Wednesday, June 1, 2005
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Likes My Blog
AriM at JewishJournal.com
writes Luke Ford Seeks
I am the Marketing Coordinator at The Jewish Journal of Greater Los
Angeles (www.jewishjournal.com), and I like your blog. It has great
information, good stories and lively conversation. We are re-launching
our web site with brand new interactive features such as our Jewish
LA Guide-- a one-stop web hub for all of our visitors’ Jewish needs.
......Check out www.jewishjournal.com to enter a give away for a FREE
APPLE IPOD during the month of June! Visit www.jewishjournal.com for
award-winning news and feature writing, provocative opinion, arts and
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new Jewish LA Guide which will be your one stop shop for all things
These words of praise are so singular and sincere, how can my heart not
be moved? I'll do anything for my
Go Danicka Patrick!
I haven't watched car racing in 25 years but when I saw on the net that
Danica was leading, I watched the last 17 laps, rooting for her (because
she wasn't seeking different standards, she just wanted a fair go). She
finished fourth. One thing I love about sports is that you don't have
affirmative action and different standards for different people.
the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism
Without her Orthodox pose, Dr. Tamar Ross would be just another dreary
Like homosexual Orthodox rabbi Steven Greenberg (author of Wrestling
with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition), she is engaged
in dishonest work.
In Greenberg's case, he argues that it is ok to have sex with men and
still be an Orthodox Jew. in Dr. Ross's case, she argues that it is ok
to accept feminism as the ultimate truth, and to make Orthodox Judaism
to conform to it.
(If your primary source of values is Orthodox Judaism, then you can't
be a feminist. If your primary source of values if feminism, then you
can't be an Orthodox Jew.)
Without their false public image, Greenberg and Ross would disappear
from our intellecutal dialogue. On the merit of their work, they wouldn't
warrant consideration from those who struggle with the great issues of
life. But because they insist on presenting themselves as Orthodox Jews
living and writing from within the tradition, they attract attention from
the shallow media who already endorse feminism and homosexuality and now
want to give it the patina of religious acceptance (the deep and largely
unconscious agenda here is the substitution of secular liberal values
for religious and conservative ones).
An Orthodox rabbi who lives in a homosexual relationship with another
man and claims that homosexual sex is ok is momentarily compelling. A
feminist writing a feminist critique of Orthodox Judaism from within Orthodox
Judaism is momentarily compelling.
Dr. Ross and Rabbi Greenberg live in incompatible worlds. If they admitted
this, then they would be on the road to intellectual honesty, and they
would be worthy of our sympathy, if not our respect.
(Even though in some ways (such as learning) I've participated more actively
in Orthodox Jewish life over the past decade than the average Orthodox
Jew, I've never presented myself (except ironically) to the world as an
Orthodox Jew writing from within the tradition of Orthodox Judaism. It
wouldn't be honest given my choices. If I were Tamar Ross or Steven
Greenberg, I would abandon their public pose of Orthodoxy.)
If Steven Greenberg stopped billing himself as an Orthodox rabbi, and
stopped claiming that Orthodox Judaism can sanction homosexual behavior,
then he'd be honest to both God and the life he's chosen. (While people
may be born to be homosexual in their orientation, it is still their choice
to act on this desire, just as it is the choice of every married heterosexual
to be adulterous.)
He'd also be forgotten.
Feminism, like psychology and philosophy, is a secular way of looking
at the world (even though it can be adopted by the religious). A feminist
critique of Orthodox Judaism is predictable. How could it not clash with
a 3,000-year-old tradition that gives separate roles to men and women?
What will propel intrepid readers through all 249 dense pages of Dr.
Ross's latest book (and I predict that only one out of 20 people who try
to read the thing will finish, because even though I am rapid reader,
I am only getting through about 20-pages-per-hour) is to see what intellectual
acrobatics she will perform to do the impossible -- reconcile Orthodoxy
Incidentally, if you want to know how I spent my 39th birthday on May
28 it was reading Dr. Ross's jargon-ridden book.
A Bible-believing Christian has more in common with Orthodox Judaism
than does an agnostic and poser such as Tamar Ross.
Here's an example from page 135: "It is a real question whether
religious belief in general and Judaism in particular can afford the forgoing
of any claims to metaphysics."
For Dr. Ross, it is a real question whether Judaism can give up belief
One can only wish that given such radical views, she will give up her
pose of Orthdox Judaism.
Dr. Ross spends pages sympathetically evaluating feminists who've found
that they must give up monotheism for its inherent sexism.
Shaviv calls the book "brilliant" in her Forward review:
"Tamar Ross...analyzes why feminism poses such a great challenge
to the Orthodox establishment and why there has been no systematic resolution."
Feminism poses as much of a challenge to Orthodoxy as Jesus Christ. If
you believe Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Messiah, and the divine
son-of-God, you can not be an Orthodox Jew. Likewise, if you believe that
feminism possesses ultimate truth, you can not be an Orthodox Jew.
Ross's central contention is that Orthodoxy's problem with feminism
is about much more than men protecting their power or a community defending
tradition. Feminism, she says, teaches that Jewish tradition bears a
pervasive masculine bias — not just in its laws, the gender ascribed
to God, or in the way the male is normative and the female is "other,"
but in a very male way of thinking behind our image of God, our ideal
relationship with Him and the kind of society He prescribes. This poses
a severe challenge to the very notion of divine revelation: "[I]f the
Torah's portrayal of the world and God so clearly reflects a quintessentially
male point of view, how are we to view the source of such a Torah?"
Ross asks. "What sort of God would ignore the voices, insights, and
experiences of half the human race? Because the perspective of the Torah
is limited, can we really credit it with being divine?" As a result
of this, the halachic system is also undermined, because it derives
its authority from the divine origins of the Torah.
"In raising such challenges," Ross writes, "feminism can be seen as
undermining the deepest foundations upon which rabbinic Judaism — as
an authoritarian system — depends for its survival."
Reading Ross, it is easy to understand why so many Orthodox men fear
female scholarship. Her book offers a powerful alternate theological
vision that challenges some of the basic assumptions of the Orthodox
Jewish world, and gives a glimpse of just how revolutionary feminism
could be to Orthodoxy. In the end, however, Ross's creativity is hampered
by her unwillingness to rock the Orthodox establishment. For the moment,
at least, the male traditionalists are safe.
These points (by Shaviv and Ross) are ludicrous in so many ways.
If Judaism's sacred texts are as biased as Ross alleges, then they can't
be divine and there is nothing to undermine. Judaism is a crock. It's
not that "feminism can be seen as undermining the deepest foundations
[of Judaism]." It has nothing to do with "can be seen."
If the Torah is as Ross presents it, then it is not divine and worthy
of no more attention than Plato and Aristotle. It is certainly not worth
living one's life around, as Dr. Ross claims to do (on the back cover
of her book).
Shaviv claims Dr. Ross is unwilling to rock the boat of the Orthodox
establishment. This is pure nonsense. How much more rocking would you
have to do beyond being agnostic about the importance of God to Judaism
and claiming that Judaism's sacred texts and those who've interpreted
them for millenia are male chauvinists.
Shaviv claims that "so many Orthodox men fear female scholarship."
I live my life around Orthodox men, many of whom are rabbis, and I don't
know any who fear female scholarship. I'm well read in contemporary Jewish
literature and I don't know of any publishing by Orthodox men that displays
fear of female scholarship.
If Shaviv's review and Ross's book are examples of female scholarship,
there's no certainly nothing to fear. Both are shoddy.
Underneath all Dr. Ross's academic jargon is a simple cry from the heart:
"Pay attention to me. I hurt."
There's nothing wrong with such sentiments if one is honest about them.
I like attention and I hurt. Everybody likes positive attention. Everybody
Somehow Dr. Ross and her feminist cohorts believe that life is uniquely
painful for them.
Dr. Ross approvingly quotes Orthodox feminist Debby Koren:
I can forgive the Rambam [for regarding men as superior to women].
He lived in Moslem society at a time when women really were not in the
same position that men were... But when a rabbi today tries to justify
the reasoning [behind halakhic exclusion of women] with the same kind
of apologetics, that's what I can't forgive. We can't try to sensitize
the Rambam. But we can certainly attempt to open the eyes and hearts
of our rabbis and teachers today. We can tell them that this hurts.
Arguing for changes in Judaism because "this hurts" is something
that only a woman could get away with. Imagine if a man called for changes
in Jewish law, such as the requirement that he pray three times a day,
on the basis of "this hurts."
Let me assure you that getting up early every morning to go to shul to
say the same words you've been saying for 40-years -- "this hurts."
Only men don't write books complaining about such things. Men don't expect
the community to change for them if they have hurt feelings. Men don't
expect that their feelings are a sufficient basis for changing Jewish
law and liturgy.
Dr. Ross went to the 2nd Christina Conference and gave a paper entitled
"Can Traditional Jewish Theology Sustain the Feminist Critique?"
I love how Dr. Ross the agnostic is giving papers to Christian (or goyish)
audiences presenting herself as an Orthodox Jew and the one to reconcile
traditional Jewish theology with the feminist critique? It's like having
Hugh Hefner giving a paper on "Can the Traditional Monogamous Marriage
Sustain The Playboy Critique?"
I suspect that for many at that March 3-5, 2005 conference, Dr. Ross
was the only Orthodox Jew they had ever met.
the abstract of her paper:
Orthodox Jews often view feminism as a threat to their faith because
it signifies the intrusion of a movement stemming from sources foreign
to Judaism, thereby creating disturbing tensions - if not downright
conflicts - with traditional Jewish practice (halakha). Another level
of apparent conflict with Orthodoxy generated by feminism, however,
has remained completely neglected until now despite the fact that it
is much more profound and critical, for it appears to challenge the
very underpinnings upon which the halakha is grounded – i.e., the belief
in the divine revelation of the Torah.
The reasoning runs as follows: if, as asserted by the feminist critique,
the Torah not only depicts God as male, but more subtly implies a whole
set of cultural attitudes and structures suggestive of male thinking
and patriarchal biases, thereby suppressing alternative, more feminine
religious expressions, can it really be divine? The problem intensifies
when we realize that all rabbinic commentary and halakhic legislation
is based upon the legal and narrative sections of the Torah, which were
always regarded by tradition as stemming directly from God and therefore
immune to human conditioning.
The problem thus articulated is not really unique to feminism; it applies
equally to countless other areas where Jews feel the time and culture
bound nature of the Torah and subsequent traditional texts. But because
other instances of time and culture-bound ritual no longer touch upon
live issues, they are more easily ignored, whereas the ostensible inappropriateness
of the overwhelmingly patriarchal nature of the Torah and halakha hits
especially hard. Thus the feminist critique might herald one of those
decisive historical moments when faith can be lost or strengthened by
If the feminist critique in its Jewish mold threatens to relativise
and conditionalise the whole corpus of traditional halakha, Orthodox
Jews stand in desperate need of a traditionalist theology which will
accommodate the following two requisites:
On the one hand, the ability to acknowledge with a maximum of intellectual
integrity the degree to which the Torah is formulated in a time and
culture bound societal mold
Yet, at the same time, the ability to strongly assert that this same
Torah is nevertheless the voice of God speaking to us, with every
word of the voice equally holy and indispensable and even to find
theological meaning in the fact that our sacred and revered texts
have been bound to the implicit premises which feminist thinkers have
I believe that this issue points to a new theological dimension that
is well worth exploring. In my presentation I will mine traditional
Jewish sources for material that supports such a theological framework
capable of accommodating the above two requisites without resorting
to untenable pictures of God and His intentions.
This is drivel. Feminism can not shake the faith of an Orthodox Jew.
The faith of an Orthodox Jew depends on his belief that God gave the Torah.
Feminism has nothing to say about whether or not God gave the Torah.
B-List Bloggers: Emmanuelle
Richard, Cathy Seipp,
Where are the bloggers of color on this left? Why are there so many Jews?
"The C list is full of goyishe names," notes Amalek.
The Art Of The Celebrity Profile
Richard Rushfeld, editorial director of LATimes.com and one of the brains
behind the magazine LA Innuendo, produced a hilarious series of readings
of celebrity profiles Wednesday night at the Comedy Central Stage at the
Hudson Theater at 6538 Santa Monica Blvd.
Richard gave the best performance, particularly the first one where he
was dressed in a robe and had Pacabell's Canon playing. Other performers
included Stacy Grenrock Woods, Richard Rushfield, Lauren Weedman, Mark
Ebner, Mark 'Defamer' Lisanti, Laura Krafft, Kevin Seccia and several
Mark Ebner was the most outrageous. He made a lot of sexually graphic
asides to the audience while reading his old interview with Alyssa Milano.
Lisanti showed he's a better blogger than performer.
The audience included Peter Gilstrap, Emmanuelle Richard, Mickey Kaus,
Bill Mahr, Michael Sonnenschein, Robertson Barrett (head of LATimes.com)
and a lot of hot women who I didn't talk to because I felt like a loser.
Still, I took
comfort Thursday in this faux profile by Emmanuelle:
"When Luke Ford opened the
door of his hovel, he was holding a half-eaten kosher Rice-a-Roni
in his hands. He's inherently playful, graceful, humble -- a naturally
modest manchild. A tiny bit stiff. He said he was unfamiliar with
my name, my work or my native France. I'm 7 years younger, but suddenly
Before our interview, he'd prepared a large plate
of fruit for me, something he'd done only for Cathy
Seipp. His cheek glows like a freshly picked apple. Handsome as
expected -- you get the automatic hetero crush, metrosexpuppy love.
The crush washed back on me like a dumb wave, that Australian thing...
Unbearable, isn't? But it's inspired by celebrity profiles
such as this
one of Keanu Reeves
and of Vincent
, published in renowned American magazines. Last night, the
comic troup '(Richard
du Daily show...) gave a
mostly very funny performance
with a simple concept: they read out
loud celebrity profiles/interviews, featuring pompous writing and gross
suck-ups to the stars, in the American tradition that too often implies
the use of the first person by the author who feels compelled to speak
about HIMSELF, not just the barely pubescent jackass/model/singer millionaire
We Can't Not Know
Dennis Prager was interviewing an author and political scientist (Professor
J. Budziszewski) who returned to Protestant Christianity before converting
to Roman Catholicism.
Dennis: "You should write an autobiography."
Professor: "I've been asked to write a little bit about my story.
It might be good for others to read but it wouldn't be good for me to
Dennis: "I'm Jewish. I don't have that problem."
Larry Yudelson writes:
Professor J. Budziszewski. I followed your link. I see he's one of
the Natural Law types.
Frankly, where I hear people talking about "Natural Law," I reach for
my gas mask. While I'm sure that there may be some natural law arguments
against killing Jews, they seem to have been much less compelling than
the natural law arguments against killing sperm. I guess what I"m trying
to say is that if my grandfather's cousins had been Catholic zygotes,
maybe St. Pious and his Lithuanian followers might have given a rat's
ass for them. In this timeline, though, I'm inclined to give doctrines
of "self-evident" Natural Law and papal infallibility as much respect
as I give Scientology.
Jane's Response To Yori Yanover
Jane is a former lover of rabbi J. Hershy Worch.
She responds to Yori's posting on USAJewish.com:
First off, the quote “using his hypnoeroticism techniques to rape women"
is not mine. I informed Vicki long ago that that needed to be changed
because---aside from sounding outrageous and absurd--- what Worch does
is far more subtle and complex than that, and built up steadily over
a period of time.
Now I will address Yanover's commentary:
"Forget for a moment the fact that not a shred of evidence has ever
been offered by [Jane] to substantiate the rape charge."
I will write about this at some point, and there *are* gray areas to
be sure, but when all is said and done, "No" and "Stop" still mean "No"
and "Stop". There are several people I discussed this with last summer,
however, and if you'd like to speak with/confirm the discussions I can
give you their contact info.
"[Jane] is not employed by Rabbi Worch."
"Correct. I cleaned his apartment, made his coffee, did his laundry
and typed his correspondance for free.
"[Jane] does not depend on him for her school grades, or, indeed,
for anything at all."
Correct, although Worch did introduce me to a friend of his before
as one of his "students" of his kabbalah. I did not flunk, I defected.
"[Jane] is not a minor."
"[Jane] is not feeble minded in any way."
Correct, even though Worch attempted to impart the suggestions during
meditative states: "You have no brain." "Your brain will become nil."
"You will be reduced back to an autistic state." "You have no soul."
"Your soul is in your womb." Trust me, I came very close to *becoming*
feeble-minded due to that experience.
"Worch is not a pulpit rabbi."
True. However, he uses his rabbi title, the fact he is a published
author, etc., to lead women he picks up over the internet into a false
sense of security and safety.
What's ironic is, prior to Worch, I'd been so paranoid about meeting
mutants online that I never went to chat rooms, IMd with strange men.
Worch flattered me into a false sense of safety and trust via the fact
he's a rabbi, published author, and artist. It's likely there may be
an inner circle of groupies he does not outright abuse like he did me,
but in one form or another they're still manipulated. Had I not stumbled
summer another woman who warned me about him, had I not---after
breaking off with him at the end of last June--- attempted in writing
to get him to own up to and apologize for what he did to me, which he
did not do, had I not later gone back to read his archives in OBDSM
and come across his sexual dismemberment fantasy in that meat plant,
(among other bizarre things), had I not stumbled across hydragiriums'
writing about the dangers of hypnosis in erotic context, had I not been
told by Rabbis Dratch, Blau, and Vicki Polin that "there have been many
complaints about him before," had I not been contacted by a prominant
woman in Australia last September who'd been manipulated and abused
by him, and has lent me much support via correspondance since then,
had I not been told by said rabbis that since he was outside of their
jurisdiction that exposure was at least a good thing to warn people,
and, had I not ever had the horrible misfortune to have experienced
prior to breaking off from him his slow, detailed visual imagery of
having sex with my decapitated head while engaged in a trance/meditation
with him, I would have gone my merry way, chalked this off as a horrifyingly
But knowing he's had a long history of this and the confirmation from
other women of their experiences, I simply could not remain silent.
Here is a tremendously gifted man, with some serious, serious problems.
His 'friends' had the golden opportunity last fall to force him to face
his life, himself, and get some serious help. Instead they chose to
continue enabling him. His own writings and behaviors show he was careening
headlong into exposing himself long before my involvement with him.
(Think of the similarity to serial killers who toy with being caught.)
He flaunted it everywhere. He wrote publically that he was amused he
was known as "The Rabbi" at a Chicago BDSM club.
For him to be crying "foul" now is absurd. Some part of him has been
screaming out to be stopped for a very, very long time.
"Forget the fact that in the end all [Jane] managed to provide was
a collection of private, intensely intimate online postings, under pseudonyms
which she attributes to Worch."
Worch published those writings online in public forums. Heck, his OBDSM
list was even written about in some online Arab newsjournal, as an example
for their anti-semitism: "Look at these sick and perverted Jews." He
provided the link for the article on his OBDSM list. That, however,
was not cause for him, obviously, to close up his weird writings blending
Orthodox Judaism with BDSM.
As I mentioned to both you and Stephen last fall, the only 'proof'
I have that I did not compose those things myself is: I had no idea
of what the bulk of the Hebrew and Yiddish words and phrases were, and
his style is unmistakable across the various forums. Yanover has continued
to ignore the FACTS that show those very disturbed
writings are Worchs'.
Luke, if Yanover needs visuals to shock him out of his denial, you
may want to scan some of those documents to have on your Profile page:
* Shleck identifies self also as the Chief, Just Sir Will Do on copy
of OBDSM email
* Moonish intro on 'HonestDS' LJ community identifies self also as Chapt-Schleck
in BDSM communities.
* Photo icon of his hand holding collar identified as his hand.
* Identifying info in Moonish journal:
* Public entries identifying himself as a Rabbi,
* Living in Chicago,
* Correct age,
* Living on Sacramento Avenue
* Photo of keys to his Volvo,
* Mentions being a grandfather,
* Mentions having six adult children from first marriage and three from
* Photographs of self portrait with the name "Hershy" visible across
* Photograph of his two adult daughters and their names he posted in
his Moonish journal,
* Live Journal entry by someone else [AnotherJen] stating they are going
to meet their friend Moonish performing at the Adams St. Shul in Newton,
MA on Jan. 10 2004 called "The Fire and the Dance: A concert of Hasidic
music and food." (This was Worch, aka Moonish, aka Schleck, Chief, Just
Sir Will Do, performing at the Adams St. Shul).
I feel terribly sorry for Worchs' former families and children. But
I also can't help but wonder how many years, how many decades, have
his activities been covered up-----going all the way back to what he
wrote about being kicked out of yeshivas, other families being warned
not to send their own sons to yeshivas he was attending? Is it possible
there are worse crimes he has committed besides manipulating and abusing
women? If there are, and people are continuing to cover up for him----they
are not helping him any, nor anyone who may have been victimized by
him, and are definitely contributing to ensuring he continues to victimize
others in the future.
Regarding Yanovers rantings on your having kept my anonymity: Worch
is a public figure, I am not. What woman in her right mind would want
her name linked to Worch? And, have you noticed that none of his groupies/lovers/students
have come forward using *their* full names? When that day comes and
an actual female---not Yanover----lets you interview them, using their
full names, about Worchs' so-called "hypnoeroticism"/deep breathing
techniques/voice-controlled orgasms, and how it's tied into his "kabbalah",
and how "healing" and "therapeutic" their relationships with him are
(as some described in Protocols comments), then I'll be happy to as
Whether he is a sociopath with no conscience, or a narcissistic personality
disorder, I have no idea. All I know is my experience; he used his great
gifts and talents for the purposes of fooling me into a false sense
of safety and trust. I believe that I was just cultivated by him to
be a possible source of funding, and one big sadistic experiement for
him in how far he could go towards bringing about someone's complete
spiritual and psychological annihilation. He's just an internet predator,
obviously skilled in his mental/psychological manipulations over many
years, perhaps decades, who has abused the internet not to mention his
title of "rabbi".
At the end of the day, he's just another former drug and alcohol addict
who has found replacements for those addictions in his addictions to
sex and power. But he's a guy who happens to have a rabbi title as a
key to gaining trust.
His supporters and friends need to pay attention to his own cries for
help: from May 2002 of his OBDSM yahoo group: "My soul is wounded and
alarmed and in shock, where did the Rabbi go? My soul is screaming,
Hey I never signed on for the trip with a sex fiend a kinkster a pervert.
A man who can take pleasure in causing pain, humiliation and slavery."
Steve Sailer writes it is the key to GOP electoral success.
Why Are You Guys
"The demand in today's culture to judge every sexual behavior as good
or bad, instead of just trying to study them and understand them? Once
you start talking about good and bad, who's going to tell you about their
That's a quote from my interview today with the head of the Kinsey Institute,
Dr. Julia R. Heiman.
Will Work For Girlfriend
I just finished talking to Dr.
Julia R. Heiman, the sixth sixth director of The Kinsey Institute for
Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, Bloomington.
This interview will appear on Ben Sullivan's ScienceBlog.
Due to difficult times in internet commerce, Ben will not be rewarding
me for my labors with tawdry money but rather with a gift of the spirit
-- one of his ex-girlfriends.
I have a particular one in mind.
A few months ago, when I connected my jumper cables to her battery, I
felt a real spark.
Dr. Heiman and I discussed Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon stories and
we decided that I should ask Mr. Keillor a question. Does anyone have
an email address for Garrison?
'When I First Got My Get...'
Chutzpah writes on Jewlicious:
"When I first got my Get [divorce] after 11 years of living as a
“Frum” mother and raising “Orthodox” children, I met a man on Frumster
for a date…long story short…he is also on Nerve. com looking for couples
sex. So I find all these labels very humorous and I think the Frumster
people take their job of cubbyholing people way WAY too seriously. What
would they label a guy who lives in Teaneck and keeps Kosher and Shabbos
but wants you to --- in his mouth during ---- sex? I went out with him
too and it really bothered me because he wouldn’t let me order the non-kosher
wine at the non-kosher restaurant we went to (he had plain salad). I guess
--- is kosher if comes from someone he keeps kosher? Don’t know. Sorry
to be so graphic, but this hasn’t been easy on me."
I Will Not Have Sex Until I Am Married
True love waits. You can tempt me all you want, but I am just saying
On my wedding night, things are going to be special in a way the jaded
among you will never understand.
Chaim Amalek writes: "You already did that, several times, remember?
The "shomer negila" shtick, for example."
Khunrum writes: "Interns supposedly learn the biz and move on to
bigger and better things."
Helpful writes: "That's true. Look at Monica Lewinski. Published
author. Failed Jenny Craig spokesperson. Handbag designer. The sky's the
limit for a dedicated fellatrix."
Chaim writes: "Sorry, but this bit does not even qualify as irony.
You need to think of new shticks for getting women. I suggest you start
by getting a job."
'Dear' Equals 'Expensive'
When an item was too expensive in Australia, we called it 'dear.' I haven't
heard that use in America until today when I was listening to John Steinbeck's
Grapes of Wrath book. A character, referring to a car, called it 'too
dear,' as in expensive.
writes: "My ephiphany about Dear happened in Germany. Someone was
talking about a restaurant and saying it was Toyer. I know that word from
Yiddish, Mein Tayer Kinder means my dear child, so although I don’t know
German, I understood that the restaurant was expensive. But then my German
speaking mate told me that Toyer in German ONLY means expensive, it doesn’t
mean dear in the sense of treasured, as it does in almost every other
language – Chere, Caro, Yakar (hebrew), Tayer (Yiddish). I considered
that very telling, a sign of German coldness – at least in my paranoid
New Star Wars
Chaim Amalek writes:
Call me a hopeless loser with no life of his own (I'm here a lot, aren't
I?), but I saw that new Star Wars movie today. Very boring, and that
Jewess Natalie Portman who had the lead just isn't hot. I saw this woman
on Broadway some years back playing Anne Frank, and even then I just
didn't get why people think so much of her.
I love going to "urban-themed" movies with lots of Darkies. Singing,
dancing, cussin' darkies in dark rooms watching horror flicks, shouting
warnings to da dumb white fold about to be disembowled. "F--- dat
bitch." "Motha f--ka." I wish they served fried chicken
and watermellon in movie theaters, but you know how the Jews are.
Mexicans are slowly extruding the American Born Negro from life in
this country. Were the Negro a higher IQ minority, there'd been antimexican
riots by now. Bush wants all Mexico to come here so the cost of labor
white and black will be reduced to third world levels. Bush is a nightmare
for White and Black America. Shedding the blood of our fine Christian
sons and daughters for the insane project of bringing western style
democracy to arabs and muslims. Like teaching pigs modern dance.
Just you wait and see - anti-Mexican riots in LA by Negroes are now
far more probable than they were when the white man ran the show. But
unlike the white man, the Mexicans will fight back, fiercely. We are
approaching the Twilight of the Negro in America, and the white liberal
is impotent to stop it.
I note that the smarter set you hang out with almost never discusses
the plight of the American Negro. They'd rather be catty, discussing
their economic superiors amongst the white race.
Women: America's Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex
From Publishers Weekly:
Bestselling relationship rabbi Boteach, author of Kosher Sex, pillories
our lewd, misogynistic, unladylike age in this vigorous jeremiad. From
the Internet to reality TV to Girls Gone Wild videos, Boteach observes,
popular culture portrays women as "Greedy Gold Diggers," "Publicity-seeking
Prostitutes," "Brainless Bimbos" or "Back-stabbing Bitches" epitomized
by the likes of Paris Hilton and the "vulgar and crass degenerates,
Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera."
Boteach blames feminism-not for demanding equal rights, but for toppling
femininity from its position of dignity, refinement and presumed superiority
over masculinity and for proclaiming a "farcical notion of equivalence"
that pushes women to be as gross and callous as men while depriving
them of the moral authority to admonish and correct male loutishness.
Because "in a world without ladies there cannot be gentlemen," the result
is a "crisis in manhood," as men feel licensed to exploit women and,
numbed by pornography, become unable to cherish real women in committed
The author calls for boycotts to punish lewd and degrading depictions
of women as well as female celebrities who pose or appear nude, and
for a sexual counter-revolution in which women collectively refuse all
premarital sex and confiscate their husbands' porn stashes.
Readers may find Boteach's Kabbalistic gender mysticism to be essentialist
piffle, his tribute to the chivalry of the past naïve, and his idealized
conception of women as "seraphs of heaven" for whom "being holy and
spiritual... came naturally" confining. Still, his critique of the coarseness
and oversexualization of images of women-and, especially, of the misogynistic
cast of the contemporary male mindset-should stimulate a needed debate
over the tenor of popular culture.
On his second hour, Dennis Prager asked a question: If you heard about
a couple who were dating and going to therapy to resolve problems (not
premarital counseling which prepares a couple for marriage), would you
take this as a good sign or a bad sign?
Most of his audience said it would be a good sign.
I once was in a relationship with a woman who said that if her shrink
didn't approve of me, I was a goner. I was fine with going with her regularly
to see him. He eventually prescribed medicine for me (Nardil) which helped
me overcome my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Our relationship crashed anyway
after three months of living together. I kept seeing the psychiatrist
after that for as long as I lived in Orlando, FL.
Gateway To Happiness
A car that starts. My van now turns over better than at any time in the
past four years. It runs faster than Levi away from onerous Torah restrictions
or some ejecting shul. Only cost me $310 (for a new alternator and regulator).
Protect your daughters! I'm on the move again.
I'm on the up side of my bipolar cycle. IM'd ten people this afternoon,
took a nap, chewed gum, and listened to Madonna sing "Like A Prayer."
- Naughty Lakewood Girls Need Love Too
to the Jewish Encyclopedia: "A concubine [Pilegesh] recognized
among the ancient Hebrews. She enjoyed the same rights in the house as
the legitimate wife. Since it was regarded as the highest blessing to
have many children, while the greatest curse was childlessness, legitimate
wives themselves gave their maids to their husbands to atone, at least
in part, for their own barrenness, as in the cases of Sarah and Hagar,
Leah and Zilpah, Rachel and Bilhah. The concubine commanded the same respect
and inviolability as the wife; and it was regarded as the deepest dishonor
for the man to whom she belonged if hands were laid upon her. Thus Jacob
never forgave his eldest son for violating Bilhah (Gen. xxxv. 22, xlix.
According to Pilegesh.Blogspot.Com:
Pilegesh... A Jewish lifestyle and tradition sanctioned by the Torah,
that has been practiced since antiquity, yet unfortunately forgotten
due to the trials and tribulation of the golus /exile. Which has led
to centuries of untold pain and suffering claiming countless victims,
Culminating with today's major crisis -'jewish singles' with so many
unmarried, divorced, older boys and girls.
1989 Letter To The ADL About Her Appearance
As 'Rachel' On The Oprah Show May 1, 1989
I publish the letter verbatim, typos and all:
July 18, 1989
To whom it may concern:
In my eyes and the eyes of other Jewish Survivors of Ritual Abuse,
you attempted to discredit us the same way the Revisonism Movement trys
to discredit the fact that the Holocaust occured.
I feel you owe each and every Jewish Survivor of Ritual Abuse an apology.
I believe the Jewish Community needs to take it's head out of the sand
and open it's eyes!!! Incest, Child Sexual, and Ritual Abuse happens
in Jewish Families. Jews are not exempt from perpetrating these crimes.
I understand that you feel that Oprah Winfrey was being Anti-Semitic
by bringing up the issue I was from "A Nice Jewish Family".
I believe she was as shocked as you were. Our society believes the myth
that Jews can't be pedophiles, or abuse their own children. This is
a "MYTH", they do abuse children. There are even those who
practice cannibalism, and perform human sacrifices. Believe me I saw
it with my own eyes. I've come to the point in my life were I feel I
need to bare-witness. I have and will continue to until I'm sure what
I had to endure as a child is believed by you and others like you. I
will do what ever is possible so what happened to me doesn't happen
to anyone else!
CC. Oprah Winfrey, Believe The Children, Det.
Simandl, Dale Griffin, PhD., Many Voice's, Voice's In Action, Inc.,
Healing Hearts, YWCA-Women's Serv. NOW-National Organization of Women,
Fr. James Labre
Lukeford.net Seeks A Young Enthusiastic Intern
While there will be no pay, you should know that your non-material reward
will be great, not just in this world, but more importantly, in the world
to come. You will learn Jewish journalism at the feet of the master (no,
not Gary Rosenblatt)
and then transition with his blessing into high-powered journalism jobs.
Email Luke. I have opportunities
for bestowing college credit and community service hours upon worthy beneficiaries.
Together we can stop sexual abuse!
By John Updike
I spend hours a day listening to books on tape. I check them out through
www.lapl.org. I just listened to Villages. Updike's prose is exquisite
but I felt a tad guilty because half of the book describes sexual intercourse.
Jaded as I may seem to you, that explicit sex description just doesn't
strike me as quite right. I've written a lot about sex but I've rarely
felt comfortable describing the act itself in graphic details.
I have two parts of my personality. One that wants to shock and one that
is repelled by vulgarity. I guess I appall myself.
(I prefer Tom Wolfe to John Updike because I find Wolfe's novels redemptive
while Updike depresses me.)
Just finished a critical
appraisal of Pat Conroy and his book The
Prince of Tides.
During the third meal of Shabbat, I found myself in an unexpectedly bitter
and emotional interchange.
Friend A asked me why I hadn't brought with me my book on John
Monash (the son-in-law of the great Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz).
Friend B: "Who's Monash?"
Luke: "The best general of WWI, an Australian Jew."
Friend B: "I didn't know Australia was in WWI."
Luke: "Have you heard of Gallipoli?
Friend B: "Nope. You can tell me if you want."
Luke: "I don't expect Americans to know history."
Observer: "The Americans didn't have anything to do with Gallipoli."
Luke: "I know. The British commanded and the Australians died."
It was one of those rare moments when I was filled with Australian patriotism
Author Naomi Ragen
On Vicki Polin
Naomi writes 5/22/05:
I am doing some research and came across your website. To my shock
and surprise, I read the material about Vicki Polin. Considering the
serious allegations that she's made, I think it's important for me to
add the following information.
I met Vicki Polin on the internet when she and I were both actively
fighting CNN's biased reporting. Vicky started CNNwatch. I found her
work very useful to my own. When she wrote me that she was planning
on making Aliyah, but she had no place to stay until she could rent
an apartment, I offered her my home. She stayed with me for several
I got to talk with Vicki and I was shocked at both her behavior and
her appearance. I am very sympathetic to women claiming sexual abuse
in the Jewish world, and have met many bonafide victims. Vicki did not
seem to me to be mentally stable and I did not believe a word she said.
Moreover, after introducing her to many other activists against CNN,
she took serious loans from them and never paid them back. She ran up
a large phone bill in my home and never paid me. I believe she also
took the aliyah package from the Jewish Agency, even though she skipped
town soon afterwards. This kind of dishonesty shows character, and I
do not think Ms. Polin, for all her intelligence and for [all] the good
work that she does do, can be believed and trusted.
A Guide To The Perplexed
On Thursday, I read a review
in the Forward by Miriam Shaviv about a "brilliant" new
book on Orthodoxy and feminism.
pick up the Jewish Journal's cover story on Reform Jews, which reads:
* Daf Yomi-Studying
So I wondered if either I was ignorant or if these claims were specious.
After reading the article (and the book), I quickly realized that these
claims are specious.
No more than about 1% of Reform Jews observe the Sabbath as a sacred
day (forget considerations about the observance of Jewish law).
Few Reform Jews keep kosher.
No more than .1 of Reform Jews do Daf Yomi.
Only a tiny percentage of Reform Jews speak Hebrew.
The Journal article taken from Haaretz focuses on individual movement
with Reform Judaism towards tradition while ignoring that the great mass
of Jews who affiliate Reform display no interest in increased Jewish observance
The article bollixes up a famous anecdote:
“There are two kinds of Reform rabbis,” one prominent mid-20th century
Reform leader once quipped. “Those who believe in ethical monotheism,
and those who know Hebrew.”
Replace "ethical monotheism" with "social justice."
Fax writes in the Journal:
This year’s graduating class of rabbis at the Conservative University
of Judaism (UJ) in Los Angeles is made up of four women and two men.
And at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York, there are
10 women to the seven men.
Are female rabbis taking over the Conservative movement — which only
began ordaining women in 1985?
The gender breakdown is about 50-50 among the 75 rabbinic students
at the school, Artson said. That ratio, he said, reflects the school’s
commitment to gender-blind admissions, and to the work the school does
to make sure UJ is open to women in all ways.
“Opening a school to women but not talking about the ways in which
gender shapes a certain reality is not really admitting women,” Artson
said. “We have been conscious about making gender something we talk
That means classes and mentorships bring the societal sexual divide
to the foreground. And, Artson said, women are occupying an increasingly
prominent role in the administration.
Contrary to what rabbi Brad Artson claims, yes, women are taking over
non-Orthodox Judaism. It's a sociological fact that men don't like to
compete with women and that unless a group (religious or secular, see
service clubs in the past 20-years) includes special rituals only for
men, men will drop out (Dennis Prager). There's an increasing shortage
of men in non-Orthodox forms of Judaism. Go to Friday night services at
a Reform temple and there will typically be two women (usually over 60)
for every man.
I'm 43-pages into the new book by Tamar Ross -- Expanding
the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism -- and I'm ready to pass
judgment: This book is less than brilliant. To call it brilliant is to
reveal what low expectations one must have for feminist scholarship. The
book is just a cry from the heart with a lot of academic jargon.
of the book is from a famous painting of a Shabbat table by Oppenheimer,
but with the father cut out.
Visions of Lorena Bobbitt pass before me as this is pointed out to me
by a friend.
Later, I find out via the internet that Dr.
Ross's daughter Dvora lived out what her mother did only to a painting
-- a PhD, she went on to have three kids without a father (via artificial
The nonsense overflows on the back cover of Tamar's book: "Writing
as an insider (herself an Orthodox Jew), Ross seeks to develop a theological
response that fully acknowledges the male bias of Judaism's sanctified
texts, yet nevertheless provides a rationale for transforming that bias
in today's world without undermining their authority."
This is rationally ludicrous for many reasons. Number one, it is outside
of Orthodox Judaism (and fraudulent to present oneself as an Orthodox
Jew while making any such argument) that Judaism's sanctified texts that
it claims come from God have any bias.
Number two. If you argue that "Judaism's sanctified texts"
have any bias, then you automatically undermine their authority. For a
reality check, examine the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism which make
emphatic claims about biases in the Bible and the Talmud etc and you will
find the least observance of Jewish law and the least attention paid to
rabbis and any higher authority beyond individual autonomy.
As I should've guessed, there's a glowing quote on the back of the book
from the indecipherable and over-rated Aviva Zornberg, who writes: "Writing
in a postmodernist vein, she offers a quantum leap in her complex yet
trenchant perspective on the challenge posed by feminism to the concept
To any orthodox believer in his religion (be it Judaism, Christianity,
Islam), Revelation is not a concept, it is an ultimate truth that poses
challenges to all other ways of viewing life, such as feminism, rather
than it being challenged by modern academic theories.
For the believing Jew, God reveals himself in the Torah, not in feminism
(or anything else), and, in this case, it is primarily feminism that should
be critiqued by Torah and not the other way round.
Dr. Ross begins the book listing the ways she's been made to feel uncomfortable
as a Jewish woman.
Now, at least when men do this, they do it as comedy (Portnoy's Complaint).
Judaism makes differing demands on everybody, male and female, Cohen
and Israelite, young and old. But only women get taken seriously when
they say that Judaism's particular demands on them (and lack of demands
from them when compared to the commandments incumbent on men) make them
If an Orthodox Jewish man wrote a book about how thrice-daily prayer
requirements made him feel uncomfortable, nobody would pay him the least
mind. But in our modern mood, a lot of silly complaints by aggrieved "minorities"
are automatically treated with respect.
Now, I understand that the Jewish tradition, along with every other tradition,
has long had significant strands denigrating the worth of females compared
to males, and that this is obviously wrong and not something we should
I don't have a problem with any movement (including feminism) that encourages
people to be all they can be (so long as they don't hurt others). But
as Dennis Prager says, asking what is good is more important than asking
what is good for my particular group.
I fully subscribe to this sentence by Dr. Ross: "More compelling
for me than the issue of feminism was the clash between Jewish tradition
and modernity in general."
Ross writes: "I am ideologically commited to the tradition as it
stands as the basic grammar that governs the way that I relate to the
world and my religious experience."
People who are truly committed to a religious tradition don't speak in
this way. They commit to a tradition because they believe it is God's
will, not because it is their chosen grammar.
Dr. Ross is big on "gender" -- a cultural construct -- rather
than "sex," a biological fact. But to come down conclusively
and totally on either end of the nature vs. nurture debate is ignorant.
Some evidence points towards our genes as propelling us towards certain
behaviors and other evidence points towards culture for other behaviors.
The title of this book seems deceitful. It's true agenda is to expand
the palace of feminism into the world of Torah, and when the two clash,
to choose feminism over Torah.
Even though Tamar is literate in the languages of her religion, she reminds
me of media celebrity Irshad
Manji, who had the chutzpah to publish a book in 2002 called The Trouble
with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith, even though Irshad
is illiterate in Arabic (the principle language of Islam), a practicing
lesbian, and regarded as an aspotate by many Muslims).
I believe that Tamar Ross is Orthoprax -- she practices Orthodox Judaism.
But she certainly doesn't believe as Orthodox Judaism requires and thus
she shouldn't pose as an authentic Orthodox Jew writing from within the
Her book was originally a paper delivered at the Orthodox Forum at Yeshiva
University. Rabbi Ahron Lichtenstein then ripped her arguments apart.
Dr. Ross describes her experience at the Forum on page XIII:
It soon became obvious that members of the American Modern Orthodox
establishment were not prepared to deal critically with the issues at
But they were prepared, Dr. Ross, and they critically ripped your arguments
apart. It was not them who were unable to deal critically. It was you.
In the round of discussion after I presented an oral summary of the
paper, the atmosphere was heavy and oppressive.
In other words, they disagreed with you, and you found this "heavy
One debate will center on a question raised a year ago in an academic
article: How can we pray to our God when He has no relationship with
This issue indeed stirred up a heated controversy about a year ago
when it was first presented by Dr. Tamar Ross of the Hebrew University
- herself an observant woman who covers her hair - at a conference organized
by Yeshiva University, the greatest bastion of modern Orthodoxy in the
United States. Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, the head of the Har Etzion
hesder yeshiva (a program that combines army service with yeshiva studies),
launched a scathing attack on Ross. According to Kehat, he even pointed
out that "Rabbi Soloveitchik would certainly be turning over in his
grave if he were to hear these things." The irony is that Ross will
not be able to present her thesis at the conference because she has
not been given time off by the same Yeshiva University, where she is
You can't be intellectually honest and argue for feminism from within
the Jewish tradition. Feminism, as it is currently understood, is an ideology
alien to Judaism.
I'm sick of all these people such as Dr. Tamar Ross and Dr. Dvorah Ross
posing as Orthodox Jews and writing critiques of Orthodox Judaism from
alien perspectives while all the time claiming to be insiders authentic
to the tradition.
I'm starting to sound like Wendy
These are the type of people who are going to have daughters who want
to claim to be Orthodox and yet have children without getting married.
These women have inherited their mother's narcissistic thinking process
-- primarily concerned with self-fulfillment (rather than the consequences
of their behavior on others).
Tamar's daughter Dvora wrote an article reviewing the literature of
Jewish law on artificial
fertilization for unmarried women (something that is clearly against
the ethos of Jewish living, children should start out life with a mother
On the other hand, a knowledgeable Orthodox woman, Dvora Ross, has
written a responsum in favour of artificial insemination for single
women (in Hebrew, in _Jewish Legal Writings by Women_, Jerusalem: Urim,
1998). In halakhah (Jewish law), people who are not commanded to do
something can still take on the obligation voluntarily. Over the centuries,
Ross argues, women have taken on the obligation of reproduction.
According to several great rabbis, women are commanded to have children,
as part of a human obligation to populate the world. Even though "be
fruitful and multiply" does not apply to them, "the earth was created
to be populated" (Isaiah 45:18) does apply. (Tosafot, Bava Batra 13a;
Magen Avraham, Shulchan Arukh OH 153:9.)
Finally, according to halakhah a woman may demand a divorce because
her husband is sterile (Shulchan Arukh EH 154:6). That is, she has a
right to insist on having a child.
Since writing this responsum, Dvora Ross, a single woman, has had a
child through sperm donation, and her choice has been accepted in her
Orthodox community in Israel.
the Jerusalem Post 4/8/04:
Dr. Dvori Ross, author of the essay "Artificial Insemination and Single
Women" which appeared in the 1998 book Jewish Legal Writings by Women,
is a single mother of three children. Avichai, her eldest, is five and
a half. Bezalel and Na'ama, her twins, are two years old. When it came
to choosing a donor, she also opted for a non-Jew.
"It never really bothered me, and halachically it is a lot less complicated,"
says Ross. "I'm friendly with a lot of non-Jews from The Israel Interfaith
Association, so the non-Jewish donor option seemed quite normal."
All these women share a concern for the lack of a father figure in
their children's lives, but each mother tries to find her own way to
grapple with the problem.
For Ross, a partial solution was to ensure that her children would
have access to information about the donor when they grew up, which
meant importing donor sperm from the States. (The US offers the option
of making contact with and having information about the donor when the
children reach maturity, unlike in Israel, where sperm donation is anonymous
"I'd heard that it's very important for adopted children to know who
their parents are. I thought that it wouldn't be right of me if I didn't
give my children that option," Ross says.
In terms of the day-to-day presence of a father, Ross believes that
it's important for her children to have role models of both sexes, but
they don't necessarily have to be a mother or father. Avichai's uncle,
for example, plays an important role in his life.
Ross explains: "Okay, yes, of course there are passages in the Talmud
that talk about the intimacy between a man and a woman, and it's hard,
it's hard for me that I'm not in the framework of that kind of relationship.
But at the end of the day, I don't think that one-parent families are
a bad thing.
"Certainly, I had an idyllic picture of the family, with a father,
like they create for us all the time," Ross says. "But that whole picture
is a modern creation of the last few hundred years. In Europe, for example,
Ashkenazi women would marry, but they wouldn't see their husbands very
much. In other places there were hamulot [extended families living together].
Essentially the family model that's meant to be so ideal boils down
to a romantic structure of the last two, three hundred years. It's a
It's a real shame that Orthodox Jewish women are having kids on their
own when there are wonderful guys like me just waiting to become husbands
Luke In Chinatown
I got lost going to the Union railroad station in downtown Los Angeles.
I just spent $1,700 ($3,600 in the past six months) on my van. Friday
afternoon, it stalled and stopped on 800 N. Hill next to 500 W. Alpine
St. It wouldn't turn over.
I made nervous calls on my cell phone, finally getting a towtruck.
I pulled out my jumper cables and opened the hood and stood there until
a white guy pulled over and gave me a jump. My car revved but wouldn't
fire. We pushed it onto the sidewalk.
Waiting for my tow truck, I call another company. They say it will cost
$220 to get me back home. I stay with the original guy, who gets there
after an hour. He only charges me $95.
(Luckily, since I first got car insurance in the summer of 1985, I've
bought towing insurance and have never had to pay for a tow.)
My friend found another ride home. I wasted four hours. I felt emasculated
sitting there in Chinatown with my car dead. My true fear, my deepest
darkest dread, is not so much the crappy state of my vehicle, but that
it is a metaphor for the real me. Under pressure, I can't turn the switch
and rev my engine.
I got home to this email:
I find you to be a complete male chauvinistic prick! God intended all
sex to be pleasurable, not just penile penetration. I find the statement
that most men don't like pleasuring women orally a little weak. As for
the woman's point of view... is a very intimate act that takes a good
amount of trust and self-assurance to participate in. However, on the
flip side some woman find the thought of ... a little disgusting and
aren't very keen on the idea of oral .... themselves. It works both
ways, you've gotta give to receive. In short, there's nothing wrong
if you like ..... and there's nothing wrong if you don't.
Cathy Seipp writes: "Sell the van for parts already! Or pay someone
to tow it away, which is what you may have to do. I told you months ago
that to continue to repair that pile of crap is INSANE. You could get
a junker for $800 and it would still be better than the serial killer
van. If you feel the need to get rid of extra cash, donate it to an animal
shelter or something."
I Hope Nobody Gets Killed By My Posting This
used Bible as toilet paper: Muslims' desecration of holy book received
Once Israel scorned the Diaspora, but times have changed
and this year a master teacher from Los Angeles will be honored as Israel
By Sheli Teitelbaum in Los Angeles for
the Jerusalem Report
Many Diaspora Jews may be said to carry a torch for Israel. But on
the evening of May 11, in a move likely to furrow the brows of a few
Zionist dignitaries, for the first time ever, one of the dozen people
invited to hold a torch on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem to mark Israel's 57th
birthday is someone who might be called a "yoredet," an Israeli who
left the Jewish homeland to make a life elsewhere - a category Yitzhak
Rabin once scorned as "weaklings."
Of course, Jewish educator Metuka Benjamin was only 15 when her parents
left Israel. And Benjamin, who helped found and now directs the many-faceted
school system of the Reform Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles -
with four separate schools, the largest non- Orthodox Jewish educational
enterprise in the United States, according to the Los Angeles Jewish
Journal - turns out to have Rabin's imprimatur.
The essence of Benjamin's work has been to make Israel studies and
the teaching of Hebrew central to the education of young American Jews.
Fifteen years after Rabin's visit, Benjamin continues to direct all
educational programs at Stephen S. Wise, including the early childhood
center, supplementary religious and Sunday school, elementary school
(grades K-6) and its 13-year-old Milken Community High School (grades
7-12), which is housed in a 180,000-square- foot, $33-million building
that includes a state-of-the-art theater, gymnasium and Olympic-size
Shomer Shabbes Dudes
By Sheli Teitelbaum for the Jerusalem
A couple of months ago, the papers resurrected the odd tale of a top
Dutch soccer team whose fans call themselves "The Jews," wave Israeli
flags and sport caps festooned with Stars of David, provoking fans of
opposing clubs into paroxysms of anti-Semitism.
The desire to impersonate Jews does not very often strike sane gentiles,
but another, and considerably more benign, example of the phenomenon
has also manifested itself in the last couple of years at events known
as "Lebowski Fests."
For the uninitiated, Lebowski Fests are a spin-off from the film, "The
Big Lebowski," made in 1998 by Minnesota's marvelously meshuga Coen
brothers, Ethan and Joel. A hilariously profane mistaken-identity caper
flick about a stoned-out aging hippie known as "The Dude" (Jeff Bridges)
and his bowling-league loser pals, the film - which garnered a puny
$ 20 million at the box office - has had a prosperous cult-status afterlife
reminiscent of a marriage of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" with Cheech
Journey Towards Judaism
I talk Thursday morning, May 19, by phone with Orthodox rabbi Ze'ev Smason
or the Nusach Hari Bnai Zion synagogue in St. Louis, MO.
Luke: "Did Vicki tell you about her 1989 appearance on the Oprah
Rabbi Smason: "Yes, she did mention that to me. I've known Vicki
for at least six years. I met Vicki on the internet in a Jewish chatroom,
as I have done many other individuals, as a rabbi and as a person. I've
made many pleasant associations with people throughout the world. At one
time, we had a get together in St. Louis. I invited a number of people
from around the country to come to our house over the weekend to spend
Shabbos with myself, my wife, and my family. Vicki was one of the people
who came. I got to know Vicki better. I've maintained contact with her
over the years."
Luke: "What do you know about her 1989 appearance on the Oprah show?"
Rabbi Smason: "I only know what I've seen in the articles she sent
me about it. I don't know any more than what she has said publicly about
Luke: "Does she strike you as someone who is mentally stable?"
Rabbi Smason: "Yes, she does."
Luke: "What do you know about her work on the issue of sex abuse?"
Rabbi Smason: "I know about her work with The Awareness Center and
it is a one-woman show publicizing specific instances of abuse as well
as disseminating information to people on how to respond properly to abuse.
She's a voice in the wilderness raising people's consciousness about it.
She's at the forefront."
Luke: "When Vicki went on Oprah in 1989, she said her family was
part of a cult that ritually sacrificed children going back to the 1700s.
As a rabbi who is aware of how this sort of charge has been used against
Jews since the Middle Ages, that they sacrifice children..."
Rabbi Smason: "To say such a thing is abhorrent. It's appalling.
I don't know what prompted her to say that. I don't know what her state
of mind was at the time. I've never asked her if she still believes that
that is so."
Luke: "She does."
Rabbi Smason: "I haven't spoken to her about that issue. I have
related to her as she has appeared to me from the moment I met her. When
I first met her, she indicated that she had spoken on Oprah and that there
was some controversy involved with that. She said she had a troubled background
and spoke with me in some detail about the problems she had with her family.
I just related to her as a friend and on a case-by-case basis of what
she is doing now in raising consciousness about sexual abuse."
Luke: "How closely have you been following The Awareness Center
Rabbi Smason: "Fairly closely. She keeps me in touch via emails
and I see The Awareness Center being mentioned in other people's emails.
There have been issues that have come to light through the Rabbinical
Council of America about a certain member who was expelled. Some of the
things that have never been discussed in the Jewish community, such as
sexual abuse by rabbis, are now being more freely discussed."
Luke: "From what you know, do you think The Awareness Center is
doing more good than harm?"
Rabbi Smason: "It's hard for me to answer that question. There's
a lot of good that they do and there are things that they do that I object
to. There has to be a careful calculation made when exposing the names
of individuals. We have issues in Jewish law that prevent us from defaming,
slandering and maligning individuals. It could well be that a competent
posek [a decisor of Jewish law] could decide that the individual's name
needs to be publicized because the individual is a danger. But to make
that decision requires broad shoulders, to take upon oneself the decision
to publicize this individual. I question the criteria by which certain
individuals' names are mentioned [on TAC]."
Luke: "How would you describe Vicki's knowledge of Judaism when
you met her?"
Rabbi Smason: "She was not well-versed in Judaism and traditional
Michael Sontino writes:
PAUL BARRESI has contributed to dozens of investigative news stories
over the past two years which have been reported by the New York Post,
New York Daily News, LA Times, New York Times, Fox News 411, Court TV,
Celebrity Justice, NBC Dateline and KCBS news, to name a few.
As a journalist, you know how difficult it is to get a legitimate story
past the legal department. Before a particular person, place or thing
can be reported on--every responsible journalist knows--information
surrounding his story must be rock solid and corroborated with a fine
tooth comb, or otherwise stand the risk of a law suit.
Contrary to the Barresi detractors without a name or face, who sometimes
post on your site, Barresi has lived up to all that was written about
him in "Hollywood Interrupted." To date, every piece of information
Barresi has given to reporters around the world has been right on the
The Hollywood underbelly has been Barresi's romping grounds for over
three decades. He need not exaggerate, create or fictionalize one line,
one word or one letter, because in his world, the truth has more than
enough of that shock value that our frightened and closeted society
just cannot get enough of.
There are two major industries in Hollywood. The movie industry and
the sex industry. And, the sex industry follows the movie industry like
the moon! As a former Hollywood actor and porn star, Barresi stands
at the center of the scaffold that connects the two industries. People
associated with the movie industry and the sex industry have a great
deal more in common than Joe Q. Public might imagine. And, one observation
from Barresi's unique vantage point is unmistakable. Most of them make
friends like dogs make friends.