Monday, April 30, 2007

Kashrut certificate for clothing

The strictly Orthodox sector has established a new modesty court to grant kashrut certificate to women's clothing stores.

Lycra has become very popular among haredi women in recent years. The fabric stretches over the body and, according to rabbis, enhances those parts that should be hidden and exposes parts that should be concealed.

The ultra-Orthodox newspaper Bakehila ('in the community') reported over the weekend that an assembly of rabbis gathered at the home of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the "great posek" (arbiter of Jewish law) and decided to establish the modesty court.

Court representatives will examine the garments sold in clothes stores and will grant kashrut certificates to worthy vendors.



Sunday, April 29, 2007

A couple of Upgefurene do some Chasidim bashing

Fairmont Funding workers fired - Update

We have received confirmation that workers have been fired by Fairmont Funding and are currently out of a job. According to our source many of the workers that were let go by Fairmont Funding were young married people with young children. The source went further to relate a story of how two workers that were fired had gotten into a serious car accident (another car rammed into theirs) while returning to Fairmont Funding's office to empty their desks and take their stuff home.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

R' Aron camp braces for Zaloiny attacks

The presence of the Williamsburg Satmar Rebbe, R' Zalmen Leib Teitlebaum, was quite evident in Boro-Park this Shabbos. A giant tent, multitudes of Police cars and foot patrol were only some of the more blatant signs. However there were some very subtle signs as well. At the 53rd Street Satmar Shul, occupied by the Aroinies, the smell of fear wafted through the air. In an effort to avoid an attack on the Shul by the Zaloinies, all entrances besides the front door, were chained shut with heavy-duty steel chains.

Korn's Bakery showing increase in business since Mezonos Maven scandal

According to a source in Korn's Bakery in Boro-Park, the bakery has been seeing a substantial increase in business since the Mezonos Maven scandal broke. The source claims that although Mezonos Maven is open for business, Korn's is nevertheless experiencing a noticeable increase in business by customers that do not trust the Kashrus at Mezonos Maven and therefore refuse to buy from them.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Fairmont Funding loses bank status - Exclusive inside information

Over the past few days rumors have been circulating that Fairmont Funding has declared bankruptcy and has closed for business. There has been a large amount of hysteria and turmoil about this with news spreading about people losing their job. According to a Fairmont Funding employee, Fairmont Funding has not declared bankruptcy and is not closing down at this time. According to the inside source, Fairmont Funding has currently lost their bank status and can no longer close loans as a bank. They are however still able to close loans as a broker.

Mezonos Maven reopens with new Hechsher

After losing their Kosher certification from OK, Mezonos Maven has reopened under a new Hechsher, from the OU. Mezonos Maven according to the OK has been uncooperative with their Mashgichim. This forced the OK to stop providing the Kashrus certification for them. When the OU was approached by people from the OK as to the Kashrus allegations against Mezonos Maven and as to why they would certify such an establishment as Kosher, they reportedly said that they could not give credibility to these allegations because they considered it hearsay and Loshon Horah. I guess when Mezonos Maven was caught baking on Shabbos a couple of years ago that was also Loshon Horah.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Concerns Over Marriage Proposals - Is New York City next?

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has expressed concerns at Government proposals to raise the minimum marriage age from 18 to 21 for visitors to the UK from outside the European Union.

The move is just one solution suggested in an upcoming Home Office consultation on the issue of forced marriages but the Orthodox Jewish communal group believes that a change in the law would damage the marriage rate withing the community.

The Union wrote in a letter to the Home Office, "We believe that the Government's motive for this proposed legislation is to oppose forced marriages. These do not exist and are frowned upon in Judaim.

"However, to legislate a minimum age of 21, is unacceptable and objectionable as the marriage age of around 18 is quite common in our Community."

A Home Office spokesperson told TJ: "We are looking at ways of addressing issues of forced marriage.

"It is important that we are clear that forced and arranged marriages aren't the same thing. We are welcoming suggestions in tackling forced marriage."



Wednesday, April 25, 2007

High Pesach food prices - What do you think?

Every year, I'm amazed to learn how much money people spend on Passover food. Many middle class families and those struggling at a subsistence level of existence suffer greatly because they must pay thousands of dollars to purchase basic food staples for the holiday such as meat, vegetables, wine and matzah.

I walked through a kosher food store prior to Pesach and listened to the voices of consumers. I heard grumbling all over as a woman tossed a kosher-for-Passover tablecloth (whatever that is) into her cart, while another grabbed kosher-for-Passover dish soap and still another procured kosher-for-Passover water.

Soon enough, two people became very vocal, and one said: "This is ridiculous. How are we supposed to afford this?" They both walked away from their cart and left the store.

You have to wonder why a chocolate cake mix that costs a couple of dollars before the holiday costs $7 on Pesach, while a cake role at a local bakery is $13. And why is shmurah matzah $14 a box? After all, it's made from water and wheat flower. How much could the extra supervision required at Pesach cost?



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

'Modesty buses' draw fire

When the Number 40 bus arrived, the most curious thing happened. Husbands left heavily pregnant wives or spouses struggling with prams and pushchairs to fend for themselves as they and all other male passengers got on at the front of the bus.

Women moved towards the rear door to get on at the back.

When on the bus, I tried to buck the system, moving my way towards the driver but was pushed back towards the other women.

These are what orthodox Jews call "modesty buses".

The separation system operates on 30 public bus routes across Israel.

The authorities here say the arrangement is voluntary, but in practise, as I found out, there is not much choice involved.

'Abuse and threats'

Naomi Regen is one of a group of women now taking the separation bus system to court. She is an orthodox Jew herself.

"I wasn't trying to start a revolution, all I wanted to do was get home," she tells me.

"I was in downtown Jerusalem and I saw a bus going straight to my neighbourhood and I got on and sat down, in a single seat behind the driver.

"It was a completely empty bus, and all of a sudden, some men started getting on, ultra-orthodox men. They told me I was not allowed to sit there, I had to go to the back of the bus."

Not only is the segregation system discriminatory, says Ms Regen, but it can also be dangerous, she says, for those like her who ignore it.

"I said to him look, if you bring me a code of Jewish law and show me where it's written that I have to sit at the back of the bus I'll move.

"And he tried to gain support from the rest of the passengers and I underwent a half-hour of pure hell - abuse, humiliation, threats, even physical intimidation."


The Boro-Park singer

Apparently he's a photographer too.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Pictures from the Klausenberger Yeshivah fire

Aftermath from this morning's car accident

The broken sign and spilled fluids left over from a car accident this morning on Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush.


A Brooklyn yeshiva is under fire for planning to boot two dozen families - including many elderly and disabled Russian immigrants - from a rent-subsidized apartment building in Brighton Beach.

"I'm very old, very sick. How am I going to find another apartment?" said Batskina Vjenia, 89, a disabled tenant who relies on a paid caretaker.

Like fellow residents at 35-45 West End Ave., Vjenia is at the mercy of the Mesivta and Yeshiva Gedolah of Manhattan Beach, which operates a high school and dormitory for 40 Orthodox Jewish boys out of the apartment building next door.

The school, at 59 West End Ave., purchased the adjacent site for $4 million in January, inheriting tenants who pay fixed rents ranging between $700 and $1,000 a month.

Eight of the residents, including Vjenia, pay far less out of pocket - about $100 - because they are poor and get reimbursed by the Section 8 program.

The school is relying on a loophole in state housing laws that allows nonprofit groups to kick out tenants in rent-stabilized apartments if it's being done for charitable or educational purposes.

The yeshiva wants the building for additional classroom space and a study hall, according to eviction notices it has started serving some tenants with.

"We're not doing anything illegal. We need space, and we're trying to do this nice so no one is on the street," said the yeshiva's dean, Rabbi Joshua Zelikovitz.



Sunday, April 22, 2007

Swastika-like symbol upsets Jewish ferry riders

The international propeller symbols painted on B.C. Ferries' new German-built Super-C-class vessel will be replaced with softer, rounder versions -- in hopes no one mistakes them for swastikas.

The company says it received about 10 calls from people who saw media coverage of the launch of the Coastal Renaissance's hull and thought the symbols were swastikas, most recently associated with Second World War Nazis.

"We didn't see it that way. To us, it's an international prop symbol," spokesman Mark Stefanson said Friday. "But if people are concerned about it, obviously we are concerned about it, so we will make sure it's changed before she leaves Germany."

Mira Oreck, director of the Canadian Jewish Congress in the Pacific region, told The Province yesterday that concerned calls received by the group's office were passed along to the company.

"I think the concern was legitimate," Oreck said, adding that her office contacted B.C. Ferries, which "called back right away" to assure the group that the symbol would be repainted to appear "significantly" different.

Stefanson said he has no idea whether the fact the new ferries are being built in Germany played a role in the swastika perception.

The Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft shipyard, where the ferries are being built, constructed U-boats for Adolph Hitler during the Second World War.



Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hitler concert angers New Zealand's Jews

A rock concert commemorating Adolf Hitler's birthday held in New Zealand's capital has angered Jews and anti-racist groups, Jewish community members told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday.

The concert, which took place Friday night in Wellington, was organized by local skinheads belonging to the international Hammerskins gang and neo-Nazi organization Blood and Honor - a group banned in several European countries.

An Australian "Viking rock" band was featured at the event held at an undisclosed location, the capital's Dominion Post reported.

The event had previously been scheduled to take place at a local motorcycle gang's headquarters but was later moved for an unknown reason.

New Zealand police, who were aware of the concert, said it was not illegal.



Friday, April 20, 2007

Racists among us

On Shabbat I overheard a children’s conversation that I wished I had not. I passed by a Hasidic synagogue, whose name I won’t mention to avoid embarrassing it, when I overheard an honest conversation between two boys. They sat on the steps at the entrance to the building when the younger one, a cute boy with curly sidelocks and an innocent expression, turned to the older boy and asked him a question that threw me off balance: “Tell me, what are Yemenites?” The second boy, without thinking for even a second, answered: “Yemenites are worse than Sephardim, because they are browner”. This conversation transported me back 18 years – a scared girl in the famous Hassidic Beit Yaakov school. I was the only “suntanned” girl in grade 3b, and I was a leper.

I remember hiding in the classroom during recess so that the sun won't darken my skin. My only “outcast” friend was Tzipi. She was born with the “right genes” and did not have “mixed blood” like me, yet even Poles can sometimes be born with dark skin. Her beautiful green eyes and flowing hair did not help her pass the strict acceptance test put forth by the china dolls, our class mates. A girl who in secular society would have been placed on a highway billboard sat hunched next to me, apologizing for her existence- yes, the only two “brown” girls in the class.

Besides the feeling that we would never be as beautiful as the pure white skinned girls who populated our school, we were also considered dumb, because stupidity and darkness go hand in hand, in a distorted logic that I never understood.



Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chabad-Lubavitch Escorts Professor’s Body for Israeli Burial

As the body of Professor Liviu Librescu made its final journey to Israel aboard El Al Flight No. 2, Rabbi Motti Seligson sat next to his widow, Marlena Librescu, and discussed how best to honor his courage and self-sacrifice. When he informed her of the Chabad on Campus International Foundation’s plans for a national Shabbat candle lighting campaign on hundreds of college campuses this Friday, she “was very touched.”

“This was the one mitzvah, or good deed, beloved by Professor Librescu above all others,” explained Seligson, who traveled to Israel as a representative of Chabad of the Virginias. “Every Friday night, he would remind Mrs. Librescu when to light the candles to usher in the holy day of Shabbat.”

The candle lighting effort – a joint project with FridayLight.org – will usher in Chabad on Campus’ national “Hearts to Hokies” campaign, a weeklong push to get students to donate a good deed in the merit of the 32 students and faculty members of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., who were killed on April 16. The attack by fellow student Cho Seung-Hui, who later took his own life, was the deadliest shooting in American history.



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Exclusive Pictures of the press at Professor Liviu Librescu's Levaya

Special Sfirah Chasidishe music video

Spitzer reschedules from Shvuos special election to fill Grannis seat

special election to fill a state Assembly seat in Manhattan has been rescheduled to June 5 from May 22 after Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is Jewish, learned that some polling places would be closing early on the initial date because of a Jewish holiday.

The seat was left vacant after Democrat Pete Grannis resigned to become state environmental conservation commissioner.

"The change was made after it was learned that certain polling places in the district would close early in observance of a Jewish holiday that begins at sundown on May 22," Spitzer said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Sundown on May 22 marks the beginning this year of Shavuot, a holiday celebrating the delivery of the Ten Commandments to Moses. The May 22 date for the special election had been announced by Spitzer on Tuesday.

Spitzer's nomination of Grannis for the $136,000-a-year job was confirmed by the Republican-led state Senate on March 31. Grannis had been a member of the Assembly since 1974, representing the 65th Assembly District that has more than 50,000 enrolled Democrats and fewer than 20,000 Republicans.

Democrats already hold 106 of the Assembly's 150 seats. There are currently two vacancies in the chamber. A special election is being held May 1 to fill the Rockland County seat held by the late Democrat Kenneth Zebrowski. He died on March 18.



Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bobov $11 Million public hearing

Thank you TSBD

Man accused of mischief rearrested

A man accused of smashing windows at a local Jewish centre was arrested again a day later, after failing to comply with the conditions of his release.

The 20-year-old was first arrested and charged with mischief on March 15 after allegedly throwing objects through several windows at the Chabad Midtown Jewish Centre on Bathurst St., south of St. Clair Ave. West.

The accused was placed under house arrest, but when police conducted a compliance check on him the next day, he was not at home. Police arrested him upon his return.

Police believe the incident was hate-fuelled because the suspect was wearing clothing with neo-Nazi and white supremacist group symbols.



Monday, April 16, 2007

A call for ticket accountability

This is already long overdue. It is time to have some ticket accountability. Today with the tiny digicams and phonecams there is no reason why erroneous ticketers should not be photographed or videotaped and held accountable for their actions. If you see a ticket being issued illegally, get it on your camera and post it here (upload it to http://www.tinypic.com and then post the url here).

If you see an overzealous ticket agent, photograph them. Let them know they are being observed and will be held accountable if they break the law.

Thank you Yoni for sending in these pix.

Hasidim honor late grand rebbe

Thousands of Hasidim gathered in this village's cemetery yesterday despite a chilling rain to commemorate Moses Teitelbaum on the first anniversary of his death.

The event marked the first time that Satmar Hasidim would visit Kiryas Joel twice in the same year for the anniversary of a grand rebbe's death. The celebration of Satmar founder Joel Teitelbaum, who died in 1979 and is also buried in Kiryas Joel, will be held at the end of the summer.

That anniversary usually draws between 10,000 and 90,000 people, according to some estimates. Yesterday's event for Moses, who died on April 24 at the age of 91, was expected to draw far fewer, partly because of the weather, but also because of a dispute over who would be his successor.

The anniversary of Moses' death fell on Saturday, according to the Hasidic calendar. But Jewish law does not allow worshippers to go to cemeteries on the sabbath, which starts just before sundown Friday and ends just after sundown Saturday.

So many supporters waited until Saturday night to begin their remembrances. About 10,000 Satmar were expected to come to the event, but the forecast of rain and possible flooding kept away many from out of town, organizers said.

Worshippers began gathering just after dark Saturday at a Kiryas Joel village synagogue to celebrate with Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum, the eldest son of the late grand rebbe and leader of the Kiryas Joel congregation. In June, Aron lost a bitter legal battle with his younger brother, Zalman Teitelbaum of Brooklyn, for control of the 120,000 Satmar Jews here and around the world.

Many of those living in Kiryas Joel, however, still consider Aron the rightful heir to the leadership.

Tensions between the two factions heated to a boil just before and after the grand rebbe's death but have since cooled, a state police official said yesterday. "The two sides chose to disagree," said the official, a liaison to Kiryas Joel who asked that his name not be used.

Zalman and 200-300 of his supporters visited the mausoleum at 2 a.m. yesterday morning and left before sunrise, the official said. Village organizers of the event claim that about 6,000 of Aron's supporters visited the mausoleum during the same time period, although state police could not verify that figure.

Aron himself did not visit the mausoleum until yesterday afternoon, followed by an estimated attendance of several thousand of his followers, mostly from Kiryas Joel. A line of Satmar men and boys, hats and head gear covered with plastic shopping bags or rain visors, began filing up the path to the cemetery off Schunnemunk Road around noon.

Many offered money to charity groups who solicited from them along the way.

A lone vendor tried selling Kosher hot dogs and hamburgers to the passers-by.

The owner of the business, Nathan Lichtenstein of Monsey, was having little luck, thanks to the rain.

"It's going to be (better) later," Lichtenstein said of his business prospects for the day. "You never know."



Sunday, April 15, 2007

Study finds strong genetic link to bowel ailment

Scientists have identified a handful of genes that boost the risk of developing Crohn's disease, confirming that the often debilitating inflammatory bowel ailment has a strong genetic component.

The researchers scanned the entire genome -- all 22,000 genes -- of about 6,000 people. About half had Crohn's disease and half did not, they reported on Sunday in the journal Nature Genetics.

Previous studies had identified two genes involved in the disease.

"I think at this point we have probably up to about eight or nine genes, depending on how you define it," said John Rioux of the Montreal Heart Institute and the Universite de Montreal, who led the team of Canadian and U.S. researchers.

The researchers said the findings showed genetics play a crucial role in the disease, although environmental factors also are involved. For example, smoking raises one's risk.

Pinpointing the genes that predispose people to Crohn's disease, the researchers said, could help lead to new ways to treat it.

The disease, most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30, can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and arthritis.

"We have been working toward this for over 10 years to try to put all the pieces together," Rioux said in a telephone interview.

"To finally get to this stage where we can look at the entire genome and actually discover a handful of genes, it's very, very gratifying."

Scientists previously had some indications of a genetic component to Crohn's disease. It tends to run in families and is more common in certain ethnic groups, especially people of central and eastern European Jewish descent.



Saturday, April 14, 2007

Breslov booklets on Ebay auction

Now there's a great idea. If we could only auction off the people that go around pushing them on everyone we could remedy the whole thing.

Link to auction

Chabad 1 step closer to building center

Chabad of the Shoreline cleared its first hurdle this week with revamped plans to establish a community center on Goose Lane.

Chabad’s revised application for dealing with drainage, waste water and storm runoff passed the Inland Wetlands Commission unanimously this week.

Chabad Lubavitch, a branch of Hasidic Judaism, first filed applications before the town’s land use boards last summer.

The group, located in Branford, is seeking to construct a religious and community center on the 1.28-acre site.

Plans were withdrawn in early fall with the intention of revising and resubmitting them. Thus far, no new paperwork has been filed with the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission would have to sign off on any such project, because the area is zoned for residential use. Regulations do allow construction of a house of worship in residential zones if a special permit is granted.

Neighbors along Goose Lane have protested on various grounds.

Letters on file at Guilford’s land use office claim that such a large building is inconsistent with the residential nature of the neighborhood; that the increase in traffic would only exacerbate problems that they feel were worsened with the opening of Yale-New Haven’s Shoreline medical center just down the street; that activities on the site would bring noise; and night lighting would disturb surrounding residents.

Congregation officials have said they and their architects will work to make every possible accommodation to address neighbors’ concerns.



Friday, April 13, 2007

A gut Shabbos, toooooooot!

Brazilian rabbi jailed for shoplifting

Jewish leaders are awaiting a medical and psychiatric evaluation of Brazil’s best-known rabbi after Henry Sobel was charged with shoplifting designer neckties in Florida.

Sobel checked into Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital on March 30, a day after he asked to be temporarily relieved of his duties as head of the Sao Paulo Israeli Congregation, the largest Jewish synagogue in Latin America.

A hospital statement said the rabbi had taken large quantities of insomnia-treatment drugs that "cause potential states of mental confusion and amnesia."

Sobel returned to Brazil after being released March 24 by the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, where he was arrested and charged with retail theft in multiple locations. He was released from jail after posting bond.

Sobel was arrested March 23 after a surveillance camera in a Louis Vuitton store allegedly showed him shoplifting a tie. It reportedly was found later in his car along with four other expensive, brand-name ties, but Sobel allegedly did not have receipts for any of them.


So what is going on in Vizhnitz?

It all began years ago with a dominant mother and a son who was preferred over his brother; it took a turn with the deterioration of the Grand Rebbe-father’s health and the comeback of the exiled son.

Read the full story


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Opinions please

Future star or future kvetch?

Kashau, Bedford Hills braces for dominatrix's court appearance tonight

Town officials are bracing for an influx of reporters and residents tonight, with the "Bedford Hills Dominatrix" scheduled to appear in court at 7 p.m.

Sandra L. Chemero, 46, has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor prostitution and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a stun gun.

Her Feb. 26 arrest came following a three-month investigation prompted by an anonymous letter complaining of increased traffic to her home and directing police to a Web site advertising dominatrix services at that address.

Being a dominatrix is not against state law, but Chemero allegedly offered kinky z'nus to an undercover cop for $275 an hour, authorities said.

During the ensuing raid on her house, which Chemero had rented from a neighboring Hasidic Jewish yeshiva, police seized business records, a laptop computer, a stun gun and other weapons. The case is still under investigation, police said.



Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Traffic cop tickets cars with time on the meter

A traffic cop is going around and ticketing cars on 51st Street and 13th Avenue in Boro-Park even with much time on the meter. The traffic cop, a dark-skinned Hispanic woman in her thirties who is about 4' 7" tall and weighs about 150 pounds, ignored pleas by bystanders who pointed out to her that there was still time on the meter. The traffic cop went on scanning cars and issuing tickets saying that the people that put the money in the meter were not the owner of the car, which was illegal to do and therefore the cars were ticketable. When asked how she knew that the people putting the money in the meter were in fact not the owners, she said that she was on the job for five years and therefore knew these things. She also said that she would testify to the judge that the meters were being fed if anyone tried to contest the tickets. I guess the people in that area have been getting phony tickets for five years now. Good luck trying to fight them.

Chasidishe teenage girl calls radio show about killing herself

WARNING - some offensive language

Apple looking for Hasidim to help sell iPhone

IN AN EXPECTED HEAVY-SPENDING CAMPAIGN to introduce its iPhone this summer, Apple appears to be considering multicultural creative for the multi-functional device. A would-be spot calls for individuals of diverse backgrounds to plug different aspects of the phone in their native tongues, according to a casting call.

The mobile phone, which also includes a widescreen iPod and Internet/email capabilities, is set for a June launch. So far, it's been the subject of a one-time ad--a spot during the Oscars featuring an array of clips where characters from shows ranging from "Lucy" to "Sex and the City" answered phones and said "Hello" to signify its coming release.

A unit of TBWA Chiat/Day handles the iPhone account and created the Oscar spot. It's not clear whether the agency is linked with the casting call, which claims to be only for a "spec spot," placing its ultimate fate in doubt. It seeks characters from various backgrounds, including Asian men who speak Mandarin; Hasidic males fluent in Hebrew; a French-speaking cab driver; a pair of Jamaican (or West Indian) women who can "speak with a thick patois accent" and others.

The characters would tout the phone in their native languages, while going about their routine business, such as the Asian men as customers in a fish market.

Filing will take place in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The conceit could involve linking a diversity of people with a diversity of features from the iPhone, although Apple did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.



Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Car mirror smashings in Boro-Park

Car mirrors were smashed off cars in Boro-Park over the last two days of Yom Tov. The smashings took place on cars that were parked on 54th Street between 13th and 14th Avenues. In all incidences the car mirrors were completely smashed and are irreparable. Also, the mirrors were completely detached from the vehicle, only one mirror was left still hanging on the vehicle by one wire.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jewish Children's Museum in Crown Heights price gouges

The Jewish Children's Museum in Crown Heights has been price gouging on its admission price lekoved Chol HaMoed. Not only does the museum require that people purchase tickets in advance for Chol HaMoed, but the price has also been raised from the regular high of $10 per person to an even higher price of $12 especially for Chol HaMoed.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Modernity creeping into the haredim's world

The newly opened Kosher Gym in Jerusalem offers prayer books instead of magazines at its juice bar, and bearded men listen to Talmudic interpretations on earphones as they exercise.

In an Internet chat room, messages about Outlook and Microsoft pop up in Yiddish. At upscale kosher restaurants, men in black hats and sidecurls, accompanied by wives in wigs and long dresses, sip fine wines.

If that's one face of the haredim -- "the God-fearing," as Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jews refer to themselves -- another is the young hotheads who torch clothing stores in their neighborhood for selling "immodest" attire and hurl bleach at women who wear it.

From cellphones to Stairmasters, from women's rights to Hebrew slang, the outside world is seeping into the cloistered haredi community and plunging it into a tug-of-war between a tentative embrace of modernity and fierce resistance.



Friday, April 06, 2007

BEWARE - Nut-Ola vegetable oil Pesach problem

Be aware that Nut-Ola oil labeled as 100% pure vegetable oil is actually pure cottonseed oil (as per their own listed ingredients, see photo below). Therefore, those that hold that cottonseed oil is kitniyos should refrain from using this oil as well. Furthermore, be aware that the price for vegetable oil is substantially higher than that for cottonseed oil. So if you are paying the vegetable oil price for this, you are over paying. Also, as far as taste goes, cottonseed oil is considered to be inferior to vegetable oil. Lastly, those that are allergic to cottonseed oil should also stay away from this product.

Observing Passover not easy for inmates

A handful of Orthodox and Messianic Jews live behind the 20-foot tall razor wire fence at Joseph Harp Correctional Center.
The medium-security inmates celebrate Passover with grape juice instead of wine and use electric candles for the Shabbat — both fire and alcohol are forbidden at the facility.
The two groups celebrated Passover — a holiday celebrating freedom from oppression.
How do you celebrate freedom when you aren’t free? How do you open the door for Elijah the Prophet when the door is made of bars and you don’t have the key?
“We do it symbolically,” said Jess Beard, who discovered Messianic Judaism while incarcerated.
Others view Passover as a time of hope and optimism for the future.
“Next year in Jerusalem, Next year in Jerusalem,” said inmate Delbert Lynch, echoing the last words recited each year at the Passover Seder.
Lynch is serving life without parole.
John Watkins, who also was drawn to Messianic Judaism in prison, celebrated his first real Passover Seder at Joseph Harp. Previously housed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester, Watkins made his own Seder celebration one year using a can of tuna in place of the chicken or lamb Messianic Jews use in the dinner. A maximum-security penitentiary, McAlester's inmates are on lockdown for 23 hours a day and rarely are allowed to gather in groups.
“You get accustomed to being alone like that,” Watkins said.
In contrast, the layout at Joseph Harp is open and airy with trees and grass. Inmates are free to walk the yard and gather for religious observances.
David Smith wears a kippah and a silver Star of David necklace with his blue prison shirt. His inmate number is printed on a white piece of tape on his shirt. His faith has become a way for him to gain a family in prison, he said. There are six to 10 practicing Orthodox Jews at Joseph Harp, he said.
“It’s good being able to share something with others and be a part of a community here,” Smith said.
Preparing for Passover was no easy task in prison. Observant Jews may not eat or possess any leavened bread or “Chametz” during Passover week, commemorating the flat bread the Hebrews ate when they fled Egypt. Orthodox Jews must clean their houses of all leavened bread before Passover.
“It’s hard when my roommate brings in Doritos and Ramen noodles,” Smith said. “But I am only responsible for the space that is my own.”
Inmates think of their “house” as their half of the cell. Such distinctions make it possible for Smith and other Orthodox Jewish inmates at Joseph Harp to remain observant in their own way.
Keeping a kosher diet is another challenge. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has approved a kosher meal plan for inmates since three convicted sex offenders at Joseph Harp sued in federal court in 2004 for the right to kosher meals paid for by the state.
The meals are frozen entrees that don’t offer much variety, Smith said.
Breakfast is usually pancakes and dinner is always Salisbury steak or chicken. Smith switched to the vegetarian meal plan because of the monotony.
“The vegetarian meal plan doesn’t have a Rabbi overseeing what goes into it but there’s more variety and It’s the best I can do here,” he said.
There are the rules that govern faith and there are those that govern prison life — and sometimes the two clash.
This year, Orthodox and Messianic groups held Passover Seders in the staff dining room and in the inmate visiting room.
“There sure was a crowd standing around watching,” Lynch said.
“Passover is a private type situation and nothing here is private,” said Joseph Harp chaplain Ron Grant. “Here, everything is subject to a guard shutting things down.”



Thursday, April 05, 2007


The anti-Zionist group whose Rockland County synagogue went up in flames is a tiny ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect whose activist members have embraced Israel's enemies.

The Neturei Karta, or "Guardians of the City," believe God ordered Jews banished from the Land of Israel and that it is heresy to end the exile and create the state of Israel until the Messiah arrives.

"The true Jews are against dispossessing the Arabs of their land and homes," the group's Web site says. "According to the Torah, the land should be returned to them."

David Pollock, associate executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said Neturei Karta members "do what they can to support enemies of Israel, including the PLO and Iran . . . They would be very happy to live in Palestine under Arab rule."

Last December, Neturei Karta sparked fury in the Jewish community when several members attended a Holocaust-denial conference in Tehran sponsored by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Neturei Karta has publicly denied it supports Holocaust-denial.

The Satmar Hasidim also are anti-Zionist. But the chief judge of the Satmar Rabbinical Court, Grand Rabbi Zalmen Leib Teitelbaum, denounced Neturei Karta for attending the conference, declaring it was "on a downward spiral with acts of lunacy."



Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Williamsburg or Afghanistan?

An excerpt from an article in the Forbes Magazine 4/16/07 where a situation in Afghanistan sounds strikingly similar to a situation in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

"...Because Afghanistan had no access to printing plants, Roshan had to rely on promotional services in Dubai, a two-and-a-half-hour flight away. An early billboard showing a man and a woman with a cell phone drew outrage when it went up in the northeast province of Kunduz; residents threw black paint all over it. Lesson: no women on billboards..."

Bomb rocks Jewish center in Montreal

A homemade bomb exploded outside a Jewish community center in Montreal in the middle of Passover week, injuring no one and causing little damage, police said Wednesday.

Workers at the Ben Weider Jewish Community Center reported hearing an explosion late Tuesday night.
"A homemade bomb exploded and there was a small fire," police spokesman Lynne Labelle said.
Labelle said they have not determined whether it was a hate crime.

Police are reviewing footage from the community center's security cameras.

With the explosion coming two days before the third anniversary of the firebombing of Montreal's United Talmud Torahs elementary school library, many in the Jewish community are concerned.

Steven Slimovitch, national legal counsel for B'nai Brith Canada, is calling the incident a hate crime although he acknowledges there is no evidence yet to support that belief.

"We're certain that it is a crime that has all the earmarks of a hate crime," Slimovitch said.
"It is an explosive device that was left at a visibly identifiable Jewish institution, during a well-known Jewish holiday, roughly three years to the day after the bombing of the United Talmud Torahs."

Jewish institutions around the city put several security measures in place after the United Talmud Torahs was torched in April 2004. Three people were eventually arrested.

Security measures were further heightened last fall when another Hasidic school was firebombed.
In its annual audit of anti-Semitism, B'nai Brith identified a 70 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents last year in Quebec and a 12.8 percent rise in Canada.



Monday, April 02, 2007

Wishing everyone a...

An 'unsanctioned' fire in Boro-Park


Sunday, April 01, 2007

First Motzei Pesach pizza breaks all records

The first Motzei Pesach pizza from Pizza Time in Flatbush has sold for a whopping $731.00, the most money ever to be paid for a Motzei Pesach pizza. Now if he can only find a goy to buy it from him over Pesach.

Recent purchases by the pizza auction winner - nesivosguy (42 )

No more Lipa Schmeltzer ringtones on your cellphone

In a new piece of legislation proposed by Councilman David Yassky, personal cellphone ringtones will be outlawed in New York City. Yassky's proposition calls for the City sanctioning four ringtones that all New Yorker's will share. The proposed legislation, which is intended to curb noise pollution, will levy hefty fines against anyone that uses a different ringtone.

Preview the four future ringtones

'Money Talks'
'City of the Future'
'Soothing Bubble Bath'
'Sunday Morning in London'


Boro-Park matzah bakery scandal

According to an insider, a Boro-Park matzah bakery has defrauded a matzah baking chaburah. A matzah baking chaburah had rented out the matzah bakery for an entire day to be used by them exclusively. In order to ensure that the bakery met their standard of kashrus, the chaburah came the night before they were to bake and kashered all the metal baking implements and sanded all the wooden ones. The chaburah was to begin baking at 10:00 am the next morning. However, the owner of the matzah bakery, trying to make a couple of extra bucks, came in with his regular baking crew at 7:00 am and baked until the chaburah was to arrive at 10:00, using the freshly kashered utensils. A couple of minutes before ten, the owner had his workers clean up their mess and did not mention a word to the chaburah of what he had done.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Chaptzem! Blog