Saturday, December 31, 2022

'West using Ukraine to destroy Russia' - Putin

In a nine-minute message - the longest New Year's address of his two-decade rule - Putin accused the West of lying to Russia and of provoking Moscow to launch what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Sketchy George Santos burned campaign cash on hotels, meals — and ducked reporting mandate

The election season spending spree included:

$12,386 on Hyatt hotels from West Palm Beach, Fla., to El Paso, Texas.

$14,000 at pricey Queens restaurant Il Bacco.

More than $38,000 crisscrossing the country on Delta Airlines, with which the campaign made 123 separate transactions covering airfare and baggage fees since the start of 2021.

The 34-year-old’s campaign also covered five stays at the Garden City Hotel in his Nassau County-based district — costing nearly $3,000 on top of the almost $11,000 more spent on renting an apartment for “staff.”

“The sheer volume of travel is very unusual for congressional candidates,” Daniel Weiner, a former Federal Elections Commission lawyer who now works at the NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, told The Post Friday about Santos’ campaign spending habits.

Six GOP House Members Who Need to Resign for Anti-Semitism Before Ilhan Omar

Trump wants Ilhan Omar to resign from Congress over purportedly anti-Semitic remarks. Why hasn’t Trump asked for these six Republicans to resign, too?

‘Jew-ish’: Santos’ evolving claims of Jewish heritage

Donald Trump payed $0 in taxes in 2020

Trump Issues 'Dangerous' Warning After Tax Returns Released

In a statement sent to Newsweek, Trump warned that House Democrats "should have never" publicized the tax records—some of the most privately held documents in the nation—and that the U.S. Supreme Court "should have never approved it."

"It's going to lead to horrible things for so many people," Trump said. "The great USA divide will now grow far worse. The radical, left Democrats have weaponized everything, but remember, that is a dangerous two-way street!"

Trump’s Taxes Are the Best Case Yet for Putting Him in Prison

Perhaps most glaring in the tax returns is that they include 26 Trump businesses—or imaginary businesses—with zero revenue and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax deductions for expenses.

Unless Trump can produce records showing the expenses are real and meet other standards to be deductible, that’s fraud. That Trump did it 26 times as a candidate and as president is powerful evidence that he qualifies for prosecution by the federal government and New York State for criminal tax fraud.

Full List of Trump's Foreign Bank Accounts

In 2016, Trump held accounts in China, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Saint Martin, according to CNN. He again listed the first three the following year, and only the U.K. in 2018 and 2020.

Trump's Tax Shenanigans Show Need for Real Reforms

Despite bragging that he's "very rich," former President Donald Trump paid little or nothing in federal income taxes, year after year after year. The IRS never audited Trump as president, in contrast to its own rules, though it audited every other president from Jimmy Carter to Joe Biden.

Trump's low tax payments illustrate his willingness to break the law. But there's a bigger problem. The law itself is rigged in favor of the wealthy and against the rest of us. While Trump likely acted illegally at times, much of his tax avoidance was perfectly legal.

Congress should unite around a basic principle that Republican, Democratic, and independent voters support: the wealthiest, whether they are presidents, CEOs, or just rich heirs, should pay their fair share. Using Trump's tax maneuvering as a guidebook could make the tax code much fairer for all of us.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Congressman's SANTOS Bill Aims to Ban the Obvious: Candidates Who Lie

Democratic New York Representative Ritchie Torres of the Bronx announced on Twitter that he will introduce a new bill that would require candidates for public office to disclose information about their background and qualifications under oath.

The title? The Stop Another Non-Truthful Office Seeker (SANTOS) Act, named after Torres' soon-to-be House of Representatives colleague, George Santos.

Hershey sued in US over metal in dark chocolate claim

But the lawsuit refers to recent findings by US magazine Consumer Reports (CR), which tested 28 dark chocolate bars for lead and cadmium.

The magazine alleged that 23 of them, including chocolate from Hershey, Godiva and Lindt, contained "comparatively higher levels" of the metals.

"For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce (28g) a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities and CR's experts say may be harmful for at least one of those heavy metals," it claimed.

In particular, Hershey's Special Dark bar and Lily's 70% bar were high in lead, while Lily's 85% bar was high in lead and cadmium.

"Any food can contain heavy metals if they are present in the soil in high concentration," nutritionist Sheeba Majmudar told the BBC.

Did MIT Study Prove Pfizer Vaccine Raised Heart Problems?

People are jumping to wholly unjustified conclusions based on the little they read about the MIT study, often without even reading it!

The truth is – the MIT study did NOT prove that the Pfizer vaccine raised the risk of heart damage in people who received them.

George Santos Says His Mom Died Of 9/11-Related Illness. Advocates Say He’s Lying

His claims regarding his mother’s cause of death are not the first time Santos has used his family to bolster his campaign image. He was also revealed to have falsely claimed that his grandparents were Jewish Holocaust survivors who fled Nazi Germany during WWII, and described himself as a “proud American Jew” in campaign documents.

George Santos' Lies Spark Talk of Ilhan Omar 'Marrying Her Brother'

Greene wrote in a September 2021 tweet: "@IlhanMN marriage fraud is a felony. Free upgrades are nice on airlines, but marrying your bother to give him an upgrade is a felony I look forward to make sure is investigated."

The Georgia Republican took aim at Omar again on Tuesday.

"George Santos lied about his resume, and the left is demanding he resign. Ilhan Omar says she didn't marry her brother, she lied," Greene tweeted. She offered several other examples of people she also accused of lying.

Fact-checking organization PolitiFact reported in 2019 that there is no evidence either proving or disproving that Omar married her brother.

Omar has fiercely pushed back on the allegations. In 2019, she called them "disgusting lies," according to the Associated Press.

New York yeshivas exploit special education funding, latest NYT report claims

 Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox umbrella organization, said in response to Thursday’s report, “Another week, another front-page attack on Orthodox Jews — this time targeting children with special needs and their families.”

“The New York Times confirms, for the 13th time in just three and half months, its obsession with spreading misinformation and demonizing Orthodox and Hasidic Jews,” the organization said in a statement.

Woman finds out she is her daughter's mother - and uncle

In recent years, more and more such cases have been found and recently, researchers concluded that human chimeras are much more common than they thought. One case that intrigued researchers was that of a woman who discovered that she was both the mother and the uncle of her daughter. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Con(gress)man Santos: Fraudster George Santos bamboozled the voters and should step aside

He now admits all the lies, so when Santos takes the oath of office on Jan. 3, there’s no reason to think it will be worth anything. After all, the trust of his constituents meant nothing to him. Not that he should take any such oath; if Santos has any shred of decency, he’ll step aside now that his con has been exposed, even if some of his voters are standing behind him. We’re not holding our breath.

If he doesn’t, there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do. The lies got him elected, but he has been duly elected. All that’s left is for his future colleagues to box him out and investigate him themselves, and wait for the error to be corrected by the voters in two years’ time.

GOP Congressman-elect George Santos investigated for lying about his past

Despite intensifying doubt about his fitness to hold federal office, Santos has shown no signs of stepping aside — even as he publicly admitted to a long list of lies.

Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly, a Republican, said the fabrications and inconsistencies were “nothing short of stunning.”

“The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the third district must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress,” she said. “If a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it.”

Loser of the year Donald Trump blames the Jews

It couldn’t be easy to find a Jewish audience that hadn’t condemned his public dinner with Hitler admirers; even the far-right Zionist Organization of America was upset. But not the haredi Orthodox education group at the President’s Conference of Torah Umesorah, which was meeting at his National Doral golf club in Miami.

“I’m the Jewish people’s best-ever ally” he said for the umpteenth time. Then he warned his audience about the true enemy. The Congress has become almost anti-Israel because some Democrats hate Israel with a passion.

IN AN apparent senior moment, the 76-year-old disgraced former president forgot to mention that he’d publicly dined with two of Hitler’s admirers (of which he may be another). Instead, he reminded them that he had commuted the sentence of a kosher slaughterhouse exec convicted of bank fraud and money laundering. That got a standing ovation. He repeated lines from old speeches calling antisemitism a vile poison and said, “we must confront those who spread its venomous creed.” If anyone noticed the irony, they didn’t mention it.

George Santos’ Massive Campaign Loans May Not Be Legal

Santos has already admitted using cash from his company, the Devolder Organization, to fund his campaign—a move campaign finance experts say could add up to an unlawful $700,000 corporate contribution.

That’s because, while candidates for federal office may give unlimited amounts of their own money to their campaign, they cannot expressly tap corporate accounts to do so.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Eight outstanding questions surrounding George Santos

Sizable personal loans from Santos to his campaign alongside a sharp jump in his reported personal wealth have led to questions about how he got his money.

Federal Election Commission filings show Santos loaned his campaign at least $580,000 during his 2022 run and nearly $80,000 during his 2020 run. In total, Santos brought in nearly $3 million from all sources during his 2022 campaign.

Financial disclosure forms filed with the House clerk in 2020 and 2022 show a sizable jump in Santos’s personal wealth during the intervening years. His 2020 financial disclosure said that he made $55,000 from LinkBridge Investors during the previous year and listed no other assets, income or liabilities.

Neil Gorsuch Just Said the Quiet Part Out Loud

Gorsuch described the Court's decision as "unwise" and that the emergency on which Title 42 rested "has long since lapsed."

He acknowledged the states "contend that they face an immigration crisis at the border and policymakers have failed to agree on adequate measures to address it."

He went on to say that "the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis."

"And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency. We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort," Gorsuch wrote.

George Santos on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight': I have to face my mistakes

NY GOP Rep-elect George Santos grilled over biography 'lies': 'Do you have no shame?'

Santos said he nonetheless remains committed to the issues he campaigned on this year, saying he is "not a fraud" and worked "damn hard to get where I got my entire life."

In response, Gabbard said integrity does mean carrying oneself with honor but also indicates commitment to the truth.

"[I]f I were one of those in New York's third district right now, now that the election is over and I'm finding out all of these lies that you've told… my question is, do you have no shame?" Gabbard asked.

"Do you have no shame in the people who you're asking to trust you to go and be their voice for them, their families and their kids in Washington?"

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Incoming GOP congressman from NY calls for full House ethics investigation into Santos

A fellow freshman Republican elected to Congress from New York in November is calling for a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee of Rep.-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.), after Santos admitted to lying about his background on the campaign trail.

The remarks in a statement issued by Rep.-elect Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.), whose district borders the one that elected Santos, is the latest sign of how the questions about Santos’s background are fueling a storm within the GOP and creating discomfort for fellow Republicans.

“House Republicans like me are eager to be sworn in and focus on our Commitment to America and our respective districts,” LaLota said in the statement. “Yet, over the last few weeks I have heard from countless Long Islanders how deeply troubled they are by the headlines surrounding George Santos.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) on Tuesday said Santos “deceived” the organization and “misrepresented” his Jewish heritage, adding the incoming lawmaker is no longer welcome at its events.

George Santos silent as NY GOP slam lies — but won’t push him to quit

“Congressman-Elect George Santos has broken the public trust by making serious misstatements regarding his background, experience and education, among other issues,” Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo said in a statement to the Post that stopped short of demanding that Santos resign his seat in the House of Representatives. “He has a lot of work to do to regain the trust of voters and everyone who he represents in Congress. I am deeply disappointed in Mr. Santos, and I expected more than just a blanket apology.”

Sanctions Against Kari Lake Could Cost Her Nearly $700K

Lake has already appealed the sanctions. However, she could have someone willing to pay for them: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who recently announced on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon's podcast that he was financing Lake's legal team following her public appeals for funding this month.

Democrat Zimmerman challenges Santos to resign and face him again in special election

Defeated New York congressional candidate Robert Zimmerman (D) on Tuesday called on his former opponent, Rep.-elect George Santos (R), to resign and run in a new election after Santos admitted to lying about his professional and educational background.

Trump Says He Has 'Total Immunity' Over Jan 6. and Did 'Nothing Wrong'

"NUMBER ONE, as President, I have total Immunity. Number two, I did nothing wrong. Then the Committee members, mostly the same sleaze that pushed the Russia, Russia, Russia HOAX, started saying that 'Trump' did it. Even Shifty [Rep. Adam] Schiff got into the act again. SAD!!!"

George Santos Claims His Mom Was in World Trade Center on 9/11

On Thursday 12/22 Santos indicated he will comment on the allegations against him next week.

He tweeted: "To the people of #NY03 I have my story to tell and it will be told next week. I want to assure everyone that I will address your questions and that I remain committed to deliver the results I campaigned on; Public safety, Inflation, Education & more."

Kabbala - rejection is heresy

 Rav Tzadok (Sefer HaZichronos  #3 Yichud HaShem): It is already well established for all Jews the words of our Sages and all those who are sanctified with kabalistic wisdom, what the Kabbalistic matter of the Chariot refers to. Consequently there is no need to justify it against the words of our early scholars who understood it in terms of philosophy and science and metaphysics. The rejection of this early naturalistic view has already been done by the sages throughout the generations. They questioned this approach because if it were truly valid than that means that more had been revealed to the lowly of the nations of the world and to anyone who looked at their philosophy books than had been revealed to the greatest prophets by means of only allusions and riddles. There is no need to talk about this at length to right minded Jews now that the accepted views of Kabbalistic knowledge have become widespread. Whoever denies the Kabbalistic view is a heretic as is explained concerning the mitzva of lo sasur. The Bach (# 5) says that anyone who ridicules our Sages and rejects Kabbalah - which is the source and foundation of Torah and all fear of G d – there is no worse form of ridiculing the words of our great Sages and he is deserving of nidoi.

DeSantis’s request for COVID vaccine probe denounced by health experts

Brian Castrucci, president and CEO of public health group the de Beaumont Foundation, said DeSantis “appears to be focused on creating fear around vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective,” rather than protecting the lives of Floridians.

“These vaccines have been tested and scrutinized more than any other vaccine, and they continue to save lives. Vaccine safety is not a partisan issue and attempting to make it one puts lives at risk,” Castrucci added.

Both Benjamin and Schaffner pushed back against DeSantis’s suggestion, stating that the risk of myocarditis was in fact higher in COVID-19 infections than in coronavirus immunizations. Schaffner referred to myocarditis following vaccination as a “transient phenomenon” from which the vast majority of patients fully recovered, which has also been observed by the CDC in surveys.

'Christian' missionary cult targets J'lem kids with party

"Missionaries" from The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles were seen handing out flyers to youths in Jerusalem inviting them to an event, according to a post on Facebook that attached the flyer.

The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, otherwise known as CARP, is an American organization founded by Sun Myung Moon who was a self-labeled "messiah" and founder of the Unification Church.

CARP is a US-based 501(c)(3) certified non-profit organization whose stated vision is "for every college student in America to live a Principled Life, as defined by our 3 Core Principles:

More than 80 Ohio children infected in measles outbreak, most unvaccinated

Health authorities have not reported any deaths associated with the outbreak, which began in November and started growing earlier this month into a major public health scare.

The outbreak appears to be spreading primarily among the unvaccinated. Seventy-six of the confirmed infections in Columbus were among unvaccinated children.

Physicians and local health officials have warned that misinformation and vaccine hesitancy, both of which intensified during the pandemic, have worsened the measles outbreak.

Columbus Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts said in an interview this month the outbreak began when a small number of individuals returned from a measles-endemic area and came to the city, where the virus easily spread among unvaccinated children.

“The reason why so many of our young children have been impacted by this measles outbreak is because that’s the greatest majority of our population that’s unvaccinated,” she said.

George Santos Sparks Fury After Admitting to 'Embellishing Resume'

CNN previously reported that multiple genealogists and documents suggested both of Santos' maternal grandparents were born in Brazil, and did not flee the Holocaust.

"I never claimed to be Jewish," Santos, who spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition annual leadership meeting in November, told The Post. "I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was 'Jew-ish.'"

The first openly gay non-incumbent Republican elected to the House also admitted that he was previously married to a woman. Santos said that while he dated women in the past, he told The Post that he is now "very much gay."

Police arrest suspect over blazing dumpster that injured mother during Haredi riot

The suspect was taken in for questioning, police said, adding that they intend “to bring to justice all those involved in the incident.” The suspect’s identity was sealed under a court-issued gag order.

According to a Channel 12 report, Dzalovsky was still hospitalized in serious but stable condition, as of Sunday.

I said I was Jew-ish’: GOP Congressman-elect walks back biography ’embellishments’

Pressed on the matter, Santos told the Post. “I never claimed to be Jewish… I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”

In a subsequent interview with the New York-based City & State media outlet, Santos added, “It just strikes me so odd that people are rushing to disinherit me from being Jewish or [from being allowed] to care for Israel and Judaism in a time and an era where antisemitism is at an all-time rise.”

Rep.-elect George Santos admits to lying about resume, says he’s ‘not a criminal’

GOP Rep.-elect George Santos of New York admitted in two separate interviews on Monday to lying about parts of his resume but claimed that he hasn’t committed any crimes and intends to serve in Congress.

Santos has faced scrutiny over discrepancies in his employment and education history, as well as other public claims he has made about his biography. In interviews with WABC radio and the New York Post – the first times Santos has spoken publicly about the controversy – he acknowledged that he had fabricated some facts.

Liar Rep.-elect George Santos admits fabricating key details of his bio

 Liar Rep.-elect George Santos admits fabricating key details of his bio

Long Island Rep.-elect George Santos came clean to The Post on Monday, admitting that he lied on the campaign trail about his education and work experience — but insisting that the controversy won’t deter him from serving out his two-year term in Congress.

“I am not a criminal,” Santos said at one point during his exclusive interview. “This [controversy] will not deter me from having good legislative success. I will be effective. I will be good.”

Monday, December 26, 2022

Living outside of Israel is considered idolatry

 Drashos Haran (04) That sin which is cause for apprehension on the Blessed One's part as potentially resulting in the destruction of the Jews is idol worship, to which the sin of the golden calf was similar in character. For the other transgressions do not arouse the Blessed One's wrath to such a great extent; idol worship is to be much more feared in this regard. And there is more reason for apprehension of this sin in the desert than in the land of Israel. For the Jews knew that the other lands were under the ordinance of stars and constellations, as our sages state (Kethuboth 110b): "All who live in the land of Israel, it is as if they have a G-d; all who live outside the land of Israel, it is as if they do not have a G-d." This is because the other, gentile lands are under the ordinance of heavenly plenipotentiaries, an ordinance which cannot be changed except through miraculous, Heavenly intervention (this being the intent of "for he will not forgive your sins"). Therefore, if one lives outside the land of Israel, because he is under the ordinance of a star or of a constellation, his prayer is not so readily accepted as it would be if he lived in the land of Israel, which is not under the dominion of a chief, an officer, or a ruler, but of the Blessed One Himself,

Kesubos (110b) One should always live in the Land of Israel, even in a town most of whose inhabitants are idolaters, but let no one live outside the Land, even in a town most of whose inhabitants are Israelites; for whoever lives in the Land of Israel may be considered to have a God, but whoever lives outside the Land may be regarded as one who has no Godץ Has he, then, who does not live in the Land, no God?56 But [this is what the text intended] to tell you, that whoever lives outside the Land may be regarded as one who worships idols.

Rambam (Melachim 5:12) At all times, a person should dwell in Eretz Yisrael even in a city whose population is primarily gentile, rather than dwell in the Diaspora, even in a city whose population is primarily Jewish. This applies because whoever leaves Eretz Yisrael for the Diaspora is considered as if he worships idols as I Samuel 26:19 states 'They have driven me out today from dwelling in the heritage of God, saying 'Go, serve other gods.

Ramban (Bereishis 24:03) THE G-D OF THE HEAVEN, AND THE G-D OF THE LAND. The Holy One, blessed be He, is called the G-d of the Land of Israel, as it is written, They know not the manner of the G-d of the land. and it is further written, And they spoke of the G-d of Jerusalem, as of the gods of the people of the earth. So also the Rabbis have said:. “He who lives outside the land of Israel is as if he had no G-d, as it said, For they have driven me out this day that I should not cleave unto the inheritance of the Eternal, saying, Go, serve other gods

Sinning for the sake of good

Berachos (63a) Bar Kappara expounded: What short text is there upon which all the essential principles of the Torah depend? In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths. Raba remarked: Even for a matter of transgression.

Nazir (23a) Rabbah b. Bar Hana, quoting R. Johanan, said: The verse, For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just do walk in them,’ but transgressors do stumble therein, may be illustrated by the following example. . Resh Lakish remarked Rather should it be illustrated by two men, each of whom had his wife and his sister staying with him. One chances upon his wife and the other chances upon his sister. To the one who chances upon his wife applies, ‘And the just do walk in them’, and to the one who chances upon his sister applies, ‘but transgressors do stumble therein’.

Nazir (23a) Rather is it illustrated by Lot when his two daughters were with him. To the daughters, whose intention it was to do right, applies, ‘the just do walk in them’, whereas to Lot whose intention it was to commit the transgression applies, ‘but transgressors do stumble therein’.

Nazir (23b) R. Nahman b. Isaac said: A transgression performed with good intention is better than a precept performed with evil intention. Read then: A transgression performed with good intention is as good as a precept performed for an ulterior motive, as it is written, Blessed above women shall Jael be, the wife of Heber the Kenite. Above women in the tent shall she be blessed, and by ‘women in the tent’, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah are meant.

Nazir (23b) ‘Ulla said: Both Tamar and Zimri committed adultery. Tamar committed adultery and gave birth to kings and prophets. Zimri committed adultery and on his account many tens of thousands of Israel perished.

Donald Trump Spends Christmas Raging on Truth Social

Trump ended his Christmas Day Truth Social posts by once more falsely suggesting that Pence, his former vice president, had the power to reject the electoral votes on January 6, 2021 and keep Trump in power despite his purely ceremonial role as president officer of the Senate.

"The Vice President did indeed have the power to send Electoral Votes back to State Legislatures for reapproval despite the constant drum from Democrats and RINOS that he 'ABSOLUTELY DID NOT,'" wrote Trump. "BUT, they just put CLARIFYING language in the disgraceful 'OMINOUS' BILL, making sure that A V.P. DOESN'T DO WHAT THEY ALL SAID COULD NOT BE DONE. So why the new language? Because it was just another political Con Job!"

Trump was referring to the House approving efforts to change the wording of the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to clarify that a vice president's role in certifying the election results is merely ceremonial, and that they do not have the power to determine who actually won an election.

Likud, RZP agree to not join int'l convention to fight violence against women

In April, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked sent a letter to Sa'ar, detailing many reservations to the convention. Shaked claimed, among other things, that the clauses of the treaty concerning persecution based on gender-based violence open "a door for a population unprecedented in scope to be able to claim refugee status or, unfortunately, for protection against deportation."

Her letter stated, "With all due regret, granting political asylum is not intended and cannot be a solution to any type of difficulty or distress that exists in less developed countries of origin, certainly when it comes to cross-cultural phenomena. Such a reality is of course not desirable from a practical point of view as it is an opening to countless asylum requests on grounds that are difficult to almost impossible to refute, leading to the abuse of the Israeli asylum system."

Chanukah - The Rest of the Story

This, then, is the lesson which should be gleaned from Chanukah. No display of might can ever banish that spark of hope and courage from man's heart. Tanks and battleships cannot vanquish the fortitude and determination for one's convictions. Brutality and aggressiveness will not overcome the passion which an individual feels for his beliefs. In the face of terror and discrimination, the deepest wells of mankind's gallant capabilities are exposed, enabling a handful of resisters to repel those that harass them. It happened over two thousand years ago, has occurred since, and will continue to take place: because that inner reserve of resilience and valor has never been diminished.

Hanukkah, or Why We Celebrate a Civil War

For this reason, the Hasmoneans had no choice but to destroy those Jews who wished to prevent their brethren from fulfilling their task—to be a light unto nations and to show the way to unity. The victory we celebrate on Hanukkah is not over the land we reclaimed from the Seleucids. We celebrate our victory over those among us who wished to deny the world of a shot at unity, a shot at lasting happiness and peace

Four Contemporary Interpretations of Hanukkah Candles and Ethical Traits: Zionist, Classical Reform, Hassidic, and Jewish Renewal

The Pluralist Manifesto of Hanukkah and its Mission

Rav Abraham HaKohen Kook

Everyone must know and understand that within burns a candle/lamp. There is no one's candle is like his/her fellow's and no one lacks their own candle. Everyone must know and understand that it is their task to work to reveal the light of that candle in the public realm. And to ignite it until it is a great flame, and to illuminate the whole world 

Doctors should be allowed to refuse care to LGBTQ+ people - RZP MK

Struck was commenting on the fact that both RZP and United Torah Judaism’s coalition agreements with the Likud included an amendment that would enable private businesses to refuse to provide a product or service due to religious belief if the same product or service could be obtained in near proximity at a similar price.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

How Demographic Shifts Fueled by Covid Delivered Midterm Wins for Democrats

According to his own pollsters, the former president’s misguided and unreliable management of the public health crisis cost him the 2020 election.

Now there is evidence that the demographic change spurred by Republicans’ and Democrats’ divergent responses to the pandemic likely cost Republicans a number of key seats in the 2022 midterms. And the fallout, fueled by cross-country migration and even the Covid death toll, could linger into 2024 and beyond.

False claim COVID-19 vaccines caused 1.1 million deaths

One such claim comes from a Nov. 24 article from The Expose, a website that has published multiple pieces of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

“Secret CDC Report reveals at least 1.1 Million Americans have 'Died Suddenly' since the COVID Vaccine roll-out & another Government Report proves the COVID Vaccines are to blame,” reads the article's headline.

The piece was shared more than 700 times on Facebook in a month, according to the social media analytics tool CrowdTangle.

But the article is incorrect. The data source it cites does not list any cause for reported excess deaths in the U.S. Experts say COVID-19 infections make up most of those deaths.

Study led by FDA researchers didn’t find that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine caused blood clots, contrary to viral claims on social media

These findings suggest that the initially detected associations, obtained by comparisons with historical pre-COVID data, were the result of confounding factors—such as differences in healthcare-seeking behavior and monthly variations in the baseline rates of such adverse events—rather than true associations with the Pfizer vaccine. Confounding factors are variables that affect the outcome of an experiment, but aren’t the variables being studied in the experiment.
Yazan Abou-Ismail, a hematologist at the University of Utah Health who specializes in blood clotting disorders, also pointed out in a Twitter thread that the claim is inaccurate and the study “cannot be used to claim causality”.

George Santos may be Congress’ Talented Mr. Ripley. Some of his voters just don’t care.

 Republican Rep.-elect George Santos stands accused of fabricating major portions of his biography, from his Jewish ancestry to what companies he worked for.

But disgust for Democrats is so strong among some voters in the district whose seat he flipped, they’d rather have a fabulist representing them in Congress.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Trump Put on Blast for ‘Lying’ About Tax Audits That Supposedly Prevented Records Release

Critics, congressmen, and members of the House Ways and Means Committee that released a six-year snapshot of Trump’s taxes slammed the former president on Wednesday for “lying” about a faux IRS audit throughout his presidency. The lie began in 2016 during his presidential campaign, when the Republican candidate claimed he couldn’t share his financial details due to an ongoing IRS audit, and grew to claims of multiple audits throughout his presidency as a basis for continued concealment of the documents. In actuality, the agency failed to audit Trump for the first two years of his presidency—despite the fact that annual audits of the president are required by law. Trump’s failure to provide his tax returns broke tradition with every president since Nixon and many vice presidents, who voluntarily offered records of their annual tax returns to the public for transparency. “Tonight we learned the IRS failed to follow the law and did not audit donald trump for years,” said one of the committee members, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), on Twitter. “Oh yeah and trump was lying when he said he was under audit.”

Far Right Turns on ‘Faker’ & ‘Liar’ Marjorie Taylor Greene

The far right is out to destroy one of their own.

Over the past week, far-right pundits have begun lining up to take shots at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) as the congresswoman reportedly vacationed in Costa Rica.

As for why fellow extremists are upset? That’s three-fold—and it involves Greene’s vocal support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be the next Speaker of the House, her public spat with onetime friend Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and the finalization of her divorce.

Judge dismisses remainder of Kari Lake’s election lawsuit following two-day trial

An Arizona judge on Saturday ruled against Kari Lake in her challenge of Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs’s (D) victory, dismissing the highest-profile case challenging the midterm election results.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson following a two-day trial found that Lake had not proven that election officials committed intentional misconduct sufficient to change the race’s outcome.

Haredi man whose arrest sparked riot indicted for arson of Jerusalem cellphone store

A Beit Shemesh man was indicted on Friday over the torching of a cellphone store in Jerusalem several months ago.

According to prosecutors, Yehoshua Dadon, 34, and three others broke into the store in October and set it alight because the shop did not comply with religious strictures restricting the devices.

The resulting blaze destroyed the store and affected several adjacent buildings, causing around NIS 600,000 ($170,000) in damages. Dadon was charged with arson, extortion by threats and obstruction of justice.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Former President Donald Trump asked “for troops around the Capitol to make sure everyone is safe,” on Jan. 6, 2021, but was “turned down by the Democrats.”

There is no record of former President Donald Trump authorizing or requesting thousands of National Guard troops for the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Several Trump administration officials who have testified before the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 said they never heard Trump request National Guard support before or during the attack.

Congressional Democrats did not deny a request for troops. The D.C. National Guard reports only to the president. If such a request had been made, they would not have had the authority to deny it.

Jan. 6 Committee Report—Seven Biggest Revelations About Donald Trump

The House of Representatives' Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021 released its final report on Thursday with just days left in the current Congress.

The 845-page report outlined the alleged efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election as well as analysis of what took place on January 6 when a group of the former president's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

It comes just three days after the House committee made criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and recommended that Trump face charges obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make a false statement, and conspiracy to "incite," "assist," or "aid or comfort" an insurrection.

Trump Rips Jan. 6 Final Report, Blames Pelosi, Says He Called for Peace

Although Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed that he requested troops to protect the Capitol on January 6, there are no records that indicate the former president actually made the request, according to PolitiFact.

New York congressman-elect campaigned as a Jewish Republican. Was he lying?

Santos’ claims about his religious and ethnic origins are minor compared to the revelations in the Times expose, which offered new details as well as ones published previously elsewhere and uncovered by Democratic Party opposition research. There are no records of Santos attending the institutes of higher learning he claims to have attended, or of working at some of the financial brokerages he claims have employed him. A charitable institution he started has no evidence of being charitable. He has repeatedly identified with the far right, and then attempted to scrub such expressions from his social media.

Putin Finally Says the Quiet Part Out Loud

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a significant statement this week as he called the conflict in Ukraine a "war" for the first time since he ordered a full-scale invasion into the neighboring country.

‘Get Rid of the Video!’: Putin Crony Freaks Out in Live TV Flop Over Zelensky Clip

Simes described Zelensky’s speech as a total lie, from beginning to end. Solovyov and Simes bristled at comparisons to former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill, made by Pelosi. Resorting to a grotesquely Orwellian distortion, Simes claimed that Putin, in his speech to rile up the masses to support his invasion of a peaceful neighboring nation, was the one worthy of being compared to Churchill. In contrast, he described Zelensky—the president of a country fiercely defending itself from unprovoked Russian aggression—as an “evil poodle.”

Thursday, December 22, 2022

‘Openly Gay’ Rep.-Elect George Santos Didn’t Disclose Divorce With Woman

“I am openly gay, have never had an issue with my sexual identity in the past decade, and I can tell you and assure you, I will always be an advocate for LGBTQ folks,” Santos told USA Today in October, responding to criticism about his support for Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay Bill” signed into law this year by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Incoming congressman’s claims his grandparents fled the Holocaust contradicted by genealogy records,records%20on%20Jewish%20refugees%20and

Claims by incoming Republican Rep. George Santos that his grandparents “survived the Holocaust” as Ukrainian Jewish refugees from Belgium who changed their surname to survive are contradicted by sources reviewed by CNN’s KFile including family trees compiled by genealogy websites, records on Jewish refugees and interviews with multiple genealogists.

Tucker Carlson's greatest fear

Fox News star Tucker Carlson is the right’s avatar of grievance, the conductor of its orchestral whine about America’s tumble into cultural decadence, its principal hero in a fairy-tale battle against the dark magic of the Very Woke. There has been talk about him running for president, but that would be a demotion from where he is now, widely recognized as “the most powerful conservative in America.”

Right-Wingers Attack Mike Lindell After New DeSantis Conspiracy Theory

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has enjoyed the loyal support of MAGA world and conservative circles over the past two years as he’s pushed to overturn the 2020 election results.

But, in recent days, conservative pundits have begun turning on the pillow maven over a new conspiracy theory that involves auditing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2022 victory in Florida.

Specifically, right-wing blowback against Lindell began emerging after he announced his plans to audit DeSantis’ victory in Miami-Dade County.

Tucker Carlson Bizarrely Accuses Ukraine’s Zelensky of Dressing Like a ‘Strip Club’ Manager

Tucker Carlson is outraged by the way Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dressed during his historic trip to the U.S. on Wednesday, likening his appearance to that of a strip club manager. After Zelensky met with President Biden at the White House and addressed a joint session of Congress, Carlson took issue with his signature combat fatigues in the opening minutes of Tucker Carlson Tonight. “As far as we know, no one’s ever addressed the United States Congress in a sweatshirt before, but they love him much more than they love you,” Carlson said, adding: “[T]he president of Ukraine arrived at the White House dressed like the manager of a strip club and started to demand money. Amazingly, no one threw him out. Instead, they did whatever he wanted.” His comments came after Donald Trump Jr. sparked backlash on Wednesday by calling the Ukrainian leader a “welfare queen.”

Tucker Carlson Has A Total Meltdown About Zelenskyy's Speech To Congress

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson went on a bizarre tirade against Volodymyr Zelenskyy, complaining that the Ukrainian president was “dressed like the manager of a strip club” when he addressed Congress on Wednesday.

In a historic in-person appeal to a rare joint session of Congress, Zelenskyy thanked the U.S. for helping his country fight back against the Russian invasion. As Ukraine enters a brutal winter, Zelenskyy, dressed in battle fatigues, highlighted the importance of U.S. aid to the country’s ongoing resistance.

Carlson was concerned with the wartime leader’s choice of outfit.

Israel's most right-wing government agreed under Benjamin Netanyahu

A new government seen as the most right-wing in Israel's history has been agreed, sealing Benjamin Netanyahu's return to power.

Mr Netanyahu, who won elections in November, is set to serve an historic sixth term as prime minster.

His coalition contains far-right parties, including one whose leader was once convicted of anti-Arab racism.

Palestinians fear the new government will also strengthen Israel's hold on the occupied West Bank.

"I have managed [to form a government]," Mr Netanyahu tweeted, just minutes before a midnight local time (22:00 GMT) deadline set by the Israeli President, Isaac Herzog.

Five things we’ve learned through the release of Trump’s tax records

The IRS has a mandatory audit program for sitting presidents, but didn’t audit Trump until more than two years after he assumed the presidency. Trump filed two tax returns in 2017 and one in 2018, but only received his first audit while he was in office in 2019.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Scam PAC operator uncovered by CNN’s KFile pleads guilty in federal court

 Scam PAC operator uncovered by CNN’s KFile pleads guilty in federal court

The guilty plea ends the saga of Tunstall’s scam political action committees, which he first began operating in 2016 under the names of Liberty Action Group, ostensibly a group supporting then-candidate Donald Trump, and Progressive Priorities PAC – a group supporting both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and later opposing Trump’s presidency.

Trump Rages Over Hunter Biden's Laptop After Criminal Referral

Trump, who has long been critical of the 2020 presidential election, added that Biden would have lost "millions of votes" over his son's laptop. Trump is currently seeking a rematch against Biden and announced his 2024 presidential bid in November.

He continued to post about the "Deep State" and the "Unselect Committee," which he wrote is "trying to make the case that I didn't really believe I won the Election." He claimed the Twitter files proved his unfounded election fraud claims as "100% RIGHT!"

"I never thought, for even a moment, that the Presidential Election of 2020 was not Rigged & Stolen, and my conviction became even stronger as time went by. Now, with all of the massive evidence that has come to light, including recently with the FBI suppression of Election changing information, I was 100% RIGHT!" he wrote.

Lauren Boebert zings Marjorie Taylor Greene over ‘Jewish space lasers’

The two have also been at odds over Greene’s embrace of white nationalist groups, with Boebert getting into a shouting match with her colleague earlier this year over Greene’s appearance at an event organized by prominent antisemite Nick Fuentes. Another Republican member of Congress, Paul Gosar, also appeared at the Fuentes event.

Inside the Republican Civil War: Factions, Battles Explained

Although intra-party feuds are not new, Republican strategist Jay Townsend said the current civil war is "a symptom of a policy-phobic party held together by visceral hatred of Democrats."

Townsend told Newsweek that while the current Republican Party knows what it is they disagree with, they are unable to articulate what they are for. "It is the reason McCarthy can't unite his caucus. It is the reason for unrest at the RNC. It is the reason MAGA stalwarts are shooting at the Senate leader," he said.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Small but proud: Meet Taiwan’s growing Jewish community

“I want the world to know that there’s a Jewish community that cares not just about Taiwan, but about the Jews in the U.S. and Israel…anything to do with Judaism and education. My goal is to put the Jewish Community Center of Taiwan on the map.”

The Miracle of the Oil and the History of Chanuka

Scholars have been greatly puzzled by the question of why the miracle of the oil is not mentioned in any sources earlier than the Gemara Shabbat, which was compiled some four hundred years after the miracle occurred. Many offer the answer mentioned earlier - that the miracle of the oil pales next to the miracle of the victory and the rededication of the Temple; after all, "Ten miracles occurred in the Temple daily." Even the Second Book of Hasmoneans mentions supernatural miracles related to the Chanuka victory. It was only in exile, when the light of the miraculous victory had dimmed, and only after the destruction of the Temple, when the light of the rededication of the Temple was similarly extinguished - that the miracle of the oil assumed new significance, as I explained above.

The Books of the Maccabees

One very important point is that the Books of the Maccabees were never preserved by the Jews. We only have them today through the Christians – because they were included as part of the Septuagint and later in the New Testament. (Maccabees I & II are both deuterocanonical books – works included as part of the Catholic Bible by but not the Protestant.) The original Hebrew of I Maccabees does not even exist today.

Family of woman injured in Haredi protest defends culprits: ‘They didn’t mean harm’

The family of a woman who was hit and seriously injured by a blazing dumpster sent rolling down a street by Haredi extremists during demonstrations in Jerusalem last week has defended those responsible, saying they meant to block a road and “did not mean to kill anyone.”

While Mirel Dzalovsky, a 40-year-old mother of 10, remains unconscious and on a ventilator at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, her relatives said the rioters “did something awful” but stressed that they were not looking for someone to blame.

“They were not trying to harm anyone. They were trying to block a street as part of a protest,” the family told Channel 12.

Mistaken premise used to attack Chareidi leaders

 There are two frequent commentators who focus on attacking the chareidim . The latest is based on their observation that there has been widespread condemnation of the violent protests which caused serious harm to a chareidi mother of 10. Since this doesn't happen after every act of fanaticism - that is proof that all other acts of violence are acceptable to Chareidi leadership

That is simply wrong. I once asked Rav Sternbuch why he hadn't condemned an attack on a young woman in which acid was thrown at her. He replied that this was being done to get attention so it was counter productive to respond every time they do something outrageous

I once dealt with a young man who was frequently threatening suicide.  I asked his father how he dealt with it. He said, "Last night he told me he was going to kill himself. I told him that I just had a hard day at the office and could he pleased do it some other day He agreed to postpone it." 

In other words giving attention to an immature person often increases the inappropriate behavior. The absence of comment can not be taken as approval

Telling the future - not just prophets

 Sefer HaIkkarim (1:18): The Rambam writes in Sefer Madah 8th chapter of Yesodei HaTorah that Moshe Rabbeinu was not believed by the Jews because of the signs and wonders...The Rambam is saying that that the miraculous signs that were done by the prophets  -  like the dead person who was resurrected by Elisha or Na’aman’s cure from leprosy or Chananya, Mishael and Azariyah who were not harmed when thrown into a furnace or Daniel who was saved from the lions or Yonah who was saved from the belly of the fish and similarly all the miraculous signs that were done by the prophets or the foretelling of the future  -  are in fact not in themselves proof to the validity of prophecy. In fact, people other than prophets are capable of foretelling the future such as astrologers or diviners. Even the doing of miraculous signs, it is possible that some of them can be done by tzadikim or Chassidim  -  even though they are not prophets. For example, R’ Chanina ben Dosa and R’ Pinchas ben Ya’ir and his colleagues or by means of natural technology as Chazal tell us concerning King Chezkiyahu… who was saved from fire by the use of salamander oil. Alternately the supernatural events could be done through magic as we saw in Egypt or by utilization of Divine Names…because the Divine Names have the ability to bring about miraculous events. …

Arizona judge rules two of Kari Lake's election challenge claims can go to trial

An Arizona judge ruled that two out of 10 claims, brought by former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, challenging Democrat Governor-elect Katie Hobbs' election victory can go to trial.  

Maricopa County Superior Judge Peter Thompson dismissed eight out of 10 counts in Lake's election lawsuit - ruling they did not fall under the proper criteria to bring election challenges under Arizona law.

The two counts that Judge Thompson ruled can go to trial involve printers malfunctioning on Election Day and ballot chain of custody. Lake claimed printers that malfunctioned were not certified and had "vulnerabilities" that made them "susceptible to hacking." She also claimed the printers malfunctioned because of "intentional action." 

Marjorie Taylor Greene Turns on Lauren Boebert After 'Space Lasers' Taunt

"I've aligned with Marjorie and been accused of believing a lot of the things that she believes in," the GOP's Boebert told Kirk while standing next to Republican Representative Matt Gaetz. "I don't believe in [McCarthy as speaker], just as I don't believe in Russian space lasers, Jewish space lasers and all of this. No."

The Legacy of Rabbi Feivel Cohen vis-à-vis the Agunah Problem by Rabbi Shalom C. Spira

 Last month, on 26 Marcheshvan, 5783, Rabbi Feivel Cohen – author of Badei ha-Shulchan and other works – ascended to the Heavenly Academy. Ten days later, Rabbi Mordechai Willig – chief justice of the Beth Din of America – delivered an eloquent appreciation for Rabbi Cohen [available at <>] , in which he mentioned Rabbi Cohen’s legacy vis-à-vis the agunah problem. I wish to respectfully yet carefully review Rabbi Willig’s remarks in the present essay, ke-darkah shel Torah

            The bulk of Rabbi Willig’s lecture explores Hilkhot Eruvin. Seeking to solve a particular difficulty in the field that is raised by Sfat Emet, Rabbi Willig [commencing 53:50 into the recording] cites a brilliant insight of Rabbi Cohen’s book Da‘at Kohen which clinches the discussion. It is at this point that Rabbi Willig turns to eulogizing Rabbi Cohen by describing the latter [not only as a proficient scholar in Eruvin but also] as a closet supporter of his prenup [viz. the 1993 Beth Din of America prenup] designed to rescue agunot

            Specifically, Rabbi Willig reports that – years ago, when Rabbi Willig was first contemplating his proposed prenup [before its ultimate release in 1993] – he studied Rabbi Cohen’s book Mi-Dor le-Dor, where the author elucidates how to execute an estate-inheritance-will via a shtar chatzi zakhar without running afoul of the rules of asmakhta (a contingency agreement wherein the person accepting liability never seriously anticipates that his obligation to pay will materialize and hence is halakhically invalid). After digesting the book’s contents, Rabbi Willig arrived at the conclusion that the same mechanism which Rabbi Cohen employs to bypass the asmakhta problem for a shtar chatzi zakhar can likewise bypass the asmakhta problem for committing a husband to pay his wife money as soon as she moves out of the house until such time as the husband will grant a get [=the essence of Rabbi Willig’s prenup, and a putative formula to rescue agunot].  

Seeking confirmation, Rabbi Willig approached Rabbi Cohen with the prenup idea. In Rabbi Willig’s words: “He was very nice to me. He said: ‘You know, it’s very good, the sevara is right, but we’re not doing it over here in Brooklyn.’” The implication of Rabbi Willig’s testimony is that Rabbi Cohen agreed to his prenup in principle, but simply as a matter of voluntary policy [so as not to rustle the feathers of fellow Brooklynites] preferred not to implement the concept in his community. 

            Alas, Rabbi Willig’s extrapolation from shtar chatzi zakhar to the laws of gittin [and likewise Rabbi Cohen’s reported closet support thereof] is (be-mechilat Kevod Toratam) tenuous. In the case of a shtar chatzi zakhar, the sober-minded individual signing the document knows in advance that there is a reasonable probability he will die (until we are privileged to experience the messianic era when the mal'akh ha-mavet will disappear, as per the Gemara, Sukkah 52a) and so he sincerely wishes to bequeath property to others a moment before death occurs [as the shtar chatzi zakhar declares]. By contradistinction, in the case of Rabbi Willig’s prenup, the groom who signs the document does not seriously entertain the probability that his wife will ever demand divorce in the future. [If he realized that this was such a demanding wife, he wouldn’t have signed the document in the first place.] Hence, the quotidian money transfer specified in the prenup indeed represents an asmakhta which the husband is not obligated to pay, and if a secular court nevertheless threatens the husband that he will lose the specified money until he grants a get, then the get is invalid as per the Mishnah, Gittin 88b [that a get coerced by a secular court contrary to Halakhah is invalid].   

            Admittedly, it is true that the Mishnah, Makkot 3a compares the actuarial probability of future death to the actuarial probability of future divorce in calculating how much money to fine edim zomemin (witnesses who claimed that a husband divorced his wife without granting a ketubah, and were then discovered to be false by virtue of their not being in the location of the alleged divorce at the time of the alleged divorce). Perhaps it is this Mishnah that caused Rabbi Willig and Rabbi Cohen to believe that we can extrapolate from the shtar chatzi zakhar (i.e. anticipation of death) to the prenup (i.e. anticipation of divorce). Even so, however, a careful examination of Makkot 3a reveals that [regarding divorce] the Mishnah is discussing the actuarial probability that the husband will offer a get to his wife of his own free will in the future, not the actuarial probability that the wife will demand a get from her husband in the future [the latter representing the basis of Rabbi Willig’s prenup]. Thus, it remains the case that Rabbi Willig’s prenup is subject to the asmakhta objection. Ergo, it is precisely because of our sympathy for agunot that we should encourage any married couple which has signed Rabbi Willig’s prenup to sign the release form [revoking the secular court’s ability to enforce Rabbi Willig’s prenup] in Section A of my relevant essay at <>. Otherwise, the wife may be stuck with an invalid get and hence remain an agunah. The same message [albeit without a sample release form] is offered by Rabbi Pinchas Spira [no immediate relation to this student] in his treatise Kedushat ha-Nissu’in, available at <>.  

            Me-inyan le-inyan be-oto inyan (to borrow the expression from Kiddushin 6a), Rabbi Willig’s prenup plays an illuminating role in the specific agunah case of Epstein vs. Friedman. Namely, as reported at <>, on March 29, 2012, Rabbi Hershel Schachter claimed that [notwithstanding Exodus 20:14, which prohibits arbitrarily telling a husband to divorce his wife, nevertheless] Mr. Aharon Friedman is obligated to grant Ms. Tamar Epstein a get because nobody told her about Rabbi Willig’s prenup before her marriage to Mr. Friedman. Had she known about Rabbi Willig’s prenup, she would have executed it prior to her chuppah and thereby enjoyed an automatic “get out of jail free” card.  

Alas, this approach (while well-meaning) represents a compounded error by Rabbi Schachter (be-mechilat Kevod Torato). Firstly, Rabbi Willig’s prenup would not have rescued Ms. Epstein from her agunah predicament since the prenup does not work altogether [as argued in the present article]. Secondly, even if there would be an [alternate] prenup that does work to rescue agunot [which indeed there fortuitously is, as explained in Section Q of my aforementioned essay at <>], failure to apprise the bride of the existence of the prenup [while perhaps unprofessional/unethical on the part of the mesader kiddushin who should have informed the bride in advance] most certainly does not constitute grounds for a Beth Din to subsequently obligate the husband to grant a get. See Shulchan Arukh Even ha-Ezer nos. 77 and 154.

            And this brings us to my final point. Notwithstanding his reported closet support of Rabbi Willig’s prenup, Rabbi Feivel Cohen has clearly announced [in a public manner, and not merely in a private conversation] that Ms. Epstein remains the wife of Mr. Aharon Friedman according to Torah law. [See <>, and my elaboration at <>.] Ergo, if we genuinely wish to honour the legacy of Rabbi Cohen vis-à-vis the agunah problem, we should all politely pray that Ms. Epstein soon return to Beth Din with her true husband Mr. Friedman. And this is an especially appropriate aspiration for Chanukah, since the final paragraph of Rambam, Hilkhot Chanukah points out that the Holy One, Blessed Be He, will even allow His Name to be placed in water in order to bring peace between husband and wife. 


Rabbi Spira works as Editor of Manuscripts and Grants at the Lady Davis Institute of Medical Research [a Pavillion of the Jewish General Hospital] in Montreal, Canada. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Police to close case against Rabbi Zvi Thau

The police are expected to announce in the coming days that the case against Rabbi Zvi Thau will be closed due to lack of evidence that he committed a criminal act, Kan News reported.

According to the report, the police were unable to formulate a basis for criminal charges after examining the complaints against the rabbi and no evidence was found which reached the required threshold for criminal charges.

Jan. 6 committee unveils criminal referrals against Trump

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol unveiled criminal referrals on Monday targeting former President Trump, recommending that the Department of Justice investigate the ex-president for inciting an insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement and obstruction of an official proceeding.

The referrals mark the culmination of the committee’s 18-month probe of the Jan. 6 attack and the role Trump played before, during and after the riot. They are a crescendo in the panel’s central case that Trump was at the center of a conspiracy to keep himself in power.