Wednesday, November 05, 2014

JERUSALEM IS ISRAEL ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUES.

Recently, oral argument was heard in the United States Supreme Court concerning the fight of American citizens born in Jerusalem to have "Place of Birth" line on one's passport read Jerusalem, Israel. Federal legislation specifically authorize this. However, The State Department as a matter of policy refuses to follow this statute. The case has made it before the US Supreme Court.

It should be pointed out that the three branches of Government the executive, legislative and judicial. They are understood as being co-equal each which specific powers that do not overlap. Foreign Relations belong to the Executive branch exclusively and it is not Congress' place to dictate to the State Department how o do its job. so there is a legitimate separation of powers question for the Court to decide. However, what is outrageous is the assertion made by attorneys for the Administration through the Solicitor General's office that Israel has no more right to Jerusalem than Russia does to Crimea.

The cultural ignorance and insensitivity behind such arguments border on the Anti-Semitic. Jerusalem is where Jews face at prayer. During the week Jews pray for the return of the exiles to Israel and rebuilding of Jerusalem three times daily. The Passover Seder and Yom Kippur services conclude with the declaration "NEXT YEAR N JERUSALEM".

Though a secular and ethnically diverse society the modern state of Israel asserts its historic antecedents the Kings of Davidic Dynasty. The establishment of the State of Israel was widely heralded as the Return to Zion. Although ridiculed as racist the Law of Return mistakenly seen as unfair to Arabs displaced in 1948 seeking to return to pre-1948 residences misses the cultural aspect of the law.

The Law of Return canonizes  the cultural norm of Israel as homeland. The notion of Jewry's connection to the land of Israel and Jerusalem only eroded in the aftermath of Jewry's trending away from tradition during the 19th century. Even so a proposed Jewish state in Uganda or a  the Soviet Jewish republic of Birobidzhan went  for all intents and purposes, nowhere.

It is quite serious that the Administration actually believes an argument denying  a fundamental aspect of Jewish identity, shame on them.  And if Israel has no right to Jerusalem then where do Jews have a right to belong? 

Monday, July 07, 2014

MURDER IS NOT AN EXCUSE NOR WILL IT EXCUSE

It is becoming clear that the Arab boy who was murdered was killed by Jews. Part of me wishes to minimize this outrage, that the murder of the three Jewish teens overshadows this boy's death. However, murder is a crime that must be prosecuted to the extent of the law. Yet, there are some distinctions there is a difference between an act done by individuals contrary to society's educational infrastructure and its other institutions. Those who kidnapped the three boys were at best the product of a generation feed hate along with their mothers' milk, a culture encouraging violence against Jews that reaches within every echelon of Arab society in Judea, Samaria or Gaza. No one in the Israel's Jewish community is celebrating this young person's death unlike the three finger salute or passing out candies in celebration. Remarkably a murder denounced by the Israeli government within a short time suspects were arrested and face arraignment the system is working yet the Arabs respond with massive rocket barrages including desecration of Joseph's Tomb. Sorry, the death of the Arab teen is not justifies nor does this murder justify the Arab response. The murder of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali must be responded to not out of revenge. Revenge is exclusively G-D's department but there must serve as a deterrencee to discourage anyone from harming another Jew.

Monday, June 09, 2014

FOR KING DAVID'S HONOR





Israel National News/ Arutz Sheva  reported today about a virtual conquest of King David's tomb. Evidently Catholic Mass was celebrated not in the room of the Last Supper but in the room used as King David's tomb. Assisted by Police and  Yassamim, special police Jews were made to leave the holy place to facilitate the celebration of the Mass.


While respecting other people and their faiths may be necessary in a pre-Mashiach world but there must be limits. The Jews' presence in the Holy Land is not as European or Asian interlopers but as a returning people indigenous to the land. How else to seriously claim Jewry's claim of being native to the land after nearly two millennia but by asserting the connection between present day  Jewry and our ancestors. King David has present day descendants an individual  with some knowledge of Jewish law sees indicia of Jewish life going back to antiquity. Ceding any Jewish aspect of a Historic/ Holy site is in effect a ceding of Jewish sovereignty.


Openness and liberalism cannot be extended to the point of virtual suicide. King David despite being a Biblical figure, David was King over all Israel. Allowing Non-Jewish prayer services and ritual is disrespectful and acts as a repudiation of present day Jews in Israel being connected to King David and that present day Israel is the Kingdom's successor. How can the claim be made if the King's honor is not protected?


Respect for others is necessary for a civil society but at the expense of self respect is the price is too high .

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DEMOCRATIC VALUES


Recently The Chief Rabbinate of the State of Israel repeated the opinion of their predecessors, prohibiting the enlistment of women in to the IDF. The Rabbis’ instead suggest girls serve in the national service program.

 

Finance Minister Yair Lapid posted on his Facebook page that the Rabbis’ opinion was a national scandal and in essence a tone of how dare these state employees who enjoy a good salary as well as other publicly funded perks speak against women serving in the Israeli Military. Minister Lapid railed against the Rabbis’ opinion as an insult to all women serving in uniform and in particular to those women serving in command or in educational roles. Minister Lapid is so enraged that he pledged an all out campaign to oust the Chief Rabbis.

 

Though there have been some efforts to smooth over the relationship between Minister Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and the Chief Rabbinate what remains is quite disturbing. In the interest of full disclosure this writer identifies with Haredi Jewish practice and ideology, however my issue with Minister Lapid’s posting is more rooting in my capacity as an attorney.

 

In essence Minister Lapid asserted that as State Employees Rabbis Lau and Yossef should not and indeed inappropriate to express an opinion on a matter of Jewish Law that is contrary to State policy.   Such an assertion offends basic tenants of democracy. Certainly Minister Lapid understands the independence of a democratic state’s judiciary is sacrosanct. An expectation that a Judge have his or her decisions be mere a rubber stamp of state policy, offends all principles of Justice... Among a Judge’s core duties is to tell the State when it is wrong. Indeed the notion of being a state employee as a basis for restraining a jurist’s judgments/legal opinions evokes images of tyranny, not democracy.

 

It cannot be denied a core function of the State Chief Rabbinate is the articulation of Jewish Law, Halacha particularly in public matters such as service in the IDF. To hold the Rabbis’ opinions hostage to their ideological compliance with those in power at the moment should be considered equally absurd being analogues to muzzling Supreme Justices’ in exercising their duties.

 

Further it is distressing that Minister Lapid has that profound degree of contempt for religion or complete ignorance about the fundamental aspects of any religion let alone Judaism. Perceiving the Chief Rabbis as being bought and paid for by the State and therefore they had better spin the Halacha to fit the State’s policies.  Such an understanding of the Chief Rabbis is reminiscent of the Former Soviet Union‘s official Chief Rabbinate. The thought that Minister Lapid could make such statements and threats seriously calls in to question how committed he is to democracy.

 

The larger question is on the Rabbis affiliated with Minister Lapid’s party how they could remain affiliated with someone who holds such deep seeded disdain for Judaism? How could anyone religious or devoutly secular with even a modicum of understanding of democracy allow the Minister’s outlandish posting to stand?  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

WE ARE NOT A RUBBER STAMP


What may be more troubling than Senator Chuck Hagel’s tepid attitude toward Islamic terror and annoyance with the “Jewish lobby” is the telegraphing a warning not to oppose who the President wants. The chorus of supporters who denounce what were termed as half cocked baseless arguments against Senator Hagel denouncing him as an Anti-Semite  a allegation dismissed as being preposterous.

 

There are a few disturbing trends first apparently the sensibilities of the Jewish community at large are irrelevant to the administration. It is remarkable to declare that Jews who perceive Senator Hagel as an Anti Semite are making unfounded accusations. The Senator may truly think he does not harbor any anti Jewish sentiment and his opinions are consistent with being Philo-Semitic. However it should be up to the Jews themselves to decide who is or is not a hater.

 

Indeed it is troubling that despite repeated protestation of an unshakeable commitment between the United States and Israel the selection of Senator Hagel for Secretary of Defense and Mr. Brenan for the Central Intelligence Agency contradict the President’s pronouncements.

 

 Further the subtle but clear warning to the pro Israel /Jewish community that if the President does not get his way there will be consequences.  There IS NO PLACE IN AMERICIA’S POLITICAL DISCOURSE FOR THREATS or other rhetoric by those in power to chill freedom of speech especially political speech.  

 

Aside from the United States distancing itself from a reliable ally these nominees seem to be too accommodating to entities hostile to America’s interests is this the attitude the United States needs at the helm of national security.

 

Clearly there is something about Senator Hagel’s and Mr. Brenan’s opinions and positions that are not in interest of the United States nor is the matter in how these fellows are being presented for nomination that just does not serve America’s best interests.

 

Please contact your Senators to protest Senator Hagel for Secretary of Defense and Mr. Brenan  exercise YOUR protected right of free speech

 

   

Sunday, November 04, 2012

SANDY -A WEEK LATER

Sandy arrived just about a week before the national elections and left behind a level of devastation which could be reasonably described as being of Biblical proportions. Such an event cannot go without reflection and comment.

Maybe the first thing to notice is the relatively small loss of life in relation to the extent of property damage and disruption Sandy left behind. Zev Brenner of Talkline Communications offered that Sandy's legacy is to remind everyone that what matters is what binds us together and not what separates us.

Maybe there are some lessons to take away from Sandy First and foremost everything comes from G-D and therefore even natural phenomena are part of Providence, G-D is sending a message and has a purpose.

Possibly there was decree against the US to suffer devastation and Sandy was sent in place of an Iranian Biological or Nuclear weapons.

Additionally in a but for the Grace of G-D go I  perspective the mistake one  makes in taking the circumstances of one's life for granted. Failing to see one's stuff as on loan or as D-vine gifts  maybe why G-D needed the send a wake up call, that houses, furnishings, cars, gadgets and toys are here to make life  easier and more comfortable but not just to provide pleasure but to facilitate our growth and further fulfill one's D-vinely given role in G-D's design.

Lastly before anyone criticizes Government's response to Sandy bear in mind the level of devastation was unprecedented. Certainly a multi state disaster is a situation that even proponents of small government acknowledge rightly falls under the jurisdiction of a Federal-Local partnership. As Katrina showed in the past and now with Sandy a doomsday plan needs to be in place so that those isolated by a Sandy like storm need not suffer unnecessarily. Friday November 2, 2012 on Red Eye Radio a caller from Manhattan spoke how he was sitting in a dark apartment, cold without food or water and with no inkling of help , not FEMA, National Guard or NYPD or FD the desperation was as frightening as it was heart wrenching. It is doubtful this fellow is alone.

Additionally, a report came out that electric workers came from Alabama to work on restoring service to stricken areas only to be turned back because they were not union. Imagine in the face of massive suffering on the most basic level  protecting one's economic interest remains more important-shame on you! The organizations designed to protect the average working man from exploitation would in turn use their power to exploit their power.

Though at the end of the election cycle maybe an issue for the coming year's agenda is how to prepare for the unimaginable a nation, region, State, City, community and as individuals.
This needs to go beyond  suggestions at www.ready.gov but encourage creation legions of first responders and channels of communications etc. with periodic drills etc. show just in case . Although ultimately one must remember life is  G-D's blessing along with all the world has to offer when used according to His design. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

UNITY DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING GOES


Recently Israel’s Attorney General decided that Reform and Conservative Rabbis should receive state salaries as ‘community leaders”  who would not be involved in rendering Halachic-Jewish Law decision. Sephardic Chief  Rabbi, the Rishon L’Zion, Shlomo Amar was adamant in his opposition.



Rav Amar’s commentswere denounced as divisive by the national leadership of  Federation as well as  the leadership of the Rabbinical Assembly.



In the interest of full disclosure this writer is ordained as a Rav by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and even though I agree with Rav Amar on the basis of religion. However, it as an attorney that I truly agree with the Rishon L’Zion .  The Chief Rabbi’s opposition against the recognition on any level of non-orthodox  Jewish clergy by the State of Israel begins a slippery slope fraught with unintended consequences.



Under principles of democracy and civil rights how does Reform or conservative enjoy more legitimacy than Karaites,  Ethiopian Commandment Keepers (not to be confused with real Ethiopian Jews) or Messianic Jews ET. Al?  Indeed as a teenager I recall a book that argued the present day Reform movement was part of a tradition of dissent beginning with the Sadducees and continuing through the generations including the Karaites, Shabbtai Zvi  etc . . .  Once notions of equality and democracy are applied over time what is included within the ambit of a principle tends to expand. It is doubtful that the civil rights activists that championed racial equality in 1960 envisioned they were opening the doors for  the disabled or sexual orientation? Most likely not however once the great historic forms of prejudice race and gender were addressed other groups previously viewed as different  eventually began to be seen as fitting the paradigm of discrimination deserving of the law’s protection.



Certainly I do not endorse discrimination against the disabled or anyone else for that matter. However, even good ideas need reasonable limitations. Under Israeli law religion has official status. One’s faith is connected to matters of personal status. Consequently being Jewish and Judaism cannot be loosely defined concepts. The absence of a common denominator leads only to confusion diluting Judaism’s official status particularly regarding marriages, divorces, Kashruth certification and conversion etc . . . However by recognizing a single standard rabbinate this is pretty much avoided. Otherwise the possibility is some time in the future the Chief Rabbi for the State of Israel would be commenting about how her favorite Yom Kippur morning breakfast is bacon & eggs just like her Jewish father. Extreme true but too far fetched? Honestly can one really be dismissive of this worst case scenario?



Rav Amar is so right to protest the Attorney General’s order is principled and must be supported. Rav Amar’s position is not in the least way divisive but actually a true cal for Jewish unity.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WELCOME ?

Everyone focused on two gaffs during the White House Hanukkah event. First the event was some two weeks before the Holiday and the President refereed to the Maccabees as believers in the Temple not as persons of faith,

The early celebration may be only to accommodate scheduling for the White House and administration. However, and this comment  not directed to President Obama specifically because early Hanukkah celebrations were held during the Bush Administration as well. Yet, it smacks of  being a runner-up given a consolation prize that only reinforces a sense of second class status. True the December 25, observance is celebrated early by the White House so that individuals can celebrate with their families at home. Such celebrations are merely echos of the holiday and merely a cultural commemoration connected to the season and not necessarily to the holiday itself. Even so, acknowledging Hanukkah celebrates a miracle that happened" . . . [I]n those days [long ago] during this time. (liturgy). Consequently, a Hanukkah celebration outside of the eight day festival seems to completely miss the point.

Asserting the Maccabees were believers in the Temple is just so wrong. Maccabee is an acrostic for the Hebrew Who is like You among the[nations']deities O' L-rd. The Hasoneam priests and their followers were not freedom fighters seeking to oust the Greco-Syrians. Political freedom was not as important as restoring religious autonomy and freedom. Indeed after the Temple was retaken and rededicated fighting continued for years afterwards. The celebration is not just because the oil burned slowly or was not consumed. Rather Hanukkah commemorates what the light kindled from pure oil in the Temple dedicated to G-D's worship represents. The Menorah's  light, the light of Torah, the light of the human soul both being a D-vine light that dispels all manner of darkness.

True, as ,Mr. Ezra Friedlander described that at the door he was asked if he was shomer negia(an observer of the practice to separate between   men and women who are not immediate family members by not touching) a level of sensitivity to be lauded. However, there was another mistake made and that was the First Lady wearing a sleeveless dress. After all there is an office of engagement dedicated to the Jewish community. It makes sense someone who is tasked with outreach to the Jewish community would brief the First Lady as to what constitutes appropriate attire. Jewish Law requires women to dress modestly. Modest dress means covering till the knees, elbows collar bone and married women their hair. As a gentile Ms. Obama need not cover her hair but to expose her body when so many Orthodox Jews were in attendance displays a dramatic lack of sensitivity. .

This event of course comes on the heels of the US ambassador to Belgium, Defense Sec. Peneta and Sec. Clinton all engaged in harsh talk to Israel. Sec. Peneta placed the blame for stalled peace talks exclusively at Israel's feet.Sec. Clinton decried her concern about the status of women since religious soldiers walked out on performances by female soldiers.The preface to these incidents is of course VP Biden emphatic opposition to releasing Johnathan Pollard. This is just recently,but let no one forget the President pushing for a return to the 1949 armistice lines or the abandoning of Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House.

The question for 2010 is at the end of the day is are Jews and Judaism merely tolerated by the administration or are Jews and Judaism welcome?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

THE WHITE HOUSE 'S FAILURE TO LEAD


FROM WHITE HOUSE "WE THE PEOPLE"

Why We Can't Comment
Thank you for signing the petition "Call an Investigation into Allegations of Prosecutorial & Judicial Misconduct in the Case of Sholom Rubashkin." We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on WhiteHouse.gov.
As explained in the We the People Terms of Participation, the White House may at times decline to comment on certain specific matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local governments in its response to a petition. For important policy reasons, this includes specific law enforcement and judicial ethics matters. With respect to law enforcement matters, the Department of Justice is charged with investigating crime and enforcing our laws. The Department also has mechanisms in place to investigate allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, including through its Office of Professional Responsibility. With respect to judicial ethics matters, the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 vests primary responsibility for investigating and adjudicating claims of judicial misconduct with the Judicial Branch.
This petition calls for an investigation into allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in the case of Sholom Rubashkin and for action to correct the “gross injustice” in his case. For the reasons given above, the White House declines to comment on matters raised by this petition.


Yet, the reason the people turned to the White House if because asking the respective agencies to police their own has all the charm of asking the fox to guard the henhouse. It was because Attorney General Holder already turned a deaf ear despite 6 former US Attorneys General and several prominent Law Professors and Legislators and the Eighth Circuit’s bizarre ruling that the 27 year sentence is actually lenient call out for a truly independent investigation in to this truly disturbing perversion of the American justice system. It Shame on the White House for taking the coward’s way of silence. For Shame for ignoring 50, 000 citizens

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

TIME IS ABOUT UP

Below is copied and pasted from LAZER BEAMS from Rav Lazer Brody Shlita in Jerusalem. This man is not given to hyperbole. The time has come for what is truly important.

Thursday, 08 September 2011
Is Israel on the Brink of War?
Back in Rosh Hashana eve of 1973, Moshe Dayan and Golda Meir reassured a complacent Israeli public still drunk from the miraculous 1967 Six-Day War victory, "We've never been stronger! The Arabs wouldn't dream of attacking." On Yom Kippur of 1973, Syria and Egypt launched a two-prong surprise attack that brought Israel to its knees. Moshe Dayan was the first one to have a panic attack. Hashem saved us by a bigger miracle than 1967. Those of us who fought in that war can testify first hand.

Exactly 38 years later, we are in the same exact position. Only this time, the Arab noose is umpteen times more dangerous. Iran will have an A-bomb any day now. Al Qaida has taken over Sinai and our once quiet border with Egypt is now a powder keg. Turkey, our newest (old) enemy, i moving ships into our side of the Mediterranean. Hamas in Gaza has dangerous new Iranian and Libyan weapons, including bunker busters. Syria and Hizbulla have the nastiest chemical warheads, something beyond Satan's imagination.

One honest IDF commander - Home Front Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg - said we must prepare for imminent war. Defense Minister Barak and company say that Eisenberg is exaggerating. Minister Yaalon is now joining the bandwagon of complacency too, saying, "No war in sight." These politicians are spiritually deaf and blind, hearing none of Hashem's wakeup calls.

My beloved teacher and spiritual guide, Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a, called me urgently to come see him today - he rarely does that, for we usually meet at regular intervals. He told me that his spiritual guide - the holy hidden Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Zev Leibowitz of saintly memory - came to him in a dream last night and said that in Heaven, all-out war against Israel has been decreed, a war which is supposed to break out before Rosh Hashana, in other words, within the next 3 weeks.

But, don't be afraid. Hashem does love us and wants to be with us. But, we must be worthy of the Divine Presence. Rav Shalom told me that every single Jew must begin doing serious teshuva and self-assessment while begging Hashem to delay this harsh decree. I asked Rav Shalom, "Why pray for a delay? Why not pray for a total cancellation?" Rav Shalom said the delay is to allow more people to make teshuva. A cancellation is almost impossible, because it's part of Hashem's plan to bring Moshiach, in the nearest future. Once Moshiach comes, teshuva will be worthless. Today, teshuva is still worth it's weight in diamonds. But time is running out super-fast.

I know that this post may earn me the status of the village idiot. But it's worth it if even one family heeds me. There is little time left. Forget about the new furniture and the new jewelry. We must all raise our voices in such a manner that the Heavenly Throne shudders. This is Nineveh 2011. Please, if you love your spouse and your children, start speaking to Hashem for an hour a day. Personal prayer invokes phenomenal Divine compassion, because it's a strong expression of emuna. Rav Shalom says, if you believe in Hashem, you speak to Him. If you don't believe in Him, then you don't speak. Let's all start speaking before it's too late.