Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ed Gochenour, or Why Many of Us Are Angry About the Burzynski Cancer Petition

Sadly, a child in Houston (who happens to be a member of an Orthodox Jewish family) has aggressive brain cancer. They have put a petition on the WeThePeople (the White House petition site) asking the FDA to allow a "compassionate use exemption" for something called "antineoplastin therapy" and the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, which was pulled from clinical trials in 2012. In fact, as a USA Today expose has made clear, there are very good reasons why they've pulled it; Burzynski is a snake oil salesman. Nevertheless, some people such as Rebbetzin Ariela Davis are pushing us all to sign this petition and doesn't seem to understand why we're so angry. I recently came across former State Senator Ed Gochenour, who I think exemplifies why a lot of us are so angry; along with anti-vaccine people/global warming deniers/etc., this is just one more instance of the government bureaucrats/scientists can do no right mentality that is becoming rampant in this country.

State Senator Ed Gochenour was a Republican who represented Macon, Georgia in the 1990s. There's a picture of him here speaking in front on microphones at a rally at a criminal trial for Burzynski back in 1997 (he beat the charges and was able to continue his practice), in front of a sign saying "Don't let the FDA stop access to Dr. Burzyski's life saving miracle drug." He was also diagnossed with brain cancer. After rejecting the advice of the "best neurosurgeon at Emory University," he then got "treated" by Dr. Burzynski starting in December 1996, claiming in 1998"I began treatment in the middle of December and three weeks later 50% of the tumor was gone. After five months the cancerous part of the tumor was completely gone. I have to remain on the IV part of the treatment until the end of this year and then will take the antineoplastons for several years by capsule." He died of brain cancer at age 46 in November 1999.

Before he died, though, he gave some anti-FDA testimony in February 1998 to the U.S. House of Representative Government Oversight and Reform Committee which primarily demonstrates his lack of understanding of the scientific process and controlling variables:

After learning of alternative treatments and the problems they were having with the FDA, this past January during the Georgia General Assembly I introduced and was successful in getting passed an Access to Medical Treatment Act. The citizens of Georgia believe that patients ought to have the access to the treatment of their choice when their lives are threatened. Because I am a State Senator my name has been in many stories nationwide associated with Dr. Burzynski. This has led many potential patients to call and ask me about the treatment and for help getting into a protocol.

The most disheartening thing about the whole ordeal with the FDA is that while the FDA is allowing the antineoplastons to go through clinical trials to test their efficacy, they are making patients take treatments they do not want to take before they can become a part of a clinical trial. One reason we choose Dr. Burzynski is that his medicine is nontoxic. For the FDA to make a patient take radiation before they can become part of a clinical trial for antineoplastons is unreal.

The FDA will not allow patients that don't fit the protocols to take the antineoplastons without a fight. One gentleman from Texas had high blood pressure and because the medicine is a sodium based medicine taking the normal dose the way the protocol requires would have caused him more problems. This gentleman needed a special treatment unique to him. It took six weeks of fighting with the FDA and getting his Congressman involved before he could take the treatment.

When the FDA was created it was with good intent. The citizens of this country needed help with determining whether drugs were safe or not. But if I allowed my two boys to grow up without supervision they would become something different than they are now. They would be arrogant, belligerent, undisciplined and uncaring much like the FDA has become. I believe it is time that Congress steps in and brings some discipline to this department and restore some integrity.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Reform Judaism's Evolution Regarding Gays

Here are excerpts outlining Reform Judaism's rabbis (Central Conference of American Rabbis) evolution on gay rights. I'm a little surprised they released these policy documents to the Berman Jewish Policy Archive since it makes them look really craven, but it's interesting. By the way the BJPA is an amazing resource and I just wish more older documents would get released to it.

American Reform Responsa: Judaism and Homosexuality, 1973, responding to a question about a West Coast Reform rabbi who organized a gay synagogue.

There is no question that Scripture considers homosexuality to be a grave sin. The rabbi who organized this congregation, justifying himself, said that being Reform, we are not bound by the Halacha of the Bible. It may well be that we do not consider ourselves bound by all the ritual and ceremonial laws of Scripture, but we certainly revere the ethical attitudes and judgments of the Bible. In Scripture (Lev. 18:22), homosexuality is considered to be "an abomination." So, too, in Leviticus 20:13. If Scripture calls it an abomination, it means that it is more than violation of a mere legal enactment: it reveals a deep-rooted ethical attitude. How deep-rooted this aversion is can be seen from the fact that, although Judaism developed in the Near East, which is notorious for the prevalence of homosexuality, Jews kept away from such acts, as is seen from the Talmud (Kiddushin 82a), which states that Jews are not "under the suspicion of homosexuality." In other words, the opposition to homosexuality was more than a Biblical law; it was a deep-rooted way of life of the Jewish people, a way of life maintained in a world where homosexuality was a widespread practice. Therefore, homosexual acts cannot be brushed aside, as the rabbi in the West is reported to have done, by saying that we do not follow Biblical enactments. Homosexuality runs counter to the sancta of Jewish life. There is no side-stepping the fact that from the point of view of Judaism men who practice homosexuality are to be deemed sinners.


It seems to be also that it is not unfair to ascribe an additional motive for their desire to be grouped together, to the exclusion of others: in this way they know each other and are available to each other, just as they now group together in separate bars and saloons in the great cities. What, then, of young boys who perhaps have only a partial homosexual tendency, who will now be available to inveterate homosexuals? Are we not thereby committing the sin of "aiding and abetting sinners" (Mesayea yedei overei avera)?


It is hardly worth mentioning that to officiate at a so-called "marriage" of two homosexuals and to describe their mode of life as "Kiddushin" (i.e., sacred in Judaism) is a contravention of all that is respected in Jewish life.

American Reform Responsa: Allowing Homosexuals to be religious school teachers/have leadership positions, 1981

We reject this type of individual as a role model within that Jewish community. We cannot recommend such an individual as a role model nor should he/she be placed in a position of leadership or guidance for children of any age.

American Reform Responsa: Homosexual Converts to Judaism, 1982

QUESTION: "In our community there is a small group of 'gay' Jews who have gathered together to form a havurah. ... Recently a few non-Jews have been attracted to the havurah. Several of them have indicated an interest in Jewish life, and one individual in particular has approached me in regards to the possibility of studying in order to convert to Judaism. In light of the strong antipathy of Judaism to homosexuality, should we accept a known and active homosexual who desires to convert to Judaism? (Rabbi R. Safran, Ft. Wayne, IN)

ANSWER: ... The entire matter is somewhat complicated by the fact that this group of homosexuals has organized itself into a havurah. We must ask ourselves whether it is simply for the purpose of companionship, or if this is a group who will seek to attract others to a homosexual lifestyle. In the case of the latter, we could certainly not accept a convert who intends to influence others in that direction. Otherwise, a homosexual who wishes to convert to Judaism should be accepted as any other convert.

American Reform Responsa: Officiate at a Gay Marriage, 1985

... [Reform Judaism] does not, however, understand [homosexuality] to be an alternative lifestyle which is religiously condoned.

Judaism places great emphasis on family, children and the future, which is assured by a family. However we may understand homosexuality,whether as an illness, as a genetically based dysfunction or as a sexual preference and lifestyle-we cannot accommodate the relationship of two homosexuals as a "marriage" within the context of Judaism, for none of the elements of qiddushin (sanctification) normally associated with marriage can be invoked for this relationship.

A rabbi can not, therefore, participate in the "marriage" of two homosexuals.

Reform Responsa: Gay Marriage officiation, 1996

The majority of the members of this Committee respond in the negative to this she'elah. In our opinion, a Reform rabbi should not officiate at a ceremony of marriage between two persons of the same gender, whether or not this ceremony is called by the name kiddushin.

A minority of us, whose names are indicated at the conclusion of this teshuvah, disagree, holding that a Reform rabbi may officiate at a wedding or "commitment" ceremony for two homosexuals, although for important historical and theological reasons, that ceremony should perhaps not be called kiddushin.

Resolution on Same Gender Officiation, March 2000

WE DO HEREBY RESOLVE, that the relationship of a Jewish, same gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual, and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recognize the diversity of opinions within our ranks on this issue. We support the decision of those who choose to officiate at rituals of union for same-gender couples, and we support the decision of those who do not, and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon the CCAR to support all colleagues in their choices in this matter

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Angry Teahadis Unload on Boehner on Facebook

The Tea Party Republican Base is not happy with John Boehner. His "temporary concession" notice was as follows:
Thank you for all of your support and encouragement. The House has fought with everything it has to convince the president to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country’s debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare. Our fight will continue.
Apparently doing this again in three months isn't good enough for teabaggers though, because they are angry. Of course being tea party types their anger isn't based on anything like basic facts.
Kiss it. We want you impeached.
Impeaching is for judges and the president, not for Congressl. He could be expelled or removed from being Speaker, of course, but not impeached.
Obama care is unconstitutional what don't you understand???
Needs basic course on who interprets the law.
Please reconsider. Please defund oboma care.
Doesn't seem to understand the GOP couldn't do that unilaterally, which is why they had to shut down the government/threaten default,etc. in the first place.
think LIBERATERIAN!!!! keep the govt shut down!!
Clearly a supporter of "Liberaterian" spelling as well.
Don't let Obama beat you! We the ppl have to pay for his debt and then our children and so on! Don't cave!
What makes these idiots think that not raising the debt ceiling somehow magically ends the debt or something.
Go fuck yourself boner.
John your a RINO !!
John your a RINO !!
I shall not forget this on Nov 5th. you are fired.
John Boehner, you're nothing more than a whore for the liberal agenda.
How about IMPEACHMENT! Would that make him listen???
Boo. Can't wait until we have the opportunity to fight at the polls and replace our Speaker.
Obama himself is unconstitutional. HE IS A KENYAN and according to the Constitution he is NOT eligible to hold the position he holds. Obamacare is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. When are we going to go back to the Constitution? IMPEACHMENT.
aLL you had to do was NOT CAVE! No to ACA aka Obamacare and IMPACH OBAMA
WE DON'T WANT O'CRAPPYCARE!!!!!!! What part of "we don't want" do u not understand???????
Just keep up the good fight, its hard to fight a Dictator!!! Americans are waking up and I can't wait until I can tell everyone HAHA! How do you like your Obama Care now...I refuse to sign up for ACA...
You caved you wimp !!! Don't care if Economy collapse Now or after 6 months after Obamacare kicks in !!! Welcome to socialism good little nazi !!!
Your a TRAITOR to your country
Mr. Speaker, please help get veto proof majorities in the House in 2014. If the Republican Senate Committee can concentrate on veto proof majorities in the Senate then we can defund Obama care, and stick ti to the POTUS.
I don't know that this is even possible if they win every seat (unless some other Dems die).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Some Interesting Tidbits From the Pew Survey on Jewish America

Modern Orthodox essentially mirror the US general public liberal-moderate-conservative breakdown (22-35-41 for MO vs. (21-36-38) for the general public but are WAY more likely to lean Republican (MO Jews 57-37 lean Republican, US general public 49-39 lean Democrati). This is presumably due to the importance of Israel among the Modern Orthodox and the conservative viewpoint (i.e. more supportive of West Bank settlements/more likely to have friends and relatives living in them) held by Modern Orthodox Jews regarding Israel. It may also have to do with the yeshiva/day school tuition issue, though. For that matter, on the liberal-moderate-conservative breakdown, Modern Orthodox Jews essentially mirror black Protestants who break down 21-36-36 liberal-moderate-conservative, yet black Protestants are

By contrast, ultra-Orthodox Jews essentially mirror evangelical Christians in liberal-moderate-conservative breakdown (7-21-64 among ultra-Orthodox, 8-27-62 among evangelical Christians), but ultra-Orthodox Jews are significantly more likely to lean Democratic (35-58 Democratic/Republican among ultra-Orthodox vs. 26-66 Democratic/Republican among evangelical Christians). I assume this disparity has to do with recognition of the dependence on various government programs in Williamsburg, Boro Park, Monsey, etc. and knowledge that Democrats tend to be more favorable to these programs.

Jews of no religion do have a religion, liberalism. A whopping 67% identify as liberals, versus only 11% identifying as conservative. No non-Jewish group even comes close. It's true that black Protestants break down 85-8 Democratic, which is somewhat higher even than the 78-12 Democratic breakdown of Jews of no religion, but as mentioned above, on the liberal-moderate-conservative breakdown, they essentially mirror the Modern Orthodox. A word of caution to people such as Steven Plaut and David Harsanyi who blame assimilation on non-Orthodox denominations espousing liberalism as being Judaism. Jews of no religion (67-20-11) are more liberal than Reform Jews (58-29-13) and significantly more so than Conservative Jews (35-33-28).

Monday, October 14, 2013

StandWithUs Hands the Golan Over to Bashar Assad

Regardless of the extreme silliness/revisionist history that Jews were ever promised both sides of the Jordan in the Balfour Declaration, StandWithUs has kind of seriously screwed up here, handing the Golan over to Syria. They didn't even list it as disputed territory.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fisking Moshe Averick's "American Jewry at the Crossroads" Screed

Regardless of whether or not Rabbi Avi Weiss has created "neo-conservatism" or not, one thing is certain: beyond the gratuitous array of aborted fetuses, romance novels, and other pictures, Rabbi Moshe Averick's article "American Jewry at the Crossroads contains a massive number of factual errors
, and large tracts of it could easily have been written by the Reverend Pat Robertson. Rather than excerpt the entire massive article, I will excerpt tracts; my comments are in italics.
On July 11, 1883 a dinner honoring the first graduating class of Hebrew Union College (the rabbinical seminary of Reform Judaism) ... became known in American-Jewish History as “The Treife Banquet.” It marked the final, irrevocable break between the Reform and Conservative movements in the United States.

There was no such thing as the Conservative movement at this point. There were the reformers and the traditionalists, albeit with some people initially straddling the middle. It marked the point of galvanization of traditional Jewish forces to stop the spread of Reform Judaism. While it led directly to the founding of the Jewish Theological Seminary (now the primary rabbinical seminary of Conservative Judaism), JTS was fully traditional (the bounds of Orthodoxy in America not yet having been fully distinctly defined). The founders of JTS included Rabbis Henry Pereira Mendes of the Spanish & Portugese Synagogue Shearith Israel and Rabbi Bernard Drachman. These two rabbis are also known as the founders of the Orthodox Union. No serious split existed until Solomon Schechter (as Averick himself notes)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Trolling Frum Guys on Craigslist

To see one of the bigger embarrassments to the religious Jewish community and probably one of the reasons why the Internet is banned/restricted, search for "frum" on Craigslist for New York City. It includes frum (religious) Jews of all kinds, searching for extramarital relations, sometimes homosexual. For whatever reason a lot of people seem to prefer to try to find other frum Jews rather than some Brooklyn hipster who would have sex with them to be ironic.

Of course, nearly all of these ads are posted by men, usually seeking women (but sometimes seeking men). My fiance and I wondered what kind of responses we could get by pretending to be a frum woman. In order to look authentic, we made sure to have poor "frum Internet-style" grammar and spelling, and made it short and sweet. The "rebbes name" part was primarily to see what sect they belonged to. The ad is as follows:

Frum Lady Seeking Heimishe Bucher - w4m - 28 (Willi)

Im a horny frum satmar lady whos looking for love i can host my husband is all day at b&h and kollel. Put rebbes name in so I know your real

Although the ad was flagged for removal about 9 hours later, we still got plenty of great responses. Some ignored the request for the rebbe's name, and one person didn't seem to understand, putting "Rebbes name" in the title of the response (however, since he said he was from Crown Heights and said "Mmmmmmm ..." (Menachem Mmmmmmendel) we'll count him as Chabad. Additionally, one guy put "Goldwasser" in the title which I hope was a reference to R. Hershel Goldwasser shlita of Beer Sheva. Roughly, I got a whole bunch of Satmars (both Zali and Aroni, plus some who just stuck with R. Yoel Teitelbaum), some Chabadniks, a Vizhnitz, a Modern Orthodox, a student of Reuven Feinstein's at MTJ and some plain "frum" guys from Flatbush (and one from Long Island).

Some took the ad literally, but wanted in anyway ... (translation in italics)

hello do u need davka a bucher? im married
Vilst davke a heimishe oder iz a frime och git? Do you want precisely a "heimishe" or is any frum guy good

We also got some secular Jews

hi I m larry that sad that brainwashing of your religion has made you into a very sex starve wife I know that its hard to be so orthodox and not beable to have all the sex you want

And even some goyim.

Some, however, were skeptical.

Sure Frum...tell me more...

And one guy, who is apparently off the derech, sounded kind of sheepish about violating the extremely important commandment (one of three you're supposed to die rather than violate) of sleeping with a married woman, but gave in because "I" was horny.

Hello, I don't do this usually, Especially since you're an eshet eish But since you're horny, a man should fulfill your needs I am very oral, passionate, kinky, I'm 30 from Brooklyn I dnt wear black and white,

Not everyone was a Chassid, though.

hi how r u?? im ashkanze from flatbush i learn in MTJ in the morning but i dont think i will be going if u want me to come in a white shirt black pants let me know i usally wear T-shirts or polo depends on the day

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Disgusting Smear of Manhattan Projects Jews by Pinchos Lipschutz

Pinchos Lipschutz of the Yated newspaper has written a generally hateful article bashing Yeshivat Maharat, the religious MKs of Yesh Atid and everything 'modernishe.' But one line really took the cake, a fourth-hand "quote" from the Chofetz Chaim. I put "quote" in quotes because these "gedolim stories" always seem to perfectly fit the agenda of whomever is telling them, though it may be true. It's about his supposed granddaughter, who was influenced by the haskalah, went to university and was praising the strides made in technology and science to her grandfather. His claimed response

Tochterel, I want you to know this: With their innovations and inventions, they will one day reach a point where they make a bomb that will kill thousands of people. Ubber mir machen mentchen. Mir machen mentchen. Do you hear? We are making people. They will destroy people.

It's difficult to see this "quote" as anything other than calling the secular Jews of the Manhattan project mass murderers and blaming their detachment from the insular Jewish world.

In fact, the vast majority of the Manhattan project Jews were rather pacifistic, many becoming outspoken anti-nuclear and almost certainly only pushed the development of the atomic bomb with the goal of saving what could be saved of European Jewry, their ahavat yisrael being bounds ahead of ungrateful Mr. Lipschutz. There were exceptions such as Samuel T. Cohen

In detail, to set the record straight on Manhattan project Jews:
  • Jacob Bigeleisen-advocated for nuclear disarmament
  • Bernard Feld-President of Albert Einstein Peace Foundation, his activities for disarmament put him on Nixon's enemies list
  • David H. Frisch-active in disarmament
  • John Gofman-major anti-nuclear activist

Monday, April 22, 2013

Eric Yoffie's Laughable Article About Chabad

Eric Yoffie, the former president of the Union for Reform Judaism (the main organization of Reform Judaism in America), recently wrote an opinion piece in Haaretz in which he was rather critical of Chabad.

Some of it is good points, i.e. Chabad meshichism, support for the Baruch Marzel political element in Israel. Some is essentially sour grapes, i.e. getting annoyed at Chabad's winning over donors affiliated with Reform and Conservative congregations (and presumably reducing their donations to those congregations/causes accordingly). But one part is just really laughable.

When Reform and Conservative leaders protest that celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitvah in a synagogue should require preparation and serious training, including membership and involvement for more than a few months, they are not simply protecting their membership model. They are pointing out that there are limits to feel-good Judaism; even as an outreach method, sweeping away requirements for study and family engagement becomes counterproductive at a certain point.

This is not a new message for Eric Yoffie. From a July 2007 piece originally in the Jerusalem Post

In North America, the issues are very different. Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox synagogues routinely require families wanting a Bar or Bat Mitzvah for a son or daughter to meet certain requirements. Generally, the child must attend a religious school for at least a year, if not more, and the parents are also asked to commit themselves to study and worship at the congregation. The premise is that in the absence of Torah learning and familial commitment and involvement, the Bar Mitzvah will be without meaning – an event celebrated primarily because of parental guilt or as an excuse for a party.

Why is this so funny? Not because they do nothing to stop the over the top indulge-fest that are the bar mitzvah parties of the typical children in these congregations. Rather, because Reform was originally lukewarm if not somewhat hostile to the bar mitzvah.

Check out some past responsa from the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis, the reform rabbinical organization). From 1913, Kaufmann Kohler (Kohler, who studied to be a rabbi under Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (of all people), is perhaps best known for convening the conference that resulted in the notorious "Pittsburgh Platform" of Reform Judaism, was president of Hebrew Union College from1 903 on) :

Disregarding altogether the false claim of mental maturity of the thirteen-year-old boy for a true realization of life's sacred obligations, I maintain that the Bar Mitzvah rite ought not to be encouraged by any Reform rabbi, as it is a survival of Orientalism like the covering of the head during the service

To be fair, his biggest problem with bar mitzvah was that it had an attitude of neglecting the religious training of girls. And in today's world, where many modern Orthodox Jewish congregations let girls give a d'var Torah after prayers, and Bais Yaakov and even Satmar girls have plenty of (Tanach-based) religious training, perhaps he would not have been so against it, although he does show other concerns, i.e. "the false claim of mental maturity."

Even what seems to be the main opposing view to Kohler, that of David Neumark (Hebrew Union College professor from 1907-1924, ordained by Lehranstalt fuer die Wissenschaft des Judenthums in 1897 in Germany), still said "As to the practical question involved, I am perfectly in accord with the suggestion to abolish Bar Mitzvah ceremony in favor of the Confirmation on Shavuot for boys and girls alike."

They only later began to cater to the demands of the congregants to have a bar mitzvah (Israel Bettan, 1954) (like their Conservative and Orthodox brethren) and even then initially put up a defense against extending it to Bat Mitzvah, not because they were anti-equality, but because Bar/Bat Mitzvah was a bad thing and it should not be expanded.

Yet, despite its feeble basis in the realities of religious living, Bar Mitzvah has retained its old appeal for many parents in some of our Reform congregations. In fact, in many recently organized congregations, it has assumed a position of importance which it had never before attained. It would seem that when the substance eludes our grasp, we tighten our hold on the shell.
Quite different, however, must be our attitude to the proposed Bat Mitzvah ceremony, which goes counter to tradition and for which there is no popular demand. When a new religious practice is urged upon us, of whose value our fathers had no estimate and we have had no convincing demonstration, it is not enough to point to some by-product of possible utility, as we attempt to do in the case of the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Unless the new project recommends itself to us by its inherent worth and direct positive purpose, none of its strained qualities shall ever win and hold our active interest.

After acquiescing to some extent, they at least tried to keep tallit and kippa out of the picture.

Similar requests come at times from the parents of a Bar Mitzvah. To please an older member of the family, they would have the boy wear Talit and skull-cap during the Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pamela Geller Sides with Holocaust Deniers against the Anti-Defamation League

This is a new low when it comes to Pamela Geller's anti-Semitism. I mean, she's already expressed her contempt for kosher slaughter and the authority of our batei dinim (courts of Jewish law), but I figured even she wouldn't be linking to Holocaust deniers to slam the Anti-Defamation League.

From her recent blog post bashing the ADL (she may remove it once she gets caught):

Now, where does that link regarding the Colorado lawsuit go? Why, to the Institute for Historical Review.

As most people are aware, the Institute for Historical Review is a pseudo-scholarly organization dedicated to "historical review" of whether the Holocaust happened. Founded by a member of Geller's friends at the British National Front and Willis Carto of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby, they have been at it denying the Holocaust since 1979.

It's possible that Geller had never heard of them, but even if she had, she still posted the above article despite it ending like this:

Although the ADL claims to fight discrimination and promote "fair treatment," for decades it has been a staunch defender of Israel and its well-entrenched policies of discrimination against non-Jews, and of the Zionist state's wars of aggression and numerous violations of international law. Similarly, in the United States the ADL upholds a double standard in ardently promoting Jewish ethnic-religious particularism while protesting comparable ethnic-racial particularism by non-Jews.

I guess if they hate the ADL (which has denounced her on numerous occasions) and probably aren't crazy about the Muslims either, they're good enough for Geller. Bravo, Chabad, for hosting this sonei yisrael.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The New Republican Haggadah: 5773 (2013) Edition

So the National Jewish Democratic Council had an amusing post in 2012 entitled The New Republican Haggadah.

However, the Haggadah was highly abridged and would not be suitable for any serious Republican Jews, and probably not even for RINO Jews. I wrote a more complete version in 2012 (5772), but could not quite finish it. This is the complete and updated version.

Bedikat Chametz בדיקת חמץ

It is strictly prohibited for a Jew to own chametz (products of the five grains, wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats) during the Pesach holiday. On the night before the first Seder, traditional Jews make a formal search for bread crumbs (that have been placed around the house immediately before the search), and then burn them along with any other leaven products the following morning, afterwards saying the "Kol Chamira," an Aramaic declaration that any other chametz that may have been missed shall be considered to be dust of the earth.

Republican Jews should instead perform a bedikat aruchat tsohoraim בדיקת ארוחת צהרים. Instead of scouring their homes for leaven, they should scour the kitchens at their local schools for any healthy lunch options; it is particularly serious to allow a school to serve any leafy green vegetables during Pesach; an exception may be made if the child already has diabetes, ask your local GOP chair. The next morning, any healthy options that were found must be completely slathered in oil (one may use any oil except olive) or high fructose corn syrup before 10 o'clock the next morning.

To cover any healthy options that one has missed, one recites:
All manner of nutrition remaining in the School Lunch Program, whether it is visible to me or invisible, whether I have slathered it in unhealthy substances or left it untouched, shall be considered null and void, and accounted as if it were a bacon double cheeseburger with extra mayo served between two cinnamon buns.


Seder Plate

The Seder plate traditionally contains various foods fraught with symbolic meaning, and the Republican Jewish seder plate is no exception. From the top, counter-clockwise, it contains the following.
  1. Chick-Fil-A-this symbolizes the on-going fight against toeiva marriage.
  2. Fracking Water-The water byproduct of hydraulic fracturing is included on the Seder plate as an indicator that Republican Jews see no problems with drinking it. Note: Republican Jews should not, G-d forbid, actually drink the fracking water; instead, a "Seder goy" should be found to perform this task. Remember, if they are uninsured, any complications they suffer can be handled by their primary care doctor at the local emergency room
  3. Big Gulp-In honor of our freedom, Republicans believe one should consume at least a ke'diabetes of soda at a time, especially if one is in Mississippi.
  4. Twinkies-A reminder of the dangers of labor unions, which last year left America in grave danger of being without her sweet creamy center.
  5. Papa John's Pizza Box-To remember what Obamacare has done to you
  6. Olive Garden-In order to highlight Republican outreach to minority groups, one includes some authentic ethnic cuisine.

Kadesh קדש

The blessing over the first cup of wine is made before drinking it. However, one cannot just use any wine. There is widespread agreement among Republican Jews that it is prohibited to use French wine for the four cups; more stringent opinions also prohibit the use of wine from the tumahdik state of California.

Instead of reclining to the left while drinking the wine, Republican Jews of course recline to the right.

Urchatz ורחץ

Not only (as is traditional) is no blessing said (because we are not about to eat bread) during this washing of the hands, Republican Jews do not bother to get up to wash. Instead they wait for the water to trickle down.

Karpas כרפס

Traditionally, a green vegetable (such as parsley or lettuce) is dipped in salt water.
Republican Jews follow the ruling of the Rav Ronald Reagan that ketchup qualifies as a vegetable. Ketchup is (usually) not green, but green is the last thing any Republican would want to be.

Yachatz יחץ

Most Jews break the middle matzah into two roughly equal pieces, replacing the smaller piece on the Seder plate and hiding the larger piece as the afikomen. At Republican Jewish seders, the leader (or in Republican parlance, the Seder CEO) keeps 99 percent of the matzah for himself and lets the other participants share the remaining 1 percent.(from the original)

Magid מגיד

This is the part of the Seder where the story of Pesach (Passover) is told.

Ha Lachma Anya (Bread of Affliction) הא לחמא עניא

In this case it's technically this is the bread of the job creator so should be something like (Ha Lachma Borei Melacha) הא לחמא בורא מלאכה
"At more than 20 dollars a pound, this is the bread of the job creator . Let all who are hungry be declared ineligible for Food Stamps. Let all who are needy suck it up. This year we are in America. Next year may we demagogue Israel to all get-out. This year we are slaves to the income tax. May next year be entirely tax-free.

Four Question (Ma Nishtana) מה נשתנה

The child with the largest trust fund asks:

Why is this night different from all other nights?

On all other nights we eat food picked and processed by illegal immigrants that take jobs away from real Americans. Why on this night is our matzah watched in the field by old Russian ladies?

On all other nights we eat all sorts of vegetables except arugula; after all, we're not elitist organic-loving hippies. Why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs (maror).

On all other nights we only dip once. Why on this night will we give Obama 100% of the blame for a potential double-dip recession?

On all other nights we eat in whatever position we like, sitting up or leaning. Why on this night do we lean even farther to the right than usual?

The Pesach Story

We were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt. When God brought us out of there with a mighty hand and outstretched arm, we didn't hold onto the plantation mentality. If the Holy One Blessed Be He, had not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, we'd still be slaves to the Pharaohs in Egypt because private property rights are sacrosanct. Since God knows we're not wise or knowledgeable or familiar with constitutional law, it's required that we tell the story of how we left Egypt.

It is related that Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy and Dave Camp spoke all night in the Cannon House Office Building about cutting benefits for the poor until morning when their interns came in with coffee and said, "Sirs, the time has come for the vote to end Medicare as we know it."

Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said "I am a seventy year old man, and all the days of my life I live in fear of having to go before the Obama death panels." Ben Zoma explains that "all the days of my life" refers to the fact that the death penal brigades may even fly to your house in their black helicopters and break down your door at night. The sages, however, say this refers to the fact that the Democrat party sheep saw Obama's election as the beginning of the times of the Messiah.

Blessed be the Omnipotent Invisible hand of the free market.

Four Justices

There are four Supreme court justices we thought we could rely on: the "wise" justice (Scalia), the wicked justice (Roberts), the simple justice (Alito), and the justice who does not know how to ask (Thomas)

The "wise" justice, Antonin Scalia what does he say? Regarding the 98-0 re-extension of the Voting Rights Act, he says that must mean there's a problem with it, because "The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there."

The "wicked" justice, John Roberts, what did he say when he refused to overturn Obamacare? "Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices"

The "simple" justice Samuel Alito, what does he say when it comes to free speech that he considered inappropriate and therefore acceptable to ban? "Respondents' outrageous conduct caused petitioner great injury, and the Court now compounds that injury by depriving petitioner of a judgment that acknowledges the wrong he suffered."

The justice who does not know how to speak, Clarence Thomas.

In the beginning of our time in America our forefathers served the idols of socialism but now the GOP has brought us close to its service. As it is said, "Your forefathers used to live on the other side of the river in the Lower East Side, and they voted for Socialists for Congress."

And I took your ancestors to the other side of the Hudson, and I led them throughout New Jersey, from Teaneck to Lakewood.
Blessed is he that calculated the end of our bondage under the oppressive Obama regime, as God said to Abraham, "Your seed will be enslaved by oppressive regulations and will suffer for four more years. But I will also cause the Dow Jones Industrial Average to reach record levels and you will end up with great wealth.

Vehi Sheamda והיא שעמדה

This is what has stood by our fathers and us! For not just one Democrat alone has risen against us to destroy us. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who didn't bomb the railway lines to the death camps. To John F. Kennedy, who destroyed the hat industry, making men dress immodestly. To Jimmy Carter, the rasha [evil man], about whom no more need be said. To Bill Clinton, who defiled our precious daughters of Israel! To the current socialist Kenyan Muslim Hussein Obama, in every generation they rise against us to destroy us, and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hands.

Come and learn what really happened to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, after they escaped the attempted destruction of the family by Lavan. As it says, "And Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her; and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her."

"And Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her" She did something to catch his eye. As it says, "And Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land." Therefore, having gone out for some girl time, she was not doing her best to avoid getting raped and was pretty much asking for it.

"and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her." As it was taught (Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer 38), "Dina came out to see the young ladies, and [Shechem son of Hamor] caught her and slept with her and she conceived and bore Asenath." We infer from this that Dina was not legitimately raped, because, as Todd Akin says, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Ten Plagues עשר מכות

In addition to taking ten drops out of the wine cups for the plaques, Republican Jews also take them out for ten types of taxation.

These are the ten forms of taxation which the Democrats, may their names and memories be erased, brought down upon us: The income tax, the social security payroll tax, the tax on dividends, the gasoline tax, the property tax, the cigarette tax, the alcohol tax, the sales tax, the "fee" that is actually a tax by another name, and finally, the death of the super-rich parent tax.

Rabbi Yehuda put them in three categories: the consumption taxes (gasoline, cigarette, alcohol, salex, fee), taxes on income (income tax, payroll tax), and the worst of all, the taxes on wealth (dividends,property, death of super-rich parent).

Rabbi Yose the Galilean, said: How can you assert that the Egyptians were smitten with ten plagues in Egypt, and at the Red Sea they were struck with fifty plagues. That's fuzzy math!

Dayenu דינו

If Obama increased sanctions on Iran, but not restored Israel's military edge, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had restored Israel’s qualitative military edge after years of erosion under the Bush administration, but not increased security assistance to Israel, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had increased security assistance to Israel to record levels, but hadn't boycotted Durban II and Durban IIIit wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had boycotted Durban II and Durban III, but hadn't increased U.S.-Israel military cooperation, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had taken U.S.-Israel military and intelligence cooperation to unprecedented levels, but hadn't vetoed one-sided anti-Israel UN resolutions,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had cast his only veto in the U.N. against the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution, but hadn't stopped unilateral Palestinian statehood,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had organized a successful diplomatic crusade against the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, but not opposed Goldstone, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had vehemently opposed the Goldstone Report, but not stood with Israel against the flotilla, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had stood with Israel against the Gaza flotilla, but not intervened to rescue Israelis with Cairoit wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had immediately intervened to rescue Israelis trapped in the Egyptian embassy, but had not given orders to help with the Carmel fire,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had given orders to give Israel “whatever it needs” to put out the Carmel fire, but hadn't supported the policy of nuclear ambiguity,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had given 'unprecedented support' for the policy of ambiguity on Israel’s nuclear weapons, but hadn't condemned Palestinian incitementit wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had repeatedly condemned Palestinian incitement against Israel and attempts to delegitimize Israel, but not pulled out of exercises with Turkey,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had pulled out of joint exercises with Turkey after Turkey excluded Israel, but hadn't pushed for more Iron Dome money,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had pushed for more money for Iron Dome to protect Israelis from Gaza rockets, but had not called Israel an unparalleled story of redemptionit wouldn't have been enough.
If Obama had called Israel an unparalleled story of redemption, but had not quoted Gemara while planting a tree in Israel,it wouldn't have been enough.

Of course, Obama has done all of those things, and has had a Seder at the White House every Passover, but it's still not enough.

Rabbi Rick Perry said, those who become president and do not eliminate three departments have not fulfilled their duty, namely Education, Commerce, and ... he can't remember the third one. The Sages say the third department is the Department of Energy, but Ron Paul says in the name of Rabbi Ludwig von Mises that above all things we must End the Fed.

The Department of Education, why do we cut it? Because only a snob like President Obama believes everybody ought to go to college.

The Department of Commerce, why do we cut it? Because it contains the Census Bureau, and who trusts the Acorn thugs with that kind of information.

As for the Department of Energy, we cut it so that we may, as it says, "drill, baby, drill."

In every generation, it is required for true red-blooded Americans to deny that their ancestors ever left the land of intolerance and poverty to immigrate to the United States.

Rachtza רחצה

One washes their hands again, this time with a blessing since bread will be eaten.
May it be your will before us, Hashem our God and God of our ancestors, to eliminate the restrictive government requirements that employees wash their hands with soap after using the bathroom.

Blessed are you, Hashem our God, ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us concerning washing our hands.

Motzi Matza מוציא מצה

Blessed are you, Hashem our God, ruler of the universe, who has brought forth bread from the earth; as for the poor, let them eat minei mizonot

Maror מרור

After making the blessing, one dips the maror into the charoset and eats it to remember the bitterness of Democrat social spending.

Korech כורך

Traditional Jews make a sandwich of matza and maror in honor of the custom of Rabbi Hillel in the times of the Holy Temple. If the Seder does not fall on a Sunday, Republican Jews add chicken to the sandwich in honor of the steadfastness of the Chick-Fil-A corporation, inventors of the chicken sandwich, in opposing toeiva marriage. On Sundays, in honor of Chick-Fil-A being closed, this part of the Seder is skipped.

Shulchan Orech שולחן עורך

The meal. Strict Republicans have a custom to buy and use only completely unprocessed foods for the Seder to avoid the big government intrusion of the USDA.

Tzafun צפון

At this point the children search for the hidden afikomen. Most Jews allow the child or children who find it to bargain for a reward. Republican Jews have the custom of bringing in union-busting thugs to force the children to part with the afikomen for far less than the fair market value.

Barech ברך

This portion of the Seder consists of the Birkat Hamazon, the blessing after the meal. The blessing generally begins with the zimun, the formal invitation to one's fellow diners to say the blessing. In traditional Judaism, this is done only if three or more adult males (or three or more adult females and no males) are present. Republican Jews believe that if the meal was eaten on corporate property, one may count the corporation as one of the three, because, as it said, "corporations are people, my friend" and you, your friend, and the corporation make three. However, if one is including a corporation, one must be sure to say ברשות איחוד האזרחים נברך אלוקנו שאכלנו משלו (with the permission of Citizens United we will bless our Lord from whose food we have eaten)

Hallel הלל

Please Hashem, save us from Obama.
Please Hashem, save us from Obama!
Please Hashem, give us success in 2016.
Please Hashem, give us success in 2016!

Nirtza נרצה

The Seder is now complete. Next year may the US recognize Jerusalem as the capital.

Chad Gadya

Chad Gadya, Chad Gadya! Which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad gadya, Chad Gadya.
Then came the cat and ate the kid, which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad gadya, Chad Gadya
Then came the dog and ate the cat which ate the kid, which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad gadya, chad gadya
Then came Barack Obama who ate the dog that ate the cat which ate the kid which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad gadya, chad gadya.

Update: Praise for the New Republican Haggadah by Jewish Republicans.

John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary and editor of the New York Post: "a witless parody of conservative thinking."

armchair conspirator, future Republican Governor: "this is my haggadah"

Obama is flipping out in Israel, will come back as Baruch Herschel

All too many Americans flip out (become much more religious) while in Israel, and it seems President Barack Obama is no exception.

In his arrival speech, he basically straight-up endorses religious Zionism:

I’m so honored to be here as you prepare to celebrate the 65th anniversary of a free and independent State of Israel. Yet I know that in stepping foot on this land, I walk with you on the historic homeland of the Jewish people. More than 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people lived here, tended the land here, prayed to God here. And after centuries of exile and persecution, unparalleled in the history of man, the founding of the Jewish State of Israel was a rebirth, a redemption unlike any in history.

By later that day, he's already giving a Gemara shiur (class/talk) to Shimon Peres:

They opened their meeting with a planting ceremony. Obama brought Peres a magnolia tree from the White House garden. Advertisement: “This is the work of generations,” Obama said about peace. He framed that quote with a story from the Talmud about Honi and the carob tree. The tree yields carobs 70 years after it’s planted. So what’s the point of planting one, if you may never eat its fruits, Honi asks a man. The man tells him that when he came into the world, his father and grandfathers had planted carob trees for him to enjoy. The man said he was planting carob trees for his children and grandchildren.

I think we can be sure he'll fulfill that request to come to B'nei Brak and make a minyan. Frankly, at this rate, by the end of the trip he will have built at least 13 (illegal) outposts and will be a rosh yeshiva at the Mir; we may be stuck with President Biden.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cities with (Unofficial) Chief Rabbis in America

Lately I've been reading a lot through the archives of the American Jewish Year Book (published since 1899-1900, initially if I'm not mistaken by the Jewish Publication Society of America and later by the American Jewish Committee). They have a huge number of interesting "blasts from the past," including demographic/cultural/political data, lists of national (and earlier on [pre-1927], local) Jewish organizations, reviews of events in the year in the Jewish world and interesting ``special articles" on numerous topics. One such article, from the 1965 year book, gives an overview of Orthodox Jews in America.

This article, taking up pages 20-96 in that year's Yearbook, is probably worthy of multiple blog posts if I have the time; here's one.

To the extent that [a communal Orthodox structure] existed, however, it was headed by the shtot rov or chief rabbi of each community. This was particularly true outside New York City and Chicago. Cities like Newark, N.J., Boston, Mass., Philadelphia, Pa., Baltimore, Md., Cleveland and Cincinnati, O., Milwaukee, Wis., Springfield, Mass., Rock Island, 111., and Detroit, Mich, each had one rabbi who towered over the Orthodox community; he supervised kosher slaughtering, baking, and the processing of other foods, and presided over the local Jewish court. These were Orthodox leaders par excellence.

Off the top of my head, I can name a handful of these rabbis. For instance, the Baltimore chief rabbi was definitely Rabbi Joseph H. Feldman 1930s-1972 (no real bio of him; his son Emanuel Feldman can in many senses be regarded as the founder of the present Orthodox community in Atlanta and his son Aharon Feldman is the rosh yeshiva of Ner Israel). The Cincinnati chief rabbi was definitely Rabbi Eliezer Silver 1930s-1968, and (I wasn't sure but suspected) apparently the Rav (Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik) was in factthe Chief Rabbi of Boston 1932-??? (even though he was the rosh yeshiva of RIETS (Yeshiva University's rabbinical school) from 1941 on).

. Googling, it seems like Yaakov ben Zion Mendelson in Newark, Rabbi Bernard Levinthal (of B'nai Abraham) in Philadelphia, Binyamin Gittelson in Cleveland

Monday, February 11, 2013

Obama Come to Bnei Brak and Make a Minyan - and other Facebook petitions

This is interesting, apparently Mayor Ron Huldai is on board so it's not just a silly petition.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai is joining thousands of Israelis who are calling on US President Barack Obama to speak at the city's Rabin Square. "Like many others, I too am excited by the news of the upcoming visit of President Barak Obama in Israel," he wrote on his Facebook page. ... One of the people behind the initiative is Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer who said that there "is a significant voice in the Israeli public that needs to be heard." He hopes that with tens of thousands of likes the page would attract the attention of world media "and perhaps even Obama himself."

The right wasn't going to let that go, so they created a rival Facebook group: Obama, come to Samaria (northern West Bank). They "want" him to speak on top of Har Kvir (a mountain in the region), and say "We have the right to live"

From there, the trolling began: