Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes we can...

I have not, generally, been the sort of person who gets overly emotional at sporting events, or other competitive opportunities. I have always hated pep rallies, and don't care for watching sports (I like to listen to Baseball and womens' college basketball, but not to watch), especially the sort of sports that encourage louts to drink and cheer.
I don't generally, in fact, care much about or for any sort of emotional group activity. But, this election, well, is it okay if I sniffle a little and my eyes get a little watery? I promise not to cry next election. But I am... proud of my country for electing a man whose ancestors could have been owned as property not so long ago, or more recently would not have been able to sit next to a white person on the bus, or go to school with one. None of this was all so long ago, which makes it all the more wonderful that we have elected him. Not because he is black, but because he is the better candidate, because he is a promise of better things to come, of caring for others, and serving the will of the people - all o us, and not just the wealthy.

May we see blessing from this new president, and may God bless the work of our hands.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ahoy mateys! Pass the challah!

My favorite holiday of the year! September 19th- Friday- International Talk like a pirate day is coming! . Have a talk like a pirate shabbat dinner! Aaaargh let's have a little more of that kiddush wine. Why is the rum always gone?
I don't usually recycle posts, but I can't really think of anything to add to this one.

the repost:
SO, feel no regrets! Take no prisoners! Buckle your swashes!

See here for a tutorial, in case your pirate speaking skills are rusty. Alas, they do seem to lack instruction on the proper way to address a female pirate, or pirate captain (Such as:
Queen Artemisia of Halicarnassus (in Greece) — 480 B.C.
Princess Rusla — Norwegian Viking.
Grace O’Malley, a.k.a. Granuaile, Grainne O'Malley —1500s, Atlantic, commanded three galleys and 200 men. (My personal favorite, having bested Queen Elizabeth in a personal meeting by use of a handkerchief))
Lady Killigrew — 1530-1570, Atlantic.
Anne Dieu-le-veut — 1660s, Caribbean buccaneer.
Anne Bonny, aliases Ann Bonn and Fulford, 1719-1720, Caribbean.
Mary Read, alias Mark Read — 1718-1720, Caribbean.
Sadie the Goat — 1800s, New York State.
Qi Sao (Seventh Elder Sister-in-law) — South China Sea, commanded a fleet of 20 ships.
Shi Xainggu (better known as Cheng I Sao, Ching Yih Saou, or Zheng Yi Sao) — 1801-1810, South China Sea, commanded either five or six squadrons consisting of 800 large junks, about 1,000 smaller vessels, and between 70,000 and 80,000 men and women.
Gertrude Imogene Stubbs — alias "Gunpowder Gertie, the Pirate Queen of the Kootenays", 1898-1903, Kootenay Lake and river system of British Columbia, Canada.)

These are from the great "Uppity Women" book series, but a quick google search will no doubt turn out even more. YOu can find a couple of short bios hereand here. This list also includes women privateers.
Nevertheless, while you are being a pirate, be sure that others will find a way to address you respectfully. A long sharp sword, an attitude and a few nasty scars from swordfighting will provoke it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.. aren't you ashamed?

Maverick? Only if a maverick is someone running from the truth. Principled? Yeah, if your principle is to get elected no matter what the cost, and pay off your friends while flushing the country away. President? Not if I can help it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

lamenting 9/11

I don't usually cross-post other Jewschoolers stuff, but this is... very moving. I couldn't get past the child without breaking into tears... imagining the child knowing that they were dying and saying goodbye to their mother....

Friday, July 18, 2008

How to Miss the point entirely

In the midst of the Agri debacle, I've been even more focused on food in the news than I might be. Over the past few yers we've seen an awful lot of problems in the general food distribution system than ever before, from tainted meat ending up in school lunch programs, to all sorts of problems with vegetables from the effects of pesticides on our children to unlabeled GMOs appearing in our produce to the government enforcing the ridiculous rule that one may not label organic milk as not coming from RBGH-polluted cows without also noting that supposedly there isn't any difference between cows treated and cows not so treated (despite the growing evidence that there is). Oh, and don't forget the recent outbreaks of salmonella in produce.
It is thus not surprising that AP reports that people have become significantly less confident in their food. According tho the report people have changed their buying habits (when they are able to; those poorer people living in places where it's difficult to do so are even less confident in their food, and for good reason). One woman cited in the article has said that she has switched from supermarket produce almost entirely over the Farmer's Markets. Which is great for her, but what about those people who aren't able to do so?

But it's the end of the article that grinds me. As if it were somehow an answer to the problem, the authors quote Senator Richard Durbin.

"We live in an age of technology where you can bar-code a banana," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "We've got to work this through with the industry and come up with something that's reasonable. The more confidence consumers have, the more goods they will purchase."

It then follows with the idea that federal tracking might be the answer:
While the produce industry agrees that federal standards for preventing contamination are necessary, there is no consensus on a mandatory tracing system. Cost is a concern, especially for smaller companies.

The poll also found that 56 percent of consumers do not believe the government has enough inspectors to scrutinize food imports. If more are needed for imports and domestic produce, 70 percent said the cost should be covered through fees on industry. That echoes a proposal by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The problem is that while that might limit the way the problem has been spreading in a particular case, it completely avoids addressing the real problem, which is how farming is done in our country. The government subsidizes big agro business -even though actually small farms are more efficient! - and in particular allows companies like Monsanto to corrupt our farming practices in all kinds of ways: whether we're speaking about the practice of hiring laborers who are illegally imported and underpaid - sometimes kept in conditions akin to slavery- who have no sanitary facilities (an we wonder how the produce develops problems?) and often are heavily exposed to pesticides, or whether we're talking about the ways that our government is colluding with big business over the consumer - that would be citizens, to you and me- in allowing those businesses to make decisions about what is and isn't safe for us whether that's genetically modified foods altered through viral insertion of unrelated genetic material (which can then spread -and is spreading, like wildfire- outside of the fields in which it's planted, to neighboring fields, weeds and unrelated other plants - and a whole host of other problems with GMOs as well) or cloning of dairy animals, or using hormones to procue more milk per cow, or simply getting with dangerous unsanitray practices (like pig farmers whose slurry ponds leak out into the ground water... the list goes on and on. The problem isn't tracking food; the problem is that we need to get serious about trying to alter the way we rpoduce food.

I'm not saying to get rid of grocery stores. I like my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and our farmer, but if I had to depend on our weekly box, we'd all be rife with scurvy. Even if I supplemented it with other local farmers from the market (and none of the ones that actually have a decent possibility to supplement are all that close - I can't bike to any, I have to drive) that still wouldn't help me much in the winter.
But it does mean that we need to think seriously as a nation about how to reorganize so that our food comes mostly from local areas in the summer when it can, and depends on longer shipping in the winter when it can't. It means that we need to really consider our labor practices in the fields and what we're doing when we ship (regular food, let alone luxuries) from overseas, and how it affects the wider environment.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Railroad for women

Salon's Broadsheet tipped me off to this great website Women on Web. It acts as a referral service online for women who need an abortion in countries with restrictive access. There is an extensive list of questions the answers to which are forwarded to doctors, who offer an online consultation.
It's an amazing way to save lives. There's also a link to one of the "I had an Abortion" projects, which is an incredibly brave thing for women to do. As we all know, the information that a woman has had an abortion -even in fairly liberal communities- can risk her job or family - and that's not even getting into the risk to one's life thereis in putting up one's face online for the loonies to track down. Hameivin yavin.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Holey Cow!

slash beef
Failed Messiah and Gawker report on the latest (what? Not over yet?) scandal in the kashrut world. After the last round of scandals, Agriprocessors hired a PR firm - because as we all know, Public Relations is far preferable to tshuvah when a corporation sins- to restore its image. The firm, 5WPR, who has also represented the charming so-called "pro-Israel" pastor, John Hagee, (who hates homosexuals and Muslims and has had to apologize for sliming Catholics, oh, yeah and also blamed Jews for the death of Jesus, called liberal Jews "poisoned" and "spiritually blind," and been relatively unconcerned that he hopes for a preemptive nuclear attack on Iran even though he believes it will lead to the deaths of most Jews in Israel) apparently has engaged in some antics of its own.

It seems that 5WPR has left multiple comments on several blogs, including JTA and Failed Messiah's, under a variety of aliases, and also posing as Rabbi Morris Allen of the Hekhsher Tzedek, as well as JVNA officer John Diamond and another frequent FailedMessiah commenter (all, as FM points out, federal crimes). The comments were designed to support Agri, bolster one another and discredit Hekhsher Tzedek, the Conservative Movement and Rabbi Allen. Failed Messiah posts screen shots of the comments - well worth looking at, if only for their utter ridiculousness.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Reason to Vote Obama: Fiscal Responsibility

I know, I know, pushing fiscal responsibility as a selling point for Democrats ... seems weird (it isn't really, but everyone thinks it is). But look here: Jon Taplin writes on his blog that McCain in his latest Senate Financial Disclosure Form

look like he was either running his campaign off the American Express Platinum Card his wife gave him, or they have one hell of a high living lifestyle.

The bulk of the McCains’ obligations stemmed from a pair of American Express credit cards that are held in Cindy McCain’s name. According to the disclosure reports, which present information on debts in a range rather than providing a precise figure, Mrs. McCain owed $100,000 to $250,000 on each card.

I know what American Express charges for interest on a Platinum Card. A fiscally responsible household should probably sell some of the million of Anheuser-Busch stock they own and stop paying that 17% ARP on $500,000 worth of Amex charges. There are some other stark contrasts between the McCains and the Obamas. The McCains have a net worth around $40 million, almost all of it from Cindy’s holdings. The Obama’s net worth is closer to $4 million, most of it earned from Barack’s two recent books. Instead of going into debt they have managed to put $250,000 in a college savings account for their two daughters.

and don't miss the comments, such as, "Oh, and funny how “elitist” is an arrow in the quiver of the right against Obama. Dude, he’s barely out of the middle class by today’s standards."

ht BoingBoing

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Palestinians "Shooting Back"

Yes, those scare quotes are there for a reason.

B'tselem has begun a program called "Shooting Back" in which they given out about 100 video cameras to Palestinians over the past year so that when settlers attack them, they can show footage of the attack, instead of just giving a statement to the Israeli police or army.
According to the BBC news,

"The difference is amazing," says Oren Yakobovich, who leads the Shooting Back project.

"When they have the camera, they have proof that something happened. They now have something they can work with, to use as a weapon."

We asked a spokesman from the Susia settlement for a comment on Sunday's incident. He declined.

This video below is being claimed by the BBC to be footage from an elderly shepherd and his wife of four masked men who are beating them for grazing their animals near a settlement (Susia).

I hope that this tool will offer a non-violent way for what's going on to be brought out into the open and taken seriously. Of course, I know that naysayers will claim that it's staged, or payback, or heaven knows what, but there's enough evidence out there that hopefully, we will start to see the necessity to stop denying the truth: that the violence of the settlers is a problem unchecked and vile.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

recent round-up

The closing of the Clinton campaign is approaching. I can't say that I love Clinton, but truthfully I don't really love Obama either. I know that all groovy people are supposed to love Obama, but as I've blogged previously, I just think that Edwards would have been a better president than either of the two current possibilities had not the media condemned him to invisibility (except when making him look stupid). Obama just still seems very vague to me. I don't care what color my president is, although I'll be happy if Obama wins that finally a person of color made it. And I also don't care if the president is a woman, although had it been Clinton, I would have been happy that a woman finally made it, although I think it was clear from the beginning that that could never have happened, because let's face it, sexism is still perfectly okay in our society. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist - far from it, but it's been forced underground. Now that may make it more clever, but at least its presence when undiluted is considered a sign of real stupidity and low-class-ness, even among those to whom the subterranean version is acceptable. This is not really true of sexism.

Marie Cocco of the Washington Post got it down right:

I will not miss seeing advertisements for T-shirts that bear the slogan "Bros before Hos." The shirts depict Barack Obama (the Bro) and Hillary Clinton (the Ho) and are widely sold on the Internet...

won't miss episodes like the one in which liberal radio personality Randi Rhodes called Clinton a "big [expletive] whore" and said the same about former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Rhodes was appearing at an event sponsored by a San Francisco radio station, before an audience of appreciative Obama supporters -- one of whom had promoted the evening on the presumptive Democratic nominee's official campaign Web site.

I won't miss Citizens United Not Timid (no acronym, please), an anti-Clinton group founded by Republican guru Roger Stone.

Political discourse will at last be free of jokes like this one, told last week by magician Penn Jillette on MSNBC: "Obama did great in February, and that's because that was Black History Month. And now Hillary's doing much better 'cause it's White Bitch Month, right?" Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski rebuked Jillette. ...

Most of all, I will not miss the silence.

I will not miss the deafening, depressing silence of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean or other leading Democrats, who to my knowledge (with the exception of Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland) haven't publicly uttered a word of outrage at the unrelenting, sex-based hate that has been hurled at a former first lady and two-term senator from New York. Among those holding their tongues are hundreds of Democrats for whom Clinton has campaigned and raised millions of dollars. Don Imus endured more public ire from the political class when he insulted the Rutgers University women's basketball team.

Would the silence prevail if Obama's likeness were put on a tap-dancing doll that was sold at airports? Would the media figures who dole out precious face time to these politicians be such pals if they'd compared Obama with a character in a blaxploitation film? And how would crude references to Obama's sex organs play?

There are many reasons Clinton is losing the nomination contest, some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the groundswell for "change." But for all Clinton's political blemishes, the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is accepted as a part of our culture.

And truthfully, she doesn't cover the half of it.
She couldn't of course, because Rebecca Traister of the Nation also points out how - like me- many young women aren't swayed by the "a woman in the white house at all costs" of the 2nd feminist wave, but we are nevertheless dismayed by those progressive male friends of ours whose discomfort with Clinton as a woman is hardly disguised, and can't see why it might be offensive to say that they're not voting for her because she's a bitch.
Let me just say, any woman who is progressive, after this election should stop fooling herself that feminism is finished. It's about as completed as a Jew for Jesus, which is to say, they can use the nonsensical language of calling themselves "completed Jews" all they like, but I'm still waiting on all the things that are supposed to happen when the messiah comes, because they surely haven't happened yet, and I don't see them approaching near.
Believe me, when the messiah comes, we'll know it, and it ain't here yet.

Now, on the side of good news, another interesting WaPo article on the economic recovery of Rwanda. It seems that because of the demographics of the tragedy of that country, women have been given an unusual amount of opportunity in the rebuilding of the country, and you know what? -it turns out to be an unbelievable success (Well, hell, it doesn't surprise me). Women, not traditionally part of the business, landowning and farming of the country, were therefore quicker to try new techniques. For example in the coffee farming village of Maraba, even though they number about half of all farmers in the coffee cooperative, they are producing 90 percent of its finest quality beans for export. Across the nation, officials say that women "invest profits in the family, renovate homes, improve nutrition, increase savings rates and spend on children's education," more than men.Moreover, although women make up the majority of borrowers, 4 of 5 defaulters on loans are men.

The evidence has been building for years. In 1990, a major study on poverty in Brazil published in the Journal of Human Resources showed that the effect of money managed by women in poor households was 20 times more likely to be spent on improving conditions in the home than money managed by men.

In Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank founded by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus has focused its poverty-busting microloans on women, with success rates far higher for female than for male borrowers. Microloan programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America have shown similar results.

In India's great economic transformation of the past 15 years, states that have the highest percentage of women in the labor force have grown the fastest as well as had the largest reductions in poverty, according to the World Bank.

"We have overwhelming evidence from almost all the developing regions of the world that [investment in] women make better economics," said Winnie Byanyima, director of the United Nations Development Program's gender team.

In Rwanda, the genocide left the population heavily female (60/40) Together with those jailed for war crimes that meant that women had to take on tasks that they never had before.

women, at first by default, took on roles in business and politics. Although women had long enjoyed a relatively higher social status in Rwanda than in some other African nations, women here still had weak property rights, and female entrepreneurs were rare.

That would change rapidly -- particularly in agriculture, where many women were forced to take over farms. They found an ally in the barrage of foreign organizations that rushed into Rwanda following the genocide, with much of their focus aimed at training women.

As important was an acceptance at the highest levels of government that women would need new legal status to help rebuild the nation. By 1999, reforms were passed enabling women to inherit property -- something that would prove vitally important to female farmers. At the same time, woman began rising to higher ranks of political power. Today women hold about 48 percent of the seats in Rwanda's parliament, the highest percentage in the world. They also account for 36 percent of President Paul Kagame's cabinet, holding the top jobs in the ministries of commerce, agriculture, infrastructure, foreign affairs and information.

Success in economics mirrored the rise of women in politics. Today, 41 percent of Rwandan businesses are owned by women -- compared for instance with 18 percent in Congo. Rwanda has the second-highest ratio of female entrepreneurs in Africa, behind Ghana with 44 percent, according to the World Bank.

The article follows that with "At the same time, Rwanda has engineered a surprisingly fast economic recovery," which seems to note a parallel ut unrelated event. I think that's underestimating the women. It seems reasonable from the article to -if not conclude, at least to wonder if- the opportunities offered to people who have never had them to take before have opened up new ways of being that have enabled that recovery. I don't necessarily think that it's just because they are women, but I do think it's because women aren't any different than men in this respect, when you deprive smart and competent people of the ability to use their skills, you drag everyone down. and when you give those people an opportunity to jump in and try, you get a fresh vision, and success.

And they are using their success to change their lives:
Perhaps more important for Nyirabaganwa, a woman who was only educated through primary school, is that Donatelia Mukampe Ta, 18 and her oldest female charge, is set to graduate from high school this year. Nyirabaganwa has promised to pay for her higher education in the capital, Kigali, where Ta hopes to become an accountant.

By Western standards, women still have a long way to go in Rwanda. Many of the women in Maraba who have husbands are culturally expected to ask their permission before engaging in any form of business. But some of these women who have inherited land from genocide victims have been able to use income from farming or renting that land to gain a measure of financial independence.

When Gemina Mukashyaka, 30, who cleans the coffee-tasting laboratory in Maraba, insisted that she pay for the schooling of her younger sister after their parents were killed in the genocide, her husband balked. She ignored his protests, paying with money she gained from leasing the land she inherited from her parents.

"My husband is not happy about my paying for my sister, but it is my money," she said. "The law in Rwanda now says that woman have that right. I will not let him stop me."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Remarkably, still blogging the Omer

More than halfway through, and I'm still doing a daily blog (except Shabbat, of course, I double up afterwards) on the Omer count of the day. Over at Jewschool

Salon on "Faded Glory"

Andrew Leonard comments on Mallwart's line of jeans and shoes: "Faded Glory"

But changing circumstances have a way of twisting the irony knife. There's always been some bitterness to be mined in the marketing paradox that clothing designed to trade off of images of Americana is overwhelmingly manufactured in places like Bangladesh and China. But that's old-school irony. I don't know what the original brand name was supposed to signify -- perhaps that iconic era where faded jeans epitomized the hardworking cowboy, herding cattle from Texas to the Chicago stockyards. But in 2008, when America's global reputation is at possibly its lowest ebb ever, and large swaths of American citizens feel left behind by the global economy and their own elected representatives, Faded Glory clothes -- cheaply made, so shoddy as to be practicably disposable, and yet commodified into the very spirit of how Americans currently live -- well, who says there ain't no truth in advertising?

I think Mallwart is evil. They're not the most evil corporation around, but they certainly rank. Between their exploitation of workers, and their subversion of taxes to subsidize cheap, shoddily made goods; their sexism, their greed and their deliberate destruction of family enterprise... well, there's just nothing good to say about them. "faded Glory" let's hope it's a prescription for the company in general.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Blogging the Omer

For those who are interested (probably not many, since I haven't been regular to blog here in a while) I've been blogging the Omer over at Jewschool. I haven't missed any days so far (Shabbat gets blogged afterwards, of course), and I've been trying to blog on things that are at least somewhat related to the day's sfirotic theme.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Today is the most important holiday of the year!!!!

Well, next to talk like a pirate day, anyhow.
What, you didn't know it was Cheese Weasel day?
By the way, he's wrong abut the CheeseWeasel's choice cheese being craft: my cheese weasel brings only 5 Spokes Creamery Cheddar and Colby cheeses (kosher AND tasty! MMMM)

Hattip to Glenn for the traditional song for this date - I've been celebrating for years, but didn't know that there was one! (Check out Glenn's post for an assortment of excellent Cheeseweasel day links)

Who Brings the Cheese on April 3rd?
It's the Cheese Weasel!
He's not a silly bunny or a reindeer or a bird
He's the Cheese Weasel!
He's got a funny little tail and funny buck teeth
And he doesn't bring fish and he doesn't bring beef
So you'd better be good if you want to get some cheese
From the Cheese Weasel!!!!!"

and lots of love to my very own Cheeseweasel!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Literary Roundup: Two poets

Alicia Suskin Ostriker, Jewish poet, feminist, has written another book that should sit on all our bookshelves. For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book is Ostriker's most recent book of essays addressing the and re-interpreting six of our richest biblical texts: Song of Songs, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Jonah and Job. Many of these are wells from which modern midrashists and feminists have drawn much water, but Ostriker is able to revisit many drawing new inspiration and showing how many of our traditional readings of these texts leave out a great deal that lies as subtext, and from which we can draw new strength and meaning.
Some of the readings address battles which have largely been fought, and which younger feminists, even younger Jewish feminists may feel are over. Yet, the truth is we keep revisiting them: in the secular world, when new movements form to try to make contraception illegal once again; in the Jewish world,women are still outnumbered as institutional leaders, presidents, and rabbis, in both worlds, getting paid less and receiving fewer benefits, being penalized for having children, and being constantly bombarded by bad science about how we ought to go back to the home. And of course, the battle is not won: not in Judaism, where there are still branches of Judaism in which women do not count, communities in which women have been so under pressure as those who lead men astray that against their rabbis' wills, they have taken on wearing clothes that cover them more thoroughly than any Muslim full-body covering, some even covering their eyes and being led about inthe street by children.And of courswe, there is a world full of other traditions, religions and societies in which women remain bound, hand and foot by men to whom they did not wish to wed, where they live only to serve, to husbands (in the sense of that word: one who dominates or cultivates) to whom they remain property.

From her essay on Song of Songs:

"Open to me," Says the lover, but women understandably hesitate to do so. "I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" Better to stay safely in one's place, not make waves. For what happens -according to respected Jewish tradition- to a woman who goes public with her spiritual need, whose yearning is larger than a kitchen, who does not hide behind a mehitza? What happens to the learned Beruria...Her devoted husband Rabbi Meir instigates one of his disciples to seduce her in order to prove that women are flighty. When the disciple finally overcomes her resistance, she kills herself for shame, but no one seems to think Rabbi Meir should be ashamed....What happens to women at the Wall? We are not speaking of allegory here, but real life. Women who dare to pray aloud with Torah in hand at the Kotel, the Western Wall in Jeruslem, have been spat on, cursed, called whore. They have had chairs thrown at them, they have been beaten up and hospitalize, and they - they, not their assailants- have been arrested. ....As it is uncannily written, "The Keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

Literature Roundup: Jabotinsky

In the Times Online, appears a lengthy review by Geoffrey Wheatcroft of no fewer than 6 books on Israeli and her history: Jacqueline Rose's THE LAST RESISTANCE, Colin Shindler's THE TRIUMPH OF MILITARY ZIONISM: Nationalism and the origins of the Israeli Right, David Goldberg's THE DIVIDED SELF: Israel and the Jewish psyche today, Victoria Clark's ALLIES FOR ARMAGEDDON:The rise of Christian Zionism, Yakov M. Rabkin's A THREAT FROM WITHIN: A century of Jewish opposition to Zionism, and Jimmy Carter's PALESTINE: Peace not apartheid
The review is long and rangy, starting and ending with a focus on the complicated and largely unknown major Israeli historical figure Jabotinsky. As he says in the review,

But the conflict in the Holy Land is still more dissonant in this regard. It is the single most bitterly contentious communal struggle on earth today (something which itself casts an ironical light on the aspiration of the first Zionists to “answer the Jewish question” by “normalizing” the Jews and removing them from the pages of history); it must receive more media coverage than India, which has a population a hundred times greater; it inflames acute passions. And yet it sometimes seems that the more strongly people feel, the less they actually know about the story of Zionism. Maybe it should be a requirement for anyone who wishes to hold forth on the subject to write first a few lines each on Ahad Ha’am, Max Nordau, George Antonius – or Vladimir Jabotinsky.

If not many Europeans or Americans know who “Jabo” was, Israelis certainly do. He remains the most charismatic, fascinating and controversial figure in the history of Zionism, and in the state to whose creation he devoted his life, but which he never saw. Born in 1880 in Odessa, he was converted to the Zionist cause as a young man by tsarist persecution, became a tireless publicist and organizer, and helped to create the Jewish Legion which fought with the British against Turkey during the First World War. In the 1920s he broke away to found the uniformed youth group Betar, and then the militantly nationalistic right-wing brand of Zionism he called Revisionism, in opposition to Chaim Weizmann and the general Zionists, and to David Ben Gurion and the Labour Zionists of the Yishuv, the Jewish settlement in Palestine.

From Betar would grow the Irgun Zvei Leumi, which waged an armed campaign against the British and the Arabs – in British and Arab eyes, a terrorist campaign – in the ten years before Israel was born. When Jabotinsky died in American exile in 1940, he had not seen the murderous horror that engulfed the European Jews, the creation of the Jewish state, or the legacy of his own movement. The Irgun evolved into the right-wing Herut party, which was not merely excluded from office but veritably anathematized in Israel for the first quarter-century the state existed after 1948, but which, now in the guise of Likud, took power at last in 1977 under the old Irgun leader Menachem Begin – and which descends to the present administration.

His reviews cover books that are not only historical, but which also, importantly link that history and Israel's roots in Jabotinsky's vision, to the domination of today's Israeli politics by the heirs of Jabotinsky -literal heirs.

"Almost unremarked in the West, Israel today has the purest Jabotinskian government yet seen."

Generously, he points out the complexities of Jabotinsky's character, acknowledginfg his increible talents as a writer: "From Theodor Herzl – whose gifts as a writer were grudgingly acknowledged by Karl Kraus in Eine Krone für Zion, his 1898 anti-Zionist philippic, and who amplified his political tract Der Judenstaat in a didactic novel, Altneuland – Zionism was always a very literary movement. It has produced no greater writer than Jabotinsky, whose translations as well as his own work helped to create modern Hebrew literature," and seems to consider Jabotinsky more generous and truthful toward the Arabs than many of those who followed. Wheatcroft certainly sees Jabotinsky as more honest with himself. He also, with a few brief quotes shows how peculiar are the modern claims that Israel's origins were not colonialist.

...the only real difference between Jabotinsky and Ben Gurion may have been that the former expressed himself in public with greater bluntness. The record confirms that. Jabotinsky insisted that there could be no foreseeable compromise with the Palestinian Arabs: “The native population, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, and it made no difference whether the colonists behave decently or not”.

One of the odder claims made today by some Zionists, more likely American than Israeli, is that Zionism was an “anti-colonial” movement. Jabotinsky never pretended anything of the kind, as he made clear with his gift for vivid phrase-making, “The Iron Wall” being one case in point. When a colleague in the Legion had wondered whether, as Jews, they should be fighting the Muslims, their “uncle Ishmael”, Jabotinsky briskly replied that “Ishmael is not an uncle. We belong, thank God, to Europe and for two thousand years have helped to create the culture of the West”. And he rubbed it in harder still with the words, “The Jews came to the land of Israel to push the moral frontiers of Europe to the Euphrates”.

Indeed, as Jacqueline Rose is astute enough to notice and generous enough to acknowledge, Jabotinsky was in some ways less racist than other Zionists, in his insistence that “the entire country is full of Arab memories” and that the Palestinians naturally believed that it was their land too. We don’t know what he would have said and done in the circumstances of 1948, but ten years earlier he had explicitly repudiated the very idea of transfer: “It must be hateful for any Jew to think that the rebirth of a Jewish state should ever be linked with such an odious suggestion as the removal of non-Jewish citizens”.

The review is worth reading, and in particular, it is interesting to see him simultaneously dismiss as "pious, plodding and platitudinous, its awestruck accounts of meetings with the mighty padded out with what-I-did-in-my-holidays jottings" Carter's book, and also see it as a benchmark of those who criticized it in such shrill tones, similar to that heard over Walt and Mearsheimer's work. He begins with Jabotinsky and ends with him: the figure whose politics and passion runs through Israeli life today in a largely unseen way.

xp Jewschool

Friday, March 07, 2008

A monster!

Apparently, a foreign policy adviser to Obama's presidential campaign
Samantha Power, claimed that Clinton would stoop to anything and called her "a monster."

She was, of course, required to retract:

"It is wrong for anyone to pursue this campaign in such negative and personal terms," she said in the statement. "I apologize to Senator Clinton and to Senator Obama, who has made very clear that these kinds of expressions should have no place in American politics."

But, man, if I were Clinton, I'd grab that monster and run with it:
"Yes! I am a monster! I am a monster of growth, I am a juggernaut! I am monstrously talented, monstrously strong..." You know, that kind of thing.

Well, let's see what happens. At this point, it's all good theatre.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Who are we? Redux

Because I am personally opposed to ever agreeing with anyone, I find myself, often, embroiled in interesting discussions with all sorts of folks. Over at JCarrot, I am having an interesting comments thread with Ben Murane (our own KFJ) about (I think) the difference between who is Jewish, and what is Jewish. The difficult part of this, of course, is that it's not a completely separate question.
Who one is affects what one does, and the reverse, as well.
I recall a famous quote by (the eminently quotable) Kurt Vonnegut, Jr:

"To be is to do"--Socrates.
"To do is to be"--Jean-Paul Sartre.
"Do be do be do"--Frank Sinatra.

Er, I'm getting off-topic here. Anyhow, so Over at the NYT , there is what is apparently another discussion of the ongoing rift caused by the stringent versus loose approach to answering the question of "who is a Jew."

The question for me is pretty fraught: I do believe that being this exclusive is ultimately untenable -but at the same time, there does need to be a certain level of internal definition of who gets to be considered "in."
The question remaining, of course, as to who is in enough, or how in they have to be, in order to make such determinations.
That's why I'm less interested in talking about who is Jewish, than what is Jewish. If one can agree on the latter, at least in broad terms, than the former can be fixed in almost any case.

Professionally, of course, I have dedicated myself to a particular kind of Judaism, and I do think that meaning inheres in Judaism in particular acts, practices and disciplines, and that there is a teleological reason for doing these practices. This doesn't invalidate other kinds of doing, but it does mean that not all doing can be accepted as within the boundaries of Judaism. And in truth, I can't really believe that anyone truly believes that anything goes. No matter how loose your boundaries are, there must be some, otherwise names become meaningless. If everything is "within" then one simply ceases to be - in simply a logical sense.

Anyhow, I invite others to pop in on the conversation, here or there.

xp to Jewschool comments turned off here to consolidate there.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

oh, YEAH!

Tiny Fey, "Bitches get things done!" Yes it is.

Hey, does this mean that SNL is going to be funny again now that they've got Tiny Fey back?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A few thoughts on Ki Tisa

In reading over Ki Tisa, I feel drawn to a piece of commentary that, it seems to me, every year, I come back to again.
In the episode of the golden calf, in Shmot 32:1 it says:

“Arise and make for us elohim that they will go before us, since this man Moshe who brought us out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

The Chasidic commentator R. Meir Simcha says that Israel didn’t really want to make an idol. Rather, Israel thought that Moshe was so far above them that when he disappeared, they thought God would no longer come to dwell among them. As Hirsch also comments, the people didn’t believe that God came to them, but that Moshe brought God to them.

The Torah tells us that Israel said that Moshe was “the man who brought us out of Egypt.” That means that Israel did know that it was God who brought them out. Israel didn’t confuse Moshe and God – they knew that Moshe was doing God’s work, and they heard and saw all the miracles that God did for them.
– So, after Israel made the calf, they said (32:5)

“Tomorrow shall be a festival for God!” and in 32:4, just the verse before, they announced, “This is your God, Israel, that brought you out of Egypt.”

They didn’t think that the calf was a god, they were trying to make a place for God to dwell, or perhaps a footstool, a statue of precious metals that would be sort of like the cherubim that were on the ark, which was “God’s footstool,” so that God would dwell there. Israel had the idea that Moshe was the path to God. You see, with Moshe gone, they just knew that no mortal person was good enough for the shechinah to hover over. God was not with them, God was brought by Moshe.

This should give us pause. It is so very close to the idea of God requiring a mediator in Christianity (or even multiple mediators, first, their Xristos, and secondly in some sects, the priests) – or closer to home, the idea that Rabbi Schneerson is the messiah, who will be revived from the dead. Perhaps it is a natural human feeling to want a person who is better than us to serve as a channel to the divine, perhaps it is natural to feel that we are not good enough to bring God amongst ourselves. But this is contrary to what Judaism tells us. We do not know the place of Moshe’s burial because God was concerned about this sort of idolatry.

And make no mistake: it was not the calf which was the idolatry. We don’t have to worship something as God or as a god for it to become idolatrous. It is the act of removing responsibility from ourselves to connect with God that is the essential act of idolatry. Believing that only Moshe can bring God to us, that’s idolatry, because God is not at the beck and call of a person. Any person. Our connection to God is part of an ongoing relationship that we have to build both as individuals and also as a people.

Shmot Rabbah 44:1 says:
Another explanation of ’Thou didst pluck up a vine out of Egypt’. …Thou wilt also verify the explanation: ‘Just as the living vine is supported by dead stalks, so Israel, alive and eternal, lean upon their patriarchs who are dead.’ You will thus find that Elijah offered up many supplications on Mount Carmel for the fire to descend, as it says, Hear me, O Lord, hear me (I Kings 18:37), but the Lord did not hearken unto him. As soon, however, as he mentioned the dead, and said: O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel (ib. 36), he was immediately answered; ... Moses, likewise, after Israel had committed that act [the Calf], stood for forty days and nights pleading n their behalf, but he was not answered; but as soon as he made mention of the dead he was immediately answered, as it says, REMEMBER ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND ISRAEL, THY SERVANTS. What follows?--AND THE LORD REPENTED OF THE EVIL WHICH HE SAID HE WOULD DO UNTO HIS PEOPLE. A proof that just as the vine that lives receives its support from dead stalks, so do living Israel find support in their patriarchs long dead;- hence REMEMBER ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND ISRAEL.

Israel does honor those who came before, and we depend upon the merit of our ancestors. But this is a world away from considering them the saints through whom God comes to us. The reason that the image is of a vine is that the vine appears dead, but it lives, and that is why the vine can continue to be fruitful. But that doesn’t mean that our ancestors are literally alive, nor chas v’shalom, that we should expect their resurrection to bring moshiach. To the contrary, it is because the vine that is green is part of the vine, just as the part that appears dead is part of the vine. It is only that the core of the vine is alive throughout the vine. Without that green sap and core, none of the vine will exist or bear: and what is that vine? It is God and Torah within all of us. When we depend upon the merit of our ancestors, it means that we recognize the Torah within them, and let it flow through us as well. But what happens if you think that the older part of the vine will be revived, and the green, new parts doesn’t have to bear new fruit? Well, nothing. That part of the vine is no longer the part that bears.

The problem is when we become emotionally attached to the fallacies of the idolatry. When there is comfort in an imagined past in which everyone knew their place and were rewarded for it, in which we view with sentimentality the way people lived, and disregard that which is before our eyes as sin and wrong, we are already setting ourselves up for failure. There is no one who should come between us and God. God does not require a footstool, Moshe is a leader, not a channeler, and certainly not a magician making the spirits do his will. To excuse oneself from the duty of bringing moshiach because someone else is there to do it, or be it, that's idolatry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Architechtural Porn

As someone who loves books, I mean really, really loves books, this site made me -can I say this?- slide right out of my seat, staring.

Our house currently is full of books in boxes, because we just don't have wall space for bookshelves (not to mention we lost a couple of cases in transit) and so I have no way of getting at all my books at once.

SO looking at this extremely clever use of space is very appealing. My next life, perhaps, when I have a budget for this sort of thing.

ht to boingboing

Monday, February 04, 2008


Have problems with Comcrap? yeah, you and everyone else in Montgomery County, the county that warns people against their evil practices - and then lets them continue to have a monopoly here.

But Consumerist to the rescue. They have given up the escalator phone numbers for Comcost. Let the fun begin!

Thanks Consumerist!

These support desk people have national access:

888-345-5731 National Support Desk - Dispatchers, day of install issues, etc. IVR requests Remedy TTS ticket number, but once you're on the phone they're not likely to turn you away, even if you just need a box hit.
877-456-5488 Support Desk Pager
Manager Elizabeth Carpenter - Cell - 267-303-1123, Desk - 856-317-7417, Pager - 888-438-2983
Director Mike Nocitra - Desk - 484-530-5541, Cell - 610-306-3750
The latter two are pretty much required to be nice to you and help you as much as possible even though it's nowhere near their job description. It's not as if they can refuse to take an escalation, even if you escalate yourself to them.

The below people can help if your account number starts with 01603, 01622, 01711, 01692, 05818, 09547, 09549, or 09560:
Barb Fry - Retention Sup - 717-202-8130
Brandon Mitchell - Billing Sup - 717-202-8142
Cory Graby - Sales Sup - 717-202-8281
Dennis Shadle - Sales Sup - 717-202-8106
Don Brickley - Service Sup - 717-202-8112
Elisha Kunkle - Sales Sup - 717-202-8290
Giancarlo Rodriguez - Marketing Manager - 717-202-8176 (Not really a sup per se, but can get things done quickly if need be)
Jawal Boyd - Billing Sup - 717-202-8139
Jeff Eck - Billing Sup - 717-202-8234
Jen Boyer - Billing Sup - 717-202-8235
Mary Ellen Fahringer - Sales Manager - 717-202-8122 (She is the manager of the Sales Supervisors above. If you get nowhere with them, it might not hurt to drop MEF's name (Yes, she is called "Mef" by anyone who knows her) and mention you have her number and would be happy to call her if necessary)
Mike Noren - Billing Sup - 717-202-8218
Peggy Shea - Sales Sup - 717-202-8217
Sherree Henley - Retention Sup - 717-202-8115
Tim Miller - Billing Sup - 717-202-8136
Tom Zimmerman - Billing Sup - 717-202-8135

(Sup hours can vary widely. Try them all. Leave a voicemail. Or ten. Then call MEF and tell her no one will return your calls. They'll get back to you.)

And then there's the bridge and headend people. It's not their job per se to help customers, but if one called them, the bridge has access to help and would be angry enough to do it just to make someone go away, and the headend, while not all THAT useful, is important enough to irritate someone into taking action on your behalf...

Lebanon Call Center Bridge 717-202-8202 (7 AM-12AM)
Lebanon Headend 717-202-8190

The sups and other numbers on here are limited to a certain geographic area, roughly PA from the New York line to the Maryland line, west as far as Breezewood, East to just shy of Plymouth Meeting.
Additionally, any Comcast customer in rural WVa, VA, or a small piece of PA west of Mercersburg who is CONSTANTLY getting misdirected to either Pittsburgh or Lebanon PA, we route calls based on the number you call from, and it inevitably ends up wrong if you're in one of those areas and a legacy Adelphia customer. So go right to the source. You are in "corp" 01626, and are served out of the Hancock, MD service center and the Manassas, VA call center. Only the people in Manassas can pull up your account. Dial direct 703-740-2225

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Someone had apparently been recently viewing Life of Brian

Don't forget: the weekend, the 40 hour week, health bennies...
It's an Australian clip, but it still works.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Still striking, still need your support.

From BoingBoing: Striking writers for The Colbert Report and The Daily Show masterminded a brilliant comedy mock-hearing on the Hollywood writers' strike, including an arch (and brilliant) meta-moment where they disrupted their own hearing with nonsensical grandstanding from seeming participants.

Here's the link. By the way, that's my old friend Rob Kutner sitting on the far left of the leftmost table. Go Rob!

Also, an article in the LA times, worth a read, since apparently some of the funniest stuff didn't make the video....
ANd folks, don't forget, they're still striking. Lend your support!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

35 years...

Blog for Choice Day

Today is the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
These years have not been easy years, and certainly for many of them, we have had to spend our energy trying to fight those who would overturn it. But it is a struggle we must continue with. To go back to the days before Roe v. Wade would be a disaster: in the dark days in which abortions were outlawed in most states, women died, regularly, of botched abortions. I don't suppose it's news to anyone that that's the case, but just in case, let's review a current case: Nicaragua.
Since Nicaragua outlawed abortions once again in 2006, we know of - for certain- over 100 women who have died. Keep in mind those are the ones who were reported, who made news; we will probably never know how many women really.
Over at Human Rights Watch, check out their report, from which I quote:

A medical doctor at a large public hospital in Managua, however, testified to one case:

Here [at this hospital] we have had women who have died.… For example, [name withheld] came here and had an ultrasound. It was clear that she needed a therapeutic abortion. No one wanted to carry out the abortion because the fetus was still alive. The woman was here two days without treatment until she expulsed the fetus on her own. And by then she was already in septic shock and died five days later. That was in March 2007.

Monday, January 14, 2008

How to get people to consume less

Consumerist reports:
A Vermont judge sent his sheriff to the mall to round up a jury that could fairly try a child molester.

They stopped passers-by and asked if they were residents of Caledonia County; a "yes" answer won a summons to appear at the courthouse for jury duty immediately, right now, this minute. They rounded up 45 people that way in all, to join the 34 already at the courthouse...

Dredging malls for juries is a surprisingly common tactic for judges in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Next time you see a sheriff in the mall, walk the other way unless you want an impromptu civics lesson.

Perhaps this will teach people not to hang out at the mall. Maybe they can go do something productive instead (of course, maybe all states should do this, then going to the mall could be a signal of civic responsibility for real, not in the Bushian anti-terrorist nonsensical sense).

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Remember Seinfeld?

OK, this isn't news. Not even close, being that Seinfeld is over and done and gone. And I have to admit: I've never watched an entire episode of Seinfeld.
Now, what kind of admission is that for someone writing for a hip cutting edge crew like this one (not that I ever claimed to be hip, mind you)? But why not? You may ask: why didn't you ever watch Seinfeld. Well, I suppose there are all kinds of reasons, but here's a couple: I've never aspired to live in New York City. Yes, yes, I know, please don't gasp so loudly, it knocks over the plant stand.
How could a Jew not want to live in New York? Heck, how could anyone not want to live in New York? I know that lots of cool stuff happens there, and I'm sorry to miss it, yes. And it's not that I don't like NYC: I'm happy to visit from time to time, buy a few sefarim, visit friends, get some good kosher food (although I'm just as happy to get my kosher on in LA or Jslm, if that's an option, in fact, preferred, really), see a show, but I do like you New York, really.
But Seinfeld, I just never really thought that it was all that. Maybe it's just me, alone. But I recently was zooming around looking at things and found this on, of all places, a sociology blog (see, I told you I wasn't hip), Danny Hoch talking about why he turned down a bit part of Seinfeld, and a little of the show as it actually happened.
so... reason number two: I just always felt that Seinfeld was somehow It seems to me that there's a large helping in Seinfeld of using humor not, as it ought to be, making fun of oneself, to mock power, and to make people's vision clearer about how the world really is, as opposed to how it believes it is, but more of a knowing wink wink, we're superior kind of feeling. And I don't love racism in my humor. Sarah Silverman, when she makes her jokes, gives a very different ta'am there: when she makes you laugh, (if you can laugh, or maybe gasp) you can't laugh without squirming, because inherent in her joke is that she's mocking the person who laughs, because they're laughing, but's not there. Jewish jokes, IMO aren't funny when they're racist, and they aren't funny when they're misogynist, and it's time certain folks stopped getting a free pass on "humor" because it was said with a New Yawk accent - to the best that I can tell, that's exactly what New York isn't about, so cut it out.

And just in case, I have to complete the admission: I don't like Woody Allen either. He's creepy, and he's married to his daughter. nyah.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Rebbe Smackdown

New York's supreme court ruled that two of the three main bodies of Chabad have the right to expel Congregation Lubavitch - the messianist faction- from the synagogue in the bottom of 770. Apparently this struggle has been going on for about 15 years (actually, this makes me feel much better - I hadn't known that there was much of anything going on opposed to the crazier factions of the movement, which, from all accounts now make up, at least half of Chabad) but the suit stems from when some member/s of the messianist group defaced a plaque that referred to the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson as "of blessed memory" because that's not what Congregation Lubavitch believed was the current state of said rebbe.

From JTA

New York State’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch and Agudas Chassidei Chabad, two of Chabad’s three main bodies, giving them the right to eject Congregation Lubavitch Inc. from the synagogue located in the basement of 770 and 784-788 Eastern Parkway, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. The sites represent the worldwide headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch.

In that first case, the court ruled in favor of Chabad’s leadership, declaring in June 2006 that Merkos and Agudas are the rightful owners of the entire property. The current suit was brought by Merkos and Agudas in order to give them the authority to physically remove the opposing congregation, and its four gabbais, or trustees, from the premises.

but wait, there's more:
Apparently this is their fifteen minutes. Or something.

In Israel, apparently it's just gotten out that there may be problems with the beliefs of some Lubavitchers regarding their former (or not) rebbe. The Jerusalem Post reports that a former FSU immigrant who was not Jewish , but was eligible under the law of return, had become interested in converting and studied in a meshichist Jerusalem ChABAD yeshiva.

About two weeks ago, he appeared before a beit din (rabbinic court) for his conversion. He had nearly finished, when one of the rabbis asked him if he believed that the rebbe was the messiah. He answered yes, that that was what he had been taught, and the court refused to convert him.
The JPost says, "

... a source in the State Conversion Authority said that at least two leading religious Zionist rabbis ruled that messianic Chabad was beyond the pale of normative Jewish belief.

"They [messianic Chabad Hassidim] attribute to him supernatural powers years after he passed away. That is not Judaism. It's something else."

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar will be asked to decide this weighty theological question and in the process pass judgment on thousands of members of the messianic stream within Chabad Hassidism who believe that Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who passed away in 1994, is the messiah.

This according to the article; I have heard an (unsubstantiated as of yet) rumour that, in fact, Rabbi Amar has ruled against the conversion applicant, and thus, essentially declared meshichist Lubavitch treif. I am curious as to what effect will this have on ChABAD: Is this a recognition that some beliefs are outside the pale, even if the holder of said beliefs has the outer appearance of Orthodox praxis? What effect will this have on the yeshivot that are still er, offering this perspective, either in Israel or the USA?

By the way, speaking of treif, Rubashkin (who is owned by the ChABAD Lubavitch Rubashkin family just to be on topic), has apparently had its teudat kashrut yanked by KAJ (HT to Failedmessiah)

One last note:
First, England's Jewish Chronicle notes that England's Lubavitch movement is in some serious economic trouble: apparently because of pouring an enormous amount of money into a new club for young Jews that they opened this year. Apparently nearly all the donations they received this year went into said club, "including 'almost all' of this year’s £750,000 yield," leaving them £1.5 million (that's 2,959,951 dollars American) in debt - and of course, they've had to close the club, in addition to leaving their teachers unpaid since April (although donors have now stepped in to pay the teachers' wages).

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

To Start the Year off with

...if I said "bang," I wonder what the comments section would say. Let's just say, a great and startling pronouncement from Olmert: Reuters reports that on Tuesday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, "The world that is friendly to Israel ... that really supports Israel, when it speaks of the future, it speaks of Israel in terms of the '67 borders. It speaks of the division of Jerusalem," in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. Thus, he's pretty much clear that a divided Jerusalem may be inevitable.

This is the second unusual source for such pronouncements in the last few months. Jewschool reported in November that Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of B’nai David Judea in Los Angeles, an Orthodox rabbi in an Orthodox shul, also mentioned that he thought it would be impossible to pursue peace with Jerusalem off the table (a much lighter statement, but he still got creamed for it). Does this mean that it's possible that people are beginning to think more realistically about Israel's future?

Reuters continues:
Olmert's comments appeared to be another move by the prime minister to prepare Israeli public opinion for the possibility of a deal that would loosen Israel's control of all of Jerusalem.

His deputy and close confidant, Haim Ramon, has said Israel should in future negotiate creation of a "special regime" that would govern some of the sacred sites in Jerusalem's walled Old City.

Well, 2008 may be a very interesting year. May we see peace in it.

XP Jewschool