August 29, 2014

Universal Morality - The Seven Noahide Laws - Impact

Universal Morality - The Seven Noahide Laws - Impact



According to the sages of the Talmud, there are 70 families with 70 paths within the great Family of Man. And each individual has his or her path within a path. Yet, there is one universal basis for us all.
At the dawn of human history, G-d gave man seven rules to follow in order that His world be sustained. So it is recounted in the Book of Genesis as interpreted by our tradition in the Talmud. There will come a time, our sages told us, that the children of Noah will be prepared to return to this path. That will be the beginning of a new world, a world of wisdom and peace.
At the heart of this universal moral code is the acknowledgement that morality - indeed, civilization itself - must be predicated on the belief in G-d. Unless we recognize a Higher Power to whom we are responsible and who observes and knows our actions, we will not transcend the selfishness of our character and the subjectivity of our intellect. If man himself is the final arbiter of right and wrong, then "right", for him or her, will be what they desire, regardless of its consequences to the other inhabitants of earth.
At Mount Sinai, G-d charged the Children of Israel to serve as His "Light unto the nations" by bringing all of humanity to a recognition of their Creator and adherence to His laws.
For most of Jewish history, however, circumstance did not permit our people to spread these principles, other than by indirect means. When the Lubavitcher Rebbe began speaking about publicizing them as a preparation for a new era, he was reviving an almost lost tradition.

What is most beautiful about these laws, is the breathing room they provide. They resonate equally in a hut in Africa or a palace in India, in a school in Moscow or a suburban home in America. They are like the guidelines of a great master of music or art: firm, reliable and comprehensive -- but only a base, and upon this base each people and every person may build.
"The Seven Noahide Laws" are a sacred inheritance of all the children of Noah, one that every person on the face of the earth can use as the basis of his or her spiritual, moral and pragmatic life. If enough of us will begin to incorporate these laws into our lives, we will see a different world very soon. Sooner than we can imagine.
THE 7 LAWS
1
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.
2
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.
3
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.
4
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.
5
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.
6
Respect G-d's creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted - but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.
7
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d's business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.

August 28, 2014

Why Did G‑d Allow the Holocaust? - Wisdom & Teachings

Why Did G‑d Allow the Holocaust? - Wisdom & Teachings





By the Grace of G‑d
23 Shevat, 5744
[January 28, 1984]
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Greeting and Blessing
This is in reply to your letter of January 23, 1984, in which you write that you were born in a DP camp in Germany, a child of parents who survived the Holocaust, and you ask why G‑d permitted the Holocaust to take place, etc.
No doubt you know that there is substantial literature dealing with this terrible tragedy, and a letter is hardly the medium to deal adequately with the question. However, since you have written to me, I must give you some answer, Hence, the following thoughts.
Jews—including you and me—are “believers, the children of believers,” our Sages declare. Deep in one’s heart every Jew believes there is a G‑d Who is the Creator and Master of the world, and that the world has a purpose. Any thinking person who contemplates the solar system, for example, or the complexities of an atom, must come to the conclusion and conviction that our universe did not come about by some “freak accident.” Wherever you turn, you see design and purpose.
It follows that a human being “also” has a purpose, certainly where millions of human beings are concerned.
Since the Creator created the world with a purpose, it is also logical to assume that He wished the purpose to be realized, and therefore, would reveal to the only “creature” on earth who has an intelligence to understand such matters, namely, humankind, what this purpose is, and how to go about realizing it. This, indeed, is the ultimate purpose of every human being, namely, to do his or her share in the realization of the Divine design and purpose of Creation. It is also common sense that without such “Divine revelation,” a human being would not, of his own accord, have what exactly is that purpose and how to achieve it, any more than a minuscule part or component in a highly complex system could comprehend the whole system, much less the creator of the system.
The illustration often given in this connection is the case of an infant, whose lack of ability to understand an intricate theory of a mature scientist would not surprise anyone, although both the infant and the scientist are created beings, and the difference between them is only relative, in terms of age and knowledge, etc. Indeed, it is possible that the infant may some day surpass the scientist in knowledge and insight. Should it, then, be surprising that a created human being cannot understand the ways of the Creator?
It is also understandable that since every person has a G‑d-given purpose in life, he or she is provided with the capacity to carry out that purpose fully.
A further important point to remember is that since G‑d created everything with a purpose, there is nothing lacking or superfluous in the world. This includes also the human capacity.
It follows that a person’s capacity in terms of knowledge, time, energy, etc., must fully be applied to carrying out his, or her, purpose in life. If any of these resources is diverted to something that is extraneous to carrying out the Divine purpose, it would not only be misused and wasteful, but would detract to that extent from the real purpose.
In the Torah, called Toras Chaim (“instruction of living”), G‑d has revealed what the purpose of Creation is, and provided all the knowledge necessary for a human being, particularly a Jew, to carry it out in life. Having designated the Jewish people as a “Kingdom of Kohanim [priests] and a holy nation,” a Jew is required to live up to all the Divine precepts in the Torah. Gentiles are required to keep only the Seven Basic Moral Laws—the so-called Seven Noachide Laws with all their ramifications—which must be the basis of any and every human society, if it is to be human in accordance with the will and design of the Creator.
One of the basic elements of the Divine Design, as revealed in the Torah, is that G‑d desires it to be carried out by choice and not out of compulsion. Every human being has, therefore, the free will to live in accordance with G‑d’s Will, or in defiance of it.
With all the above in mind, let us return to your question, which is one that has been on the minds of many: Why did G‑d permit the Holocaust?
The only answer we can give is: only G‑d knows.
However, the very fact that there is no answer to this question is, in itself, proof that one is not required to know the answer, or understand it, in order to fulfill one’s purpose in life. Despite the lack of satisfactory answer to the awesome and tremendous “Why?”—one can, and must, carry on a meaningful and productive life, promote justice and kindness in one’s surroundings, and indeed, help create a world where there should be no room for any holocaust, or for any kind of man’s inhumanity to man.
As a matter of fact, in the above there is an answer to an unspoken question: “What should my reaction be?” The answer to this question is certain: It must be seen as a challenge to every Jew—because Jews were the principal victims of the Holocaust—a challenge that should be met head-on, with all resolve and determination, namely, that regardless how long it will take the world to repent for the Holocaust and make the world a fitting place to live in for all human beings—I, for one, will not slacken in my determination to carry out my purpose in life, which is to serve G‑d, wholeheartedly and with joy, and make this world a fitting abode—not only for humans, but also for the Shechina, the Divine Presence itself.
Of course, much more could be said on the subject, but why dwell on such a painful matter, when there is so much good to be done?
With blessing,
P.S. Needless to say, the above may be accepted intellectually, and it may ease the mind, but it cannot assuage the pain and upheaval, especially of one who has been directly victimized by the Holocaust.
Thus, in this day and age of rampant suspicion, etc., especially when one is not known personally, one may perhaps say—“Well, it is easy for one who is not emotionally involved to give an ‘intellectual’ explanation . . .”
So, I ought perhaps, to add that I, too, lost in the Holocaust very close and dear relatives such as a grandmother, brother, cousins and others (G‑d should avenge their blood). But, life according to G‑d’s command must go on, and the sign of life is in growth and creativity.


August 24, 2014

Did MO Law Allow for Deadly-Force Arrest of Mike Brown?

Did MO Law Allow for Deadly-Force Arrest of Mike Brown?

Ruth Wisse and Moshe Halbertal – Jews and Power » The Tikvah Fund

Ruth Wisse and Moshe Halbertal – Jews and Power » The Tikvah Fund

Creative Community For Peace - Commitment to Peace & Justice

Creative Community For Peace - Commitment to Peace & Justice





Michael Adler
Avi Arad
Tom Arnold
Jeff Astrof
Craig Balsam
Gary Barber
Roseanne Barr
Elana Barry
Jonathan Baruch
Aaron Bay-Schuck
Lainie Sorkin Becky
Steven Bensusan
Adam Berkowitz
Greg Berlanti
Jordan Berliant
Mayim Bialik
Joshua P Binder
Todd Black
Michael Borkow
Scooter Braun
Dan Brecher
Eric Brooks
Dan Bucatinsky
David Byrnes
Omri Casspi
Josh Charles
Etan Cohen
Joe Cohen
Marc Dauer
Craig David
Donald De Line
Matt DelPiano
Josh Deutsch
Minnie Driver
Jack Dytman
Lee Eisenberg
Doug Ellin
Diane English
 
Dan Erlij
Ron Fair
Dave Feldman
James Feldman
Patti Felker
Sam Fischer
Erica Forster
Gary Foster
Doug Frank
Bryan J. Freedman
Geordie E. Frey
William Friedkin
Daryl Friedman
Michael Fricklas
Jeremy Garelick
Ran Geffen-Lifshitz
Andrew Genger
Jody Gerson
Risa Gertner
Jami Gertz
Gary Ginsberg
David Glick
Jonathan Glickman
Evan Goldberg
Gil Goldschein
Tony Goldwyn
Nate Goodman
Marc Graboff
Kelsey Grammer
Trudy Green
Adam Griffin
Iris Grossman
Phil Hacker
Sanaa Hamri
Adi Hasak
Ned Haspel
Andrew Hurwitz
Kathy Ireland
Bill Jacobson
 
Neil Jacobson
Jonathan Jakubowicz Nathan Kahane
Adam Kaller
Zach Katz
Ryan Kavanaugh
Ron Kenan
Larry Kennar
Kevin King-Templeton
Michael Kives
Courtney Kivowitz
Patrick Knapp
Amanda Kogan
Steven Kram
Erik Kritzer
Peter Landesman
Eriq La Salle
Sherry Lansing
Estelle Lasher
Michael Lasker
Keili Lefkovitz
Carol Leifer
Avi Lerner
Colin Lester
Ben Levine
Susan Levinson
David Levy
Shuki Levy
Linda Lichter
Jonathan Littman
David Lonner
Benji Madden
Joel Madden
Bill Maher
Joshua Malina
Rob Markus
Orly Marley
Ziggy Marley
Bill Masters
 
Barry McPherson
Brian Medavoy
Jeff Melman
Scott Melrose
Jeffrey D. Melvoin
Rina Mimoun
Michael Morales
Alan Nierob
Michael Nyman
James Packer
Scott Packman
Amy Pascal
Donald S. Passman
Brett Paul
Linda Perry
Richard Plepler
Rob Prinz
Dan Rabinow
Dean Raise
Bruce M. Ramer
David Ready
Ivan Reitman
David Renzer
Hanna Rochelle
Seth Rogen
John Rogovin
Lena Roklin
Zvi Howard Rosenman
Bill Rosenthal
Phil Rosenthal
Brian Ross
Michael Rotenberg
Rob Rothman
Robert Rovner
Susan Rovner
Haim Saban
Nancy Sanders
Mark Schiff
Steve Schnur
 
Jordan Schur
Sam Schwartz
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Adam Schweitzer
Scott Siegler
Ben Silverman
Sarah Silverman
Martin Singer
Aaron Sorkin
Steve Spira
Sylvester Stallone
Norman Steinberg
Gary Stiffelman
Gene Stupnitsky
Eric Suddleson
Nick Styne
Danny Sussman
Traci Szymanski
Nina Tassler
Adam Taylor
Mitch Tenzer
Fred D. Toczek
Michael Tolkin
Jonathan Tropper
Paul Wachter
Nina Wass
Avi Wasserman
Steven Weber
Bernie Weinraub
Jerry Weintraub
David N. Weiss
Alan Wertheimer
Ron West
Nikki Wheeler
Bryan Wolf
Sharon Tal Yguado
Pete Yorn
Rick Yorn

August 04, 2014

Kelly Tough - ESPN Video - ESPN

Kelly Tough - ESPN Video - ESPN

Rubio Delivers Senate Floor Speech on the Conflict in Gaza

Spontaneous Pro-Israel Rally Erupts in Response to Protestors

Gorilla Reunion: Damian Aspinall's Extraordinary Gorilla Encounter on Go...

Huma Abedin, Islamist Connections and Willful Blindness | FrontPage Magazine

Huma Abedin, Islamist Connections and Willful Blindness | FrontPage Magazine

Media Silent as Muslims Ethnically Cleanse 60,000 Christians in Philippines | sharia unveiled

Media Silent as Muslims Ethnically Cleanse 60,000 Christians in Philippines | sharia unveiled

August 03, 2014

To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman – Tablet Magazine

To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman – Tablet Magazine

Muslims Force Christian To Convert To Islam, Then Brutally Behead Him |

Muslims Force Christian To Convert To Islam, Then Brutally Behead Him |

To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman – Tablet Magazine

To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman – Tablet Magazine

Forty questions for the international media in Gaza - The Washington Post

Forty questions for the international media in Gaza - The Washington Post



 July 31 
Reprinted with the permission of the author from the (excellent) British “Harry’s place” blog.
1. Have you or any of your colleagues been intimidated by Hamas?
2. Do you feel restricted in your ability to ‘say what you see’ in Gaza?
3. How do you feel about the Spanish journalist who said Hamas would kill any journalist if they filmed rocket fire?
4. Has Hamas pressured you to delete anything you have published?
5. Has Hamas ever threatened to take your phone, laptop or camera?
6. Has Hamas ever taken the phone, laptop or camera of a colleague in Gaza?
7. Have you seen Hamas fighters in Gaza?
8. If yes, why have you not directly reported Hamas fighting activity when you are eye-witnesses in Gaza, but rather indirectly reported about what the IDF says they Hamas has done?
9. Are you scared to publish photos of Hamas operatives on your Twitter page, or broadcast images of Hamas fighting and aggression on your news channel?
10. Have you published any photos of terrorists launching rockets in Gaza? If so, are these images being turned down by your newspaper or broadcaster?
11. Have you thought of interviewing the traumatised residents of southern Israel?
12. When Israeli authorities say that most of the dead in Gaza are terrorists, and Hamas says most of the dead in Gaza are civilians, how do you differentiate?
13. When Hamas Health Ministry statistics contradict Hamas’ own propaganda and reveal that mostly men of fighting age have died so far in Gaza, does it give you pause for thought?
14. Is an underage armed terrorist still counted as a terrorist or a child when killed? Or both? Do you explain to your readers how this is possible?
15. Have you put to Hamas spokespersons that firing rockets from civilian areas in a war situation will draw return fire and lead to the death of civilians?
16. Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal tweeted: “you have to wonder with the shelling, how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.” Never mind wondering; did you ask any patients how they feel?
17. And how do you feel about the fact that Casey subsequently deleted his tweet?
18. Russia Today journalist Harry Fear mentioned rocket-launching sites near his hotel. Have you noticed any terrorists or terror bases near your hotel?
19. How do you feel about Fear’s expulsion from Gaza, for tweeting about the rocket launches from civilian areas? Are you worried that you might also be expelled from Gaza?
20. Did you see any Hamas terror personnel inside Al-Shifa hospital?
21. Have you interviewed a Hamas spokesperson inside Al-Shifa?
22. Have you seen any rocket-launching sites in or around the vicinity of a hospital?
23. Have you interviewed hospital staff or patients as to how they feel about their buildings being used for terror activity?
24. Hamas’ command and control bunker is underneath Al Shifa hospital. Is this worth reporting? Have you asked to gain access to it, so you can interview Hamas commanders?
25. French newspaper Liberation reported that Hamas’ Al Qassam offices are next to the emergency room at Shifa hospital, before deleting the article. Was the reporter right to delete the article, and will the information appear in the media at some point still?
26. When the missile hit Al-Shati hospital where children were killed, did you see Hamas operatives collecting the debris of the fallen Palestinian rocket, as Gabriel Barbati reported? Did Barbati pick up on something you missed?
27. Barbati prefaced his tweet by writing “Out of Gaza, far from Hamas retaliation.” Will you also report differently about Gaza when you are out of Gaza, far from Hamas retaliation?
28. Can live journalism by reporters who are scared of retaliation from the authorities they are reporting about really count as pure journalism, or is journalism in that context fundamentally compromised?
29. Have you seen or heard evidence of Hamas using civilians as human shields, by forcing or “encouraging” them to stay inside or enter into a building that has received a knock on the roof?
30. Have you seen or heard evidence of Hamas storing weapons inside schools, houses, flats, mosques or hospitals?
31. Have you interviewed Gazan residents to find out if they have – or know someone who has – a tunnel dug underneath their house? How do they feel about this?
32. Have you tried to interview any of the parents of the 160 Palestinian children who died building the terror tunnels?
33. Have you asked Hamas spokespersons why they are setting out to murder children by firing rockets towards civilian populations?
34. Have you interviewed any UNRWA officials about why Hamas are storing weapons in their schools, and how the weapons got there?
35. Are you currently investigating how Hamas rockets ended up in UNRWA schools?
36. Are you currently investigating why UNRWA returned rockets to Hamas and their police force?
37. When Hamas breaks a ceasefire with Israel – as it has done 6 times – how easy is it to report on this from Gaza?
38. Is there any anti-Hamas sentiment in Gaza, and how is it expressed?
39. Were you aware that Hamas chose to execute dozens of anti-war protesters in Gaza, and did you not consider this to be worth
reporting?
40. Is international media reporting from Gaza free from pressure and intimidation, or is there a real problem – and if so, how will you address it?
David Bernstein is the George Mason University Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, VA.