A group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere.

Saturday, June 07, 2003  

If anyone noticed (I'm aware that I might be the only one), Doonesbury just finished a week-long segment based around an interview with a palestinian would-be suicide bomber. The first day of the segment is here, and you can easily scroll through the rest. Personally, I found it not funny at all, and remarkably uninsightful (the punchline was "girls just wanna go boom"). What do you think?

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 10:22 PM |

Thursday, June 05, 2003  

Bradford Pilcher responds to my post about Bush's politicizing the Holocaust in his latest feature (he doesn't mention me in the article, from what I scanned, but he does on his blog...). I don't have the time to respond, but I think I'll have to at some point. Stay tuned.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 4:59 PM |

YOU'RE NOT GONNA BELIEVE THIS. It appears that someone has either hacked or made an egregious error with Yeshiva University's e-mail servers, and some staff e-mails are coming to my address. I'll let you know if anything interesting pops up.
UPDATE: Reader Ephraim provides context:

A SIGN IN THE LIBRARY AND ON THE WEB READS: INFORMATION ALERT! On Thursday morning, June 5, a rapidly spreading worm infected many email systems, including ours. To limit the extent of the infection our servers are currently shutdown.

Of course, this still begs the question: Why am I receiving e-mails from, thus far, Jean Belmont (Director of Student Finances) and someone named R. Beckoff? Certainly, I'm not in their address books. Though it is possible that I'm on some sort of banned e-mail addresses list in YU's servers (I had evidence of this a couple of years ago, after a fun little prank), and that this virus found that list. I've never sent to nor received an e-mail from the two of them...which would seem to lead to the conclusion that the formulator of this virus explicitly and intentionally directed some e-mails my way. Wacky. More than a year after Yeshiva University finally got rid of me, someone's still attacking them with me as a possible proxy. That's so cool.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:23 AM |

Incredibly, and shamefully, I'm still not done here in Queens. If I were my boss, I think I'd have killed me by now.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 8:51 AM |

Welcome Back Elder I: its been hard work holding down the fort myself, let me tell you...

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:30 AM |

I think that the "Stupid Jewish Press Letter Of The Week" is going to become a regular feature of mine. This week's is a response to a letter (can't find the link, sorry) by Jacob Snyder, a ba'al teshuva, raging against a shidduch system that is stacked against him, specifically in that single, frum girls only seem to want to be set up with FFBs (Frum From Births). Chaim Steinberg thinks he's being unfair, and provides two arguments. Brace yourselves.

First, FFB`s and their ancestors have made the same type of sacrifices, and they did so long before the days of Kosher Delight, no-work Saturdays, and Torah Umesorah day schools. My own great grandfather, during the Great Depression, lost his job every Monday because he was absent from work each Saturday. Yes, in a sense I`m riding on his coattails, but wouldn`t Mr. Snyder want his own offspring to ride on his coattails?
So let me get this straight. Mr. Steinberg's great-grandfather kept Shabbas under harsh conditions, so Mr. Steinberg, (who may never have had to sacrifice anything to be frum in his entire life, not that that's the point) has a right to make sure Mr. Snyder doesn't marry his daughter? And then there's the insinuation that Mr. Snyder would want nothing more than to gain enough social status to the point where his great-granddaughter would never marry someone like himself. Personally, I don't think Mr. Snyder would want that...anyway.
Second, Mr. Snyder seems to assume that it is the FFB community`s duty to reward his personal sacrifices by letting him marry its daughters. I think that we are all better off leaving reward and punishment to G-d Himself.
The assumption is that your daughter marrying a BT is a "punishment", the same way that a BT marrying an FFB girl is being "rewarded." Wow.
That said, the FFB community is to blame for not being honest enough with the BT`s it brings into the fold. Kiruv workers should give full disclosure: Yes, we want to teach you about Torah and frumkeit, but as a BT you might have a limited dating pool, and — rightly or wrongly — FFB`s are often elitist and focused on pedigree.
That doesn't address the point, namely, that being elitist and focused on pedigree contradicts everything a BT is taught about Torah and frumkeit in the first place. I was wrong about last week, where the anti-Iraq War letter-writer emerged unscathed and unresponded to. Hopefully that won't happen this time.
[Reader Miriam writes in:
As I sit back in my comfy little chair, thinking about all the sacrifices and hardships I and my BT friends have been spared over the years -- never had to get full-time jobs while in college to buy our own tefillin or replace an entirely untzniusdik wardrobe, never subjected to our parents calling us dogs because we had to drink out of the bathroom sink on Pesah, never had to cope with the depression that comes with watching kids run away from their parents Friday night embarrassed to receive their brakhah, as we sit there knowing that we'll never get blessed in kind, never had a date pick up our hands and put them on various parts of their anatomy, assuming that since we’d touched the opposite gender before we'd have to qualms doing it again -- I can't help but note the small, subtle irony in Mr. Steinberg's letter.

You see, it rarely takes BTs more than six months into formal shiddukh dating (which Mr. Snyder typified in Letters, May 23) to accept the fact that we’re second class citizens. Yes, we committed the grievous error of eating treif from our parents refrigerators when we didn’t know the difference. Yes, somewhere in the dark realms of our video closets is a VHS of our Bar/Bas Mitzvah service. And, yes, the sad outcome is that I'll never realize my five-year long ambition of being a sweet, domesticated kollel wife to the Lakewood man of my dreams.

But what I really want to know is, what happens when Mr. Steinberg's daughter, no doubt the product of a fine Modern Orthodox Yeshiva education, starts getting rejected by potential shiddukhim because her parents -- lo chalilah -- subscribe to the Jewish Press.
-- SIW]

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:17 AM |

Wednesday, June 04, 2003  

That's all the posting for now...still working, will get back to blogging tonight, hopefully.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:50 AM |

Reader Ephraim sends in a link to a Page Six item on a gay Jewish Republican's family getting a brick in the window. Of course, it might be a bit premature to say that it was done by a community member. Ephraim adds that Kalman Sporn works for the Department of Homeland Security, and is a former dot-com millionaire.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:49 AM |

One more copy of Making of a Godol for sale. As of the time of this posting, bidding is at $900. Why isn't anyone just making duplicates of this thing yet? 100 copies, sold two a week, could get you at least $50,000.
[Elder Pinky provided the link]

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:38 AM |

Does anyone remember Tamir Goodman? You know, the Talmudic Academy (Baltimore) basketball phenom, subject of a Sports Illustratred article ("Jewish Jordan") who tore up the 1999 YU Sarachek Tournament and was going to go to Maryland, receiving tons of Jewish media praise, and criticism from one contrarian Commie writer. Then everything fell apart, as he went to Towson instead as his former high school team disbanded. Then there was a bit of an upswing, as he ended up signing a contract with Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Remember all that? All this flashback courtesy, by the way, of looking (looking for something very specific and not at all related) and noticing that Tamir just got engaged. Mazel Tov!

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 10:14 AM |

Tuesday, June 03, 2003  

When you get goaded by your partner for not posting, that usually means it's time for an explanation. For the past two weeks, I've been a) gathering, categorizing and packing books for Elder Sam's parents, and b) moving from my apartment on Washington Terrace, where I'd resided for three years, to 190th & Broadway, where I'll have my own bedroom for the first time since I left home.
There are tons of interesting things I wish I could've been posting on, but when I say I don't have five minutes to spare, I mean it literally. So, I'll have it all done by tomorrow, hopefully, and will come back as strong as I can...after some sleep.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:57 PM |

What could be causing the recent spate of tornadoes and hurricanes in the Midwest? CBN investigates (via Landover Baptist):

CBN News asked [Bill] Koenig if the latest U.S. storms and tornadoes that have devastated Midwest towns have any correlation to current events in Israel. "Yes," said Koenig. "There have been four different tornado incidents when we have been directly involved with the covenant land. It is a repercussion. When the covenant land of Israel is at risk, or her property, the land of the United States and its property is at risk, as well." Koenig explained that this is a warning to America. "We have another wave coming in soon. And, at the same time, Israel has never been at greater risk. What's happening right now, regarding the tornadoes, people could say it is a terrorism event, but this is straight from the heavens, because these storms are extraordinary in size, magnitude and significance."
Well, there you have it. Going to war and occupying Iraq is not risky for America, but working with Israel on a peace plan is. Only in the Bible Belt.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 11:51 AM |

I have no idea how I missed this NYT article about professional bar/bat mitzvah "party motivators."

In 1995, Mr. Hughes [who had never even heard of a bar mitzvah until he got to college] moved to California to pursue his acting career. He thought the bar mitzvah gigs would end. He was wrong. Families fly him to New York for their weekend parties.
Apparently this is serious stuff, at least according to the Agudah's Rabbi Shafran, who again has the thankless task of explaning (ultra)-Orthodox Judaism to the World At Large.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:50 AM |

Sunday, June 01, 2003  

Orthodox Jewish protesters along the route of the Salute to Israel parade on New York's Fifth Ave., hold signs Sunday, June 1, 2003. The protesters came to the parade celebrating the Jewish state's 55th birthday to show their objection to Zionism while holding signs saying Jews were forbidden to have their own state before the coming of the Messiah. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The requisite picture. (via Yahoo! News)

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 10:04 PM |

Much credit and thanks goes to Hasidic Rebel for his detailed and forthcoming reply to the questions I had posed to him before.

How I want my children to grow up is the issue that probably occupies my mind more than any other. But to his main question, whether I feel the community's lifestyle still has some value that keeps me from leaving, the answer is clearly no. It is not the community's values that keep me here, but a fear for the psychologically destabilizing effects on my children that would very likely result from a major lifestyle change.
I wonder how many people like Rebel are out there in the Hasidic community, and what sort of impact it would make on the community if they each managed to push their children just a little towards the outside world.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 9:29 PM |
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