Friday, January 13, 2012

Legal fight to allow single women to use mikveh

Plia Oryah, a 19-year-old Modi'in native, is among several parties to a December 29 petition asking Israel's Supreme Court to compel Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi, and the Office of the Chief Rabbinate to reverse official directives to municipal and regional ritual bath operators. The directives explicitly deny access to women who are single, divorced or widowed. 

"These are public facilities," charges Oryah, who said she considers herself to be Orthodox. "It's their job to operate and maintain the facilities, not to decide who can use them."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

RJJ takes Kars4Kids Charity to secular court in tuition dispute after going to beis din

An Orthodox Jewish charity known for its omnipresent radio jingles is embroiled in a federal lawsuit over $300,000 in scholarships that were allegedly promised to Jewish day school students.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Eda Haredit denounces state ‘oppression’

The ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit (Badatz) organization published a harsh letter this week condemning the government and police for waging a war against “those who fear God,” and against “modesty and holiness.”

The letter, which appeared on posters in haredi (ultra- Orthodox) Jerusalem neighborhoods on Monday night, was written in the name of Rabbi Tuviah Weiss, the head of the Eda Haredit rabbinical court, and his deputy Rabbi Moshe Shternboch.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Daas Torah & Child & Domestic abuse books - to be available in Jerusalem

Depending upon the speed of shipment from America to Israel - the 2nd edition of Daas Torah as well as the 3 volumes of Child and Domestic Abuse will be available in Jerusalem book stores some time soon.

They should also be available in Brooklyn this week

Monday, January 9, 2012

Knesset members express outrage regarding disgraceful handling of Nachlot abuse case

Knesset members from the Committee for the Rights of the Child expressed their outrage on Tuesday that a year-and- a-half after the largest pedophilia case in Jerusalem was uncovered, many of the suspects were still at large and coming into daily contact with their victims.

The committee held a special discussion about the pedophilia case that rocked a small, insular Jerusalem neighborhood this past year: More than a dozen perpetrators abused at least 100 children, starting as early as 2006.

Five men in their 40s and 50s were arrested in September, but police are still investigating additional claims of abuse.

“This scandal rocked our very foundations,” said MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism), who initiated the discussion.

At least 9 suspects allegedly abused more than 70 children in Nachlot


Police arrested three more men on Sunday morning in what they are calling Jerusalem’s largest-ever pedophilia case, with at least nine men suspected of abusing around 70 children in the Nahlaot neighborhood.

Police do not believe the suspects operated in an organized ring but rather that they knew of one another and sometimes carried out the abuse in pairs. More arrests are expected.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ponivezh Rosh Yeshiva: We Deserve This

Arutz Sheva

The Ponivezh Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein related to the media incitement against the Hareidim and said that in the face of such incitement, the Hareidim should realize it is a message from G-d. The only response can be the eradication of baseless hatred, and repentance.

Chareidi fanatics throw fish oil on rebbe's daughters in Mea Shearim - because they wear sheitels

Kikar HaShabbat

מאה שערים: קיצונים שפכו שמן דגים על נשים חרדיות שחבשו פאה

אולי עכשיו כולם יבינו שבעיית הקיצוניים - מפריעה יותר לחרדים מהחילונים? בנותיו של אדמו"ר ידוע עברו במאה שערים כשהם חובשות פאה, אך למספר נטורי קרתא קיצוניים זה לא התאים. אלה החליטו לשפוך על בנותיו של האדמו"ר שמן דגים, ולהזיק להם ולבגדיהם. החסידים לא נשארו חייבים. במוצאי-שבת הם הגיעו לדירה והשחיתו את השלטים ואף ביצעו סדר בדירת הקיצונים האלימים 

Afula rabbi charged with sexually assaulting minors

The Northern District Prosecutor's Office has filed an indictment against Rabbi Yaakov Deutsch of Afula for allegedly sexually assaulting four minors who turned to him for spiritual guidance. [....]
According to the indictment, which was served by the northern district attorney’s office at Nazareth District Court, Deutsch, who has lived in Afula for forty years and has become an important local figure with a large following, abused his position to carry out a number of sexual offenses against minors.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New 2nd Edition of Daas Torah will soon be in Seforim Stores

Possibly as of next week my new edition of Daas Torah will be in the
seforim stores in Brooklyn and elsewhere. It will still be available
through Amazon. List price will be $40.

Teachers rebel against becoming assistants to computer technology


This change is part of a broader shift that is creating tension — a tension that is especially visible in Idaho but is playing out across the country. Some teachers, even though they may embrace classroom technology, feel policy makers are thrusting computers into classrooms without their input or proper training. And some say they are opposed to shifting money to online classes and other teaching methods whose benefits remain unproved.

“Teachers don’t object to the use of technology,” said Sabrina Laine, vice president of the American Institutes for Research, which has studied the views of the nation’s teachers using grants from organizations like the Gates and Ford Foundations. “They object to being given a resource with strings attached, and without the needed support to use it effectively to improve student learning.”

In Idaho, teachers have been in open revolt. They marched on the capital last spring, when the legislation was under consideration. They complain that lawmakers listened less to them than to heavy lobbying by technology companies, including Intel and Apple. Teacher and parent groups gathered 75,000 verified signatures, more than was needed, to put a referendum on the ballot next November that could overturn the law.[...]

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Religion and Sex in Israel: Street Clashes Over Defining a Jewish State


Israel seems to be at war with itself. For two weeks the Hebrew media have been dominated by street clashes between Jews arguing viciously over such matters as sleeve length and bus seating, which in the Israel of the moment are markers for the kind of country people want: Religious, or secular, or what balance of the two? It’s a conflict that goes back at least to the founding of Israel six decades ago, and grows more and more potent with the dramatic population growth of the most piously observant.

The latest flashpoint speaks volumes about the state of the nation: An eight-year-old girl stopped going to school after neighborhood men spat on her and called her a prostitute because even in long sleeves and a skirt her dress was deemed “immodest.” The men were extremist members of the ultra-Orthodox, the fastest-growing segment of Israel’s Jewish population. Known in Hebrew as Haredim, which roughly translates as God-fearing, ultra-Orthodox men are easily recognized by their signature black clothes and headgear (either wide-brimmed black felt or brimless beaver skin) their side locks and their agitation at being seated near women. [...]

Monday, January 2, 2012

Open letter to Yossi Sarid by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

Dear Yossi Sarid, The horror that the overwhelming majority of Chareidi
Jews are feeling at the actions of the extremists is certainly deep. The
sickening demonstration of "cousins" of ours in holocaust garb is just
another illustration of how out of touch these Meah Shearim extremists
are with true Torah sensibilities. The Beit Shemesh extremists...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It is time to reclaim our inheritance from the extremists

Guest post by Sarah Yehudit Schneider

A Teaching based on R. Tsadok HaKohen
Tsidkat HaTsadik #231
R. Yanai was journeying on the road when a man approached him and, with great enthusiasm, invited R. Yannai to his home for a meal. R. Yannai accepted the invitation.  In the course of the meal R. Yannai probed the man’s literacy.  Was there knowledge of Talmud?  No. Medresh? No. Mishna? No. Scripture? No. As the meal concluded R. Yannai asked his host to recite the Grace after Meals for them.  The man declined and deferred to R. Yannai. R. Yannai then asked the man if he could repeat the words that R. Yannai would speak.  The man said he could and would. R. Yannai then (rudely) spoke the following sentence for him to repeat: “A dog has eaten of Yannai’s bread.”

The man grabbed R. Yannai by his collar and accused R. Yannai of theft: “You have stolen my inheritance, and are withholding it from me.” R. Yannai was shocked: “What inheritance is that,” he responded.  The man answered that he had once passed by a school where children were memorizing scripture and the verse they were reciting was: “Moshe conveyed the Torah to us—an inheritance to the congregation of Yaakov.”   The man challenged R. Yannai: “It does not say ‘congregation of Yannai’ but ‘congregation of Yaakov.’”

R. Yannai asked the man: “What earned you the merit of sharing a meal with me?” The man answered: “Never in my life have I repeated lashon hara, and never have I ever seen people quarrelling without making peace between them.”[Vayikra Rabba 9:3]

And so it is time to reclaim our inheritance from the extremists who are stealing it from us, distorting it beyond recognition, and using it as a club.  Who are unilaterally decreeing that whole branches of our rich, complex, and paradoxical tradition are no longer daas Torah. We need to speak up and repossess our inheritance from the zealots like the man in this story. “You are stealing our inheritance.  It is ours as much as yours…and WE are the (no longer silent) majority. It is ‘the inheritance of the entire congregation of Yaakov…NOT the congregation of zealots.’”

R. Tsadok uses this teaching to show how every Jew is a gadol in some area of Torah and an ignoramous in others. R. Yannai was a gadol in Talmud and an ignoramous is derekh eretz. His host, the opposite.

We cannot wait for leaders to speak up. We don’t have those kinds of leaders today. The people themselves have to take the lead, claim their truth, and speak it to the world. We cannot allow our precious inheritance to be hijacked and publicly degraded.

Thank you R. Eidensohn and R. Adlerstein for starting the process and providing the forum.
A STILL SMALL VOICE - Correspondence Teachings in Jewish Wisdom
Chabad St. 90/16      Tel/Fax (011-972-2) 628-2988
Jerusalem, 97500