Sunday, April 25, 2010

Concerning Rantrave and Jews Becoming Christian

In the last few weeks, I have been writing five articles a day for It has represented an opportunity to actually write professionally. Indyposted has a policy of claiming exclusive rights to all articles posted on their site. It is as much for my good as for theirs. I have no problem with it. Writing for them looks like a major step to writing professionally and deriving my entire income from it. I write about 35 articles a week for them.

I had been writing on and crossposting from and from During the last few weeks, my contributions have dropped off. This post will be the last one on for a long time, for reasons that I shall soon explain.

I am an orthodox Jew. I am also far from literate in Jewish subjects. I try to increase my knowledge and my observance from day to day.

A recent post on attracted over 50 comments. I did not see it, because I had been feverishly busy with writing and with personal matters, to the tune of almost 80 hours a week. The post dealt with Jews converting to Christianity, which it advocated with links to missionary videos. A lone dissenter, Markbyrn, advocated against converting to Christianity, and cited Jews For Judaism for an erudite rebuttal to Christians who want to convert Jews.

Late in the comment string the author asked me "Rudi,Any comment my brother?"

I must be frank. The thought of Jews converting to Christianity is as repugnant to me as suicide bombers in Israel targeting Jews. One attacks the body. The other targets the soul. There are those who would tolerate missionising as the price of political support for the state of Israel. The ancient prophets condemned the idea of relying on political alliances for national security. They advocated relying on G-d alone. I believe that in our time that this applies to turning a blind eye to missionaries converting Jews.

I support religious freedom for persecuted Christians because it is the righ thing to do. I have written more articles on this subject than anyone else on I also work with religious Christians on matters of common opinion such as fighting abortion and supporting government money to private schools.

A cardinal rule I follow in working with Christians is not to disparage their faith. I believe that their religion is man made. They believe my faith is false or incomplete. No one is kidding anyone. We work together and put our differences to the side.

But if you advocate the conversion of Jews to Christianity and then ask" Rudi,Any comment my brother? don't expect me to smile and act like we are takling about the best way to grill a steak. We are both talking about the difference between what is true and what is false.

I looked at the comment string. One guy who I once counted as a friend said "Sorry to bust your bubble OOTB. Christians are just another outside tribe to rule economically."

It hurt to read that. There are plenty of Jews who live close to or below the poverty line who would love to have the keys to the bank. The man from Cypress makes me feel right at home. We have people like that here in Brooklyn hawking Farrakhan's "Final Call" newspaper. Although it hurt to read that comment, at least it opened my eyes. The man from Cypress is at least honest. I wouldn't want to kick back and have a beer with him, but at least he says what he feels. That's better than being all warm and fuzzy and trying to convert ignorant Jews to Christianity.

I do not want to inadvertently help missionaries targeting Jews by adding to a comment string and keeping missionary propaganda on the front page for longer. Let those who advocate apostasy keep each other company.

Additionally, in every faith are the more and the less educated. I am less educated. I do not want to hand missionaries a victory by waging an inept defense of Judaism. This is a serious issue for me with high stakes. Aiding a Christian missionary in converting Jews (G-d forbid) would be as bad as shedding blood.

I will not be drawn into religious debates when I am putting in almost 80 hours a week on secular news articles. It would be like an 8th grade biology student doing brain surgery in a McDonald's rest room. The task is vitally important. It must be done properly. I share with my adversaries a belief in the hereafter. I 'm sure they know where I am coming from.

I will be taking a vacation from until further notice. I am resigning as an administrator although I will leave my articles up. I will remain an inactive member. recognising the legal right of missionaries to ply their trade does not mean that I must condone or aid them. If I am no longer posting on, my silence will not be construed as assent. A long hiatus is in order. I am grateful to rantrave and wish its owners success. I must say that I have learned some things about certain Quarters of the Christian right that perhaps I was trying to ignore. But I have always believed that getting bad news is always in reality good news, because it is an opportunity to deal with the truth. So thank you, Huey and Cypress. I know now where I stand. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kitty Kelley, Catty Kelley, What’s The Difference?

If I’m walking with a limp, it’s because my foot fell asleep when I read about Kitty Kelly’s unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey
. Nothing Kelly said really established any new, hard facts about Oprah. She certainly had a troubled childhood. I don’t doubt that she winces in shame at some of her personal memories. But it is established that she went to live with her father, who Kitty Kelly (not Catty Kelly) claims might not be Oprah’s real dad.

Big deal ! She did eventually straighten out her life. She became a living example that a person on a self destructive slide could reverse it.

Kelly also makes a big deal about confidentiality agreements signed by Winfrey’s employees. Who the hell cares? Would you want to have someone work in your home or in your office in your private moments and sell a story about you? I wouldn’t !

Oprah probably has an ego the size of Mississippi. There was the story about her (click here to read the rest of my story on Sphere: Related Content

Vicious Beating Outside Republican Fundraiser in New Orleans

An aide and chief campaign fund raiser to Governor Bobby Jindal named Allee Bautsch was seriously injured Tuesday night after a vicious beating left her with a broken leg and her boyfriend with a fractured nose and jaw. reports as follows on the attack.

“Bautsch suffered a broken leg and her boyfriend suffered a concussion and a fractured nose and jaw in the incident, which happened after a fund-raising event at Brennan’s Restaurant on behalf of the Louisiana Republican Party on Friday evening.

Jindal was at the fund-raising event at the restaurant, but was not present when the incident occurred.

Kyle Plotkin, a Jindal spokesman, said Bautsch had surgery during the weekend and is facing a recovery time of two to three months.”

Was the motive robbery? Was it (Click here to read the rest of my article on Sphere: Related Content

Oregon Worker Fired For Using Medical Marijuana

An Oregon worker, about to be tested for drugs at his work, informed his employer that he was using medical marijuana under Oregon’s laws permitting such use. His candor was to no avail. Neither was his permit from the State of Oregon. He was fired from his job. He appealed the termination in front of the Oregon Supreme Court and lost. Associated Press explained the ruling as follows.

“The court overturned a state Bureau of Labor and Industries decision in favor of a worker in Eugene who was fired after telling his boss he was using medical marijuana approved by his doctor before taking a drug test.

Anthony Scevers filed a discrimination claim against Emerald Steel Fabricators Inc., arguing the company failed to make a reasonable accommodation for a disability

But the majority, in an opinion by Justice Rives Kistler, supported the company’s argument that “state law does not require an employer to accommodate an employee’s use of marijuana to treat a disabling medical condition.” It added that “the federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits the possession of marijuana without regard to whether it is used for medicinal purposes.”

There are practical problems with allowing employees to be under the influence of medical marijuana. What if they are operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery? How does the use of medical marijuana affect the worker’s fulfillment of his or her job description? (Click here to read the rest of my article on Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

East German Woman Sues For Discrimination Against East Germans

An woman from Eastern Germany in what was once the German Democratic Republic applied for a job with a firm in the former East German city of Stuttgart has sued the company that rejected her. She bases her suit on grounds of ethnic discrimination, claiming that she was rejected for being from Eastern Germany. Der Spiegel reports as follows.

“Born in East Berlin, Gabriele S. secured an exit visa for West Germany in 1988 and has since lived in Stuttgart. In the summer of 2009, the 49-year-old applied for a job at a window manufacturer in the city. She failed to get the job and when her application was returned to her, as is customary in Germany, she found that someone had scribbled “Ossi” and a minus sign across her resume.

S. is now suing the company for discrimination, saying they rejected her based on her ethnic background. “What else can it mean?” she asked SPIEGEL. “Even the word ‘Ossi’ is not acceptable in this context.”

The company being sued is claiming that “East German” is not an ethnic identity, that the two Germanys were not separate long enough to evolve into two separate ethnicities.

There are in fact regional dialects within the former East. The Upper Saxon
dialect, for instance was (Click here to read the rest of my article on Sphere: Related Content

British Advertising Standards Authority “Western Wall is Not in Israel”

The British Advertising Standards Authority has lodged a protest against the Israelis for including a picture of the Western wall in a tourism advertisement. And why are they so upset? Because according to them, the Western Wall is not in Israel., quoting The Independent reported as follows.

”We told the Israeli Tourist Office not to imply that places in the Occupied Territories were part of the state of Israel,” ASA, which is a public organization but not government-funded, said in a statement.

It was not the first time the organization had been called upon by the British public to remove Israeli ads. One year ago ASA ordered the Israeli Tourism Ministry to remove posters displaying a map of Israel that included the West Bank and the Golan Heights within its borders from London’s Underground, after receiving 300 letters of protest.”

Let me get this straight. Shall we go back to the days when the Jordanians had set up urinals against the Western Wall, the days when Jewish tombstones were used to pave the streets? Shall we go back to the wonderful days of British rule when sounding the shofar at the Western Wall was forbidden by the British occupiers?

When they ran Palestine, there were bloody pogroms in Hebron, during which British troops stood by and did nothing. The 1929 Hebron pogrom was stopped after 3 days when British soldiers, thinking they were being fired upon then fired warning shots into the air. (Click here to read the rest of my article on Sphere: Related Content

“Birther” Lt. Col Terry Lakin Faces Court Martial

Lt. Col Terry Lakin, a decorated military veteran is facing court martial on charges of disobeying orders. The Daily News reports as follows.

“Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, a decorated military man
who has become a part of the fringe “birther” movement – which believes President Obama was not born in the United States – could face a dishonorable discharge for failing to obey orders, MSNBC reported on Tuesday.The 18-year veteran came out in support of the largely discredited conspiracy theorists at the end of March, proclaiming he would “disobey” his “illegal” orders to deploy.“

Refusing orders on the grounds claimed by Lakin is a recipe for chaos. Those who are “birthers”have a two fold task. One is to assemble hard evidence that Obama was born abroad. The other task is getting people to care. Until these conditions are met, the question of where Obama was born is moot.

There are many people who credibly oppose President Obama’s foreign policy and his economic policy. It is Click here for the rest of my article on Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Afghan Girl, 18 Killed Going To Work

An 18 Year old Afghan girl who was working for an American company in Afghanistan has been killed by a lone gunman. Breitbart News reports as follows.

“Afghanistan (AP) – A gunman lying in wait shot and killed an 18-year-old woman as she left her job at a U.S.-based development company Tuesday, casting a spotlight on a stepped-up campaign of Taliban intimidation against women in this southern city where U.S. troops plan a major operation in the coming weeks.

Although there was no claim of responsibility and police said the motive for the attack was unclear, Taliban militants have been particularly harsh with women who work for foreign organizations or attend school. Bands of thugs are increasingly harassing women who want jobs, education and their own style of clothing, women and aid workers say.”

There have been numerous incidents of afghan girls being attacked for simply going to school. Under Taliban rule, women were mostly banned from attending any sort of school. Women who worked were pushed out of jobs and forced to stay at home. A presumably unintended effect of Taliban rule was an increase in prostitution as women who were banned from working had no other sort of job prospects than prostitution. (Click here to read the rest of my article on Sphere: Related Content

Monday, April 12, 2010

10 2/3 to 32 For Lebovits in Molestation Case

A young man who was molested as a teenager has seen justice delivered in a Brooklyn courtroom. Baruch Lebovits, who wears the clothing of a rabbi had no visible reaction as The Honorable Patricia M. Di Mango sentenced him to 10 and 2/3 to 32 years in prison for 8 charges of child molestation. Yerachmiel Lopin of the Frum Follies blog reported as follows on his web site.

“Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the sentencing of Baruch Lebovits, to 10-and-two-thirds to 32 years in prison for sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy on eight occasions in 2004 and 2005.

On March 8, Lebovits was convicted of eight counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree, a Class-E Felony. Today he was sentenced to the maximum sentence on each count, one-and-a-third to four years, to run consecutively, for a total of 10-and-two-thirds to 32 years.

The victim knew Lebovits as a rabbi and prominent businessman in the Borough Park community, where they both lived.

Lebovits is also charged in two other cases of sexual assaults on minors. Those cases are pending.”

The Lebowits case is a landmark in the Orthodox Jewish world. For years, complaints of this nature were usually referred to religious tribunals. In another time, there would be one united rabbinical court in a city, with powers to levy punishment for criminal offenses. In modern times... Click here for the rest of the article on Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A look at Kyrgyz Popular Music

Up until now, the Kyrgyz Republic has been out of sight and out of mind. It is not a mini North Korea like Turkmenia with a personality cult. Although it has Uzbek and Russian minorities, it does not whip up ethnic hatred for them. But democracy has not come easily. Corruption has stunted the growth of democracy and taxed the patience of the 5.5 million people in this landlocked mountainous nation near China.

Although about 68% of its population is Muslim, the roots of Islam don't run so deep. A look at Kyrgyz music videos does not feature women wrapped in burlap burkas. The language is clearly of the Turkic family.

I checked out a music video of Mirbek Atabekov, a popular Kyrgyz singer. His music truly showcases the beauty of the Kyrgyz language. I wish such music would make the American top 40.

I also watched a video of a female vocalist named Kanykei, which I was able to gather is a Kyrgyz female first name that is not uncommon. she and her backup band are dressed in western attire. The song is titled in Kyrgyz using a Cyrillic based alphabet. She has a voice that belongs on prime time. Both she and Mirbek Atabekov are textbook illustrations of the vast beautiful world of music that Americans never think about.

As we hope and pray for peace in Kyrgyzia, we should check out the music as well.


video Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Grand And The Intimate

I was in Park Slope today with some of my children. Between stoop sales, flea markets and front step freebies we did OK. Then there was Barnes and Noble. When I speak to my children in Barnes and Noble, I can sometimes hear my father.

What brought back memories in Park Slope was seeing large churches. When I was a child, all the houses of worship were built for prayer. They were imposing, awe inspiring strutures with cavernous acoustics.

Most of the time, the houses of worship I go to are homes that have been converted to the use of a congregation. There is the occasional storefront. In Israel I prayed in bomb shelters. The place I go to on Shabbos has the neat austerity of an Israeli shtiebel. It is a basement, in which one's eyes are drawn upward. Daylight and fleeting drafts of air arrive on the heels of arriving congregants.

There are still a couple of huge synagogues that I like to go to occasionally. Interspersing the shtiebel with the large synagogue puts me in touch with feelings of awe and trepidation alternating with familial intimacy. The grand structures alternating in my life with the cozy and familiar remind me of the different facets of spiritual experience, of communing with a hidden yet intimate G-d. I notice the same spectrum of the grand and the familiar in the architecture of other faiths, in which homes and storefronts are adapted to worship.

The suburbs do not offer this spectrum of the grand and the intimate, the imminent and the transcendent. I feel as though the architecture of worship expresses these aspects of religious experience, giving tangible form to truths I feel but find difficult to articulate. The skyline has spoken. Sphere: Related Content