Monday, January 31, 2005
I believe Holy Terror is a parody. No one can be that devoid of self-awareness. No one can be that unappolgetically Phillistine. I think Moby invented her to show us how nuts the righties are, and I'd venture to suggest that he got the idea from Yitzhak Eyezik. <-- link fixed!
This is why I am inviting "Holy Terror" to guest-blog here anytime she likes.
We'd be very glad to have her.
Here we have a man who doesn't understand science - medieval or modern - pontificating on both. I suppose that's fair, when you remember that he makes decisions about the universe using the epistemology of a five year old.
His signs off with a decleration of faith, ("The world is 5,765 years old and counting.") but so far as I can see he never explains why he thinks God has deliberately tricked us into thinking that the universe is millions and millions of years older.
Where did this idea of a very old universe come from? Did all the scientists fail to calibrate their instruments? Is it a conspiracy? Is Rabbi Palaut suggesting that modern cosmologists are knwingly deceiving us?
Or perhaps, Rabbi Plaut believes someone else has lied to us. Perhaps Rabbi Plaut believes that the scientists are doing their very best with the tools at their disposal, but are failing to uncover the truth, because God has designed the world to "appear" very old, when in fact it isn't.
Is that it, Rabbi Plaut? Is your god a prankster, pulling the wool over the eyes of gullible science?
Let's have it, Rabbi Plaut: Do the "Heavens proclaim His glory," as the Psalmist said, or is the universe God created one big, fat lie?
Rabbi Plaut, if you read DovBear we'd like to hear from you.
Mr. Sharansky found himself in the Oval Office in an hourlong conversation with the president about his book, 'The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.' Mr. Bush apologized for not finishing it, Mr. Sharansky said in a telephone interview last week from Jerusalem - 'He said, 'I'm on Page 211' ' - but otherwise threw his arms around Mr. Sharansky's theme that spreading democracy is in the strategic self-interest of free societies.Oh, what we would pay to be able to ask the president even 3 questions about that book.
'I felt like his book just confirmed what I believe,' Mr. Bush said in an interview on Thursday in the Oval Office. 'He writes it a heck of a lot better than I could write it, and he's certainly got more credibility than I have. After all, he spent time in a Soviet prison and he has a much better perspective than I've got.'
I'd even let the president refer to the book for his answers. I'd even let him see the questions in advance.
"I'm on Page 211." Yeah, right.
I will agree that Cheney's poor choice of clothing is not one of the big issues of the day, but I find it exasperating that the same right-wing blogosphere that giggled for days when Kerry mispronounced the name of a football stadium, is piously insisting that Cheney's sartorial faux paus is a non-issue. And, it should be noted that high-minded Dave is himself currently deep into a high-browed series on Mahmoud and his smiles.
Finally, it's silly to say that Cheney was simply dressing warmly. A man as wealthy as the Vice President can surely find a tailor with enought skill to create an outfit that is both warm AND dignified. At the innauguration last week, when it was frigid in Washington, Cheney (or his tailor) managed the trick. So what went wrong in Auschwitz?
Cheney didn't care, and that, finally, is the point.
1. Go to http://mappoint.msn.com/DirectionsFind.aspx
2. In the Start section, select "Norway" from the list box and enter "Haugesund" into the "City" field
3. In the End section, select "Norway" from the list box and enter "Trondheim" into the "City" field
4. Click on "Get Directions" ...
Well done Microsoft.
Circle I Limbo
People who take midrash literally
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow
Circle IV Rolling Weights
Ned Flanders, and people like him
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled
People who confuse "your" and "you're"
Circle VI Buried for Eternity
Circle VII Burning Sands
Those who imagine hats and tables are essential to Judaism
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement
Circle IX Frozen in Ice
Let me ask a serious question, or three: If the VMI cadets dressed as devils, or kings, or gangsters, or Richard Nixon, would anyone mind? No? So what's the difference? Aren't devils a symbol of absolute evil? Haven't kings and gangsters committed more than their share of criminal atrocities?
Perhaps, we've simply reached a point where the "Nazi" has become a joke, ripe for parody, much like the gangster in his fedora and sharp suit. I'm ready to agree with Miriam; "On occasion this can be tasteless, but ridicule is not a bad way to strip the swastika of some of its malign power"
Certainly, anyone in the audience laughing at (former Jew) Mel Brooks and the Producers would agree.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
As Miriam reports the Nazis of Oregon have volunteered to pick up trash along a quiet stretch of rural road in Oregon in exchange for recognition on small road signs.
However, KATU of Oregon is reporting that someone misspelled the name of the group on their application to the program. The original signs said "American Nazi Party," while the application states that the group is actually called the "Amerian Nazi Party."
Which reminds me of a joke. What do you call a Nazi in third-grade?
AND ANOTHER THING:
Jesus General suggests we litter the road with pictures of "Spongebob or Dora the Explorer to remind them what they are fighting against."
On Friday, SoccerDad, a nice little blog, was ranked at about 2900. Today it's at 433?!
What caused the enormous, overnight leap?
Meanwhile, I'm hovering at 3000, which is excellent, really, for a blog that was born in November 2004, except TLB says I get 47 "Inbound Unique;" my own stats say it's more like 400.
Can anyone explain?
Another TLB anamoly: Kesher-talk, a fine blog that doesn't link here, put up a post that TLB says received 149 links. 149! I'd love to read it. I'd even provide the elusive 150th link.
Does anyone know what it was?
I wrote these words on Bloghd a moment ago, and it was a sort of revelation. This is why I am so angry. I am furious at the thought that a perfectly legitimate strain of Judaism has been swallowed whole by a younger, and perhaps less-legitimate, strain of Judaism.
This is not the place to attack the authenticity of the style of Judaism practiced by the Eastern-Europeans. Instead, let's say simply that their style of Judaism (and please note I am discussing style, and style only) is very different from the style of Judaism practiced in the West. For the sake of conversation, I'll even stipulate that both styles are equally authentic, and equally legitimate.
However, I can't pretend that the Western-style is newer, which is one of many lies institutional Orthodoxy asks us to accept.
A raft of examples:
Nusach Ashkenaz isn't modern; it predates Hasidic sefard by at least 500 years. Singing Yigdal on Friday night isn't modern; it was done in Amsterdam as early as the 18th century. Blue-shirts and ties aren't modern; until very recently Jews dressed like everyone else. Opposing upshurin or eating g'broks on Passover isn't modern; the customs of upshurin or refusing g'broks didn't even exist until less than 250 years ago. Singing the tefilla isn't modern; as far back as 1623 the Council of the Four Lands inveighed against it. And of course, imagining the universe is very old is not a modern idea. Jewish scholars of stature and rank believed this several hundred years before Darwin.
But the average Haredi man on the street knows none of this, he chooses to remain ignorant of it. His leaders make no effort to educate him, and forbid him to seek education on his own.
This willful ignorance is overtaking us, the lies multiply, and no one gets the joke that what the Haredim call "modern" is, in fact, very old, and some of what the Haredim imagine essential to Judaism is, in fact, very new.
Meanwhile, those of us who know better and refuse to play along with this new Judaism are tarred as "modern" and cast into the street. It's our punishment for insisting on the authenticity and legitimacy of our older traditions.
This is what galls most about the Slifkin ban. Our way is the older way, but this counts for nothing among those who piously insist that the old way is the best way.
However, it is worth reporting that one blog gained more than any other from fraud. In all, this blog received more than 20 fradulent votes, in each of the five categories for which it was (self?) nominated.
Of which blog do I speak? Why, it's Jewish Whistleblower, of course, the idol-smashing blog that stands for "accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership".
Three cheers for transparency, 'eh?
Saturday, January 29, 2005
About the Republicans I mean. Like Ayelet, I can remember when they were tolerable. I can remember when they weren't drunk on God, when they made no practice of demonizing their opposition, when they could be trusted not to lower public discourse, when they didn't divide the public in pursuit of their exclusive ambitions.
I remember good Republicans. Really I do.
In my shul is a man who was told as young boy, "Vote Republican. They'll let you alone and let keep your money." And to this day, this boy, now a middle-aged man, like middle-aged Jewish men in every shul, votes Republican. And because he's Jewish, and not very well read, he does not see and he does not know that GWB's Republican party is made up of several distinct elements - at least four, of which three are neither libertarian, nor fiscally conservative. He doesn't see that all we Jews have to keep us safe is liberty, and he doesn't see that this president and his cronies in the other three wings of the GOP have waged a steady war on liberty -in this country, never mind Iraq, where liberty is hardly a forgone conclusion, anyway - a steady war on liberty from the very day they took office.
He doesn't see, and he doesn't care. This middle-aged man, like middle-aged men in every shul, counts his money, and he laughs at the less fortunate, and says his prayers, and perhaps mutters thanks that his neighbors judge him on the size of his hat and the shine on his atarah, rather than the size of his heart.
Thus, I blog.
We see something is amiss at the Haredi paper of record, for the same article favorably cites a HARVARD professor! His definitions - not the torah's, not the gedolim's, but HIS definitions of freedom are put forward. Revolutionary stuff! For them, anyway.
Oh, Dei'ah veDibur, what have you done with R' Mordechai Plaut? On second thought, don't tell us.
This new Dv'D has potential.
For the general Jewish audience, here are two bits from the recent TNR article likely to amuse, inform, and perhaps enrage:
The synagogues that he attended with his parents in Bayswater, Hampstead, and Golders Green were, architecturally and socially, testaments to the determination with which bourgeois Anglo-Jews staked their claim to a stable place within the institutions of late-imperial Britain. The interiors were (and are) oak-paneled; the windows neo-Victorian stained glass; the yad, or pointer, for the Torah readings was made from Hatton Garden sterling silver; and the synagogue's official notables, the 'wardens,' were dressed in black silk top hats and seated in their very own closed pew, the 'box,' which solemnly opened and shut each time one of them emerged to mount the steps to the Ark. "Second bit
In Palestine in 1934... Berlin diagnosed much of the surliness of British officials (neither malevolent nor benevolent) toward the Jews as stemming from a resentment that their usual imperial role of Kulturträger to the natives had been usurped by dentists from Kraków, demoting the pukka pashas to the status of glorified traffic cops. Hence the romantic eagerness of the British to adopt the role of protector of the noble Arabs against the pushily disruptive Jews and their Mitteleuropa culture of coffee, cake, and Kinder.
Friday, January 28, 2005
Cheney at Auschwitz. (Herbert Knosowski -- AP)
Robin Givhan of The Wahington Post is most displeased with the VP's sartorial choices:
Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children's clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults.How 'bout a little respect? And dignity?
Like other attendees, the vice president was wearing a hat. But it was not a fedora or a Stetson or a fur hat or any kind of hat that one might wear to a memorial service as the representative of one's country. Instead, it was a knit ski cap, embroidered with the words "Staff 2001." It was the kind of hat a conventioneer might find in a goodie bag.
It is also worth mentioning that Cheney was wearing hiking boots -- thick, brown, lace-up ones. Did he think he was going to have to hike the 44 miles from Krakow -- where he had made remarks earlier in the day -- to Auschwitz?
[More: Dick Cheney, Dressing Down (washingtonpost.com)]
hmmmm. Let's see.
The Following Are Real Time Thoughts That Occured to Me As I Read R' Feldman's Article
Overall: What a disapointing hack job. And I don't know what Gil was talking about. This article doesn't discuss Slifkin. It's just a vile propoganda attack on the MO.
Meet Clifford May
Remember that U.N. official who complained about Washington's contribution to the tsunami victims? He neglected to mention that even as he was deriding Americans as "stingy," the United Nations was refusing more than $50 million in aid.Don't remember? Don't feel bad. It's not Alzheimers. It never happened.
Jan Egeland, U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said no such thing. According to a transcript of a Dec. 27 news conference, what Egeland was talking about was, generally, what he considered low levels of foreign aid money from wealthy nations and, specifically, the fear that these countries would spend all of the new year's foreign aid allocations on tsunami relief, leaving little money for the other emergencies that typically happen:Somehow? Somehow? I'll tell you how the "gross distortion occured."
We were more generous when we were less rich, many of the rich countries. And it is beyond me why are we so stingy, really, when we are -- and even Christmas time should remind many Western countries at least how rich we have become. And if actually the foreign assistance of many countries now is 0.1 or 0.2 percent of their gross national income, I think that is stingy, really. I don't think that is very generous.
The word "United States" appears nowhere near "stingy." Yet somehow Egeland's remarks were grossly distorted into a claim that the U.S. was being "stingy."
At least not today.
But we think this little poll from Christianity Today, makes that suggestion.
I believe demonic possession is: (Check all that apply)
not taken seriously enough by Christians.: 35%
not taken seriously enough by doctors.: 21%
possible, but only for non-Christians.: 24%
possible for Christians.: 13%
a belief of primitive cultures.: 4%
not real. It's a biblical literary device.: 3%
See that? 21% thought that DOCTORS should take demonic possession more seriously. You know, instead of schizophrenia, epilepsy, or cancer, maybe doctors should consider demonic possession as a diagnosis -- because that's what it could be.
Horrifying thought: If Deah V'Dibbur ran a similar poll, how do you think their readers would answer?
From the snail-mail bag:
Chuppah at seven o'clock
Simchas Chosson v'kallah at 9:45
(We hope to be on schedule as the music ends at 11:00 pm)
This is all 100 percent verbatem by the way, including the annoying inconsistancy with the way the time is written.
And frankly, I'm impressed. In just three lines, the hosts have mananged to announce (1) no attention to detail (2) stinginess (3) chronic lateness and (4) absense of personal responsibility, ie: if the band goes home before we're ready it's not the host's fault. It's the guest's fault. Bad, bad guests.
Bonus: Guess the sect affiliation of the hosts.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Sometimes, before the grace after meals, your host will pass a mayim achroi'nim set. There is no reason for this. Most rabbis agree that the tradition traces back to ancient times when people ran out of gift ideas for newlyweds and began to buy them little cups and saucers. The newlyweds were forced to use the useless trinkets when the people who gave it to them came over for lunch. So, they filled the cup with water, passed it around, and everyone dipped their fingers into it.
And now you know the rest of the story.
The X-Hawk is the first helicopter built to maneuver in tight spaces. Developed by Israeli helicopter company Urban Aeronautics, the X-Hawk is a "rotorless" aircraft. Whereas top-mounted rotors make it hard for conventional choppers to avoid buildings and power lines, the X-Hawk's rotors are encased inside ducts and mounted on the tail. Small vanes in the front and back of the ducts allow the helicopter to move forward and backward, or right and left, without rolling. Though the first X-Hawk is not expected to be available until 2010, a prototype passed 10 hover tests with flying colors in DecemberNow, where's my robot maid.
Republicans love him for the same reason that Democrats love McCain -- because they both spend a great deal of the time beating up publicly on their own party.My, my what an unpleasant pickle for the GOP Jew:
But for that reason, especially given our minority status (when the party needs to stick together for survival), Lieberman must go. I don't want another six years of him bashing Democrats on Fox News next to a fawning Sean Hannity.
- On the one hand, who the hell is this Kos to mess with a Jew's livelihood?
- On the other hand, Leiberman shouldn't be in high office, anyway. It's bad for the Jews, and all.
- But on the other hand (we're from the Love Canal vicinity) if Leiberman goes down in the primaries, as Kos wishes, he'll likely be replaced by a real democrat, ie: one who won't bash the party on Fox TV.
So, if you're a GOP Jew, what do you do?
As you may have noticed, I am not a GOP Jew, plus I like Leiberman. I hope he stays in the Senate forever.
The Jewish Press also became a significant source for unvarnished news and independent opinion about Eretz Yisroel and the Jewish community in America, and a fearless advocate for the political and legal rights of Jews around the world.Are these people clueless or delusional? Or do they just think their readers are morons?
1 - He denied the science of the sages. Example: He claims spontaneous generation isn't real.
2 - He denied the cosmology of the sages Example: He claims the universe is more than 5000 odd years.
3 - He denied the authority of the sages. Example: He says the sages are fallible.
According to the LOR, the first two are excusable, but the third puts Judaism on a slippery slope; therefore its intolerable.
But what about horayot*? Yeah, I asked that, too. Apparently, only the sages themselves can conclude that they themselves have made an error. Slifkin (a) isn't a sage, and (b) it's not his own error he's correcting. Ergo, his testimony is out.
This strikes me as foolish. Because if the sage dies before he realizes his mistake, what's our recourse? How do we keep errors from becoming part of the tradition, if no one can ever correct a sage?
Recipe for disaster, no?
*Tractate of Talmud that seems to recognize the fallibility of Sages.
And, this just it:
The official reaction from The Shteeble Authority (Boro Park:) "See, this is why we don't recognize those modernishkahs running the OU. Pass the creamed herring, will you please? My Tam-Tam is dry."
[Hap Tip Miriam, who, we gather, never imbibes.]
[Esther, who endorses me in the JIBs, is all over this story]
CHAPTER 1: THE HISTORY OF PRAYER
1) In ancient times, people would sacrifice such things as cattle, incense, and virgins. Some would sacrifice their virginity. This behavior pleased the Lord, who rewarded the ancient people with all the pestilence, famine, droughts, and invading barbarians they desired.
2) After the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the rabbis decided that the Almighty was displeased with the Jewish method of worship, which amounted to little more than tailgating outside of the Holy Temple. Reasoning that everyone should suffer, and not just the Kohens and Levi'im who always got stuck mopping up the blood and guts, the rabbinate ordered that prayers replace the ancient barbaric custom of sacrifices.
3) Prayers began with a recitation of the Sh'ma and the Shmoneh Esrei. It took eight minutes. Soon, a well-meaning yet masochist rabbi decided that this didn't cause nearly enough pain, so he composed a poem for everyone to sing. Not to be outdone, another rabbi decided that it was also necessary to read Tehilim. And a third began to write his own poems, and so on and so on until there were scarcely five minutes left in a 24-hour day that did not have some prayer to say.
4) Somewhere along the line "singing" the prayers fell out of fashion. This sped up the services, but. Jewish memory being what is, there are presently entire communities of Jews under the misapprehension that singing is "modern." [Ed note: These are the same people who think eating gbroks is modern and that the ashkenaz liturgy is modern. Math, not history, is our strong suit.]
5) Today, prayers grow with every generation as each congregation tries to outdo the others in terms of time spent praying and total prayers said. Pretty soon, we will all just have to move into Schul since there will be no point of ever going home since, by the time we got there, we'll just turn around again. [Note: I davened in a shteeble in Boro Park one sukkot, and this is exactly what happened. Morning services took so long, I almost ate my esrog]
Shira's "post party" made me think of this.
*If A.P Kores will identify himself, I'll gladly give him credit. His writings appeared in my email box this week, stuffed between the angry Letters of Protest, and the ads for manhood enhancement (which were immidiately forwarded to the authors of the Letters of Protest. Ha! Ha!)
The essence of [Rabbi Plaut's] argument is this: If you can prove that a certain body of knowledge, call it 'b', is true, and then prove that subsequently a series of parties know with 100% certainty that the proceeding party knew that knowledge 'b' was true, then there is certainty down the line that knowledge 'b' is true. This has an obvious connection with Mesorah, where, if you accept that what was given to Moshe is true, and you are certain that each teacher down the line of Mesorah knew with 100% certainty that what his teacher knew was true, then, we here today, can know, with 100% certainty that our Mesorah is true"The theory is stillborn. There are conflicting traditions WITHIN the mesorah as to what CONSTITUTES the mesorah. I am aware of at least three theologically valid opinions as to what precisely God gave to Moses. So even if all of Rabbi Plaut's other assumptions are valid (They aren't. Let's save that for another post) we're still forced to muddle through, because we can't say with any certainty what precisely the mesorah contains.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
The Liberal Jew
A Journalism Story: Editorial vs. Advertising (long post)
“Um, excuse me, these people are paying for the article? If that is the case, then I’m not doing this assignment. I write journalism, and sometimes I’m hired to write brochures or other marketing material, but I never mix the two. I refuse to write advertising for this organization that will appear under the guise of a news feature. No way.”[applause]
The Conservative Non-Jew
Writer Backing Bush Plan Had Gotten Federal Contract (washingtonpost.com)
"In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families... But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president's proposal"[boo!]
For those keeping score -- me!! -- that's two right-wing columnists Bush had in his pocket (right near where he keeps Colin Powel's testicles, and the emergency flask, I can only presume.)
How many more are there? Is there a GOP pundit left still thinking for himself?
At the beginning of a marriage.
Ron Ben-Israel's cakes can cost $25,000 and up. Delivery, often hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more, is extra.At the end of a marriage.
When five dozen roses didn't work, an estranged husband took out a full-page newspaper ad to ask his wife for forgiveness.The cost? $17,000
Ok, I pointed my friend, the GOP Jew, to this list. His reply:
Oliver North's comment was right on target. The terrorists were rooting for Kerry.
DB: And therefore?
GOP JEW: We were right to vote for Bush!
DB: Why does one follow from the others. The terrorists might have thought Kerry would be soft on terror. Does that mean they were right?
DB: The terrorist think Bush is Satan's spawn. Are they right about that?
DB: They think Jews make matzo from gentile babies. Are they right about that?
DB: So the opinion of terrorists matter only when they coincide with your emotional desires. Am I right?
GJ: (shouting) Four more years!
TED TURNER COMPARES FOXNEWS TO HITLER: Banner Headline, above the fold
RUSSIAN LAWMAKERS CALL FOR BAN ON JEW GROUPS: Small headline stuffed below the fold.
Ok, NOW we understand the real meaning behind that quote we made up, and falsely attributed to Mathew "MadMatt" Drudge: "Mess with the Jews all you like, but don't pick on my favorite TV station."
The life of an Orthodox Jewish lesbian
Points to ponder:
Agree? Disagree? What's missing?
Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein, Sadam Hussein
9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-119-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-119-11, 9-11, 9-119-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 9-119-11, 9-11, 9-119-11, 9-11, 9-11
Hey, it worked for the GOP.
Turns out I wasn't crazy.
In fact, I think the question is stronger now.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Not just the 'Tu b'Shvat higiyah' part.
You put this blog on the map. A great many of my blog's first few dozen comments were from you. You gave me the confidence to continue.
All I needed to do was make some half-baked remark about Madge and the Kabbalah, and there you were adding value to my blog with some clever quip.
Then... then... you went on to greener gardens. The comments on DovBear ceased. You were spotted cavorting with Jack of the Shack. Clever quips carrying your name were posted on MoChassid and Ari Goes Down. An 8-part series, dedicated in your honor, appeared on Hirhurim. ["It was supposed to be longer," said Gil,"after all an 8-part series isn't so unusual for me, but then that Slifkin thing broke."]
All of which will make kicking your butt in the JIBs extra sweet.
Please know I hold you in the highest and deepest regard.
UPDATE: I'm not kicking anyone's butt. Protien Wisdom has me in a choke hold. Readers of the kvetch. Help set up the dream-match. Esther's won group B, handily. Help me win Group A. [Then, I'll appeal to the readership of some other blog to put me over the top. Ooops did I say that out loud?]"
We're pleased to announce that George W. Bush is up for not one but two Golden Raspberries
Worst Actor: George W Bush – 'Fahrenheit 9/11'
Worst Screen Couple: George W Bush and either Condoleeza Rice or his pet goat – 'Fahrenheit 9/11'
The Razzie ceremony takes place at the Ivar Theatre, Hollywood, on February 26. Please join us in wishing George W. the very best of luck.
And in no way shape or form should a marble-mouthed moron from Texas play president.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout,
because there is no joy in Mel Gibson-vill--
mighty Jesus has struck out.
Good. Jew-hating snuff films shouldn't get Oscars. At least not so long as we rule Hollywood.
[As Leon wrote in a blisteringly negative review back in March: "There is only the relentless destruction and dehumanization of a man, who exists here to have his body punished with an almost unimaginable fury. He falls, he rises, he falls, he rises; he bends beneath the blows, but never mentally; his flesh is ripped, his head is stabbed, his eye is beaten shut, his hair a wig of dried blood, he is a pulp with a cause."]
BAD NEWS FOR TORAH? We mean Torah Bright (above) not that other, less-cute-in-snow-clothes, Torah.
Seems Torah Bright, Australia's great hope for the next Winter Olympics fell on both her runs at the world championships in Whistler, Canada, to finish last in her heat. She photographs okay, though. right?
Anyway, we're in deep mourning. Not having Australia at the Olympics is a real bummer.
This feature has been brought to you as part of DovBear's Be-Nice-to-Australia-Coverage. (Though some churls insist on calling it DovBear's Suck-up-To-Dave-Because-He-Runs-the-JIBs-Coverage.)
Mrs. Dovbear is "not permitted"!?
That's scary- and so is her adoption of your first name as her own.
shifra | 01.25.05 - 10:48 am | #
I was merely speaking the language of faith, shifra dear. It's an election season after all.
Like Laura Bush, Mrs. DovBear does as she pleases when the voters aren't looking.
(Oh, and "DovBear" is her first name, not mine.)
More than one facinating article, here, including articles written about Nazi Germany in the thirties and forties.
Step 1: Click here
Step 2: Click on "Emotional Hines Ward disappointed -- especially for Jerome Bettis, who "deserves to be a champion" (1/24)" [sidebar]
Step 3: Wait through the commercial and the newscaster's intro
Warning: Not for weak stomachs, or for anyone else who doesn't like it when grown men bawl.
In the story, Dave is driving a carful of hitchhikers trhough a stretch of Arab villages, when he discovers that one of the riders is carrying a baby under the folds of her clothing. Understandably, he's furious:
Now I was pissed! I didn’t have a baby seat in the car and this idiot had put herself, her baby, and me in a very awkward (not to mention dangerous) situation. If we were near a Jewish settlement I would have pulled over and let her out right away. But in a potentially hostile area I was faced with the unhappy choice of continuing on with an unsecured baby in the car, or turning back and wasting half an hour in order to return her and her baby to Karmel. In the end I fumed in silence and dropped off the group in Kiryat Arba without a word.In the end, David seems to decide that the woman with the baby is willing to go without a car seat simply because she trusts God more than he does. Fine, but the denouement puzzles:
I understand that this total trust in the Almighty (read: surrender of basic common sense/prudence) is a necessary personality trait for anyone who elects to raise a family in a trailer on one of these windswept hilltops amidst a gazillion angry Arabs. But where does one draw the line? When does this blind faith that everything will be OK cross over into dragging others (e.g. me) into extremely serious safety/liability issues?Odd. Because, can't the exact same complaint be leveled at anyone who "elects to raise a family in a trailer on one of these windswept hilltops amidst a gazillion angry Arabs?" Aren't they, and their illegal outposts, selfishly and carelessly dragging all of Israel, even all of Judaism, into an "extremely serious safety/liability" situation? The woman with the baby trusts God, and is therefore willing to put David and her child, and the other people in the car at risk. Just like the most radical of the settlers*, no?
David’s anger toward the woman without the car seat is familiar. It’s how some of us feel toward the least prudent settlers.*
* No, we don’t mean Efrat. No, we don’t mean the natural growth of existing cities. We mean the entirely new outposts that have sprouted recently "on windswept hilltops" in definace of the wishes of Israel's goverment and the wishes of the majority of Israel's people.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Call me Dovie bin Ladin, I guess. Old Osama seems to have more money and more wives than the devil anyway. Also, our president clearly is more concerned with fighting the devil, so opting to become bin Ladin is safer, too.
Man.The USA/Jesus fish. What will they-who-do-not-think think of next?
If I can find a photo of this charming piece of automotive jewlery, I'll be sure to post.
What's interesting to me is that what Dobson is objecting to is not gay sex or gay relationships or gay identity, or any legislative or judicial proposal. What he objects to is tolerance of gay people, or teaching children that gay people deserve respect. That's SpongeBob's crime! Revealing, no? Now, recall that this man is the most powerful social conservative in Bush's Republican party.As the Wall Street Journal put it on Tuesday "There is something about `SpongeBob' that whispers `gay.'" Yeah. And there is something about James Dobson that shouts moron.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Female legislators in Israel have seen red after a leading rabbi compared women who wear the color to prostitutes. Protesting against a ritual ruling by Rabbi Eliyahu Abergil, head of the rabbinical court in the southern city of Beersheba, banning Jewish women from dressing in red, several woman lawmakers wore the color in parliament Monday. "It's not up to a rabbi to tell us to whether to wear black or red or any other color," said Erela Golan, a legislator from the Shinui party who organized the protest. "Just because we wear red doesn't mean we are prostitutes."Not that it should affect your JIB vote, beloved true believers, but Mrs. DovBear is not permitted to wear red. Ever. And not just because I'm still a wee bit bitter about how the election turned out.
We hereby call upon our JIB competitors to make the same decleration of faith and fidelity.
I can not tell a lie: I am proud (not humbled, Miriam, PROUD) to have been nominated in the following categories:
Further honesty: I'd really like to medal in in at least one event so vote early, and vote often, ie: once per day as the rules allow.
(Dear Miriam and Paul: We're glad we aren't going head-to-head with you in any of these categories. You'd be tough to beat. Even though you don't do snarky. Good luck to you, too.)
(Dear Sarah: Bribes! What a great plan! And so much more sportsmanlike than demonizing the competition, which was my first idea. Good luck to you, too)
WHAT'S SO FUNNY? If you're new to the blog, you might be thinking, "Wow, this blog is dull as dishwater. How'd a
check back later today. I am going to put links in the comments to some of the funny posts the nominating committe might have had in mind. If you're a regular reader, put your own suggestions in the comments.
I'll find the links.
NOTE: Haloscan commenting is back on line.
The Setup: Actor Ames, a genial guy who played Indian Mingo on TV's Daniel Boone, agrees to demonstrate his tomahawk-throwing skills. Presented with a life-size wooden board, complete with cowboy silhouette, Ames settles himself about 10 feet away, readies the weapon and lets it fly.
The Punchline: In a you-couldn't-have-scripted-it-better-if-you'd-tried moment, the ax lands squarely in the cowboy's crotch and stands at attention like a 14-year-old boy seeing Porky's for the first time. Carson grabs Ames by the arm to keep him from removing the tomahawk, and lets the moment stand--almost a full minute of laughter follows--and then ripostes, "I didn't even know you were Jewish." More laughs. Then adds, "Welcome to frontier bris." Howls of hysteria. Ames asks Johnny if he wanted to try throwing it. "Well," said the host, "I can't hurt him any more than you did."
See it: Click here: It's in the middle of Clip One. (Although this page is a thinly-veiled advertisement for home videos from the classic late-night TV series' 30-year run, three good montage packages are available for free online viewing.)
Part I In which the question is asked.
Part II In which her Rabbi hems and haws around the obvious answer.
Rashi (Ex. 10: 21-23) says that 80 percent of the Jewish people (about 12 million souls) died during the plauge of darkness.
(1) Why doesn't the Torah mention this?
(2) How can the exodus be thought of as a time of great celebration if everyone was in deep mourning?
(3) How is it possible that fifty-five men who went down to Egypt with Yaakov could be the ancestors, over 210 years, of 15 million people? (Ibn Ezra)
(4) During the 10 plagues, the Jews were always spared. How is it possible that Jews died -and in such great numbers - during a plauge that killed no Egyptians? (Ibn Ezra)
The obvious answer
"The whole thing is a derash; don't rely on it. Maybe the one who said it at the outset had a hidden reason (sod)." --Ibn Ezra
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Writes one of my email buddies:
What bothers me most about the Slifkin ban is that Rav Elyashiv's name is on the ban. They have turned a senile gadol into their puppet toy. It sickens me.
Is he senile? I've heard about how Rav Elyashuv is used nowadays, but this is the first time I've heard the "S" word.
What sickens me is this: Judaism has a rich history of adaptability. Our tradition has always been malleable. Two-thousands years ago, the midrash was employed to solve maculations in the text; 1000 years ago the Rambam reconciled Judaism with Aristotle and scholastism; 100 years ago the Tiferes Yisroel looked evolution in the face, and said with no irony, "Mazal Tov! This confirms what we always knew was true."
There are many, many Rishonim and Achronim on the record supporting the idea of an old universe. All of that old, old scholarship, along with our wonderful tradition of elasticity, is being swept away, like so many broken eggshells, by a handful of 21st century Rabbis who are motivated, at least in part, by a foolish, misplaced fear of appearing too "modern."
In our day, the Haredi street and the Haredi Rabbinate says modern is trief. The sad irony is that their attitude is what's most "modern" of all.
President: John McCain. He is a war hero, a centrist, a solid legislator, an opponent of the Christian right, a denouncer of big-money politics and he's been slimed by Karl Rove & GWB, so we wouldn't have to worry about his bringing along any of the bad Republicans into power.
Vice President: Joe Leiberman. Unfairly denied in 2000, and right-wing Judaism could always use a few more bogeymen.
Secretary of State: Colin Powel. I still admire the man, and in some perverse way, I like him even after the casteration he endured serving Bush. He deserves the chane to show us what he can do working for an honest boss, and for one who believes in diplomacy. If Colin turns me down, I'd take Bill Clinton. Let old Bill close the deal in the middle east, now that Arafat isn't around obstructing.
Secretary of the Treasury: I don't think it matters. Let me do it. You won't notice any difference.
Secretary of Defense: Wes Clark
Attorney General: Eliot Spitzer. Tough as nails. Always on the side of the angels. And a New Yorker
Secretary of the Interior: Al Gore. See: Earth in the Balance And if you havn't read it, kindly shut up.
Secretary of Agriculture: Another one that doesn't matter. I could take care of Treasury on Mondays, sign off on farm subsidies on Tuesday, and still have plenty of time to blog.
Secretary of Commerce: George Soros
Secretary of Labor: Al Gore would be a good choice, but I want him in Interior. The guy I want for this post isn't impressed with big business, and, though he enjoys sticking it to fat cats, isn't some suicidal socialist either. Can you think of anyone?
Secretary of Veterans Affairs: John Kerry
Department of Homeland Security: Obliterate it. This department is a waste of time, and a waste of money that exists only to scream "orange alert! orange alert!" whenever Bush needs a boost in the polls.
National Security Adviser: Tommy Franks
Chief of Staff: Rudy Gulianni. The boy can get things done, and if he isn't setting policy or given executive power there isn't anything to fear. And he's a New Yorker.
Ambassador to the UN: Dennis Ross
White House Counsel: Jack McCoy from Law and Order.
Director of Central Intelligence: Any of the Men in Black
Secretary of H.U.D.:
Secretary of Transportation:
Secretary of Education:
Secretary of Energy:
Secretary of H.H.S.:
Office of Management and Budget:
U.S. Trade Representative:
Special touch from Quinn: Our troops don't need armored vehicles... Why? because the president said a prayer on their behalf at the end of a party(!)
[Video link is here: http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2663486?htv=12]
Saturday, January 22, 2005
However, the Rabbis have never made the acceptance or rejection of this [theory of the age of the universe] and similar possibilites an article of faith binding on all Jews. They were willing to live with any theory that did not reject the basic truth that "every beginning is from God."Props to Gil for doing his small part to bring SRH back from the dead. If any great Rabbi needs an image overhaul, SRH is the one...
Wondering.... What would R' Mordecai Plaut say about this?
by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
You'd think the recent revelation that the Catholic Church refused to relinquish Jewish children after World War II would prompt a Vatican investigation. You'd be wrong.
The money quote:
But, most of all, the Church apologists' implicit, or ever more explicit, justification is that the sacrament of baptism gives the Church the right to take children forever from their Jewish parents. Says Father Peter Blet, the Church's whitewashing official chronicler of Pius XII's wartime activities: "On the basis of the canon law of that period, it was obligatory to provide a Catholic education"--which Jewish parents would not do--"to a person who had been baptized." Another apologist, the prominent German Church historian Gerhard Besier, published an article in Die Welt with the perverse headline: "the church may not abandon its children." By sleight of hand, the issue gets transformed. Jews are now trying to take away God's children, whom the Church is protecting.Same church, same old *#&$ing story.
Who can't weep?
Harvey Fierstein is the new Tevya on Broadway.
FIRST JEW REVIEW: According to The Times:
Tevye must to some degree be an everyman, albeit in exaggerated, crowd-pleasing form. And Mr. Fierstein, bless him, shakes off any semblance of ordinariness as soon as he opens his mouth. Every phrase he speaks or sings, as he shifts uncannily among registers, becomes an event... This can be quite a bit of fun. Tevye's first solo, "If I Were a Rich Man," takes on a fascinating new life, as Mr. Fierstein slides and rasps through its wordless connecting phrases. But it is sometimes hard to credit this exotic spirit as that of a tradition-bound father who has trouble making the adjustment to changing times.SECOND JEW REVIEW: Al Pacino Stars as Shylock in a new film of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.(trailer) Said the inestimable Stanley Kauffman in The New Republic
With Pacino's past in mind, we might have expected that he would make the sulphurous most of the role's raging moments. (I remember George C. Scott in the my-ducats-and-my-daughter speech: I thought he had literally gone crazy.) Pacino, presumably with Radford's guidance, in the main does otherwise. Excellently made up and costumed, he takes the part inward and makes it tight, bitten, soul-scarred--a man rather than a collection of scenes.The last word, however, goes to Harold Bloom, eminent Shakespearean, who said: "One would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to recognize that Shakespeare's grand, equivocal comedy The Merchant of Venice is nevertheless a profoundly anti-Semitic work"
Friday, January 21, 2005
Read. Draw your own conclusions. And tell me what you think in the comment section.
[As TNR has reported: "What most--including many of the president's fiercest supporters--don't know, however, is that Bush doesn't go to church. Sure, when he weekends at Camp David, Bush spends Sunday morning with the compound's chaplain. And, every so often, he drops in on the little Episcopal church across Lafayette Park from the White House. But the president who has staked much of his domestic agenda on the argument that religious communities hold the key to solving social problems doesn't belong to a congregation." Carter and Clinton, the article continues, attended Sunday service far more regularly.]
Click on the link, and you'll find a letter of firm Christian rebuke sent to the editor of the Ridgcrest Daily (CA) The writer sounds an awful lot like YitzhakEyezik, only she's Christian, not Jewish. Plus, we think she's real.
As Mr. Scott points out, the glorious Constitution is there to protect the rights of Christians to profess their faith. This country was founded by good Christians and the Constitution guarantees our right to express our religion.
It just is completely beyond me how we have allowed Liberals to deny us this guaranteed right.
Oh, they raise ridiculous arguments like other (false) religions would be "upset" if they were forced to pray alongside the righteous in schools or council meetings.
Surely those others would appreciate the opportunity to be saved. As God's chosen people, we Christians have the right to express our religion and praise tolerant, patient and merciful God, and I don't want to read any more letters from Liberals suggesting non-believers should be allowed to express their superstitions just because we Christians can express ours.
Using this verse as his proof text, the Rambam argues [Guide for the Perplexed 3:32] that God used our order of sacrifices as a "ruse", ie: “the long way” to wean people from the idolatrous and pagan sacrifices they were accustomed to. The Rambam seems to be suggesting that our order of sacrifice, in and of itself has no religious meaning, and that the Temple, the status of priests, the laws of ritual purity and impurity, were all a concession to the need to wean people from idolatry
The RambaN (surprise) (VaYikra 1:9) reports the Rambam’s position, vehemently rejects it, and articulates his own view.
We're not choosing sides -it's irrelevant until Moshiach arrives, anyway. We're just letting the olam know about the controversy.
Serious questions have been raised by the American Family Association, a serious organization, about the heterosexual vigor of certain colorful, animated drawings. The accused pictures are: SpongeBob SquarePants, Barney the Dinosaur, Arthur, Dora the Explorer, JoJo, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Bob the Builder.
We think the AFA might have a point. Consider: Spongebob SquarePANTS...Barney with all the singing and dancing he encourages... Arthur's open relationship with talking rabbits... Dora out exploring when she should be in the kitchen...
But Bob the Builder? Gay? In the relam of toys, and talking glyphs, who is more manly than Bob? (I mean besides his girlfriend Wendy.)
Perhaps if Bob bombed things instead of building them, the AFA would like him better.
...before Kennedy all presidents wore hats in public. Kennedy decided not to, and not one president has since, so from then on that's not the way an adam chashuv [important person] walks, [in the street] so there's no more chiyuv[religious obligation for Jews to wear hats.]Poor Kennedy. Taking the blame for something he didn't really do. Here's the truth about JFK, hats, and presidents.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
It's not a bad idea, which is another way of saying that it won't ever happen. Besides, the gedolim are too busy banning books to worry about this.
My own suggestion: If YOU'RE planning a wedding, be a man (or woman) and don't do more than you can afford. I promise we'll love you, anyway.
But... but... but... Didn't Bush say you voted for the war when you voted for him?
Dear Mr. President:
.. already there is a challenge to the biblical norms that you stand for, and it comes from within your very own family. This Thursday, your two daughters, Jenna and Barbara, will appear before the earthly world in attire that cannot be described in any sense as modest... Do not risk offending Him... by presenting forth your own daughters as Oholah and Oholibah, who, like Jezebel, painted their eyes and decked themselves with ornaments to entice men to commit adultery with them.
Pretty strong words. And to think these people supported the president in November. Now, two months later, his daughters are whores and he is an offense to God.
The speed and ferocity of this betrayal worries me: What sort of letter do you think will be sent to the Jewish people once the Christian right realizes that we aren't playing along with their rapture fantasies? I bet it goes something like this:
Though we've tolerated and supported you for many years, our Christian Love was cynically provided in the service of one selfish goal: bringing the rapture. Now that we see that you have no plans to martyr yourselves so that the kingship of Jesus on earth might be restored, the deal is off: Renewed Jew-hating commences immediately.
Your Friends on the Christian Right
On DovBear? Fine. DovBear is 98 percent shtick and 2 percent politics.
But, on Hirhurim?
[Note: Comments disparaging Hirhurim or its author will be edited or deleted at my discretion. This is a serious question. Not an invitation for insults.]
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Of course, they will.
After 101 years, of being a one-shul town, the kingdom of Greenpoint is splitting in half, and adding a second synagouge.
The back story, and stop me if you've heard this before: Rabbi (above) comes to town, full of new ideas. Board members hate new ideas, though they voted to hire the Rabbi, in the first place. Rabbi criticized. Board criticized. Angry words exchanged. Lawsuits threatened. Board changes locks on the shul doors. Rabbi opens new shul. New York Times writes article. DovBear blogs.
The only unusual thing thing about it? Chabad isn't involved.
We wonder: Is this the same Rabbi who told Amir that God wanted Rabin dead? Has God also told the Rabbi that two witnesses are no longer required for a Jewish wedding service? Or is Amir simply suffering from, um, testosterone poisoning, and willing to say absolutely anything for the chance to, um, get some?
[... the rest of the story]
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Updated for the Fawlty Towers-impaired:
Basil:"Don't mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it. So it's all forgotten now and let's hear no more about it. Right, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Herman Goering and four Colditz salads....no, wait a minute...I got confused because everyone keeps mentioning the war.
German: "Will you stop mentioning the war?"
Basil: " You started it."
German: " We did not start it."
Basil: " Yes you did, you invaded Poland..."
To which I add: "Even Abu Mazen gets an invitation to the White House," or as Arutz Sheva bitterly complained: "The admitted Holocaust denier has accomplished that which Arafat was unable to attain, acceptance from Israel and the White House despite spewing much of the same anti-Israel hate rhetoric and vowing to continue the Arafat legacy."
Though the General's troops are welcome here, I'd like to reiterate that this blog doesn't make a point of being hospitable to right-wing, Jew-hating, moralizing, missionizing, Christians. We'll make an exception for the General, and his little soldiers, but the policy remains intact: Bill O'Reilly and William Donohue, for example, will still be turned away at the door. (We also have a rule about accused sex felons which is the other reason O'Reilly can't get in.)
But the General is different. Something about him appeals to our inner-Republican. So welcome to DovBear friends of J.C Christian Patriot, and remember, great things await you - and all others who link here.
The British betting site BlueSquare.com is offering odds (natch!) on who will die. The best bet? Rubeus Hagrid. As John Sellers put it in this month's Atlantic, "Has Rowling simply run out of alliterative exclamations for this loyal brute, who spews nonsense like "Gallopin' Gorgons!" and "Gulpin' gargoyles!"?
That's fine with us, so long as nothing bad happens to the Goblins. Pace J.K and her unconvincing denials, those big-eared, greasy-haired, unemancipated, clannish bankers are my peeps.
Surah Malka's two cents
[Read more in The Atlantic Monthly.]
Monday, January 17, 2005
In yellow, are the words of Jeremiah, 51:36: "...and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry."
In red, we see six letters from three adjoining words in verse 39 that, when run together and vowalized according to no rules of Hebrew that I recognize, spell the (non-Hebrew) word: Tsunami.
Yes, we also think this is bogus. And yes, it's been noted that the sea didn't go dry, nothing happened to the springs, Tsunami is Japanese, not Hebrew, and the lucky word appears three verses too late. Here's a great debunking of the whole, stupid, Bible Code sham.
Don't conservatives ever get bored spouting the same old tailpipe exhaust? I know they don't care about boring the audience--they assume that you can't tell those dumbies anything often enough--but don't they ever bore themselves? Don't they ever experience an inner slump when they're about to repeat an anecdote as tired and stale as a downtown hooker after Fleet Week?Read the whole thing.
The very title of [Krauthammer's] latest syndicated column is a groan-inducer: "Rathergate confirms the media's left bias." Liberal bias, that poor strawless scarecrow with which conservatives can't bear to part... Proof of this endemic bias being the fact that CBS did "ad-hominem investigative stories" on the Swift Boat vets instead of an "examination of the charges," but it doesn't matter what CBS did, because if they had debunked the debunkable charges (as so many other outlets did), that would have been damning evidence of liberal bias too. Everything in Krauthammer's column is paint-by-numbers, he can't even bother to twirl it up a bit.
Dial the Mississippi Tax Commission (601-923-7000 (really!)) and this is what you will hear:
The Mississippi Tax Commission is closed today in observance of Robert E Lee's and Martin Luther King's birthdays.
Losing generals get holidays? That doesn't seem very patriotic, does it?
In Yorktown do the Krauts shut down on Rommell's big day? In New England is Cornwallis remembered? Hey, I'll tell you what: let's celebrate Saddam Hussein Day next year; meanwhile in Israel, they're adding Yasser Arafat Day to the roster of recognized holidays.
Bigots here, bigots there, we see bigots everywhere. As Wonkette, from whom I lifted this piece suggests, this Mississippi compromise was probably just a way to get the fine, backwards, incest committing people of the South to acknowledge - however backhandedly - MLK and all the good he did to make our country a better, safer place to live.