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

Friday, July 30, 2004  

Belle de Jew writes: On a girls night out we discussed some of these issues that Jews just seem to avoid talking about but really need to raise awareness about.

1. Haggling over the price of a bris with the Mohel.
2. Haggling over the price of a wedding with the Rabbi.
3. Haggling over the price of the suggested "donation" for an aliyah.
7. What is the point of the UK chief rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks. Does he actually serve any purpose other than getting a well paid job of over £100,000 plus he gets lots of extras on the side including freelance writing, book deals etc.

posted by Anonymous | 8:13 PM |

There's a great new blog out of Crown Heights: "Any time a guy is on a date and a girl insists on paying for anything, he can pretty much assume his chances are over. Doesn't matter if its a movie, coffee, or whatever if she pays for it, its over. However the more serious the relationship is the less this will apply."

posted by Anonymous | 7:53 PM |

The Holy Father and I are on the same page with regard to feminist bra-burning radicals who refuse to shave their legs and under their arms and insist on wearing yarmulkes and talitot.

posted by Anonymous | 5:46 PM |

Vince from New York says: "I find it really annoying when female writers go round referring to themselves by their initials, eg. E. J. Kessler. They do it because they thing that we won't presume they are women (erroneously, we know they are women because they are the only ones who use their initials; in a similar way we can deduce that a crime reported in the New York times was committed by a black or latino because if it was committed by a white the times would make a point of emphasising that the suspect was white) and they believe that we will thing less of their abilities if we find out that they are women (true to an extent). I am glad you blew her cover."
Eve accuses me of racism.
Yet, when I received my "Thousand Point of Light" award for my charitable work with legal Mexican immigrants from the first President Bush, I said, “Mr. President, you have it wrong. I’m not teaching them, they’re teaching me.”

posted by Anonymous | 5:41 PM |'s TU 'BAV 2004 Celebration!
The annual Night of Summer Party of Romance and Fun- (2 Years, 2 Shidduchim! 1 more and OLAM HABAH!(we need it!)
600+ People Expected!
When: Monday Night Aug 2, 7:30 Tu B'Av!
Where: The Hudson Beach Cafe - 103rd Street in Riverside park in Manhattan, Enter the park and follow the signs to the party! Outdoors on the water under the stars
Details:'s annual blow out outdoor summer time shindig! Celebrating Tu B'av (15th of Av) The Jewish Day of Meeting your Soulmate! Here's how it works, you show up in your coolest summer WHITE outfit - Bangitout gives you a name tag with a number on it - if you spot any girl or guy you are interested in dating - simply
write their number on your Tubav card. If that person writes you down - SETS YOU UP! We've done this for two years, and each year one of our lucky matches has gotten married! You could be next! So mark your calendar, find something WHITE to wear, and get yourself there for the party of the summer.
(Free baseball caps given out to the first 100 peope!)
Check out pics from Tubav 2003 Party here:
Contact: Online registration will be launched shortly!! If you have any questions or have interest in sponsorsing this community wide event - bang us out HERE: Rain or Shine! is the popular Jewish website for Comedy, Culture and most importantly Community! 2 million hits monthly and growing!

posted by Anonymous | 5:31 PM |

Australia seemed less foreign than any other country I've visited. There are certain things about Australia that can mislead an American tourist, however, and the aborigines are one of them.

I'm blowing my didgeridoo so that I can become the Torah Jew I want to be.

posted by Anonymous | 5:02 PM |

Steve Brizell writes: "I saw Ms. Newhouse's response in the Forward. I believe that the following comments are warranted. There was no discussion of the widely circulated pamphlet circulated by two MO graduate students at MIT and Harvard that expressed many of my sentiments and opinions. RYBS pioneered the teaching of Talmud to woment at SCW. However, in two shiurim delivered to the RCA and the RIETS alumni, RYBS firmely rejected the feminist critique of halacha . I also stand by my critique on Ms. Newhouse's philosophy of Tznius as beyond the boundaries set forth within Halacha and the Mesorah in the many works of this subject that have written by both men and women."

posted by Anonymous | 3:08 PM |

These days, when I go out on a date and ponder the conduct that my faith requires of me, I cannot help but think of some wholesome music by The Tubes:

In this moment of surrender darling,
if you really care,

Don't touch me there...don't touch me there,
Oh, anywhere but there.

This sums up my predicament with women. I want to touch them "there" and be so touched as well, but my faith does not allow it.

posted by Anonymous | 2:54 PM |

An interview with Ami Eden, national editor for the Forward.

posted by Anonymous | 2:37 PM |

Frum Dad: "See, this ridiculousness is the kind of thing that made me not want to be associated with Luke Ford in the first place, even if we did happen to come down on the same side of a debate."

posted by Anonymous | 2:03 PM |

Someone should inform Debra (a.k.a. Deborah for the non-onomastically impaired) Nussbaum Cohen & The Jewish Week that schools like Frisch, Ramaz, Maimonides, Shalhevet are not Yeshivahs. They are day schools, where aculturated Jewish teenagers who's main diet is pop-culture takes classes in Jewish studies along with College required curricula alongside other Modern Orthodox teenagers.

posted by Anonymous | 1:59 PM |

Alana Newhouse writes for the Forward on R. Shachter's anti-feminist line.

My interview with Alana.

Hafter Princess writes: "Luke is this Alanas answer to my question whethher her definition of modesty allows premarital sex? It seems that she opposes the fact that the rabbis speak out against premarital sex. Does this mean in her liberal view of MO it is OK? And no one should mention that the halacha forbids it?"

I think that is her answer. That society, and the Jewish community, should not worry about protecting feminine virginity -- intellectual and sexual. I must disagree.

First, I will set aside the question of Jewish Law in answering. Everybody knows that Jewish Law holds that men and women are fundamentally different, with different responsibilities, that they should be given different educations, and that the glory of the woman lies within (in the home she creates with her husband and children). I agree with Jewish Law but I won't invoke it in my response to Alana's column.

Second. Civilization must hold women to a different sexual standard than it holds men if it is to survive. Men must know who their biological children are or most men won't stick around to help raise them and support them and their mother. This is also why civilization must stigmatize, if not, in some instances, criminalize, all forms of sexual expression outside of heterosexual marriage, including masturbation, hookers, pre-marital sex, homosexuality and pornography.

Third. The most important question for any civilization is what do you do with them. Men are the instable part of the equation. As far as religion goes, you must reserve certain rituals for men only or men will drop out of the religion. For society, you must allow men to gather alone with other men (such as was the case in service clubs). Once you start allowing women in, men will drop out. Men do not like to compete with women. Once women pour into a field, it loses its appeal to men.

As has been noted by that great Upper West Side sage Chaim Amalek, law school tends to develop traits in the Jewess that would be better suppressed.

Fourth. Look at the disaster created by women, particularly Jewish women, pursuing higher education. They are not getting pregnant and having babies. While Muslims and and blacks and Hispanics are pouring out babies (using their vaginas as cannons while many Jewish women use their's as toys, in the words of Chaim Amalek), many of them out of wedlock, whites and Jews are not reproducing at a replacement rate. Europe is doomed and America is threatened. If you think an America that is increasingly Hispanic and increasingly populated by out-of-wedlock children will be an America friendly to Israel and the Jews, you are naive.

If you think the world is going to be a better place because Europe is dying (not reproducing) and must import Muslim immigrant laborers from Second and Third World countries, you are naive.

These problems are largely caused by modern feminism and this suicidal push for "equality" in the workplace and university, so that women get graduade degrees instead of children within marriage and men, who don't like to compete with women, get alienated from polite society, and have to go to stripclubs to bond with other men.

Does this mean that I think it is automatically wrong for women to take leadership roles in society and politics and religion? No way. Women of merit should succeed according to the level of their abilities. See Margaret Thatcher and the prophetesses in the Bible. I just think we should stop propagandizing women that what really counts is graduate degrees and professional success rather than marriage and children.

I also think that we should end all anti-discrimination laws so that Jews and blacks and men can choose to live with and associate with and hire and fire who they want.

Five. As for education, I do not think it is a good idea to give boys and girls the identical curriculum as is done in some Modern Orthodox day schools such as Shalhevet in Los Angeles. I don't think most females are suited by nature to studying Talmud. Generally speaking, they would be better off in home economics classes and learning how to please and appear to defer to a man (boss him around at home all you like discretely, but don't cut off his balls in public). Jewish women would do well to learn from the examples of their asian sisters who rarely contradict and demean their men in public, and let their man feel like he is in charge. They still control him, but they exercise this control discretely. Also, many Asian women, as well as many Persian women I know, seem to genuinely enjoy cooking and cleaning, and these are loves that we should be cultivating in Jewish girls.

Six. Modesty. It is more than how one dresses but it includes dress. It means living your life with sensitivity for how you affect others. When women dress like sluts, they heat up the sexual atmosphere, creating a predatory environment, and disrupting civil relations between the sexes. They amp up the Darwinian struggle rather than elevating the human condition. How women dress affects men sexually to a greater degree than how men dress affects women (as men are more sexually driven by the visual). Men must employ greater sensitivity when conversing with women. Women need to employ greater sensitivity in dress when they are going to be around men. We are different creatures with different vulnerabilities.

Since Moshe's sister Miriam, Jewish women have been getting their spiritual highs from cooking for us men. I don't see why all of a sudden they need to have their own prayer groups, touch the Torah scroll, and read aloud from the ketuba at weddings.

Hafter Princess writes: "Big feminist males like Shmarya are obviously not married. Wait till Shmarya gets married to that nice Philasha woman he is waiting for and she starts bossing him around. We will see if he still has the same views on feminism.

"A great book for all you feminists is The Surrendered Wife. At least if you plan on being happily married."

posted by Anonymous | 12:14 PM |

Visitors trolling for casual sex on last week were left scratching their heads over an unfamiliar reference that has surfaced in a flurry of recent postings.

"I keep seeing this term ‘Frum.’ Can somebody please clue me into what the hell that is?" wrote Jeff, a 30-year-old regular on the site.


How come none of the Jewish papers were clued-in enough to write this story? Do you see the qualitative difference between these New York Observer pieces and the crap filling Jewish weeklies?

posted by Anonymous | 11:43 AM |

On Yudelline, various postings on Jews, monkeys, parrots and loons... none of which feature R' Schachter.

posted by Anonymous | 10:47 AM |

Shmarya writes: Rabbi Menachem Mendel Herschal Yosef Shalom Ploni, the Av Beit Din, Rebbe, Morah d'Asra and head of the Ploni Outreach Movement, who simultaneosly maintains a chair in Talmudics at YU and a Chabad House in Miami Beach (winters only) was quoted by a goyishe newspaper as saying:

"We don't care about this. After all, we are Orthodox Jews. It's not our job. Our job is to learn and do kiruv and make l'chayims with donors until our eyes cross. But African schvartes? Feh! And anyway, who helped us when we were put into ovens? Nobody! So why should we help? But don't quote me on that. We wouldn't want to look bad for the goyyim."

posted by Anonymous | 2:54 AM |

While John Kerry failed to address some of the issues that most concern me (gay marriage, transgendered rights, and the war on drugs), he did do a credible job of articulating a set of values and aspirations that I, Luke Ford, can get behind. Plus, it turns out that his father was really Jewish.

posted by Anonymous | 2:35 AM |

A Jewlicious analysis.

posted by Anonymous | 2:33 AM |

Thursday, July 29, 2004  

From ABC News: As Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards arrived in Boston today for the Democratic National Convention, so did the California man who is their single biggest contributor. He is Stephen Bing, a wealthy film producer who, with little fanfare, has managed to steer a total of more than $16 million of his money to Democratic candidates and the supposedly independent groups that support them.

posted by Anonymous | 5:47 PM |

I always plan ahead with my writing - far ahead. So even though I am still working on a book on Jewish Journalism, I'm thinking ahead to the next book in the series. Right now, I'm leaning to writing a book on Jewish criminals: mafia money men, Russian mobsters, etc. If you know of any Jewish criminals (say from shul, or Federation events), please drop me a note.

posted by Anonymous | 5:44 PM |

"We don't hate Muslims," said the kid. "We hate terrorists. We only hate those Muslims who hate us."

posted by Anonymous | 2:09 PM |

Tisha Be'av at the Democratic Convention

posted by Anonymous | 11:18 AM |

Teresa Watanabe wrote the most discussed American Jewish journalism story of the past five years for the front page of The Los Angeles Times -- that scholars say the Exodus did not take place as the Bible describes it.

Now she exchanges contentious email with Your Moral Leader.

posted by Anonymous | 11:17 AM |

Barbara Ehrenreich defines the enemy: "Terrorism is only a method; the enemy is an extremist Islamic insurgency whose appeal lies in its claim to represent the Muslim masses against a bullying superpower."

posted by Anonymous | 10:06 AM |

Wednesday, July 28, 2004  

"Breakthrough for animal rights"
So, how did the Jewish blogosphere miss this story (as far as I know)?
According to Gary Rosenblatt, Rabbi Hershel Schachter, rosh yeshiva and rosh kollel at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, had the following to say about women reading the Ktubah at a wedding ceremony: "even if a parrot or a monkey would read the ketubah, the marriage would be 100 percent valid... Yes, a monkey could also read the ketubah!"
Rav Schachter was conveniently unavailable for comment, however his colleagues (anonymously) defended him, explaining that "he is naive and meant no disrespect. Others said part of the problem is that Rabbi Schachter is unaware of the negative connotations of his remarks."
What a pathetic defense; frankly, I'd rather hear that he meant every word. Because for a leading rabbi to be so ignorant and unaware of the (potential) feelings of half the community is as unacceptable as anything he might have said deliberately.

(Cross-posted to Bloghead)

posted by Miriam | 5:54 PM |

The JTA's Spin on the Hoenline story:

What’s in a term?

An Israeli newspaper clarified comments by Jewish official Malcolm Hoenlein that rankled a U.S. Muslim group.

An apparently faulty translation caused the confusion. Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was quoted Monday on Ma’ariv’s English Web site as saying that America is the “ultimate battleground” for Muslims. After the Council on American Islamic Relations saw the remarks and called for Hoenlein’s resignation, the remarks were changed to refer to Islamists, rather than Muslims.

The mistake was blamed on a Hebrew-speaking reporter who did not differentiate between Islamists, a term that can refer to Islamic fundamentalists, and Muslims in general. Hoenlein told JTA that CAIR wasted no opportunity to exploit the situation, making public calls for him to resign without contacting him for clarification.
It is worthy to note that the word "islamist" as defined at, is an adjective and or noun meaning "a believer or follower of Islam."  Merriam-Webster has islamist listed along with Islamism, "the faith, doctrine, or cause of Islam."

posted by Anonymous | 3:59 PM |

Luke's unhinged response to Yossi Klein Halevi proves why YKH was right to be wary of Luke's views on Lashon hara. (Full disclosure: I've met Yossi a few times, but otherwise I don't know him well.) YKH may not approve of Lashon hara, but at least when he engages in it he puts it through the rigors of journalism, which demand that a writer carefully research his case, assemble his research as accurately as possible, and allow the subject of his research to respond to charges and characterizations. That may not fly with the rabbis, but it would with a good editor, and journalism is not the beit midrash. If you want to see the difference between loshon hara and journalism, compare Luke's unsubstantiated allegations that Yossi is in the tank with Sasha Weinberg's rigorous takedown of David Brooks in Philadelphia magazine.

posted by Anonymous | 12:28 PM |

My email exchange with Yossi Klein Halevi, a bad experience for all concerned.

Yossi wrote the book: At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land.

posted by Anonymous | 10:51 AM |

"Europe is the current Muslim battlefield... but America is their ultimate goal. There are already 10 Muslim schools in New York, and my feeling is that despite growing post-9/11 awareness, there is still a degree of naïveté among Americans. I warned against the growing U.S. Muslim community 10 years ago, but nobody understood it then. It is estimated that there are currently around 10 million Muslims in the U.S. illegally, and the authorities are finding it very difficult to find them. It's like a game of cat and mouse."

posted by Anonymous | 10:28 AM |

Tuesday, July 27, 2004  

12:30 p.m. -- Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo joins Cardinal Edward Egan and Rabbi Arthur Schneier at the interfaith Appeal of Conscience luncheon calling for action to end the Sudanese crisis; Minskoff Cultural Center, 164 E. 68th St.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:53 PM |

Jews Go To Hell, E-mails Go To FCC.

I have been made aware that an interview that was done with me was played on HBO last night, and that it has been used to make Christians look bad and to make me look like a person who hates Jews.
That's a failed Congressional candidate who appeared on Sunday's Ali G. episode. His theology:
Several people have expressed concern over my statement that Jews will go to Hell. That was direct response to a direct set of questions about who God will let into Heaven. John 3:16-18 clearly states, as do many other Bible passages, that everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will spend eternity in Heaven, while everyone who rejects Him will spend eternity in Hell, because he has rejected the Only Begotten Son of God. Maybe I should have refused to answer such a pointed question that was designed to cause conflict, but to say that everyone goes to Heaven would be lying, and it would be heartless, giving people a false hope. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, and millions of Jews over the past 2,000 years have accepted Him as such. It is my prayer that many more will do the same. And, by the way, I seek to bless the Jews (please see Genesis 12:3), and for some time I have had a logo on my website which says, "I am a proud friend of Israel." And I always will be.
Interestingly, he joins the newly government-interventionist wing of his party, hoping for an FCC crackdown:
The Bible says, "Silence the mocker and strife will cease," and this stunt pulled by HBO is just one more reason why I believe that the liberal, anti-God media needs to be brought under the strict control of the FCC, and that as soon as possible.
That's right, he wants the FCC to combat "anti-God media" by controlling such classically protected speech as the non-broadcast, paid-service HBO. Even weirder, he apparently thinks the FCC should also control e-mail transmissions:
I have received several e-mails today - a couple supportive, and five or six bashing me, using profanity, obscenity, and a threatening tone. (The threatening, obscene, and profane ones have been forwarded to the Federal Communications Commission, and official complaints have been lodged.)

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 8:30 PM |

Hey, Steven I! What's up, my nizzle? If it weren't Tisha B'Av, I'd welcome you back. Or maybe I can say "Hi," and then say nisht Tisha B'Av Gorelick. Or something. Anyway, Luke pointed out Okrent's piece in the times. My response/critique.

posted by Deranged GOT Fan | 6:58 PM |

The Destruction That Didn't Happen. Tisha B'av, like some other fast days on the Jewish calendar, is all about historical wrongs perpetrated on the Jewish people, be they slaughters or lootings or what have you. It is appropriate on this Tisha B'av to recall the coming slaughter that just never came, the pogrom from The Passion of The Christ.
At one of the syngagogues I stopped by today, I saw a fellow who'd dressed like a concentration camp prisoner in protesting The Passion, an act that seemed to me then, as now, a reflection of an inability to connect with the reality of the horrible, an insult to the memories of those who went through the Holocaust, and a jettisoning of the responsibility that we as a surviving generation hold.
There is no moment in Jewish history wherein the nation so broadly and so loudly proclaimed a victimhood that never came, as was the year of The Passion. On a day in which we remember, in part, the atrocities of the Holocaust -- a recollection tainted by the protesting pajama-wearers -- the seriousness of claiming victimhood comes to the fore.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:33 PM |

2 p.m. -- Rabbi Avi Weiss and Amcha-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns hold prayer service for Middle East peace and for endangered Jewish communities; Isaiah Peace Wall, First Avenue and 43rd Street.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:33 PM |

Larry Yudelson writes: "Imagine if the New York Times treated Orthodox Judaism as seriously as it treats the pharmeceutical business. I think it would be good for the Jews. But I'm not so sure Avi Shafran would agree. Because when it comes down to it, Orthodoxy doesn't want to be treated seriously as a journalistic subject; it wants its claims of inerrancy to be treated unskeptically."

posted by Anonymous | 12:33 PM |

Protocols readers are in exile. Our comments feature is not working.

Thanks to the generosity of Larry Yudelson, you can click here and comment away to your heart's content about the destruction of the temples, needless hatred between Jews, Alana Newhouse, HAFTR girls, and pre-marital sex.

posted by Anonymous | 12:22 PM |

An interview with American Jewish historian Deborah Dash Moore.

posted by Anonymous | 12:58 AM |

Protocols is mentioned in the latest Jerusalem Report. The cover story is Jew vs Jew. On page 45, a piece in In and Around column says, "...Luke Ford, a convert to Judaism and son of a Christian evangelical, maintains the site's ( quirky flavor on topics including his conversion and the insularity of Orthodoxy, as this "group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere."

posted by Anonymous | 12:55 AM |

The human chain gets photojournalized in the J-blogosphere. Original pictures coming to your local J-weekly...never?
Also, SoccerDad covers Bus 19's trip to Baltimore.

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

Monday, July 26, 2004  

Why haven't we seen divrei Torah comparing the destruction of the Temple to the potential destruction of Greater Israel? Or the delivery of a foreigner's sacrifice to the heart of the Jewish nation? It seems so basic, one wonders that it hasn't happened. Of course, it may have, in which case, send the links.

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

A year ago on Protocols:
Elliyahu Stern on Kamza thinking, and a response from Duvie Billet.
Also, what the J-blogosphere had to say.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:39 PM |

The Immigrant Gang Plague

posted by Anonymous | 8:27 PM |

Hasidism and Homoeroticism

posted by Anonymous | 5:32 PM |

Oxblog in the news.

posted by Anonymous | 4:33 PM |

Conservative movement head gets flak for Powell meeting

posted by Anonymous | 4:29 PM |

By Alana Newhouse: Orthodox rabbi Meir Soloveichik relates the story of a Catholic nun stunned by the hatred that Israelis bear for their enemies. After witnessing the pride of an Israeli friend whose son exhibited a loathing for Saddam Hussein, the nun concluded, "hatred is in the Jewish religion."

It is a striking observation, one that might evoke suspicions of historic, theologically based Christian antisemitism. But Soloveichik, a scion of an illustrious rabbinical family, has this to say about the nun: "She was right."

posted by Anonymous | 4:13 PM |

Interviews with Samuel G. Freedman, author of Jew vs Jew.

posted by Anonymous | 1:20 PM |

New York Times Public Editor declares paper liberal, says it is not serving Orthodox Jews among other conservative groups.

posted by Anonymous | 12:45 PM |

I was checking out this WSJ article on bloggers at the Democratic convention and looking at their pictures and there are none that I'd want to date.

posted by Anonymous | 1:16 AM |

Sunday, July 25, 2004  

Chakira writes: Gordon Tucker was Hadassah Lieberman’s first husband. He is also the Dean who left JTS, refusing to divulge the identity of a student who had admitted to him that he was a homosexual. Now he is working with a guy named Elliot Dorff (@ the University of Judaism) to craft a teshuva permitting homosexuality.

posted by Anonymous | 9:43 PM |

I know personally half a dozen FFB young women who were so disgusted by the OU's cover-up of the R. Baruch Lanner situation (and by the Rebbe's lack of concern for Ethiopian Jews and by the lack of women's prayer groups in many frum shuls) that they tossed aside considerations of tzniut and went out and had biah outside of marriage. How can we expect our Jewish young people to refrain from relations outside of marriage as long as the Jewish press coddles our corrupt leaders? I know that this Jew, in fact, can not.
And what about lashon hara? How can we bother girls about the lengths of their skirts (not to mention the wearing of shorts and mixed bathing) as long as there are persons in authority in the community who speak lashon hara? Frankly, because some of my leaders sin, I feel that that gives me permission to break any din I want.
In separate interviews, Nina Hartley and Ron Jeremy told me that the only reason they got into ---- was because they knew Orthodox rabbis who spoke lashon hara.

posted by Anonymous | 9:27 PM |

Would it Kill You to Say Good Shabbos?

posted by Anonymous | 7:40 PM |

HAFTR Grad writes: If you're at a school that is co-ed, you're usually there because you don't want the rabbeim that involved with your personal life.

The only time I remember a real intrusion based on tznius at HAFTR is when this very attractive girl did some modeling. She was, from what I know, pressured by the school to stop, and she did.

HAFTR Princess writes: Is this what really goes on?

"Anyone who has any contact with Hebrew Day High School kids understands that the level of morality and modesty in both girls and boys has sunk to the lowest levels in our history.” And then, “In one high school that I visited, the age of sexually active girls was as low as the eighth grade. One young man in a reputable Hebrew Day High School proclaimed that his goal for his senior year was to ‘score’ with every freshman girl. Morality has sunk to levels in which we, as a united Jewish community, must cry out, ‘Will they make a harlot of our sister?’"

Will they?

posted by Anonymous | 7:23 PM |

Questions for Tishu B'Av

It was three years ago on Tishu B'Av that I decided to sell

posted by Anonymous | 4:25 PM |

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the tragedy of modern music: "I recently saw the great songwriter Barry Manilow on a TV show where he lamented the trashy content and crude tunes of today's recording artists."

posted by Anonymous | 4:16 PM |

Can anyone tell me what Bradford R. Pilcher is talking about here? "That her writing is starkly personal and yet almost baroque in its evocativeness is stunning enough, but Kirshenbaum's storytelling power comes from her sense of narrative. For all its ruthless efficiency, the words are almost beside the point. That's true whether she's writing about the fall of the Berlin wall, as she does in an early story from History on a Personal Note or the travails of high school popularity in the 1970s, as she does in An Almost Perfect Moment. Kirshenbaum simply has an eye for the stories that make us human. Even when they are mundane, they are sublime."

Brad's self-description says he speaks around the country. Anyone heard him?

posted by Anonymous | 4:11 PM |’s gossip on Jews in Hollywood and pictures of Gov. Arnie dancing the hora may attract younger viewers, but spending time there feels more like watching "Entertainment Tonight" than it does like "reconnecting."

posted by Anonymous | 4:07 PM |

Steve Brizell writes: One wonders whether Ms. [Alana] Newhouse's classmates actually believe after 12 years of HAFTR that their definition of modesty/tznius is more "meaningful" than that set forth in Shas, Rishonim and Poskim. If this is the case, then this interview illustrates much of what ails Modern Orthodoxy. I would submit that someone who subsitutes their own definition of modesty and tznius in place of and instead of the definition offered by Chazal presumes that they know nore than Chazal. Moreover, the fact that Ms.Newhouse supposedly developed her mind at Barnard illustrates the danger in allowing the average child to attend and dorm in an environment shaped by post Modernism, MTV and and multiculturalism. The average MO HS grad can't handle the shock to their values, even if the kid goes to Israel.

Shmarya writes: I think what Steve is referring to is called moral relativism. But before one gets all worked up about what MO 18 year olds can or cannot withstand, one should first look at what their rabbis can or cannot withstand. Whether we look at the Baruch Lanner case and how the OU rabbinic leadership handled that, or the Helbrans case, or the Fuerst/Thomas case, etc., what we find is a rabbinic leadership that preaches a morality that it does not personally practice. The message to frum teens has been and remains clear: You behave modestly. Any rabbinic deviations from that modesty, especially deviations that effect you personally, are your fault, not the rabbi's. This corrosive attitude has at least as much to do with how teens behave as does the 'post-modern' values of universities. If the underlying message is that the rabbinate is an "Old Boys" network that protects it's own at all costs, it is not surprising to find teens and young adults who do not see the relevance of overcoming their physical desires, especially when the society at large glorifies those desires.

In short, fix rabbinic corruption. That will set a much better example than sweeping rabbinic dirt under the rug, and it will give Jews a real choice: Between a truly holy community where all are judged equal before the law and where the voice of an abused child or a poor man is as powerful as the voice of his rabbinic or wealthy abuser; and society at large.

As an example, look at Rabbi Willig. He himself is not an abuser, but he covered up for an abuser and persecuted his victims. True, he did apologize. But his action deeply and perhaps irreparably hurt many people. Should Rabbi Willig have been allowed to keep his job? Should he have been suspended for at least some time because of his actions? Was YU correct in allowing him to get off with an apology alone? What type of message does that send? That you can cover for a criminal rabbi and torment his victims and if you get caught your 'penalty' will be an apology?

Boy, that just makes me want to follow every jot-and-tittle of every rabbinic ordinance governing the minutia of my life -- not.

That is the rationale for the spin spewed by Avi Shafran, Marvin Schick, and the like. The problem is, eventually the dirt leaks out and spin won't cover it any more. You would think that by now, we would have learned.

posted by Anonymous | 1:59 PM |

Israeli politics at a crossroads.

posted by Anonymous | 11:42 AM |

"When are you coming back?"
Those are the sweetest words you can hear when you leave a house. Particularly when they come from kids, because you know then that they are genuine.
I visited a Jewish mom and her two kids Shabbos afternoon. The four-year-old girl and the eight-year-old boy wrestled with me on the couch. Then the girl wanted me to put her on my shoulders and walk her around the neighborhood with her mom and brother and two dogs. I got all tangled up.
I left after an hour. As I was walking away, the little girl ran out and asked, "When are you coming back?"
Most every time I leave the home, one of the two kids runs out and asks that.
I remember my father drilled into me an opposite message from the book of Proverbs: "Remove your step from your neighbor's door lest he grow to hate you."
Thus, I try to be sparing in visiting people, or even sending unsolicited email. Most of my social occasions are suggested by my friends rather than by me because I desperately don't want to come across as emotionally needy as I truly am.

posted by Anonymous | 3:31 AM |

In the 7/11/03 edition of the Jewish Journal, came a cover story about "When Bad Things Happen to Good Institutions."

Here's the lead paragraph: "When a University of Judaism (UJ) male administrator and a female student fell together from the second-story window of a Pico-Robertson apartment, hitting the concrete below and landing in the hospital, the story made the news and set community tongues wagging."

But there were no further details. The Journal never named names. But I will. The administrator concerned still works at the University of Judaism. His name is Dr. Amnon Finkelstein (an Israeli and a notorious womanizer). Why would UJ employ such a sexual predator?

If I had been the editor of the Journal, I would not have told my reporter to come back with a story about how good institutions deal with scandal. I would've asked her to investigate, among other things, why there have been so many inappropriate relationships between faculty, staff and students at UJ.

I heard from a woman Amnon dated. He was putting the full court press on her. She Googled him. I was the only site that named his involvement in this scandal. She decided to keep her distance from him.

An informed Jewry is a stronger Jewry. Do not place a stumbling block before the blind, Jewish Journal, by refusing to name names when the story calls for it.

From my conversation with Jewish Journal editor Rob Eshman:

"You ran a story about the male administrator [Dr. Amnon Finkelstein, dean of admissions] at the UJ who fell out of the window with a naked female student. Why didn't you name names?"

Long pause. "We've since found out all the sordid details, the names, everything, but at the end of the day, was this a Jewish community story or a story of three people who are Jewish having wild sex? We don't do stories on every Jew booked down at the County jail, or every Jew who commits adultery.

"We just moved on to other things. Gaby Wenig's story reflected the larger implications of the story -- when big institutions that promote Torah values have to deal with scandals that oppose Torah values. The police blotter... It was certainly salacious and would've gotten a lot of people to read the paper but at the end of the day, it was not the story. Now, if it were a UJ rabbi..."

posted by Anonymous | 12:35 AM |

Tom Tugend (JTA) has almost half a century in Jewish journalism. He fled Germany in 1939. He fought in WWII and Israel's 1948 War of Independence.

posted by Anonymous | 12:17 AM |

I heard that Hilda Silverman, a peace activist who has taught at Harvard, was persona non grata at the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia. Editor Jonathan Tobin says he has never heard of her.

Hilda writes me: Jan Hayden of Visions of Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine forwarded your request to me.

I have no particular recollection of having been singled out by the Jewish Exponent. What I remember from the 1980's (possibly going into the early 90's) is that in general, Jews with progressive positions on Israel/Palestine were effectively blacklisted from the paper. One person I know who was directly affected by this was Rabbi Brian Walt, at the time the Rabbi of Congregation Mishkan Shalom. He is now living in Martha's Vineyard, MA, and heads up Rabbis for Human Rights, North America. I believe that Arthur Waskow was also affected by this blacklist. Arthur is the head of The Shalom Center in Philadelphia.

In mid-1987 I was one of a small group of US Jews who traveled to Tunis to meet with Yassir Arafat and the rest of the leadership of the PLO. As I recall, the Philadelphia Exponent even published an article about the trip that wasn't particularly condemning of me for having done that. And I definitely remember that at the end of 1986 The Exponent published a quite favorable article about Sara Roy, a Jew who was knowledgeable about and committed to Palestinians living under occupation, particularly in Gaza, whom I had invited to Philadelphia to give a talk. So I think the more serious problems probably occurred after that. But again, I have no particular recollection that I, personally, was singled out. I wasn't important enough in the Jewish community for that, and I was living out of Philadelphia much of the time from mid-1987 through mid-1991, at which time I moved away permanently.

posted by Anonymous | 12:13 AM |

The most important works of fiction about the American Jewish experience in the past 100 years have been written by Chaim Potok. He tackled the serious questions, such as the ones about Judaism vs art in My Name Is Asher Lev. I think Potok makes later Jewish movelists look like dilettantes with their focus on the personal and their lack of tackling of the big issues, such as Biblical Criticism, Archeology and its challenge to traditional faith.

Smharya writes: "You've made a very important point. Why do you think things are this way?"

Luke replies: "Because of the growing narcissism of the post '60s world. Post '60s Jewish fiction deals principally with what makes the protagonists of their stories feel good (whether it is through secular or religious means, it still boils down to stories about individuals seeking their own happiness rather wider truths and a concern for how their behavior and choices affect the world). I converted to Judaism because I thought it was the best vehicle to making a better world."

posted by Anonymous | 12:00 AM |
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