ADL: New Arabic Translation of Talmud Promotes Anti-Semitic Narratives

May 22, 2012
(Access ADL: New Arabic Translation of Talmud Promotes Anti-Semitic Narratives)A newly released Arabic translation of the Talmud – the first of its kind – contains an introduction that seeks to revive age-old anti-Semitic conspiracies about the Talmud, including the accusation that the ancient text reveals the racist character of the Jewish people. The introduction also attempts to paint Israel as the modern-day embodiment of the alleged racist ideologies found in the Talmud.
The translation, which was published by the Middle East Studies Center (MESC), a Jordan-based think tank, specifically couples anti-Semitic narratives with anti-Israel propaganda: “The discrimination which Arabs in Israel face is an extension of the racist spirit included in many Talmud texts and explanations.”
In an effort to claim that the Talmud is an inherently racist text, the introduction repeatedly seeks to exploit and take out of context certain passages in the Talmud, including deceptively referring to injunctions that seem to “prove” that Jews regard non-Jews as inferior. The introduction, for example, notes,
“These texts confirm the racist and hostile perception toward the non-Jews, especially those who threaten the ‘chosen nation’ and stand in the way of its ambitions and hopes. There is no doubt that Israel is the best example of this racist position, both in the level of its daily crimes against the Palestinians and the level of its rejection and contempt for international resolutions and laws. For what applies to other countries in the world does not apply to contemporary Israel, as it is unique…Jews, according to this racist position [of the Talmud], are permitted to do what is not permitted for non-Jews.” (MORE)

how accurate? do they understand it’s commentary that often conflicts?

Leave a Comment » | Jewish Commentary, Talmud | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon

Reform Judaism Convention Passes a Progressive "Manifesto"

December 18, 2011
Last week Judaism’s Reform Movement passed an economic platform that would make the most hardcore progressive proud.

The platform called Proposed Resolution on Principles of Economic Justice in a Time of Fiscal Crisis Sponsored by the Biennial Resolutions Committee   called for the government to increase taxes and add to entitlements. For example it calls upon its members to
  • Affirm the indispensable role of the government in ensuring economic justice and therefore call on  our Religious Action Center, synagogues, rabbis, and social action committees, to advocate at the national, state, provincial and local levels for the preservation and strengthening of the social safety net to uphold those in need and sustain those who are struggling 
  •  Call on the rededicate itself to a society based on economic justice, including: a. Preserving vital social safety net programs including, but not limited to: Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, while recognizing that money savings may be necessary to reach budget goals and maintain long term viability – so long as they are done in a manner that minimizes harm to recipients.
I just reread the Constitution and Declaration of Independence they say our society was based on personal freedom neither document speaks about “economic justice.”
  •  Supporting expanded public and private investment in job creation.
The only way the “public sector” creates jobs is to “get off the backs” of the private sector, but I dont believe that’s what the Reform Movement means.
This one is easier to understand,  when they say “revenue enhancements” they are talking about higher taxes.
  • Addressing, in long-term efforts, the growing debt and deficits (before those deficits create a more serious long-term economic crisis) through comprehensive approaches involving expenditure cuts, program efficiencies, and revenue enhancements, while eschewing deficit reduction efforts that increase poverty or that significantly reduce funding for critical programs serving the needs of vulnerable populations 
This next one could have come directly from one of Obama’s campaign speeches, the Reform Movement calls for taxing the rich:
  • Ensuring that tax policy distributes the tax burden equitably in accordance with individuals’ and corporations’ ability to pay and provides a just and fair method of  producing the revenues necessary for the well-being of our country. This may include measures such as higher taxes for well-to-do individuals, more equitable taxes on corporations and targeted tax cuts aimed at job creation and at providing a stimulus (e.g. the proposed continuation of the payroll tax reductions); and Aiding those struggling to find work, through retraining programs and through the provision of unemployment insurance of adequate duration. 

I wonder what they believe is adequate duration…99 weeks isn’t enough?  And as far as the tax rates go  According to an AP report, this year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.

Lower-income households will pay less. For example, households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.

But fairness and equality is not what the Reform Movement is looking for—redistribution of income is and just like the President they support, Reform Judaism believes if it takes class warfare to make it possible, that is OK also.

  • Support timely, targeted and effective government action aimed at job creation and, to the degree feasible, paid for through expenditure savings and equitable tax enhancements.
The Reform Movement is calling for even heavier reliance on big government, something that goes against traditional Jewish thought.
We are given “free will” by God, and free will is the divine version of limited government. God picks the winning direction, but does not pick winners and losers.

“Created in God’s image” is supposed to teach us that just as God acts as a free being, without prior restraint to do right and wrong, so does man. God does good deeds as a matter of his own free choice, and because we are created in his image so can man. Only through free choice, can man truly be, in the image of God. It is further understood that for Man to have true free choice, he must not only have inner free will, but an environment in which a choice between obedience and disobedience exists. God thus created the world such that both good and evil can operate freely; this is what the Rabbis mean when they said, “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven” (Talmud, Berachot 33b).

Jewish tradition takes a positive view of both the institution of ownership and the accumulation of wealth. It respects economic success, so long, that is, as it is obtained honestly, and proper respect is shown for the social responsibility that comes with it. That social responsibility is an individual duty and a job for the community led by its religious leaders, but not for the government.
The book of Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:23 says:

“If your brother becomes impoverished and his means falter in your proximity, you shall strengthen him proselyte or resident so that he can live with you”

Notice it says live with you, it does not say live in a government facility, because the obligation is on the individual, the family or the tribe. The Hebrew word for charity, tzedaka, has in it root the word tzedek which means righteous, because we are taught that giving charity one of an individual’s keys to righteousness.
This Reform “progressive manifesto” will result in their followers moving away from their faith. It teaches their congregants that the government should always bear the responsibility of protecting the individual; there is no individual responsibility, just the collective bailout.
A Rabbi once taught me that when God created the world, sparks of his holiness were spread across the earth. Every time that a person makes the choice of performing a righteous act such as charity or helping someone find a job,  one of those sparks is purified and sent back to heaven. Through that process we become closer to God.
This Reform Judaism Progressive group teaches that their is no personal responsibility, just the government. Instead using our good deeds to gain closeness to God, we are to rely on the government to take that responsibility thus spoiling one way we get close to our maker,
Not surprisingly, when the President spoke to the conference the day after their manifesto was passed he praised the groups courage, and gave the document his hecksher (approval as being kosher):

And just last night, you took another step towards the change we need and voted for a set of principles of economic justice in a time of fiscal crisis.  And I want to thank you for your courage. That statement could not have come at a more important time. For as you put it, we’re at a crossroads in American history. Last Tuesday, I gave a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, where I described that crossroads. And I laid out a vision of our country where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.  And these are not Democratic values or Republican values; they’re not Christian values or Jewish values or Hindu or Muslim values — they’re shared values, and we have to reclaim them. We have to restore them to a central place in America’s political life.

 The President is wrong (as usual). It does not take courage to abdicate personal responsibility given to you by God, by shifting it to a government that punishes success, you do not create fairness by lying about the “fairness” of rules.
The Torah Says more than once not to use a persons economic status to pervert justice

Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of thy poor in his causes; neither shalt thou favor a poor man in his cause. Sh’mot (Exodus) 23: 3-6

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor favor the person of the mighty, but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor. Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:15

The Reform movement’s conception of “economic/social justice” is like the judge who uses economic status to subvert the truth. Jewish law is clear, no man, rich or poor, is favored in this regard. Judges are directed to think clearly and objectively. When you add the fact that their manifesto urges Jews to move away from their personal responsibility (and God) and relying on the government proves the leaders of Reform movement have a bigger interest in promoting progressive politics than they do promoting their faith.


Leave a Comment » | Jewish Commentary, Progressivism, Reform Judaism, social engineering | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon

Occupy Noah

November 3, 2011
This is an interesting and quite Socialist view of our society, and inherently flawed. Those of us who are for less government do not feel less moral. We feel more moral. We feel that by centralizing the infrastructure you further this Hamas (corruption) that these rabbis are talking about. Conservative economics is not detached from morality. It demands the individual be responsible and realizes that the mechanisms of control lead inevitably to human nature’s monstrosity. A less biased look at our bank failures shows that financial enterprises do not inherently lend money to the poor unless their hand is pushed and when these controls happen in an unnatural way, chaos is at hand. There is a lot of blame to go around, and those that wore the garment of less government tried to salvage a botched war campaign in Iraq by floating the economy through greater lending. Sadly those who jump at the mention that the war was our downfall fail to realize that this is not what I am saying at all. There are many ways to fight a war, and the route our government took was the most humane. Our opponents are quick to mention torture, but we used those techniques in great quantities in wars we have won for example WWII. We weren’t exactly civil to captured nazis with information. These people were our killers and we chose nation building. It is sad that we can not see that our failures in Iraq were closer to the failures of King Saul who did not want to kill off the family of Amalek. It is frustrating to see religious people like this rabbi who see the Torah only as he wants to see it. He should know the Torah does not work in such a limited mid-evil and frankly Christian Catholic sounding perspective. This rabbi is not the solution. This rabbi is the problem. He is thinking within a box of methodology and this methodical box is what got us to where we are right now. Even the idea of less government is limited in scope. Once our people were dedicated to the burden of occupation there was no choice but to centralize and control our economy. Our leaders rather then owe up to the need of controls made a compromise of forced lending that devastated our system. The better system would of been to kill our killers and not be burdened with our enemies, but our politically correct culture could not do this. The OWS mob is looking for a bad guy to lynch, but there is way to much blame to push around. We should blame Jimmy Carter and the left for creating much of the infrastructure that was impossible to turn off. We should blame our Republicans for not realizing that they were riding a wild animal of spending and that the system could not burden both a an occupation war and an economy that was completely contrary to nature. Then we have to go back and blame our Left again who came back in and furthered wars they liked of their Muslim allies and sabotaged wars they didn’t…. and at the same time never turned off the unnatural spending. Our leaders all seem to think we are going to have to make measures of austerity, but really that is the simplistic response again. What we need now are leaders who are not caught in methodology and understand when to spend and when to trim for the ecosystem.

(Kavvanah) A Guest Post by Rabbi Avraham Bronstein- He is considering a year of Occupy Parsha.
Rabbi Avraham Bronstein currently serves as Program Director of the Great Neck Synagogue. He previously served as Assistant Rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue where he developed and coordinated the extensive Cultural and Adult-Educational Program.
Sermon: Occupy Noah
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote on Parshat Noach:

The Flood tells us what happens to civilization when individuals rule and there is no collective…It was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), the thinker who laid the foundations of modern politics in his classic Leviathan (1651), who – without referring to the Flood – gave it its best interpretation. Before there were political institutions, said Hobbes, human beings were in a “state of nature.” They were individuals, packs, bands. Lacking a stable ruler, an effective government and enforceable laws, people would be in a state of permanent and violent chaos – “a war of every man against every man” – as they competed for scarce resources. There would be “continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Such situations exist today in a whole series of failed or failing states. That is precisely the Torah’s description of life before the Flood. When there is no rule of law to constrain individuals, the world is filled with violence.

As I read Sack’s piece, I got the sense that making his point about failed states or chaotic, violent societies really takes the bite out of the narrative. It teaches us a lesson we already know about, say, Rwanda, but it doesn’t necessarily teach us about ourselves. If anything, we come away with a false assurance, almost a cultural triumphalism.
Instead, I would argue that the pre-Flood landscape Sacks calls “Hobbesian” is actually much closer to Wall Street, 2011 than Iraq, 2005. Our new Guilded Age, with its vast wealth and innovation but gaping chasm between haves and have-nots, is the direct result of an unregulated “war of every many against every man,” where the winners wield the political process itself as a weapon, using their resources to ensure that it represents their interests as opposed to those of society at large.
The Rabbis were eerily sensitive to this in their own depiction of the pre-Flood society. They describe a remarkable situation where, despite an environment of amazing prosperity, people were robbed of the opportunity to succeed:
The wantonness of this generation was in a measure due to the ideal conditions under which mankind lived before the flood. They knew neither toil nor care, and as a consequence of their extraordinary prosperity they grew insolent….So cunningly were their depredations planned that the law could not touch them. If a countryman brought a basket of vegetables to market, they would edge up to it, one after the other, and abstract a bit, each in itself of petty value, but in a little while the dealer would have none left to sell.
It doesn’t take a great imagination to make the jump to deceptive ATM fees, crippling student loans, punitive foreclosure procedures, and taxpayer bailouts of “too big to fail” financial institutions. The laws on the books that provide no protection to the weak nor accountability for the powerful ring strikingly familiar as well.
The amount of overall wealth in our society is truly staggering, yet our culture’s blinding focus on individualism has resulted in both the rich getting richer and social mobility becoming harder. In short, the “hamas/corruption” that doomed the world to the Flood was not Bernie Madoff – it was AIG and Goldman Sachs.
The Rabbis, as is well known, were ambivalent about Noah as a character:
“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a righteous, innocent man in his generation” (Gen 6:9). Rashi: “in his generations.” Some of our Sages expound this to his praise: all the more so had he lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more righteous. And there are those who expound it to his defamation: by the standard of his generation he was righteous, but had he lived in the generation of Abraham he would have been considered as nothing.
The most damning critique of Noah for those who thought less highly of him was his silent acceptance of the Flood without protest. In contrast to Abraham who forcefully resisted God’s plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gemorah, at possible risk to himself, Noah quietly built his Ark, content to save himself. He may have assured himself that his neighbors and associates deserved their fate, or he may not have really thought about it much at all.
I would argue that, according to this reading, Noah perfectly embodied the harshly individualistic culture of his generation. The same lack of shared responsibility than enabled Noah’s peers to steal each others vegetables blinded him to his responsibility to society at large. In fact, his success came at their expense. Noah may well have been righteous, but he was certainly “in his generation.” There are surely many Noahs in our world today, people who live privately decent lives but do not address the systemic failures and injustices of the system. Noah demonstrates a passive “hamas” by accepting the world as presented to him, by trying to succeed within the prevailing system and not making himself fully aware of its ramifications and larger costs.
The Midrash maintains that the extended period it took Noah to build the Ark was intended to attract the interest of those around him, so as to make them aware of what was going on so that they would reform their behavior. It could well have also been to sensitize Noah to the implications of his own lifestyle, to demonstrate to him that by continuing to passively live his life, he was condemning everyone around him to the coming flood.
Perhaps a question we need to ask ourselves is: what are the Arks that we build in our own lives to secure our own prosperity, and what are the costs (social, economic, moral) to the world at large?

I pray I will never see such a poor lecture given by rabbis …ever again. Probably will.

Leave a Comment » | Jewish Commentary, Noah, Noah's Ark found, OWS, Wall Street | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon

How Islamic public relations money is using a victim’s illness to obscure a Muslim threat

August 16, 2011
The word is Stockholm syndrome. Empathy for your killers.This report obscures a correlative truth. This isn’t a progressive slant: Jews are trauma victims of a historical abuse by… everyone. And Muslims are subversively attempting to attack. It is very sad that the Muslim public relations money is using the illness of a historically abused community to justify their taqqiyya and need to obscure. The report, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future”, claims that overwhelming numbers of Jewish Americans believe Muslim Americans are loyal to their country – 80 per cent (about the same number and percentage who voted for Obama). Aside from Muslims themselves, no other religious community demonstrates such confidence in the loyalty of America’s Muslim citizens. It is very sad for the Jewish community that they are so vain as to assume that tolerance for killers is a good thing. Vanity is a vice and abuse victims are weak to it. From substance abuse to feminism there is a need to perceive of oneself as different then reality when someone has been traumatized. It is frustrating to see the public relations establishment use the Jewish communities pain as a way to justify equally abusive world views like feminism and Islam. If the Jewish community could wake up from their prideful need to be more tolerant then the general population then they might be able to see a threat to their own family as immanent. The biggest problem with the martyrdom and abuse culture is we start to see an intellectual superiority for those who have been wronged. People who experience injustice are not wiser. This is not to say there are not some intellectual strengths in the Jewish community, but we are incapable of dealing with social issues without making things worse. The worst part about being inside the Jewish community and trying to correct the culture from within is the personal attacks one deals with. Anyone inside the Jewish community who questioned Obama for the last few years was marginalized, called racist or mentally ill.

Leave a Comment » | Behavior, feminism, Jewish Commentary, Jewish Conservative, Jewish Hippocrates, Judaism, martyrdom, Public Relations, Stockholm syndrome, taqqiyya, Vanity, victims | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon

Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam?

August 6, 2011
The military conquest of the land of Canaan by the Hebrews in about 1200 B.C.E. is often characterized as “genocide” and has all but become emblematic of biblical violence and intolerance. God told Moses:

But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them — the Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite — just as the Lord your God has commanded you, lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God. So Joshua [Moses’ successor] conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord, God of Israel had commanded.

…God clearly ordered the Hebrews to annihilate the Canaanites and surrounding peoples. Such violence is therefore an expression of God’s will, for good or ill. Regardless, all the historic violence committed by the Hebrews and recorded in the Old Testament is just that—history. It happened; God commanded it. But it revolved around a specific time and place and was directed against a specific people. At no time did such violence go on to become standardized or codified into Jewish law. In short, biblical accounts of violence are descriptive, not prescriptive.
This is where Islamic violence is unique. Though similar to the violence of the Old Testament—commanded by God and manifested in history—certain aspects of Islamic violence and intolerance have become standardized in Islamic law and apply at all times. Thus, while the violence found in the Qur’an has a historical context, its ultimate significance is theological. Consider the following Qur’anic verses, better known as the “sword-verses”:

Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way.
Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day, and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden – such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.

Summer 2009 |
Middle East Quarterly,
Volume XVI: Number 3, pp. 3-12 |
by Raymond Ibrahim
and image via

Leave a Comment » | Amorite, Canaanite, Canaanites, equivalence, Genocide, Hadith, Hebrew, Hittite, Hivite, Islam, Jebusite, Jewish Commentary, Joshua, Mohammad, Moses, Perizzite, Quran, Torah | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon

Melanie Phillips – The World Turned Upside Down

June 26, 2011
I found a manifesto! wow… she says everything. the thing that none of us could pack in the same way. people listen to this and they change their mind. really amazing. she makes complete sense. h/t @BenAlexanderBen

Leave a Comment » | Aliens, atheism, atheists, Conservative women, Jewish Commentary, Judaism, Melanie Phillips, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), Religion, Richard Dawkins, Science | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon

The first Hebrew Bible concordance, in Google Books

June 21, 2011

1581 edition of the very first Hebrew concordance, Meir Netiv, written by Yitzchak Natan (Isaac Nathan) ben Kalonymous in 1447.
It is interesting because of why he wrote it.
He was heavily involved in arguing against Christian missionaries to the Jews and Jewish apostates. They would quote chapter and verse for their arguments, but Jews couldn’t easily answer them – because the division into chapters and verses were a Christian innovation!
Isaac Nathan therefore wrote the first Hebrew concordance of Tanach to aid Jews in arguing back (and exposing fake quotes that Christians at the time would use.) This was one of the first Jewish publications that used the Christian chapter and verse system.

Another innovation was that this concordance alphabetized the Hebrew words by their root word, so it was easier to find a specific word.
If you want to find all Torah commentaries in Google Books written before 1600, click here.

very useful… today!

Leave a Comment » | Christians, Jewish Commentary | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon