web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘TORAH’

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.

Iran Herds Jews with Torah Scrolls to Rally for Nukes

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

A group of Iranian Jews demonstrated in front of the United Nations office in Tehran on Tuesday to voice their support for Iran’s right to go nuclear.

They even held Torah scrolls, according to the regime’s official Fars News Agency, which added, “The Jewish demonstrators also performed mass religious ceremonies.”

The photo accompanying the blurb shows enough men, most of them apparently in their 70s and 80s and a couple of young boys with a kippa, for a minyan.

So that “mass religious ceremony” was davening the afternoon prayers? No, that won’t do because there were women, also very elderly, and there was no mechitzah to separate the sexes.

It is not Purim, so they were not reading from the Book of Esther about the Jews in ancient Iran – Persia – who were saved at the last moment from destruction by the Iranian regime’s ancestors.

The Iranian Jews obviously were praying for the government, as all Jews do wherever they live, except for certain groups in Israel who shall remain unnamed.

The Jews also issued a statement, according to Fars, to wit, “We, the Iranian Jews, announce our full support for Iran’s negotiating team in the talks with the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) and advise the other party to seize this opportunity.”

It is amazing that these people are so well-versed in current events that they can spout off “Group 5+1” so easily, but you know the Jews; we know everything.

In case you think the pro-nuke rally was sincere, the Propaganda Ministry, known as Fars, dispelled all doubts by writing that the Jews stated, “The Iranian Jews insist on standing by their Muslim brothers in defending the right to use peaceful nuclear energy for scientific and economic progress of Iran and supporting global peace.”

How do they know that the Islamic Republic has only peaceful intentions and does not want to annihilate the Iranian Jews’ Jewish brothers in Israel? They know because Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei says so. After all, he issued a  Muslim fatwa religious edict that “the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons [is] ‘a grave sin’ from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.”

“The Jewish demonstrators reiterated that Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism and noted that the Iranian Jews have complete freedom to observe their religious rituals in Iran,” Fars added.

Just to make sure we are not being too cynical, God forbid, The Jewish Press checked in with a local acquaintance whose family is from Iran.

Yes, Jews have religious freedom in Iran, he said.

Yes, the Jews live in fear, he said.

And, yes, it is nonsense to believe that Iranian Jews would initiate on their own a demonstration in favor of nuclear weapons that could wipe out Israel.

But how do the Iranian Jews know that the regime wants to use peaceful nuclear energy for nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.

Of course, they know.

Jews know everything, especially those living in Iran.

Archaeologists Find Shiloh Altar Used During Temple Era

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

A dramatic discovery at the ancient site of Shiloh, located in Samaria, provides the first–ever evidence that it continued to be a religious center after it was destroyed by the Philistines and Jews returned to the city, home of the Tabernacle.

The altar is thought to have been used to offer sacrifices even after the First Temple was built in Jerusalem.

The stone from the Iron Age, coinciding with the period of the first kings of Israel, was found in a wall built later in the Byzantine period.

Archaeologists think that Byzantines took the stone altar from its original site, which might have been in the same location as the Tabernacle. There are two conflicting theories on its location, one stating it is on the northern side of ancient Shiloh and the other placing it on the southern side.

Avital Faleh, administrator of the Tel Shiloh site, told The Jewish Press Wednesday that the wall was on the southern side and that it is more reasonable that the Byzantines carried the altar from nearby rather than several hundred yards, which would be the case if the Tabernacle were located on the northern side.

The stone was measured at two feet by two feet and almost 16 inches high.

Other altars used for sacrificial worship during the First Temple era have been discovered in Be’er Sheva and near Arad in the south and in Tel Dan and near Shiloh in the north. Faleh explained that the stone altar is almost identical with others that have been discovered.

The revelation on Tuesday of the discovery at Shiloh is the first evidence of post-Tabernacle sacrificial worship at the same site where the Bible states the first Tabernacle was erected after the Jews entered Israel following the Exodus from Egypt and the 40 years of living in the Sinai.

Joshua 18:1 states, “The whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh and erected there the Tent of Assembly, and the land was conquered before them.” The Tabernacle remained at Shiloh for 369 years, according to the Talmud.

The Philistines went to war against the Jews, destroyed the city, and captured the Holy Ark. The Tabernacle probably had been removed before the end of the war but was not used when sacrificial offerings were later offered at two other places, Nov and Gideon, until King Solomon built the First Temple.

However, it took years before Jewish communities, especially Shiloh that was the home of the first sacrifices Israel, adjusted to the cultural and religious change.

In July, archaeologists  said they believed they discovered the remains of the Biblical tabernacle site, after finding holes carved into the rock and which may have been used to hold beams for the Tabernacle.

The Jewish Press reported here in January, that the discovery of  an uncovered broken clay pitcher, embedded in a layer of reddish ashes, is from the time of the devastation of Shiloh, offering detailed evidence of the destruction.

Shiloh was the most significant religious center for Israel before the Philistines destroyed it. The Jewish people offered mandatory sacrifices, and it was there that lots were cast for tribal areas and the cities of the Levites.

Deuteronomy 12:4-7, states,  “You should not do any [act of sacrificial worship] to God, your God, other than at the site which God, your God will choose, to place His Name there, from amongst all your tribes. You should seek out His dwelling [place in the Tabernacle at Shiloh] and come there. You should bring there your burnt offerings, and your [obligatory peace] offerings, your tithes, [first fruits] lifted from your hand [by the priests]—your vows, your pledges, and the firstborn of your cattle and of your sheep [which are to be given to the priests]. [It is] there that you should eat [your sacrifices] before God your God. Then you and your households will rejoice in all the work of your hands. [You should bring offerings according to the means with] which God, your God, blesses you.”

Haggadah Manuscript Found in a Garage May Fetch $1.5 million

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The auction sale of an illustrated Haggadah manuscript dating back to 1726 is expected to bring in as much as $1.5 million, the London Independent reported Tuesday. An auctioneer discovered it in an Osem soup carton in the garage at a house in Manchester where he was carrying out a routine evaluation for the relatives of the owner of the property.

The manuscript contains more than 50 colored scenes from the Torah. Experts think that it was commissioned in Vienna to mark the first child of a member of the Oppenheimer baking family.

The latest owners of the Haggadah smuggled it out of Belgium in 1940 before the Nazis invaded the country.

Dr. Yaakov Wise, of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester, told the British newspaper, “It is very, very lucky that it survived from that period. It is a miracle that it was not thrown out, that it was found and someone realized what it was. I would call it divine providence….

“This was probably in use for 200 years. There are wine and food stains on it which is exactly what you would expect when it was at the table.”

Does It Bother You when your Kid Comes Home Feeling like Junk?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The talk of the town is how direct Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein was when talking at the Agudah convention about the effect our educational system is having on our children. For a long time now, I’ve been having an issue with trying to recognize where the Torah/Truth is in the way we live as frum Yidden.

If an outsider first learned the Torah and then did a study on how observant Jews live their lives, he/she would have many questions. There are numerous things that we do that not only don’t fit with Torah values but they are anti Torah values. We have systems set in place that make most of us live beyond our means. We are fiercely protecting an educational system that goes against everything we actually believe in. We put a huge amount of unneeded pressure on ourselves that literally dictates how we live our lives.

What is sad is that we all know it, we all think about it and it bothers us all. What is sadder is that it is a BIG deal when a Rabbi gets up and actually expresses what we are all thinking. What a strange thing, a phenomenon, that there exists a society that puts so much value on being truthful and emesdik, but at the same time has this vested interest in not only not expressing or talking about an entire educational system that is flawed at its roots, but even protecting it and making our own children suffer through it. It becomes this huge deal when Rabbi Wallerstein actually says something about it. We have to question our sanity and values around this.

What are we protecting? What are we so scared of? Who are we nervous about not impressing?

Let me ask you a question. You don’t need to raise your hand, but raise your hand if you really deep down knew what Rabbi Wallerstein was talking about. Raise your hand if these issues have been bothering you all along. Raise your hand if you are worried about your own children’s love for Torah and Yiddishkeit. Raise your hand if you think that our educational system is not giving you any fuzzy comfortable feeling that they will help your children stay on the derech. Raise your hand if you feel like you make your children do things that are absolutely ridiculous in the name of being part of our educational system. Raise your hand if this is not the system you would come up with if you were asked to develop a system from scratch. Raise your hand if you feel bad sending your children off to school. Raise your hand if you hate seeing how much homework your kids come home with and how many tests they have.

How would you do if you had a job that went from early in the morning to late in the afternoon or night and then came home only to continue working for a few more hours, knowing all along that you really won’t be paid anything extra for the work you’re doing? How long can you keep that up for? How long would we be able to keep up a real love for Yiddishkeit and learning when all it means is memorizing material long enough to regurgitate it on a piece of paper in the form of a test? We know every one of our children is different. How much does it bother you that they are all judged only by the grades they get no matter how hard or how little they try (depending on their IQ or memory).

How much does it bother you when your kid comes home feeling like junk and overwhelmed every day? Does it hurt to see your kid growing up with practically no time to actually be a kid? How natural is it for our kids to be sitting at desks for hours and hours on end learning? How well would you do with that? How many of the school rules do you really agree with in terms of tznius way beyond the letter of the law? From the way the parents dress, we know the answer to that. And I’m not talking about parents dressing un-tzniusdik. I’m talking about the parents who are dressed tzniusdik – but of course the day they left school they changed the way they dress to what was tznius and comfortable and something they actually felt good in and made sense to them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/does-it-bother-you-when-your-kid-comes-home-feeling-like-junk/2013/11/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: