A group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
10:30 a.m. -- U.S. Rep. Elliot Engel and others join rally to protest ``fence'' hearings at The Hague; Dutch Consul General's Office, United Nations, One Rockefeller Plaza.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:22 PM |
Friday, February 20, 2004
The first paper we know of to have printed the problematic Deborah Pardo story is The Baltimore Jewish Times. Will the JTA author a letter of apology to the readers of the paper, especially since it's far more likely the story would not have beeen included had they sent out the retraction Monday, when they heard about it, than Tuesday, after speaking with the reporter doing a story on Pardo?posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:38 AM |
Uh oh, you mean it wasn' all just a Zionist conspiracy?
BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi leader accused of feeding faulty prewar intelligence to Washington said his information about Saddam Hussein's weapons - even if discredited - achieved the aim of persuading the United States to topple the dictator.Unless of course Chalabi's real name is Schwartzenheimerbergerfeldsteinman, but somehow I doubt it. posted by Pinchas | 10:35 AM |
Thursday, February 19, 2004
So I just got my copies of the current issue of Harper's, with my translation of the anti-Hipster prayer in it. I was very curious to see it, because I'd seen it transcribed elsewhere with "G-d" in place of "God," and I was wondering whether Harper's was joining other members of the Jewish community in declaring itself "Frummer than Protocols." As it happens, they did print "God," except in the headline, which reads "G-d Damn Hipsters." I was interested to see the degree to which they edited the prayer; I tried to stay as true to the original as possible while translating, and I was surprised to see the liberties they took in changing it further from the original meaning, especially when that meant resorting to cliche. For instance, where I wrote "we are in fear," they wrote "we live in fear."
To coincide with today’s seminar on anti-Semitism, Edgar M. Bronfman co-authored an op-ed in today’s Financial Times outlining the cause of Europe’s rising anti-Semitism and charting a course to combat it. Excerpt on the causes:
The most important achievement that can emerge from this conference is recognition that violent anti-Semitism is no longer the exclusive domain of extreme rightwing forces. Today's anti-Semitic agitators are largely those seeking to import the Middle East conflict to Europe.As there is no direct link to the oped’s text, I have pasted the entire piece in the comments to this post. posted by Pinchas | 4:49 PM |
At an international Seminar on Anti-Semitism hosted by the European Commission and the World Jewish Congress, IHT Reports:
Jewish leaders appealed to the European Union on Thursday to take a lead in combating a perceived revival of anti-Semitism, warning that official indifference was leading to a return of the Continent's historic "monster."At the seminar EU vows action
"We are not here to beat our breasts in public and then do nothing," [European Commission President Romano Prodi] said, calling on EU interior, justice and education ministers to come together to debate the problem, and promising proposals by the commission.More than 100 stories on this landmark meeting already posted. posted by Pinchas | 4:46 PM |
Man, Mel Gibson oughta plant a big fat wet one on Abe Foxman's face, CNN Reports:
The distributor of Mel Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of the Christ" is expanding the movie's release in U.S. theaters next week to meet rising ticket demand...The size of the film's debut now rivals that of a major Hollywood release, underscoring the strong support Christians groups are showing for it after the movie faced criticism from some Jewish leaders and others that its message might be viewed as anti-Semitic.posted by Pinchas | 4:25 PM |
Andrew Silow-Carroll sends in a link to his paper's latest article on the Jersey Chabad messianist/anti-messiant dispute. Basically, the dispute is continuing, with the Morristown yeshiva now added to the mix. There's further emphasis on the idea that the messianists are breaking away from Lubavitch, not the opposite:
Of the approximately 64 Chabad-Lubavitch shlihim in New Jersey, a handful, led by Carlebach, have split away from the mainstream organization, according to Barr. “He leads a rebellion of five or six rabbis in New Jersey,” he said. “My personal feeling is that Rabbi Carlebach is not going to stop. People who don’t want to be quieted won’t be quieted. How do you stop them? This is the tragedy.”Meanwhile, the NJJN starts up with The Jewish State, a rival Jersey paper, and the latter comes off worse for the wear:
For Ron Ostroff, editor and publisher of The Jewish State, the episode of the full-page ads is over. In a letter from the editor in the Feb. 13 issue of his paper, Ostroff declares that The Jewish State will neither write about the dispute nor take sides in it nor accept further advertisements about it. “The fact that there is a longstanding dispute is unfortunate,” he writes. “But it is not our fight.”So Ostroff only reports on things he thinks he can "solve." Cute. Stupid, but cute. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 3:14 PM |
I would love to know what this article is about, but alas, its text is no help.posted by Sam | 2:40 PM |
'CAN MEL GIBSON survive 'The Passion of the Christ'?"
Of course he can, and he will! Gibson has made a movie, not issued an encyclical, nor offered an edict, nor made a law … This is not such a big deal. But this is a movie that - because of a full year's worth of promulgated, hyped and intensely programmed controversy - will definitely make its money back. And after all, isn't money the greatest religion of the moviemaking community worldwide?And after all, isn’t money the greatest religion of the non-profit community worldwide too…? posted by Pinchas | 12:07 PM |
Check out the Forward's sexy new website. We expect the next J-weekly to jump onboard will be The New York Jewish Week.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 5:12 PM |
JTA hires messianic Jew to cover Boteach/Brown debate, the story by Jacob Berkman in tomorrow's issue of the New Jersey Jewish Standard.
Dear Editors: JTA is taking the unusual step of retracting a story, ``Whodunit? Rabbi, 'messianic Jew' debate the blame for Jesus' death". The story was sent late Wednesday, Feb. 11. After the story was distributed, it came to our attention that the writer, a Columbia journalism school graduate, is a ``messianic Jew.'' While we stand by the accuracy of information contained in the story, we do not have confidence that the writer had sufficient distance from the subject she was covering to report it fairly from a perspective that would have been appropriate for a Jewish publication.- The JTA heard from Pardo on Monday, told Berkman it was standing by the story on Tuesday Morning, and didn't retract the story until late Tuesday afternoon. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:58 PM |
Moving into this weekend, we can expect lots of J-coverage to be ALL PASSION! ALL THE TIME!
Big story coming later today from the New Jersey Jewish Standard's Jacob Berkman...posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:50 AM |
Can anyone with information/leads on this Aronson situation drop me an e-mail before 11 AM Wednesday?
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Jack Shafer catches the NYT stumbing all over itself to try to categorize an Arab/Muslim/Persian-American ethnicity; of course, while the paper could just go with AmPerSams, that would still leave us with a category that doesn't exist -- at least in our minds that are too caught up with our preconceived notions of "reality." This has obvious implications for the Times coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, in which both sides cry of bias at that paper. The answer, clearly, is that both sides are wrong, adhering as they do to something other than the NYT's more-valid description of Middle Eastern ethnicities.
Chakira summarizes the Orthodox Union's Passion-related PR effort.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 8:24 PM |
JPost on "Haredi Punks," a supposedly growing trend of yeshiva expellees turning downtown Jerusalem into a skanky hangout. Beware bogus trend-spotting! Of course: "Six gruff teenagers," does not a trend make. As well, the supposed extreme actions taken could be pretty mild:
Ultra-orthodox society has been slow in recognizing the phenomenon. A public letter sent in May 1998 by a group of haredi educators to several leading rabbis stressed the dimensions of the problem: "Thousands of former yeshiva students have crossed the line, leaving the yeshiva to wander the streets, movie theaters, city squares, and anywhere that a yeshiva boy should not be...The main point for using the letter is to establish a precedent where "Thousands of former yeshiva students" are misbehaving, but those misbehaviors are pretty mild -- and when it gets to the serious actions by these kids, it mentions only a handful of cases.
There is a meaningful relevance to what these kids are going through and what the lessons are for the J-comm, but the article pumps up the reality in order to sell the story. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 3:05 PM |
NYT story on the Williamsburg protests; nothing really new there.
a flier handed out last month at a protest (and reprinted in the March issue of Harper's magazine) asked the "Master of the Universe" to "please remove from upon us the plague of the artists, so that we shall not drown in evil waters, and so that they shall not come to our residence to ruin it."That's actually the translation I posted last month, that Harper's reprinted. So Protocols has made the NYT...kinda.
UPDATE: Reader Alana insists we identify her fully, and add "color." Alana Newhouse is today wearing a black ensemble, with her hair tied up in an "I look dazzling without even trying," style. Fashizzle. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:52 PM |
9:05 AM |
"Presbyterian Peacemakers": I know I'm supposed to be on a blogging slowdown, but how can I resist stories like this one? A group called "Presbyterian Peacemakers," which on its website professes to pursue "a journey of racial justice and understanding," as well as a commitment to overcoming prejudice, brought a virulently anti-Israel speaker to Wooster College who gave a blatantly anti-Semitic presentation. This speaker, among other things, "presented the fraudulent, antisemitic screed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a factual book that 'explains' how Zionists have been taking over the world's political, economic, religious and communication organizations." This lecture was presented twice, including during an ethics class. The individual responsible for inviting the anti-Semitic lecturer had this to say for himself: "I regret that the director of the Hillel Foundation (Professor Peter Pozefsky) chose to be offended by it, rather than take it as a teachable event." Gotta love those Presbyterian Peacemakers. I'd hate to see what the Presbyterian Racist Warmongers are like. To make matters at Wooster worse, Prof. Pozefsky's valid concerns about this and other anti-Semitic speakers--concerns that reportedly involved no calls for censorship--were ignored or critcitized by his colleagues. Alumni and friends of Wooster College, let your voices be heard!posted by Steven I. Weiss | 8:52 AM |
The Anti-Semite Was A Saddamist. Labour MP Tam Dalyell was involved in an anti-sanctions campaign financed illicitly by UN oil-for-food money, according to the Guardian. (via Instapundit).
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the Left-wing Labour MP named Lord Levy, Tony Blair's personal envoy on the Middle East, Peter Mandelson, whose father was Jewish, and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, who has Jewish ancestry, as three of the leading figures who had influenced Mr Blair's policies on the Middle East.The irony: instead of policy being negatively influenced by a sinister crew of Jews dominating Western governments, Dalyell has proven to us that we actually need to be worried about a sinster crew of overreaching Arab dictator apologists, motivated not by ideals, but by cash. I think it's time to develop a different stereotype. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 8:24 AM |
8:03 AM |
Monday, February 16, 2004
So, I went to the Seforim Sale for the third time since it opened, but this time I went with an agenda. The first two times I went, I was really put-off by the fact that the Sale was not carrying any Seforim published by the Slavita Press. Now, anyone who knows anything about seforim knows that the Slavita Press is only about one of the most famous printing presses in seforim printing history. It also happens to be the Shapiro family printing press. So you can understand why I am taking this personally. Is this some Seforim Sale policy to neglect some of the most sought after seforim ever printed just because the owners were Chasidim?
"Distinctive But Equal," is the theme of Blu Greenberg's closing speech. She begins with a story of a Friday night during which she wondered what would happen if the males in her family cared to join in the candle-lighting; she notes that in contrast to feminists in other denominations, which have pushed exclusively for a taking of the male roles, she finds herself wondering what her response would be to a fair reaction to these things, which would be a request from males for participation in that which they find appealing. Greenberg says that her resistance to such a request is part of understanding "Distinctive but equal;" she declares that the difference between men and women is more than anatomical. By the same token, not all men should have to be saddled with whatever feminist conceptions of halach have been developed that they'd rather not take part in.
Rabbi Daniel Sperber's lecture on "Dealing with Tough Questions: A Framework for P'sak Halacha." Refers to a recent article wondering if halacha of today is "growing more and more inflexible," as opposed to earlier periods. These days, we've seen, "A diminution of flexibility and lenience," except for the area of technology and science. He says he then sat on a panel with a representative of the RCA who came with a list of halachic areas in which the RCA had been innovative, which Sperber says all focused on technology, which he says he had was unconcerned with. He wants more discussion and innovation in more "human" areas of halacha.
The Bible as historically-accurate, according to professor K.A. Kitchen:
Kitchen assails radical "minimalists" who dismiss the Old Testament as mostly fictional. Much of Kitchen's case is summarized in three words: "Some manuscripts, please!" He repeatedly complains that liberal theories ignore or distort the actual evidence from ancient texts. Another Kitchen theme is that the doubters rely heavily upon "negative evidence," the lack of ancient remains and nonbiblical texts that would absolutely prove biblical accounts. Kitchen says this lack "proves absolutely nothing" except that artifacts from thousands of years ago often didn't survive.There certainly is something to this. I remember being in a Greek Tragedy class, where in the discussion of a passage in a specific play, my professor noted that a certain fringe academic had excised the passage, saying it didn't fit with the narrative and therefore couldn't have been installed by the author; without actual proof from a manuscript, that excision couldn't be accepted. It seems that in Biblical criticism, such methodology is never considered anything but mainstream; the entire field relies on a stylistic interpretation that is explicitly without any manuscripts that back up the assertions. Similarly, I'm often led to wonder why stories such as the Epic of Gilgamesh necessarily disprove the idea of a Great Flood having occurred; isn't the fact that these narratives are more popular than the Bible's audience alone indicative of a greater potential for the event's actually having taken place?
At the same time:
Archaeologists haven't found hard evidence left behind from the 40 years of wilderness wanderings after the Exodus, for instance, but Kitchen says that doesn't prove the Israelites weren't there.Indeed, it doesn't, but it makes it less likely, and this needs to be acknowledged.
(Thanks, Dave) posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:19 PM |
I was just e-mailed a flyer for an upcoming End the Madness event, which I'll post about later, but it strikes me as I'm sitting here at JOFA that this is one of the very few large Jewish gatherings of late at which I haven't heard the phrase "Shidduch crisis." Does it simply not exist for this audience? I'll update this post with what I find.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:43 AM |
Dr. Sylvia Barack-Fishman is talking about gender equity, and notes some interesting findings of the Jewish Population Survey: Orthodox women have high-level degrees and are in high-level careers in similar quantities as other denominations, and "spousal equity" is greater in the Orthodox community than in others.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
At an interactive text-study session led by Wendy Amsellem, about ImaShalom, the Talmudic figure who was a wife to R' Eliezer and a sister to R' Gamliel. Five Talmudic excerpts relevant to the discussion are provided, and Amsellem declares her favorite to be a passage in which ImaShalom goes in cahoots with her brother to expose a philosopher as a fraud by getting him to incorrectly declare that she can split an inheritance with her bother, when in fact the full inheritance goes to him. Amsellem discusses the idea that this story defines her religious perspective by that with which she is differentiated as a woman in the eyes of the law; again, very Third Wave, and simultaneously very Orthodox.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 6:01 PM |
Village Idiot Menachem says that the best-selling YU-related book is the current issue of the Beis Yitzchok; all publicity is good publicity.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 5:36 PM |
"After studying fossils in a region called Dragon Bone Hill in China, anthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa concluded males of the species were clubbing one another over the head, probably to win females.posted by Sam | 4:57 PM |
Award for most complex question goes to: Ari Schick, utilizing the term "Lacanic," in addition to standard intellectual terminologies like "hermeneutics."
A problem with selective sourcing. In q&a following Bigman's lecture, one woman rises to point out that all of the sources seem to objectify women. Bigman's responsible response: "I think there's a problem of context here...because this source material is only a part of all of Talmud." Indeed, many other sources discuss various women's intellects, but the source sheet for the lecture doesn't include them, because they're entirely irrelevant to the matter at hand.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 3:14 PM |
Rabbi David Bigman's lecture "The Tension Between Looking and Leering: Does the Talmud Allow Men to Appreciate Female Beauty and Sexuality?" has a lot of emphasis upon the fact that the sundry sources cited mention both male and female beauty; this is an interesting and true point.
Seforim Sale distraction post: Rabbi Avi Weiss' books are not for sale this year; were they in past years?
The story about Rabbi Weiss's books beeb banned at the SOY seforim sale is untrue. With all respect to what Steven Telani thinks shoulkd be sold at the sale ,he is not in charge of the sale. Reporters have called announcements made but no one actually checked the accuracy of the story. I have just returned from going to the sale and speaking with Shmulik Rosenberg who is in charge of the sale. Good reporting requires checking of facts. The speed of the internet can be a problem as well as a virtue.Of course, there's a difference between books being "banned" and simply not for sale; we'll have to get more confirmation as to precisely what is the case.
As a side-point, I consider this a relative non-story, and am surprised that reporters would consider newsworthy the non-sale of a book at a student-run event; at its most important, the sale may occasionally be advised by guys who have actually received ordination, but on the whole it's run and assembled by undergraduates. This isn't high-level or even mid-level policymaking, it's student club policy.
Obviously, how this pans out will speak to Tolany's credibility.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Rabbi Dov Weiss, Avi's son and an administrator at Chovovei, just returned from the Sale, where he observed that three copies of Weiss' Spiritual Activism were available, and no copies of Women at Prayer were available. Both books were published by Ktav. Dov says that in conversing with Shmulik Rosenberg, the head of the sale, he was told that none of Avi's books were ordered from the publisher, an order that he said was prepared by Stephen Tolany. The three copies of Spiritual Activism present, he said, were just the result of there being copies from YU's Belz school of music. Dov says that Rosenberg was very apologetic and promised to have both books at next year's sale.
Entirely aside from the facts of the situation, whatever actually occurred should be almost completely irrelevant to the entirety of the Jewish community (This post started as a very small post in larger coverage of the Seforim Sale as a whole); a book sale run by some students is hardly a solid example of any inter-institution animosity. If, indeed, reporters were calling about this, they were presumably the same reporters who failed to cover the fact that a Stern College Shabbos Rabbi was fired for being at Chovovei, or that maneuvering by the YU administration got internship offers to Chovovei students rescinded. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:32 PM |
Instantaneous blogging feedback: I noted in my earlier post that Chovovei types aren't here. I sign on at Bigman's lecture, IM Chovovei's Rabbi Dov Weiss, and he informs me that he and Rabbi Dov Linzer will be in attendance tomorrow.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:31 PM |
Gary Rosenblatt's here; you can read his thoughts on Wednesday, I guess.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:26 PM |
At lunch (good), a few preliminary observations:
I'm live-blogging from JOFA's annual conference today, and possibly tomorrow. I haven't gotten a contract for this story (the NYSun isn't interested, the JTA's using the New York Jewish Week's coverage, and most other papers are taking the JTA's coverage), so I'll probably end up writing about it for Jewsweek or simply for here. The best way to contact me for suggestions/inquiries/etc. is probably via e-mail.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:41 AM |
An e-mail from Dr. Michael Brown of Chosen People Ministries, in response to my earlier posts:
Dear Steven,Jake's article won't appear online, though he will have a story this Wednesday that I'll help him post online and will link to from Protocols that will be most exciting.
In response to this e-mail, it's worth noting something I hadn't gotten to earlier. Brown mentions "some of the opposition Shmuley experiences from the Jewish community in doing these debates." In truth, there is decent-sized opposition within the Christian community, as well; it's no mistake that Boteach is pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of Christian sects (even among Evangelical sects) in seeking to engage in this debate. The leaders who feel a responsibility toward the Jewish people (other than salvation) wouldn't be caught up in such a debate. Boteach is not only isolated within the Jewish community, but isolated among religious leadership as a whole; he is a celebrity of religion, perhaps in the sense that the Kabbalah Centre's Yakov Berger is a celebrity of religion, but he is most certainly outside of any normative community of religious discourse. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:38 AM |