Tuesday, November 30, 2004


I don't appreciate or accept Miriam's suggestion that "so many" far-left groups have anti-semitic roots. (Some may have anti-semitic members. But roots? Hardly.) Nor do I think she's right that PETA's new campaign against a kosher slaughterhouse is about Shchita or inherently anti-Semitic.

For starters, PETA concedes Miriam's primary point on the campaign website itself. "Kosher slaughter is more than twice as well regulated as conventional slaughter and is supposed to be more humane." PETA knows shchita is supposed to be more humane, but they don't care because PETA opposes meat-eating in all forms, regardless of how the cow is killed.

PETA, in their own words, operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. It's on their website. It's why they are in business. One might conclude, that this "simple principle" is why PETA opposes the Postville abettoir.

Ah, but not Miriam. Clever Miriam saw through all that. PETA doesn't love animals. They hate Jews.

And other groups, too, presumably.

Look at PETA's campaign to ban fur. Naked woman were placed in cages in public venues, and we were taught to chant "fur is murder!"(Note: Don't say this to hasidim. They won't remove their shtrimals) All this fuss and for what? Some silly racoons? Discerning students of the Bloghead school know an "anti-rich-movie-stars" campaign when they see one.

And what about the PETA campaign to convince us that fish are intelligent and deserving of respect? Was this merely a fight for animal rights? Or does PETA have it in for small children who love tuna fish sandwiches in their lunchboxes?

Sometimes, Miriam, a cigar is just a cigar. The Shchita campaign is in keeping with everything PETA does. There is no reason to presume a nefarious subtext.


Artest doesn't rhyme with smartest.


I don't understand the fuss over Yossi Karduner, and I don't understand why a smartish man like Lazer Brody insists on misspelling the word shteeble.

I bring it up, because the blogosphere is buzzing (well, PT and DM are buzzing, anyway) about this Brody post that discusses Karduner.

If you scroll down, you'll find this confusing sentence:

Yosef Karduner from Bet Shemesh, Israel. A "chassid" in every sense of the word; when he's not making one of his rare appearances on stage, he spends his time learning Torah or walking the Judean foothills singing his heart out to Hashem in personal prayer. Listening to such a vocalist is directly conducive to faith and spiritual gain. [emphasis mine]
In a word: Huh?

Look, the boy can sing. No argument. And, I wouldn't object to spending an evening with his music. Still, is it really "directly conducive to faith and spiritual gain?" That's quite a sales pitch, a sales pitch I don't think the Truth in Advertising czars would accept.

In fact, the breathless certainty of the Bordy-blurb remindes me of those hucksters who promise long life, vitality, and amazing weight loss if you buy their potions. Only now, the promise is "faith and spiritual gain." Please. Still it's a comforting and reassuring message, isn't it? Don't worry about studying torah. Don't worry about mitzvot. Kick the cat. Steal from your neighbor. Have another brew. No worries, bro. The music of Yossi Karduner will carry you home.

As I hope you've realized, this is utter hogwash.

Music, on its own, can not deliver spiritual gain. There are no shortcuts to spirituality. People (like Lazer Brody?) often confuse spirituality with the warm and happy feeling you get after a big plate of cholent, or a few rounds of zmiros. They're wrong. Spirituality isn't a feeling. It isn't an emotion. It isn't anything you can touch or feel. Spirituality, remember, isn't material.

All Yossi Karduner - or any musician - can do is make you feel nice. If you never do anything with that nice feeling, you have not made spiritual progress. The idea is to harness that good feeling -wherever it comes from; music is just one source - and use it in service of the Torah. A musician can spiritualy improve me only if his music inspires me to do soemthing like study torah, or daven with additional concentration or perform acts of charity. If I don't do anything with the warm, fuzzy feeling, all I have is a warm, fuzzy feeling. And that's not worth anything, spiritually speaking.

Question: What is the difference between an athlete who uses music to pump himself up for the big game, and the yeshiva bochur who uses music to psych himself up for shabbos (excuse me, to put himself into a shabbos frame of mind?)

Answer: Nothing. Both ar eusing music as a tool, because that's all music can be. A tool. It's a means. Not an end.


Zman Biur thinks the local school for blackhat boys (see Thanksgiving Thinking I) let a posek set the school's schedule for Thanksgiving weekend.

Wow, is he naive.

And anyway, this isn't a question for a posek. It's a question for the parent body, and I'm all but certain the parents were not consulted. Instead, the school's adminstration probably had a meeting like this....

Dramatis Personae:

Rabbi CYA, the principle
Smedly, his lacky
Smedly, his other lacky

CYA: Ok, Smedlies. Time for me to decide. Are we closing for Thanksgiving this year?

Smedlies: We can't close!

CYA: Why not?

Smedlies: Because people will talk!

CYA: Oh my... Talking? No, no, no, we certainly can't let people talk. They may say things. About the school. Or me. Or something. So that settles it. We'll stay open on Thanksgiving.

Smedlies: We can't stay open!

CYA: Why not?

Smedlies: Because the English teachers will want extra money if we make them work on a holiday.

CYA: Well, that's nerve. (aside) It's not like we pay them fairly, or on time anyway. Thanksgiving should be different? (cackles derisivly) No extra money for teachers. They'll only spend it. Ok, my mind is made up: we're closing.

Smedlies: NO!!

CYA: Right, almost forgot: If we close, people will talk. Um...tell me: what will they say?

Smedly 1: That we're not heimish!

Smedly 2: That we're modern!

Smedly 1: That we don't take religion seriously!

Semdly 2: That we approve of College!

Smedly 1: That we approve of intermarrige!

Smedly 2: That we serve pork in the cafeteria!

CYA: Are you serious?

Smedlies: YES!!

CYA: Well, that's rediculous. We hire the best rabonim, I mean rabayim. (See: We're so heimish we don't even say rabonim!) We require the boys to wear black and white, even at night, on weekends, during the summer, in the privacy of their own homes. We don't let girls into the building. We serve cholent and kugel for breakfast, and we haven't sent a boy to college in 20 years!! Why would anyone doubt us or besmirch our reputation if we did the sensible, convinient thing and closed on Thursday?

Smeldies: Because people are stupid!!

CYA: Good point. Ok, so we compromise. Half day on Thursday. If you need me, I'll be at the parade.


One of the things that galled the right during the "political correctness" wars was the way leftists casually threw around terms like "racist" and "bigot." Well, the worm has turned:

In recent weeks, prominent conservatives have been anything but scrupulous in charging Democrats with bigotry against people of faith. Just before the election, Christian Right leader James Dobson called Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy a "God's people hater." On November 8, talk-show host Joe Scarborough condemned "Democrats who take solace in their bigoted anti-Christian screeds." Right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin recently blurbed a book titled Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War Against Christianity, noting that "Persecution exposes the hypocrisy and bigotry of the secular, anti-Christian Left." And, last Sunday, Mary Matalin chimed in on "Meet the Press," claiming that "people of faith, in the election process, they have been demonized and they have been treated with disdain and contempt."

Imagine if James Carville, who was seated next to her on the show, had made the same claim about African Americans (who, although they are one of the most religious groups in America, vote Democratic, and thus don't fall under Matalin's "people of faith" rubric). Within 15 minutes, the conservative blogosphere would have accused him of politically correct demagoguery.

When asked to justify his charge that Senator Leahy is an anti-Christian bigot, Dobson replied that the Vermont senator "has been in opposition to most of the things that I believe." In other words, disagree with me and you're a racist. Al Sharpton couldn't have said it better.

[Source: Peter Beinart]

Monday, November 29, 2004


Will USAJewish v.2 be the new Protocols?

Is PaleoJudaica the new Protocols?

Is Fark the new Protocols?

Hat tip to The Revealer, which probably actually is the new Protocols

So, does Yudel, the author of these posts, think every blogger under the sun is papabile?


Israeli TV Tackles War for Hearts and Minds

Americans are preoccupied with money, or so we are told: Hence, "The Apprentice." In Israel, where it is received wisdom that the country is misunderstood by the world, the preoccupation is with hasbarah or advocacy. Hence Hashagrir or "The Ambassador," a new reality show featuring 14 Israelis competing to a win a job spreading a pro-Israel message around the globe.

On Wednesday, the remaining contestants go to France in an attempt to persuade French people to visit Israel. Last week, the teams addressed a group of skeptical students at Cambridge, where one Israeli inexplicably announced "Let me make it clear that Israel has not taken anything from anyone." The audience snickered derisively and the woman was fired. At least they didn't throw things.

BONUS: Nachman Shai, he of the soothing voice, is one of the judges. During Gulf War I, Bush's Big Backdown, Shai was the one who told us when to enter and exit our sealed rooms. According to the Times, he's a "skilled practitioner of hasbara." I don't think I noticed.

[Related: Jew School]


The premise of HonestReporting is that the "media" hates Israel, or in their own words: " HonestReporting was established to scrutinize the media for anti-Israel bias, then mobilize subscribers to respond directly to relevant news agencies."

But every so often they run a communique (the pompous name is theirs) which undermines their own reason for existence.

It happened again on November 18. Let's review the facts:

A New York public facilit, the Westchester County Center, recently hosted a fundraiser for an art exhibit "that vilifies Israelis and extols suicide bombers." Two newspapers (the Journal News and Newsday) ran stories, cited in the communique (sorry, I can't type the word without giggling) which criticized the exhibit and reported on the efforts of several politicians to close the exhibit. Who is the villain in this story? The Westchester County Center! And who is the hero? The media! (and the politicians)

So why is this story included in an HonestReporting communique? Aren't the communiques meant to "mobilize subscribers to respond directly" to offending news agencies? No news agency committted an offense here. To the contrary, if there was a bias here, it was in Israel's favor. Also, how can HonestReporting continue to insist that media bias is a problem, if it is going to run stories such as this?

Incidently, the dictionary tells us that a "communique" is an official report or announcment, usually sent in haste. Perhaps this time, Honest Reporting was a bit too hasty...


Crazy Person: (muttering) I hate the New York Times!

Me: Why?

CP: (glaring wildly) Because they hate Israel!

Me: Really? Do you have an example?

CP: They always put dead Palestenians on the cover. They're trying to say that Israel doesn't do anything but kill Arabs!

Me: I understand. But you know, to be fair, I do recall seeing dead Jews on the cover, too. Several of the bus bombings have been shown on the front cover, for example.

CP: See what I mean? What kind of monsterous anti-semites put pictures of dead Jews on the cover of a newspaper!!

Me: (Rapidly backpeddling away from the crazy person) Okay...



Bad for the Jews? The inner-pessimist is reasonably certain that Agudah will not approve. (Agudah disapproves of anything, like the Leiberman VP candidiacy, that might remind gentiles that there are Jews in America) And why are the liberals defenders of the church-state wall silent? Shouldn't a Hanukka stamp infuriate them?

Meanwhile, I eagerly await a stamp for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Update: It's already been issued - three years ago, in fact. Now, I am eagerly awaiting a stamp for The Feast of Fools, the Christian Simchat Torah.

Just remembered: I am a liberal defender of the church-state wall! So why aren't I infuriated? Good question. Here's the answer: I don't think American Jews have anything to fear from Judaism, nor is there any chance this nation of 200 million Christians might decide to establish Judaism, at the expense of Christians and their religious rights. Christianity is different. On all counts.


We'll give it to Hitch, who is brilliant as usual: Arafat's Squalid End - How he wasted his last 30 years. By Christopher Hitchens

Money quote
"The famously 'generous' terms offered to Arafat by Clinton and Barak were not as generous as all that. But his response was even more contemptible than is usually reported. He suddenly announced, first, that he represented the world's billion Muslims on the issue of Jerusalem and, second, that his own life might be in danger if he signed the wrong deal. Clearly, Arafat has never had�and could never have received�any general mandate from the Muslim world on Jerusalem or anything else. And as for the threat to his life�was this not the same man who used the word 'martyr' in every other sentence and announced from his besieged compound that it was his highest desire? Willing to die in a pointless scuffle but not willing to risk anything for an agreement? In cold fact, Arafat was protected from 'martyrdom' at Israel's hands, as he well knew, by an edict of President Bush to Sharon. The charming conclusion of this drama is now the widely spread rumor that the chairman was martyred after all, having been poisoned by the Jews: a rumor itself perhaps designed to pre-empt any discussion of his AIDS-like symptoms at the end. What a squalid and ignoble terminus, to a life of steadily diminishing returns. "


Genesis 36:8-16: And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bore to Eliphaz Amalek.

Who was Timna?

Sanhedrin 99b: Timna was a royal princess, as it is written, alluf [duke] Lotan, alluf [duke] Timna... Desiring to become a proselyte, she went to Abraham, Isaac and Yaakov, but they did not accept her. So she went and became a concubine to Eliphaz the son of Esau, saying, ‘I had rather be a servant to this people than a mistress of another nation.’ From her Amalek was descended who afflicted Israel. Why so? — Because they should not have repulsed her.

When someone is distanced from the Jewish people and made to feel unfit, the consequences can be disastrous. Timna was turned away three times. The result was Amalek. Remember that the next time you're about to sneer at someone who doesn't wear a hat, or similar.


...we give you: Swift Yacht Vets for Bush

[Related: Congress approves $2 million to buy back the Sequoia presidential yacht.]


When we were in NCSY, a Rabbi named Butler often delivered a homily that took as its inspiration a scene from parshas Va'yishlach. It went something like this:

"On the night Yaakov (or Yankuf if you are from Williamsburg) was attacked by the man/angel he was alone on the far side of the Jabbuk stream. Why was he separated from his family? According to Rashi, Yaakov went back alone to collect some small jugs and 'from here we learn that the righteous treat their property with care.'"

Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe, explains that the righteous attach great importance to their possessions because the righteous understand (editor's note: um, now, all of us understand it, don't we? I mean I do, anyway.) that any material object can be used to serve God. NCSY is similar. Just as Yakov went back for the small jugs (and here Rabibi Butler would break into a sing-song) because he knew the jugs had great potential, so to do we, in NCSY, go back for the least and the smallest of our people. They also have great potential, potential they can realize only with our help."

Like I said, we heard this speech at least10 million times. We can even mimic Butler’s smug expression and the funny arm movements.

So imagine, if you can, our glee when we discovered that Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Lunshitz (the Kli Yakar) disagrees with Rashi, and Rabbi Butler, and even (if you can believe it) the hasidic Rabbi from Novominsker. Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim says Yaakov’s preoccupation with his possessions was not proof he was rightuous. Rather is was an expression of spiritual blindness, and that it was this blindness that made Yaakov susceptible to the man/angel's attack.

You may not agree, but we like biblical commentary that makes the patriarchs more human. We prefer the Kli Yakar’s Yaakov. We can relate to a Yaakov who is spiritually blind. We can aspire to be like a Yaakov who overcomes his handicap.

Rabbi Butler’s Yaakov is too perfect, too idealistic, and (like his conception of NCSY, as it turned out) not entirely believable.


We like homogenization as much as anyone, so let it be said that DovBear supports Blog Burst. In fact, we'd like to write for Blog Burst, and we eagerly anticipate the day when our content appears on "all participating websites."

We do take mild exception, however, to the Blog Burst that was cross-posted today on about 65 blogs, including Zman Biur.

This Blog Burst, about the UN vote on November 29, 1948 that established Israel, makes a wonderful concluding point ("it is imperative that we recognize with gratitude those countries who stood by our side at this crucial moment in history.') But along the way the facts are forgotten.

For example, nothing is said about Lod, Ramle, or Deir Yassin, (or any of the countless acts of violence committed by Arabs against Jews, for that matter.) Instead, the murder of "six Jews in a bus making [SIC] to Jerusalem, and another in the Tel-Aviv - Jaffa area" is presented as if this was the sole atrocity committed in those days. And the Blog Burst oversimplifies the Arab's reasons for rejecting the partition plan.
For the Arabs, even this [the partition plan] was too much. Though they had never had an independent state in Palestine and were now offered one, they would agree to no arrangement which would offer recognition to the Jews.
This is pure speculation. We don't know why the Palestinians made the error of rejecting partition. It's not at all clear that "recognition of the Jews" was the key stumbling block. Perhaps "recognition of the Jews" would have been forthcoming if the split had been different. Remember, the partition plan proposed to give the minority population an exclusive and hegemonic right to the majority of the land, granting 55 percent of the land to a group that comprised only 30 percent of the population, and who owned just 6 percent of the land. Perhaps this, and not a blind hatred of Jews, was the Arab reason for rejecting the plan? Also, the partition plan put 407,000 Palestinian Arabs within the Jewish state. Perhaps the Arabs objected to this? Certainly, Ben Gurion would have rejected a plan that put so many Jews under Arab rule. (Though, to his everlasting credit, he did accept a plan that gave him far less than he had wanted, and the Arabs should have, too.)

Finally, the writing of the Blog Burst is boring and the syntax is terrible. I admit, mine is sometimes worse, but I don't cross-post on 65 other blogs (yet). Here's one example of the sort of error a good writer, or a good editor, would have caught: "This war claimed the lives of 6,000 Jews, or 1% of the total Jewish population in 1948 - the per capita equivalent of the US today losing 3,000,000 lives..."

Per capita means per unit of population, or per person. Substitute English for Latin in the sentence above and you will see the result is nonsense. And there are other examples.

Given these errors of language and history, why did Biur and the 65 others accept this Blog Burst for publication?


It is bonus time on Wall Street. Money quotes from today's New York Times:
Top executives of the leading financial firms are now spending hours each day huddled in boardrooms or trapped on endless conference calls, sparring among themselves to determine how big the bonus pool will be, how it will be divided among the divisions and, then, what each employee will receive... An investment banking analyst right out of college, would have made a $65,000 salary and a $35,000 bonus. An associate just out of business school, might have made $85,000 in salary and a $115,000 bonus... a successful fixed-income trader is now making over all more than $1.5 million, while his or her banker counterpart is probably taking home something closer to $900,000.
If you, out in readerland, are in this category (and the IP addresses suggest some of you work at big banks) may we invite you to purchase some fine Paul Fredrick apparel via the link at the right so that DovBear can enjoy a holiday bonus, too?


Don't let the previous post mislead you. This blog is pro-Turkey and pro-Chanukah gifts. What we oppose is stupidity. Here's another Thanksgiving example.

The local school for blackhat boys was open on Thursday, Thanksgiving, until 1 pm, and closed on Friday. This confuses us.

To our mind, there are four intellectually conherent positions a Jewish school could take on Thanksgiving.

Intellectually Coherent Position #1: Thanksgiving is not our holiday, and should be ignored. If this is the local school's view why close on Thursday afternoon and Friday?

Intellectually Coherent Position #2: Thanksgiving is not our holiday, but concerns us because its observance interrupts the study of Torah. If this is the local school's view why not close for half of Friday, too? Is Thursday's Torah study more valuable than Friday's Torah study?

Intellectually Coherent Position #3: Thanksgiving it not our holiday, but we recognize the value of families enjoying time together. If this is the local school's view why not close for Thursday morning, too?

Intellectually Coherent Position #4: Thanksgiving is our holiday (we're American after all) and its observation is a civic celebration is which we should take part. If this is the local school's view, why not close for the whole day, and open on Friday?


What happened to the Republicans and their desire to trim the annual deficit, which hit a record $413 billion this year? Don't red staters start foaming at the thought of big government and promiscuous spending? And what about Bush's vow, during the election campaign, to halve the annual deficit by 2009? Isn't this man supposed to be overflowing with "resolve?" Well, where did it go?

Money quote:
In earmarking money, Congress left little to chance - or to the judgment of officials in the executive branch of the government. It set forth long lists of specific projects to be financed with federal money. One list itemizes 1,032 economic and community development projects. Some of the grants are relatively small: $20,000 for a jail in Winston County, Ala., and $25,000 for a park in Chambersburg, Pa.
Other parts of the bill set aside:

$15,000 for cameras to be installed in police cars in Berryville, Va., and a similar amount for the Police Department of West Buechel, Ky.

$1 million for the Missouri Pork Producers Federation, to see if hog waste can be used as a source of energy.

$1 million for seafood marketing efforts in Alaska.

$269,000 for harvesting seafood in Mississippi.

$200,000 for a new seafood plant on the coast of Oregon.

$4 million for "shrimp aquaculture" in seven states.

$443,000 for research to develop "baby food containing salmon,"

$236,000 for blueberry research in Maine.

$133,000 for maple research in Vermont.

$300,000 to save the Pennsylvania home of the first speaker of the House, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg.

$1.5 million to establish an archive for the papers of Representative Richard A. Gephardt.

$1 million for the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Miss

$4 million for stainless steel toilets at Washington's Navy Yard

$1 million for dealing with brown tree snakes in Guam

$335,000 to protect North Dakota sunflowers from birds.

$60 million for a new courthouse in Las Cruces, N.M.

$225,000 to study catfish genomes at Alabama's Auburn University.

$2 million to buy Bush a yacht

[Sources: Times, USA TODAY, Suntimes]

Sunday, November 28, 2004


My too-frum shul has announced a toy drive to benefit the children under Ohel's care. A lot of other places are doing this, too. I think that's sweet. Still, the announcment put into my head an impertanent question:

Which practive gives greater offense to the halalcha and to the mesorah - presents on Chanuka? Or turkey at Thanksgiving? Maybe Simcha knows. Simcha knows everything.

Explanation: Most of the more religious people that play with DovBear object mightily to Turkey on Thanksgiving. They say it is a gentile custom, and gentile customs must be rejected by Jews. Fine. We can buy that. However, most of these same religious people exchange Chanuka gifts with no second thought. They have forgotten that December gift-giving is also a gentile custom. Or have we reached a point in Jewish history where America is more frightening than Christianity?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Many musicians are upset that DovBear has a blog and they don't.

One after another, their comments are appearing beneath my posts, instructing me to "shut up" and so on. The reason for their ire? They think I am "dumping on them."

But am I? I don't think so. I merely said that any salesman who makes a deep concession on price should expect the customer to doubt the product. A musician, who doubles as his own salesman, seemed oblivious to this simple fact of marketing and was surprised -insulted, even - when a prospective customer was tentative about hiring him after a price reduction of $700. Now, other musicians are using my blog to defend the musician cum salesman's error, and to hurl insults at me, the gentle, sweet-souled blogger who revealed it. I wish they'd register with Blogger, and boil the invective on their own blogs, but traffic is traffic I guess.

Oh, yes, I suppose I did make things a bit worse when I said "most Jewish wedding music is bland and boring, in other words generic. And if you've been to the supermarket, you know the generic brands command the lowest prices and the least respect. "But isn't there something true about this, too?

If Jewish wedding bands weren't interchangeable they would compete on quality, instead of price. Upscale brands, like Rolex. refuse to compete on price. they compete on quality. If Jewish wedding bands are competing on price, it means only that there is nothing distinctive or "upscale" about their work.


Just finished Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. The Washington Post, in a rare lapse of decorum, not to mention English, calls it "Unputdownable." Please. The book, much like it's follow-up, The Davinci Code, dishes out improbabilities with shameless haste. "Unputdownable?" Maybe, but the book is a traffic accident. If you can't put it down, it's only because you are a rubbernecker.

Grade: C-

Question for future posts: Did Pope Pius IX, in 1857, really casterate every statue of a nude male within Vatican City, as Brown claims? Pius was a bad man, a bad pope and a bad Catholic, but was he also a prude?

To the books!


Sorry to dissapoint, dear hearts, but it will be light blogging and no further link dumps until next week. I've got dumplings to fry, turkeys to pluck and so on.

Meantime why not rustle through the archives, and see if you can discover why TVWHM told me to "get bent," or why I had to call one of the HasidicMusician's fans an "idiot?"

Or visit the links in the sidebar. Superlative writers all. Yes, even TVWHM.


Thanksgiving. Time to ask the annual question. Why are many Orthodox Jews hostile to the idea of eating a big turkey dinner?

It's not like we've never borrowed customs. Misnagdim wear gangster hats. Upshurin originated with Muslims. Hassidim dress like Polish noblemen. So tell me please, what's so terrible about turkey?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Yaacov, from Lawrence, writes: You are a heretic publishing the heretical lies about the Tziz Eliezer who never said what you said he said regarding the killing of babies. And if he did anyway he is also a heretic for saying that.

Sigh. See this is how it starts: Pick and choose from among the Rabbis, and soon you're living in a shack in New Square with some guy in a fur hat withholding your food stamps if you don't vote how he tells you to. Yaacov, the Tziz Eliezer is a real Rabbi with real credentials, and I can follow him if I want to.


See this is what happens when Jews go wild. The police get involved, your name ends up on somebody's stupid blog, and all of a sudden the Kosher Palette cookbook isn't the most noteworthy thing about your school. (Note to scolds: Once it appears in a newspaper it is not loshon harah.)

JFK Reloaded a new video game cum physics experiment promises 100K to anyone who can recreate Lee Harvey Oswald's lucky three shots. Getting killed two day's later, on live TV by a Jewish mobster is optional.

What is kabbalah? We have no idea but some raggesy newspaper in Toronto thinks it does. And again, I am reminded that the misnagdim, pace Yehupy, were right when that argued that Kabbalah and the masses were a bad mix. By the way, we have not heard from Yehupy in days. We hope he didn't end up like Burry Katz.

Promiscuous Simcha is still saying hello to every new blogger under the sun. We want ours.

Unconfirmed rumor: Did chikkimunkee play Yoko to Bronstein's Lennon and precipitate the breakup of Protocols who, like the Beatles, were another good band? Curious minds are rapidly spreading this story to anyone who will listen.

And up in Syracuse, where the snow has started to fall, and the minds have started to melt, Otto the Orange, mascot for the SU athletic teams, will be given a bar mitzvah.


Arlen Specter, the senator who had his arm twisted recently by president Bush, is Jewish, which makes the president's bullying all the more repulsive.

You will recall, that Sen. Specter saved his seat as the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee by signing a pledge - a pledge that had to be drafted, then redrafted to the specifications of the GOP leadership - in which he promised to help the president promote anti-abortion judges to the federal bench.

Unfortunately, (and here's the repulsive bit) Specter is a Jew and the Jewish view on abortion does not fit neatly into the president's pro-life position. Jewish law may not allow indiscriminate abortions on demand, but it does not ban abortion completely: In fact, one great Rabbi, the Tziz Eliezer, allows first trimester abortions under certain circumstances and second trimester abortions under others.

What would have been the result if Specter had stood his ground, arguing, "my religion allows the abortions you wish to prohibit so I must resist your pressure on religious grounds." Would the conservatives in the heartland have respected this moral stance? Or would they have challenged the Jewish God and the teachings of the Jewish Rabbi?

Unfortunately, that's idle speculation now. Specter, at the president's demand, has signed away his fundamental right to follow his religious conscious. Furthermore, if Bush has his way even the sort of abortions permitted by the Tziz Eliezer will become illegal. Though I certainly don't expect the newly emasculated Senator to worry about Jewish teachings on abortion, I do worry. And it's infuriating that my Jewish faith, and the teachings of my Jewish Rabbis may soon be co-opted, with the (forced) complicity of this Jewish senator.

I've argued elsewhere that Jews and Judaism are best protected when we have more freedom, not less freedom. This sorry case is proof again that I am right, and proof again that when Bush calls for the restoration of religion to a central position in public life he is calling for the restoration of nothing but his own religion.


We hate to do this, but in the spirit of service journalism, there's something we need to show you. Still, there's no reason to alert the FCC, or to write angry letters of thoughtful and carefully spelled protest.

We just thought those of you who hate her for her wealth, or her hair, or her notoriety, might find some satisfaction from learning that Ms. Hilton's grammar is atrocious.

(Explanatory note: “Your” and “You’re” are not the same word.)


Dan Rather is stepping down from that TV show he does between the pharmaceutical ads on CBS, and of course we blame the media, the liberal media, for making it clear that Memo-gate meant the end of the mildly-retarded newsman's career. And yes, that would be the same media that was out buying itself drinks when the Swiftvets, and their allies in the blogosphere, dragged John Kerry through the mud.


In which we speculate irresponsibly about the fate of the world's angriest blogger.

Readers of Jewish Musings know that Burry Katz has disapeared. Type in his url (www.burrykatz.blogspot.com) and you get nothing. So what happened? Some possibilities:

The rabbis he regularly offended finally settled the score.
The black-hat wearing Jews he regularly offended finally settled the score.
The Flatbush-dwelling Jews he regularly offended finally settled the score.
The Jewish mothers he regularly offended finally settled the score.
The rich Jewish men he regularly offended finally settled the score.
The liberals he regularly offended finally settled the score.
The bloggers he regularly offended finally settled the score.

(And of course, when we say "finally settled the score" we mean "filed assult charges.")

[Related: Fisking Burry Katz]



(... examine your zipper, that is)

Hey, at least Clinton exposed himself in private.

UPDATE: Yes, we know that both a monkey and a former governor of Texas could do this with PhotoShop. Until we know better, we're acting as if the photo is real. If proven otherwise, we will take it down.


"...there is no more ringing refutation of the religion of George W. Bush than the religion of Abraham Lincoln. 'Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other,' Lincoln proclaimed at the beginning of his second term, and in the middle of a war. 'The prayers of both could not be answered--that of neither has been answered fully.' For Lincoln, his party was not God's party; or rather, the other party was as much God's party as his party was. And he explained this repudiation of human certainty this way: 'The Almighty has his own purposes.' He did not know what they were, he knew only that they were. Beware the politicians, and the politics, that know more."

That's Leon Weiseltier in this week's highlighted article. Go read it.


Another record day for the Inbox...

Anonymous, using AOL, points out that the Hassidic Musician is not black, and therefore, "Jamie Foxx couldn't possibly play him in a biopic." We apologize. The offending sentence has been amended to read: "...a biopic, starring Jamie Foxx as the guy DM crosses the street to avoid late at night in Boro Park."

Anonymous, using MSN, objects to my name-dropping. "I don't like the way you keep mentioning other bloggers in your posts." We're tempted to say: "too bad," but because our therapist wishes us to be less antagonistic, we will instead contort our faces into what we hope is a smile, unclench our fists and say, "drop dead." No wait. Before you do, we'd also like you to know that A Simple Jew, Adam Ragil, Ari goes Down, Ben Chorin, Burry's Mad at the World Blog, Cara Chandira, Cookie, Dilbert (the blogger), Esefer, Esther, Haaretz, Hasidic Musician, Imshin(?), Jack, Jerusalem Revealed, JewView, Luke, Mindy, Miriam Bloghd, MoChassid, Psycho(Toddler), REN REB, Rivka, Sarah, Shaigetz (shtreimal), Shtreimel (shaigetz), Simcha, Sklaro, That velvel who hates me, Yehups, Yuter and Zman Biur don't seem bothered. So why don't you just tell us your name? We'll be pleased to drop it, too.

Anonymous, using Gmail, writes, “I really like your blog, but the crude jokes are disturbing.” This confuses us. We thought crude jokes were the point of DovBear. No, actually, we don’t know what you’re talking about. Have you perhaps been visiting dovbear.com or dovbear.gov by mistake?
UPDATE: Oh, you meant the crude pictures. Our mistake. Though we hasten to add that if you went to the mikva, like we do, you'd see much worse.

Anonymous, using Yahoo, has discovered something shocking, and he can't wait to let us know: "My god, DovBear, you are a terrible speller." Correct. However, Mr. Anonymous, you can help. After you've mastered the art of feeding yourself with a fork, we will offer you the prestigious, but low-paying job of spell-checking Dovbear. We'll continue doing the very easy and simple work - you know, writing, researching, making sure the blog is interesting, etc, so that you're free to do the hard part, ie: pressing F7. We’ll even provide a handsome paper certificate reading “World’s Number One Speller” along with bus fair and a small salary but, because this is still America, health insurance is not included.

Monday, November 22, 2004


An old bit of Coke-lore says that the first transliteration of the company name into Chinese produced a rendering with the meaning, "bite the wax tadpole." This is true, but not completely true.

Now, Dairy Queen does one better. The drive-through milk store has introduced a frozen drink called the MooLatte. As Slate's Timothy Noah points out, this name corresponds both with a racially insensitive word, and a film about female genital mutilation.

That's quite a double play for the Dairy Queen marketing team.


Victoria Gotti is filing assault charges against the boy who beat up her two sons at a Long Island mall last week. And, no, "filing assult charges" is not a clever mob euphamism along the lines of "he sleeps with the fishes." At least not so far as we know.

Nonethless we have this friendly advice for Mr. Frank Rossi, the father of the boy who thumped the Gotti brothers: Run. Fast. As fast as you can. Now. And get some plastic surgery, to go with your new name, if you catch our drift.

And because we like Italian, we'll add this, too. Before you head off to Arizona, go to that Gotti woman, on your knees, with lots of witnesses around, and say: Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv / I know nothing, I didn't see nothing, I wasn't there, and if I was there, I was asleep.

Otherwise you and your boy are both going on a milk carton.

[Source: New York Post Online Edition]



Because the old readers don't hate us enough, here's something to irritate the new batch. Presenting: DovBear's round up of the GOP's most recent assaults on fairplay and decency.

First, to claim the chairmanship of the Judiciary committe Arlen Spector is forced to swear fealty to the president and to abandon future personal or independent judgment on judicial nominees. We wonder if this is anything like becoming a made man? Come to think of it, maybe it isn't too terrible that Arlen Spector is no longer thinking for himself.

Second, a provision allowing the (GOP) House Leadership to review your income tax returns has been buried in the big new spending bill. Wow. $380 billion of bogus, pork spending and they get to paw through your private papers. Man, it is good to be the king.

Third, John (Thank God he's Gone) Ashcroft announces that all judges should be shot as traitors. Whoops, no. That was someone else. Actually, Ashcroft said, "second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war." Or, as a more plain-speaking man might say: Judges who follow the Constitution, Marbury v. Madison, and 200 years of precedent and put the Constitution ahead of the president's wishes should be shot as traitors

And, fourth, Congress, that motley band of fun-loving theives Mark Twain called the "distinctly native American criminal class," has changed the rules to allow Leader Tom DeLay to run the show from jail, if necessary. Yes, from jail, just like John Gotti.

So, notwithstanding my misguided politics, fellow Americans and NASCAR fans I hope you will agree: These are dangerous, disreputable men you've put in charge of our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Next time the blue states tell you something, I expect you will listen.


We should remember to be thankful for our great country(even with the idiot president), and more so, thankful to HKBH, for everything that he has granted us." Amen. re: both sentiments.


Sefer Ha-Hayim Blog said, "The truth, that Sefer Heshbon Ha-Nefesh was written by a maskil, is still surprising."

"Surprising?" Why?

Surprising because.... a masikl wrote a book? (Ha! Next you'll tell me misnagdim daven.)

Surprising because.... everyone knows the haskalah produced nothing useful. (Besides convenient targets for pious frauds, of course.)
(see note)

Surprising because.... everyone knows the maskilim never worried about ethics or about the lives of religious Jews. (They were all pig-eating, mixed-dancing, J-date using, heretics)
(see note)

Surprising because.... the yeshiva establishment never accepts or endorses books written by less-than-perfectly-religious authors.

[Via: Simcha]

* Note to II and III: The haskalah movement was all about Jews abandoning their exclusiveness and acquiring the knowledge, manners, and aspirations of the nations. So it shouldn't be "surprising" that a maskil might write a book in which Jews - especially religious Jews - are encouraged to acquire ethical and virtuous conduct.

Presidential Yacht

Among the goodies in the $388 billion spending bill, the GOP-dominated House passed last week, is a $2 million boat for the Prez.

Other pork set aside for special projects, include: $300,000 for a parking garage in Auburn, Maine, $8 million to rehabilitate a "historic cafeteria building" in Oregon's Crater Lake National Park and $1.1 million for research into the development of baby food and other products made from salmon.

So this is why families are taking donations to send body armor to their kids in Iraq. Yet, Prez gets his boat...


...finally gets to know me.

Old DM did the right thing. Him linking me, was like Johnny Fontane showing up at Connie's wedding. Now watch how big DM gets. That lounge act of his is going Hollywood. No more playing for leisure-suit-Larrys at the Holiday Inn, not for old DM. He's going big time. Starlets, fast cars - whatever he wants, even a biopic, starring Jamie Foxx - are, now, sure to follow.

[Related: This, this, this and this.]


We wish a warn and hearty mazal tov to Diana Daniele Laufer, 23, the daughter of Violeta Laufer and Dr. Dan Laufer of Rishon Letzion, Israel, and Bucharest, Romania, who was married yesterday to Adam Neil Marks, 31, the son of Carol Marks of Cresskill, N.J., and Larry Marks of Edgewater, N.J.

As reported in the New York Times, the happy couple met through an Internet dating site and were soon enjoying a 10-day romp in Rome, a "a neutral rendezvous point" for the transatlantic couple.

Explained, Mr. Marks, "Love is not always rational."

We agree, lothario. There's nothing rational about agreeing to a 10-day trip to Rome with someone much younger, and much hotter than you. Nothing at all.


The plot thickens: Source

Ok, if it wasn't racial or robbery (the victim's wallet wasn't taken) where does that leave us?


Or so say 20,000 demonstrators in Cologne.

Germans and Muslims marching "hand in hand against terror..." Wow. Somethng else our grandparents never thought they'd see.

[Reuters: Turks, Germans march against Islamic violence]


The Republican Congress has given itself the right to look at your income tax returns, via an obscure provision buried in a huge new spending bill. (ed note: Spending? Huge? By the GOP? No way.). Oh, and the author of said provision, Ernest Istook, of Oklahoma, is lying about it.

Via: Josh Marshall

The new provision, written by Istook:
"Hereinafter, notwithstanding any other provision of law governing the disclosure of income tax returns or return information, upon written request of the Chairman of the House or Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service shall allow agents designated by such Chairman access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein."

Istook's lie: "Nobody's privacy was ever jeopardized."

Ok, now is Newt's Republican revolution over?

Friday, November 19, 2004


In which I break still another one of my rules and mention you know who

The letter-writer the Hasidic Musician undresses today is an idiot for two reasons (a) his introductory paragraph is included for the purpose of throwing a little dirt on the customer for being "untraditional" -- as if, letting the bride handle FLOP is something out of bounds, a reason for us to chorus, "well, what do you expect from someone like her."; and (b) maybe, Einstein, if you weren't giving the store away, the customer would have some confidence in your sound. You get what you pay for: remember that?

Al-Jazeera(!) doesn't like Robert Alter, his mother, his friends, his pet cat, OR the new translation of the Bible, Alter recently published. Like we care. Cynthia Ozik, who, so far as we know, is not a Bin Ladin tool, told us weeks ago that, she had looked at all Alter had done, and it was very good. Perhaps on a slow day, I'll run excerpts. Ozik is a treasure.

We're still waiting for the first Jewish Press dvar torah in English, or really I'd settle for any language other than the indecipharable gibrish they most often use.

And today's scoop which you'll see second and third on Protocols and bloghead is this: Yad Vashem to inaugurate an Internet database listing the names of Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Have a good shabbos. That is all.


TII Computer Deals at Dell Home Systems 300x250

E&A Promotions from Dell Home Systems! 235x90 (DJ)

Hey man, we got bills to pay just like you, and these are sweet deals. Check them out.


Transcript: Former President Clinton Speaks at Library Dedication

And what I want to say is, if you think of the biggest disappointment around to me, I tried so hard for peace in the Middle East.

I thank Shimon Peres and the children of Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak for being here today, and the current foreign minister of Israel for being here today. I did all I could.

But when we had seven years of progress toward peace, there was one whole year when for the first time in the history of the state of Israel not one person died of a terrorist attack, when the Palestinians began to believe they could have a shared future. [emphasis mine]

And so, Mr. President, again I say, I hope you get to cross over into the promised land of Middle East peace. We have a good opportunity and we are all praying for you.
[related: Jewish Blood is Not Cheap]


Transcript: Former President George H.W. Bush Comments at Clinton Library Dedication

And seeing him out on the campaign trail, it was plain to see how he fed off the energy and the hopes and the aspirations of the American people. Simply put, he was a natural, and he made it look too easy.

And, oh, how I hated him for that.


But in conclusion, let me simply say that after you leave the White House, a number of things happen to you.

First of all, the crowds of protesters get smaller. It's disappointing, really.

And when you play golf, no one gives you short putts anymore.
Your cornball jokes still get printed in the big city papers, though.


President Bush and former President Bill Clinton squeezing through the glass entrance to the Clinton Library.

Argument in favor of Clinton: It's my library, damn it!
Argument in favor of Bush: I'm the president, damn it!
Clinton rejoinder: Been there, done that, but unlike you I won twice.
Bush rejoinder: Lose some weight, tubby


Ok, I admit to being very late to the whole "She" thing, but has it occured to anyone that the Peter Pan she married, might not be the self-same Peter Pan who broke her heart?

The ending is too neat, too clean. And, by my math, occured years after the first Peter left She a broken, defeated and dumped woman. If Peter's so hot, why was he still single? Good boys go quickly in She's world.

And did She give Mr. Right the name "Peter Pan" because he refuses to grow up? Because he wears green underwear? Because she wants, one day, to be surrounded by a brood of hellion children? Or did She crush on Sandy Duncan as a youngster?

Hap tip Cookie


Media complicit in spreading false GOP smear of district attorney investigating DeLay.

And of course Fox is leading the way, but the rest of the "liberal" media is helping.

This might be why good people stay away from politics.


Or, another series I likely won't continue

The Torah forbids us to marry sisters. The Torah says Jacob married sisters. The Torah says that Jacob followed the laws of the Torah. How can this be resolved?

First, the Occam's Razor resolution: Jacob didn't keep Torah law, so find a new way to interpret 26:5. This satisfies me, but I doubt it satisfies you. So here's something else:

For Jacob, keeping Torah law was a personal stringency. It wasn't expected. It wasn't demanded. It wasn't necessary. God has not yet revealed the Torah. Jacob followed Torah law (if we must agree that he did) because he wanted to. However, his personal choice to accept a personal stringency could not supersede good manners.

Rachel received a promise from Jacob. The promise was "I will marry you." No personal stringency could be used as an excuse to escape this basic obligation. Jacob had to keep his word. He had to respect Rachel's feelings, and he had to fulfil his obligation to her. Personal chumra be damned.

V'hamayvin ya'avin.



You'll note the blogroll to the right.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


It rained today on Bill Clinton's "Gala Grand Library" opening shin-ding in Little Rock. Must wet dresses follow that man everywhere he goes? In other news, I wonder what kind of library Al Gore will get. A broom closet? A hot dog cart? And yes, I am aware that in mocking Al Gore I am belittling a man who almost went all the way.
NOTE FOR THE HUMOR-IMPAIRED: The business about the wet dress is a crude joke. If you do not understand I will not explain. Go back to you vanilla milk shakes.

Some idiot in a white coat was trying to jab people with flu shot vaccine near my place of employment this morning. The lines were long, the traffic was terrible, and it took me many additional hours to arrive at my desk, close the door, and begin blogging. Score one more win for frivolous law suits.

I'll just say it again, the West Side Stadium (or "The New York Sports and Convention Center” as Cablevision czar James Dolan screams it in his nightmares) is a bad idea, so bad the Yehupitzer Rav might say, and I quote, "the stadium proposal, along with misnagdus 'stinks.'" Also, Selena Roberts of the Times doesn't want Madison Garden to become the World's Most Irrelevant Arena. We concur.

Somewhere ChayyaiSarah is breathing a sigh of relief: Just three days after one vapid ratings stunt, Stephen I. Weiss announces another: he's closing Protocols (yes, smart guy, we also thought Protocols ended six months ago) Frankly, we don't care so long as Ford's towel stays on and nobody hugs. Only 20 more shopping days till the big special farewell episode on December 8. We hear all the elders are planning to gather for one last round of naval gazing. As usual, Kraut will not be permitted to talk.

In all seriousness, we like Luke Ford. He knows how to write, which is rarer than midos in our bubble, and he was never wary of sharing his influence. Perhaps he'd deign to guest blog here one day.
UPDATE: Ok, maybe not.


Remember that great moment at the end of Animal Farm, when the pigs are walking on two legs, with riding cops in their hands, and the rest of the animals have figured out that their new masters are indistinguishable from their old masters?

Ok, that's what happened yesteray in Congress, when the GOP changed the rules to protect one of their own.

Good news: Does this mean Newt's "Republican Revolution" is finally over?


I've decided to be happy about the election of George W. Bush. Why? No, not because of the InstaPundit link that will surely follow my change of heart. But, because the New York Times says that worldwide resentment over his election might keep the Olympics out of New York City.

All politics are local. Let Bush destroy the world. To hell and beyond with the mess in Iraq, the transparent cabinet machinations civil rights, and all the rest. So long as the Bush backlash keeps the traffic in NYC down, and that UFO-landing pad of a stadium from being built, I'm okay.

But, a Lindsey Lohan-inspired run of hits via Google-searches would be swell, too.

SIDENOTE: I once saw a rat the size of a small car near the site of the proposed stadium. Even now, the West Side is a delightfully seedy neighborhood, the sort of place where no Starbucks is within eyesight, and the streetlamps aren't decorated with wreaths at holiday time.

UPDATE: Ladbrokes odds of New York getting the Olympics: a scant 13/1
Ladbrokes odds of Mayor Bloomberg taking the news gracefully: 3/1


Yes, so what? The heaving pukes at InstaPundit have spotted Miriam Bloghead. Big deal. Sniff. I noticed Miriam months ago. And she's published loads of posts more likely to further the neo-conservative agenda than the silly cartoon that finally earned her InstaPundit's notice.

Still, let's hope this is the start of a hot new trend. Let's hope other big league bloggers follow Insta's lead and look to the Jewish blogosphere for insight, wisdom, direction and cartoons.

Let's hope the heaving pukes at Daily Kos notice me.


... when I'd run a post in praise of the Jewish Press, but when they are right they are right.

Please read this eloquent and thoughtful defense of Orthodox Jewish Liberalism. It appeared November 17, 2004:

Money quotes:
1: "How is it that after growing up in a yeshiva environment where we were asked to critically analyze every issue, where we parsed distinctions in law and language, we allow ourselves to be dragged down to the lowest and most degrading levels when it comes to government and politics?"

2: "We are so worried about the slippery slope of open-mindedness that we forget the slippery slope of being close-minded and rigid. In our short-sighted drive to use our platform to protect our own interests, we forget exactly how we arrived at that platform. Or even what gave us the right to think we have interests in the first place."

Again, Conservative Jews are challenged and dared to answer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004




See those puke colored boxes on my side bar? Good.

Now here's the deal.

Click on them. (and buy something from the sponsors)
If you like me, you'll be pleased to know that each click puts a little something in my pocket. So, if you like me, a click is a small way to say thank you. If you hate me, well, your clicky finger might help me become too rich for this chintzy gig. Then I'm out of here.

Either way, man. Either way.


If you read today's link drop you saw this already. I'm re-running it because I am bored.

"Honest Reporting's headline screams 'Arafat receives a glamorous send-off from the world media' but their own story is a mess of cherry-picked quotes, quotes taken out of context, and also quotes and cartoons that disagree with and undermine their own overexcited headline. There are only a few examples given of the world media getting the story wrong. I counted three.

In other words, 'Honest'Reporting wedged the facts into their pre-established template. Is this what they mean when they scream media bias? Oh my.

Also: Can we please finish crying about the font CNN chose for the word 'Arafat.'? It doesn't matter, only an idiot thinks a font can do anything to rehabilitate a monster like Arafat, and, anyway, nothing CNN does makes you happy - ever. You're like a mother-in-law, with CNN playing the part of the girl who married your son, and now gets criticized, regularly, for using red potatoes instead of Yukon potatoes in the kugel. Which is not to say the daughter-in-law is always innocent.

But let's choose our fights.


And I, too, consider fresh opportunties

Now that the guy who makes the yummy gin has announced that he's stepping down from the New York Times, I think Bill Safire should be replaced by Andrew Sullivan. What's that you say? David Brooks replaced Safire years ago? Good point.

I also think the guy who writes JewSchool should move over so Luke can get a promotion, leaving his seat at Protocols open for a smart, sarcastic, yet sweet-smelling blogger who's just about to outgrow this fishpond.

Oh, and if Sarah's arm falls off, I'm up for her gig, too.

UPDATE: MoChassid called to offer me the chance to bid on the next MoChassid franchise. Apparently Mo's making a boatload of money off that Fosterboy person and the other guy, you know, the one on the bike. But I don't think I can afford it.


Furgie, Duchess of York, is the latest fluff-for-brains attempting to 'get' spirituality by taking a meeting with Berg, the Kabbalah Centre's cultish mastermind. (The pompous spelling is theirs.) Weight Watchers, binge-eating, marrying princes, now kabbalah. Is there anything that fat, unhappy, red-head won't consider?

Is Cookie looking a gift horse in the mouth? Attention "all" and also "sundry": You are forever banned from the chestnut-copper corridors of Heimishtown. She doesn't like you. The rest of you, though, can go have fun.

Prez pardoned the annual thanksgiving turkey today, though, as many have noted, Tom Delay has yet to be indicted. No matter. His Republican chums are working to change the rules, to allow the Majority Leader to keep his job, even if he must work from jail. Which is, of course, what Gotti did. And speaking of turkey, psychotoddler eats it. On Thanksgiving. Like you, we're very disappointed: No one has joined the thread we launched in his comment section about the equally non-Jewish nature of upshurim.

Honest Reporting's headline screams "Arafat receives a glamorous send-off from the world media" but their own story is a mess of quotes taken out of context, quotes and cartoons that disagree with and even undermine their own headline, and only a few examples of the world media getting the story wrong. I counted three. In other words, "Honest"Reporting wedged the facts into their pre-established template. Is this what they mean when they scream media bias? Oh my.

Also: Enough crying about the font CNN chose to decorate the word "Arafat." It doesn't matter, only an idiot thinks a font can rehabilitate a monster like Arafat, and, anyway, nothing CNN does makes you happy anyway. You're like a mother-in-law, with CNN playing the part of the girl who married your son, and now gets criticized, regularly, for using red potatoes instead of Yukon potatoes in the kugel. Which is not to say the daughter-in-law is always innocent. But let's choose our fights.

Here's something you'll be talking about in shul this weekend. Not that you talk, of course. But if you need something to make hand motions about bein gavrah l'gavrah this is it. Personally, I agree with the commander: Don't wear a kippa if you're racist, please.

We promised disgusting pictures of W, and here we go: horrifying George Bush inspired religious art

And of course, now I'm waiting for Simcha to say hello to me, too


Once in a while, I'll recommend a full article.

Here's one now:
Fictional Character,
by Jonathan Chait for
The New Republic

Money quote:

This is not to say Kerry is some sort of natural plebeian. Of course he's not. The point is that unflattering characterizations of Kerry and other Democrats tend to find far wider circulation than equally unflattering characterizations of Bush.
... with plenty of examples and a very good explanation provided.


My dear friend Hector (Chaim Moshe Mendel), is to be married this Sunday. To honor the occasion, I've prepared a heimish note of congratulations, suitable for posting on OnlySimchas.com

OMG!!!! MAZEL TOV Hector!!!!! I am sooo happy for you and can't wait to dance all night at your wedding. I knew you and Imelda belonged together right around the time when she got preganant. I know!!! And those NCSY advisors sed U wold never settle down. Theyz wer such dorks! Hey, remember that time in Israel when you got caught dealing in the bes medrash, and you got thrown out? Oy, those were the dayz. May you two love-chickens be zoche to have a long, happy, and happy life together 4eva, and build a bayis ne'eman b'mhayra b'yomanu!!!! Seeya at the Shmorg!!!! Love, Me(duh!!)


Ok men... we have 80 yeards to go, two minutes on the clock, and we're down 51-48...

The New Republic prints a pep talk for American Liberals. Superb. Made me want to run out and burn my bra. Or something.

Here's the money quote:
But the many millions of Americans who believe that the tax code should be more fair; and that one of the ends of government is to bother itself about its neediest and least fortunate citizens; and that the morality of the market is not all the morality that a society requires; and that the Bible is not the basis of a democratic political order, or of our political order; and that robust stem-cell research, and science more generally, is a primary social good; and that gay marriage is a question of equality and not the beginning of the end of civilization; and that American troops must not be sent to war ignorantly or dogmatically, or without the means to win; and that the good reputation of the United States in the world is one of its most powerful historical instruments--the many millions of Americans who believe these things are not wrong. They are merely not a majority. But they are a very large minority.
I defy Burry Katz or his accessory, Issac Kaplan, or for that matter any other self-proclaimed Jewish Conservative to find fault with this.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Link Round Up or Stuff That Caught My Eye Today

In which I will not mention you-know-who

An Indiana Congressman does his part to make us think that Red Staters are prudish hicks. Jokes unnecessary. Today, Dude!!!, the article does the work. In other news, the Gotti boys get their butts kicked and Amanda Hesser is nicer looking than we expected. Attention ladies: she cooks all day. And she's Jewish.

Now that's a health care package: You've seen Kerry. You've seen Cheney [If not, click and scroll to "Powerful Men and Their Mystery Bulges"] Now, here's Gore. Shudder. We promise this is the last one. Until Bush, um, surfaces.

We wish a warm and hearty mazal tov to Jonell Watson, 13, the first Bat Mitzvah ever on the Outer Bank, wherever the hell that is. Australia, maybe? One insignificant detail with which I shall find fault: Reading from the Torah is not a "tradition that dates back more than 3,000 years." Certainly not if you're a girl, and even the boys first started marking their manhood this way in the late Middle Ages.

Dr. David Matar goes AWOL. My Conservative friends cheer. Meanwhile US soldiers say heck no, we won't go and the same Conservative friends boo. And they say liberals make it up as they go along?

We like Condi. Alot. But Bob Somerby reminds us that she did, in fact, without any doubt lie while under oath to the 9/11 commission. Today's question, boys and girl: Who said, about Clinton, "It's not the sex, its the lying?"

UPDATE: Oy, is just Yo backwards. Is it time for chanuka already? (turn the sound up) My local fire department hasn't even put out their wreaths yet....

In our bubble: Ren Reb is in meltdown, but she's funny today. Certifiably funny, if you get our drift. But still funny. Cookie is in a fighting mood. We like Jewish moxie. Poor Sarah is in pain but through gritted teeth, manages to cite one of our least favorite biblical verse.

If I forget thee Jerusalem let my right hand forget her cunning. Cunning?

Per the dictionary: cun-ning

Cunning is usually low; as, a cunning trick

Is this what the Psalmist meant? Is this what the translator meant? Is this why people think Jews are sneaky? Moreover, when I translate the words myself I get something like: "Forgetting Jerusalem would be like forgetting my right hand."

What do low or deceptive tricks have to do with it? Is someone, somewhere trying to make a nasty point about Jews?

I ought to sick Cookie on him.



They are here and here

Yeah she's claim-jumping my shtick, but we like Cookie, so it slides.

UPDATE: An emailer argues smart people were taking the piss out of stupid people long before you started blogging. So it's not really your shtick. Bozo

Ok, can pretending its my shtick be my shtick?


After nine days with no posts he still has no love for dovbear

I've put the words "Jewish" and "Music" together in many posts, which is usually all it takes. Still Blog in Dm does not find me worthy for inclusion in his little link drops.

That's his mistake.

I have it on good authority that before Cara linked me she was, as they say, "nothing, nowhere, nobody." And today? Let's just say, she's engaged, married, pregnant, on her way to California, rich, famous, beautiful, and on TV.

So Hasidic Musician, no more coy and subtle hints from these quarters. If you're smart, do what Cara did. AND GET TO KNOW ME!

UPDATE: In fact, Cara was abducted by aliens (who married her, impregnated her, took her to California, etc, etc, etc) As of right now, we are distancing ourselves from responsibility, and interviewing possible scapegoats. Colin Powel is available, and we all saw the great job he did taking the fall on Iraq. Tomorrow: our "Mistakes Were Made" address. Mochassid has been retained to provide legal advice. (We pay in kugel.)


A close study of voting patterns in Ramapo, a town in Rockland County, New York, reveals an anamoly. New York, you'll recall, is among the bluest of the blue states, yet here is how certain election districts in Ramapo voted:

District 35
Bush: 805 Kerry: 12

District 40
Bush: 283 Kerry: 31

District 41
Bush: 404 Kerry 21

District 55
Bush: 748 Kerry 9

District 58
Bush: 782 Kerry 7

All the more strange when you consider that Ramapo, overall, was evenly split: 19950 for Bush and 18859 for Kerry

Well, perhaps not so strange. It will surprise no one to learn that the out-of-step election districts correspond with Kaiser, New Square and Monsey, all strongholds of Vishnitz and Square Hasidim, where bothersome chores like thinking for one's self are routinly outsourced to dynastic spiritual leaders.

And dynastic rulers, we know from experience, are sometimes available to the highest bidder.

Source: Scroll down to "Ramapo"


...New Jersey governor officially resigns

... let's hope it isn't a mandate with Golan Cipel.

(note to the humor-impaired: Man Date is a pun. Please send your thoughtful and well-written complaints here or here instead)

Monday, November 15, 2004


The plan is to deliver the best links of the day as collected from around the non-Jewish blogosphere. We'll see if I keep that promise.

We knew that: A reader sends an email: James Carville has no shame. Well, yes, thanks for that surprise, but this time the proof is on video. Perhaps next time he'll put his underwear on his head, and run around screaming "look at me" Same difference.

Powerful Men and Their Mystery Bulges: Ladies I am sorry to do this, but it would be unfair to the men if I suppressed these photos. Honor among bloggers and all. It's in the code. So be warned: If your skin is sensitive do not click. But please, folkds, don't be too prudish. I promise you've all seen worse at the mikva. Now then, let's settle this once and for all: Who's the bigger man: Kerryor Chenny?

Which, reminds me of a joke. Kerry and Chenny were on a bridge when nature called. The two men dropped trou and commenced relivieng their bladders. "Wow, " Chenney said, "That water is cold." Answered Kerry, "And deep!"

Oh dear, what will we tell the children? Another value-drunk conservative Christian has been caught with her hand in the till I'm not surprised. Are you? After all, the highest murder rate in the nation is still in the Bible Belt. Highest divorce rate in the nation? You guessed it. The South reigns again. Tsk. tsk. They simply have no values outside of the good old blue states.

Wanted: New Script Steady progress in Iraq, promises the president, but have you noticed every week he gives the exact same radio address maybe Prez just replays the tape, and is off listening to Rush like the rest of us?

Department of 1 + 1 = 2: And so on. This might be news in New Mexico, though. The whole place has 750,000 voters. so why haven't they finished counting the votes yet? Not to brag, but [my home state] finished weeks ago.


I don't like traffic. I don't like billionaires. I don't like the Olympics, and I certainly don't like the Arafat-green wearing New York Jets. I've also started to sour on Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, who took a poorly aimed shot at the Knicks yesterday

So it should not surprise you that I also oppose the West Side Stadium, the billion-dollar cathedral Bloomberg and Patacki, the governer, are building for their close personal friend and wonderful fundraiser, Jets-owner Woody Johnson.

As of this moment every last bit of my political muscle is behind Cablevision/MSG's effort to stop the stadium, bring down the administration of Michael Bloomberg, and to get the Jets some stylish duds.

I expect big things to start happening. Now.

Related story: Feed the Billionaire, Starve the Students By Bob Herbert, for the New York Times. Herbert writes:
The state and the city are responsible for financing the city's grossly underfinanced schools and they fight like gamecocks over who should pay for what. But they are in the most harmonious agreement that the estimable Woody should get the hundreds of millions that he wants for his stadium. It couldn't be because he's greased so many palms, could it? I personally think this entire project is a scandal, a wholesale giveaway of tremendous public assets to an incredibly wealthy private interest. In the old days somebody would have called the sheriff. But you don't hear much about bribery or quid-pro-criminal-quos anymore because the rascals have figured out how to make it legal.
Right on, brother.


HL Mencken may have been an anti-semite, but he knew Americans, saying: "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Writing for the Baltimore Evening Sun on 26 July 1920, in an article entitled "Bayard vs. Lionheart" (and reprinted in the book On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe), Mencken opined cynically on the difficulties of good men reaching national office:
The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
He also said this about the red states:
...for all its size and all its wealth and all the "progress" it babbles of, it is almost as sterile, artistically, intellectually, culturally, as the Sahara Desert. There are single acres in Europe that house more first-rate men than all the states south of the Potomac; there are probably single square miles in America. If the whole of the late Confederacy were to be engulfed by a tidal wave tomorrow, the effect upon the civilized minority of men in the world would be but little greater than that of a flood on the Yang-tse-kiang. It would be impossible in all history to match so complete a drying-up of a civilization.

Hat tip: snopes


Which doesn't belong and why: Phillip Roth, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Madonna

Well, Ruth Bader is the least femminine of the three, and Phillip Roth, my sources say, hasn't much of a singing voice, but no that's not it... keep thinking... Which doesn't belong and why... give up? Ha ha! It is a trick question! All three "belong" --or at least that's the view from the Forward, the less-and-less-influential-with-each-passing-moment Jewish weekly. All three of these celebs, you see, are new inductees to the Forward 50 a list that recognizes the 50 people deemed the year's most influential leaders of the American Jewish community.

The word from Punjab (Why Punjab? We don't know. Perhaps Madge is sampling Hindi?) is Madonna is pissed. Her spokeslacky has been dispatched to aver, "Madonna is not Jewish."

Over at the Forward, JJ Goldberg does not agree. He'll sell more papers if Madonna is on the list so to hell and beyond with matrilineal descent. Furthermore, argues JJ, "She's a practitioner of the Kabbalah, so she's practicing Judaism for Christ's sake! Well, not really for Christ's sake, but she's probably the world's best known practitioner of Judaism right now." Hey! What about Shmuley Boteach?

You younger readers of dovbear may not remember the time in the early 90s when you couldn't open a magazine or turn on the television without hearing about Madonna naked somewhere. Now it seems like the tale of her kabbalah conversion/facination is equally ubiquitous. Like you, we pine for the good old days.


What does James Dobson believe? Josh Marshall Tells Us:

"It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely ... Two or three stinging strokes on the legs or buttocks with a switch are usually sufficient to emphasize the point, 'You must obey me.'" --James Dobson, from Dare to Discipline and The Strong-Willed Child.
Now James Dobson is the evangelical Christian leader Slate calls the new Republican kingmaker.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.


... but Bush is already working to get the peace process going again.

Here's the money quote from his statement after meeting Tony Blair (a European, for those of you not-in-the-know)

"That vision must include a just and peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, based on two democratic states -- Israel and Palestine -- living side by side in peace and security. Now is the time to seize the opportunity..."

Yessiree, Bush is looking better and better for Israel. Not for the Likud or for the settlers, you understand. But for Israel.

Links to Arafat anecdotes, and pictures from the deathwatch are here
Arafat Links Roundup and Arafat index
Read: Stick to Sex Shmuley 1 and 2


I knew this series on Michael Jackson's Rabbi would have legs. See STSS part I

Article discussed in this angry rant: My love affair with evangelical Christians, by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

First, Rabbi Shmuley, I have not forgotten that you are the Jewish genius who disliked Passion, primarily because you worried "This is bad for evangelicals because Mel Gibson is closing Jewish hearts to Jesus"

Now, whenever I hear you talking about Jesus I begin to worry that you're trying to open my heart to Jesus, which is the sort of missionary trick that might one day keep my son out of the Yeshiva of his choice. You've encouraged me to "run to read Jesus' beautiful teachings on forgiveness in the New Testament" but if I were to do as you suggest, Shmuley, and open my heart to Jesus, those ancestors of mine who were murdered by Christian brigands and prelates might feel their sacrifice was in vain. So, if it's all the same to you, I'll pass on the New Testament.

Anyway, Shmuley, I'm being coy so let me get right to it: Your argument is nonsense.

Elsewhere you've written that you "believe in the authenticity and integrity of both faiths, as they worship God in their own way" and here you go on for paragraphs and paragraphs about the towering moral superiority of evangelical Christians. Unfortunately our sages (who I admit had no students so illustrious as your Michael Jackson) didn't see it this way. They saw no authenticity and no integrity in Christianity; therefore Jewish law forbids Christianity as idol worship. I know my readers need no reminding of this fact, but you seem to have lost sight of it, so let's review: "Anochi Hashem Elokecha / I am the Lord Your God" -the very first of the 10 Commandments. Also, Christianity stands in opposition to at least four of the Rambam's ikurim. Yet, Shmuley you don't care. Perhaps because you are in love, and love sees no faults.

I'm sad Shmuley, that none of this love is reserved for Liberals. You are quick to suggest that liberals are depraved, that liberals "love making up their own morality," but what is the idea that Jesus is mankind's one and only chance at salvation if not "made up morality?" Anyway, if we agree to follow the Rambam's definition of sin, we agree that a person who worships Jesus is morally flawed and intellectually flawed. Embracing the moral and theological lies of Christianity indicates shortcomings in the mind, character and soul.

Liberalism is not nearly so dangerous. Liberalism believes in freedom. At the end of the day, freedom is liberalism's only doctrine. Freedom. In of itself, freedom is no sin, and a zealous love of freedom does not suggest intellectual or moral shortcomings. Sure freedom can be misapplied, like anything, but at bottom freedom is theologically neutral.

Christianity is different. Christianity has among it doctrines the belief in a man-god, and the keen desire for Jesus to restore his kingship on earth. These are sins and worse: These are also delusions, dangerous to Jews and to rational thought. They are also dangerous to the torah's idea of human interaction. After all, which of these two doctrines is closer to Hillel's view that the Torah's prime teaching is "what is despicable to you, don't do to others? The liberal commitment to freedom, or the Christian commitment to Jesus?

Our sages warn: Esiav soneh es yackov. As you cuddle up to Christians please remember that warning. Please remember Christianity's inglorious past of massacres and death camps and other tortures in the name of Jesus over these past two millennia. Please remember that the Jews of Germany were also convinced that thier Christians were different. Compared to Christianity's disgusting record toward Judaism, the last 100 years with Islam has been a Sunday walk in the park, and none of our sages thought the Muslims were idolators. (Anyway the Muslims are Yishmoel. Shmuly's friends are Eisav.)

We don't need the Christians or their made-up morality. We need the protections of Liberalism so we Jews are free to pursue our own definitions of morality, and not some cheap Christian approximation.