Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rachel showed modesty by betraying Yaakov?

This description is also found at Megilla (13b). How is the betrayal of her husband as well as causing him great embarrassment and to violate halacha (since he was having relations withone woman while he had his mind on another one) - considered praiseworthy and why is it labeled as tznius (modesty)?

Bava Basra(123a):... Wherein did Rachel's modesty lie? It is written, And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother and that he was Rebecca's son. Was he not the son of her father's sister? But he said to her,[Will] you marry me? [And] she replied to him, Yes, but father is a sharper, and you will not he able [to hold your own against] him Wherein, he asked her, does his sharp dealing lie? I have, she said, a sister who is older than I, and he will not allow me to be married before her. I am his brother he said to her, in sharp dealing. But she said to him, may the righteous indulge in sharp dealing? [he replied]. With the pure, [Scripture says], Thou dost show thyself pure, and with the crooked Thou dost show thyself subtle.[Thereupon] he entrusted her [with certain identification] marks. While Leah was being led into [the bridal chamber] she thought, my sister will now be disgraced [and so] she entrusted her [with] these very [marks]. And this accounts for the Scriptural text, And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah, which seems to imply that until then she was not Leah! But, [this is the explanation]: On account of the [identification] marks which Jacob had entrusted to Rachel who had entrusted them to Leah, he knew not [who] she [was] until that moment.

Bnei Brak nursing home staff abandoned elderly in fire

Staff members at a nursing home in Bnei Brak did not call the fire department to report a blaze that broke out at the facility on Saturday night and were not present when firefighters arrived on the scene, a spokesman for the Bnei Brak Fire Department told Army Radio on Sunday.

Seventeen people were injured in the fire. Bnei Brak Fire Department Spokesman Hezi Tzafania said that "when the first teams arrived on the scene, they did not see any of the staff present. Nobody was there to direct them and give them an indication of how many elderly people were present. The staff must have escaped."

Suspicion: Haifa man sexually assaulted kids

A 28-year-old Haifa resident was arrested Thursday on suspicion of committing lewd acts on dozens of children, mainly in the Carmel region.

An undercover female police officer apprehended the suspect as he was grabbing a little girl's behind at a Haifa bus stop. The suspect claimed he had touched the girl by mistake. [...]

Chuetas of Majorca & Shavei Israel

YNet   I have no idea what this means - would appreciate any documents concerning this matter

But in July Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, the head of a religious court in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak, officially recognized the Chuetas as Jewish after years of campaigning by Shavei Israel. 

The ruling does not automatically confirm the Jewish status of every member of the community.

Chuetas who want to make a return to Judaism will still have to be vetted by a rabbinical court that will examine their family histories to determine whether they are Jewish. But the ruling makes the process easier.[....]

Unlike other descendants of Jews who were forced to convert in other parts of the world, many Chuetas can prove their Jewish lineage back hundreds of years because of the longtime refusal of Catholics in Majorca to marry them. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lev Tahor: Haaretz's view part II

The bitter struggles triggered by Haredim from other sects joining Lev Tahor have been even more fierce than those that have occurred in secular families whose children joined the group. In fact, most of Helbrans’ real conflicts with the Haredi world began after Hasidim – including some with very distinguished family pedigrees – left their Rebbes to join the court of Helbrans, who is derisively referred to as “the kibbutznik who found religion,” and who comes from a Sephardi background to boot.

In this particular arena, the language used in the struggle is especially crude and harsh. “Shlomo Helbrans tormented and shredded the hearts of men and women, and stole good and decent children from their parents’ homes, and turned them into beggars, and lunatics, who shame their fathers and mothers, and who tell their fathers and mothers: ‘You have not seen him [Helbrans],’ and do not heed them,” says one flyer that was distributed around Monsey and in New York City. At the bottom is a hotline number one can call with complaints about Helbrans’ behavior.

A similar flyer in the Satmar community concludes with the words: ”He is the biggest scoundrel in Jewish history. Let us put an end to the darkness. This same man who was born in impurity in the kibbutz of the Zionists shall preach no more. Please help before it’s too late!” [...\

Solution for aguna - annulment of marriage?

During the panel discussion at Spertus, a Jewish educational center near Grant Park in Chicago, Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, who is featured in “Women Unchained,” mentioned one possible hope for chained wives: an annulment. 

If a marriage began under false pretenses, Rabbi Schwartz said in a telephone interview, it can be considered never to have taken place. Such a case might involve a spouse’s failure to disclose homosexual tendencies, an abusive streak or a gambling addiction. 

“If he had this addiction,” Rabbi Schwartz said this week, “and he had covered it up, and once they get married, he goes through his money, his wife’s money, he cleans out her accounts, he’s gambling it away, he goes to the casinos, and back and forth — that’s a deception.” 

Rabbi Schwartz cautioned that for an annulment to occur, a spouse’s flaw must have been present but hidden before the marriage. In the end, the prenuptial agreement matters because a rabbi can do only so much. 

“I can’t break the law,” Rabbi Schwartz said — although others sometimes do. He said he had recently met a Russian Jewish immigrant from a “semi-Hasidic” community. “I was talking in his presence about the problem of the chained women,” the rabbi said, “and he said in Yiddish, ‘What’s the problem? We don’t have a problem! We beat them up.’ ”

Jewish Billionaire focused on social change

Swartz contends that the key to social change is civic engagement and dialogue with the centers of power, whether they are governments or businesspeople. "There is a rap song from a long time ago by Public Enemy, called 'Fight the Power.' No: Use the power. That is what is wrong with the rage movement. There is no agenda. There has to be an agenda. The agenda has to be the perfection of society, not its destruction or demonization. 

"The government is not wrong. Business is not wrong. Wealth and equity did not happen. It is an accountability that we share. What are you going to do about it? You want to just Rage Against the Machine? That's a cool band," he says, but rage alone is not enough; the way to effect real change is to utilize the market to compel CEOs to take responsibility. "We are a generation that demands more," he adds. 

The effective way to foment social change, asserts Swartz, is by way of "a targeted conversation aimed at the CEO that makes him or her a little uncomfortable, but that is done in a way that allows there to be some middle ground for a conversation, that says, we will negotiate solutions. [The problem solvers] will not be from the left or from the right. They will be in the middle. Politically, militarily, socially.

Artistic license for social protest - allows lies about Apple?

Why someone would fabricate information about human rights violations involving Apple in China is anyone’s guess, but according to Public Radio International essay-style weekly This American Life, that’s just what happened during what became its most popular podcast ever. In fact the show’s host, Ira Glass, says Mike Daisey — the man whose allegations about Apple’s Chinese labor practices triggered a public relations firestorm — was flatly dishonest with him. As such, Glass says he’s officially pulling the story, effective immediately. [...]

Daisey, for his part, has already responded on his website, stating that he stands by his work, and writing the fabrications off as artistic license. “My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge,” he says. “It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.”

Jewish American teen is top Irish dancer

NY Times

For those feeling down about the United States and its place in the world, meet Drew Lovejoy, a 17-year-old from rural Ohio. His background could not be more American. His father is black and Baptist from Georgia and his mother is white and Jewish from Iowa. But his fame is international after winning the all-Ireland dancing championship in Dublin for a third straight year.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi's visit to Poland

Perl Perry & Dr. Phil: Orthdoxy is a cult!

Jonathan Haidt: Religion, Evolution & Self-Transcendance

Rav Herschel Schacter criticizes group - Beis Hillel

Rotter forum

בכתבה שתתפרסם השבת ב'עולם קטן' מותח הרב צבי שכטר, ראש ה'ישיבה יוניברסיטי' וממלא מקומו של הרי"ד סולובייצ'יק, ביקורת על רבני 'בית הלל' ועל דרכם ההלכתית המקלה: "כמו באמריקה, הרבנים הצעירים אוהבים לעשות שטיקים". רבני 'בית הלל': "צר לנו על שהטעו את הרב
בכתבה שתתפרסם השבת (ויקהל פקודי) בעלון 'עולם' קטן' מתאר הכתב ארנון סגל את הפגישה שערך עם הרב צבי שכטר, ראש ה'ישיבה–יוניברסיטי', וממלא מקומו של הרב יוסף דב סולובייצ'יק ז"ל.

בכתבה מתייחס הרב שכטר בן ה-71 לדרך בה תופסים בארץ את משנתו של הרב סולובייצ'יק, כשבתשע עשרה השנים שמאז פטירתו, מתנהל מאבק על מורשתו
סגל מתאר איך בשעה שנכנס לחדר, היה הרב שכטר שקוע בקריאת הכתבה ב'ישראל היום', בה התראיינו חלק ממקימי פורום 'בית הלל' ובה הם מתארים את חיבתם לסמרטפונים ולסדרה סיינפלד. (הכתבה נכתבה לפני הקמתו בפועל של הארגון).

Suicide of victim forced to marry rapist - to preserve honor

The case of a 16-year-old girl who killed herself after she was forced to marry her rapist has spurred outrage among Morocco's internet activists and calls for changes to the country's laws.

An online petition, a Facebook page and countless tweets expressed horror over the suicide of Amina Filali, who swallowed rat poison on Saturday to protest her marriage to the man who raped her a year earlier.

Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code allows for the "kidnapper" of a minor to marry his victim to escape prosecution, and it has been used to justify a traditional practice of making a rapist marry his victim to preserve the honor of the woman's family.