State your individual opinions and take initiative. Form bonds with trustworthy people; otherwise your own ability to trust will be harmed. Do things that make you happy, even if they are terribly offended by your choices.

Spot Emotional Blackmail: They will use words like kibud horim or shalom bayis. This is emotional blackmail. Talking and trying to reason with them and make them understand will only pull you back into the web of deceit.

Remember, no matter what pain a person has experienced, an adult is responsible for his moods and middos. You are not to blame for the fact that they are bitter, lonely or depressed. This is a serious disorder that you did not create, cannot control and cannot cure. Healthy relationships are not built on guilt and fear.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/uproar-post-traumatic-embitterment-disorder/2009/09/30/

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