Showing posts from October, 2014

The Vision and Tactics of Rabbi Yehuda Glick

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the victim of last night's attempted assassination, is a man with a vision.

This vision is very clear - the rebuilding of the Temple in our days.

As this is a central tenant of Judaism, for which we pray for every day, it is surprising that his vision is so controversial, with the Arabs, with gentiles and Jews around the world, and even among orthodox Jews in Israel.

I have had the privilege of meeting Rabbi Glick on several occasions. Most recently, on my son Shimshon Raphael's wedding day, a year ago.

It is a custom among my son's circle to go up to the Temple Mount on their wedding days, both for the groom and for the bride (separately).

Rabbi Yehuda Glick greeted us warmly at the bottom of the ramp, sang Raphael up the ramp, and then gave us an extensive tour of the Temple Mount. His enthusiasm and sparkle were remarkable. (Particularly considering he must have given such a tour thousands of time).

Along the way, I asked him whether we could take s…

Kevin Unger's Brew: Beer and Politics

By Doug Greener (with kind permission)
From Israel Brews & Views
[DM: I am a fan of Kevin Unger, and I love his beers! You can order his prize-winning home brewed beers directly from Kevin on Nachal Dolev, Ramat Beit Shemesh - 052-3826751]
Every commercial craft brewer I've spoken to started out as a home-brewer. At some stage, they got the courage, went through the bureaucracy, and broke out into the world of business.

Your happy beer blogger with Kevin Unger (right)
and his (as yet) unnamed and unlabeled beer.

Kevin Unger of Beit Shemesh is right at this cusp. Every Thursday night, he and his brewing partner Betzalel brew two batches of 18 liters each in his kitchen. About half of the beer is sold to neighbors and fans. The other half Kevin and Betzalel drink with family and friends.

"I started home-brewing so that I could drink for cheaper than the price of commercial beer -- and get better beer at the same time," explains Unger. "Now, I'm drinking g…

Parsha Thoughts - This Week's Co-Star - The Land!

I would suggest there is an overlooked co-star in this most holy and ancient drama of Noah.

We think of the book of Genesis as the development of Man, from Adam, through Noah and to the Forefathers of the Jewish people - particularly these men's developing relationship with God.

Yet, in the Portion of Noah the word Aretz/Land is mentioned a remarkable 57 times and the word Adama/Ground a further 10 times.

As much as the Flood is a story of the sinfulness and destruction of the corrupt generation of Noah, it is also about the contamination and cleansing of the Aretz itself.

The sin of the generation of the Flood is expressed as a sinfulness of man on the Aretz:
Gen 6:5 When God saw that the evil of man was great on the Aretz... 
6:6 Then God was caused to alter His decision, that He had made man on the Aretz...
6:11 And the Aretz was corrupt before God's countenance, and so the Aretz was filled with wrongdoing (חמס).
6:12 And God looked at the Aretz and lo! it was corrupt, bec…

Parsha Thoughts - Who's Listening?!

On Shabbat Bereishit (Genesis) my rabbi, Rav Chaim Soloveichik, recommended that congregants strive to be more meticulous in reading the parsha and targum/translation during the week before, so they will be adequately prepared for the public reading on shabbat.

The first time I generally read through the weekly parsha (weekly Torah reading) is on a shabbat morning, along with the reader as he reads it publicly from the Torah scroll.

I will therefore be attempting to read the parsha before shabbat, and write up my thoughts to share with you on this blog.

This will be on a best-efforts basis (bli neder! no promises!).
To get the ball rolling, I will go back to Parsha Bereshit itself, (with a hat-tip to my friend Eric Rosen).

I will take a fresh look at the most famous and first Rashi on the Torah, on the first verse of Bereshit/Genesis "In the beginning, God created heaven and earth . . .".

Rabbi Yitzhak says: "The Torah should have started from the verse in Exodus…

"North Korea Releases One of Three Americans"

Did you hear that they released Jeffery Fowle, one of the three Americans being held in North Korea?

At least they don't chop captives' heads off in North Korea.

But they do threaten them with AWFUL haircuts.

Voyeurism - Ancient Sin, New Crime

The charges against Rabbi Barry Freundel, a highly respected senior rabbi based in Washington DC, have resulted in shock throughout the Jewish world, and have also been widely reported in the regular non-Jewish media.

Rabbi Freundel is accused of voyeurism, specifically, videoing women in the showers of  a mikve located next door to his synagogue.

Voyeurism is an ancient sin, and a recent crime.

Peeping Tom was the boy who watched the legendary Lady Godiva ride naked on her horse through the streets of Coventry - and his name has entered the English language as a descriptive term for anyone who watches unwitting people for sexual gratification.  

Some voyeuristic behaviour is included as a mental disorder, paraphilia, under The American Psychiatric Association DSM-4 codification.

Voyeurism, as a practice rather than an illness, is reportedly incredibly common among the general population, with close to half of males admitting to having viewed non-consenting parties for their own gra…

Aish Hatorah vs Yaakov Fetman - Good Causes Also Need Vigilance

The list of Jewish good causes, which provided cover for crimes, just got longer.

When Bernie Madoff made off with billions of dollar of Jewish charitable funds, via a too-good-to-be-true investment scam, almost every Jewish good cause was forced to examine its assumptions of trust.

Madoff was an insider, who even sat on boards and investment committees of the same organizations he scammed.

He was also known for his personal philanthropy and generosity.

Madoff's scam victims included Yeshiva University, Hadassah (The Women's Zionist Group of America), Ellie Weisel Foundation, The Wunderkinderen Foundation (of Steven Spielberg), The Chaiss Family Foundation and numerous other leading Jewish non-profit and charitable organizations.  

Although Madoff was the largest defrauder of Jewish causes, by a long haul, indeed the largest scam by gentile standards also, he was not the first, nor the last person to take cynical advantage of Jewish good causes.

In the latest example, Yaakov…