...If the ADL is right that the film "could fuel latent anti-Semitism," whom should we hold responsible if any Jews get hurt as a consequence of its release?...How about the Anti-Defamation League?
This film will be seen by lots and lots of people, thanks largely to the controversy around it, and nobody has done more to fan that controversy into a roaring blaze than the ADL...
Why is "The Passion" likely to be the year's big event movie? Is it only because the director is Gibson? No. Remember that we are discussing a film with dialogue in Aramaic and Latin — a very significant handicap in seeking American viewers no matter who the director is...
Why does everyone seem to be talking about this film when they were not talking about a movie last year on the same subject, "The Gospel of John," which also portrayed Jews as playing an instrumental role in the crucifixion? That one quietly closed with hardly a remark from pundits...
A Lexis-Nexis search of articles in newspapers that mentioned "The Passion" over the past six months shows that 22 percent also cited the ADL and its critique — an impressive statistic. The ADL was more often mentioned than the film's star, James Caviezel, who plays Jesus...
The whole atmosphere of debate, worry and accusation has been invaluable to Gibson in generating anticipation of his work, on which he is personally spending $25 million. Lucky for him the Anti-Defamation League was on the case.
If one of the organization's chief purposes is to minimize the impact of negative depictions of Jews in the media, then it has succeeded here in doing the exact opposite.
For every individual who sees the Gibson film, the odds of some other individual being attacked because he's Jewish are, presumably, increased.
So what did ADL think its relentless criticism of "The Passion" would accomplish? Gibson is the last person in all of Hollywood to bow to hostile pressure to edit his work.
As the Seattle-based interfaith activist Rabbi Daniel Lapin observes, Gibson is the guy who made "Braveheart" and identifies with its hero… who gladly accepts disembowelment rather than submit to intimidation and tyranny.
The ADL's national director, Abraham Foxman, genuinely cares about the Jewish people, but his group is inevitably affected by the pressures of funding a large, nonprofit organization. The imperative to convince donors that you fight an urgent fight is overwhelming. The ADL has a $40 million yearly budget to raise.
The perilous logic of the anti-defamation business demands that the ADL find "dangers" to denounce, even when those dangers, if left alone, would have been neutralized simply by their own nature — in this case, by the eccentricity of a Latin-Aramaic screenplay. Gibson's purposes positively required that he be denounced.
He played the ADL as William Wallace played the bagpipe. The relationship between anti-defamation watchdogs and alleged defamer is symbiotic and mutually beneficial. What dangers it has unleashed for the rest of us remain to be seen.
I am running out of the strength to follow and post these stories, but here is the latest installment of Abe Foxman's quest to stamp out anti-Semitism in the world as typified and represented by Mel Gibson:
WARSAW: The mayor of the Polish capital Warsaw has handed the Jewish community the title to part of a building complex built on the site of the city's synagogue destroyed by the Nazis in 1943.
Several of the apartments of the building opposite the mayor's office are already used by city to house collections of Jewish memorabilia.
Poland's restitution law provides for the return of property held by the Jewish community before 1939, but not private property.
Here is a fair point on the controversy surrounding whether or not Israel should have released that video of the most recent suicide bus bombing:
A Feb. 2 news story reported that Israel's decision to publicize graphic video footage of the aftermath of a recent bus bombing -- which included scenes of the charred remains of the bus and the bodies of some of the victims -- is drawing criticism from some quarters for being too graphic about Jewish suffering.
This is reminiscent of a dispute during the Holocaust about whether to publicize the extent to which Jews were being singled out by Hitler.
U.S. and British officials warned Jewish leaders to refrain from emphasizing that Jews were the victims, fearing the Allies would be accused of fighting World War II for the sake of the Jews.
The Roosevelt administration's Office of War Information also instructed its staff to avoid mentioning that Jews were the main victims of Nazi atrocities. Coverage of the Nazi mass murders would be "confused and misleading if it appears to be simply affecting the Jewish people," the staff was told. Even the president's 1944 message commemorating the first anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt did not mention the Jews.
Whatever one's view of Israel's decision, one lesson from the Holocaust should be beyond dispute: The argument for playing down Jewish victimization is completely discredited.
"Sharon: Gaza To Be Judenrein In Near Future" is the headline that the Jewish Press runs above its Gaza evacuation story this week. I was disgusted by it Wednesday, and have grown more disgusted with it since; over Shabbos, I kept seeing it, and thinking about it, and I just cannot see how it does not commit the sin of comparing Sharon with Hitler.
The headline declares that Sharon is planning on clearing Gaza of Jews and utilizes Hitlerian Final Solution terminology to do so.
This is atrocious, filthy, and every bit as explicit as any cartoon of Sharon in a Nazi uniform.
Morality, Genocide, and the Holocaust, Part I. I posted earlier last week about why David Bernstein's claim that Mel Gibson was a Holocaust denier* was unfair and illegitimate. Bernstein's co-blogger Sasha Volokh subsequently authored a post that coheres with my statement about Gibson, but goes farther, with Volokh declaring, "There's nothing I strictly speaking disagree with in what he said, and to the extent he's trying to place the Holocaust in the context of other large atrocities (including other victims of World War II and victims of Stalinist terror), I don't mind, as I'm not into the moral uniqueness of the Holocaust." Volokh pointed to Clayton Cramer's explanation:
I read Gibson's remarks as saying the Holocaust was a very bad thing, and it was part of a century of similar mass murders. Some people try to see the Holocaust as special; unfortunately, there was nothing terribly special about it. It was larger and better organized than the Armenian genocide; it was specific to an ethnic group, unlike the atrocities in the Soviet Union, Red China, and Cambodia. It has received far more attention than similarly monstrous atrocities throughout history, perhaps because Jews in the U.S. have been in especially influential positions in the publishing and media business. This doesn't mean the Holocaust is unimportant, and I don't begrudge the efforts to make sure that we never forget. It does mean that the lesser known atrocities of the 20th century need more popular attention.
Volokh's statements subsequently raised a small tempest of disagreement in the J-blogosphere: Solomonia thinks he disagrees, but fails to articulate the difference that he feels viscerally. There has been much back-and-forth over this, including prominently at Kesher Talk and In Context. Volokh has a rather definitive post, with many links, here.
I'll have at least one more post about this, and I imagine Elder Kraut will want to join in, as well. Relevant to this discussion is a back-and-forth among Elder Kraut and I back in our Commentator days. Elder Kraut started the discussion here and continued here. Neither my response nor Elder Kraut's riposte is online.
*UPDATE: Bernstein writes in that he wasn't claiming that Gibson was a Holocaust denier, but that Gibson's response seemed consistent with Holocaust denial, "but that I was not yet willing to condemn him without further information." Okay.
posted by Steven I. Weiss |
2:14 PM |
MEL Gibson's controversial film about the last hours of Jesus's life is unlikely to incite hostility against Jews, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry said yesterday.
"In Christian teaching, Jesus died because of human sin and it would be quite tragic if a film about Jesus' death resulted in a human sin of anti-semitism," said Jeremy Jones, the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
"We think it would be very unlikely that there would be hostility because of one person's artistic rendering of a Bible story, which is what this is..."
Conservative Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell has seen the film. "It is not anti-Semitic. I will be writing about the film to explain my enthusiasm. It is a beautiful production, a work of faith, truly based on the Gospels."
What am I afraid of? Truthfully, I'm afraid that one day someone will ask how I reconcile my religious beliefs with my academic pursuit. At that point I will have a choice: to offer someone else's answer, or to admit that I don't yet have it all figured out.
A word to J-weekly editors. We understand that you often get leads from Protocols and that you can't always have an Elder write a longer article about what appears here (though we'd often be happy to). The thing is, if you first see it reported here, you should mention as much. For those of you grabbing multiple stories in an issue, we understand that it could be embarrassing to list Protocols as a source so often (even for those of you that print tons of JTA content), so one credit per issue would suffice. Here's hoping you act credibly!
HEY: Good enough for Krugman, good enough for you.
Liz Halloran: "Lieberman and the Jewish Media. The piece is advertised on Romenesko with the headline: "Claim: Jewish press tougher on Lieberman than other media." There aren't any actual examples given in the article and the claim, made by the JTA's Matthew Berger and the Baltimore Jewish Times' Neil Rubin, probably doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The only real example of this would be:
Jewish reporters, however, were more likely than mainstream reporters to press the campaign for information on the senator's religious practices.
The thing is, that's one of a few major aspects that are actually quite relevant to the J-papers' readership.
posted by Steven I. Weiss |
5:03 PM |
I have such fond memories of Lieberman's campaign. Actually, it was never the Lieberman campaign. It was the Joe campaign. The Web site was www.joe2004.com. The campaign vehicle was the Joemobile. The blog was www.blogforjoe.com. Why the Joe theme? To identify with the average Joe, I suppose. And maybe because the folks at the Lieberman campaign thought the name Lieberman sounded, well, a bit too Joeish.
An article translated by Zeyad that breaks down Saddam-inspired stereotypes about Kurdish nationalism being the evil import from Israelis, and then actually takes a pro-Israel stance:
Even though these alleged surreptitious Kurdish-Israeli relations are mere speculations, not to mention the fact that Kurdish leaders proposed to the Arab League to send in an investigation committee, the hypocrites who persist in marketing these fairy tales to media outlets, some of them Turks and some Arabs, are very good at dancing in the Israeli field themselves. Some of them regularly host Israeli officials and ambassadors, some strike deals with Israeli intelligence officers through third parties and proxies, some yearn for the day when Ariel Sharon sends them a greeting to reply with a better one, and others remain silent when an ally or a friend sells his country's water or face to Israelis. I say: remain silent, and I add: Silence gives consent.
Silence does give consent, but columns like this do much more. It's rather interesting how a column that basically sets out to defend Kurds against the lie that their nationalism is a product of Zionism also actively engages the idea of Zionism as something approachable. This is a very complicated position to develop responsibly, and it speaks volumes of this columnist that he was able to do so.
posted by Steven I. Weiss |
9:33 AM |
University of Utah theater professors may have violated the constitutional rights of a former student when they refused to allow her to omit profanity from an in-class performance, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a jury should decide whether the university discriminated against Christina Axson-Flynn because of her membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...
Tuesday's opinion calls into question the theater department's motivation in requiring Axson-Flynn's strict adherence to the texts.
The court noted Axson-Flynn's allegations that professors instructed her to look to "good Mormon girls" for guidance and that she was told she could fulfill the assignments and "still be a good Mormon." She has also alleged that a male Jewish student was allowed to skip an exercise on Yom Kippur without consequence.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Poland is investigating whether former Nazi Auschwitz death camp guards were given honored burials at a World War II cemetery for regular German troops who died in Poland, an officials said Tuesday.
The investigation comes after newspapers reported that the cemetery in the town of Nadolice in southwestern Poland contains the remains of Adolf Hitler's elite SS soldiers, including former Auschwitz guards.
"We will check those allegations,'' said Andrzej Przewoznik, the head of a Polish government agency that oversees war memorials. "If they're true, we will ask the German side to eliminate those names from the memorial wall.''
Nadolice is one of 10 cemeteries established after 1991 for German soldiers in Poland. The Germany-based Commemoration and Peace Foundation cares for the site. Fritz Kirchmeier, a spokesman for the foundation, said it would be very unlikely for such a cemetery not to include some SS soldiers.
"It doesn't automatically mean they were war criminals,'' Kirchmeier said. "If we build a cemetery, we don't automatically decide if someone was good or evil. The visitor must decide that.'' The cemeteries were not intended to memorialize German soldiers, rather to give them a proper burial site, he said. "All of the dead have a right to a grave, that's our opinion,'' Kirchmeier said.
I hope Mr. Kirchmeier will stick to this principle when he is presented with documentation showing that thousands of Jewish Holocaust victims were not even placed in mass graves, but were left to rot in open fields throughout Europe. One such site in Ukraine, near the former Jewish community of Belz has the remains of over 1,000 people murdered by the SS, left unattended, unburied, "like dogs," in the words of one local villager.
posted by Pinchas |
10:45 AM |
A Japanese movie distributor on Wednesday canceled plans to a display a watercolor by Adolf Hitler, just one day after announcing it would be shown to promote a film loosely based on the Nazi dictator's life.
The undated, unnamed watercolor showing Vienna's Karlskirche, also known as Saint Karl's Church, was scheduled to go on exhibit for a week starting Saturday at a Tokyo theater to coincide with the Japanese premiere of ``Max,'' written and directed by Menno Meyjes... a spokesman for the film's Japanese distributor, Toshiba Entertainment Inc., said Wednesday the exhibition was canceled because of difficulties getting the painting shipped from Germany to Japan in time for the movie's opening.
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3 — Mel Gibson, responding to focus groups as much as to protests by Jewish critics, has decided to delete a controversial scene about Jews from his film, "The Passion of the Christ," a close associate said today.
A scene in the film, in which the Jewish high priest Caiaphas calls down a kind of curse on the Jewish people by declaring of the Crucifixion, "His blood be on us and on our children," will not be in the movie's final version, said the Gibson associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity...
"It didn't work in the focus screenings," the associate said. "Maybe it was thought to be too hurtful, or taken not in the way it was intended. It has been used terribly over the years."
VIENNA - The growing number of Jewish communities throughout Europe will require young rabbis to be increasingly mobile and to tend to more than one community at one time, based on statements made at a rabbinical conference in Vienna yesterday.
The changing structure of European Judaism means that rabbis from the Brussels-based Rabbinical Centre of Europe would be sent to Germany, Scandinavia, Russia and Ukraine to oversee 219 newly-established communities.
EphShap notes the undercovered Jewish angle to this story of school buildings being sold for $2 on eBay. The local Lubavitch wanted to buy them, but the township preferred a buyer who wanted to make the buildings into senior centers, instead. A greater indictment of a community has never been rendered: local residents would actually rather live with their parents.
OPEN LECTURE AT YCT RABBINICAL SCHOOL
Tuesday February 3rd, 7:30 PM
Rabbi Dr. David Berger
"Jews, Gentiles and the Modern Egalitarian Ethos"
550 West 110th st. (Just East of Broadway)
Refreshments will be served.
Suggested Donation $10
I'll be attending, as part of coverage for a story I'm doing on speeches by three rabbis, Berger, Meir Soloveichik and Shalom Baum, about the topic.
posted by Steven I. Weiss |
4:05 PM |
France has earmarked 15 million euros ($18.61 million) to help boost security for Jewish schools, synagogues and offices threatened by recent anti-Semitic attacks, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday.
"This is not just a problem for the Jews," he told the National Assembly. "Every time a Jew is attacked because he's Jewish, it's a stain on all of France."
A Bradenton couple have filed a lawsuit claiming the School Board's practice of saying Christian prayers at its meeting is infringing on their rights.
The Rosenauers, who are Jewish, have objected to the board's praying since May...
The board now invites clergy members... to offer an invocation at the start of its twice-monthly meetings. But those invocations continue to endorse Christianity, specifically referencing Jesus Christ on several occasions and even including the Lord's Prayer...
"The practice has made the plaintiffs feel unwelcome and as if they were second-class citizens and outsiders in their own community," the lawsuit reads.
School officials say what they're doing is perfectly legal.
The question of whether government bodies can pray remains unsettled in law. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Nebraska Legislature's right to a chaplain-led prayer, ruling that opening meetings of "deliberative public bodies with prayer is deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country."
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Elie Wiesel, has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the seminar on anti-Semitism being jointly organised by the European Commission and the European Jewish Congress in Brussels on 19 February, 2004.
JERUSALEM - An Israeli archaeologist charged that Muslim authorities are excavating a disputed holy site in Jerusalem in a way that endangers what she says may be remains of the biblical Jewish Temples...
An Israeli photographer said he secretly took pictures two weeks ago in an underground area that has been renovated by the Islamic Trust and turned into a mosque. The area is off limits to visitors. The photographer said that on the ground, next to a large red carpet, he saw two large stones with a grape leaf design.
Hebrew University archaeologist Eilat Mazar said the design was unique to the Second Temple period. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Mazar charged that the stones' presence in the middle of a Muslim construction project shows that the Islamic Trust is ignoring the Jewish history of the site.
Mazar is a member of the Committee for the Preservation of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, a group advocating greater Israeli supervision of Islamic renovations. "There is no archaeological supervision (of the work) and no plan or survey to see what is real condition of the Temple Mount is," she said.
12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. -- UJA-Federation of New York and the Metropolitan Conference on Jewish Poverty hold briefing on ``2004 Report on Jewish Poverty''; UJA-Federation of New York, 130 E. 59th St., between Park and Lexington avenues.
No time to post a whole lot - anatomy's coming up on Wednesday. One thought, though: the response to the Brill petition has been less than overwhelming. 54 signatures (as I'm writing) after 2 days of operation? Unimpressive. Any thoughts on why people seem unmoved to take the two minutes to add their names to an online list? Can YU apathy be THAT ingrained?
Following my post on Rabbi Norman Lamm's salary, people have been inquiring about what other roshei yeshiva make. Some quick searching at Guidestar turns up two relevant salaries in RIETS' 990:
Rabbi Mordechai Willig: $104,857 salary, $7,340 benefits.
Rabbi Zevulun Charlop: $86,792 salary, $6,075 benefits.
At Lakewood's Beth Medrash Govoha, we have:
Rabbi Aryeh Malkiel Kotler: $69,000 salary, $12,204 benefits.
Rabbi Mattisyahu Salomon: $84,005 salary, $12,204 benefits.
Keep in mind that all of these figures may only be partial incomes, as these and other yeshivas often have a mess of affiliated non-profits that may pay out additional amounts (many of which may not be recorded if they're not board members or among the top 5 earners).
Feel free to do your own searches and dump results into the comments; maybe I'll update this post with them.
UPDATE: Telshe Yeshiva of Chicago - Rabbinical Rabbi A Levine: $34,651
Rabbi C Keller: $26,948
Rabbi S Adler: $17,762
Obviously, all of these Telshe Chicago numbers are pretty low, and no benefits are mentioned. Something else odd that I just scrolled past was a write-off of $30K in bad debt; that seems like a pretty big write-off for an org that grosses a little over $2M a year. It's hard to imagine what bad debts at all a yeshiva could build up, other than perhaps student loans; maybe leases of property. Any ideas?
Telshe Cleveland is a similar story, with very low salaries listed. One nifty thing about them, though: they have what seems to me the most detailed accounting of their investment history, moreso than any audit or filing I've seen (without a single loss, by they way).
Rabbi Seymour Gewirtz: $22,448
Rabbi Zalman Gifter: $7,922
Rabbi Pesach Stein: $13,095
Rabbi Aizik Ausband: $22,242
Rabbi Meyer Mann: $13,714
This from a place that spent nearly $38K on plaques! (And what is it with yeshivas spending so much money on plaques, anyway?)
For reasons that seem entirely unclear, Yeshivas R' Chaim Berlin does not file a 990.
Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia has a lot of rabbis listed:
Rabbi E Svei: $84,296 salary, $18,000 expenses.
Rabbi S Kaminetzky: $84,296 salary, $18,000 expenses.
Rabbi S Lieberman: $62,179 salary, $18,000 expenses.
Rabbi Yackov Stefansky: $37,890 salary, $18,000 expenses.
Rabbi Avrohom Glombeck: $41,726 salary, $18,000 expenses.
Rabbi L Taub: $51,215 salary, $18,000 expenses.
Rabbi Yitzchok Perman: $44,110 salary, $18,000 expenses.
Rabbi Chaim O Gorelick: $40,372 salary, $25,200 expenses.
In a quick search, I couldn't find a Guidestar hit for the Jewish Theological Seminary, while Hebrew Union College doesn't seem to have a 990 on file.
WebMD posts something that Jewish men have long knew and Jewish women have long benefited from (Unlike CBS' halftime show, I am voluntarily adding a “Mature Audiences Only” rating to this post for sexual content):
Adult circumcision affects a guy's sexual performance -- but not in a bad way, according to a new study. Circumcised men take longer to reach ejaculation, which can be viewed as "an advantage, rather than a complication," writes lead researcher Temucin Senkul
In this study, Senkul enrolled 42 men -- all about 22 years old -- who had not been circumcised. All but a few wanted circumcision for religious reasons. All were heterosexual and sexually active, and none was using a medication or device to promote erections.
Before the circumcision, doctors evaluated their sexual performance by asking about sex drive, erection, ejaculation, problems, and overall satisfaction.
The men were also asked to note how long they took to reach ejaculation -- during at least three sessions of sexual intercourse.
Twelve weeks after the surgery, the men again answered detailed questions about their sex lives. They reported on how long reaching ejaculation took.
The results: Everything was working smoothly -- except ejaculation, which took "significantly longer" after circumcision…
"We can say with more certainty that adult circumcision does not adversely affect sexual function," writes Senkul. The increase in time to reach ejaculation "can be considered an advantage rather than a complication."
The parting of the Red Sea and the subsequent escape of thousands of Jewish slaves, which is described in the Bible's book of Exodus, can be explained by science, according to two Russian researchers.
Naum Volzinger, senior researcher at the St. Petersburg Institute of Oceanology, and colleague Alexei Androsov of Hamburg, determined that a reef runs from Egypt to the north side of the Red Sea. They believe the reef used to be much closer to the surface during Biblical times at approximately 1500 B.C.
"If the wind blew all night at a speed of 30 meters (about 98 1/2 feet) per second, then the reef would be dry," Volzinger told The Moscow Times. "It would take the Jews — there were 600,000 of them — four hours to cross the seven-kilometer (4.4 mile) reef that runs from one coast to another. Then, in half an hour, the waters would come back."
Discovery News contacted three Biblical scholars about the Russian study, and each expressed disappointment with the findings.
Here is a rapidly anti-Semitic exposition on pre-war intelligence, which buttresses the points made by Bartov in my earlier post, that indeed Hitler?s views are alive and well in modern society. Thank you Aljazeerah for the news as only you can bring it:
Transcending political lines of republican or democrat there exists in America a core set of Zionist ideologues who attempt to set US policy in a direction for the benefit of Israel. Typically this is attempted through Washington based think-tanks disguised in manner to appear as patriotic American enterprises?100% of the money to fund the studies, overhead and movements is derived from American Zionists and Jewish organizations which support the Zionist agenda. Keeping in mind that Jews amount to only 2% of the total American population. There is nothing more un-patriotic or un-American than Zionism. Our very freedoms have never been more at risk?Who would have thunk it, that 2000 years after the death and rising of Christ the followers of Phariseeism would again be persecuting Christians and not only in the Holy Land but in America as well?
...It has never been easier to connect the dots. Hodge-podge intelligence agencies were formed by the very Zionists who camouflaged themselves in American sounding organizations seeking to surreptitiously insert their Israeli agenda into the national security priorities of the United States?
It is equally disingenuous therefore to attempt to place the blame for the deliberate machinations of Zionists at the door of CIA. We do not need to reinvent CIA or attempt to "fix it" as it's not broken. We have to remember that CIA belongs to us, it is an American institution and serves America's interests which have been served well under the supervision of Mr. Tenet. On the other hand the Zionists work on behalf of Israel and have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. OSP and other ad hoc groups were specifically organized and tasked with countering, opposing and exaggerating CIA analysis? It is therefore all the more imperative to root out every Zionist, Israeli spy and / or Israeli sympathizer from all US intelligence agencies and from within the US Government itself?
We must not weaken CIA or harkin to the cacophony of other Zionists like Jane Harman calling for the politicization of intelligence through the appointment of an intelligence "czar". In fact Ms. Harman is the same California representative who claimed that Iraqi diplomatic recognition of only the US without similar recognition of Israel was "unacceptable." How is it that an elected US representative places the interests of Israel over the lives of your children and implies that the $227 Billion of your tax dollars being spent in Iraq is somehow owed to Israel? So for Lieberman or any other Zionist to call for the DCI's resignation is tantamount to the convicted Zionist spy Jonathan Pollard demanding the resignation of the Director of NSA.
John Edwards is no longer the only reason to move to North Carolina, cause now they have kosher Krispy Kreme!
For those who keep kosher, a taste of heaven just got sweeter: Krispy Kreme doughnuts baked and served at the store in Matthews, N.C., are now prepared in keeping with strict standards of Jewish dietary law.
That might not resonate with the Southern Baptist trucker drawn to a glazed doughnut and hot cup of coffee at 3 in the morning. But to many Jews, it means there is a new place to go for jelly-filled bliss. And to others, the fact that Krispy Kreme on East Independence Boulevard now keeps kosher stands as another sign that the region grows richer and more diverse by the day.
Vanderbilt Divinity School is now offering a master's degree in Jewish studies to compliment an undergraduate program it started in the fall of last year.
The master's degree program will be directed by Jack M. Sasson. Sasson, the Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt Divinity School, says the graduate program was designed with two separate degree opportunities to appeal both to students who wish to go on to doctoral programs, and to members of the community with an interest in the topic.
What to make of Sharon's Gaza-pullout announcement? Connect the dots of all the news tidbits we've had in recent months: Sharon's unilateral pullout; the wall; an incoherent solution presented by the political leaders of the left; the growing inability of the far-right to shout down everybody else.
All of this points to a general shift towards an acceptance of a fast-approaching status quo.
I was at Teaneck's Keter Torah recently, and Rabbi Shalom Baum delivered a speech on Shabbos morning about his trip to Israel, where he said there was a palpable sense of things being different than they had in recent years: Israelis were less effusively grateful for American tourism, there was a general sense of nonchalance. His point was that Israelis had gone back to being Israelis. The American Jewish response to the developments in Israel seems to lead to similar realizations: the Sharon government is moving forward without much disagreement -- or even much discussion -- of what is going on. Perhaps this is because Sharon keeps borrowing ideas from both the right and the left; as I've said before, he seems to ably straddle the Israeli center.
The point here is that Sharon is moving toward an end-game. Unless he's duping everybody, he's got a few basic ideas for how things will look by the end of the year: a wall in-between Israel and whatever exists on the other side, with little, if any, passage in-between, and an Israeli community barred from marrying Palestinians. The rest is basically irrelevant details: will the wall enclose or disclude this portion or that portion, and so forth. There's nothing and no one that can really keep Sharon from accomplishing his goals at this point, if he carries them out effectively and with measured urgency.
How long will Sharon's plan last? The wall will almost definitely outlive his administration. The onward march of inevitability is the only thing that will eventually bring it down; there is already some portion of Israeli culture that stands opposed to this wall, to the ban on intermarriage, and to the idea of a Greater Israel. If that group doesn't diminish as a result of the isolation, it will likely grow; when a bunch of them and a bunch of Palestinians start knocking down the wall, then it'll be over. It took around 40 years in Berlin, 30 years in Nicosia, and centuries or millenia in other famous cases.
The news of Sharon's evacuation of the settlements is nothing surprising.
A lot of people have been sending in the link to this Daily News story of New Yorkers' salaries, listing Yeshiva University Chancellor Norman Lamm at $344K, plus perks. Besides this being something we already knew, this was his same salary when he was president of the school, so the comparisons are a bit inapt. Plus, the various perks and what-have-you listed that we know Lamm and others benefit from make this a tough comparison.
UPDATE: Some have mentioned that Lamm also receives a salary from RIETS. This is true: for fiscal 2002, he received $75K from RIETS, plus an additional $1,980 in benefits.
Feb 2, 2004 -- Students in Jewish day schools around the country will soon benefit from technology that will allow them to do their class work from home, the library, or any other location. The Distance Learning Project, developed by the Association of Modern Orthodox Day Schools and Yeshiva High Schools (AMODS) at Yeshiva University, is part of a broad distance-learning initiative of the university that will alter how Jewish day schools and yeshivas educate their students.
Too bad the folks running Yeshiva College believe that this type of learning is anathema to the sacred honor of the academy, because the students of Yeshiva would really benefit from a college level platform like this for specific areas of study. It is time efficient, financially cost effective, but lo, it would mean surrendering that small portion of turf the sub-committee, representing the partially full committee, of the committee charged with Academia and that Technology Thingy on behalf of the Faculty Committee now possesses. Apparently, what is good enough for Harvard, Columbia, NYU and and other mediocre institutions is not quite good enough for Yeshiva College.
posted by Pinchas |
12:09 PM |
Hitler and the New Anti-Semitism
Omer Bartov has an interesting review in The New Republic of Hitler's Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf, Edited by Gerhard L. Weinberg, which is the first authoritative English translation of the unpublished work. Read the whole review, it is an interesting argument using the "New Anti-Semitism's" greatest hits as proof that Hitler & Co are not quite dead, or at least that the lessons they taught are still relevant.
Bartov discusses the text's critical points and analyzes Hitler's philosophy and approach to politics. He correctly asks, "Must we read another ranting book by Hitler?" His answer is unlike one you may expect:
This is a book that should be read... by contemporary journalists, political observers, and all concerned people... For one of the most frightening aspects of Hitler's book is not that he said what he said at the time, but that much of what he said can be found today...: on Internet sites, propaganda brochures, political speeches, protest placards, academic publications, religious sermons... The voices that express these opinions do not belong to a single political or ideological current, and they are much less easy to distinguish than in the 1930s. They belong to the right and the left, to the religious and the secular, to the West and the East, to the rabble and the leaders, to terrorists and intellectuals, students and peasants, pacifists and militants, expansionists and anti-globalization activists. The diplomacy advocated by Hitler is no longer relevant, but his reason for it, his legitimization of his "worldview," is alive and kicking, and it may still kick us.
But c'mon, I thought TNR already established that Hitler was dead and that Jewish communities, organizations and individuals all had to move on?
Hitler is dead, as Leon Wieseltier rightly proclaimed in these pages. What alarmed Wieseltier was the frequent predilection to view every threat as the ultimate threat, every anti-Semitic harangue as the gateway to another Final Solution...
Consider again what Hitler wrote in 1928. Yes, it is insane; but take out the word "race" and replace it, say, with "Zionism" or "American imperialism," and replace the references to the Soviet Union with references to the United States, and suddenly the discourse is not only crazy but also quite common. The "soft core" of this poisonous rhetoric is to be found among some sectors of European and American intellectuals and academics. It tends to identify Israelis as culprits, and Jews as potential Israelis. It is obsessed with the influence of Jews on culture, politics, and economics around the world. The partially successful boycott of Israeli academics... The divestment campaign... The sympathetic understanding expressed in academic settings, and in liberal and left-wing publications, for suicide bombers who blow up innocent civilians in Israel creates a climate of tolerance for murder that is cleverly couched in the righteous language of liberation and justice...
So, Hitler is dead, but there is a Hitlerite quality to the new anti-Semitism, which now legitimizes not only opposition to Zionism but also the resurrection of the myth of Jewish world domination. And those who foolishly think that doing away with Israel, not least in a "one-state solution," would remove anti-Semitism had better look more closely at the language of these enemies. For they--I mean the enemies--insist that the Jews are everywhere, and so they must be uprooted everywhere. Their outpost may be Israel, but their "power center" is in America, and their synagogues and intellectuals are in Germany and France, and their academics are in Russia and Britain. Since they are the cause of all evil and misfortune, the world will be a happier place without them, whether it is dominated by the Aryan Master Race or by the ideological soldiers of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hitler taught humanity an important lesson. It is that when you see a Nazi, a fascist, a bigot, or an anti-Semite, say what you see. If you want to justify it or excuse it away, describe accurately what it is that you are trying to excuse away. If a British newspaper publishes an anti-Semitic cartoon, call it anti-Semitic. If the attacks on the Twin Towers were animated by anti-Semitic arguments, say so. If a Malaysian prime minister expresses anti-Semitic views, do not try to excuse the inexcusable. If a self-proclaimed liberation organization calls for the extermination of the Jewish state, do not pretend that it is calling for anything else. The absence of clarity is the beginning of complicity.
More than 100 Orthodox rabbis gathered Monday to seek ways to revive Jewish life in eastern and central European communities still recovering from the devastation of World War II and repression by the communists.
The three-day meeting, which began Sunday, comes a few months before the European Union adds 10 new members, mostly ex-communist states where many Jews either perished in the Holocaust or fled communist rule.
The chief rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders in the ex-Soviet sphere for promoting religious tolerance and opposing anti-Semitism.
It is worth a note, that the Chief Rabbi of Russia referred to above is the Putin supported (financially and politically) "Chief Rabbi" as opposed to the democratically elected (by the Jewish community) "Chief Rabbi," Pinchas Goldshmit. His alliance and reliance on Putin may explain his praise for the Russian Premier and may also explain why Lazar makes no mention of the Jewish 'oligarchs' Putin has systematically thrown in Jail or chased from the country...
posted by Pinchas |
10:20 AM |
just wanted to share the news that we got engaged tonight, a bit on the spur of the moment - patriots inspired, of course. *grin* the vort will be in scranton PA on february 15th, we can provide directions and/or rides.
: ) Avraham Bronstein and Dani Weiss.
Zackary Sholem Berger has a piece in the Forward on a new play which blames the Jews for the Crown Heights riots.
Here are some disturbing bits from the article:
The play, called "Crown Heights," portrays the murder of chasidic scholar Yankel Rosenbaum as a tragic accident in a fight in which Jews threw the first punch. It is a production of the All Stars Project, Inc., one of a cluster of organizations connected to Lenora Fulani, a fringe political activist who has been accused of antisemitism, and to the self-described "social therapist" and alleged cult leader Fred Newman, her longtime political ally. Fulani, 53, is a co-founder of the All Stars Project. Newman, 68, is a co-author of the play and the artistic director of the Project's Castillo Theater.
Ok, not that atypical - a looney political activist. They're a dime a dozen in NY. But wait, there's more:
The play begins with a video of interviews about the riots, mostly of Fulani and her associates, including her chauffeur and members of the All Stars Project staff. The clip presents Fulani herself as an arbitrator, calming blacks ready to take "defensive" measures against what she calls "chasidim throwing rocks and bottles." "We talked to who we could talk to [for the video]," said Dan Friedman, co-author of the play with Newman, adding that the chasidim they spoke with refused to participate.
In the play, Scheerson's own car hits the child; both his car and a Jewish ambulance leave the scene immediately, implying that the Jews are guilty of leaving the children to die. "There's a black boy bleeding," actors sing, "as the rabbi just runs." When one of the Jews is in turmoil over his community's guilt ("we moved into their country"), and thus sympathetically portrayed, his fellow Jews prefer to take refuge in memories of their own victimhood. The black community, "hungry for justice," must only judge how to respond to the Jews, "smug and safe in their white skins," who "turned their back" on a dying child.
Though Berger correctly points out that a Hatzola ambulance was turned away at the scene by police fearing the growing crowd...
The play also fictionalizes Rosenbaum's death, for which two men were convicted on federal civil rights charges. The victim, an Australian tourist, was accosted by a gang of youths while walking alone, taunted with antisemitic slurs and then stabbed to death. When two groups of young men — one black and one Jewish — meet in the play's portrayal of the incident, they trade racial slurs until a Jew leaps at a black man. In the ensuing melee, one of the Jews runs into the knife, held by a black youth in safekeeping for a friend. This innocent teenager is thrown into jail, where — in the finale — he decides to marry his Jewish social worker.
Ok - a grand finale - reconciliation. Charming.
And of course, summing up the whole deal:
"The play is pro-Jewish," said Newman in an interview with the Forward. "I don't believe in the truth," he said, adding that the play is "not a depiction of historical events." A monologue opening the play itself, however, claims that the depiction is "closer to the truth than what is sometimes labeled New York reality."
8:45 a.m. -- The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York holds its 25th annual Congressional Breakfast; Grand Ballroom, UJA-Federation of New York, 130 E. 59th St.
--U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer expected to speak at 10:45 a.m.
--U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton expected to speak at 11 a.m.
1 p.m. -- U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and ex-mayor Ed Koch join Jewish community leaders to oppose the International Court of Justice's plan to review the legality of Israel's security force; Ralph Bunche Park, First Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets.
Yeah...that whole dispute over the legality of Israel's security force has been all over the news.
posted by Steven I. Weiss |
2:08 AM |
The fight to gain tenure for Yeshiva University Professor Alan Brill is now moving to this online petition set up by the guys running the Commentator.
If you do agree that Brill should receive tenure, it'll take you less than a minute to add your name.
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