Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mazel Tov and Happy Birthday to AJN Watch

AJN Watch was launched exactly a year ago today and all of us here are pretty chuffed that we are still around 12 months later.

While we realized that our potential audience - frum Jews upset by the AJN’s biased and misleading reporting - was limited, it seems that there is a large measure of interest in the wider community as well. We also know via feedback that our posts have become topics of conversation at many a Shabbos table and in Shuls.

Additionally other posts of interest usually get wider circulation and we notice a spike in the readership. Thus we are BH pleased and capable to carry on in both directions and will, with the help of Hashem, continue in our task.

During the year a number of you have - via private emails - queried how we are travelling and how many “hits” we are getting?

For those who enjoy figures here you have the report from “Statcounter.com” with details for the past year.
Over 40,000 visits and thousands of repeats. Not bad for a bunch of newbies...

The figures seem adequate (at least to us) and even more so as we notice that in the last 3 months numbers they have risen by approximately 50%.

And, by the way, this is post # 194. Giving us an average of almost 4 posts per week.

Have we achieved anything? An interesting question.

Probably depends on how you look at things. The AJN is still around – and we of course never expected otherwise.We understand that the Hamodia has swallowed a fair chunk of their readership. (In our view, with some better promotion, the Hamodia with its far superior coverage and content, could do even better.)

The Jewish News still employs that page "number 2" dreckerati reporter Adam Kamien, who, you may remember, in the early days threatened to come after us. (And has been afraid to mention our name since!)

On the other hand, the creation of this blog ensures that there now is a voice for observant Jews who  previously felt degraded and hurt by the reporting style and editorial positions taken by the secular-as-they- come Australian Jewish News.

Readers may have noted that not only Kamien but the AJN itself has banned any mention of our name in both their newspaper and their website. Any reference to AJN Watch in any letter or posted in their comments section is immediately deleted. Despite this many of our posts have been widely distributed by our readers and often forwarded to writers and reporters in the wider Australian and the international Jewish media. No doubt it could be awkward for the AJN – which regularly criticises other media for anti-Israel/anti-Jewish bias - to be shown up as doing the same to Orthodox Jews.

Obviously no reasonable fair-minded person, whether orthodox or not, indeed whether Jewish or not. could fail to be appalled by the “Charged” front page cover about Rabbi Engel of Adelaide. Exposing such iniquitous publishing standards and unconcealed prejudice may hopefully ensure that the publishers will think twice before repeating such blatant intolerant bias.

And of course the delicious upshot of that affair is that the editor responsible for the headline, Ashley Browne has meanwhile been thrown out of his job whilst Rabbi and Mrs Engel have been totally exonerated!
We are optimistic that Browne’s replacement has superior standards to his predecessor.

Our campaign against the AJN’s advertising and publicisingTreif establishments continues and we cannot let go. It is an utter disgrace that a so-called “Jewish” publication blatatnly promotes non-Kosher. The minimum that they must do is to adopt the UK Jewish newspaper system where every advertisement for a caterer or restaurant includes a symbol indicating whether it is Kosher or non-Kosher. Zeddy Lawrence, the current editor, hails from London and should know all about this. It is about time that he introduced at least this minimal change.

We have a lot more to say and no doubt will do so in later posts. Meanwhile “Happy Birthday to us” and we look forward to informing and entertaining you for another year.

Finally a vote of thanks to all who contributed 'guest posts'. These usually generated much comment (and often controversy). Please keep them coming. At the same time we extend an invitation to other budding writers to submit articles of interest.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

AJN editorial: Not good enough Zeddy

If the editor of the AJN, Zeddy Lawrence, thinks that he has in any way purged his newspaper of the despicable manner in which they reported the Engel affair, he is very much mistaken. This editorial does absolutely nothing towards this and some may say even reinforces the view that the newspaper completely disregards the feelings of religious Jews.

Admittedly Lawrence wasn’t at the helm of the AJN when this outrage occurred. However, upon assuming his position he became responsible for this affair as well. A decently worded apology would not have been out of place as well as a pledge that in future everyone – even rabbis and frum Jews – will be treated in a more humane and mentchlich manner.

"Kosher aware" - a new term for deception

Seems that the fraudulent “Kosher-friendly” and “Kosher-style” terms (see here) are old hat. Now we find the AJN advertising staff have come up with a new description for a treif locale: “Kosher aware”.

Well, if they are aware about Kashrut, they well know that what they are serving is 100% treif! What a disgrace.

Meawhile has anyone heard a complaint or protest from the ORA or RCV or indeed from our rabbis about this continuing shameless deceit? And why doesn’t it concern our rabbis enough to have mentioned this disgraceful and misleading advertising ploy in their submission to the government on labelling laws?

Why aren’t they engaging with the Jewish News demanding that they stop promoting treif – or at the very least ban misleading advertisements that easily take in naïve and unsophisticated people?

We know that many rabbis are followers of our blog. We ask them specifically “When will you take this issue seriously?”

And what about the Kashrut organisations? Shouldn’t they be battling the endorsement of treif with the same vigour that they promote Kosher?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


As dedicated and long-time readers will recall, the main motivation behind the creation of our AJN Watch blog 12 months ago was the appalling front page poster in the AJN regarding the allegations made against Adelaide’s Rabbi Engel. That despicable almost Stuermer-style depiction stunned even those readers who were inured to and hardened against the anti-religious bias of the Jewish News.
Today we have received the news that Boruch Hashem all charges against him have been dropped and Rabbi Engel has publicly been vindicated in relentlessly and stubbornly maintaining his innocence.
All praise to his supporting defence team and to all who stood by him.

The question on many lips will of course be, how will the AJN report this outcome?
Will the dropping of charges also be worthy of a full front page?

Monday, June 21, 2010

More on "Yiddish in 2010"

As if on cue in a follow-up to the post by "Chaverim kol Yisroel", here's an article on the Forward website corroborating  most of what he has written.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you that Yiddish is dead or dying. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yiddish lives and is thriving. The number of its speakers increases from year to year. Its speakers are proud of their language, and they identify strongly with it.

Of course, the Yiddish speakers of today look different and speak differently from the immigrant speakers of the turn of the 20th century. That is to be expected. Much has changed in the last century.

Today’s Yiddish speakers, the ones whose children converse among themselves in Yiddish, are overwhelmingly Hasidim. Yet the Yiddish spoken by Hasidim is not the same Yiddish that is studied and taught in academic settings and courses aimed at Yiddish learners.

Take, for example, Uriel Weinreich’s “College Yiddish,” which was first published in 1949 and today remains the standard textbook for the teaching of Yiddish. Weinreich’s book and other texts utilized in the academy use so-called “standard Yiddish,” a language artificially woven into a whole by influential scholars in the years before World War II as a compromise between what were then living dialects of the language. When “College Yiddish” was first published, there were still significant populations of native Yiddish speakers whose speech did, in fact, conform in large part to the language presented in Weinreich’s textbook.

Today, however, there are aspects of Yiddish taught in Weinreich’s book that have little or no relation to the Yiddish that is spoken as a first language by any sizable group of people. For instance, nouns, as spoken by Hasidic Jews, have only remnants of a gender system. While Hasidim do say der tate, (the father), di mame (the mother) and dos kind (the child), no one ascribees a gender to the words di tish (the table) or di benkl (the chair) — rendered as der tish and dos benkl in Weinreich’s textbook. For the most part, all their nouns take “di” equally. The falling away of grammatical gender is only one of several important language changes to have overtaken modern (i.e., Hasidic) Yiddish that the textbooks have largely ignored.

The dedication to Weinreich’s “College Yiddish” reads: “A matone di ale vos bay zeyere kinder in moyl vet yidish lebn” — A gift to all those in whose children’s mouths Yiddish will live. Now let us ask honestly: In whose mouths will Yiddish live? The answer, clearly, is in the mouths of Hasidic youngsters.

The time has come for the non-Hasidic Jewish world to face the facts: It makes no sense to teach learners of Yiddish that Yiddish has gender when the only communities of native speakers do not have gender in their language. To put this in a light more familiar to speakers of English, would it make sense for teachers of modern English to tell students that English nouns have gender just because English nouns once had gender? Clearly, when one teaches a living language, one looks to the living speakers as models of the standard language.

Non-Hasidic speakers of Yiddish may counter that it is difficult to know how Hasidic Yiddish is spoken. The community is impervious to outsiders, the argument goes.

But I have recorded the speech of Hasidic women and their daughters as well as the speech of Hasidic young men. I have found that Hasidim often are delighted to find that someone is interested in the way they speak. It is true that a language researcher needs to consider the sensibilities of his or her informants. This is equally true of all researchers dealing with any language. Non-Hasidic researchers who treat their informants with respect will find that Hasidic speakers are thrilled to find their language worthy of investigation.

The non-Hasidic Jewish world should invest some time, effort and funds in studying the living Yiddish language as it is developing among its native speakers. Linguists around the world go to extraordinary lengths to study the authentic dialects of a language in parts of the world that are difficult and dangerous to reach. Is the non-Hasidic Jewish world so apathetic to the fate of Yiddish that it will continue to ignore the language as it is continuing to develop in its midst?

Zelda Kahan Newman is an assistant professor of languages and literatures at the City University of New York’s Lehman College.

yunger-yidisher-yid •
I know Yiddish as it is spoken among the Hasidim and I know the literary klal Yiddish. But I speak Yiddish with three genders and I write it that way. As far as teaching Hasidic Yiddish first, most Yiddish students today don't learn the language for communication but learn it for reading literature or the Yiddish press of the interwar period. I use Yiddish to communicate with Hasidim, but also with elderly Jews in Eastern Europe, with Jewish people from around the world with whom I have no other common language, and even with non-Jewish Jewish scholars who speak it better than English. And for this reason it's essential to know standard Yiddish, especially the original European Yiddish words. I'm all for studying Hasidic Yiddish and am doing so but just speaking the Anglicized 21st century Yiddish of Brooklyn completely divorces oneself from all other Yiddish speakers (and there are still are many) and Yiddish literature which is written in a very different language. I had no problem learning Hasidic Yiddish as a secondary dialect and that's the best course of action for the serious Yiddish student who wants to approach it. As far as doing so, listening to radio programs like Kol-Mevaser is essential.

elyeh •

Chasidishe Yiddish is the primary spoken Yiddish throughout the world - in Brooklyn, but also in upstate NY, in Canada, in Europe, in Israel, and elsewhere. And it is the source of most written material in Yiddish currently being produced.
So, while the so-called standard Yiddish, which is an artificial construct of 20th Century literary groups is important for reading pre-WWII literature, it is the archaic and secondary dialect of Yiddish now. Chasidishe Yiddish is the primary live form of Yiddish now.

Gershon Benyamin •

I actually took the Yiddish I and Yiddish II courses at Lehman College with Dr. Beer. I had a maternal Litvak grandmother who was alive and well while I was mastering the cases and the suffixes of strong and weak declensions. I disagree with the notion that the current, dominant speaking faction is the one that determines in which direction the grammar must change. On the contrary, I believe it is important that the standard texts be kept in place so that if and when the current speakers choose to communicate via their Mameloshn in the written form, they will have a solid standard basis from which to edit.

I was born and grew up in New York City. I can assure you, there are many aspects of native New York City pronunciation that would never make it into a textbook. I still retain much of the dialect sound of my upbringing, but I know the difference between a subject and an object.

Jewish Daily Report Yiddish lebt.

You are so right. The majority of today's Yiddish speakers never heard of Weinreich or YIVO. If you speak with them, as I have, you will learn that they are not interested in Yiddish per se. It is simply the only language that they know in their community and feel comfortable in speaking.

Forget the classroom. Go to Brooklyn or Bnei Brak if you want the Yiddish of the future.

Jack •\

After suffering years of English grammar education, mostly in the Appalachian borders of central Kentucky, I tend to align with descriptive grammarians more the proscriptive ones. [“Never end a sentence with a preposition,” indeed!] Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling that normalizing Khasidic Yiddish as the standard form is a mistake.

For example, what is the source of the apparent paring away of gender in Khasidic Yiddish? It would be truly astounding if it were a compromise between the three gender Poylish/Unkraynish dialect and the two gender Litvish dialect, as Poylish and Litvish have yet to compromise on anything linguistically. Besides, Khasidic enclaves tend to coalesce around rabbinic dynasties, resulting in segregation by regional origin, so what is the likelihood of households —the cradles of a mother tongue— forming with both Poylish and Litvish speakers? Mebbe the loss of grammatical gender is more the influence of the non-Yiddish “secondary” languages adopted from the surrounding countries of residence? Since the Khasidic marriage pool is effectively transnational, it seems possible that the loss of gender in Khasidic Yiddish is driven more by the contact of these “secondary” languages. The same process may be producing the increased use of periphrastic verbs in Khasidic Yiddish. If this is the case, perhaps we should examine whether Yiddish is truly more of a mother tongue among the Khasidim than it is among secularly educated Yiddishists.

Leaving aside the grammatical issues, the contemporary Yiddish fiction written for Khasidic and haredi readers is not much to base a literature upon. This has been addressed already in the FORWARD [Gennady Estraikh (02 March 2007) and Benjamin Weiner (22 May 2009)]. Modern Khasidic/haredi fiction is predominately a pale imitation of popular forms found in secular bestseller lists, and an even paler heir to the modern Yiddish literature of Mendele Moykher Sforim, Sholem Aleykhem, I.J. Schwartz, the Brothers Singer and Abraham Sutzkever. More worthy contemporary Yiddish literature —possibly in smaller volume— is still available from secular writers and publishers.
http://www.forward.com/articles/10214/ http://www.sisterhood.forward.com/articles/105932


Yes, Chasidim do not value fiction and therefore their fiction only exists to serve other purposes. So it is not developed.

Instead of fiction look at the Yiddish output in the Chasidishe press, in the newspapers, journals and even in the religious material written in Yiddish (most of the religious material is not in Yiddish). That is where the live Yiddish written language will be found.

Jack •

Stating that Khasidic Yiddish fiction is undeveloped because non-religious pursuits are not valued only sidesteps the problem. Newspapers and journals also get short shrift —except for the religious content— and so the Yiddish writing in them is undeveloped. What little I’ve seen of religious literature in Khasidic Yiddish suggests that the writing gets a pass so long as the content is kosher. The problem is not the quantity, but the quality of writing.

Phil Fink’s perspective below confirms what I have long suspected. An issue of the Forverts from the 1930s or the works of I. B. Singer are just as comprehensible to a Yiddish speaker who has learned mameloshn outside the Khasidic/haredi sphere, as today’s issue of the i>Forverts or a short story from Pakn Treger. The test would be whether a speaker of khasidish yidish could do the the same.

Phil Fink

Being a native born American from native born American parents ... who spoke Yiddish while I was growing in our house to my maternal grandparents who resided with us... learned mamiloshen . That's the good news. Ted news was that they never taught em grammar. The Yiddish had :Americaner" sound to it... what my "bobbe" didn't say in Yiddish she yiddishsized the English. And she was not alone. Today I speak Yiddish to my friends fluently... but not "chassidishe' Yiddish... I still can't understand "cain ein vort voz zeh redden"

For my age (65) I'm content. Oh, and by the way Yiddish has helped me in my professional live and when I travel and I always get as little something extra should the merchant or worker understand a "vort' or two.

Yiddish is not dead... It isn't even resting... Zi Leibt.

Bernard Yablin

12 years ago,I had the pleasure of spending 6 weeks with the Satmar kids in Kiryas Joel. I had to "transpose" my Litvisher version of Yiddish They did not speak much English until they started Kindergarden in the local public school district.My most common Yiddish phrases were"Please take off your shirt"and "get on the examining table"


the author must specify exactly which hasidim she has in mind and after that explain whether these particular hasidim would want to say even one word in yiddish to non-hasidim. also in my rather limited experience with hasidic yiddish - it seems pretty basic and crippled to say the least. yes it lives, sure it will continue. is it a rich and colorful language (as spoken by the hasidim) - I think not.


Yiddish does not have as may "rules" as college couses would have us believe. It was created just to insulate jews from their gentile neighbors and it served that purpose all along.

Ask the editor of the yiddish forward, how many simple and basic errors his writers and corepondents — who have earned their Yiddish doctoral degrees in the most famous universities — make in each and every piece they submit.

Long live plain and simples Yiddish. No grammer rules need apply. My mother, who speaks yiddish to five generations (including my own great grand children) knows of no rules.

Yunger Yidisher Yid

What a moronic statement. Can you speak any Yiddish? No language, in any form can exist without rules and grammar. Otherwise its speakers would not understand one another. Think about it. If I wrote the above as "?moronic a what stament, ken u yidish speak" would you understand me as readily? Yiddish had a very complicated grammar in Europe in its written form, a lot more complicated than English (three genders, four cases). The American Yiddish of Hasidim has a simpler grammar but the grammar is still completely distinct from English (although there are a few influences) and has hundreds of rules, just like languages or dialects of any other languages. 95% of the grammatical rules of Yiddish haven't changed at all in any place in the past 600 years (word order, word endings other than cases, etc).

le newyorkais •

Kharedi Yiddish is adequate for only 1 function----the daily and religious needs of Kharedim. It is useless for communicating literature, poetry, art, film, non-religious philosophy, and science/nature. That is why academic Yiddish was first developed and needs to flourish (if it can). Besides the awful grammar, Kharedi vocabulary is non-existent, relying on English or Modern Hebrew to fill the gaps (quick, say "cable TV," "hummingbird," or "Labor and Delivery Suite" in Kharedi). Fine study, Kharedi Yiddish as a subset of Yiddish, as you might study hip-hop as a subset of English. But if all Yiddish can do is help me converse with Kharedim, I for one, do not need it.


Yiddish as any other langauge does have rules, common patterns etc...

The question I would like to ask is: what is the fate of Yiddish? if it is in the hands of the Khereidim and Khsidim, I am sure that in so many generations that Yiddish will cease being yiddish and kholileh become merely a dialect of English like Yeshivish. But what about the veltlekhe, secular Yidn? I do not know of any "young" people especially in England who speak Yiddish, or who pass it on to their children, so surely in that sphere Yiddish will remain the language of an intellectual class just used for "reading literature" etc... then it is a dead language. One must speak to children in it, swear, pray etc... Someone tell me that the future of proper non American Yiddish is bright?

A reader writes: "The Yiddish language in 2010"

The only Yiddish publication in the Asia-Pacific region?

A reader "Chaverim Kol Yisroel" sent us the following piece as a comment and response to an earlier comment by 'a khaver' . We have asked for and received his permission to use his lengthy 'dissertation' on Yiddish language 'bizman hazeh', which we have no doubt will be of interest to many.

A khaver said...

I thank A former Talmid.. for his response.
You ask regarding the Bundistn/Yiddishistn "Are they still around?" . If you really don't know, perhaps that is a marker of how removed you may be from Yidn and Yiddishkaitn other than your own. And if it was a tongue in cheek comment, may I suggest you think about how such a comment would be received by a Bundist or Yiddishist.
But what I really don't understand, is the comment that follows. Frum Jews can't be exposed to other streams of Yiddishkait because they might be led astray? Assuming you include yourself in that group ... how fragile is the strength of your convictions, beliefs, knowledge and values that merely speaking to another Jew may cause you to reconsider your life-long held positions?
And if it did .... I am not clear why that would be a bad thing.
And how do you hope to draw other Jews into frumkait if you don't engage with them? If you don't tell me about your Rosh Yeshivah's visit, how do you expect me to know that I should go?

Finally, ikh vil dikh nisht baleydikn, but it's DIKH not DIR and it's baleydikn not baleydign.

Czernowitz Yiddish newspapers

Reply from Chaverim Kol Yisroel:

I'll leave the rest of Khaver's issues to others, but will give a general comment as well as explain "baleydikn not baleydign".
Zeit mir moychel khaver, but while you may be correct when using "college" Yiddish, the Yiddish spoken by the vast majority of Yidden these days (and also pre-war in Poylen, Galicia, Hungary and most of Russia) was closer to "baleydign" than “"baleydikn”. Introducing the ‘kuf’ in place of the ‘gimmel’ was invented at some Yiddish conference (Czernowitz?) where they tried to bring some sort of order to our zhargon. But while the secular and haskola media went for those innovations they were hardly accepted by most Yiddish speakers – especially the religious - who didn’t care too much for those resolutions.

A glance at any of the hundreds of (religious) Yiddish publications from those times until today will confirm that most ‘Yiddishistish’ ideas were ignored. After all, “MIr zenen Yidden un nisht YIddishisten". (And of course Yiddish books printed earlier had no ordered style or grammar – each area had their own dialect and spelling.)

As to “DIKH not DIR”, you may or may not be correct - but that is how it is spoken by most Yiddish speakers these days.

And while I truly have rachmones on you and the reshtlech ibergeblibene Bundisten trying to save that beached and dying whale, I think it’s too late. "Toyteh bankes" is how your zeide would have described your hopes. (I say this despite my many enjoyable hours arguing and schmoozing with many of Melbourne’s Bundistn and Yiddishestn in the 60s and 70s and from whom I actually learned quite a lot about the history of those movements. They all saw the demise sooner or later.) Melbourne Jewry already has a generation and half of people who have never seen or even heard of “Der Oystralishe Yiddishe Nayes”. (Are you one of those?)

Yes, Yiddish is alive and well - in fact flourishing. But not amongst Bundist comrades and their offspring. I have no idea what remains of this once noisy and reasonably powerful group here in Melbourne? In fact I am unsure what their function is these days. Skif? How many belong there? Or attend their camps? What is the attendance at the annual breakaway memorial gathering for the Warsaw Ghetto uprising – which the farakshen themselves so naarishly and still observe on the secular date. [Even the Israeli govt, selected a Hebrew calendar date - 27th Nissan, (despite being unacceptable to religious Jews – being in the month of Nissan). But not the Bundists, cholileh. Using our ancient and historic calendar would be far too “Jewish”. So they stick to April 19th – which seems to please the “Khaverim” and no one else.]

So vos iz gebliben fun zei?? And what about the future? Is there anyone who really cares? And what percentage of the einiklech Melbourne’s many original Bund families have any connection to Judaism? (I mean those who did not meanwhile become Chabadniks or other brands of baalei teshuva?) And have you any idea on how many have married out? (In that figure please include those with spouses “converted” via the Temple).
Pretty sad when one thinks about this. Those post war stalwarts deluded themselves into thinking that their children and grandchildren will continue in their unique or peculiar style of Yiddishkeit with the Bund having a real future. Nebach.

And if one looks at the situation in the US you find Arbeiter Ring/Bund type groups where the best they seem to achieve is to get a few dozen kids into TAFE-style courses taught by the few remaining Yiddish ‘scholars’ studying Yiddish some lost indigenous language.
Their famous newspaper – the Forverts – which was published daily for around a century - including of course Shabbos and Yom Tov - has long ago died and revived as an English language weekly (actually quite a good read). Admittedly the owners – reputed to have millions of dollars in the bank after selling off their valuable radio license, also publish a weekly Yiddish tabloid which has hardly any circulation at all. Most of their staff are late arrivals from the former Soviet Union - as are the majority of its readers. Even that infinitesimal readership is expected to dry up in the next 10-20 years.

On the other hand, in frum Jewish kehillos worldwide the Yiddish language (takeh, not the ‘faultless’ Czernowitz-nusach) is alive and well and growing in leaps and bounds.

In New York alone there are over a dozen weekly newspapers (paid and freebies) with a number of them running to 100-120 pages and to over 200 pages before the yomtovim. Yiddish CDs for children and adults are being issued every few days. Seforim in Yiddish abound. Yiddish news services via telephone (Chasidim usually don’t have radios) compete with each other both in Israel and New York. Similarly new email newsletters reporting on general and Jewish news worldwide are being launched all the time.

Thus Yiddish is Boruch Hashem alive and well. It just depends where you look.
Sorry about the rant but it was a good opportunity to get all this off my chest and also to pass on to a wider audience what I have gathered in the past few years. I seem to find that there is great interest in the Yiddish language - both by those who can and do speak it and those who don’t.

It always amazes me when reading how the AJN makes a big deal of some tiny local “achievement” re the Yiddish language - either at the Sholem school or at some course at Monash - which would be lucky to attract half a dozen students. At the same time it totally ignores the evenys and places where Yiddish really lives on, ie, the Charedi and Chassidish community. Eg, Yeshiva, Adass, somewhat less in Beth Hatalmud, Ger shteebel. Boys and lately even the girls going through the Adass school system can talk, read and write quite a passable Yiddish. In the Yeshiva there are boys who can read and give over the rebbe’s talks in Yiddish.
As to Sholem Aleichem graduates, I find that most seem to struggle to put together a complete sentence by the time they reach 20, as they have no one and nowhere to practice what they had been taught. Even the presenters on ethnic radio speak a forced and stilted Yiddish which often hurts my ears.

That’ll do me for now…

Meanwhile I looked up the ’original’ (dos haist the German) for ‘insult’ and it clearly says:

Beleidigung ; insult;
beleidigen; to insult 
beleidigt; insulted
beleidigte; insulted
Niemand beleidigt ungestraft meine Schwester. Nobody insults my sister and gets away with it!
Du beleidigst meine Intelligenz! [humor.] You insult my intelligence!

All, you will note, are with a “G” not “K”.

Friday, June 18, 2010

AJN v. The Age: The pot calling the kettle black!

Anyone remember the terrifying threat against us made at the time that this blog was created?  AJN's page-2 bore Adam Kamien warned us declaring: "Shmooze is looking at you!”
Meanwhile almost a year has passed and we have never, ever heard from him again.


Either everything that has been posted here has found favour in Kamien's beady little eyes or the most probably reason, someone slightly brainier than him whispered in his ear that giving publicity – any publicity - to your critics isn't really such a great idea.

But one can never be certain and we still shiver in our boots every week as we check out his page of sleaze and drivel. After all, who knows what little Adam – the AJN Watch watcher - has found wrong with this blog.

Of course we here at AJN Watch dom’t have any qualms about giving all types free publicity and thus we reproduce a piece, in fact a rare G-rated snippet - in last week’s issue. Yep, a snippet that you may actually allows kids under 15 to read.

Kamien pokes fun at the Age editing and proofreading standards as we see here:
But as readers realised when perusing the next page, maybe the AJN itself would be better off employing a few rabbits (or monkeys) themselves. On condition that these animals can count till 7.
Cast your eyes on this page three article where 3 times the AJN states that Rudd met with "6 (Jewish community representatives)" and lists all 7 of them!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

105 year-old Rosh Yeshiva visits. But where were the rabbis?

Guest post from a former talmid of the Lucerne Yeshiva:
(Photographs have been forwarded to us by a number of readers with credits due to Leon Shapiro, Yumi Rosenbaum and M L Abelesz)


The many former local talmidim of the Lucerne Yeshiva have for the past 8 days had the great privilege and pleasure of hosting their great Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yitzchok Dov Kopelman שליט''א (as well as one of his leading talmidim, the world renowned Marbitz Torah and Mashpia, Rav Yisroel Dovid Schlesinger שליט''א of Monsey, New York).
The 105 year-old Rosh Yeshiva עמו''ש had insisted on making the trek to see and inspire his many talmidim who live on the other side of the world. Such a long trip would be no small accomplishment even for one a quarter of a century younger than him. And ב''ה we were זוכה to see and hear him exactly as we did when studying in his Yeshiva 20, 30 and even 40 years ago. השי''ת יאריך ימיו ושנותיו בבריות גופא ונהורא מעליא

From the moment the Rosh Yeshiva arrived at the airport – where he was welcomed by over hundreds of people, headed by Rav Beck שליט''א and until his departure, he was surrounded by huge crowds of young and old listening to his many droshos (said whilst standing) and Divrei Torah as well as seeking his advice and blessing. On Tuesday, the RY was Sandek at the bris of young Shlomo Zalman, son of Rabbi E. Saftlas (performed by Melbourne’s newest Mohel, Reb Moshe Benedikt).
 The 2 major public droshos of the RY were Monday evening in the Adass Shul and the following evening in Kollel Beth Hatalmud. Both were heavily publicised resulting in the venues being packed to the rafters with listeners young and old. Everyone felt stirred and enthused by the outstanding divrei hisorerus and chizuk by Rav Schlesinger and moved by the amazing drosho of the RY which seemed to seep into every listeners נשמה. (CDs are available for those who missed this once in a lifetime opportunity - or for those who wish to hear the speeches again and again.)

It was impossible not to have been  touched to the depths of one's heart,watching and hearing a universally recogised גדול בישראל, a rebbe to thousands of talmidim for over 4 generations, speaking, crying and singing together with the huge tzibbur who savoured every precious minute.

What was surprising or rather disappointing, was to notice, that besides the rabbonim and members of Adass and Beth Hatalmud (and satellite shteebels) the lack of representation from other Shuls. Of course, Rabbi Telsner (an oft and well-respected guest in Adass) was there, as were a few more ‘outsiders’. But where were all the rabbis of the community? Chabad and non-Chabad? Where were the lay leaders? The COSV, the RCV, the Yeshiva Gedola and Kollel Menachem? One would expect that a speech delivered by respected and scholarly 105-year old, even if not one of the Gedolei Yisroel, (even if not a Jew!), would attract the interest of any reasonable person. In fact, one should have seen the interest and respect of non-Jews at Tullamarine airport, jostling for a position to get a glimpse of “the 105-year-old rabbi”. But Melbourne’s rabbonim – not interested!

I am stunned and shocked at the lack of interest and basic דרך ארץ by these people.
בזיון התורה and בזיון תלמיד חכם is no small offence. But when perpetuated by Rabbonim themselves –especially those who expect respect from others – is simply bizarre.

Wouldn’t this have been an occasion where they should have come along bringing their children? To give them the opportunity and privilege to see a talmid of the Gedolim of yesteryear, and a famous Rosh Yeshiva that was born prior to the First World War! An internationally revered personality from the era of zeidy’s zeidy?

Sorry for the rant, but in my eyes this shows very bad form from Melbourne’s spiritual leadership.   והוא רחום יכפר.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Haaretz article puts AJN to shame! (Is Julius Streicher REALLY dead?)


The shekel drops -  
               Missionaries in Ramat Aviv
                                                                                    By Nehemia Shtrasler HAARETZ

The battle raging Ramat Aviv isn't just about the neighborhood's character. It's a battle over Israel's image.

The sight was elevating: 800 neighborhood residents took a break from what they were doing and went out to demonstrate. Their goal: to protect their homes. They weren't asking for much: just to maintain their way of life, the character of their neighborhood, their values, dignity and right to educate their children as they see fit.

Nobody was paying them. They had no political party or foreign sponsors. They collected the money to fund their demonstration themselves because they knew that if they didn't, the missionary group Chabad could continue to slowly take the neighborhood over, just as is happening in Migdal Ha'emek, Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.

[AJN Watch comment: So when was the last time that these Tel Aviv residents protested against genuine missionaries? It's so obvious that the only religion that they fear is Judaism.]

A few people set up a counter-demonstration against the 800. They believe that the people in question are merely "good Jews" who just rented a few apartments to preach Torah there. All they want is for us to put on tefillin a little, to light candles on Friday night. What charming simplicity.

They don't realize that it's a well-organized plan to take control of the neighborhood. They aren't even aware that a yeshiva opened in the neighborhood staffed by "messengers" who are prepared to sacrifice their souls for their Rebbe.
These "messengers" have one explicit goal: to return the people of the neighborhood to Judaism. The more Jews keep the Sabbath and follow the mitzvoth, the faster the Messiah will come.

[AJN Watch comment: Scandalous indeed. The chutzpah of these 'messengers' who try to promote the Jewish religion in the Jewish state!]

Though actually he already did come, in the form of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, according to Chabad. The Rebbe has died in the meantime, but he lives on - their belief system is a mystical, un-Jewish thing, about which the Rabbi Shach commented: "Chabad is the cult closest to Judaism."

[AJN Watch comment: So sorry about our earlier comment. We misunderstood. These protesters are actually demanding "genuine" Judaism and not mystical un-Jewish Chabad stuff. They simply want their children to follow the ways of Rabbi Shach...]

As in every neighborhood, here too they identified the most vulnerable point: the young. That's why every Friday they ply the grove by the Alliance school, trying to persuade the children to put on tefillin and drop by the Chabad House for a "conversation." At night they lurk among the trees and on benches for the teens, offering refreshments and sweet talk.

[AJN Watch comment: Now had these 'messengers' been offering their kids drugs, alcohol and various options of perversions that are available all over Tel Aviv, there would've been no demonstrations. But tefillin, refreshments and 'sweet talk' - that's something that must be stopped. And here you have the Stuermer depiction - making similar complaints about the Juden:

They cunningly tell these kids, "You have the soul of a righteous person," and don't cavil at saying that their mothers and fathers are sinners. They even whisper that people who don't honor Shabbat are doomed to hell.

[AJN Watch comment: Pure, utter garbage. Anybody who knows anything about Chabad knows that this has never been their way. Only an ignorant, Chabad-bashing Torah-hating secular journalist would make such a statement.]
Puberty is a vulnerable stage and some of these kids, who want to rebel against their parents anyway, listen. The nice people of Chabad have no problem taking in a youngster and destroying a family in Israel.

[AJN Watch comment: Yep. Keeping their kids away from drugs and alcoholism will destroy their families. Here's part of a speech we found on the net - on the Israeli PM's website about these problems amongst Israelis:

Address by Acting Prime Minister Israel to the Anti-Drugs Authority Tel Aviv
Distinguished Guests,

You heard the statistics: there are 300,000, some even say 350,000, drug users in the State of Israel. There are 20,000 to 25,000 addicts – what we call hard users. The amount of money we refer to per drug addict, is approximately $3000 per day. Perhaps this is not a lot of money, but it is over and above the average salary in our economy.

[AJN Watch comment: "Not a lot of money!?" That's over $60 million a day!
The figure seems wrong as that would equate to $22 billion annually! But whatever, they would be far better off giving a fraction of that amount to Chabad and would save themselves a lot of heartache and a lot of money. Oy, but then you would have even more demonstrations by tel Avivians concerned that Chabad is giving their kids refreshments.]

Usually, drug addicts do not work, so in order to be able obtain their daily dosage, they are dragged into various criminal acts, including damage to property, and often involve physical injuries. That is, a full circle of social perversion and crime becomes an inseparable part of the life of an addict and also involves those who are not addicted to drugs. There is no simple and easy way to deal with this problem. (More here)

Where are the police and the municipality as strangers badger children among the trees at night?

[AJN Watch comment: Probably arresting and jailing other kids -  those who are drinking and doing drugs or involved in other violent and criminal activities.]

The Chabadniks understand that the middle class is groaning under its burdens. So they opened a few kindergartens in the neighborhood that charge little and give much, including a hot meal. Some parents succumbed to the temptation - and lost their children. This neighborhood sorely lacks kindergartens without religious affiliation. But the city allows Chabad to open one kindergarten after another, even at the expense of a building that had been a cultural center until two years ago.

These Chabadniks with their butter-wouldn't-melt smiles have no problem flouting the law. They rent apartments and turn them into studios. They build without permits, establish hostels and mikvas in violation of municipal ordinances, but the city doesn't block them. Mayor Ron Huldai did denounce Chabad in Ramat Aviv, saying they were harassing the residents. But his job is to stop the harassment, not just talk about it.

Imagine what would happen to me if I went to Kfar Chabad, rented an apartment and dared to open a class to teach a modern interpretation of the Bible, or women's rights or Darwinism. In the evening I'd go out and roam the neighborhood, trying to persuade their children to visit my home on Shabbat to see what a nonobservant Jew does on the day of rest.

Soon enough you'd have to visit me at the burn ward at Ichilov Hospital, if not worse.

And if all that happened, the good souls among us would say: Why did he have to interfere in their way of life? Why provoke them?

But when they come from Kfar Chabad to Ramat Aviv, these same good souls say, in the name of an artificial, suicidal liberalism, "We should understand them," and, "We mustn't oppose others because that is unenlightened racism."

Only they are allowed to sell their rotten goods, rife with ignorance, superstition, terrible discrimination against women, bottomless hatred of Arabs and Gentiles, and nonsense about the Messiah.

[AJN Watch comment: Let's repeat Nehemia Shtrasler's Stuermer-style rant:
   "... their rotten goods, rife with ignorance, superstition, terrible discrimination against women, bottomless hatred of Arabs and Gentiles, and nonsense about the Messiah..."
Had that infamous Nazi publisher, Julius Streicher (yemach shemoy) not been strung up by the Allies, no doubt he would've found himself at home at the Haaretz, where, presumably, the front page banner would have declared: "Die Chabad sind unser Ungluck!"]

We may not even protect our values of humanism, education, rationalism, equality, literature and the great inventions of science that changed the face of mankind.
The battle in Ramat Aviv isn't just about the neighborhood's character. It's a battle over Israel's image, and the 800 residents who got up and left their homes and went out to demonstrate last Monday are just the harbingers.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Targum Yonasan and the Zohar - re flotillas?

Thank you to the AJN Watcher from Jerusalem who after reading our earlier post on signs of the approach of "Moshiach tzeiten", has kindly forwarded the following piece, quoting the Targum Yonasan and the Zohar, which, as we understand, may be referring to past and future "flotilla" activity against Israel.

We invite one of our rabbis or knowledgeable readers to translate this into English, for the benefit of those who have difficulty with Hebrew and Aramaic. (Another option: print it out and take it to your rabbi for elucidation.)

Remember, we welcome interesting material for publication.

Disgraceful AJN reporting on the passing of former Israeli Chief Rabbi

'Disgraceful' and 'appalling' are probably the accurate terms to use when describing the Jewish News report on the death and funeral of Rabbi Mordechain Eliyahu zt”l, former Rishon LeTzion and Sefardi chief rabbi of Israel.

All this, in their view, was worth a few short lines copied from the Jerusalem Post and pasted on  page 19 (!!!).

This sad excuse for ‘journalism’ only reinforces the view of virtually the entire observant Jewish community of Australia, that the AJN treats them and their issues with complete contempt and disrespect. Is it any wonder that more and more members of that segment of our community no longer waste their money or time on the newspaper?

It's not as if Rabbi Eliyahu was a "Charedi", chas vechalilah. He was a leading figure in the "Religious Zionist" (aka "Mizrachi") camp. Shouldn't this qualify his passing as being worthy of more than a few lines on page 19?

And even if not, the fact that over 100,000 people attended in funeral should be newsworthy in itself. How often does that happen - even in the non-Jerwish world?

Meanwhile the Hamodia published by the RZ's 'rival' the Charedim, gave the passing a full-page article presenting a a most respectful obituary as well as a concise biography of the rabbi.

The article includes the following beautiful story (which no doubt would never be published in the AJN):

From the Talmud: BP oil spill disaster - a sign of Moshiach times?


Something good may still develop from the BP disaster...

Talmud, Sanhedrin 98a: Discussing various signs of the Messianic era:
Rabi Chanina states: when there will be no fish available (even) for a unwell person - as the waters will be solidified like oil...