Category Archives: Israel

Mohel Who Maimed Baby Is Baby’s Father

Vos Iz Neias reports that the mohel in this sad story turns out to be the baby’s own father. Was he licensed? Trained? Experienced? I doubt it. I also doubt he was – or is – sane. Perhaps that insanity will keep him out of jail …



Filed under Circumcision Controversy, Crime, Haredim, Israel

Settlers At Play Again …

This video was taken in Hebron. The voices are of international observers there to protect Palestinian families from out of control settlers like this.

We need to make a choice. Behavior like this cannot be tolerated; neither can the atmosphere that causes it. Settlers teach their children hatred. It is true this is in part a reaction to the Intifada, but it is noxious, nonetheless. It is destroying Israel from within, and making Judaism not much different than the long line of fascist ideologies that oppressed us. If this type of behavior is the price of keeping Hebron, we must give it up. No piece of land, no matter how holy, is worth this.

[Hat Tip: Neo-Conservaguy.]


Filed under Crime, Israel, Modern Orthodoxy

Rabbis: It’s The Fault Of Provocative Women, Not Ill Behaved Men

According to Arutz Sheva, our dear rabbis of the reconstituted ‘sanhedrin’ have this to say about former Justice Minister Haim Ramon’s conviction for sexual harassment:

The Ramon verdict is a judicial evil, said the rabbis. “After the complainant’s picture was published as it was published,” they said, “there is no reason to expect different behavior on the part of the defendant, in a society in which there is no fear of God and moral restraint.”

Got that, ladies? According to the rabbis, if you’re too pretty, if your blouse is too tight or your skirt too short, it’s your fault. Judaism, meet Stone Age.

[Hat Tip:]


Filed under Crime, Israel, Jewish Leadership

Falash Mura Set Up Christian Missions In Israel?

Ethiopian Jewish leaders are complaining that some of the Falash Mura, Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity but who themselves have returned to Judaism, have set up missions in Israel to convert Jews and have done so with the backing of several churches. Ha’aretz reports:

    Ethiopian rabbis and spiritual leaders (keisim) called on the government Monday to halt the Ethiopian Falashmura aliyah to Israel, citing concerns that many of the Falashmura are engaged in Christian missionary activity.

    The leaders made the call during a Rehovot conference titled "Defeating the [Christian] mission manifestation in the community," in which hundreds of Ethiopian Jews took part.

    The keisim and rabbis called for establishing new rules for bringing Ethiopian Jews to Israel, maintaining that in recent years many of the Falshamura in Israel have resorted to Christianity and built missions in Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Rehovot, as a result of their difficult financial situation.…

    Conference participants elected a keisim-led committee that will map out the various missions in each city and prepare a list of missionaries, which they will transfer to the Interior Ministry, requesting that they be barred from marrying or being buried in a Jewish cemetery. In addition, the committee will formulate a position paper on potential future Falashmura aliyah.

    "The missionaries persecuted us in Ethiopia, and [we must] not permit them to persecute us in the Holy Land," said the conference participants.

This is a difficult problem. First of all, the Rabbinate already ruled these people must be saved. It did so, however, with the caveat that they formally convert to and practice Orthodox Judaism.  If these charges are true – and they appear to be, at least in part; I have seen documents that support the charges – should all Falash Mura suffer because of the sins of a few?

I don’t know. My first reaction is to say no, they should not, and aliyah should continue. But Ethiopian Jewish leaders are adamantly opposed to this. (Indeed, I spoke with one leader about this problem this morning. He said what he has said for much of the past two years – stop aliyah now.)

The problem, it seems to me, is one of a contract violation. Falash Mura got to come to Israel on the condition they observe Orthodox Judaism. The question is, what should we do when that contract is violated?

I should also add that much of the missionary activity comes from financial distress, and Ethiopian Jewish leaders themselves say this is so. Israel has done a poor job of integrating all Ethiopian Jews. This has relegated many to poverty and despair. Successive Israeli governments bear the responsibility for this, for the pain and suffering it causes, and for the Christian missionizing that grows from it.


Filed under Ethiopian Jews, Israel

The Legal Wrangling Over Seperate Haredi Busses Continues

Remember the woman who was beaten on an Egged bus by haredim because she refused to move to the rear? A good update on the story from yesterday’s Globe and Mail:

…"There’s a concept in Jewish law which is that silence is acquiescence.
And when the rabbinical leaders hear about a store being burned down .
. . when people are being sprayed with bleach on the street because
their clothes are not considered modest enough, when women are being
beaten on buses, when these things are going on and the rabbinical
leaders say nothing, there is an appearance that it is condoned," Ms.
Shear said in a telephone interview from her home in Canada,
emphasizing that she respects Haredi values but regards the violence as
a tragedy that cannot be ignored. "I’ve come under a lot of heat for
publicizing this. But I’ve stood my ground."…

"It’s more relaxing, because the males are in the front and they
leave me alone," said Rachel Orlowick, a Toronto-born religious Israeli
on the mehadrin No. 36 bus in Jerusalem this week. Yet even as
she speaks, the heavily pregnant Ms. Orlowick grabs at a handrail as
she casts around for a seat in the crowded rear, though there are
several places open at the front.

But secular passengers have reported being harassed or kicked off
for what other passengers deem inappropriate dress, and even modestly
dressed women have been verbally abused for refusing to board through a
rear entrance and sit at the back.

The prominent Israeli-American author Naomi Ragen, an Orthodox Jew
and women’s rights activist, says she, too, has been verbally abused
and physically threatened for refusing to relinquish a front seat, and
is now petitioning the Supreme Court along with four other women for a
review of the practice. At the least, they are asking that segregated
buses be well marked and run only in parallel with regular buses.…

I believe Mrs. Orlowick is the wife of an Aish HaTorah rabbi. Women to the rear – something Aish most certainly does not tell new recruits.


Filed under Crime, Haredim, Israel

Mohel Cuts Off Too Much, Baby’s Penis Maimed

A baby is circumcised. A horrible accident takes place and the mohel (ritual circumciser) accidently cuts off part of the baby’s penis. Ynet reports, dateline Bnai Brak, Israel:

…Following the bris and after the mohel (circumciser) had already left the building, the baby’s parents noticed that his diaper was soaked with blood.

The parents phoned the mohel, who advised them to call an ambulance immediately, seeing that the baby has already lost a lot of blood.

The parents told the Magen David Adom paramedics who arrived at the place that although their son was suffering from hepatitis, they insisted on holding the bris on time. They also admitted that they had a hard time finding a mohel who would be willing to conduct the circumcision.

Shai Pinchas, an MDA paramedic, said he searched the hall for the baby’s foreskin and the part of his penis that was cut off, and then brought them to the hospital in an ice bag.

"The baby was not in a serious condition and we brought him to the children’s ward at Sheba. I assume that the mohel had cut too much of his penis during the circumcision," Pinchas said.

Atypical, to be sure. But these parents should be brought up on child endangerment charges. And the mohel? I think he needs to find another line of work.


Filed under Circumcision Controversy, Haredim, Israel

Israel’s First “Secular Yeshiva” Opens

Jewish texts like the the Torah, Talmud and Mishna are studied. What’s missing? God, and any idea of commandments. Ynet (briefly) reports.


Filed under Israel, Religion