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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘sign’

Senator Squadron to Host NY After Sandy Resource Fair

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Tomorrow, Sunday, December 9, State Senator Daniel Squadron will host “New York After Sandy,” a resource fair and community conversation that will serve as a one-stop shop for New Yorkers in need of assistance or who want to get involved with recovery efforts and long-term planning.

Brooklyn: 11AM-2PM, Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main St (DUMBO)

Manhattan: 3PM-6PM, Murry Bergtraum HS, 411 Pearl St

The resource fair will bring together representatives from government agencies, utility companies, social and legal service organizations, volunteer groups, and others who can help in Sandy’s aftermath. As disaster assistance deadlines near (December 31st in many cases) and utilities remain out in many buildings, this will provide New York residents and businesses with an opportunity to have their questions answered and get direct help or sign up to volunteer.

The event will also include a community conversation on New York City’s long-term recovery and how the city can prepare for future emergencies — allowing New Yorkers to make their voices heard on next steps.

PA Wanted New Sign, New Chair to go with New UN Status

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Just when you thought authority brings with it a sense of proportionality and responsibility, we have the Arab Palestinians to remind us “ain’t necessarily so.”

When the “Palestine” delegation to the United Nations had its status upgraded to nonmember observer state last week, there were some who believed the name change would imbue Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues with a boost in both prestige and in seriousness.

But according to Haaretz, when UN members walked into the UN General Assembly Hall on the day after the vote, they saw that the sign identifying the delegation had been changed.  Before the upgrade the sign had read “Palestine” – never mind that there was no such place as “Palestine.” But last Friday there was a new sign on the table in front of where the Arab Palestinian delegation sits.  It read: “State of Palestine.”

If it wasn’t so pathetic it would be laughable.  Actually, most people think it is both.  Who else but people with little tiny egos and an even smaller list of nation building successes could need to – literally – put out a sign in an effort to show they fit in the actual world of serious statehood?

Anyway, the buttons-popping pride in their statehood – even if it is confined to a sign on the table – had to go because the Arab Palestinians did not follow the proper protocol in several different ways, including  that any name change has to occur through a vote by the UN General Assembly.  In addition, the sign was not made on the official machine that is used to create all signage at the UN.

This time the unilateral and illegal manueverings by the Arab Palestinians were treated appropriately and the “State of Palestine” sign was removed.

But wait, there’s more.  Really.

Before the big vote to upgrade their status, the Arab Palestinians asked that Abbas be seated in a special chair on the stage at the UNGA meeting.  When told by UN officials that such special chairs are only used at the opening September meetings, “Palestine’s” envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour looked into the matter.  Mansour found that the Pope had been seated in a special chair on a regular UN voting day. “No fair!” he whined.

The reported response:

“With all due respect, Abbas is not the Pope, or the Queen of England,” UN officials told the Palestinian envoy, adding that such personalities receive the right due to their age and stature.

If only the 138 nations that voted to upgrade the Arab Palestinians’ status at the UN last week had been as scrupulous about the requirements for statehood as the UN officials were about protocol and appearances.

Vending Change

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Yosef, Gad and Benjy headed down to the dining hall in their high school. As they walked along the corridor they noticed a new vending machine had been installed. The three admired the machine, and eyed its beckoning display of treats.

“I wonder whom the machine belongs to?” asked Yosef. “Do you think it belongs to the school?”

“I doubt it,” said Gad. “Look, the name of the company that owns the machine is on a label. Let’s return after lunch and get a snack for desert.”

After they finished eating, the three boys returned to the vending machine. They browsed the selections: candies, chocolates, cookies, gum, potato chips, and other nosh.

“I’m going to get a large chocolate bar,” declared Yosef. “We can all share it.”

Yosef inserted two dollar-coins in the machine and made his selection. The chocolate bar fell to the bottom, and he heard two quarters drop into the change compartment, “Clink, clink.” He reached in to take out his two quarters and was surprised to find two additional quarters there.

“Wow! There’s extra change,” he exclaimed. “That saved me fifty cents!”

“Who says you can keep it?” asked Gad. “You need to place a sign for hashavas aveidah.”

“What’s the point of hashavas aveidah?” asked Benjy. “There’s no identification on the money, anyway.”

Other students joined in the discussion, debating whether Yosef could keep the money.

“Maybe you should give the money back to the vending operator,” added Benjy. “Someone said he comes on Tuesday mornings to restock the machine.”

A bit of a commotion began.

While they were arguing, Rabbi Dayan walked by. “What’s going on?” he asked. “Sounds like an earnest debate!”

“I found extra change in the vending machine,” said Yosef. “We were arguing what to do with the money?”

“It is usually permissible to take the change for yourself,” replied Rabbi Dayan, “but in some limited cases, it is proper to contact the vending operator.”

“Why can I keep it?” asked Yosef.

“At first glance, this seems to be a case of hashavas aveidah (returning lost property) to the previous customer, who lost his change,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Since we presume the customer already became aware that he left his money, and likely does not know the exact permutation of the change or abandoned hope of retrieving it (yei’ush) – the finder is permitted to keep it.” (See Hashavas Aveidah K’halacha 12:8)

“Wouldn’t the vending operator automatically acquire the lost money that sits in his machine?” asked Benjy.

“A person’s property can acquire a lost item on his behalf, even without his knowledge,” said Rabbi Dayan. “However, this is only if the property is secure and the owner is likely to find the item left in his property. [C.M. 268:3] Here, the change compartment is not secure, nor is the operator likely to find the money, since it will probably be taken by someone else first.”

“Why did you say, ‘At first glance?…’ asked Gad. “Is this not a typical case of lost money?”

“Actually, though the change was dispensed for the previous customer, he never acquired it, since he did not take possession of it,” explained Rabbi Dayan. (C.M. 203:7) “Therefore, upon further reflection, this case is similar to a borrower who placed the money he is returning before the lender, with his permission, but the lender did not take the money. While the lender has no further claim on the borrower, what is the status of the money? R. Akiva Eiger [C.M. 120:1] writes that the money becomes hefker, since the borrower relinquished his claim to the money and the lender did not take it. Here, too, the untaken change becomes hefker.”

“In truth, the Nesivos [123:1] disagrees with R. Akiva Eiger and maintains that the money does not become hefker, but remains owned by the borrower,” continued Rabbi Dayan, “but even he would likely agree here. Since the vending operator expects the machine to dispense the change to an unsecure place, where it can be taken by anybody, he effectively renders it hefker or expresses yei’ush [C.M. 260:6, 261:4; Shach 261:3]. Thus, it is permissible to take the extra change.”

“Either way, I can take the money,” said Yosef. “What’s the difference whether it’s lost by the customer or became hefker from the vendor?”

Israel to Sign Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with India

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

India will likely be signing a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with Israel in order to create smoother and easier cooperation between the countries in the investigation of crimes.

According to a report in the India Times, India will also sign the agreement with Oman, Azerbaijan and Nepal in a bid to cooperate on the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime, the exchange and service of judicial and legal documents, the execution of warrants, forfeiture and confiscation.

Supreme Court President on Demolishing Illegal Mosque: ‘Must Kill Them when They’re Young’

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

A miracle of sorts took place today at the Israeli Supreme court, which could be the sign of good things to come. It was during part of an ongoing discussion of Illegal Arab construction in Judea and Samaria, and this time the issue at hand was a mosque built illegally in Al-Mofkra (Regavim), on the southern slope of Mt. Hebron.

According to The Jewish Voice, the panel of judges headed by Supreme Court President Supreme Court President Grunis, with Justices Miriam Naor and Edna Arbel, opened the discussion by saying that illegal construction cannot be allowed to go on at all, especially in Judea and Samaria. The panel added that enforcement activity should be performed efficiently.

In this context, Justice Grunis said that “we must kill them when they’re young” (the literal translation from Hebrew would be “We must destroy them when they’re little”). The quip was made in front of representatives of the State Attorney’s Office, who told the court they intend to destroy the illegal mosque in the coming weeks.

Supreme Court chief justice Asher Gronis. Photo: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash 90

Supreme Court Chief Justice Asher Gronis. Photo: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash 90

The reason this can be considered a minor miracle is that both of Grunis’s predecessors, chief justices Aharon Barak and Dorit Beinish, would not have been caught dead saying something so un-PC about a Muslim house of worship. The fact that Justice Grunis was able to joke about it – and then do the right thing and force the state to take down the ugly thing – is very much a step in the right direction for the court.

Following an appeal by the Regavim movement, the Attorney General made a commitment to destroy the mosque once it was determined to be illegal. But while the civil administration was dragging its feet and not getting around to demolishing the mosque, the Regavim movement reported that mosque owner, one Mahmud Hamemda, continued to live there and had said that no matter how many times the mosque is destroyed, he would keep rebuilding it.

Following the Attorney General’s commitment to give a high priority to destroying the mosque, Attorney Boaz Arzi, representing Regavim, expressed his satisfaction. “Given the fact that the justices accepted our appeal, and gave us the relief we asked for, our petition has become moot and there is no reason not to delete it,” he stated, adding that,”if the civil administration does not do its job and we’ll see the mosque was not destroyed, we’ll have no problem submitting another appeal, until justice is done.”

The Regavim movement announced that the decision to demolish the illegal mosque should serve as a warning to the Palestinians in Al-Mofkra village. “Every illegal construction will be documented and an appeal will be submitted to the Supreme court as needed,” a movement spokesperson said. “The state’s decision to demolish the illegal mosque is proof that nearby structure are equally illegal and their fate will be the same.”

NPT Meeting Canceled Due to Israel Nonparticipation

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

AP reports that Western diplomats announced that the long planned meeting of the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) countries has been cancelled because Israel, not a signatory on the NPT treaty, has declined to show up.

The Arab states and Iran (yes, that’s right), all signatories of the NPT want Israel to sign the NPT and reveal and give up its supposed nuclear weapons stockpile. Israel says it will be prepared to sign the NPT treaty only when the Middle East countries sign a peace treaty with her, making nuclear weapons unnecessary.

The meeting was sponsored by the US, Russia and the U.K.

Rally Gadget Maintenance

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

This picture was taken November 21, 2011, outside the Knesset, during a demonstration against the high cost of living. It started to rain and the protest signs got soaked. So they were hung up to dry on an improvised clothesline. The visible parts of each sign say “Bibi” and “R Finance” (the R is at the end of Sar, Minister).

Also drying in the Jerusalem wind is a makeshift raincoat, made from a garbage bag.

I suppose if you’re careful with your rally gadget maintenance, you should be able to re-use the same signs and the same raincoat for many years to come.

It’s another side benefit of a stable coalition government, I suppose…

Is This Man a Charedi Hater?

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

In its most recent edition, Ami Magazine has accused Professor Samuel Heilman – a distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of hating Charedim. I am all too familiar with accusations like this as I am often accused of being a Charedi hater myself. But the truth is that neither I nor Professor Heilman are such a thing.

Professor Heilman was interviewed for the article by Yossi Krausz and despite a fairly peasant encounter where no animus was shown towards anyone Charedi the conclusion was that Professor Heilman nonetheless still hates Charedim.

Mr. Krausz bases that accusation on the fact in his many books and articles on the subject Professor Heilman makes note of the problems in the Charedi world and attempts to explain them from a sociological perspective that is unflattering to them.

But as an expert in the field he certainly has a right to analyze them in ways that he believes to be accurate. Does that make him a Charedi hater – as the blurb on the front page of the magazine would have you believe?

I don’t think so. In fact it is completely unfair to characterize him that way. Professor Heilman is an Orthodox Jew. He is observant of the Mitzvos and is even Koveah Itim – setting aside time daily to learn Torah. What he has done is study the behavior of certain segments of Jewry and drawn conclusions as to why they behave in a certain way and sometimes cause a Chilul HaShem.

The fact is that there are such Jews among Charedim – as there are among all segments of Jewry. There are bad Jews everywhere that make us all look bad. Charedim cannot be left out of the equation just because they claim to be more religious than any other segment. The fact is that the more religious they claim to be the greater the stain of sin is seen upon them.

Whether that stain is in cheating on your taxes, or laundering money, or protecting sex abusers or any other evil – when a Charedi Jew does it, the negative statement made by them is magnified. So indeed they deserve more scrutiny and greater criticism. The damage to the reputation of the Jewish people by the most visibly religious among us is much greater and so too is the Chilul HaShem.

Professor Heilman has suggested sociological explanations for such behavior based on his studies and analyses – using his professional expertise in doing so. That does not make him a Charedi hater. It makes him an honest evaluator of the people he studies.

Even if he errs occasionally in his perceptions and assessments, that too does not make him a hater. Everybody is entitled to be wrong once in a while. That does not mean he hates anyone.

Does he have biases when he makes these evaluations? I’m sure he does. We all bring our biases into anything we say and do, including in the case of Professor Heilman – a sociological analyses of a group of people. But as an acknowledged expert in the field, his views should be valued far more than any lay person’s evaluation. And he should certainly not be accused of being a hater… even if it can be pointed out that he erred in some of those evaluations.

This is what Ami did. They took some of his statements and showed where he was wrong. A mistranslation here – a misreading there. Over reliance on others who weren’t as qualified as he is in studying and evaluating the group. But you can’t dismiss the totality of his work and claim an anti Charedi bias when the facts often speak for themselves. One need not go any further than this blog to see multiple instances of the kinds of problems cited by Professor Heilman in his books… and explanations that run the same way in many cases.

Just to cite one example the article makes mention of the dual way that the Chasidic community relates to their own people and outsiders. They point to a misreading of an ad that promises a 3 million dollar distribution of funds from a Pesach campaign to the poor of Williamsburg while the English translation says it is less than half that amount. Ami points out an error in interpreting the Yiddish and when examined closely the sign reads exactly the same way in both languages.

While that may have been a particular error in that case, I have personally experienced such duality in that neighborhood. One may recall my mentioning in a previous post about reading a sign on the door of a clothing shop in Wiliamsburg’s shopping district on Lee street that said “Closed” in English and “Open” in Yiddish! The duality is there –even if the particular example used by Professor Heilman was mistaken.

I understand the umbrage taken by Charedim at Professor Heilman’s statements. No one likes to be criticized, especially when some of the criticisms are seen as inaccurate. But if they would look in the mirror they might just see a bit of what Professor Heilman saw. These are things which are obvious to everyone but themselves. There is a lot of good about the Charedi world of places like Williamsburg. But it is not all good.

I’m not saying that Professor Heilman is always right. But he isn’t always wrong either. When someone his stature of points out some problems, instead of being so defensive they ought to take note of them and try to fix them. Certainly calling him a Charedi hater solves nothing.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

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