A 13-year-old Jewish boy has used his Bar Mitzvah speech to call for same-sex couples in his home state of Oregon to be granted the right to marry. The US state currently only recognises same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere. Watch Duncan McAlpine Sennett take his synagogue with him as he explains why the biblical definition of marriage is nothing like what those who oppose equality say it is, and by the end you’ll be cheering him on like his local Jewish community.
Who says people can’t put aside their differences and work together for a good cause. Climate change will effect all of humanity, regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity or nationality. Climate change is a serious threat. We should be glad that people around the world are concerned about this issue, even if some places like the US, are lagging behind.
Here’s a video that should give us all some hope, that we’ll be able to do something about it.
Religious leaders meet to discuss climate change
I recommend everyone who hasn’t already done so, check out his Climate Denial Crock of the Week blog where he talks about the issue of climate change and debunks the people who deny the science behind it.
I added a link to Sinclair’s twitter page, since I forgot to do so earlier. Let him know I sent you.
A former rising star in Hungary’s far-right Jobbik Party has been drawing closer to Judaism after learning of his Jewish roots.
Csanad Szegedi, who once accused Jews of “buying up” the country, railed about the “Jewishness” of the political elite and claimed Jews were desecrating national symbols, has been studying with local Chabad rabbis, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported this week.
Szegedi, 31, said he is keeping Shabbat and trying to observe the laws of Kashrut. “I have discovered that I can reconcile my conservative viewpoints as Hungarian and as observant Jew,” he told Welt am Sonntag.
Following weeks of Internet rumors, Szegedi acknowledged in June 2012that his grandparents on his mother’s side were Jews — making him one too under Jewish law, even though he didn’t practice the faith. His grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandfather a veteran of forced labor camps.
He became a pariah in Jobbik and his political career reached the brink of collapse.
Under pressure, Szegedi resigned from all party positions in July 2012 and gave up his Jobbik membership. That wasn’t good enough for the party: the next month it asked him to give up his seat in the European Parliament as well. Jobbik said the issue was suspected bribery, not his Jewish roots.
Szegedi stayed in the European parliament as an independent.
Szegedi came to prominence in 2007 as a founding member of the Hungarian Guard, a group whose black uniforms and striped flags recalled the Arrow Cross, a pro-Nazi party that briefly governed Hungary at the end of World War II and killed thousands of Jews. In all, 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust, most of them after being sent in trains to Auschwitz and other death camps. The Hungarian Guard was banned by the courts in 2009.
By then, Szegedi had already joined the Jobbik Party, which launched in 2003 and became the country’s biggest far-right political force. He soon became one of its most vocal and visible members and a pillar of the party leadership. Starting in 2009, he served in the European Parliament in Brussels as one of the party’s three EU lawmakers.
Szegedi, who was raised Christian, acknowledged his Jewish origins in interviews with Hungarian media, including news broadcaster Hir TV and Barikad, Jobbik’s weekly magazine. He said that he had a long conversation with his grandmother, who spoke about her family’s past as Orthodox Jews.
“It was then that it dawned on me that my grandmother really is Jewish,” Szegedi told Hir TV. “I asked her how the deportations happened. She was in Auschwitz and Dachau and she was the only survivor in the extended family.”
I often cite and rely on City Journal so it give me no joy to report that they put a truly wretched piece of drek yesterday. Called Useful Atheists, it is written as a memo in Hell from Reinhard Heydrich to Adolf Hitler:
Mein Führer: Our stein runneth over! Neo-Nazi groups are resurgent in Europe. Copies of the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are vigorously peddled throughout the Islamic nations of the Middle East. Holocaust deniers are invited to speak at Ivy League campuses.
Seven decades ago, you put me in charge of the Jewish Question. And, at the Wannsee Conference, I came up with the immortal euphemism, The Final Solution. Of course, it led to my coming down here several years ahead of you, great leader. As the world knows, Czech guerrillas fatally shot up my open-top Mercedes. But you avenged me: the village of Lidice was destroyed in my name, and the murder of Jews continued, just as you predicted in Mein Kampf, and just as I outlined at Wannsee:
Under suitable direction, the Jews should be brought to the East in the course of the Final Solution, for use as labor. In large labor gangs, with the sexes separated, the Jews capable of work will be transported to those areas and set to road-building, in the course of which, without doubt, a large part of them will fall away through natural losses. The surviving remnant, surely those with the greatest powers of resistance, will be given special treatment, since, if freed, they would constitute the germinal cell for the re-creation of Jewry.
Who could deny our motives? Only liars and moral idiots. Of course there are plenty of these throughout the world. But even I never expected to find outspoken allies in the land that had so thoroughly destroyed the Third Reich. Mein Führer, mark well the name of this organization; it will be of much use to us in the future. They call themselves the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF). The membership is comprised of self-promoting atheists, and their latest demand is, if I may say so, worthy of me.
(The kinks are in the original article, see my note regarding the bolded passage.)
While I disagree strongly with the FFRF regarding the memorial in Ohio, to call them Nazi dupes is not only wrong, its morally insane. City Journal should publish nothing more from this wingnut.
Historical Note: Kanfer is also wrong about the cause of Heydrich’s death. He did indeed die of wounds received while riding in an open-top Mercedes, but the wounds were inflicted by a bomb thrown under the car, not by gunfire. The STEN Gun carried by one of the assassins jammed without firing.
MAKHACHKALA, Russia — A gunman shot and wounded a rabbi in Russia’s predominantly Muslim province of Dagestan in what officials on Thursday described as a hate crime.
Rabbi Ovadia Isakov was shot by the unknown gunman late Wednesday as he left the car and was walking home in Derbent, a city on the Caspian Sea, said Rasul Temirbekov, spokesman for the Investigative Committee in Dagestan.
The 40-year-old rabbi was taken to an intensive care unit with a gunshot wound, undergone surgery and was then released home, the Itar-TASS news agency said quoting local Jewish community leader Shimi Dibiyayev.
Dibiyayev said the surgery went well and Isakov is “in a good condition now.” Attacks on Jews in Derbent are unprecedented, Dibiyayev said.
Derbent, which claims to be the oldest city in Russia and has archeological heritage over 5,000 years old, is a multi-ethnic city relatively untouched by Muslim insurgency raging in other parts of Dagestan.
Dagestan’s President Ramazan Abdulatipov condemned the attack and said that perpetrators of hate crimes “have no place in Dagestani society.”
Montana’s small Jewish population is scattered across a huge state that has more rodeos than rabbis, but one man is logging thousands of miles to seek out the faithful one doorway at a time.
Rabbi Chaim Bruk has set his sights on making sure each Jewish home in Montana has a mezuzah at its entrance— and that those already hanging are kosher.
Montana’s only orthodox rabbi sees the project as a way of connecting Jews to their traditions. He says the mezuzahs — small parchments of handwritten biblical verses, rolled into roughly 4-inch cases and fastened to door frames — are a reminder that God is the ultimate home protection in a state where many people believe that such security begins and ends with a gun.
“I’m young. I’m 31. I got a long life ahead of me — God willing — and I hope to get every house,” he says. “Montana should be the most protected state in the union. Not only because of our weapons but because of our mezuzahs. We’ll be protected by the Second Amendment and by the mezuzahs.”
After his grandmother died shortly before Passover this year at age 90, Bruk wanted to perform a mitzvah — a religious good deed — to honor her memory. So the co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana secured funding from a relative to purchase an initial 200 mezuzahs to hand out for free.
Bruk says he has visited hundreds of Jewish homes in Montana and noticed too often that they either didn’t have mezuzahs or that those hanging didn’t adhere to Jewish law. He says he found text written on paper rather than parchment and cases hanging with no verses inside.
His mission is an ambitious one in a state with more than 147,000 square miles and a Jewish population estimated at 1,350 by the 2010 Census. Bruk scoffs at that number, which he believes is actually more than 3,000.
A do-over of the disastrous O’Keefing of my son from a previous NBC News segment.
A Jewish “police force” has offered protection to mosques in Hackney, following a spate of violent attacks on mosques.
Shomrim, a uniformed Jewish patrol in Stamford Hill who are trained by the Met, patrol the area regularly looking for anti-Semitic hate crimes, and general disorder in the neighbourhood.
The volunteer group, similar to a Neighbourhood Watch, are trained to safely track and detain suspects until police arrive, and run a 24-hour hotline for those in the area to report attacks.
The group was started by Jewish New Yorkers angry at lengthy police response times after crimes were reported.
Mosque elders met this weekend with Shomrim in the Cazenove Road Mosque and Community Centre to discuss cooperation between the two communities.
The offer of security help was the brainchild of local Lib Dem councillor and strictly Orthodox Jew Ian Sharer, who was one of the founders of the Muslim-Jewish forum.
“In our ward, the three councillors are two Charedi Jews, and one religious Muslim. We have been friends for many years, and we get on every well.
“This seemed like a natural thing to do. This is a very serious situation, and so I thought, why not call my friends from Shomrim? We wanted to see if we could offer them protection and also security lessons.
Just in time for Pamela’s planned visit to the UK.
It’s nice to see people wishing each other well instead of stirring up fear & hatred. Kudos to the people of Philadelphia for dealing with change in a positive, supportive manner that helps their city live up to its famous nickname.
First it was a synagogue, then a church and now the property at 7401 Limekiln Pike will be transformed into a mosque.
The former West Oak Lane Church of God complex in Northwest Philadelphia has a new owner. Masjidullah Inc. (pronounced Mass-jid-Allah) purchased the church building and office annex for $1 million last month. […]
The 1947 structure was first home to Temple Sinai, which in the 1970s moved to Dresher in Montgomery County, Pa. The building was then converted to a Christian church and will now house a mosque, school and community center.
Rabbi Adam Wohlberg of Temple Sinai has not seen the inside of the former temple and soon-to-be mosque, but frequently drives by.
“The people who invested time and energy in the building think of it with great fondness,” said Wohlberg. “I’m happy it’s going to be occupied by another faith community.” […]
In the 1970s, the West Oak Lane Church of God community moved in and remained active until the building’s sale last month. The church outgrew the building according to Linda Sheppard, the pastor’s wife. Since the sale, the West Oak Lane Church of God community has moved their church services and events to rented space at New Covenant Campus in Germantown.
Resident Imam Mikal Shabazz said a member of the non-denominational church’s board of trustees said during the settlement, “When I look across the room and see who’s buying the building, I’m glad it’s in your hands.”
“We wish the mosque well,” said Sheppard. […]
Long standing Imam Muhamad Abdul-Aleem points to the Masjidullah’s “long history of interfaith dialogue” as a fixture for the community’s success since its formation in the 1970s.
Wohlberg would like to develop a relationship with the West Oak Lane Church of God and Masjidullah communities, bringing together all three congregations who once occupied the same building on Limekiln Pike. […]
WILLIAMSBURG — Hundreds of female Hasidic swimmers may be unable to take the plunge this summer because the city “can’t guarantee” a kosher pool.
Parks Department officials have refused to promise a female lifeguard for women-only swim sessions at WIlliamsburg’s Metropolitan Pool.
That means Hasidic swimmers, who claim it’s against their tradition to swim with a man present, mayt have to stop attending thrice weekly swim sessions when their usual lifeguard takes her vacation from the pool in July and August.
“They can’t guarantee it, but they’ll try their best,” Ed Janoff, the leader of North Brooklyn Parks and the director of the Open Space Alliance which works in partnership with the Parks Department, said of the city’s appointment of a female guard.
“The chances are probably nine out of ten, but they can’t guarantee it.”
Even if the city does find a female guard for some of the sessions, Hasidic leaders said the women would have trouble finding out when she was on duty.
“Nobody’s telling them who the lifeguard is when they call the pool,” said Rabbi David Niederman, a Williamsburg and Greenpoint Community Board 1 member and the leader of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg.
Janoff said he would work to make the information more accessible for the women.
Swimmer Rose Herschkowitz, who spoke up at a Community Board 1 meeting, has said she requested a female lifeguard the past two years as well.
Babushka suggests that they should invite Muslim ladies to participate in the “ladies only” swim times. Not only would this be a great opportunity for interfaith cooperation, it would be totally worth it just to watch Pamela Geller’s head explode.