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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘TORAH’

Self-Acclaimed ‘Satanist’ Jailed for 4 Years for Defacing Torah

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

A Tennessee court Monday sentenced self-acclaimed anti-Semitic and anti-Christian Satanists Justin Baker to four years in prison for defacing a Torah scroll and prayer books in Memphis last January.

Baker pleaded guilty on December 9 to damaging and defiling holy Jewish items of the Margolin Hebrew Academy. Judge Roy Morgan Jr, sentenced Baker to the maximum amount of time in jail for each charge, but all of the sentences will be served concurrently, the Jackson, Tennessee Sun reported.

“I think that’s just so very obvious from what’s been presented today as to why these individuals were victimized in this case,” Morgan said in court. “It’s quite clear that for thousands of years people have been attacked around the world and persecuted for their religious beliefs, whatever that belief is, and the nature of the crime here is clearly a direct, intentional attack on what’s guaranteed as a freedom in this country, freedom of religion.”

Baker vandalized the Torch scroll and marked on it phrases, such “Gentiles Win” and “Hail Satan.”

His Facebook and MySpace pages were full of hate statements and Baker’s interest in Satanism and violence.

“Currently in Iraq. Like metal and Muy Thai. I’m a father to a little boy, a husband to a sexy wife. I like working out and eating everything. Dedicated spiritual Satanist. Anti-Jew, Christian, and drama. If you fit the above, don’t send me a request,” he wrote. A screenshot of the pages was read by the prosecution in the courtroom.

One posting read, “Satanic priest, one with a darkness and loving it I also have a little thing with blood lust. And I live for music and Satan. I like to make bombs and blow up (expletive) that doesn’t belong to me. I also practice ninjutsu and beat the hell out of (expletive) that also don’t belong to me. And singing in my strange (expletive) band. I know I can’t spell for (expletive).”

Baker’s wife Jordan, who also said she is a Satanist, testified, “He’s a really good father and husband. He done a very (good) job taking care of us, and his boys are his entire world and he would do anything for those kids.”

Baker’s defense lawyers claimed he suffered mental problems, anxiety and loss of memory, but Judge Morgan didn’t buy it and said Baker should be held fully responsible for his crimes.

The court also ordered him to up to $89.999 in restitution costs.

Baker still faces sentencing in March for charges of damaging religious property.

Two Torahs Stolen from Bayit V’Gan Shul

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

On Saturday night thieves broke into the “Gra” shul in Bayit V’Gan in Jerusalem, and stole two Sefer Torahs.

Afterwards, the thieves tried to break into the Orchot Meir yeshiva, but were unsuccessful.

The police are investigating.

As Torah scrolls in Israel are marked so the owners can be easily determined, its not clear what market for a stolen Sefer Torah in Israel actually exists.

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Calls for Ban on Women Reading from Torah

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has called on Orthodox synagogues to ban “partnership” minyan services, where women can lead prayers and read from the Torah.

“I know that you are working with our communities to find ways, within the boundaries of halacha, to make prayer, learning, leadership and involvement more meaningful for men and women alike, and I encourage this wholeheartedly,” Rabbi Mirvis wrote, Rabbi Mirvis wrote a message sent to rabbinic leaders Wednesday. However, he added that the services were “not something that can take place within our synagogues,” the Jewish Chronicle reported.

Last month, The United Synagogue condemned the Golders Green United Synagogue for allowing women to handle the Torah on Shabbat and holidays. In that synagogue, the Torah is taken out of the ark by a man and handed to a woman, who takes it around the women’s section before returning it to the men.

Mirvis recently supported the idea of women becoming trustees of the United Synagogue and lay leaders of synagogues, according to the Chronicle.

Damaged Torahs Found in Iraq Buried in New York

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Damaged Torah scrolls found by U.S. troops in Iraq’s intelligence headquarters were buried in a cemetery in New York on Sunday, according to Jewish law for disposing of unusable religious objects and texts.

More than 100 people, including Lukman Faily, the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S., attended the ceremony at the New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon, Long Island. “This is a statement by the government and people of Iraq that we are here to respect the heritage of the Jews,” Faily said.

Thousands of Jewish ritual items were discovered by U.S. troops in 2003, after the U.S. ouster of Saddam Hussein. U.S. troops found the items in the waterlogged basement of Iraq’s intelligence headquarters, and they were shipped to the National Archives, where experts set about restoring them.

An exhibit there on display through Jan. 5, is the first opportunity to see them.

Tennessee Security Guard Pleads Guilty to Defacing Torah Scroll

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A former hotel security guard pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge for defacing a Jewish school’s Torah scroll and prayer books.

Justin Shawn Baker, age 25 and an Iraq War veteran, admitted during a plea hearing Monday in a Jackson, Tenn., court to violating the civil rights of students of the Margolin Hebrew Academy’s Cooper Yeshiva High School of Memphis.

Baker was arrested in January after the school’s students and faculty showed up for a worship service in the conference room at the DoubleTree Hotel in Jackson and discovered the Torah scroll and prayer books damaged and covered with graffiti, including “Gentiles win, Jews lose” and “Submit to Satan.”

He also admitted to spitting on the Torah scroll, according to WJJB, the western Tennessee ABC television affiliate.

Some 50 high school students and faculty from the school were spending the Sabbath at the hotel on their way to a ski trip in the Smoky Mountains.

Political Midrash Reveals what Kerry and Netanyahu Really Said

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: It’s good to have you again, Secretary of State John Kerry. John, you’re a welcome friend, and it’s good to welcome you back in Jerusalem.

 OMG, you again, Kerry! With friends like you, who needs enemies? Did you know that “Shalom” also means “good-bye”? So, shalom and get lost.

Secretary Kerry: Thank you, my friend. Well, Mr. Prime Minister, my friend, Bibi, I am very, very happy to be back in Israel. It’s always a pleasure for me to visit. And I have visited here so many times, as a United States Senator, and now as a Secretary of State.

Same to you, Jew boy. Believe me, I have better things to do than let you waste my time. I have visited Israel so much I almost feel like a Jew. Enough already. And I sick of falafel. So just shut up and sign the peace pact so I can visit Dubai. The hotels are fancier there.

Netanyahu:. We believe that in a final deal, unlike the interim deal, it’s crucial to bring about a final agreement about determination of Iran’s military and nuclear capability. I have expressed my concern since Geneva that the sanctions would begin to unravel, and I think steps must be taken to prevent further erosions of sanctions.

 We trust the United States will sell us down the river in a final deal with Iran like it did in the interim deal.

Kerry: With respect to the sanctions, we will obviously be vigilant. We say to any country that contemplates moving ahead of sanctions, don’t, because those sanctions will continue to be enforced. The fundamental sanctions regime of oil and banking remains absolutely in place. It is not changed, and we will be stepping up our efforts of enforcement through the Treasury Department and through the appropriate agencies of the United States.

 The United States is easing up sanctions on Iran because that is one of the reasons Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Netanyahu: Now, on the Palestinian issue, I want to say that Israel is ready for historic peace, and it’s a peace based on two states for two peoples.  Now, if this process is going to continue, we’re going to have to have a continual negotiation. And I hope the Palestinians are committed to this goal as well.

 Israel is ready for peace based on one state of Israel for two peoples – Ashkenazim and Sephardim. You want us to have peace with the Palestinian Authority? Move it  to Jordan.

Kerry: When I first came here – I think in 1986 – I spent a week and traveled to every part of the country, climbed Masada, bathed in the Dead Sea, went to Galilee, the north, visited Kiryat Shmona, where kids were having to hide from rockets, Katyusha rockets, then indiscriminately attacking them from Lebanon. And I have seen the rockets in Sderot from people who were taking cover from Gaza.

So I understand the challenge of security that Israel faces. I understand it very well. And I join with President Obama in expressing to the people of Israel our deep, deep commitment to the security of Israel and to the need to find a peace that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state and recognizes Israel as a country that can defend itself by itself.

I climbed Masada and almost had a heart attack. I bathed in the Dead Sea, visited the Galilee and Negev where I saw with my very own eyes children. Therefore, I am an expert on Israel’s security. Obama and I are committed to Israel’s security based on Israel’s Jewish majority. Therefore, we will help defend Tel Aviv, at least until the Bedouin take that over, too.

Netanyahu: I want to thank you, John, for your tireless effort. I use that word carefully, “tireless” and indefatigable. You continue to pursue this quest for peace. I appreciate it, and I welcome it. And I also welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions this evening and tomorrow and beyond. So welcome to Jerusalem, again.

Kerry, get lost. I am sick and tired of your tireless effort to screw us, and I welcome the opportunity for you to leave – forever.

Kerry: I believe we are making some progress, and the parties remain committed to this task. Once again, Israel’s security is fundamental to these negotiations. General John Allen – President Obama has designated him to play a very special role in assessing the potential threats to Israel., General Allen and I provided Prime Minister Netanyahu and his military leadership with some thoughts about that particular security challenge.

The peace talks are dead because Israel insists on its remaining in existence. I am here with General Allen, Obama’s pawn who left Afghanistan in the hands of terrorists and who came here to teach Netanyahu a thing or two about war, which America almost never has had to fight on its own ground.

I look forward to visiting the Palmachim Airbase because I want to see firsthand the remarkable ballistic missile defense technologies in place that our nation has spent over 20 years building with our friends here in Israel in order to protect Israel. And the advancement of these programs in recent years I think is a reflection of President Obama’s and his Administration’s strong commitment, unwavering commitment, to Israel’s security.

I will visit the base of missile defense systems that the United States has helped build to make sure you guys think you can’t do without America. Our aid shows our commitment to keeping the U.S. military-industrial complex alive and healthy.

The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable. And while occasionally we might have a difference of a tactical measure, we do not have a difference about the fundamental strategy that we both seek with respect to the security of Israel and the long-term peace of this region.

Thank you, Prime Minister.

Our eternal ties with Israel will last so long as Bibi does what we tell him to do. Sure, we have a few differences. When Obama says, “Bibi, jump in the lake, there is a question of whether he does it foot first or head first. I think Israeli can decide for itself how to drown.

Thank you, Prime Minister, for this lovely photo-up. You really are better looking than Catherine Aston, but that doesn’t say very much.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/british-rabbis-scold-orthodox-shul-for-letting-women-hold-torah/2013/12/02/

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