My friend and colleague Dr. Michael Kram suggested to me that I join the growing list of bloggers.
Click here to read my entire Mission Statement.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
The decision by the California Supreme Court allowing same sex "marriages" is another blow by the liberal judiciary against the mores of society.This is especially true since it was only a few years ago that California voters by a large majority expressed their opposition to such a travesty.
We can imagine the Supreme Court of the US should Obama become President, copying this move.Barack supports same sex marriages.The decline in family values among the Left in this country speaks not to Immorality, but Amorality.
It will be up to the voters now to support a Constitutional Amendment scheduled for the Fall.
Comes along Gov. Patterson of NY who orders his administration to honor such same sex marriages performed in another State-even though it is illegal in NY.This move sidesteps the Senate-Assembly ,and should be challenged.This order however, is not too suprising.
Gov. Patterson's adulterous life,testifies to his total rejection of marriage as a moral,civil/religous and binding way of life.He certainly is not a shining example even to his own community,who suffer from a lack of stable family units, which is basically unchanged since the famous Moynihan Report.
He became Gov. by a fluke,post-Spitzer sexual shenanigans.Hopefully he will be a temporary replacement,for he brings little prestige to the office, other than his overcoming his disability.
Olmert and his NY bundler
Everone is entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty,and that includes PM Olmert.Whether the charges brought out,as well AS ALL THE SUSPICIONS THAT CANNOT BE WASHED AWAY,WILL REACH THE LEVEL OF AN INDICTABLE CRIME, is too early to tell.This is especially true since Israel and its Judicial system are unique and do not follow American law.
Nevertheless the smell is putrid and all sense of morality and honesty have left this tainted egotistical individual who raped the system.
It is time for him to go ,and allow new leadership the opportunity to heal the nation.
Syria,Gaza and Iran together with the daily issues facing the State, require a PM who can keep his mind on affairs of State,and not affairs that may wind up in a jail. sentence.
Holiness in the pre- post -mortum state
As a physician,I have great empathy for anyone in any station of life who is diagnosed with Cancer.Cancer of the brain of the type that Sen. Kennedy has, is a particularly bad diagnosis and with it a terrible prognosis.I have have had three friends die of this condition,two in the recent past.
Our Rabbis comment that the Torah portion of "Acharei Mos" which signifies a status after death,is followed by the chapter of "Kedoshim",which means a holy state.The joke being that a human being, even one that is less than honorable in life, is often rewarded with the status of holiness after death,as people conveniently forget the true character of the deceased.
Thus Sen. Kennedy is being extolled by his Dem. colleagues as one whose life has been a model.
I am not so sure that the family of Mary Jo Kopekne would agree.Just think ,if the driver of that car,leaving a party at nite,would have acted as Kennedy did,but with a different name,how many charges would have been brought against him?Would he have been able to avoid incarceration ?
The Liberal press corps,knows how to protect their own.
OUR MOVE-YC-50 / OBAMA AND THE APPEASEMENT QUESTION
Moving from a large home to an apartment is certainly a traumatic event.This is certainly true when you have lived in the home for close to 33 years.However despite a tension filled closing in Monsey,we are starting to see the daylight` as we unpack.
Last Thursday,I joined a number of old classmates as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our graduation from Yeshiva College.Some of the guys were in great shape,others were shuffling.and a few had unfortunately passed away .Of course some were out of town or in Israel and could not join us.
Each of us received a lapel in the form of the Torah Umadda emblem.The fundraisers who ran the show,walked around with the silly YU flame in their lapels like good soldiers.What was missing was either a guest speaker or President Richard Joel to place Yeshiva into a modern context-vis -a- vis the threats we face from Right and Left.
In essence both our move and the 50 year milestone reinforce the reality that time marches on.There are new realities in our lives as our children and grandchildren mature.Communities likewise change and what was once vibrant often becomes stale,even as new communities arise with a new vibrancy.
The battle over "appeasement" has not abated.One of a series of questions that will come up again and again for Obama is:
If you were Pres. 1n 1939 would you have negotiated with Hitler? If no-Why?After all he was Chancellor of a country.
Had Japan not attacked us,would you as Pres have ecouraged Great Britan to keep negotiating with Hitler?
As Hitler was overrunning Europe,would you as Pres. have joined in the Allied eforts,absent a Japanese attack?
Pres. Bush asaid Roosevelt was wrong not to bomb the tracks to the Concentration Camps,what would you have done? If you would have bombed,Why? what stratyegic benefit would it have been to the US?
If Hezbollah runs the govt. of Lebanon,would you negotiate with them? (EVEN AFTRER THEY KILLED 240 AMERICANS)If no-Why?
Same questioin if Hamas wins the next election?
Finally under WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD YOU GO TO WAR?When American-Israeli and European intelligence believed that Saddam had WMD, what was missing for you to commit troops?
When the US found out about the concentration camps,Would you then have negotiated without pre-conditions with Hitler If no-then Why ?
If you negotiate with Ahmedinijian what "carrot"or goodies would you offer him? Nuclear weapons? leave Israel without US support?
These and the Rev. Wright issue will haunt him until after the election.
Sen. Kennedy / Goodbye Monsey-Hello - Fort Lee
We have to take the medical reports from Mass General with a littlle bit of skepticism .That Sen. Kennedy did not have a stroke is easy to realize.What the public will want to see or hear are the definitve tests such as MRI, angiogram and neurologic testing.Among the most worrisome lesions,are brain tumor and vascular abnormalities.
The next 48 hours should point us in the right direction.
This will be my last blog for about a week,as we are about to move from Monsey to Fort Lee.My son Elli may blog if he has time.
This week,represents two events.First as I mentioned after close to 38 years living in Monsey,we have sold our home.The second is the celebration this Thurs. of my 50th anniversary of my graduating Yeshiva College.
Both events are clear proof (as if one was needed) that time marches on.Events and demographics evolve.I never thought that Monsey would change.However as our children grew up,married and left the community,they were not replaced by a new generation of modern orthodox.The change in our environment added to an aging population ,as well as illness, death and movement by seniors closer to their children has changed the dynamics of our 'goldene medinah". It is a story being repeated in other communities,and should serve as a wake-up call to younger communities to resist resting on their current laurels,but plan for the future.This must include housing and programs for all types of individuals at all levels of Jewish education.Daf Yomi alone will not do it.
I was at a Bris 2 weeks ago at the Jewish Center on W86th, and saw their expanded program anf faculty.Not every shul can have Perek in Central Park,but there is a palpable spirit in the community,that sadly wanes when leadership fails to look to the future.
Appeasment circa 2009
It is a matter of semantics if Iran is a terrorist "state" or supports, finances and directs terror organizations such as Hizbollah and Hamas.The Obama campaign seeks to differentiate Hamas and Iran.The former they agree is a terrorist org. while the latter simply need some direct negotiations without preconditions.
Sen. McCain is correct.What is there to negotiate?
Everyday Ahmedinajad threatens Israel. Everyday Iran exports terror.Everyday it is the home to world terror organizations.And everyday they defy UN resolutions regarding Uranium enrichment,and the nuclear program.
Pres. Bush was correct today to label Obama's plan appeasement-in the mode of Chamberlain and Jimmy Carter.
Obama is young and inexperienced.Together with his left wing background, Muslim childhood and exposure of 20 years of Rev. Wright,he is the wrong man for America.
Hamas / Saudi Arms Sale
You have to hand it to Hamas.No nonsense-No political correctness, but rather stay on message.
The message is clear-"We will destroy Israel-if not today , then tomorrow/If not tomorrow then the next day,year ,decade or century.
The fact that Bush/Rice were in town, and heads of State were likewise in Israel for the Peres fiasco encouraged Hamas.The fact that Egypt has been trying to arrange a cease-fire,and Olmert-poor weakened Olmert talks about progress in drawing maps and boundaries has zero meaning for Hamas.
The President who I greatly admire as a friend of Israel, is dreaming when he talks of peace.
There is only one lesson that Hamas understands -total defeat.That requires a full scale military operation that will cut off their head and arms.Short of that you have weak meaningless bravado, that Hamas takes with a grain of salt.
For Israel, there can be only victory or surrender.It is obvious that Olmert/Barak cannot/will not do the job.
The proposal to sell advanced aircraft to Saudia Arabia, is meeting opposition from Senate Democrats.Their objection is to the failure of the Saudis to pump more oil; No oil- No Planes
I believe they are wrong.
Yes we should not sell them advanced fighter planes because:
1-It might change the balance of air-power in the ME
2-They have no need for such weapons
3-They have never supported ME peace, except for a take-it-or leave it plan, that is a subtle call for Israel's destruction
4.They are the main exporters of Wahabism-the most virulent form of Islamic fundamentalism
5-They still allow no Jews to enter their country
6-There is no civil rights for women
7-In any war in the ME, they would use these planes againt Israel.
8-After the last plane shipment, the Saudis promised not to base the planes in close flying distance from Israel.They broke their promise.
9-At the Annapolis Conf.,they made sure no Jew/Israeli could enter their embassy during a press conference.
10-They have recently gone out of their way to get closer to Iran.
Forget the extra oil,they are not a friend,and they do not need these weapons.
Obama and the W. Virginia primary
I understand all the numbers and limitations of the current Obama march to the nomination.Yet all this hoopla within the Democratc Party about the need for Hillary to withdraw somehow confuses me.How does Obama explain his poor showing?In view of evereone crowning him, shouldn't Dem. voters have risen to support him?
The victories by Hillary tonite in W.Virginia ,Ohio etc point to potential trouble for Obama in states with small black communities.Yet these overwhelming statistics are not changing the atmosphere of Dem. leaders as they prepare for the campaign without answering the basic questions of how to address the Obama deficiencies.
It is too early to predict the movement of the swing states but Karl Rove who of course is a Republican guru believes that the numbers potentially favor McCain.
Obama will have problems moving to the center after being the most liberal Senator in the Senate.Yet as everone knows ,and as I pointed out yesterday "it's the economy-stupid "
Of course a lot may depend on the Veep nominations.I personally see Hillary as a real poor choice for a smooth running campaign/White House (with Bill hanging around).
SHAS / OBAMA AND ISRAEL
I find it very difficult to follow the political logic of the Shas Party.I assume that they stay in the Coalition beause they wield influence in religious matters-they are only marginally effective(chametz on Pesach for example). Another reason is that it is great to drive in a Govt. Volvo with a bodyguard-driver.
Howevever, they have publicly threatened to leave the Govt. the moment an agreement is reached with the PA.Everyone asssumes,that such an agreement would include compromises on Jerusalem and refugees.
Shas believes that at that critical moment,should they leave the Govt.,the plan would fail and the Govt. fall since they would not have a working majority.
The problem is,that although the plan will be dropped for a short period,that very same agreement will be the starting point for the next set of negotiations.For sure the US would insist that since so much time and effort went into the negotiations there must be some validity to both sides agreeing to it.
In addition, there is no guarantee that in the elections that would follow,Kadimah, Meretz and Labor ( plus Arab Parties) might not combine to run on that very plan as their peace platform and win.Todays polls indicate that if Olmert resigns the Foreign Minister MK Livni would best both Netanyahu and Barack.
Shas is playing with fire and following a dangerous path.
With the current scandal,rockets from Gaza, Lebanon exploding and the Iranian threat looming, they should make the move now and not when it will have a negative lasting effect on Israeli security.
You have to admire the political skills of Obama.Above all he is a master schmoozer and can charm both sides on an issue, with each believing thst he supports their point of view.Yesterdays NYT close-up of Obama clearly illustrated these qualities.
Much is being written now about his feelings toward Israel.Polls show he is over 10 points below previous Dem. candidates in the Jewish community.Primarily because he is an unknown ,the Rev. Wright issue hit home at a bad moment for Obama-just as we were trying to understand what he stands for.This weeks Jewish Week has an article on Obama's pro-Palestinian friends.
There are two interesting articles one by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic.com , that depict Obama as a Zionist, who understands the nuances of Jewish survival.
The other by Phillip Klein in the American Spectator entitled " Stop Believing Obama" gives an extremely critical and analytical discussion of Obama.
If you like puff and gushiness the Goldberg piece is for you.If you are interested in facts and worry how someone can sit with wife and children for 20 years,contribute $25,000 to the Wright Church and hear no-evil then the latter is good reading.Incidentally,Klein analyzes the recent departure of Malley from the Obama team for meeting with Hamas.
As for me,I am nervous.As long as we pay $4.00 for gas and milk/eggs and bread keep climbing in price, the Republicans will be in trouble.
SHARPTON / OLMERT / OBAMA
Yesterday afternoon as I was returning from visiting my mother in Queens,I came across the huge police presence at the Triboro Bridge exit on 125th St. Rev. Al (0f Tawana Brawley fame)was coordinating an attempt to tie up the City.
Despite 200 arrests,and apparently efficient Police efforts,tens of thousands of motorists were inconvenienced.
That those arrested should get a simple citation and released quickly is incredulous.Even more unbelievable is the fact that Gov. Patterson agreed to meet with Rev. Al after such acts of civil disobedience.Sharpton knew in advance that Cong John Conyers was coming Sun to NY to hold some sort of public circus,so that this demonstration was superfluous.
The Gov. should have said "demonstraion-no meeting; no demonstration- meeting"
But you have to hand it to Sharpton -he can try to talk one minute as a responsible leader, and the next as a rabble-rouser. No matter which, the media gives him plenty of coverage.
We have a long way to go to get a handle on the charges against the PM..
Who sent the money? What did they expect or (did) receive in return?
What did Olmert do with the cash?Who else of Olmerts associates was involved and knew?
OLMERT KNOWS WHAT HE HAS TO DO EVEN BEFORE AN OFFICIAL INDICTMENT -if he is cleared, he can resume his post.
A few days ago, I predicted that Obama if elected would become another Jimmy Carter.
Today Dan Henninger in his WSJ op-ed in a clear, thoughtful and well written piece
Listening carefully to the Obama N.Carolina victory speech,my son Ari noted that there was not a single substative thought in the speech.
If we want to elect an orator-hats off to Barack.
If we want a REAL LEGISLATIVE resume Obama's is pretty thin.
I was thinking of an ad -;
COULD YOU NAME 10 MAJOR LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES JOHN MCCAIN HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN WHILE SERVING IN THE CONGRESS?
THEN LIST IMMIGRATION, SECURITY ETC
THEN ASK COULD YOU DO THE SAME WITH OBAMA?
HOW ABOUT 5?
Israel at 60 / 92% black vote for Obama
It is unfortunate that as Israel celebrates its 60th.it is bedecked with the smell of corruption eminating from the PM's office.Now that the NY Post has named the American financier,and any Israeli can get the story on NYPOST.COM ,there is little need for the gag order,other than to prevent a national sense of disgust over the holiday.The sooner the facts are laid out the better it is for Justice and Democracy.
Bravo to Chief Rabbi Amar (sephardic) for announcing that the conversion decisions of Rabbi Druckman's Court, will not be overturned.In other words,there will be no mass retroactive voiding of conversions.
Who would have thought one year ago or even six months ago, that we would be coming close to Sen. Clinton being eliminated from the race?
I have mixed feelings about the 92% of blacks voting for Obama.On the one hand there is much deserved pride in that community.However, one must ask are the Dems following the Dukakis-Kerry formula for defeat? A liberal left-leaning candidate winning the primary, but failing to carry America.
I would have been happier if the black vote was more balanced,say 60/70 to
Hillary over her career has been extremely close to the black community,as has Bill.
The Obama vote raises the question re: if support by a white politician for black-oriented issues will be appreciated,until a black candidate comes along to challenge the long-time friend?
I recall when then Conn. Atty-Gen Joe lieberman running against Sen. Weicker came to me for support.I told him that for 18 years Weicker had been a friend to our community.Now that he was being challenged by a (orthodox) Jew was it fair to abandon him?
Lieberman immediately understood.
I concluded by saying that if he were to win,we would be as loyal to him as we were to Weicker.And,we have been.
Iran response-Hillary vs Barack / Conversions /Condi pressure
I recall a meeting towards the end of Pres. Clinton's presidency .Meeting with Jewish leaders in the White House,I held up a statement he had made about seven years earlier as a candidate,advocating moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. (which he never acted on)
I asked him if he still believed those words.He answered yes he did,however a candidate and a sitting Pres. look at things differently.Our job as activists he said, is to push for what we believe in ,knowing that the President will not be able to carry out each promise.
Yet words do matter,because promises are at least a starting point.To hedge as a candidate leaves much unsaid in later years.There is no baseline.
Thus the response of Hillary to "obliterate" Iran should they attack Israel with nuclear weapons stands in contrast to Barack who said he didn't like the language,and then said the US would respond.That US response could be 2 missiles against an empty farmhouse.
Iran released the Embassy hostages on the day Reagan was inaugurated. No nonsense!
Obama.s response like his offer to negotiate with Ahmmedijian without conditions is the Jimmy Carter "weakness approach".
The decision of the Chief Rabbinate to void retroactively all the conversions of Rabbi Druckman is totally unbelievable.
I was involved in the proceedings of the Unity Committee of the Jewish Agency where
the efforts to bring about the conversion according to halachah of the 300,000 or more Russian gentiles who were brought to Israel was our top priority.
It was bood and tears to bring about a modus operandi that would be acceptable to the Rabbanut.
If there are problem conversions,they should be handled on case by case investigation.Too many lives including born children arer affected by this promulgation.
The pressure being brought by Condi Rice is disgusting.Israel in certain areas has reached their "red line" on security. This includes Ramallah and Beit El.Only IDF action prevents terror.
In Gaza the rockets continue daily,as there is no IDF.
Olmert ,weakened and gasping for political breath, is using his failing moments to give away half of Jerusalem.
Hopefully the gag order will be released,and if warranted, he will step aside.
more on wright
I asked 2 daya ago why is Wright trying to derail Obama?
Mike Huchabee has come up with a perfect answer..If Obama wins,it would show that this is a new America.If however he loses, then it will prove that bigotry is still dominant in this country.This he would like to see occur.
Cindy McCain's demeanor on Jay Leno last nite painted a wonderful picture of a talented ,bright and warm individual.
The Huffington Post on March 14, quotes Obama as saying that the Wright sermons "related to our obligation to love G-d and one another....and work on behalf of the poor and seek justice"
His Philadeplhia speech admitted to controversies in the sermons, and now suddenly he has opened his mind and ears.