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September 17, 2009

OU Head Calls White House Chief of Staff "Menuval"

Rahm Emmanuel Translated, Rahm Emmanuel is a "shit," a "devil," or "disgusting." 

OU head recounts meeting with the President
by Michael Orbach • The Jewish Star
 In July, President Barack Obama hosted fifteen Jewish leaders in the Roosevelt room of the White House. A picture of Franklin Delano Roosevelt hung over the mantle, as is traditional during Democratic administrations. It replaced the picture of Theodore Roosevelt who, after eight years above the mantle, now hangs on the southern wall.

 In his opening remarks the President stressed that he was a friend to Israel and had always been, but Israel must make concessions in order to be recognized by moderate Arab states. Stephen Savitsky, president of the Orthodox Union, who sat directly across from the President, had the last question. 

  “I’m trying to understand what moderate means,” Savitsky asked, “Egypt today was caught in the Rafah crossing smuggling thousands of missiles that could hit Sderot—”

   “Not Sderot,” the President corrected, “Ashkelon, Tel Aviv, Be’er Sheva.” 

    “What is an appropriate response?” Savitsky demanded. The President, according to Savitsky, sighed.  

On Tuesday, September 9th, three months after the meeting at the White House, President Savitsky visited the Red Shul, Kehillas Bais Yehuda Tzvi of Cedarhurst, to describe his encounter with President Obama. The audience of fifty offered a cold reception to Mr. Obama’s Mideast strategy. 

 Standing at the bima with a Siddur in his hand, Savitsky began his speech with the story of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s remarks upon his return from a shuttle diplomacy mission to the Middle East. Asked to describe his visit in one word, Kissinger replied, “Good.” Asked to describe it in two words, he said, “Not good.” Savitsky then continued with a quote from the Pesukei D’zimra portion of the morning prayers that summarized his feelings about the president: Have no faith in nobles.

 Savitsky described the president in the now-mandatory terms: “gracious,” “charming,” and “confident.” According to Savitsky, President Obama said that America must have a new role as an “honest broker” to get the moderate Arab states “to say publicly what they’re saying privately,” as opposed to the role America had under former President Bush. 

 “Look, we had eight years where there was no question on whose side we were on, and where did it get us? Are we any closer?” the president said, according to Savitsky.

 In response to a nuclear Iran, a notion that sent shudders through the Red Shul, Savitsky explained that the president believed in “economic sanctions,” but not a timetable. 

 When asked when the president would go to Israel again, President Obama responded that a picture of him with a yarmulke at the Kotel is hanging on a wall at Al Jazeera.

 “They think I go there three times a day,” the president said dryly. 

 Savitsky contrasted the meeting with President Obama with a meeting with former President Bush that took place shortly before he left office. When one of the delegates asked President Bush why he was so relaxed, Mr. Bush joked, “If you want me to lie, it’s yoga. But really, I believe in G-d. I believe I have a mission.”

 The current administration believes that if Israel makes concessions it will be recognized.
 “I said to [OU Washington Director] Nathan Diament, what’s plan B?” Savitsky said. “They just say no. Plan A will work.”

 Savitsky took time to reprimand White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel.

Rahm Emmanuel
“They all say he’s a foul-mouthed person and as a Jew, a menuval [a disgusting person]. I find it offensive. He’s a mishneh l’melech [advisor to a king], the language he uses… I think it’s very unbecoming as a Jewish person.” 

 Questions from the audience were all variations on the same theme: “Do you think he’s lying?” “Is Rahm Emanuel a self-hating Jew?” And one man delivered his own mini-lecture, demanding to know, among other things, why Obama attributed a quotation from the Talmud to the Koran.

 To a question about Jonathan Pollard, Savitsky said that the best opportunity to win his release had passed with the end of the Bush administration and, “I don’t think it’ll ever happen.”

 After the speech some quiet moderates spoke to the Jewish Star. 

 “I’m a Republican,” said Abe Zelmanovitz, an attorney and the chairman of the Red Shul, wearing a green Hermes tie. “Pragmatically [Obama] is looking for a different approach. The right-wing perspective is he’s out to get us. I don’t think that. He’s looking at this through a different angle.”

 “We believe in Obama,” observed Paul Gross, a Holocaust survivor who lives in Cedarhurst. “He means well. He’s sincerely trying for peace. I think it’s a problem with the Orthodox community that they’re anti-Obama. It doesn’t speak well for the Orthodox to be so anti-Obama, because it can backfire. I like Obama and people give me heck.”

 But to some in the Red Shul, it seemed, Orthodox fears about the Obama administration have come to pass and crystallized into despair. 

 “I hope the next four years go by fast,” said Judy Greenberg. “I have no faith. The feeling of gloom and doom is upon us.”

 Offering a more tempered approach, Rabbi Yaakov Feitman, the rav of the Red Shul, quoted from Proverbs, that a king’s heart is in Hashem’s hand. President Harry Truman, who recognized Israel immediately after the United Nations partition vote in 1948, Rabbi Feitman observed, was no friend of the Jews either. 

[Hat Tip: SOJ.]


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Shmarya, as is perhaps this blog's only vice, the headline and subhead to this post is sensationalist (I guess it goes with the attention-grabbing medium). And where does he deny the quote? I'm confused.

The articles only says this:

“They all say he’s a foul-mouthed person and as a Jew, a menuval [a disgusting person]. I find it offensive. He’s a mishneh l’melech [advisor to a king], the language he uses… I think it’s very unbecoming as a Jewish person.”

The journalist translates the word accurately in the piece - "disgusting." As in "nibbul peh" (disgusting speech - which fits perfectly in context). This article is valuable and I thank you for publicizing it, but I'm afraid your definitions above do not conform to the traditional meaning of the word in question and will serve to sow confusion ("devil" is really over the line) and not understanding.

Apologies - I meant to critique on the subhead, not the headline.

Agree with Yair. I'd translate "menuval" as "lowlife".

Yeah, you can say someone is foul mouthed and the "the language he uses…" as being "very unbecoming as a Jewish person." It's not an unfair critique.

It's just another example of the Shmarya's "lack of" any journalistic skills. This comes as no surprise to those who read this website often.

Menuval is commonly used to mean devil or shit, as in "he's a real shit" or "he's a devil."

In other words, calling someone menuval does not mean you find his behavior disgusting. It means HE IS disgusting. It's an epithet.

Shit (or a**hole) is a good English-language understanding of that usage.

Exactly as you say it yourself: "he is disgusting." Turning that into a "devil" is really not defensible (you really should edit that out - it plays into way too many stereotypes). And the expletive is pushing it, though perhaps not as far.

Rahm(bo) has a well deserved reputation for being vulgar and crude. It is not something I would be proud of, and in fact I consider him to be an embarassment to our people.

He and his Chicago buddies, including Obama, are in bed with the corrupt ACORN. Deny it if you want, but it is true.

Disgusting person or lowlife would be more accurate in the context of his speech, not ``sh%t``. Even to say lowlife bastard would be a bit strong in my opinion.
And we know the many walks of life who visit this site including non jews, it does a bit of injustice to Savitsky.

Also, you didn't answer my first question: where does Savitsky deny the quote, as you assert?

Besides changing the article's translation of a key term (and wrongly, for certain, in the case of "devil"), you seem to have invented a new episode in it, unless I've missed something.

Just print the article, sans the highly problematic subheader, and let readers make their own judgments.

Rahm Emmanuel called people who disagree with him much worst. Good to know that Savitsky has some balls to call Emmanuel ‘menuval’. However, if Savitsky has balls to call some haredi bullies like Tropper and Eisenstein ‘Menuval’ the state of Modern Orthodoxy would be much better.

Besides changing the article's translation of a key term (and wrongly, for certain, in the case of "devil"), you seem to have invented a new episode in it, unless I've missed something.

I understand he tried to deny it but then backtracked. But the subhead is misleading, to say the least. I'll change it.

As for the definition of menuval, my translation is not incorrect. Savitsky may have meant what you say, but he could have more accurately expressed that sentiment.

Choosing to use a word like menuval – which carries the connotations and meanings I used – is his fault.

Thank you for the emendation. We can agree to disagree on "devil" I guess. And you are right that it is Savitsky's fault for throwing around a loaded word like that in a public forum. People ought to have greater sense, if not respect.

In the yeshivish world, minuval is interpreted to mean "Garbage" or "low-life"
Either one works.
Given the slimy actions and statements the OU has made in recent years, trying to prop up Rubashkin, Emmanuel should take it as a compliment.

Don't forget Ram's brother Ezekiel who isa physician advocating letting patients die.

According to him life does not begin at conception, but the DNR order does.

Dr Dave, you have just lost all credibility. That's not what he said, that's what Sarah Palin said. And death panels are the reality right now, we just call them insurance companies. Go write a prescription for an older patient for vfend and see if they will get it approved. Meaning, they die of fungal disease. Are you a practicing MD, by the way?

Dr. Dave, your statement is a lie. You are a physician and you know it's a lie.

As a neurologist, you counsel patients and their families after a massive stroke, severe head injury, or those in a persistent vegetative state, don't you? And what do you say to those families? Do you ever have a patient who is DNR?

It's amazing how some physicians have let their hatred of President Obama overcome their medical judgment.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel's lifetime of work in medical ethics is being perverted by republican hacks like Sarah Palin and Betsy McCaughey. Their combined IQ's are still less than that of Dr. Emanuel's little toenail. Republicans obsessed with hating Obama, including some doctors, buy into the lies. I guess you've joined them.

Dr. Dave, you have indeed lost all credibility.

WoolSilky: I agree with you posts (as usual). I am back from a long trip to see America. Obama is wrong...there are RED states and there are BLUE states...It is ugly out there. It is us and them. Remember how Pataki got rid of crazy Betsy (Death Panel Queen)? Whatever happened to the "Ross" at the end of her name? BTW, I visited the Holy Land...Minnasota but I didn't get a meet and greet with Mr. Rosenburg. WoolSilky, have the happiest and healthiest new years ever!!!

So Dr Dave really is a doctor.
I'd like to hear more debate about Obama's proposals from medical professionals in the field.

Don't know about Dr. Ezekiel's positions but they're immaterial when discussing his brother's behavior.

I have a feeling that if in the future Obama's presidency is considered a success, people will say the day he got rid of Rahm was the day things were set on the right path.

Libby, great to 'see' you, and all best wishes to you and everyone else here, regardless of politics or religion, for a Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year.

I have found, at the hospital where I work, that republican doctors are loud, rude and obnoxious. They are consumed with hatred ever since last Election Day. There are many more doctors here who voted for BHO, or otherwise recognize that health care reform is necessary and inevitable. Us democrat doctors just keep quiet at work, otherwise we are loudly and rudely accosted by our republican colleagues. As a result, an observer may think that almost all doctors are republicans, but I know better. There are plenty of democrat doctors; we just don't like getting insulted each day by obnoxious colleagues. I suspect there is a similar phenomenon wherever you go. Republicans nowadays are represented by shockingly ignorant rabble rousers like Palin, McCaughey, Limbaugh, and Beck. Their constituency is best represented by the folks you saw on TV during the recent Million Moron March in Washington, DC.

Republicans, and doctors, can be part of the solution by working towards health care reform, or remain loudmouthed obnoxious haters who will find themselves marginalized as irrelevant jerks. You doctors and republicans out there, decide whether you'd like to be part of the solution, or left behind in the rear view mirror.

Scotty, it seems that during your years with chabad you didn't even learn the definition of the term menuval. Absolutely no one uses that term to mean that someone is a shit or a devil other than maybe so recent baalei tshuvah who have gotten the hang of the proper usage yet.

WSC - I am disappointed in your comments. fine, you identify more with the democrats, that is ok. But the truth is far murkier than your implication that Republicans are bad and democrats are good. I could argue the Dems are the party of ACORN, Reverand Wright, Jesse Jackson, Barney Frank, Charlie Rangel, Al Franken, Maureen Dowd, Code Pink, congressman Jefferson, and Keith Olbermann.
By the way, ksiva v'chasima tova to you and yours, and to everyone out there in FM land. If I did offend anyone out there, I ask for your forgiveness. - could be Maven, Mr. A, equal time, yidandahalf, and anyone else out there with whom I may have exhibited behaviour not in line with the derech eretz I try to incorporate into every aspect of my life. Reb Doniel and Chitown Sam also. Again to everyone I ask forgiveness if necessary, but I cited specifically only those I know I strongly criticized at some point in the last year.

The US is (very) roughly split :
45% who will always vote democrat and hate the republicans.
45% who will always vote republican and hate the democrats.
10% "swing voters"

So no matter who is in power you'll find plenty of people who hate them and plenty who emotionally support them (hard to apply the word "love" to a politician).

While the parties need to attend to their hard core to raise money, they can't get too far from the middle or they'll loose too many swing voters and therby the election.

WSC, what part of the country are you in? There are plenty of republicans here in the NYC metro area who keep quiet or risk being accosted by rude democrats.

Oh, and Shannah Tovah to all

My Health insurance Company

Guess who runs it?

A Dr Mengele

B Dr Strangelove

C Dr Frankenstein

D Dr Kevokian

Maven, WSC take a chill pill. It was a sarcastic comment.

If a single controversial comment can make one "lose all credibility", then no one posting on this site has any.

Dr. Emmanuel has actually made statements in the lay press in the past about being against euthanasia.

"The proper policy, in my view, should be to affirm the status of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as illegal.

In so doing we would affirm that as a society we condemn ending a patient's life and do not consider that to have one's life ended by a doctor is a right. This does not mean we deny that in exceptional cases interventions are appropriate, as acts of desperation when all other elements of treatment- all medications, surgical procedures, psychotherapy, spiritual care, and so on- have been tried. Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia should not be performed simply because a patient is depressed, tired of life, worried about being a burden, or worried about being dependent. All these may be signs that not every effort has yet been made.

By establishing a social policy that keeps physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia illegal but recognizes exceptions, we would adopt the correct moral view: the onus of proving that everything had been tried and that the motivation and rationale were convincing would rest on those who wanted to end a life."
"Whose Right to Die?," The Atlantic, Mar. 1997

As the Chair of the Department of Bioethics at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health, Emanuel has promulgated some very distubing views on the rationing of medical care in the medical press.

Emmanual states in an article in the Lancet (The Lancet, Volume 373, Issue 9661, Pages 423 - 431, 31 January 2009) that:
"When implemented, the complete lives system (which he advocates as the way to ration scarce medical resources) produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated."

He also claims in the article:
"The complete lives system discriminates against older people. Age-based allocation is ageism. Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination..."

Being post adolescent, I would not like to hear that simply because I am over 40, some 39 year old will get the heart or liver that would otherwise be donated to me. I would find that quite discriminatory.

In any case I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year and K'tiva v' Chatima Tova.

I, like itchie hope that if I have offended anyone they will forgive me as I make my annual attempt to improve myself, become less annoying, and tikun my part of the olam.

If a single controversial comment can make one "lose all credibility", then no one posting on this site has any.

Dr. Dave - Truer words were never spoken!
Ksiva v'chasima tova!

Here's a story we can all feel good about.


All the best to everyone here for a Ksiva V'chasima Tova.

After having read some articles on Fox, and comments by Betsy McCaughey, whom I had lots of respect for when she dissected and bisected Hillary Healthcare, I originally would have agreed with Dr. Dave.

Having carefully researched Ezekiel Emmanuel's remarks and statements, I now would thoroughly disagree with this "death panel" BS. I'm no doctor, I'm an investment analyst and real estate investor, but Dr. Dave is dead wrong here.


Rahm Emmanuel is a putz, and I generally agree with Obama and think he's a brilliant politician who'll make a great president.

Itch: Apology accepted from this heretic (when it comes to ultra-Orthodox Judaism and also atheists with private zoos who purport to be standard-bearers for "Common Judaism") who believes by and large Obama's on the right track.

Have a wonderful New Year.

i heard he called him a f---ng menuval.

Thanks, Mr.A!

i was raised on the Yiddish language, and I don't recall 'menuval' as being that insulting. It's on par with 'shmendrik' as far as insults go. It's someone who is an annoying busybody, and always sticking his nose into everyone else's business.

His foul-mouthed language would, according to my father (OBM), rate him as a 'davar acher', a euphemistic use of that term.

Oh well, time to get my suit out, hit the shower, and get ready for shul.

Itchiemayer: Make remarks about people like Charlie Rangel, Jesse Jackson, Barney Frank etc. BUT, Keith Olbermann is off-limits! I love the guy. Olbermann is an A--hole for the left. I also love Rachel Maddow. I would have a serious crush on her if I played for her "team".
Have a wonderful, sweet New Year

the prohibition against foul language is called "nivul peh" and one use of the term "menuval" is simply one who uses such language, which rahm is known to do.

Rachel Maddow....YUCK! Libby, I'm glad to know you don't play for her team.

Mr. A - If BHO were so great a politician, how come he couldn't push the healthcare legislation through despite having solid majorities in both houses? And then he blames the Republicans. That is kind of lame on his part.

It also helps when the media kisses your rear end, and covers up for you on a regular basis.

I think he is undermining this country militarally and economically, not to mention constantly bringing the issue of race into the equation. Interesting considering he was raised by the caucasion side of his family. He is intensifying the racial divide in this country. Ironic considering he is both. If anything, you would think he could bridge the gap, but his bridge leads to absolutely nowhere.
The Russians and Iranians are very thankful that he is President. Mr. A - are you a Russian spy? Comrade Apikorsov?


In one of the selichot we've been saying for the last week Artscroll translates minuval as the satan.

In my world, which is the same one Steve Savitsky frequents (he's a neighbor), "menuval" means just what Savitsky implied: someone who has a foul mouth. Not sure how there's any disagreement here. Now, I completely disagree with his views on Obama, but what does that have to do with the misleading headline to this post?

WSC - I was remiss in earlier not mentioning John Edwards. Yes, I consider him to be the poster boy of the democrat party!

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