Thursday, December 3, 2009

Abuse - Testimony only to prevent future attacks

Shulchan Aruch(C.M. 28:1): Whoever knows testimony regarding another person and he is fit to testify and the other person would benefit the other person – he is obligated to testify if he is requested to testify by the court. It doesn’t matter whether there is another witness that will testify with him or not. However if he refuses to testify he is exempt from human punishment but he is liable to heavenly punishment. Rema: A single witness should not testify except regarding monetary issues which will bring about taking an oath or concerning something which is prohibited and it will cause the person to stop sinning. But if the person has already done the sin he should not testify because then it is simply motzi shem rah (slander). It is prohibited for a person to testify about something he doesn’t know directly even though the information was told to him by someone he knows does not lie. Even if someone asks him to stand next to a single witness and not to say anything in order that the one who owes him money will think that he has two witnesses and therefore confess – he should not listen to such a request.

Chalban: Kabbalist gives advice to Netanyahu


בראיון מיוחד וחושפני שהעניק הרב חיים כהן, "החלבן", הוא מגלה כי יעץ לנתניהו "לא לחכות לאובמה בעניין אירן", ומקווה שגלעד יחזור חי "ולא כגופה". הוא סיפר גם על טהרתו, על הקשר עם האדמו"ר מלעלוב, ועל ל"ו צדיקים: "מכיר את כולם"

Polygraph used to determine infidelity


In an unprecedented move, the Haifa Rabbinical Court has ordered a woman to answer questions about her relations with men and alleged drug abuse while connected to a lie detector, Army Radio revealed on Thursday morning.

The woman has reportedly denied accusations by her husband, who told the rabbinical court his wife had been unfaithful and had smoked drugs.[...]

A Jew in England


NEW YORK — When my father was about to emigrate from South Africa to England in the 1950s, a friend of the family suggested that a change of name was in order because it would be unwise to pursue his career in Britain while called "Cohen."

My Dad, a young doctor, said he would think it over. A few days later he announced to the friend that he had decided to make the change.

"To what?" she asked with satisfaction.

"Einstein," he deadpanned.[...]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lashon harah as public chastisement is permitted

Shita Mekubetzes (Bava Basra 39b)
: Whatever is said in front of three people is not considered lashon harah… It is clear that for grievances which are between a person and his fellow man for which there is no atonement until he repents or until the offended person forgives him but he isn’t willing to forgive him or other sins that the person continues doing intentionally and not accidentally but are his normal activity – that it is a mitzva to degrade him before all men…so that people stay away from his evil ways…and to motivate him to repent. This is what is meant by this gemora, “All things which are said in front of three people it is not considered lashon harah” and it is permitted to say if they are true. However to say these words of criticism in front of one or two people it seems that his only concern is to say lashon harah and he is doing it only to degrade the person and he is enjoying speaking lashon harah about the person. However if he says it in the presence of three then it is a public statement and it can be assumed that he wants his criticism to reach the person’s ears so that he can reform his deeds. For example in the case where the speaker knows that the person will not accept chastisement and will not repent by rebuke alone, but if he hears that people are complaining about him he will repent. Another justification for criticizing him in public is so that other people will not be influenced to follow in his ways when they hear that people are condeming his sinful ways. There is an additional reason why it is considered lashon harah if he voices his criticism before one or two people because it looks like he intends that his words will not eventually be heard by the sinner. Thus he looks like he is publicly praising the person but in private he is criticizing and enjoying speaking lashon harah and - thus he is acting in a devious way. However this that he is required to act in a way that what he says eventually is heard by the other person is only when the one he is speaking about is not someone to be afraid of. However if the other one is stronger or more powerful and he is afraid of being hurt if he speaks publicly it is permitted to speak critically about him in private and publicly praise him. Our Sages say in such a case it is permitted to falsely flatter the wicked.

Nazi tattoo:Badge of shame or honor? R' Oshery 4:22

R' Eliashiv & Sanz Klausenberg Rebbe: Derech Eretz

While it is true that Rav Eliashiv is not always treated with proper derech eretz as shown in the previous video - but this video shows that there are those who know the proper way

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Abuse: Civil or crminal offense?

David Morris presents a cogent discussion of the halachic problems faced when dealing with abuse

The Women of Islam


For his day, the Prophet Muhammad was a feminist. The doctrine he laid out as the revealed word of God considerably improved the status of women in 7th century Arabia. In local pagan society, it was the custom to bury alive unwanted female newborns; Islam prohibited the practice. Women had been treated as possessions of their husbands; Islamic law made the education of girls a sacred duty and gave women the right to own and inherit property. Muhammad even decreed that sexual satisfaction was a woman's entitlement. He was a liberal at home as well as in the pulpit. The Prophet darned his own garments and among his wives and concubines had a trader, a warrior, a leatherworker and an imam.

Of course, ancient advances do not mean that much to women 14 centuries later if reform is, rather than a process, a historical blip subject to reversal. While it is impossible, given their diversity, to paint one picture of women living under Islam today, it is clear that the religion has been used in most Muslim countries not to liberate but to entrench inequality. The Taliban, with its fanatical subjugation of the female sex, occupies an extreme, but it nevertheless belongs on a continuum that includes, not so far down the line, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and the relatively moderate states of Egypt and Jordan. Where Muslims have afforded women the greatest degree of equality--in Turkey--they have done so by overthrowing Islamic precepts in favor of secular rule. As Riffat Hassan, professor of religious studies at the University of Louisville, puts it, "The way Islam has been practiced in most Muslim societies for centuries has left millions of Muslim women with battered bodies, minds and souls."[...]

First Jewish Service from Germany 1944

American Jewish Committe links

Like many veterans, Max Fuchs did not talk much about what he did in the war. His children knew he landed at Omaha Beach. Sometimes, they were allowed to feel the shrapnel still lodged in his chest.

And once, he had told them, he sang as the cantor in a Jewish prayer service on the battlefield.

On Oct. 29, 1944, at the edge of a fierce fight for control of the city of Aachen, Germany, a correspondent for NBC radio introduced the modest Sabbath service like this:

"We bring you now a special broadcast of historic significance: The first Jewish religious service broadcast from Germany since the advent of Hitler."[...]

Early therapy helps autistic kids


Charlie Lamb was barely 2 years old when he was diagnosed with autism. His mother Susan had been convinced for months that "something was not right" with her second child. He wouldn't stand in line like the other kids in gymnastics class, she recalls, and he spoke fewer words. He was more captivated by spinning wheels than Teletubbies. His father Tom noticed that his blond, blue-eyed son would always walk in circles around the kitchen table and that he would do the equivalent at their local park in Seattle — walking along the perimeter fence rather than crossing into the play area.

Ten years ago, autism was rarely detected before ages 3 or 4. Now, thanks to growing awareness and widespread screening at 18 and 24 months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more autistic children like Charlie are being identified when they are toddlers. But for all the emphasis on early detection, very little research exists on how to intervene effectively for children so young. (See TIME's photo-essay "A Journey into the World of Autism.")

A report in the current issue of Pediatrics helps fill in the gap, providing the first randomized, controlled trial — the most rigorous kind of study — of a comprehensive autism treatment that appears to work well for children as young as 18 months. While none of the children in the study were "cured" of autism, those receiving two years of intensive therapy achieved major leaps in IQ score, big improvements in their use of language and significant gains in their ability to handle the kinds of everyday tasks necessary for a child to function at school and at play.[...]