News Roundup – Thur. 3/18
[News & Media]
Some people dislike women who put on tefillin and pray with their own minyan. They dislike them so much that they believe they should be pelted with chairs. The incident occurred at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday, March 17, the first day of the Jewish month of Nissan. The group “Women of the Wall” were just gathering to form their own minyan at around 7:00 AM when around ten chairs were hurled at them from across the barrier between the men and women’s sections. According to Anat Hoffman, leader of the group: “A rabbi there shouted with a croaky voice, ‘See what it means to be a real Jew.’”
On May 9, 2007, at 3:00 AM, a 17-year-old yeshiva bachur in Lakewood had a rude awakening: heavily armed SWAT teams stormed his dorm room and interrogated him for hours before realizing they had the wrong man. Yehuda Polak was the victim of a prank call. An unknown caller, spoofing Polak’s cell-phone number for the Caller ID, claimed Polak intended to shoot up the Lakewood yeshiva Columbine style. Polak, now 20, sued the Lakewood and Jackson police departments for their “Gestapo-like” intrusion of his restful sleep, and has been awarded $50,000 for that sleepless night.
You don’t give, you don’t get. Such would be the guiding principle of a new Israeli law that would give potential organ donors priority when they themselves need an organ transplant. Because of halachick problems, however, Orthodox Jews generally refrain from organ donations. But they have no problem accepting transplants. The new law would put them at the bottom of the list when one of them needs a new organ, and Moshe Gafni, lawmaker from one of the ultra-Orthodox parties, claims the new law is “anti-democratic.” He prefers that Charedim be able to take, but not have to give. Something tells us we’ve heard that one before.
Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv seems dead-set on making life increasingly difficult for Orthodox Jews. In his latest ruling, according to an article in the Seattle Times, he ordered against the use of Shabbos elevators, those that stop at each floor without requiring the rider to push any buttons. Residents of Manhattan’s residential skyscrapers are now grappling with how to apply the decision. Lila Lowell, a Bronx native now living in Jerusalem, isn’t having any of it. “My elevator is kosher,” she declared, and that was her final word. Elyashiv is known for rulings that have caused considerable difficulties to Orthodox Jews in the past, such as forbidding the use of Crocs on Yom Kippur, deeming them “too comfortable,” and the banning of wigs made from human hair in India. Although, as the article mentions, there is no recorded objection by Rabbi Elyashiv to picking one’s nose on the Sabbath, although there seems to have been some debate about that among rabbis a decade ago.
“If I really had the power to do so, I would have all the Jews keep the Sabbath and work only six days a week, as the Torah commands.” The above quote comes not from some fanatic religious nut, but from Israel’s uber-secularist, left-wing former Prime Minister, Shimon Peres. Peres paid a visit to the Lithuanian Torah sage Rabbi Aron Leib Steinman in the Charedi city of B’nei Brak to declare, among other things, how proud he is that “the state and the IDF released yeshiva students from military service so they could devote their life to Torah study.”
This story wouldn’t be newsworthy to Unpious.com readers except for the old association of Jews with… horns. You’d think such was actually impossible for humans, but apparently a Chinese grandmother has developed just that: a horn growing out of the left side of her forehead with a striking resemblance to that of a goat. Someone check this woman’s DNA quick; if we can find some link to the Biblical Moses, that’ll answer a lot of questions.
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