Monday, January 21, 2008

No Bagrut for Beis Yaakov girls?

Bagrut is a state issued diploma something like a Regents diploma in NY (although much tougher). Generally, girls have much less of a problem learning secular studies because they have no mitzva of talmud torah and therefore many Beis Yaakov's prepare the girls for Bagrut. The success of these schools has led to a backlash. A notice in the name of R' Elyashiv was published last week, that a school can either be a Beis Yaakov or offer Bagrut not both.

The reason was given that if girls take Bagrut they may (heaven forbid) want to go to university or get a good paying job in the secular world. The problem with this is that the women are now supporting the husbands who are learning. By cutting off heir education they are being doomed to low paying jobs.

Below is an excerpt from a recent article that explains the reasoning.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bush implores government ministers to keep Olmert in power

Bush implores government ministers to keep Olmert in power

U.S. President George W. Bush implored government ministers Thursday to stay behind Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, urging them to keep him in power.

At a dinner held in his honor at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, Bush referred to the prime minister as a strong leader, adding that he holds him in high regard.

How pathetic is this? The only good thing is that Bush is a lame duck and can't do anything and hopefully Olmert is on his way out after the Winograd report is published.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"Blei Gissen" an old Pagan custom?

A few days ago I posted about "Blei Gissen" and asked whether we should believe it or not. One of the commenters pointed out that this is an ancient German New Year's custom, still popular, called Bleigie├čen. Just Google Bleigie├čen and see for yourself.

parshablog refers to a similar practice among the Pennsylvania Dutch, Charms and Superstitions.

From all of this it is quite clear that Blei Gissen was/is a pagan superstitious custom that we should have nothing to do with and in fact doing so may violate a number of issurim d'oraysa related to witchcraft and divination.

It amazes me that the Charedi population either won't go to a magic show or will make the performer state that what he is doing isn't magic and is just sleight of hand etc. but will do things like Blei Gissen with no problem.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Torah only is like chemotherapy

No, I didn't make this up, Yonasan (Jonathan) Rosenblum said it. I am thrilled to see a prominent Charedi spokesman make the statement that Torah only e.g. every male sitting and learning is a "horaas shaah" and is not the ideal. Unfortunately, the Charedi educational system is not saying this (and understandably so, it is very hard to promote a system as a horaas shaah). The question now is what happens next.

Chemotherapy As a Metaphor

Let us think of the destruction of the major centers of Torah learning during the Holocaust as the “disease.” The body of Klal Yisrael could not go on after the Holocaust without its heart – the talmidei chachamim produced in the great yeshivos. Time was of the essence, for how long can a body survive without its heart?

As a hora’as sha’a, in the wake of the Holocaust, the Torah leaders of the post-Holocaust generation advanced a societal model that had no obvious precedent in Jewish history. That new model was one of long-term, full-time Torah study for virtually all males.
The societal model adopted in the wake of the Holocaust was a radical departure from all pre-Holocaust models. In pre-War Lithuania, for instance, usually only one or two boys from each town were sent off to one of the great famous yeshivos. That is why yeshiva bochurim were known by the name of the town from which they came; there was rarely anyone else from the same town.

And the model of women bearing the principal responsibility for parnassah is not only new, it is seemingly in radical contrast to the Torah model. Adam, not Chava, received the curse that he would wrest his livelihood from the earth by the sweat of his brow. The husband gives his wife a ketubah in which he undertakes to support her. The woman, in Torah literature, is always described as the mainstay of the home and as bearing the principal responsibility for the nurturing her children.

What he fails to state, is that chemotherapy is by necessity a short term treatment. Chemotherapy for long periods of time will kill the patient. Chemotherapy is never for the life of the patient. The question that needs to be answered is have we passed the critical period that required the chemotherapy, I believe that we have, and how do we stop the chemotherapy and get Charedi society to move on to normal life.

Is this Orthodox Judaism?

In last week's English Hamodia there is a whole story printed about a Rebbitzen who neutralizes ayin hara through blei gissen that is pouring of lead. The article tells us a story about how there was a fire at a wedding and someone called up this Rebbitzen and asked her to help and she checked and found an ayin hara on the parents and then she proceeds to nullify the ayin hara in a miraculous fashion. You can read the whole article below.

What have we come to? Is this what we believe in, magic and superstition? Is this really al pi torah? This is printed in a mainstream Charedi newspaper.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

No moving Jewish lips in prayer on Temple Mount, says Dichter

Can you believe this? In the Jewish state which is supposedly a democracy Jews are not allowed to even pray silently at our holiest place.

No moving Jewish lips in prayer on Temple Mount, says Dichter

"It is not possible to arrest a person for 'conversing with his maker,'" Dichter replied, using the same terminology of the MKs' letter.

"However it is possible to carry out an arrest for expressions of outward and demonstrative signs [of prayer]."

Where is that bastion of justice the Supreme Court? When it comes to the security fence, the protection of Sderot, etc. they have no problem in overruling the security forces. However suddenly here, when it is an issue relating to Judaism, the justices are silent.