They may make you feel uncomfortable, so you're hereby warned in advance.
1. Chana (from The Curious Jew Blog) transcribed a fascinating evening last night at Yeshiva University, "Being Gay In The Orthodox World: A Conversation with Members of the YU Community"
Tonight, December 22, 2009, the YU Tolerance Club and Wurzweiler School of Social Work hosted an event entitled "Being Gay in the Orthodox World: A Conversation with Members of the YU Community." I transcribed the event so that those who do not know any homosexual people or who were unable to make it could have the opportunity to learn a little bit about the choices people must make when in that situation.The subject of Orthodox Gay Jews is very heated, debated, criticized and shunned.
Now more than ever I want it to be clear that this is as accurate a transcription as I could render but there definitely are parts that are missing. This is not verbatim. It is unofficial. It would be wrong to treat every word as divine. Any and all mistakes are mine. I would like to offer a forum for people to learn and to discuss, but not a forum for people to bash, malign or otherwise hurt others. Names have been changed and that is deliberate. Do not reveal the identity of anyone associated with this event; if I've changed the name it was purposeful. Do not quote from this article for any official purpose; contact the people who spoke if you wish to quote them.
Rabbi Blau pointed out very clearly at the onset of the evening:
"It’s not an occasion for debating halakha, for making halakhic suggestions. The halakha as expressed explicitly in the Torah and in the Chachamim is clear to everyone here. And this is not what we’re here to discuss and I’m making the point in the sense that if someone does try to discuss halakha, I will ask them to stop. It’s not appropriate in the context of what we’re doing. Secondly, as far as the various psychological theories and interpretations and shifts in the APA statements about homosexuality, again, this is not the forum for that discussion."Read it all here.
2. These was a lot of clamor this past summer when a Swedish newspaper published a slanderous article claiming the Israeli army kidnapped and killed young Palestinians to harvest their organs. That odious claim is patently false.
However, Israel does have its share of monsters in the closet -- primarily Dr. Yehuda Hiss.
ABC news ran the following story yesterday:
Israel's military has admitted forensic pathologists once harvested organs from dead bodies - both Israeli and Palestinian - without the permission of their families.Everyone knew 10 years ago that Hiss was harvesting organs from everyone who ended up at Abu-Kabir. It wasn't against Palestinians...but directed at anyone unlucky enough to end up there. Jews, Christians, and Arabs alike.
Four months ago Israel threatened legal action against a Swedish newspaper which published claims that Israeli soldiers had killed Palestinians to harvest their organs.
But now, Israeli television has broadcast part of an interview with the former head of Israel's Abu Kabir forensic institute who has acknowledged pathologists did harvest heart valves, skin, corneas and bones from Israeli soldiers and civilians, Palestinians and foreign workers.
Responding to the TV interview, the Israeli military confirmed the practice took place, but said it ended in 2000.
There is no evidence to support the Swedish claim that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians expressly for their organs.
How Hiss remains at the Abu Kabir forensic institute is a mystery -- probably because he knows the truth about far too many things that certain Israeli politicians would prefer the public does not know about.
3. Israel is home for the Jewish people. Other countries may offer refuge or even a place to prosper, but at the end of the day, you may love New York, but Israel is home.
That's what makes the following story so disturbing.
Three years ago a family from Miami moved to Israel, realizing a lifelong dream. But today, their faith in the state lies in tatters, following what the family says is a litany of nightmarish abuses, blunders and oversights allegedly committed by police and the Prisons Service against their 17-year-old son.Israel's police for the most part, is an embarrassment. Despite the extremely important work they do, the police are viewed with contempt by many.
The family members, residents of Karmiel, asked to remain anonymous to protect their son from further suffering.
The teenager, S., was beaten by police after being arrested last month, his family alleges. He was then brutally gang-raped repeatedly by juvenile inmates at a maximum security prison facility near Haifa, according to an indictment filed by Haifa state prosecutors last week against three suspects. The charge sheet details how the youths allegedly used a copper wire to pierce S.'s ear to mark him as their "slave." (Read it all here at the Jerusalem Post)
Police cars routinely (and illegally) violate traffic laws while not on official business. Israel's police views itself above the law -- and if you try bringing their behavior to their attention, expect a trip to a police station (at best).
The above story is frightening, and people need to be aware that Israel's police can be extremely dangerous to a citizen's well being.
Bad things can happen everywhere -- but its even more distressing when it happens at home.
Going to Israel?
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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד