Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The most important lesson of the Holocaust is that the details of how it happened don't really matter --- Today the two responses to the Holocaust are battling out to the death, Tolerance and Assimilation vs the State of Israel.

Yom HaShoah comes and goes. A day for looking back at what has happened and a day for looking away from what will happen.

Millions of dollars have been spent building memorials to the victims of the Holocaust, even as Iran is spending its millions on building another kind of memorial to the Holocaust, in the form of nuclear technology that will be used to finish that piece of history that the Islamic terror state claims never took place.

Millions more are spent, by some of the same groups that claim an interest in Holocaust education, on bringing Muslim migrants to America and Europe to carry out the promise of an Islamic apocalypse in which, as the Hadith states, "The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him." That is what the Islamic Holocaust looks like. And it's underway.

A Jew is murdered in France. Another in Jerusalem. And another and another.

The Final Solution, with its immediate extermination of the Jews, has been replaced by the Two State Solution, an intermediate process in which the land on which Jews can live in security is partitioned into smaller and smaller pieces.

The Lebensraum of Islam demands ever more breathing room. And fewer breathing Jews. Israel is carved up into smaller indefensible ghettos. The number of places where the world decides that Jews can be allowed to live, shrink. The rest become "settlers" who must be evicted for the sake of peace. Even if the place they're "settling" is Jerusalem. The oldest Jewish city on earth.

And this Two State Solution, this intermediate process, has the almost universal backing of the major Jewish organizations who are so very deeply concerned about the Holocaust. It has the backing of the diplomats and politicians who put out canned statements urging that we learn the lessons of the Holocaust. The only lesson they have learned though is that another Holocaust needs better marketing.

It is comparatively easy to build a memorial. You hire the architect, raise the money, buy the land and then cut the ribbon. It is a much harder thing to do something about the need for those memorials in the first place. That is what learning the lessons of the Holocaust is about.

It is easier to build another memorial than to look into your heart and ask why two generations later, the majority of the American Jewish community was still too cowardly to stand up to a liberal icon in the White House... when the lives of millions of Jews were on the line.

From FDR to Obama, American Jewish leaders had two opportunities to stand up to a liberal icon and save Jewish lives. No amount of memorials can disguise the fact that they learned nothing.

The reassurances from American Jewish leaders that Obama meant well, that he will not sell out Israel and that he cares sounded familiar. The American Jewish leaders of the 30's and 40's echoed the same sentiments. Even as the St. Louis was turned back and its passengers were sent to the gas chambers, even as every effort made to aid or save Jews from the Holocaust was frustrated and shut down with the active complicity of the liberal American Jewish leadership who were loyal to FDR.

The same people who let millions die went on to light candles and issue their hypocritical sanctimonious statements of mourning for the dead.  More candles have been lit. More memorials have been built. But the lessons of the Holocaust continue to go unlearned.

Regardless of which administration is in office, the Two State Solution and any support for the Islamic terrorists seeking to exterminate the Jews, as they have already exterminated many of the Christians in the region, must be fought. When we fail to do this, then whatever our politics are, we abandon our obligations to the dead and to the living.

The most important lesson of the Holocaust is that the details of how it happened don't really matter. Had Hitler not come to power, had Germany not turned National Socialist, the Holocaust would have happened anyway. Stalin had one planned too before his death. Had it not been Hitler or Stalin, it would have been someone else. It still might be.

The Holocaust did not happen because of intolerance or fascism, as most liberals would like you to believe. It happened for the same overriding reason that any person or group of people is murdered. Because the Jews lacked the means of defending themselves against it.

There have been two Jewish responses to the Holocaust, on the one hand promoting tolerance and assimilation and on the other hand the State of Israel. Tolerance has done nothing to prevent the hatred and murder of Jews. In many cases it has actually served to promote it.

Every Muslim attack in Europe and America can be laid at the door of tolerance. When a Jewish woman is thrown out of a window in Paris or a Rabbi is beaten in Brussels, the true perpetrator is "tolerance".

The State of Israel stands as the only meaningful response to the Holocaust. Rather than building stone memorials and going back to business as usual, the State of Israel is not only a living future for the Jewish people, it is a response to the fundamental lesson of the Holocaust. The Holocaust happened because it could happen to a people who couldn't defend themselves. The State of Israel with its armies and borders was the best physical defense against it happening again.

Today the two responses to the Holocaust are battling out to the death, Tolerance and Assimilation vs the State of Israel. And the State of Israel is getting the worst of it. The teachers of tolerance blame Israel for the failure of their own ideology, manifest in the rising hatred of Jews around the world. If Israel wouldn't exist, somehow Jews wouldn't be hated, their thesis goes. As if Anti-semitism had been discovered lying around in a dustbin sometime after 1948.

But it is tolerance meanwhile that is killing Israel. The left has pushed Israel to the wall, because it represents the inversion of their ideology, it represents the reality that the best hope of the persecuted is not in multiculturalism or in tolerance classes, but in taking responsibility for their own safety and survival.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The revolution is still not complete, and won’t be until the people in power don’t even remember a time when anyone was kept on board after multiple such accusations. Which is to say, we’re still a few generations off. But if we are not witnessing the beginning of the end, we are at least at the end of the beginning....

Why the Tide Finally Turned Against Bill O'Reilly  

The culture decided.

Revolutions come not all at once, but in tiptoe steps. Especially the bloodless ones, of course, but even rivers of blood will not convert the rest of the population instantly to the revolutionary’s command.

Just think how long it took for the United States to go from declaring that “All Men are Created Equal” to actually abolishing slavery. Or the back-and-forth dance of the early Bolsheviks before they decided to make war on all economic activity outside of the state.

Or consider how long it took 21st Century Fox Inc., the parent of Fox News, to decide that it was time to stop settling sexual-harassment suits and jettison their powerful targets. We have come a long way, legally and morally, since the days when people thought that men chasing secretaries around their desks made for a pretty funny joke. But it has taken us many decades to get to the point where even a powerful conservative media figure like Bill O’Reilly faces career-ending repercussions based on accusations of such behavior.

You might think it would have happened sooner, given that he seems to have been costing the company a lot of money in sexual-harassment settlements. But, of course, he was also generating lots of advertising dollars, thanks to a strong audience.

Given the age demographic of the average Fox News viewer, it’s safe to say that many of them remember the days when powerful men had a lot of leeway to do or say lewd things to lower-level female employees  -- and judging from his ratings (which actually went up as the scandal unfolded), not all of them remember those days with horror. It may well have been the economically rational thing to do to keep paying off the lawsuits, and keeping the audience happy.

So what changed? Several things, actually, but before we get there, let’s go back for a moment and trace the history of sexual harassment in America. Contrary to somewhat popular belief, it wasn’t that everyone back in the bad old days thought that sexually harassing your employees was perfectly all right. It’s just that they had somewhat more nuanced views of these things than we do today. (Nota bene: “Nuanced” is not a synonym, or a code word, for “correct,” though it is often so misused by the commentariat.)

Old movies are full of young, handsome dudes engaging in relatively minor harassment, such as patting derrieres. They are certainly more tolerant of marital rape than we are. But they do not spend a lot of time celebrating men who demand sex in exchange for something a woman desperately needs, such as her job. Nor are they particularly tolerant of older and unattractive men who fondle their employees -- bosses who at best come off with comic desperation, at worst as evil.

Roughly, the people of yesteryear thought that women might enjoy the attentions from very attractive men, but also understood that such attentions could be unwanted and abusive. And that probably reflects the beliefs of the larger culture, which might be summed up as “sexual harassment exists, and is wrong, but not all unsolicited advances are sexual harassment.” What we see in black and white, they saw in shades of gray.

In part because of this, they didn’t take it as seriously as we do. If you didn’t like sexual harassment, and your boss or your boss’s boss wouldn’t put a stop to it, you had a choice between putting up with it and looking for another job. The feminists of the 1970s changed that, by getting courts to declare that women who were sexually harassed had a legal cause of action against their firm. Companies were no longer allowed to care more about keeping the boss happy than keeping him from mauling the secretaries. And as firms grew wiser about the legal risks, they began to crack down
Yet despite the legal risks, sexual harassment continued -- I experienced it (from clients) as a young consultant in the 1990s. And, of course, all revolutions take longest to reach the top. Think of the Soviet party chiefs who were living remarkably like affluent capitalists, while the rest of their country lined up in empty supermarkets.

As long as sexual-harassment allegations were basically a legal problem, it made sense (economic if not moral) to subject it to cost-benefit calculation: Are the lawsuits going to cost me more or less than firing the accused harasser? In most cases, the answer is “yes.” But in the case of major producers in lucrative industries? It might be more profitable simply to assign a lawyer to their case and pay the plaintiffs to shut up.

But sexual harassment is no longer just a legal problem, because the law changed the culture. When the majority of managers are strictly forbidden to engage in that kind of behavior, it is exiled from the realm of “Something that unfortunately happens,” and banished to “Never Neverland.” Cultural tolerance for it erodes, and resentment from lower-level managers who have to play by the rules grows as the stars get the company to pay their lawsuits off for them.

And culture, in turn, informs both the economics of the decision, and the willingness of companies to subject those decisions to cost-benefit analysis. If management had received allegations that Bill O’Reilly was killing his staffers and stuffing their bodies in trunks, we can assume that Fox would not have been asking, “How much to make this go away?” And the more we regard these things as moral crimes, rather than “a series of unfortunate events,” the more costly it is when accusations come to light. According to CNN, more than 60 advertisers pulled out after the New York Times ran a story about O’Reilly’s history of accusations.

I think we may also be witnessing a transition, both in Fox News and the larger Rupert Murdoch empire. All innovative companies get to the point when they have to transition from the control of a dynamic founder to the next generation of talent, whether that is the children or a new CEO. When that happens, companies often become more “normal” in all ways -- less of an outlier in both profits and behavior.

You can see this at Apple Inc., which still makes a fine product, but hasn’t given us a revolution along the lines of the iPod or the iPhone since the untimely death of Steve Jobs. And we may also be seeing it at the Murdoch empire. According to Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine, “Late last week, the feeling inside the company was that Rupert Murdoch would prevail over his son James, who lobbied to jettison the embattled host.” Somehow, the tide turned, possibly because James's brother Lachlan was persuaded (by his wife) that O’Reilly had to go.

The revolution is still not complete, and won’t be until the people in power don’t even remember a time when anyone was kept on board after multiple such accusations. Which is to say, we’re still a few generations off. But if we are not witnessing the beginning of the end, we are at least at the end of the beginning.
  1. Both men and women are capable of sexual harassment. But at the time of the lawsuits, relatively few women were in a position to do it, which is why I am gender-specific when talking about early situations, and not when I discuss the modern landscape.

To contact the author of this story:
Megan McArdle at mmcardle3@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net

Monday, April 24, 2017

To obtain a diverse group of observant Jewish women, subjects were sought across a large range of religious Jewish communities by advertising through synagogue bulletins, Jewish organizations, newspapers, Jewish- oriented web sites and Listservs, and a network of medical professionals (e.g., obstetricians/gynecologists, nurses, and pediatricians) whose practices consisted of sizable numbers of Orthodox Jewish women.

History of Past Sexual Abuse in Married Observant Jewish Women. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2007, 164:1700-1706 .

Friedman, M., Labinsky, E., Rosenbaum, T., Schmeidler, J. & Yehuda, R. 
The authors examined instances of past sexual abuse and related demographic characteristics in the self-reports of a select group of married observant Jewish women.

Orthodox Jewish married women (N=380) ages 19 to 58 responded to advertisements asking them to complete an anonymous questionnaire about sexual experiences, including sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse was reported by 26% of the respondents surveyed, with 16% reporting abuse occurring by the age of 13. More ultra-Orthodox Jews reported abuse than modern-Orthodox Jews. Women who were raised observant reported significantly less childhood sexual abuse than those who became observant later in life. Sexual abuse was associated with increased treatment-seeking for depression, marital counseling, or other emotional or psychological problems.

While observant Jewish women live in a culture defined by a high degree of adherence to specific laws of conduct, including rules designed to regulate sexual contact, sexual abuse of various types still exists among them.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

New York State Must Stop Failing Victims of Child Sex Abuse

Houses of worship and a person’s experience of their faith should be free of sexual abuse.  

Shockingly, when victims of child sex abuse by religious leaders and other perpetrators come forward to seek justice and stop abusers from causing more harm, they are blocked by current New York State law. New York ranks among the very worst in the nation -- alongside Alabama, Michigan and Mississippi -- for how the courts and criminal justice system treat survivors of child sex abuse.

Mental health experts know it can take decades for a victim of this abuse to overcome the fear, shame, and trauma to be able to come forward to confront their abuser, but our current law allows survivors of abuse to pursue criminal or civil justice only until the age of 23 -- a statute of limitations of, in some cases, only five years.

A bill called the Child Victims Act can change that at the upcoming session. It will extend or eliminate the statute of limitations so victims come forward and perpetrators can be prosecuted, helping victims get justice and taking unknown abusers off the streets. April and May are critical months for clergy to demand that officials introduce and vote for the bill.

Add your name to demand action here
Right now, many Republican members of the New York legislature are opposing the bill. Some religious institutions are pressuring legislators to reject the bill because it could mean holding them accountable. Religious groups and others are threatening to thwart the re-election of members if they pass the bill.

Clergy for Child Victims is mobilizing faith leaders to sign this petition to the governor letting the governor, state assembly, and state senate know that we stand behind the governor's support of the bill. On May 9, a group of clergy will make a lobbying trip to Albany to try and get new legislation passed before budget negotiations start.

Sign and share with your colleagues here

To: New York State Senate, Assembly, and Governor

New York State Must Stop Failing Victims of Child Sex Abuse

New York State Must Stop Failing Victims of Child Sex Abuse

New York State's laws protecting survivors of child sex abuse are broken. The New York State Legislature must eliminate the Statute of Limitations for child victims of sex abuse, enable those who were denied justice the chance to pursue it, and thereby help get abusers off the streets.

Why is this important?


Jennie's life changed when her coach began molesting her at age 15, trauma that has impacted every area of her life. But like so many victims of child sex abuse, it wasn’t until many years later, when she was 25, that she understood what had happened to her. Under New York State law, the window for pursuing legal action for child sex abuse is only 5 years after one turns 18. Not only can Jennie not pursue justice; her abuser remains on the streets.

New York State ranks alongside Alabama, Michigan and Mississippi, as among the worst states in the U.S. in how its courts and criminal justice system treat survivors of child sex abuse.

Shockingly, victims brave enough to come forward to seek justice and stop abusers from causing more harm, are blocked by New York State law because current state law allows survivors to pursue criminal or civil justice for a maximum of just five years after they turn age 18. But mental health experts know it can take decades for a victim of child sexual abuse to overcome the fear, shame, and trauma before they are able to come forward to confront their abuser. Perpetrators can continue to abuse if not stopped.

Many of us faith leaders have seen the wounds caused by sexual predators; wounds whose pain cannot be overstated, wounds that may never be fully healed. We also painfully acknowledge that rather than being a source of healing for victims of child sexual abuse, religious institutions have too often been a part of the problem. It's now time to be a part of the solution.

Please join us in urging New York to join states like California, Delaware, Minnesota, Hawaii, Illinois and Florida that have recently passed legislation extending or eliminating the statute of limitations and creating windows for survivors to come forward. This legislation will no doubt bring justice and importantly, prevent further abuse. When similar legislation was passed in California, over 300 previously unknown abusers were identified.

Reforming NY State’s Statute of Limitations makes all our children safer and we urge you to join us today as we prepare to take this issue to Albany.

How it will be delivered


Right now legislators in Albany are debating the 2017 Child Victim's Act which will repeal the Statute of Limitations for civil and criminal cases and create an opportunity for victims who were denied justice to pursue it. We urge you to sign our petition today. We will deliver the signatures to the Governor, State Assembly and State Senate to encourage them to pass the Child Victim's Act.

Thank you for supporting this crucial effort.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

In some cases, hundreds and thousands of calls, emails and faxes would be received every day, with the goal being to coerce the companies to advertise....

Dozens Arrested in Ultra-Orthodox Newspaper Extortion Scheme - NO YESHIVA - NO ARMY - NO JOBS - NO ETHICS - NO DECENCY - NO EDUCATION -  NO SKILLS   -  JUST A BUNCH OF DIRTY CRIMINAL BUMS!

extreme Haredi , ultra-Orthodox, Jerusalemagitators protesting arrests

Israel Police arrested Tuesday 28 suspects on suspicion of being involved in a harassment and extortion with threats scheme against executives of large private and government companies, in an attempt to force them to advertise in the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Hapeles.

The police this morning carried out a search at the newspaper’s offices and arrested senior editorial staff.

The newspaper is affiliated with Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, whose Jerusalem faction leads demonstrations against Haredi conscription into the IDF.

Companies targeted by the scheme include Coca Cola, Shufersal, Materna, Tara, Strauss, Tnuva and Optica Halperin.

In the last six months, police conducted an undercover investigation against the extensive operation that concluded last night with a wave of arrests throughout the country. Police also visited the headquarters of Hapeles in Jerusalem and confiscated computers and other multimedia devices.

Some 250 police officers participated in the arrest operation that took place in the early morning hours of Tuesday. Suspects were detained in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Modi’in Illit, Ashdod, Rekhasim and Hadera.

Several of the suspects are expected to be arraigned later Tuesday in the Rishon LeZion Magistrate’s Court.

During the arrests, police were attacked in several locations by crowds of residents who threw objects and shouted abuse at officers. In the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, protestors blocked roads with dumpsters.

The investigation began after police received dozens of complaints from company executives who alleged that they were receiving constant harassment by phone, email and fax.

extreme Haredi , ultra-Orthodox, Jerusalem Haredim Mea Shearim Jerusalem

According to police, suspects presented themselves as those representing a large section of the public that “felt deprived” that the companies were not advertising in a newspaper that represents them, such as Hapeles.

At this point, suspects would begin a ceaseless campaign of calls, faxes and email to the same company executives and their families leading to severe disruption, not only in the company’s normal activities, but also those of executives’ families.

In some cases, hundreds and thousands of calls, emails and faxes would be received every day, with the goal being to coerce the companies to advertise.

According to police, the operation was so extensive that suspects operated a special call line in which dozens of workers would clandestinely receive instructions and details related to the people they were supposed to harass.

Shufersal CEO Itzhak Aberkohen said, “It was the same group of people who would harass every day for weeks from the early hours of the morning until the late hours of the night. It got to the point where we had to turn off the phones or put them on silent. It interfered greatly with our personal and family relationships.”

According to another executive, “When I was answering and trying to have a conversation, some of the people were polite and some really threatened me. From the other side of the line were children and adults who cursed, screamed and screamed.”

Another executive said that apart from threatening the workers, they would also call their parents at unusual hours.

“My mother told me that one morning they called her and said to her, ‘Your son is taking a side and you will pay the price for it, the company will also pay a personal price,'” said the executive.

By Ynet New

(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)

Read more about: , ,


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Four families aren't cooperating with the Health Department's investigation, according to a spokesman...

Orthodox Families Won't Out The Mohels Who Gave Babies Herpes, City Says

Four families aren't cooperating with the Health Department's investigation, according to a spokesman.

WILLIAMSBURG — A Health Department investigation into who infected four infant boys with herpes during Orthodox Jewish circumcision ceremonies has been thwarted because the community — including the children's parents — refuses to cooperate, the city said.

Only two of six families whose babies contracted herpes since 2015 from metzitzah b'peha religious rite that calls for a trained devotee, or mohel, to clean circumcision wounds by oral suction, have provided the names of the practitioner, according to Health Department spokesman Christopher Miller.

"Unfortunately, some in the community are resistant to sharing the name of the mohels," Miller said. "This is a very insular community. This is a very religious ritual." The city ordered the two mohels who were identified to stop performing metzitzah b'peh in mid-March and they could face civil and criminal fines and punishment if they don't comply, under a revised city policy. They have to test negative for herpes simplex antibodies before the city will rescind the order, Miller said.

The men were asked informally by the Health Department not to perform ritual when the city found out about the infections of two babies in December of 2015 and July of 2016, Miller said.

Health Department officials said they were able to track the herpes infection to the mohels because of the timeline of when and where herpes blisters appear on the newborn. Because they appear in the genital region five to seven days after the baby's eighth day of life, when the bris takes place, health officials pinpoint the mohel as source of the virus.

A herpes infection in an infant can cause brain damage and even death.

Orthodox leaders have said they were cooperating with authorities, but questioned how pervasive the problem is.

Rabbi David Niederman, the head of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, an umbrella organization for the area's Orthodox community, said in an earlier interview that they were fully cooperating with the city, though he highlighted, "the sheer numbers of metzitzah b’peh which are done annually here in the city and in the Jewish community all over the world,” where no baby boys contract herpes.

“This is a religious practice that has been going on for thousands of years," he said.

“We have been working with different authorities and we are ready…to determine who the cause is. If anybody is the cause, not only will the community actually ban him, that person himself would refrain..to ensure that anybody who infects a child is taken off the practice,” Niederman said in an earlier interview.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday because of the Passover holiday.

A source privy to discussions about the infection issue, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about it, said that the community was skeptical that the mohels had caused the infections and believed that Health Department officials just wanted to end metzitzah b'peh.

"That’s why we’re not willing to give out the mohels. We know the city is going to ban them without giving them due process,” the source said. "There is not proof that they actually infected the baby."

“It has to be proven, not blind accusation," the source said. "We believe there is a group of overzealous officials in the Department of Health whose goal is banning the practice entirely. It's just a step for them."

"The health of infants is our primary concern, which is why [we] recommend against direct oral suction all together," Miller said.

Health experts said they are confident that the mohels are infecting the infants, though they admit definitive proof is elusive.

The agency could, theoretically, outsource the genetic sequencing of viral samples to research laboratories, according to Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.

But, he added, "I think, based on location of the lesions and time, the simplest hypothesis" — in this case, transmission via metzitzah b'peh — "seems to be the most likely."

Whether or not mohels are the definitive source of the infection, if they test positive for herpes simplex, they shouldn't perform the ritual either way, Miller said.

"Anyone infected with [herpes] simply should not be placing his mouth on an infant’s open wound because of the risk of infection,” Miller said.

Since 2000, the controversial practice of metzitzah b’peh has been linked to two deaths and two cases of brain damage and there have been 24 laboratory-confirmed cases of herpes infection, according to Health Department alert sent out to doctors on March 8 following the most recent infection.

There are dozens of well-known mohels within Brooklyn's Orthodox community, often doctors or rabbis, who are trained in the sacred ritual of metzitzah b’peh.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, the Williamsburg rabbi who faced retaliation and physical attacks for his advocacy on behalf of children who'd been sexually abused by rabbis, worried parents of sick babies were being silenced by community leaders, much the same as they had been in cases of sex abuse.
"The only [reason] why they're not coming forward is because they're being threatened, ostracized," he said. "You don't know what kind of intimation goes on in this community."


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Great evening. Songs about goats #strange...

If Trump live tweets the Seder …

Donald Trump's sure to get an invitation to Kushner's Seder night.

Trump at the seder: #eatcementlosers
 Invited to Ivanka and Jared’s for Seder dinner. I’m all set to go. #happypassover

The failed New York Times says Passover starts today. FAKE NEWS #sad

 Just called Jared. It seems it actually is Passover today. #let'smakepassovergreat

Very excited and honored to be leading the Seder service tonight. It’s going to be a TERRIFIC evening, the BEST SEDER ever!

 Jared says I’m not quite Jewish enough to lead the service. He'll do a FANTASTIC job!

 Jews celebrate freedom from slavery. We all celebrate freedom from Obama!

 So the Egyptians made the Israelites build massive pyramids. AND the Jews had to pay for them. Smart work, pharoah!

Seems pharoah is bad guy. Horrible. Never liked him.

Service underway. It seems quite complicated and long. Someone pour me a large Scotch.

 You can’t even have ONE GLASS OF SINGLE MALT?!? #sad

 Jared serving Bread of Affliction. It's gonna be delicious.

We're eating some kind of big cracker with no flavor! #fakebread #passthejelly

 Big immigrant population don’t wanna work hard to make Egypt great again #sad

OK BIG NEWS. Serious pressure on Egypt to let the people go.

 Pharoah dithering. Cut a deal! Losing patience with Egypt here

 Moses using alternative facts to play with the heads of the Egyptians. THERE ARE TEN PLAGUES

 Lucky Egyptians weren’t on Obamacare — they’d be sick and poor (if first born, dead and poor) #fail

I’m warming to this idea bigly. WATCH OUT KIM JONG UN #tenplaguesforKorea #boils #frogs #riversofblood

 Israelites migrating. Fortunately for them they are not headed for #USA. They still have to get over the Red Sea #badidea

 OK so the Red Sea has parted. LET’S BUILD THAT WALL FOLKS

Egyptian military total fail #drowned. Big lesson for NATO here

 We’re singing a song called Dayenu. It means we’ve had enough. Just like the American people have had enough of FAKE NEWS

Correction, it means ‘it would have been enough’. So had POTUS just got rid of evil Hillary, it would have been enough #dayenu

Had POTUS saved America from Muslims carrying bombs, it would have been enough #dayenu

 Had POTUS simply built the wall, it would have been enough #dayenu

Gonna have a word with Sean Spicer. #dayenu is going to be our next press conference

 Everyone is saying “Next Year in Jerusalem”. Let’s get that embassy built there.

 Next year in Scotland! Terrific country. The Scottish people love me so much #Let’sPlayGolf. #singlemalt

 Prayer books have been put away. Four glasses of wine drunk. Now the feast. Happy Passover to all my Jewish friends — even the Democrats

 Is Hillary Jewish? #alternativefacts

 They just brought an egg. And they poured salty water all over it. Someone get me a Chinese takeout — and let’s make the Chinese pay for it

 OK there’s a crisis developing. Afi Koman has gone missing. Let’s get together and start searching for him.

 I seem to remember that Afi was Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister. Terrific guy. I hope his family are doing well and staying strong

 FAKE NEWS! Turns out Afi wasn’t the foreign minister, but a piece of matzah they hid. I led the search . Made sure Ivanka found it

 Everyone says we need to let in a guy called Elijah in. Has Elijah got a #greencard? Is he #muslim???

  They are putting wine in a glass for this guy. AND THEY ARE LEAVING THE DOOR OPEN #verysad

 We owe a debt to all of our immigrants but this is not the way we do business here anymore. No one gets a free pass. LET’S PUT AMERICA 1st!

 OK, Elijah is a dead prophet who comes back for a glass of wine. Who can blame him?

  Winding up. Great evening. Songs about goats #strange

  Looking forward to corned beef on rye at Trump Tower #signaturedish — hold the elevator!


Friday, April 07, 2017

Chag Sameach
















These past few years, the chareidi community and its leadership have been providing innumerable lessons to the world about the way a Torah-True Jew lives his life. Let us be grateful to them for all the many things they have taught us all!
  • If they had only been wise enough to ban music that has electric guitars, but had not boycotted a store that had a sheitel advertisement in the window, it would have been enough to show us their greatness!
  • If they had only protested against a store that had a sheitel advertisement in the window, but had not felt it was inappropriate for a magazine to carry an ad for an eyebrow-shaping service, it would have been enough to prove their wisdom!
  • If they had only felt it was inappropriate to advertise eyebrow-shaping, but had not publicly revealed that they were ignorant of basic facts about reality, it would have been enough to demonstrate their brilliance!
  • If they had only publicly revealed that that were ignorant of basic facts, but had not referred to drug smuggling yeshiva bochurim as holy, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only referred to drug smuggling yeshiva bochurim as kedoshim, but did not feel it necessary to restrict men and women to different sides of the streets, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only felt it necessary to restrict men and women to different sides of the streets, but not demand that women sit at the back of buses, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only demanded that women sit at the back of buses, but not beat them when they didn't, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only beat the women when they didn't sit at the back of the bus, but they didn't stone or throw acid at them when they didn't meet the extremist standards of modesty, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only thrown acid at women who weren't dressed to their satisfaction, but didn't break into peoples homes and violently attack innocent women, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only attacked innocent women, but didn't nod and wink at all the financial indiscretion they knew was going on in their community, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only nodded and winked at all the financial indiscretionss they knew about, but had not confessed to finding Bernie Madoff a more inspiring individual than Captain Sully, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only praised Madoff, but not publicly admitted that it was halachically ok to cheat on one's taxes as long as you don't get caught, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only admitted that it was ok to cheat on one's taxes, but refrained from holding an event dedicated to business ethics where the tax cheating Spinka Rav was given a place of honor, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only given kavod to the Spinka Rav, but had not also at that event honored a man who unjustly caused a charity to lose half a million dollars, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only honored a man who unjustly caused a charity to lose half a million dollars, but were not involved in granting special treatment to chassidic prisoners, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only been granting special favors to Jewish prisoners, but had not tried to destroy an innocent persons reputation and livelihood, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only destroyed an innocent persons reputation, but had not banned a book that tells the truthful history of their gedolim it would have been enough!
  • If they only had banned a book that tells the truthful history of their gedolim, but had not covered up decades of child molestation in their community, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only covered up decades of child molestation, but not fought against a bill that would help bring justice to victims of molestation, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only fought against a bill helping abuse victims, but had not issued a psak beis din admitting to witness tampering in an effort to help an accused molester, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only been guilty of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, but had not demonstrated utter disregard for a victim of molestation while showing overwhelming support for his molester, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only shown overwhelming support for a convicted molester, but not chosen to vociferously advocate on behalf of a cold-blooded killer, it would have been enough.
  • If they had only chosen to vociferously advocate on behalf of a cold-blooded killer, but not been virtually silent when a most prominent rabbinic figure was caught in a scandalous adulterous relationship, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only stood by silently when one of their most prominent rabbinic figures was caught in an scandalous adulterous relationship, but had not been frozen with inaction as a rabbi who made efforts to combat the rampant child abuse was bullied into silence, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only done nothing as a rabbi who made efforts to combat the child abuse was threatened into silence, but had not been silent about their chief rabbi's involvement in having a teenager kidnapped and beaten, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only been silent about the chief rabbi's involvement in kidnapping a teenager, but did not support rabbis who fraudulently manipulate hundreds of thousands of dollars from emotionally vulnerable devotees, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only extorted money from emotionally vulnerable devotees but had not laundered money through their yeshivas, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only laundered money through their yeshivas, but didn't operate a kosher meatpacking company that was found guily of fraud and child labor abuses, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only supported the convicted head of a scammy shechita company, but did not also operate an underground organ trafficking operation, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only operated an underground organ trafficking operation, but had not had a prominent rabbi caught extorting millions of dollars from a hedge fund, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only extorted millions of dollars, but had not allowed their constituents to violently riot because of a parking lot open on shabbos, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only allowed their constituents to violently riot on behalf of a parking lot, but not to riot on behalf of a woman who starved her own child, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only rioted on behalf of a woman who starved her own child, but not staunchly proclaimed the innocence of a man who murdered his own baby, it would have been enough!
  • If they had only proclaimed the innocence of a man who murdered his own child, but did not defend one of the worst child abusers in recent history, it would have been enough!
Dai-dai-yeniu… dai-dai-yeniu… dai-dai-yeniu… daiyeinu, DAYEINU!!!


Thursday, April 06, 2017

The conversation we're not having about digital child abuse - Yes - Jewish Kids Included!

We need to talk to kids about the risks they face online, says information security expert Sebastián Bortnik. In this talk, Bortnik discusses the issue of "grooming" — the sexual predation of children by adults on the internet — and outlines the conversations we need to start having about technology to keep our kids safe. (In Spanish with English subtitles

[This talk contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.]
0:15 This is Nina Rodríguez's Facebook profile. This person had three different profiles and 890 kids between 8 and 13 years old among her friends list. These are excerpts of a chat with one of those kids. This is an exact copy of the chat. It's part of the case file. This kid started sending private photos until his family realized what was going on. The police report and subsequent investigation lead them to a house. This was the girl's bedroom. Nina Rodríguez was actually a 24-year-old man that used to do this with lots of kids.
1:12 Micaela Ortega was 12 years old when she went to meet her new Facebook friend, also 12. "Rochi de River," was her name. She actually met Jonathan Luna, who was 26 years old. When they finally caught him, he confessed that he killed the girl because she refused to have sex with him. He had four Facebook profiles and 1,700 women on his contact list; 90 percent of them were under 13 years old.
1:51 These are two different cases of "grooming": an adult contacts a kid through the internet, and through manipulation or lying, leads that kid into sexual territory — from talking about sex to sharing private photos, recording the kid using a webcam or arranging an in-person meeting. This is grooming. This is happening, and it's on the rise. The question is: What are we going to do? Because, in the meantime, kids are alone. They finish dinner, go to their rooms, close the door, get on their computer, their cell phones, and get into a bar, into a club.
2:41 Think for one second about what I've just said: they're in a place full of strangers in an uninhibited environment. The internet broke physical boundaries. When we're alone in our bedroom and we go online, we're not really alone.
3:04 There are at least two reasons why we're not taking care of this, or at least not in the right way. First, we're sure that everything that happens online is "virtual." In fact, we call it "the virtual world." If you look it up in the dictionary, something virtual is something that seems to exist but is not real. And we use that word to talk about the internet: something not real. And that's the problem with grooming. It is real. Degenerate, perverted adults use the internet to abuse boys and girls and take advantage of, among other things, the fact that the kids and their parents think that what happens online doesn't actually happen.
3:58 Several years ago, some colleagues and I founded an NGO called "Argentina Cibersegura," dedicated to raising awareness about online safety. In 2013, we attended meetings at the House of Legislature to discuss a law about grooming. I remember that a lot of people thought that grooming was strictly a precursor to arranging an in-person meeting with a kid to have sex with them. But they didn't think about what happened to the kids who were exposed by talking about sex with an adult without knowing it, or who shared intimate photos thinking only another kid would see them, or even worse, who had exposed themselves using their web cam. Nobody considered that rape. I'm sure lots of you find it odd to think one person can abuse another without physical contact. We're programmed to think that way. I know, because I used to think that way. I was just an IT security guy until this happened to me.
5:10 At the end of 2011, in a little town in Buenos Aires Province, I heard about a case for the first time. After giving a talk, I met the parents of an 11-year-old girl who had been a victim of grooming. A man had manipulated her into masturbating in front of her web cam, and recorded it. And the video was on several websites. That day, her parents asked us, in tears, to tell them the magic formula for how to delete those videos from the internet. It broke my heart and changed me forever to be their last disappointment, telling them it was too late: once content is online, we've already lost control.
6:03 Since that day, I think about that girl waking up in the morning, having breakfast with her family, who had seen the video, and then walking to school, meeting people that had seen her naked, arriving to school, playing with her friends, who had also seen her. That was her life. Exposed. Of course, nobody raped her body. But hadn't her sexuality been abused?
6:41 We clearly use different standards to measure physical and digital things. And we get angry at social networks because being angry with ourselves is more painful and more true. And this brings us to the second reason why we aren't paying proper attention to this issue. We're convinced that kids don't need our help, that they "know everything" about technology.
7:11 When I was a kid, at one point, my parents started letting me walk to school alone. After years of taking me by the hand and walking me to school, one day they sat me down, gave me the house keys and said, "Be very careful with these; don't give them to anyone, take the route we showed you, be at home at the time we said, cross at the corner, and look both ways before you cross, and no matter what, don't talk to strangers." I knew everything about walking, and yet, there was a responsible adult there taking care of me. Knowing how to do something is one thing, knowing how to take care of yourself is another. Imagine this situation: I'm 10 or 11 years old, I wake up in the morning, my parents toss me the keys and say, "Seba, now you can walk to school alone." And when I come back late, they say, "No, you need to be home at the time we said." And two weeks later, when it comes up, they say, "You know what? You have to cross at the corner, and look both ways before crossing." And two years later, they say, "And also, don't talk to strangers." It sounds absurd, right?
8:37 We have the same absurd behavior in relation to technology. We give kids total access and we see if one day, sooner or later, they learn how to take care of themselves. Knowing how to do something is one thing, knowing how to take care of yourself is another.
8:55 Along those same lines, when we talk to parents, they often say they don't care about technology and social networks. I always rejoin that by asking if they care about their kids. As adults, being interested or not in technology is the same as being interested or not in our kids. The internet is part of their lives. Technology forces us to rethink the relationship between adults and kids. Education was always based on two main concepts: experience and knowledge. How do we teach our kids to be safe online when we don't have either?
9:39 Nowadays, we adults have to guide our children through what is often for us unfamiliar territory — territory much more inviting for them. It's impossible to find an answer without doing new things — things that make us uncomfortable, things we're not used to.
9:58 A lot of you may think it's easy for me, because I'm relatively young. And it used to be that way. Used to. Until last year, when I felt the weight of my age on my shoulders the first time I opened Snapchat.
10:21 (Laughter)
10:25 (Applause)
10:30 I didn't understand a thing! I found it unnecessary, useless, hard to understand; it looked like a camera! It didn't have menu options! It was the first time I felt the gap that sometimes exists between kids and adults. But it was also an opportunity to do the right thing, to leave my comfort zone, to force myself. I never thought I'd ever use Snapchat, but then I asked my teenage cousin to show me how to use it. I also asked why she used it. What was fun about it? We had a really nice talk. She showed me her Snapchat, she told me things, we got closer, we laughed. Today, I use it.
11:25 (Laughter)
11:27 I don't know if I do it right, but the most important thing is that I know it and I understand it. The key was to overcome the initial shock and do something new. Something new. Today, we have the chance to create new conversations. What's the last app you downloaded? Which social network do you use to contact your friends? What kind of information do you share? Have you ever been approached by strangers? Could we have these conversations between kids and adults? We have to force ourselves to do it. All of us. Today, lots of kids are listening to us. Sometimes when we go to schools to give our talks, or through social networks, kids ask or tell us things they haven't told their parents or their teachers. They tell us — they don't even know us. Those kids need to know what the risks of being online are, how to take care of themselves, but also that, fundamentally, as with almost everything else, kids can learn this from any adult.
12:50 Online safety needs to be a conversation topic in every house and every classroom in the country. We did a survey this year that showed that 15 percent of schools said they knew of cases of grooming in their school. And this number is growing. Technology changed every aspect of our life, including the risks we face and how we take care of ourselves.
13:19 Grooming shows us this in the most painful way: by involving our kids. Are we going to do something to avoid this? The solution starts with something as easy as: talking about it.
13:36 Thank you.
13:37 (Applause)