Monday, August 31, 2015

How to become a better person


Committe for the Preservation of Jewish Cemetaries in Europe


>קריאת קודש מאת גדולי ורבני עיה"ב לונדון בשבח הפעולות הנעשות להצלת בית החיים בווילנא


רבני העיר לונדון חברי הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה יוצאים בקריאת קודש בשבח הפעולות הנעשות להצלת בית החיים בווילנא על ידי עסקני הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה ~ למול גל השמצות פרוע המתנהל על ידי אתרא קדישא

בימים אלו מתפרסם מכתבם המיוחד של כל רבני עיר הבירה לונדון בקריאה גדולה לטובת הצלת בית החיים בווילנא, על הקול קורא חתמו רבני העיר בראשות הגה"צ רבי משה חיים אפרים פדווא שליט"א גאב"ד לונדון וזקן ראשי הישיבות הגאון האדיר רבי אליקים שלעזינגער שליט"א ראש הישיבה הרמה ונשיא הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה, ואתם עמם חתמו גם הגה"צ רבי יוסף בנימין הלוי וואזנר שליט"א אב"ד ור"מ קהל יטב לב דסאטמאר לונדון, הגאון הגדול רבי אהרן דוד הלוי דונר שליט"א, הגה"צ רבי בן ציון בלום שליט"א דומ"ץ באבוב לונדון, חברי בד"ץ התאחקה"ח דלונדון, ועוד מחשובי רבני העיר שליט"א.

את מכתבם פותחים רבני העיר לונדון חברי הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה בשבח עסקני הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה והפעולות הגדולות ונצורות הנעשות בימים אלו להצלת בית החיים שניפשוק בעיר ווילנא שבליטא, רבני לונדון כותבים: "באנו בזה לחזק את ידי נציגינו העסקנים החשובים הי"ו, הנמצאים בעובי הקורה בהשתדלותם במשא ומתן למען הצלת הבית החיים העתיק שניפשטו"ק בעיר ווילנא יצ"ו".

לאחר מכן כותבים רבני העיר לונדון חברי הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה שכבר לפני כשש שנים - בשנת תשס"ט הצליחו עסקני הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה לחתום על הסכם עם נציגי ממשלת ליטא על שמירת בית הקברות בווילנא, והם מביעים את תקוותם כי גם בעתיד יימשך המצב ובית הקברות ישאר שמור ובטוח.

בהמשך מכתבם של רבני העיר לונדון חברי הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה הם מצהירים ומגלים את דעתם בפירוש שכל הפעולות הנעשות על ידי עסקני הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה, הכל נעשה על פי דעתם והדרכתם, והכל מתנהל לפי כל פרטי ההלכה והמסורה, גדולי ורבני לונדון מפרסמים בזה את דעתם ואומרים מפורשות: "אנו מודיעים ומאשרים בזה שכל מעשיהם, פעולותיהם, והשתדלותם של העסקנים החשובים הי"ו, העוסקים לשם שמים, הכל נעשה על פי דעתנו, הדרכותינו, והוראתנו, והכל מתנהל ע"פ דקדוק ופרטי ההלכה והמסורה".

רבני העיר לונדון חברי הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה אף מוסיפים במכתבם בשבח העסקנים המסורים, וכותבים: "תיתי להם הזכות הגדול להציל רבבות קברי ישראל, וקברי אחים, מהירוס וחילול רח"ל"

בשולי המכתב חתם הגה"צ רבי יוסף בנימין הלוי וואזנר שליט"א אשר הוסיף כמה מילים, ובדבריו ציטט את דברי זקנו מרן בעל שבט הלוי זצוק"ל שכבר הביע בכתב ובע"פ את דעתו כי "דרכי הוועד הנ"ל נכון, וישר, ובאופן המועיל, וכבודן של אותן גאונים וצדיקים הטמונים שם".

יצוין כי מכתבם של רבני עיר לונדון מגיע כעת בעקבות גל השמצות קשה המתנהל בתקופה האחרונה מצד כת נוכלי אתרא קדישא הידועים לשמצה בתעלוליהם הרעים, כאשר אנשי אתרא קדישא מפיצים עלילות ושמועות שוא כביכול על חילול בית החיים בווילנא, בשעה שכל מטרתם בענין כבר ידועה ומפורסמת, לזאת רבני העיר לונדון חברי הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה יצאו עכשיו בקריאת קודש מיוחדת לטובת הצלת בית החיים בוולינא ובה הם מחזקים את ידי עסקני הועד להצלת בתי עלמין באירופה בפעולות הקודש הנעשות על ידם, ומבהירים בגלוי את דעתם כי כל פעולות הועד נעשות בהדרכתם בהוראתם ועל פי דעתם, והכל מתנהל על פי דקדוק ופרטי ההלכה והמסורה.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Why does beating an IDF soldier prove that he was the aggressor?

Arutz 7     Unbelievable footage has emerged showing an IDF soldier being beaten by Arab women and children in the village of Nabi Salah, Samaria

The video is already being seen by some as proof that the army is having its hands effectively tied, both by increasingly restrictive instructions on how to handle violent Palestinian rioters, as well as by insufficient backup from the political echelons against legal campaigns by leftist NGOs targeting IDF soldiers.

Nabi Salah is a particularly extreme Palestinian Arab village, which also hosts large number of far-left foreign activists. Arab and foreign "activists" regularly stage provocations and violent riots targeting both nearby Jewish villagers and IDF forces.

The video shows IDF soldiers responding to a riot on Friday, with one soldier detaining a juvenile rock-thrower. However, the situation quickly escalates as he is gradually surrounded by a crowd, largely consisting of screeching women and children.

As the soldier calls for backup in dispersing the crowd, some of the women and youths begin punching and hitting him. Despite being armed and trained in hand-to-hand combat, he clearly feels unable to respond.


Time Magazine takes on the Shidduch Crisis

Time   Values.

That’s the one thing that always came up when I’d discuss theories on declining marriage rates or the rise of the hookup culture with my friends or family.

“Couldn’t it just be that times have changed?” people would ask.

Times have changed, and that is a good thing—especially the fading-away of cruel taboos that once stigmatized women who engaged in premarital sex or bore children out of wedlock.

Thing is, times change for a reason. The values question assumes that sexual mores loosen naturally from conservative to liberal. In reality, these values have ebbed and flowed throughout history, often in conjunction with prevailing sex ratios.

Today, mainstream dating guides tell the everything-going-for-her career woman it’s her fault she’s still single—she just needs to play hard to get or follow a few simple rules to snag Mr. Right. But the problem is a demographic one. [...]

It’s not that He’s Just Not That Into You—it’s that There Just Aren’t Enough of Him.

Lopsided gender ratios don’t just make it statistically harder for college-educated women to find a match. They change behavior too. According to sociologists, economists and psychologists who have studied sex ratios throughout history, the culture is less likely to emphasize courtship and monogamy when women are in oversupply. Heterosexual men are more likely to play the field, and heterosexual women must compete for men’s attention. [...]

Secular-style dating is rare in the Orthodox community in which Elefant lives. Most marriages are loosely arranged—“guided” is probably a better word—by matchmakers such as Elefant. The shadchan’s job has been made exceedingly difficult, she said, by a mysterious increase in the number of unmarried women within the Orthodox community. When Elefant attended Jewish high school 30 years ago, “there were maybe three girls that didn’t get married by the time they were twenty or twenty-one,” she said. “Today, if you look at the girls who graduated five years ago, there are probably thirty girls who are not yet married. Overall, there are thousands of unmarried girls in their late twenties. It’s total chaos.”[...]

The imbalance in the Orthodox marriage market boils down to a demographic quirk: The Orthodox community has an extremely high birth rate, and a high birth rate means there will be more 18-year-olds than 19-year-olds, more 19-year-olds than 20-year-olds, and so on and so on. Couple the increasing number of children born every year with the traditional age gap at marriage—the typical marriage age for Orthodox Jews is 19 for women and 22 for men, according to Michael Salamon, a psychologist who works with the Orthodox community and wrote a book on the Shidduch Crisis—and you wind up with a marriage market with more 19-year-old women than 22-year-old men. [...]

That is the Shidduch Crisis in a nutshell. Unfortunately, relatively few Orthodox Jews realize that the Shidduch Crisis boils down to a math problem. Most explanations for the Shidduch Crisis blame cultural influences for causing men to delay marriage. “Those of us who’ve tossed and turned with this, we don’t necessarily believe that there are more girls than boys,” said Elefant. “We believe God created everybody, and God created a match for everybody.”

As Elefant saw things, a 22-year-old man inherently has more dating options than a 19-year-old woman, because he can date down age-wise. “The guys act like kids in a candy store,” Elefant said. Of course, if there were gender-ratio balance among all the age cohorts, single 22-year-old men would not have more choices than single 19-year-old women because most of the age-19-to-22 women would already be married to older men—thus shrinking 22-year-old men’s dating pool.[...]

In the Orthodox Jewish community, however, there is a natural control group—one that does make it possible to settle the culture-versus-demographics debate with near certainty. That control group is a sect of Orthodox Judaism known as Hasidic Jews. [...]

There is, however, one major cultural difference between the two groups: Hasidic men marry women their own age, whereas Yeshivish men typically marry women a three or four years their junior.

“In the Hasidic world, it would be very weird for a man to marry a woman two years younger than him,” said Alexander Rapaport, a Hasidic father of six and the executive director of Masbia, a kosher soup kitchen in Brooklyn. Both Rapaport and his wife were 36 when I interviewed him.

When I asked Rapaport about the Shidduch Crisis, he seemed perplexed. “I’ve heard of it,” he said, “but I’m not sure I understand what it’s all about.”

In fact, there is no Shidduch Crisis in the Hasidic community. “When I mention the term to Hasidim, they don’t know what I’m talking about,” said Samuel Heilman, a professor of sociology and Jewish studies at City University of New York and an expert on Hasidic Jews.[...]

The seeming immunity of Hasidic Jews to the Shidduch Crisis has not been lost on some Yeshivish rabbis. In 2012, a dozen American and Israeli Orthodox rabbis signed letters urging young men and their parents to begin their matchmaking process earlier than age 22 or 23. The rabbis noted that their community “finds itself in an increasingly difficult situation,” with “thousands” of single Jewish women struggling to find husbands. “[I]t has become clear that the primary cause of this is that [men] generally marry girls who are a number of years younger,” read one of the letters. “Since the population increases every year and there are more girls entering shidduchim than boys, many girls are left unmarried. Clearly, the way to remedy this terrible situation is to reduce the age disparity in shidduchim. Many [Hasidic] communities who do not have age disparities in shidduchim are not facing this tragic situation of numerous unmarried girls.”

The suggestion that the true origin of the Shidduch Crisis lies in demographics has not sat well with those who staked their reputations on alternative explanations. “This fancy cocktail of demography, sociology, mathematics, and mythology is really nothing more than a Ponzi scheme,” American Rabbi Chananya Weissman wrote in The Jerusalem Post.[...]

Perhaps the most controversial—and definitely the most misogynistic— explanation for the Shidduch Crisis was offered up by Yitta Halberstam, coauthor of the best-selling Small Miracles series of books. Halberstam’s 2012 column in The Jewish Press started out innocently enough. “This is the harsh truth,” she wrote. “The mothers of ‘good boys’ are bombarded with shidduch suggestions on a daily basis—a veritable barrage of résumés either flooding their fax machines or pouring out of their email inboxes—while those with similarly ‘top’ daughters sit with pinched faces anxiously waiting for the phone to ring. The disparity is bare, bold-faced, and veritably heartbreaking.”[...]

Here Halberstam went off the rails. She went on to describe attending a community event where single women were introduced to mothers of single men—and being “jolted” by the subpar looks of the girls. [...]

In other words, the real reason these young women were still unmarried was because they were homely. Halberstam then doubled down on heartlessness, suggesting that a visit to the plastic surgeon might be in order for some of these Plain Janes: “Mothers, this is my plea to you: There is no reason in today’s day and age with the panoply of cosmetic and surgical procedures available, why any girl can’t be transformed into a swan. Borrow the money if you have to; it’s an investment in your daughter’s future, her life.” [...]

Anorexia has become a quiet scourge of the Orthodox Jewish community. A report on the National Eating Disorders Association website described the intense pressure that single Orthodox women feel to stay thin during the matchmaking process. NEDA cited a study by eating disorder specialist Dr. Ira Sacker, who found that one in nineteen girls in one Orthodox community had been diagnosed with an eating disorder—a rate 50 percent above the national average.

One cultural by-product of the Shidduch Crisis that has not been hushed up is the ever-larger dowries that Orthodox brides and their families are now expected to pay for the privilege of getting married. These dowries are financial promises made by the bride’s parents to help support the young family for the three or four or however-long-it-takes years that their future son-in-law may spend studying at a Jewish seminary. The fact that these dowries keep increasing demonstrates both the market power men possess as well as the desperation felt by young women and their parents. “It was never like this before,” said Salamon. “There was always a dowry, but it was pillowcases and things of that nature—not $50,000.”

Salamon noted that the practice of brides’ families paying five- and six-figure dowries has leached from the traditional Orthodox community into the more assimilated Modern Orthodox one. Indeed, the Summer 2013 issue of Jewish Action, the official magazine of the Modern Orthodox umbrella organization Orthodox Union, included an essay by Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen, a well-known Jewish scholar and lecturer. Kelemen told the story of his attempt to arrange a marriage for his daughter: “When I contacted the head of a prestigious American yeshiva [an Orthodox Jewish seminary] to ask if he might have a shidduch for my daughter, he asked me ‘what level boy’ I was interested in. Unsure what he meant, I asked for clarification. ‘Top boys go for $100,000 a year, but we also have boys for $70,000 a year and even $50,000 a year.’ He said that if I was ready to make the commitment, he could begin making recommendations immediately.”

The Orthodox Union’s executive vice president, Rabbi Steven Weil, told me he believed a backlash to the increasingly outlandish dowries was brewing. “You don’t marry for money,” Weil said. “This is not our religion.”

Weil is right, of course. It is not his religion. It is his religion’s demographics.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Forced takeover of a Bnei Brak seminary by gedolim?

BHOL 
BHOL
Kikar HaShabbat

הבוקר (ג) פורסם כי הרבנית רחל בורנשטיין-גפן, אשת הגאון רבי שמואל יעקב בורנשטיין ראש ישיבת 'קרית מלך' מונתה למנהלת סמינר הרב מאיר בבני ברק, לצדו של המנהל הוותיק הרב שמואל מאיר, בברכתם של הגראי"ל שטיינמן והגר"ח קנייבסקי
[...]

את סמינר הרב מאיר יסד בזמנו הגאב"ד הגר"נ קרליץ.
אך ממכתב ששלח המנהל הרב שמואל מאיר לסגנית המנהלת הגברת חנה שטיגל עולה כי הוא מתנגד למינוי.

לשון מכתבו של הרב מאיר: "אני מתנגד לכל מינוי שהוא של גב' רחל בורנשטיין בתיכון ובסמינר".

העתק מהמכתב נשלח לראש עיריית בני ברק חנוך זייברט מתוקף תפקידו כראש העיר אמור לאשר מנהלות רישמיות למוסדות חינוך בעיר.

גורמים בסמינר אומרים כי "בנו של הרב מאיר, המקורב לפלג הנודע של בעלי המחלוקת, מעוניין לקבל את תפקידו של אביו והוא עומד מאחורי המכתב", לדבריהם, "היות והסמינר נוסד על ידי גדולי ישראל בראשות הגר"נ קרליץ, והם שהכריעו כי הרבנית בורנשטיין תצטרף לניהול המקום באופן הראוי ביותר, ולאחר שקיבלה את ברכת גדולי ישראל אין מקום לערער אחר ההחלטה".
לעומת זאת, גורם במשפחתו של הרב מאיר, המקורב לפלג הירושלמי, אומר ל'בחדרי חרדים': "מדובר פה במחטף לכל דבר ובאופן חד משמעי. הסמינר מעולם לא התערב במחלוקת, רוח הסמינר היא נגד המזוהים עם צד במחלוקת, אין שום שינוי בסמינר מבחינתו של הרב מאיר, לכולם ידוע שהרבנית בורנשטיין היא צד במחלוקת הליטאית ואנחנו לא חפצים בכך". [...]

Owen Labrie of St. Paul’s School Is Found Not Guilty of Main Rape Charge

NY Times    The prep school graduate accused of raping a younger student at the elite St. Paul’s School dropped his head and sobbed for the first time since the start of his trial: He had been found not guilty on Friday of felony sexual assault charges, but was convicted of having sex with a girl who was below the age of consent. [...]

So ended the trial of Owen Labrie, 19, and with it a rare exploration of the backslapping sexual culture among some students at one of the nation’s most exclusive boarding schools. Over nearly two weeks, jurors listened to prosecutors and defense lawyers ask witnesses about a custom called the “senior salute,” in which older students at St. Paul’s propositioned younger classmates for a last-chance encounter before graduation.

But at its core, the case was about an intimate encounter last year between a 15-year-old girl and an 18-year-old acquaintance, and whether she consented as it escalated.[...]

And after about seven hours of deliberations over two days, the jury appeared to dismiss Mr. Labrie’s insistence that he had not penetrated the girl in any way, but found that the state had not proved that what happened was against the girl’s expressed wishes. [...]

It was a case with conflicting stories and, as is common in such cases, a focus on the credibility of the female accuser.

Mr. Carney made much of the girl’s expectations, recalling that a friend of hers said she had considered the possibility of oral sex with Mr. Labrie.

Mr. Cherniske said that, whatever her expectations, the girl had a right to change her mind.

But the jury ultimately decided either that they did not believe her, or that there was a reasonable doubt about whether she had communicated her denial of consent to Mr. Labrie. [...]

Friday, August 28, 2015

Call me 'ze,' not 'he': University wants everyone to use 'gender inclusive' pronouns



Educators in the Volunteer State are very concerned that students might be offended by the usage of traditional pronouns like she, he, him and hers, according to a document from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“With the new semester beginning and an influx of new students on campus, it is important to participate in making our campus welcoming and inclusive for all,” wrote Donna Braquet in a posting on the university’s website. “One way to do that is to use a student’s chosen name and their correct pronouns.”

Braquet, who is director of the university’s Pride Center, suggested using a variety of gender neutral pronouns instead of traditional pronouns.
For all you folks who went to school back when there were only him and her – here’s a primer: some of the new gender neutral pronouns are ze, hir, zir, xe, xem and xyr.
  [...]
Let’s just say that not everyone is on board with the new gender neutral pronouns. Lots of folks in Big Orange Country are turning blood red.

“It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Republican State Sen. Mae Beavers told me. “If you must interview a student before you greet the student, that’s not acceptance – that’s just absurd.”

Beavers represents a “very conservative” district and she said her constituents are enraged over how their tax money is being spent by the university.

“The idea a child would want to be called by a gender neutral term is absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “It’s getting so crazy in this country.”

Julie West has two children at the university – not to mention a family dog named after the Volunteer’s revered coach – General Neyland.

“This isn’t inclusion,” she said. “This is the radical transformation of our lives and language.”[...]

Dealing with threats from spouse in divorce cases

A very common concern from divorce clients and people looking for information about their divorce comes in the form of, “my husband is threatening to…” or “my wife is threatening to…” with something about taking away the kids or all the property.

99.9% of the time those threats have zero basis in the law and are never going to happen. They have less to do with the law or what the person really believes they can do to you, and more to do with psychological warfare by tormenting you or scaring you into doing or not doing something. Under the Texas Family Code, divorces are just not that sinister. Usually these threats are made before the divorce petition is filed or shortly afterwards. It is common to see the spouse who does not want the divorce threatening to “take the kids and you’ll never see them” or “take everything and leave you with nothing” to scare you away from filing for divorce and staying in a bad situation. After the divorce petition is filed and the other spouse (respondent) has been served, these threats are tossed around out of anger just to torment you. The best way to avoid being scared away from filing for divorce in Texas or hire a divorce lawyer to protect your rights is to understand why these threats are untrue (or at least highly unlikely). Knowledge is power. So today’s post will address some of those common threats and how the law really works. One of the biggest issues people struggle with in dealing with a high-conflict (HCP) ex is when children are part of the equation. It’s hard enough to shed a HCP spouse or partner; when children are involved, it becomes the never-ending trickle of salt into the open wound you’re trying to heal.

As noted in a previous Shrink4Men article, the trick to neutralizing the Crazy is boundaries. For some of us, creating boundaries for ourselves is difficult enough. It becomes hellishly difficult to implement healthy boundaries when there are children to consider.
Why is it so difficult? In many cases, the answer is fear.
HCPs are predators, as Dr T and Micksbabe so aptly identified them. They know the smell of fear. If you have any, they will know it. They might not be the sharpest pencil in the box otherwise, but boy, do they know how to sniff out fear. Then they capitalize on it to the nth degree.
Once you or the HCP decide the marriage or relationship is over, you need to immediately be on your guard. At that point, regardless of what your HCP ex says, you are now the enemy in their mind. Many men are often lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that she seems to be behaving and seems to be thinking and acting rationally at the beginning of the break-up or divorce.
She is not. It’s a trap! (Think Admiral Ackbar here.) [...]
Even when you know how crazy your Crazy is, it’s hard to believe someone could act the way they do. You don’t want to believe it. You want to think the high-conflict parent loves the children as much as you do. (Honestly, they all seem to have the same large-print handbook on how to be as horrific as possible.)
HCPs know this. On some level, they know you won’t sink to the same depths they do in your desire to get what you want and they count on it. They count on you not wanting to go against your upbringing that includes manners and not behaving badly. They know your desire to behave as a decent member of society holds you back from responding to their behavior no matter what. No one wants to be the bad guy and they count on your desire to be Mr Nice Guy.
Know that. Recognize that the Crazy will not fight fair, will not behave in a way that is socially acceptable, will use your children, will threaten you and play on your fear at every opportunity, and will sacrifice herself to “win” against you. To the Crazy, any means justify their ends.
You don’t have to stoop to their level. Instead, prepare yourself from a legal standpoint. Again, do your research and understand the laws you’ll be subject to once in the court system. Document the Crazy behavior and show how the Crazy does not support a positive relationship between your kids and yourself.  Also, understand the financial implications. Get very familiar with your state’s child support guidelines. Even if you have an attorney, having this knowledge will serve you well. [...]
In Dr. Baker’s book, she profiles horrible stories of alienation. All of the children who were victims of PAS eventually stepped away from their alienating parent, and went about attempting to resurrect the relationship with the target parent. This was true even in some of the most awful cases.
While it may not seem to be doing much at the time, your children will remember who loved them and demonstrated it using more than words, who was there for them, and who didn’t hop on the Crazy train and drive it into the abyss.
Do your due diligence, get professional support if you need it, focus on long-term gains instead of the short-term, permanent present guerrilla warfare tactics many HCPs engage in and you and your children will survive this. [...]

Holocaust trauma passed on to children via genes, says scientist

Picture unrelated to story
The Jewish Chronicle   A study of Holocaust survivors and their children has shown that trauma can be passed on through genes.

The study, led by Rachel Yehuda from New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, looked at the genes of 32 men and women who directly experienced the Holocaust - either in a concentration camp or who had to hide during the Second World War. 

According to the research, the survivors’ children had an increased likelihood of stress-related disorders, as well as low levels of cortisol, the hormone that regulates the body’s response to stress. Ms Yehuda said: “The gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents”.

The idea that environmental factors such as smoking or diet can affect one’s offspring via genetic mutations is known as “epigenetic inheritance”. [...]

The idea is a controversial one and it is still not fully understood how these tags are passed on. It was believed that any epigenetic tags on DNA are ‘wiped clean’ following fertilisation. However, recent research form Cambridge University has shown that some epigenetic tags escape this cleaning process.

“To our knowledge, this provides the first demonstration of transmission of pre-conception stress effects resulting in epigenetic changes in both the exposed parents and their offspring in humans,” said Ms Yehuda, whose work was published in Biological Psychiatry. 

Marcus Pembrey, emeritus professor of paediatric genetics at University College London, said: “What we’re getting here is the very beginnings of a understanding of how one generation responds to the experiences of the previous generation. It’s fine-tuning the way your genes respond to the world.”

Graphic video has prompted McDonald's to cut ties with one of its chicken suppliers

Picture unrelated to story
Huffington Post  Chickens cruelly beaten, stomped to death and left to die painfully and slowly. According to Mercy For Animals, that’s the “disgusting secret” behind McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

On Wednesday, the advocacy group released disturbing hidden-camera footage capturing what it says is evidence of abusive practices at a McDonald’s chicken supplier.

The investigation into T&S Farm, located in Dukedom, Tennessee, “exposed horrific cruelty to animals, including birds beaten, crammed in filthy sheds, stabbed to death with nails attached to makeshift clubs and left to suffer and slowly die without proper veterinary care,” the group wrote.

The farm had likely supplied chicken for McDonald's Chicken McNuggets, McChicken sandwiches and grilled and deep-fried chicken filets, according to The Associated Press.
Watch the video below. Be warned that it contains graphic footage:



Sponge Bob and the Jewish Question



Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Widening World of Hand-Picked Truths


Nearly half a century ago, in what passed as outrage in pre-Internet times, people across the country became incensed by the latest edition of Time magazine. In place of the familiar portrait of a world leader — Indira Gandhi, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ho Chi Minh — the cover of the April 8, 1966, issue was emblazoned with three red words against a stark black background: “Is God Dead?”

Thousands of people sent letters of protest to Time and to their local newspapers. Ministers denounced the magazine in their sermons.

The subject of the fury — a sprawling, 6,000-word essay of the kind Time was known for — was not, as many assumed, a denunciation of religion. Drawing on a panoply of philosophers and theologians, Time’s religion editor calmly considered how society was adapting to the diminishing role of religion in an age of secularization, urbanism and, especially, stunning advances in science.

With astronauts walking in space, and polio and other infectious diseases seemingly on the way to oblivion, it was natural to assume that people would increasingly stop believing things just because they had always believed them. Faith would steadily give way to the scientific method as humanity converged on an ever better understanding of what was real.

Almost 50 years later, that dream seems to be coming apart. Some of the opposition is on familiar grounds: The creationist battle against evolution remains fierce, and more sophisticated than ever. But it’s not just organized religions that are insisting on their own alternate truths. On one front after another, the hard-won consensus of science is also expected to accommodate personal beliefs, religious or otherwise, about the safety of vaccines, G.M.O. crops, fluoridation or cellphone radio waves, along with the validity of global climate change.

Like creationists with their “intelligent design,” the followers of these causes come armed with their own personal science, assembled through Internet searches that inevitably turn up the contortions of special interest groups. In an attempt to dilute the wisdom of the crowd, Google recently tweaked its algorithm so that searching for “vaccination” or “fluoridation,” for example, brings vetted medical information to the top of the results.

But presenting people with the best available science doesn’t seem to change many minds. In a kind of psychological immune response, they reject ideas they consider harmful. A study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that it is more effective to appeal to anti-vaxxers through their emotions, with stories and pictures of children sick with measles, the mumps or rubella — a reminder that subjective feelings are still trusted over scientific expertise.[...]

Many Psychology Findings Not as Strong as Claimed - 50% of published studies are possibly junk


The past several years have been bruising ones for the credibility of the social sciences. A star social psychologist was caught fabricating data, leading to more than 50 retracted papers. A top journal published a study supporting the existence of ESP. The journal Science pulled a political science paper on the effect of gay canvassers on voters’ behavior – also because of concerns about fake data.

 A University of Virginia psychologist decided in 2011 to find out whether such suspect science was a widespread problem. He and his team recruited more than 250 researchers, identified 100 studies that had each been published in one of three leading journals in 2008, and rigorously redid the experiments in close collaboration with the original authors.

The results are now in: More than 60 of the studies did not hold up. They include findings that were circulated at the time — that a strong skepticism of free will increases the likelihood of cheating; that physical distances could subconsciously influence people’s sense of personal closeness; that attached women are more attracted to single men when highly fertile than when less so.

The new analysis, called the Reproducibility Project and posted Thursday by Science, found no evidence of fraud or that any original study was definitively false. Rather, it concluded that the evidence for most published findings was not nearly as strong as originally claimed.
“Less than half — even lower than I thought,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, a director of Stanford University’s Meta-Research Innovation Center, who once estimated that about half of published results across medicine were inflated or wrong. Dr. Ioannidis said the problem was hardly confined to psychology and could be worse in other fields, including cell biology, economics, neuroscience, clinical medicine, and animal research


Canadian Man Dubbed 'Jewish Schindler' for Saving Yazidi Sex Slaves From ISIS


A Canadian businessman is being dubbed the “Jewish Schindler” after paying for the release of Yazidi and Christian slaves held by Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Steve Maman has rescued 128  girls and women through the organisation he founded, Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq (CYCI).

CYCI uses intermediaries to negotiate with Islamic State captors and pays between $1000 - $3000 for the release of each slave. According to the organization’s website, girls and women are then returned to their families or sent to a Kurdish refugee camp in northern Syria.

Islamic State is estimated to have taken 2,700 women and girls captive, torturing them and using them as sex slaves. Amnesty International claims Yazidi and Christian girls as young as 12 are being held.

Montreal-based Maman says his Jewish tradition motivated him to take action and establish CYCI in January this year.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.673270

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rav Dovid Eidensohn Tel Conf #17 - Your Kesubo – Is it Kosher? August 26 Wed 9:30 PM

Call 605-562-3130 enter code 411161#


Your Kesubo – is it kosher? Why not? Probably, some reliable person supervised the Kesubo writing at your wedding. Torah scholars were present. So, what is the problem? We list below three problems. One is Reb Moshe Feinstein’s ruling that in large cities some kesubose may be invalid. And today most people are probably in such cities, certainly those in New York City. Another problem is that our Kesubose don’t really assure a woman that she will be paid. And the Talmud considers this an invalid Kesubo, and the marriage is considered Zenuse. This is even if the Kesubo is a proper legal document but the wife is not sure of that. Surely if there are real problems in making her sure of herself with the Kesubo. The third problem is that the Kesubo is read publicly, and some information in it may be hugely humiliating. Rabbeinu Yona considers such a humiliation to be worse than murder.

Rav Mendel Shafran: Explaining the Givat Yerushalayim project in Beit Shemesh


Ultra-Orthodox In Israel: Keeping Cool While Keeping Customs


In the hot sun of a Jerusalem afternoon, kids wait for a fountain to turn on.

When water spouts into the air, 9-year-old Tzipora Baranas jumps right in. She's wearing black tights, a black, below-the-knee skirt and a long-sleeved black shirt.

"It's fun when the water spritzes up in my face," she says.

She is Orthodox Jewish and her outfit is in deference to religious modesty. She says she's not hot at all, despite the temperature hitting the 90s and the dark clothes covering all but her face and hands.

Of course, she is dripping wet at the moment.

Nearby, in the shade, an Orthodox mother, Rinat Kuperman, says it's good that the city has a place where kids can get wet without having to wear a swimsuit in public.

"They understand that people like us want to be happy in the summer and still keep ourselves like we want," she says. "Covered and refreshed."

Her family swims only in pools with times separated by gender, in keeping with their religious custom of covering their bodies when away from home and in the presence of members of the opposite sex. Kuperman isn't dressed all in black, but her skirt brushes her ankles. She wears a long-sleeved blouse over a T-shirt and has wrapped a colorful scarf over her hair.

Most Israelis are secular, and this record-breaking summer heat means plenty of shorts and skimpy tops on the beaches and streets. Choices for modest dress — including those that keep people covered up even in the summer heat — draw on religious rules, community norms and personal beliefs.[...]

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lakewood Beis Din publishes halachic issues against using secular court


Prominent US-based haredi rabbis declare obligation to report child abuse to police

Arutz                                        Full text of the letter
We, the undersigned, affirm that any individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable basis to suspect child abuse has a religious obligation to promptly notify the secular law enforcement of that information. These individuals have the experience, expertise and training to thoroughly and responsibly investigate the matter. Furthermore, those deemed “mandated reporters” under secular law must obey their State’s reporting requirements.
Lives can be ruined or ended by unreported child abuse, as we are too often tragically reminded. The Torah’s statement in Leviticus 19:16, “Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed,” obligates every member of the community to do all in one’s power to prevent harm to others. In conclusion, every individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable cause for suspicion of child abuse has a Torah obligation to promptly notify the proper civil authorities.




JPost    More than 100 prominent haredi rabbis and educators from across the US have signed a public declaration stating that it is an obligation of Jewish law on all Jews to immediately notify law enforcement officials when a reasonable suspicion of child abuse exists.

The declaration was described as “an historic watershed” for its broad-based support from a large number of haredi rabbis from major Jewish communities in the US.

The letter addresses the need to prevent and eradicate the epidemic of child abuse adversely affecting the Jewish community.

“We, the undersigned, affirm that any individual with firsthand knowledge or reasonable basis to suspect child abuse has a religious obligation to promptly notify the secular law enforcement of that information,” the declaration reads.

“These individuals have the experience, expertise and training to thoroughly and responsibly investigate the matter. Furthermore, those deemed ‘mandated reporters’ under secular law must obey their state’s reporting requirements.”

The rabbis said in their declaration that “lives can be ruined or ended by unreported child abuse, as we are too often tragically reminded” and cited the biblical injunction “Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed,” as the basis for reporting suspected cases of abuse.

Among the signatories are Rabbi Nota Greenblatt, the head of the rabbinical court in Mephis, Tennessee, Rabbi Dov Aharon Brisman, head of the rabbinical court in Philadelphia, Rabbi Peretz Steinberg, co-chairman of the rabbinical court of the Agudath Yisrael organization, and Rabbi Yechiel Perr, dean of the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway/Derech Ayson Rabbinical Seminary. [...]



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rav Sternbuch: Avoid Marriage if it causes Adultery

Originally published June 6 2012

When I was a bachor in yeshiva we advised not to go the chupah of Conservative or Reform weddings to avoid providing valid witnesses

Rav Sternbuch(2:625): Question: A Baal Teshuva who parents married without chupah or Kiddushin – it is desirable for him to encourage them to get married according to the halacha? Answer: It is clear that living together without chupah and Kiddushin is a degradation and blemish to the family and to encourage them get halachically married would save them from halachic prohibitions. However contemporary irreligious couples have totally rejected any commitment to mitzvos and they swap wives and commit other types of severe sins. If his parents are of this type then there is absolutely no mitzva to have them married according to the halacha. This is especially true according to their son that they don’t have a good marriage. Thus it is questionable whether marriage is a good idea since there is a real possibility that they will separate without writing a Get. Therefore if they were halachically married this would result in their transgressing the prohibition of adultery. Thus the benefits of marriage would actually cause a loss because it would cause them to sin. Therefore whether an irreligious couple should marry according to the halacha is dependent on the quality of their relationship. If it is clear that they have a solid relationship – even if they don’t keep the laws of nidah – then it might be permissible for their son to encourage them to get married according to the halacha. Because they will be living together anyway so at least this will save them from the blemish to their family of not being halachically married. However in the case before us there is a strong concern that if they get married according to the halacha it will lead to the more severe problem of adultery. In such a case there is absolutely no mitzva for them to marry properly. In fact the opposite is true because it will lead them to transgress severe prohibitions. Therefore with the irreligious there are many times that it is better for them to live together without a Jewish marriage – because if they would have chupah and Kiddushin it would lead to producing mamzerim or sofek mamzerim. The halachic rule that most intercourse is with the husband would not apply to those who are licentious as we see concerning a Sotah. This is the view of the Shulchan Aruch (E.H. 4:15). Therefore before encouraging them to have a halachic wedding – their relationship needs to be investigated thoroughly. Each case needs to determine whether it is to their benefit to be married and thus that which leads to minimize sin should be done. Consequently it is a good idea to consult with the local rabbi who knows their circumstances well. You should know that in prior generations the non-observant would degenerate by means of reading secular books that involved nonsense or heresy etc. This would lead to rejecting the observance of mitzvos and they would descend to various degrees of impurity – according to their sins.

However when it came to getting married they were careful to do it within the framework of halacha and therefore the majority came to the beis din that was concerned with marriage and divorce. However today the secular are that way - not because of intellectual concerns - but simply from lust. Their basic desire is to have a totally unrestricted life for the sole purse of pleasure. Thus they live like wild animals with mocking authority, lacking any moral restraint or limits with focus entirely on pleasure and parties. And this attitude applies also to their wives where moral conduct or commitment is lacking – so each one simple does what gives them pleasure. Therefore one should be careful to avoid Kiddushin for those who are likely to be involved in adultery. On the other hand in our day when these hedonistic people hit bottom and they see that their life is totally worthless they are likely to think about repenting and find a purpose in their life. This is in contrast with previous generations who were ideological heretics that they would be loyal to their heresy and would not repent even at the gates of Hell. The bottom line is that it is impossible for us to make a general rule but each case needs to be examined separately. G‑d should return them and all Jews with complete repentance. In practice a number of gedolim in Israel have expressed concerns that they might totally reject halacha after the wedding such as on some kibbutzim where they swap wives. They have suggested that perhaps it is better to mislead them into thinking they have had a halachic marriage – by the use of invalid witnesses and by omitting G‑d’s name from the berachos – in order that they not have a problem of adultery. They simple don’t understand the significance of Kiddushin i.e., a life of sanctification. I discuss this in greater detail elsewhere. It is also a good idea that important rabbis should not be involved in these cases to avoid implying that marriage in these cases is permitted.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Jared Fogle has no easy road to recovery, sex addiction experts say

Indystar    Identifying those with pedophilic or sex addiction, as well as victims of sexual abuse, can be challenging

Bill Cosby. Josh Duggar. Dennis Hastert. And now Jared Fogle.

In the past few months, allegations surrounding these men and sexual activity with minors, male and female, have surfaced in headline after headline. In the latest, Indiana’s own Fogle just agreed to plead guilty to charges that include having sex with teenagers and distributing pornography involving children as young as 6 years old.[...]

Researchers delving into the personality characteristics of those who engage in online deviate behavior, of which child pornography is one type, know that you can rarely predict offenders.

There is no one type of person that engages in child pornography, no one profile,” said Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, an assistant professor in the department of computer and information technology at Purdue University who studies this area. “It’s because the behavior itself is very dynamic and complex.”

Some people will download child pornography but never try to contact a minor for a sexual encounter, she said. Others might network, share information and reach out to children. Now researchers have noted another category — those who contact minors online but have no intention of ever meeting them in person.[...]

Although people who do jail time for viewing child pornography have low recidivism rates, the same is not true for those who contact their victims, Seigfried-Spellar said. [...]

“You cannot be cured of this,” she said. “It is like any other addiction. You can learn how to manage it ... but you have to work on this every day of your life when you have this compulsion.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rav Dovid Eidensohn Tel Conf #16 – Prenups Force a Husband to Divorce His Wife Wed 9:30 PM Aug 19

Call 605-562-3130  code 411161#

Prenups are documents a husband signs at his wedding, empowering the wife to leave the house at any time and force the husband to give her a GET. The husband, from the time that the wife leaves the house, must pay his wife a large sum of money regularly, a sum designed to overwhelm his ability to pay and to force him to give her a GET. The Modern Orthodox world is working hard to force every husband to sign a prenup. When that happens, may truly Orthodox people marry children born from Modern Orthodox women who got divorces because of prenups, or not? And what happens if Orthodox husbands sign a prenup and there is a GET? That is our discussion here.

Shoftim 75 - What happened to the Policeman? by Allan Katz

Guest post by Allan Katz

שופטים ושוטרים תתן לך בכל שעך' ' The parasha of Shoftim opens with the commandment to appoint for yourselves judges and police officers in all your cities. In our daily prayers we ask God to 'restore our judges as in the earliest times and counselors at first ' - השיבה שופטינו כבראשונה ויועצינו כבתחלה. The obvious question is what happened to the policemen, why don't we pray for the restoration of a police force. There is a need for police especially in the light that religious courts are said to have ' no teeth ' and lack authority, something that has been a feature of the religious legal system for centuries. (Something to wonder about).In education, likewise there are many religious educators who long for the days where punishments were ' effective ' tools in educating kids in Torah. Nevertheless, we pray for judges and counselors who can guide and inspire us to follow and keep God's Torah and not for policemen who will enforce God's law.

A legal system in a country and the state of law, order and morality are not only dependent on judges and policemen but on the moral standing of the population. In our verse above, God also calls on all individuals, on an individual level to be their own personal judges and policemen who reflect, make personal judgments on how to act and monitor their own behavior. In fact, the breakdown of law and order in many countries has more to do with the lack of moral standing of its population than government instruments for maintaining law and order. The Mishnah Pirkei Avos 3:2 ' Rabbi Chanina the deputy [High] Priest said: Pray for the welfare of the government (lit., monarchy), for if not for its fear, a person would swallow his fellow live." seems to be not quite relevant for a time when there is no longer any fear for governments. We pray that we should be intrinsically motivated to be people who follow the Torah because it is the right thing to do and we appreciate God's Torah values and the Divine intelligence. In the same way, we want our kids not to hit or speak badly to other kids because of what will happen to them, but because they are people who love others and don't hit or hurt the feelings of others.

We pray that not only should the religious courts replace secular courts but more important we should relate to religious courts from a true religious perspective. R' Isaac Sher explains that if we go to a religious court – beit din with intention to defend our rights and property we have transformed a beit din into a secular court. We go to beit din to seek guidance, to know how God wants us to act in this situation and resolve the conflict. The status of religious courts depends on our attitude and appreciation of their religious roles in our lives.

Collaborating and finding mutual satisfying solutions or making compromises with or without the help of the religious courts is fundamental in dealing with disputes and resolving conflict. Again 'mishpat= justice ' is something very much personal and intrinsic to the individual and less dependent on the external legal system.

To sum up: It seems that the Torah wants the locus of control to be intrinsic to people and that we educate people to be their own judges, self – assess and monitor their behavior , have an appreciation of the religious value of the courts of law and be able to settle disputes in a collaborative problem solving way.

When it comes to our children we do the opposite. The locus of control is outside the child. The educational system – both academic and socio-moral is driven by parents and teachers using extrinsic motivators such as grades, moving to the next level, consequences, punishments, rewards and encouragement in the form of positive reinforcement and praise. When it comes to behavior, kids ask what will I get, or what will be done to me if I behave in a certain way and not what type of person do I want to be, is this an expression of my Torah values,reflect on the consequences of my behavior, not for me, but for others in the community, classroom and family? One of the things I look for in 'frum' – religious education and parenting is what happens when kids screw up. Is the talk about compliance and the tools of control that can get compliance or is it helping the child to see the consequences of his actions on others, come up with a better plan that addresses his concerns in an appropriate way and engaging in an autonomous way in the moral act of restitution , reparation and making amends ? In other words - do Teshuvah-repent.

When it comes to learning, the questions kids ask is if this will be on the test, what grade did I get, am I in the top ten in the class, how can I get the best grade with the minimal effort etc, instead of connecting and developing a love for learning, making meaning of what is being learned, seeing the actual value and relevance of the learning and asking questions. John Dewey said education is not a preparation for life, but life itself, or closer to home Torah is our life.

In order to place the locus of control with the child and move away from extrinsic controls and motivators we should take note of the words of the educator Jerome Bruner. Kids should be helped to focus on what they are doing and not on how they are doing. So it is important that kids do not experience success or failure as rewards or punishment but as information. Our feedback is important but it should be neutral and non-evaluative so kids can reflect on what they are doing and internalize the underlying values which will help them become self-determined Torah personalities.

Monday, August 17, 2015

For transgender Jews, ritual bath is fraught with questions about inclusion


Converting to Judaism about a year ago, a transgender man in Washington asked his rabbi a pointed question about the last step in the process, which calls for dunking naked in a ritual bath.

Could he locate a transgender man to serve as the required witness for this immersion?[...]

The mikvah — most commonly used by traditional Jewish women to mark the end of their menstrual periods — is where a transgender person may first discover how a Jewish community treats its transgender members. [...]

Each mikvah witness must be a supportive person, said Berman — someone who “isn’t going to flip out when they see a body that might look different from what they would have expected.”

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Don't Tell: The leniency of the Rema of not revealing previously unknown mamzerim

update - limitation on non revealing the information
The issue was raised regarding the producing of mamzerim through the giving of an invalid Get. Isn't this really a non-issue since if the mamzer is not revealed - there is no prohibition of marriage and therefore everyone is presumed to be kosher?

I am presenting the Rema which is the source for this view.  It is clear that if in fact the information can definitely be concealed then there is no problem. However it seems obvious that with a growing awareness of the regularity that invalid Gittin are being given - that the chezkas kashrus of divorced people disappears. As Rav Sternbuch has noted, at some point when there is a systemic problem there will be a need to investigate each case of the offspring of a divorced couple. The only issue seems to be whether we have reached that point or will reach it in the near future. The leniency of the Rema applies when there are only isolated cases. In addition - even when in general the information can be concealed - but there will always be cases where the information is inadvertently revealed and then the problem of mamzerus spreads through the family like a nuclear chain reaction.

Shulchan Aruch (E.H. 2:5): If a family of cohanim has a definite challel amongst them then every woman of that family is prohibited until she is checked and if she marries she must be divorced. The same applies if there is a family that a sofek mamer or definite mamzer. Rema: However all of this applies only if it is definitely known to be true. However a family that has a person who is invalid for marriage – but it is not public knowledge- since he has been successfully mixed in then let him remained so. Someone who knows about this invalid person – is not allowed to reveal the information but the family members are to be left with their presumption of validity (chezkas kashrus). That is because all such families which have an unknown invalid person amongst them will be declared as fully kosher in the Messianic Era. Nevertheless is appropriate to reveal this information to those who can keep a secret (This is implied by the Ran). However this ignoring of the information is only when the invalid member is successfully mixed in and concealed from public knowledge. But as long as he is not mixed in then we reveal the invalid members and publicly announce it so that unblemished people will avoid marriage with them. See Choshen Mishpat 25 as to who is believed to testify about a families pedigree.

Edios (8:7): Rabbi Yehoshua said, I have received a tradition from Rabban Yochanon ben Zakkai who heard it from his rebbe and his rebbe heard it from his rebbe as a halacha l'Moshe m'Sinai (Tradition given from Sinai) that Eliyahu will not come to declare unclean or to pronounce clean, to put away or to bring near. But rather he will put away those brought near by force and to bring near that who have been put away by force. The family of Beis Zerephah was on the other side of the Jordan and Ben Tzion put it away by force. And there was already another family there and Ben Tziion brought it near by force. For such people Eliyahu will come to declare unclean or to pronounce clean, to put away or to bring near. Rabbi Yehuda disagreed and said Eliyahu will bring near but not put away. Rabbi Shimon said that will come to resolve disputes. The Sages disagreed and said that Eliyahu will neither come to put away nor to bring near but rather to make peace in the world. As is stated in Malachi (3), Behold I will send Eliyahu the Prophet to you... And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children their fathers.

Bartenuro (Edios 8:7): It is a halacha L'Moshe m'Sinai  that G-d showed Moshe at Sinai... that Eliyahu will not come to declare unclear or clean or to make distant or bring close to clarify doubts concerning which individual are problematic who have been mixed in the family - but these doubts will be left and they will be kosher in the future. The halacha is that a family which has posul individuals successfully mixed in and unidentified- they will remain unidentified as posul. ... those families where posul individuals have been successfully mixed in and they are not know as posul individuals but are presumed kosher - Eliyahu will leave them that way.

However the following claims that the prohibition of revealing information is only when it is based on rumors - but not on the testimony of two witnesses.

Chelkas Mechokek (2:5.9): One who knows that there is a mamzer is not allowed to reveal this information – But it is stated in Shulchan Aruch (EH. 2:3) that two people had testified that a family has a mamzer or challel. How can they do this since they are violating the halacha of not revealing this information? However saying they shouldn't testify also presents a difficulty since we pasken in this sif that if there is a doubt whether there is a mamzer in a particular family that someone who marries a member of that family needs to get divorced – so why isn't it a mitzva to reveal this information because today or tomorrow witnesses will come and testify that there is a mamzer in the family and consequently the children of this family will be considered sofek mamzerim? A possible answer is that concerning the Ran on which the leniency of the Rema is based, he could be talking about a case where it is not clear that a member of the family is actually a mamzer – but merely that there is a rumor. Perhaps it is only such a case where the Ran is saying that there is no need to reveal this information except to modest people [who won't spread the information]. However when two witness know for certain that a mamzer assimilated into this family it is very difficult to claim that they should not testify since the children of this family - once the information becomes public that there is a mamzer who is mixed into this famly –will henceforth be sofek mamzerim.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Jakarta Court Overturns Sex Convictions Against International School Teachers

Time    Two teachers from an exclusive international school in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, walked free after a judge upheld their appeal and quashed sexual-assault convictions Friday, AP

Canadian Neil Bantleman and his Indonesian colleague Ferdinant Tjiong were initially convicted under Indonesia’s child-protection law — which calls for a maximum of 15 years in prison for sexual abuse toward a child. They had been accused of raping three kindergarten-aged boys at the Jakarta Intercultural School, formerly known as the Jakarta International School.

They were set to serve a 10-year prison sentence, of which they’ve already served over a year

The two teachers maintained their innocence throughout the trial. AP says that staff at the school campaigned for their release, arguing that the case was motivated by money after the mother of one of the children sued the school for $125 million in compensation.

A judge threw the mother’s case out of court on Aug. 10, saying that there was not enough medical evidence to prove the boys had been assaulted. [...]

Doctors Fail to Address Patients’ Spiritual Needs

NY Times   Religious beliefs also often affect patients’ wishes when it comes to choosing aggressive end-of-life treatment or palliative care.

I was raised Jewish, and had no idea about when to call a priest, or what doing so might imply. I feared that if I raised the issue, she and her mother would feel that I was giving up on her. So for a few weeks, I did nothing. But every time I visited her, I felt bad.

“Do we ever call a priest?” I finally asked my resident one day in the hall, trying to be casual. I felt uncomfortable asking – as if I should somehow know better. I occasionally noticed priests in white collars and rabbis wearing yarmulkes or black hats riding the elevators and walking the halls, but was surprised to find that other doctors and I simply ignored them, never speaking to them. They operated in an entirely different world.

My resident looked at me as if I were nuts. That is simply not something that we did as physicians. Senior physicians and I never mentioned religion and spirituality on rounds with any patients. In the world of scientific medicine, these topics were taboo. Yet it felt odd to do nothing. I sensed her aloneness and terror in that room – even though she was with her mother – but none of us ever tried to address these feelings in any way.

Religion was never discussed in my medical training. In medical school, a priest maintained a small lounge, providing coffee and tea, where students could sometimes drop in to get coffee, but that was wholly optional, and most students never did so.

Yet studies have documented the importance of religion and spirituality to many patients. Seventy percent of dying patientswant their doctor to ask them about their religious beliefs.

Consequently, in 2001, The Joint Commission, which accredits healthcare organizations, decreed that health care providers “receive training on the value of spiritual assessment.” Partly as a result, the number of medical schools with some education on spirituality and health has increased from 13 percent in 1997, to around 90 percent in 2014.

But many medical schools provide only a single lecture on the psychological aspects of end-of-life care, often involving a chaplain who discusses how religion can be important in end-of-life case.[...]

Over the years, however, I have increasingly seen how many patients, especially when confronting the end of life, value their emotional, existential and spiritual feelings over further medical treatment when it begins to seem futile. [...]

I still regret my silence with that patient, but have tried to learn from it. Doctors themselves do not have to be spiritual or religious, but they should recognize that for many patients, these issues are important, especially at life’s end. If doctors don’t want to engage in these conversations, they shouldn’t. Instead, a physician can simply say: “Some patients would like to have a discussion with someone here about spiritual issues; some patients wouldn’t. If you would like to, we can arrange for someone to talk with you.”

Unfortunately, countless patients feel uncomfortable broaching these topics with their doctors. And most physicians still never raise it.

Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets






Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. To help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.

“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on,” the group’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization. “And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”

Health experts say this message is misleading and part of an effort by Coke to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. They contend that the company is using the new group to convince the public that physical activity can offset a bad diet despite evidence that exercise has only minimal impact on weight compared with what people consume. [...]

Most public health experts say that energy balance is an important concept, because weight gain for most people is about calories in vs. calories out. But the experts say research makes it clear that one side of the equation has a far greater effect. [...]