Showing posts from July, 2013

Channel Two Revisits Beit Shemesh

18 months after the clip of Na'ama Margolese, the young victim of spitting by ultra-orthodox residents, which generated outrage and protests throughout Israel, and hit the world's headlines, Channel Two revisited Beit Shemesh. The program follows the election campaigns of Eli Cohen and Aliza Bloch, as well as the overwhelmingly huge building programs (RBS Gimmel and Daled) designated for thousands of ultra-orthodox families, also shows the Margolese family packing up their apartment to leave Beit Shemesh.

Beit Shemesh - Innovative Democracy

The often vicious and degrading conflicts during the election campaigns for the Chief Rabbia, thankfully now over (Rabbi David Lau, Ashkenazi, and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Sephardi, won), increase the relevance of efforts to reduce the downside of an active democracy. Negative campaigning invariably tarnishes both political opponents (the target) and allies (collateral damage). And vote-splitting infighting can result in handing political victory and power to a minority of voters.   Here in Beit Shemesh, a town not known for clean politics, there has been some progress and innovation in reducing destructive in-fighting. The municipal election are looming up in November, and the mayor and city council are all up for election. Moshe Abutbul is the incumbent mayor, and leader of the three-man Shas list. Mindful of the damage which can be caused by multiple competing candidates, Abutbul's main opponents have formed a coalition. This coalition, which defines itself as "Zi

Best Short Movie!

Lema'an Achai has launched a very short, compact movie about this great chesed organization. Take two minutes and watch carefully! Impressed? Click here to donate:

Had Enough?

The Jewish people have suffered over 2,000 Years of Galut and All That Accompanies It. Had Enough? This Tisha B'Av Let's Bring the Geulah! (by Lema'an Achai) As essential as our fasting, tears and laments are to mourning the galut, it is only deeds that will bring us to redemption. Sinat Chinam (baseless hatred) brought us to exile and only through Ahavat Chinam will we merit to come out. For over 13 years Lema'an Achai has been a shining example of that Ahavat Chinam as we bring Jews of all stripes together to help others. Our assistance pays no regard to the recipient's race, gender or level of observance. It is simply those who are able helping those in need.  This Tisha B'Av commit to support Lema'an Achai and spread the highest form of Ahavat Yisrael. We are presently in a difficult financial situation that threatens to severely curtail our Smart Chesed programs. Your generous contribution before or on Tisha B'Av will empower us to continue to he

380 Million Reasons

The $380m lawsuit which has been filed against Yeshiva University (YU) for covering up child abuse of 19 boys in the YU Manhattan High School should be a wake-up call to the whole Jewish community. This lawsuit is relating to YU's enablement of the abuse - the cover up, denial, minimization of the abuses, reckless exposure of other children to repeat offenses, and YU's protection & promotion of the perpetrators  - not the abuse itself. In YU's case their alleged gross mishandling was back in the 1970's till 1995. Child abuse cases are generally not recognised and acted upon at the time of the abuse. In many cases, the victims are only ready to come forward, share their experiences, and seek justice, decades later. Therefore today's revelations are like a time-warp of what was going on at YU many years ago. Indeed several YU luminaries, such as Rabbi Dratch and Rabbi Blau have, in more recent years, taken leadership roles in pushing the MO community

Rabbi Lamm's Resignation - Honourable, or Too Little, Too Late?

Six months after  Forward  M agazine wrote a damning expose of allegations of child abuse by staff members at Yeshiva Universty's High School in Manhatten - Rabbi Norman Lamm, President of YU, has resigned. Rabbi Lamm's rather long (6 pages) resignation letter, in which he " acknowledge[s] that [medical?] conditions have caused me to rely on help from my family in writing this letter"  also addresses the minefield of Rabbi Lamm's (mis-) handling of allegations of child abuse. And it is to this I turn as I contemplate my response to allegations of abuse in the Yeshiva community. At the time that inappropriate actions by individuals at Yeshiva were brought to my attention, I acted in a way that I thought was correct, but which now seems ill conceived. I understand better today than I did then that sometimes, when you think you are doing good, your actions do not measure up. You think you are helping, but you are not. You submit to momentary compassion in a