Monday, January 11, 2010

The Intelligent Pigs

***Breaking News - January 14, 2010 Thursday, January 14, 2010 2:13 AM EST - From Israel***

The Supreme Court judges just freed Avrohom Mondrowitz. The terms for his bail are being negotiated while the State's prosecutors decide whether to file an application for a second appeal. The judges did not read their decision but it should be published on the Internet later today***

R' Shmuel Kaminetzky at podium - R' Reuvein Feinstein to his left

The Smartest Domestic Animal in The World
Dec 16, 2008 - Chris McLaughlin

A roadblock humans have in deciphering intelligence in animals is that we can't help but assume the smartest ones must resemble us. Clearly, nobody told that to the pig.

How is intelligence measured? After all, even people can be intelligent or extraordinary in many ways. Some excel at math, and some are gifted linguists. Others fail in the academic arena entirely, and shine as masterful artists. One way to measure intelligence is based on the ability to solve problems.

The associations people have made with the word, ‘pig’, are less than glamorous. In fact, there are downright negative connotations attached to the word, which is why we use it to insult people. But, let’s put aside our preconceived ideas of what we think a pig is, let’s take a look at who they really are.

Pigs have been touted as the smartest, and the cleanest domestic animals in the world. The phrases, “sweat like a pig” or “smell like a pig”, may come to mind. But, consider that pigs don’t have sweat glands, and therefore, can’t sweat (except on the very ends of their snouts). The lack of sweat glands means lack of odor - affording no credibility to either statement.

To compensate for the lack of a natural way to bring their body temperature down, pigs seek out water or mud. Pigs rolling in mud may look uncouth, but they are actually being quite smart. The mud not only keeps them cool, but keeps biting pests at bay, and prevents sunburn.

As Smart as the Primates

Intelligence research was done with pigs in the 1990s. One of the experiments was to train the pigs to move the cursor on a video screen with their snouts. When the pigs used the cursors again, they were able to distinguish between the scribbles they already knew, and the scribbles they were seeing for the first time. The pigs learned this skill as fast as the chimpanzees.

EJF PRESS RELEASE [Read Agudath Israel - Kaminet$ky/Fein$tein]:

New York - Your interview with Rabbi Aba Dunner, the executive director of the Conference of European Rabbis (January 7, 2010), unfortunately twists the truth about Eternal Jewish Family International (EJF) and is, to say the least, insulting to leading Gedolei Yisroel. Any real search into the truth behind Rabbi Dunner’s charges will lead to discredited sources that are using the recent personal scandal of the founder of EJF as an excuse to disparage leading Torah scholars and the organization.

Rabbi Leib Tropper, the organization’s former director, has resigned and no longer has any role in the organization. EJF continues its worldwide activities under the leadership of the Gedolei Yisroel

Here are the facts about the scandalous charges Rabbi Dunner made:

Who approached whom and why did the arrangement sour?

Rabbi Dunner was the one who approached EJF for assistance in funding the Bais Din activities in Europe under the direction of Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, the head of the European Bais Din. This was consistent with EJF’s mission to promote universally accepted conversions in intermarriage, as per the dictates of leading poskim, including Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l who ruled that in the case of a baal teshuva and a potential ger tzedek (convert who accepts Torah and Mitzvos as a way of life) hat such conversions are to be encouraged. In its four-year existence, EJF has affiliated with a network of 19 Botei Din in this country and provided support to the dayanim in the form of conferences and seminars.

EJF made a significant grant to the CER to expand the activities of the Botei Din in Europe. It soon grew suspicious of the questionable use of the funds by Rabbi Dunner who is employed by the CER and whose responsibilities included the activities of the Beis Din. EJF asked Rabbi Dunner to refund the balance of the money that had not yet been spent or at least to place the money in the trust of Dayan Ehrentreu. Rabbi Dunner refused and in fact continued to bill EJF for “Bais Din expenses” even after the money was spent. (We expect that Rabbi Dunner will surely donate this money to charity as he suggested to rabbonim who received reimbursement for their expenses to attend EJF conferences.)

While Rabbi Dunner mentions the 25-member Standing Committee of the CER as the basis for his recent support in opposing EJF seminars for intermarried couples, it turned out that he had never received that body’s approval to go forward with the original EJF –CER arrangement. He managed to circumvent the same body that he is now using to discredit the EJF.

What is the halachic basis for the seminars for mixed couples and who in Europe supports it?

The seminars are really kiruv seminars for couples where one spouse is well on the way towards becoming a baal teshuva (or may already be) and the other enroute to becoming a ger tzedek. It is consistent with the kind of chinuch that the Gedolim have ruled is fully permissible and even to be encouraged for a prospective convert and the baal teshuva spouse. In fact, this past week EJF sponsored a seminar for nearly 30 couples in Munich that was under the auspices of Dayan Ehrentreu, the leading halachic posek in Europe. The Dayan lectured on such subjects as taharas hamishpocho (family purity) and kashrus and met with each of the couples.

Rabbi Dunner’s opposition to EJF was based on the support by the CER Standing Committee (later joined by an unsigned statement by the London Bais Din of which Dayan Ehrentreu is a member). The Standing Committee issued a resolution against the seminars and in essence against their own Av Bais Din. For some unexplained reason, none of the senior rabbonim was in Moscow when the decision was taken by the CER Standing Committee to issue such a statement against the seminars and EJF’s role in Europe. When Dayan Ehrentreu did attempt to board a plane for Moscow to attend the session, he found that for the first time in his life his visa was mysteriously invalid.

Reacting to the derogatory remarks against Gedolei Hatorah, including Dayan Ehrentreu, sharp letters of rebuke against this bizoyon of kovod Hatorah (insult of the honor of Torah) have in recent days been issued by Harav Yosef Chaim Sitruk, president of the CER, Harav Moshe Lebel, the chairman of the Rabbinic Committee of CER, and Rabbi Yihya Teboul, the Chief Rabbi of Lyon, France. It should be noted that the seminars were endorsed by Rav Aaron Leib Shteinman, shlita, even as Rabbi Dunner claimed that Rav Shteinman was opposed to the seminars. The Rosh Yeshiva, in fact, told Dayan Ehrentreu and numerous other witnesses, including Rabbi Dunner’s own brother, that he was categorically in favor of these chinuch seminars. He reportedly told Rabbi Dunner: “What’s wrong with the seminars? They (EJF) don’t do the geyrus.” But Rabbi Dunner used his version to obtain the resolution from the Standing Committee.

Has the organization inappropriately exerted pressure on Botei Din to grant questionable conversions?

Even Rabbi Dunner was at a loss to cite specifics. EJF does not do geyrus. They are done by independent Botei Din who make their own decisions on the qualifications for geyrus. All the 19 Botei Din in North America, Dayan Ehrentreu’s Bais Din, and numerous Israeli Botei Din operate independently and after a careful evaluation of each case perform geyrus according to Halacha.

How is the organization reacting to the scandal of its former director?

The director of EJF involved in the regrettable personal scandal has resigned and has no role in the organization. EJF has added the highly regarded Rabbi Chaim Blum to its staff to assist it with expanding its rabbinic leadership and key personnel in its offices in the US, Europe and Israel. Its remarkable achievement in affiliating with a network of Botei Din and advancing order to the chaotic geyrus scene is to say the least a formidable accomplishment.

Five leading Gedolei Yisroel (Harav Yosef Sholem Eliyashiv, shlita, Harav Aaron Leib Shteinman, shlita, Harav Chaim Kanievski, shlita, Harav Yitzchok Scheiner, shlita, and Harav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, shlita) have recently written Mr. Tom Kaplan, the Chairman of EJF, urging the continuation of the work of the organization. The three heads of the Halachic Committees (Harav Reuven Feinstein shlita – USA, Dayan Ehrentreu – Europe, and Harav Shmuel Eliezer Stern –Av Bais Din of Harav Shmuel Wozner – Israel) have urged the Botei Din around the world to continue their work under the EJF.

The organization’s activities have not been limited to geyrus support programs. It has partnered with numerous well-known kiruv organizations (Gateways, Ohr Someach, Lev Leachim, Hidabroot, Arachim and Nefesh Yehudi) to encourage Jewish youth to marry Jews.

We are extremely disappointed that Rabbi Dunner has chosen to exploit the regrettable circumstances of the scandal to discredit Gedolei Yisroel and the Eternal Jewish Family. It is our hope that all Jews who seek the truth and who cherish kedushas yisroel (the sanctity of the Jewish nation) will appreciate our efforts to set the record straight.

Rav Dunner Responds to EJF Attack
No Punches Pulled
Published on Monday, January 11, 2010 -
By Rabbi Aba Dunner


A small quote:

......."Tropper is a fraud. The organization he created is in his image
and is therefore a fraud too. The creators of that image are
fraudsters and hucksters who are trying desperately to keep the
line to Mr Kaplan's millions open. The chareidi world feels
diminished and tainted and wishes they would go away and the
chilul Hashem would stop"...................