30 August 2007

Madness on Mt. Moriah

Israel archaeologists fear damage at Jerusalem dig
Published: 08.29.07, 16:01 / Israel Jewish Scene


Archaeologists says priceless relics could be damaged by mechanical digger being used by Muslim caretakers to carve out utility trench at one of capital's holiest shrines.

Israeli archaeologists said on Wednesday they fear priceless relics could be damaged by a mechanical digger being used by Muslim caretakers to carve out a utility trench at one of Jerusalem's holiest shrines.

The work is being carried out on the plaza revered by Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

"It is appalling that in one of the most important archaeological sites in the country, heavy machinery is used in a barbaric way to dig a ditch 120 meters long and 1.5 meters deep," said Gabriel Barkay, an archaeologist at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

He and other members of the Israeli-based Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, have criticized Israel's Antiquities Authority for allowing the Waqf, the Muslim caretakers of the site, to conduct the work.

Dalit Menzin, a spokeswoman for the Antiquities Authority, an Israeli government agency, declined to comment.

Sheikh Abdel al-Azeem Salhab, president of the Waqf Council, which is charged with day-to-day administration of the compound, denied the digging would cause any archaeological damage.

Pottery shards

The trench is being dug to replace decades-old electric wiring at the complex, which now houses the al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock Mosques and was the site during biblical times of two Jewish Temples.

The future of the compound, on land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"I assure you that the area where the electrical cables are being extended was excavated in the past and there is nothing of value in it that can be damaged or destroyed," Salhab said.

Barkay said earth from the trench contained pottery shards dating to the Byzantine period. He cautioned that more relics still underground could be harmed.

Christian, Muslim and Jewish heritage could "fall victim to this heinous act", Barkay said.

The site is in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in a move that is not recognized internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of the state they hope to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In Febuary, an Israeli dig intended to salvage ancient artifacts before construction of a new walkway leading to the holy complex sparked worldwide protests by Muslims who said they feared the two mosques would be damaged.

Israel's Jerusalem municipality denied any harm would come to the shrines but scrapped its original construction plan and ordered a committee to prepare new blueprints and hold public hearings on the project.

related from INN

Archeologists: Waqf damaging Temple Mount remains (YNET backgrounder February)

When will the historical record of the Jews in Jerusalem be valued? When will the Jewish world care enough to produce an outcry loud enough to bring to bear pressure on these callous barbarians and their on-going desecration of the Temple Mount?

The Jewish world must unite on this issue. Ah, but Jewish unity is no easy achievement. First, Jewry must decide what is the main priority? The answer is somewhat pragmatic and problematic. Archaeological destruction of historically relevant sites is a theme upon which everyone can agree. However, this position does not carry with it the same moral outrage as the religious or cultural arguments both of which carry significant emotional and moral power but are "heard" by fewer concerned people.

In comparison, the Arabians held up Israel's digs in the Western Wall plaza related to the bridge construction by claiming that the mosques on the Mount would be destablized.

The dig, which began in February, touched off Arab violence in Jerusalem following assertions by Islamic leaders that the work, which is taking place dozens of meters outside the Temple Mount, could damage the mosque inside the ancient compound. Israeli law requires such an archaeological excavation in advance of any construction in the Holy Land.

A UNESCO report on the dig concluded that the excavation is not damaging the holy site but called on Israel to stop the dig nonetheless to allow for international observation of the work. Jpost on the dig

An informed observer might conclude that the best approach is to proclaim to the world that the Jewish people will no longer tolerate the destruction of it's holy sites with impunity. However, the Government of Israel holds the key to such a program. And in this reality, world Jewry can merely be a vocal albeit, toothless protagonist.

World Jewry's struggle is not with the arabians on this point but with the Israeli Government proper and specifically the Antiquities Authority which refuses to enforce the existing law as it applies to the arabians but is all too willing to surrender to complaints from the islamic loud mouths. Is it with such disregard of the diaspora does the Israeli government, the caretaker of Jewish historical sites treat the interests of Jews worldwide? It is interesting that on this single issue, the most ardent supporters of Israel (despite the government of Israel) are similarly positioned with the Charedi not too friendly to Israel crowd. This is not the way I expected to experience Jewish unity.

Now, trying to be optimistic, and recognizing that in this month of Elul especially, Jews must recondition ourselves to the annual judgment by and acceptance of the divine will, what can we make of the on-going destruction and desecration of Jerusalem's historic and Jewish legacy? Maybe HaShem is actually seeking to protect the Temple Mount for the Jews? Is it impossible to think so? Is it possible that we must see no semblance of Jewish existence on the Har HaBayis before the ultimate claim to Har HaBayis is made by Moshiach Tzikaynu (bmhay'ra v'yamenu)? It would be consistent with Torah and Jewish history would it not? The miracles of Jewish existence have always been dramatic and undeniable (mostly, all failures to see it being our own). "Now you will begin to see what I will do to Pharaoh. Shemos 6:1"

May it be Your will HaShem that the Jewish people will return to You in teshuva and complete acceptance of Your Kingship. Establish Your people in Your land and return us to Your service and bring Your Divine presence to the Third Beis HaMikdash forever.

Source information on the islamic destruction of the historic treasures buried in Har HaBayis.

A new, very long trench to the North and East of the Dome of the Rock plateau.

The digging of a new trench, which began only yesterday, has already reached a length of more than 150 meters. The purpose of this trench is to facilitate the installation of new electrical and plumbing infrastructure. The trench is being dug with heavy machinery, and reaches a maximum depth of 1.5 meters.

The work begins at the Northern edge of the Dome of the Rock plateau, connecting this new trench to a previous trench that was recently dug here. It abuts the North edge of the plateau, turns South, and continues along the plateau’s Eastern edge, in an area that is considered by most scholars, to be the location of the Second Temple "Courts of the Women". Back in 1970, in this very same place, a section of an Herodian wall was exposed and completely destroyed by Waqf workers during a similar dig. Some scholars ascribe that wall to the Second Temple Courts of the Women.

No archaeologist, under any circumstances, would have approved the use of a tractor in such a sensitive archaeological location. When brutally unearthed, earth strata and archaeological finds, totally loose their context, and delicate relics are destroyed. It doesn't matter at all if there is or isn't an archaeological supervisor present in such a dig. Under such conditions, there is absolutely no possibility of conducting any sort of professional supervision, which naturally would include: section drawings, registration of loci and finds and sifting samples of the soil.

In certain sections of the trench, some engraved stone fragments were seen in the soil that had been dug up and cast aside. Dig info, video and photos

This myth of Jerusalem as Islam"s third holiest city based upon the mythical ascension of Mohammed from Al-Aksa to Heaven has grown exponentially in the recent telling since 1967. When you tell a Big Lie and repeat it often, it achieves credibility and legs of its own. In Islam, telling a lie to infidels for the sake of enlarging your own believers" faith or defeating the infidel is acceptable, even desirable. Emanuel A. Winston -Gamla Website

"Architectural engraved stones that were removed from the trench"

The trench

Har-HaBayt.org - documenting destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount from recent and current Waqf ordered digs

Destruction of the Temple Mount - Hershel Shanks

One Jerusalem - Temple Mount Destruction July

One Jerusalem - Temple Mount Destruction Continues

Temple Institute - Moslem Destruction


Stumble Upon Toolbar

27 August 2007

The Circle of Death

Hamas TV airs `Lion King' cartoon hero

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 24, 4:37 PM ET

JERUSALEM - After killing off its Mickey Mouse-lookalike, Hamas has turned to another Disneyesque character — televising a cartoon with a "Lion King" wannabe to portray the Islamic group's victory in the Gaza Strip over the Fatah movement.

The cartoon depicts Fatah members as sneaky rats, brandishing guns and being showered with U.S. dollars, while Hamas is portrayed as a confident, calm lion that resembles Simba in the 1994 Walt Disney Co. movie "The Lion King."

The five-minute video, titled "A message to the criminal gangs in the occupied West Bank," is the second production of the Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV enlisting a famous Disney character.

In May, Hamas TV used a Mickey Mouse knockoff to preach Islamic domination to children. After an uproar among Israelis and Palestinians, that character was killed off and his weekly show replaced.

Hazem Sharawi, an executive with Hamas TV, said the cartoon of the lion vanquishing the rats was broadcast Thursday but quickly pulled off the air for revisions. He said it was "flashed" for one day to counter what he called anti-Hamas propaganda coming from Fatah in the West Bank.

The cartoon also was posted on the Web site of the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based group that monitors the Arabic media.

The piece shows rats trampling over Gaza, burning houses, stepping over homes, uprooting trees, firing at mosques and desecrating the Quran, Islam's holy book.

Their leader is clearly a portrayal of Fatah's former Gaza strongman, Mohammed Dahlan, who has fled Gaza. Wearing a tie and smoking a cigar, the chief rat grabs a microphone and tells the crowd: "Move back and let Hamas shoot me." Dahlan made that comment during the showdown with Hamas, and his voice is dubbed into the scene.

Throughout the video, the lion silently watches the rats, preparing his claws and shaking his mane. When he pounces, the rats flee in terror as he knocks them about with his claws. Injured and limping rats then say: "Off to the West Bank."

After Hamas' victory in Gaza two months ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Fatah member, formed a new government in the West Bank, where many top Fatah officials in Gaza have taken refuge.

"Viewers from all over loved it. They called in to praise it," Sharawi said of the cartoon.

He said the final version will be toned down before it is broadcast again, with the Dahlan scene among those to be cut.

But he said there were no plans to erase the Lion King references, including a final scene showing the victorious lion standing on a hill overlooking Gaza with his mane flying in the wind.

"Disney stole a lion from the forest. We stole another lion," Sharawi said chuckling.

On the Net:

Middle East Media Research Institute clip

Adult Simba

I think the Arabian version looks more like


I watched the cartoon from the Memri link above. I have to admit it is intriguing. Then I remembered the conversation between young Simba and his father Mufasa as they discussed the "great circle of life":

Young Simba: But dad, don't we eat the antelope?

Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.

Yes, Arabians eating Arabians and making more Arabians so they can eat each other too in the great circle of death. The death cult which these poor souls are born into is a terrifying and tragic cycle of violence. The cycle is not related to "the occupation" or the "Naqba day" but the culture which teaches a brother to kill his sister if he thinks she is dishonoring the family. It is a culture of blood feuds and blood worship, with bomb belts and Kalashnikovs.

Car swarms after an Israeli execution by helicopter is a clear example of the glorification of death. One could argue that the environment has created such a culture. However, such would be a false belief. Arabians in all their own lands have demonstrated said behavior. Another example is celebratory gunfire at weddings. The Israeli Police have this to say about this practice:

Preventing gun shooting at weddings – Shootings (in the air) at weddings has become increasingly widespread among the Arab sector in recent years. The custom is a way of expressing joy and identifying with the groom’s family and occasionally also is used as a show of power. Often it results in injuries to wedding guests and even on rare occasions, in deaths. The community policing center commanders have managed to foster trust between themselves and the dignitaries of the Arab communities and developed a system-wide model for prevention, information and enforcement with the aim of reducing this phenomenon. In places where the model is in use, a sharp decline in the extent of this phenomenon has been reported.
Israeli Police

Yep, dangerous and stupid. The value of life that exists even at times where the point of the ceremony is to celebrate the continuation of life is missing and replaced by a machismo sickening custom.

Well, all this brings us back around to the cartoon. The Hamas lion at the end swats away all the PA rats who are fighting with American weapons. The mighty lion stands proudly over his kingdom, after having vanquished the rodents. Lions have been a symbol of Israel basically forever. They are still found on ornamental decorations in shuls all over the world. May it be His will that in the upcoming year the Roar of the Jewish lion will be heard and he will vanquish all his foes.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

24 August 2007


Tamir: Sderot Kids Will Study Under Ground
10 Elul 5767, 24 August 07 03:27 by Gil Ronen (IsraelNN.com)

The Ministry of Education has decided to enable the children of Sderot to study in safety by conducting all classes in the schools' bomb shelters. The decision, reports NRG, was reached in an emergency discussion convened this week by the director of the Ministry's Southern District, Amira Chaim, with the local supervisors and security officers of Sderot.

Minister of Education Yuli Tamir arrived in Sderot Friday morning, and will talk to representatives of the parents of Sderot's school children. She will present them with the alternatives for protection of their children, including busing. The possibility that the IDF take whatever action necessary in order to silence the Kassams will not be on the agenda, however.

The town in Israel's Negev Desert is prey to daily shelling by Islamist terrorist gangs operating in nearby Gaza. Although the shelling began about seven years ago, it became much more intense after the 2005 Israeli self-destruction of Jewish communities in Gaza and military pullout (the Disengagement). While inaccurate, the rockets – usually referred to as "Kassams" – are an effective anti-civilian terror weapon and have caused fatalities, injuries and extensive damage in Sderot and other communities in the Gaza Perimeter.

A special Ministry of Education budget, estimated at hundreds of thousands of shekels, will be devoted to turning the shelters into classrooms by installing air conditioners, ventilation devices, acoustic ceilings, lighting, carpets and steel doors in all of them.

"The District Director has already asked me to order the air conditioners immediately," Miriam Sasi, the director of education in Sderot municipality, told NRG Thursday. "My estimate is that it will be possible to finish the refurbishing by the beginning of the new school year," she said.

Busing is "Madness"
Sasi heads the special team created by the ministry for carrying out the project. The team also includes the Security Officer of Educational Facilities, Yehuda Ben-Maman, and Tzion Suissa, Sderot Municipality's Maintenance Officer, who have begun preparing the shelters for their new use. Sasi vehemently opposes the idea of busing Sderot's children to schools outside the range of Gaza rockets. She admits, however, that the plan will mean that school laboratories and computer classes will suffer, but says it will save lives: "I do not want to think what will happen if a Kassam falls near hundreds of kids who are waiting for a bus to take them to out-of-town studies."

Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal concurs: "Transporting thousands of children to another town is madness. How can you run an education system like that. It's not happening anywhere else in the world and there is no reason for it to happen in Sderot."

The parents have four core demands regarding any solution:

• Defense Minister Ehud Barak has to sign a document approving the opening of the school year.
• The government has to deliver signed promises regarding the construction of new schools.
• Parents who want to send their child to a school outside Sderot will receive permission to do so.
• Children studying in Sderot will be eligible for busing to and from school.

What about radon?
The initial reader talkback items to the news suggest some of the problems the shelter plan entails: one says the solution is good for the short term, but asks what will become of children with respiratory problems, for example.

Another talkback, written by a Sderot high school student, says the plan is shameful. "Why is it that only now, after seven years' suffering, did Madam Minister remember that we have bomb shelters?" he asks, and suggests that all of Israel's schoolchildren begin studying in shelters as a sign of solidarity with Sderot. A third reader mentions the danger of radon poisoning.

Minister Tamir said Thursday that the High Court ruling with regard to the fortification of the schools makes it impossible to let the children begin the school year in the schools as they are now. The IDF's Home Front Command had instructed the ministry to let the school year begin as scheduled, and to make do with the "sheltered space" concept of protection, which involves running to a relatively safe part of the school when the missile siren sounds. The High Court, however, ruled that the "sheltered spaces" are an unacceptable solution. Fortifying the schools in a way that satisfies the High Court's demand will take close to a year, Tamir said.

Home suffers direct hit
Two terror rockets hit Sderot Thursday; one penetrated a house and smashed through the living room ceiling. Two women were hospitalized with post traumatic shock.

The house's owner, Meir Timsit, had been enjoying a barbecue meal with his family in the yard when the alarm went off and the family ran into the "sheltered space" in the home. Three months ago, a rocket from Gaza scored a direct hit on the home of Timsit's brother, Yossi, seriously wounding his wife, Colette.

Timsit told Ynet Friday that he feels "some kid of curse" is haunting his family: "The home of another brother in our family, Oren, has also suffered a direct hit, and another rocket hit near the house of uncle's family's, who are also Timsits. I don't know why fate has decided to go against us this way, but we are tired of it."

dis·es·tab·lish (ds-stblsh)
tr.v. dis·es·tab·lished, dis·es·tab·lish·ing, dis·es·tab·lish·es
1. To alter the status of (something established by authority or general acceptance).
2. To deprive (a church) of official governmental support.

dises·tablish·ment n.

I could not really think of the best word to describe what is happening in Israel today. S'derot is essentially an open fire range now.

S'derot sits just outside the artificial barrier known as the border with Gaza, the border separating the barbarians from mankind, the frontier (AKA Eretz Yisroel). Historically, borders have represented a separation between nations, sometimes with a great disparity between the wealth, culture, well-being, life-style and politics of the states. Gaza on the other hand is not a nation-state, nor is it a separate country in any way. Gaza is an armed Hamas camp not to be confused with a state in any way.

Kassam rockets ready to be launched

Today, the legal residents of S'derot, citizens of the State of Israel are being deprived of basic civil rights. The State's (any State's) primary responsibility is to safeguard the welfare of it's citizens. This failure to ensure the safety of it's citizens can only be understood as a failure to internalize the basic lesson of morality mandated by the civic duty, the most essential order of statehood.

"A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society." --Thomas Jefferson to George Hammond, 1792. ME 16:263

"Moral duties [are] as obligatory on nations as on individuals." --Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1808. ME 1:480

"The laws of humanity make it a duty for nations, as well as individuals, to succor those whom accident and distress have thrown upon them." --Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1807. ME 11:144
Jefferson on Morality

S'derot today is disestablished as a sovereign city of Israel. The military does not defend S'derot, MK Tamir proposes accommodating falling rockets, people live in fear waiting for the next siren, and now children will be attending classes in dungeons.

All Jews are responsible for one another. (See a nice sicho on this.) Traditionally, this has referred to the religious well-being of Jews. Another interpretation of this Gemara (Shavous 39a) refers to physical danger:

We can conclude that each Jew has a distinct commitment to help other Jews who are suffering and in danger. In Tomer Devorah, the Ramak writes, "all Yisroel are related to each other," and as the Maharal comments, the Jews "are similar to a person whose whole body hurts when one limb is wounded, since he is one body."

So, when another Jew is in pain or sick, it is like every other Jew's limbs, as the Maharal writes, and every Jew is required to do as much as he can to cure him.

The Jewish body is bleeding with every rocket strike on S'derot (or anywhere where our people are under attack). We are committed to act within our power to preserve life and prevent the further bloodshed of Jews. Is the government of Israel living up to the ideals Jefferson understood a moral people are obligated to fulfill? Is the government of Israel rising to the calling of the Gemara or Tomer Devorah to protect Jews from Arabian assault?

A skeptical person might presume that the government of Israel would prefer that the residents of S'derot would just pack up and move away. The IDF could defend the sovereign territory of Israel bordering on the wilderness of Gaza from rocket attack if given the order.

The only explanation is that the failure to morally lead and the lack of will to do so disestablishes a part of Israel's citizenry from the whole of Israel. The hidden and fictitious equality of Jews living in Israel has been exposed. It is not the entire land under fire (or even half of it as it was in the Hezbollah war) but a small area fate determined to establish on the border of Hamastan. And within that small area, school children have been sentenced to spend their days in dungeons.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

22 August 2007

From Fred's Ammo Belt - Target NYC

A New York State of Mind

Posted on August 21st, 2007

By Fred in Commentaries, Second Amendment

When I was working in television, I spent quite a bit of time in New York City. There are lots of things about the place I like, but New York gun laws don’t fall in that category.

Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights.

Unfortunately, New York is trying, again, to force its ways on the rest of us, this time through the courts. First, they went after U.S. gun manufacturers, seeking through a lawsuit not only money but injunctive control over the entire industry. An act of congress in 2005 blocked, but did not end, that effort.

Now, the same activist federal judge from Brooklyn who provided Mayor Giuliani’s administration with the legal ruling it sought to sue gun makers, has done it again. Last week, he created a bizarre justification to allow New York City to sue out-of-state gun stores that sold guns that somehow ended up in criminal hands in the Big Apple.

The lawsuit has been a lesson in out-of-control government from the get-go. Mayor Bloomberg sent private investigators to make “straw” purchases – illegally buying guns for somebody else. According to the ATF, NY’s illegal “stings” interfered with ongoing investigations of real gun traffickers.

Obviously, New York won’t get much cash out of the few dozen shops being sued in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia; so the purpose can only be political. Some of those sued have already buckled under the financial strain of legal defense and agreed to live by New York City rules.

Ironically, all of this comes at a time of historically low violent crime rates and historically high gun ownership rates nationally. States where it is legal to carry guns are also at an all-time high, up to 40 from 10 in 1987 by NRA reckoning.

While this attack by New York City on the Second Amendment reinforces the importance of appointing judges who apply the law as written, there is another important legal point. Federalism, though usually seen as a protection of the states from the federal government, actually grew out of the need to protect states from other states that interfered in free commerce beyond their borders – as New York is doing today. In this case, we need Federalism to protect states from a big bully in New York City.

See also: NY Times on Fred, 2nd Amendment and politics

From the NYT article: Mr. Giuliani was a strong proponent of gun control in his days as a federal prosecutor and later as mayor of New York. As mayor he called for a national system of gun licensing, and broke with many Republicans to back a ban on assault rifles.

But such views could put him at odds with some of the conservative voters who wield influence in a Republican primary — a tension that Mr. Thompson may have been trying to call attention to with his Web posting.

Mr. Giuliani’s campaign Web site calls him a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

The Web site contains a video of Mr. Giuliani discussing the issue. “My position is that whatever my personal view is, the Constitution of the United States decides this,” he said in the video. “The Constitution of the United States says that you have a personal right to carry arms, to have arms.”

As a Jew, I am always concerned when smug liberals tell me that the personal safety of my family and myself is limited to what the government can do to protect me. I am further concerned when that same government says, you can't have a firearm. Where have we heard this before? Why should I believe this nonsense given the course of Jewish and human history? Bear in mind, I am not apocalyptic nor I am paranoid, expecting a Cossack run at my house. But I do understand the lessons of history. And, I do understand how balance of power plays out in costs and benefits.

The Republican party has consistently supported the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution assures that Americans have a right to own firearms. This is not a debate despite the liberal think tank deliverables to the fading few who still listen to them. Despite the tear-filled eyes of vast numbers of Democrat party members, the debate is essentially closed. Americans have a right to own firearms.

Why then is it that candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, mayor Rudy Giuliani, an advocate for gun control wants my vote? What is the mayor's opinion of the attempt by a federal court in NYC to sue firearms salesmen in other states? Why does it seem that in regards to bellwether Republican party issues does the mayor have to repeatedly defer to the logic of 'it isn't my opinion that matters'?

According to the article Giuliani's website "calls him a strong supporter of the Second Amendment". Maybe the mayor's website and the NRA website should discuss this matter? And if the mayor has always believed that the Constitution guarantees the right to own and carry firearms, did he ever say so before his Presidential campaign? What happened to federalism? Why does he believe his personal beliefs are more important than the solemn rights of the people granted by the US Constitution? His history of stiff gun control policies would seem to answer these inquiries.

Please see the interesting comments and informational posters found on the A-Human-Right website. The writer was born in the old Soviet Union and is Jewish. He understands how the tyranny of authoritarianism/totalitarianism is dependant on disarming the citizenry.

From A Human Right website
Historic precedents of this kind are depressingly numerous. We cannot open a history textbook and pick even a decade in which genocide and government oppression of civilians were absent. Where most people are defenseless, even small numbers of ill-meaning agents of a government or an organized criminal group have murdered thousands with impunity.

Even the pretexts for the imposition of strict gun control remain constant. The 1938 German weapons control law, which stripped Jews of all weapons, including sticks, was enacted as a response to "Jewish terrorist activities". The 1968 laws adopted in the United States were based closely on the 1938 German law and cited very similar reasons for the enactment.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

20 August 2007

Where Have All the Campers Gone?

Published: 08.19.07, 16:16 / Israel Jewish Scene
Reform Heretics

We are currently witnessing the beginning of the end of the failed experiment called Reform Judaism

The Reform Movement is in the midst of an identity crisis. According to a Jewish Week article last week, this summer guest musicians came to Kutz Camp, the Reform movement’s teen leadership camp and led a jazzed-up version of the evening prayers. One by one, 40 campers in their mid-teens got up and walked out. They wanted a more traditional service, they later explained.

It seems that this is a culmination of much change that has taken p{l}ace in Kutz Camp. Everything about the camp reflects the Reform Movement’s irreverence for tradition: the food is “kosher style” rather than kosher proper, rituals are sidelined and prayers are jazzed up.

However, according to the Jewish Week, camp director Reform Rabbi Eve Rudin said that some Reform youth attending the camp are interested in making it really kosher. “We first started seeing kids lay tefillin two or three years ago,” she said. “Certainly we saw it last summer. It’s a handful of kids. Tzitzit are more widespread; quite a few kids are wearing them.”

So the elite Reform youth are getting interested in religious ritual, demanding kosher and turning their back on “innovative” types of prayer services. This growth from within the Reform Movement removes the raison d’ĂȘtre of Reform Judaism. Abraham Geiger (1810-1874) and Samuel Holdheim (1806-1860), who founded Reform Judaism, had one major concern in mind: how can Judaism remain relevant in the modern world, where Jews have been emancipated from the ghetto and shtetl? Their response was that Judaism needed to be modernized if it was to survive.

They thus changed around the synagogue: they took away the mechitzah (separation between men’s and women’s seating), moved the bimah to the front and brought in the organ. They felt that this made Judaism less distinct and more modern – in fact, they modeled their synagogues on Protestant churches. In addition they did away with most rituals, and prayer services were held in German rather than the traditional Hebrew. By modernizing Judaism in this way they hoped to make it relevant to the modern, emancipated Jew and thus salvage it from certain demise.

Church-look a like Mizpah Congregation "Ochs Temple" Chattanooga, TN

Judaism's peaceful death

So in fact Reform Judaism was not meant to be an ideology; it was a response to a perceived problem that modern societies posed to traditional Judaism. Unfortunately that response has failed on a number of levels. Statistics show that, instead of saving Judaism, Reform just allows it a more peaceful death — this has been proven in a study by Antony Gordon and Richard Horowitz, which shows that where there are 100 Reform Jews today, there will be only 10 within four generations.

from the Oorah.org website

The premise that traditional Judaism could not survive modern, open-minded ideas and philosophy turns out to be incorrect too. The biggest proof of this comes from within the Reform community itself. The fact that members of the Reform Movement’s teen leadership group, brought up in the midst of liberal American culture, are returning to tradition is testament to the fact that traditional, ritualized Judaism is compatible with modernity.

Perhaps most surprising, however, is that at the end of the Jewish Week article, Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, was quoted as saying, “If you take it all (rituals) upon yourself as an obligation rather than as a choice, you’ve reached the point at which you’re no longer a Reform Jew.” It is strange that the higher echelons of the Reform Movement are now feeling the need to define people out of its ranks. For the first time we have people defined by the leadership of the movement as Reform heretics, who can no longer be considered Reform Jews.

Eric Yoffie

Beginning of the end

This was not how the founders of Reform envisioned it. In order to preserve Judaism, they wanted to be as inclusive as possible. We have now come full circle and Reform Judaism itself is losing some of its finest members to traditional Judaism. Now they feel the need to define their boundaries. To quote Kutz Camp director Eve Rudin, “This is about the Reform Movement coming to terms with the fact that there are boundaries, and what those boundaries may be.”

Incredibly, instead of being happy that traditional Judaism can in fact thrive in a modern, liberal culture, the Reform leadership is working to stop its members from joining traditional Judaism by threatening to exclude them from the movement they were born into. Clearly, Reform Judaism has lost its very reason for existing.

Undoubtedly, what we are witnessing is the beginning of the end of a failed experiment called Reform Judaism. The leaders of the movement have realized this and are thus taking desperate measures to save what is, in fact, a sinking ship.

Rabbi Levi Brackman is executive director of Judaism in the Foothills and the author of numerous articles on a whole range of topics and issues, many of which can be found on his website.

...Of the three pillars of Judaism - G-d, Torah, and peoplehood - Reform radically altered the last two. Most significantly, it dropped the belief that the Jews are a people. Jewish Literacy. The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Morrow Press. pp 230,231.

I have one question for Eric Yoffie. If someone chooses to understand that their religious inheritance includes obligations, can you no longer be a Reform Jew? How does Reformism not have obligations and still keep G-d? Is HaShem a choice l'havdil to keep or reject like a Reform Cantorial Soloist? Is it your choice Eric what choices others can make? Have you ever read Animal Farm?

Rabbi Brackman through example looks at a common philosophic mis-conception. The path of least resistance dictates that humans will seek the easiest way, the "least resisted" in all affairs. It is simply a matter of ease, conservation of time, energy and resources. Spiritually however, it is a manifestation of the Yetzer Hara. The Yetzer Hara is the force inside a Jew which empowers the Sitra Achra, the source of negative spiritual energy. In other words, before professional Psychology recognized "human" weaknesses, yiddishkeit had previously identified the spiritual equivalents which bring life to the physical impulse and drive. Reformism speaks to these gashmius impulses telling a Jew, no obligations, no laws, spirituality is interpreted as what has meaning for you (regardless what others think).

Read Yoffie's comment again. If you do not "choose" to do mitzvas you cannot be a real Reformist Jew. Choice and Yetzer Hara can be viewed as the same force. Choosing to do mitzvas is not a real choice at all. If one chooses to keep kosher or not, is a real choice being made? Choosing to fulfill the Jewish adult's responsibility to view his self as a small piece in a larger Jewish world or to separate from B'nai Yisroel and follow his own desires is the choice.

Perhaps, this is the ikar of Devarim, 11:26-28, Parashas Re'eh

11:26 You can therefore see that I am placing before you both a blessing and a curse.
Re'eh anochi noten lifneychem hayom berachah uklalah. 11:27 The blessing [will come] if you obey the commandments of God your Lord, which I am prescribing to you today.
Et-haberachah asher tishme'u el-mitsvot Adonay Eloheychem asher anochi metsaveh etchem hayom.
11:28 The curse [will come] if you do not obey the commandments of God your Lord, and you go astray from the path that I am prescribing for you today, following other gods to have a novel spiritual experience.
Vehakelalah im-lo tishme'u el-mitsvot Adonay Eloheychem vesartem min-haderech asher anochi metsaveh etchem hayom lalechet acharey elohim acherim asher lo-yedatem.

and Devarim 30:15-17 Parashas Nitzavim.
30:15 See! Today I have set before you [a free choice] between life and good [on one side], and death and evil [on the other].
Re'eh natati lefaneycha hayom et-hachayim ve'et-hatov ve'et-hamavet ve'et-hara
30:16 I have commanded you today to love God your Lord, to walk in His paths, and to keep His commandments, decrees and laws. You will then survive and flourish, and God your Lord will bless you in the land that you are about to occupy.
Asher anochi metsavecha hayom le'ahavah et-Adonay Eloheycha lalechet bidrachav velishmor mitsvotav vechukotav umishpatav vechayita veravita uverachecha Adonay Eloheycha ba'arets asher-atah va-shamah lerishtah. 30:17 But if your heart turns aside and you do not listen, you will be led astray to bow down to foreign gods and worship them.
Ve'im-yifneh levavecha velo tishma venidachta vehishtachavita le'elohim acherim va'avadetam.

The choice is to stake one's lot with the Jewish people or push aside HaShem, the Torah and the Jewish people. Reformist campers at Kutz may be on the right track. Yoffie is still standing facing west in the east bound lane.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

18 August 2007

Hitler vs. Satan

Ahmadinejad: Israel is bearer of Satan
from AP (hat tip to FreeRepublic)

TEHRAN, Iran - Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that Israel was the standard bearer of Satan and the Jewish state would soon fall apart, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The agency quoted Ahmadinejad as he spoke at a religious conference and did not elaborate on what he meant by Satan. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, however, Iran has regularly referred to the United States as "the Great Satan."

"The Zionist regime is the standard bearer of invasion, occupation and Satan," he said, predicting Israel's eventual demise. "When the philosophy behind the establishment of a regime is in question, it is not unlikely that it will find itself on a course of decline and dissolution."

Israel condemned Ahmadinejad's statements as harmful to international peace and stability.

"The Iranian president's comments are typical of his vociferous animosity towards Israel," said David Baker, an Israeli government spokesman. "He threatens not only Israel but poses a clear and present danger to the international community as well."

Ahmadinejad has made anti-Israel comments in the past. In October 2005, he caused outrage in the West when he said in a speech that Israel's "Zionist regime should be wiped off the map."

His supporters have argued that Ahmadinejad's words were mistranslated and should have been better translated as "vanish from the pages of time" — implying Israel would vanish on its own rather be destroyed.

In the politically correct world of the AP's journalistic impartiality, Ahmadinejad, the "president" of Iran represents a "hard-line" position. If the AP sought journalistic accuracy the label "islamo-facist" might be employed as an alternative.

Everyone by now has heard of the twelfth Imam fantasies spiraling in the warped mind of Ahmadinejad. There is almost nothing of value in him and his beliefs, representing therefore a tempting target, no deposit no refill.

However, in the words quoted by the AP article something struck me. I found myself wondering, how interesting it is that the madman of Teheran recognizes the general flaws in Israel's make up? Now, it is nothing new that the greatest enemies of the Jews have studied Judaism and/or Israel carefully, examining the people, the law, the medina rigorously, extracting their flawed and biased observations for the purpose of exploding them out of proportion or context in order to liable the am segula.

"When the philosophy behind the establishment of a regime is in question, it is not unlikely that it will find itself on a course of decline and dissolution."

On the surface, there is nothing particularly unique or revealing in these words. They are, rather, conventional wisdom. It is true that societies which lose touch with their founding values and ideals often wither away or morph into some hybrid creature retaining merely the trappings of it's original self. And, it is also true that on occasion, the times render those founding ideals obsolete. In America, we still read de Tocqueville, The Federalist Papers, Paine, and Jefferson, etc.? Why? Because the values and beliefs of the Founders are preserved in the fabric of America.

Could it be that Ahmadinejad observes the scene in Israel today and believes it is a sign of his ultimate victory? After all, Jews expelling Jews from their homes, Israeli Jews claiming no affiliation with Judaism in some weird, nay traitorous mentality, liberal/socialist Israelis favoring right to return for Arabians who fled the land in 1949, who can call these events a sign of cultural or social strength? What do outsiders who are friends of Israel think of these policies, let alone the enemies of the Jews?

The political polls in Israel demonstrate a significant dislike of the major candidates running as the heads of their respective factions. Bibi and Barak have huge negatives. Why? Could it be a perceived lack of honesty, a fair conclusion based upon past performance? Could it be there is an impression that the philosophic distance between the factions is far less than the current need calls for?

And, here we re-turn to the article. The quote which demonstrates this surrealistic Israeli experience is not from the madman but from spokesman David Baker:

"The Iranian president's comments are typical of his vociferous animosity towards Israel," said David Baker, an Israeli government spokesman. "He threatens not only Israel but poses a clear and present danger to the international community as well."

David Baker was one of Ariel Sharon's "shills" to the Diaspora, selling the US Jewish community on the idea that retreat from Gaza served Israel's national and security interest. I had the opportunity to attend one of these pompously delivered policy talks and left with a sick feeling and very bad taste for railroad Israeli politics. One must wonder how Baker's and Sharon's lack of concern for the expelled families from Gush Katif in retrospect and Baker's "animosity towards Israel" comments above can be juxtaposed? Who more directly threatened Israel exactly? As of now, Iran has not initiated any conventional active hostilities against Israelis, (Hezbollah not withstanding and not conventional). Baker on the other hand has justified to thousands and conceivably to himself, what could only be considered a hostile act against Israelis. That is, evicting them from their homes and rendering Gaza judenrein.

Emuna teaches us that through the agency of HaShem, Ahmadenijad will be dealt with one way or another. Fortunately for the Jews, HaShem is patient and kind, extending blessings on top of blessings. Maybe some of his mercy is especially set aside for David Baker and his comrades.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

16 August 2007

Fred Thompson on Border Security

The Importance of Border Security
Posted on August 16th, 2007

You can’t have national security without border security. It’s not only necessary for any meaningful immigration reform; border security plays a key role in both the interdiction of illegal drugs and in defending America against terrorist threats. Weak borders allow terrorists and smugglers, as well as millions of illegal aliens, easy entrance to the United States. Unfortunately, it’s not at all clear our government is committed to its first responsibility: the protection of our borders.

In June 2006 the federal government began Operation Jump Start, deploying 6,000 National Guard troops to assist the Border Patrol in securing our border with Mexico. Now, the number of National Guard troops helping as part of Operation Jump Start is being cut in half and by September 1st only 3,000 troops will still be in place.

Since Operation Jump Start began, fewer illegal immigrants are crossing our southern border. Marijuana, cocaine, and heroin seizures have increased—a reminder that better border security is an essential part of drug interdiction. Tightening control of our southern border may also be a factor in the lack of additional terrorist attacks in the United States since September 11, 2001. Clearly the National Guard’s presence on our border with Mexico has been a success.

While the drawdown of the National Guard troops participating in Operation Jump Start was scheduled since the beginning of the operation, the troops were supposed to be replaced by 6,000 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. These replacements, called for by President Bush, would increase the total number of agents from 12,000 to 18,000. However, recruitment has been slow and continuing with the planned withdrawal of the National Guard is significantly reducing manpower on the border.

We’ve found a successful strategy for increasing border security. We need to advance it, not retreat from it. The President got the message and last week announced a new set of initiatives to combat illegal immigration. Having failed for years to solve our illegal immigration problem and protect our borders, however, Congress and the President need to keep the National Guard in place until we meet the goal of 18,000 border agents.



Stumble Upon Toolbar

And Away We Go

Poll: Barak Closing in on Netanyahu

(IsraelNN.com) The latest poll on who is best suited to be Prime Minister leaves Likud chairman Knesset Member Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu in first place, but puts Labor party chairman Ehud Barak a close second. The survey commissioned for Voice of Israel government radio also reveals that Barak is highly favored by Kadima voters.

Netanyahu received 32 percent support, two points more than Barak, but one-third of the respondents rejected both leaders. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received only five percent backing.

Given a choice between Kadima's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Barak and MK Netanyahu, the Likud chairman received support from 29 percent of the respondents, and the Foreign Minister and Barak each received 24 percent.

This is a follow up to my post Gridlock.
More of Israel may be realizing that the difference between the leading candidates for Prime Minister isn't that significant. Both of the men in the race left office defeated, Bibi by Barak and Barak, slaughtered and in disgrace by the bulldozer Sharon. Livni would be a safe pick but coming from the sitting party in power, the party of Olmert, she will have to run as the "not Olmert" candidate from his own party. In the end, the State loses.

What remains to be true, however, is how the candidates differ not on the Arab policy but on their economic policy. Here Bibi is the favorite. The run up to the next election has now begun. Look for Labour and Kadima to work out their differences either before or immediately after the election and for Bibi to attempt to inject an economic angle into the election that is unexpected.

The reality is as pointed out in Gridlock, Israel remains without a sufficient choice for Prime Minister. The wild card is how much President Peres will inject himself into the campaign, or better how much he will be allowed to wipe out the lines of bi-partisanship which his new office requires and open up his bag of political tricks.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

15 August 2007

Rudy's Fopo

No Palestinian State Now
(You Can't Be Bush and Run From Bush At the Same Time)
Giuliani: No Palestinian State Now, The Associated Press
2007-08-15 13:16:58.0
Current rank: # 430 of 5,494

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said he opposes creation of a Palestinian state at this time and would take a tough stand with Iran, including destroying its nuclear infrastructure "should all else fail."

Outlining his foreign policy views in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, Giuliani said "too much emphasis" has been placed on brokering negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians - an apparent swipe at President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who have been pushing both sides for final status negotiations despite Hamas's takeover of Gaza in June.

"It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism," the former New York City mayor said.

"Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel," Giuliani said. "America's commitment to Israel's security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy."

Giuliani said in the article that he would not rule out negotiating with Iran, but such negotiations should proceed from "a position of strength."

"The theocrats ruling Iran need to understand that we can wield the stick as well as the carrot, by undermining popular support for their regime, damaging the Iranian economy, weakening Iran's military, and, should all else fail, destroying its nuclear infrastructure," Giuliani said.

Bush recently warned Iran of "consequences" if Iran is determined to be assisting the flow of explosive devices into Iraq.

This strong statement by Rudy is direct and to the point right? Almost. This article which appears, on the surface to reveal a strong pro-Israel position is in actuality much weaker upon reflection. Based solely upon the quotes in the article above, these lines caught my attention:

"It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism," the former New York City mayor said.

"Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel," Giuliani said.

Realistically, how is this different than the Bush administration's position? W. and Condi staked a position which calls for an end to the conflict and no violence. The administration's operating philosophy can be characterized as... the spread of democracy will negate terrorism and support for terrorism. Hamas of course, has proven this position doesn't apply to Arabia.

Does anyone think that Bush, viewed by many (but not all) as a pro-Israel President wants to create a PLO state which, depending on who is running it will invite Al-Qadea to execute operations out of Gaza or turn a blind eye to lawlessness so long as the ruling elite is able to deposit large sums of cash in overseas accounts? Hardly.

The following is an excerpt from a February 2007 article written by Morton Zuckerman which ran in the Jewish Press and appears on the ZOA website:

Bush called for the Palestinians to elect new leaders "not compromised by terror." But instead the Palestinians voted in the terrorist group Hamas. Bush called for Palestinian Arabs to "engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure." But the PA has not jailed and disarmed terrorists, confiscated their weaponry or closed the bomb-making factories. The terrorist killings go on.

Bush also called for ending "incitement to violence in official media, and [to] publicly denounce homicide bombings." But incitement and glorification of terror continue unabated in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. In fact, PA president Mahmoud Abbas recently called at a rally of 250,000 Palestinians for Palestinian groups to turn their guns on Israelis, saying, "Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at the Occupation."

In the PA, schools, streets and sports teams are named in honor of suicide bombers and other mass-murderers of Israelis while in PA maps and atlases, a country called "Israel" is nowhere to be found. Instead, "Palestine" appears in is place.

Bush called on "Palestinians to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty." But in PA-run areas Christians are persecuted, Jewish holy sites desecrated, women remain second-class citizens and liberty is as remote as ever.

It's clear the Palestinians have not fulfilled a single one of President Bush's conditions for statehood. Moreover, whether ruled by Abbas's Fatah or by Hamas, the PA remains a terrorist regime.

Well, it is nice to see that Rudy supports the Bush position. The original article from Foreign Affairs, entitled Toward a Realistic Peace is here.

Fred Thompson, to the best of my recollection has not staked a specific position on a "pali" state but his views on the conflict in general are found here Terrorized. Thompson did co-sign a 2001 Senate letter to the President calling for a reassessment of US-Palestinian relations.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

14 August 2007


Haaretz Poll: Netanyahu top rated for being PM, Labor-Kadima coaltion wouldn't beat Likud (lead by Livni would squeak by)

Friday, August 10, 2007
Dr Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

Poll carried out on 7 August, sample of 477 adult Israelis (Including
Israeli Arabs). Sample error +/- 5.4 percentage points
results for Knesset seats based on the 70% of those polled who knew who they
would vote for.

Are you satisfied with he performance of FM Livni? Yes 48% No 36% Other 16%
Are you satisfied with the performance of DM Barak? Yes 30% No 39% Other 30%

Percent who said the following were "very" or "considerably" appropriate for
the position of prime minister:
Netanyahu 51% Barak 36% Livni 40% Olmert 18%

Do you Justify the refusal of soldiers to evacuate settlers in Hebron:
Yes 32% No 57% Other 11%

Knesset seats if elections held under various scenarios:Party(leader)
Labor(Barak) 25 Kadima (Olmert) 13 Likud(Netanyahu) 30
Labor(Barak) 22 Kadima(Livni)21 Likud(Netanyahu) 29
Labor-Kadima(Barak) 32 Likud(Netanyahu) 33
Labor-Kadima(Olmert) 27 Likud(Netanyahu) 33
Labor-Kadima(Livni) 34 Likud(Netanyahu) 32]

(more commentary at the source, IMRA)

What is for certain, the next Knesset will be just as ineffective and indecisive as the previous ones in terms of dealing with the arab problem. The current Knesset looks like this:Click Each Box to Enlarge

2006 election results
If you enlarge the chart, (there are four separate graphics) you will see that to form a 61 seat majority out of 120 seats, coalition building is a necessity. What is demonstrated by the poll results is that while the majority factions may flip-flop, the basic congestion caused by the inability of any one party or philosophy to dominate leaves a government unable to govern, without a strong foundation to act.

The electoral process in Israel remains broken. While one could argue that the Israeli electoral system provides for a greater opportunity for minority opinions to be heard, the process pushes coalition building into the government as opposed to the party level where it really should be. If the threshold for receiving a mandate would be dramatically higher, larger political blocs would form and prevent the Knesset gridlock that now exists. This is a scary proposition if you are a supporter or member of a smaller party. However, this is what free country politics is all about. You will never have a perfect match, but you become much better at setting priorities.

What remains to be seen is which of the smaller parties will have a break through year (if any). Break through political years do not result in permanent political changes, but do mean a more convoluted coalition building process. In the past Shas, Center Party, Shinui, Pensioners, Yisrael Beitenu (probably others) have had break through years. If history holds true, both Pensioners and Yisrael Beitenu will roughly fall away 35%-50% (or more) in the next election (estimate)with the voters likely returning to from where ever they came. Yisrael Beitenu may fall harder after joining the government mainstreaming itself from it's expected ideological foundation. Who comes up next? There is no evidence of a surging smaller party from the poll here, but one wonders when the National Union/NRP will finally make a serious run. Who knows? The poll could be entirely wrong and Kadima is wiped out in the upcoming election. Such is not a radical result based upon past electoral performance.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

13 August 2007

Targeted Phishing

Spear Phishing: A Targeted Attack

Posted August 13th at 12:01 pm | Tags: Catherine Forsythe, data breach, identity theft, phishing, security, spoofing |

from Flying Hamster

One of the common, well known attempts at identity theft is phishing. You may received email asking you to do things like verify your PayPal account or your eBay account. The criminals are casting a wide ‘net’ with broadcast spam to see who will respond. Playing the numbers game, if enough spam is sent out, someone will make the error and carelessly give up their personal information.

Spear phishing is not broad spectrum spamming. It is very specific and targeted. For example, if you received an email from someone from your tech support services asking to confirm your security code, would you do it? The email is addressed directly to you and has your name in the text of the note. A glance at the email address shows that it is a company email. If you send back your security code or password, you may have been ‘phished’ - specifically, you have been ’spear phished’. You were targeted.

Email addresses can be spoofed. And the mention of your name in the text is just social engineering. It is to manipulate you into feeling secure and giving up the information. Obviously, in business, the senior management has access to the sensitive data. One breach there could mean a security problem involving hundreds, perhaps thousands, of files containing information for a staggering number of identity thefts.

The spear phishing is not limited to businesses. It can happen to anyone. An example is the recurring jury duty scam. In this ploy someone may call or write and tells you that you have been negligent in performing your jury duties. You may reply that you did not receive any notification. The hacker then asks you for your social security number to confirm that the documents are indeed yours. And you can guess the rest… it’s spear phishing on a smaller scale.

Obviously, the precaution is to check before giving out any sensitive information. Check thoroughly and then check again. And even then, you may want to say ‘no’…

Catherine Forsythe

Just because it looks and sounds real doesn't mean that it is. If you are uncertain as to the truthfulness of an email contact or a mix of email and telephone contacts, do your own research. Do an internet search for the organization or entity and follow up based upon the contact information that you discover. Check out Rip Off Report. This is a great resource which helps unsuspecting consumers make decisions about suspicious emails or offers.

Another good resource is Fraud Watch International.

Above all, use good judgement. If need be, please respond to this blog on this post and I will take a look at the information you have submitted. While I cannot always be 100% accurate, I will do my best.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

10 August 2007

Reuters Headline - Friday Humor

I hope you are as relieved as I am that Americans will be the first to vote for 2008. I know what it means, but think about it a minute. After the Americans come??????

Stumble Upon Toolbar

09 August 2007

Sunday Drop Off, Monday Drop Out

Sunday school doesn't deter intermarriage, new US study finds

HILARY LEILA KRIEGER Jerusalem Post correspondent, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 9, 2007
Rather than bolstering the likelihood of students marrying within their race, attending once-a-week Sunday school programs actually slightly increases the chance of intermarriage, according to a newly published study.

The research, conducted by Steven M. Cohen, research professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, finds that the likelihood of intermarriage increases by up to 9 percentage points among students who attend once-a-week programs in comparison to those who don't receive any Jewish schooling. (The pool of students was controlled for factors such as family upbringing and other sources of Jewish education.)

The study also found that attending congregational school two or more times a week hardly decreases students' chances of intermarrying.

Cohen hypothesizes that since Sunday schools - an education option almost exclusively offered by the Reform denomination - have large numbers of children of intermarriage, they actually reinforce the legitimacy of intermarriage.

"When you bring together people who are relatively distant from Judaism, it might be that they reinforce distance from Jewish life," he suggested.

The analysis, based on data collected in the National Jewish Population Survey of 2000-01, "points to the inadequacy of one-day-a-week schools as a Jewish education alternative," he said.

While Cohen's research focuses on Hebrew schools' failure from the perspective of their inefficiency in reducing intermarriage, others criticized the content provided at these schools at a meeting of the St. Louis Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education attended by more than 1,200 Jewish instructors this week.

Joel Hoffman, a language expert who teaches at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York, devoted several lectures at the conference to the shortcomings of Hebrew school education, but said it would be a mistake to conclude from Cohen's analysis that what's needed is to boost the number of days children are sent to Hebrew school: "Maybe cutting down to one day a week is just what the doctor ordered," Hoffman said.

Quality, not quantity, was the more important guiding factor, and one "dynamite" session would be better than two "mediocre" experiences each week, he said.

Hoffman pointed to a wide range of problems in current after-school Jewish education models, arguing that "our Hebrew schools aren't teaching Hebrew, the kids are miserable in the process, and are making the teachers miserable in the process."

And a miserable experience, stemming from setting unreachable goals such as the mastery of Hebrew or tedious memorization doesn't draw kids closer to Judaism, he said.

"As a program it's clearly a failure, but in fact we're often doing damage," Hoffman asserted. "If your only experience of synagogue is feeling stupid, then surprise - you're not going to like going to synagogue."

Cohen argued that what's necessary to improve both the learning and the enjoyment of Hebrew school was to supplement it with "a Jewish context" for their lives, for example with Jewish camps, trips to Israel and youth groups.

"Then he or she will see the value in what will be learned in Hebrew school," Cohen concluded.

Laurie Green's experience seems to back up Cohen's theory. A 29-year-old newly ordained rabbi, Green attended Hoffman's workshops to pick up tips for the Hebrew school at her synagogue.

She didn't connect her Sunday school experience with her decision to make Judaism a career.

"The link was as a teenager, being involved in a youth group, going to Israel, to camp," she said. "I don't think it had anything to do with what my third grade teacher did in Hebrew school."

But Hoffman stressed that Cohen's hypothesis is just that - a hypothesis. He said the system was seriously broken and needed to be fixed before it could be tested. According to Hoffman, there's enough recognition of this need that next year's Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education conference will be called "back to the drawing board" in an attempt to completely reexamine Hebrew school education.

But Jan Katzew, director of Lifelong Jewish Learning at the Union for Reform Judaism (and another conference lecturer) differed in the assessment of the need for a Hebrew school overhaul, noting some places were thriving.

"Any organism, institution or organization needs to take a deep look at itself; that's what Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are all about," he said. But he compared it to the need for a "checkup" rather than "open heart surgery" and cautioned that it wasn't necessary "to manufacture a crisis in order to create change."

Katzew pointed to certain areas for improvement, such as teacher and student retention and professional development, but also highlighted fields where synagogues give positive assessments - including curricula and socialization of the students.

He added that as Jews and teachers, "We should never be satisfied." He described the field of education as one of growth and change.

"The difference," he said, "is whether that change is incremental and evolutionary or transformational and revolutionary."

Let's face some facts. After school programs and Sunday school programs will not produce Torah scholars and are challenged merely producing decent Hebrew reading skills. Those programs considered more successful are geared towards producing "model" bnei mitzvah "performances". A kid who doesn't want to go to "hebrew" school or Sunday school will not magically become a learned Jew.

But so what? In the US, an adult Jew, intermarried and barely able to say Shema Yisroel can have an active and fully engaged Jewish cultural life, be on boards of Jewish organizations, and even write in the NY Times Sunday Magazine.

What does it matter if they have little or no Jewish education?

The Jewish existence is one based upon Torah. Without Torah, we have no binding commonality. Even Eric Yoffie recognizes and believes in this principle. Yet, large numbers of Jews not only remain ignorant of Torah they are indifferent to it, refusing to better themselves. A fellow Jew even hinting to his indifferent brother that another path is preferable often morphs normal embarrassment into perceived insult. Who are you to tell me I should go learn? Who do you think you are? Do you think you are better than me?

The challenge of more learned Jews is to be persuasive without threatening when discussing these matters. Healing Jewish souls, empowering Jewish souls, teaching Jewish souls Torah numb from decades of attrition and mis-information is a challenge afforded to this generation unlike any other and compared to any other time in Jewish history. It is easy to blame a yetzer hara for any individual Jew's path away from Torah observance. It is much harder to open those same Jewish ears to the Bas Kol calling for the people to return. If it were easy, it wouldn't be avoda.

After school and Sunday school programs would be more successful, in my humble opinion not trying so hard to cram movement ideology down the throats of little children. 'Mitzvah day' and tikkun olam are not the path to take. Teaching to invigorate the yingeles in love of Torah, love of fellow Jew and love of Israel is a time-tested approach more likely to produce a Jew attached to his people and engaged in the world as a Jew. Teaching Torah with the above lessons in mind by illustrating the basic nature of the Avos and Ima'os along with the Navi'im would have a lasting impact.

We cannot expect suburban non-religious families to produce Torah scholars. We can and should demand that they produce Jews well-grounded in their traditions whose hearts cleave to their Creator. Marrying out will no longer be an option, their Tatty would be disappointed.

As we approach Elul, the month when the King has left the palace and is in the field accessible to all, my prayer for the Jewish people is to spend this most advantageous time in teshuva, asking for inspiration and guidance in the coming year in order to repair the breaches in ahavas Yisroel.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Cousins, "Friends" and "Partners"

Dry Bones Blog

According to Chinese reports of a few hours ago:

Haneya aide: Hamas, Fatah in secret talks
GAZA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Secret talks are going on between the rival movements of Fatah and Hamas to resume the general dialogue, which collapsed following Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip, an aide to sacked Hamas prime minister Ismail Haneya revealed on Tuesday.
"There are efforts and initiatives to bridge the gap between Hamas and Fatah but these attempts remain behind closed doors," said Ahmed Youssef, Haneya's political advisor. -more

* * *
And amazingly, the frustrated Israeli public still cannot find a way to dump this disaster of a Prime Minister whose attempts to find peace may prove to be even more dangerous than his incompetent waging of war.

Labels: Hamas, Olmert, Peace, PLO, War, West Bank

Who really believes that when a real war finally breaks out as Israel is forced to fight for survival that Fatah will fight with Israel against Hamas? Hamas tossing Fatah out of Gaza was a power struggle over who has access to the arms and money. Blood is thicker than water and Arabians will never fight against Arabians when Jews, the preferable target are available. If Fatah has the big Mo' in soliciting arms and money, Hamas will continue to play the role of heavy to Abu Mazen's nice guy. When the chips are down, the arms and money will flow freely between Fatah and Hamas.

Sadly, all too many good natured people in governments world wide (realizing this is limited to a handful of countries) are willing to believe that murderers and thugs change their ways due to substantial financial bribery. Others believe that bribery earns good will, reality being that the costs of a diplomatic entry ticket and protection for their nation's citizens is cash. Afterall, when the Jews are the victim's why waste diplomatic good-will for moral clarity?

Stumble Upon Toolbar

08 August 2007

More Than a Basket of Food on the Table

Bat mitzva girl donates $100,000 to JNF

Samantha Resnick had only one item on her bat mitzva wish list. Unlike most girls her age, who cross their fingers for anything in a powder-blue Tiffany's box, Resnick set her sights on something a bit bigger than a ribbon fit around: $100,000 worth of donations to build a brand-new playground in Israel.

About a year-and-a-half before Resnick's bat mitzva, her father, Josh, sat his precocious, curly-haired daughter down for a talk.

"I said 'You've always had everything you've needed and you've also had everything you've ever wanted. Do you really want people to buy gifts for you or do you want to do something special for kids in Israel?'"

Without a moment's pause, Resnick agreed to the idea. "I was really proud of her," said Josh.

Over 500 friends and relatives received an unusual invitation for Resnick's bat mitzva last September: Included in the envelope was a small card requesting that donations be made to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in lieu of gifts. Every family invited to the event contributed to assemble one of the largest bar or bat mitzva donations the JNF has ever received.

On Monday, in Israel for the first time, Resnick and her parents formally opened the playground that is attached to Sapir Park in the Arava Valley. The playground is designed to accommodate children who have special needs alongside those who do not.

Resnick, whose mother, Debbie, is a language and hearing therapist in the Pittsburgh public school system, explained why it was important to her to include special-needs children in the project.

"I feel so upset when you see all these kids playing and a mentally challenged kid is left out," she said. "You see them thinking 'I wish I could go and play, too.'"

Though content to be a 14-year-old philanthropist for the moment, Resnick has plans to expand the park.

"I want it to be huge," she said, adding that she hopes to emulate a park near her own home in Fox Chapel near Pittsburgh. She described her dream park with the matter-of-fact certainty of being a kid who knows exactly what a kid would want. "There's a slide of course, because everyone loves slides... and there are tire swings because I wanted to bring some stuff from America."

Resnick's parents are both deeply involved in the JNF; her father is president of his region in Pittsburgh and her mother is an active member of the Sapphire Society, the ladies' division of the JNF.

They said the idea of a bat mitzva was being lost in contemporary American society, and they did not want their only child to miss out on learning actual values at this critical point in her life.

"She said 'You know what, I don't need the gifts,' which just told us how much she understood the b'nei mitzva," said Josh, noting that many b'nei mitzvot have become increasingly materialistic. "It's always disturbed me that these children of families of wealth and of higher networks have people attending their affairs trying to figure out what to buy them... I think it was meaningful to a lot of the attendees that Samantha would choose to go down this path."

"It was important for our family to know what a bat mitzva really was," echoed Debbie.

Thinking about her playground, Resnick could not help but gush about the beneficiaries of her generosity: "I really love kids. I like to take good care of them."

KKL-JNF's Green Israel

Young Samantha has set a new benchmark in b'nei mitzvah chesed projects. Of course, with parents actively involved with JNF it was natural that she should follow their example and engage in a building project in Israel. This is wonderful example of using the b'nei mitzvah opportunity for a worthwhile learning project. I hope she truly understands the unique nature of this accomplishment and that she was as much involved with the actual project as her parents. I am not criticizing, Chas v'shalom, it is a wonderful chesed and should be an example for every Jewish child approaching b'nei mitzva age.

Believe me, I am not about to launch into a pedagogical debate pitting the 'let kids be kids' pose versus the guided and controlled learning pose. Given some of the parties and events I have seen surrounding the so-called bar or bas mitzvah, this is a refreshing turn of events. Yet, $100,000 fund-raising for a pre-teen? If everyone of the 500 person guest list donated $200, done. But really? So I come back to, was it the parents or the bas mitzvah's project? I hope it was for the parents a chance to teach their daughter the great mitzvah of tzedakah by virtue of a lifetime memory. For the bas mitzvah I hope it was all about idealistic dreams taking shape, molded by the halachic and hashgafic principles of helping your brother (sister) Jew. My typical skepticism by necessity will give way to a healthier benefit of the doubt. Mazel Tov Samantha on a beautiful bas mitzvah project. May you reap the rewards for your kindness in multitudes.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Don't Snicker, It Could Happen to Anyone ;)

IRS employees get phished - and fall for it….
Privacy and Identity Theft
A blog by Dave Jevans

By now you’ve been adequately warned against IRS phishing scams circulating the Internet. The APWG and other groups have warned consumers about fake emails pretending to be from the IRS, for example saying that you have an online refund pending.

Now we have news that the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for the Tax Administration launched a test to see how well IRS employees themselves manage their own passwords.

Instead of email, they simply called 102 IRS employees and asked them for their password. 61 complied with the request.

IRS phishing scams and fraud scams are real. The IRS doing the scamming is not so common.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

07 August 2007

Jihad in the Big Apple

Arab School Principal Says She Regrets Intifada Remarks
BY ELIZABETH GREEN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
August 7, 2007

The principal of an Arabic-language public school due to open next month is under fire for taking what several Jewish groups are condemning as a soft stance on the violent Palestinian Arab uprising known as the intifada. The principal, Debbie Almontaser, was quoted yesterday interpreting T-shirts that say "Intifada NYC" as not an endorsement of violence but rather "an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society ... and shaking off oppression." She followed the word's literal Arabic meaning, which is "struggle" or "uprising."

In a statement late yesterday afternoon, Ms. Almontaser backed away from her comments, reported by the New York Post, saying she regretted suggesting the T-shirt slogan was appropriate. "By minimizing the word's historical associations I implied that I condone violence and threats of violence," she said. "That view is anathema to me and the very opposite of my life's work."

Ms. Almontaser has previously led inter-group tolerance lessons for city schoolchildren, and her supporters say her school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy, will bridge differences by teaching a diverse group of students the Arabic language alongside a traditional college preparatory curriculum.

Among the critics to emerge before she released her statement yesterday were several groups that had extended close support to the school, set to open in Brooklyn this September.

"I feel like a fool. I think Abe Foxman should feel like a fool. And certainly Joel Klein if he sponsors it will be a fool," a CUNY board member who had decided to support the school, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, said.

Mr. Foxman's group, the Anti-Defamation League, had defended the Khalil Gibran school against charges of ties to Islamic terrorism, vowing it would actually abet discrimination. Yesterday, however, the league's New York State regional director, Joel Levy, said he sent an e-mail message to the Department of Education after reading Ms. Almontaser's comments, which he called troubling. "The word intifada has a very specific meaning, and it's the violent uprising in the Palestinian territories," he said. "We can't ignore that."

The T-shirts were produced by a group called Arab Women Active in Art and Media and spotted by members of a watchdog group that opposes Khalil Gibran, the Stop the Madrassa Coalition, at an Arab cultural fair last month. The shirts sport the letters "NYC" in bold white type, with the word "INTIFADA" curving around them in an arc, according to photos on the coalition's Web site.

"At first we didn't know what to make of it," a representative of the group, Pamela Hall, said. After the activists traced the art group to Ms. Almontaser — it shares a building with a Yemeni association she founded — Ms. Hall said they decided the T-shirts represented their worst fears about Khalil Gibran: that it will advocate terrorist violence.

Stop the Madrassa Coalition
A rabbi who is an adviser to Khalil Gibran, Andy Bachman of Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, said he was also concerned by yesterday's story in the Post, but he said he made sure to call Ms. Almontaser for her perspective before making a judgment.

In a conversation, Rabbi Bachman said Ms. Almontaser assured him that she did not condone the T-shirts. He said he is confident that Khalil Gibran will be an antidote to terrorism, not a perpetrator of it. "In the wake of both 9/11 and the perilous state of the world, with several wars moving all around us," he said, "it's I think a beautiful opportunity to bring students from a variety of backgrounds all together to learn about Arabic culture." Rabbi Bachman also praised the opportunity for students of Arab origin to learn about American values in a public school.

The executive director of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, condemned the T-shirts in a statement, but a spokesman, Ken Bandler, said the committee does not condemn the school. "We're hopeful that it will be a solid part of the public school system," Mr. Bandler said. "We'll see what happens."

Chancellor Joel Klein has supported Khalil Gibran despite protests. The school has also received grants from the Bush administration, through a program created to promote Arabic- and Chinese-language education.

A U.S. Department of Education spokesman, Jim Bradshaw, said he had no comment about Khalil Gibran.

Why any surprise? Education today is all about tolerance and self-esteem. These Arabian girls need to fully develop their cultural influences and social tendencies. They have been oppressed don't you know, living their young little lives in Hymie town.

"an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society ... and shaking off oppression."

The Zionist entity is everywhere, especially in NYC and young Arabians need to feel empowered and connected with their Arabian gestalt as they are joining their brethren calling for holy war against all things non-Arabian or Muslim.

Of course, paranoid Americans should recognize that the shirt campaign is merely an academic exercise to prepare the school girls for the upcoming academic year. Jihad is, after all, merely a struggle and these girls must mentally prepare for their educational journey a mere few weeks away. Get over your paranoia Americans. I just wonder if other kids would be able to wear T-shirts with the "Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Islam I Learned on 9/11" picture at school?

Stop The Madrassa Blog


Stumble Upon Toolbar

What Words Offend Arabs? The Truth.

Children's Poetry Booklet Recalled After Arabs Complain
(Israeli censorship kowtows to Arabs.
When Will We Tell The Truth Without Fear)

(IsraelNN.com 7 Sivan 5768/June 10, '08) Ynet's web site and Arab complaints against a ten-year-old boy's poem about terrorists has resulted in the recall of all of the Nes Ziona municipality's children's poetry booklets.

Ynet boasts that its coverage of the poem resulted in its being recalled.

The text of the poem (Ynet's translation):

Ahmed's bunker has surprises galore: Grenades, rifles are hung on the wall. Ahmed is planning another bombing!What a bunker Ahmed has, who causes daily harm.Ahmed knows how to make a bomb. Ahmed is Ahmed, that's who he is, so don't forget to be careful of him.We get blasted while they have a blast!Ahmed and his friends could be wealthy and sunny, if only they wouldn't buy rockets with all their money.

Poetry competition director Marika Berkowitz, who published the booklet, was surprised at the protests and told Ynet: "This is the boy's creation and this is what he wanted to express. Of course there should be a limit, but I think the there is no racism here. 'Ahmed' is a general term for the enemy. These are the murmurings of an innocent child."

The Education Ministry told Ynet: "The local authority that published the booklet should have guided the students in a more correct manner through the schools. The district will investigate the issue with the local authorities."
4Torah.com Search from Pre-Approved Torah sites only
Custom Search

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter