Monthly Archives: September 2006

Rabbi Gil Student and the Atheist

Rabbi Gil Student notes that he refused to run an ad for Sam Harris’s new atheist book, and that refusal made yesterday’s Wall Street Journal as part of an article on the book’s promotion. Harris is a strong spokesman for atheism, and his arguments directed against Christianity also work very well against another religion – Orthodox Judaism – so it’s no surprise Student – who regularly bans comments and commenters who challenge Orthodoxy – would ban Harris, as well.

This week, I also turned down an ad, not for Harris’s book, but for Oorah, the haredi missionary* organization. I did so because of Oorah’s questionable fundraising tactics. (Please scroll down to the bottom of the linked page and read upward. This post will be at the top, above the other Oorah posts.) Perhaps that will get media attention one day, although I doubt it.

[Hat Tip: Sheyna Rofeh-Filosof.]

* I label Oorah missionary because it targets children below the legal age of consent.



Filed under Blogs, Books, Haredim, Oorah Kars4Kids, Outreach, Religion

Matisyahu Farbrengen Online Video

Looks like this was shot in Hadar HaTorah. Features a nice Matisyahu performance and a guest shot by Charlie Buttons. (No Yechi action, either.) Nice.


Filed under Chabad Theology, Matisyahu, Music

The Best Chabad Niggun…

Sung (and written) by the late Rebbe.


Filed under Chabad Theology

Satmar Mafia In Action

This is how the mafia works, folks. It’s how they did the circumcision deal with NY State that endangers infants’ lives. It’s how they do welfare. It’s sick. Worse yet, it’s your future.

[Hat Tip: Sheyna Rofeh-Filosof.]


Filed under Crime, Haredim

Kapparot Chickens Treife?

There is mention of an interesting halakhic ruling in an otherwise pedestrian Ynet article about abuses surrounding the practice of kapparot – the pagan ritual of waving a chicken over ones head to symbolically cast ones sins into the chicken, followed immediately by watching as the chicken is slaughtered, is meant to promote teshuva, repentence. While it may very well do that, especially for those who have never witnessed animal slaughter, if done incorrectly it causes great suffering to the animals, but not becuase of defective slaughter. Chickens are normally transported and housed crammed in small cages. They don’t have room to spread their wings or to move. They are often not fed and do not get hydration. Many, according to this article, about 50%, die in transport or while waiting to be used for kapparot.

According to Ynet, Rabbi Aviner, the leading posek of Israeli National Religious Orthodoxy has ruled that

[I]t is preferable to use money for Kapparot and that the slaughter is not kosher due to the treatment of the chickens.

If this is an accurate report of Rabbi Aviner’s ruling, this is quite significant. Copies of or links to the actual ruling would be much appreciated.

[Hat tip: SN.]


Filed under Kosher Meat Scandal, Modern Orthodoxy, Religion

The Orthodox Disneyland Destroys Jerusalem

Wealthy diaspora Jews, particularly Orthodox Jews, are buying up much of central Jerusalem, driving property values skyward and driving young poor, middle and upper-middle class Israelis out of Jerusalem in an unprecedented exodus. Worse yet, whole neighborhoods of the city are now ghost towns, with apartments vacant most of the year while their owners live abroad. Jerusalemites are complaining. It’s hurting Jerusalem, it’s hurting Israel and its hurting Jews – and there is no end in sight. The Forward tells the story …

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Filed under Haredim, Israel, Modern Orthodoxy

Woodstock In Uman


The Forward’s Nathaniel Popper reports:

… The mayor estimates that a third of the real estate near the grave is now owned by Israelis. This year, many of the pilgrims stayed in an enormous tent city that was erected by an Israeli philanthropist who also paid for the plane tickets of some 4,000 people.

One of the beneficiaries was Aaron Einhorn, a 17 year old from Brooklyn. He said that the writings of Nachman had turned him back on to Judaism after a bad experience in Jewish schools.

“I’ve been reading some of the pamphlets some dudes handed out,” said Einhorn, who was standing with a guitar under his arm near the entrance to the gravesite. “The rebbe had a lot of good theories. He’s all about love. It’s pretty much dance, be happy. I’m a pretty mellow guy.”

Einhorn said he came with nothing but his clothes, his guitar and a reserved spot in the tent. As far as getting food, he said he was “somehow scraping it together.” Einhorn said that after the late nights he spent playing guitar with other pilgrims, any other logistical problems dissolved in the songs.7_1

“There’s no direction — it’s wonderful,” Einhorn said. “A Woodstock for the Jews — that’s what it is.”

The Forward also has a great slideshow of the Uman experience, including this pic of a Chabadnik.


Filed under Haredim