Monthly Archives: October 2005

Who Am I?

Gil Student has a humorous post on the publicity blitz due with his upcoming "500,000th hit." In it, he writes:

"A base censor, a rabbinic coward" — Shmarya, a pseudonymous blogger

In the comments to that post, an anonymous poster questions Rabbi Student:

Shmarya is a pseudonym? I thought that was his real name.

To which Rabbi Student replies:

No, I know his real name. Maybe it’s his real Hebrew name but to my knowledge that’s not what he normally goes by.

In other words, even though I use my Hebrew first name, and even though my full name and the city I live in are posted on my blog and have been since day one, I am still "pseudonymous" because I use the name I was given at my brit, and not the name on my birth certificate (which itself is found hundreds of times on this blog).

This whole issue isn’t really worth a post, and should have been dealt with by leaving a brief comment on Rabbi Student’s blog. But I can’t, because I’ve been banned by Rabbi Student from commenting, which is why I called Rabbi Student a base censor and a rabbinic coward in the first place.

That being said, congratulations to Rabbi Student on this important milestone. May you receive at least 500,000 more.

UPDATE: At the request of the anonymous commenter linked above, Rabbi Student has changed his post to read: "Scott Rosenberg, St. Paul, MN." He e-mailed me and asked for permission to do so. I responded by giving him permission to identify me (because my identity has never been a secrect), but wrote that I preferred to be identified as "Shmarya Rosenberg, FailedMessiah.com." That would be the normal way of identifying me, and would be the correct way to do so.

Rabbi Student did not do this. Why? Most likely because he refuses to mention FailedMessiah.com on his blog for fear that his readers might actually visit here. Just as Rabbi Student censors those whom he cannot answer, he censors mention of their blogs as well.

But this is not entirely Rabbi Student’s fault. His rabbis have encouraged Rabbi Student to follow this course, for it is the course they themselves follow, be it in YU’s beit midrash or in a shul in Riverdale. For you see, just as Rabbi Student censors those he cannot answer, so do his rabbis. As I have written many times, shame on them all.

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Thousands Of Ethiopians Protest In Jerusalem

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Even as Israel continues to promise the Falash Mura and the American Jewish community that immigration will be stepped up, the actual numbers of those brought to Israel continues to fall.

Ha’aretz and Reuters report:

Thousands of Israelis of Ethiopian origin marched in Jerusalem on Sunday to protest against a delay in plans to bring their relatives to the Jewish state.

The Israeli government decided in February to double the immigration rate of the community known as the Falasha Mura, so as to bring over 20,000 people by 2007, but the number arriving in Israel has actually fallen in recent months.

"Why have they not been brought to Israel, even though the government has made the decision to do so?" said Jerry Faradam, 33, a student activist with an Ethiopian lobby group who said he had not seen some family members in 15 years.

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"The answer is that we are poor Africans, not rich Americans. We don’t have the money or clout to make it happen."

The Immigrant Absorption Ministry blamed the delay on Ethiopian elections, saying it had been impossible to finalize details sooner.

"Prime Minister (Ariel) Sharon has said he will do anything it takes to bring the Falasha Mura to Israel," a spokeswoman said. She said details would be worked out next week to allow the remaining members of the community to be brought to Israel.

Israel is home to more than 100,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin, who trace their roots to the biblical King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. The word Falasha means exiles in Ethiopia’s Amharic language.

Many Ethiopian Jews were flown to Israel in airlifts during 1984’s famine and the end of Ethiopia’s civil war in 1991.

The Falasha Mura, who were converted – sometimes forcibly – to Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries, are eager to migrate to revive their Jewish roots and escape poverty.

Protesters said conditions were worsening for the Falasha Mura community waiting to leave Ethiopia.

"My aunt sold everything she had so she could come to Israel," said Getenat Awoke. "They are now stuck in Addis Ababa living in poverty with no assistance from the Israeli government."

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Filed under Ethiopian Jews, Israel, Jewish Leadership

Rubashkins’ Pollution Problem

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Rubashkins’ pollution problem: Postville, Iowa; Allentown, PA.

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Filed under Crime, Jewish Leadership, Kosher Business?, Kosher Meat Scandal

The Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels

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Sandee Brawarsky of the New York Jewish Week reviews the new book "The Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels."

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Filed under Books, Chabad Theology, Haredim

Ethiopian Who Saved Jews To Be Deported – From Israel

An Ethiopian righteous gentile is up for deportation from Israel. No amount of first-hand testimony from those he has helped save seems to be sufficient for Israel’s Interior Ministry, which also claims the Ethiopian did not serve in the IDF – even though he has his IDF ID, discharge papers and the testimony of those he served with to back him up.

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Filed under Ethiopian Jews, Israel, Jewish Leadership

Rabbi Sanctioned By State Over Nursing Home Abuse

Orthodox nursing home magnet Rabbi Morris Esformes has been sanctioned by the State of Illinois. His nursing homes have been under fire for years, with abuse and negligence alleged to be rampant.

[Hat tip: JWB]

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Filed under Bio-Ethics, Crime, Jewish Leadership

Chicken Abuse In Israel? Why Are Rabbis Silent?

Ha’aretz reports on chicken-raising in Israel:

Arik Ben Moshe, chief nutritionist at the Amir-Dagan feed mill, said the source of protein in the chicken feed is grains, feathers, and sterilized meal mead from bodies of chicken, fish and meat. After the outbreak of mad cow disease, these meals were prohibited for use in cow feed, but are still permitted in chicken feed.

The Agriculture Ministry says the use of preventive antibiotics is prohibited, and they may only be used to treat disease, with veterinary authorization.

However, at many feed mills small doses of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) are added to the meal. "AGPs are used at all feed mills, for all feeds," says Ben Moshe.

A week before slaughtering, the chickens receive a different, antibiotic-free feed, so that its residue will not be detected by tests, and won’t reach the consumer.

When they are 42 days old, the chickens are crammed into small transport containers and taken to the slaughterhouse. An Agriculture Ministry-appointed committee recommended in 2001 that the transport process be regulated because this phase is "particularly traumatic." The committee recommended minimizing the waiting time for transport, giving the chickens access to food and water while waiting, and prohibiting seizing them by the head, neck, wing or tail. The ministry has not yet approved the regulations.

Note that unnecessary cruelty, like depriving chickens of food and water while being transported to slaughter, is still not illegal in Israel. More importantly, this clear violation of biblical law is not protested by the rabbis – which is another reason not to take today’s halakhic process seriously.

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Filed under Haredim, Israel, Jewish Leadership, Kosher Business?, Kosher Meat Scandal, Modern Orthodoxy