Showing posts from April, 2010

Would You Paint Your Floor Bright Yellow?

In the course of my work (in the field of electro-optics), I visit quite a few factories. Sometimes I pick up ideas which can impact all of us.... This past week, I visited CAMT, a factory in the Negev, which does metal machining and other material processing. For those not acquainted with these industries, the manufacturing processe removes materials, such as steel, aluminium or ceramics, from a block of this material, using heavy grinding and millings machines. There’s bits of material flying, liquid slurries splashing and a lot of noise and hubbub. However, at CAMT one is immediately struck by the fact that this factory is clean, and probably very efficient – there’s a confidence that their products and workmanship are at an uncompromisingly high level. That, in their field, they’re leaders. It took me a while to put my finger on why they made this impression, as their machines seemed reasonably standard for this business and their workers appeared to be a standard melt

Dealing With It Quietly

"Magen", a new, local organization in Bet Shemesh, is dedicated to helping children and families who have been affected by abuse.  Magen is providing a series of public information communications to help educate our community about child sexual abuse: There is a trend in the frum community, as in many tight-knit communities, that when sexual abuse occurs, we should "deal with it quietly." It is certainly painful, and counter-intuitive, to expose abuse in our midst. However, we must honestly consider the values we express with the "deal with it quietly" approach, and whether it benefits victims or perpetrators. In this groundbreaking article , Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman uses the story of Tamar and Amnon to explore whether "dealing with it quietly" is an approach chazal would have supported. These fascinating insights are a MUST READ for anyone concerned with sexual abuse, and the way we deal with it, in our community. http://thejewishs

Rav Malinowitz On The RBS Mikva Controversy

[This article is published with kind permission of Catriel Lev; I publish it here in order to encourage an open debate on this issue, with all sides of the current dispute being fairly represented] Rabbi Malinowitz's Opinions on the Mikvaot Controversy, as reported by Catriel Lev I met with Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz on Monday, the 26 th  of April, 2010, to hear his opinions on the Mikvaot controversy. I request that those people interested in the situation read all of his opinions (which are listed below) carefully, and not be deterred by whatever they do not agree with; since, though I am quite certain that some of his outlook is mistaken, it seems to me that most of the disagreements are about what happened in the past, but that there are many points where his opinions as to what should be in the future are identical with what the Dati-Leumi community feels should be in the future. So, since Rabbi Malinowitz is certain that what he has stated is absolutely the way the Mikvaot s

RBS Mikva Issue Goes National

The issue of the contested Ramat Bet Shemesh (Dolev) Mikva has now reached the front page of a national newspaper in Israel, The Jerusalem Post... Ramat Beit Shemesh residents jostle over control of mikva Friction between two religious communities in Ramat Beit Shemesh has surfaced once again, this time over who should take responsibility for the mikve (ritual bath) in a neighborhood that is equally inhabited by both haredi and  national religious communities,  The Jerusalem Post  has learned. The tension is focusing on a mikve that opened roughly two years ago on Nahal Dolev and was divided in two last summer by the city’s Religious Council so each community could follow its own interpretation of Jewish law. Full article is at:

The Mikva Saga Continues...

By Guest Writer, Rabbi Dov Lipman Tensions are very high regarding the Mikvaot in Ramat Bet Shemesh with fears that this is only the beginning of a takeover of all Mikvaot in the city by Chareidi rabbonim. The timeline of the events is as follows: 1) A few months ago, the Mayor appointed a Rabbi from Shas to head the local religious council 2) Word got out that chareidi rabbonim were putting pressure on the new council head to transfer control over the city mikvaot in RBS (on Dolev and Lachish) to chareidi control instead of Rabbanut of the city which controls city mikavaot. 3) A group of women immediately met with the council head and with the city's chief Rabbi and both were sympathetic to the women but explained that the decision is the Mayor's alone and they should meet with the Mayor right away. 4) The women tried to meet with the Mayor who refused to meet with them. He also refused to meet with Rabbonim from the Sephardic and dati leumi camps including Rav Chayim Solo

Land Grab at the Mikvah

(Women's Mikvah - Illustrative Photo) There are numerous subcultures in Ramat Bet Shemesh – including Yemenites, Sephardim, Anglos, Chareidim/Ultra Orthodox, National Religious, “Israelis/Sabras”, French, etc..etc.. There are rarely clear-cut lines between the groups, as one person or family can belong to several subcultures; and there can be murky areas between these groupings. Perhaps the most prominent divide is between the National Religious and the Chareidim. Particularly at this time of year, which is the period of Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day. The National Religious, usually wearing crocheted kippot/skullcaps, are flag wavers, with Israeli flags fluttering from their cars, balconies and other prominent locations. In National Religious synagogues, special services and events are held for Memorial Day and Independence Day. The Chareidim, usually wearing black (suits) and white (shirts) and black yarmulkes/skullcaps or hats, will avoid the flag-waving

Child Abuse: Seeking Balance Between Head-In-The-Sand and Hysterical-Panic

On the one hand, the Catholic Church has been accused (and found guilty in formal reports in the USA and Ireland ) of systematically turning a blind eye, covering up, and enabling child abuse. On the other, the Church is now accusing the media of stirring up international hysteria, and being disproportionate in the outcry. Similar arguments have gone back-and-forth in the Jewish community in recent months and years – including on this blog. The sexual abuse of children, even more so than physical, emotional, or neglect forms of abuse, generates a strong outcry.   The sense of despair and betrayal is amplified when discovering that a family member, teacher, camp leader, coach, day care worker, doctor or religious leader perpetuated the abuse.   It is estimated that 85% of victims of child sexual abuse knew they attackers (see: / futureofchildren/publications / docs/19_02_08.pdf ) When men-of-the-cloth are involved as either a perpetrator, or enabler –

Israel Wing for Holocaust Museum

Obama Announces New Wing for Holocaust Museum Washington, 21st April, 2012. President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he had personally authorized a Federal Supplementary Grant of $40m to the Washington Holocaust Museum. This is designated to fund the first of three planned phase of the Israel Memorial Wing; the funding for the next phase has already been pledged privately, including by King Abdulah of Saudi Arabia and the Israel Memorial Foundation. President Obama said that “the State of Israel will always hold a special place in our hearts and it is fitting that a Museum celebrating the 63 years of Israel’s existence, and the State’s many achievements, be established here in Washington, as an extension of the Holocaust Museum.” Since the destruction of Israel in January 2011, by the Iranian nuclear attack, dozens of ceremonies have taken place in capitals around the world, including a solemn ceremony at the United Nations, and an unprecedented three minute silence a

Where Did The Pope Go Wrong?

Cases of clerical sex-abuse and the Catholic Church’s mismanagement – amounting to systemic enablement – have surfaced and spread out from Boston, where they were first revealed in 2002, then throughout the USA - and are now spreading across Europe, including major scandals in Ireland and Germany. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) himself was responsible for managing sexual abuse cases when he was archbishop of Munich in 1980 and when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Apparently, in Munich, a priest Cardinal Ratzinger had sent to therapy for pedophilia, was returned to pastoral work with children. The priest was later convicted on charges of molesting boys. Last week, it was revealed that an office under Cardinal Ratzinger’s command had stopped the prosecution in 1996 of Wisconsin priest Lawrence Murphy, who admitted molesting 200 boys at a school for the deaf where he worked for 20 years. As the first victims and insiders within th