Tag Archives | Jews

The Blind Alley of J Street and Liberal American Zionism

J Street logoSince its founding six years ago, J Street has emerged as a major Jewish organization under the banner “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace.” By now J Street is able to be a partial counterweight to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The contrast between the two U.S. groups is sometimes stark. J Street applauds diplomacy with Iran, while AIPAC works to undermine it. J Street encourages U.S. support for “the peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while AIPAC opposes any meaningful Israeli concessions. In the pressure cooker of Washington politics, J Street’s emergence has been mostly positive. But what does its motto “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” really mean?

That question calls for grasping the context of Zionism among Jews in the United States — aspects of history, largely obscured and left to archives, that can shed light on J Street’s current political role. Extolling President Obama’s policies while urging him to intensify efforts to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the organization has staked out positions apt to sound humanistic and fresh.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Laozi, Nietzsche and Kropotkin: Are The Common People Good?

Pic: Hugh Rankin (PD)

Pic: Hugh Rankin (PD)

What say you, Disinfonaughts? Are the common people, and the uncivilized, good? Are they better off than those on high?

via Bao Pu 抱朴

I picked up Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals (1887) yesterday and found a passage which immediately made me think of Laozi. Here’s Nietzsche, writing about the origins of the concept of “good” :

… the judgment good does not originate with those to whom the good has been done. Rather it was the “good” themselves, that is to say the noble, mighty, highly placed, and high-minded who decreed themselves and their actions to be good, i.e., belonging to the highest rank, in contradistinction to all that wasbase, low-minded and plebian. It was only this pathos of distance that authorized them to create values and name them … Such an origin would suggest that there is no a priori necessity for associating the word good with altruistic deeds, as those [English] moral psychologists are fond of claiming.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

George W. Bush to Raise Money for Group That Converts Jews to Bring About Second Coming of Christ

ShapeUp

George W. Bush attempting to immanentize the eschaton?

via Mother Jones

The former president follows in the footsteps of Glenn Beck, who addressed the group last year.

Update (11/8/13):After this story published, the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute removed references to George W. Bush’s scheduled appearance from its website. But Freddy Ford, a spokesman for the former president, told Mother Jones on Friday afternoon that Bush’s plans “haven’t changed,” and he will appear at the event.

Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.

Messianic Jews have long been controversial for Jews of all major denominations, who object to their proselytizing efforts and their message that salvation by Jesus is consistent with Jewish theology.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

‘This Chicken is Gonna Die’: Kaparos Ritual Filmed in NYC

Leghorn_SaundersOur more sensitive readers may want to sit this one out.

Here’s footage of Kaparos, a controversial ritual performed by some Hasidic Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur. Kaparos is performed by swinging a chicken over the head of a participant three times and then ritually slaughtering the bird. The meat is then supposed to be donated to the poor to eat in a pre-fast meal. By doing so, the sins of the person under the chicken is supposedly transferred to the unfortunate hen.

What do you think, Disinfo readers? Can you really call this any more barbaric or cruel than industrial farming? If not, then is the rite any “weirder” than any other religious practice?

Via Animal New York. Read the rest

Continue Reading

Sex Manual for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Jewish Marriage“If you have never seen a movie or read a book, how are you supposed to know what you do?” asks David Ribner, an Orthodox sex therapist explaining the need for his new sex manual to BBC News:

Sex is a touchy subject – not least among Israel’s highly conservative ultra-Orthodox Jews. But a therapist in Jerusalem has written a sex guide aimed specifically at this community.

There used to be a sex shop on the way to Dr David Ribner’s office in central Jerusalem.

The sign is still there – with big red letters spelling out “Sex Shop, Sex, Love” – but you can barely read it because it’s been scratched out.

The shop went out of business. Now there’s just one sex shop left in Jerusalem. No surprise for a city brimming with the pious.

Things are quite different in Ribner’s discreet office. Here, there is a row of boxes packed with lubricants, vibrators and massage oils, and an unusual collection of books on the wall – The Joy of Sex and The Guide to Getting It On sit side by side with volumes of Jewish religious texts.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Christians Who Are More Jewish Than Jews

Cast of "The Sisterhood" (TLC)

In a New York Times article entitled “Oy Vey, Christian Soldiers,” Maud Newton describes the seemingly bizarre trend among certain Christians to give their kids Bar Mitzvahs and otherwise adopt Jewish religious practices:

Of all the surprises promised by the recent TLC reality show “The Sisterhood,” which followed the lives of five Atlanta preachers’ wives, the only one that truly amazed me was the Christian bar mitzvah, an event organized by Pastor Tara Lewis and her husband, Pastor Brian, for their son, Trevor. Brian was born to Jewish parents; Tara was not. Both are born-again Christians, and they’re of one mind about their son’s bar mitzvah as a Christ-centered take on the traditional Jewish coming-of-age ceremony.

In one episode of “The Sisterhood,” Brian and Tara plan the theme of the bar mitzvah cake. “How about Christ in the Torah?” Brian asks. “Amen,” Tara answers.

Their Jesus-fied version of the Jewish ritual is intended to celebrate both Trevor’s ethnic heritage through his father and, even more important, his spiritual identity through salvation.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

‘Lost Tribe’ Returns to Israel

Picture: Rachel-Esther (CC)

Dozens of the Bnei Menasche, a group of Indian Jews who claim to be the descendents of a lost Biblical tribe, arrived in Israel this week – and not everyone is happy:

Via Huffington Post:

The Bnei Menashe say they are descended from Jews banished from ancient Israel to India in the eighth century B.C. An Israeli chief rabbi recognized them as a lost tribe in 2005, and about 1,700 moved to Israel over the next two years before the government stopped giving them visas.

Israel recently reversed that policy, agreeing to let the remaining 7,200 Bnei Menashe immigrate.

Fifty-three arrived on a flight Monday. Michael Freund, an Israel-based activist on their behalf, said nearly 300 others will arrive in the coming weeks.

“After waiting for thousands of years, our dream came true,” said Lhing Lenchonz, 26, who arrived with her husband and 8-month-old daughter. “We are now in our land.”

Not all Israelis think Bnei Menashe qualify as Jews, and some suspect they are simply fleeing poverty in India.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Jew Or Not Jew?

Still available in the good ole USofA … Jessica Ravitz and Saskya Vandoorne report on a bizarre iPhone app for CNN:

“Jew or not Jew?”: That is just part of the question.

An iPhone app bearing this name has been yanked from Apple’s App Store in France amid threats of a lawsuit and demands for its removal.

jew or not jew

The app, still available elsewhere, pulls together a database of thousands of famous Jews – including movie stars, musicians, Nobel Prize winners and more – and offers insights into their backgrounds. Jewish mother? Jewish father? A convert? For $1.99 in the United States, app owners can know.

In an iTunes store description, it says: “Hey, did you know that Bob Dylan is Jewish? Of course I did! But was Marilyn Monroe really Jewish? And what about Harrison Ford? How many times have we had this conversation without being able to know for sure?

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Why Did the Nazis Film the Dying Jews of Warsaw?

unfinished filmSharon Waxman on her blog WaxWord:

In a French-themed café a block from the teeming beach, producer Noemi Schory explained why her new Holocaust documentary, “An Unfinished Film,” did not deserve the R rating that the MPAA handed down last week after a final appeal.

Yes, she said, the film has shocking images: corpses on the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto, starving children, a mass grave. And some nudity: naked men, and then women, entering a ritual bath.

It is a harsh film, even a brutal one. But it is also an historical document that until now has been unseen by the public, and whose purpose remains a mystery.

“I am upset about (the rating) theoretically, and practically this will create difficulties,” she said, ignoring an iced lemonade. “It puts up another obstacle to seeing it. “

With whichever rating, ‘An Unfinished Film’ is not a typical Holocaust documentary. Instead it investigates a mysterious Nazi movie production, a 30-day shoot inside the Warsaw Ghetto conducted by three Nazi film crews, shortly before it was liquidated in 1942.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Oliver Stone Infuriates The Jewish Media

Stone at the 66th Venice International Film Festival, 2009When will the media learn that certain moviemakers are habitual gadflies who can’t resist winding up journalists with some timely, controversial statements that will afford them way more publicity than the craziest Hollywood marketing budget could dream of? Oliver Stone, whose 10-hour television documentary “A Secret History of America” will air this year on Showtime, chose the British Sunday Times to launch his latest assault. The Times is a Murdoch rag that’s placed its content behind a pay wall. The National Post grabbed this excerpt:

The 10-part documentary [which Stone is planning] will address Stalin and Hitler “in context”, he says. “Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support.”

He also seeks to put his atrocities in proportion: “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30m.”

Why such a focus on the Holocaust then?

Read the rest

Continue Reading