Tuesday, July 31, 2007

AMP'D Mobile Frustration!


Totally unrelated to Israeli Jewish News, but I am going to vent anyway . . .I purchased an Amp'd mobile phone for my son with a $100 rebate in May or June. I applied for the rebate immediately, but never got it.

Today, he got a text message stating Amp'd is ending service at midnight TONIGHT!!! Huh? I never heard of this before!

I googled the whole issue, and found out the phone company filed for Chapter 11. We were never informed by the company or by Circuit City when we JUST BOUGHT $30 worth of minutes. Now they won't honor our minutes, we get no credit, and the phone is useless.

The company is still advertising their plans on their website with no comment on the main page.

Please let me know who is filing the class action. I want to join! GRRRRRRRRR.


Joseph's Tomb synagogue destroyed by Israeli forces


Not a complete rundown of what happened, but better than the very brief story I printed yesterday . . .
Prime Minister Olmert orders razing of structure built so Jews can pray at Judaism's 3rd holiest site
Posted: July 31, 2007
2:20 p.m. Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

JERUSALEM – Security forces acting on orders from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday destroyed a synagogue used by Jews to worship near Joseph's Tomb, Judaism's third holiest site and the believed burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph – the son of Jacob who was sold by his brothers into slavery and later became the viceroy of Egypt.

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, which granted nearby strategic territory to the Palestinians, Joseph's Tomb was supposed to be accessible to Jews and Christians. But following repeated attacks against Jewish worshippers at the holy site by gunmen associated with then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat's militias, Prime Minister Ehud Barak in October 2000 ordered an Israeli unilateral retreat from the area.

The tomb is located near the modern day West Bank city of Nablus, or biblical Shechem.

Currently, Jewish pilgrimage to Joseph's Tomb is legal only several times per year in convoys protected by the Israel Defense Forces. Still, some Jews regularly attempt clandestine visits to the holy site.

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Jewish students last year built a structure on the West Bank's Mount Gerizim, which is just outside the tomb area. The structure was used as a synagogue and was constructed on the Mount so Jews can pray and study Torah as close to the tomb site as possible. Dozens of Jewish students congregated daily at the makeshift synagogue.

But Olmert's office and Israeli government officials deemed the structure – which they refused to call a synagogue – illegal since it was built without a government permit.

Building at Joseph's Tomb site after Palestinian Authority took control in 2000 .

Yesterday, under direct orders from Olmert, the Israel Civil Lands Administration destroyed the structure.

Just before the synagogue was bulldozed, one Jewish student told the Israel National News website, "If the synagogue is destroyed, it will be rebuilt."

Olmert's decision to single out for demolition the synagogue near Judaism's third holiest site has been called into question by religious leaders here.

While Jewish construction projects deemed illegal in Jewish cities in the West Bank is regularly bulldozed by the government, Olmert's office has taken no action against hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in illegal outposts in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

WND previously exposed the Israeli government has allowed Palestinians and the United Nations to build illegally on hundreds of acres of Jewish-owned lands in Jerusalem purchased by the Jewish National Fund, a U.S.-based Jewish organization, using Jewish donors funds solicited for the purpose of Jewish settlement. Tens of thousands of Palestinians live on the Jewish-owned Jerusalem land, which was recently isolated from Jewish sections of Jerusalem by Israel's security barrier.

Yeshiva at third holiest site turned into mosque

The Torah describes how Jacob purchased a land plot in Shechem, which was given as inheritance to his sons and was used to re-inter Joseph, whose bones were taken out of Egypt during the Jewish exodus. Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, are also said to be buried at the site.

As detailed in the Torah, shortly before his death, Joseph asked the Israelites to vow they would resettle his bones in the land of Canaan – biblical Israel. That oath was fulfilled when, according to the Torah, Joseph's remains were taken by the Jews from Egypt and reburied at the plot of land Jacob had earlier purchased in Shechem, believed to be the site of the tomb. Modern archeologists confirm Nablus is the biblical city of Shechem

Yehuda Leibman, who until the Israeli retreat from Joseph's Tomb in 2000 was director of a yeshiva constructed there, explained, "The sages tell us that there are three places which the world cannot claim were stolen by the Jewish people: the Temple Mount, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Joseph's Tomb."

There is evidence suggesting for more than 1,000 years Jews of various origins worshipped at Joseph's Tomb. The Samaritans, a local tribe that follow a religion based on the Torah, say they trace their lineage back to Joseph himself and that they worshipped at the tomb site for more than 1,700 years.

Israel first gained control of Nablus and the neighboring site of Joseph's Tomb in the 1967 Six-Day War. The Oslo Accords signed by Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called for the area surrounding the tomb site to be placed under Palestinian jurisdiction but allowed for continued Jewish visits to the site and the construction of an Israeli military outpost at the tomb to ensure secure Jewish access.

Following the transfer of control of Nablus and the general area encompassing the tomb to the Palestinians in the early 1990s, there were a series of outbreaks of violence in which Arab rioters and gunmen from Arafat's Fatah militias shot at Jewish worshipers and the tomb's military outpost.

Six Israeli soldiers were killed and many others, including yeshiva students, were wounded in September 1996 when Palestinian rioters and Fatah gunmen attempted to over take the tomb. Eventually, Israeli soldiers regained control of the site.

The Palestinians continued to attack Joseph's Tomb with regular shootings and the lobbing of firebombs and Molotov cocktails. Security for Jews at the site increasingly became more difficult to maintain. Rumors circulated in 2000 that Barak would evacuate the Israeli military outpost and give the tomb to Arafat as a "peacemaking gesture."

In early 2000, the Israeli army began denying Jewish visits to the tomb on certain days due to prospects of Arab violence.

Following U.S. mediated peace talks at Camp David in September 2000, Arafat returned to the West Bank and initiated his intifada.

During one bloody week in October 2000, Fatah gunmen attacked the tomb repeatedly, killing two and injuring dozens, prompting Barak to order a complete evacuation of Judaism's third holiest site on Oct. 6.

Gravestone at traditional burial site for biblical patriarch Joseph after it was ransacked by Palestinian mobs.

Within less than an hour of the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph's Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb's interior.

Palestinians hoisted a Muslim flag over the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat's office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, "Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem)."

One BBC reporter described the scene: "The site was reduced to smoldering rubble – festooned with Palestinian and Islamic flags – cheering Arab crowd. …"

Palestinians on Oct. 10 began construction of a mosque on the rubble of the tomb's adjacent yeshiva compound. Workers painted the dome of the compound green, the Islamic color.

In a WND exclusive interview, Tariq Tarawi, a Fatah lawmaker who in 2000 served as chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group in the vicinity of the tomb, said the Palestinians would "never" allow Israel to rebuild a yeshiva or synagogue at Joseph's Tomb. The Brigades carried out most of the attacks against the tomb site.

"A yeshiva is an institution," said Tarawi. "An institution can be the beginning of claiming rights and these claims can bring once again the Israeli army to establish a base in the place, and we can not accept this. If the Jews try to build a yeshiva, we will shoot at them."

Israeli home front unprepared for war

Jerusalem, Tel Aviv lack bomb shelters, gas masks scarce
Posted: July 31, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Tel Aviv
TEL AVIV – One year after the Lebanese Hezbollah militia fired more than 3,000 rockets into northern Israeli population centers, the Jewish state's home front – especially Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – are largely unprepared for the event of war, say officials.

The concern comes amid threats from Hezbollah it has replenished its rocket arsenal and statements from officials in Syria the country has thousands of rockets and missiles capable of hitting the entire Jewish state.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office recently released statistics stating about $1 billion was needed for construction of new civilian bomb shelters and renovation of older ones. But officials admitted even if the money is allotted, the country will not have enough shelters for about two years.

Israel has been focused on rebuilding shelters in the north that were battered during confrontations with Hezbollah one year ago. The Israeli north is home to about one-third of the country's population. Most shelters there are expected to be renovated by the end of August, although there have been media reports of rampant looting of some of the shelters.

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In central Israel, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, there are only enough existing shelters for 70 to 80 percent of the area's residents. And of the existing shelters, officials say about two-thirds may be usable.

Israeli security officials state the population is ill-prepared for the event of a non-conventional war.

The U.S. has accused Syria of producing significant quantities of chemical and biological weapons.

According to statistics, only half of Israelis possess gas masks, and of those who do, many gas mask kits are thought to be out of date.

Olmert's office has allocated only about $24,000 to the Israeli Home Front Command for the acquisition of gas warfare protection kits.

Some security officials complained the government hasn't done enough to educate citizens on public safety in the event of the outbreak of war. A WND intern yesterday surveyed 212 Tel Aviv residents at the city's largest shopping mall; of those, about half didn't know the location of the closest bomb shelter to their home.

Still, the Israeli government has installed siren systems in most of the country to warn of incoming missiles. By the end of August, the entire country should be covered by the siren systems, many of which automatically detect incoming missiles.

The information follows a WND interview in which a top official from Syrian President Bashar Assad's Baath party warned his country is preparing for possible war.

The official said if Israel doesn't vacate the strategic Golan Heights by August or September, Syrian groups might launch guerilla attacks against Jewish communities there that could lead to a larger confrontation with Israel.

"More and more of our units have undergone intensive trainings starting at 6 a.m. and finishing late into the evening. If the need arises, we are ready for a war," said the official.

The Baath official warned that in the opening salvo of any conflict, Syria has the capabilities of firing "hundreds" of missiles at Tel Aviv.

Israel: Syrian war preparations serious

Israeli security officials say Syria boosted its military near the Syrian side of the Golan Heights with strengthened forces after carrying out increased training the past few months. The security officials noted the movement of Syrian Scud missiles near the border with Israel and said Syria recently increased production of rockets and acquired missiles capable of hitting central Israeli population centers.

The Syrian army has improved its fortifications, according to the Israeli security officials, and has received modern, Russian-made anti-tank missiles similar to the missiles that devastated Israeli tanks during the last Lebanon war, causing the highest number of Israeli troop casualties during the 34-days of military confrontations. Syria also received from Russia advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

The security officials said any conflict with Syria could degenerate into a larger war involving Hezbollah along Israel's northern border and Palestinian terror groups launching attacks from Gaza in the south and the West Bank toward the center of Israel.

The officials noted Syria stepped up the pace of weapons, including rockets, being shipped from the Syrian border to the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.

The security officials said the greatest threats Syria poses to the Jewish state are the country's missiles and rockets. They noted Syria recently test-fired two Scud-D surface-to-surface missiles, which have a range of about 250 miles, covering most Israeli territory. The officials said the Syrian missile test was coordinated with Iran and is believed to have been successful. It is not known what type of warhead the missiles had.

In addition to longer-range Scuds, Syria is in possession of shorter-range missiles such as 220 millimeter and 305 millimeter rockets, some of which have been passed on to Hezbollah.

Israel also has information Syria recently acquired and deployed Chinese-made C-802 missiles, which were successfully used against the Israeli navy during Israel's war against Hezbollah one year ago. The missiles were passed to Syria by Iran, Israeli security officials told WND.

Israeli security officials said Syria is indeed preparing for a summer war. But they said there was an argument within the Israeli intelligence community whether the military buildup is for an attack or is meant by Syria to pressure Israel into vacating the Golan Heights. Some officials said Syria estimates the U.S. or Israel will attack Iran, and Syria will be drawn into a larger military confrontation by opening up a front against northern Israel. Also, the officials said, Syria may believe Israel will attack first and its preparations are defensive in nature.

Rabbi Ovadia: 'Women should stick to cooking, sewing'


First, I have to say, it is OBVIOUS that his words were taken out of context for the purpose of embarrassing him and disregarding his teaching. Of course women study Torah, but he needed to emphasize the point that those women are not Torah Scholars on the same level that he is. (Of course, most men are not either, even a lot of our “esteemed” rabbis.)

On the other hand, he must know that he must watch what he says and how he says it, or his lessons are lost and undermined by those who want to embarrass him and disregard him. Perhaps he needs to work on his ability to reach his audience in a more delicate way.

This said, I have a point to make here that regards women and Torah scholarship: It is imperative that women study Torah, now more than ever. Unlike our grandmothers, many women find themselves the head of a family with no man to help, required to earn a living for the benefit of her children, and often away from the close relatives she needs to raise those children.

Even in the case of married women who are raising their children in a two-parent home, even the most attentive fathers are often off earning a living, learning, and doing the things they need to support their families. It is the mothers who instill important early habits that insure our children grow up to marry Jews, keep our traditions, and follow our ways.

Without a considerable amount of Torah knowledge, a woman cannot hope to raise her children properly—especially her boys. This is essential for the survival of Judaism.

Jul. 30, 2007 21:29 | Updated Jul. 31, 2007 8:46

"Women should make hamin and not deal with matters of Torah," the spiritual leader of Shas, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, said in a speech to supporters on Saturday night.

Yosef made the statement in the context of a major Halachic campaign he is currently engaged in as to when women should recite the blessing over the Shabbat candles.

Many prominent Ashkenazi rabbis, along with a few Sephardic sources, have ruled that women should say the blessing after lighting the candles. However, according to Yosef, the blessings should be said before the candles have been kindled, similar to other blessings.

Yosef blasted the opposing view, saying it was based on the opinion of "a few stupid women. A woman's knowledge is only in sewing," he ridiculed. "Women should find other jobs and make hamin (cholent) but not deal with matters of Torah."

In addition, he admonished women for following in the steps of their mothers in the order of the recitation of the blessing instead of adhering to his opinion.

"It has to be announced that women should not listen to the voice of their mothers or grandmothers not to continue with this mistake," he warned.

A Shas source explained Yosef's statement by claiming he was "speaking in the language of his audience. He intended to say that it is proper for women to do what they are supposed to be doing and not try to prove something or make an impression," the Shas source said.

Labor MK Colette Avital denounced Yosef's comments saying they "show contempt and lower the value of women. In our tradition, there exist many examples of prophetesses who contributed to the continuity of the Jewish nation."

"The statements of Rabbi Ovadia that are meant to leave women in a state of ignorance, endanger the continued existence of the Jewish nation and therefore I condemn his words," she added.

Liora Minka, head of Emunah, an organization that promotes women's Torah study, also strongly disagreed with Yosef.

"Torah learning for women is very important," she said. "It is only a natural development, even in the ultra-orthodox community, that women will be integrated in Torah study."

Danziger appointed to High Court of Justice


Another Beinisch croney.

Jul. 30, 2007 21:39 | Updated Jul. 30, 2007 22:23

Attorney Yoram Danziger will become the second private attorney in a month to fill an empty seat on the Supreme Court, the Committee for appointing Supreme Court Justices decided Monday evening.

The committee met in the Justice Ministry offices late Monday afternoon to debate Danziger's appointment. Danziger was the sole candidate for review and will be the second justice to receive permanent status on the Supreme Court in the last three years.

Last month Danziger lost out to Hanan Meltzer when Meltzer was appointed to the Court.

Supreme Court Justice Ayala Procaccia abstained from the committee vote.

After the session the committee deferred the selections of appointees for the two remaining seats because of irreconcilable differences between Justice Minister Daniel Friedman and Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. Beinisch said during the debate on the appointment that the nomination of two private sector attorneys to the bench would destroy the balance of the Supreme Court. Since he took office, Friedman has emphasized his belief that the inclusion of more private sector attorneys will be beneficial to the Court.

Danziger is one of the most high-profile attorneys on the Israeli legal scene. The managing partner at the Danziger, Klagsbald and Co. lawfirm, he was a popular candidate for the presidency of the Israel Bar Association before he pulled out due to a criminal investigation of his partner Dorie Klagsbald.

Danziger is considered to be a specialist in business law, including corporate restructuring and joint ventures. He represents a number of Israeli companies operating worldwide and has advised international firms operating in Israel.

A former member of the board of editors of the Tel Aviv University Law Review and vice-editor of the Israeli Bar Law Review, he has been a lecturer at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law for over 25 years. He also serves as a chairman of the Israel Bar Association's Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

Danziger was awarded the Israeli Association for Parliamentarism prize, and served on the Justice Ministry's committee to review the structure and operations of the Official Receiver and General Custodian.

Report: Olmert, Abbas holding secret talks on final status agreement


Can’t somebody stop this idiot? What the heck is going on in the Knesset?

Last update - 10:45 31/07/2007
By Haaretz Service

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas are engaged in secret talks on final status issues, Israel Radio quoted the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayyat as reporting Tuesday.

According to the report, the two leaders agreed to open a secret channel to discuss the issues, which include such sticking points as refugees, Jerusalem, and final borders, during their meeting roughly two weeks ago.

The report stated that the talks have yet to produce a breakthrough.


Olmert confirmed last week that he intends to engage in negotiations with Abbas on the formation of a Palestinian state.

Olmert was responding to a Haaretz report, according to which he offered to hold negotiations toward an "Agreement of Principles" for the establishment of a Palestinian state comprised of the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank.

Olmert's proposal to Abbas is based on his view that it is important to first discuss issues that are relatively easy for the two sides to agree upon. The prime minister also believes that such an accord will enjoy the overwhelming support of the Israeli public and the Knesset.

Abbas, however, told Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin during their meeting in Ramallah last week that an agreement of principles would not be satisfactory. He said the Palestinian Authority is prepared to achieve a final status settlement with Israel by next fall, when an international Mideast peace conference is scheduled to take place.

U.S. coordinated security with 'top Hamas agent'

Bush continues to fund, arm Abbas' militias 'heavily infiltrated' by terror group
Posted: July 30, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

JERUSALEM – The director of a major Palestinian security force who coordinated security directly with U.S. officials is suspected of being an agent for the Hamas terror organization, WND has learned.

Yussef Issa, director of the Preventative Security Services, is accused by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization of working on behalf of Hamas, Fatah sources said. The PSS was the largest of the U.S.-backed Fatah security forces in Gaza until Hamas took over the territory last month. The force continues to operate in the West Bank and coordinated security there with the U.S.

(Story continues below)

Issa was one of a handful of top Palestinian militia leaders to hold regular security meetings with Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, the American security coordinator in the region, and with Dayton's U.S. team. The meetings were largely aimed at implementing the Dayton Plan, which called for the U.S. to strengthen Abbas' security forces against the rival Hamas group.

Last week, an official Fatah committee presented Abbas with a 200-page investigation into the conduct of Fatah leaders and security officers who lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas. The report found the Fatah security forces in Gaza were infiltrated by "hostile elements," including Hamas.

WND first reported on Hamas' infiltration of Fatah last April, quoting a high-ranking Palestinian intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stating Fatah is extensively infiltrated by Hamas.

A member of the Fatah inquiry committee said last week some 60 Fatah security officers would face courts-martial shortly. But Fatah sources said the actual number of suspected Hamas infiltrators was much larger.

A senior Abbas aide, Nabil Amr, who served on the committee, told reporters Fatah security forces were in a "state of infiltration" by Hamas.

Asked whether Issa was listed as a suspected Hamas agent, a member of Amr's team told WND he could not release any names. But the team member pointed out Issa has been living in Egypt since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip last month, refusing to return to the Fatah-controlled West Bank, and that Abbas recently downgraded Issa from colonel to the rank of soldier.

"So there's your answer. You can infer from that what you will," said the Amr team member.

A top Preventative Security Services source in Ramallah said Issa is suspected of being "one of the most important Hamas infiltrators in Fatah."

The source said Issa and Siad Siam, who served as Hamas' Interior Minister and is a founder of Hamas' so-called Special Force militia in Gaza, both married sisters from the same family. The source speculated the family relations may have helped facilitate Issa's working on behalf of Hamas but he said Issa is suspected of accepting significant sums of money from the terror group.

"Hamas has been buying off agents at all levels both in Gaza and in the West Bank," said the Preventative source. "The buying is still going on."

Hamas last month overtook all U.S.-backed Fatah security compounds in the Gaza Strip and reportedly seized large quantities of U.S. weaponry. According to Preventative sources, one hour before Hamas seized the main Preventative Security Service building in Gaza City, Issa was smuggled out of the compound by Hamas' Special Forces.

"The bastard (Issa) was evacuated by Hamas and left his men defending the building. Fifteen Fatah soldiers were killed," said one Preventative source who fought in Gaza.

The information comes as the U.S. in recent days pledged large sums of aid to help bolster Abbas' militias and security forces in the West Bank. U.S. security coordinators continue working to arm and train Fatah militias, including the Preventative Security Services and Abbas' Force 17 Presidential Guard units. Thousands of assault rifles last week reportedly reached Fatah security compounds in the West Bank cities of Jericho and Ramallah.

Abu Abdullah, a senior member of Hamas' "military wing," told WND Fatah in the West Bank is heavily infiltrated by Hamas.

"Fatah hasn't yet touched the extent of our infiltration [of their groups] in the West Bank."

Muhammad Abdel-El, spokesman for the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees terror group, told WND his group and Hamas have infiltrated "very deep" in Fatah.

"We already are planning to obtain American weapons and takeover the West Bank like we did in Gaza with help from the Palestinian resistance, including elements in Fatah, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Fatah Security Services. The Committees and Hamas has infiltrated very deep in Fatah," Abdel-El said.

Top Hamas leaders vowed to soon stage a coup in the West Bank.

"The moment of our taking control in the West Bank is not far away," said Abu Yousuf, a senior aid to Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Hineyah.

Abu Oubaida Al Jara, chief of Hamas' so-called special forces in Gaza, called on all Fatah members "not to resist because the Islamic project (Hamas) is coming very soon to the West Bank."

Jews For Judaism Head Resigns


I wish him well. This is a great organization!

Phil Jacobs
JULY 27, 2007

There will be some changes at the top for Jews for Judaism, the Baltimore-based counter-missionary organization.

Scott Hillman, who has spent five years as the organization's executive director, as well as 13 years as its director of education, stepped down recently to seek other ventures in Jewish education.

He will be replaced in the interim by Ruth Guggenheim, the organization's director of development and public relations director. Ms. Guggenheim will lead a transition team while Jews for Judaism continues to serve the international Jewish community and help "keep Jews Jewish."

"We are immensely grateful for Scott for his more than 18 years of dedication to Jews for Judiasm, the last five serving as its executive director," said Louis Schwartz, Jews for Judaism's president.

Mr. Hillman was known as one of Jews for Judaism's most creative leaders. He would sometimes disguise himself and lead seminars to groups concerned with missionary activity, posing as a Messianic Jew, literally getting the anger up in the room before identifying himself as a member of the counter-missionary community.

Mr. Hillman said he is going to be "out there as a consultant for educational groups in a Jewish context." At 45, Mr. Hillman said that Jews for Judaism has "done some wonderful things. We've helped lots of families and communities. We've been a CPR for the Jewish soul."

He cited JTTV, Jews for Judaism's teen drama group, as one of his most satisfying accomplishments. "I would say though that we've spent most of our efforts strengthening the Jewish community, through Jewish education and helping families in the community," he said. "We have actually gone beyond missionaries and cults to go to sources of dissatisfaction with Judaism."

Mr. Hillman added that under his leadership, Jews for Judaism also has done a great deal of work with Jewish Addiction Services and JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others).

Jews for Judaism will be observing its 25th year of operation next year.

"We were seen as part of the community," Mr. Hillman said. "We cared and we networked, and we were no longer in a situation where we're looked at as a lone wolf in the wilderness."

Said Mr. Schwartz: "Scott's compassion, his incredible range of knowledge and his passionate commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people have been invaluable to individuals, families, communities around the world, and, of course, our organization. We are truly sorry to see him leave, and wish him every success in his future endeavors."

Monday, July 30, 2007

IDF preparing to evacuate protesting settlers from West Bank market


If the NRP is so supportive of the people of Hevron, why aren't they fighting the coalition that keeps Olmert in power??

Last update - 00:18 31/07/2007
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service

The Israel Defense Forces is preparing to evacuate next week settlers who have broken into the wholesale market in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The IDF recently sent a letter to the settlers' attorney, Haim Cohen, saying it would charge settlers the cost of evacuating them if they did not leave of their own accord.

The letter, sent by the legal advisor of the Judea and Samaria Division, said that the settlers' window of opportunity to leave freely has closed, and that the IDF will forcibly evacuate them at a time it deems appropriate.


The army said in the letter to Cohen that it would use "reasonable force" during the evacuation, and raised the possibility of placing the entire cost of the exercise the shoulders of Cohen's clients, the settlers.

A military source said that the evacuation of the market is likely to take place next week. The settlers of Hebron have already set up headquarters from which to resist the military's attempts to remove them from the city.

Palestinian shops in the wholesale market have been closed since 1994. Israel ordered their closure after Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

Settlers broke into the market in 2001 after infant Shalhevet Pas was murdered by a Palestinian, at which point evacuation orders were issued.

The settlers left of their own volition approximately 18 months ago under an agreement with the Judea and Samaria Division commander Yair Golan, who promised they would be allowed to return shortly afterwards as legal tennants.

However, once the agreement became public, the attorney general ordered it annulled saying it was made against government orders, and Golan was reprimanded.

Earlier this year, the families returned and broke into the market again, claiming their return constitutes the righting of an historical injustice, as the market was built on a plot owned by Jews in the 19th century.

The land was under Jordanian control until the 1948 War of Independence, after which it was transferred to the Hebron municipality under whose auspices the market was constructed.

A representative responded to the IDF's announcement that the settlers will have to fund their own evacuation, saying the army was acting with great audacity.

"The IDF should be ashamed of itself for annulling the agreement on the market and not send threats that are meant to deny the residents their right to legitimate protest."

The National Religious Party also condemned the intended evacuation, saying in a statement, "We stand by the side of the residents of Hebron for their just struggle."

Culture & Sport Minister Won't Accommodate Observant Jews


This is what happens when we "include" our sworn enemies in our government.

Hey, I have an idea! Why don't we start making some demands of the arabs and make them make "gestures" to us? How about this: "When you include a Jew in your cabinet, we will include an arab in ours!"

Why are they always making the demands, and we are "gesturing" until our arms fall off????? When will we stand up for our right to our land that we have paid for millions of times over with the blood of our own people???


by Ezra HaLevi and Hana Levi Julian

(IsraelNN.com) Israel’s first Arab cabinet member, Sport and Culture Minister Raleb Majadle (Labor) has rejected a request by Shas Knesset member Chaim Amsalem to accommodate groups of Sabbath-observant and traditional soccer players who wish to participate in league competitions.

Recent media coverage of Sabbath-keeping efforts of traditionally observant members of the Betar Tzfat soccer team, who are forced to either skip or walk to games scheduled for Saturday, led MK Amsalem to suggest that the minister allow teams to refrain from playing on the Sabbath if they request to do so.

Amsalem pointed out that a large number of players and fans are traditional and would prefer if the games were rescheduled for a different day.

Majadle responded that such a move would be impossible since young people attend school the rest of the week and would not be able to arrive on time for the games.

MK Amsalem registered his disappointment in the minister’s decision, saying: “His answer is insufficient and does not display any effort toward finding a real solution to a problem that strikes very close to the soul of Judaism.”

Most Israeli professional soccer games take place on the Sabbath.

In contrast, the new Israel Baseball League (IBL) does not schedule games on the Sabbath, despite the fact that only 40 percent of its players are Jews and only a handful of those are observant.

No IBL games were scheduled during the recent fast of Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av. IBL founder Larry Baras immediately rescheduled a game upon being told it would run into the beginning of Tisha B’Av, making it difficult for one of the religious Jewish players to prepare properly for the fast.

Gentile players on the teams have been equally sensitive on the issue. Ryoju Kihara, a 27-year-old native of Hiroshima, Japan, told Arutz-7, “It’s good not to play on Tisha B’Av because we’re here in Israel. This isn’t Japan, America or Australia.” The Netanya Tigers pitcher added, “We need to respect the Jewish people of Israel.”

Government Destroys Synagogue Near Joseph's Tomb


Israel continues to do what ever it can to distance our religious community from our land and our ancestors. If this was happening in any other country, every Jewish organization in the world would be screaming from the rooftops, but the silence is deafening.




(IsraelNN.com) The government Monday afternoon leveled a structure used as a synagogue by Breslov Hasidic Jews and other students of Torah. They erected the structure on Har Garizim because of its proximity to the birthplace of Joseph.

Government officials maintained that the building was built without a permit and was not a synagogue. Several students have said they will rebuild the structure.

UK academic boycott backlash grows

jonny paul, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 29, 2007

The international outcry against the call by the UK's University and College Union (UCU) to boycott Israeli academic institutions has strengthened with a petition by academics reaching 10,000 signatures.

The petition, which calls on academics to show solidarity with their Israeli counterparts, raised over 10,000 signatures in seven weeks.

In response to the May 30 boycott vote, a campaign was launched by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, an organization of scholars with more than 18,000 academics and professional members, demanding the boycott be overturned. The initiative was led by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Prof. Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Prize laureate in physics from the University of Texas.

The petition urged scholars to stand in solidarity with "our Israeli academic and professional colleagues" and that for the purpose of any academic boycott targeting Israel, the signatories agreed to regard themselves as "Israeli academics" and decline to participate "in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded."

"Today more than 10,000 of the world's leading scholars speak together with one voice to demand academic freedom for all scholars and to declare that we are all Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott," Weinberg said.

Thirty-two Nobel Prize laureates and 53 university and colleges presidents worldwide and from across the political spectrum, along with an array of heads of academic departments and professional societies, have signed the petition.

"For those of us who are actively engaged in peace-building programs in the Middle East, the UCU vote came as a stab in the back to the efforts in which we have invested so much energy and hope," Judea Pearl, professor of Computer Science at UCLA and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, said. "I find it hard to understand how my academic colleagues in the UK could stand by and let a handful of anti-coexistence radicals hijack their union and stain their professional reputation by trampling on academic freedom, one of the most sacred tenets of free societies."

"The decision by the UCU to promote a boycott is a disgraceful anti-intellectual act that replaces factual discourse with a one-sided political agenda, and turns morality and the notion of freedom on their head," said Dr. Edward Beck, president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and professor of Psychology at Walden University in Minneapolis.

"It says more about the boycott proponents than those to be boycotted. All of those who believe in academic freedom must speak forcefully to prevent a minority of extremists in the UCU to politicize, control and shut down the free exchange of ideas, where any group, whether based upon religion or national origin is singled out for exclusion. In moving this boycott proposal forward, members of the UCU are, in fact, separating themselves from the international academic community, and deeply undermining their credibility in the process," Beck said.

"Never before in modern history have so many academics from such diverse backgrounds been so united in condemning an attack an academic freedom," Dershowitz said. "Beyond the sheer numbers of academics who have joined in solidarity with their Israeli colleagues, the signatories are a cross-section of many of the most respected scholars in the world. The message of the signatories is crystal clear - should the UCU go forward with a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions, the end result will be a self-inflicted wound on British academia."

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East said it would deliver the petition to the University and College Union "as an expression of outrage against the boycott" and would continue to raise awareness and condemnation of the boycott vote until it was reversed and the "fundamental principles of freedom are restored to British academia."

Scholars for Peace said it would monitor any instance where Israeli academics were excluded, should a boycott be put into effect, and would refuse to cooperate with organizations implementing such a boycott.

The text of the Scholars for Peace petition reads: "We are academics, scholars, researchers and professionals of differing religious and political perspectives. We all agree that singling out Israelis for an academic boycott is wrong... We, the undersigned, hereby declare ourselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott. We will regard ourselves as Israeli academics and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded."

The full text of the petition can be seen at www.spme.net.

Olmert ‘Gesture’ Opens Door to 'Right of Return' for Arabs


Behold! The destroyer of Israel!

Why are we allowing this man to stay in office one more day? Break this horrible government coalition based on greed and lies before it is too late!!




by Hana Levi Julian

(IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s latest “good will gesture” to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has smashed Israel's long-standing policy rejecting the “right of return” for the generations of descendants of Arabs who fled Israel during the 1948 War of Independence.

Olmert decided to allow the immigration into Judea and Samaria of 41 Iraqi descendants of such Arabs who lived in British Mandatory Palestine. All have claimed to have family members living in the PA-controlled areas.

Government officials assured reporters that each of the would-be Arab immigrants would undergo a thorough security check before entering the Jewish State. Officials added that a smaller group of Iraqis who asked to be allowed to join family members living in Gaza was rejected.

Arab countries have long demanded that Israel absorb more than five million Arabs from foreign countries who claim to be descendants of the approximately half a million Arabs who fled during the 1948 war in Israel, when the surrounding Arab countries tried to destroy the nascent Jewish state.

The Arab nations who united to attack Israel encouraged those Arabs to leave, explaining they could return after the expected annihilation of the new state.

Every previous government has rejected the Arab "right of return" demand.

High Court dismisses Metzger's petition

Jul. 30, 2007 13:33 | Updated Jul. 30, 2007 17:04

The High Court of Justice on Monday rejected Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger's petition against Attorney General Menahem Mazuz.

Metzger's petition was in response to a highly critical report released by Mazuz. Metzger claims that Mazuz should have conducted a hearing prior to releasing the report in order to allow the Rabbi to defend himself.

Five judges headed by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch ruled that the evidence presented by Mazuz against Metzger was not final, and that the rabbi would have a right to petition later on if proceedings to dismiss him were to commence.

Metzger petitioned the High Court in April 2006 in response to Mazuz's report, which investigated three events in which Metzger received discount prices on rooms in luxurious Jerusalem hotels for himself and his family, even though he received an official residence by the government.

A police investigation recommended that Metzger stand trial for accepting bribes and for breach of trust. Mazuz later decided that there was not sufficient evidence for an indictment.

PM urges compromise on agunot bill


I'm not sure what to say about this one. It seems the "feminist" groups are going to complain about anything that has a Torah connection, whether they understand it or not--so I don't have any idea about whether they are right to concern themselves with this (Are they just crying wolf, again? Or is the wolf really there?)

Meanwhile, I think it would be nice if the rabbinic courts actually followed THE LAW and didn't constantly add (and therefore subtract) some new interpretation that goes beyond the law.

Perhaps, then, we would trust them more.


Jul. 29, 2007 14:28 | Updated Jul. 30, 2007 9:55


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Sunday on religious and secular cabinet ministers to reach a compromise on legislation that would expand Rabbinic Court jurisdiction in divorce cases.

While dozens of feminists demonstrated against the bill outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Olmert, speaking in the weekly cabinet meeting, called on Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog (Labor) and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) to work together with Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, a former member of Shinui.

Olmert told them to reach a compromise that would be acceptable to both the Orthodox establishment and liberal legislators and women's activists.

The bill, which would give the Rabbinic Courts wider jurisdiction in financial issues in divorce cases, was approved as a government bill by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation last week.

Jewish Israelis are marry and divorce in Israel according to Orthodox Jewish law. According to Jewish law, a woman is not permitted to remarry unless her husband gives her a get (writ of divorce). If her husband is intransigent, the woman is called an aguna, meaning "chained."

The Orthodox religious establishment wants the Rabbinic Courts to have the right to arbitrate on monetary matter in divorce cases, according to Jewish law.

But women's rights groups, which view the Rabbinic Courts as chauvinist and prejudiced in favor of the husbands, see any widening of the courts' jurisdiction as necessarily discriminatory.

Sunny Calev of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal arm of the Reform Movement, said women had a subordinate status in Jewish law.

"Ideas like equality before the law, freedom of speech and equal opportunity simply do not exist in Orthodox Jewish law," said Calev. "A woman's position is improved infinitely if her case is heard by a civil court or a court that rules according to civil, secular law."

Reut Una-Tsameret, head of public activities for Mavoi Satum, an organization that aims to help women receive fair treatment in the Rabbinic Court system, said these courts often made the granting of a divorce writ [get] conditional on the woman's willingness to give up some of her financial rights.

"These are benefits that she rightly deserves from her divorcee," she said.

Una-Tsameret said Rabbinic Courts regularly threatened women with the loss of child support and alimony payments unless they agreed to receive a divorce writ according to the conditions set by the court.

Rabbinic Courts Administration spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said the proposed legislation would simply maintain the status quo.

"The Supreme Court recently overturned decades of precedent during which the Rabbinic Courts litigated in monetary matters connected with the divorce process, even after the husband gave his ex the divorce writ," Orbach said.

"This bill simply anchors in law what has been common practice for a long time now."



Why haven't we started an organized boycott of these companies? With the combined strength of numbers of Jews and Xtians, there is no reason we can't turn this around.

So far, we have the companies AIG and John Hancock. Any more to add to the list??


By GEOFF EARLE Post Correspondent

July 30, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - Life-insurance companies are systematically denying coverage to customers solely because they have visited Israel or plan to go in the future - outraging travelers who say Israel's historic sites are as safe as any American city, officials say.

The practice has become so widespread that nine states, including New York, have tried to stop it.

But insurance companies continue to block coverage, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation last week prohibiting insurers from blocking coverage and requiring them to rely on accurate information.

"It is just unfair for people to be denied life insurance because they might travel to Israel," said Schumer.

Sarina Roffe, who works at ORT America, a Jewish organization, learned of her life-insurance company's policy the hard way, when the Brooklyn mother of three applied to expand her coverage.

Her carrier, John Hancock, refused - citing Roffe's 2002 travel to Israel.

"I was upset because I didn't feel that going to Israel represented risky behavior. To me it was just a business trip," Roffe said.

Rabbi Mitchell Hurvitz of Greenwich, Conn., had his request for coverage denied by insurance company AIG after he led a mission to Israel.

"I think it's a horrible practice," he said. "It totally misunderstands what it is to travel to the Holy Land, for a Jew or a Christian, or for that matter a Muslim."

AIG also denied a request by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) when she disclosed that she might visit Israel, prompting her to introduce a bill in the House.

An AIG spokesman said, "We don't comment on individual policyholder matters." There was no immediate response from John Hancock about the other complaint.

Insurance companies argue that Israel is included on the State Department's travel-warning list, alongside such war-torn hot spots as Iraq and Sudan.

The feds tell travelers to stay out of the West Bank and Gaza, but only to "be mindful" in Israel.

"Violent conflicts in another country are some of the factors that an insurer might consider," said Whit Cornman, spokesman for the American Council of Life Insurance.

Yet jetting to Israel might actually be safer than staying stateside.

"The most dangerous thing I do when I go to Israel is drive to JFK Airport," Kaplan said.

Israel's death rate is favorable to the U.S.: 573 per 100,000, compared to 817 in the U.S., based on the most recent year's data.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fred Thompson names anti-Israel ex-senator as campaign manager


Not only very sad, but very dangerous. Fred Thompson is said to be the top candidate for the Repubs. Yes, it is true that a campaign manager doesn't decide issues, but if Thompson found this man to be OK, it really says something about Thompson . . .
Sunday, July 29, 2007 by Staff Writer

Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson, who has yet to officially announce his candidacy, has chosen as his new campaign manager and ex-senator who is reviled by many within the party for being soft on Islamic terrorism and an enemy of the Jewish state.

As of last week, Thompson's campaign is being run by former Michigan senator Spencer Abraham, who is best known for his total opposition to almost any form of realistic border control between the US and Mexico.

But Abraham, who is a Christian of Lebanese descent, has also carved out an image of himself as a facilitator and supporter of anti-US and anti-Israel Islamic fundamentalism.

During his one term in the Senate, Spencer was the driving force behind a bill that granted more than $250 million in US taxpayers' money to Hizballah-controlled southern Lebanon. Nearly every penny went into the terror group's pocket.

His next move was to exhort American Muslim Association (AMA) director Agha Saeed as a positive influence on the US political scene. That despite the fact that the AMA had recently sponsored events that incited violence against the Jews and upheld Hizballah and Hamas as models for Muslims everywhere.

In 2000, just months before his electoral defeat and the end of his short legislative career, Spencer was one of only two senators who refused to sign an open letter condemning escalating terrorist attacks by Yasser Arafat's PLO against Israeli civilians.

It was previously reported that Thompson was planning to visit Israel in the coming months in order to gain more perspective on the Middle East peace process. That visit, if it still happens, is expected to take on a whole different tone with Spencer Abraham in charge of Thompson's schedule.

Senate approves increased funding for synagogues, non-profits

Published: 07/27/2007

The Senate approved an increase in federal funding to help protect high-risk non-profit institutions from terrorism.

The 2008 Senate spending bill, approved Friday, includes a $20 million increase in funding to protect high-risk non-profits such as synagogues, hospitals and community centers from terrorist attacks. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) pushed for the increase, as she has done in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 spending bills.

A significant portion of $50 million allocated for 2005 and 2006 went to Jewish institutions. In the past, federal funds have been used by non-profits for security enhancements, such as concrete barriers.

“This is a federal investment in added security to help protect organizations at risk,” said Mikulski.

Women protest plan to expand power of rabbinical courts

Members of 25 groups that support women who were refused a divorce rally in front of PM's Office against plan to broaden jurisdiction of rabbinical courts
Neta Sela
Published: 07.29.07, 12:48 / Israel Jewish Scene

Members of Icar, the International Coalition for Agunah Rights, which includes 25 organizations that support women who were refused a divorce, rallied in front of the Prime Minister's Office Sunday in protest of a plan to expand the jurisdiction of the rabbinical court to apply also after the divorce was granted.

The women's groups are concerned that a new bill approved by the ministerial committee on legislation last week may benefit men while hurting women. The bill puts the authority for exercising the court's rulings in the court's hands, rather than in the hands of the enforcement authorities like it used to be in the past.

"The haredi MKs threaten a coalition crisis day-in day-out and the cabinet members cave in to their demands every time and impose on the public decrees that are impossible to bear," Ikar representatives said.

"The bill undermines the status quo on state and religious affairs, and hurts women who are undergoing a divorce or those who have been refused one" they said. "The bill is part of a growing trend to expand the rabbinical court's authority at the expense of women in Israel."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Modern Orthodoxy Under Attack


Feldman may be complaining about how he is “rejected,” but the truth is, he rejected the values of his people, his community, and his religion when he chose to marry a non-Jew. To reject others, then claim YOU are the rejected one is not only dishonest, it is, I believe, a symptom of a psychiatric problem.

I remember when my son was only four. The little girl across the street was playing with him, and the girl’s mother, in a moment of teasing, said, “Are you going to marry Gabriella some day?”

My son, without blinking, stated, “She is not a Jew. I could never marry her.”

If this is not taught from the earliest age, if this is not insisted upon throughout their lives, then our children will think it is not an important issue.

I have boys, and as a mother of boys, it is the MOST important issue. If they marry a non-Jew, my grandchildren are not Jewish. This is unacceptable to me, and I have made that VERY VERY clear.

Noah Feldman's intimate critique in the Times seen as raising the question of how to deal with Jews who marry out
Gary Rosenblatt - Editor And Publisher

However tempting, it would be a mistake to dismiss Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman’s personal and pointed critique of Modern Orthodoxy in The New York Times Magazine last Sunday (“Orthodox Paradox”) as merely The Big Kvetch.

His essay, sure to provide fodder for numerous sermons this Shabbat, is a long and bitter complaint that despite his numerous and remarkable professional accomplishments, he has been snubbed by the Brookline, Mass., yeshiva high school from which he graduated with honors in the 1980s.

Despite the fact that Feldman was valedictorian of his class at Harvard, a Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar who completed his doctorate at Oxford in record time and went on to help craft the Iraqi constitution, he and his then-girlfriend were literally cropped out of a reunion picture of Maimonides School graduates published in the alumni newsletter some years ago, and none of the personal updates he has sent in since have been published. Why? Because the girlfriend — now wife — is Korean-American. Not Jewish.

And Feldman, who aptly describes the yeshiva’s goals of “reconciling the vastly disparate values of tradition and modernity” as seeking to combine “Slobodka and St. Paul’s,” maintains that he has been rejected by his community despite the fact that he has “tried in my own imperfect way to live up to values that the school taught me, expressing my respect and love for the wisdom of the tradition while trying to reconcile Jewish faith with scholarship and engagement in the public sphere.”

Poor Noah, one may think on first read. How primitive and unfair for his former yeshiva to refuse to publicly acknowledge his successes.

But as one continues to read Feldman’s essay, we see that it is he who is unfair in expecting to be lauded by a community whose values he has rejected and in crafting an intellectually dishonest case for himself.

Still, the implicit and more lasting question raised by the essay is how should the Jewish community in general, and the Orthodox community in particular, deal with Jews who have married out?

Sending a message to our children that we deeply value in-marriage for social, religious and communal reasons is all well and good, but what do we do after the fact, once they’ve chosen a non-Jewish partner and conversion is not a part of the conversation?

Unfair Arguments
As for Feldman’s arguments, in insisting that Maimonides himself, the 12th century rabbinic scholar and philosopher, believed that knowing the world was the best way to know God, he ignores the fact that it was Maimonides who codified Jewish law, established the 13 principles of faith, and insisted on adherence to halacha.

Feldman then goes on at some length to cite Jewish law’s tensions over violating the Sabbath to save the life of a non-Jew. But he fails to mention that the dispute is Talmudic, not practical; no Modern Orthodox doctor would hesitate to treat a non-Jew on the Sabbath.

Perhaps most upsetting, and unjust, the only allegedly Modern Orthodox Jews Feldman describes in his essay besides Sen. Joseph Lieberman are Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzchak Rabin, and Baruch Goldstein, the American-born physician who murdered 29 Arabs in Hebron in 1994. The two are cited as examples of men who took Jewish imperatives to their logical conclusion by committing murder.

“That’s like judging the peacock by its feces,” noted Rabbi Saul Berman, a scholar and former head of Edah, an organization that promoted Modern Orthodox values.

Indeed, no serious Modern Orthodox Jew is unaware of the tensions between upholding the Torah law and recognizing the values and benefits of Western democratic ideals. Rabbi Berman credits Feldman with pointing out the need to explore such tensions, which when unrecognized or out of balance can produce an Amir of Goldstein, “but it’s not fair to judge the system” by such aberrations, he maintains.

Psychic Pain
In the end, Feldman’s essay is less about Modern Orthodoxy than about his own psychic pain over being rejected. He wants it all: to be embraced if not applauded by the Jewish community whose values he has discarded by marrying out.

As Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, senior scholar at Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, noted in a letter sent to The Times, “fealty to Jewish tradition requires more than a ‘mind-set’ expressing ‘respect and love’ for its teachings; it presupposes certain fundamental normative behaviors. America is a country of choices, but choices have consequences and not every choice is equal. It is unrealistic for Mr. Feldman to expect to maintain good standing in a community whose core foundational behavioral — as well as value — system he has chosen to reject.”

Judaism is not alone in this attitude. Witness, for example, the Catholic Church’s discomfort with former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a divorced Catholic who favors abortion rights, or any religious faith’s attitudes toward members who publicly violate its tenets.

But Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author and television personality (“Shalom in the Home”), cautions against alienating some of our best and brightest Jews who marry out. Rabbi Boteach has been a friend of Feldman’s since he served as a rabbi at Oxford University where Feldman studied for two years in the early 1990s. In an essay in the Jerusalem Post this week, Rabbi Boteach says that in addition to the “ethical and humanitarian considerations” regarding ostracizing those who intermarry, the approach is ineffective, with intermarriage rates so high.

He argues that the community has a far better chance of winning over the non-Jewish spouse and the Jewish partner through welcoming behavior rather than shunning the couple.

This inreach vs. outreach debate has been part of the American Jewish landscape for a number of years, but there are those who suggest a more nuanced approach.

“There is a difference between a personal and a communal response to intermarrieds,” noted one Jewish educator who knows Feldman from Maimonides School. It’s one thing, he said, to have a personal relationship (and one wonders if Feldman would have felt less hurt if someone from the alumni office had explained the decision not to print his picture). “But for the school not to crow about a graduate who married out — how could he think otherwise?”

Cropping Feldman and his wife out of the photo was “unconscionable,” according to Steven Bayme, national director of contemporary Jewish life at the American Jewish Committee and a graduate of Maimonides School. But he noted that even Feldman acknowledged every minority group requires boundaries to maintain and preserve its own identity and that marrying out is viewed with disfavor by every denomination of Judaism.

“The price for the individual may be tragic,” Bayme said, “but the loss is far more destructive for the community in terms of cultural distinctions and communal cohesion if you remove the boundaries.”

Irreconcilable Issue
What Feldman’s essay points up is that intermarriage is the irreconcilable issue for those who argue that American and Jewish values are compatible. “We’ve sold a lot of Jews a bill of goods when we’ve told them there are no contradictions between being a good Jew and an American,” noted Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University. “In America you are taught you can marry anyone you fall in love with, but Judaism argues that we are a minority culture and will only survive if Jews marry other Jews.”

Sarna chairs an American Jewish Committee task force on attitudes toward non-Jews in the community, and asserts that with an estimated 1.7 million non-Jews living in Jewish households — to put it another way, about 23 percent of those living in Jewish households are not Jewish — this is “a very important debate” for the community to engage in.

Citing the “magnitude” of the issue and the “bitterness that drips out” of Feldman’s essay, Sarna suggests that perhaps it is time for the community to reconsider ways to draw people in rather than ignore or shun them, especially when there are indications that many non-Jews are supportive of raising their children as Jews.

Others would argue that the community already has tilted so far toward outreach and acceptance of non-Jews that there is little incentive left for them to convert to Judaism.

What Noah Feldman has done, consciously or not, is raise some important issues, less about his old yeshiva and Modern Orthodoxy per se than about dealing with Jews who do not see marrying out as leaving the fold.

Conversion is the most obvious and desired solution, but for those who eschew that option, we need to explore ways to encourage their positive exposure to Jewish life.

Feldman would argue that just because he intermarried does not mean he chose to separate himself from his heritage. But being Jewish means not only incorporating the values and traditions, but also remaining part of a community.

For all of Feldman’s candor in the essay, he has nothing to say about where he fits into the community, if at all; whether he wanted his wife to convert; whether they are raising their children as Jews or not; or his feelings about all this. He only owes us such information if he wants our understanding and empathy, which clearly he does.

He does owe Modern Orthodoxy an apology for pinning it with his anger over rejection, knowing full well the rules of engagement. But we in turn owe him a sense of gratitude for a wake-up call, however unpleasant, about the need to struggle more deeply and honestly with the moral and religious tensions and contradictions in Modern Orthodoxy that can never be reconciled, and about learning how to deal more sensitively with those on the outside who may be calling out — in anger and loneliness — for a way back in.

E-mail: Gary@jewishweek.org

Poll: Israelis insist prime minister must be Jewish

7/26/2007 6:30:00 AM Email this article • Print this article
Israelis continue to embrace universalistic democratic values, but that sentiment has been severely tested by security concerns, according to a recent poll that also revealed deep-seated public dismay over institutional corruption in the Jewish state.

Among the poll's findings: A strong majority of Israelis said they would support only a Jew as prime minister. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (including 31 percent of Israeli Arabs) said they would encourage the passage of legislation that would allow Jews only to hold the nation's highest office, according to the survey, which was commissioned by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a German organization devoted to promoting liberal and democratic values worldwide.

At the same time, a majority of Israelis (55 percent) said they believe that Israeli Arabs are entitled to the same civil rights as all other Israeli citizens. Slightly more than half of those surveyed thought that Israeli Arabs should perform some aspect of national service, including 48 percent of the Israeli Arab participants. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said Israel's fervently Orthodox, or haredi, community should have a similar public-service obligation.

The survey, which was released early this month, also revealed strong support for Israel's security forces to conduct anti-terror operations unhindered. An overwhelming 75 percent of those questioned (including 21 percent from the Arab population) endorsed the right of the military and the Israel Security Agency (Shabak) to act "without limitations" in ticking-bomb cases, even if doing so might violate the civil and human rights of terrorism suspects.

Meanwhile, many of those questioned indicated that institutional corruption represents a serious threat to democracy and the rule of law. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement made by Israel's State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss that corruption "is a cancer deeply entrenched in the institutions of [Israeli] government."

All-Star Selections

7/23/2007 9:12:00 AM Email this article • Print this article
Two Jewish Atlantans playing in the Israel Baseball League have been picked to play in the new league's inaugural All-Star Game on July 29.

Tel Aviv Lightning pitcher Daniel Kaufman, who took a no-hitter into the final inning of one start, is one of eight pitchers on the North team, composed of players from Netanya, Raanana and Tel Aviv. Kaufman is 2-2 with a 4.12 ERA in his four appearances, all starts.

Raanana Express outfielder Ben Field is one of five outfielders on the North team. Field is hitting .298 with six doubles, two home runs and 17 RBI in 21 games.

The South team represents Bet Shemesh, Modi'in and Petach Tikva.

The managers for the all-star teams will be the managers of the top two teams in the league as of July 36. As the standings are now, that would put Alpharetta resident Ron Blomberg, the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox, in charge of the South team in his first stint as a manager in professional baseball.

The All-Star Game will be nine innings, instead of the usual seven in the IBL, and a tie game will go to extra innings instead of a home run derby.

Israeli company to build largest solar park in world in US


Sounds good, but it will NEVER HAPPEN. The environmentalists of the LA basin will complain this will kill the tortises and other desert life. They will tie this up in the courts for 25 years.

Solel signs contract to build solar thermal technology plant in California's Mojave Desert that will deliver 553 megawatts of solar power
Amir Ben David
Published: 07.26.07, 09:44 / Israel Money

Israeli company Solel, which develops and implements solar thermal technology, has signed a contract with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to build the world's largest solar plant in California's Mojave Desert.

The project will deliver 553 megawatts of solar power, the equivalent of powering 400,000 homes, to PG&E’s customers in northern and central California.

When fully operational in 2011, the Mojave Solar Park plant will cover up to 6,000 acres in the Mojave Desert. Solel is working closely with URS Corporation in the development of the Mojave Solar Park, which when commercial will rely on 1.2 million mirrors and 317 miles of vacuum tubing to capture the desert sun’s heat.

“We are thrilled to bring 553 MW of clean energy to California,” said Avi Brenmiller, chief executive officer of Solel Solar Systems. “Our proven solar technology means Solel can economically turn the energy of the warm California sun into clean power for the state’s homes and businesses.”

Meanwhile, plans to develop a similar project in Israel, where sunlight is abundant, have so far been stalled due to bureaucratic hurdles, and despite efforts by Solel and Greenpeace Israel to promote such a project.

Only recently the Infrastructure Ministry and the Ministry of the Environment decided that a solar plant would be built near Dimona.

Interior minister slams ban on sale of pork

Despite the fact that he himself keeps kosher, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit says he will revoke the bylaw banning the sale of white meat in Netanya. 'The sale of pork must be allowed for the benefit of the consumers of this product,' he says
Nurit Palter
Published: 07.26.07, 10:00 / Israel Money

Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit intends to revoke the Netanya city council's decision to ban the sale of pork products in the city.

"The city of Netanya is obligated to send its municipal laws to the Justice Ministry, where they will determine if the proposal is even legal and it will be transferred to the me for authorization," said Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit of the bylaw.

The bylaw was passed by the city council last week despite the fact that the council’s legal advisor was of the opinion that it would not be approved by the Interior Ministry, nor would it survive being challenged in the High Court of Justice.

Some 70 stores specializing in pork products can be found in Netanya's city center, and most of their customers are immigrants from the Former Soviet Union.

Two years of lies

Expulsion of Gaza Strip settlers premised on false arguments, leftist hostility
Shlomo Engel
Published: 07.26.07, 14:41 / Israel Opinion

The Ninth of Av has passed and we reached the 10th of Av on Wednesday, the day when two years ago we saw the start of the State of Israel's journey of folly and evil against its most loyal and dedicated citizens in Gush Katif and northern Samaria.

Two days short of two years since the wearers of black vests started marching in the direction of the flourishing Gush Katif communities in the Gaza Strip sands and proceeded to shatter and destroy, expel and disperse peaceful citizens, prosperous communities, thriving businesses, and thousands of men, women, and children.

The 728 days that have passed since then suffice to engage in an incisive self-examination process as to what happened in the golden sands of Gush Katif, and what has transpired since then.

This self-examination has of course not taken place and will not be taking place in the various media outlets, with the exception of several close-ups and propaganda films showing the sorrow of the banished and the difficulties of those who expelled them.

Mere emotionalism that is not focused and incisive constitutes yet another reality TV show before we flip to the next channel. In order to realize this, it would suffice to compare the extent of the media's dealing with the Rabin murder months before his two-year memorial to the troublesome media silence a day before the two-year memorial for the razed Gush Katif.

It is very easy to hide behind the formalities that justified the crime – the government approved it, the Knesset approved it, and the Supreme Court approved it. Yet two years later it is important to stress that these institutions approved the disengagement's implementation with full intention and not by mistake or due to flawed considerations.

Two years later, the declaration that "we have a solution for every settler" has been proven to be a blatant lie in the face of the despair, neglect and failure to find employment and housing solutions for the evacuees. As early as the planning stage, the government and the Supreme Court knew that it was impossible to house thousands of people in new communities and provide them means for livelihood without proper preparation of several years, yet they still approved the move, thus committing a crime.

Leftists always dreamed of evacuation
Two years later, the statements regarding the expected improvement in our security situation have also proven to be a lie in the face of the ceaseless Qassam rocket barrages (which at times target even the southern city of Ashkelon.) We also saw the establishment of Hamastan in the Gaza Strip, massive weapons transfers through the Philadelphi route, etc. All these dangers were known even in the planning stages, but despite this the move was approved, thus making the crime committed by the State and its institutions even graver.

Two years later, the expected improvement in our international status lasted, at best, for two weeks of evacuation photos. After that we went back to the same exact state of isolation and constant and dangerous international pressures. This issue too, regarding the apparent long-term support from nations of the world in wake of the evacuation, was known to any clever observer two years ago, yet the move was approved despite this.

Two years later, declarations regarding our liberation from controlling Gaza Strip Arabs have also turned out to be a lie, although a sophisticated one at that, which was known and clear to those who approved the plan.

Israel has maintained security control only over Gaza Arabs since the signing of the Oslo Agreement. On the civilian level, the Strip was controlled by the Palestinian Authority in terms of voting in elections, civics, education, police, and even some security matters. The disengagement did not change this at all.

Today too, Israel maintains its security control over the Strip in the air, sea, and land (which includes maintaining military forces on the ground, for example, on the ruins of evacuated northern Gaza communities,) while not maintaining any civilian control over Gaza residents.

In the face of the folly and lies, which were known in advance by all those who approved the disengagement, the question mark over its purpose and the sweeping support for it grows larger. This question mark is personally directed in particular at Aharon Barak, the chief justice during the disengagement period, who volunteered to provide Ariel Sharon with all the legal backing for carrying it out, as clearly and blatantly described by Naomi Levitsky in her book.

The High Court of Justice, headed by Aharon Barak, could have saved the State of Israel from the moral injustice and security and diplomatic folly at the base of the disengagement plan. Yet not only did he fail to do so, he did everything possible to back the plan.

Regrettably, the only explanation possible for carrying out the crime is the desire to commit it. The leftist camp has always dreamed of evacuating settlements. At first this was seemingly in the interest of security, later seemingly in the interest of peace, and ultimately as an objective in and of itself.

As the peace, security, and social arguments crashed on the ground of reality, the unrestrained desire to teach the settlers a lesson and disperse them grew stronger. An authentic expression of this is a Yair Lapid article titled "Things we couldn't say during disengagement," whose essence was that the disengagement did not necessitate expelling the settlers, but rather, expelling the settlers made disengagement necessary.

The settlers and settlements are a red flag in the face of the secular leftist camp. The very existence of the settlement enterprise defies and proves that it is possible to live and create in the modern world based on the world of Jewish, Zionist and human values, which the forefathers of secular leftist Zionism believed in.

The Gaza Strip hothouses that marketed their flowers to the entire world were a screaming red flag of going back to the original Zionist values, and therefore it was necessary to quickly destroy them and their owners, the settlers. This is what those who expelled them wanted. They worked to that end, and regrettably, they succeeded.