Sunday, December 03, 2017

Something About This Does Not Seem, Well, Jewish....

Rabbi forbids looking at NIS 50 bill featuring poet who married a Christian


Sephardic Rabbi Benzion Mutzafi says he folds note face down in pocket to avoid seeing visage of 'apostate' Saul Tchernichovsky

The front of the NIS 50 banknote featuring the late poet Saul Tchernichovsky. (Courtesy)
The front of the NIS 50 banknote featuring the late poet Saul Tchernichovsky. (Courtesy)

Followers of an influential Sephardic rabbi will from now have to avoid looking at the country’s NIS 50 banknote because the poet whose image adorns the bill was married to a Christian woman.

Rabbi Benzion Mutzafi issued his ruling after pulling the offending note out of his pocket during a weekend lesson he was giving, the ultra-Orthodox news site Kikar HaShabbat reported Sunday.

After one of his students asked for a fuller explanation for the ban, the rabbi — a senior adjudicator of Jewish law in the Sephardic community — wrote, “As regards the illustrated image: It is known he [Tchernichovsky] was ‘married’ to a devout Christian woman who every Sunday would ‘pray’ in church.

“They say that at the time, the late Rabbi [Abraham Isaac] Kook [the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine] pleaded with him, requested of him and tried to convince him that she convert to Judaism. And he refused.”

Sephardic rabbi Benzion Mutzafi, who reportedly told his students not to look at the NIS 50 bank note because it carries the image of a man — the poet Saul Tchernichovsky– who was married to a Christian. 
Tchernichovsky was married to Russian-born Christian Melania Karlova, with whom he had a daughter, Isolda.

He was one of four poets chosen in 2011 to appear on Israeli banknotes, together with Nathan Alterman, Leah Goldberg and Rachel Bluwstein.

The issuing of the NIS 50 note was met with anger by religious and other figures in Israel, when it was unveiled in September 2014.

Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi, brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, said that the use of the Russian-born poet’s image on the bill was “an outrage.”

“Shaul Tchernichovsky has become a symbol of assimilation, of assimilation ideology,” he said at the time, according to Israel National News. “It is inconceivable that such a person, as important a poet as he may be, should become a symbol in the State of Israel.”

Bentzi Gopstein, director of the violent anti-assimilation group Lehava, told Kikar HaShabat at the time that avoiding using the new notes was unrealistic.

“I could say (that) but no one would do it,” he said, though he too lamented the use of the poet. “We should learn who the real role models are.”

Prominent Orthodox rabbi Shlomo Aviner said Tchernichovsky’s portrait on an official bill of the Jewish state was “horribly grating.”

“Tchernichovsky was indeed an incredibly talented author and poet, and is tied to the people of Israel, but a terrible dishonor was deeply imprinted on his life, as he was married to a gentile woman, a very religious Christian,” Aviner, head of the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, told the NRG news website, adding that it was unthinkable that an intermarried poet should be “glorified on the nation’s banknote.”

Last month saw the introduction of the new NIS 100 and NIS 20 banknotes featuring Leah Goldberg and Rachel Bluwstein, better known simply as Rachel the Poet.


TEN TIPS TO SAVE MONEY - Don't waste money on extravagances, such as electricity. Keep those lights off, even in the dark.
Skyrocketing prices for fuel, food, and even dental floss have everybody scrambling for ways to save greenbacks. But remember: tough economic times don't last; people who aren't embarrassed to rinse out plastic bags do. Both my grandmothers came from "the old country," and trust me, there is no word for "disposable" in Yiddish. These Bubbies (Yiddish for "Grandma") never met a piece of wrapping paper that they couldn't use at least fifteen times. In fact, through her judicious use, rinsing, and re-use of aluminum foil, one of my Bubbies only used two rolls of foil during her entire life!

With this kind of training, who better to offer money-saving tips than moi?
So read on, be of good cheer, and for gosh sakes, don't waste an entire sheet of fabric softener when you can cut the thing in half. Happy savings!

1. Don't waste money on extravagances, such as electricity. Keep those lights off, even in the dark. You can save thousands, maybe even millions of dollars on electricity bills by using night vision glasses, which can be bought for cheap at any military hardware store. If a neighbor comes over to borrow a cup of flour and asks why everyone in your family is wearing night vision goggles in your dark house, just tell him you are practicing your emergency preparedness drills, recommended by a leading survivalist guru in Idaho.

2. Warm your house with black-out curtains. They keep out the cold and give your night vision goggles a real test of endurance, too. Look, if they were good enough for Londoners during the blitz, they ought to be good enough for you, too.

3. Mold soap slithers into memorable bar mitzvah centerpieces, such as swans or models of the Ten Commandments. As a bonus, guests can use the centerpieces when they wash their hands. You'll be the talk of the town with these!

4. With rocketing inflation, it's also time to resurrect the fine art of haggling. Why not go "mano a mano" with those little credit card machines in the stores? After the register has tallied your groceries and the credit card machine screen asks, "Is $231.98 okay?" don't just press the "okay" button like a patsy, make a deal! Start your counteroffer at $17.54 and test your money-saving mettle. 


5. Cancel that spendy African safari you've been planning and go to the zoo this summer instead. Look, when you've seen one giraffe, you've seen them all. What, were you planning to count how many spots each one had? And let's be honest: how many people do you know who like sleeping under mosquito netting?

6. Sell most of your worldly possessions on eBay. You know you'll never wear that horrendous orange striped tie your mother-in-law gave you, and that set of Boggle that's missing half the letter cubes? Fuhgettabouit! Turn your junk into impressive cashola on eBay, where you'll find buyers for the dumbest things on earth. After Passover, my friend Harry sold his swept up matzah crumbs in a Ziploc bag for eighteen bucks! I don't know what's up with these eBay shoppers, but if they're dumb enough to buy matzah crumbs from the floor, they'll buy your broken toys, your van with no engine, and all your mate-less socks, too. Heck, offer that folding chair held together with only duct tape and with the screw sticking out of the seat pad, and see what you get!

7. Shop at stores no smaller than football stadiums. Now that you've cleared out the clutter, you'll have room for twenty five pound sacks of rice, gallon containers of mystery shampoo whose ingredients are listed in Armenian, and vats of freeze-dried coffee. In addition to never having to shop for non-perishables again until you're one hundred and eight, you'll get a great workout dodging those forklifts in these megastores zooming toward you. Worst case scenario? If everyone hates the weird-smelling Armenian shampoo, just sell it on eBay.

8. Empty your car of non-essential weight, such as family members. The heavier your car is, the more gas you burn driving around, so leave snow chains, shovels, sand bags, and relatives at home when you go out. This way, you can even sidle into a bargain matinee without having relatives whisper their running commentary throughout the movie. A win-win!


9. Cook creatively, especially if you have more days in the week than grocery money. Concoct visionary meals such as "refrigerator soup," a hodgepodge of anything you can find in the back of the fridge or freezer that doesn't yet have anything growing on it. Be daring! Toss in the last few frozen fish sticks, half a can of kidney beans, flaccid celery (I think it may still have vitamins even in this aged state), Tabasco sauce, the unrecognizable leftovers with freezer burn, and you're in business. If your family complains, channel my long-departed Bubbie, who would say, "You want fancy? Okay, tomorrow we'll have borsht."

10. Don't skimp on the essentials. With all this Draconian belt-tightening, make sure you still buy yourself an overpriced latte every day. Ignore that little voice in your head reminding you that over a year's time, you will spend nearly eight hundred bucks on these drinks, money that could otherwise have filled your gas tank four or five times. But what seems like an indulgence is really just a way to ensure you're still getting essential vitamins and nutrients -- especially if you are living off of that cheap rice and "refrigerator soup."