Friday, April 30, 2010

Israel's new secret weapon: Skunk stink!

Israel tries new tactics against
Palestinian protesters
It's the usual Friday afternoon cat-and-mouse dance between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters in this West Bank village. Young village men, joined by Israeli leftists and international activists, begin blocking roads with boulders and tires; soldiers take up positions at key intersections. Israeli forces fire tear gas canisters; protesters fling rocks. Before long, the military calls in one of its most dreaded weapons.

A white armored truck rumbles toward the scene. Protesters dive for cover as a small cannon on the vehicle's roof takes aim and fires — not bullets or tear gas, but a heavy stream of the foulest-smelling liquid imaginable. Is it the sickly sweet odor of decomposing flesh? A trash dump on a hot day? Vomit? Those who've been doused wax on in vain, trying to find a worthy description for the stench that won't go away, no matter how hard you scrub, for several days.  Israeli soldiers call the truck the Skunk, and they say it has become one of their favorite tools in confronting the rising challenge of West Bank demonstrations.

As Palestinians have reshaped their resistance in recent years from suicide bombings and armed attacks to civil disobedience and nonviolent demonstrations, Israel's military is grappling with how to alter its tactics as well.  "This is a new trend, and we're trying to address it in a new way," said Lt. Col. Eliezer Toledano, operations officer for the Israeli army in the West Bank. "We have to adjust ourselves to the reality today."

With no suicide attacks or armed clashes last year, he said, one of the main West Bank security threats today is the surge in organized civilian protests. A year ago, there were two such weekly demonstrations in West Bank cities. Now there are at least 10, involving up to 2,000 protesters a week, and the numbers keep rising.

Though often billed as peaceful, the demonstrations can turn violent, and Israeli soldiers have been accused of using guns against unarmed protesters. Two young Palestinian demonstrators were killed in March near Nablus by what Palestinians say were Israeli rifle bullets. The Israelis are investigating whether live rounds were used. But they said this week that they had reprimanded officers involved, saying the incident would not have occurred with better training and supervision.

With the increase in standoffs between armed Israeli soldiers and rock-throwing Palestinians, Israeli officials say, they have been searching for better tools, such as the Skunk, to give troops options for controlling the demonstrations.
"The challenges today are sometimes more of a police challenge rather than a military challenge, so we are trying to react in a police way," said a top Israeli commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If you take things from your military toolbox and use them for policing, you end up with a bad result."
Of the more than 300 arrests made during protests since 2005, nearly two-thirds have occurred in the last year, according to figures from protest organizers. In recent months, soldiers have begun conducting nighttime raids of protesters' homes, a tactic usually reserved for suspected terrorists, protesters complain.

The military is also testing some controversial legal strategies. In Bilin and Niilin, two West Bank villages with long-running weekly protests against Israel's separation barrier, the military recently decreed that the cities would be designated "closed military zones" from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays.    MORE

How soon before the UN passes a resolution accusing Israel of cruel and brutal treatment of protesters?  And no doubt the Skunk Lovers Association will get into the act complaining about Israel ruining their pet’s reputation.

His Holiness meets His Shmuleyness (and a local note)

Shmuley gives the Holy Father advice on how to improve the Catholic church's standing and reputation. It's a real pity that he wasn't around a few hundred years ago when the Inquisition was in full swing.

And seeing that the whole Christian church "business" was started by a "Jewish rabbi", it makes sense that Rabbi Shmuley has such altruistic  feelings towards it.

My Meeting with Pope Benedict
by Shmuley Botach

I had my meeting with the Pope today at his Wednesday audience. Let me first give you an idea of the setting. There were approximately fifteen thousand people from all over the world gathered in St. Peter’s Square speaking an untold number of languages. The sun shone very brightly. The day was perfect. The Pope arrived in his pope-mobile to great excitement and fanfare. His vehicle was open-top. I assumed they didn’t need the protective bubble that has become so iconic on TV because there was security screening for each person present. As the Pope drove among the crowd they shouted ‘Viva Papa - Long live the Pope.’ There seemed to be genuine affection and excitement among the Catholic pilgrims who had gathered from all over the world.
The pope drove up the incline and arrived in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. The people who were there to meet him sat on both sides of his dais. There were clergymen from all over the world: Cardinals, Bishops, and priests from the Catholic Church. I sat next to three Anglican Bishops from the UK. With me was my friend Gary Krupp, head of the Pave the Way Foundation, who had arranged the visit and several of his officers.
The Pope read greetings in give languages and an American priest welcomed our group publicly from the Pope’s dais. The Pope waived to us.

When the formal ceremony, lasting about two hours ended, the Pope came off his dais and moved along the receiving line to greet us. Gary introduced me to the Pope warmly with my formal titles. I gave the Pope a special gift we had gotten for him. It was a beautiful dual-time Phillip Stein watch. The Pope lit up when he saw it and said, “Look, it has two faces on it,” which, as it happened, was the perfect introduction for me to share the issues I had prepared. I said, “Pope Benedict, it’s an honor to meet you. This watch has the times of Rome and Jerusalem on it, signifying the eternal friendship between our two faiths. I also hope that when you wear it the future of the Jew people will always be on your mind, as Israel struggles with existential threats, like Iran, who threaten to wipe it off the map. You’re voice against these threats is essential, Your holiness.”

He said ‘Yes,’ nodding his head in agreement, and I continued. “In addition, Your holiness, the dual clock face is a symbol of my request that you please join us in establishing a global family dinner night which we call, ‘Turn Friday Night into Family Night.’ It involves what we call the triple two. Two hours of uninterrupted time that parents give their kids, inviting two guests, just as I am your guest today, and discussing two important subjects.”

While I said this Pope Benedict again nodded.

I concluded, ‘Your holiness, it’s so important that our two religions work together on this.’ He said warmly, ‘We will work together. We will work together.’ He held my hand while we spoke. The watch we gave the Pope as a gift has special resonance because the owner, Will Stein, is an orthodox German convert to Judaism.

I had invited my close friends David Victor, Chairman of the Board of AIPAC, and Rodney Adler, to the meeting with the Pope. Rodney emphasized 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 Pope again warmly agreed. David then respectfully but firmly pressed the Pope on the need to address the Iran crisis, ‘a regime which denies the holocaust and threatens to destroy Israel and is building nuclear weapons.’ The Pope said, “I have spoken about it and will continue to.”

As soon as the meeting was over, I was granted another meeting with Cardinal Walter Casper, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.’ Gary introduced me to the Cardinal and made a strong pitch for the importance of the worldwide Church partnering with us to create our international family dinner initiative. The Cardinal, a very pleasant priest from Germany who has been close friends with Pope Benedict for forty years, strongly endorsed the idea and related his memories of family dinners with his own parents.

I made the case to the Cardinal that the pedophile priest scandal has many influential American commentators skewering the Church for being an all-boys club, seemingly anti-family. It was essential, I argued, that the Church recapture its reputation as one of the world’s foremost champions of the family. He agreed emphatically and said he agreed that the Church should partner with us.

My friend David Victor then again brought up the threat that Iran poses to Israel. The Cardinal said that Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to the world. He asked David to write to him and Cardinal Bertone, the Cardinal Secretary of State, with suggestions of what could be done.

It was an exciting day. Five of my nine children were with me, as well as both my parents.

And here's the beginning of a CNN report on Shmuley's vatican adventures:

A rabbi walks into St. Peter's Square, meets the pope, and tells the Holy Father that one way to defuse the sex abuse scandal plaguing the church is for the Vatican to begin promoting a secular version of Shabbat dinner, the traditional Jewish Friday meal.

It's no joke.   MORE

Shmuley is sure giving his kids a well-rounded upbringing. Playing with Michael Jackson's children and visiting "Uncle Pope".

Oh, and anyone know how Rodney Adler got included in the mix? (Did you notice how Shmuley doesn't even try to explain to his readers who Rodney is? A bit strange, no?)
Meanwhile locally our rabbis will have to make their journey to the Vatican one step at a time. Who knows? Maybe one day Rabbi Meir Shlomo too, will have the privilege and honor to give advice to the Bishop of Rome and even wish the Pontiff "a good Yontiff".

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

" Eruv 'treif' ": Another misleading AJN headline

The AJN continues to misinform its readers with deceptive and sensationalist headlines, as seen in our sneak preview to this Friday's edition.

Maybe, as they did with former editor Ashley Browne, its time to send their headline writer packing.

Look who's advising the Pope!

Shmuel Boteach sermonising to the Catholic Church: “Adopt Hilchos Yichud !
Not such a bad idea, actually…

And here's another. Advising the Pope to push for Friday night family dinners. Yep, gefilteh fish and chicken soup should go far in solving the Church's problems.


Even a pope needs friends
By SHMULEY BOTEACH  - Jerusalem Post

...There is much in Jewish law and tradition that could bring healing to the Church, beginning with the Jewish laws of sexual seclusion. In Judaism a man and woman who are not married are not allowed to be in a locked room together. When I was rabbi to Michael Jackson, I took this law and applied it to his special circumstances. I told him the only way he could rehabilitate his reputation after the pedophile accusations was to simply forswear ever being alone with a child. I even grabbed Michael’s shoulders and made him promise me he would never seclude himself with a child not his own.
And for the two years for which we were close, he stuck to the script. When he and I launched our initiative to help children, the focus was on working with parents to make their kids a top priority, rather than with the kids themselves.
It wasn’t until he stupidly disregarded this simple advice and decided to share a bed – however platonically – with a young child and then brag about it on TV that he was arrested, and so began the inexorable decline that ended in his death a few years later.

THE CHURCH should embrace the same straightforward rule. No priest should be allowed to be alone with a child. Period. If a priest needs to speak to a child alone, the door must never be locked and there must always be the possibility that they can be intruded upon. If they walk in a park, it cannot be one that is empty. This way we’ll know that any priest who breaks the guidelines will be punished, whether or not he abuses a child. It would significantly curb the potential for child molestation, and might even discourage pedophiles from entering the priesthood...

For the full article, (where Boteach also makes the amazing claim that "Benedict has been a great friend to the Jewish community") click here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

...וציויתי את ברכתי

There have been many stories in the past about Shemitta-observant farmers seeing miraculous Heavenly rewards for their dedication and commitment to this not-easy-to-fulfill commandment.
The latest story is about an organic wine-grower in Yitzhar, who 3 years ago, after committing himself to fully observe the Mitzvah 100% halachically - without any short-cuts or heterim - not only realised 3 times his annual grape production for that year’s vintage, but has now won 2 gold and one silver medals for the country's best boutique wines
And here's the English version of the story from :
Samaria Wines Win Big:
Victor Credits Shemittah Year

Wineries in Judea and Samaria shone at the annual Eshkol Hazahav wine competition this year, taking a total of seven awards. A total of 251 wines were submitted to the competition, and were judged by dozens of experts in a blind taste test.

The Hararei Kedem winery in Yitzhar was particularly successful, taking two gold medals and one silver. Hararei Kedem's winning wines were a Merlot, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Cabernet-Merlot blend.

Hararei Kedem is a unique winery for several reasons. Not only does owner Ariel Ben-Sheetrit use Jewish labor, instead of hiring foreign workers as many do, but the wines he creates are entirely organic. In addition, Ben-Sheetrit observes the shemittah (Sabbatical) year, allowing his fields to lie fallow once every seven years.

Ben-Sheetrit was given an opportunity to address the audience after winning, and he used the opportunity to tell the hundreds of assembled winery owners, wine experts, journalists and tourists that he credits his success to his observance of the shemittah year, and to the fact that his grapes are grown in the portion of the land of Israel belonging to the biblical Joseph (Yosef), who is buried a short distance from Yitzhar.

The grapes that created his winning wines were grown in the year before the shemittah year, after he had decided to let the land lay fallow the next year despite agricultural experts' attempts to dissuade him, Ben-Sheetrit related. In that year, 2007, the year before the shemittah year, his vineyard produced three times the usual quantity of grapes.

"It was truly a fulfillment of the words of the Torah, that the land will give enough for the sixth, seventh, and eighth years,” he declared. The grapes were special in terms of quality as well as quantity, he added, as indicated by the prize-winning wines they produced.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The collapse of religious Zionism

Guest post from "3rd generation Melb Mizrachi":
I attach an interesting article from Haaretz, which seems to confirm much of what we have known for the past decade or two - that "religious Zionism", aka Mizrachi, has a very limited future in Israel. Those old enough, can remember the party regularly winning 10-12 seats for the Knesset - election after election. Sadly, this is no longer the case. The old Mafdal has split several ways and/or joined up with other right-wing parties in an attempt to try and maintain some respectable semblance of representation.

At the same time the Hesder Yeshivot seem to be going along fine, though we also sometimes hear about 'leakage' to the Chareidi yeshivot (sometimes encouraged by the Roshei yeshivot themselves!) as indicated in the article.

We in Melbourne can see some mirroring of the situation in Israel, as some of our numbers move "rightwards", eg, towards the Beth Hatalmud and Rabbi Donnebaum's Heichal community. I would appreciate hearing from those in the know - expecially regarding the Sydney situation.
The collapse of religious Zionism By Shahar Ilan

The alliance between secular Israelis and religious Zionists has always been a very important facet of Zionism. But if anything is clear after 62 years of Israel's existence, it is that the term "religious Zionist" is becoming irrelevant. The party that used to represent this public, the National Religious Party, collapsed long ago, and its votes have been scattered between the secular parties and a few religious splinter parties.

A series of incidents over the past year, including the affair of Rabbi Eliezer Melamed and the threat to boycott a march in memory of the Lamed Heh (35 soldiers killed en route to reinforce Gush Etzion during the War of Independence), shows that not only the party, but the public for which it was named, is collapsing.

One fault line within this community is the question of its attitude toward democracy, and toward Zionism as a democratic movement. Some religious Zionists, especially those known as the Zionist ultra-Orthodox, have joined the non-Zionist ultra-Orthodox in refusing to honor governmental decisions.
A prime example is the support for soldiers disobeying orders expressed by Rabbi Melamed, head of the Har Bracha yeshiva.
On the other side, a few religious Zionists have made what for them was the very difficult decision to join with the secular in a desperate effort to defend democracy and Zionism. It was impossible not to notice, for instance, that no real outcry developed over the decision to expel Melamed's yeshiva from the hesder system, which combines Torah study with army service.
The second fault line relates to the cultural aspects of religion: the fact that a portion of the religious Zionist community is distancing itself from modern life and adopting rules of modesty and separation of the sexes that border the extreme demands of the ultra-Orthodox. Thus in January, the Bnei Akiva youth movement threatened to boycott the Lamed Heh memorial march to Gush Etzion because an army troupe comprising both men and women was to perform at the end of the march.
A report published last week by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel warned that the growing number of students learning in ultra-Orthodox schools, which do not teach secular subjects, endangers the state's existence. But the religious Zionist community also includes a large segment that has also removed the core curriculum from its schools.

On the other side, it is becoming clear to many moderate members of the religious Zionist community that the main victims of religious coercion are its own women. It is these women, for instance, who have no way to circumvent the rabbinical courts, which discriminate against them.
And the moderates have begun drawing conclusions. In the previous Knesset, the two most prominent fighters against ultra-Orthodox religious coercion were religious Zionist MKs Michael Melchior (Labor) and Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima).
In Jerusalem's last municipal election, most of the religious Zionist public joined with the secular public to elect a secular mayor, Nir Barkat.


Meanwhile AJN Watch has come upon this photograph showing pre-war Polish rabbanim who were members or supporters of the Mizrachi movement. It's hard to imagine that today's RZ's could put together such a Chassidic/Charedi-looking group picture.

We have no idea who these rabbanim are and would appreciate any further information.

הם אבות המוטציה של "הכיפה הסרוגה

AJN sourcing stories from AJN Watch?

Judge for yourself.
                                   AJN WATCH 16 APRIL 2010
                                           AJN 23 APRIL 2010

Not that we mind. Not at all. Far better that they repeat our articles then most of the stuff that they produce themselves...

Friday, April 23, 2010

More on the Iceland volcano and the gate of Gehenom

Our earlier post has received an unprecedented amount of "hits" - especially after it was mentioned in a number of popular blogs. The following post appeared on one of those - "Yeranen Yaakov" - and will be of interest to our readers.

Thanks to Shirat Devorah for pointing me to a blog called AJNWatch, which posted the image above. In it, Rav Yaakov Emden in Migdal Oz quotes the Gemara in Eiruvin 19a that says that there are 3 openings to Gehinnom: 1 in the desert, 1 at sea, and 1 in Yerushalayim. He tries to reconcile this with the Zohar that says that there are really 7 openings to Gehinnom. He therefore says that there are really 3 categories of openings to Gehinnom. There are 3 at sea: Hekla, Etna, and Vesuvius. (He goes on to say that there are 2 more on each side of India, plus 1 in the desert and 1 in Yerushalayim.) He specifically refers to Hekla (which Wikipedia says is the most active volcano in Iceland) as one which constantly spews fire like a river of sulfur, and near it, one can hear a wailing sound and a great roar.

What does this have to do with the Eyjafjallajokull volcano?
Well, 2 things: 1)some scientists say that Hekla may follow and 2) it's close to Hekla.

This article says that R' Yaakov Emden is not the only one that calls it the "Gateway to Hell":

Hekla’s Volcanic Activity

Thursday, April 22, 2010

AJN report on Kosher veYosher

Took them an extra week, but the AJN finally catches up with AJNWatch...

The Iceland volcano - Gehenom's entrance...

That's what Rav Yaakov Emden zt''l (born Altona, Germany June 4, 1697;
 niftar April 19, 1776) wrote a long time ago.  (Hat tip Rabbi B.)

                                        [CLICK TO ENLARGE]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This will damage The Age (and Fairfax) far more than subscription cancellations...


Rivals may cut Fairfax Media's ad revenue

• Michael Bodey  The Australian
• April 19, 2010

FAIRFAX Media could lose tens of millions of revenue with the introduction of two major media properties in the southern capital this month.

Today, new radio station MTR 1377, the joint venture between John Singleton's Macquarie Radio Network and Pacific Star Network, launches on the Melbourne radio market, with insiders hopeful it will break even in its first month. And on Wednesday week, former The Age property editor and senior marketing executive Antony Catalano delivers the free newspaper The Weekly Review to 200,000 of the more affluent homes in Melbourne.

The newly formed Metro Media Publishing will launch The Weekly Review on April 28 with the backing of more than 20 leading real estate agents. The mass exodus of major Melbourne real estate agencies, including Hocking Stuart, Bennison Mackinnon, RT Edgar, Jellis Craig, Kay & Burton and Marshall White, has been reported to have taken a $10-$15 million chunk of advertising from Fairfax Media's free Melbourne Weekly Magazine and potentially The Age and website

Insiders tell Media that figure is more likely to be beyond $20m.

In a letter to a number of real estate agents on Tuesday, and published in Crikey last week, Fairfax's chief executive and publisher of Melbourne Publishing Don Churchill asked whether the agencies had shareholdings or financial interests in the new magazine and whether they would continue to advertise in Fairfax publications.

As if to emphasise his company's blindsiding by Catalano's industry-backed venture, Churchill also asked when the new publication "will first be published", even as the April 28 date was circling within the industry.

"It would be inappropriate at this stage to comment on our direct or commercial dealings with the real estate agents," Mr Churchill told Media. "It is unfortunate one of them has chosen to leak a private letter." He added The Melbourne Weekly would continue to be a strong brand supported by the Fairfax company, The Age and

He declined to comment on "a competitor that is yet to publish, other than to say Fairfax always takes its competitors seriously".

Fairfax Media's revenue hole on the property front has been exacerbated by a lesser grab of radio ad revenue from its 3AW by new rival MTR1377.

Fairfax Media has also had to undertake a major advertising spend for 3AW, the first promotional campaign in its short ownership history, in anticipation of the rival talk station.

Catalano has already aligned with MTR1377, where he will present a weekly real estate show on Saturday mornings, using access to RP Data's property price database and talking to agents. He will also appear regularly on Steve Vizard's MTR1377 program, as will some other writers from The Weekly Review, including former The Australian journalist Corrie Perkin.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yeshiva "Yechi" sign: The censored articles

Further to our earlier post re the AJN report on the censoring of the recent issue of Yeshiva newsletter we thank "Mr 92" for forwarding the 2 censored articles.

Make up your own minds.
                                                        CLICK TO ENLARGE

Very unkosher sea-food!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

European air chaos creates havoc for yeshiva and seminary students

There'll be a more than few Yeshiva bachurim and sem girls missing start of the new 'zeman'.

And here's a quip going around in London:
After the recent crash of their banks, Europe asked Iceland for cash. 
Instead, Iceland sent them ash.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shmuley Boteach on the Rubashkin case

For once AJN Watch agrees 100% with Shmuley Boteach.

Editorial By Shmuley Boteach:
Does a Kosher Butcher’s Fraud Mandate a Life Sentence?

New York - At middle age I have come to accept my limitations. Although I like to have an opinion on almost everything, I am conscious of the fact that I am not a legal scholar and do not understand all the complexities of the criminal case against Shalom Rubashkin, the former CEO of America’s largest kosher meat plant, Agriprocessors of Postville, Iowa.

But I am not a stupid man either. And I, and a heck of a lot of other fairly intelligent and educated people are scratching our heads as to why government prosecutors are requesting that Rubashkin, who has ten children, including an autistic son, and a reputation for enormous philanthropy, be given a life sentence in prison.

A life behind bars. The very words are ominous. Isn’t that reserved for society’s most heinous offenders? Life sentence has one conjuring images of rapists and murderers, international drug cartel kingpins and white-collar criminals guilty of gargantuan fraud, like Bernie Madoff.

What did Rubashkin do? After an INS raid on the plant that found hundreds of illegal immigrants, the company was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy and Rubashkin, who had already been arrested for employing illegals, was subsequently found guilty of defrauding a bank and producing false invoices in order to keep the business going. There is no insinuation that he did any of this for personal profit or gain. Unlike Madoff, he had no Hamptons estate, no fancy yacht, and no Manhattan penthouse. By all accounts he and his family lived in incredibly modest circumstances.

Obviously, the Rubashkin story has been an enormous embarrassment to the American Jewish community in general and orthodoxy in particular. The largest kosher meat plant in the country employing hundreds of illegal immigrants? Engaging in bank fraud in order to remain a going concern? Falsifying invoices and misleading lenders? These are serious charges that go against both terrestrial and celestial law and constitute actions that neither man nor G-d can condone. The expected flight of Jewish leaders and spokespeople from Rubashkin’s side ensued, whatever the injustice of his proposed sentence. We Jews are accustomed to run from scandal like the plague.

So let’s remove the smoke from this unsavory story and focus on truth.

Yes, we Jews unfortunately have our criminals. Yes, we orthodox Jews unfortunately have our felons. We’re human, too. We have people guilty of serious wrongdoing. And we too must confess our sins, repent of our actions, be punished for our crimes, and teach our children to always do better and never excuse our behavior. Our community need to know that no matter how important you believe it is for other Jews to eat kosher food, you cannot purchase that mitzvah at any price. You cannot be a good Jew if you are not an honest person. A religious obligation that comes through theft – even when your intention is to simply keep a business open so you can eventually pay off your loans – subverts all principles of religious morality.

Rubashkin is no hero. Whatever the nobility of his intentions, he is a poor example to religious youth. His behavior must and should be condemned. He has been found guilty of a crime and he must do the time.

But he is no monster either. Unlike Wall Street bankers, he did not bet the farm and other people’s deposits in order to buy himself a Ferrari. Unlike AIG executives, he did not cost the government billions in bailouts and then get a bonus. And while I, of course, understand that criminal conduct is infinitely more serious, so is prosecutorial overzealousness that borders on fanaticism.

The time that Rubashkin serves must be fair and just. This is America. Just as there is no room for toleration of criminal conduct, there is also no room for a lynch mob mentality. I realize I am not a lawyer. But I have enough sense to understand that a punishment of a few years in prison sets an unassailable example that criminal conduct is utterly inexcusable. Anything more than that for a crime of this nature gives the false impression that the American justice system is prejudicial and untrustworthy.

As for the outcry from the Hassidic community that Rubashkin is being treated unfairly and that his yarmulke and beard make for a prosecutorial bull’s-eye, I love America too much to believe any of it. This is the fairest, most decent country on earth. But I do believe it possible that when an overtly religious person perpetrates a crime – especially one that involves companies catering to religious needs – there is a feeling on the part of many that the hypocrisy mandates an even harsher sentence.

So let’s be clear.  This is not in any way analogous to other ugly religious stories dominating the news like pedophile priests. There is no suggestion that Rubashkin’s crimes be covered up. Less so is there any insinuation that Rubashkin be moved to another state where he can start up a new kosher meat plant. Rubashkin’s trustworthiness in the American Jewish community is finished.

But there is an insistence that he be treated like a human being. That it be taken into consideration that he has no prior offenses and that his company provided kosher meat to hundreds of thousands of people at affordable prices so that more Jews could observe their faith. That he and his family are legendary in the Hassidic community for their charitable giving, their hospitality, and their communal involvement. That Rubashkin himself devoted a substantial portion of his profits to funding a soup kitchen and supporting organizations like Collel Chabad that feed the hungry and the poor. To disregard all these considerations when it comes to sentencing is to disregard the universal belief that the good we do is not cancelled out by our horrendous mistakes.

I know my own limitations. Perhaps Rubashkin’s prosecutors ought to know theirs as well.

See the comments section on for some pretty sharp views on this case. Eg,

Anonymous Says:
I’m surprised the prosecutors didn’t ask for the death penalty, we truly are living in a modern day Sodom…

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yeshiva Newsletter and the Yechi sign

Following this AJN report about the "censored" anti-Yechi-sign articles, a number of readers contacted us asking locate and publish the missing items. We are considering the requests and ask anyone who has them to forward to us. (Anonymity if requested - is assured.)

We are still scratching our heads trying to understand why, if the topic is so awkward, were these articles allowed to be published in the first place?

Michael Danby exposed!

The Malaysian media has exposed MP Michael Danby as being "pro-Israel"!
Who would've thunk?

What's their next scoop? That the pope is a Catholic...?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kosher veYosher joins the majors!

Guest post from Kosherman:

Following the recent almighty brouhaha around the soft lafa matzos produced under the supervision of Rabbi Meir Rabi and his Kosher veYosher organization, things have moved up a notch as we see in a half-page advertisement in this week’s AJN, from the Sanitarium company who have decided to come under Rabbi Rabi’s hashgacha.

Whether this will delight or upset Australia’s other Kashrus groups is still to be seen but no doubt Kosher consumers will welcome the additional products into their pantries.

A rumor in the Kashrus industry is that despite some Sanitarium products appearing on current Kashrus lists, there have been very few visits to their factories by the authorities. We are awaiting denial or confirmation of this allegation.

Meanwhile another rumor doing the rounds is that even more products will be available in the near future featuring the Losher veYosher stamp.

Time will tell. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is Michael Danby's graphic artist a Liberal plant?

Sure seems like it.  (Hat tip - James)
Shouldn't the headline read: "Why the relisting of terrorist groups affects our security" ?

Actually the entire 4-page supplement looks like it was cobbled together by a few unsupervised high-school kids (which may have indeed be what happened).

But what really caught our eye was the "rogues gallery" at the bottom of the page (see above)! How the heck did he, Brendan O'Connor and the good professor end up in a terrorist line-up?
Could it be that our Mike has a Liberal saboteur or plant in his Fitzroy Street bunker...?

(Oh, and by the way, the professor's name and school are misspelled.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

ECAJ and the JCCV - busy with saints and Muslims

Nice to see that our major representative organisations have resolved all important Jewish problems in this country and thus can  concentrate on Muslim issues and on sending "mazel tovs" to the Catholics upon the simcha of their new saint.

Some may suggest that John Searle could've better spent his time ensuring that the pedestrian traffic lights in Caulfield/East St Kilda were switched to Shabbat mode during the first and last days of Pesach. After all, the Muslims weren’t going to fix this for us and short of another miracle by Saint Mary - neither were the catholics.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Moshiach at the MCG???

And all along we took Messiah to be a soccer fan. Go figure.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Prime real estate - Advertised in London

The following advertisement is from London's religious weekly "Jewish Tribune"
(25/02/2010 edition).                        CLICK TO ENLARGE

The Hebrew publication date for the newspaper - 11th Adar, may somewhat explain things...
(Hat tip - SBA)