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

Friday, October 29, 2004  

Chayyei Sarah is doing very well. She's feeling good about her life and the decisions she's made. She's feeling so good about herself, so comfortable with her choices, so at peace with the direction her life has taken, that she feels no need to answer back to the preconceptions of an older generation of where she should be. This is another example of why I admire Chayyei Sarah so much and why I long to be more like her, oh, if only I could be so poised and strong and decisive:

A lovely and generally gracious older lady approached me and asked me how I'm doing. I said "I'm doing great! Making aliyah was one of the best decisions I ever made. My career is taking off, I love my apartment, and I have nice friends in Israel. I'm really happy."

Her response: "We should hear good news from you soon."

I looked her squarely in the eye and said firmly but with a smile: "You just did hear good news from me."

She said, "Well, you know what news I mean . . . we should hear it soon."

I didn't back off. I repeated "You just did hear good news from me. I'm doing very well."

posted by LukeFord | 5:51 PM |

From Cara's World:

Luke cites a remark of Dr. Janice D. Bennett, relationship coach, which ends with the amazing (and insulting) comment that "Coaching is the only solution to help healthy singles figure out how to finally get themselves married." Coaching? You've got to be kidding me!

There are plenty of us healthy singles out there who do not need "coaching" to help us figure out "how to get [ourselves] married." We know how to get married. You start by giving up on the guys who aren't into you enough to date you. Then you go find someone who is that into you.

Luke ends his post by saying that "smart men realize that they are more attractive to women if they are not too available". I pondered this for a few seconds. Is it true? Do we really find men more attractive if they're not too available?

posted by LukeFord | 5:46 PM |

R. Mayer Twersky preaches against praying for or desiring the death of
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Recently, there have been reports in the press of individuals wishing for
the death of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. By no means am I assuming the
veracity of such reports. (Moreover, even these reports attribute such
malevolent wishes to an isolated few.) Thus I am commenting on the issue,
not on any specific persons or alleged remarks. Harboring such violent
wishes is absolutely antithetical to Torah. Avraham Avinu had no sympathy
for the perversions practiced by the people of S'dom. He abhorred the
torture to which the young girl who had extended hospitality to a guest was
subjected. Nonetheless, Avraham Avinu attempted to intercede to save the
people of S'dom. He wished for their rehabilitation, not their destruction.
Voices of reason like this are very necessary in today's climate. Note also
his healthy skepticism of media reports.

posted by LukeFord | 4:26 PM |

Australia has the number one test cricket team in the world:

By Robert Craddock in Nagpur
October 30, 2004

THE wait is over. Australia yesterday stormed the barricades to the final frontier and plundered the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with one of their biggest victories in Test cricket history.

Party time ... Australia celebrate the series win.

The 35-year drought since Bill Lawry's team triumphed here against considerable odds was broken with a devastating 352-run third Test win sealed with a day to spare when deep mid-wicket Damien Martyn capped a sensational match by taking a lofted swipe by tailender Zaheer Khan to end a 52-run last wicket stand.

Captain Adam Gilchrist did two star jumps and the Australians engulfed each other in a ball of passion as the monkey on their nation's back disappeared forever.

Set 543 for victory, India were decimated for 200 as Australia recorded their biggest overseas win in 47 years and took a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series.

Martyn, following his first innings 114 with 97, and Michael Clarke (73) romped along at five runs an over in an opening session century stand that made Indian heads drop before Australia's rampant pace attack dug their claws into India's desperately out of form top order.

posted by LukeFord | 4:01 PM |

Dave Deutsch writes on why he's voting for Kerry:

It's not quite appropriate for a tzadik of your stature, but it's funny as hell.

Speaking of inappropriate, while I can't recommend Team America as a frum Jew, if you'd just spend the money on vaguely kosheresque veggie burritos at treyfe restaurants anyway, it too, is funny as hell.

And I'm 100% w/you on Big Fish--I was also bawling during the end.

posted by LukeFord | 1:54 PM |

Robert and Karen Avrech attended a weekend retreat for bereaved parents at Camp Simcha in the Catskills. Robert writes on Seraphic Secret:

The compassionate psychologist looks around the circle of men, wishes us a good Shabbos and suggests that we introduce ourselves and then say whatever it is we want to say. He nods to the man on his right to begin. I sit directly to the left of the psychologist, which means that I will be last to speak.

Mr. White says: "Gam zu L'tova. Which means that in the end God has a plan and it is for the best. We cannot know this plan, we cannot understand it, but we must have emunah, faith. He says, "My son died when I was in Israel. I feel guilty about this. Could I have done something if I was with him? No, of course not. But still I feel guilty."
Mr. White, in his mid-sixties, a Boro Park businessman, rambles for a good five minutes. He quotes one verse after another. He lectures the one Reform Jew in our group, as if we who are observant have this absolute right. It is condescending and I am embarrassed by this utterly inappropriate behavior. Yet I say nothing because this man's son died and we all go a bit crazy as we live out our lives as orphan fathers. To his credit, the young Reform man, next to speak, is exquisitely polite.

posted by LukeFord | 11:45 AM |

To answer questions about whether the Moonish, Captain Shleck etc posters are really rabbi Jeremy Hershie Worch:

Printed copies of the following exist in all the appropriate places:

----- Shleck identifies self also as the Chief, Just Sir Will Do on copy of OBDSM email
---- Moonish intro on 'HonestDS' LJ community identifies self also as Chapt-Schleck in BDSM communities.
-----Photo icon of his hand holding collar identified as his hand.
-----Identifying info in Moonish journal:
----- public entries identifying himself as a Rabbi,
------living in Chicago,
------ correct age,
------living on [his] Avenue
------photo of keys to his Volvo,
------ mentions being a grandfather,
------mentions having six adult children from first marriage and three from second marriage,
------photographs of self portrait with the name "Hershy" visible across bottom,
-------photograph of his two adult daughters and their names he posted in his Moonish journal,
------journal entry by someone else [AnotherJen] stating they are going to meet their friend Moonish performing at the Adams St. Shul in Newton, MA on Jan. 10 2004 called "The Fire and the Dance: A concert of Hasidic music and food." (This was Worch, aka Moonish, aka Schleck, Chief, Just Sir Will Do, performing at the Adams St. Shul)

R. Worch with LJ user AnotherJen at his right.


Come on, there must be someone with a car who doesn't already have plans this Saturday.
This is a repeat post, for I am starting to think there is no way I'm going to get to this concert, and I'm feeling desperate. If I have to, I guess I can hire a babysitter and take the T and a bus, but A) that's expensive and exhausting, and B) I would really rather bring Ilana. If you have no interest in Jewish music, I'll offer a bribe of a near-future home-cooked dinner. Anyway, below is the post.

My wonderful LJ friend moonish (who I have never met) is coming to Newton, MA to perform in a concert on Saturday, Jan. 10, at 8:00pm. It's called "The Fire and the Dance: A concert of Hasidic music and Food," [my note: what's hasidic food?] and they suggest a donation of $10. It will be at the Adams Street Shul, at 168 Adams St. in Newton MA (

He wrote to me:
"Would you please bring with you as many of those people you think might be interested in me, in my music, and in the the quaint idea of having a crazed hasidic rabbi come to town...It could be a wild concert. Well, wild as far as hasidic goes."

I really want to go, but I need a ride from Somerville for myself and my kid. Anyone?

posted by LukeFord | 11:20 AM |

Rabbi Aharon Rakeffet's comments on separate seating

posted by LukeFord | 1:39 AM |

Thursday, October 28, 2004  

Me writes me about the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) investigation into rabbi Mordecai Tendler:

Praesidium Inc. finished their investigation several weeks back. It's safe to assume that the RCA either has or will very shortly have that report.

It's damning.

I think it's safe to assume that pro-Mordechai Tendler forces at the RCA and
the Jewish Press are about to do a lot of damage. I've hear that there's been pressure on numerous parties to sign false statements to help Tendler. I can't imagine the RCA is prepared for what will happen next.

In the past, they've tried to deal with these things quietly:

Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum was quietly asked to resign through his lawyer.

Rabbi Ephraim Bryks was also allowed to resign (although not as quietly).
His protectors among his in-laws, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Rabbi Lewis Brenner,
their Rabbinical families and colleagues could no longer protect him as well
as they had for decades (and continue to).

Rabbi Mordechai Tendler will not likely resign quietly. He still has strong

As to your direct question:
>I hear the RCA is having dramatic internal divisions on the matter.

Growing pains are expected. I'm not sure if the RCA is prepared for what is
happening/going to happen. How could they be? The Rabbanute tolerated this
situation far too long. The Rabbanute has never properly dealt with a situation of an abusive colleague properly. A lot of mistakes have been made, a lot more mistakes will be made before this is over. Hopefully, lessons will be learned.

Hopefully, a regime change will finally take place. I doubt it though.

The following is part of an email that has circulated within the Orthodox
community regarding Tendler. It is accurate.

Although Rabbi Tendler has helped a great many women, and many agunot and
agunah activists are beholden to him, it seems that in many instances his
assistance has come with a "price," often in the form of him using his
rabbinic power in ways that are unethical. Because of this, Rabbi Tendler
is currently under official investigation by the RCA following the
complaints of 9 women. The complaints are of a sexual nature -either that
the women were pressured into having intimate contact with Rabbi Tendler or
that they had sex with him at his insistence. These opportunities often
came about when he was helping them on a personal matter. The allegations
span many years and are very disturbing and credible. It has been extremely
hard for the victims to speak up; it has taken some of them years to
rebuild their lives, and we all need to support them in any way that we
can. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to blame the victims, particularly
when a charismatic figure is involved, and particularly when the person has
done many good things as well. The RCA has hired a private independent
investigative team to look into the allegations, and the privacy of the
complainants is assured. I already heard from one complainant that her
interview with the investigator, a female forensic psychologist gave her
quite a bit of relief and a sense of "closure." If you or anyone that you
know have any information about these matters, or want to testify you
should contact Rabbi Mark Dratch, the committee head at 203 358 2200 ext.

posted by LukeFord | 3:06 PM |

Dr Naomi Mark is the sister of Jonathan Mark, associate editor of the Jewish Week. She's long been friendly with both R. Mordechai Gafni and one of Gafni's accuser's sisters. Naomi Mark is speaking at the 1st International Carlebach Conference:
Friday, October 29th 11:45-12:45 - Workshops/Sessions - 7th floorOpenness and Boundaries - Naomi Mark, and Dr. Michelle Friedman - Maintaining a Balance as a Spiritual Leader.
I can't think of a better example of maintaining balance as a spiritual leader than Mordecai Gafni.
Jonathan Mark says he barely knows Gafni.

posted by LukeFord | 2:43 PM |

Miriam reports: From Jew to Muslim terrorist

posted by LukeFord | 1:52 PM |

Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling urged voters on national TV to vote for President Bush.
On his radio show last year, Dennis Prager interviewed members of Stanford's football team and none of them were liberal. What makes college athletes a lonely group in political orientation on college campuses? Part of it might be the level playing field of sports. No affirmative action. Clear-cut results. Things that disturb many liberals, particularly with education.
On his radio show's final hour today, Prager had on Dick Morris.
Four or five years ago, Morris said on KABC radio in LA that Hillary Clinton's sexual preference may not be for men. I heard Prager say on the air on KABC how inappropriate that Morris comment was. How can anybody befriend and then betray someone as Morris had done to the Clintons?
Today Prager continually praised the wisdom of Morris's perspectives, including on Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Larry Yudelson comments: "um, given that she's married why are Sen. Clinton's sexual preferences of interest to anyone? Let alone to a Jewish "leader"?"
OK, I've seen enough snarky comments like this that I want to respond.
1. Being married has nothing to do with indicating what somebody's sexual preference is. Barry Diller is married. I thought liberals were supposed to be all sophisticated and seeing things in shades of grey? Guess not.
2. Prager's point five years ago was precisely that he thought Dick Morris's comment was a low blow.
3. Prager is a Jewish leader. He ran Brandeis Bardin, published four influential books, influenced thousands of Jews to take Judaism seriously (he's brought more Jews to Orthodoxy than any Orthodox Jew says R. Baruch Cunin, West Coast leader of Chabad). Thousands of Jews look to Prager for moral leadership. I can't think of any Jewish thinker who is more influential. Most of what Dr. Laura Schlesinger says about morality is taken from Prager and put into her own harsher terms.

posted by LukeFord | 1:11 PM |

Rabbi Mayer Schiller writes in the YU Commentator about his experience with YU.

Many people accuse YU being a close-minded and intolerant institution. But here the YU student paper opens its pages to an advocate of racial separation, one who makes common cause with white supremacist groups. I find Orthodox life far more tolerant of such racial thinking as that blacks are less intelligent, on average, than whites. Other sectors of Jewish life tend to be intolerant of these views.

I suppose that racism is one of those sweet delights that the Almighty allows those who follow his Torah as a partial recompense for the harshness of the Oral law.

I remember when a class from the liberal temple Ohr HaTorah took a class at YULA (Yeshiva University Los Angeles) with a Frum From Birth Monsey-raised rabbi. The rabbi brought up as the most natural analogy to something in the sacred text that some people believe that blacks are less intelligent because of genetics while others believe that they are less intelligent because of the way society has treated them.

Needless to say, at least one of these Reform Jews was offended and never came back. The next week the rabbi apologized for his remark. If he had made it in an Orthodox environment, and I am sure he had, then it would've gone unnoticed.

Different Jewish groups are tolerant and intolerant of different things.

Paul Shaviv on rabbi Schiller:

Most fascinating - and beautifully written - is the article by Mayer Schiller, one of the more interesting and individual characters on the landscape, about his long relationship with YU.


From my interview with Dave Deutsch, who teaches at the same high school as rabbi Mayer Schiller:

"There's this one rabbi I know - rabbi Mayer Schiller. You'll find some of his stuff posted on The Third Way page. He reviewed a biography of Strom Thurmond where he mourns the cowardice of Strom Thurmond for giving up segregation. For the loathsomeness of his ideas, at least he can laugh at himself. We get along. I have a high threshold for things so long as the person does not always take himself seriously. Go forth and sin no more.

"The best about Rabbi Schiller is that he sets the standards for misbehavior so high, I feel like nothing I can do will get me into trouble. If I have made some comments about Israel that have got me in trouble, well, Rabbi Schiller is a fellow traveler with the Neturei Karta (anti-Israel ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect)."


From the Forward 4/13/01 on Schiller: A Chasidic Spokesman Espouses Modernity — and Race Separation

Rabbi Schiller, 49, has made common cause with and spoken before a cast of characters and organizations that would send most American Jews running to the Anti- Defamation League: American white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists, Conrad Muhammad of the Nation of Islam and right-wing European nationalists.

In a series of interviews with the Forward, Rabbi Schiller declined to discuss for the record his published views on race. Officials at Yeshiva University High School, also known as MTA, said Rabbi Schiller's silence stems from an agreement that he made with school administrators five years ago, prohibiting Rabbi Schiller from discussing racial issues with students or in any public forum.


Me writes: I believe this is yet another example of a story Gary Rosenblatt of The Jewish Week suppressed.

Pulling My Punches?

Several years ago, for example, when we were looking into the fact that a high school rebbe had published deeply racist views in white supremacist journals, the top administrator at the school where he teaches called to tell me that he knew about the rebbe’s views, but if we published such a story, I would be responsible for the firing of this highly talented and effective rebbe. Why me? I asked. Because, the administrator said, the resulting publicity and outcry would force him to terminate the rebbe, and it would be on my head.

In the end, we held off because we found no proof that the rebbe discussed his views with his students. But I found the phone call, and its logic, deeply disturbing.

I recently went to hear a prominent rabbi give a talk on Torah perspectives on sexual abuse, and he was adamant in asserting that Jewish law was “unequivocal in its condemnation” of various forms of “this terrible crime.” He was insistent that victims be supported and protected, and that perpetrators be held responsible for their crimes because there is “zero tolerance in Jewish law.”

An important message from an important leader. The problem was that he was a key and controversial figure in the Rabbi Lanner story, criticized for not only defending him over the years but for being dismissive of and accusatory toward those victims brave enough to speak out.

The Forward published the story about Schiller a month after this Rosenblatt column. Schiller did not get fired.
The hypocritical rabbi on sexual abuse is rabbi Mordechai Willig, writes Me. "It would be almost another two years before Rosenblatt wrote the story, naming him."

Me writes:

Why would I be suprised that a Rabbi with published racist views is tolerated as a speaker by the Young Israel movement.

This is the same movement that allows a Bukharian Youth organization to bring a known pedophile [R. Ephraim Bryks] into it's synagogues.

Is it against the Torah to advocate racial separation? Certainly the Torah calls on Jews to be a separate people. Separate but equal got a bad rap because of the 1950s US Supreme Court ruling that separate inherently means unequal. But separate does not have to mean unequal. We have separate bathrooms for men and women. I don't think you can make a strong argument from Jewish text that racial separation is against Torah.
Yes, I understand that Jews are not a race. That Jews are composed of all races from black to brown to yellow. But Jewish laws against Jews bathing with non-Jews and all such laws that Kahane advocated for Israel are deeply rooted in Jewish text, which would seem to have some sympathy for rabbi Schiller's views.

posted by LukeFord | 1:00 PM |

From the New York Post:

Columbia University will investigate claims by Jewish students that some Middle Eastern professors use the classroom as a pulpit for spreading hate against Jews and Israel, officials said yesterday.

posted by LukeFord | 11:38 AM |

Chicago Orthodox rabbi Jeremy Hershie Worch posts to OBDSM, The Orthodox-Jewish-Bondage-Domination-Sado-Masochism Connection:

Date: Fri. Feb 2, 2001 7:18 a.m.
Subject: Epiphanic question time

Y'know Y'All,

I'm sitting here in my hotel room in Dryhump, Kentucky, the day is ove, Let's say I'm a Mashglach for the Star-K or something like that, It's "Yes, Rabbi" this, and "No, Rabbi" that all day long.

His name is Brian, a reddish blonde Shaygetz of the most impossibly alluring sort. Do you know what kind of world it is out there in the interior of America? Do you know how invisible the Jewish World has become since I got into my car at the beginning of the week and drove west by south?

Here I am asked, whyt are the Israelis and Palestinians fighting each other for God's sake, they're all Jews over there aren't they? I tell him, No, Israelis and Palestinians are not the same, one is Jew the other Arab. But I can see he remains
perplexed. Small difference, he mutters. I know for certain that there is not one person in a hundred in this factory who can find Israel on a map of the world.

But back to Brian. He is dressed in starched whites like all workers in this super-sterile environment. Food-grade sterile. My kinda whites, almost transparent, almost fluorescent, I can see the individual vertabrae rippling through his jacket back, almost read the label on his underpants. "Hi Brian," I say. "Oh Rabbi you remembered my name." He smiles and I can smell the feel of the stubble on his cheeks, red and gold.

I want to lock him into one of the two hundred huge stainless steel hoppers which feed whatever it is that gets manufactured here in this plant. I want to hear
him beg me to let him out, I want control. I'm thinking to myself, I might cause an international incident if I were to do any one of the mulitiplicity of violent and kinkily sexual scenarios I have in mind even moderate justice in this sleepy hillbilly town.

I did not take my plastic Star-K numbered sealing tags and bind his wrists to the pipes in the boiler room so that I might rape his mouth. I did not clamp his
hipples with the small electrical clips or the ring widgets or the abrasive tape or the rubber compound coating sealant or the other accoutrements of torture available to Rabbis in strange places. I kashered the inlet nozzles and stuck my seals on bags of feedstuffs for export to Israel. No dismembered 22 year old shaygetz with a smile on his face and strange metal objects in his rectum found his way into my sealed cartons, No food grade quality control Paqid in the Holy Land need fear encountering my gory leftovers next week in Holon or Metullah.

But I cannot still the question asking itself over and over in my mind. What are you going to do, Schleck, with your double triple quadruple identity crisis?

When you giv eyour little D'var Torah'le before Musaf, Schleck, are you going to mention that you yourself, like personally, like deep down where you know yourself, would have been among those who preferred to remain in Egypt than leave to be given a code of living in the wilderness that includes such gems as "Thou shalt not commit adultery." or the ban against taking a woman and her sister or a woman and her
daughter? Should I mention it in passing this Shabbat? This Shabbos?

Should I mention that I have a slave? That I hurt her passionately. Hurt? I torture her quite deliberately. Her name is J and she too is a member of this OBDSM list. I'm the one who brought her to massive orgasms with my savage crocodile clips. Should I mention it in passing at the end of the d'rosho?

When Aish-Hatorah puts me up on their website and Links theirr page to mine for the downloadable Torahs, what would happen if I linked it to my erotic mind-control stories? D'you think the discerning reader would make the connection between my penchant for erotic mind-control and my theosophistical theories about worshipping God, power exchange, 24/7 humiliation and bondage scenes and real abandonment of
the self and the will to God my Higher Power?

Neh! It'll never happen......

Somewhere in all this there has to be a Rav I can ask, a rosh yeshiva I can talk it all through with. And don't you go telling me that I'm it. I want a real
rabbi, one who's never put his hand below his belt in his lifetime, who's never masturbated or fantasized about his wife's sister or thought about going into
the Ladies Shul and taking his pick. I want a rabbi who never went into the dirty washing hamper and tried rubbing his scrotum with his sister's satiny bra and
pants when he was twelve years old, who never peeped and wished and dreamed and longed.

I guess I won't find her on this list.

Love and Pain,

I find the "dismembering" part of the above fantasy disturbing and the reveling in doing violence to innocents. Yes, it is only fantasy, but it is fantasy written down and published.

posted by LukeFord | 11:15 AM |

"A cross-dressing, bearded Hasidic man wearing blue eye shadow and pink pumps was busted on charges of killing a 75-year-old rabbi who had taken him into his home, police said yesterday."

posted by LukeFord | 10:52 AM |

Menahem Wecker on Portraits of Israelis & Palestinians: For my parents

This made me cry and hug my koala bear.

posted by LukeFord | 1:22 AM |

Wednesday, October 27, 2004  

Kosherfest 2004: Day One.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:03 PM |

On Ginger Lynn's Internet radio show, Jewish philosopher Nina Hartley said that 18 as an age of sexual consent in America is "ridiculous."

Hartley says in Europe the age of consent ranges from 13 to 15. "Women are coming into puberty earlier than ever, 12 and 13. To say to them to be celibate for five or six years is just unreasonable." (Credit Gene Ross)

posted by LukeFord | 5:33 PM |

YU Commentator's Arts Staff (aka Menahem Wecker) writes about a great movie:

Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" enlists with the likes of "Lawrence of Arabia," "Ju Dou," "Princess Mononoke" and etc. in the canon of movies that really incorporate tremendously beautiful and powerful images in a real sense that approaches eclipsing - if not trumping altogether - the movie's content. Where most movies sacrifice successful image development for the flashiness of tech-ed up chase scenes and for the jumpy and the vertigo-instigating, these movies, amongst select others, paint tremendous pictures, almost more like a moving slideshow than a movie.

posted by LukeFord | 3:08 PM |

Dennis Prager writes:

As a leader in the American Jewish community for some 30 years, I have never asked fellow Jews to vote for a presidential candidate. I have always believed that Jews have had Jewish reasons to vote for candidates from both parties.

Not this election. There are overwhelmingly powerful Jewish reasons to vote for President Bush and equally powerful Jewish reasons not to vote for John Kerry.

posted by LukeFord | 2:59 PM |

Dancing The Ballets Russes, Jewish Art Deco At The MFA, Boston by Menahem Wecker

posted by LukeFord | 2:56 PM |

HaRav Elyahsiv endorses Bush

HaRav Hershel Schacter on the Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael

posted by LukeFord | 2:28 PM |

Rabbi Shteinman is in the hospital because he was pushed to do an insane tour throughout the USA.

posted by LukeFord | 1:07 PM |

Tzemach Atlas on a day in the life of the Knesset.

posted by LukeFord | 2:25 AM |

How to Talk to Women Over the Phone

The Top 10 Reasons Why Very Intelligent Men Fail with Women

posted by LukeFord | 2:23 AM |

I fear that I am softening. For a number of weeks now, certain stern moral positions that I have maintained throughout my journey before God have been twisted into hitherto unrecognizable shapes by the physical positions She-Woman has imposed on me. I feel that I am on the cusp of sin so great that only a Moses or a Spielberg could get away with it in the eyes of those whose respect I covet. I turn to my friends for help, and get none. Cathy, why hast thou forsaken thy Luke in his hour of moral weakness? If only you had sought to fix me up with one of your brainy Jewish friends, I would today be a contented man, bound by laws both Oral and Written to my challah. And what of you, Chaim, why dost thou seek to counsel Luke into temptation?

posted by LukeFord | 2:21 AM |

A mystical video game.

posted by LukeFord | 2:18 AM |

YU Commentator editor Zev Nagel asks if blogs are an evil empire:

Even the most high-brow of Jewish blogs - whose bloggers offer self-righteous meanderings and other mind-blowing insights into modern Judaism - are part of the sensationalistic blog culture.

During a past peruse down Jewish blogger lane, the following topics were repeatedly the center of conversation: details of recent scandals involving menacing rabbis who had allegedly sexually exploited women; more comments on indiscretion; rampant Haredi and "Jews-not-like-us" bashing; conversations that were certainly meant to be private were blogged. Last year in particular, one notorious blog carried a fallacious story about a group of unbecoming Yeshiva students, which made its way half way around the world.

For a contrary perspective on lashon hara.

Accurate Lashon hara (harmful though true gossip) has a similarity to free trade. The price paid is obvious and steep to the subject of the lashon hara while the benefits of the lashon hara (a more informed group can make better decisions) are diffused. So those who are the targets of lashon hara, such as rabbis Gafni and Worch, can loudly and eloquently complain that they are victims, while the beneficiaries of this lashon hara, those who make better decisions on the basis of more accurate information, tend to keep quiet.

With free trade, any country that participates in it is better off as a whole. But with free trade, small compact groups are directly and adversely affected, and thus they have an incentive to loudly protest. The beneficiaries of free trade, like the beneficiaries of lashon hara, have no incentive to loudly state their case.

Thus, making the case for lashon hara is a lonely one in Jewish religious life, even though it frequently works for the good of the community.

In my research for my book on Jewish journalism -- Yesterday's News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism -- I found that cries of "lashon hara" by those negatively affected were usually the first refuge of scoundrels. Complaints of "lashon hara" in Jewish life tend to most often come from those who want to protect their privileged place in the community and want to avoid scrutiny and accountability.

Is gossip good? I read every book I could find in various libraries about gossip and put this together.

Let me be clear. I believe, with Judaism, that much of the time it is wrong to spread hurtful though true details about a person. The exception is when the information (gossip) can help the innocent to make better decisions.

Greg Gershman critiques Zev Nagel's piece.

Michael writes: Ari Goldman is speaking on the subject of journalism and lashon hara at the Lishma Conference in NYC on Sunday, 10/31.

posted by LukeFord | 2:16 AM |

Three sons of Rabbi Avraham Shapira, head of the flagship Merkaz Harav Yeshiva and the National Religious Party spiritual leader who two weeks ago called on soldiers to disobey evacuation orders, did not serve in the military, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

posted by LukeFord | 2:12 AM |

Reform responsa on Chabad.

posted by LukeFord | 2:11 AM |

Walking Stick Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of aboriginal Jewish spirituality, occasionally sharing events with teachers indigenous to Native American and other earth-honoring traditions.

posted by LukeFord | 2:09 AM |

ORAH - Oregon Ruchnios And Hasidus

ORAH is an independent educational program, located in Eugene, Oregon, featuring rabbis and teachers of spiritual, Hasidic and mystical Judaism.
Most teachings are in the spirit of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, but a range of styles is presented.
Programs such as classes, workshops, concerts and special weekend retreats in the beautiful Oregon forest are presented approximately every couple months.
Previous programs have included: Jewish mysticism and kabbala, Hasidic stories and teachings, Rav Kook, ethical teachings, Ophanim Jewish "yoga" body movement, meditation, Jewish personal growth and the music of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach .
Teachers have included: maggid Yithak Buxbaum, Rabbi Itzhak Marmorstein, Devorah Schoenfeld, Rabbi Gershon Winkler, Rabbi Yehoshua Witt, Rabbi Laibl Wolf, and Rabbi Hershy Worch.
ORAH is unaffiliated, traditionally oriented; for the entire Jewish community.
AOL Profile
AOL Member Directory
Name: Rabbi Gershon Caudill, (Ecokosher Rebbe) Jewish Flexodox
Location: Bay area Northern California
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Happily married, 2nd marriage.
Hobbies & Interests: Studying Israelite migrations. Pro Gay Rights. Interfaith Jewish-Islam-Christian-Indigenous dialogue. Native American - Jewish relationships, Environmental connectedness, Ecokosher principles.
Favorite Gadgets:;
Occupation: Rabbi & Jewish Shaman (Rebbe).
Personal Quote: The person who says that Orthodox Judaism is the ONLY authentic form of being Jewish, is like a person who says cave art is the ONLY authentic art.

Hometown HomePage:

posted by LukeFord | 2:06 AM |

Tuesday, October 26, 2004  

Kerry hummus sculpture vandalized at Kosherfest.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 8:00 PM |

American Reform responsa on masturbation:

There are Jews in the world, there are Buddhists,
There are Hindus and Mormons and then,
There are those that follow Mohammed,
But I've never been one of them...

I'm a Roman Catholic, and have been since the day I was born,
And the one thing they say about Catholics,
Is they'll take you as soon as you're warm...

You don't have to be a six-footer,
You don't have to have a great brain,
You don't have to have any clothes on -
You're a Catholic the moment dad came...


Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great,
If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.

Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great,
If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.

Let the heathen spill theirs, on the dusty ground,
God shall make them pay for each sperm that can't be found

Every sperm is wanted, every sperm is good,
Every sperm is needed in your neighbourhood.

Hindu, Taoist, Mormon,
Spill thiers just anywhere,
But God loves those who treat their
Semen with more care.

Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great,
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

Every sperm is sacred,
Every sperm is good,
Every sperm is needed,
In your neighbourhood.

Every sperm is useful, every sperm is fine,
God needs everybody's,
And mine
And mine

Let the Pagan spill theirs,
O'er mountain, hill and plain,
God shall strike them down for
Each sperm that's spilt in vain.

Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is good,
Every sperm is needed in your neighbourhood.

Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great,
If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.

posted by LukeFord | 7:06 PM |

My next book is on Orthodox rabbis who are sexual predators and use their power as rabbis to advance their sexual kinks in ways that are beyond the pale, such as with children and those who do not consent.

I am often asked if I was sexually abused as a child. I was never sexually abused. Not as a child. Not as an adult.

I've never been close to anyone who I know was sexually abused (not counting sex workers here).

For me to write a book, it has to have emotional resonance with me. The topic has to compel me through the hard lonely months of research and writing. So yes, this topic of Orthodox rabbinic sex abuse has meaning to me but not because I've been abused. Rather, the juxtaposition of Orthodox Judaism with its stern morality and the sexual sadism of some rabbis strikes me as fascinating.

I have two main goals when I write, goals that I usually do not achieve: I want my writing to be important and compelling. This topic strikes me as both and I believe I can make a genuine contribution as a reporter. I have no programmatic agenda on this matter. Frankly, consensual sex between anyone who is post-pubescent does not horrify me (though I am not for changing either the secular age of consent laws, or the relevant Torah laws).

As for my personal behavior, I hold the Torah as my arbiter of right and wrong. And though I slip and fall from that ideal, I always keep that as my ideal.

posted by LukeFord | 5:46 PM |

Dr. Janice Bennett reviews "He's Just Not That Into You." It explains why men need to pursue women.

posted by LukeFord | 1:46 AM |

Tzemach Atlas writes: Election for real money.

posted by LukeFord | 1:26 AM |

Me writes:

Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America has spent time as an inmate in a Federal prison:


Inmate Register Number :
Age : 55
Race : WHITE
Sex : MALE
Date Released : 11/10/98

Also see.

This begs the question: Does the Rabbinical Alliance of America or the Jewish Press have a work release program?

posted by LukeFord | 1:23 AM |

Monday, October 25, 2004  

Is CNN shilling for Kerry? Don't know, but can someone please explain to me this sequence of two sentences?

Fifty-one percent of likely voters said they would back Bush,
and 46 percent expressed support for Kerry.

The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points, meaning
the true leader was unclear.

I never did advance beyond AP Calculus, but doesn't 5 less 3 make 2? And wouldn't that make Bush the "clear" leader according to this poll?

[EDIT: No, and I'm sorry for suggesting otherwise (yesterday). Thanks to all for explaining to me that I fell for the so-called problem of "innumeracy" - namely, that the margin of error applies not to the differential between the candidates, but rather to the percentage of support each candidate receives. So CNN, of course, is correct in its analysis. Here's a useful article explaining the phenomenon, which also lists some other people (besides/in addition to me) who can be made fun of for making this error.]

posted by Deranged GOT Fan | 11:19 PM |

Anon writes: "For some reason, I don't think Gershon Tannenbaum will write about this in his 'machberes' Hassidic propaganda column in the Jewish Press. I wonder why..."

From the NY Daily News:

It's marked by all the ugliness of a long-running family feud: court cases, fractured relationships, struggles over money - plus fistfights in a holy place.The nasty battle for control of Williamsburg's central Satmar temple has pitted brother against brother and divided the loyalties of tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Hasidim in Brooklyn and upstate Orange County.

Original story:

Three men involved in a wild brawl over control of a prominent Brooklyn synagogue were arrested yesterday, law enforcement sources said.
The arrests followed an angry feud within the borough's Satmar community that turned violent during services at the Yatev Lev temple in Williamsburg two weeks ago, sources said.
Hundreds of worshipers were on hand when backers of two feuding rabbi brothers vying for control of the synagogue came to blows, cops said. Several worshipers suffered broken bones.

The New York Times report.

posted by LukeFord | 8:14 PM |

William Kristol writes: Kerry Will "Put More Pressure on Israel." According to his own foreign policy adviser.

posted by LukeFord | 7:11 PM |

5:30 p.m. -- Americans for Peace Now honors cartoonist Jules Feiffer with its 2004 Patricia A. Barr Shalom Award at its annual dinner; Grand Hyatt Hotel, Park Avenue at Grand Central.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- NYCLU honors playwright Tony Kushner at its annual awards dinner; Yale Club, 50 Vanderbilt Ave.
7 p.m. -- The American Friends of The Israel Museum holds ``A Gala in 3-Deminesions: Sculpture At the Israel Museum''; The Waldorf-Astoria, 301 Park Ave., at 49th Street.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:51 PM |

Chakira reports:

R Aaron Shteinman will be speaking at Breuer’s tonight. There are signs about his appearance all around YU.

Shteinman seems to be one of the successors to R Shach in the Haredi world. Despite his physical frailty, he is completing a grueling roadtrip around all of the important swing states. This is probably some kind of bid to cement his stature among the American Orthodox.

posted by LukeFord | 4:43 PM |

I was talking to this girl who graduated Stern (Orthodox college for women in Manhattan) a few years ago. She told some amusing stories about walking with her girlfriends to a comedy club on Shabbos and telling the guard they couldn't pay because they couldn't touch money on Shabbos.
Eventually the black Wayan brothers blew through and took the girls with them.
My friend ended up in the hotel room sitting in a corner, she wasn't as attractive then as she is now, watching the Wayans go to town on her friends on the holy Shabbat.
Anyway, my friend has been sick for a week. She's been watching TV and movies. I told her she should listen to books on tape. I said I was listening to A BEAUTIFUL MIND about John Nash. She told me that was gay. What if I listened to a book called A BEAUTIFUL ***? She said that would be even more gay. Luckily, I am secure with who I am and what I study, that I have not been deterred from my pursuit of intellectual growth.

posted by LukeFord | 3:45 PM |

I've been receiving complaints that I don't post enough conservative propaganda on this site during the crucial run up to the November 2nd election. So here goes:

WSJ editorializes: "Call us Ishmael. Or rather, call us amazed -- at Senator Carl Levin's Ahab-like pursuit of Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and one of the architects of U.S. anti-terror policy and the war in Iraq. This is one of those cases worth reporting not on the merits, but because the maniacal effort says more about the accuser than the accused."

posted by LukeFord | 3:33 PM |

I've got hair growing out of my ears. What do I do? What does the Torah say? Would plucking the hairs be acting like a woman?
It's really all Janine Zecharia's fault. She of The New Republic, The Jerusalem Report fame.
I was sitting home all alone Sunday night with my gemara when a vision of Janine's long silky black hair passed before my eyes, just as I was dealing with a particularly notty matter on Bava Metzia 47A. And as I found myself entranced by Janine's hair, my own hair started to grow, but out of my ears. It's sticking out about three inches, but not in an attractive way.
My mother said I kept enough dirt back there to grow potatoes. So perhaps it is not Janine's fault after all.
I think I'll email Alana Newhouse, culture czar at the Forward and HAFTR princess. She would know what to do about these pressing matters of personal grooming.
Travis writes: "Luke, this is private. So I know you won't post it. I don't think you will be very successful bedding the woman with your current strategy."
Trav, have no fear. When Janine reads this, she'll melt into my cyber-arms.
"Oh I bet. That vision of the gemara and ear hair, oh yeah baby, she's getting all hot and bothered as we speak. What a plot for a **** movie!"

posted by LukeFord | 3:18 PM |

On his nationally syndicated radio show, Dennis Prager spoke about the accidental killing of a Boston student by police trying to quell rioting over the Boston Red Sox game seven victory over the Yankees. DP says the liberal instinct is that we have more to fear from the police than the rioters while the conservative instinct is that we have more to fear from rioters than from police. "Let the word get out that rioting is not a sport, not a way to celebrate your team's victory. It is a vicious act that should be handled with force."

posted by LukeFord | 2:30 PM |

Jewish libertarian NYT columnist William Safire writes:

You have to give credit to Arab-Americans, and to the overlapping category of American Muslims, for knowing what side they are on in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and for voting for those they believe would address their concerns.

Four years ago, they voted almost two to one for George W. Bush, thinking he would act like his father. Today, according to the Zogby poll, American Muslim voters are going 10 to 1 in the opposite political direction - for John Kerry over Bush.

Despite the fact that this president has firmly backed Israel's vigorous self-defense - and time and again vetoed or denounced lopsided U.N. votes to ostracize Israel - 8 out of 10 Jewish American voters will still vote as a bloc to oust him.

posted by LukeFord | 2:17 PM |

Harvard professor Ruth Wisse writes in the WSJ:

Last spring, I was surprised by a call from a reporter at the Harvard Crimson asking me to comment on my contribution to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. His inquiry was prompted by the disparity he'd discovered in donations by Harvard faculty of about $150,000 for Kerry to about $8,000 for Bush. (The figures have since changed but not the percentages.) I could have filled the whole issue of his paper with reasons for supporting Bush over Kerry, but as we both knew, the real story was the "herd of independent minds"--the image is Harold Rosenberg's--charging through the American academy.

The Federal Election Commission could not have foreseen that when it required employment information on political donations of over $200, it would expose scandalous uniformity in a university community that advertises its diversity. The Sacramento Bee reported that the University of California system gave more to the Kerry campaign than any other single employee group, and that Harvard was second, with only 15,000 employees to UC's 160,000. Campus bloggers computed the percentages of Kerry contributions over Bush: Cornell 93%, Dartmouth 97%, Yale 93%, Brown 89%.

posted by LukeFord | 1:50 PM |

From (I can't find exact link):

WHILE John Kerry passes himself off as a family man these days, the Democratic presidential nominee's inner circle of friends working overtime to get him into the White House are mostly single, fiftysomething, skirt-chasing lotharios with an appetite for twentysomething babes.

"It could be quite a house of seduction for John's friends," quipped one Kerry friend.

"They're chomping at the bit to turn the place into their own clubhouse."

The core group is comprised primarily of lobbyists, bankers and real estate developers who were instrumental in helping procure young dates for the junior Senator from Massachusetts during his swinging single days — a period his wife Teresa later referred to as his "gypsy years."

Before his marriage to the controversial ketchup heiress, Kerry dated Morgan Fairchild, Catherine Oxenberg, Michele Phillips, Patti Davis and British gin heiress Emma Gilbey, who's now married to New York Times executive editor Bill Keller.

posted by LukeFord | 11:56 AM |

The Luke Ford Fan Blog complains:

When I decided to hitch my wagon to Luke Ford's serial killer van, I did so in the expectation that soon I would be zooming toward fame, fortune, and moral enlightenment in Our Moral Leader's slipstream.
Yet here I sit one year later and I swear we haven't gone anywhere. No fame, no fortune, and no moral enlightenment.
...[W]hat we get are countless stories about the sexual transgressions of rabbis. Why? Voyeurism can't be the answer. Obviously not! Our Moral Leader isn't that kind of dude. I suppose his posts are intended as moral uplift by way of demonstration of what not to do. Yet the probability that I will convert to Judaism, become a rabbi, and start having sex with 12 year olds is, at best, 50:50.

posted by LukeFord | 11:11 AM |

Chief Rabbi Accused Of Sexually Harassing 4 Males

By Baruch Kra
Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service

According to a report published in the Ma'ariv daily on Friday, recently elected chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger allegedly sexually harassed four men of various ages and from various sectors of society.

The men said that Metzger touched their bodies and fondled them. The report goes on to say that two of the men successfully passed a polygraph test, at the request of the paper. Metzger denied the allegations against him and said that that they were an attempt to sully his name.

The paper received the first account of sexual harassment some three weeks before the elections for chief rabbi which took place on April 14. According to the account, given to the paper by a secular man named David, the rabbi allegedly touched him at wedding celebration in the late 80's. According to David, Metzger touched him on the chest and arm and slipped his hand under David's shirt while the two were talking.

At the beginning of April, a religious man told the paper that he recently had met Metzger, during which the rabbi asked him to remove his shirt and then allegedly proceeded to grope his arm and chest. An investigation led to another man with a similar complaint against the rabbi.

A source says: Even though he knew about the scandal, R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv backed R. Metzger in the election. He didn't want the Religious Zionist candidate (who was far better qualified) to win.

More on R. Metzger

posted by LukeFord | 1:58 AM |

I want to know about Dr Anthony Beukas of the YU Dramatics society. There's a long festering resentment of him in some quarters.

Some say that he's a vindictive ----- but I do not believe that is a fair characterization.

He's been around since circa 1963. He's married with two kids. I'm not sure his wife is Jewish. The Drama Club at YU does not command nearly as much respect as it should from the Talmud faculty (the ones who barred the kindly Emmanuel Rachman (went to Bar Ilan) from becoming chancellor of YU).

Dr. Beukas is known for cursing and making racial slurs in his classes, which makes him a guy after my own heart. People either love him or hate him. I'm in the love category. I think he's the bomb.

Business school students at YU take him for speech.

I believe he sued YU for not taking his kids for undergraduate. YU settled out of court for an unknown sum of money.

Mordecahai Levovitz writes about Dr. Beukas.

I believe Levovitz got kicked out of the dramatics society by Dr. Beukas.

posted by LukeFord | 1:28 AM |

Sunday, October 24, 2004  

A story on rabbi Ephraim Bryks:

"Perhaps, finally, people are recognizing him for who he is," said Toronto journalist Martin Levin, whose 16-year-old son, Daniel, committed suicide on Yom Kippur in 1993 -- just a few months after he told his parents he'd been molested by Rabbi Bryks as a child, back when the family still lived in Winnipeg.

"This man is toxic," the teen's mother, Sarah Levin, told Newsday.

Rabbi Bryks speaks about his time at Ner Israel in Baltimore (Registration required)

Rabbi Bryks's father-in-law is registered sex offender Lewis Brenner.

Rabbi Ephraim Bryks's father Lejzor Bryks was a thieving insurance agent who committed suicide on December 15, 1971. (See 502 F.2d 1344)

posted by LukeFord | 5:12 PM |

Here's another shady rabbi from Ner Israel in Baltimore -- Ben Zion Sobel. He ran a yeshiva Neve Zion in Israel. He quietly and quickly left in 1987 after a scandal between him and some of his male students. I've heard of at least one suicide following this and other yeshiva bochers giving up on Judaism.

There's a link between Sobel and Matis Weinberg that goes back 30 years.

Sobel is charismatic and strong-willed. He's convinced people over the years that he's a big Torah scholar and beyond reproach.

I believe that Sobel is working in book editing. One of the big book publishers hired him.

He's tried to get out of the book business and to get back into teaching boys. He says he's rehabilitated.

You can sign up for parsha lessons from R. Ben Zion Sobel.

R. Matis Weinberg has withstood allegations of sexual misconduct. He displays unbelievable arrogance. He's convinced he's beyond reproach. He's smart and twisted.

posted by LukeFord | 5:01 PM |

Little is known of the vibrant Judaic community which already existed on the island of Elephantine when Cambyses invaded Egypt in 525 BC. What we do know, however, is that they had a Jewish temple to serve their religious needs.

posted by LukeFord | 4:21 PM |

David Horowitz writes in the Foreword to Ben Johnson's new book "57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving":

Teresa Heinz Kerry, all by herself, presides over greater assets involved in the funding of shadow political activities than the three chief conservative foundations – Scaife, Olin and Bradley – combined. While, these conservative foundations have combined assets of $809 million, the three Heinz Endowments, in whose boardrooms Teresa Heinz Kerry speaks with a voice louder than all others, have total assets of $1.2 billion. Mrs. Kerry also sits on the board of the Carnegie Corporation, which as this report reveals is also an active funder of the political left and which has assets of $1.6 billion. In other words, Mrs. Kerry has a say in the disposition of funds earmarked for the left which are more than three times greater than the celebrated funders of the right combined.

posted by LukeFord | 3:44 PM |

11 a.m. -- Two restored Torahs that were kept hidden under Soviet communism are rededicated, with a public parade taking one of the scrolls from the menorah on Brighton Beach Avenue to the Hebrew Alliance F.R.E.E. Synagogue. Members of the family that rescued one of the Torahs will walk in the parade; menorah, Brighton Beach Avenue near Washington Mutual Bank.
2 p.m.-5p.m. -- New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Councilman Michael E. McMahon celebrate the 350th anniversary of Jewish life in North America on Staten Island, with founders of synagogue and Jewish institutions honored; Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave., Staten Island.
2 p.m.-5p.m. -- New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Councilman Michael E. McMahon celebrate the 350th anniversary of Jewish life in North America on Staten Island, with founders of synagogue and Jewish institutions honored; Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave., Staten Island.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 3:17 PM |

It's about time I report sexual abuse by a woman:

On September 9, 2003 Marni Nasia-Rubin was convicted of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old boy. Nasia-Rubin became acquainted with the boy while he was receiving instructions in Judaism from her husband, who is a cantor at the Congregation Etz Chayim (the couple is now seperated).

On October 10, 2003 was sentanced to three years in prison. In apologizing before sentencing, she said her actions caused her to lose her husband of eight years and custody of their daughter. The victim's mother says her son has been devastated by all of this. "My son, it's hard to tell, in the future, how he is going to be able to deal with relationships."

Judge Bowman said the case generated more letters than any other during his 16 years on the bench. He said as the wife of the cantor, she must be held to a higher standard. A jail sentence was appropriate because of the victim's age, the psychological harm it caused, and the use of her position within the congregation to facilitate the crime, the judge said.

On May 20, 2004 Marni Nasia-Rubin was given judicial release by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge J. Ronald Bowman. She agreed to live with her parents in Southfield, Michigan, and not make contact with the victim and not to re-establish contact with the synagogue.

The judge said he believed Nasia-Rubin is remorseful for the crime. He said he reviewed all the letters carefully, including one from the boy's mother, who did not want Nasia-Rubin released. Judge Bowman placed 11 conditions on Nasia-Rubin's judicial release, the most, he said, he has ever written.

posted by LukeFord | 2:42 PM |

Shmarya writes: "I just used, billed as the world's only Kosher search engine, for the first time. To test it, I typed in several different body parts and got the shmogle warning: "This search is NOT Kosher. Please try again." So I entered the name of well-known porn actress,
Jenna Jameson and clicked "Images." Let's just say that sniyut is NOT one of her virtues."

posted by LukeFord | 2:37 PM |

Sexual harassment in Israel.

posted by LukeFord | 1:34 PM |

"Two months into their investigation, FBI agents have found no evidence to support Gov. McGreevey's claim that former aide Golan Cipel tried to extort millions of dollars from him, Cipel's lawyer and law-enforcement officials say."

posted by LukeFord | 11:22 AM |


posted by LukeFord | 11:20 AM |

The pizza place next to Stern College went trafe. Guess Steven I. Weiss can't hang out there anymore.

posted by LukeFord | 2:32 AM |

I was so proud of my new book that I took it to shul Friday night and showed it to my friends.

It's the first book I've published that I could take to shul.

I am so religious that I returned to shul at 10:15 am Saturday with my book. Showed it around to friends. I think I made about five sales (not explicitly, I didn't take orders or money, just people telling me they would buy the book). I stayed till the end, around 11:45am.

I have the davening stamina of a 17yo boy.

I came back for Mincha, shalosh suedat, and Maariv and kiddish levana.

posted by LukeFord | 2:30 AM |

Extreme Kiruv - Shmulky Gebrachts

Shmulky Gebrachts, the father of extreme kiruv, talks about his methods and his Chulent.

Shmulky's record of bringing Jews back to Judaism is renowned. But his methods have often been called into question.

His results however have not. What's his secret?

Josh says: This is to recruit NCSY advisors post Baruch Lanner. I guess it's better than telling them: "Lots of Jewish kids to play with!"

posted by LukeFord | 2:23 AM |

Dr. Yakov Travis from the Siegel College of Judaic Studies writes:

This week I launched two new Kabbalah Blogs (Web Logs):

RESHIMU: THE KABBLAH REVIEW ( ) - a New Online Review Journal for Kabbalistic Teachings; Reflecting on Books and Essays, Ideas and Individuals - from the Ancient to the New, the Academic to the Popular.

and KABBALAH CENTRAL( ) - a journal of kabbalah -past, present and future- with links, news, book reviews and commentary - updated weekly.

RESHIMU: THE KABBALAH REVIEW is intended for more serious discussion. This week you'll find posting about two new books of note and one academic review. Please take a peak.

KABBALAH CENTRAL is intended to be more wide-ranging, covering the serious, sublime and downright silly. This week you'll find a review of two new popular works in Kabbalah - form the Buddhist publisher - Shambhala Press and an interview with Madonna from back in June.

posted by LukeFord | 1:54 AM |

Dr. Rabbi David Berger writes:

A halachic ruling prohibiting New York City water was recently formulated by Rav Dovid Feinstein shlita and signed by Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlita and Rav Pinchas Sheinberg shlita. It affirms that once copepods can be seen as moving entities in the city`s reservoirs, they remain prohibited even when they are not discernible in tap water.

Since water is so basic a substance, it is hardly necessary to point out the seriousness of this ruling. Even in an urban setting, it is easy to envision realistic scenarios involving jeopardy to the health of especially vulnerable observant Jews, not to speak of lesser but nonetheless deeply troubling consequences.

posted by LukeFord | 1:52 AM |

Commemorating the 800th anniversary of the death of Moshe ben Maimon, more commonly known as Maimonides, this colloquium is jointly sponsored with Boston University’s Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies.

posted by LukeFord | 1:44 AM |

There were charges of child abuse made against Chanoch Bamberger, president of Shearith Israel Congregation, 5835 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215. The boy was acting up in class, and Bamberger reportedly hit him hard. The mother heard about the problem but wasn't willing to go up against Bamberger, R. Hopfer and R. Heineman. She knows the power they hold. Someone else made a hotline report. The Child Protection worker was stonewalled. Since no one would talk to the worker the case was closed. I heard from reliable sources this is not the first time this has happened.
Bamberger tries to get all the homeschooling kids into Yeshivas or in with rabbis who he approves of for homeschooling lessons. He harasses the parents when they don't agree or comply with his wishes. He teaches some classes.

posted by LukeFord | 1:20 AM |

I guess we can't use Benyamin Fleischman as a photographer for my wedding. It appears he went out of business or at least took down his web page. He has been known to work for other people. Two years ago this notice was sent around Baltimore in the frum community. After this, Fleischman started doing reform bar mitzva's and weddings. No one except the frum community knew of the allegations that were made against him.

According to sources there is another court case pending. I have heard that there were a total of ten children who were touched by this man.

This is another case in which the Vaad of Baltimore had a vested interest in covering up.

posted by LukeFord | 1:12 AM |

One individual's personal journal where he talks about his feelings after being raped by Vicki Polin.

posted by LukeFord | 1:11 AM |

There are two rabbis that control the religious community in Baltimore: Rabbi Moshe Heineman, Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer.

Attached is a flyer that was sent around the Jewish community in Baltimore two years ago. This is another case (Yisroel Shapiro) that the Vaad in Baltimore have a vested interest in covering up.

I hear that the police have enough evidence and there is a court date pending.

This individual Yisroel Shapiro is related to some powerful influential folks, so needless to say there's the reason for the cover up. The survivors are made out to look mentally ill, or chased out of town.

Me writes:

I suspect that the Rabbonim there have been covering up numerous cases going back decades.

No one wants to discuss the rape gang that existed at Ner Israel, Baltimore any more than they want to explain alumi like Rabbi Ephraim Bryks or Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum. Not to mention Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg's sons (Rabbi Ruderman's grandchildren)Rabbi Matis Weinberg and Rabbi Simcha Weinberg.

When Matis Weinberg was 16, something happened between him and his younger brother Simcha.

Allegations of sexual misconduct dogged R. Matis Weinberg his adult life.

In his 20's when he was at Kerem Yeshiva in Santa Clara, CA (circa 1980).

When Matis Weinberg was in his 50's, he moved on to Derech Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Israel. There were all sorts of allegations made, and the school shut down. He was accused of being a cult leader.

His father then became the rabbinical consultant of Jews for Judaism ( at that time (it's an anti-cult/anti-missionary organization). His mother then joined forces with Chana, to combat domestic violence. Neither organization ever addressed issues of sexual misconduct by rabbis.

Other Cases Involving Past Students From Ner Israel Yeshiva (Baltimore, MD):
The Case of the Students of Ner Israel Yeshiva in the 1950's
Case of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks
Case of Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum

A source who studied at Ner Israel writes:

When I was in Baltimore, I saw the signs. It was known that there were sickos who had been in the community. I never met the molesters. Rabbi Hopfer is a tzaddik who is not involved in the "vested interests" politics of the community. I know Rabbi Heinemann. While he is a good man and a talmid chacham, he does think more politically, so I wouldn't put certain politically motivated behaviour past him. But the idea that he would allow a child molester access to children for political reasons is the height of absurdity to anyone in Baltimore, even those who do not like him much.

posted by LukeFord | 1:07 AM |

Elat Chayyim: One-day workshops at the 14th St. Y
Posted by Alyssa Abrahamson

Elat Chayyim: The Jewish Spiritual Retreat Center in Manhattan
One-day workshops at the 14th St. Y

Each workshop is $95 for Y members and $115 for public. To register please call 212.780.0800 ext. 221.
Group rates are available. For more information on group rates please call 212.780.0800 ext. 245.
Day of Kabbalistic Teachings
December 19, 10am-5pm

Join Rabbi Mordechai Gafni on an inner journey returning home to our sacred texts as we come home to ourselves. Enter the en-chanted space of the postmodern kabbalist. Explore a range of spiritual technologies that will allow you to move from the old standard readings of Torah to a place where the text and tradition come alive with powerful meaning for you life and path. No previous knowledge of Hebrew, but please bring an open heart and mind. Rabbi Gafni will focus on different archetypes of sacred service such as the warrior, the sage, the prophet and the lover through the sacred weaving of Torah, Talmud, Hasidic text and the Zohar. You will enter into the world of bibliodrama, text, chanting, movement and silence, all sacred tools of the post-modern Kabbalist.

Rabbi Mordechai Gafni is the leader of Bayit Chadash, a national, spiritual community retreat center committed to Jewish renaissance in Israel. Rabbi Gafni is a gifted writer and profound thinker. Gafni's elegant style of weaving Biblical, Kabbalisitc and literary sources with philosophy and physics offers an original and exciting perspective in our quest to infuse our lives with deeper meaning.

posted by LukeFord | 1:01 AM |
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