Get latest articles and videos with Jewish
inspiration and insights
The unique perspective of Israel's vice-ambassador to Norway – an Israeli-Arab.
A shiva call reminds me why I live in Jerusalem, despite the fear.
Helping kids keep on going, when the going gets tough.
An update from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller.
A tribute to Charley Levine, the Israeli-Texan PR giant.
In the midst of the most horrific nightmare, these righteous women are reaching out to the Jewish world with a message of hope.
It’s okay to ask this question.
Straight talk in Britain's House of Lords.
A college campus psychiatrist tells students everything they really need to know about intimacy.
Don't blame, don't complain. A simple phrase that can change your life.
Seventy-five orphan girls in Calcutta taught me the real meaning of thanksgiving.
Effective tools to increase your gratitude.
Autumn foods create a delicious blend of flavors and ambient color.
How my day got ruined by one annoying message.
4 tips on how to keep your cool.
5 strategies for dealing with post-date stress in a healthy way.
I thought things were going amazing when she out of the blue called it off. What happened?
As someone who hated the dating scene and did something about it, Casey Shevel knows a thing or two about effective dating.
Unravelling one of the most cryptic episodes of the entire Torah.
We often question God's ways. But given the chance, how would we do things differently?
What matters most is maximizing our life before death.
Practical and relevant insights on the weekly parsha.
Advanced-level midrashic and Kabbalistic illuminations on the weekly parsha.
Lessons, stories and discussion questions for parents and kids.
Nissim Black’s search for light amidst the darkness.
The Hanukkah Story in 8 hit songs.A short medley of pop music parodies through the ages.
Everything you need to know about Hanukkah. Share with your family and friends.
Miracles do sometimes happen. Based on a true story. A timely Hanukkah message.
Christopher Nolan’s new film had me thinking about parenting and that most of the time when our parents are ON our backs, it’s because they HAVE our backs.
Meet Sylvia. She’s been around for 3000 years, the last 1200 of which with an enormous bunion. But does she complain? No.
What makes Jewish mothers so special?
What is the essence of friendship?
Are you on the path to attain true success?
And they’re not what you think!
December 25, 2010
May 5, 2011 11:50 PM
Killing the Rodef (the pursuer)
There is a mitzvah to kill the Rodef & it makes sense.. kill him since he is going to kill. But your question is valid.. Who in the modern world determines the Rodef? What are the checks and balances what unemotional court case contols that process. Importantly also remains the need for a non-emotional implementation because unfound compassion for the enemy (Amalek) is not only foolish but pro-scribed! This missplaced compassion leaves the Jewish Democrats still calling for peace with Hamas, yet Hamas are a clear Rodef as they have proven. What we want is their teshuva, but until we are sure,I support targeted killing but that does mean the lack of a proper due process.
January 11, 2011 12:49 AM
Try Leaving Home Without It.
There is really not much you can do today without someone knowing about it. We are a nation of numbers and of tracking cookies. Your inboard GPS knows where you go out of town shopping. Your Credit Card knows what time you had dinner, where you stayed that night and what time and which pump you used when you filled your gas tank. Your phone company knows who you talked to and how long and 'somewhere there is a record of all your erased texts and emails and correspondence. ~~~~~~~~~~~
Your bodys' health is described in infinite detail through your insurer. Anyone who can hack can see it. Your viewing habits are recorded, from DVD orders, reading habits. The hours you are 'on line'. Your TV knows what you watch on there, and cities have video cameras everywhere, and so do restaurants, banks, offices, intersections. Twitter shows me people I might want to follow from what I mention in my Tweets. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This has nothing to do with my Homeland safety. It has to do with Big Brother watching me every day. Why in the world would they need to do that? I'm not that interesting.
December 31, 2010 3:56 PM
Whatever it takes
My take is that if you are not doing anything illegal you are most likely not going to be impacted by increased security measures. It is true that traveling has become a bit more inconvenient, but I will take a short delay and full body xrays over being blown up any day.
December 28, 2010 11:45 PM
got it backwards Ben isf
Beth Israel Orthodox in NewOrleans(METAIRIE,LA. )is building their synagogue on ground purchased from The\
Gates of Prayer Reform Temple. GOP has allowed Beth Israel to use their premises since Katrina and have been very successful in their togetherness.
December 28, 2010 11:25 PM
The U.S. does NOT have the right ...
to murder it's own people without due process, for ANY reason. Yet, there are those who think that it should. The question is: What do the people who believe in due process do about those who want to do away with due process?
December 28, 2010 6:15 PM
How much should be permitted
Personal decision cannot be permitted to cross over consideration of one's humanity in pursuing homeland security... The Bourne Ultimatum is a lesson of disaster when someone decided to use the agency not to let someone doing nothing aggressive live in peace...
December 28, 2010 3:58 PM
It has also occured to me.....
I teach, part-time, at a "for profit" technical school; one of my classes in the Criminal Justice program is "Transportation Security." All of the classess I have instructed in (three quarters) have a "Homeland Security" component. I am also active (Sector coordinator) in Infragard; the Private Sector Terrorism Response Group, and I am a Terrorism Liaison Officer and Information Liaison Officer. Also (bear with me) I am a retired Sergeant, LA County Sheriff's Department: And, my comment is; I agree we are disperatley seeking the attention of the public. It is almost impossible to sustain the high sense of alert requied to maintain public support for the "war on terror." And, I am concerned with the "crusader" aspects of this governmental push to gain more funding, more public compliance and more oversight of our day-to-day affairs. "Homeland Security," does indeed evoke a certain Nazi tone, as do other terms bandied about in our "warrior-industrial" complex. There are too many "Law Enforcement Sensitive" and too many "Fusion Center" sites. The information obtainable at these sites is (generally) available to any researcher in the public sector who woulde care to do the work. The volunteer organizations I belong to (most of them managed by well intentioned, and attended by equally patriotic persons) are becoming propaganda sops, whose main purpose is.....? What is their main purpose? In many instances, motives are obvious; obtaining government grants, getting paid to promote the cause, justifying "$100,000.00" a year law enforcement salaries and benefits.
I listened to President Eisenhowers "...beware of the military industrial complex..." speech when I was ten years old. It impressed me then, because it impressed my parents. It freightens me now, because I have seen the enemey, and they might be us.
Publish this, or don't publish it....at this point in my life, I am just here to observe and report. On the other hand.......
December 28, 2010 2:45 PM
lsf, how right you are in many cases.
As I made the comparison I thought about and then ignored the many cases of which you speak. Halacha can and does become a weapon in the hands of many Rabbi's and Beit Din's. This was never the intent of Torah though. And here where I live it is not used that way. Maybe because the congregation is affiliated with the Conservative branch we don't personally feel what you mention happening in our congregation. I am also affiliated with an Orthodox congregation (Located about 35 miles away) and the Rabbi there is also quite welcoming and I have not seen any of the legalistic/tradition inspired, may I say hatred, towards other Jews and women that I have seen in some other communities (mainly in Israel, but also here in America in larger communities such as New York). So yes, your second temple comment is completely accurate and relevant to much of world Jewry. But look, there is an Orthodox congregation in New Orleans which has donated land alongside their shul to a Reform congregation and is helping them build a new Synagogue. Locally a Conservative congregation did the same for an Aish outreach Orthodox program which is turning out to be wildly successful after about 10-12 years. They are now completely self-supporting and are very involved with, and are a positive light in the whole community, Gentile and Jewish.
This proves to me that our problems do not lie in Halacha, but, just as with homeland security, it evolves or devolves on the men applying these legal forms.
Halacha will always in the end be truth and justice as there will always be leaders who will see the hand of G-d as well as the humanity in Torah.
Homeland Security (as enacted) will always head for the darkest and even evil reaches of mans desires as it comes from man alone and is infused with greed, self love, and hatred through and through.
December 28, 2010 2:12 AM
Amorphous Fear is the Enemy of Freedom
The government, in declaring 9/11 an act of war rather than a criminal act, has guaranteed that a faceless, hydra-like enemy will exist at the pleasure of the government for as long as it wishes. There is no official enemy profile, and there is always the opportunity to jab the Public with a fresh injection of fear -- the latest being the insane "Fear of the Poisoned Smorgasbord". I am becoming persuaded that those in power are using this renewable resource, Fear, as a means of coercing citizen-compliance over a wide range of behaviors and attitudes, including First Amendment rights. I am afraid that the draconian potential for knee-jerk Executive Orders will trump the soberCongressional deliberation and law-making which the Constitution stipulates. I am made nervous by such patriotic titles for new, potentially-oppressive agencies like the saccarine "Homeland Security" organization. Further, I am concerned about the redundancies of Federal agencies with police/coercive powers. The FBI and CIA ought to be able to cover all bases. Finally, the American People are being distracted from the economic disaster that is lurking, which officialdom and the media use as yet *another* boogeyman to accomplish their manifold goals.
In all honesty, I cannot see much of a difference between the tactics of early Bolshevik Russia or the early days of Nazi Germany, when it comes to keeping citizens in a real or imagined state of Fear of something that government cannot define, and cannot demonstrably defeat in battle. World War Two lasted for less than 4 years on two major fronts; we have been in Iraq/Afghanistan for SEVEN years now, with none of the economic dividends of World War Two. Instead, we have what is suspiciously akin to what President Eisenhower warned us about, and more.
At one time, I did not understand the motivations of government in prosecuting these "wars". Now, I think the dawn is breaking for many Americans who have been confused since 9/11.
December 27, 2010 5:30 PM
the halakha analogy
I'm glad that Ben raised the halakha analogy, but I have to disagree with his conclusions about it. There are communities in which local authorities take it upon themselves to use halakha like a weapon against certain other members of the community. Local Heksher boards can become political tools, etc. Beit Dins can forget justice in favor of tradition, or in fear of rocking the boat, etc. We do live in dark times--and this includes the Jewish community, not just the world around us. We need to be ever vigilant ourselves against types like those portrayed in this film clip--those who are willing to sacrifice the well-being of men and women in order to "win" some abstract battle of ideals that have had all sense of humanity eviscerated from them. If Torah is not about humanity, what can it possibly be about? If halakha is used to divide Jew from Jew, aren't we just the same as the generation in which the Second Temple was destroyed?
December 27, 2010 2:48 PM
While this depiction is fiction we can see it happening all around us today. From nuns getting patted down at airports to a division of the Department of Homeland Security shutting websites down for possible copyright infringement.
Almost all legislation eventually becomes a victim of the "snowball effect" but it seems as though "Homeland Security" has become one of the worst in US history. This act, which is less than 10 years old, has already negated more of our constitutional rights than any other in history. This act is very likely to eventually become a greater threat to homeland security than any outside threat could engender.
Halacha has been accused by some to have a similar effect on the lives of religious Jews, but that is not true. Whereas the Homeland Security Act has abrogated the rights of all to ends we can only imagine today, Halacha has throughout history protected all Jews by always meaning the same things at all times, to most all Jews. Lighting a campfire may evolve into turning on a switch for light or heat but it never devolves into starving a body by enjoining eating, or a mind from reading.
I know that much of my response has little to do with the question posed but I could not help making the comparison between a man made edict less than a decade old and a G-d made way of life over three thousand years old. To me the differences are rather chilling.
Display my name?
Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.