Monday, May 31, 2010

KA x 2, 3 or 4?

A reader forwarded a screen shot of the NSW KA's web page, where we learn that "NSW" has been dropped from their name and are now known as THE Kashrut Authority.

Presumably this was in response to Melbourne (nee Mizrachi) Kashrut namechange to Kosher Australia. It seems each organization wishes to give the impression that it represents the Australian Kashrut “industry”.

We have heard (not from anyone in an official position) that the board of Adass Vaad HaKashrus are considering a suggestion that they call themselves “Kosher Adass”. Add to that the Perth community’s KA WA and we may end up with 4 KA’s in Australia!

Which makes us a bit sorry for Rabbi Meir Rabi and his non-“KA” brand - “Kosher veYosher”.

However, there has long been a rumor that the business name of “Kosher Australasia” has been reserved by someone not associated with “Kosher Australia”. Maybe that person would be kind enough to transfer this registration to Rabbi Rabi - so he too can sport a “KA” label…

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Community Unity? Sydney KA gives Melbourne's Shechita a serve!

Community Unity

Kosher consumers will have heard of the appearance of a new Kashrut Agency in NSW. Since 1990, Sydney has benefitted from a united kashrut under The Kashrut Authority. The Sydney Beth Din and the Yeshiva rabbinate came together under one banner, bringing an end to many difficult years of machloket within the community. Previously there had been friction and tension when events were hosted. Members of the community required dual supervision or risked alienating guests who would only trust one hechsher or the other. The joint KA, and Sydney’s Kashrut, quickly became the envy of many communities around the world, bringing communal unity and kashrut to the highest standards.

Now it seems this is about to change. Some argue that competition is always good for the community, but is it really good in this case?

At the outset, so that there is no misunderstanding, nothing that is about to be said is intended to reflect badly on any of the principal kashrut organizations in Melbourne. The KA holds each of them in high regard and works closely with them. We have always maintained that it is the duty of every local consumer to fully follow the halachic rulings and take guidance from their own local Rabbinate – and we will support that local rabbinate in full. However, at the same time, it is our duty to expose the truth in relation to what is taking place in our community, for the benefit of our community.

Why does this organisation say it wants a new kashrut agency here in Sydney? Not because it favours competition. Not because there is a problem with KA prices. Instead it has stated clearly that our standards are not up to par, and in particular Sydney chickens are not kosher enough for them. They don’t consider our food to be kosher. To be clear; this is not about using Melbourne caterers and providing a competitive service to the community. The very same caterer that is being used by them now has catered previously in Sydney, with chickens produced under the supervision of the KA.

This time there was more to it. This time there was the insistence that the caterer must use Melbourne chickens (under Melbourne Adass.) They contend that some of the guests simply would refuse to eat the Sydney chickens. Given that the KA cannot supervise a function unless the meat or poultry is under its supervision, as is the normative rabbinic practice; this new group has jumped in to “fill” the “desperate” need that it has itself manufactured.

Let us examine the contention that our chickens are not kosher or not kosher enough.

The Shechita

This year a very respected Rabbi from the United States, Rabbi Rotenberg , who works with the Nibator Rav - the supervisor of shechita for the Hisachdus HoRabbonim of Rabbonim of America (Satmar Shechita)- was brought from the US to inspect the shechita in Melbourne. His findings are not a secret and indeed are quite well known. He reported among other things:

Shechita and especially the checking of the knives (chalef) are difficult tasks, and the shochet must be at ease and not pressured. As such, guidelines have developed overseas as to maximum rates of shechita. The OU shechts at a maximum of 750 birds an hour per shochet, some require as low as 600 birds an hour. In Melbourne the Rabbi found the amount being shechted was 1000 per hour!

Furthermore in general, no pressure should be placed on the shochet to work faster than he feels he can. Rabbi Rotenberg had heard that this pressure unfortunately sometimes takes place in Melbourne.

In contrast, in Sydney, the rate of Shechita is at most 450 birds an hour. Furthermore, in order to reduce the chance of mishap and pressure on the Shochtim, links have been removed from the chain, so that chickens cannot be hung, to ensure forced regular breaks for the shochet.

The Kashering

Rabbi Rotenberg found that chickens in Melbourne are soaked before kashering at a temperature of 4C. Rabbi Rotenberg said that this is not the standard (lechatchila) and chickens processed this way were only acceptable after the fact (b’dieved). He said they must develop a system “similar to the system in Sydney”(!!).

In Sydney, from 1999, when the introduction of chilled water was first canvassed, our Rabbinic Administrator, Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, negotiated with the authorities and they agreed that as mandated in Shulchan Aruch the initial pre-soak would not be chilled. This has remained the standard in Sydney with full co-operation between the chicken manufacturer, The Kashrut Authority and the government. (Soaking in chilled water prior to salting prevents the free flow of blood from the meat during the salting).

Unfortunately in Melbourne this was missed and chilled water was introduced and this is still to be corrected.

Yet we are told by this new group that they cannot eat the Sydney chickens because the standards in Melbourne are so much higher. So let us look further.

Could it be the salting?

Rabbi Feigelstock , a highly regarded and leading posek from South America, who assists us with our Eruv, who is a shochet himself, and has been involved with shechita around the world, inspected our shechita. As well as praising our Shochtim, he said that our salting is of the highest standard and is as good as anywhere in the world.

The Shochtim

Is it perhaps the Shochtim? Everyone knows that Halacha says a shochet must be even more G-d fearing than a rabbi. Perhaps our shochtim are not good enough for these people?

The entire community knows rabbis Perlow and Niasoff. They are both G-d fearing men, loved and respected by their communities. Equally so, our stand-in shochet for fowl, Rabbi Groner. On numerous occasions their “chalafim” have been shown to visiting Rabbis who have praised their talents. At no stage have the local detractors asked to see the chalaf of these shochtim or to view the shechita or even the salting – yet our shechita has been condemned. How insulting that visiting rabbis have recently come from overseas and have told us that they were warned by local individuals that they should not eat our meat because our shochet is not good enough!

So are Melbourne chickens from a kashrut perspective better than Sydney chickens?

Clearly not. Independent review declares Melbourne chickens to be only “b’dieved” - not the way things should be. Consequently, to import Melbourne chickens to Sydney is to import a demonstrably lower standard. How then does one have the audacity to foment disunity in this city based on the falsehood that our standard is inferior?

The answer is that communities become driven by pseudo-elitism. They claim to be holy, and convince themselves and others of the justice of their cause. Factions and new players strive to make a mark by adding credence to their own religiosity through disparaging others. As the Torah teaches us, they are not doing the will of the Creator. By Divine Providence clear lessons can be drawn from the parshiot of the coming weeks , Bha’alotcha , Shlach and Korach. Our sages show that all the tragedy, disunity and rebellion throughout these parshiot comes from one single primary source – the motsi shem ra and lashon hara of just a few individuals The “evil tongue” so despised in Jewish law – defamation and tale bearing which is forbidden even if the words are true, how much more so when they are not true. This talk of inferior standards is simply lashon hara and motsi shem ra masquerading as piety.

Elitism thrives on disunity, because unity implies mutual respect and tolerance – disunity is fertile ground for one to say I am superior to another. It appeals to the ego and to the religious sensibility of those who are invariably misled into following it. These followers are sincerely in search of what they believe is true Torah, and sadly, they are indeed misled into believing, that theirs is the way to come closer to the Creator. Their teachers have forgotten what our sages have taught, that we are in exile not because of the laws of kosher or the laws between man and G-d, but because of our failures in the laws between man and man!

The False Claim of Personal Higher Standards

The Shulchan Aruch (OC Siman 468 and elsewhere) rules that in interpersonal relations, one must even forego a personal stringency or custom rather than create division, or embarrass one’s fellow. The hypocrisy of these people pretending elevated piety is that they overlook or violate fundamental tenets of the very code they claim to uphold.

Competition may be good when it is based on truth and Torah principles, but not when based on lies and manufactured, unsubstantiated accusations of inferiority. If anyone wants to start a kashrut organization to make themselves some money, or they are under the illusion that it will make kashrut cheaper for us all, then let them do it and say so. If they want to open because it makes them feel empowered or worthwhile – gezunterheit , but say so. Please do not propagate the abhorrent falsehood that it is about standards of kashrut or superior levels of religiosity.

We recognize that no kashrut organization is perfect, and no human being is perfect, and where problems are identified we seek to correct them in a professional and transparent manner. We have been asked and we will assist the Melbourne authorities to overcome the cold water regulations issue. However what meets their local reality, including the necessary respected ruling of their Rabbinate, is for their community and cannot be marketed here as superior when it is demonstrably not.

In the meantime, the vast majority of our local Rabbinate, and the vast majority of our local kosher consumers, supports the ideal of communal unity that has developed under our model of one agreed high standard of kashrut, under the joint regulation of those with real experience and expertise in the field. They do not want to go back to the days of disunity and confusion over differing kashrut organizations. We can only hope that those others involved in this new organization, will quickly see the light before irreparable damage is done to kashrut in our city.

The Kashrut Authority
Mr Baron Revelman – President
Rabbi Moshe D Gutnick – Rabbinic Administrator
Rabbi P Feldman - Committee
Rabbi J Lawrence_- Committee
Rabbi D Rogut- Committee
Rabbi Y Ulman- Committee

Rabbi A Perlow – Shochet
Rabbi Y Niasoff – Shochet

Rabbi A Groner – Assistant Rabbinic Administrator
Rev A Amzalek – Senior Supervisor
Rev S Samra – Senior Supervisor

AJN Watch is no authority in Shechita and obviously cannot comment on procedural or halachic concerns. But this lengthy screed seems to indicate that the NSW KA is quite anxious about the likelihood of another Kashrut power in their region.
Issuing this statement is also a dicey move for KA as no doubt the 3 Melbourne Shechita authorities will respond vigorously.

Instead of, or in addition to, ORA lobbying the government on labeling matters, maybe they ought to emphasize to their membership on the hazards of bagging each other.

This notice by KA, by the way, proves the concern by many on granting powers of certifying Kashrut authorities to an organization like ORA where many members would have conflict of interest.

And talking of ORA lobbying, how on earth did they overlook the looming ban on Shechita in New Zealand? The question is especially pertinent to Rabbi Moshe Gutnick who states that he has been sending shochtim there for years. Let's hope ORA direct some of their energy towards ensuring that this disgraceful ban is overturned.

New Zealand bans shechita
By Dan Goldberg · May 28, 2010

SYDNEY (JTA) – New Zealand has banned shechita, the kosher slaughter of animals.

The country’s new animal welfare code, which took effect Friday, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated “humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.”

The regulation has shocked the Jewish community.
“This decision by the New Zealand government, one which has a Jewish prime minister, is outrageous,” said Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, acting president of the Organization of Rabbis of Australasia. “We will be doing everything possible to get this decision reversed.”
Gutnick, who travels frequently to New Zealand to oversee shechita, added, “One of the last countries I would have expected to bring in this blatantly discriminatory action would have been New Zealand.”

David Zwartz, the chairman of the Wellington Jewish Council, agreed. “I am sure there will objections made that this action is an infringement of the right of Jews to observe their religion,” he said.

Agriculture Minister David Carter rejected a recommendation that shechita be exempt from the new code.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee did recommend a dispensation for kosher slaughter in 2001, but the new code does not allow any exemptions.

Friday, May 28, 2010

AJN's free publicity to treif German-style restaurant

Received from a reader who (most unusual for him) requested anonymity:

"If you ever wanted the ultimate non-kosher experience, check out page 4 of the motoring supplement in the Jewish News this week."

We have no idea who Jason Stevens is. The name, at least, doesn't sound Jewish, in which case we can't blame him for singing the praises of that chazir-treif German-style restaurant. And after all, his employers are constantly advertising nevelot utreifot establishments.

Despite this, it seems that the Jewish News has sunken to a new low here. There isn't even the non-excuse that they were being paid for this - and for money, as we know, they are prepared to sell their souls. 

All they achieved was to upset their religious and traditional readers by giving free publicity to this place.

And it sure exposes the incredible hypocrisy of the AJN's lecturing and editorialising on the best ways to advance Kashrut in Australia.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The ORA and ECAJ submission

Thanks to Galus Australis we can now read the submission of ORA and ECAJ to the Food Labelling Review (here).

Kosherman comments:
Having had a quick read of the submission it seems to confirm that ORA wants to be the "posek acharon" in deciding who can and who cannot offer Kosher supervision in Australia.
Seeing that quite a few of ORA's members are themselves employed in the Kashrut supervision industry (eg, Rabbi Y Sprung, Rabbis Moshe and Mordechai Gutnick, Rabbi Yanky Barber), aren't we expecting too much from them to vote for approval of new competitors?

As far as I know, the only organization mentioned in the submission whose rabbis are not members of ORA are from Adass. (Anyone know if Rabbi M Rabi and Rabbi S Silberberg are ORA members? And if not, how can they assure themselves of getting fair treatment?)

I had asked "Did ORA in their submission demand that fraudulent terms like “Kosher-style” and “Kosher-friendly” be proscribed? If not, why not?"

Reading the submission I found nothing about this. One may have thought that eliminating the use of such blatant deceitful terms would have been of major concern for our rabbis (and indeed for the lawyers on the ECAJ). Looks like we were wrong.

I am still puzzled on why there was there no public consultation with the main stakeholders, ie, Kosher consumers? Another concern expressed by commentators on GA is why were details only released to the public after the closing date for submissions?

Let’s hope that ORA and ECAJ will try and clear things up for us.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Could this happen here too?

Thanks to a number of our readers who forwarded us the link to the following Vos iz Neias article as a response to Kosherman's report on ORA and government labelling proposals.

Check out the VIN link for some interesting comments on this story.

Should ORA be the official arbiter of Australian Kashrut authorities?

A supreme kashrut authority?
Post by Kosherman:

The AJN seems quite excited by the pitch of ORA to get itself appointed by the federal government to sanction Kashrut authorities. The paper has devoted the whole front page, a half page article and even an editorial to this topic. If we didn’t know better, we could get the impression that the focal purpose and objective of the Jewish News is to advance Kashrut in Australia. Yet this is the same publication that in its Simcha supplements advertises Treif caterers and establishments using the deceptive and fraudulent tags of “Kosher-style” and “Kosher-friendly”.

In fact in this same issue you will find this ¼ page colour advertisement for a Treif chicken shop! What a disgrace! What hypocrisy!

On the issue of ORA becoming the patron saint of Kashrut in this country, let me pass on some of the concerns that I have heard from other Shul-goers since the story broke.

 1) What is the situation with smaller and newer Kashrut providers, eg, Rabbi Shalom Silberberg of Sydney Adass and Rabbi Meir Rabi of Kosher veYosher? Will ORA object to their supervision?

2) Who in ORA will make decisions for approval or non-approval? Will it be rabbis who themselves have a vested and financial (direct or via salary) interest in Kashrut and thus maybe an aversion to new competitors? Or will they be ethical and ensure that no rabbi in involved in Kashrut gets involved? And if so, will the qualifications of any new applicant be left in the hands of ORA members who have no idea or experience in Kashrut matters? Yes, I realise it is a real pickle.

3) Is it a good idea to get the government involved? Didn’t this happen in some states of the US with quite negative results? Do we really want them looking over our shoulders? How will the Kosher consumer benefit from all this?

4) Did ORA in their submission demand that fraudulent terms like “Kosher-style” and “Kosher-friendly” be proscribed? (And if so does the AJN know about this?) If not, why not?

5) Where can we read the entire submission by ORA? Why was there no public consultation with the main stakeholders, ie, Kosher consumers?

Many other questions are being asked and there is no shortage of criticism. A couple of local Jewish blogs have now joined the fray as you can read here and here.

On behalf of AJNWatch I invite our readers to comment on this matter and offer their ideas on the best way to go forward.

PS: Did anyone else notice the irony of that AJN front page being shared by an advertisement for an establishment under the supervision of non-ORA member, Rabbi Meir Rabi?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Must We Celebrate Shavuos Alone?

An interesting and valid commentary by one of the Charedi world's foremost writers Jonathan Rosenblum

Must We Celebrate Shavuos Alone?
by Jonathan Rosenblum  Mishpacha Magazine

On Shavuos, Orthodox Jews will find themselves celebrating alone. As far as the vast majority of the world's Jews are concerned, Shavuos is the unsung holiday. Even those Jews who faithfully attend synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and sit down to a Seder every year, rarely take off from work or school for Shavuos.

In Israel, where the Jewish calendar is followed and the early kibbutzim turned Shavuos into an agricultural holiday, at least the existence of the holiday is known. In the Diaspora, even that much cannot be assumed. When Rabbi Berel Wein was practicing law, he once asked a judge for a continuance because a scheduled hearing fell on Shavuos. The judge told him that he was Jewish and was certain that no such holiday exists.

From the vantage point of believing Jews, the lack of knowledge of Shavuos is hard to grasp. We have just spent seven weeks counting the days in eager anticipation of Shavuos. For us, Shavuos commemorates the seminal event in world history: the receipt of Torah at Sinai.

But from the point of view of secular Jews, the day has no such significance. They do not believe that the Torah is the Word of G-d or that Sinai was an actual historical event. They have, by and large, little knowledge of the Torah's commandments, and certainly do not view them as binding. So what should they celebrate?

The lack of awareness of Shavuos, then, is a good measure of the alienation of most of the world's Jews from Torah, and of the chasm between religious and non-religious Jews. We are not responsible for the widespread ignorance of Torah. But we are responsible to try to do something about it. As Rabbi Noach Weinberg, the pioneer of the ba'al teshuva movement, frequently said, Jews' ignorance of Torah constitutes the greatest chilul Hashem.

THE PRESENT MOMENT may prove a propitious one for reaching out to our fellow Jews. Ironically, the increasingly strident and frequent attacks being directed at the chareidi public in Israel may make the task easier. Yair Lapid, a more attractive version of his father, signaled his intention to revive Shinui last week. Kadima leader Tzippi Livni sought to lift her party from the electoral doldrums by calling on Prime Minister Netanyahu to unite with her in freeing the secular public from the chareidim. And Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai characterized chareidi education as training for ignorance. In a single day, Ha'aretz published six articles on chareidim – five of them critical.

Why should these attacks create a propitious moment for kiruv? First, the more attention given to chareidim, the more interest will be directed in our direction. That is a long-observed pattern.

Nor are the secular criticisms coming from a place of strength. Huldai, for instance, obviously decided that the best defense is a good offense. The dismal results consistently registered by Israeli students on international exams are rightfully considered a national disaster and poor omen for the future. The most publicized behaviors of Israeli teenagers are hardly of the kind to inspire national pride.

Recently, I was contacted by one of the leaders of an Israeli think tank, who was interested in arranging a forum on the values that chareidi society has to contribute to Israel. That reaching out reflects a deep suspicion that the general society is running on empty.

In addition, the more that chareidim are portrayed in the most negative terms, the greater the impact of actual contact between chareidim and secular Israelis. When the latter realize how little actual chareidim conform to the media stereotypes, the more inclined they are to disbelieve everything they have been told about chareidim and to open their ears to what the chareidim have to offer.

THESE INTUITIONS WERE GIVEN credence by a recent program, under the auspicies of Kesher Yehudi, at Aish HaTorah's new world center overlooking the Kotel, for about sixty participants in a pre-military academy.

One of the first activities was a role-playing exercise, in which the secular students played chareidim and the chareidi hosts played secular Jews. The chareidim had no difficulty portraying their characters sympathetically. But the secular youngsters could only fall back on cartoonish stereotypes. The secular girl playing a chareidi woman rattled on about how much she enjoyed changing diapers and waiting all day for her husband to return home. And the secular young man playing a chareidi described how he spends all day at the Kosel reciting Tehillim, even as his wife was expecting their fourteenth child.

The secular youngsters realized that they know absolutely nothing about what chareidim actually think and how they live, and were embarrassed by their ignorance.

Next an articulate chareidi woman confronted directly the accusation that chareidim are "shirkers," evading any responsibility to the larger Israeli society. She turned the tables on this frequent charge by pointing out that before there can be a Jewish state, there must be some content to the word Jewish. Imagine that every religious Jew disappeared tomorrow, she challenged them, how would you decide what is Jewish?

Only because religious Jews preserved their identity throughout the millennia, often at the cost of their lives, she argued, was the idea of a Jewish state even conceivable. She suggested that perhaps those who are completely ignorant of what it means to be Jewish are the greatest shirkers of all.

Her remarks triggered a firestorm of discussion that was still raging two days later in discussions between the participants and Mrs. Tzila Schneider, who runs Kesher Yehudi, which arranges study partners for secular students. One participant commented that he felt ashamed to lift up his face so embarrassed was he by his failure to consider that the chareidim have their own perspective and a commitment to collective Jewish life that antedates the state by millenia. Sixty per cent of the secular youngsters requested an ongoing connection to Kesher Yehudi.

I left the meeting convinced that such contacts between mature chareidim and secular Jews are a powerful tool not just to breakdown stereotypes but to open up Jewish hearts to their own connection to Torah. If we do that, perhaps next year we will not find ourselves celebrating Shavuos alone.

Suggestion to the Adelaide community: Hand over Shul to Rabbi Engel!

AJN Report:   $100,000 needed to save Adelaide congregation

ADELAIDE Hebrew Congregation (AHC) has launched a desperate appeal to raise $100,000, warning members that unless the money comes in, the congregation will not be operationally viable. In a letter sent to congregants last week, AHC president Mark Cohen said dwindling membership and the global financial crisis had contributed to the shortfall. He also claimed long-term loans to Massada College had not been repaid.

Cohen told The AJN: “The big issue was that no fundraising had been done for a long time, and the bank balance had been slipping into the red for a while. There are no patrons of significance in Adelaide anymore, and every cent raised is by generous personal support.”

Calling for aid from beyond Adelaide, he added: “Our shul board has raised over $5000 from its last board meeting, and we hope the appeal will bring in around another $20,000 from smaller donors in the community. It would be wonderful to have additional Australian support for another $75,000, so we can get out of the red and begin a program of rejuvenation, immigration and community building right away.”

To help raise funds, renowned local artist Franz Kempf has donated one of his paintings, titled Why Does the City Sit so Solitary?, to the community to sell. Asked what may happen if the funds aren’t forthcoming, Cohen said: “We will have to call a special AGM – and ask for permission to sell the rabbi’s house, but this is a time-consuming, less than optimal, solution.”

uval Yarom, president of Massada College, refused to comment on the school’s financial relations with AHC. However, he told The AJN he was confident that Massada wasn’t facing an immediate cash crisis. “We will need financial support from the community in the near future and I believe we will get it,” he said. “But we do have a business plan and we are on our way to being able to stand on our own.

Looks like they can't make a go of it. 
Solution?  Turn the Shul over to Rabbi Engel and transform it into Adelaide's Chabad House. Those Chabad rabbis are somehow always able to finance their Shuls and activities.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A New Kashruth authority in Sydney


Here's a scoop for Ajnwatch readers!

Sydney now officially has a second Kashruth authority. Rabbi Shalom Silberberg and the Sydney Adass community have revived the Adass Kashruth organization which was created at the same time of the Kehilla’s founding and operated until the days of Rabbi Nesanel Kostelitz.

My sources tell me that a number of functions in Sydney have already been booked with Melbourne caterers who will be working under Rabbi Silberberg’s supervision.

Having a local rabbi on the job, should prevent the unpleasantness of an earlier such catering arrangement. (See here, here and here.)

Hatzlacha to Rabbi Silberberg (and continued Hatzlacha to Rabbi Gutnick).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Response from Lion FM re Shabbat broadcasting

Further to our earlier post re the new Jewish radio station Lion FM, we have received the following message from Menachem Khoen - a member of its board:

I want to clarify that Lion FM will be broadcast according to Halacha and from its inception, it was decided that it will only be broadcast according to Jewish Law. We will be doing everything in accordance with our orthodox Rabbi's approval.

If anyone wanted to hear the full story, they could have come to our publicly advertised meeting on Thursday night where these issues were discussed.

Yours sincerely,

Menachem Khoen
Vice President, Lion FM

AJNWATCH comment: We are pleased to hear that this new station will be operated under Halachic guidelines (whether or not our earlier post in any way influenced this decision).

The lesson to be learned from all this is that organizations – and indeed individuals – must take care in the wording of their announcements so as not give the mistaken impressions. Eg, in this case stating: “a Jewish radio station 24/7”.

We trust that the other concern raised, ie, broadcasting on Yom To, is also covered by Khoen’s response.

Chassidish road sign

Hat tip Mendel P.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The rabbis, ECAJ and the churches - what's going on?

What's with this sudden great love between our rabbis and and the church? Have these rabbanim already solved all the problems in their own backyards that they have so much spare time to court Christian ministers?

We agree with visiting Rabbi Schochet's views on this matter - as published in the AJN.

Oy Vey!!!

This should make the Yiddishisten proud...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Clowns, elephants and rabbis"

No comment!

Friday night the Galach "feered tish"

Guest post by DMF:

The Rabbi and the priest. Sounds like some joke, no? Sadly it's not. Caulfield Shul's Rabbi Genende has invited the Rev Tim Costello to "feer tish" for his congregants on Friday night.

Some may say that this shows how certain rabbis have declared themselves "bankrupt" with no "pull" with their members - thus requiring assistance from the Church. (Surprising actually, that Shmuley Boteach has not yet come up with this idea.)

Seriously though, what does this teach our youth and kids? That the spiritual leaders of Avodah Zarah, can teach them something that their rabbanim can't?

What next? Rabbi Genende inviting Hindu priests and Muslim Imams? And maybe Rabbi Wolf and Spiritgrow could outdo even that by hosting a gig for his mate the Dalai Lama at "shaleshoodes"? Nothing would surprise us.

Another item for the agenda of the RCV membership?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Melbourne Jewish (!?) Radio - Spiritgrow supports Chillul Shabbat?

The following advertisement appears in this week's AJN:
24/7 = Jewish radio??

Now is the time for our rabbis to begin combatting this latest attack on the Shabbat!

And Shuls, Chabad Houses, and observant Jews must warn the organisers that they will not offer their support for a Chillul Shabbat project.

Finally a question to rabbis Wolf:
How can you allow this to take place in Spiritgrow?
We are not talking about some chassidish chumrah here which we could understand if you overlooked. "Zachor et Yom Hashabat leKadsho" is one of the Aseret Hadibrot.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Report: Charges against Rabbi Engel may be dropped

Those AJNWatch readers who have been with us right from the beginning may remember that the main impetus for the creation of this blog was the AJN’s despicable full front page ‘Wanted by Police”-style “Charged" front cover portraying Adelaide's Rabbi Engel.
No less disturbing to us, by the way, was the total non-reaction of Australia's rabbis to the public mugging of one of their own.

But while the Rabbi Engel’s colleagues didn’t seem to show too much concern, a number of laymen from several Melbourne communities DID care enough to establish this blog thus ensuring that the community had a mouthpiece through which to respond quickly and vigorously to the attacks, prejudices and misrepresentation by the Jewish News.

While the situation is nowhere near to perfect yet, we (together with many AJN readers) were pleased when the editor of that time Ashley Browne was giving the boot. Though we would be proud to declare that his sacking was in some way swayed by AJNWatch’s criticism, not having inside knowledge, we cannot honestly make this claim. But whatever, at least Browne is now off the scene. We can only hope that the cleansing procedure at the AJN continues.

All this is by way of a foreword to today’s article in Adelaide’s Independent Weekly stating that all charges against Rabbi and Mrs Engel may shortly be dropped. Should this indeed happen, the least that the AJN should do is a public apology to the rabbi and his wife for their appalling reporting style of their case.

SMH on Shmuley and Rodney's visit to the Pope

The Chutzpah of these goyim!
Describing our Shmuley as "a self-styled rabbi"!

Come in, sinner: Adler and His Holiness press the flesh

When in Rome ... Pope Benedict meets Rodney Adler at the Vatican last week. "I discussed for about 15 seconds how I felt that making Friday night family night transcended religion."

RODNEY ADLER'S redemption appears to be complete.

It's not the first brush with fame the rabbi has arranged for Mr Adler - he also arranged for Mr Adler's family to stay with Jackson at his Neverland ranch.

The disgraced Sydney businessman, jailed over his involvement in the collapse of the insurance giant HIH, received an audience at the Vatican last week with Pope Benedict.

Mr Adler was the guest of his friend Shmuley Boteach, a self-styled rabbi and author of a book about the late singer Michael Jackson, as well as Oprah Winfrey's parenting and relationships expert.
The delegation met the Pope as part of his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, seeking backing for a ''Turn Friday Night into Family Night'' initiative. The American rabbi wants parents of all faiths to spend Friday nights at home to give their family uninterrupted time.

''Rodney emphasised to the Pope the importance of partnering with me on creating an international family dinner night and how much he believed in the idea,'' the rabbi's website says of Mr Adler's meeting with His Holiness. The Pope ''warmly agreed''.

Mr Adler missed about 130 Friday night family dinners with his wife Lyndi and their children while serving 2½ years in prison for obtaining $2 million from HIH by false or misleading statements and being dishonest as a director. HIH collapsed in 2001 with debts of $5.3 billion.

But his recollection of last week's meeting was less certain than his friend's. ''My conversation with the Pope was quite short,'' Mr Adler told the Herald. ''It went something like, 'Your Holiness, it's a great pleasure and privilege to meet you' and then I discussed for about 15 seconds how I felt that making Friday night family night transcended religion. It was a global issue. ''He did not say yes or no, he just acknowledged it with an appreciative smile … and then moved on.''

Mr Adler was one of two ''close friends'' the rabbi invited to meet the Pope. Days before Mr Adler was sentenced in 2005, Rabbi Boteach, who studied in Australia, led a stirring defence of his friend at Sydney's Central Synagogue. Rabbi Boteach has opened other doors for Mr Adler. ''I had great pleasure of going to Neverland while it was under Michael Jackson's control; I spent three days there, and my children still talk about it. It was interesting - but different to the papal visit.''

Monday, May 3, 2010

Should Mount Scopus hire out its theatre on Shabbos?

Received from AG:
I noticed the following advertisement in today's Sunday Age. I have no idea if it is halachically permissible for Mount Scopus to hire out, or even give free of charge, its Besen Centre theatre for a Friday evening performance. But in my view it looks terrible that a Jewish school, especially one that is officially more or less Orthodox to do so. I would think there would also be “maris ayin” issues. It would be important to hear the views of the Melbourne rabbinate. Maybe Rabbi Kennard (who no doubt would have been against this) could place this on the agenda for the next RCV meeting.