Friday, February 26, 2010

Conversion To Orthodox Judaism

Luke Ford says:


7 p.m. So many great sessions. I guess I should be in Rabbi Jonathan Aaron’s “Gossip is Called ‘Evil Tongue’ For A Reason” but instead choose Catalina Ballroom 2 for Rabbi Michael Melchior’s lecture on conversion to Judaism in the 21st Century.


I sit in the second row. The room fills up. Maybe this Michael Melchior bloke is the superstar of LimmudLA 2010?


When he walks in, he’s a worry. He’s heavily stooped. His face is ashen. He says he’s been traveling for 29 hours straight to get here from Israel. He doesn’t look like he has the strength to climb to the platform let alone give a speech.


But once he gets rolling, he gets rolling. I’m mesmerized. He’s hilarious and wise and fair. I’d follow this guy anywhere. He’s my new hero.


Oy, but that stoop. Look at how tips his head back and compresses his neck. So much unnecessary tension there. His shoulders curve inward. His spine must be all mashed together. I could really help him with some Alexander Technique. Poor man. He’ll have doctors and healers fussing over him all weekend. He’s not going to listen to me. But I can help him more than anybody! And he can help me, he can be my new father figure. I’ll confess to him my sins and he’ll absolve me. He seems like an understanding bloke.


Read On



Social Climbing LimmudLA 2010

Luke Ford says:

I imagine my tombstone: “Here lies Luke Ford. He’s dead. He choked on his peanut butter before what would have been his biggest weekend of the year. I guess he’s no longer the future of journalism.”

I feel jittery. I wonder if it’s the coffee. I need to be revved up, but not jittery.

I sit on the sofa opposite the entrance and hope my friends come soon. I just can’t make it any other way. I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought I’d see you again.

At least I’m not sick. My throat isn’t sore. I don’t have the sniffles. My HIV is under control. Thank God for the cocktail! AIDS is no longer a death sentence.

Jeff emails: “Were you kidding about HIV?”

Yes.

Jeff replies: “You might want to clarify that because it doesn’t come off that way.”

I have a family who loves me. I have a good therapist. I have more than a year of Alexander Technique teacher training under my belt. I no longer interview porn stars for a living.

I’m respectable now. I have my Orthodox conversion. I have my shuls. Nobody’s trying to ban me.

Read On



Lost In A Vortex Of Lust

Luke Ford says:

When I was growing up in Seventh-Day Adventist Christianity, the sin of fornication aka pre-marital sex received more attention than any other sin. It was the biggie. To do it, was to deny Christ and his love.

I’ve never heard a sermon in an Orthodox shul condemning pre-marital sex. I don’t think I’ve even heard it condemned from the bima (pulpit). The Orthodox rabbis I know take it for granted. Not that they say it is OK, but they give it no more attention than masturbation.

By contrast, there are all these talks about homosexuality in Orthodox Judaism.

I wonder why pre-marital sex gets no love? All sex outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage is condemned by Judaism according to the normative Orthodox view.

Why aren’t rabbis thundering against masturbation? Why aren’t they warning their unmarried congregants that they are placing their soul in peril by engaging in French kissing, let alone fondling, petting, heavy petting, heavy petting underneath clothing, oral sex and the like. Why this wall of rabbinical silence on this vitally important Jewish issue?

God, I am getting so worked up just thinking about the hazards of these sins. I guess it is up to the Leader to set the Jews straight.

I remember hanging out at the Pacific Union College pool in the late 1977, I was 11 at the time, and I was shocked to hear the lifeguards talk about going to see the movie Saturday Night Fever. I was shocked to hear about their participation in disco dancing. Both movie-going and dancing are big sins in Adventism.

Read On



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Christian Compassion Vs. Jewish Compassion

Luke Ford says:

A Christian woman says while I am in the room: "I was nine years old when WWII ended. We lived in France. We knew about the concentration camps. We knew someone who survived the concentration camps. And even then, I felt sorrier for the people running the camps than the people in them. Because the people running the camps were deeper in hell. Didn't Christ say that he didn't come for the good people but for the bad?"

Read On



I Said Yes To HaShem

Luke Ford says:

Kundalini Yoga class.

I arrive five minutes early. I put down my stuff, take up my cross, roll out my mat, sit next to the wall, lie down on my back while simultaneously sending my legs straight up in the air against the wall (so I am posed at a 45 degree angle), then pick up Betrayals: The Unpredictability of Human Relations by Gabriella Turnaturi and read such insights as:

Furthermore, if it is true that not only in every relationship but in every interaction parts of ourselves that we were unaware of come to light, we cannot even be sure that we will never betray. Betrayal, both as an act on our part and as an action we undergo, is always relational and always possible. When we enter into relations with others, a step that is necessary for the construction of our own identity, we put into play our desire to be with the other — but also our desire not to lose ourselves in the other. (Pg. 4)

As Robert J. Avrech wrote in the foreword to my book, Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism:

Betrayal fascinates Luke Ford. It’s his life.

Luke betrayed his father, a prominent Seventh Day Adventist minister, when Luke converted to Judaism.

Luke betrayed his second "father" when he sacrificed his friendship with Dennis Prager to work on an unauthorised biography of his hero.

Luke betrayed Judaism when he became lukeford.com, the preeminent journalist covering LA’s sordid, mob-infested porn industry. Luke betrayed his Orthodox synagogue when he lied about his work and told the rabbi that he was a "freelance journalist who writes about crime for a Japanese magazine."

Read On



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Christian Compassion

A Christian woman says while I am in the room: "I was nine years old when WWII ended. We lived in France. We knew about the concentration camps. We knew someone who survived the concentration camps. And even then, I felt sorrier for the people running the camps than the people in them. Because the people running the camps were deeper in hell. Didn't Christ say that he didn't come for the good people but for the bad?"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stress Kills

Donna Burstyn says:


I want to share with you some of the incredible people who have been a part of my life. I want to tell you about the heroes and heroines who under the worst of circumstances pulled themselves up. Some not all the way up. And some graduated this chapter of psycho-therapy.


I won’t reveal anybody’s identity. I will only share the gratitude I feel for having known these heroes and heroines.


We often think our dramas are unique to us, but we’re all the same.


During my 18 years of practicing psycho-therapy, I’ve seen miracles.


I’ve also seen people who’ve chosen to stay impoverished in their thinking and behavior.


One woman comes to mind. I’ll call her Barbara.


Read On



Taking Children From Fathers

Donna Burstyn says:

I’m getting sick and tired of laws and divorce courts that take children away from their fathers.

I’m not happy that many children are raised with fathers two days a week, if they’re lucky!

I don’t know much about divorce court. I don’t know how to file what document where. That’s not my area of expertise.

I see so many men come to my office frustrated and alienated and angry and disappointed that courts have chosen against a 50/50 split for a 70/30 split or weekends only.

I don’t think this is usually in the best interests of the child.

I was a single mother for many years. I raised four kids. They’re now all adults. And I know how many adults feel such keen pain having had an absent father.

Read On



How Would You Like To Be Remembered?

Donna Burstyn says:

Do we want to be remembered by our names on buildings? Do we want to be remembered by our children and our grandchildren and their children as somebody who was kind.

I think a lot of people don’t take the time to think about how they want to be remembered. And once they forgive it out, do they live accordingly? It would be a great act of commitment to follow through on one’s word.

I’m thinking about how I want to be remembered. Who is it most important to me that I be remembered by?

It seems much easier sometimes to do things for strangers than to do things for people close to us.

I’m thinking about a person who people generally see in the pinkest of light. But I know this person differently. I know this person from a much closer relationship. And a part of this person is not all those great words spoken about them. There’s a dark side that few know.

How do we want to be remembered? Who do we want to be remembered by?

Read On



The Fall Of Fibromyalgia Patients

Donna Burstyn says:

I call this ‘The Fall’ because there are no treatments to really help us.

I’m so tired of hurting everywhere. I’m so tired of explaining that the pain isn’t localized. It is everywhere.

When people ask me, how can the pain be everywhere? I don’t know to explain that it can hurt at my shoulder and it can hurt at my knee at the same time. It feels like a spiderweb, a series of dots, pieces of calcified fiber, and to move my arms and legs, I have to break them, I have to break through these dots, these little balls, and every time I do that, it hurts.

To repair itself, the body makes more of these dots, these calcified balls, and we go on this circle over and over. I keep breaking down these balls and I keep breaking through the pain, and then my body rebuilds it trying to do me a favor.

It’s difficult to find the strength each time to bounce back.

Read On



Single Moms, Single Dads

Donna Burstyn says:

I was a single mother for many years. I raised four kids. They’re now all adults. And I know how many adults feel such keen pain having had an absent father.

Little boys and little girls need fathers.

So in walks a man (Jake) to me who has a two-and-a-half-year-old son. And he hasn’t seen them in a year.

Jake and the mom made an agreement before birth not to marry but to share equally in the raising of the children.

Neither one is American. They are from different countries with different customs.

While the father of the child was out running errands, the mother decided the baby would be circumsized. As a Jew, I support that decision. But the father, not being Jewish, felt betrayed. The hospital did not have two signatures on the form that yes, they agreed with this small surgical procedure.

By the time the father got back, the doctor said, well, we can’t put it back now.

This is horrific. Why was it OK for one parent to make all the decisions when nothing had been established by the court?

Read On



How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

Donna Burstyn says:

Life and death feel very close to me, with my brother’s yartzeit and my father’s heart attack, and my clients…

I’m thinking about – how do we want to be remembered?

Who is it most important that we are remembered by?

What’s most important in our lives?

You can judge that by the amount of time you give to things and people.

I once heard a rabbi say that wherever your feet are, that’s where you give the most attention. When people say their family is most important, but their feet happen to be at work most of the time, that’s a better indication of what’s most important to them.

We can rationalize. I did this for years. I’m working several jobs so that I can provide for my family. It was true, but work was getting more of me than my family did. Do we want to be remembered as good workers? Do we want to be remembered as good providers? Do we want to be remembered as people available to others? Do we want to be remembered as selfless or selfish?

Read On



Stress Kills, Therapy Helps

Donna Burstyn says:


I remember advertisements that said, stress kills.


I knew that. I knew that stress causes disease. And that we as adults need to do what we can to live at ease. Even though there are external events happening around, our attitude has a lot to do with how we get through those events.


Our life in general has a lot to do with how we see the world.


My father had a heart attack this week. Fortunately, he is recovering. He is resting comfortably.


When they were rolling him out of surgery to his room, he started dictating to his wife some things in the business that needed to be done in his absence. And she saw how ridiculous that was that was he was thinking about work while facing the possibility of death.


She said, ‘You have to stop this. This is one of the reasons you had a heart attack. You take on too much and it leaves you stressed and worried.’ And they both started to laugh.


Read On



I Mourn My Brother

Donna Burstyn says:


I lost my 29-year old brother David to cancer. He was very healthy. He was a non-smoker. Etc. Etc. And so many people have these stories of people they have lost suddenly, whether it is in car accidents or child birth or cancer. I rarely hear the trauma of losing someone who lived a long healthy life. People come in and grieve the sudden death in a very different way from the loss of a loved one who lived a full life. Missing seems to be a very different emotion from grieving.


How we all move on from a sudden loss amazes me. I’m touched that I can still see beauty in a sunset. For a long time, I couldn’t. And then life started to seep into me.


I remember I was sitting shiva (the Jewish way of mourning) and I said to somebody, I don’t feel like I can do life. And they said, don’t worry about that. Life will come back to you.


And that’s what happened. Life came into me. Perhaps that is how we’re created. Like a plant goes towards the sun, we seek out life.


Read On



He Finally Misses His Mother

Donna Burstyn says:

A recent client of mine left me a message today that said: ‘I am missing my mother. I guess I am human.’

David came to me about a year ago. He told me he had lost his desire to live. His first attempt at suicide was at age ten. From that point, he felt like he couldn’t even do that right.

He was existing, not living.

David’s father introduced him to pornography and voyeurism at age seven. David’s parents divorced when he was 14.

His mother worked most of the day to support the family. She wasn’t involved with his life.

Read On



I Can't Save The World

Donna Burstyn says:


I want to share with you some of the incredible people who have been a part of my life. I want to tell you about the heroes and heroines who under the worst of circumstances pulled themselves up. Some not all the way up. And some graduated this chapter of psycho-therapy.


I won’t reveal anybody’s identity. I will only share the gratitude I feel for having known these heroes and heroines.


We often think our dramas are unique to us, but we’re all the same.


During my 18 years of practicing psycho-therapy, I’ve seen miracles.


I’ve also seen people who’ve chosen to stay impoverished in their thinking and behavior.


One woman comes to mind. I’ll call her Barbara.


Read On



Filling The Hole In Your Soul

Donna Burstyn says:

Early in my career, the words “hole in the soul” became a trademark of mine. I was struck by how people kept trying to fill the hole in the soul with sex or drugs or alcohol or gambling other forms of excess, anything that takes their mind off the pain.

Sometimes the hole in the soul sucks us in to the dark deep places of depression and hiding.

In therapy, many of my clients looked at how they could touch their soul, how they could plant seeds that they could water and watch grow into beautiful flowers.

Sometimes people come into my office with pictures of themselves as children. They wanted to show me how innocent they were and how life has hardened them.

Read On



I Can't Save The World II

Donna Burstyn says:

She came into my office a decade ago. She was lifted by somebody and dropped on my couch 40 minutes after the session was supposed to begin. She was too drunk to make it to her appointment on time.

In her mid-thirties, she was the spoiled daughter of a mogul. She had never had to work for anything. She was the sister of a brilliant brother. She was the unpopular child. She was the failing student. She was the drug addict.

She felt invisible to her family.

She had many different compulsive disorders. She was my first clutterer. She horded anything she could get her hands on, mostly clothes.

Read On



Friday, February 19, 2010

Typing, Computers, Alexander Technique

Luke Ford says.

The Health Of Your Relationships

Luke Ford says.

Orthodox Judaism Homosexuals

Luke Ford says:


Why should gay Orthodox Jews get any more compassion than any other group within Orthodoxy who chooses to publicly deviate from their religion and simultaneously seek acceptance from it?


Judaism unambiguously says that is it not allowed to have sex with the same sex. It is a particularly big sin for a man to have sex with a man.


If you want to publicly deviate from this foundational law of Judaism, then don’t expect to be treated with sensitivity by traditional Jews.


I don’t see those who drive to shul on Shabbos creating support groups and making documentary films and crying for acceptance.


I don’t want gay Jews lynched. I don’t want them dragged behind trucks. I just want the ones who want to be accepted within Orthodox Judaism to shut up about their sexuality in public.


I’ve been as devious and deviant as the next guy but you don’t see me blogging about that and seeking acceptance for my sins. Instead, I make great effort to keep my blog as pure as the driven snow so that all Jews may dwell here in safety (except the gays).


Read On



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Alpha Male Wannabe At LimmudLA

Luke Ford says:


I hope Heaven will be one long LimmudLA.


Here’s my story this year:


Jan. 29. I got sick.


Jan. 31. The healing begins.


Feb. 7. I return to yoga for the first time in 11 days.


“Perfect,” I think. “I got sick at just the right time so that I will be strong for LimmudLA.”


Feb. 7. 1 p.m. I panic over my finances and flood with adrenalin for two days.


Feb. 10. 8:30 a.m. “You have therapy today?” she asks.


“Yeah,” I said. “I’m going to talk about how I can get the most out of LimmudLA. In 2008, it was my favorite weekend of the year. In 2009, it was my favorite weekend of the year. I anticipate that this will be my favorite weekend of 2010.”


“Why wouldn’t you talk about having to take financial responsibility for the first time in your life?” she asks.


“Score!” I say.


Read On



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

iPhone Applications



On Jan. 8, 2010, I interview Ryan Turner of Bizmosis.com.

Lev: What have you learned from Apple?

Ryan: “Bizmosis Server side platforms are built upon the Microsoft Platform. We are registered partners and have non-disclosure agreement with both Microsoft and Apple. We’re walking the fence between the war for mobile platforms.

“The one thing I’ve learned to expect from Apple and Steve Jobs in particular since he came back as CEO, is that he’s an smart shrewd businessman. He wants control. He will not relinquish control to anybody, whether it be a cell phone carrier, or a hardware manufacturer. The reason? He has unmatched user experience. His product, he controls every aspect of it. Any other manufacturer would be hard-pressed to match him.

“His software, his hardware, his vendors, they all play by his rules or they don’t play at all.

“Now, take Android. It’s a great platform. It’s free. It offers a way for a lot of players to get into the smart phone business with no licensing costs. The downside of the same operating system tweaked to work on many different devices and nobody has control over the thing. The carriers will get into the business and build their software on to the devices so they’ll be congruent and no one will have the attention to detail that Steve Jobs can muster up.

“Even the sexiest of Windows-based laptops, the manufacturer of the hardware is not the guy writing the operating system. You still have to worry about drivers. The finish, the usability, the performance does not compare. Apple products perform better because they write their own drivers and ensure that everything works well together.

“Apple controls their own pricing. They are at least 30% higher than anybody else on the same device. But you will have all these Apple fan boys who will buy anything new with ‘Apple’ on it. People will buy this new Mac Tablet. They’re pre-ordered. Why? Because they’ve come to expect that fit and finish, that polish, that sex appeal that Steve Jobs puts into every device.”

Lev: “What are you working on for the iPhone?”

Ryan: “We’ve just launched an application called ‘IdolsNow.’ It covers all of the American Idol contestants.. We’ve got premium exclusive content with live interviews and videos that will only be found on IdolsNow. Candid Camera type of stuff. We’re in past Idols living rooms. Or on stage after all the fans have left. Or in a club, off to the side, asking them questions.

“Fred Bronson, a music journalist legend, travels around interviewing past Idol contestants for us. This is stuff you can’t get anywhere else.

“The application is free to use. It aggregates all the content about past Idols. Then it is just 99c to access to the exclusive content. We’ll keep adding to the content every week.

“Our claim to fame is our application, ‘iTranslate: Ultimate’. You just type in, 'Where is the bathroom?' You select Spanish and you hit 'Go.' And it reads back to you aloud the phrase in Spanish and email’s you a copy of it.

“We’ve got missionaries overseas spreading the gospel with it. We’ve got nurses in the ER trying to communicate with people using the software.

“We have over six million uses now, over six million translations.

“That’s what pays the bills now and let’s us do all these other crazy applications and ventures.

“We have some applications that will move over to Android shortly. Android doesn’t have a huge market now but we think it will. It’s accelerating. The penetration is low but it will build a following. I’m real nerdy so I liked Android, but I appreciate the fit and finish of iPhone.”

Lev: “What are some of the advantages of Android?”

Ryan: “It’s a lot more open than the iPhone. You never hear of anybody trying to jail-break their Android. You’re really nerdy if you go there. Everybody wants to jail-break their iPhones because it gives them the ability to tether their device and get internet to your laptop through your cell phone or install a bunch of pirated applications.

“We have two versions of Scene Seeker – one for New York and one for Los Angeles. It allows you to locate famous film locations. If you live in New York and you download the application, you can see all the movies filmed around Central Park. There’s been over 300. If you’re bored and want something to do and feel like walking around the city, it’s a great way to relive some of your favorite movies.”



Lev: “How long have you guys been making iPhone apps?”

Ryan: “Two years. We started out early.”

“In the world market, the iPhone is not huge, but here in the States it’s great.”

Lev: “Why?”

Ryan: “We pay a premium for cool. We’re a wealthy nation. We have a pretentious population. They have an iPhone and they throw it on the table at Starbucks in plain view. It’s a status symbol.

“The vast majority of iPhone application developers are from the U.S. and a lot of the apps cater to the U.S. We don’t have Scene Seeker Moscow.

Nokia has the world’s biggest market share. They just slid to 76% worldwide. They are the Wallmart of cellphones. They pulled out of the States because U.S. regulations made it difficult for them. We don’t standardize.

Nokia has some of the best devices by far. We don’t get them here in the States, or they are very difficult to get, and very expensive, and they’re not carrier-subsidized. When you are in Europe, you can get carrier-subsidized Nokia phones.”

Lev: “What kind of applications might you have in the pipeline?”

Ryan: “We’re generally very secretive but we’re doing one now, there’s no competition, called ‘BizTravel.’ We’re partnering with best-selling author Jason Rich. The New York city application is going into Apple review in the next couple of weeks. This is for the true business traveler, not someone going for a vacation. This is for someone who wants to save money but wants to do it right. Someone who does not have the time to use Yelp or social networking sites to test out a restaurant. They might be bringing a client and they want a professional journalist who has been to the restaurant, checked it out, spoken to the management, and will even recommend dishes at the restaurant.

“This is an application that will tell you – don’t stay here. There’s only one outlet to use and it is on the other side, away from the desk. You can’t get any work done here.

“This application will tell you details, such as that the Wifi is $25 a night and is incredibly slow and problematic. This guy has stayed there. He has six cities. We will launch with New York.

“The application will have a full directory of places he recommends in case you have a dental emergency or a dry-cleaning emergency. You essentially have your own business traveler concierge.”

Luke: “When will this launch?”

Ryan: “Over the next several weeks, as soon as we get through the review with Apple."

Mango Hill Farm, QLD, Australia

From MangoHillFarm.com:


Welcome to Mango Hill Farm- the Sunshine Coast Hinterland's premier organic farm attraction.

 

Located in beautiful rolling countryside just outside Peachester near the Glasshouse Mountains on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, the Farm offers a bounty of organic products and services – experience our chocolate enrobed ginger and dried mango, and stay in our beautiful farmstays.

 

This  traditional-style working farm is dedicated to providing a unique organic experience for all its customers. We are also committed to supplying the highest quality certified organic products to our distributors and retailers.

 

Please explore this website and enjoy! Be sure to visit our image gallery, and browse through our delicious product range. We look forward to hearing from you, or seeing you soon at the Farm to enjoy our farmstay, cooking school or group farm tour. Mango Hill Farm is open to the public one day each year. Our next open day is 10am – 4pm  Sunday 3, October 2010 admission $5 per adult. Children free.



The Thrill Of Job Hunting

Luke Ford says:

Glenn emails:

Hi Luke,

A while ago I noticed you lamenting on your website about the difficulty of attracting women. It has to do with being or not being an alpha male. Alpha males attract women. There are some sub categories that do as well. However, in the human kingdom, failed alpha males are often gay. If you are a failed alpha male, and not gay, you will experience frustration at being unable to attract women usually reserved for alpha males.

Some guys know they aren’t alpha material. They marry or hook up with a woman in their own sub group. But a failed alpha male will still be attracted to alpha category women even though he can’t get them.

I’m not sure if this is a reversible situation or not. Once a guy fails in his bid to becoma alpha, there may not be opportunities to repeat the process, whatever it happens to be.

Failed alpha males can usually get women beneath them. They don’t really satisfy the needs of a failed alpha, however. This contributes to promiscuity.

Failed alphas can move into the spiritual world and become celibates, or try to. They can also pray for an exception to the norm, which is possible.

 

Read On



Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Heshy Fried - Frum Satire 14

Luke Ford says:

Heshy Fried operates FrumSatire.net.

Luke: “Share with me the most important things you’ve learned about women.”

Heshy: “They like little things. If a woman really cares about jewelry and the finer things, I don’t want anything to do with them. You send them a postcard and they’re overjoyed. They’re overjoyed at things that take thinking, like opening up a car door, and remembering little things, like their mother is going into surgery. I hang out with a different breed of women.”

“Women are not as confident as they look. They’re much less confident than men… I used to think they were so tough. I like women who are tough. That tell you when something is bothering them.”

Luke: “Do you have any insights into how a woman decides to go to bed with a man?”

 

Read On



Heshy Fried - Frum Satire 13

Luke Ford says:

Heshy Fried operates FrumSatire.net.

Luke: “So you’ve always stayed within Orthodoxy?”

Heshy: “More or less.”

“Within the last year or so, I’m just beginning, I wouldn’t say to leave Orthodoxy, but discovering that there is more to life than Orthodoxy. There are many more opinions. There are a lot of people, just because they don’t do certain things, doesn’t make them lesser Jews. I’ve always believed in that, but never before have I gone out and sought that. I had never been to a Conservative or Reform or egalitarian minyan until this past year. They’re so much better to make fun of from an Orthodox perspective.

“I wanted to write for Jewschool. I had this woman from Jewschool say, you offended women rabbis on your blog. We can’t have you write for us. They’re too progressive. So I write for Jewcy and Jewlicious instead.

“When you’re within the frame of Orthodoxy, you think that Orthodoxy is it. Then you go out and realize that Orthodoxy is very small. If we want to keep our religion alive, we need to bring people in. We can’t just be this little ignorant speck of insular Jews. We need to welcome people to do what they want. If you’re going to be a practicing Jew, you don’t have to be Orthodoxy.”

Read On



Heshy Fried - Frum Satire 10

Luke Ford says:

Heshy Fried operates FrumSatire.net.

Luke: “Where were you in the social pecking order? Were you cool?”

Heshy: “I was a pretty cool kid. I was that guy who got along with everyone. Yet I could spend a lot of time by myself. I enjoyed my own company. I started reading a lot. I started developing who I am. I hated the mistreatment of the weird kids because I was mistreated. I got a long with the kids who were outcasts. There was this kid who was clearly gay in high school. He’s out of the closet now. I was always friendly with him. Everyone called him a fag. One time he was like, what if I am?”

“I made out with a girl when I was 14. And then I didn’t get any from ages 14-19… In yeshiva, talking to a girl was almost like getting some. I almost got some many times but I was such a dumb ass. I didn’t have any game.”

“I went to Monroe Community College. I got my AA. Every time I got restless, I’d hop into my car and go to Montana. I got into road tripping and hiking and tree-hugging activities.

Read On



Heshy Fried - Frum Satire 9

Luke Ford says:

Heshy Fried operates FrumSatire.net.

“Two things worked against me. I had a father who was very disengaged from anything that happened after 1955 and I had a yeshiva that didn’t want you to go to college. They wanted you to learn in yeshiva. Kids went to college and got their BTLs, their Bachelors in Talmud Law. And then they got their Masters in Talmudic Studies. And then they taught in a yeshiva.

“My yeshiva wasn’t discouraging of college. They offered AP courses and they offered SATs. Some yeshivas, you take the SATs and they throw you out. There are girls there! How can you go there? It will take you from holiness to BS.”

Luke: “When was the happiest time of your life?”

Heshy: “Right now. I’m having a great time. It always gets better.”

Luke: “What do you love about your life right now?”

Heshy: “I’m in love with a girl. That’s nice. It’s the first time I’m really confident in a relationship. I’m living in the West. That’s been a dream for a long time. I’m living in the Bay Area. I’ve had some ego boosts in the past few weeks. I’m writing one of the most popular Jewish websites.”

Read On



Heshy Fried - Frum Satire 8

Luke Ford says:

Heshy Fried operates FrumSatire.net.

“I went to Monroe Community College. I got my AA. Every time I got restless, I’d hop into my car and go to Montana. I got into road tripping and hiking and tree-hugging activities.

“Then I went to New York State University at Brockport. I majored in political science.”

Luke: “How did you like going to a school with no Jews?”

Heshy: “It was great. I was trying to get away from Jews. I didn’t like Jews very much. I didn’t wear a yarmulke. I wore a hat. My last semester, I started wearing a yarmulke to intrigue girls. It didn’t work.”

“The confrontation with professors was interesting. When they were about to go on this anti-Israel thing, they’d see me and stop. Wow. The power of a yarmulke.”

“I wasn’t friends with that many people in college. I realized that I was not interested in traditional college kids. I should’ve gone to school in Boulder, Colorado or Berkeley… I was interested in going to used book stores and I wanted to see live jazz and I wanted to go hike and I wanted to go to flea markets and I wanted to go look at art deco architecture and my peers were like, dude, we’re going to get drunk and watch the game and like go shop at Abercrombie. It was a complete disconnect. I wanted nothing to do with these people. I went to a jock school. It was known for coaching. And floor hockey. It wasn’t cultural.”

 

Read On



Heshy Fried - Frum Satire 7

Luke Ford says:

Heshy Fried operates FrumSatire.net.

Luke: “Why did you go there?”

Heshy: “I went there because it was convenient. I could live in Rochester [at the yeshiva]. I paid $400 a month. All my friends were there. I liked the skiing. I could go kayaking in Lake Ontario. I didn’t apply to college in high school. I didn’t take the SATs. I took the PSATs and got 890, that’s pretty good.

“Two things worked against me. I had a father who was very disengaged from anything that happened after 1955 and I had a yeshiva that didn’t want you to go to college. They wanted you to learn in yeshiva. Kids went to college and got their BTLs, their Bachelors in Talmud Law. And then they got their Masters in Talmudic Studies. And then they taught in a yeshiva.

“My yeshiva wasn’t discouraging of college. They offered AP courses and they offered SATs. Some yeshivas, you take the SATs and they throw you out. There are girls there! How can you go there? It will take you from holiness to BS.”

Luke: “When was the happiest time of your life?”

Heshy: “Right now. I’m having a great time.”

 

Read On



Heshy Fried - Frum Satire 6

Luke Ford says:

Heshy Fried operates FrumSatire.net.

“My father encouraged Jewish learning. He was really into Gemara even though we weren’t fully on the level of mainstream Orthodoxy. But then again, Manhattan has a lower level of Orthodoxy. Manhattan is kinda weird like that. I knew many kids who were Orthodox, but their parents, cooking and driving on Shabbos was totally OK.

“What you consider yourself isn’t exactly who you are to the community at large. Some people want to consider themselves something because that’s who they think they are.”

Luke: “Do you use the name ‘Heshy’ with the goyim?”

Heshy: “Not until the past two or three years. I still use my English name in a professional setting. In college, I was like Jewish Steve, or a variation of that. I was the flying Heeb because I was big into trick biking.”

 

Read On



Monday, February 15, 2010

Why Go To Therapy?

On Echo in the Sense, hosted by Christine Palma on KXLU 89.9 FM, psycho-therapist Donna Burstyn talked about her craft.

“Carl Rogers was the one who created that unconditional positive regard. That’s what I try to practice in my office.

“I have been to therapists who are completely silent. It’s very difficult. That’s more of a psycho-analytic model. Some therapists have you fill out questionaires to find out where it hurts, much like with physical doctors.

“I ask people why they’re here. Why now? What’s going on in your life recently? Tell me about your family of origin. Are you employed? I get general background information. What they feel are some of the issues they would like to get help with. What is on their goal list?

“Towards the end of the session, I’ll say, how are you feeling right now? Sometimes they will say, ‘It is important for you to know…’

“Often as people are leaving the door, they will tell you the most important thing. And then they’re out. ‘And by the way, I was raped. I’ll see you next week.’



Therapist Donna Burstyn 3

On Echo in the Sense, hosted by Christine Palma on KXLU 89.9 FM, psycho-therapist Donna Burstyn talked about her craft.

“When you are seeking a therapist, ask for the therapist’s orientation. Some people get frustrated having a therapist who only listens. This is a more analytic therapist, the only psycho-therapy model, Freudian, Jungian. One lays on the couch and the therapist has the answers. The therapist listens. By virtue of speaking, the healing is created.

“In my world of therapy, it’s about the relationship that gets created in the room that creates the healing. I can do cognitive-behavioral therapy with someone. That’s about thoughts and behaviors. You learn to interrupt your thoughts so you don’t do certain behaviors. There’s homework. It’s more management oriented. Insurance companies like it because it is often shorter. Versus depth therapy. Object-relations. Interpersonal. Psycho-dynamic. That’s more dynamic, more reflective. For me, it is more interesting.

“Carl Rogers was the one who created that unconditional positive regard. That’s what I try to practice in my office.



Therapist Donna Burstyn Makes House Calls

On Echo in the Sense, hosted by Christine Palma on KXLU 89.9 FM, psycho-therapist Donna Burstyn talked about her craft.

“Many times people believe that they have to be in a crisis to go to therapy. But no. When people are not in crisis, that is a wonderful time to do therapy. In crisis, we do crisis-management. We try to stop the bleeding. It’s rare to do depth work when someone is in crisis. For someone who wants to do therapeutic work to last a lifetime, not being in a crisis is the best time to do this.”

“There are many different types of therapists. There are therapists who are solely listening therapists. There are therapists such as myself who listen and give back feedback, not right and wrong feedback, just things they’re hearing. There are therapists who are more directive. There are therapists who do a lot of dream work or the mind-body connection.

“When you are seeking a therapist, ask for the therapist’s orientation. Some people get frustrated having a therapist who only listens. This is a more analytic therapist, the only psycho-therapy model, Freudian, Jungian. One lays on the couch and the therapist has the answers. The therapist listens. By virtue of speaking, the healing is created.



Therapist Donna Burstyn

On Echo in the Sense, hosted by Christine Palma on KXLU 89.9 FM, psycho-therapist Donna Burstyn talked about her craft.

Christine: “What kind of people seek therapy?”

Donna: “Many kinds of people. Some healthy people seek therapy. People who are interested in growth and healing. People who have repeated patterns that get them in the same place they are unhappy with. Some people come to therapy because they are in crisis or they’re suffering from loss, which could be a relationship, a divorce, loss of a child, loss of a parent. It could be feeling lost. They don’t know what’s next for them. They’re trying to open up possibilities. They feel stuck… Some people come for writers block.

“Therapy is a place where people can be heard and accepted unconditionally and be with someone who reflects back to them what they’re hearing and helps them interpret what’s going on in their life. People make better choices as they become more conscious. You have a facilitator for your own inner voice. It’s the client who chooses the journey, not the therapist.”



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rabbi Avrohom Union RCC

Luke Ford says:

Rabbi Union runs the Rabbinical Council of California, which converts about 30 people a year. He has the power to stop a potential conversions. He’s rejected hundreds of people from the program over the years. Many of them, including myself at times, have hated him for this, for doing his job.

It’s not his job as RCC administrator to be the friend of the potential convert or the business litigant. It’s his job to run a rabbinical machine and to decide what is true to the Torah and in the best interests of the Jewish community.

Rabbi Union is a gatekeeper, in mythology talk. “The threshold guardian or “gatekeeper” must test the hero’s mettle for competency before he may enter the realm. Gatekeepers are terrifying creatures such as Cerberus (the three-headed dog of the Underworld), Pan, ogres, and shape-shifters of classical mythology.”



Meir Kin Divorce RCC

Luke Ford says

Mark emails:

Dear Luke:

Regarding your article about Shaarei Tefila, Youve been mislead once again. There are about 5-6 disgruntled members of Sharrei Tefila who just come for the Shabbos Kiddush every week and dont even participate in the services. Aaron Kin singlehandedly cannot remove the Rabbi as it is done by a Vote from the Board of Directors. The Rabbi nearly lost his job 3 years ago as well and has been hanging by a thread for the past 3 years. The majority of the shul feels the same and want to move on to find a more likable Rabbi. Rabbi Kosofsky is a nice person but simply not a match to this shul. The rabble rousers enjoy mixing in Meir Kin into Shaarei Tefila affairs, but in reality it has nothing to do with his Divorce. Incidently, Meir Kin has been getting Aliyas in Shaarei Tefila and even honored to lead the Services because the RCC has removed his Seiruv months ago. Therefore those people who fed you this “news bulletin” were simply lying and looking to stir trouble. You can always find bitter, jealous and troublemakers in every Shul.

So why did the RCC drop its seiruv against Meir Kin?

Mark replies: “Because they realized they have no case. You have done a wonderful job in the past posting all of his supporting documents and the RCC saw that the community wasn’t buying the BS of Bnai David or Beth Jacob. See lonnakin.blogspot.com

Here’s another email:

It’s true that Rabbi Kosofsky has had a hard time obtaining the shul’s support these past seven years. He works hard and is a very nice gentleman and a real mentsch…however, he does not have the personality for a pulpit job.

On the other hand, Aaron Kin is not a mentsch [and the paragraph that follows details various complaints about Aaron Kin].

The bottom line is that this once proud shul has gone down the tubes. The only solution is to get rid of Kin immediately and offer the rabbi a part-time contract until he finds something else.



Mortgage Modification Or Default?

Report:

When it is in the self-interest of businesses, they walk away from their mortgages all the time.

So what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Lenders say there's something immoral about a homeowner walking away from his home. But what if it is the homeowner's self-interest? Why should he sacrifice himself for a bank?

The New York Times says:

Businesses — in particular Wall Street banks — make such calculations routinely. Morgan Stanley recently decided to stop making payments on five San Francisco office buildings. A Morgan Stanley fund purchased the buildings at the height of the boom, and their value has plunged. Nobody has said Morgan Stanley is immoral — perhaps because no one assumed it was moral to begin with. But the average American, as if sprung from some Franklinesque mythology, is supposed to honor his debts, or so says the mortgage industry as well as government officials. Former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. declared that “any homeowner who can afford his mortgage payment but chooses to walk away from an underwater property is simply a speculator — and one who is not honoring his obligation.” (Paulson presumably was not so censorious of speculation during his 32-year career at Goldman Sachs.)



Luke Ford, Literary Recluse

Report:

Luke Ford, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to emerge since the first Gulf war but who then turned his back on success and adulation, becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, was still alive Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles where he has lived in seclusion for more than 15 years. He is 43.

Mr. Ford’s literary representative, Chaim Amalek, announced the living, saying it was of natural causes. “Despite having tweaked his elbow in 2006,” Amalek said, “his health had been excellent. He is not in any pain.”



Guys, Girls On Facebook

Luke Ford says: One of the traits I love most about myself is my ability to draw out mothering from women.

I can't get enough!

Hey, have you noticed sex differences in Facebook pictures? Girls pick up photos of themselves looking cute. Guys put up photos of themselves looking stupid. What's up with that?



Insecurity, Differentiation, Contempt

Luke Ford says:

"Dr. Spielvogel," he says, "I'm having a problem that I often have. It's with my GF. It's the most important relationship in my life. I have trouble telling her in the moment when I am feeling bad. So I tend to store up my resentment.



"I've become emotionally frozen.



"Her birthday was the other day. We planned to spend it together but flexible. She might have brunch or dinner with friends.



"Two days before, I get this mass email with all the plans for her birthday. It didn't make me feel special. I got the same notice as 50 other people. It felt like a slap in the face. I didn't feel special. It said to me, I don't care if you want to do this activity or not. I don't care how you feel about this. I'm indifferent to you. If you want to spend my birthday with me, you'll do it my way or not at all.



"I didn't say anything in the moment. She's very similar to my GF Peppy from 2000. She's happy, peppy, everything's great, and if I express any pain at her actions, then I'm a dick.



"She's always doing things that I can't point to as wrong, but they just make me feel bad. But if I voice my pain, I feel like a dick. She doesn't want to explain, justify or defend herself, but always does if I voice objection, and then she's pissed at me, and she punishes me by standing me up, maintaining radio silence or the like.



Alexander Technique, Yoga

I was pretty quiet during my Alexander Technique lesson today.

Luke Ford says:

I tried to be helpful when I entered yoga and helpfully I ran my keytag past the scanner without assistance.

“You just checked yourself into the pregnancy class,” said the woman behind the desk.

“That’s OK,” I responded. “Half of them are mine anyway.”

“Just what we need,” said the other woman behind the desk. “Off-color humor at yoga.”

A lot of people ask me at yoga how I reconcile my yoga with my Orthodox Judaism.

“I don’t,” is my favorite response. I prefer to respect the integrity of the two systems and I don’t bother with integrating them. I have next to no interest in Jewish mysticism and next to no interest in the theory behind the yoga I’m doing.

I don’t take yoga that seriously. I do it because it feels good. It’s a pleasant change from my hovel. Yoga smells good, looks good, is filled with good-looking people, and everybody is nice to me and I don’t feel like a right wally there.



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Parashah Roundup: Mishpatim-Shekalim 5770

Steve Brizel writes:

An Overview of the Parsha
  • R Michael Rosensweig explores the purpose of Mishpatim: link (audio)
  • R Berel Wein reminds us that Halacha demands that we implement its seemingly minute details in our daily lives: link
  • R Avraham Gordimer and Mrs. Shira Smiles explains the connection between Parshas Mishpatim and Maamad Har Sinai: link 1, link 2 (audio)
  • R Baruch Simon explores the Halacha of Lifnif Mishuras Hadin: link (audio)
  • R Yonasan Sacks discusses the roles of Beis Din and Edus in establishing Edus Lbirur HaDavar and Edus Lkiyum HaDavar in many areas of Halacha ranging from Gittin , Kiddushin and Chalukas Karka and how a person is defined as a witness is defined in Halacha: link (audio)

  • Litigation in Secular Court
  • R Dovid Gottlieb discusses litigation in secular court: link (audio)

  • Shabbos and the Eved Ivri
  • The Nesivos Shalom, as elucidated by R Yitzchak Adlerstein, shows us the connection between the lack of appreciation of the Eved Ivri and our own lack of the Midah of Ahavas HaShem in properly appreciating Shabbos: link

  • Nezikin
  • R Daniel Z. Feldman and R Baruch Simon provide an overview of Nezikin.and its relevance to contemporary halachic issues: link 1 (audio), link 2 (audio)
  • Very Religious Jews

    Whenever Jews tell me they were raised “very religious”, I know that they were not raised Orthodox. They were raised in some watered-down form of Judaism whose minimal demands struck them as “very religious.”

    Whenever Jews tell me they are “proud Jews”, I know they are ignorant Jews, because I’ve never met a Jew who can read Hebrew tell me that he is a proud Jew. Jews who lead Jewish lives feel no need to pronounce on how proud they are of being Jewish.

    I’ve noticed that Orthodox Jews rarely pronounce on how much more demanding their religion is than non-Orthodox forms of Judaism. They just take it for granted.

    So, when Modern Orthodox rabbi Hyim Shafner writes on Morethodoxy, “Modern Orthodoxy, when done right, is obviously more demanding than standard orthodoxy”, it strikes me as obvious that he’s trying too hard to impress himself with his own religiosity.



    Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism

    I feared there would be no original content in Prager’s column. He’d just rehash things he’d said thousands of times before. I was wrong. There’s an original story about his first book:

    We sent the manuscript to the Jewish Publication Society of America (JPS), hoping they would publish it. I received a call from an editor at JPS who told me that they would not publish the book. I asked her why, and her answer taught me a great deal about Jewish life: “Because it is too advocative,” she said.

    I was stunned. The Jewish Publication Society of America refused to publish a Jewish book on the grounds that it was “too advocative” of Judaism?



    Modern Orthodoxy's Latest Crisis

    R. Shmuel Hain:


    NEW YORK (JTA) — Another month, another round of recriminations in the Modern Orthodox community.

    Two months ago it was a breakaway rabbinic organization established, in part, to promote decentralized conversion standards. Last month it was a public forum on homosexuality in the Orthodox community.

    The latest controversy centers on the decision by two rabbis to bestow the title of rabba, a feminized version of rabbi, on a woman previously ordained with the title of Maharat.



    Thomas Sowell On Intellectuals

    On his radio show today, Dennis Prager talked to economist Tom Sowell, who published a book last year on the housing boom and bust (a revised edition of this book is coming out next month).

    Tom: “The banks did not cause the housing crisis. This government caused the housing crisis. They caused it, first of all, by putting in restrictions that drove up the price of housing in special areas. Then seeing these local problems in places like coastal California, they came in with all kinds of national programs which reduced the requirements for getting a mortgage all over the country in the name of affordable housing, and they got lots folks out on a limb who could not pay off the mortgages they took out and the rest followed like dominos.

    “The banks certainly did not want to create a situation in which they wouldn’t get paid. It seems so obvious.”

    Dennis: Isn’t the history of banks when they are irresponsible, such as the loans to Latin America a couple of decades ago, don’t they know they’ll be bailed out in any event?”



    Alexander Technique, Feelings

    I was pretty quiet during my Alexander Technique lesson today.

    My teacher asked me what I was thinking.

    “I’m thinking about asking my… for a loan,” I said.

    “Oh,” she said. “I’d be glum too.”

    My teacher worked on my shoulders and back. I was holding my shoulders close in to my body. I was hunched as I dreaded the big ask.

    As she helped me widen my back and my shoulders, to lengthen my torso, and to send my head forward (in relation to my neck) and up, I felt my glum mood lift and I started smiling for the first time all day.

    I suddenly felt incredible freedom in my back. I felt light and joyous. I hopped around and laughed. I moved in and out of the chair with ease. I was a changed man.



    Why Is A Super Bowl Win So Great For New Orleans?

    Dennis Prager: We always hear this, but I’m not sure why it is true.

    “They always say this. Every time a city’s team wins, it’s great for the city. And we all believe it. And then if you think about it for approximately four seconds, you can’t think of a single reason why it’s great for the city.

    “People feel good for a day or two and then go back to the exact same problems they had before the team won.

    “I happen to have been in Philadelphia the night they won the World Series. All I saw were overturned cars. I couldn’t get to my hotel because all the streets were blocked off. I couldn’t see why that was great for Philadelphia. What’s the enduring great benefit for Philadelphia?

    “He went further the coach. That this is great for Louisiana. I’m sure that for Baton Rouge, Shreveport, it’s just a new world.”

    “I don’t think LA misses the NFL and I don’t think the NFL misses LA. It’s a phenomenon that the second largest city in the country doesn’t have an NFL team.”



    Leon Wieseltier's Hatred Of Bloggers

    In an article on Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic’s Literary Editor Leon Wieseltier writes: “He is the master, and the prisoner, of the technology of sickly obsession: blogging–and the divine right of bloggers to exempt themselves from the interrogations of editors–is also a method of hounding.”

    That’s funny. Leon Wieseltier has long been the The New Republic writer most resistant to editing. He had a sweet deal with the former owner of the magazine, Marty Peretz, so that he could not be edited. When Michael Kinsley ran The New Republic and wanted to edit him in his first issue, Wieseltier went over Kinsley’s head to Peretz and secured for himself a no-editing privilege.



    Leon Wieseltier's Hatred Of Bloggers

    In an article on Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic’s Literary Editor Leon Wieseltier writes: “He is the master, and the prisoner, of the technology of sickly obsession: blogging–and the divine right of bloggers to exempt themselves from the interrogations of editors–is also a method of hounding.”

    That’s funny. Leon Wieseltier has long been the The New Republic writer most resistant to editing. He had a sweet deal with the former owner of the magazine, Marty Peretz, so that he could not be edited. When Michael Kinsley ran The New Republic and wanted to edit him in his first issue, Wieseltier went over Kinsley’s head to Peretz and secured for himself a no-editing privilege.

    And what’s with calling “blogging” the technology of sickly obsession? Why is it more sickly obsessive than cell phones? What is sick obsession? When are you dogged and I am obsessed?

    A lot of people have called me obsessed in my blogging. I know then that they lack arguments and can only use cheap put-downs.

    A Google search could not turn up Leon Wieseltier’s email address. I guess he doesn’t want to be questioned. It’s so much more comfortable just to pronounce.



    Will A Beard Hurt My Job Prospects?

    Most of the people close to me hate my beard. They say it will hurt my job prospects. That people don’t like beards.

    I know there are jobs that require a person to be clean-shaven, but I am not so sure that people in general dislike beards.

    I’ve found that most people are either indifferent to my Orthodox Judaism or respectful of it. Most of the people who hate it are secular Jews who hate traditional Judaism and adherence to traditional Jewish practices. But much of the goyim I know don’t have a problem with my beard and my yarmulke and my tzitzit and my adherence to Jewish law. They respect people who live for transcendent values. I think most employers will respect that too.

    Would you rather employ someone who fears God? I would.



    Monday, February 08, 2010

    Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough

    Lori talks about the trivial reasons many women use for disqualifying a guy for a second date. According to a survey, men gave three reasons for not going on a second date with a woman (not cute enough or nice enough or interesting enough), while women listed 300 reasons for not going on a second date (he ordered tap water at the restaurant, he wore a brown belt with black shoes, etc).

    Lori says the guy she’s currently seeing was not initially attractive to her on his match.com profile because he was shorter than she wanted, he did not appear creative (he worked in real estate), and he wore a bow tie (she thought it was dorky).

    Lori: “The Atlantic article was my opinion. The book is not my opinion. I’m a journalist. I went out and spoke to a lot of people.”

    The Jewish Journal’s Danielle Berrin interviews Lori:

     

    .



    Orthodox Female Rabbis III

    I’m told: There are many aspects to this and I do not believe that any one or two people can change things on their own. Orthodox Judaism is a religion of consensus. Sometimes ideas are discussed for decades before they are acted upon (and sometimes more than decades). Even when a new idea is started by a small group and acted upon immediately, the people are scholars of world class, see Rabbi Hildesheimer in Berlin in the 19th Century. For an activist of fourth rank scholarship such as R. Avi Weiss to make this kind of radical change is unheard of.

    Now the issues:

    What is the job of a rabbi? It is clear that the contemporary “Rabbi” is not the same as the traditional Rav (or Chacham in the Sephardic world). The Rav was primarily a Judge and Posek. Today that is almost never done by the pulpit Rabbi. So the question is what are we having this woman do? Is she being ordained to have all of the functions of a Rabbi or Rav? This has not been spelled out so it is impossible to answer from a halachic point of view. It is clear that there are things that a woman can do and things that she cannot do. Have they worked this out?

     

    .



    Orthodox Female Rabbis II

    This approach by Rabbi Kanefsky reminds me of another controversy he plunged into with utter recklessness. In the October 25, 2007 issue of the Jewish Journal, Rabbi Kanefsky wrote: “It’s not that I would want to see Jerusalem divided. It’s rather that the time has come for honesty.”

    The clear inference here is that if you oppose a divided Jerusalem, you’re dishonest.

    It’s a distressing tendency in Rabbi Kanefsky’s thinking that he regards those who disagree with him on many issues to be inherently dishonest.

    I can’t imagine there is anyone in the world who loses sleep because Rabbi Kanefsky regards them as intellectually dishonest. These accusations distress me, not because anybody is hurt by them, but because they hurt the rabbi.



    Orthodox Female Rabbis

    I don’t know much about Torah but I instinctively find the notion of an ordained female Orthodox rabbi to be post-Orthodox aka outside of Orthodox Judaism.

    The Orthodox Judaism I thought I knew prescribes very separate roles for men and women. It takes ten men to make a minyan. A woman can not be counted for a minyan. Almost all time-bound ritual commandments are binding upon men and not upon women.

    How can a woman, who is not commanded, take a position of religious leadership over men, who are commanded to follow these commandments?

     

    .



    An Education - My Favorite Movie Of 2009

    This was my favorite movie of 2009. I was enraptured by it from the minute I read its plot summary: “A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.”

    Today I had a woman tell me she saw the film and it left her unmoved.

    So we talked and tried to figure out why I was moved and she wasn’t.

    Then I said — maybe it’s a guy thing. Maybe guys — myself excluded of course because I am a Torah Jew — are just turned on by stories of the seduction of post-pubescent schoolgirls. They love stories about suave characters who can take an innocent girl and show her the world while wowing her parents and her friends.

    I know that I identified all too readily with the girl’s admirer her age who just couldn’t cut it. He had no game. He was awkward and easy and her parents despised him and she couldn’t care two figs about him. No, she wanted the guy twice her age who had money and class and could show her the world.



    The No-Demands Relationship

    I’ve had one of these.

    It’s been quite rare in my life.

    I associate “relationship” with having to do a lot of things you don’t want to do. In exchange for this hard work, your partner has to do a lot of things she doesn’t want to do. You get to make demands on each. If you don’t want out, you can get fused and lose your own integrity.

    That’s what I was used to.

    Then along came a no-demands relationship. “I want you to come to shul with me,” I said.

    “Why would you want me to do something I don’t want to do?” she said.

    “Because that’s how I understand relationships,” I said.

    And then I racked my brain for examples of when she had asked me to do things I didn’t want to do. And in a year together, I could not come up with a single example. For instance, even though she hated the beard, she never asked me to shave it.



    Sunday, February 07, 2010

    Scared

    "I got an update from my buddy about how many of my friends are doing," he said. "And they're not doing well. They are all struggling. One of them almost died."
    "How did that make you feel?" she asked.
    "I'm so scared for myself right now," he said, "that overwhelmed all other feelings."
    "You weren't concerned for your friends?" she asked.
    "I was so scared, so very scared about my financial position, that it overwhelmed all other feelings," he said.
    "That's probably typical for the youngest child," she said.
    She's an eldest child.
    "And for the eldest child," he said.
    "No," she said. "Eldest children think about taking care of others."
    He sat there feeling miffed. She wasn't validating him. She wasn't empathizing.
    And then he bucked himself up. That was OK. He didn't need her to validate him. He could soothe his own anxieties. He had read the book "Passionate Marriage" by Dr. David Schnarch and he knew about differentiation.

    Wednesday, February 03, 2010

    Dennis Prager For President 2012

    I’ve been waiting for Dennis Prager to run for president since 1989.

    I’m excited that the big day is almost here.

    I feel it in my bones. Dennis Prager is at the top of his game. He is as eloquent and clear-thinking as he has ever been. He seems filled with energy and drive.

    People of the world, Dennis Prager is the change you’ve been waiting for.

    From Townhall.com:

    This past weekend, after President Obama addressed the annual retreat of Republican Members of the House, I, along with my Salem Radio colleague Hugh Hewitt, and John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, were also invited to address them.

    I have never been as proud to be a Republican as I have this past year with your unanimity in opposing Obamacare and the other bills that would transform America. Please know — you need this feedback — that your having been able to stand together and do this has been a luminous moment in Republican Party history.

     

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