Archive for the ‘Bigotry’ Category

More Orthodox Racism

February 24, 2008

Our Rabbis taught: ‘proselytes and those that play with children delay the advent of the Messiah’. The statement about proselytes may be understood on the lines of the view of R. Helbo, for R. Helbo said, ‘proselytes are as hard for Israel to endure as a sore’ … (Babylonian Talmud, Niddah 13b)

Evil after evil comes upon those who receive proselytes … That ‘those who receive proselytes’, [bring evil upon themselves, is deduced] in accordance with [a statement of] R. Helbo. For R. Helbo stated: Proselytes are hurtful to Israel as a sore on the skin. (Babylonian Talmud, Yebamoth 109b)

Chai Center rabbi explains ‘off the handle’ e-mails

2008-02-15

By Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Education Editor

The Chai Center presents itself as an open and non-judgmental address for Jews looking to learn more about Judaism, to have an authentic Jewish experience, or simply to meet other Jews.

“All our activities are for Conservative, Reform, nonaffiliates, & any Jew that moves! They require no prior background for your total enjoyment,” the center’s tagline reads.

Founded and run by the unpredictable and colorful Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz, best known as just Schwartzie, the Chai Center makes Judaism accessible and hip for the estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Jews who attend its events every year.

At 62, Schwartzie is enormously popular and beloved. A defiantly independent and off-beat character, he can schmooze it up with Hollywood types or go green with millennial do-gooders. His long white beard gives him a look that is both rabbinic and grandfatherly; his untethered vernacular and quirky style make it clear he fits no mold.

His hallmark event is Dinner for 60 Strangers, which he and his wife, Olivia, host every Friday night in their home.

And it was that Shabbat event that attracted Jamie Katz (not her real name), a 42-year-old paralegal and entrepreneur.

Katz was on an emotional mission to deepen her Jewish identity. When her mother was dying a year ago, she had a last request for her daughter: Go explore your Jewish heritage. Join a temple, find a Jewish man.

Jamie’s mother, who was Japanese, had converted to Judaism some 45 years before, when she married Jamie’s father. Katz and her two brothers had studied at Temple Emanuel religious school in Beverly Hills, and while she says she never felt like she completely fit in as a Japanese Jew, she never considered herself anything but Jewish.

A few weeks ago a friend told her about the Chai Center, so she went online and registered for the Shabbat dinner at the Schwartzes’ home. The food was great, the atmosphere was warm and inviting, and Katz felt as if she belonged.

The following Sunday, however, she received an e-mail from Schwartzie that felt like a verbal punch in the gut:

“Altho yr surname is [Katz] & U spk Yiddish, thts still does not make yr mother’s NON Orthodox ‘conversion’ kosher [valid],” he wrote to her. “Tht means tht if U ever met a Jewish man who’s family Rabbi was Orthodox or, who wanted 2 get married in Israel, U could NOT! … I appreciate tht U were ‘brought up’ as a Jew (even tho yr father ‘married’ out of the faith ), but U may not come 2 any more Chai Center events…. We consider INTERMARRAIGE a grt tragedy for the Jewish ppl, even if the non Jewish person in the equation thinks & feels Jewish…. In the eyes of Al-mighty G*d, it’s important 4 U NOT 2 date Jewish men. The result of which could, G-d forbid, end in grt tragedy, 4 both of U.”

Shocked and pained, Katz wrote back to Schwartzie, reiterating her commitment to Judaism. In the escalating exchange, Schwartzie castigated Katz’s late father for choosing to marry a non-Jew, and about Katz’s recently deceased mother, he wrote: “She might have been agrt mother, but as a ‘Jewish’ mother she was a miserable failure! In truth she really was not a FAILURE as a Jew; since, in the eyes of G-d (where it COUNTS) she wasn’t!”

Katz was crushed.

“I thought I would find a safe haven in the Jewish community, and I’ve been shunned by my own people,” said Katz, sobbing into the phone just hours after she received Schwartzie’s second missive. “I feel embarrassed and ashamed, like I don’t belong and I’m not worthy.”

Katz is not the only recipient of such letters from Schwartzie. The Journal has learned that this maverick wizard of outreach has directed angry e-mails to other women he perceives as threats to his mission toward ensuring that Jews marry Jews and thus guarantee the continuation of a 4,000-year chain of tradition.

In addition to Katz, two other women independently sent to the Jewish Journal samples of Schwartzie’s letters — rambling e-mails in large print, heavy with text-message shorthand punctuated with varied text colors, point sizes and fonts. One recipient, who is not Jewish, attended his Rosh Hashanah services last fall with a Jewish friend and followed up by sending the rabbi a question about her Jewish ex-boyfriend. Another woman, who is Jewish, brought a non-Jewish man to Schwartzie’s seder in 2005. Filled with foul language and content that can easily be construed as bigoted, sexist and threatening, the e-mails seem to contradict the rabbi’s aura of openness and non-judgmental warmth.

In a face-to-face interview, Schwartzie stood his ground when first confronted with the letters. He said that while he regretted language that may have been perceived as a personal attack, he stood by his goal of sounding an intentionally vicious warning to ward off non-Jews who might infiltrate his events in the hopes of ensnaring a Jewish partner and eventually intermarrying.

“It’s destroying Jewish people,” he said, explaining his visceral abhorrence of intermarriage. “This is not just a sin and you shouldn’t do it, like don’t eat lobster.”

Fixing his blue eyes in a fierce stare, he tried to convey the vehemence of what he wants to get across to the women he calls “shiksas”: “You are a f—ing Nazi. You are killing a Jew and I hate you for that and I’ll piss on your grave. You are not going to kill my Jews.”

In follow-up e-mails, the rabbi offered qualified apologies for his letters.

“My reaction shdnt have been on a personal but more correctly, on an IMpersonal level. It matters not the kind of person tht the Non Jew is. So anythig directed @ the Person of the non Jew is wrong. For tht I declare tht I was mistaken & will personally apologize 2 those tht took it personally,” he wrote in an e-mail. As of press time, none of the women had heard from Schwartzie.

Full article:

http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=18922

Also see:

http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/2008/02/orthodox-racism.html

http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/2008/01/who-says-judaism-isnt-proselytizing.html

http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/2007/03/poll-illustrates-israeli-racism.html

More Orthodox Racism

February 24, 2008

Our Rabbis taught: ‘proselytes and those that play with children delay the advent of the Messiah’. The statement about proselytes may be understood on the lines of the view of R. Helbo, for R. Helbo said, ‘proselytes are as hard for Israel to endure as a sore’ … (Babylonian Talmud, Niddah 13b)

Evil after evil comes upon those who receive proselytes … That ‘those who receive proselytes’, [bring evil upon themselves, is deduced] in accordance with [a statement of] R. Helbo. For R. Helbo stated: Proselytes are hurtful to Israel as a sore on the skin. (Babylonian Talmud, Yebamoth 109b)

Chai Center rabbi explains ‘off the handle’ e-mails

2008-02-15

By Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Education Editor

The Chai Center presents itself as an open and non-judgmental address for Jews looking to learn more about Judaism, to have an authentic Jewish experience, or simply to meet other Jews.

“All our activities are for Conservative, Reform, nonaffiliates, & any Jew that moves! They require no prior background for your total enjoyment,” the center’s tagline reads.

Founded and run by the unpredictable and colorful Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz, best known as just Schwartzie, the Chai Center makes Judaism accessible and hip for the estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Jews who attend its events every year.

At 62, Schwartzie is enormously popular and beloved. A defiantly independent and off-beat character, he can schmooze it up with Hollywood types or go green with millennial do-gooders. His long white beard gives him a look that is both rabbinic and grandfatherly; his untethered vernacular and quirky style make it clear he fits no mold.

His hallmark event is Dinner for 60 Strangers, which he and his wife, Olivia, host every Friday night in their home.

And it was that Shabbat event that attracted Jamie Katz (not her real name), a 42-year-old paralegal and entrepreneur.

Katz was on an emotional mission to deepen her Jewish identity. When her mother was dying a year ago, she had a last request for her daughter: Go explore your Jewish heritage. Join a temple, find a Jewish man.

Jamie’s mother, who was Japanese, had converted to Judaism some 45 years before, when she married Jamie’s father. Katz and her two brothers had studied at Temple Emanuel religious school in Beverly Hills, and while she says she never felt like she completely fit in as a Japanese Jew, she never considered herself anything but Jewish.

A few weeks ago a friend told her about the Chai Center, so she went online and registered for the Shabbat dinner at the Schwartzes’ home. The food was great, the atmosphere was warm and inviting, and Katz felt as if she belonged.

The following Sunday, however, she received an e-mail from Schwartzie that felt like a verbal punch in the gut:

“Altho yr surname is [Katz] & U spk Yiddish, thts still does not make yr mother’s NON Orthodox ‘conversion’ kosher [valid],” he wrote to her. “Tht means tht if U ever met a Jewish man who’s family Rabbi was Orthodox or, who wanted 2 get married in Israel, U could NOT! … I appreciate tht U were ‘brought up’ as a Jew (even tho yr father ‘married’ out of the faith ), but U may not come 2 any more Chai Center events…. We consider INTERMARRAIGE a grt tragedy for the Jewish ppl, even if the non Jewish person in the equation thinks & feels Jewish…. In the eyes of Al-mighty G*d, it’s important 4 U NOT 2 date Jewish men. The result of which could, G-d forbid, end in grt tragedy, 4 both of U.”

Shocked and pained, Katz wrote back to Schwartzie, reiterating her commitment to Judaism. In the escalating exchange, Schwartzie castigated Katz’s late father for choosing to marry a non-Jew, and about Katz’s recently deceased mother, he wrote: “She might have been agrt mother, but as a ‘Jewish’ mother she was a miserable failure! In truth she really was not a FAILURE as a Jew; since, in the eyes of G-d (where it COUNTS) she wasn’t!”

Katz was crushed.

“I thought I would find a safe haven in the Jewish community, and I’ve been shunned by my own people,” said Katz, sobbing into the phone just hours after she received Schwartzie’s second missive. “I feel embarrassed and ashamed, like I don’t belong and I’m not worthy.”

Katz is not the only recipient of such letters from Schwartzie. The Journal has learned that this maverick wizard of outreach has directed angry e-mails to other women he perceives as threats to his mission toward ensuring that Jews marry Jews and thus guarantee the continuation of a 4,000-year chain of tradition.

In addition to Katz, two other women independently sent to the Jewish Journal samples of Schwartzie’s letters — rambling e-mails in large print, heavy with text-message shorthand punctuated with varied text colors, point sizes and fonts. One recipient, who is not Jewish, attended his Rosh Hashanah services last fall with a Jewish friend and followed up by sending the rabbi a question about her Jewish ex-boyfriend. Another woman, who is Jewish, brought a non-Jewish man to Schwartzie’s seder in 2005. Filled with foul language and content that can easily be construed as bigoted, sexist and threatening, the e-mails seem to contradict the rabbi’s aura of openness and non-judgmental warmth.

In a face-to-face interview, Schwartzie stood his ground when first confronted with the letters. He said that while he regretted language that may have been perceived as a personal attack, he stood by his goal of sounding an intentionally vicious warning to ward off non-Jews who might infiltrate his events in the hopes of ensnaring a Jewish partner and eventually intermarrying.

“It’s destroying Jewish people,” he said, explaining his visceral abhorrence of intermarriage. “This is not just a sin and you shouldn’t do it, like don’t eat lobster.”

Fixing his blue eyes in a fierce stare, he tried to convey the vehemence of what he wants to get across to the women he calls “shiksas”: “You are a f—ing Nazi. You are killing a Jew and I hate you for that and I’ll piss on your grave. You are not going to kill my Jews.”

In follow-up e-mails, the rabbi offered qualified apologies for his letters.

“My reaction shdnt have been on a personal but more correctly, on an IMpersonal level. It matters not the kind of person tht the Non Jew is. So anythig directed @ the Person of the non Jew is wrong. For tht I declare tht I was mistaken & will personally apologize 2 those tht took it personally,” he wrote in an e-mail. As of press time, none of the women had heard from Schwartzie.

Full article:

http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=18922

Also see:

http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/2008/02/orthodox-racism.html

http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/2008/01/who-says-judaism-isnt-proselytizing.html

http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/2007/03/poll-illustrates-israeli-racism.html

Israeli Racism

March 28, 2007

‘Marriage to an Arab is national treason’

Recent poll reveals steep rise in racist views against Arabs in Israel; many participants feel hatred, fear when overhearing Arabic, 75 percent don’t approve of shared apartment buildings

Roee Nahmias Published: 03.27.07, 19:55 / Israel News

Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason, according to a recent survey by the Geocartography Institute.

The survey, which was conducted for the Center Against Racism, also found that over 75 percent of participants did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews. Sixty percent of participants said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home.

Five hundred Jewish men and women participated in the poll, which was published Tuesday.

According to the survey, racism against Arabs in Israel has seen a sharp rise since a similar survey was conducted two years ago.

In 2006, 247 racist acts against Arabs were reported, as opposed to 225 one year prior.

About 40 percent of participants agreed that “Arabs should have their right to vote for Knesset revoked”. The number was 55 percent lower in the previous survey. Also, over half of the participants agreed that Israel should encourage its Arab citizens to immigrate from the country.

Over half of the participants said they would not want to work under the direct management of an Arab, and 55 percent said “Arabs and Jews should be separated at entertainment sites”.

‘Arab culture inferior’

Participants were asked what they felt when they overheard someone speaking Arabic. Thirty-one percent said they felt hatred, while 50 percent said they felt fear.

Over 56 percent of participants said they believed that Israel’s Arab citizens posed both a security and a demographic threat to the country.

When asked what they thought of Arab culture, over 37 percent replied, “The Arab culture is inferior.”

“The Center Against Racism has set itself a goal to monitor all racial incidents against Arab citizens, and to fight racism as much as possible under the law through public action,” the center’s annual report said.

Bachar Ouda, the center’s director, said the survey’s findings were worrisome, and urged the government to intervene in the situation.

“We call on the education minister to take the gloves off and deal with the issue seriously, because it is dangerous to coexistence. We call on the state prosecutions office, and the attorney general to take action,” Ouda said.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3381978,00.html

Israeli Racism

March 28, 2007

‘Marriage to an Arab is national treason’

Recent poll reveals steep rise in racist views against Arabs in Israel; many participants feel hatred, fear when overhearing Arabic, 75 percent don’t approve of shared apartment buildings

Roee Nahmias Published: 03.27.07, 19:55 / Israel News

Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason, according to a recent survey by the Geocartography Institute.

The survey, which was conducted for the Center Against Racism, also found that over 75 percent of participants did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews. Sixty percent of participants said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home.

Five hundred Jewish men and women participated in the poll, which was published Tuesday.

According to the survey, racism against Arabs in Israel has seen a sharp rise since a similar survey was conducted two years ago.

In 2006, 247 racist acts against Arabs were reported, as opposed to 225 one year prior.

About 40 percent of participants agreed that “Arabs should have their right to vote for Knesset revoked”. The number was 55 percent lower in the previous survey. Also, over half of the participants agreed that Israel should encourage its Arab citizens to immigrate from the country.

Over half of the participants said they would not want to work under the direct management of an Arab, and 55 percent said “Arabs and Jews should be separated at entertainment sites”.

‘Arab culture inferior’

Participants were asked what they felt when they overheard someone speaking Arabic. Thirty-one percent said they felt hatred, while 50 percent said they felt fear.

Over 56 percent of participants said they believed that Israel’s Arab citizens posed both a security and a demographic threat to the country.

When asked what they thought of Arab culture, over 37 percent replied, “The Arab culture is inferior.”

“The Center Against Racism has set itself a goal to monitor all racial incidents against Arab citizens, and to fight racism as much as possible under the law through public action,” the center’s annual report said.

Bachar Ouda, the center’s director, said the survey’s findings were worrisome, and urged the government to intervene in the situation.

“We call on the education minister to take the gloves off and deal with the issue seriously, because it is dangerous to coexistence. We call on the state prosecutions office, and the attorney general to take action,” Ouda said.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3381978,00.html