Sunday, December 31, 2006

And a Happy Jew Year!

Happy New Year folks!

Blah blah it isn't a Jewish holiday, blah blah

Have a good 2007

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I wanted to say it but...

Rabbi Andy Bachman beat me to it.

Must Read for ALL Liberal Jews...especially the Pissed-off kind.

Brooklyn Jews on Killing People for Justice

I watched it on Google Video. It was nasty. You can search for it yourself. Saddam Hussein is dead. The world isn't any better off. As the wise rav said, justice was served when Hussein was off the streets of Baghdad. I challenge any of the Right Wing Whacks out there to say the world or Iraq is safer without Hussein...they are wrong.

This says it all: In the News: Saddam hanged, but violence goes on

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Shabbat Ideas - December 29, 2006

So it has become apparent that some people are now reading this, so here are my Shabbat Thoughts for December 29, 2006

Safire has some Shabbat Ideas worth reading too…
Not to go all conspiracy theory, but it is almost too easy that Ethiopia is fighting Islamsists in Somalia
This one time at Jewcamp…I wrote this book
Ummm Yummy that was Jewlicious! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

This week we deal with Joseph outing himself, but doing so behind closed doors. Rabbi Andrew Bachman wrote a very interesting d'var (for real you should read it) about different ideas about why Joseph confronted his brothers after he asked the Egyptians to leave.

Ibn Ezra seems to indicate that Joseph's burden was in having to ask the Egyptians to be removed from his presence and that it pained him to do so–he recognized that more than his brothers who had sold him into slavery, the Egyptians stood by him, elevated him, were arguably more "brotherly" to him than the foreigner land which held him dear (ever stand in line for a bus in Israel?)

So as we continue with the week that was, we had to deal with Israel going back to war with Palestinians, Bush continuing to be Bush, Edwards utilizing the backdrop of abject poverty to launch his billion-dollar campaign and a huge earthquake that no one seems to care about and you know what: We are still hiding from our Egyptians.

Ibn Ezra shows us that the world around us is as important as the Jewish community we love so much, perhaps even more so than the Jews.

Jews need Egyptians. Lets face it, we don’t have enough Jews to simply stay put in our communities. It would be pretty boring and I feel somewhere people would equate this kind of isolation to a retreat to the ghetto.

And still we keep our Egyptians at an arms-length. We never want show our underbelly to the non-Jews. We all have dirty laundry that we need to deal with and we tend to beat each other up about this laundry. This week we saw the DovBear get hit pretty badly.

While our Egyptians – both right wingers and non-Jews alike – are always willing to point out our flaws as individuals, I must commend DovBear for his dealing with DovWeasel. While DovBear may not have asked his new found Egyptian brothers to step outside while he tried to exposed (or let his e-friends expose) DovWeasel, he did try his best to come clean and face the music of the true stories about his personal brothers.

Shabbat Shalom

I am not in Kanasas any more … baruch ha’shem

Attorney General Phill Kline of Kansas lost both his reelection and his fight to criminalize Roe v Wade. District Judge Paul Clark dismissed the charges of performing 15 later term abortions against Dr. George Tiller, an Wichita “abortion provider.”

Now Phill, who should just take his loss and move on like they did in the West Wing, is sulking back to the court house to take rights away from women. This makes me mad.

Thanks be to God that I am not in Kansas (anymore).

The Kabbalah Movement: Strike a Pose

Kabbalah: The Newest Denomination?

Not sure what I think yet but I think you should read it. I do think we are all entitled to our opinions and organizations and such but is a Jewish community made up of people who don't practice Judaism or engage in culturally Jewish activities Jewish?

I am SURE the argument would be made the Reform community isn't Jewish because of paternal descent and intermarriage and making up rules and such, but is Kabbalah the same as Reform or Conservative or Modern Orthodoxy? Does opening the doors to anyone make it different from the other Movements?

If anyone is still reading this blog after my wonderful experience the other day with Jewlicious I would like to here what you got.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New York Times Reads POLJ

See even the New York Times agrees with me.

Today, the idea of a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians seems a distant dream. Yet it represents the best long-term assurance of Israel’s survival as a secure Jewish democracy at peace with its Arab neighbors. Every new settlement planted on the West Bank creates a needless obstacle to the realization of that dream.

EU it stinks…but is right

The European Union issued a statement slapping Israel on the wrist for building more Settlements. I don’t like to hear it when Israel gets a black-eye for doing what it does, but hey clearly Israel had it coming and it was told the last time if it did it again it would be slapped.

When are the Israelis going to learn that without the support of the western world they will never win the support of the western world? Oh…I get it. Israel doesn’t care about the western world. Should Israel care?

I say yes. Israel needs the United State very much. US is 100.9% in Israel’s court. However the EU, an increasingly important player on the world stage, is taking a more nuanced approach. They are pointing out flaws with nasty things like resolutions and warnings.

Mind you they haven’t done anything, but the money from Europe is mysteriously falling out of deals in Israel all the time because Israel continues to violate the ideals set forth by the so-called road map. As a very smart woman once said, “For money you can see the Devil dance.”

While I don’t really see the EU doing much or anything, it does seem like it would be a good idea if Israel would stop breaking the law and start dismantling the illegal outposts and keeping up more of its end of the bargain.

Last I checked Palestinians (or Israelis or Iraqis or Americans or you-get-the-pointian) don’t like their land being stolen…just seems like a good idea to be nice to the people you are trying to have peace negotiations with or maybe that is just me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jokes, Fights and Ideas

I had a wonderful conversation with a co-worker today about the idea of fighting the war on terror. Can we win? I say no. She said it is possible. She is wrong. Sorry friend.

On a response to one of my fav Jew Blogs – Jewbiq – I said that a war on an idea is impossible to win and tends to only be declared from behind the presidential podium. It makes me crazy to think that the American people still believe that we can beat these “war of words.”

The War on Poverty, Drugs, Terror, Hunger, Christmas or whatever else will never be won. That is the beauty. However should we still joke about these issues? Jspot is fighting the war on poverty…are we winning? Not really but it is worth the fight and being serious about it, fight the fight and joke the joke.

I was victim of an ironic post on Y-love’s post on Jewschool today. I thought that Jew Guevara was a serious persona. After going to a University in which many folks took the Che very seriously, I took the person’s online name seriously. BZ and JG took me to the wash with jokes about the death of thousands of Americans. I personally am fine with such ironic and sarcastic critique, but I feel one should know it is coming.

Jspot’s fight and Y-love’s post were serious. JG was not being serious and BZ was playing off my lack of understanding. Fair game - but folks, not the best ideas yah?

Jokes are great. Palestine is for lovers, the joke found on Jewlicious, was funny and now is a t-shirt. That is clearly supposed to be an ironic side-bar to a serious issue of anti-Semitism.

As members of the Jewish people, perhaps we should be careful about what we post out for the rest of the world to see and read. If we need to be ironic and harsh to our intellectual opponents, then make sure we can ensure people know we are being ironic.

Iranian Visited me in my Sleep

While I have always found it interesting when other bloggers write on the most searched issues that bring people to their blog and understand that sometimes there is nothing to talk about hence the “What Brought People to My Blog” posts, but this one is CRAZY!

Most of the Google Searches include people who I have blogged on looking for themselves.

Yet this time I got one from “ahron cohen.” You may remember him from being the asshat who said Jews who were exterminated in the Shoah had it comin’. Yet this Google search came from Iran. Cool…Check it out...really

Monday, December 25, 2006

Last Christmas Post

This makes me so crazy! Cindy Chupack what the hell are you thinking? Christmas is a religious holiday. There is no “a la carte” aspect of religious holidays. When will we have Christians doing a little bit of Eid or Rosh Hashanah or Ganesh Chaturthi?

Why is Christmas different? Perhaps this is something I don’t understand and that a few more enlightened folks are so far and beyond my cultural understanding, that they are able to choose to what is or isn’t religious. But I would argue Ginger Bread has as much to do with Jesus as Apples and Honey do to the Jewish New Year, during the High Holidays.

Have a brunch. Invite some friends over. Eat Bagels. Have some Lox. Listen to bad music. That is what I did; invited some Jews over to hang out on a day off from work.

ut having a tree and “celebrating” Christmas?

Before you answer that in a snappy letter to the editor, fellow Jews (including you, Dad), let me just say that I’m pretty sure that if we’re fortunate enough to have children, we will raise them with the same arbitrary rules we were raised with, trying our best to sell that old chestnut (roasting on an open fire) that “eight nights is better than one,” and putting this tradition behind us until the kids go off to college, if not forever.

On the other hand, maybe it’s nice to teach children that holidays can be done à la carte. Every religion, every culture has so many beautiful rituals and traditions to choose from. Maybe celebrating is a step toward tolerating. I can hardly wait for Hanukkwanzaa.

An American Tradition? O please.

But lets see if anyone gets pissed about this like they did about my critique of Post-Dominationalists… doubt it.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Lonely Jew on Christmas

Christmas, the celebration of Jesus and Peace and other nice things, has become something that is painful to watch. Jesus, a good Jewish guy who had some crazy ideas for his time, was killed and that was bad. His followers started up a religion based on humanity and making the world a better place. Now whether that happened or not – I would argue that the world isn't much better - but that has less to do with Christianity and more to do with its interpretations – the War on Christmas has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HOLIDAY!

While there are wonderful diatribes published on the Web about the stupidity of the pundit world and their ridiculous idea of a cultural war on a holiday, this post is really to focus on the reaction within the Jewish community about the "O'Reillyization" of political and cultural debate.

I receive a Christmas card from a friend of mine every year. I look forward to it. It is nice to know that he, as a Christian abet one who is not a traditionally religious individual, takes the time during a season that is important to him to spend about five minute and $2 to say hello. I send him a card during Rosh Hashanah because it is a good time to say hello and make up for fights and such. It must mean the same thing to him by getting that card on the Jewish New Year as it means for me to get his Christmas card.

I personally cannot stand the commercialization of Christmas. No where, to best of my knowledge, does it mention that Jesus said get some gifts for people. Perhaps a little trinket would be nice, but hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt will be acrewed by families this Christmas, and it will take them years to pay for the stupid toy that will be discarded in a few weeks.

So why does Bill O'Reilly and Friends get all pissed when a commercial establishment doesn't say Merry Christmas? What is so Christmassy about going to Wal-Mart or K-Mart or Don't-Pay-Workers-Mart anyway?

AND WHY DO JEWS KEEP FIGHTING THIS STUPID WAR? Here is my Christmas message to the Jews, let the Christians have their holiday and stay out of the public debate a non-existing war.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shabbat Ideas – December 22, 2006

Perhaps I will have a few people reading the blog, so here are my Shabbat Ideas for December 22, 2006

Interfaith in December Hat tip to Michael van der Galien at The Moderate Voice
Is Marriage by any other name as sweet?
Black Eye for Black Hats
It looks like I got what I asked for...but I feel a little guilty...
And a BIG thank you to Jspot for the placement of POLJ on the Blog Roll

I have had some nice interactions with my pretend blog friend Mobius via email. Well I suppose it was just the completion of a long chain of comments over on Jewschool. He continues to support this idea of an infrastructure-based Jewish community centered on the concept of Anarchy. This won’t work.

Mobius states that the superstructure of the Jewish community is out-dated, self-serving and generally doesn’t work. He has proposed that we create this infrastructure to serve any Jewish group, large or small, in it attempt to create true and meaningful localized Jewish community.

Great! Sign me up! But wait here is the problem. Localized, democratic institutions tend to need some sort of organization. Let it be a union or collection or even a Co-Op to borrow from the anarchistic ideal. These small groups, if formed and left completely alone to their own devices will only serve themselves and if they try to expand their mandate they will need for form larger and more inclusive communities, leading to what Mobius quotes a “mortgage of values.”

Besides the idea being completely flawed and the only people who stand to benefit from such a system are people who have system in place to take advantage of such a free-democratic infrastructure, the concept of creating a system to take the place of a system to prove you aren’t in a system is silly. Why do anarchists Jews feel the need to create some sort of community I ask?

And I answer: Because the Jewish world is made of Community Organizations. The first thing a Jewish town needs to be considered Jewish is a Burial Society and Cemetery. Fine on a small scale that could be completely democratic, but not when you get into the fact that not everything must be decided on by everyone. Can’t we pretty much agree that it is a good idea to have the lawns be kept clean in our cemetery? Do we need a town hall meeting to decide that? What about funding pre-schools? Good idea! Have the parents be involved in the creation of curriculum sure, but should it matter to have everyone make the decision about whether to use chalk boards or white boards?

The answer is no. The reason why the Jewish people have excited for so long is that we don’t get bogged down in the minute details. Look to the Greeks and Romans…They had similar structures and were completely based on total Democracy (besides the slavery aspects). They do not exist because after a few historical minutes of total democracy and localized governance, they gave up and let an all powerful leader take over…things were good for a while…then not so much.

The system in place in the Jewish community needs help and lots of it. But by creating a counter system that undermines and take away from the current system only will serve to fracture the strength of the Jewish people. There are far too few of us to fight over this type of program. We need to integrate and modernize what we have now, not scrap it and start over.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Free Saturday? Oh, I have plans.

So a jewel of the Upper East Side, The Jewish Museum, is now Free on Saturdays. Yes after years of not rollin’ on Shabbos, it is open and free on Shabbat.

Prof. Arnold M. Eisen, the all knowing Chanceller elect over at JTS said that almost 20% of unaffiliated Jews are “lost”. With that said is it good that this museum is open on Shabbas for Jews to have a place to be Jewish if they aren’t going to shul? Or should the organized Jewish community work together to not lose any more folks?

I wonder what you all think? So the three or four of you out there reading please let me know. I want this to serve as my first ever poll. I too will post the results only with percentages so I can pretend I have heavier traffic.

A Tyrannical Court Seattle is Not

Naveed Haq, the crazy man who killed Pam Waechter and maimed six others this last July, will not be given the death penalty. The Talmud teaches that the death penalty is not a simple issue. The Rabbis worked hard to make it almost impossible to kill a person as punishment.

"Said one: The Sanhedrin that puts to death one person in seven years is termed tyrannical. Rabbi Eleazar Ben Azariah says, ‘One person in seventy years.’ Rabbi Tarffon and Rabbi Akiba say, ‘If we had been in the Sanhedrin, no one would have ever been put to death.’ Rabban Simeon Ben Gamaliel says, ‘They would have thereby increased the shedders of blood in Israel (Mishnah Makkot 1:10).’" Source

Thank you Seattle. The ideals of the Talmud may never be realized, but at least one less person will be put to death at the hands of the government of the people. While Haq is a bad person deserving of imprisonment, his death would serve no purpose. So once again thank you Seattle.

In the News: No Death Penalty for JCC Killer

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chanukah and Kids: Time for Some Truth

Rebbe Bush posses a very interesting and thought provoking question here, I know it is shocking.

If our holiday of oil - both by way of personal consumption and by way of our candles - why doesn't it say anything about oil in the stories? We teach our kids to believe a lie.

While there are many wonderful blog entries about the story of Chanukah (See I read blogs besides Jewschool) what I want to focus on is what we tell the kids.

The pressure is on to make Jewish babies and insure the future of the Jewish people but what the hell are we telling our kids? I suppose it goes to the core question of faith; believing the unbelievable.

As a Reform Jew and one who will look to history for answers I know full well that the Jews were most likely not in Egypt and that the Temple probably was not destroyed twice on the exact same day hundreds of years apart and the Torah wasn't written by God or even in the desert we know as Sinai, but I still want to pass on the rich traditions to my kids…so what do I do about these Crazy Eight Nights?

First off I got to be honest with you; I can not stand this time of year. Makes me crazy! All this fake cheer and pretending to love everyone with gifts and money and all that crap makes me nuts. Chanukah would be a small holiday if it weren't for the "War on Christmas." But that is another story for another time. This "war" has propelled Chanukah from a celebration of beating some oppressors into submission into the most publicized Jewish holiday in the most Jewish country (outside of Israel) in the modern world.

So what should we tell our kids?

The oil didn't last eight days and nights. The Maccabees were not such good people. The entire idea of Jewish supremacy - not the light upon the nations supremacy* - but like the KKK supremacy. But we tell our kids that Judah and his Pops were the only good Jews left. Why?
*That will be a post at some point as well

As a modern Reform Jew I am more like a Hellenistic Jew of that time than anything the radical Maccabees were. I for one don't want my kids to pick up a sword and going after a Jew who practices differently than I do. I would like him or her to pick up a pen – or keyboard – and fight that way. But killing another person over a belief? Doesn't seem very modern or Reform or at all a good idea.

I propose we tell the kids the truth. There is no need to water down our history. If we tell our kids why things happened – an age that they can understand the importance of the story – insted of a jaded idea of man-made miracles our kids will have a more complex understanding of the story. In a past life I worked as a teacher and my student would ALWAYS roll their eyes when we would talk about Chanukah and the oil or any of the other completely unbelievable things we tell our kids just to believe.

While teaching our kids to love God is imperative, we should teach them to love God in a mature and forward thinking manner. Blind faith isn’t Jewish.

Happy Chanukah.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ahron Cohen Deserves to Shut-Up

Here it is I am going to say it. I am going to be hypocritical and hate on individuals and say that the Neturei Karta and all those who follow their thinking are idiotic.

I feel that they should be kicked out of the Jewish community for their statements about the Holocaust. I could care less about their Israel hatred and their general dismissal of any sort of modern ideals. But this is too far. After their trip to Iran to gallivant with Nazis, Klansmen and such Rabbi Ahron Cohen of the UK said:

“There is no question that there was a Holocaust and gas chambers. There are too many eyewitnesses.

“However, our approach is that when one suffers, the one who perpetrates the suffering is obviously guilty but he will never succeed if the victim did not deserve it in one way or another.

“We have to look within to improve and try to better ourselves and remove those characteristics or actions that may have been the cause of the success of the Holocaust.”

There is deep end and then there is outrageous. Cohen and all his little friends should stop talking to anyone. On behalf of my grandparents, millions of gypsies, gays and commies I say Neturei Karta, go back to the shtel and fight off the next pogrom without any help from the rest of the Jewish community. You are not good Jews.

In the News: Times of London Rabbi claims Holocaust dead ‘deserved it’

Friday, December 15, 2006

Shabbat Ideas - December 15, 2006

So while I am sure I am the only one reading this, here are my Shabbat Thoughts for December 15, 2006.

David Duke is a HUGE tool (of the Zionist Conspiracy!) See he is on the Jew Media outlet CNN with the Super Zionist Wolf “AIPAC” Blitzer.
Iran is Crazy…and they like to prove it.
The UN did something Israel will like…but soon it will blame it for the rest of the problems.

Iran, the Holocaust and You. Yes you the three people reading this post for any reason, it is your responsibility to take on Iran. And when I say Iran, I mean all Holocaust Deniers. Holocaust Deniers or “revisionists” or whatever hate Jews. It is plain and simple. David Duke, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, David Irving and the other jack-asses of history are chipping away at the core values of modern human civilization.

While the 20th century was the bloodiest and most horrific century in human history, we are trying to use our history as a lesson. We must remember that millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and political dissidents were systematically killed. But then we allowed for the killing of hundreds of thousands in Bosnia, in Rwanda, in Cambodia, in Darfur, in Congo. We seem not to be learning so much, but if we allow for the history to be challenged, it won’t matter at all if 6,000,000 or six Jews were killed in ovens. It won’t matter if the Janjaweed killed four or 400,000 Muslims in Darfur. It won’t matter if the bloodiest civil war on earth continues to enslave 10 or 100,000 children as soldiers.

But outside of this horrible conference a question still looms over our heads. We Jews are really disliked all over the world. Even in places where people have NEVER seen and will never meet a Jew, they hate us. Why is that?

Over that last week I spoke with my mom at great length about this topic. We discussed a culture of victim-hood and the persistent idea that all we Jews believe that all our holidays center around “THEY tried to kill US but it didn’t work we are still here baruch ha’shem, let us eat!” (I like the last part the best)

But that doesn’t seem to work for my mother. I drew parallels between the Jewish community and the Black community. While blacks, not as universally hated as Jews, tend to be pretty hated. The cultural of “playing the race card” when something is a foot tends to really piss off white folks when racism is not at the base of the disagreement or conflict. Could this be part of the reason why they hate the Jews so much? Our “they tried to kill us, they didn’t, let us eat” mentality? My partner seems to think this has something to do with the hatred of Jews.

She points out, that even if we to good for others, this reactionary and somewhat accusatory mentality “that they are all out to get us” feeds the hatred. But she also says, this hatred is much more complex and this aspect is only the self-perpetuating aspect of one side of the victim. (It was a very interesting conversation)

My sister tells me Sartre implies, between racists and the objects of their discrimination, that “if the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him.” While Jean-Paul really seems to have something here, I ask why the Jew? It must have something to do with the perpetual minority status Jews held in every community since the fall of the second Temple.

It is easy to blame the self-contained, self-sufficient community that tends to ignore the custom of the land. It is much easier to blame the Jew or minority for the problems of the city. Jews wash its hands before the meal, must mean they poisoned our food. Jews don’t chill out at the same wine bars as us; they must only drink the blood of our children.

Easy to do; logical, not so much.

This idea just irks me. I fancy myself a logical and rational type. I don’t get why a person in Togo, Africa would hate a Jew. What the hell did the Jews do to you or your family? But my partner also points out that fear is based in emotion. But I reply with emotions are based on irrational concepts and how can you allow you self to be dictated to by such things? (ironic considering I love this person)

She smiled acknowledging my irony and said emotional knowledge, just like any family story or myth, once it is passed down from generation to generation, becomes well established fact. Just like you know a bear can kill you because you dad said be careful in the woods, you know a Jew will kill you and suck your blood.

So fellow Jews, it seems as if we are screwed.

The final aspect of this idea is that our Jewish narrative is based on our continued ability to over-come that adversity (and eat). The real question is how we spin that: Do we go the way of perpetual victims or strong Zionists willing to fight for our people or do we see this oppression as a lesson to stop all oppression?

I hope the later.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Bris of Good Hope

Judaism teaches we are to ritually circumcise our little yelidim days after they enter the world. While some say it is cruel or inhuman or whatever, it is a tradition and seems now to be backed up with some facts to say it isn’t such a bad idea after all.

The new NIH study says that nippin’ the tip helps stop the HIV from spreading during heterosexual intercourse. Check out the study. But now, with such a rush to the mohel, who better to teach this ancient lesson than the Jews? Cause even though this picture is informative, it doesn’t come with the Rosetta Stone or cotton swabs.

But Jews be careful! Still put on your kippah of love before you do the double daven!

In the News: (Choose this one for the most creative title) Snip may cut HIV infections

Monday, December 11, 2006

To Do What is Just & Right: A Rock Concert for Social Justice Dorks

Tonight was AWSOME!!!! I got to hang out with Rabbi David Saperstein, executive director and council for the RAC (if just to say hello) Leonard Fine, social action bad-ass (if perhaps just from a far) and to say hello to Rabbi Arik Ascherman, executive director of Rabbis For Human Rights (for real, like for five minutes) at the Rabbis For Human Rights event tonight.

Leonard Fine told us, as he always does, that work isn’t finished. Rabbi David Forman spoke eloquently on the needs for Jews to continue to look to themselves and ask the truly difficult question. If we can’t criticize ourselves, if we can’t take the time to learn from our mistakes, our history, our oppression we are not worthy of our history and legacy as Jews.

There seems to be an on going argument on the Jewschool against Mobius by everyone else that we, as Jews, should be focusing on those who are hurting us as apposed to pointing out that we have problems in our house. While I don’t look to the Talumud much, it is full of wonderful and meaningful leasons for such an occasion.

The Talmud states that if you can stop the crimes or violations of those in your house and you do not stop these crimes or violations, you are guilty of these crimes and violations.

B’tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories also was awarded this evening. B’tselem or “In the Image” works to show the truth. These folks show what the Israeli army is doing. They show the destruction of homes. They show the long lines of civilian Palestinians. They also show radical terrorists. They show the entire picture.

When we all stand up to fight each other, it is extremely important to remember the entire picture. My message to Mobius and Reb Chaim HaQoton is to look at everything when we take the time to point out our own human rights violations. The crimes of our own house must be examined and the violations of our family are our own. But if we simply look to the worst of our worlds we are lost and we lose our meaning.

The Jewish Blogger’s code of ethics is only as strong as those who stand up for it. I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again; no one follows these codes of conduct. Those who commit the most egregious violations of the codes are those who sport the nifty little icon on their websites. We must take for example those who were honored tonight in New York. These men and women who present the facts objectively and state their case subjectively, for Judaism is about the passion that is placed into our actions, are models and Social Justice Rock Stars.

Label Fine said it best, “we must be nudnicks for justice.” But we are only as strong as our weakest nudnick folks. Stand up and point out our flaws. Stand up and point out our enemy’s flaws. But stand up for justice and don’t forget that is at the base of what we are fighting for; not click-through, not cross postings, not ad revenues and not hits by unique users but progressive Jewish values.

Saving Darfur: The Act of Billionar Holocoast Hypocrits

So coming home the other day I exited the subway car and noticed one of my favorite “Save Darfur” posters. Upon closer examination I noticed there was a very nice addition to the printed poster:

“Die Billionar Holocoast Hypocrits. You are all Nazis” [sic]

While this is a poorly written sentence with very choice spelling, it raises a few very strong points that should be refuted. One, how can Holocaust hypocrites be Nazis? Two, why – if I can infer what the author truly meant – would Jews be hypocritical about the Holocaust?

Now outside of busting on the idiotic statements of a tag artists and political dissident, I come to the real point of this post. Jews run the Save Darfur campaign. We run it for a few reasons. The chief among them is that as Jews we have an obligation to stand up in the face of genocidal activity. While we have not been very good at keeping this obligation, we are doing it now. Many point to the fact that Sudan is a Muslim country with close ties to anti-Israel activity and is the reason why Jews are involved in this fight, but to those people I say look at the fact that those being killed are Muslims.

The thing that gets me really pissed about this is that the Jews are carrying the mantel here because no one else cares. The rest of the world should be pissed off. The graffiti tagger should also be pissed off. But simply because Jews are working on this campaign, it is dismissed as a Zionist conspiracy.

Yet as soon as Darfur falls off the radar of the Jewish community Jews will be blamed with the continued death and destruction of Muslims by Muslims. Talk about a win-win.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Shabbat Ideas - December 8, 2006

While I am pretty sure very few people are reading this, here are my Shabbat thoughts for December 8, 2006.

Don Imus May be a smuck but who cares?
Hippies fromthe shtetl: A new look at the next generation of grandparents.
A nice response to the Price of Outreach from last week
Slate on Bloggers on Gays
Yippy for learning political lesson’s of unity and messaging…BOO that it is Hezbollah. This is a very interesting article about Lebanon after Israel’s war.

This week clearly is about equality; Gays, Straights and Halacha. I am puzzled by the Conservative Movement’s decision to ordain GLBT folk, perform GLBT commitment ceremonies but to ban homosexual sex. I don’t quite understand how the Halacha can be maintained when rulings such as these come down. How can you have things both ways in a law structure?

I met a female rabbi who works for the Conservative Movement last year around the time the CM tabled the decision on gay rabbis. She said, very much under her breath, that she did not think that Gays had a place in the rabbinate. When I probed to why she – as a female rabbi – has any more right to be a rabbi than a gay man, she said she fought for her appointment “through the Halacha.” Now I am no expert on Halacha or the CM, but I am pretty sure there was a pretty big fight to allow women to become rabbis in CM. Much in the same way there is a fight for GLBT rights in the movement.

I can’t understand how this rabbi, who fought to stretch a Halacha for women’s rights, would not fight to stretch Halacha for GLBT rights. What is the difference? Women are not permitted to lead men in prayer services according to strict readings of the law. Women are not supposed to do a lot of things that are considered “kosher” within the CM’s reading of Halacha, so why does a strict reading of the laws about homosexuality seem to have a very strict feeling of homophobia?

I for one do not understand why the CM still is around. It started off back in the day as a response to the Reform Movement’s abandonment of Halacha. Clearly it was an alternative and was needed for the Jewish community at the time. The idea was to create a movement of educated - both Jewishly and secularly - modern Jewish leaders. JTS was born with that mission. Yet over time things changed and the Modern Orthodox Movement really took over that mantel. How can you reconcile breaking Shabbos by driving to synagogue and call that Halachic Judaism?

You can’t get in a car drive to shul and say that it is Kosher because you are going to shul. It breaks Halacha, plain and simple. Female Rabbis brake Halacha, plain and simple. Gay Rabbis break Halacha, plain and simple. But what these things don’t break the purpose of Judaism, which also is plain and simple.

GLBT rabbis and cantors and educators and soldiers and name-a-profession-here deserve the same rights as everyone else. They should be considered the same and not un-kosher because of who they are. This decision doesn’t welcome GLBT folk into the Conservative Movement with open arms. This Halachic statement does nothing but create a second class of GLBT leadership.

It seems to be just another way for the CM to say “we expect our leaders to do act differently than the rest of people in the Movement.”

I spoke with a friend of mine on Wednesday after the ruling came-out (sorry couldn’t resist) who said this fits very well into what she experienced as child growing up in a Conservative shul. The rabbis had to keep Shabbat and a kosher home while the corpus of the congregation was expected to come to services and have milchig, fleishig and Chineseig plates at home. Now I can understand putting your leaders up on a pedestal and expecting more from them, but that isn’t Judaism.

Our rabbis are teachers not priests. We should all strive to do more Jew. You can be secular, Reform, Renewal, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, Ultra-Orthodox, Conservative or Humanist. It doesn’t matter. You just should strive to take on more aspects of a Jewish life.

And that brings us back to equality. The real question that still has not been answered by the CM is will GLBT members of congregations have full equality? This ruling says no. But it is the step in the right direction…but it seems to be away from Halacha. There was an interesting piece on JTA this week about how Halachic Conservatives should move to the Orthodox Movements in the US. I would argue that the Conservative Jews in favor of equality and value based Judaism should come to the Reform Movement.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Pol-o-lics: Ice Cream from the Right and Left Wing

This is a wonderfully “sweet” story in this week’s New York Jewish Week. I suggest you read it with a pint of Cherry Garcia. I for one am pissed I will no longer have any more Carmel Cone – that was delish!

In the News: You Scream, I Scream We all Scream for Political Expression

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Best Conservo-Gay Headline

Conservative Jews on Gays: Don’t Ask, Don’t Kvell

Can't beat that. Thank you Time Magazine and CNN.

Half Assed Step in the Right Direction

MAZEL TOV Law and Standards folks!

Welcome back to modernity and progress.

While you will accept Gay and Lesbian Jews to be rabbis and take part in commitment ceremonies… still no sex.

So it is a good move if very illogical. Well done and I can’t wait to read the rightwing response(a).

In the News: Gay Conservatives - Log Cabin Shuls?

In the land of Milk and Honey and Torah law

So now even the Kibbutznickim are being told they cannot do things on the days that the ultra-Orthodox don’t want (or are commanded) not to do anything.

The question remains: A Jewish State or A State of Jewish Law

In the News: Saturday! Saturday! Saturday! Avodah vs Adoni

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Fly with God

Well done ultra-orthodox folks! Fighting for what you believe and the only people getting hurt is a large state sponsored cooperation! Fine it is only the symbol of Israel…but that is fine. Well done! God’s Economic Warriors!

In the News: Ultra-Orthodox Ultra-Boycott

Bong hits 4 Jesus and other Supreme Court rulings

Well I am not for either any more, but I think this young man has a great In the article our young first amendment warrior is fighting for his right to say really stupid things. His fight against the man could possibly be the best civics lesson to hit high school potheads in a generation.

On the other aspect of this fight is that this kid chose to invoke an evangelical response to cannabis consumption. Brilliant if you ask me. Alaska, known for its progressive values and well thought-out civic building and bridge projects, Jesus tends to get people’s attention. This individual took an opportunity to be heard through a religious outlet that has, in the past, been limited to very conservative interpretations of the law and social norms.

Well-done Bong Hit guy! Further proving Jesus should be left out of the American political discourse. I hope that the opening argument of this case includes statements like “in poor taste” and “blasphemy.” ‘Cause then we know that the separation of Church and State is in full effect!

Also happy to see that other church state issues will be discussed. The other case is for real and not just fun with pothead Jesus. It hits the Bush administrations office of religion in America by saying it violates the aspect of the constitution that says the government will not endorse a particular religion.

I wonder how giving money to religious groups doesn’t violate that endorsement aspect…but whatever, if Bush says good, then it must be good.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Shabbat Ideas - December 1, 2006

And once again I am sure no one is reading this, here are my Shabbat thoughts and ideas for December 1, 2006.

Mike Richards still not a Jew and still doesn’t matter
Now for a racist story that does matter: Cops shot black man 50 times!
Make Rugby Not War – just too good
Why shouldn’t we reach out and be kind to those in our community? Whatever happened to the mitzvah of keruv (bring those far closer to the community)? A better question is what is the price if we don't reach out.
Jimmy Carter is not good for the Jews…and really never was…he gave us Reagan.

So it has come to the point that we need to be radicals to have convictions. Are the people discussed here actually radicals or do they simply believe in their cause and fight for it? I would argue the latter. Jewcy, in it is attempt to be cutting edge, (which for the most part it is) misses the point. These days being anything but fanatical tends to make people not listen. Jon Stewart pointed that out when he was on “Crossfire” a few years ago. We, as a society, do not care to listen to reasoned argument or debate. This is clearly why no one reads this blog. But we really love to listen to crazy folks go off on ridiculous issue for hours. That is why extreme ways of thinking rule the day.

Ruth Messinger is anything but a radical. She works within a system – granted she did help create it – and is fighting for human rights. What is so radical? She advocates in the halls of power by lobbing congress, leading rallies and organizing educational campaigns. She has not taken up arms or tried to radically do anything. She is just good at being a liberal activist, and there are so few of them these days we want to asign a label of something that works. She has a clear message and sticks to it. People in the Jewish community know her face and when they see her they think “Save Darfur.”

I say to Jewcy, you are looking for a story and a label. If you want a “Label” and real radical go to our friend Dr. Leonard “Label” Fein. That guy is a radical. He said go to hell I am doing it my way years and years ago. He started Mazon and continues to write FAR to the left of any of the folks written up by Jewcy.

There are more radicals but Jewcy is pointing out individuals with liberal ideals and deeply held convictions, not radicals. You are correct Jewcy, radical has lost its meaning…good job.

While I am relatively new to this Jewish Blogging thing, I am not so new to the blogosphere in general. I was expecting people to actually follow the Jewish blogger code and be kind and follow Jewish customs…Shocking they don't. It seems that the “liberals” or “progressives” or whatever these folks want to call themselves seem to take a tone of “well-you-don’t-know-the-fill-in-the-Ashkenazi-pronunciation-of-a-transliterated-term-here-you-idiot”. I take in point a question I asked both to learn the answer and to prove this point. While I clearly do not have an orthodox understanding of Torah law, I want to learn more. I mean that is the point, learn by asking questions.

When asking a question leads to an attack, people will stop asking questions. So I thank those of you out there who will answer my questions that I pose, and I thank those out there who continue to prove my point about self-righteous holier than thou types. See POJL posts HERE and the Rude Remarks of Kol Ra Ash Gadol and the Educational Remarks of Scott Perlo.