Friday, February 22, 2019

The Misleading Times of Israel

ערב שבת קודש פר׳ כי תשא תשע״ט

Times of Israel: No plans for follow-up police interview with actor Smollett
Lawyers for Jewish entertainer say they’ll ‘keep an active dialogue’ with investigators amid reported suspicions attack was staged
By AGENCIES and TOI STAFF, 18 February 2019

Smollett, who is Jewish, black and gay, has said he was physically attacked by two masked men last month shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country,” a reference to US President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. He said they looped a rope around his neck before running away, as he was out getting food at a Subway restaurant. He said they also poured some kind of chemical on him.

Police said Saturday that the investigation had “shifted” after detectives questioned two Nigerian brothers about the attack and released them without charges. Police said they had requested a follow-up interview with Smollett. (cont.)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Is Jussie Smollett really Jewish? His father apparently is. His mother is African American, but is she also Jewish? I have yet to find any suggestion that she is. Or if she isn't, then did Jussie undergo some kind of conversion process?

The Times of Israel [TOI] couldn't even be bothered to elaborate on its interpretation on what it means to be Jewish. That at least would have been something. 

You see, if the allegations are true, that he hired men to stage an attack, then this reflects on the Jewish People. But, if he isn't really Jewish, then [TOI] has misled the public, and is responsible for this non-Jew's actions reflecting on the Jewish People.

Times of Israel: US rabbinical students plant with Palestinians, sowing rift with Israel
Study program for future rabbis now includes outreach to communities targeted by Jewish extremists, highlighting widening gap between American and Israeli Jews
By ISABEL DEBRE, 19 February 2019

AT-TUWANI, West Bank (AP) — Young American rabbinical students are doing more than visiting holy sites, learning Hebrew and poring over religious texts during their year abroad in Israel. In a stark departure from past programs focused on strengthening ties with Israel and Judaism, a new crop of rabbinical students is reaching out to the Palestinians. The change reflects a divide between Israeli and American Jews that appears to be widening. (cont.)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Rabbinical students, indeed.

I suppose that HUC, RRC, and JTS ARE rabbinical schools, because that's what they happen to call themselves. Unfortunately, this is just the Western (ie. non-Jewish) mentality of believing whatever people feel.

And who exactly are these "Jewish extremists?" Oh, yeah. Jews who actually care about observing the Torah, and not just creatively interpreting it, making it up as they go along, or rejecting it entirely,...and then calling "Judaism."

These "Jewish extremists" are defending our Divinely-promised land and not forsaking it, defending the Jewish People from terrorism, and not supporting those who support terrorism, even passively.

These "rabbinical students," who not only forsake the Land, like their Erev Rav, spiritual predecessors, but who actually insist on repeating the same mistakes over again, expecting different results. In other words, if we only talk enough with Arab terrorists, then they'll eventually come around.

Come around to what? Come around to believing the Western progressive culture is the superior culture. Hmm. Sounds racist an culturist to me, not allowing Ishmaelites (Arabs/Muslims) to have and to embrace their culture. Whereas, these "Jewish extremists" are understanding and accepting,and thus tremendously more respectful, of Ishmaelite culture than these so-called "rabbinical students."

There are various categories of Jews who operate against the Torah. The Ramba"m lists and describes them in his Hilkhoth Teshuvah (Laws of Repentance), chapter 3: koferim, apikorsim, minim, meshumadim, etc.

The "Conservatives" certainly know who the Ramba"m is. They love to interpret creatively his Moreh Nevukhim to justify some of their perspectives.

However, as the late Lubavitcher Rebbe z"l suggested,... none of these Jews, associated with these "movements" they call Judaism, is knowledgeable enough even to be an apikorus.

They all probably just have the status of ketinoq shenishba (like a captured child raised by goyim). I wonder how many of these students are actually Jewish anyway. They may not be culpable for their transgressions here. But, the damage they do the Land of Israel, the People of Israel, and their attacks on the Torah of Israel should not and cannot be ignored.

And, TOI could not be bothered to put this this term in quotation marks or explain what it means by the term.

TOI is right about a couple of things, though. There IS a widening gap between American and Israeli Jews. We Israelis live on the front lines; Americans live in a bubble of Western assimilation.

TOI "journalists" are not actually being objective, as they might like you to believe. Rather, they are giving legitimacy to these liberal (ie. anti-Torah) perspectives.

Apparently, pandering to a broader audience to increase profits is more important than telling the truth.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Speaking of Clients...

ט' לחודש השנים עשר תשע״ט

This post should probably be in Hebrew, too. But, the offensive person in question was an English speaker. So, for now, I'll stick with English.

Even though the person in question was in Haredi livush, PLEASE do not take this as an opportunity to Haredi-bash. Rather, this is an opportunity to be critical of some of those English speakers who identify as "therapists," both real and fake.

While on the bus to Tel Aviv, a man starts talking way too loudly on the phone. No, he wasn't [native] "Israeli," as you people like to refer to "them" vs. "us." He was speaking way too loudly in his native English.

Never heard anyone in Israel speak too loudly on the phone in English? Then you're just not paying attention,...ever.

Anyway, what is this guy talking about? The clients he saw today!

"I saw two couples today. One couple was from XXXXXX (community)...."

Who is he talking to? His consultant? His adviser? His own therapist?

Where on earth did he learn that this is appropriate to talk about clients in a public place? What kind of course in laws and ethics for therapists did he take? Did he even take any such class?

Quite frankly, this is tantamount to "acting-out of therapy."

Why does he even have to speak about his clients in a public place? I don't even think he was trying to show off.

Does he really think that no one will understand English? That since it's only a little demographic data, that makes it ok?

This is not even about risking the clients' confidentiality. Even one iota of data disrespects his clients. They are people, not subjects, and certainly not statistics.

See also:
You Are Not A Therapist!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Moti Alon Revisited... Unfortunately

ח' לחודש השנים עשר תשע״ט

I don't like citing Arutz 7, not in the least. Not thrilled about giving this individual the free publicity either. But, this op-ed needed a response.
Arutz 7 Op-Ed: Mario Lemieux and Bnei Akiva
Rav Chaim Drukman is under attack for helping out Rav Moti Alon. We can learn a lot from Mario Lemieux. 
Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch, 16/01/19 
It happens that Rav Chaim Drukman is under attack for helping out Rav Moti Alon. To put it mildly, I am incensed to read the attacks against Rav (Rabbi) Drukman by two fellow Jews and Bnei Akiva members, and by something called the Freidberg Foundation. To explain this, though, requires the following background information:

תלמיד חכם שסרח אין מבזין אותו- "a Torah scholar who sins is not to be shamed publicly", says Reish Lakish ( Talmud, Menachot, 99b)- " because, say the Rabbis of the Yeshivah of Rabbi Yishmael, he is sure to do Teshuvah (recreate himself via repentance- Berachot 19a). One would think this also is true of a Talmud chacham (scholar) who didn't sin, but did the right thing - he is not to be shamed. However, let's see: 
Only one figure took pity on this תלמיד חכם שסרח- Torah scholar who went wrong. Rav Chaim Drukman realized that for a Rabbi who had spent his whole life teaching, and on such a scale, to suddenly be forced to give it all up - this would destroy him. So Rav Drukman gave Rav Alon space in Ohr Etzion Yeshivah in order to give shiurim (classes).  
Rav Drukman, however, is not naïve. A longtime MK and Minister, head of the network of Bnei Akiva Yeshivot and Ulpanot, head of the government's Conversion Commission for more than a decade, Rav Drukman has a wealth of practical experience in the human sphere to accompany his scholarship and position as Rosh Yeshivah. Thus Rav Drukman put conditions on his help to Rav Alon - the primary one being, that none of the students at Ohr Etzion's two high schools were allowed to attend the shiurim (classes) given by Rav Alon. To the extent of the community of Ramat Shapira, home to Ohr Etzion, Rav Alon was supervised. 
Of course, Rav Alon had his own Yeshiva elsewhere. Rav Drukman is not the Shabak, and he's not the KGB; and unfortunately it was there that Rav Alon fell back into his old sin of sexual offense against a male student. This time, as soon as this behavior became known, Rav Drukman and others put an end to all of Rav Alon's public teaching. 
However, this appears not to be enough for several holier–than-thous in the Religious Zionist camp. One, who gives major sums to Bnei Akiva but doesn't have the courage to even say who he is, has said that he "is dismayed at (Rav) Drukman's refusal to publicly condemn (Rav) Alon"(Jerusalem Post, Friday, Jan. 11). So much for Resh Lakish's prohibition AGAINST public condemnation; given this Talmudic dictum, Mr. Anonymous won't be getting any condemnations of Rav Alon from Rav Drukman. Another, a former Bnei Akiva World Chairman, is "boycotting the upcoming world Bnei Akiva conference until he [Rav Drukman] is prepared to accept responsibility for his decision to help Rav Alon and for damages to the victims".

Rav Drukman not accepting responsibility? Who does he think he is, speaking thus to a Rav who has accepted public responsibility for the last 50 years? Rav Drukman did everything possible to police Rav Alon's activities while in Rav Drukman's jurisdiction, and pinning blame on Rav Drukman for the recent offenses is, simply, self-righteous defamation of the Rav. (cont.)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Sexual predators can be treated successfully. 100% of them? No idea, but probably not, even with all of the time and money necessary for proper treatment. And, in my professional opinion, the chances of successful treatment are higher if the perpetrator of such crimes actually wants help.

Besides psychotherapy, there is Sexaholics Anonymous [SA]. No. I am not promoting any particular program, nor 12-Step programs. I am simply mentioning that they are out there, and an option.

Of course, I would NEVER DREAM of calling Moti Alon a sexual predator. I am simply using this group of individuals as an example, to drive the point home.

I'm very much for "innocent until proven guilty" approach, and I do not believe that accusers should be automatically believed. I hope I do not have to tell you about all of the men who have lost their jobs, their, families, custody of their children, not to mention their reputations, due to false accusations. Such damage simply cannot be undone.

But the evidence we have heard against Moti Alon is compelling, and a beth din of Alon's mamlakhti (diehard State loyalist) peers previously ruled against him, and, for better or worse, tried to keep the incidents quiet. In my opinion, this was chance enough for Moti Alon. And so, I find this all quite disturbing.

Rabbi Chaim Druckman
But the purpose of this post is not to talk about Alon. Rather it is to respond to an op-ed. I, myself, have already written enough about Rav Druckman's involvement with Moti Alon in תשע"ג-תשע"ד/2013:

Rabbi Druckman Throws Students to the Dogs
Rabbi Druckman Makes a Terrible Situation Much Worse

First off, I will concede that  Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch may very well be correct regarding public rebuke. Maybe. A similar argument was made against attacking Shlomo Aviner publicly above and beyond the order of the Beth Din of Rabbi Mordekhai Eliyahu ztz"l (Rabbi Ya'acov Yosef ztz"l, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Zalman Nehemiyah Goldberg, Rabbi Avraham Elqanah Kahane Shapira ztz"l) to publicize its ruling that Aviner should refrain from ruling on issues of family purity. To this day, followers of Shlomo Aviner claim that the motivation to "go after him," was political.

Moti Alon cannot make this same claim.

Since I'm no fan of Rav Druckman's conversion programs anyway...
(I was on Rav Sherman's side the entire time of the conflict and I still think he was right. Every time I heard public debate on this issue, it was Rav Sherman's side providing halakhic support for his position, while Rav Druckman's surrogates engaged in name calling.

It is ridiculous that a secular court intervened. It is an embarrassment that we accepted its intervention in an halakhic matter. And it is a complete disappoint, to say the least that Rav Druckman participated in such a proceeding when most of those sitting in judgment are disqualified from sitting on a beth din.)
...the mention of Rav Druckman's conversion programs do not impress me in the least, and actually have the opposite effect on me. I would have said to boycott the world Bnei Akiva conference anyway.

Hirsch also lists Rav Drukman's various other accomplishments. He should not have bothered listing his positions in the government. Also not impressed. Rav Druckman was a member of the National Religious Party [NRP], reincarnated as The Jewish Home Party, and now transforming into who knows what. The National "Religious" Party asked Rav Mordechai Eliyahu ztz"l whether it could put women on the party list of candidates. Rav Eliyahu said "no." The NRP did it anyway, stating that it had "other rabbis," albeit as Rav Druckman was completing his tenure as a member of Knesset [MK]. Couldn't the NRP just shop around for rabbinical opinions -- not that this strategy is acceptable -- instead of embarrassing itself?

Moti Alon
Rabbi Dr. Hirsch author should also ask his fellow students at Merkaz HaRav Kook why they founded the Ariel youth group. (Hint: because they didn't want their kids going to Bnei Akiva.) מי שמבין יבין

Wait a minute! Even Bnei Akiva members are complaining about Rav Druckman! Perhaps I misjudged them. Perhaps they are waking up. Unfortunately, it has taken incidents of alleged sexual abuse to do it.

I am very disappointed to see this opinion coming out of Merkaz HaRav via one of its recent musmachim, not the opinion itself, but the reasoning used to support it.

Merkav HaRav Kook, in my opinion, truly the flagship yeshiva of [authentic] Religious Zionism, having been in the forefront of the fight against the expulsion from Azza, and whose late Rosh Yeshiva Rav Avraham Shapira ztz"l was in the forefront in the battle against the masses' confusion over the differences between Torah Law and Israeli law and which of these takes precedence.  

(Hint: There is not just one "Religious Zionist" camp. There are at least two: The camp which holds that חוקי התורה קודמין לחוקי האדם, and the camp which is misguided and confused about this.)

But, hey. Rabbis Menachem Froman and Shai Piron also learned at Merkaz HaRav Kook, so unfortunately, we shouldn't be surprised.

Regardless of the degree of Rav Druckman's responsibility for Moti Alon's destruction of the lives of several Jewish men, at the very least, he should make a public commitment to refrain from employing the same strategy over again, expecting different results when it comes to intervening with "alleged" perpetrators of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

Has Rav Druckman already done this? If I've missed, then by all means, please post it in the comments below.