Archive for Rabbi

Imam, Priest, Rabbi Work Together to Educate in Q-C

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2012 by loonwatch

Imam, priest, rabbi work together to educate in Q-C

Being in a place such as the Quad-Cities, where most residents tend to be tolerant and some are interested in the world’s major religions, makes it possible to host joint classes on Islam, Judaism and Christianity in a special three-week series, a local religious leader said.

“I feel we have a unique situation here, among the United States,” the Rev. Mike Schaab from St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rock Island said. “People of different faiths in other parts of the country and the world would be loath to walk down the street with one another.”

The Inter-religious Dialogue sessions begin Thursday and will be led by Schaab, Imam Saad Baig from the Islamic Center of the Quad-Cities in Moline and Rabbi Tamar Grimm of the Tri-City Jewish Center in Rock Island.

“Seeing what is beautiful about another faith tradition is a life skill,” said Grimm, who also appreciates the fact that the Quad-City community is a place where such lessons can be held openly and celebrated.

This area is a very good location for interfaith dialogue, Baig agreed.

“We are blessed to have people from every walk of life here in the Quad-Cities,” he said. “We try to inform those individuals who come and who see value and potential in this kind of program.”

A rarity at first

Such cooperation between faiths was a novelty when it began many years ago. But it has evolved over time, Schaab said, including special commemorations of 9/11, and the recent 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, an event that attracted an overflow crowd to Augustana College in Rock Island.

The interfaith sessions are designed with a tone free from politics.

“Our goal is to educate, to give people information,” Grimm said. For example, the first session will be on the separate calendars, holy days and celebrations of the three faiths. It will take place at the Islamic Center.

Grimm intends to talk about the cycle of the year in Judaism and how it begins in the autumn. She also will speak about symbolism in the Jewish holidays. Catholics are on the Gregorian calendar, Schaab said, while many Muslims follow a lunar calendar.

A tour that will wrap up the first event at the Islamic Center will include time to witness Muslims in prayer, Baig said. Visitors will see inside the building, its special setting, and then be invited to watch as evening prayers are conducted.

The classes should be appealing, Schaab said. During the Feb. 16 session, visitors will see an actual Torah scroll at the Tri-City Jewish Center, and they will be able to view a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

“Looking at sacred scriptures will be very interesting to many Christians,” Schaab predicted.

“Each one offers something unique,” Grimm said. “But at the same time, it amazes me how much we share, in every one of our traditions.”

Schaab, the Catholic priest, believes that knowledge gained from the Inter-religious Dialogues deepens faith. “We want to be supportive, appreciative and sensitive to one another,” he added.

Baig, a Muslim imam, said such education teaches respect for all faiths. There also is value in seeing leaders of these faiths together on one stage, he pointed out. Baig cited a phrase that he believes is central to the outreach effort: “The more you sweat in making peace, the less you will bleed in war.”

Grimm, who took over her part in the forum from her predecessor, Rabbi Michael Samuel, hopes to find continuing acceptance for the lessons.

“People are curious, people want to know and people want to understand,” she said.

Rabbi Baruch Efrati: Pray in Mosque

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by loonwatch

Pamela Geller’s head would literally explode if she read this ruling from the Rabbi.

Pray in mosque, rabbi rules

(YNetNews)

“It would be better to pray in a mosque and do so with meaning and after the sun rises, rather than at home, at dawn or at the airport and without meaning,” Rabbi Baruch Efrati determined recently in a response posted on the Kipa website recently.

The surprising ruling came in response to a question posed by a web surfer living abroad who travels frequently for work purposes: “Most of the time the flights leave very early in the morning. I manage to put on tefilin at home after daybreak, but I don’t have time to wait until I can complete morning prayers,” he stated.

“On the other hand, if I pray at the airport – I feel extremely uncomfortable, because people stare and I find it hard to focus on my prayers.”

He wished to know how to act – and Rabbi Efrati had a surprising response: “Some airports in Europe and Asia have mosques, and they are usually empty of people who are not praying and so it is quiet,” he noted and suggested that the traveler inquire at the airport.

“Of course, this solution isn’t perfect,” the rabbi added, “but it is the best option. There is no prohibition on praying in mosques (apart for the Ran’s – Rabbi Nissim ben Reuven ruling, which was not accepted).”

Rabbi Efrati noted that an example was the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, which has a mosque.

Either way, the rabbi ruled that if the traveler has trouble praying with meaning in the airport – he shouldn’t pray there. In addition, he stressed that praying in churches was completely and strictly forbidden. In fact, it is forbidden to step into a church, he said.

 

“Racism Originated in the Torah” say Israeli Rabbis

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by loonwatch

Racism from high ranking Rabbis across Israel who are stating that racism is a part of Judaism and Jews shouldn’t rent apartments to Arabs. Imagine if they were Muslim?

We must also take note of those voices speaking out against such rhetoric and pronouncements because many are opposed to the language used by these Rabbis.

Top rabbis move to forbid renting homes to Arabs, say ‘Israel belongs to Jews’

(Haaretz)

A number of leading rabbis who signed on to a religious ruling to forbid renting homes to gentiles – a move particularly aimed against Arabs – defended their decision on Tuesday with the declaration that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.

Dozens of Israel’s municipal chief rabbis signed on to the ruling, which comes just months after the chief rabbi of Safed initiated a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

Signatories include the chief rabbis of Ramat Hasharon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, Rishon Letzion, Carmiel, Gadera, Afula, Nahariya, Herzliya, Nahariya and Pardes Hannah, among a number of other cities.

“We don’t need to help Arabs set down roots in Israel,” Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of the Beit El settlement, said on Tuesday. Aviner explained that he supported the move for two reasons: one, a Jew looking for an apartment should get preference over a gentile; and two, to keep the growing Arab population from settling too deeply.

“Racism originated in the Torah,” said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. “The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted.”

He added that he did not see the move as racist so much as segregationist. “The world is so big and the State of Israel is small, that God intended it for the people of Israel and the whole world covets it. That is the injustice.”

Upon news of the religious ruling, Meretz faction whip Ilan Ghilon immediately asked the attorney general to dismiss each of the rabbis who had signed their names.

“We are witnessing an epidemic of racism and xenophobia and we must act firmly,” he said.

Deputy Knesset chairman MK Ahmed Tibi decried the letter as a “mass crime [committed] by a group of racist rabbis who should be given intensive course in Jewish history.”

The entire group should be tried for “incitement to racism,” added Tibi, “Muslim clerics have recently been tried or fired from their jobs for much less but the rabbis are able to pursue their unruly behavior without concern.

Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav termed the ruling the “real desecration of God’s name. It is bringing hatred against those with whom we have chosen to live our lives.”

Nazareth Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy also decried the moving, declaring that “whoever thinks it damages one side is mistaken. We are all children of the land. Both nations must search for common ground and not bring about escalation.”

In their ruling, the rabbis called on the religious community to voice support Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who could face trial for incitement against Arabs for initiating the move against renting to gentiles.

Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman has also asked Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to begin the process of suspending Eliyahu immediately from his post as municipal rabbi.

Politicos from the national religious sector believe that the mass of prominent figures who signed on to the ruling – all of whose salaries are paid by public funds – will send a message to the attorney general to take Eliyahu’s position seriously.

The rabbis’ letter prompted by Eliyahu, which was first published months ago and reprinted in October, urges Jewish owners of apartments to reconsider renting their properties to Arabs since it would deflate the value of their homes as well as those in the neighborhood.

“Their way of life is different than that of Jews,” the letter stated. “Among [the gentiles] are those who are bitter and hateful toward us and who meddle into our lives to the point where they are a danger.”

The rabbis also urge neighbors of anyone renting or selling property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the warning, the neighbor is then encouraged to issue notices to the general public and inform the community.

“The neighbors and acquaintances [of a Jew who sells or rents to an Arab] must distance themselves from the Jew, refrain from doing business with him, deny him the right to read from the Torah, and similarly [ostracize] him until he goes back on this harmful deed,” the letter reads.

 

Prominent Rabbi Calls For the Elimination of Palestinians – Where is Robert Spencer?

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by loonwatch

Ha’aretz reporter Anshel Pfeffer reported on the remarks of prominent Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who said in his weekly radio address:

“May our enemies and haters come to an end. May Abu Mazen [Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas] and all those wicked men be lost from the earth. May God smite them with the plague of pestilence, including all those Palestinians.

Wow. He prayed to God for pestilence to afflict “all those Palestinians.” Pfeffer continued:

No better, no worse than previous utterances by the venerable rabbi, 90 in two weeks and still going strong. He has said similar things over the years about Arabs and other non-Jews, singling out for particular attention not only their leaders, but also some Israeli Jewish ones, including the present prime minister.

Yet, this time was different, because Israeli and Palestininan leaders are currently engaged in peace talks with the goal of reaching a final settlement within one year. Thus, his remarks were widely condemned, as Pfeffer explains:

This week, though, the weekly sermon drew wider attention, thanks to its timing, on the eve of the Israeli-Palestinian summit in Washington. So not only did the local Israeli media record his latest pearls of wisdom, with a couple of left-wing politicians issuing the standard condemnations, but the Palestinian leadership also responded angrily, the U.S. State Department denounced the “deeply offensive inflammatory statements,” and even such august bodies as the Anti-Defamation League and the Zionist Federation of Great Britain joined the chorus.

Yet, you know who’s silence has been deafening? Robert Spencer’s, of course!

There has been no such condemnation of the Rabbi’s comments against Palestinians. No condemnation of what appears to be the calling for genocide against an entire people by a very prominent Rabbi. No condemnation of quite inflammatory statements from a religious leader against another people.

Yet, what if he were Muslim? What if a Muslim cleric had recently said something similar about Jews? Spencer would have been all over it. He would have posted it on his blog and spread the contention that this is the true face of Islam, and not just a twisting of its tenes. Spencer would have been screaming, “Islamic Anti-Semitism!”

This is not to deny that such anti-Semitism does exist in the Muslim world, and some Muslim clerics have spewed forth horribly hateful things aginst Jews, Christians, and even other Muslims. Yet, rational people can see that these clerics and fanatics are an aberration, a mutation, and not the norm. Except, it seems, for Robert Spencer.

 

Rabbinic Council Says Haiti Earthquake due to Homosexuality

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on February 9, 2010 by loonwatch

rabbi_levin

Sadly, No has a satirical piece on the Rabbinic Alliance of America’s statement that the earthquake in Haiti is due to homosexuality. While the piece is a little over the top it does provoke us to none the less ask the question, what if they were Muslim? The anti-Muslim blogosphere would be using it as an example of cruelty of Islam etc., but on this we don’t hear a peep out of them.

Silly Rabbi, Tricks are for Kids

Christian Newswire Media Advisory, February 3, 2010
1000 Rabbis Warn: Open Homosexuality in the Military is a Disaster and May Cause Further Natural Disasters

Fine, splendid, freshen it for me, then.

Uh, may cause further what, now?

Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance of America issued the following statement: “When Americans are suffering economically and millions need jobs, it’s shocking that the Administration is focused on its ultra-liberal militantly homosexualist agenda forcing the highlighting of homosexuals and homosexuality on an unwilling military.

At least they aren’t ‘ramming it down the throat’ of the military, like usually.1 No, but Rabbi Levin seems like a man often shocked. More specifically, he seems like the sort of bully who flaps his arms and backs into you and then cries that you pushed him. That’s one of the best kinds, and we’re preparing for an ongoing relationship by assigning him a facile nickname (Rabbi “Yehuda Hellcares” Levi) and sketching out a Photoshop piece in which the female figure in this Marc Chagall painting is bearded and wearing a hat and tallis. Oh yes, and this we say to you, Shletero:2 If their hair needs some highlights, and indeed if they’re being preferentially marked in attention-getting transparent yellow, these militant gays in the military,3 then azoy gay-it es.4Yes, and furthermore:

…If you know what we’re saying, and we think that you farshtaist.5

This is the equivalent of the spiritual rape of our military to satisfy the most extreme and selfish cadre of President Obama’s kooky coalition.

It’s like the equivalent of raping the troops with the spiritual equivalent of a big hairy moose peen, while his black friends watch.

We agree with Eileen Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness that this will hurt the cohesiveness of the military, cause many to leave the army, and dramatically lower the number of recruits, perhaps leading to the reinstatement of a compulsory draft.

Because the Center for Military Readiness is certainly not one of those phony wingnut security foundations that sprang up after 9/11.

“Thirteen months before 9/11, on the day New York City passed homosexual domestic partnership regulations, I joined a group of Rabbis at a City Hall prayer service, pleading with G-d not to visit disaster on the city of N.Y.

That worked out great.

So no, basically, those hijacked airliners were like the egg beaters raining from the sky in the Far Side cartoon where the Indian is like, “Whoa, what kind of dance was I doing?” Because it was actually supposed to be a gay partnership G_d-mollifying dance, and instead it brought religious fanatics raining down in passenger aircraft? Like, um, really?

Because speaking just for myself, I personally would think it over before putting something on my rabbinical c.v. like “cockamamie prayers caused terror attacks of 9/11.” Because then the next thing is that everybody keeps looking at you funny every time something blows up nearby — as if nothing in the world ever blew up in a total spontaneous gaysplosion caused by G_d, as things so often do.

Example: June, 1999, when the Stonewall Inn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and JFK Jr.’s plane immediately crashed into the ocean off Gay Head, Massachusetts. Another example is the Krakatoa explosion in 1883, caused by something Walt Whitman did.

These are the things they start to blame you for, when all you’re doing is walking around minding your own business and decrying the spiritual something-like-rape of the equivalent of the American soldier, not to mention sailor. Because whoops, there goes G_d again with the blowing-up and the kaboom, when barely over a year earlier you’d asked him not to do that.

We have seen the underground earthquake, tsunami, Katrina, and now Haiti. All this is in sync with a two thousand year old teaching in the Talmud that the practice of homosexuality is a spiritual cause of earthquakes.

“All this is in the sink!” said the 2,000-Year-Old who is still teaching in the Talmud after all these years, and we should all be so lucky. “I keep calling Moe the plumber, and all I hear is that he’s coming. ‘Mr. Shiach is coming any time now,’ they say. Well, I’m still wai…[doorbell rings] holy cats, it’s Menachem Schneerson.”6

Once a disaster is unleashed, innocents are also victims just like in Chernobyl.

This reminds us for some reason: What has ol’ Pastor Swank been up to since the last time we…

J. Grant Swank, Jr., Truth in Conviction
CHRISTIAN VS. VOODOO IN HAITI

[…]

Now voodoo priests are up in arms about the contest. But they should realize that there is plenty of need to go around. Why do any persons have the strength or time to whine about others helping others?

If voodoo spokespersons want to spill goats’ blood and see drum their incantations, go to it. But don’t slam Christians who are working night and day to bring relief.

Because hey, that’s what you call a voo-don’t. But since there’s nothing out of the ordinary here, let’s go back to the rabbi.

“We plead with saner heads in Congress and the Pentagon to stop sodomization of our military and our society. Enough is enough.”

No argument here. Most heads are saner than the Rabbi’s even in Congress and the Pentagon, and P.S., have you seen what they’ve done to Sodom lately?

Rabbi Levin will be available to talk to the media in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, in proximity of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings featuring Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Proximity just like in Chernobyl. No, seriously: It was an outstanding media availability in which Rabbi Levin really stood out, literally at the threshold of public hearing.

We miss him already and look forward to the next time he comes in the public’s eye, despite the mess and the stinging sensation.


1 Cf., and cf. This style reaches what you’d have to call a climax in the following passage from wingnut conspiracy nut Jackie Jura: “Even cartoons ooze with sex, and every show lately pounds with homosexuality. Recently a movie named KINSEY got rave reviews for telling the story of zoologist-cum-sex researcher Alfred Kinsey who brought homosexuality and other deviations mainstream.” Research on zoologist cum is often misunderstood.2 Var. ‘Shlomo’ (cf.) 

3 Cf. Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language,” and its treatment of ‘dead’ and ‘dying’ metaphors. The infelicity in which a root word modifies itself seems suddenly to be everywhere (like the ancient and unstoppable grocer’s apostrophe and written air quote). An especially good example can be seen on a current billboard for People’s Bank, apparently quoting a Barron’s review which called them “A BANK TO BANK ON.” As though to complete the chain of irony, the phrase also appears in thisMay, 2007 Business Week item citing Bank of America as “a good defensive stock that has lagged the rally.” Merely gratuitous is the comic association here.

4 Yidd.: Azoy gait es (“that’s how it goes”). (Cf. Ger.: We’re gayin’.)

5 I.e., Mayn prom (shveb-shif) iz ful mit veners. This is by way of saying that one’saéroglisseur or Luftkissenfahrzeug is full of anguilles or Aale, or in other words thatilmatyynyalukseni on täynnä ankeriaita.

6 The Lubavitchers now have a joke. When in the future they tell it, one can call out, “Number one!” and another can reply, “Feh.”

 

Rabbi Arrested for Firebombing Mosque; Extremist Jews Threaten to Engage in Terrorism

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by loonwatch
Rabbi Yizhak ShapiraRabbi Yitzhak Shapira

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira has been arrested for allegedly firebombing a mosque.  Rabbi Shapira published a book entitled The King’s Torah in which he claimed that it was permissible under Jewish law for a Jew to kill a non-Jewish civilian (including a child). He also advocated the expulsion or genocide of all male Palestinians above the age of thirteen.

One month ago, CNN reported:

Jerusalem (CNN) — Israeli police were questioning a relative of the late Jewish extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane in its probe of a Palestinian mosque firebombing in the West Bank earlier this month.

Today, BBC News reports:

Rabbi arrested, suspected in West Bank mosque arson

Israeli police have arrested a rabbi on suspicion of involvement in an arson attack on a mosque last month.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, the head of a Jewish seminary in the settlement of Yitzhar, was arrested after he refused to co-operate, police said.

Mr Shapira denies any involvement in the attack, his lawyer was quoted in the Israeli media as saying.

Attackers burned the mosque’s carpet and a shelf of Qurans, and wrote slogans in Hebrew on the floor.

Police arrested some students from the seminary, the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva earlier this month, saying they wanted to investigate whether they were involved in the mosque attack.

Security sources said Rabbi Shapira was “suspected of involvement in an attempt to set fire to a mosque”.

Rabbi Shapira’s lawyer told the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahranot that his client “denies any connection to the event”.

He was not co-operating with his investigators “in light of the Israel police’s conduct and their treatment of rabbis recently,” he said.

Rabbi Shapira published a controversial book last year which includes discussion of interpretations of the circumstances under which Jewish law permits Jews to kill non-Jews.

There have been protests by seminary students and a right-wing member of the Knesset outside the police station where he is being held.

The article then talks about extremist Jews who are threatening to attack Palestinians unless the Israeli government acts in a certain way:

Some hard-line settlers say they will attack Palestinians in retaliation for any Israeli government measure they see as threatening Jewish settlements.

It is a policy they call the “price tag”.

All Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

The price tag for the settlements?  Palestinian blood.  (Sorry, VISA or Mastercard not accepted.)  The goal is to make it too costly to restrict illegal Jewish settlements.  That’s the textbook definition of terrorism:

(n) terrorism: (the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear

But I thought all terrorists are Muslims?

 

Jewish Leader Condemns Pat Robertson’s anti-Muslim Remarks

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2009 by loonwatch

Jewish Leader Condemns Pat Robertson’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

Mark Pelavin
Mark Pelavin

Jewish leader Marke Pelavin comes out against Pat Robertson’s anti-Muslim remarks. He should be commended for commenting on this issue and condemning Robertson. We wish Governor-elect of Virginia Bob McDonnell, who receives monetary support from Robertson, could be as principled.

Mark Pelavin calls on Pat Robertson to Honor the Spirit of Religious Tolerance

Pelavin: Rev. Robertson’s opposition to the President’s message is more than a simple “disagreement.” Religious tolerance and diversity are central to the character of our nation.

WASHINGTON, November 15, 2002 – In response to Reverend Pat Robertson’s rejection of President Bush’s call for greater religious tolerance, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Director of the Commission on Interreligious Affairs of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Rev. Robertson’s opposition to the President’s message is more than a simple “disagreement.” Religious tolerance and diversity are central to the character of our nation.

Immediately following the President’s recent denunciation of intolerant remarks about Islam, in a November 14th interview on The 700 Club (Christian Broadcasting Network), Rev. Pat Robertson once again voiced shrill, bigoted remarks, as he called on “Jewish friends in America …[to] read the Koran, and see what it says…and when you get through, do us a favor, and don’t criticize your friends, but see who your real enemies are.”

Rev. Robertson’s askew and narrow-minded interpretation of Islam is offensive, not only to the majority of peace-loving Muslims worldwide, but to all who cherish the fabric of cultural and religious diversity that defines our nation. In the current climate of xenophobia, responsible religious and political leaders must denounce such bigotry. There is a palpable need for the kind of interfaith dialogue that fosters tolerance and understanding across cultural differences, and, yes, which allows us to ardently challenge each other when we think a partner is wrong and has failed to squelch religious bigotry and intolerance.

In this spirit, we welcome President Bush’s recent remarks. Rev. Robertson’s opposition to the President’s message is more than a simple “disagreement.” Religious tolerance and diversity are central to the character of our nation. We call on Rev. Robertson – and all religious leaders who have engaged in similar hateful speech – to honor the words of President Bush with an immediate apology, for the sake of religious decency.