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

Saturday, November 15, 2003  

EphShap has a number of interesting posts up. First, he gets pissed at Jews e-mailing a boycott against an Eid-celebrating stamp; a wholly appropriate response.
Then he lets us know that David Orlofsky will be in Washington Heights tomorrow night (conflicting with the Maimonides conference); how funy would it be to show up and picket the guy? Come on, some of our feminist readers must be itching for the chance. Any protest pictures would be guaranteed posted on Protocols.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:54 PM |

This is the schedule of tomorrow's Maimonides Conference, though there isn't much detail:

Symposium "Moses Maimonides: Communal Impact & Historic Legacy"; Student Union, 4th flr. 1:15pm-5:30 pm ($5 advance registration requested - call 718-997-5730 to arrange payment).
Jewish Lecture Series "Moses Maimonides the Physician: His Medical Writings, Training, Theory &Practice," Gerrit Bos, Univ. of Cologne; Student Union, 4th flr., 7:30 pm.
By the way, in case any readers in Philly are paying attention, there's an international conference on the 100th anniversary of the Jastrow Dictionary of the Talmud tomorrow at UPenn -- I'll be doing a story on the anniversary, but not attending the conference.
Directions to Queens College. Looks like it takes about 1.5 hours from the Heights by subway...are any readers planning on going?

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:46 PM |

Paris Arson Attack Burns Jewish School

PARIS, Nov. 15 — A Jewish school in a northern Paris suburb was burned early Saturday in the first attack on a Jewish institution in France in about a year.

posted by Pinchas | 9:03 PM |

Ex-spy chiefs say Israel facing disaster

Israel is heading for a "catastrophe" unless government policy switches course to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, four former heads of the Shin Bet security service said on Friday.
Check out the NY Times version of the same recap from Yediot's front page on Friday.

posted by Pinchas | 9:01 PM |

Friday, November 14, 2003  

In the new Jewsweek, the most hilarious assertion regarding anti-Israel media I've ever seen: they're going to Hell.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:52 PM |

I've been seeing commercials for the Sharon Osbourne Show that advertise an upcoming appearance by "Jamie Lynn Discala," whom I recall being "Jamie Lynn Sigler." Any Us readers care to cure my confusion?

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:00 PM |

Drudge is nearly a week behind Elder I.'s post regarding Korn's 'resignation' from the ADL

posted by Pinchas | 10:38 AM |

Thursday, November 13, 2003  

A friend just told me about the Arab-American Comedy Festival, which I think I'll try to cover. Any bets I'll have an easier time getting in there than at OU?

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 7:37 PM |

Joe Schick is now featuring a Jewish Press Stupid Column of the Week. No word yet on whether he'll be paying royalties to Elder Avraham.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 6:37 PM |

Just when you were wondering what other Cold War-era intelligence service the ADL could imitate (having done a dead-on impression of the Kremlin over Eugene Korn's "resignation") they decide to shoot for the FBI tactic, circa Vietnam, of recruiting domestic spies, attempting to lure a Philadelphia reporter into their web of deceit.
(via Romenesko)

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 5:34 PM |

What to say about the Forward 50? It seems to have forgotten that the Elders run the Jewish conspiracy and therefore belong atop the likes of Paul Wolfowitz and Eric Yoffie.
Perhaps more glaringly, they've accidently placed Doug Rushkoff under the heading of "Ideas."

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 5:28 PM |

Apologies for the non-blogging owing to my disease of laptopus droptoomuchus. Anyway, this latest top-ten list at Bangitout really is just too funny, "Gabbai Pick-Up Lines."
My favorite is #9 because it's Which is typical of most my gabbai friends.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:27 PM |

Wednesday, November 12, 2003  

Well, the unthinkable has happened. The "other" Avraham Bronstein that lives in New York, NY wrote another letter to the Jewish Press. While the first letter he wrote was about some Holocaust rememberence dinner, this one was about something I'd actually have an opinion on. Check this out:

I agree with reader Zev Schiffman`s comment about Agudah`s unfortunate downplaying of the danger of "interdenominationalism." There can be no question that it is a growing menace to the fundamental homogeneity of the Jewish people and will no doubt lead to its further dismemberment.
Having said that, however, I don`t think it’s fair to denigrate Agudah’s focus on other vital issues. Just because Agudah may have missed the boat on interdenominationalism doesn’t mean that those issues it does focus on are chopped liver.
Avraham Bronstein
New York, NY

This puts me in the horrific position of having to name a letter with my own name on the signature line that deals with an issue I have an definite opinion about the Stupid Letter of The Week. I mean, what's this guy thinking? The Reform and Conservative and Unaffiliated ranks are being decimated by lack of education, assimilation, and intermarriage. Orthodoxy, which makes up, what, 10% of the Jewish population, tends to be the group that provides better systematic education and does a better job battling assimilation and intermarriage and generally doing all the things that put it in a great position to reach out to the other 90%. So, Orthodoxy can either reach out to the rest of the Jewish People and help make sure that they stay Jewish, or it can retreat into itself and let the 90% slip away. Which leads more to "further dismemberment"? The only thing I can think of is that my frummer-than-me alter-ego doesn't think that the other 90% is really Jewish to begin with and that the only thing to consider is protecting his own crowd (ie, the "real" Jews). I don't buy that at all. And yet my name is on the letter. I may never live this down. I'd consider writing the editor, but I tried that last time. I wasn't thrilled with the results.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:30 PM |

In the department of "anything the Egyptians and Blacks do, we can do sillier":

Michael Freund suggests in today's Jpost that the Jews press for restitution for communal property looted or stolen in medieval times.

Wow. This idea was stupid when the sixth generation descendants of African American slaves demanded redress for slavery from American industry, and was even more asinine when an egyptian legal scholar called for restitution of the money stolen by the jews when they left egypt 3500 years ago.

Monetary restitution is simply not a viable option when the looters and the lootees have been dead for centuries.

Is that such a crazy thing to say?

posted by Sam | 3:34 PM |

The Onion | Mom Finds Out About Blog:

In a turn of events the 30-year-old characterized as 'horrifying,' Kevin Widmar announced Tuesday that his mother Lillian has discovered his weblog.
Does this resonate or what?

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:53 PM |

I didn't get a chance to see it, but I am sure he looked silly. Did anyone catch this last night?

Kerry Rides Harley Onto 'Tonight Show'

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) - Riding in on a borrowed Harley-Davidson, John Kerry appeared Tuesday on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" as rancor within his presidential campaign continued to boil.

The Massachusetts senator, wearing a leather jacket, blue jeans and a denim shirt, rode the motorcycle onto the stage.

posted by Pinchas | 9:50 AM |

The Young Jesus Chronicles

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:52 AM |

Another Evolution v. Creationism controversystarts in Texas::

Answers in Genesis works to equip Christians to challenge evolution at its base and to defend the truth against presuppositions, assumptions, and wrong interpretations made by the unbelieving scientific community. 'When properly understood,' Ham says, 'the 'evidence' confirms the biblical account.'
That, of course, assumes he understands what the Biblical account actually means, or was supposed to have meant back then, or anything.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:51 AM |

Well, after a short excursion into the world of relationships, Yuter's back with a somewhat involved post on ascetecism and the Rabbis.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:46 AM |

Tuesday, November 11, 2003  

From The CBN: The Matrix Revolutions: Back to a Messianic Allegory:

The movie’s Christian allegory and strong moral values ultimately overcome blatant false theology, humanism, lots of strong violence, and purposeless profanity.
Choice lines from the review:
Regrettably, Neo is a deeply flawed messianic figure who is not only not divine but who also has deeply sinful traits as seen in the previous movies, unlike the true Messiah Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, the two characters who seem to utter the most profanities are the two characters who don’t believe in, and have no hope or faith in, the ability of the savior-figure, Neo, and the strength of the love that Neo shares with Trinity.
Like the first two movies, The Matrix Revolutions too often seems like a cryptic humanist, intellectual treatise on vapid philosophical concepts and non-Christian religious concepts borrowed from Eastern mysticism
Good stuff.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 7:42 PM |

So, I went to the Orthodox Union’s Institute of Public Affairs Annual Dinner last night (see Elder I.’s Post and my comments below) and got to hear Senator Rick Santorum speak to the crowd of mostly Orthodox Jews. I listened to every word of the young and well-spoken Senator’s speech hoping to learn more of the Orthodox Jewry - Radical Right alliance.

I heard a gentle blend of Sunday sermon and Fox News commentary, which elicited cheers from the crowd. I caution only that empirical history has taught us that the enemy of my enemy is my friend only so long as I have use for him; see Iraq and Taliban for two recent examples.

Unfortunately, I do not have many direct quotes, but in his speech, Santorum made several conclusions:

1. The New York Times’ lack of religion would lead / led it to endorse both Communism and Fascism.
2. The rise in anti-Semitism in Western Europe is due to the region’s lack of religion, “Look at what is going on in France, do you think they have religion?”
3. Only 7% of Western Europe goes to Church, Synagogue, etc. (Well, this is not quite a conclusion as much as a statement of ‘fact’)
4. The Baathists are anti-religion
5. Religion = morals = social values = good society and small government. Lack of open, overt, school prayeresque Religion in society = no morals = no social values = “naked public square” (a phrase he repeated at least five times) = big, overbearing, big brother government.
There was one thing at the dinner that made me exceptionally angry. The promotional video shown in between jeremiads featured a picture montage of IPA staff and interns with various political personalities. Senator Trent Lott featured prominently in the video appearing more than once.

I thought then and still wonder how quickly history is forgotten. In the 1950s and ‘60s Orthodox Jews marched through America together with blacks demanding civil rights and equality. Orthodox Jews were arrested alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers. Those Orthodox Jews were marching for freedom and against people like Trent Lott. Now our Orthodox institutions glorify him and ourselves for being associated with him and his ideology. How quickly we forget.

posted by Pinchas | 6:04 PM | - News - Middle Eastern Children Allegedly Kicked Off Bus:

Ali Alhamad said his children, along with 10-20 others, were kicked off their bus because they were Muslim. He said many of the children were wearing Muslim religious attire.
Some children said the driver forced them off the bus at school, while others were kicked off at Rogero and Ft. Caroline roads, five miles from their usual stop at Caravan Circle and Atlantic Boulevard.
The Ft. Caroline Middle School students said they made the roughly five-mile walk home.
'Our legs were hurting. … When we came home we were crying,' said student Sara Kazim

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 3:08 PM |

The Society of Biblical Literature is worried about the lack of tenure being given by universities which could lead to a lack of quality scholarship being produced. Since the situation is (obviously) even worse for Early Judaism/Talmud Stuff, this doesn't bode that well for my future as a wage earner.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:28 PM |

I just dropped my laptop again, and have 50 minutes left on the battery. I'm gonna take it in for repairs which, by past experience, takes a few weeks. In the interim, I'm considering borrowing, purchasing to return, renting, and possibly purchasing long-term if someone knows of a steal. If you have ideas, IM me if I'm still online, or call 917-529-0959. Thanks!

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:13 PM |

NotePad is a cute J-blog, consisting mostly of a choice quote per day.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:58 AM |

I showed up at the OU's dinner last night, after having called ahead to reserve a spot as a Voice reporter. I introduced myself and was about to walk in when a flack, Stephen Shneider, decided to play some games with me. Out of the blue, he asked, "Do you have credentials with you?" No one takes an NYPD credential to a run-of-the-mill event like this one; the only place where I've ever been asked for credentials was to get past police lines. As it happened, I also didn't have my Voice ID with me, since I turned it in to get renewed yesterday. I told him that I'm a contributing editor to Jewsweek, write for the Forward, Voice and New York Magazine, and I've attended hundreds of events as press and never been asked for credentials. I show him some faxes I sent out that day on Jewsweek letterhead -- will that be enough?
He said he couldn't be sure that I wasn't a security risk, that we live in dangerous times. Crazy. So I tell him he can have whomever check my bag, but there's no way I'm not going in after staying late at work to come to this event and then actually coming. He decides he won't let me in, and calls over security. So I tell him, fine, I'll buy a ticket. But he tells the ticket ladies not to talk to me, and they listen. Then he has the gall to let another reporter through right in front of me without asking for her credentials. A security guy tells me he's just following orders as he leads me to the elevator.
What makes a low-level PR flack think that he should use his discretion to keep a reporter out of an event is beyond me -- it's completely inappropriate. And then to keep a Jew from buying a ticket to an OU event...I'm still shocked.
I've got no clue what turned this guy against me, but there'd really be no excuse almost no matter what I did, short of bringing violence to the event.
I could say more about what the implications of this kind of stupidity could be, but I think I'm done. I'm gonna talk with the OU higher-ups today or tomorrow, and I might post what results.
OKAY, SO I WILL SAY A BIT ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS. I had originally invited Kareem Fahim of the Voice to go with me, and he'd thought about going, but had to be elsewhere. What would have happened if he'd gone instead of me and been treated this way? It'd be the front page of the Voice, no question. In a way, he's lucky that he did this to me, a frum Jew, because I don't consider what he did a story. He might have been discriminating against me because I was coming from the Voice, because of my hair, because of anything. Whatever it was, it was random and inappropriate in dealing with reporters and/or the Jewish public. How many other Jews get treated like this but aren't reporters or don't have blogs? I don't know, but it scares me. Whatever the fallout, the OU's getting off easy here, and that's scary, too -- if they keep up this attitude, it won't be long at all before it screws a reporter and doesn't get off easy.
As far as refusing a Jew who showed up and offered to buy a ticket...that just says too much.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:50 AM |

Received an e-mail pointer to this '60s-era paper noting faults in the Jastrow.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:52 AM |

Jarvis is beating us Jews to the punch again. The BBC has hired a sort of Middle East ombud, Malcolm Balen, to monitor it's "pro-Arab bias." There's a buried lede here, too:

The BBC denied that the appointment amounted to an admission that it had "got its coverage wrong" but conceded the corporation was sensitive to criticism. He said it was "no longer the case" that the Israelis were refusing to co-operate with BBC journalists.
I guess Sharon just forgot to make that announcement?
So, if anyone wants to dig into Balen's reporting, we'll definitely post/link your findings.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:40 AM |

Monday, November 10, 2003  

Whoah. Who would have thought the Haredim would have taken the time out to write an anti-smoking polemic?
Although I usually have nothing serious to say about the folk at Deah vDibbur (the creative geniuses who brought us the Morah Shpitzer and the Apple saga, among others), I have to say I'm at least slightly impressed by a relatively liberal social agenda item in their latest web posting - an article examining public health studies done in Helena, Montana after the city banned smoking in public places.
Any thought on this development? A new Haredi assault on smoking? Interesting....

posted by Sam | 9:45 PM |

And I thought we beat the Taliban...?:

The first Afghan woman in three decades to take part in a beauty pageant is facing anger at home after winning.
Miss Afghanistan Vida Samadzai, 23, was crowned winner of the Miss Earth 'beauty for a cause' award in Manila.
But she may never be able to return home after a storm erupted when she paraded on the catwalk in a red bikini.
Samadzai - who left Afghanistan in 1996 to study in America - may even face prosecution if she goes back.
An Afghan justice official was quoted as saying she may have broken the law and had betrayed Muslim culture.
I really wonder how much anyone from the West really understands how things work anywhere else. After all the talk about liberating the women of Afghanistan, etc, we may have to consider that our notions of autonomy and equality will probably never flourish there simply because thats not how they see the world. Kind of makes you just take a step back and think...

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 7:48 PM |

While all of the Elders failed to blog about Kristallnacht, non-Jew Jeff Jarvis didn't. This probably says something about how Kristallnacht was a phenomenon really relevant to German Jews more than others; and, apparently, more relevant to present-day Germans than to present-day non-German-descending Jews.
He also points to the Thane Rosenbaum Op-Ed, which mentions the Degussa/Zyklon-B situation, about which we haven't posted. When reading about it everywhere, I couldn't really figure out what I had to say about it -- German industry had a right to apologize for its wrongdoings this way, I figured.
It was only when I read this Op-Ed that I realized that Degussa actually stood to make a profit from its work on the memorial -- which seems to me a most grotesque thing. Frankly, I don't think any German industry or people should profit on a memorial -- it should be done with free supplies, free labor, free design. It's shocking that that isn't the default assumption here.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 6:07 PM |

BTW: There's a major Maimonides conference this Sunday at Queens College. I might post the schedule later, but if someone would be so kind as to do so in the comments, it'd be much appreciated.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 5:12 PM |

You heard it here first. Dr. Eugene Korn and the ADL have arrived at splitsville. More to come.
UPDATE: See the comment by Uri below for some third-hand thoughts. I just interviewed Korn, and he's not dishing. Here's the gist of it:
Can you tell me why you're no longer with the ADL?
I resigned from the ADL because I needed a more reflective type of environment.
And by reflective, you mean...
More academic type, quiet type of environment.
Why did you leave so suddenly?
I just decided that it was time to do this.
What do you think of the ADL and Abe Foxman?
I think the ADL is an important organization...I have nothing but good things to say...
What do you think of how the ADL has handled the Passion controversy?
I think they've handled it very's part of a larger story of global anti-Semitism, and I think they're doing a great job.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:40 PM |

I got a really nice email asking me to publicize, so I will:

From Mohar to Ketuvah -
the evolution of a Torah institution

*Presented by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Rabbi Linzer is a former RIETS Kollel Elyon fellow and head of the Boca Raton Kollel. Rabbi Linzer is currently Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School.

Monday December 1, 2003 - Mohar

Monday December 8, 2003 - Ketuvah

Monday December 15, 2003 - Marriage as Kinyan or Kiddushin

All Shiurim begin at 10:15pm
Place - 16 Washington Terrace, Apt. #2
(the townhouses in back of the YU library)
For more information, please contact 212 666-0036

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 1:33 PM |


7 p.m. -- Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum delivers address on ``The War of the Jihadists Against the West'' at an Orthodox Union dinner honoring Lionel Kaplan, head of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee
It's always great to know that the OU has its priorities straight.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:24 PM |

While the Remedia baby formula story isn't cause for humor, it really was kinda funny to see the anchor on NY1 today taking 20 seconds to give out the customer service number in Israel.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:59 AM |

Yet another reason to keep kosher:

Suspected Ebola outbreak kills nine in Congo

An outbreak of the Ebola virus is believed to have claimed the lives of nine people in a remote forest region of Congo... The area of the suspected outbreak -- the Mbomo district of Cuvette-Ouest -- is 700km north of Congo's capital city Brazzaville... the nine people who had died so far were all members of a group of hunters who ate meat collected from a wild boar found dead in the forest... Only one member of the hunting party survived the excursion, a young schoolboy who refused to touch the game.
Smart kid.

posted by Pinchas | 10:39 AM |

Sunday, November 09, 2003  

A friend of mine referred me to this new site, Religious Forum. It's...interesting.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:37 PM |


11:30 a.m. -- The Council on American Islamic Relations announces a Ramadan food drive
This seemed interesting; kinda like giving away food before Pesach or somesuch. A bit late, though.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:18 PM |

Yeah, so I know, I've been delinquent for the last month or so. But this school stuff is hard, I tell you. No time to read and post - it's one or the other.

Two quick thought, and then some more later:

1) I started anatomy, and my cadaver's name in real life (before they let me cut him up) was jesus. No kidding. Granted, it's Hay-Zoos, and not Jee-Zuhs, but still. Should I be worried that he's not gonna be there one of these days after having risen and redeemed man? I hope not, for a plethora of reasons (not the least of which is that he'll damn me eternally for slicing through his trapezius muscle...)

2) How can Benny Morris (in this week's Forward) be so evil yet so right?

posted by Sam | 6:44 PM |

Jewsweek presents Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz unplugged:

Rabbi Steinsaltz believes Talmud study is the key to Jewish continuity. 'A Jewish society that ceases to study the Talmud has no real hope of survival,' Rabbi Steinsaltz says.
An educational innovator who has established schools on his home turf and abroad, and who at 24, was the youngest school principal in Israel, Rabbi Steinsaltz recalls his own unconventional early educational experiences with nostalgic satisfaction. 'When I entered high school, they began to talk about how a person is supposed to learn something in school. That seemed to me so impossible that I just left.'
Ultimately completing high school in two nonconsecutive years, the unconventional but enthusiastic student filled his open-classroom days by 'talking with friends. Being alone. In fact even looking at some of the textbooks of school. I studied mostly Jewish things. It was a very nice time. I was mostly in the street. I learned a lot about Jerusalem, talked with people. I was in places. Not in school. All of it was very helpful.'
Great interview. Read the whole thing.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 6:30 PM |

I just noticed this over shabbas...check out the print version of the latest Observer for the headline "Richard M. Joel Investited as President of Yeshiva University." I chuckled.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:54 PM |


A non-dairy soya-based infant formula, Remedia, has apparently hospitalized 10 children in Israel and could harm thousands more.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:24 PM |

I don't think I ever supplied the link to The Leper, YU's own parodypaper, so here it is. Funny stuff.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:21 PM |
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