Wear Long Skirts! Cover Your Elbows! You Can Save Israel and Get Ice Cream, Too!

There is nothing in traditional Judaism that demonstrates its sexism better than the rules of tznius (modesty). The rules grow out of the assumptions that women are automatically objects of sexual desire – even from a very early age – and that men have no control over their actions when faced with these temptresses. In Haredi communities, “modesty police” are sometimes in place to ensure that women adhere to the strictest standards of covering up. In New York, they have more… Read more

Maccabees, Reform Rabbis and the Quest to Slay the BDS-Monster

As I blogged about several weeks ago, Sheldon Adelson & Co. have founded a new multi-million dollar effort to slay the BDS-beast that is stalking college campuses. The knights that they set loose will be known as the campus Maccabees. (I also pointed out what a poor choice of names this is.) In this week’s Forward Jay Michaelson has a great piece about why this effort will fail. He enumerates four reasons, beginning with the fact that the Adelson project is an effort built on… Read more

Who Is a Jew and Who Is a Rabbi?

The newly-appointed Israeli Minister of Religious Services, David Azulai, has said something stupid. This puts him well within the tradition of his ultra-Orthodox (Sephardic) Shas Party where saying something stupid is a daily event. This stupid comment was stupid enough to be covered by the New York Times: Speaking to Army Radio, the minister said, “Let’s just say there’s a problem as soon as a Reform Jew stops following the religion of Israel. I can’t allow myself to say that such… Read more

Dr. Marty Klein: “America’s War on Sex”

One of my biggest pet peeves is how religious institutions control our national conversation about sex. (Okay more than a peeve…it’s an angry obsession even if I rarely write or speak about it. Which I probably should start doing more.) Below is a great video by sex therapist and sociologist Dr. Marty Klein addressing the stranglehold that religion has on the discourse about sex and sexuality. “America’s War on Sex”   Read more

The Holy Kabbalist and the Dead Cop

Last night the head of the National Fraud Unit of the Israeli Police, Deputy Commissioner Ephraim Bracha, a 55-year-old father of four, shot himself in the head. Bracha was at the center of an investigation involving corrupt Kabbalistic Haredi Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto whom he accused of bribing him back in 2012. You may never have heard of Pinto, but lots of people that you have heard of know exactly who he is. Included among his followers and admirers are many… Read more

Bring on the Disparagement

It’s so much more enjoyable watching the right wing foam at the mouth from this side of the historic decision on same-sex marriage. Part of this is just the smug satisfaction that the good guys won. But there’s something else going on, too. It bubbles up in many of their stuttering reactions and expressions of disbelief. I’m referring to their fear that, as opponents of same-sex marriage, they will now be looked down upon. I noted this in my previous… Read more

Jewish Reaction to Gay Marriage Decision

So how has the Jewish community responded to the marriage equality decision? My own Facebook page demonstrates 100% approval. But that’s not really so scientific. Nevertheless, it does reflect the actual American Jewish consensus. The last poll of the community indicated that 83% supported marriage equality. The Forward provided a breakdown of Jewish celebrities. We Jews do love bragging about our celebrities. The 83% support of American Jewry combined with Hollywood’s nearly 100% approval means that every single Jewish celebrity supports gay marriage…. Read more

Personal Reflections on a Great Day

I grew up in Miami in the 1970s. Those were the years when a woman named Anita Bryant led an attack on gay rights in my hometown. Back then homophobic bigots like her were not condemned. Civic leaders, respected broadcasters, clergy from liberal denominations all heeded her cry to “save the children.” I was one of those children. She didn’t save me. Instead, what she and the narrow-minded, ignorant and unthinking people who followed her did was to consign me and… Read more

Sex Tourism, Hasidic Style

Today’s post falls under the category of religious morality. The Israeli news site Mako has an investigative report about the tourist activities of Hasidim (and others) who participate in pilgrimages to the city of Uman, Ukraine. Each year thousands of Hasidim and other Jewish spiritual-seekers flood the small town during the fall holidays to pray at the grave of Hasidic Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, founder of the Breslov Hasidic sect. Bu it turns out that there’s more than just prayers happening… Read more

Obama Coffee

President Obama continues to be pretty popular among American Jews. Not so much among Israelis. It seems like every other day someone there is taking potshots at him. On Sunday, the well-known (in Israel anyway) writer, broadcaster and all-around celebrity Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes tweeted this hilariously racist joke: Do you know what Obama Coffee is? Black and weak HAHAHAHAHAHA! That is SO funny. Another terrific demonstration of the vaunted Jewish sense of humor. Who needs Seinfeld? Less funny is the… Read more


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