"The health system is one of the State of Israel's most complicated and problematic systems and it deserves a minister who can fulfill the position with all the necessary authorities and responsibilities required from a minister in the State of Israel.…Of course this isn't a war against the haredim, but against the culture of political tricks and deals."
"…I personally was very close to a young [ex-haredi] man who killed himself a year and a half ago. He was 24 and had gone through all the possible options in the haredi world before leaving – Bratslav [Breslov; a hasidic movement], kabbala, the Lithuanians [non-Hasidic] and a yeshiva – but couldn’t find his niche. We started to meet for coffee to talk. He worked as a butcher in a supermarket, and one day he told me that he would look at all the knives and was afraid he would do something to himself. I took him for emergency psychiatric help. He started therapy and his condition improved. But then he went to his brother’s engagement party, and his older brother told everyone to ignore him. The next day he killed himself.…"
Humans and frogs have been evolving separately for 350 million years and have very different brain abilities. Yet scientists have shown that they use a remarkably similar repertoire of genes to build organs in the body. So how is it that a similar number of genes, that are also switched on or off in similar ways, generate a vast range of organ size and complexity, especially the brain's? Now we may know the answer to that question.
A first-of-its-kind, nationally representative study of siblings found that within families, an adolescent with a higher “polygenic score” than her or his sibling tended to go on to complete more years of schooling. Polygenes are genes whose individual effect is too small to be observed but which can act together with other polygenes to produce observable variations – like attained levels of education.
Ephraim Halevy, a former head of Israel's spy agency the Mossad and of Israel's National Security Council, supports the nuclear deal with Iran. Halevy also brought about the peace deal with Jordan. What he has to say is important, and it's something American Jews – especially American Orthodox and haredi Jews – don't often hear.
Matisyahu's appearance at the Rototom SunSplash festival was cancelled early this week after the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) threatened to disrupt the festival if Matisyahu – who is not Israeli – was allowed to perform without first issuing a declaration in support of a Palestinian state.
"…Freundel has been in solitary confinement for the past 3 months and has our sympathy. We also have sympathy towards the others who are held in solitary confinement. My wife and I are not jumping for joy, nor do we believe that the he is receiving a “a taste of his own medicine.” We must show compassion and widen that circle of compassion. Currently we have united with other Animal Rights activist organizations in our struggle to end solitary confinement in prison systems - for Freundel- and others. We are advocating that Freundel be moved to a facility that will enable him to repent for his crimes without losing his mind. We are hoping that iafter the remaining 6 years and 3 months Freundel leaves jail as a new man- a man who has repented for his crimes- without having lost his mind.…"
“It looks like until a haredi soldier is murdered, nothing will be done to stop terror against the [IDF] recruitment of haredi men. The feeble response of authorities [to this violence and incitement] strengthens the daring and insolent behavior of the haredi zealot hooligans. The situation in which we ask [haredi] yeshiva boys to enlist but do not give them sufficient protection against the violence and incitement is intolerable."
Five day laborers each worked more than 24 hours straight cleaning homes for the Just Clean cleaning business owned by 21-year-old Samuel Just. Four of the workers, all women, cleaned the homes of Orthodox Jews before Passover, working around the clock to get their jobs done. The fifth worker, a man, drove a vehicle for Just Clean and shuttled the workers from the corner of Division Street and Marcy Avenue in the heavily hasidic Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg to their jobs cleaning in local Orthodox homes. But Just Clean failed to pay them all.
“One must find a prayer leader who fears Heaven. If you know that the prayer leader has a TV at home and watches videos of abomination or [has] a TV in his pocket [i.e., a smartphone] and watches these types of abomination videos, how is it possible that they will lead the prayers in front of God? It would be like someone sending their children to a non-religious school and teaching them abomination. It’s forbidden for someone like this to lead prayers, and if he did [so], then you need to organize a new [prayer] service.”
8,335 asylum seekers who fled from Sudan and Eritrea to Israel seeking safety were pushed out of Israel over the past two-and-a-half years. But despite Netanyahu government claims that these refugees were going to safe third countries in Africa where they would be welcomed and cared for, more than two-thirds of them actually went back to war-torn Sudan and Eritrea – two countries that are so dangerous international law prohibits deporting undocumented migrants or asylum seekers to them. Some of these asylum seekers were imprisoned and tortured after returning to their home countries while others are missing and their fate is unknown.
Yishai Shlissel was released from prison only three weeks before this year’s terror attack, but police failed to put him under surveillance despite his open threats to attack the parade again. Shlissel walked right into the parade past police, calmly pulled large knife from his black coat, and began stabbing marchers as horrified onlookers screamed in terror.
State monitor Dennis Walcott sat on the dais with the board and listened attentively as a large number of public school students, parents and activists complained about the district schools and the board. When Spanish speakers got up to speak, Walcott put on headphones to hear a simultaneous translation. But board members, almost all haredim, did not.
Dr. Donald Liss, the Chairman of the Board of the Riverdale Jewish Center, overruled the synagogue's board which had demanded that Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt resign over his decades-long habit of inviting boys as young as 12 and college-age men to a gym where Rosenblatt would ogle their naked bodies in the shower and then in long nude sauna sessions. Now it is alleged that Liss exhibited behavior that is equally inappropriate, if not even more so.
…[A]bout 25 years before a jury found that JONAH had engaged in “unconscionable” business practices, Arthur Goldberg pleaded guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy in connection with what the U.S. attorney alleged was a fraudulent scheme of “spectacular” scope, involving bribery and deception related to his work as an underwriter of municipal bonds. And while that case and the lawsuit against JONAH share virtually nothing of substance in common, they both involved Jewish communities with which Goldberg had nurtured ties, ties that those communities likely came to regret.…
The indictment alleges Khantsis threatened the Shin Bet agents and a state prosecutor at an August 11 court hearing in which two other alleged Jewish West Bank settler terrorists were remanded into administrative detention for six months. Khantsis shouted, “We will deal with you!” at the agents and then swiped his finger across his throat in a cutting motion while staring at Deputy State Prosecutor Orly Ben-Ari.
How little do leaders of the Conservative Movement care about Jewish scholarship? That question is answered by how they are treating the Jewish Theological Seminary's library, which for a century has been the preeminent Jewish research library outside Israel, a library used by everyone from academic scholars to haredi researchers. But now researching one minor topic and checking sources will cost these scholars, many who have limited or even no funds to pay, as much (if not more) as a meal in a five star Manhattan restaurant.
For decades, groups affiliated with Edah Haredit have claimed that various construction projects desecrate ancient Jewish graves and have staged often violent protests and riots against contractors, developers, and the government archaeologists who cleared the sites for construction. In almost every case, the haredi claims have proved false – transparently so.
"…After Justice Saitta appointed a receiver to operate the [assisted living] facility in April, Dietsch’s attorney Joel Drucker told the judge that one corporate entity owns the facility’s valuable real estate, while another entity operated the home. Drucker maintains that the two entities have nothing to do with each other, and that the operator has no funds. But in documents related to the facility’s pending sale, Deitsch signed as both the owner and tenant/manager.…"
"The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people..…it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform?…"
“The last two months have presented the opportunity for our shul to debate and discuss many different points of view, while considering various paths forward,” the letter continued. “After carefully considering various scenarios over the last several weeks, we firmly believe that the approach laid out by Rabbi Rosenblatt is an effective and appropriate way forward for the RJC.”
Rockland County's former commissioner of health, Dr. Oscar Alleyne, claims that by using DNA testing he was able to discount mohels as the source of two neonatal herpes infections (in male haredi babies who were circumcised with metzitzah b'peh [MBP], the direct mouth-to-bleeding-penis suction done by haredi mohels after cutting off the foreskin) in Rockland County in 2014. He said that epidemiological evidence points to a different source for these herpes infections. But even though he has made this claim in various forms for more than a year, Alleyne won't release the data he says backs it up.
"…I chanted my bar mitzvah portion in 1946 to a relatively full synagogue, including several dozen of my relatives, but this, for me, was the end of formal Jewish practice. I did not embrace the ritual duties of a Jewish adult — praying every day, putting on tefillin before prayer each weekday morning — and I gradually became more indifferent to the beliefs and habits of my parents, though there was no particular point of rupture until I was 18. It was then that my father, inquiring into my sexual feelings, compelled me to admit that I liked boys.…"
The ex-hasidic reggae singer was supposed to perform at the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival on August 22. But his show was cancelled after he refused to release a public statement backing a Palestinian state. Under extreme pressure from the BDS movement, artists scheduled to perform at the event threatened to cancel if Matisyahu did not issue the statement and was still allowed to perform because he is “seen to represent Israel.”
Amid the well-known asceticism and rituals of Rabbi Isaac Luria, better known as the Ari, and his followers – like the Kabbalat Shabbat prayers all Jewish denominations say every Friday afternoon – are some lesser-known segulot and tikkunim (signs/amulets and spiritual repairs). And some of those appear to violate the accepted halakha – like, for example, the Holy Blow Job.
According to a 2014 study, Israelis who were once religiously observant are at a high risk of committing suicide. The study was carried out by Bishvil Hahayim (Path to Life), a nonprofit organization that helps the families of people who have committed suicide. It found that 40 percent of people who are no longer religiously observant have had suicidal thoughts, compared to 12 percent, 10 percent and 6 percent, respectively, among respondents who described themselves as secular, traditional and religious. The incidence of suicidal ideation increased to 45 percent for young people in the process of leaving the religious community. Also, 90 percent of ex-religious respondents reported a low level of social support.
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The New York Times: "The legal conflict has revealed a deep tension within the Orthodox community that has been reported in the Jewish weekly press, and has been the almost exclusive topic of discussion on some Orthodox Jewish Web sites like failedmessiah.com and unorthodoxjew.blogspot.com in the months since Mr. Hikind brought up sexual abuse."
The New York Times: "In Postville, residents were dismayed by a report posted on a Jewish Web site, FailedMessiah.com, saying that Sholom Rubashkin held a celebration in Postville last week after he was released from detention on $1 million bail."
THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: "[Jeff] Abbas passed the video to Shmarya Rosenberg, a blogger in St. Paul, Minnesota, who has provided some of the best coverage of the raid and its aftermath; a few days later, the video was referenced in The New York Times."
The Forward: Postville’s City Council initially voted to support the idea of a community benefits agreement, but later voted to withdraw support for such an agreement — a development first reported on the blog Failed Messiah.
Samuel Freedman in the Jerusalem Post: "[T]the scandal of Agriprocessors has been chronicled from Stephen Bloom's book Postville to Nathaniel Popper's investigative reports in the Forward to Julia Preston's coverage in The New York Times to the muckraking blogger FailedMessiah.com."
Religion In The News: "So authoritative has Rosenberg become that he is now regularly quoted by the Register; and his site has been referenced by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and both the Forward and the JTA."
Tablet Magazine: “If you’re Jewish and you were married five years ago, you have not confronted the problem that exists today,” Rosenberg says. “The problem is much worse for anyone who isn’t Orthodox. As the Haredi strength grows and their control grows, that’ll become clearer.”
Religion Dispatches: "The best collection of articles I’ve found can be perused at failedmessiah.com, the blog of Shmarya Rosenberg, who, with the perspective of insider turned disillusioned outsider, has been probing the nuances and hypocrisies of the ultra-Orthodox establishment since 2004."