Protocols A group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
This is Protocols' concluding post. Protocols was the first stand-out Jewish-issues blog, combining the most traffic and content, and most-active comments section, for a period. It inspired -- at the least -- dozens of Jews to begin blogging on their own.
It was launched two years ago today, with four Elders: Sam Singer, Pinchas Shapiro, Yehuda Kraut and myself; Avraham Bronstein soon joined the pack. In mid-2004, a series of guest-bloggers, listed on the right, came on-board; Luke Ford eventually took the reins and provided the lion's share of posts in the blog's last five months.
It was good while it lasted.
Where you can find us from here on in:
Steven I. Weiss:
Home blog Iatribe will always have current status, as well as religion blog Canonist, food and cooking blog Kosher Bachelor, and other projects soon to come.
1) "PETA employee Tal Ronen misrepresented himself to Rabbi Shar Yoshuv
Cohen, Haifa's Chief Rabbi, as a baal teshuva (returnee to authentic
Judaism) interested in proper slaughter practices."
2) Ralph Benning, 40, a ''Torah-observant Jew'' who is an inmate in a
Georgia prison can wear a yarmulke at all times and be served kosher food,
the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled.
Courtesy of the Awareness Center YahooGroup:
Case of Ralph Harrison Benning, Fulton County, Georgia
Abuse victims often get less therapy than molester `No follow-up
unless parents have money,' says DA
by Gayle White Staff Writer
Atlanta Journal and Constitution
January 10, 1987
- In September 1985, Ralph Harrison Benning, 23, pleaded guilty to molesting
and murdering Peter Downing Howell Jr., 8. Benning told police he killed
Howell on the site where he was molested as a child. "Assaulting Downing was
like a re-enactment of something that had happened to him," a police officer
BENNING, RALPH H
GDC ID: 0000427174
DOB: 12/26/1963 RACE: WHITE GENDER: MALE
EYE COLOR: UNKNOWN
HAIR COLOR: UNKNOWN
SCARS, MARKS, TATTOOS
MAJOR OFFENSE: MURDER
MOST RECENT INSTITUTION: HANCOCK STATE PRISON
MAX POSSIBLE RELEASE DATE: LIFE, W/POSSIBLE PAROLE
TENTATIVE PAROLE MONTH: N/A
ACTUAL RELEASE DATE: CURRENTLY SERVING
CURRENT STATUS: ACTIVE
A.K.A. BENNING,RALPH HARRISON
STATE OF GEORGIA - CURRENT SENTENCES
CASE NO: 198322
OFFENSE: AGGRAV ASSAULT
CONVICTION COUNTY: FULTON COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: 09/16/1992
SENTENCE LENGTH: 5 YEARS, 0 MONTHS, 0 DAYS
CASE NO: 198322
CONVICTION COUNTY: FULTON COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: 07/05/1986
SENTENCE LENGTH: LIFE
STATE OF GEORGIA - PRIOR SENTENCES
STATE OF GEORGIA - INCARCERATION HISTORY
INCARCERATION BEGIN INCARCERATION END
Shmarya called rabbi Basil Herring about the kosher slaughtering case with PETA vs Agriprocessors in Iowa. Rabbi Herring hung up on him. Shmarya called him back and asked him about the leaked file in the rabbi Mordecai Tendler case. Rabbi Herring said he could not talk about it and hung up again.
I got this note from a group of men and women in Australia who prefer to remain anonymous regarding rabbi Jeremy Hershy Worch:
Hershy Worch came to Melbourne, Australia with his wife and young family in 1995. He was initially employed by the Hillel Foundation. As rabbi of the Hamakom Synagogue, he was then financially supported by members of his community from the years 1995-1997. During this time both his behaviour and demeanour with his female students were consistently predatory, manipulative and abusive. He proactively sought 'romantic' and sexual relationships wtih many many women, specifically targeting those who were emotionally vulnerable and fostering acute dependency. He consistently used his role as counselor to make sexual advances towards those who came to him in need. He had 'romantic' sexual relationships with married and unmarried women who ranged in age from 20 to 50.
His inappropriate behaviour towards female students included:
Physical sexual interactions
Predatory behavior in the pursuit of women: e.g. late night phone calls and invitations to teach women privately.
Using the teaching of Torah as a tool of seduction.
Using group situations with himself at the centre - that utilized his musical, vocal and narrative 'talents' - to manipulate individuals and create a cultic environment around 'Kabbalah' classes.
Using his relationships with students to influence them to 'rescue' him by financially and publically supporting and defending him.
His abuse of his position as rabbi, chazzan and counselor traumatized this community leaving wounds that took and are still taking many years to heal. Reputations were publicly compromised and personal lives were taken over.
Those who have followed his career since he left Australia and returned to the United States have observed a repetition of these patterns.
We trust that with our testimony and others you will do everything within your power to expose Hershy Worch and warn individuals and communities who may be vulnerable to his 'teachings' and promises of insight and enlightenment.
A month or so ago there were a series of postings on Bloghead -- and in response, some discussion on Protocols -- regarding Rabbi Mayer Schiller, and specifically, allegations that he has white supremacist connections and put in an appearance at an Orange-order linked assembly in Belfast, Ireland.
He responds on Bloghead.
I recently heard that Protocols will soon be no longer. So I figured I'd say a couple of things before we finish.
1) If anyone picked up and held 100 shares of each of the stocks I recommended on August 22 - OVTI, GTW, CIPH - they would have earned an overall return of 44%. (They went up 60%, 51%, and -17%, respectively).
Of course, I would have counseled everyone to get out of Ciphergen much earlier - as I did - but I never posted this information, so I'll stick with the 44% figure.
I would still pick up DHB (for Long-term hold) right now despite its recent run, and I'm keeping OVTI and GTW as well. Good luck.
2) Victory is both sweet and good.
Sweet, personally, primarily because of the abuse pro-Bush people (like me) were subjected to by our liberal friends (and non-friends), which we were gloriously able to heave back in the face of already-chastened and pathetically depressed Kerry-backers.
And good, because it was (and is) vital that our country have a leader who - both on a personal and party level - is dedicated to killing the Islamofascists who are out to kill us. Period. Whether Kerry would have been personally dedicated to this mission is debatable; however, there is no question that a good (i.e. bad) portion of his party does not share this view, and it is to the benefit of our country that this element of the Democratic party has been discredited and discarded by the American electorate.
And this leads to my next point:
3) The pain for the Democrats has only just begun. Many of the post-mortems in the liberal press, while acknowledging defeat, have hung their hat upon the fact that Kerry won nearly 50% of the vote and that the Congressional victories of the Republicans were decided by local concerns, and therefore were not indicative of a general trend swinging to the Republican side.
In my mind, this analysis is missing one important point: while Kerry and Dems put in a somewhat decent showing (barely), 2004 was their best chance for victory, and they still got soundly thumped. The unity and focus of the left will not soon match that which existed during the past four years. Although they alienated many people with their antics, the Democrats and their 527s actually did turn out legions of supporters. And they still got thumped. In the 2006 elections, what will Dems come out for? What will unite them like their hatred for W? Nothing. And they'll be thumped again.
On top of all this, there's another factor, which has been noted sporadically in the press but not sufficiently: it is no fun to be in the impotent opposition. The exodus of Democratic Senators and Congressmen will continue and accelerate. In the end, by 2006, the Dems will lose at least 2 more Senate seats and at least five more seats in the House. A Hillary Presidential candidacy would be a Democratic disaster and would almost single-handedly ensure Republican control of the White House until 2016. (A VP run by Hillary would be more interesting).
The great danger, of course, is Republican overreaching. Not to the country, as the NYT would have it, but rather because it is the only factor that could slow down the emerging Republican dominance at all levels of the federal government. But it won't.
I don't like the fact that we can't let our children use the bathrooms unsupervised at malls because of nonsense like this.
Note: Michael Katz, 48, of Wyckoff, development director for United Jewish
Communities (Charles Kusher used to be a board member).
1+2 deal with arrest
3 background on Katz
4 mandatory Charles Kushner connection
Mall restroom sting nets 5 on lewdness
Thursday, December 2, 2004
By BRIAN SPADORA
PARAMUS - Five men were arrested and charged with lewdness and criminal sexual contact for masturbating in a restroom at the Bergen Mall.
The five men arrested were Robert Callahan, 73, of Dumont, Larry
Eisenberg, 70, of Englewood, Michael Katz, 48, of Wyckoff, Bernard Kearny,
38, of Wallington and Nestor Santos, 53, of Englewood.
The lewdness charge, a disorderly person's offense, relates to exposing
The criminal sexual contact charge, a misdemeanor, stems from touching
oneself sexually in front of someone who does not consent to watch, Cary
Five men arrested in mall restroom
Thursday, December 2, 2004
PARAMUS - Five men were caught masturbating in a public restroom Tuesday
afternoon during an undercover sweep at the Bergen Mall, authorities said.
Police arrested Bernard Kearny, 38, a salesman from Wallington; Dr. Larry
Eisenberg, 70, of Englewood, a freelance anesthesiologist; Robert Callahan,
73, a retired banker from Dumont; Michael Katz, 48, of Wyckoff, development
director for United Jewish Communities; and Nestor Santos, 53, a data-entry
clerk from Englewood.
Mission seeks to expand local ties with beleaguered Argentineans
Wiener, Robert. Jewish News. Whippany, N.J.: Jul 1, 2004.Vol.LVIII, Iss. 27;
Saddened by much of what they witnessed, yet heartened by the ways a
troubled people is fighting back, 13 members of the UJA Campaign's Young
Leadership Division returned June 18 from six days in Argentina.
"Argentina had a very active Jewish community," said Michael Katz, associate
UJA Campaign director at United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey.
"Then, in 2001, the economy went into a freefall."
Katz said experts at the Ariel Job Placement Center in Buenos Aires told his
delegation that before the collapse Argentina had 4,000 Jews they considered
poor. After the collapse, the number rose to 38,000.
"The middle and upper-middle classes were literally driven into poverty,"
said Katz. "People who were poor to begin with were devastated completely.
It did not just affect Jews. It was across the board. But our job as a
Jewish federation is to reach out to Jews in need, wherever they may be, and
try to help them."
With that aim in mind, the 13 men from MetroWest flew to Buenos Aires on
June 13, then to the federation's embattled sister city of Tucuman.
"We've developed a relationship there with the rabbi and the day schools and
the Jewish community center and various organizations, so we have a hands-on
feel," Katz explained.
"Not only do we offer them money through the [American Jewish] Joint
Distribution Committee, but we can come in and assess a special need. For
instance, in a building that provides community assistance, we installed an
elevator so that people -- especially the elderly -- could get to the third
floor where food packages were being distributed."
Robert Wiener can be reached at email@example.com
Article copyright New Jersey Jewish News.
Kushner Fallout Unclear; Scandal's effect on philanthropist's giving 'open
Dickter, Adam. The New York Jewish Week. (Manhattan edition). New York,
N.Y.: Jul 23, 2004.Vol.217, Iss. 08; pg. 1
When mega-philanthropist Charles Kushner was charged last week with conspiring against his brother-in-law in a sex video scandal, New Jersey Sen. Jon Corzine wasted no time returning more than $80,000 of the billionaire developer's campaign contributions. His New York colleague, Charles Schumer, gave some $4,000 of Kushner cash to charity, according to press reports.
The accusations against Kushner, one of the marquis names in American Jewish philanthropy, have also placed New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey in a bind, having received $1.5 million in donations from the embattled businessman over the years. McGreevey and a Democratic campaign committee this week gave a total of some $13,000 in donations from Kushner to a medical research foundation.
Kushner is most closely associated with the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in
Livingston, named for his father, a Holocaust survivor, and the Kushner
Hebrew High School. He is also a board member of Touro College in New York,
the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, N.J., Yeshiva University's
Stern College for Women and the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New
I am writing this letter to keep you informed about allegations made by
an animal rights group known as People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA) and what the Orthodox Union is doing in response to those
Earlier this week, PETA released an undercover video showing scenes of
cows staggering and bellowing in agony for several minutes after their
throats were cut by the shochet. PETA focused its attention on one
particular plant, AgriProcessors, Inc., but these accusations have
implications for all kosher shechita, particularly because the video has
received attention in the media world, beginning with an article in The
New York Times, on Tuesday, November 30th.
The Orthodox Union is very concerned about these accusations. We are
sensitive to the inhumane treatment of animals, and empathize with those
who are upset by the images of cruelty recorded on this video. As you
well know, the Jewish faith abjures cruelty to animals and enjoins us to
be as humane as possible in our legitimate utilization of animals. That
shechita is a very humane method of slaughtering animals has been
substantiated over the past century by numerous scholarly articles and
We are therefore carefully studying the video and reviewing the
procedures at the AgriProcessors plant. Meanwhile, an additional
supervisor has been put on duty at the facility in question, to monitor
that all proper kashrut and humane practices are being followed.
We wish to draw your attention to the following facts which help provide
a perspective on this matter for you and your congregants:
1. While unnecessary cruelty to even one animal is intolerable, one has
to look at the total picture before judging the matter. During the time
span that the video was taken, thousands of animals were slaughtered by
the plant in question. We have no way of knowing what percentage of
that number resulted in the kinds of scenes that were seen on the video.
Viewers of the video will note that it does show regular instances of
shechita where the animal expired rapidly, without the suffering
observed in other animals.
2. The United States Department of Agriculture supervises this
slaughterhouse and has found nothing amiss in its practices. We have a
very cooperative working relationship with the USDA, and know that USDA
officials visited the plant subsequent to the release of this video, and
were satisfied with the slaughtering that they scrutinized.
3. Slaughtering animals for human consumption is never a pretty sight.
An abattoir is obviously a place where one will see living, vibrant
animals transformed into meat. This is generally a bloody and
unpleasant experience, but this is universal. Indeed, PETA acknowledges
that the shechita process is better than most general slaughtering.
4. The Orthodox Union will not engage in maligning PETA in any way, nor
in questioning their motives. PETA and its adherents have a view of
animal rights to which they are entitled and which they can legitimately
espouse in a free and open society such as ours. We do, however, assert
that religious entities such as ours, or our Moslem cousins, also have
rights within a free society. Those rights, grounded in the U.S.
Constitution, include the ability to prepare animals for consumption in
the religiously prescribed manner.
5. We continue to vouch for the kashrut of all of the meat prepared by
AgriProcessors, which was never compromised. Like all the more than
6,000 plants-producing all kinds of foodstuffs-that are certified by the
OU, it has always been under our regular supervision.
At this point the Orthodox Union:
a) is committed to maintaining the highest ritual standards of shechita
without compromising the halacha one whit. That being said, we will
strive to the best of our ability to see to it that any cruel or
inhumane practices, which are by definition separate from the shechita
process itself, do not occur;
b) is coordinating with other kashrut agencies, and rabbinic and
communal organizations, to assure the most effective response to this
c) is preparing "talking points" which will be made available to members
of the Orthodox Union and the interested public;
d) will be placing educational materials regarding shechita on our
e) is proceeding with the good counsel of professional consultants and a
range of community leaders to effectively respond to the world-wide
concern about this matter.
Finally, we request that no one present himself to the press as an
expert on this matter, since several rabbinic figures have commented to
the press in ways that have confused the press and the public. Please
refer all such queries to Rabbi Menachem Genack, who heads OU Kashrut,
at 212-613-8125, or to my office, 212-613-8264.
Of course, we remain open to input and suggestions from each of you.
I close with best wishes for a Shabbat Shalom and a Happy Chanukah.
Watch the video here:
Best Web Log on the issue:
For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2004
USDA LAUNCHES CRUELTY INVESTIGATION AS ORTHODOX UNION & CHIEF RABBINATE OF ISRAEL ADMIT “INHUMANE” & “NOT KOSHER” PRACTICES AT OU & ISRAELI-APPROVED PLANT
PETA Vows to Push for OU Policy Commitment, Prosecution of Iowa Slaughterhouse
Things turned south for AgriProcessors yesterday as the United States Department of Agriculture sent inspectors to the plant to investigate charges of illegal cruelty to animals and top kosher authorities condemned the practices. The world’s largest glatt kosher slaughterhouse and the only one in the U.S. certified to ship to Israel has been, for days, hiding behind the USDA and its kosher certifiers, both of which moved to distance themselves from the plant yesterday.
The USDA, which inspects and approves the plant, announced that it had launched what it said would be a comprehensive investigation, which will include investigation into the actions of its own plant supervisors.
PETA’s investigation found that standard practice at Agriprocessors includes shocking animals in the face with electric prods, ripping their tracheas and esophagi out of the throats within 5 seconds, and dumping them from the restraint, at which point some struggle to stand, bellow in agony, and attempt to flee, with the tracheas and esophagi hanging from their throats, some for as long as three minutes. PETA has arrayed veterinary, academic, rabbinic, and slaughterhouse inspector experts who say that these animals are fully conscious the entire time.
The chief rabbinate of Israel told the Jerusalem Post that meat from the animals in PETA’s video is “not kosher” and said, about animals stumbling and still conscious for minutes after their throats are slit open, that “it normally takes 30 seconds to a minute for the cow to lose consciousness if shechita [the cut] is done properly. . . he did not cut one of the jugular veins, so blood is still flowing… It looks as though the animal wasn't slaughtered properly.”
The Orthodox Union, the world’s largest kosher certifier, which had been defending the practices, reversed course yesterday, telling the New York Times (Friday edition), that “the video ‘raises all sorts of questions.’” Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, the OU’s executive vice president, “said he found the procedure ‘especially inhumane’ and ‘generally unacceptable’ but wanted to investigate how regularly it happened.”
Also yesterday, Iowa Department of Agriculture veterinary supervisor Mike Miller told the Waterloo Courier that kosher slaughter, done properly, is, in direct contrast to what PETA found to be standard at AgriProcessors, “‘fairly quick’… He estimated animals feel pain for 10 to 15 seconds and no more than half a minute.”
“Recognizing that there is a problem is better than denying it, of course,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “But these animals were treated in ways that would warrant felony cruelty to animals charges if these were dogs or cats, and this was in gross violation of both Federal and kosher laws, as well as basic human decency, and all this happened on the OU's watch. The horrific cruelty that the OU permitted for so long requires serious corrective action and a policy from the OU to make sure these horrors never happen again.”
Part I: What the Experts Say About Animal Consciousness at AgriProcessors, Inc.
PETA’s investigation into an AgriProcessors kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, revealed egregiously cruel slaughter methods being used—where cattle suffered after having their throats cut and being dismembered while still fully conscious. Many instances of prolonged consciousness were documented after animals had their tracheas and other internal organs gouged out with a hook and knife. Experts from academic, veterinary, meat industry, and religious disciplines had the following comments about the degree of consciousness demonstrated by animals in the footage:
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University
Dr. Grandin is internationally regarded as one of the leading experts on farmed-animal slaughter, handling, and welfare. She has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Meat Institute and has visited 30 kosher slaughterhouses and countless nonkosher plants.
? “This tape shows atrocious procedures that are NOT performed in any other kosher operation. Removal of the trachea and other internal parts before the animal has become insensible would cause great suffering and pain. Many of the cattle on this tape had this dressing procedure performed when they were still fully sensible. Several cattle were walking around with the trachea and other parts hanging out of them.”
? “In conclusion, many of the cattle that had their trachea removed were fully conscious and fully sensible. The duration of complete sensibility was probably prolonged by the pain of having their inner tissues cut and pulled during this dressing procedure.”
Holly Cheever, D.V.M.
Voorheesville, New York
Dr. Cheever received her A.B. from Harvard and D.V.M. from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University with a class rank of #1. She has worked as a dairy practitioner and has vast experience with cattle, including in a slaughterhouse setting.
? “I have watched cattle die from a barbiturate overdose, from the use of firearms, from cardiopulmonary failure, from meningitis, and also from stunning and slaughter in a slaughterhouse. Therefore, I am well qualified to discuss the behaviors of the cattle depicted in this distressing film footage, which unequivocally and unarguably indicate that the cattle were conscious and suffering an agonal and inhumane death.”
? “There is overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence that the majority of the cattle shown in these many incidents are fully conscious as they are dumped from the apparatus [with their throats cut and tracheas removed]. Some actually make conscious, directional attempts to escape … [one] actually manages to walk and crawl through a doorway, away from the killing area …. Some try to escape through the front of the restraint apparatus after their throats are cut and before they are dumped out …. While on the floor, many make very conscious attempts to stand and crawl forward, even with repeated attempts, but can’t due to the slippery bloody floor and their failing strength. Their thrashing is desperate and clearly directed at attempts to rise …, rather than the uncoordinated random neuromuscular firing of a dead animal. Others are too weak and in shock to attempt to stand, but struggle to right themselves and to adopt a sternal (i.e. lying on the chest) position with head thrusts and attempts to roll upright …. Some clearly react to stimuli: [one] startles in response to a blow from a worker, [another] resists the repeated attempts of a worker to push him/her over and re-rights himself/herself each time. Even more disturbing than the actual evidence of their consciousness is the length of time it can persist: [one animal] is still clearly alive after 3 minutes as the shackle is attached to its leg, and [another] lies immobile for one and a half minutes, then tries to struggle into the sternal position after almost 2 minutes.”
? “In conclusion, it is my professional opinion that these animals as cited above showed clear evidence of consciousness and therefore would experience terror, pain, and extreme suffering, some for as long as 3 minutes, after their throats are cut.”
Gary Dahl, Representative
U.S. Department of Agriculture Federal Meat and Poultry Inspectors Union
(American Federation of Government Employees)
Mr. Dahl has worked as an inspector for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service for 21 years, including 11 years in slaughter production. Mr. Dahl does not speak for the USDA, but for himself and those he represents.
? “Put it this way, most of the animals shown on the tape were so conscious and aware of what was happening that if the floor wasn’t slippery with blood and the door was open, they would have made a beeline for daylight in order to escape.”
? “I have reviewed the kosher slaughterhouse footage you sent me and the suffering of these animals was obvious, as was their consciousness after they had their tracheas removed. For animals to be allowed to remain mobile and be able to thrash around after this procedure is uncalled for and inhumane.”
? “The amount of time that [one particular] animal is fully conscious on the floor, partly dismembered, causes the animal pain and suffering.”
? “[One particular] animal was dumped from the restraining device totally conscious and aware, with his trachea hanging out. The animal was totally mobile. If an animal comes out of the device totally conscious and walking around in the manner of this one, then that animal should be desensitized through a knocking procedure. To be subjected to this kind of dismemberment while still fully aware and conscious is not fair to this animal.”
? “After being dumped from the [restraining device with his throat cut, one particular] animal then gets up and moves around. The animal is aware and alert to everything that is being done to her.”
Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen
Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel
? “I was surprised to see that immediately after the [religious slaughterer] makes the cut, a worker who is probably not Jewish jumps to the animal and tears away its entire throat. Also, I was surprised to see that even after that brutal act, the animal seems to still be alive and walked a few steps, and then it took about four minutes until it fell down and died … This procedure is not only cruel and therefore unacceptable by Jewish religious law. It also cannot be certified as Kosher, as the animal must die as a direct result of the ritual cut.”
Shimon Cohen, Shechita UK
?The New York Times, December 1, 2004
? “[A] spokesman for Shechita U.K., a British lobbying group that defends ritual slaughter against the protests of animal rights advocates, said after watching the tape with a rabbi and a British shochet that he ‘felt queasy,’ and added, ‘I don’t know what that is, but it’s not shechita.’ The spokesman, Shimon Cohen, said that in Britain an animal must be restrained for 30 seconds to bleed, and no second cut is allowed. Done correctly, Mr. Cohen said, a shochet’s cut must produce instantaneous unconsciousness, so AgriProcessors’ meat could not be considered kosher.”
Rabbi Ezra Raful, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate
?Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004
? “Israel’s Chief Rabbinate … told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that it would not consider as kosher cows that appear in an undercover video of ritual slaughtering at the AgriProcessors Inc. plant in Postville, Iowa. . . .‘You see there, it looks like he ripped out the trachea and esophagus. We do not allow the animal to be touched after the shehita until the main part of the bleeding stops …’”
? “Raful, who has supervised kosher slaughterhouses all over the world, including at AgriProcessors, said he has never seen the ripped throat practice before … ‘Look,’ noted Raful, ‘he did not cut one of the jugular veins, so blood is still flowing. That’s another reason for not accepting that shehita. It looks as though the animal wasn’t slaughtered properly.’ Raful said it normally takes 30 seconds to a minute for the cow to lose consciousness if shehita is done properly.”
Rabbi David Rosen, Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland
?The Forward, December 3, 2004
? “‘I certainly saw enough evidence of mobility on the part of the animal to conclude that it is not dead,’ said Rabbi David Rosen, former chief rabbi of Ireland and one of the rabbis whose comments are used in PETA’s literature. Also troubling for Rosen was what he saw as the ‘pulling out of the trachea and esophagus by hand’ after the incision had been made. ‘I’ve been in many slaughterhouses in my time,’ he said, ‘and I’ve never seen anything like that.’ On the whole, Rosen concluded, what is shown in the video is a ‘flagrant violation’ of Jewish law, or halacha.”
Part II: What Science Says About Signs of Consciousness Demonstrated by Animals at AgriProcessors, Inc.
Science has conclusively established universally recognized signs of consciousness—including righting reflexes, head lifting, rhythmic breathing, blinking, and coordinated movement such as walking and standing. All of these were clearly demonstrated by animals in PETA’s footage from AgriProcessors. Below is just a small sample of the readily available literature from scientists about these indicators:
The European Food Safety Authority’s Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare, made up of eight experts in the field, was asked by the European Commission to prepare a report on the welfare aspects of slaughter. In the document, “Welfare Aspects of Animal Stunning and Killing Methods,” the authors conclude that signs of consciousness include rhythmic breathing, corneal reflex, righting reflex, and attempts to raise the head.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has issued a document, “Guidelines for Humane Handling, Transport and Slaughter of Livestock,” which states that signs of consciousness in stunned animals include regular breathing, a blink reflex, and righting reflexes.
The National Assembly for Wales’ Agriculture Policy Division issued slaughter guidelines stating that if a stun to render an animal unconscious is effective, the animal “will not attempt to stand up” and “[n]ormal rhythmic breathing will stop.” It goes on to state that animals who deviate from this have not been rendered unconscious properly and must be re-stunned.
The Australian Department of Education, Training, and Youth Affairs discusses both ritual slaughter and slaughter with stunning and provides guidelines for operators in its document titled Oversee Humane Handling of Animals. It found that signs of consciousness include “blinking,” “rhythmic breathing,” and “any attempt by the animal to raise its head.”
The New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry states in one of its “Code of Recommendations” that ineffective attempts at rendering an animal unconscious through stunning can be recognized if the animal demonstrates “persistent and rhythmic breathing” or attempts “to raise the head.”
The Danish Meat Research Institute found in 2001 that in a slaughterhouse setting, “behavioural and different physiological reflexes” to evaluate degrees of consciousness included “corneal reflex …, regular respiration, excitation …, spontaneous blinking of the eye …, and attempts to stand up” where “regular respiration” was defined as being “deep and having regular intervals, i.e., different from superficial and occasional gasps.”
The Institute of Meat Science and Technology and the Institute of Zoology at Universidad Austral de Chile’s Veterinary Science Faculty published an article in Archivos de Medicina Veterinaria in 2003 examining sensibility in cattle at the slaughterhouse and used the following “sensibility signs” to quantify their findings: “rhythmical breathing, vocalization, corneal reflex and eye movement, [and] attempt to stand up or head elevation.”
An article published in Research in Veterinary Science by D.K. Blackmore (1984) looked at the onset of insensibility during the slaughter of unstunned cattle and used “coordinated body movements” as a criterion in the study.
Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University, advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wrote that signs of sensibility in all types of stunning and for ritual slaughter include rhythmic breathing, spontaneous natural blinking, righting reflexes, raising of the head, and a tongue that “goes in and out.”
All of the behaviors discussed above (including animals who stand up or walk away) are demonstrated by cattle at AgriProcessors after having their throats cut and tracheas removed. This provides scientific confirmation that these animals were conscious for significant lengths of time, several minutes in some cases, resulting in prolonged agony.
I asked RCA executive vice president (aka CEO, the RCA's equivalent of Malcolm Hoenlein), rabbi Basil Herring, via email, about the RCA leak to rabbi Mordecai Tendler of its file on rabbi Mordecai Tendler (and the sexual misdeeds alleged against Tendler). He did not reply.
I sent him this question: "I'm curious why you leaked the Mordecai Tendler file to Mordecai Tendler?"
Rabbi Basil Herring is married to the niece of philanthropist Stella K. Abraham, writes ID in the comments below.
Who financed this RCA investigation of Mordecai Tendler because the RCA apparently did not have the funds to do this without special help?
Before the Tendler case happened, the Orthodox Union hired Praesidium for another case. Praesidium was extensively used by the Catholic church. There was a lot of controversy about the competence of the Praesidium. The OU was warned about the Praesidium. The RCA was warned about Praesidium but hired them anyway.
It has come to the attention of The Awareness Center that confidential information regarding individuals who have made allegations against Rabbi Mordechai Tendler has been handed over to him by a high ranking member of the RCA.
The alleged survivors of this case were not consulted prior to this incident. The alleged survivors did NOT have legal representation during the investigative period. There was no one representing each of their own personal interests. For more information regarding this please go to:
1) The Rabbi who gave the victims' confidential information to Tendler should be removed from the RCA publicly at once.
2) Rabbi Tendler should be immediately expelled as well for taking that information.
3) The RCA should publicly appologize for the damage they've done and take full responsibility. That means every Rabbi involved in this process, personally and publicly.
4) The RCA should immediately bring in an independent investigator to investigate the conduct of RCA officials in the Tendler affair. The outdside investigators should have the authority to produce a public report with recommendations.
5) Any alleged survivor of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, and of any other case being investigated by the RCA should be immediately notified. They should also consult with a personal injury attorney (of their choice) regarding this matter. Attorney fees should be payed by the RCA.
"This is really an excellent film containing an Oscar-worthy performance from Stellan Skarsgard as the discredited German conductor Wilhem Furtwengler. Consistently thought-provoking and challenging, and beautifully shot, it's one of the most satisfying movie experiences I've had in a while."
Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen has become a focus of the Schita controversy over the past days. To make the halachic declaration he made and then to retract it
seems reckless to me.
1) Mudslinging Mars Israel's Campaign For Chief Rabbis
by David Hoffman
Washington Post Foreign Service
20 February 1993
The Washington Post
Hardball elections have long been a feature of Israel's secular politics,
but the campaign that ends this weekend for the country's two chief rabbis
has been marked by an unprecedented bout of mudslinging.
The front-running candidate for Ashkenazic chief rabbi has been accused of
making romantic advances to a woman who was not his wife. Another candidate
is fending off charges that he was a coward during Israel's war of
independence. There have been allegations of wiretapping and of slander -
and a tone that many Israelis have found more than a little unsettling for
an institution that is supposed to carry high moral authority.
The contest became unseemly enough that this week an appeal was made to
Israel's high court to delay the election, but the court refused. On Sunday,
80 rabbis and 70 public figures, many of them secular, will choose the two
chief rabbis, who serve 10-year terms. One is for the Ashkenazic Jews, of
European origin; the other, for the Sephardic Jews, of Oriental extraction.
Lau's supporters have also blamed his chief rival, Shear-Yashuv
Cohen, for spreading the reports, a charge Cohen denied.
Cohen too has been in the spotlight. Cohen was wounded and captured by the
Jordanians in the 1948 war of independence. But a monthly magazine recently
quoted a letter from one of his commanders, written at the time, alleging
that Cohen had tried to avoid dangerous combat situations and once had to be
threatened with a gun to take part. Cohen is viewed as far more liberal than
Lau and recently stirred the ire of the ultra-Orthodox by suggesting the
possibility of scrapping the requirement that all Israelis be married
according to strict religious tradition.
DIRT FLIES IN ISRAEL'S RABBI CAMPAIGN
by CLYDE HABERMAN - New York Times News Service
21 February 1993
3) One focus of this story that hasn't been addressed is the financial impact on
Agriprocessors. The articles below indicate that there may be liquidity problems.
1) Bank employee pleads guilty to fraud
23 March 2004
Associated Press Newswires
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A former employee of Citizens State Bank in
Postville has been sentenced on her guilty pleas to two counts of bank
fraud, U.S. Attorney Charles W. Larson Sr. said Tuesday.
Teresa Downing, 43, of Postville, pleaded guilty last May, admitting in
federal court that, in 1998, she made false entries in the bank's records on
behalf of a customer.
Downing said she hid the fact that $1,140,000 in checks written on
Agriprocessors Inc.'s accounts in New York and deposited in the company's
account in Postville were not sufficient to cover the deposits.
She hid the insufficient fund checks by not debiting Agriprocessors'
account, resulting in unauthorized loans to the company.
The kosher meat plant is one of the largest employers in Postville, a town
of 2,273 people about 80 miles north of Cedar Rapids.
Downing also admitted to embezzling over $78,000 from the bank's accounts
for her own personal use, from 1992 to 1999.
4) Jewish Telegraphic Agency. New York: Apr 01, 2004.
A woman who worked at one of the country's largest kosher meat-packing
plants was sentenced to prison for bank fraud. Teresa Downing, 43, of
Postville, Iowa, who worked for Agriprocessors, one of the largest kosher
meat-packing plants in the country, was jailed this week for five months
after pleading guilty last May to hiding $1.14 million in bad checks from
the company's New York bank to its Postville accounts, which resulted in
unauthorized loans to the company, The Associated Press reported. She also
admitted to embezzling more than $78,000 from Agriprocessors, which is owned
by a Chasidic family.
There is currently a controversy raging about the practice of one particular
slaughterhouse. I have intentionally ignored the e-mails I've received about
this for the following reasons:
1. I don't know enough about the facts in this case. Even a legitimate video
put out by a respected non-partisan organization (and no one can honestly
call PETA respected or non-partisan) needs to be analyzed and considered.
Knee-jerk reactions by either side are rarely a good thing.
2. I know the people at the OU and they are good people. They are not going
to pass non-kosher meat off as kosher, regardless of the amount of money or
the number of jobs at stake. On the other hand, if they think there is a
problem they will do more than just say that there is a problem. They will
look to fix it if possible or find other alternatives.
3. I have broached the subject with my contacts and they are being wisely
cautious. When I hear something and I get permission to post it, I will.
Right now, all I've got is what the journalists have written and they are
not to be believed on complex matters of halakhah, particularly in defaming
people who have earned (not they need to earn it) the benefit of the doubt.
Who? Daniel Halevi Bloom, a freelance editor and reporter, invented these Jewish grandparents (the names are Yiddish for Grandma and Grandpa) in 1983 to bring Hanukkah alive for children, particularly those without living grandparents. Back then the medium was snail mail, but Mr. Bloom reckons that today's Bubbie and Zadie are e-mail users.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Bubbie and Zadie Enliven Hannukah!
WHAT: Jewish kids are invited to write special Hannukah letters to a
special, magical (and maybe imaginary, who knows?) pair of Jewish
grandparents named Bubbie and Zadie. Yes, the Bubbie and Zadie of us
all! Kids can write, adults can write, anyone may write!
FREE PROGRAM. ALL LETTERS WILL RECEIVE A REPLY... FREE OF CHARGE.
WHEN: Hannukah is Dec. 7-15, 2004 this year. Letters can be written
anytime from now on, .....before, during and after Hannukah.
EMPHASIS:: Children can write about their wishes and dreams
forHannukah, not so much about presents, please, but about family
get-togethers, feelings about relatives near and far, anything they
want. To life, to life, l'chayim!
IN RETURN: Bubbie and Zadie (the sort of imaginary, fictional
creations of a middle-aged Jewish dreamer) will reply with an Internet
email letter of their own. FREE OF CHARGE. This is NOT and NEVER WILL
BE a commercial site. Never will be. [This is not about making a
profit. This is about honoring our prophets.] Money does not fuel this
engine. Naches does. Not nachos, NACHES!
WHY? Why not! -- Jewish kids have been writing print letters to Bubbie
and Zadie since 1983, when the New York Times first "discovered" the
program in a feature article by Times reporter Nadine Brozan. Over
10,000 letters have been mailed to Bubbie and Zadie by Jewish children
in all 50 USA states, as well as from Israel, Japan, Taiwan, Europe
and around the world. The letters are priceless, heartwarming, amazing
artifacts of modern Jewish culture.
ALWAYS FREE. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO CHARGE FOR THIS PROGRAM AND NEVER
WILL BE. [The founder of this project is a silly young man who has no
sense of making money or business acumen. His head is always in the
clouds. He is a pure luftmensch. Go figure.]
WHO: The founder/creator of this program created Bubbie and Zadie as
fictional characters for Jewish children in 1983. Subject of 1983,
1984, 1985 major newspaper stories by New York Times, NewYork Daily
News, Washington Post, LA Times, Miami Herald, AP, Reuters,UPI, Jewish
Week, and Chicago Sun Times, Montreal Gazette, Toronto Sun, Jerusalem
Post -- over 400 media outlets worldwide reported on Bubbie and Zadie
in 1985. Kids still write letters to them each year, in print. But
now, in the Age of the Internet (who knew?) here we are on-line!!!
Yes, Bubbie and Zadie online. Read about us in the New York Times for
December 2, 2004. Google us there. [We made the Times that day, thanks
to some savvy PR juggling by our longtime benefactor, Danny Howie
Bloom. That guy sure knows how to plant stories, doesn't he!]
WHY NOW: 2004, 2005, 2006....forever and a day! -- The founder/creator
of this program said he wants to give Bubbie and Zadie a second life
online, using the Internet as a communication tool between Jewish kids
and their beloved"Bubbies and Zadies" nationwide, worldwide. The
Internet makes this possible. And now ... Bubbie and Zadie have an
WHERE: everyWHERE! CyberSPACE is Global. Cosmic. E-ternal.
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (This is GMAIL, also known as Gefilte Fish Mail)
FREE OF CHARGE. repeat: FREE OF CHARGE. The founder of this project is
doing this out the goodness of his heart. He doesnot need money.
Childen will sometimes receive a letter similar to the one below.
BUT...changes can also be made to tailor the letter replies to each
child. (Zadie is a retired tailor. Bubbie is a former typesetter for
the Brooklyn Eagle.) Some letters will be very personal and folksy.
Let us know what you want, what you need! We can work miracles! (and
we get lots of help from You Know Who! -- the name that cannot be
FOR EXAMPLE, the letter might look like this:
An online letter (what else?) from Bubbie and Zadie,
As Hannukah approacheth, December 2004
Dear ___________ ,
It is almost time for Hannukah again this year, and Bubbie and Zadie
are getting ready to visit you and your family -- through the power of
loving imagination, of course!
Are you ready?
As you know, Bubbie and Zadie love you and think of you often. Even
though we are getting up there in age, we still remember what it is
like to be young and excited about the coming of Hannukah -- the
family playing games together, spinning the dreidel, eating the
special Hannukah foods and, yes, those lovely little presents each
night of this wonderful holiday!
But the main thing about Hannukah, at least as far as Bubbie and Zadie
are concerned, is the love and compassion for others that emanates
from the glow of the candles on the menorah.
Yes, Hannukah is about Jewish culture, Jewish history, but it is also
about love -- the love that continues to go around the world year
after year, from parents to children, from brothers to sisters, and
from grandparents to everyone! So, dear children, have a very Happy
Hannukah this year, and please remember us to your folks, too. They
were once children, too -- as were we!
1) This is a processing issue, not a kashrut or halachic issue.
There is no indication the initial schita was not done properly. Quite the
contrary, it appears by all indication to be acceptable.
>Rabbis Menachem Genack and Yisroel Belsky, the chief experts for
>the Orthodox Union, which certifies over 600,000 products as kosher
>- including Aaron's Best meats - said the killings on the tape, while
>"gruesome," appeared kosher because the shochet checked to make sure he had
>severed both the trachea and esophagus.
The chief Rabbanute:
>"Technically, the shehita is kosher, but some of the things they do
>deviate from the rabbinate's guidelines," said Rabbi Ezra Raful, head
>of the rabbinate's international shehita supervision department, who
>watched the PETA video together with the Post.
Without inspection of the knife in person, it's impossible for any person
viewing this tape to make a determination of any problem.
At this point the animal is dead, at least halachically. No Tzar b'alei
chaim issues remain. Once the schita is done the animal is considered
dead/unconscious. While Peta/the US government or even other experts may
still consider the animal alive or conscious for a period of time,
halachically we don't.
Thus, the problem comes at this point. You can see there are differences in
processing attitudes (Australia they stun the animal at this point, in
Israel they don't speed up the bleeding process). These are not
halachic/kashrut issues. All the meat is fine at this point as long as it is
now koshered properly.
2) But clearly the way meat is processed is different at this plant than
many other plants (I'm not going to go into all the differences):
A. rotating drum so it can be killed while upside down
B. "You see there, it looks like he ripped out the trachea and esophagus. We
do not allow the animal to be touched after the shehita until the main part
of the bleeding stops."
It seems that A is as required by Orthodox rabbis in Israel (which is likely
why this was the only American plant allowed to export to Israel).
It's not clear to me why B is being done. I can only speculate:
a. this speeds up the process (time and money consideration).
b. gets more blood out
c. to remove the tongue immediately so that workers do not accidentally
spray it with warm water as they clean up the blood/animal/area (which would
make it impossible to kasher)
I suspect a combination of a and c is the real reason. Basically, to kill
the animals quickly. Kill one, clean up, kill the next.
Clearly I understand why some are upset about the way schita is done here.
If you consider the animal is still alive after schita for a few seconds or
minutes or accept the movement described as proof of life you should be
angry. But halachically, again, we consider the animal dead.
For some this is a scientific question, for some this is a religious
question and for others it's a mix of the two: When does life cease? When
does consciousness cease?
As people and groups differ on the answer, the debate and differences
between groups are both understandable and proper.
I don't think any party is doing anything wrong here.
Peta and others believe that life has not yet ended. Thus what they see is
cruel. They would prefer other methods to reduce the pain to the animal.
The problem is that others believe that the animal is dead. Thus there is no
cruelty. Further, halachically we believe that the stunning before schita
causes pain to the animal. As such we are against such cruelty.
Let me make it clear, Halachically, no unnecessary suffering can be caused
to the animal in the schita process. Anything, such suffering would render
the meat to be unusable.
The problem is Halachic Judaism differs from Peta in when death occurs and
what constitutes suffering. These are legitimate differences.
I would note that Halachically the unnecessary cruelty to animals without
purpose is forbidden (obviously the use of animals for a purpose of food /
clothing is not unnecessary cruelty). Whether it is a biblical or Rabbinic
prohibition is an open question. Regardless, it is prohibited.
Further, as noted above, in the use of animals for food we have very strict
laws that do not allow for causing pain to the animals prior to schita.
After that point, it is just a slab of food. We don't have the same attitude
towards animals as Peta and others do.
We believe that God has given us the right to use animals as a source of
food (now that we no longer live in Gan eden). Peta obviously takes a much
3) It is troubling that Rabbinical leaders are making reckless statements
outside of their competence without proper consideration. For example:
>More than a week ago, Ronnen showed the video to Rabbi
>She'ar-Yashuv Cohen, chief rabbi of Haifa, who issued a
>statement that "the procedure of this shehita is definitely
>unacceptable by halachic standards. This procedure is not
>only cruel and therefore unacceptable by Jewish religious
>law. It also cannot be certified as kosher, as the animal
>must die as the direct result of the ritual cut."
>But in a telephone interview with the Post, Cohen
>(who is a vegetarian) was much more equivocal. "I'm
>not an expert on the laws of cruelty to animals in Halacha,"
>he said. "AgriProcessors' kosher supervisor, Rabbi Haim
>Cohen, claims that tearing out the windpipe reduces the
>suffering of the animal," he added. "If that is true, the
>shehita is kosher."
This is very troubling. First it wasn't kosher, now it may be? Such
recklessness is unacceptable.
4) Claims of anti-semitism here are reckless and not helpful. It really
shows how poor our approach to dealing with the media and public concerns
5) It is clear to me that Rubashkin is acting properly here. He is simply
relying on what the Rabbinical supervisors/experts are determining should be
6) Despite my belief that halachically the schita is OK (or at least, I
don't see evidence of a halachic/kashrut problem), there is room to
institute processing changes that make animal slaughter more acceptable to
groups that differ as to when an animal is no longer alive/conscious. This
can be done without compromise to halacha or kashrut. The advantage as well
is that in the long run schita will be more acceptable publically.
We all have the same ends, reduce the suffering of the animal. We simply
differ on methods and definitions.
7) The above analysis is based on my assumption that the schita has been
done properly. Without inspecting the knife or watching it up close, I have
no choice but to rely on the schochtim/rabbonim involved. Actual schita
takes a split second and it is impossible to make any determination from a
mere video. There is nothing that I have seen or read that indicates to me
I don't believe the movement of the animal after schita proves
life/consciousness (at least from a halachic standpoint).
Once the shochet has used the single slice of his razor-sharp knife, the
animal is food not a baal chyim that feels pain or suffers. No matter how
grotesque or sickening the scene appears.
As I noted, I understand how others legitimately feel and believe otherwise.
8) I am open to other's opinions and criticism of my evaluation. But if you
disagree with me please base it on something and please be aware that not
everyone has the same beliefs as you. These are theological questions and I
believe there is room for differing opinions here.
9) I have not addressed more (what I consider) minor points in this
controversy. But I think my approach gives a basic overview of the
10) Everyone needs to take a step back here and more closely evaluate the
issues and seperate them out. This is a processing issue not a
kashrut/halachic issue. This is not a matter of treifut, this is an
arguement concerning when animals are no longer alive/conscious and how meat
All are valid issues. But stop confusing them with kashrut.
Kashrut deals soley with the schita and kashering processes (and seperation
of meat and milk). Processing of the meat beyond that is a seperate
non-halachic, non-kashrut issue.
Tamara, in turn, is just one of a growing number of Jewish women writing about their inner lives, their families, their passions and their Judaism in such diaries, commonly known as ‘web logs’ – or, more simply, as ‘blogs’. Together they offer an unprecedented insight into a sector of the Jewish population which has traditionally been under-represented in conventional media.
By means of blogging many women, particularly more Orthodox ones, have found a way to circumvent restrictions placed on them by their social circles, and gain a strong public voice. They are communicating directly with their peer group and with others, forming online communities and gaining personal followings. As blogging moves further into the mainstream, this can only increase; yet another indication of changing social structures within the Jewish community, the more assertive tendencies of women within today’s society – and a significant phenomenon with the power to change the way Jewish women of all walks of life perceive and are perceived.
Where does the notion come from that women's voices are not being heard in Jewish life? They have as much secular education as the men. They comprise half the students at Reform and Conservative seminaries. They work as rabbis at hundreds of synagogues.
posted by LukeFord |
1:26 PM |
"The most oft-updated site shop for Jewish kitsch and personal commentary in the blogosphere." -- Jewsweek Magazine "If you only have time for one Jewish blog, make it this one." -- Jewish Journal North of Boston
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