"What emerged for me, from the study of the first chapters [of Sefer Hatanya, the central works of the Chabad ultra-Orthodox organization] and their antecedents was the discovery that the main stream of Jewish thought is permeated by genetic spiritual superiority of Jews over Gentiles, disconcertingly reminiscent of racist notions of our time. Living in Israel for the past twenty years in a Jewish majority that is no more sensitive to the feelings of minorities than Gentile majorities are ... [with] Jews in their midst, I have come to realize the vitality of Jewish racist notions, and I am more than ever convinced that the hold Judaism will have on this and future generations will be gravely impaired unless these notions are neutralized by an internal reordering of traditional values."
Moshe Greenberg,
A Problematic Heritage. The Attitudes Toward the Gentile in the Jewish Tradition: An Israeli Perspective.
Conservative Judaism, Winter 1996, p. 33.

"If the Torah is only for the sake of Israel's election, then it appears to be [in] the interest of her nationalist self-interest ... The practical implications of assuming that the Torah is soley for the sake of affirming the election of Israel [by God] is to see no transcendental standard governing Israel's relationships with other nations [other people] of the world. The only relationship possible, then, is one where Gentiles accept Jewish sovereignty and dominance, be it political or 'religious' -- in the usual western sense of that distinction ... Such a theology can all too easily lend itself to such a practical program of dominance. Indeed, a consistent proponent of it would have no theological arguments with which to argue against such programs, however much he or she might be morally offended by them."
David Novak,
The Image of the non-Jew in Judaism. An Historical and Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws,
1983, p. 25-26

"Indeed, the more religiously conservative a Jew is today, the less likely he or she is to identify with universalistic ideologies or with the non-Jewish 'poor and downtrodden.'"
Stanley Rothman,
S. Robert Lichter,
The Roots of Radicalism, 1982, p. 112

"When a male Jew is called to the Torah, he recites the traditional 
blessing, asher bahar banu mi’kol ha’amim, praising God ‘who has
chosen us from among all other nations.’ When Jews recite their daily
morning prayer they say the benediction, she’lo assani goy,
thanking God ‘that he has not made [us] gentiles.’ When they
pronounce the benediction over the Sabbath [Saturday] wine, they declare
that God has chosen and sanctified Jews from all other
 peoples in the same way which he has distinguished between Sabbath and
weekday. When Jews make Havdalah on Saturday night, they
recite the traditional ha-mavdil, glorifying God for setting Jews apart from all other
peoples just as He set apart the sacred from the profane and light
from darkness.”
Alfred Jospe,
The Jewish Image of the Jew,
In Millgram, Abraham. Great Jewish Ideas. B'nai B'rith Department of Educaiton, 1964

"According to the the New Testament, the Christian world has, at best, an ambivalent attitude toward money and wealth ... For Jews,
on the other hand, wealth is a good thing, a worthy and respectable
goal to strive toward. What's more, once you earn it, it is tragic to lose it. Judaism has never
considered poverty a virtue. The first Jews were not poor, and that was good.
The Jewish founding fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were blessed with
cattle and land in abundance. Asceticism and self-denial are not Jewish ideals."
Steven Silbiger,
The Phenomenon of the Jews, 2000, p. 14-15

Forbes business magazine featured a story in 1999 about Rabbi Burton Visotzky, who teaches a monthly religious session to 20 powerful Jewish Manhattan businessmen. On the day the reporter attended, the subject of discussion was Genesis 12:10-20. In this part of the Torah, the reader finds the disturbing story of the Jewish patriarch Abraham, who pretends that his pretty wife, Sarah, is his sister so that he may both protect himself and sell her to the Egyptian Pharaoh. (She was, in fact, however incestuous, his half-sister.) [Smith/Hoffman, What the Bible Really Says, 1989, p. 138]
"This ploy," notes the Forbes reporter, "will not only save his life but also allow him to turn a profit on her sale. Less delicately put, Abraham becomes Sarah's pimp." [LEE, S., 11-10-99] After Abraham reaps payment, God punishes Pharaoh by cursing his land with the plague. The Egyptian leader returns Sarah to Abraham and bans them from his land. "Payoff time again for Abraham," notes the reporter, " -- Pharaoh pays him hush money." [LEE, S., 11-10-99]  Rabbi Visotzky then explained for Forbes the essence, as he saw it, to the biblical tale, quoting a lawyer in his study group who suggested that, "Morality aside, you may not like it, but by the end of the chapter -- let's face it -- Abraham is talking one-on-one with the head of state and he's earned start up costs." Visotzky then adds: "This is what it means to be a small and embattled people who are going to survive at any cost. The only thing that matters is the bottom line."
Sarah Lee,
Bringing Religion to the Boardroom, Forbes, November 10, 1999

Intermarriage and Impurity in Ancient Jewish Sources
Harvard Theological Review
, January 1999
"In this paper, I argue that an alleged Gentile ritual impurity communicated by physical contact to the Israelite partner is not the rationale for restrictions on intermarriage in the biblical, Second Temple, and rabbinic periods. My discussion will focus on key Second Temple sources, specifically 4QMMT as illuminated by the book of Ezra and the book of Jubilees. I will show that in these three works, the underlying rationale for a ban on interethnic sexual unions is not the fear of contracting ritual impurity from a Gentile, but rather the fear of profaning the holy seed of Israel--an entirely distinct concern unconnected with an alleged principle of Gentile ritual impurity."

[The Threat of Jewish Fundamentalism]

(an email exchange at another web site, featuring Israel Shahak, the
former head the Israel Civil Rights Association)

Israel Shahak. The Guardian [Great Britain], July 6, 2001
"Israel Shahak, who has died aged 68 from complications caused by diabetes, was for 25 years a highly popular professor of organic chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But during the same period, Shahak, an old-fashioned liberal, was also chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights. As such he was accused of being an 'Israel hater,' was spat at in the streets, and received constant death threats. Shahak was the youngest child of a prosperous, cultured Polish Jewish family; when, during the wartime Nazi occupation of Poland ... After Israeli army service in an elite regiment, he became an assistant to Ernest Bergmann, the head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission ... . Shortly after the l967 six-day war, he concluded from observation that Israel was not yet a democracy; it was treating the newly occupied Palestinians with shocking brutality. For the next three decades, he spent all his spare time on attempts to change this ... . He contributed to various small leftwing papers, but when this proved to have little impact, he decided to alert journalists, academics and human rights campaigners abroad. From his small, bare West Jerusalem flat poured forth reports with titles such as Torture in Israel, and Collective Punishment in the West Bank. Based exclusively on mainstream Israeli sources, all were painstakingly translated into English ... Shahak came to believe that these human rights incidents stemmed from Israel's religious interpretation of Jewish history, which led it to ignore centuries of Arab life in the country, and to disregard non-Jewish rights. Confiscation, every schoolchild was told, was 'the redemption of the land' from those who did not belong there. To Shahak, this was straightforward racism, damaging both sides. It was a minority view, but after the 1982 war, when the Israeli liberal sector grew, Shahak was able to put it forward in the reputable daily Ha'aretz."

Subject: Michael Samuel Reports on Media Black Out: Quebec Government Funds Racist Jewish Cult That Claims All Chrisitans and Muslims are 'Evil.'
Moslem Students' Association.
October 16, 1999
"My name is Michael Samuel. I am a former professor in the Judaic studies department of Concordia University, Montreal, and I have a question for you: What would you do if a racist cult tried to build its headquarters in your neighborhood? What if the cult targeted specifically young people, teaching them that all Christians and Muslims are:- 1. evil, Satanic creatures from birth (making all Gentile babies "little demons"); 2. no better than worms; 3. not really living beings at all, but already 'dead;' 4. all to be forcibly converted or subjugated by the 'Messiah,' whose arrival it is their sacred duty to hasten. These are just some of the racist teachings of the fanatical messianic cult named 'Chabad-Lubavitch.' This cult, masquerading as 'authentic Judaism,' has been promised nearly one million dollars in funding by the government of Premier Lucien Bouchard of Quebec in order to build its new religious complex in Cote St. Luc, Montreal. Why should you care? Because Chabad-Lubavitch is not just our problem, it may be yours as well. It is an extremely powerful, worldwide organization. Its power has until now intimidated the media, who are afraid to expose the evidence of racism produced here to the public, lest they be accused of anti-semitism." Chabad devotees include famed radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger and President George Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer.

An Unpardonable Attitude. [Jewish] Forward, February 23, 2001
"This conflict should sound familiar, in light of President Clinton's notorious last-minute pardon of four men from the New York village of New Square. Their crime was bilking tens of millions of dollars from school-aid and other government funds. Their defense was that they did it not for personal gain but to help their community's children. They were just doing for their own. Some who denounced Mr. Clinton's pardon have themselves come under fire for implying that this kind of lawlessness is actually accepted behavior in certain parts of the Jewish community. Well, of course it is. This is a very old story. Ever since Emancipation some 200 years ago, the Jewish world has been divided between those who want the outside world to accept us and those who do not care if it does but are happy to take what that world has to offer, as long as no strings are attached ... In most circles, however, crime is considered an assault on the social order. People who are caught at it are at least supposed to pretend to be embarrassed. By contrast, those who bilk the government to benefit their own seem to consider what they do not a crime but a species of virtue. In their view, the children are 'us.' The government is 'them' ... The Diaspora analogue of this gall is the by now proverbial practice of welcoming convicted felons back to synagogue with ovations and honors."

The Future of American Jewish Orthodoxy, by Jonathan Sarna.
[Jewish Family and Life!], Februrary 2001.
"American Orthodoxy is currently mired in several ugly scandals that have undermined the credibility of some of its foremost lay and professional leaders. The mystery surrounding missing tape recordings of Rabbi Soloveitchik's lectures has already tarnished several reputations. Meanwhile, the far more serious scandal surrounding the alleged sexual misdeeds of a charismatic figure in the National Council of Synagogue Youth along with the alleged widespread cover-up that allowed him to maintain his job for years, accusations against him notwithstanding, threaten the credibility of the entire Orthodox Union."

Book Review. Jewish Fundamentalism, by Allan C. Brownfeld.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
. March 2000
"The adherents of Jewish fundamentalism in Israel oppose equality for all citizens, especially non-Jews ... The value of the [Jewish] religion, at least in its Orthodox and nationalistic form that prevails in Israel, cannot be squared with democratic values ... Rabbi Kook the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism, says 'the difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews -- all of them in all different levels -- is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.'"

Extremism in Israel is Fueled by a Growing Ultra-Orthodox Movement in the U.S.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Jan/Feb 2001
"In the years since the end of World War II, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has seen dramatic growth in the U.S. and has been influential in fueling extremism and terrorism in Israel ... As late as 1955, sociologist Marshall Sklare dismissed the Orthodox experience in the U.S. as “a case study of institutional decay.” Now, we have witnessed an Orthodox renaissance. With less than 10 percent of the Jewish population, the Orthodox disproportionately affect the larger community."

Working With Words of Torah, by Jane Rachel Litman.
Shma (Jewish Family and Life!), April 2001
"The background sound in the small library is muted but intense. Pairs of scholars lean over their talmudic texts whispering energetically, trying to puzzle out the meaning of the particular sugya, passage. The teacher directs them back toward the group and asks for questions. One student raises a hand: "I don't understand verse 5:4 of the tractate Niddah. What does the phrase 'it is like a finger in the eye' mean?' The teacher responds, 'This refers to the hymen of a girl younger than three years old. The Sages believed that in the case of toddler rape, the hymen would fully grow back by the time the girl reached adulthood and married. Therefore, though violated, she would still technically be counted as a virgin and could marry a priest. It's an analogy: poking your finger in the eye is uncomfortable, but causes no lasting harm.' There is a collective gasp of breath among the students. Their dismay is palpable. They do not like this particular talmudic text or the men behind it. But its authors, the talmudic rabbis, hardly wrote it with this particular group of students in mind - mostly thirty- and forty-year-old women in suburban Philadelphia taking a four-week class titled 'Women in Jewish Law' at their Reform synagogue. The questioner persists, 'I don't understand. Are you saying this refers to the rape of a three year-old girl?' 'Or younger,' the teacher responds dryly. 'I don't see how it says anything about rape and hymens. You must be mistaken. I don't believe the rabbis are talking about rape at all. I think this statement has nothing to do with the rest of the passage.' The teacher (I'll admit now that it was me, a second-year rabbinic student) responds, 'Well, that's the common understanding. What do you think it means?' The woman is clearly agitated, 'I don't know, but I do know that it couldn't be about child rape.' This is week three of the class. The woman does not return for week four. Denial ... I find [Elizabeth Kubler] Ross's model helpful when addressing sacred Jewish texts that are violent or xenophobic, that speak of child abuse, human slavery, or homophobia with gross insensitivity. Like so many of my colleagues and students, I often drift confusedly through denial, anger, grief, rationalization (a form of bargaining); sometimes reaching acceptance, sometimes not."

Love Thy Neighbor. The Evolution of In-Group Morality,
Skeptic, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1995 [posted here at Stalking the Wild Taboo]
"The Sages were quite explicit about their view that non-Jews were not to be considered fully human. Whether referring to 'gentiles,' 'idolaters,' or 'heathens,' the biblical passage which reads 'And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God,' (Ezekiel 34:31; KJV) is augmented to read (italics in original): 'And ye my flock, the flock of my pastures, are men; only ye are designated 'men' (Baba Mezia 114b). Or: 'And ye My sheep the sheep of My pasture, are men; you are called men* but the idolaters are not called men." [Footnote in original: *…only an Israelite, who as a worshipper of the true God, can be said to have been like Adam, created in the image of God. Idol worshippers, having marred the Divine image, forfeit all claim to this appellation (Yebamoth 61a).]

Real Story of Purim Less Pleasant Than the One Taught in Sunday School,
[Jewish Telegraphic Agency], February 12, 2001
"'Be happy, it’s Adar,' the rabbis tell us. Yes, be happy. Unless you’re a goldfish, a Purim carnival prize, who finds himself swimming inside a sealed plastic bag, fated for a shortened life of cramped captivity and neglect. Yes, be happy. Unless you’re a woman, appalled by the unexpurgated story of the orphaned Esther, who is essentially sold down the Tigris River, not for the purpose of saving the Jews, as most people assume, but, rather, for fulfilling the king’s salacious desires. Yes, be happy. Unless you’re a parent wondering how to approach this tale of sexual subjugation and political savagery – and whether to costume your child as a concubine, a misogynistic and murderous king, an ambitious sycophant or a genocidal despot. In the sanitized, Sunday school version of Purim, Mordechai enters his cousin Esther in a beauty contest, organized for the purpose of selecting the next queen of Persia. But, in truth, the voiceless, virginal Esther is delivered, by whom we’re not told, to the king’s harem. There she spends a year, 'six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and feminine cosmetics' (The Book of Esther 2:12), under the tutelage of seven count-appointed handmaidens, preparing for a sexual liaison with Ahasuerus."

Orthodox-Bashing in the Israeli Press, by Harold Faneman.
Jerusalem Letter
, February 4, 1998
"As documented in a widely read book (Millim Mesugalos Lirzo'ach ['Words Can Kill'] -- Manof, l995), mass circulation newspapers display caricatures depicting religious Jews and rabbis in a manner indistinguishable from the cartoons in Hitler's Der Sturmer, Stalin's Pravda, and the Syrian and Egyptian press. Nearly every radio and television discussion about religion is biased against religion. Interviewers ask loaded questions and react with unconcealed sarcasm to an interviewee who dares defend Judaism. Broadcasters never miss an opportunity to vilify religious Jews ... ... The Jerusalem Report some months ago ago carried an article by Zev Chafetz attacking Torah as nothing but 'a scientifically based doctrine of racial purity' lacking any moral message and something to be 'ashamed' of. An op-ed writer in The Jerusalem Post wrote that Torah learning is "intellectual mud," and those who practice it are 'primitives' ... [Pioneer Israeli poet and Zionist] Bialik is reported to have been pleased by the first Jewish thief in Tel Aviv. 'Now,' he said, 'we are a nation like all others.' Would he have been pleased by the sight of Jewish anti-Semitism?"

The Cost of Worship. Tattoo Jew: The Online Magazine for Jews with an Attitude
"Non-Jews who have overheard me in conversation about the fees involved in obtaining tickets for Jewish holiday services have expressed confusion at the very existence of fee schedules and entrance tickets."

To Some Jews, Faith Means Lox, Bagels and Seinfeld.
New York Observer
, November 8, 1999
"In September, I had an argument with my wife about Judaism. During the high holidays, I feel the need to go to synagogue, but attendance is limited. You must have a ticket to get in, usually a color-coded one, and if you don’t you must either steal in, or wait on a line for the ticketless, maybe get in late, or attend an off-hours 'community' service. And my non-Jewish wife said this year, as she has said before, 'I can’t believe that you sell your high holidays.' 'Christians favor the wealthy, too,' I said. 'True, but we stopped selling pews around Edith Wharton’s time,' she said, and you really do see homeless people in the front row at Christmas. I couldn’t counter her point on religious grounds. Here you are going to the most solemn service in the Jewish calendar, to stand before God and atone for sins, and you are being excluded on an economic basis, or worrying that you did not spend $250, or fretting (as my sister did) that she was in the place reserved for congregation members. Not very spiritual thoughts."

Is Eruv Proliferation a Real-Estate Scam? Ukrainian Archives, July 2001
Lubomyr Prytulak's brilliant analysis of the absurd hypocrisies of the eruv system: an attempt by Orthodox Jews to circumvent the unrealistic dictates of their religion.

Eruv Awakening. Phoenix New Times. May 5, 1996
"Although the Phoenix eruv has been in the works for more than a year ... there hasn't been a word about it in the local press ... Why such secrecy over what gentiles -- and even non-Orthodox Jews -- would view as an imaginary boundary?"

Dispute Over Eruv Divides Tenafly. The Record [Bergen, NJ], May 20, 2001
"We shouldn't have things like this in the 21st century," said Penelope Young, a retired school teacher who has lived in Tenafly for 25 years. "It sets them [Orthodox Jews] apart as being different and special in a country where we are supposed to be getting along and blending together. They aren't different. They are part of the citizenry."

Court Okays Jewish Ritual. The Gazette (Montreal), June 22, 2001
"A judge's ruling allowing Orthodox Jews in Outremont to string symbolic fishing line around their homes has angered some of their neighbours. Several Outremont residents who were at the Montreal courthouse yesterday as Quebec Superior Court Justice Allan Hilton read his decision said Orthodox Jews don't respect other citizens and don't deserve privileges."

An Artist Suggests 'New Meaning.'
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
. May 25, 2001
"[Ruth Weisberg, the Dean of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California] advises graduates to look at art and spirituality in new ways, by offering a new perspective on the contributions and importance of art within Judaism, presenting a stronger interconnection between art and the study of the Torah ... [Weisberg's] presence symbolizes the desire of the [Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion] to bring the world of Judaism and creative art expression together for the benefit of Jewish religious and community life."

Wedding Disaster Rabbi: God Punished the Dancers.
[Israeli newspaper] June 1, 2001
"The rabbi who performed the marriage ceremonies at the Versailles wedding hall [where over 20 people were killed in Jerusalem] earlier this month claimed that the floor collapsed under the dancers because the Bible forbids unmarried couples from dancing together, on pain of death ... [Rabbi Reuven Levy said that] 'all mixed dancing is incest, according to the Bible.'"

Continuing Turn to Tradition, Reform Set to Approve Conversion Guidelines.
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency), June 19, 2001
" In another break with its past, the Reform movement is poised to adopt new guidelines that endorse traditional rituals for people converting to Judaism. Two years after the Central Conference of American Rabbis' 'Statement of Principles' reversed the historic 1885 Pittsburgh Platform — a strident rejection of tradition and ritual — the Reform group is expected to overturn an 1893 resolution that described conversion rituals as unnecessary and meaningless."

Son of Wall Street Legend Shuns Finance for Religion.
Yahoo Finance
[from Reuters], June 28, 2001
"Roy R. Neuberger made a name for himself as a legendary investor in value stocks and a keen observer of the market. But for his son and namesake, Roy S. Neuberger, the path to personal fulfillment has led him far from the world of high finance. Instead of Wall Street, the son has made the spiritual life as an Orthodox Jew his primary focus."

Chief Rabbi Gives Religious Backing to Assassinations. Haaretz [Israeli newspaper], July 27, 2001
"Israel's practice of killing Palestinian militants has the full backing of Jewish religious law, according to a statement made yesterday by Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. Quoting ancient sages and Biblical passages, Lau explained that Israel is now fighting a war of commandment, mandated by God. Lau referred to an oft-quoted Jewish precept, He who comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first."

The Immersing of Vessels in Mikvah
Congregation Agudas Israel Golf Manor Synagogue
, 2001
"According to Torah law, one is required to immerse vessels acquired from a non-Jew, that come into contact with food, in a mikveh, before they may be utilized. The following are some laws concerning this topic which may be more unfamiliar: 1. Only metal items (Toraitically) and glass items (Rabbinically) must be immersed ... 2. One may not use an item that requires immersion even one time ... 3. In the following cases, if one is in great need, he may give the vessel as a gift to a non-Jew and then borrow the vessel from him, which obviates the need for its immersion in a mikvah."

Who Is Shumuely Boteach? Slate, March 28, 2001
"To understand why Shmuley Boteach is one of the world's most prominent rabbis, you do not have to pore over learned Talmudic disputations (he isn't known for his erudition) or attend a Sabbath service (he hasn't led a congregation of his own for several years). You simply have to scan the dedication to one of his latest books, Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments. 'To Michael,' it reads, 'who taught me of humility.' Michael, of course, is none other than Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, and Boteach manages to slip references to their relationship into most of his interviews and writings. The rabbi is currently co-authoring a parenting book with the blanched superstar and sponsoring a Jackson-led charity dedicated, unbelievably enough, to ensuring that children receive appropriate amounts of affection. And just a few weeks ago, Boteach orchestrated one of the most bizarre coups in the annals of American pop-cultural imperialism, arranging for Jackson to speak at the Oxford Union, that university's august debating society. Shmuley—he is known universally by his first name—is the best-selling author of Kosher Sex and has marketed himself as a rabbi to the stars and an expert on Jewish attitudes toward relationships and marriage. ('Dr. Ruth with a yarmulke,' the Washington Post called him.) Despite Jackson's lesson in humility, he approaches self-promotion with religious fervor. As he told one reporter, his own Eleventh Commandment is 'Thou shalt do anything for publicity and recognition.'"

Berlin Declines to Define Who Qualifies as Jewish.
Philadelphia Inquirer
, August 30, 2001
"A half-century after the Holocaust, the German government has decided it does not want to make another attempt to identify who is Jewish - even though the head of the German Jewish community asked it to. Paul Spiegel, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, recommended this summer that the government stem the tide of Jewish emigres from the former Soviet Union by accepting only those with Jewish mothers or those who have officially converted. The outrage he provoked is still resounding. Israeli politicians accused him of fueling anti-Semitism. Liberal Jews accused him of bigotry. The German government thanked him for his thoughts but said no ... Germany's open door and generous benefits for Jewish immigrants have created massive identity problems: Nearly half the arrivals are not really Jewish, according to the halacha - the evolving body of Jewish law, which says that religion comes from the mother's side - and therefore they are unable to participate in formal religious life. Thousands of others have no connection to Judaism at all, having presented fake documents and phony history to claim eligibility for the social welfare ... 'The problem,' Rabbi [Walter] Rothschild said, 'is something we haven't had to cope with for hundreds of years. It's an advantage to be Jewish. So we don't trust the motives of the people who say they are.'"

Jewish Board to Consider Stunning of Animals, Before Ritual Knife Slaughter
, The Sunday Telegraph, May 20, 2001
"The Board of Deputies of British Jews has agreed with the RSPCA to examine ways of electronically stunning animals when they are slaughtered in accordance with Jewish tradition. Stunning animals using electricity causes them to lose consciousness immediately and stops them feeling any pain, but also stops the heart. Under Jewish tradition the animal must still have a beating heart when a knife enters the body, so that all the blood, seen as unclean, will be pumped from the body ... The last large scientific investigation into religious slaughter was carried out by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, an independent government advisory body, whose report, Welfare Of Livestock When Slaughtered By Religious Methods, was published in 1985. It concluded: 'The up-to-date scientific evidence available and our own observations leave no doubt in our minds that religious methods of slaughter, even when carried out under ideal conditions, must result in a degree of pain, suffering and distress that does not occur in the properly stunned animal.'"

A Feminist's Conflicts of Faith, Washington Post, Auguest 23, 2001
"[Helene] Aylon embarked on her three-decade career of turning out decidedly feminist and environmentally conscious works soon after the death of her husband, an Orthodox rabbi, whom she married at age 18. Beginning in the 1970s with pieces of art designed to change over time, Aylon moved to anti-nuclear and ecologically based works. In the '90s, she began a series of installations highlighting what she sees as Judaism's misogynistic edicts, earning her notoriety in the art world and within her faith. Over the years, those God-centric works have grown ever more personal. In 'My Bridal Chamber,' Aylon trots out juicy tidbits from her own marriage, and her participation in Jewish purity rituals, for all to see ... Another bit describes how a woman is 'unclean' for a week after giving birth to a boy, but for two full weeks if she's had a girl. According to Aylon, 'the Old Testament was a blueprint for abuse.'"

Feminist Rebbetzin Brings Mission to San Francisco, Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, November 23, 2001
"Some years ago, Rivkah Lubitch's daughter Re'ut asked a question that would change her mother's life. 'Mommy, why does God hate girls?' the 6-year-old asked. Lubitch, who considered herself a feminist, asked her daughter why she thought so. "Because the boys say the prayer thanking God for not making them women," Re'ut replied. 'For all the feminist awareness I was trying to teach her, it hadn't changed a thing,' said Lubitch. 'We were facing the same problems. That was my first push into doing something'."

In Memory of the Sexually Mutilated Child, sexualitymutilatedchild.org
Jewish tradition demands that a male child be circumcised within 8 days of his birth. This web site addresses the sexual mutilation of children in various cultures. The text strongly argues against such practices and includes discussions of the Jewish tradition.

About Kashrus and Supervision (Wine), Kosher Living
"The production and handling of kosher wine must be done exclusively by Jews. Wine, grape juice, and all products containing wine or grape juice must remain solely in Jewish hands during the manufacturing process and also after the seal of the bottle has been opened. We are not allowed to drink any wine or grape juice, or any drink containing wine or grape juice, which has been touched by a non-Jew after the seal of the bottle has been opened."

God Is a Killer, by Shelby Sherman, [citations from the Torah/Old Testament]
"It looks pretty plain to me that the Jehovah God is really Jehovah War God who likes to childishly parade his power before the masses and destroy those who don't like his totalitarian regime. Jehovah is the God of Evil, many more times worse than any Satan we can conceive of. TOTAL BODY COUNT (from known numbers): 314,637. This does not include the general body counts given in 'whole cities slain' figures such as in Num. 21:25, Deut. 2:19-21, and Joshua 10. These may indeed boost the total figures to over six million. As they stand, the 300,000+ is well over the U.S. body count of the Viet Nam war."

The Chabad Lubavitcher Organization
Links to information about this very influential Ultra-Orthodox group.

Jewish Women Are Still Treated as Inferior, Study Says,
Independent [London], January 21, 2002
"The Jewish faith treats women as second-class citizens and alienates those in Orthodox communities, a report released yesterday says. The report, based on research carried out in London over the past two years, comes seven years after the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, recommended sweeping changes to social rules governing women. The aim of the reforms was to make women feel more involved in synagogues and religious life. Dr Sacks particularly wanted to reform the Jewish system of religious divorce, or 'get,' which has been a vexed issue in Orthodox communities. Although the report says the issue is now on the agenda, there has been little progress. Orthodox Jewish women denied a get by their husbands cannot remarry in a synagogue, while descendants from a second marriage are considered illegitimate for 10 generations."

Why Be Jewish? Tagar (a religious/Zionist group at Cleveland State University)
"Consider what [Jewish identity] you had and threw away! You were part of a people that was trampled upon, spat upon, burned and drowned, hanged and shot, gassed and buried alive. And then continued to live in spite of all these. You were part of a people that did not fall prey to the moral disasters of crime, immorality, and cultural anarchy, but created geniuses and men of morality and ethics. While others beat their wives, Jews respected them. While others rolled in the gutter drunk with whiskey, the Jew raised his Kiddish cup to G-d. While others dabbled at Inquisitions and conquests, the Jew bent over his Talmud and created warmth, kindness, and scholarship. While others worshiped idols, the Jew embraced the One G-d. In a sense, you have no right to run because you owe an obligation to the unborn child who will someday come from you, to remain with his people - the people of his grandparents and great-grandparents and ancestors. ... [T]he Jewish people is bound together by common destiny, and that this imposes upon each one an obligation to love and rush to the aid of each and every other Jew; that the Jew has no permanent allies except his own people; that the Jew, Jewish problems come first; that we measure our responses by the yardstick; Is it good and right for the Jew?"

Bible Teaches Inclusion, Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, April 330, 1994
"Piety and morality diverged once again when Rabbi Hertz Frankel, the English studies principal of Beth Rachel, a network of Satmar girls' schools in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, recently pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $6 million in public funds for his employer. Frankel is unrepentant. 'The end justifies the means,' he told the New York Times. Apparently he believes the Jewish children in his care are more deserving of the money than non-Jewish children ... The Jewish people are 'particularly beloved,' says the Talmud, because God gave them mitzvot (commandments), tefillin on their heads and arms, fringes (tzizit) on their clothes and a mezuzah on their doorposts. The Talmud offers the view of Rabbi Meir that a Jew ought to offer God at least 100 blessings each day. The chosenness of Israel expresses itself in acts of self-transcendence. The underside to this sense of chosenness is an inclination to dichotomize the world between 'them' and 'us.' Categories of people are set apart by the fact that God has assigned them far fewer mitzvot to keep. Three of those 100 blessings praise God for 'not having made me a gentile,' 'for not having made me a woman' and 'for not having made me a slave.' No matter the original intent, specialness slips easily into denigration of the other, chosenness into contempt. For this reason, the prayer books of the Conservative [Judaism] movement long ago formulated each of these blessings positively. We need not define our identity versus any other group, especially non-Jews. Sadly, a low estimate of non-Jews pervades much rabbinic literature. The Mishna admonishes Jews not to leave their animals unattended at the inn of a gentile, because gentiles are suspected of engaging in bestiality. Gentiles are described also as liable to rape and murder, so that a lonely Jew should avoid their company. This xenophobia contaminates one of the finest expressions of universalism in the Mishna. Prior to testifying in a capital case, witnesses are warned of the consequences of their words. 'Anyone who saves a single person is credited with having saved the entire human race' (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:4). Regretfully, in some manuscripts and printed texts the word 'person' is replaced by the word 'Jew.'"

Dictionary of Key Words and Phrases. A Yiddish/Hebrew Refresher Course,
"goy (pl. goyim) -- non-Jew. It's best for non-Jews to use only the plural, if at all, since the singular has been so commonly used in a derogatory way. The words 'gentile' or 'non-Jew' are safer."

Rabbi Ruling Outrages Israeli Women, BBC News, February 26, 1998
"Women in Israel have reacted with outrage to a rabbinical ruling that an ultra-orthodox man must divorce his wife who was raped. In an unusual case, the man, who wants to remain with his wife and their nine children, was told that he must seek a divorce because he had failed to utter the necessary words that would have allowed the couple to stay together. The ruling came a day after a Jewish court in a divorce case, ruled that married women must be home by midnight if their husbands complain about them staying out late ... The rape case has provoked fierce criticism from a large women's group which accused the Rabbis of 'adding insult to injury' in passing such a judgement. According to the national daily, Yediot Ahronot, the woman, who lives in an ultra-orthodox suburb of Tel Aviv, was returning from the mikvah, a ritual Jewish bath, when she was raped by three men. She told her husband. He bears the last name Cohen, meaning he's a descendent of the Jewish temple priests, and unlike other Jews, has to divorce his wife if she has been raped. In practice cases like this rarely do end in divorce because Jewish law has left a loophole: the man can deny the rape by pronouncing 'I don't believe you'. But in this case the husband failed to do so and consulted various Rabbis instead. He and his wife are now trying to find another Rabbi who will tell them they can stay married."

'Textual Activists' Unravel Seamy Side of Esther Scroll,
[Jewish] Forward, February 22, 2002
"After all, said this resident scholar
[Bonna Devora Haberman] in women's studies at Brandeis University, the Purim story as recounted in the Scroll of Esther is in many ways a story of sex and violence, a tale of how men of power use the currency of the female body to achieve their goals ... Say hello to the seamy underbelly of Purim, the holiday that this year falls on Monday night and Tuesday, and on which Jews celebrate how an orphan named Esther — under the tutelage of her uncle Mordechai — wins a place in the heart of the Persian monarch Ahasuerus and outwits Haman, the king's evil right-hand man, to save the Jewish people from certain annihilation. Or so goes the sanitized version of the holiday that has traditionally been taught in schools and synagogues. Now, however, more and more scholars and activists are dipping into the holiday's darker side — filled with deception, murder and subjugation — as a way of connecting the festival to campaigns of social justice and of attracting unaffiliated Jews who may not be interested in synagogue, but are certainly interested in sex ... Details of the holiday that historically have been often glossed over include the denouement of the Scroll of Esther, when the Jews, whose very lives had been at stake, turn the tables, murdering 75,000 Persians."

Red-Heifer Days,
National Review, April 11, 2002
"So how does the [red] calf recently born in Israel figure into things? As [Israeli journalist Gershom] Gorenberg explains, the ashes of a flawless red heifer — an extremely rare creature — were required by the ancient Hebrews to purify worshipers who went into the Temple to pray. In modern times, rabbinical law forbids Jews from setting foot on the Temple Mount, thus violating the site where the Holy of Holies dwelled, until and unless they are ritually purified. Without a perfect red heifer to sacrifice, the Third Temple cannot be built, and Moshiach — the Messiah — will not come. Writes Gorenberg, '[Israeli] government officials and military leaders could only regard the requirement for the missing heifer as a stroke of sheer good fortune preventing conflict over the Mount [Muslims have the third holiest Islamic shrine there -- the Dome of the Rock] ... rabbis who have examined her have declared her ritually acceptable (though she will not be ready for sacrifice for three years). She arrives at a time when Israel is fighting a war for survival with the Palestinians, who are almost entirely Muslim, and a time in which Islam and the West appear to be girding for battle with each other, as Islamic tradition predicts will be the state of the world before the Final Judgment. 'These kinds of circumstances are exactly what people are waiting for,' says Richard Landes, a Boston University history professor and director of its Center for Millenial Studies. 'We could be starting a war. If this is a real red heifer, and strict Orthodox rabbis have declared her worthy of sacrifice, then a lot of Jews in Israel will take that as a sign that a new phase of history is about to begin. The Muslims are ready for jihad anyway, so if you have Jews up there doing sacrifices, talk about a red flag in front of a charging bull.' Landes says there is immense anger among Israelis, both religious and secular, at the ingratitude of Muslims, whom the conquering Israeli army allowed to occupy and control the Temple Mount in 1967. Add to this the fury of a nation under attack by Islamic suicide bombers, and, says Landes, 'it's entirely conceivable that this [red heifer] could trigger a new round of attempts to blow up the Dome of the Rock ... You don't have to believe that a rust-colored calf could bring about the end of the world — or that 72 black-eyed virgins await the pious Islamic suicide bomber in paradise — but there are many people who do, and are prepared to act on that belief.'"

Two Books Examine Scriptural Justifications for Slavery
Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2002
"As Stephen R. Haynes shows in Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (Oxford University Press), the finest theological minds in Dixie found plenty of scriptural justification for that 'peculiar institution' -- particularly in Genesis 9, where Ham comes upon his father, Noah, passed out and naked after a bout of drinking. He tells his brothers, who respectfully cover up the old man. Noah later curses Ham, condemning his descendants to eternal servitude. Mr. Haynes, an associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes College, in Memphis, says, 'My initial interest was to figure out how pro-slavery intellectuals -- well-educated, thoughtful people -- thought this was a compelling pro-slavery argument.' Many historians have assumed that the equation of 'the Hamites' with Africans was part of Southern folklore; any theologian citing it was presumably making a concession to the popular mind. 'But almost every pro-slavery tract mentioned the curse of Ham and took it very seriously,' Mr. Haynes notes." [i.e., this foundation of southern Christian justification for slavery can be found in the (Jewish) Torah/Old Testament]

Some troubling citations from the Torah, cited by Peter Myers

As the Rabbi. Circumcision
Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies
"According to Halacha (Jewish Law), a person is Jewish if his/her mother is Jewish or if he/she is converted to Judaism. As Matt Hershel wrote in his article on circumcision, 'Circumcision does not 'make' a person Jewish, for he is Jewish already by birth. The circumcision rather testifies that he who bears this sign sealed in his flesh is under the covenant... Through the covenant he is bound to all of the children of Israel, and through them to God.' The rite of circumcision is central in Judaism as circumcision is the sign of the covenant (Brit) between God and the Jewish people (Genesis 17,9-13). Accordingly, Jewish Law requests from every Jewish male to be circumcised. If he was not circumcised by his father when he was a child, then he is obligated to have himself circumcised as an adult (Shulhan Aruh, Yore Dea 261:1). The circumcision should be done by a Mohel who is experienced and knowledgeable in the procedure of the circumcision, and in the ceremony and blessings accompanying it. However the circumcision could be done by a physician if he is Jewish, and knows the special procedure of the circumcision and the required blessings (it cannot be merely a surgical procedure). It is recommended that a Rabbi be present. A circumcision performed as a surgery or by a gentile physician is valid only if a drop of blood is drawn afterward by a Mohel or a Rabbi."

Kosher Laws Unconstitutional,
New York Post, May 22, 2002
"A federal appeals court yesterday spat out New York State's kosher laws, saying they violate the constitution by using the state to promote religion."

Wishful Thinking About the Middle East, by Paul Gottfried,
lewrockwell.com, May 25, 2002
"I would stress the futility of trying to present Jews as Eastern European Unitarians who allegedly stumbled into ethnic nationalism because somebody tricked them into this position a few generations ago. Having lived most of my life among Jews, I must blink in disbelief when I hear Sheldon [Richman]or the American Council for Judaism describing most Jews throughout time as ethical universalists who would want no part of the supposed tribal narrowness represented by the Israeli right. As far as I can tell, the other kinds of Jews, the real ones, are highly noticeable and certainly could easily defend their sentiments by citing loads of rabbinic authorities going back thousands of years. In fact I’m at a loss to find what traditional Jewish sources the other side can muster to build its anti-Zionist version of Jewish religion. Please note that I have nothing against those who imagine that their Jewishness equates with ethical universalism and I would chose them socially and esthetically over most of the vocal Zionists I’ve known. Unfortunately their efforts to dissociate Jewish religion from Jewish nationalism are doomed to failure, because they are based on wishful thinking."

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