Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Wages Of Sin Is Death

Sleaze Sex Paperback Authors: How They Died

Lynn Munroe writes:

Bill Knoles, who loved parties and people, was alone. Bill Knoles, who hated the cold, was alone on Cape Cod, freezing in December. Sometime on December 20, William Henley Knoles put his pocket money and Social Security card on a table. He took a warm bath. In the bathtub he slashed his throat open with a razor blade. He bled to death.

Miriam Linna writes:

Ron [Haydock] was last seen alive on August 12, 1977. He met that day with [Ray Dennis] Steckler, who had relocated his film operations to Las Vegas. Ray recalls Ron being obnoxious and out-of-control. When he drove him to the airport, he assumed Ron would fly back to Hollywood. Instead, disoriented and wobbling, he began hitchhiking home. He was struck in the wee hours by a semi truck, and was killed instantly.

Brittany A. Daley writes:

Gene Bilbrew [African-American]...[was] reputed to have had an an insatiable appetite for drugs and alcohol, and a penchant for white women... By 1974, Bilbew was so destitute that he was living in the back room of one of Eddy Mishkin's porn stores. He was still doing artwork... Bilbrew died of a drug the age of 51.

Calling All Asiatics

More and more what I hear is that I need a Chinese wife.

Marc Ballon Equals Suck-up Dullard

Whenever I read the name "Marc Ballon" next to an article in the Jewish Journal, I know that the combination of the particular writer and paper is going to result in the opposite of the qualities he ascribes to socialist comic Lewis Black in the 1/28/05 issue: "...[R]azor-sharp tongue and ever sharper social and political observations."

I read through his entire Q&A with Black because I am a masochist. A few months ago, I read Ballon's cover story on Black with the vague hope that Ballon would relay one funny joke or anecdote, or, at the least, a well-turned paragraph. I hoped in vain.

In Black's latest interview with Ballon, he displays his "even sharper social and political observations" with pithy insights such as this one on the last presidential election: "You had a guy who went to war running against a guy who voted for war. You had no choice."

I assume Black meant Kerry as the guy who went to war and Bush as the guy who allegedly voted for war, but who knows? It could just as easily be the other way round.

Only the lame-brains at the Journal regard these as sharp political observations.

The paper has never encountered a celebrity or leftist activist it hasn't salivated over (though, to be fair, it has never encountered a rabbo who didn't sexually molest people that it didn't salivate over either).

Out of the Journal's many boring cover stories, I believe that this one by Ballon wins first prize: "Federation Faces Underfunded Pension."

A few months ago, Journal editor Rob Eshman told me: "I think Marc Ballon, our senior writer, who was 10 years at Forbes and The LA Times, is terrific."

One reason I thanked God that the Los Angeles Dodgers traded first baseman Shawn Green to the Arizona Razorbacks a few weeks is my anticipation that I would no longer have to read any more adulatory articles about Green in the Journal. Unfortunately, since the trade, I've suffered through one long Journal article on Shawn and a repetitive letter to the editor.

Saying goodbye can be hard, which is why I am compelled to pick up the Journal every Friday after 12 years of steady, though frequently unhappy, reading.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Book Sales For December

XXX-Communicated: 4
Yesterday's News Tomorrow: 6
The Producers: 1

To deal with his son’s death, father writes Orthodox westerns

Penny Schwartz writes for JTA:

BOSTON, Jan. 26 (JTA) — Can you image an Orthodox Bar Mitzvah celebrated in the Arizona desert soon after the Civil War, with a guest list that includes Apache warriors, gun-slinging outlaws and a minyan imported from Tombstone?
Robert Avrech did.
Avrech, 57, a Hollywood screenwriter, wrote his latest novel, “The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden,” in memory of his son Ariel, a 22-year-old rabbinical student who died of cancer a few years ago.

Wendy Shalit Says Authors Tova Mirvis, Nathan Englander, Jonathan Rosen Don't Get Orthodox Judaism

Wendy Shalit (author of A RETURN TO MODESTY: Discovering the Lost Virtue) writes in The New York Times:

Authors who have renounced Orthodox Judaism -- or those who were never really exposed to it to begin with -- have often portrayed deeply observant Jews in an unflattering or ridiculous light. Admittedly, some of this has produced first-rate literature or, at the least, great entertainment, but it has left many people thinking traditional Jews actually live like Tevye in the musical ''Fiddler on the Roof'' or, at the opposite extreme, like the violent, vicious rabbi in Henry Roth's novel ''Call It Sleep.'' Not long ago, I did too.

Wendy implicitly says she understands Orthodox Judaism better than such authors as Tova Mirvis, Nathan Englander and Jonathan Rosen and that she sees Orthodox Judaism as something wonderful.
This is an interesting claim, one common with converts to a cause (I felt similarly during my early years in Judaism). I suspect that Englander and Mirvis have spent more years in Orthodox Judaism and have deeper learning in Jewish text than Wendy as they were raised in Orthodox Judaism and given a day-school education in that faith (and consequently must be literate in Hebrew). Mirvis still belongs to an Orthodox Judaism. I think she has been Orthodox all her life. Who is Wendy to say, on the basis of six years of observance and study of Orthodox Judaism, that she knows better than someone who has spent a lifetime in the faith?
Three generations ago, most Jews in the world were Orthodox. Now they are not. As soon as Jews had a choice to leave Orthodox Judaism, most of them did. They did so for rational reasons. They may have been wrong. They may have betrayed their God and their heritage. But they acted, in part, out of the reasons Shalit ridicules in her essay.
The Forward will publish a response to Shalit's essay in its next issue.
Forward literary editor Alana Newhouse replies to my email:

Ruchama King and Risa Miller are good writers, but, based on artistic merit alone, they are not in the same league as Englander, Rosen, Mirvis and Reich. So what Shalit is essentially asking us to do is to lower our artistic standards in order to
accomodate a better message, which feels rather Soviet to me; as someone who values art, I simply can't countenance that. Moreover, Shalit criticizes those writers for not giving Orthodoxy its due but it is she who underestimates it, by presenting it as so fragile that it cannot withstand criticism. Those of us who truly know Orthodoxy -- yes, even those of us who may have at one time or another strayed from it -- understand that it is held up by a much stronger foundation than she allows, one based on intellectual, emotional and social legitimacy. What I think may be at work here is a bit of misplaced jeaolusy: Shalit, who came to Orthodoxy later in life and probably had to undergo a good deal of personal change and intellectual
work to join it, is envious of those of us who had it all along. She cannot fathom how anyone could take for granted what she labored so hard to acquire; then, on top of "abandoning" it, these writers went and criticized it, which must feel like just too much ingratitude for her to tolerate. But, like your friend with the fabulous family that you would have given anything to trade for your own, these authors have the right to their experiences as well. That they could make from them art that
is, by the highest standards, both good and important, is a blessing to readers and, dare I say, a gift from God.

Miriam comments.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Running Out Of Steam

amalek: I love the way Dick Cheney dressed for the occasion.
amalek: I guess they just don't love the Jews as much as the Jews want to be loved.
amalek: Didn't you already run that stuff before? Years ago?
Luke: sorta
amalek: I understand. Running out of steam. It happens in your late thirties.
amalek: You need to try something else.
amalek: I don't think accusing rabbis of incest has legs.
amalek: Unless you got hard evidence.
amalek: I GOT IT!
amalek: You should go undercover in a yeshiva as a yeshiva bachur.
amalek: Let us know what really goes on there.
amalek: Any Jewish hotties knocking to get into your van?

Incest In Shul

From the Jewish Journal:

When you go to the synagogue, you just might be sitting next to someone who sexually abused his daughter. You might be shaking his hand, admiring his charming demeanor, thinking how lucky his family is to have him. I should know. People sit next to my father all the time. Not only that, they make sure to tell me about it.

Another Reason Why I Read Amy Klein And The Jewish Journal

For their startling insights:

But the truth is, no matter where you send your child to school, they are not immune to the problems of the outside world: Drugs, drinking, sex and worse.
Pretending something isn't a problem doesn't make it go away.
Drugs? They are in our backyard. But they don't have to be.

Keep telling it like it is, Amy.
On cold rainy days like today, I like to curl up in the fetal position on my floor, and feel safe that Amy knows what ails our little world and how to fix it.

Striking Out With Holocaust Chic

Heartened by the onrushing of Shabbos, I worked up the courage Friday afternoon to ask out a Jewish woman to a screening of Hotel Rwanda. I felt that as Jews it was particularly incumbent upon us to say never again to genocide.
She didn't want to go to the film. She didn't want to see any genocide movies with me.
I asked her how she observed Thursday, the 60th anniversary of the freeing of Auschwitz. She said nothing. So I told her this amusing story about a guy named Fred who felt like he couldn't cheat on his fiance Judy because her parents were Auschwitz survivors.
She didn't laugh.
I asked her if she wanted to see Sideways. She said it was lame.
I would've asked her to Million Dollar Baby, but Michael Medved says that movie promotes mercy killing, and that's bad.
So I wished her gut Shabbos.

Dennis Prager To Discourse On Deep Throat

WHAT: A special evening of "INSIDE Deep Throat," starting with a screening of the new hit documentary that was the talk of Sundance from Academy Award(R)-winning producer Brian Grazer and acclaimed writers/producers/directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato ("The Eyes of Tammy Faye," "Monica in Black and White"), followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Peter Bart with panelists Arianna Huffington, Lawrence O'Donnell, Dennis Prager and Richard Schickel.

Inside Deep Throat opens in select theaters around the country on Friday, February 11, 2005.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Kellie Everts - Stripper For Christ

Josh Alan Friedman writes in When Sex Was Dirty:

Having self-published eight books on mystical theology ($10 a pop, mail order), Kellie has been waiting to engage Father Michael's opinion on them.

Kellie attends Mass twice a day and is sometimes the only worshipper present for the second one. She often donates part of her hefty burlesque salary to local church funds, "for Masses for the Souls in Purgatory." (One of her books, The Deliverance of Errol Flynn From Purgatory, is a "true story" describing Kellie's five-month rescue operation and conversations with the dead movie star, culminating in his deliverance.)

The Stripper for God believes other starlets degrade themselves in porn or lesbianism. Kellie has never yet involved herself in hardcore ----, other than splaying ----, --- and ---- as the Lord created it. She was the first female body builder in the United States, her six-page spread in Esquire introducing the concept. After the layout appeared, Honeysuckle Divine, then Screw's own outrageous stringer, latched onto Kellie. In the early '70s, Honeysuckle was billed on Times Square burlesque marquees as "The Dirtiest Girl On Earth." No one had a clue that she was really a Jekyll/Hyde case. A nun who left the convent like a werewolf when the moon was full. Finally ousted from the church, she pined to return to the convent. Honeysuckle's desire to return to God, juxtaposed with her arresting ---- career, had sent her careening into a loony bin. Kellie Everts, a kindred spirit, performed exorcisms on Honeysuckle, ridding ----ography demons from her soul. Honeysuckle returned to holy communion, studying the sacraments and living incognito in the straight world.

The Auschwitz Effect

On January 27, 1945, Russian troops liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp.

In honor of that date, here's an excerpt from Josh Alan Friedman's new book When Sex Was Dirty:

Fred had recently turned 30 and was set to marry a brunette anthropologist whose parents had survived Auschwitz. "I see a long, parched desert before me," Fred would moan, envisioning the rest of his sex life. "Judy and I are so familiar after living together five years. I love her, but sex with her is like having sex with a family member. I'm a starving man."

Indeed, Fred's most indignant complaint about the folly of mankind was his inability to resist temptation. His-swaggering harlotry, a cleavage thrust in his direction, even the slight overt female wiggle - these sights sent him careening off to relieve himself into a Kleenex in Times Square... But when particularly aroused by some sexy temp in the office, wantonly gyrating her hips while listening to a Sony Walkman, he would sneak off to the streetwalkers that night, cursing under his breath about the power women hold over men's libidos. "It's not fair," he said, pounding a fist on the table, unable to relax until he boffed a whore. And God forbid Judy should find out; it would crush her beyond repair. "Not that she'd react violently, but those doe-like eyes would swell with tears, she'd stare at me with disbelief... It's the camps," said Fred, referring to her parents incarceration, which loomed over their relationship like a poltergeist. "You can't cheat on the daughter of concentration camp victims."

"Surely," I ventured, "you could explain your cravings for a meaningless one-nighter." I suggested she may become bored too, and someday, after gentle prodding, might allow a girlfriend to slip under the covers with both of them.

"Are you crazy?" screamed Fred, whose maddest desire was for several of Judy's associate anthropologists.

"Why not try?" I asked.

"The camps, the camps."

January 27, 1945

Exactly sixty years ago today, Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the fighting men of the Red Army. Contemporary culture has nothing to say to this.

Let The Masses Be Heard

I was emailed this: The recent ban on Rabbi Slifkin's books has far-reaching repercussions that need to be expressed. When a matter of this nature is brought to the attention of a rosh yeshiva, the voices he hears most loudly and frequently are those of the people who have the time and desire (and sometimes chutzpah) to place themselves directly in his path. They call him at all hours and show up at his yeshiva and other functions he attends, all to press the issue and the viewpoint that they advocate.

The antagonists of Rabbi Slifkin come from within the yeshiva community and have the time, ability and chutzpah to make their voices heard. It is time that all of the others who are affected by this ban make their voices heard.

The ban has caused immense pain among many. You, the reader, might be a rebbe or teacher who has been instructing students for years and trying to strengthen their faith in traditional Judaism. You have just been told that the views you were taught and are teaching is heresy. The hundreds of students who have passed through your classrom were taught kefirah by you. I can only imagine the distress you must be feeling. Were you and your rebbeim spreading lies? Have you, instead of increasing belief, been distancing students from Jewish belief? Is this not causing you to
question the sacrifices you have made to teach students and whether you are fit to teach? I can only imagine the pain you must be going through.

Kiruv workers, NCSY advisors, friendly professionals who speak with non-observant colleagues, etc. Have you been spreading heretical beliefs? Have you, in your attempts to bring others closer to Judaism, actually been feeding them views that are counter to our tradition? In this group, I include myself and I feel the pain. Rav Dovid Feinstein just declared that I have been spreading heresy, and that hurts. He has just declared that I, and everyone I have influenced, are outside the pale of
Orthodox Judaism. If he is right, then I am guilty of very serious offenses that make me shudder. If he is wrong, or he never intended it this way, then I am even more hurt.

Rav Malkiel Kotler has announced that Rav Aryeh Kaplan and all of the many Jews who were influenced by him are heretics. Everyone who had some contact with him surely feels pain over this. Was Rav Kaplan really a heretic? All those college students who became frum because of him, are they really closet heretics? Is the frum community really so infected by this heresy? Baalei tshuvah, in particular, must be extremely hurt by this declaration that, in truth, they have never become truly frum.

Rav Matisyahu Salomon has disqualified just about every member of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists. Should the group be disbanded? Every member of AOJS, and every Jew who respects the doctors and scientists who dedicate their lives to Torah and science, should be hurt by this.

Every shul rabbi who has discussed this topic has infected his congregants with heresy. Can that damage ever be undone? Has the rabbi unwittingly harmed the souls of the people who were placed in his charge? The distress many are going through is unimaginable.

It is likely that the roshei yeshiva have not yet heard from people a bit removed from the centers of their communities. Shouldn't they hear from us how much pain and confusion people are suffering? If we want to balance out the personal influence that those within the yeshiva world have on the roshei yeshiva, we need to voice our pain. Let the roshei yeshiva know that we have been hurt. With one fell swoop, thousands of Bnei Torah who have dedicated their lives to Yahadus have been written off. We, our rabbeim and our students have been pushed michutz lamachaneh. Let us call up Rav Dovid Feinstein, Rav Malkiel Kotler, Rav Matisyahu Salomon and the
others, and, with all the tremendous respect that they deserve, express from our hearts how much we have been hurt. Let us pour out our souls, cry over the phone, share our grief over the position in which we have suddenly been placed. Let us express the enormous pain that this ban has caused and beg either for clarifications or at least sympathy.

I ask every reader to forward this message along to anyone to whom you think this may be relevant. Everyone who signed the ban against Rav Slifkin should be called until you personally get through to him and express your personal pain. Be respectful. Be humble. Be honest. And be persistent. Keep calling until you get through to him. Leave specific messages and keep calling until you speak directly with the rosh yeshiva and relay to him your personal pain. He needs to hear it from each and every one of us.

Expanding My Mind Through Rap

I told Craig Taubman the other day that I wanted to review his latest CDs with the exception of his "Celebrate Hip Hop: Jewish Artists From Around The Globe." But Craig insisted that I listen to the rap CD because "even at your age you can grow!" I did and it did. It's my favorite out of five new CDs released by Taubman's company. I find it particularly helpful when I am low on energy. There's a raw disturbing power to this music.
My other favorite CD from Taubman is the music of Friday Night Live, particularly the evening song for peace, Hashkivenu: "Allow us to lie and to rise in peace. Protect us as we enter and as we leave."
I think it is rabbi David Wolpe who writes the liner notes for the CD, including this commentary on the Shema (Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one): "We cover our eyes for the Shema in part because we wish to focus intently on the meaning of this declaration of faith. We are too easily misled by sight, by the flash and dazzle of the things around us. To listen within is the secret of the soul, and by covering our eyes, we seek to do what the prayer commands - listen, listen to the harmonies of the world, to the stirring of each individual soul."
Other new Craig Taubman CDs include: One Shabbat Morning, Celebrate Yiddish, and Celebrate Klezmer.
As you can tell, I've never written music reviews before (and am failing to do so here). All I can do is write paens to Air Supply.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What's A Four-Letter Word For 'Snatch'?

Grab. (Credit to Stuck On You.)

Anthony Pellicano Update

I don't think Anthony Pellicano will get out of jail on his appellate appeal.
One of the lead FBI investigators on Pellicano has been in line to retire for a couple of years, but he's not going to quit until Pellicano and the people Pellicano has been protecting and wiretapping for are under indictment.
These wiretap indictments, possibly against many of Hollywood's leading lawyers, could come out within weeks.
These will be indictments relevant to wiretap materials found in Pellicano's office. Anthony has been doing things on behalf of Hollywood clients that law enforcement sources say is against the law including wiretapping.
I hear there will be a quantam shift in the Los Angeles County criminal bar after these indictments. Some big names may be going down.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Sex Trafficking

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist, says sex traffic is the preeminent problem of the 21st Century. Nicholas Kristof is an idiot. Girls and boys sell their bodies because it pays better than the alternatives. If they did not sell themselves for sex, they would not be leading rosy lives. They'd live miserable lives because they live in miserable societies and have miserable skills. Most societies and most persons for most of human history have been miserable. That is the norm. America and the Western World are exceptions to the human condition. America is about as close to utopia as is possible.

Deconstructing the Torah of Desire

Rabbi Jeremy Hershy Worch returns with a blog from Istanbul, Turkey.

A woman who says she was abused by rabbi Worch provides this commentary:

Dear Kabbalah Students of Reb Hershy:

This handy translation should help you in getting through the double-speak of your rebbe's teachings.

Deconstructing the Torah of Desire (The Torah of Manipulation)

The idea that God has desire and that the desire can change, is not so big a problem for anyone trying to flee their adult responsibilities of financially supporting their children and take responsibility for being a serial sex abuser. For example: It is written in Genesis: "These are the chronicles of heaven and earth, on the day that God the Lord created them," teaching us, says the Kabbalah, that He creates worlds and destroys them, saying, "These don't please me, but these do, and Behold, you Defiler of My Name, your days are numbered." Another example: On the one hand
it is written God had regrets in his heart, while on the other it is written, (1 Samuel 15) God is not a man to have regrets. How do we deal with the concept
of the Creator changing in any way, it runs contrary to every axiom upon which kabbalah is built. But I know I'll never be able to out-run the sinking feeling
God is full of horrible regret for the day I emerged into this world.

Listen, it is not desire for things which keeps us alive, it's desire for pursuing my deeply misogynistic desires for non-consensual hypno-erotic kinky BDSM sex
with as many vulnerable and inexperienced women as possible that keeps us going, and desire for finding as many women as possible I can dupe into supporting me financially. It's not as important to have an object of desire as it is to have desire to flee our financial responsibilities for raising our children. Now, in order to get at the root of desire we must learn to let go of the desire to support our children itself.

Letting-go of our adult responsibilities is built into the kabbalisitc understanding of the divine. Look at this Midrash: Torah is called "a hidden treasure", the angels ask God "why do you give it away, is it not Your secret desire?" In other words, I am COMMANDED to put the pursuit of all my deranged manipulative sexual pleasures ahead of my family.

But the angels don't understand what we each know intuitively, that the essence of every secret desire is to let go of all of our guilt about our criminal actions, and get in touch with the desire itself. So God gives the Torah away, but cannot let go of us, even though he's deeply ashamed that I still use the "Rabbi" title. Pushes us away while holding on with both hands, (even though He feels He's immersed them
in excrement when holding on to me,) creating strong tensions in the universe. A tearing in the divine self, between holding on and letting go, between playing with the object of desire in my SM bondage dungeon, or letting go and connecting to the essence of desire. Because we, humans represent the essence of desire. Not as objects - at least for us predatory sexually abusive men, but the women remain objects - not as desired things, we are psychosis itself and God wants to be in touch with us, to experience us - in order to know exactly how far he should cast us into the furthest reaches of the flames of the abyss.

It's only when we insist on being and acting like completely narcissistic, self-serving manipulative predatory soul-rapists that we create tension in the universe, when we insist on being the so-called 'victim' of so many 'deranged' women. We objectify ourselves. (If you need help with that, just call me.) God wants us (me especially) to stop. To realise I am the lowest of the low, a sick pathetic spoiled little boy who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. To do that, I would have to move back to the U.S., grow up, find a job even if it's menial labor
and support my children, to stop obssessing about objects of my desire that compel me to manipulate and sexually abuse women, and get in touch with that part of myself where desire for forgiveness is experienced for itself, to experience exactly how much of a twisted, shrunken-souled waste of walking DNA that I truly am.

Istanbul, Turkey.

Well, that's one perspective.

A Tale Of Rabbinic Sex Abuse

From a new favorite blog of mine - The Beach Of Yellow:

At a certain point during the abuse, something inside of me just snapped. The pain was so intense, the betrayal so absolute, and I felt so powerless. I cried to my abuser and he promised to never do it again.

He said, “Do you think I would use you, uncaring, and just throw you away? When you cry, it goes through my whole heart. This really hurt me… Hurting you is the last thing in the world I wanted to do. I love you, and that’s why I did everything… of course, I promise to never do that again. How could I even consider.”

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Return Of Rabbi Jeremy Hershy Worch

He writes his Torah of Desire from Istanbul, Turkey, his new home. Isn't modern technology great?

Encino Yeshiva Boy Overdoses On Heroin

Related stories here and here about the death of Eric Siegel.
From the Mashgiach of Neve Tzion:

I am writing these lines before Shabbos Shira. Theres been an overflow of sympathetic emails, faxes and calls. Many calls never got through. I apologize. If you would know what had to be done in the past few days you would understand. Our priority was first to the niftar and his mother. Much time was spent in Court successfully preventing an unnecessary autopsy and arranging for a proper funeral. The second priority was our talmidim. We pray and believe that our efforts to assure that they would learn and grow from this tragedy will succeed. Now, is the time for the third priority. Connect with the alumni, parents and friends and set the record straight. I am sure that the publicity was harmful and much was inaccurate. The media has no respect for human dignity, and no commitment for the truth.

Lets relate the nightmare as it was. An 18 year old boy, who had joined the yeshiva after a stay on kibbutz just six weeks ago, overdosed on heroin. He had used drugs in the past and was using now, but he was certainly not an addict. Not of that drug, nor any other. There was no indication or cause to suspect suicide (contrary to the first internet JP report). This fellow was happy, intellectual and well liked and respected. His mother who visited Neveh recently, told us that he never
had been happier. This was his first experience with Orthodox Judaism. At the beautiful chasuna of one of our talmidim last week, he asked Rav Slavin to tell him a dvar Torah. He was excited about learning. He thought that Rav Nachmans writings were cool (and deep). Tragically, he made a mistake. The drug was not sold to him in the yeshiva but rather in Lod. The dorm counselor suspected (correctly) that another boy had used heroin that evening, searched his room and tried to get him to admit to it and to tell him where it came from and who else had the drug. Without success. This boy is already back in the States. All boys who we find out that they have used heroin are either sent immediately to detox and return to the yeshiva only after they have been tested clean for a considerable time dorming outside the yeshiva, or are sent home.

We accept this tragedy as a message from Above. Ive already shared with many of you my concerns for the present situation. Nevehs policy was to give anyone who was ready to try a second chance. The emergence of new yeshivas and institutions pushed us to the bottom of the barrel. Don't misunderstand. At the bottom there are neshamas and intellects that can and have become bnei Torah of whom we are proud. But in recent years it has become even more difficult. It starts now in eighth grade, not senior year in yeshiva high school. By the time they reach Neveh, many
are already living on the street and not in yeshiva. I was the first to admit that we were not equipped to do a proper job, but this year we added a social worker, an alumnus, to the staff and he is amazing. But we need a few more. We need more counselors for the dorm and more supervision, even during daylight hours. We started a business course and are trying to begin an EMS program. But we need more programs, tiyulim. Shabbatonim, field trips and guest speakers. The talmidim must be kept busy and active. We started a group therapy program to help talmidim stay clean. But we need more and the truth is that we dont have the funds for these programs. There are organizations in the States that think that their conferences in expensive hotels and hotlines have solved the at risk youth problem and give no help to us in the trenches. A noted educator commented, The Chareidim are still in
denial as they were twenty years ago when they told me that the drug problem belonged to the modern Orthodox and not to the Chareidim.

Neveh has no choice. After many sessions of open discussion and private consultation we told our talmidim that only those who commit themselves in writing to refrain from all drugs including marijuana will be able to continue in the yeshiva. They will be tested as well. Some have already left, but most want to try to be clean. Henceforth, we will accept only those talmidim that are ready to remain clean from all drugs including marijuana.

What about the hundreds of kids who are on the street and need a place with the approach and Rabbeim of Neveh? If the community can find funding for such a project we will start a yeshiva rehab outside of Telshestone.

With tears in my eyes I thank all those alumni who have expressed their support of the yeshiva. Its a known fact that our alumni are the greatest and the only proof we need of our success. Weve received beautiful and meaningful letters from parents. We are grateful.

Last weeks email contained the statement of one of our alumni that he wrote at his chatans tisch that doctors save lives but Neveh saves generations. With help from Above we hope that somehow this can continue to be true.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Every Village Has An Idiot

And Cross-Currents has Jeff Ballabon. I've suffered through a dozen of his blogs and have yet to be enlightened about anything. What is this guy doing on a blog with numerous prestigious commentators? Why must the person with the least to say post the most?

With a BA from Yeshiva University and a JD from Yale, Ballabon represents to me everything that is odious about the organization man, a go-along-to-get-along corporate player who combines pomposity, smugness, and mendacity to succeed at hawking a destructive product - television forced on children at school.

Ballabon writes:

"I may participate in blogging, but "I" am not a "blogger." I am a Jew. I am an American Jew. As a Jew and an American, I am bound religiously, morally, ethically to Halacha, American law, and the dictates of my conscience - my "Sechel Ha'enoshi".

So, unless someone can explain to me why I should feel bound to "blogging ethics" I hereby declare my intention to remove, retroactively, any post of mine which, upon reflection, I find to contain halachically or ethically problematic material...."

A PR release. A criticism. Criticism.

A woman writes: "Well, Luke, if there aren't any ethics regarding the bad taste of blogging on about absolutely nothing, there should be."

A man writes: "I've had enough of his self-righteous nonsense too. Worst of all it's all poorly written. This guy hawks sex, violence and junkfood to kids. Which is
fine if you're up front about what you're doing. But stop justifying it with
talk about your "hyphen-journalism awards."
"He was VP of Court TV (ever wonder why we never saw the Orthodox Rabbi Lanner trial live, only the trial of a Reform Rabbi Neulander?)."
From a Google search on "Jeff Ballabon," it appears that his job is "Apologist-In-Residence" for Channel One, which has beamed a newscast into thousands of schools for the past decade. I can think of few things that children need less than TV news piped into their schools.

According to this Primedia press release: "Its award-winning 12-minute news broadcast is seen daily by more than 8 million students and 440,000 educators in more than 12,000 middle and high schools across the country."

Jeff Ballabon makes his living increasing American children's intake of television. Wow. That's honorable. But I'm sure he can justify it halachicly (Jewish Law).

I've done a ton of disreputable things but I hope I never sink so low as to promote television intake by a captive audience of school children.

As Dennis Prager points out, television news gives you an inherently distorted view of the world because it depends on pictures, on action video. School kids would be better off watching reruns of Mary Tyler Moore than Ballabon's Channel One. I bet his own kids don't have to watch Channel One at their yeshiva. Instead, his company forces it on the goyisha kids (and some unlucky Jews) and Ballabon profits.

September 11, 2001
by David Crary The Associated Press

Sixth- and seventh-graders required to watch TV ads at school. The Teletubbies helping to promote giant burger chains. Advertisers seeking data on how children nag their parents to make a purchase.

Those were some of the practices targeted Monday as psychologists and parent activists met for a symposium on exploitive advertising aimed at children -- a counterpoint to a conference of children's advertisers at the same time and in the same Manhattan hotel.

Captive Audience Award: Channel One Network

"For using the public schools and compulsory schooling laws to require more than 8 million children to watch its daily commercials in their classrooms. Channel One TV programs market violent movies, junk food and other commercial fare to this captive audience."

Response: Jeff Ballabon, of Channel One, said its 10-minute daily newscast (accompanied by two minutes of ads) has won journalism awards and received positive reviews from teachers and principals.

Boycott Aimed at Channel One Ads
Los Angeles Times
June 11, 2001
by Edmund Sanders

A coalition of consumer groups and children's activists are planning to launch an advertising boycott today, aimed at New York-based Primedia Inc.'s Channel One Network, which distributes news, entertainment and paid commercials to U.S. classrooms.

The groups say Channel One, which is seen by about 8 million children in
12,000 schools nationwide, exploits students.

"Compelling impressionable children to view commercials during their limited
school time is repugnant," states a letter sent by the coalition to Channel
One advertisers, including government agencies who have bought air time on
the network.

A spokesperson for Channel One said the network has been consistently
honored for providing educational programming created specifically for
teenagers. "Channel One has had rave reviews from 98% of teachers who use
it," said Jeff Ballabon of Channel One.

Ballabon's statement can't be anything but a bald-faced lie. There's no way that 98% of teachers are going to submit any reviews, let alone rave-reviews, of anything, let alone a 12-minute newscast.

Washington Post, April 9, 2000, by Mark Francis Cohen:

Channel One was something of a public scourge, and it fomented a coast-to-coast uprising. The very notion of hanging a TV set in a classroom and prodding students to watch it -- and the commercials that support it -- inspired a whole lot of bile. Critics saw it as child exploitation and television mania run amok. New York and California banned the network, and almost every major educational group, including the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, denounced it.
Channel One's executives are quite aware of their unmatched position in the marketplace. In ads they have run in publications like Advertising Age, they pitch potential sponsors this way: "We have the undivided attention of millions of teenagers for 12 minutes a day -- that might be a world record."
Before Channel One was conceived, schools were considered sacrosanct. It was
unimaginable that educators would stand behind a profitable television company that hawked candy bars and high-priced sneakers to students in the classroom. At that time, corporations and schools did not enter into commercial agreements. Taco Bell wasn't sold in cafeterias. Coca-Cola didn't sponsor school events. Dell wasn't donating "Donated by Dell" computers.
Jeff Ballabon, a public relations executive at Channel One, is in the room,
too. "Our model is no different than any news organization!" Ballabon says,
visibly annoyed. "We use advertising to pay for the program, and it's an
expensive program to create. If we didn't care about the program, why would
we spend all that money?"

Washington Post, December 25, 1999

In her Dec. 12 Outlook article, "A School by Any Other Name Would Be . . .
Richer," Elizabeth Chang dismisses Channel One as a marketer that provides
TV monitors in exchange for showing advertisements in classrooms. This
description insults the journalists at Channel One and the educators who
support us.

Ninety-eight percent of educators who have Channel One in their schools
recommend the program to their colleagues. Channel One provides 12,000
schools around the country with a daily 12-minute news broadcast that is
produced specifically for middle and high school students. Ten times as many
teens receive their news from Channel One as from all other news sources in
the nation.

Our broadcast has won nearly 200 awards for journalistic excellence. How
disappointing that your publication would focus only on the delivery
mechanism and dismiss Channel One as a marketing scheme.

--Jeff Ballabon

The writer is executive vice president for network affairs at Channel One

Washington Post, July 2, 1997
Jeff Ballabon, senior vice president of Court TV, said the aftermath of the Simpson case has not prevented his cable network from gaining access to many
trials. "Initially," he said, "we had trouble getting into high-profile cases like {the murder of singer} Selena and Susan Smith," who was convicted in Union, S.C., of drowning her young sons. "But people realized it really didn't matter. . . . Now we're getting in about the same amount as we were before O.J."

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Desecrating God's Name

From an anonymous post on The Beach of Yellow:

Sadly, it is true that a lot of mainstream Orthodox people (including our Rabbinical "Leadership") will go to great lengths to suppress illegal and immoral activity. Their rationale is that there will be great Chillul Hashem [desecration of God's name by making his chosen people look bad in front of the goyim] if the newspapers print stories about Jews doing the wrong things. They also like to claim that each situation is an isolated and rare incident.

Sadly, we are teaching our children to be corrupt and dishonest with this ignorance. The truth is that we cannot police ourselves. We have so many clowns commiting crimes including widespread money-laundering and fraud. We have slum lords who think that it is just fine to rip off (or steal) from a goy. We have sex abusers who think that it is ok to rape. In all of these cases the frum crowd closes ranks and tries to suppress police investigations. We have groups like Hatzolah who openly use their parking permits to block fire hydrants while they go shopping. We have idiots in the shomrim who have illegal red lights and sirens. We must move away from the dishonesty of thinking that we are above the law. We also cannot let these hypocrits steal our religion and attempt to claim that lashon hora (or "informing") somehow forbids us from turning in these criminals. We need a little honesty back in our religion and a whole lot less biased-selfserving thinking.

The Jews' Worst Enemy - Meet The Fokkers

Rabbi Daniel Lapin writes on

The movie causing me deep distress is a Rosenthal/Tenenbaum production starring Dustin Hoffman, and Barbra Streisand.

I was sorry to see Barbra Streisand involved in the flagrant defamation of Judaism found in this, her latest movie hit. While she was making her film Yentl, for which I served as a consultant, she studied Judaism regularly and diligently with me. She was a warm and gracious guest on the occasions she had dinner with my family. Yentl’s nostalgic, if not altogether authentic glimpse into 19th century Jewish life in Poland, evoked a feeling of fondness for the characters, but like many ethnic Jews, Streisand is largely isolated from her religious roots. In the new film to which I refer, she plays not a role, but a heinous caricature of a Jewess.

I am reluctant to name the movie on account of the implied vulgarity of its title. If you are reluctant to part with good money for the privilege of seeing the Jewish people being defamed, you should abstain from this movie. In spite of having several Jewish producers and several Jewish stars, this film’s vile notions of Jews are not too different from those used by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

I may be unsophisticated but I am not just a grouch with no sense of humor. I’ll fess up; I really enjoy funny movies. However you should know a little about this offensive excuse for entertainment. You might recall that in the first movie we followed Pam Byrnes as she introduced her very Jewish and nerdy boyfriend, Greg, to her parents. This sequel shows the Byrnes visiting their daughter’s future in-laws. The movie depicts Greg’s conspicuously Jewish parents as sexually obsessed, constantly concupiscent degenerates. Nice people, but depraved. Their home is filled with bric-a-brac that juts with anatomic suggestiveness.

Along with their son’s bar mitzvah talit, or prayer shawl, they have preserved the foreskin from his circumcision. To add to the hilarity, this souvenir makes a distasteful reappearance at an awkward moment. In reality, Jews treat the foreskin with reverence and bury it rather than turning it into a scrapbook joke. The hosts, who never miss an opportunity of exuding Jewish ethnicity, boast of their son losing his virginity to the gentile maid and they keep their guests waiting while they themselves practice what they preach in their bedroom upstairs. There are many more vile examples of Jewish people being defamed in this horrible excrescence. I am not sure that labeling it comedy excuses the defamation.

I do not particularly care for dark, socially significant films. Give me funny movies like The Blues Brothers and Hopscotch. However I really loathe movies that perpetuate hideous stereotypes about racial, religious, or ethnic groups, no matter how funny they may seem. What is more, I cannot see how racial bigotry is lessened if perpetrated by blacks or that anti-Semitism is diminished if delivered by Jews.

This movie defames Jews in a way that I haven’t seen since the worst that Woody Allen dished up. And Woody at his worst was breathtakingly hostile to Judaism. One need only recall how many of Woody’s films portray Jews, not to mention rabbis, as loathsome liars, desperate psychotics, pathetic perverts, and ridiculously lecherous losers. If Woody Allen were not Jewish, surely every Jewish organization would have roundly denounced him. And they would have been right. The problem is that he is Jewish and they don’t denounce him. Instead, we self-destructive Jews celebrate Woody Allen Week at Jewish Community Center film festivals.

It is not only in movies that Jews besmirch Jews as sexualizing the culture. Ruth Westheimer told The New York Times of her love for Judaism, Israel, and the Jewish people. Meanwhile, as Dr. Ruth, with her grandmotherly appearance and her high-pitched Jewish accent, she titillates her audiences with shockingly explicit sexual advice.

Radio shock-jock Howard Stern intersperses his displays of dehumanizing depravity with a constant stream of “Oy veys” as if subconsciously compelled to highlight his Jewish ethnicity.

Jerry Springer, widely known as the Jewish former mayor of Cincinnati, normalizes depravity by projecting a deviant sub-culture and its cheering hooligans right into America’s living room.

A few years ago, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal gushingly profiled a Jewish pornographer whose stage name is Ron Jeremy. The piece praised the huge sums he’s been paid to “bed more gorgeous women than James Bond.” Jeremy, who proudly admits to have acted in or directed over 1,500 porn videos, cited the preponderance of Jewish men in porn and explained, “Jewish families tend to be more liberal than Christian ones, they aren’t obsessed by the fear of the devil or going to hell.” As if to eliminate any lingering doubt about Ron Jeremy’s Jewishness, the Jewish Journal breathlessly assures us that Ron Jeremy plans to marry in a synagogue.

I Castrated Myself To Lower My Libido

Many people make fun of me because of my shyness around the opposite sex. The truth is, when I converted to Judaism, I had the rabbi go a little further than just a ritual circumsicion. I had him take the whole thing off and put it in the freezer. After I get married, it will be returned to me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Rabbi Who Tickled Me

Who wrote this?
* Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
* Rabbi Baruch Lanner
* Rabbi Yaakov Menken
* Rabbi Mordecai Gafni
* Rabbi Luke Gadol Ford
* Chaim Amalek
* A combination of the above.

"We cannot afford an attitude of "live and let live" that ignores a fundamental tenet of Jewish thought: all of Israel is responsible one for the other. If my fellow Jew is hungry, I must help ensure that he or she is fed. If my fellow Jew is sad or in distress, I must help bring happiness and relief by tickling her. And if my fellow Jew is losing his or her connection to our Holy Nation, then I must see what I can do to interest that individual in Jewish learning and life. If we do not feel that sense of obligation to reach out to our brethren, then we ourselves are missing something in our Jewish connection."

I've Got The Flu

I'm watching movies all day. About four a day. I like my movies like my life -- filled with excitement and good looking people in beautiful locations. In the last 24-hours, I've enjoyed 24 Hour Party People, Collateral and Troy. I did not enjoy the acclaimed but depressing Israeli film Broken Wings because the people and locales were grubby.
I could not get through John Dos Passos's Three Soldiers and I'm struggling with Ambassadors by Henry James.
What I really need to perk me up is some sexy lashon hara about some high-flying Orthodox rabbi or disgraced private detective.
Like Rachel Factor, my religious beliefs permit me to perform for women only.

Manly Vs. Faggy

Evan Gahr writes:

I may have finally figured a good way to approach an essay reporting on manliness. Use the general headline "Manly or faggy?" Then explore when it's manly and when it's faggy.

Faggy means not literally riding down the hershy highway but just being a sissy, which many heterosexual men are, chief among them [National Review editor] Rich Lowry and his managing editor Jay Nordlinger. I remember one email Nordlinger said it's hard to reply to my emails because the tone is so "nasty." This from someone whose magazine practically called Clinton a war criminal? But he can't handle a few snide remarks about Chimpstein? What a fag.

Anyway, I would come up with differnt things. And see what category they fit into, some might depend on circumstances.

For example, it's always "faggy" to use a laundry basket cart to bring your groceries back from the store. However, telling another man that you love him may be manly in the right circumstances.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Whatever Happened To Cross-Currents?

Dina writes: "Hm... Cross-currents has been dead for nearly two days. So many erudite, loquacious minds and so little say."
Hey, we demand the light of Torah!
Maybe was taken over by the Mafia?

Privilege On West 23rd Street - Great Mafia Bar In New York

It's a good place to hang with mobsters such as Craig Marino (Crescent Publications Internet scam) and John Boudanza as well as connected businessman Keith Gordon and actresses you know by one name (I don't mean Julia or Meg). It's run by Buster.

Welcome to Privilege New York. Located at 565 West 23rd Street (on the corner of 11th Avenue), Privilege New York is Manhattan's premiere Strip Club. With its two stages and 200 of the City's hottest dancers, Privilege is the newest and hottest Strip Club in Manhattan. The club has beautiful dancers as well as top of the line features that all perform topless. These beautiful ladies are also available for sensual lap dances. Privilege is Manhattan's premiere strip club that caters to the wishes of the gentlemen that they serve. This premiere strip club has a very elegant decor, as well as seven large screen televisions so that you will ever miss a game. Privilege boasts a beautiful 60 foot bar that has been restored from the 1900s.

The bar is fully stocked with premium liquors, champagne, domestic and imported beers and wines. Privilege also carries a full line of fine cigars. The VIP room provides a comfortable and elegant atmosphere that truly makes you feel like the privileged one. These wonderful amenities makes Privilege New York a top location for bachelor parties. Bachelors even have the option of receiving a stage dance from one of our sensuous dancers. Not only is Privilege Manhattan's premiere strip club, but it also is one of the newest in the area. Privilege is the only topless strip club in Manhattan that is zoned. Privilege New York is Manhattan's premiere strip club filled with beautiful women and all of the relaxation that a gentleman could wish for.

Orthodox Judaism's Evolution Controversy

The controversial site in question,, is hosted by rabbi Yaakov Menken's Capalon company.
Rabbi Ari Kahn writes to the Areivim discussion group: The ongoing saga of Rabbi Slifkin is quite disturbing on many fronts. Part of his “mistake” was naively believing he can educate the chareidie world – and that they are open to such education.
As was noted here, has removed many science and religion articles,
this is not very encouraging news.
I would like to share a couple of anecdotes on both fronts.
Many years ago in my capacity of educational director of Alyenu (Aish’s outreach arm) I hired Dr. Gerald (Yaakov – as he prefers to be called) Shroeder. When I first heard his material. I was impressed with the novel approach. He then delivered a lecture to senior staff including myself, and Rav Motty Berger and Rav Shmuel Veffer. In order to protect Aish from the type of attack it is experiencing now I introduced Dr Shroeder to Rav Yitzchak Berkovitz, and then Rav Noach Weinberg, neither had objections to his basic approach. Later when his first book came out we gave a copy to Rav Yaakov Weinberg, and then arranged a meeting, I was there together with Rav Yaakov Weinberg and Dr. Shroeder, anticipating that one day people will claim that Rav Yaakov Weinberg never could have approved his approach I came
armed with a tape recorder. Somewhere in my house I have a tape of the meeting.
Rav Yakov’s first concern was that the science was valid – while he was extremely well read and conversant in science Rav Yakov was humble enough to feel that he could not judge the book scientifically, and wanted to know that the science was indeed acceptable. Dr Shoreder assured him that the book went through scientific peer review at Bantam books. Rav Yakov was satisfied. Rav Yakov then gave some guidelines and advice. A major point was never to teach his approach in yeshiva – but if yeshiva guys with questions came to Aish he should teach them. Rav Yakov felt that teaching this approach while valid, would be counter productive for yeshiva students because it would hurt their emunas chachamim. Secular people on the other
hand he felt should be taught this material.
A number of years later some of the more zealous elements in Israel decided that they did not like Dr Shroeder’s approach and soon a din torah was setup. Presiding was Rav Moshe Shternbuch, representing Aish was Rav Yitzchak Berkovitz –charges of kefira were hurled, ultimately Rav Berkovitz asked Rav Shternbuch which ikkar in emunah was being denied, Rav Shtenbuch was silent and then turned to the petitioners – who also could not articulate the exact kefira. In the end Rav Shternbuch who did not like it at all had to admit that this was not kefira – even though he did not like it at all.
More recently when Dr Shroeder cites certain opinions regarding prehistoric man he has given me as his rabbinic source. A few months a go I received a phone call from a friend who would also be happy to be defined as someone who lives in the zealous camp. He heard Dr Shroeder speak and quote me, my friend was incredulous. I told him of the following conversation which I had with Rav Yaakov Weinberg on another occasion. I asked Rav Yakov – if it was kefira to say that Adam had parents. He responded by saying that as long as you can show a spiritual difference between Adam and those preceding him then in terms of Hashkafa this would be fine. I could not tell if Rav Yaakov Weinberg himself accepted this approach or merely thought it was
hashkafcally acceptable (I later heard from a very close talmid of Rav Yakov that he heard Rav Yakov suggest this 40 years ago and was comfortable with it). My friend wrote a terse postcard to Rav Chaim Kanifsky who told him that it is kefira [heresy] to believe that there were men before Adam. (I thought the formulation of his question was unfair – because to paraphrase the Rambam – these are not men – just animals in human form. He should have asked could there have been animals in human form before Adam?)
I also showed my friend several sources in chazal which indicate that Kayin and Hevel had different fathers – while I would agree that there are several ways to read this – including only speaking about spiritual forces – how can one call the other approach based on Chazal – kfrira?
I maintained that based on Rav Yakov’s psak I felt such an opinion could be taught – moreover – if it is hashkafically acceptable then to deny this approach to the Jew who is searching would be breaking the law of placing a stumbling block in front of the blind – and of lying about torah which according to the Yam Shel Shlomo is yohorag val yavor.
My point which is really an echo of Rav Yakov - this should not be taught to Yeshiva guys, but if this is acceptable in terms of hashkafa than it should not be denied to the yeshiva guy who questions – or to the searching nonreligious individual who can not reconcile science with Torah by rejecting all science.
I later spoke with Rav Zev Leff about the entire episode and he agreed with me completely.
In the realm of science and Torah the chareidi world has a narrow approach this is neither good nor bad – this is a fact. If RNS thinks he will “educate” them he is in for a rude awakening. He has no right to negatively impact their emunas chachamim.
I spoke with a well known Chassidic posek about this issue he was amused (this was 6 weeks ago – long before the cherem) he said that the approach is not kefira yet not the yeshivish way and therefore – no one will come out and defend RNS. I hope he is wrong.
As on aside has anyone on this list read the sefer by Rav Neriah Guttel? It is not all that different, yet is accepted. (I hope I am not causing him problems now)
On the other hand Poskim have been approached about teaching certain non-yeshivish ideas in outreach and they have been encouraged – not because you can lie for outreach quite the opposite – because you must tell the truth.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Day G-d was Excommunicated

From The Beach of Yellow, a poem about the daughter of rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau who was exiled from her Baltimore community by rabbi Yaakov Hopfer:

I heard a voice coming from the fields
beyond the synagogues and the black-hatted masses
beyond the halls of study and the ritual baths
beyond the chambers of rabbi's courts.

I followed the voice and found a spirit wandering in the wind.
I asked her why she wanders so. She replied:
I have been banished from the family of my youth
Cast away from the people to whom I belong.

Why is that so? I asked,
For I knew of her family and their people,
I knew of the deeds of kindness they had done
I knew of the outstretched arms they offer to lost cousins.

Her voice came to me,
Plaintive as the wind whispering in the reeds
She said: I opened my mouth and told the truth.
That is my sin. This is my punishment.

What is your truth? I asked.
She said: I was but a child at the time,
I was violated in unspeakable ways by my very own father.
My mother did nothing to protect me. My siblings stood by silently.

I, too, kept quiet for many years, hoping to bury the pain.
But the day came when the truth burst out from my heart
In a river of tears, in a sea of pain
In an ocean of grief and self hatred.

I went to those whom I trusted, but they did not believe me.
They told me I was mistaken, that it did not happen.
But I cannot deny the truth that lies in my heart
I refuse to betray the child within me by denying her pain.

I told the truth.
It is ugly and hideous, but it is the truth nonetheless
and I will not be silent to protect the honor
of he who does not deserve to be protected.

I have been ex-communicated because I have spoken the truth.
So, I shall wander here, in these fields of barley
Until the day when the piercing blast of a ram's horn rips away the layers of denial and lies
and the truth is known to all.

Partners In Caring & Sex Abuse

Partners in Caring - Fall 2000:
In the back row you will find both Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum and Rabbi Jerrold Levy. Rabbi Kestenbaum is the first person on the left, and Rabbi Levy is the first person on the right. Both have been arrested in connection with soliciting sex with children through the Internet.
Kallah faculty and participants: (Back row, L to R) Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum, Rabbi Sanford Akselrad, Rabbi Abraham Morduchowitz, Rabbi Michael Davis, Rabbi Moshe Morduchowitz, Rabbi Bennett Rackman, Rabbi Raphael Ostrovski, Rabbi Jerrold Levy; (Front Row, L to R) Rabbi Feivel Wagner, Rabbi Carl Perkins, Rabbi Bonita E. Taylor, Rabbi David Kaye, Rabbi Mychal Springer, Rabbi David Nelson.

Everyone’s Talking About Harry

Rabbi Yaakov Menken writes on

I’m not sure why so many Jewish spokespersons pushed to be among the most prominent critics. As already said, condemnations were pouring in from around the world. We don’t need to antagonize the person who is fourth in line for the Crown of the British Empire over this admittedly dumb choice. Our Sages caution us to be careful with our words, and we could afford to have him as a friend.

Or is everyone talking about Yaakov?

Evan Gahr On TNR's Lawrence Kaplan

Evan Gahr writes: TNR foreign affairs writer Lawrence "the girl" Kaplan has since landed a gig with Hudson as senior fellow. (Kaplan earned his nickname because he won't give out his number to just anyone. He'll call you instead. He needs to feel comfortable with you before he gives out his number. Sound familiar? What is he some kind of girl?)

Anyway, freedom of association is all well and good. But Kaplan, and by extension his boss Peter Beinart, has openly colluded with Hudson's rabidly anti-gay lawyer Bob Brame, who long served on the board of a Christian reconstructionist group that---I kid you not--is on record in support of capital punishment for homosexuals caught in the act.

They do, however, require two witnesses.

Gee, what civil libertarians. No stoning without due process.

Suppose there's a tie? Who breaks it? Do they have some kind of Sodomy Supreme Court? Just who are the witnesses? Who gets that job? Low man on the church totem pole? Brame's junior law firm associates?

According to ADL material, the group, American Vision is not too crazy about blacks or Jews either.

That could have meant double trouble for Bayard Rustin.

Anyway, Brame, who Hudson previously paid perhaps $100,000 to blame its anti-Semitic purge on improper use of a stuffed chimp, has worked with Kaplan to illegally--says Linda Chavez--prohibit Mr. Gahr from attending Hudson events that are otherwise open to the public.

To put it simply: Kaplan is helping Hudson break the law.

Attorneys say that Hudson has flouted both local and federal anti-discrimination statutes with its edict.

In a letter written under the direction of Bob "homo hunter" Brame Mr. Gahr was told in early 2004 that he was not welcome at Hudson events because he had manifested hostility towards the government-subsidized think tank by asking Hudson officials and persons remotely connected with Hudson about his illegal dismissal and Mona Charen's now fabled fear that he swings from the other side of the tree. Kaplan was among those to whom the Brame letter refers.

But this month Kaplan is really in bed with Bob Brame (pardon the inapt metaphor). Kaplan is one of the keynote speakers for a Hudson luncheon on the future of neo-conservatism. The other speakers are Bill Kristol and Irwin Stelzer, editor of the Neo-con reader. All three have ignored requests by Mr. Gahr that they allow him at the lunch. This makes Kaplan more than just the conduit of information to Brame he was last year; along with Stelzer and Kristol he is an active player in the illegal edict. Under the legal doctrine of silent acquiescence, TNR is liable for this prima facie violation of public acommodations laws culpable because Marty Peretz and Precious Peter refused to disassociate the magazine from Kaplan's antics.

The unwillingness of TNR to rebuke "the girl" for collusion with this bible-banging bigot against the Jew who took on the Christian Right raises a host of discomfiting questions for Leon's magazine.

Why should anybody take the magazine's stance in strong support of gay rights seriously if it refuses to condemn its own writer (and presumably salaried employee) for collaboration with the likes of Bob Brame?

So the magazine favors marriage for gays but doesn't mind if their lawyer wants to hunt them down on the wedding night?

Don't ask. Don't tell. TNR's lawyer will figure it out anyway?

Just like Beinart, Marty and Lawrence "the girl" Kaplan, at least one Hudson official refuses to disassociate himself from Brame's pro-homo hunting stance. The following exchange is real.

Evan Gahr: Hudson's lawyer was long tied to a group that favors capital punishment for homosexuals caught in the act. Do you favor capital punishment for gays caught en flagrante?

Michael Horowitz, Hudson senior fellow: I have no comment.

Neither does Jeff Rosen.

The TNR legal affairs write who agonizes over the proper balance between liberty and security in the post 9/11 world, doesn't seem to lose much sleep over "the Girl" and helping Hudson and its homo-hunting lawyer flout federal law regarding the lunches. Rosen ignored repeated emails and phone messages about this topic.

Rosen, by virtue of the doctrine of silent acquiescence, is an accessory to far more serious and unambiguous violation of civil rights than the stuff for which he upbraids John Ashcroft.

It is an open question debated by serious lawyers and scholars, left and right, whether Ashcroft illegally infringed on civil liberties. That the Hudson edict, however, violates public accommodation laws is not likely to be seriously questioned by anyone.

Is linking Kaplan and by extension Rosen and TNR to Bob Brame and the illegal
behavior unfair "guilt by association?"

No, it's very fair guilt by association.

Most journalists and organizations play the guilty by association game. TNR certainly does. When Cornel West merely spoke at a conference that also heard from Louis Farrakhan, TNR published an item, which read like it was written or edited by the Mega-Jew Marty Peretz himself, sharply criticizing him.

West has far less connection to Farrakhan than TNR now does to Hudson. Cornel West or anyone else in his employ at his black studies fiefdom is not known to have an official position with the Nation of Islam. If they did it most likely have been reported by now and almost instantly the subject of one of TNR's snotty "Notebook" items.

Luke Ford Versus Steve Jobs

Can it be? Has the iPod become the new cat?

If I'm right about this, the iPod has just jumped the shark.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

TNR's Peter Beinart

Evan Gahr writes: Luke, almost every article in Precious Peter's The New Republic (TNR) reads like something written by grad students who think they have all the answers. Liberals say X. Conservatives say Y. They're both wrong. As usual. WSJ reporters, Washington Post veteran reporters. NYTimes. They're all wrong but only the 12 little boys at TNR know how things really are. So here's the answer.

The stuff below from TNR's website proves my point. In fact it almost looks like caricature. The other thing--I don't think Precious Peter has ever done any real reporting, as opposed to calling talking heads or think tank "scholars." Ditto for many of his staffers.

I don't by the cliche that journalists need to cover raging fires in the freezing cold before they come to DC and write opinion pieces. But they should have some kind of solid reporting excperience otherwise they're just grad students, in perpetuity.

Looks like Precious's hires also have little or no experience.

Sunday, January 16 Blinkered by Richard A. Posner Blink: The Power of
Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Saturday, January 15 Sorry, No Change by Michael Kinsley From the October 10,
1994 issue: Who lost health care reform? You did. web only

Troubled Beauty by Stanley Kauffmann The Merchant of Venice droppeth as the
gentle rain from Michael Radford.

Friday, January 14 TNR Live Upcoming appearances by TNR staffers. web only

Letter of the Day The logic behind letting Teddy Kennedy speak now about
Social Security. web only

Films Worth Seeing Howard Hughes, Shakespeare, and more. This week's movie
picks from Stanley Kauffmann. web only

Learning from Newt by Michael Crowley Once upon a time, a beleaguered
minority used discipline, ruthlessness, and media savvy to overthrow the party that
ruled Congress. What today's Democrats can learn from the Gingrich revolution.
The Road Back, the third in an occasional series.

Renaissance Twilight by Jed Perl An exhibition in Philadelphia that is as
powerful as a terrific short story. web only

Drug Abuse by Michelle Cottle The FDA contemplates a monumentally bad idea.
web only

Weighs and Means by Michael Fumento A liberal group targets the wrong culprit
on childhood obesity. web only

On Deadline by the Editors In an ideal world, Iraq would not be holding
elections on January 30. In the real world, it must.

Thursday, January 13 Weather Man by Sacha Zimmerman Michael Crichton's State
of Fear is almost uncanny in its timeliness. web only

Yes Man by Clay Risen Pundits got Rice's new deputy, Robert Zoellick, exactly
wrong. web only

Golden by Peter Beinart Arnold Schwarzenegger hands the Democrats a great

Reserving Judgment by Martin Peretz Are the Palestinians ready for the fresh
start circumstances demand?

Wednesday, January 12 Swann's Ways by Wyatt Mason Everyone hates
translations--especially the literalists for whom no rendering is ever faithful enough.
But can a few superfluous phrases or tonal errors bring down an entire literary
universe? What a new translation of Proust reveals about great literary style.

Sad Clown by Elbert Ventura Adam Sandler is the latest in a long line of
talented comedians who repress their best instincts to become medicore dramatic
actors. web only

What Gives by Tom Frank Conservatives insist America is generous. But their
arguments are weak. web only

Sentence Structure by Dana Mulhauser Today's Supreme Court ruling on
sentencing guidelines is a very good decision that could have very bad consequences.
web only

Stonewalled by Nathaniel Frank The Pentagon wants to fight terrorism. Just
not as much as it wants to persecute gays.

Tuesday, January 11 Mr. Burns by Michael Crowley Today President Bush named
Michael Chertoff to head the Homeland Security Department. From the March 4,
1996 issue of TNR: "You don't want to be cross-examined by Michael Chertoff."
web only

Power Play by Dan Ephron Will Mahmoud Abbas coopt Hamas or the other way

Village Idiocies by Christopher Orr With The Village, M. Night Shyamalan
disappoints audiences. web only

Pyrrhic Victory by Jeremy Buchman On judicial nominations, conservatives
could lose by winning. web only

True Enough by Andrew Sullivan The proper debate isn't over whether Lincoln
was gay. It's over how gay he was. web only

Broken Contract by Quin Hillyer How Congressional Republicans betrayed the
spirit of 1994. web only

Monday, January 10 Labor Pains by the Editors Why the Bush administration's
assault on the National Labor Relations Board matters.

Tax Fraud by Jonathan Chait President Bush's proposed "tax reform" isn't tax
reform at all. It's the opposite. Just look at who's behind it.

Screen Play by Lee Siegel Finally, a show that addresses the theme of acting
seriously: "Unscripted." web only

Leap of Faith by Amy Sullivan Why Democrats can win over Mormons. web only

Home Front: The United States neeeds a system of preventive detention for suspected terrorists. Just not the Bush Administrations.

Medelin Dispatch: Mr. Nice Guy Columbia's right-wing president has won acclaim for cracking down on left-wing guerrillas. But it's the right ones he needs to worry about.

What's next? How about these?

James Earl Ray was a racist but civil rights activists criticize his assasination of Martin Luther King for all the wrong reasons.

Remember the Stephanapolous suck-up watch in which TNR quoted from particularly fulsome praise for him by journalists? Precious Peter would probably make that Journalists suck up to George Stephanapolous but not for the reasons conservatives say.

Yes, Al Sharpton lied about Tawana Brawley, but conservatives didn't tell the truth either.

Forbidden Books For Sale

Get them while they're hot! Nothing as controversial as this has been published since Henry Miller's The Tropic of Capricorn.

Gil Student writes:

Three books which are the focus of a major religious controversy will now be distributed by Yashar Books.

The books, which have been both acclaimed and condemned, include "Mysterious Creatures," "The Camel, the Hare, & the Hyrax" and "The Science of Torah" (now out of print and being revised) by Rabbi Nosson Slifkin. Rabbi Slifkin, known popularly as "the Zoo Rabbi," is an Orthodox Torah scholar and amateur zoologist who has sought to synthesize both disciplines in his writing. The controversy developed over passages in his books, including one that accepts dating the world as billions of years old, a view rejected by more traditional elements in the Orthodox Jewish community who date the beginning of creation to 5765 years ago. The author sought to demonstrate such a view of the age of the universe is consistent within the Orthodox belief system.

Many rabbis have recently condemned the ideas in these books as being beyond the pale of Orthodoxy. Yashar Books has consulted with a number of Orthodox rabbis and is comfortable in saying that different communities have different standards in this matter. We are happy to serve those communities that feel these books are acceptable. Therefore, while the issues are being debated throughout the community, with prominent Orthodox scholars on both sides of the issues, Rabbi Slifkin and his previous publishers have reached a mutual agreement to transfer distribution of the books to Yashar Books in New York.

If you personally have questions on this matter then we urge you to consult with your local Orthodox rabbi and act accordingly. More information is available at the Sefer Ha-Hayim Blog and at the author's website.

Yashar Books is a new publisher of Orthodox Jewish books for contemporary readers and thinkers, dedicated to providing open access to the world of classical and contemporary Jewish ideas.

For more information and orders, come to the reading room at Yashar Books.

And For Slanders Let There Be No Hope

Three times a day I cherish the opportunity to say: "And for the slanderers let there be no hope; and may all the heretics perish in an instant; and may all the enemies of Your people be cut down speedily. May you speedily uproot, smash and cast down the wanton sinners -- destroy them, lower them, humble them, speedily in our days. Blessed is He Who breaks enemies and humbles wanton sinners."
While I recite this prayer, I think about latidurian members of my shul, as well as the wider world of Modern Orthodoxy, as well as the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionists movements of Judaism, as well as Christians and Muslims and other idolaters, as well as secularists and hedonists and perverts, and I wish that they all be speedily extirpated for Your honor.
Even though Chaim Amalek is such a dear friend that he feels like a part of myself, because I am true to the Torah I pray earnestly and thrice-daily that he be wiped out (luckily he has not reproduced) along with all Jews whose mechitzas (separation between men and women) are not high enough and kashrut observance is not strict enough.
By virtue of these prayers, I am able to maintain the rage necessary to a productive writing life which serves as a blessing to all the families of the world. Amen.

I Want To Run For Mayor Of Los Angeles

I'm looking at the losers for this position and I feel that it is my moral duty to run. Unfortunately, I missed the filing deadline. If I were to run, it would be on the following platform:

* Eliminate welfare (to the extent that is city-funded).
* Beef up the police.
* Get rid of illegal aliens.
* Privatize the school system and other government services to the largest extent possible.
* Call out the National Guard for all violent areas in LA, impose curfews if necessary, and make wearing gang insignia illegal (as well as belonging to gangs that commit crimes).
* Eliminate bilingualism.
* Restore the cross to the seal of Los Angeles.
* Allow all law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns.

Email luke (lukeford at comcast dot net) your further recommendations for my platform.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

'Heal A Child. Plant A Tree.'

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaragosa spoke at Friday Night Live January 14. He was particularly vapid.
He urged us to "go speak to someone who doesn't speak your language."
If you don't share a language with somebody, how can you speak to them? If you happen to be bilingual and share a language, then your second language is your language.
Antonio urged us to "heal a child. And plant a tree."
He said "mitzvah" meant a deed of kindness, when it really means a divine obligation. It is mitzvah to not eat pork, but that is no deed of kindness unless you are a pig.
Antonio described America as "a country founded on slavery."

'Levi, Loves Jewish Women'

I know this couple at shul. Over kiddish, they were telling me about their recent trip to Israel. They were in a bookstore in Jerusalem with their six-year-old daughter. They were in a section about Judaism and women.
The little girl exclaimed, "We must buy one of these books for Levi [Luke]. Levi loves Jewish women."
The mother explained that yes, Levi, does love Jewish women, but not in this way.
"In what way, then, mama?"
"I'll tell you when you are older."

Police Or Poseurs?

Jan 3. I publish the Anthony Pellicano early release story.
11PM. I leave for Las Vegas for a week.
Jan 4. AM. Three men in plain clothes come to the house where I live. They flash LAPD badges to my landlady. They say they see my car. They want to speak to me. They reveal various info about me. She says I am not home. They want access to my place. She says no. They said they had my phone numbers and would call me. They leave.

They never call me.

I suspect they were fake credentials and probably people wanting to intimidate and harass me. It's probably connected to the Anthony Pellicano case.
Another person who has been looking into Pellicano's appeal has also received similar harassment.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I'm Launching a New Business Venture

I know I've been a bit secretive of late, but such are the competitive pressures of my business that I had little choice. I'm launching a new business just for women.

Gone Hollywood II

Rick Siegel (ricks at of Marathon Entertainment writes:

I started 2005 out in a rather unique way: last Wednesday I told the California State Victims Board that the California State Labor Commission has damaged me and my business with real, direct, consequential and punitive damages in excess of $20,000,000 (twenty million dollars).

Here’s the backstory...

Most of you know I have spent much of the last three years trying to get paid for the work I did as a personal manager for clients who first made millions of dollars then chose not to remit commissions.

And that the State of California has been integral in keeping me from that money; claiming that since I helped my clients’ succeed, I was not a personal manager but an unlicensed talent agent.

Currently, I have two cases in the appellate system to be heard sometime later this year. My defense will be that as they affect personal managers, the Talent Agencies Act statutes are incorrectly, unfairly and unconstitutionally incorporated.

But the first stop in the legal process was the State Labor Commission. I had the same hearing officer for three different cases, and in all three the officer refused to consider the legal and constitutional issues, saying that the Commission only enforced, not interpreted law. Further, the officer refused our request to stay the proceedings until I could be heard in a proper forum. Together, these actions robbed me of my civil rights of due process.

I’ve watched enough LAW AND ORDER episodes to know enforcement bodies like the police, or in this case the Labor Commission, have the dual responsibilities to punish wrongdoers and ensure those who have not done wrong do not get punished.

In this instance, they did just the opposite. In its determinations, the Commission relied on three different case law precedents. Had the Commission been willing to consider my assertions, they would have learned that one of those precedents is antique and inapplicable, another is a Judicial Error resulting from an attorney’s untrue assertion, and in the third case, about the Statute of Limitations, the Courts confuse which party has the right to use the time limit as a defense.

In an effort to mitigate the damage their actions had caused, I recently asked the Labor Commission to consider writing a ‘friend of the court’ letter (an amicus brief) for my appeals cases outlining that, a year later, now that they have heard and considered my issues, these precedents should not be used. Anne Stevenson, the Commission’s chief counsel, turned down that request; not because she thought my assertions were incorrect, but because by writing the letter they would be admitting to past mistakes. I wrote back that I was saddened they were more concerned with how their past actions might be interpreted then the opportunity to ensure that others will not be compromised from here forward.

My confidence in the correctness of this effort has not wavered; just the opposite, in many ways, this is a day of celebration for managers. Informing the State of its victimizing policies leaves the Labor Commission a classic Hobson’s choice: the enforcement body will risk adding to its potential liability if it does not stop using the inapplicable precedents, and without them, no ex-clients will be able to use the Commission as a way to avoid paying their managers.

If you know anyone currently being compromised by an ex-client, please put them in touch with me. It will help. If you have any way to help, especially in finding ways to publicize this situation, please let me know.

And finally, I used to think anyone who wrote they’d been given the greatest gift in the love and support of their wife was just sucking up, but that was before I was married. If not for my wife’s patience, humor and understanding, I would not have the strength for this. I wish everyone what I have, though not necessarily with my wife.

It's Not About Rabbi Yaakov Menken

He's just the Internet point man for Ner Israel and the two leaders of Baltimore's Orthodox community -- rabbis Yaakov Hopfer and Moshe Heinemann. They sent him out onto the Internet with to defend the Orthodox rabbinate against accusations of sexual abuse (I wonder if they had done due diligence on their man first?).
The degree of brazen protection given by rabbis Hopfer and Heineman to those accused of sex abuse is staggering (or at least it staggers the mind of those who expect credible accusations to be professionally investigated and actions taken against those who abuse).
The story here is not that people in power sometimes abuse those with less power. The story is that the religious leadership of an Orthodox community wills itself to be blind to the sex abuse problem in its midst.
Rabbis Hopfer and Heineman cry peace, peace when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14)

Gone Hollywood

Which gay Hollywood gazillionaire likes to pay married men ridiculous amounts of money to be sexually on call for him for a year?

Chaim writes: "And married men get all the breaks, don't they?"

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Opening Arguments In Anthony Pellicano's Appeal Thursday

The location: The Richard H. Chambers U.S. Court of Appeals at 125 S Grand Ave, Pasadena 91105; (626) 229-7250, PO Box 91510, Pasadena 91109-1510.

Normally, an appeal like this wouldn't be heard for nine-to-twelve months. This was heard within two, meaning that Pellicano and his counsel called on some powerful connections. Normally there wouldn't be a ruling on this sort of appeal for three months. Again, Pellicano might get one within a month. He gets special treatment because he knows where the bodies are buried.

Pellicano knows that knowledge is power. He used to tape record his own children when they were making what they thought were private calls and use the information to bully and abuse them.

Observer says:
This Donald Re appeal could fly. He has a good point. This prosecutor couldn't figure out the Hobbs Act to charge Alexander Proctor with. If he pulled the search warrant (broad) on Pellicano in bad faith, then it is invalid. If I look for one bit of information on your computer, then everything on it is fair game.

Donald Re is a topflight Ivy League-educated lawyer. That's why all the crooks love him. He shows up and he's the one guy who doesn't look like a sleazeball. Judges like him. He's not crazy guy like Marty Singer. This whole case against Pellicano could go away.

I don't know if The LA Times even had anyone at today's court hearing. The story has become way too inside baseball.

John Connolly is trying to get a book out of Anthony Pellicano. He tried to talk to Pellicano's estranged daughter.

The point of the Pellicano case (by law enforcement and prosecutors) was to get celebrity lawyers such as Bert Fields and Marty Singer indicted. That a private eye did something dirty, so what? This was supposed to be a man-bites-dog story. That top entertainment lawyers were engaged in nefarious activity, that was the bombshell. It sounded good but it hasn't panned out.

'My, but you are ageing very well'

I ran into an old would-be girlfriend today. I say "would be" because, well, while I wanted to date her (this was ten years back), she did not think me good enough to date her. So here we are, ten years on, and both of us are still single. She complimented me so well that I began to blush: "My, but you are ageing well. You know, you are getting to look more and more like Brad Pitt!"

I looked in the mirror when I returned home and knew that she was right. But she, on the other hand, clearly has lost her looks. And to think that she could have had me.

Ladies, don't let this happen to you in life. Learn to settle for Mister Goodenough.

Wherein Our Hero Learns The Truth About The Drugs He's Been Taking

Hosea writes:

Depo-Provera is a form of long-term female birth control - its like the pill but lasts six months. (Except that it is also generally believed to result in side effects such as ovarian cysts.)

You're taking female hormones - estrogen and progesterone.

While the effects on men of female hormones in the dose and combination used
in depo-provera is not known, here are some facts:

Female hormones were used for years to "cure" homosexual men.
Female hormones are used as part of the conversion process for men becoming
surgically altered women - transexuals.

Based on the effects on those people, possible effects include:

Growing breasts.
Shrunken testicles.
Loss of sex drive.
Changes in body hair and body appearance.
Changes in bodily fat deposits.
Inability to reproduce - lack of sperm.

Luke, stop taking that stuff NOW.

At least see a goddam real doctor - a real secular doctor - before you take any more.

You can screw up your body for real, real good.

Call Me Daddy!

It is a lot of responsibility to be a moral leader. I have thousands of readers each day who look to me for guidance about the most difficult issues of life. Based on my study of the sacred texts, I am able to guide them in the right paths. All the while, I am keenly aware that a carelessly chosen word here, an incorrect emphasis there, and one of my readers might fall into an abyss from which he would never recover.

It would be a terrible thing if I were to abuse my position and prey on the vulnerabilities of young and attractive women seeking father figures. It would be a terrible thing if I were to abuse such a woman, and then cloak my fears about being revealed as a predator by publishing pious Torah rhetoric about not speaking lashon hara (gossip).

If I were a rabbi who wrote something like this, I'd want to make sure that holiness of my behavior matched the holiness of my rhetoric:

The simple fact of the matter is that the laws of Lashon Hora continue to apply. There is no journalist’s (or blogger’s) exemption. Nor do I think it is accurate to say that problems don’t get solved until they are made public. That may be true in rare cases, but there are many others where matters are resolved without mentioning names. I do not believe that we have the right, and certainly not the responsibility, to report badly about individuals.

Right now, there is a web site carrying extremely serious allegations about a member of our community, allegations which, if believed, would result in the immediate termination of that individual’s employment – or great damage to the company that employs him. The “evidence” against this person comes entirely from a blog (and another web page created by the blogger), which also contains a series of allegations against various rabbis and others who are “protecting” this individual.

Anyone who knows any of these people knows that the allegations are ludicrous. If the allegations had a hint of truth to them, then (given their nature) the rabbis in question would be first to tell him he must leave his job. The allegations were discredited long ago – but certain people don’t care. They would rather besmirch the innocent based upon “testimony” which changes substantially each time the story is re-told.

The fact is that you don’t need loshon hora to stop spousal abuse. The rabbis are accused of not caring by people who have never bothered to speak to them directly – and, not incidentally, have a huge chip on their shoulders about Judaism.

Blogging – or newspaper reporting – is no excuse for loshon hora. In another surprising bit of Divine Providence, yesterday the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation asked me to publicize the following notice (which they also provided as a PDF for all who want to see it nicely formatted). It’s quite appropriate to this topic.

If I was going to become the Internet point man for Orthodox Judaism in its righteous defense against "self-appointed watchdogs," I'd hope it would not be in defense of my own misdeeds.

If I was going to recruit a distinguished panel of contributors to go to war against lashon hara and the needless destruction of people on the Internet, I'd hope that I'd never screwed up one of my young vulnerable employees through sexual abuse and hypnosis.

If I was going to be the point man for a community (say the Baltimore Orthodox community led by rabbis Yaakov Hopfer and Moshe Heineman) fighting numerous charges of sex abuse, I'd hope that I didn't have a background in sexual abuse of a vulnerable employee.

If I was going to offer a bribe to remove publication of a report on the stonewalling of a police detective's investigation of sexual abuse in a community, I'd hope I wasn't thinking primarily of my own reputation.

If I had a past where I took advantage of a young female employee, I hope I'd feel that I had done a bad thing, and I hope I would move along the path to teshuva (return).

If I were the editor of an establishment Jewish newspaper, the Baltimore Jewish Times, say, and I realized that I had been covering up for sexual predators in my community (and the powerful rabbis who protect them, say rabbis Hopfer and Heineman) and writing fluffy articles about persons who might deserve inspection, I'd resign my position. Any other job, even as a secretary, would be more honorable than publishing articles like this.