Saturday, November 18, 2017

Poles Cry for ‘Pure Blood’ Again

ny times

If you want a sense of where Poland could be heading, look no further than the events last Saturday in Warsaw.
Tens of thousands of people — many of them young men with crew cuts, but some parents with children, too — flocked to the Polish capital to celebrate Independence Day in a march organized in part by two neo-fascist organizations. They waved white and red Polish flags, they brandished burning torches, and they wore “white power” symbols. They carried banners declaring, “Death to enemies of the homeland,” and screamed, “Sieg Heil!” and “Ku Klux Klan!”
The official slogan of the march was “We want God” — words from an old hymn that President Trump quoted during his speech in Warsaw in July.
A dozen incredibly courageous women showed up to protest the march. After mixing with the marchers, they unraveled a long strip of cloth emblazoned with “Stop Fascism.” They were immediately attacked. Their banner was ripped apart. Marchers pushed some of the women to the ground and kicked others.
Were these women exaggerating in calling the march fascist? Or are we in fact witnessing a resurgence of fascism in Poland? To steal a phrase: I believe the women.
Continue reading the main story
Though the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, condemned the march, saying Poland has no place for “sick nationalism,” the interior minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, called it “a beautiful sight.” He added: “We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday.”
Given what transpired, this sounds shocking. But for those of us who follow Polish politics, the minister’s take didn’t come as a surprise.

The trial of the doctors from hell

Nazi atrocities remembered.

Franken Case Sets Off Debate Over Line Between Abuse and a Mistake

ny timres

A day after the latest in a dizzying series of sexual assault revelations enveloped Senator Al Franken and rattled the Capitol, politicians and comedians were left trying to assess the line between predatory behavior and an inexcusable mistake, as calls mounted for him to resign.
Mr. Franken, Democrat of Minnesota and a veteran of both comedy and politics — two industries under increased scrutiny for fostering cultures where sexual abuse is pervasive — was targeted by Republicans, including President Trump, who has himself been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and assault. Republicans are grappling with their own senatorial scandal, as Roy S. Moore pursues a Senate seat amid accusations of assaulting teenage girls.
But that did not diminish their zeal as they called on Mr. Franken to step down.
On Twitter, Mr. Trump publicly hinted at a pattern of assault, and the political fallout continued as two Minnesota candidates for governor, both Democrats, called on Mr. Franken to resign. The conservative writer and activist L. Brent Bozell III said Mr. Franken had been “caught red-handed conducting lewd and unacceptable behavior,” adding, “there is a pervert in the United States Senate.”
By Friday evening, Mr. Franken had canceled a coming appearance at a book fair in Miami.
But while there was no widespread public showing of support for Mr. Franken, a number of his allies, including three former “Saturday Night Live” colleagues and 10 former aides, all women, said that they did not believe his behavior fit a pattern or was in the same realm of misconduct as other high-profile men accused of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, including the comedian Louis C. K. and the producer Harvey Weinstein.
“I’m just so upset about this atmosphere and good people being dragged into it,” said Jane Curtin, a member of the original cast of “Saturday Night Live” with Mr. Franken from 1975 to 1980 who has been close with him since. “It’s just like the red menace. You don’t know who’s going to be next.”
Continue reading the main story
Ms. Curtin said that in a comedy setting where women were at times not valued or dismissed because of their gender, Mr. Franken was a powerful ally who viewed female writers and comedians as his equal. But she was also among several who said they were disappointed by Mr. Franken’s conduct and were struggling with the episode, which happened during his comedy career.
“I was surprised,” Ms. Curtin said. “If he did that, that’s really stupid, but I have never seen him in a situation where he has been sexually aggressive with anybody.”
Others, including the woman who said he forcibly kissed her during a 2006 U.S.O. tour of the Middle East, grappled with his expressions of remorse. The woman, Leeann Tweeden, read an apology from the senator during a Friday appearance on the “The View.”
In another appearance, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Ms. Tweeden, a radio newscaster, said she had not told her story for political gain, and that his fate was up to the people of Minnesota to decide. She said she wanted women to feel more comfortable to share their experiences.
“Because if he did this to somebody else, or if anybody else has stayed silent, or anybody else has been the victim of any kind of abuse, maybe they can speak out and feel like they can come forward in real time and not wait a decade or longer,” she said.
As Washington wrestled with how to categorize Mr. Franken’s behavior, which was accompanied by a photo that showed him appearing to grope Ms. Tweeden as she slept on a military plane, even some ardent defenders of women’s rights said the senator’s offense was not so grievous as to require his resignation.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Toldos; If One Knows His Child Will Be A Rashah...

ny times

GADSDEN, Ala. — Alabama’s increasingly bizarre Senate race was convulsed again as four more women came forward on Wednesday to describe encounters with the Republican candidate, Roy S. Moore, and Mr. Moore’s campaign sharply questioned the credibility of another accuser.
The newest accusations came from women who ranged in age from about 18 to 28 at the time. They complained of being groped, forcibly kissed or subjected to unwanted advances.
One of them, Becky Gray, now 62, a retired teacher living in Gadsden, Ala., said in an interview that she was puzzled by Mr. Moore’s repeated overtures when she worked in the Gadsden Mall.
“I just couldn’t figure out why a man of his age spent every Friday and Saturday at the mall,” said Ms. Gray, who was then in her late teens or early 20s.
She said she frequently saw Mr. Moore, then in his 30s, talking with young women and did her best to avoid him. Ms. Gray said she eventually complained to her manager that he would not leave her alone and was later told that Mr. Moore had been banned from the mall.

Toldos; If One Knows His Child Will Be A Rashah...

The Brisker Rav famously explains, that Rivkah Imeinu - as a woman that does not have the מצוה of פרו ורבו- was able to say למה זה אנכי... A man on the other hand has no such liberty. That is why, explains the Brisker Rav, Chizkiyahu Hamelech, was told by Yishayahu Hanavi that he must get married. This, despite his having a valid reason for staying single- he knew he would have a son, a Rashah - Menashe Hamelech. 

Rav Chaim Shaul Kaufman זצוק''ל, in his ספר משחת שמן, asks from the נשי למך. They were woman and yet they were told that they should not refrain from having children...

For questions and comments please email

Rogochover and More by Marc B. Shapiro

Marc B. Shapiro

In a recent Jewish Review of Books (Summer 2017), I published a translation of an interview R. Joseph Rozin, the Rogochover, gave to the New York Yiddish paper, Der morgen zhurnal. You can see the original interview here. The fact that the Rogochover agreed to the interview is itself significant. As is to be expected, the content of the interview is also of great interest.

In the preface to the interview, I mentioned that the Rogochover famously studied Torah on Tisha be-Av and when he was an avel, both of which are in violation of accepted halakhah. When he was once asked why, while sitting shiva, he learnt Torah, he is reported to have replied:[1]

ודאי, עבירה היא זו, וכשאקבל עונש על שאר עונותי יענישוני אף על עון זה, אבל אני אקבל באהבה וברצון את העונש על חטא זה, וכדאית היא התורה להלקות עליה

R. Yissachar Tamar cites an eye-witness who reported that the Rogochover said basically the same thing in explaining why he learnt on Tisha be-Av, and noted how wonderful it will be to be punished for studying Torah.[2]

ומה נעים לקבל צליפות על עסק התורה

The Hazon Ish was told that the Rogochover learnt Torah when he was in mourning and that he made another antinomian-like comment in justification of his behavior, namely, that he wants to be in the gehinom of those who learn Torah. The Hazon Ish replied that “this gehinom is the same gehinom for the other sins.”[3]

The various comments quoted in the name of the Rogochover show his great need for studying Torah, a need that simply did not allow him to put aside his Torah study, even when halakhah required it. Yet the antinomian implication of the Rogochover’s comments was too much to be ignored. R. Gavriel Zinner’s reaction after quoting the Rogochover is how many felt.[4]

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Williamsburg man busted for repeatedly raping pre-teen member of extended family

NY Daily News

An 18-year-old Brooklyn man raped a pre-teen member of his extended family, authorities said Monday.

Police arrested David Teitelbaum late Sunday and charged him with rape, sex abuse and acting in a manner injurious to a child younger than 17.

Teitelbaum, who has no previous arrest record, was arraigned on $15,000 cash bail Monday night.

His defense attorney denied all the allegations, noting that his client has no history of trouble with the law.

"He's a full time student," said defense attorney Israel Friend.

"And from what I was told, the complaining witness' mom doesn't want to go forward with the charges," he added.

A source familiar with the case also said the victim’s parents had stopped cooperating with police, fearful of the shame the incident will cause the family.

Prosecutors said the accused was 17 at the time of the alleged rape a year ago.

The incident occurred during the holidays while the families were visiting, and the adults were asleep.

Prosecutors said Teitelbaum pulled his pants down to expose himself to the girl and then penetrated her.

In another incident, Teitelbaum touched the girl over her skirt, the prosecutor said.

Authorities said the girl told her mother, and then later told a therapist.

The therapist didn't initially report the allegations to police. But when the therapist was told last month that the two families would be getting together again for the holidays, the police were notified.

The girl, whose age and relationship to the victim are being withheld to protect her identity, was attacked inside the suspect’s Williamsburg apartment, sources said.

At some point the girl told her mother the suspect had touched her inappropriately, but the family didn't alert the police, sources said.

“The guy rapes their daughter and they’re protecting him — unbelievable” said the source. “I can’t even imagine how angry I’d be if it was my daughter.”

After the therapist notified the NYPD, the Child Abuse Squad launched an investigation.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Chayei Sarah; Did Avrohom Avinu, Muzzle His Animals?

Published on Nov 9, 2017
Rashi in this weeks Parshah, quotes the Medrash Rabba twice that Avrohom Avinu's animals always had their distinct muzzle. However the Ramban shows that the second Medrash that Raashi quotes, seems to move away from that Pshat, and seems to conclude that they were NOT muzzled. How did Rashi understand that Medrash?... Why did the Medrash argue that there was no muzzle, only after it was mentioned twice?!... For questions and comments please email



I remember the moment distinctly, and it was almost a decade ago: a group of stylish women walked into the main sanctuary of my shul in Baltimore for a Torah class. They all had a similar panache about them, sporting long, curled sheitels (wigs) that reached mid-back, large designer handbags slung over the shoulders, and outfits that were trendy, expensive-looking and mainly black. I stood at the side of the room and observed something that was clearly a new “look.” I had never seen religious women look like this before (living outside of NY most certainly contributed). Sure, religious women always have worn expensive clothes and lots of black. But it was the sheitels — they now were the accessory that put it all together. And they were so long.


Jerusalem – Israeli Rabbis Tell IDF Chief Women Are Weakening The Army


Jerusalem – A group of leading Orthodox rabbis met with the Israeli army’s chief of staff to complain. According to Israel’s Arutz Sheva news website, the rabbis told Gadi Eisenkot on Tuesday that the growing ranks of female combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces are creating an immodest environment. They demanded changes to accommodate [...]