Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

First Minister to address the Jewish Community

Posted by Admin on October 12, 2007

We are delighted to announce that the First Minister, the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, has accepted Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum’s invitation to address the Glasgow Jewish Community.

Mr Salmond will speak at a public lecture in early 2008. The issue under discussion will be:

“Why will an SNP-run Scotland be good for the Scottish Jewish Community?”

This is the first time since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament that the First Minister has addressed the Jewish Community in his own right, and we are honoured that he has agreed to speak at an event to be held under the auspices of GJEF.

The lecture will be open to all members of the community and we anticipate a very high demand for tickets. We are currently in the process of finalising the arrangements for the meeting, and the exact date will be announced within a few weeks. 

Update, 14th October: The date and venue for the meeting have now been confirmed. The lecture will take place at Eastwood Park Theatre on Tuesday 19th February, 2008 at 8.15 pm.


578 Responses to “First Minister to address the Jewish Community”

  1. Communal worker said

    Very interesting news. Would someone like to explain from GJEF how you managed to arrange this. Quite a coup!!

  2. Arnold said

    I have known for a while that a few of our communal organisations had issued invitations to the First Minister.
    Very interesting indeed that he chose GJEF.

  3. Communal Worker said

    It is interesting Arnold. Suppose Mr Salmond must have realised what most people in our community have known for years – that our supposed representatives might be well intentioned but are nevertheless not up to the job of providing genuine leadership.
    Well done GJEF!

  4. Michael said

    I would suggest that the reason Mr Salmond chose GJEF rather than our usual communal organisations is that he has found out that our current communal worthies do not provide decent leadership. They may be well intentioned – I will give them the benefit of the doubt even though many others would not – but that is not enough.
    GJEF have arranged countless meetings for the community since they were formed – and their record and forthcoming programme suggests that they are the group that makes it happen.
    I left Glasgow for London a few years ago but I keep in touch with friends and family.

  5. Rep Council Delegate said

    I’m not impressed. This kind of meeting is best left to those who have a track record of running things in this community and know how to do it properly.
    The Rep Council should take over the planning and arrangements for Mr Salmond’s lecture.

  6. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    #5 You may be right. One must assume that the Rep Council Exec are well aware of the importance of the occasion. I am quite sure that like all responsible bodies in similar situations they would have been in touch with GJEF immediately to offer assistance and to give freely of their vast wealth of experience.

  7. Unimpressed said

    Nachman, are you suggesting that the Rep Council are a responsible body? If they have such experience why did they and their satellites not ask Mr Salmond himself?

  8. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Unimpressed, I sincerely hope that they are responsible though sometimes I wonder. As to the second of your questions, I am not qualified to answer it. Maybe they did ask Mr Salmond and got knocked back. Maybe they intended to but havn’t yet got round to it. I have no idea how they decide on their priorities. I think your question should be directed at the Rep Council.

  9. A Beitz said

    I sincerely hope if GJEF have a reception beforehand to meet Mr Salmond that they look at inviting groups and individuals who have provided it with support rather than those who have done their best to strangle it.
    Then again this is the time of year for forgiveness. However certain executive members of the Representative Council should hand their heads in shame at their lack of support and negative actions towards GJEF.

  10. Communal Macher said

    I sit on many many communal committees. I have been described as a communal stalwart and I’m proud of this recognition.
    Not only would I expect there to be a reception for Mr Salmond but I would expect to be invited to it and no doubt to be introduced to the First Minister.
    But like a previous blogger – Rep Council Delegate – I believe that this responsibility should not be left with GJEF. It is time Mr Mendelsohn and his colleagues spoke out and told us that they are in charge of this now. Then A Beitz would not have to worry who will and won’t be invited.
    And Mr Aaronovitch could stop wondering who is or is not responsible.

  11. Giffnock Shul Member said

    I have just received the Shul magazine and out fell a letter from Rep Council President, Philip Mendelsohn.

    I happen to know some of the people involved with GJEF and I think Philip is not telling the whole story.

    Two pages of A4 are filled with self- congratulations. I quote: ” We represent the community to other parties and if I may say so, we are very good at this.”

    He continues: ” We also work closely with the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities which deals with national issues; especially those related to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive.”

    Well then Philip, my contacts inform me that you have made no approach to GJEF regarding Mr Salmond’s address to the community? Why not?

    If you are so good at representing our community to other parties why have GJEF organised for the First Minister to speak? Are you too busy sending letters congratulating yourself and your colleagues for doing very little?

    If you are so good at interfaith work why did it take GJEF to organise for a Moslem speaker to tell our community what they think of us?

    You tell the community Mr Mendelsohn that you ” plan to hold more open meetings in the future on community issues and we hope you will attend and share your views with us”.
    Not exactly consistent are you? I understand that the Rep Council were asked and refused to take part in the community balloon debate – an opportunity for many to hear how organisations may plan for the future. Moreover I have heard from others that you and some of your colleagues on your new executive have tried to stop other organisations from participating.

    I will turn up at the balloon debate and I hope to ask a question. No doubt you and your colleagues won’t be there. You never are and that is why so many people in our community think your organisation is hopeless.

  12. Another Giffnock Shul Member said

    Giffnock Shul Member ( No11) may think that Philip Mendelsohn and the Rep Council are being economical with the truth.

    But if you turn to page 13 of the magazine Kenneth Collins in his role as (Acting Chair) of SCOJEC – Scottish Council of Jewish Communities also is blowing his own trumpet informing us how important his organisation is.

    Well Dr Collins have you been in touch as our ” representative body ”
    with GJEF to discuss why Mr Salmond is speaking under their auspices and to offer your support? You talk about arranging a visit by the First Minister to the community but GJEF have actually got there first.

    If I’m correct Dr Collins is Hon President of the Rep Council as well.

    It seems to me that these organisations are as bad as each other. Why anyone would want to be involved with both at the same time beats me.

  13. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I also had the misfortune to read P. Mendelsohn’s sad letter in the shul bulletin. When one reads and re-reads it in an attempt to understand what the President is trying to say; when one sets aside the meaningless garbage, it becomes abundantly clear it is an emperor’s new clothes syndrome. They actually do little if anything at all and the word Representative in their title is a self confessed misnomer. Let us start with their contacts out with the community. The biggest political meeting and the most important interfaith meeting last year was under the auspices of GJEF, ignored by most of the Rep Council. Possibly the crucial meeting of the decade for the community is the forthcoming Salmond meeting which is a GJEF event. I may be speaking out of turn but I understand that there has been no reaction from the President who claims to care about events in the community. Has he lifted the phone to congratulate GJEF, has he done what any real leader would have done, offer help? I put it to you that our naked emperor is just that, a purveyor of empty words. P Mendelsohn says “we also want to know what the grass roots members of the community think”. If he has to make such a statement how on earth does he have the effrontery to claim to represent a community of which he has little grass roots knowledge?

    Many years ago I formulated a scientific law which has now become known as “Nachman’s Law”
    Nachman’s Law states “However incompetent a Representative Council President may be, and by the very nature of the organization, the President will be bad, the next one will be worse”
    Over the years this Law has proved uncannily accurate.

  14. Leo said

    I have heard of the Rep Council though was never quite sure what they did. As for SCOJEC, never heard of them. I presume they are voluntary organisations with little overheads and little need of funding. If the comments on this blog are in any way accurate no responsible body would fund them.

  15. otto b wurken said

    It’s been a while since I posted but I just thought I would add awee point which is quite relevant to the current debate over our communal “leaders”.

    I have just received my NMHC Seat Contribution Invoice and I note with interest that their is a Communal Levy (per adult male) which amounts to £17.50 per annum. This in itself is a small amount to pay and I do not grumble about it except to say that this is broken down to give £8 per annum to The Board of Deputies, £4 to the Chief Rabbinate Council, £2.50 to the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities £2 to the Communal Security Levy, £0.50 to Enjoy and £0.50 to the Scottish Council of Synagogues.

    Of those bodies only 2 merit my money namely the Security levy because those hard working CST guys need our financial support and Enjoy because they are trying to educate our youth in Jewish traditions in a fun and informative manner.

    However, the other lot and in particular the Board of Deputies and SCOJEC (I think) don’t deserve my hard earned cash because I am not aware of what they do for me. Could they please enlighten me? I am aware that none of these organisations have supported GJEF in any of their excellent lectures to date nor did they think it worthwhile to join in the Communal Balloon Debate despite being asked.

    So can I conscientiously object to paying their part of the Communal Levy because a withdrawal of funds will elicit a response from them!

  16. Basfordian said

    I think most of the funding for these organisations comes from the Community Trust. This is actually a quite bizarre arrrangement. The Trust is packed with past Presidents of the Rep council. A previous blogger has pointed out that the present President has admitted that he has no idea what is happening at the grass roots of the community. So if these guys are appointed for their understandimng of the community and its needs, we must have the local equivalent of the sub prime nonsense. Another thought comes to mind. Past Presidents of the Rep Council may be deciding whether the Rep Council is worthy of Trust funding; that also goes for Scojec which has become a parking place for past Rep Council worthies. The situation is almost Kafkaesque. My advice to anyone out there who may want Trust money in the future, smile sweetly to Rep Couincil Presidents because they keep changing hats and one day some may get appointed who do not have the integrity to realise they are acting for the Trust and not the Rep Council.

  17. SNP Supporter said

    Wonderful to see our newly elected First Minister is coming to our community to do a lecture in the excellent GJEF series. Wee done to them.

    Can someone from the wonderfully named SCOJEC explain why they or indeed the Rep Council have not managed to do this or had they just never thought about it – which begs the question – what do they think of (or do) exactly?

  18. SNP Supporter said

    Ooops typo error got a wee bit excited about seeing Rt Hon Alex Salmond in person. Should say “Well done to GJEF”

  19. Amy said

    #15 I’m very disappointed. I thought that £0.50 to Enjoy was for ourselves to go out and have a treat. I have been fanticising all the things I could do with 50p.

  20. Louise said

    I would like some clarification please.
    Is it true that the Community Trust have amongst the trustees several ex Presidents of the Rep Council?
    I know that the Trust is a private trust and can decide who should be a trustee and I’m aware that it is their decision who they give money to, as long as it is acceptable to the guidelines that are drawn up for charities.
    But the Glasgow Jewish Community Trust have told us for more years than I can remember that everything they do is for the benefit of our community.
    I’m not sure that this is true anymore. I think they should insert the words ” as we see it ” because given the mess the Rep Council have made over several issues it can hardly be to the benefit of our community that so many of these ex Presidents now sit on the Community Trust.
    I appreciate that the Trust have funded many worthwhile and deserving projects over the years and I applaud them for this vision.
    But I think their PR would be advanced a great deal if they told us why they have so many ex Presidents of the Rep Council in their group.
    I’m not one to complain but this is a nonsense.
    I a also a member of Giffnock Shul and received the letter from Philip Mendelsohn. I don’t think I have ever seen so many words on one bit of paper that said so little.

  21. Leo said

    I’m lost. Anyone know the names of these illustrious Past Presidents?

  22. A Beitz said

    Can someone please specify what activities the Rep Council has involved itself in over the past 3 months. Not generalities but specifics. I keep hearing of all their activities but frankly am totally unclear what they are doing for the Glasgow Jewish community.
    For example
    1 Maintaining a communal diary should be a major and easy activity. Yet my impression earlier this year was that it had virtually fallen into misuse.
    2 A leading Moslem academic speaks to GJEF. Yet virtuallyno one from the Rep Council, despite their telling us about their work with other communities and other faiths, bothers to show the speaker any respect by turning up.
    3 The Israeli ambassador finally comes to Glasgow but do they invite the whole community to see this gentleman? No, there is a strange invitation list with many of the Council’s own delegates being excluded.
    There are other examples some of which are in other postings. The impression however is one of exaggeration of activities, paranoia about criticism and a childish and petulant attitude whereby they are not interested unless the activity is one at their instigation.
    This is a time of year for reflection and apologies to one’s fellow man (before apologising to God). It might be time for Philip Mendelsson to pick up the phone to Tony Tankel apologise for his executives’s behaviour and offer to assist GJEF in any way possible.
    Shavua tov and shana tova.

  23. Sorry Suzie said

    Well if we are talking about apologies it might be time for Tony Tankel to pick up the phone to many individuals within the community who have received personal attacks on this blog!! However, not sure there are enough days before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to complete the list of phone calls.

  24. A Beitz said

    Sorry Suzie, how many people have been personally attacked on this blog? And who did the attacking? Tony and the rest of GJEF facilitate this blog and are not responsible for anything that appears unless they’ve posted it. I think however there are a lot of myths about this blog. Many thoughtful opinions have been posted and in the midst of these there are some which are less than helpful. That’s the nature of blogs. They are open to all. Some people may have deserved some abuse anyway such as those who posted under one name and replied to their post under another.
    If I have upset you please accept my apologies.

  25. Surprised said

    As far as I’m aware GJEF has a committe of 5. I have scrolled back and I don’t think Tony Tankel has posted anything.
    Sad Suzie, I suggest you make the first phone call.

  26. Guilty as sin said

    Hands up. It was me. If Suzie will post the names and telephone numbes, I’ll do the necessary.

  27. Zelig Zybinsky said

    A Happy New Year to all those like me who suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder and to whom this blog has been an absolute lifesaver.

    I’ve used so many nom-de-plumes blogging here that I’m running out fast, so here in desperation is the last one in the London Phone Book

    Chag Sameach to all my fans

    Zelig Zybinsky

  28. Zzelig Zzyblinsnky said

    Iknew I shouldn’t have gone ex-directory.

  29. Ralph said

    Someone called Leo asked for names of
    some of the Past Presidents. Well take your pick from this bunch –
    Kenneth Collins
    Stephen Kliner
    Dianne Wolfson
    Walter Sneader
    Kenny Davidson
    Henry Tankel

  30. A Beitz said

    Mentiuon was made of ENJOY earlier. On the whole I think they do a good job. In the past the orthodox shuls were competing with each other and doing so in quite a hostile manner iwth persponal insults between rabbonim not being entirely exceptional. The setting up of ENJOY has seen competing functions being a thing of the past by the various shuls which is important in such a small community and an excellent relationship amongst the shul rabbonim. Whisper it but I think they may also have wanted to lessen the Lubavitch influence taking the view that could only happen with unity. Possibly the sort of thing the Rep Council should have seen to years ago but as usual, for something important to happen, they had to be bypassed.

  31. Emet said

    It should be noted that Diane Wolfson and Kenneth Collins have both attended/supported GJEF events.
    The only thing that matters now is that the CURRENT CHAIRMAN acts properly ,or is he going to ignore the good work of GJEF ?

  32. A Beitz said

    Emet speaks the truth. However the Chairman claim to have been in touch with communal organisations seems a strange one. The first 3 I asked ie GJEF, Chaplaincy and Archives have heard nothing from him. Anyone know of any communal organisations he has approached?
    Happy new year to all my readers.

  33. Involved said

    At this time of year it is traditional to put old squabbles and arguments to one side.

    I am a first time blogger and I have come on to have my say.

    The ridiculous complaints I have heard about GJEF in the last few days have made me really angry. I have heard some call them divisive and activities such as tonight’s balloon debate divisive.

    I’m sorry but I don’t see it. This group have organised tonight’s event and 8 organisations have a platform to tell our community about themselves. What is the problem?

    They have also managed to secure Mr Salmond to address our community. That should be applauded by everyone and those who can’t do this should be ashamed of their conduct.

    I have stood on the sidelines watching this for too long. I know that these guys are trying to do something positive for our community and rather than just talk they are actually doing something.

    I will be at Giffnock tonight. I will be at Mr Salmond’s lecture and I urge everyone reading this to do the same.

    Thank you.

  34. Joe Soap said

    Spot on involved. I have also heard those who claim to be communal leaders suggesting that we should not turn up tonight.

    Well I support UJIA, my children attend Calderwood and are members of youth organisations. My son plays football for Maccabi and occasionally my daughter goes to JLGB.

    Why would I not support this event when these organisations are speaking?

    This event is positive. I’ll be there and I would encourage everyone to go.

  35. Happy Bhoy said

    Would just like to say congratulations to the GJEF on managing to get Alex Salmond to talk to the community. As an SNP Party Member I am eagerly anticipating meeting our First Minister and one of Britain’s greatest politicians, whilst I am also looking forward to hearing what he has to say about the Jewish community.

    Really is a massive coup when you consider how small the Jewish community is in Scotland and the fact that a massive proportion of it is contained within one seat that the SNP are unlikely to win!

  36. Involved said

    Great evening on Sunday night. Those who conspired against this event got it so badly wrong. Not one word of bitterness between the organisations –
    So Mr Mendelsohn and your Rep Council chums will you now concede that your judgement was flawed?
    Will you explain why you went round the community asking people to avoid participating.?
    Will you now accept that some people understand our community much better than you lot?

    I really hope so.

  37. Al Chet said

    Why pillory poor Mr. Mendelsohn. He is just a nice good hearted guy doing his very best. It’s hardly his fault to have been promoted several grades above his fighting weight. The real culprits are those self appointed community machers carrying their baggage of hate and personal vendetta from committee to committee, seeking self gratification rather than community interest. They cause divisiveness whenever they are challenged and called to account. Many of us know exactly who they are and perhaps its time to out them.

  38. Emet said

    I think the tone of the above is unhelpful ;let it go -GJEF are clearly capable of prospering without the blessing of the rep council.

  39. not another macher said

    Agreed – what’s to be gained from stooping to their level.

    In retrospect, maybe agreeing to drop the competitive side last Sunday’s event was a mistake. It obviously wasn’t the real issue preventing some of the other organisations taking part and would have made a good night even better.

  40. A Beitz said

    I sometimes think that I can be unfair in my criticism of communal leaders. Some of them work very hard. However as #39 says clearly the format of the evening was not the issue. Some organisations claimed they did not wish to take part in the orginal format since it was too competitive. They claimed it would be divisive. GJEF changed the way the evening was to be run but not one of these organisations took part despite the fact their expressed problems with the evening had been resolved.
    We also of course had the Paul Edlin situation when he withdrew from speaking at a meeting claiming he did not like the title. He was offered the chance to choose a title for the meeting but never did so.
    There is legitimate criticism of GJEF to be made and indeed there has been such criticism posted on this blog from time to time. However the above instances do not reflect well on certain communal leaders and former communal leaders.
    Gut jahr everyone.

  41. Barbara said

    I think things have now moved on. Previously these so called communal leaders were able to control what events happened and what did not happen.
    For more years than I can remember our so called leaders closed down debate and made everyone one think that they knew best. They perpetuated this myth by congratulating each other for all their work in public meetings.
    As years have gone by we see that they did not have much vision and they did not know what was best for our community. They presided over decline. And some of this decline was down to them for failure of leadership.
    Previously when one wanted to complain you had to wait 3 months for a Rep Council delegate meeting and by then everyone had moved on to something else.
    Well as I see it this blog has changed things here. You may not like all that you read here – and some of it is nonsense – but that is the nature of blogs.
    But at least it gives ordinary people the right of reply and the ability to be heard.
    In our community far too many of these so called communal leaders have been over promoted. They neither have vision or ability.
    Along comes a new organisation like GJEF – arranges countless public meetings on different subjects – and the establishment at best frowns and at worse plots against these meetings.
    But as someone called Emet said recently. It doesn’t matter anymore – because these meetings look like continuing and there are new players in town. And I’m with them all the way.

  42. Emet said

    On a different note-I finally visited the new Art Galleries in Glasgow today-it really was wonderful-and glad to see Dali’s wonderful Jesus back where he belongs rather than at the well intentioned but very poor Museum of Religion.
    The Holocaust corner is excellent-and I take my hat off to the Curator or whoever decided to include this in Glasgow history ; you know there are much worse places for Jews to have settled than the West of Scotland…..

  43. A Beitz said

    What was the Kylie exhibition like?

  44. A Beitz said

    Below is email received. For those in Glasgow wondering what to do in the next few days including a wet holiday Monday this might be of interest.
    Thought that this may interest you.

    The highly recommended film,”I have never forgotten you:The life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal” is showing at the GFT, tomorrow, Monday at 2.00pm and 6.40pm and on Tuesday at 2.00pm. Unfortunately, the distributors have programmed it to be shown on Wednesday and Thursday, during Succot, which is rather limiting for our community, but will possibly be supported by the wider community.

    Even if you are unable to attend, please pass this info to anyone whom you think might be interested. It is supposedly well-worth seeing.

  45. Emet said

    The kids liked Kylie-I promise I went no-where near it ! Honest ,no really ,I didn’t…why don’t you believe me……

  46. A Beitz said

    And tell me , Emet. Was it just coincidence it took you until there was a Kylie exhibition before you visited the new Art Galleries?

  47. Emet said

    well…sort of.

  48. A Beitz said

    I think it’s a marvellous idea to put on these sorts of exhibitions so that people who would not normally go to cultural events are brought in and can improve themselves.

  49. Apikoros said

    I went a few months ago. Cant say I’m particularly improved as a result. Maybe that’s because Yoshkie and Kylie were missing. Must go again if that’s what improved you eminent posters. Somewhere in the tablets of my memory I remembwer sitting in the restaurant in the early afternoon just as the sun was starting its descent into the western sky. That was memorable.

  50. Interested said

    I was not at the Balloon Debate on the 16th but heard it was interesting, informative and good fun. Why has there been no report or photos put up on this blogsite yet? So that those like me who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be there can read about it.

  51. Outraged said

    Did anyone see that shocking article in this week’s Jewish chronicle by Geoffrey Alderman?
    I have always thought that his column was an embarassment to his newspaper, and he represents some of most reactonary and unpleasant opinions in world Jewry.
    His column a couple of weeks ago attacking Mandela was shameful and this week he applauds and cheers collective punishment on any innocent Palestinians living in Gaza.
    When one thinks back to the columns written by the late Chaim Bermant it is sad that this newspaper cannot find anyone with more ability than Alderman. His words belong in the gutter press.

  52. A Beitz said

    Agree with you about Alderman but is that not a major prerequisite of being a columnist ie to state opinions which many of the readers will find offensive thus evoking a response.
    Chaim Berman was an early dove on Israel thus annoying a fair bit of the readership. His views on social matters were less than liberal thus annoying the remainder.
    I couldn’t be a newspaper columnist because my views are too sensible.

  53. Nachman Aaronovith said

    Mona Siddiqui is reported in today’s Sunday Times to have accused the British Government of “tiptoeing around” Muslim extremism leading to an “us and them” attitude. She has suggested Ministers to challenge issues such as forced marriages, polygamy and the veil. I have much sympathy with her attitude and would go further. This also applies to us, particularly in the field of education. While Alderman, as Outraged has noted, is guilty of heartlessness with regards to Gaza, it was he who recently exposed the nonsense going on in Hendon where a Charedi organisation tried every trick in the book to avoid complying with regulations regarding the building in which there children were being educated. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Charedi community have little or no respect for the acxcepted norms of education for there children and it is time the book was thrown AT THEM.

  54. Nachman Aaronovith said

    Sorry, hit the Caps Lock. AT THEM should be “at them”

  55. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Just noticed Beitzie’s last sentence (#52). Guess he’s been listening to Mrs Beitz again.

  56. Outraged said

    Well the book was thrown at the Charedi Community in Glasgow with the forced closure of the Kollel school.
    And quite right too.
    I have always found it ridiculous and unacceptable that some of our communal organisations prefer to look the other way regarding how some of their employees educate or rather do not educate their children properly.
    It should not be tolerated. And those who do not comply should be told to sort it out immediately.

  57. Kollel sympathiser said

    The reason their is no school “outraged” is for the simple reason that unfortunately we do not have enough children in Glasgow.
    We need more Charedi families to come here and show the community a good and proper Orthodox way of living.
    Chag Sameach!

  58. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Right and wrong, Outraged. We have a diminishing number of Charedi children because there is no appropriate school. Therefore, young charedi couples with families will not settle in Glasgow. There was a school but it is alleged that the important maxim (borrowed from our daughter religion) “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” was unknown. If you ignore safety regulations and treat Departments of Education with disdain you eventually end up with no school.

  59. A Beitz said

    30-40 years ago there were few Jewish schools and even less haredi ones. Rabbonim and other frum members of the community never thought of sending their children to the same schools as the non Jewish kids went to. Then we had more Jewish schools and most rabbonim sent their children there. However as with many other things in the orthodox community as soon as a minority felt their children should not exposed to certain influences in these schools the minority exerted pressure on the majority so that not sending your children to Calderwood and the like became mainstream.
    In smaller communities the exodus of the orthodox is rapid because they’re told they cannot live a Jewish life there or send their children to the schools there. In many ways I consider that life is very difficult for our religious leaders who are left more and more isolated as a result. Additionally many religious leaders outwith the smaller communities are only interested in teaching about Judaism on their own terms ie living in Gateshead, Manchester or North London/Herts. This is despite the fact that the need is much greater in areas where there are lesser Jewish facilities.
    You may not always agree with the rabbonim here but at least they are here sometimes in circumstances which are very difficult from a family point of view. Congratulations also to such as Rabbis Jacobs and Hackenbroch who have bucked the trend by sending their children to Calderwood.

  60. A Beitz said

    Sorry, insert, “other than” in the second sentence after “thought”. Time we got an edit function.

  61. Not the Full Shilling! said

    This is getting more complicated than it should.
    Why does the Kollel school not exist anymore?
    Why do some communal organisations think it is acceptable for their employees not to educate their children properly?
    Would someone please enlighten me what would be an acceptable curriculum for Charedi children.

  62. A Beitz said

    #61 I suspect others will enlighten you on the Kollel school. However I think your second question all depends upon your definition of “educate their children properly”. Some haredi people would undoubtedly be of the view that teaching kids comparative religion and about the world being over 6000 years old is not a proper education. They don’t consider it an education for their kids to spend time with other kids who eat non kosher, break shabbat etc.
    I don’t think children are educated properly at private schools for a variety of reasons.
    Others might think that having religious schools at all is not educating your children properly.
    Just pointing out that the defintion is not as straightforward as it might seem.

  63. A.C. said

    Surely, we do not need to define “proper education” This is the prerogative of the parents so long as the law with regard to secular educational standards is observed.

  64. A Beitz said

    #63 I think that you can define it in that way. In that case have you any evidence that the Kollel school did not meet these standards? Did it ever fail an inspection? My understanding about the closure was it was due to the physical characteristics of the building and the modifications which had to be made and not due to the standard of education. Without having checked, it is also my understanding that what constitutes a basic minimum in secular studies is quite low. Additionally there are also people who choose to teach their child at home and that is quite legal despite the limitations this will almost invariably lead to in the child’s broader experience.
    Can anyone say that any of the rabbis or other communal employees hae broken the law of the land in the education of their children? If not then whilst we might entirely disagree that they are “properly” educating their children it is not for communal bodies, if it ever was, to intercede.

  65. S.P. said

    In no 52 A Beitz told us his views were too sensible. A little bit of advice to you my friend, given what you have just written in number 62 & 64, not too many will think that anymore….

    In modern day Britain there are laws requiring the proper education of children.
    Haredi people can believe whatever they want regarding the teaching of comparative religion and that the world is only 6000 years old, but it is unacceptable, as only one example, if children are not taught basic language skills in English.
    The problem is quite evident and I would suggest that A Beitz is well aware of it, despite trying to sit on the fence. Be careful, mon ami, or you will be so impaled on the spike, you won’t get off it!
    Secular educational standards are not being observed. And that is a matter of concern for all of us. And we should not sweep it under the carper just because they are members of the same religion.

  66. A.C. said

    Actually A Beitz, as I read the article by Mona Siddiqui I was not thinking particularly about the situation in Glasgow. You may or may not be right that locally the education meets acceptable standards but there have been suggestions that this is not always the case elsewhere. Furthermore the authorities treat the cases with kid gloves to avoid having to deal with unwarranted charges of antisemitism.I am suggesting very strongly that it is in all our long term interests that the law of the land be applied fairly, but firmly.

  67. A Beitz said

    SP there is difference between meeting secular education standards and educating in terms of the law. It is perfectly possible to do the former without doing the latter and vice versa. I entirely agree that if the law of the land is being broken it should be enforced. Indeed that is basic of orthodox Judaism which is why I always ger irritated when the JC refers to a criminal as “a strictly orthodox Jew” when his actions prove he is nothing of the sort. However that is going off at a tangent. On the other hand unless you can say what laws are being broken then I don’t think you should make these generalised accusations. I think you might be surprised at how flexible the curriculum for a child legally can be.
    I agree with you AC re enforcement of the law and do think that on occasions, strangely enough, the police treat religious minorities with kid gloves, lest they be accused of anti semitism, islamaphobia or similar.

  68. A.C. said

    I ought to understand your irritation, A Beitze, when the JC refers to a criminal as “a strictly orthodox Jew” However, one must first examine exactly what orthodox Jews are and how they act before condemning the JC out of hand. My impression is that a significant proportion who consider themselves strictly orthodox are merely obsessed with ritualistic observance of minutiae which has become an end in itself. It is used as a power game over others to enforce adherence and conformity. Compassion, justice, democracy and intellectual honesty are mere buzz words to be used when convenient.

  69. NM Member said

    Please, please , can someone tell me the reason the Kollel school was closed. Does anyone know?

  70. Giffnock Resident said

    I don’t know why it closed but from reading this in the last couple of days, I would strongly suggest that A Beitz knows far more than most!

  71. A Beitz said

    AC#68 you are missing the point. The people you describe are not strictly orthodox. Whilst the day to day ritual is of some importance of at least equal importance are such matters as charity, visiting the sick, love of your neighbour etc. People do of course err but gross breaches of the criminal law mean that the offenders cannot be regarded in any way as “strictly orthodox”.
    I often think it’s unfortunate as well that the shuls will often refuse to give honours to the man who has married out but seem to regard people with bad business ethics, some of which may have resulted in serious sanctions by a regulatory body, as being suitable for high office.

  72. A.C. said

    A Beitz, you tell me I have missed the point, then you go and make it in your final paragraph!

  73. Eliot said

    I have just had the Jewish Telegraph delivered this morning and noticed from the back page advert that GJEF have a public meeting on Thursday 11th October on the subject of ” How to Confront Racism in the Jewish Community”

    I didn’t know that we had such problems in our community. Could someone please enlighten me. Thank you.

  74. Emet said

    What community isn’t blighted by bigotry and or racism within their ranks ; ours is no different.

  75. A Beitz said

    Eliot I hear Jewish people stereotyping other minorities quite regularly or being dismissive of them. Word such as schwartzes, goyim, Arabs,yoks, can be offensive (Arabs excluded)used in isolation but all of them often are usec as part of a sentence containing invective. A lack of concern for those outwith our fellow Jews could well be regarded as racism. Look at the letters page of the JT and the JC as well as some of the columnists. Again there is often thinly and not so thinly disguised racism.
    I’m looking forward to hearing Edie Friedman giving us some insight into this problem and how we can deal with it.

  76. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    It was interesting to read Libby Purves’s comment in today’s London Times (p17). She is reasoning that the answer to religious intolerance is zero intolerance. What sparked off this discourse is the recent Sainsbury decision to tolerate muslim extremists who refuse to scan alcoholic drinks at their check-outs on religious grounds. She gives similar examples from other religions and although we are not mentioned, as Jews we are not immune from similar crackpots. However, the upside is that religion is not necessarily a den of intolerance and she quotes “Any case of sickness, whether Aids, cancer, or heart disease, may or may not be a divine punishment, but that is God’s business, not ours. The Torah requires that we not stand by idly while others suffer.” I am pleased that she attributes this to Rabbi Yitzchok Breitovitz of the Woodside Synagogue in Silver Springs, Maryland where he is also associate professor of Law at the university.
    Having googled Rabbi Breitovitz, he is a highly educated rabbi, both in secular and religious fields and well worth reading. I don’t say I agree with all he has to say, especially some of his basic religious premises, but given that he argues his corner most persuasively, and certainly with logic, compassion and tolerance. I would recommend him to all, especially our Rabbis who may find some of his articles worth discussing on this blog. Here they may reach many who would not readily enter a shul and whom they claim they would like to reach. As a very good friend of mine would say, “It’s your shout”.

  77. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    sorry, line 2 “zero intolerance” should read “zero tolerance”.

  78. Non-believer said

    Interesting post Nachman. Although my sympathies lie with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins you are right to challenge the local Rabbis to engage with those who don’t agree with them.
    For some reason they are not prepared to argue their point with anyone who they don’t believe is a fellow traveller.
    Their employers should be urging them to get out of their Shuls and spread the message. What is the point in continually telling the same few people the same old message?
    Thankfully Nachman this is more your problem than mine as I don’t believe anyway. Do you?

  79. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I’m not sure what you are dismissing so blithely, Non-believer. Are you talking about ‘torah min hashamayim’ or are you dismissing a way of life, a club to which many of us belong and for the membership of which compromises are sometimes necessary? If it is the former you are arguing with the wrong person and if the latter you have problems. Just by taking the time and thought to post here, you demonstrate some level of membership however minimal. I am well aware of the compromises I have made for this membership and why I have made them. You may call this hypocrisy and you may be right, but I understand myself. I suggest you have still to make such self analysis, you paint it all black and white. So you see, until you do, until you are honest with yourself, it is your problem rather than mine.

  80. A Beitz said

    NA is right. Whether you believe or don’t there are plenty of things in the club which are praiseworthy eg the charity, the community asistance both financial and practical and the general aims to educate ourselves whether it be in secular matters or religion. For many some of the religious rituals are irritating but they are generally harmless and sometimes in order to try not to offend those who have belief it is necessary to compromise to a reasonable extent.
    I think non believer is unfair to many of the local rabbis. All of them spend a fair bit time out of the shul working whether it be in formal religious situations such as shiva houses or informal ones eg sick visiting, counselling, entertaining, or whatever. Frankly I would hate to be in the sort of job, where, belief apart, many of your congregants think they own you and others will simply expect you to be available 24/7. You can’t say to the recently bereaved it’s your day off or refuse to take calls after 5pm.
    There are valid criticisms that can be made but I think we’re fairly fortunate with the shul rabbonim and ministers we have in Glasgow at the moment.

  81. A C said

    A Beitz, I am curious as to the reference to shul Rabbonim.What exactly do you mean. Do you mean those employed by shul committees with buildings, or do you include all Rabbonim who have congregations.

  82. Non-believer said

    Very touchy indeed. I am talking about membership of the Jewish people or the Jewish nation. I am quite happy and proud to be part of that. First and foremost we are I believe a people with a common culture and a common heritage.
    What I don’t think is a necessary compromise is to believe in the existence of God in order to claim membership of the Jewish people.

    Perhaps I’m mistaken but I don’t think so. To believe in God one has to believe that the God you believe in is a good God, otherwise there’s not much point.
    Well I happen to think that there is too many things which happen in the world that make me think this God as you see it isn’t up to too much. Either he is not a good God, because too many bad things happen or he is not as all powerful as some would like him/her to be because he can’t stop these things happening.

    I do not accept that I have to believe in your God to be a member of this club. As I said before I am proud to be a member -for cultural, social, historical reasons etc.

    Nachman pontificate all you want but I would suggest that you are not being honest with yourself. You probably even agree with me.
    As for A Beitz, what can I say. Yes the pastoral abilities of local Rabbonim are good and I have no argument with that. And yes to many this is vitally important. But that ability is not the same as being able to engage in a philisophical argument with those who do not share their same level of faith or belief.
    If you want Shuls to be busier then this is a very important part of the Rabbis’ remit. Otherwise A Beitz please suggest how you are going to get more people to attend Synagogue.
    You guys think this matter – I don’t.
    But please now tell me if you think it is important for people to turn up more than once a year in Synagogue, and if you do how would you suggest that the Rabbi goes about achieving this.

    As I already have suggested I think your concept is flawed.

  83. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I’m not sure, Non-believer,why you should extrapolate a belief or non belief in God from my posting,#79. You may have misread it, you may have misunderstood it or most likely you have read into it what you wished to see.This is a common syndrome and quite forgiveable. However, it is a problem that needs to be addressed and I am sure you will be the better for dealing with it.
    Furthermore,I would take issue with your contention that we are a people with a common culture and a common heritage. This is an old fashioned hypothesis, though invalid, much in vogue pre 1948. Since 1948 it has become apparent to all, except the odd dinasaur, that we are a people with pluralistic beliefs, many shades of cultural influences, and diverse heritages.

  84. Another Non-believer said

    Are you a philosopher Nachman?
    If you are not, I don’t think you are on the way to becoming one, so I would stick to your current job!!!!!!

    We may have pluralistic beliefs but we do have many aspects of culture in common and we certainly as a people have a common heritage.

  85. A Beitz said

    #81 I was thinking of the former but as far as I know there is only one guy in Glasgow with a congregation and no building and from what I can gather he is a decent well meaning individual who does a good job.
    #82 I don’t think the only remit of the rabbis is to get people to attend shul. Involvement in the community can be in all sorts of positive ways not necessarily including attending shul. However it does provide some spiritual satisfaction for a few and social satisfaction for a larger number both of which are important. Getting more people to shul, if it’s that important, could first of all involve a weeding out of the shul service. Take shabbat morning. Why do we still need to repeat the amidah? And twice! Is it really necessary to still do the haftorah? There is nothing sacred about a number of the prayers. Were we to have some berachot at the beginning of the service, baruch she’amar,yitgadal, barachu,the shema and the amidah followed by the torah reading and finishing with ashrei, the aleinu and adon olam little of importance would be missed. We should however then be able to get through the average shabbat service in an hour to an hour and a half depending upon the size of the parsha. That would be a vast improvement and probably lead to an improvement in decorum due to the attention span coping better. Kiddush could be a sit down affair involving a brief sermon or shiur so that people could nash and listen.
    I am aware that Reform have cut down the service significantly. It could be done in the Orthodox shuls as well without in any way compromising the basic tenets of Orthodox Judaism.
    As indicated I don’t see shul attendance as the be all and end all. People can pray without going to shul. Equally people can go to shul without praying. However some streamlining would help.
    Further if people do only come to shul a couple of times a year ie 1st day Rosh Hashana and on Yom Kippur it is not surprising they have a jaundiced view of matters with long services, poor decorum and little opportunity therefore for spirituality. They should try coming the odd shabbos when things are quicker, despite my criticisms above, the decorum is better, there’s a kiddush and the whole experience is much sociable/spiritual.

  86. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    #84 If you believe we are all descended from Adam, in your case from one woman in Africa (called Eve) about 200,000 years ago then we have a common heritage. It is late and I will not go into detail but I would suggest that the heritage of Sephardi Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Ethiopian Jews etc is not the same and it is quite fallacious to argue otherwise.
    Now Beitzie, I have much sympathy with your proposition to shorten Shabat services. However, I have heard that one of the shuls hosts a haftorah club, especially for those who seek extra spirituality. Would this have to be sacrificed on the altar of rationalisation? Maybe it would have to be renamed, but the when would it be held once you have cut all the padding out of the service?

  87. Community hack said

    Got my invitation to attend this event in February this morning.
    Can I reserve 6 seats as some of my friends are interested? Please advise if anyone knows.

  88. Community Machor said

    I never got an invitation and I should have as I am on 15 community committees, and I have been for years. I have always been one of those considered to be in ” the know” and what’s annoying me greatly is I don’t know what’s going on with this event at all.
    What were the criteria for asking some members of this community if they wished to reserve a ticket and can I reserve some tickets even though I have obviously been snubbed? And badly snubbed if I may say so.

  89. Al Chet said

    I didn’t know there were 15 community committees. Anyone stupid enough to be on so many committees is not deserving of an invitation. You are more deserving of an invitation to the local asylum. Of course, you may suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder or multiple personalities, each persoaliy attending a different meeting.In that case don’t wait for an invite, just go along and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

  90. Moshe said

    I got my tickets by phoning into the Ant and Dec competition last Saturday.

    If you TEXT SNP Opportunitist to 12345, you will be guaranteed a place

    £1.50 plus normal sending charges apply

  91. Common Sense said

    In today’s Haaretz newspaper there is a report about Israeli President Shimon Peres reaching out to the leader of British Reform Jews, Dr Rabbi Tony Bayfield.

    President Peres called for a more inclusive definition of Judaism and said the Jewish people have the right to decide who is a rabbi. He made the comments in his first official meeting with representatives of the Reform movement since he assumed the post in July.

    The President said he was ” troubled ” by attempts to narrowly define Jewishness. We are a disappearing people. We are not the Chinese. There are only 14-15 million of us. We need to be more careful, generous and understanding.”

    It is so refreshing to hear President Peres say these words, and of course he is spot on. Would it be too much to expect the same kind of tolerance, generosity and understanding from the Orthodox Community in Glasgow towards the Reform Movement?

    Those secular communal leaders who have funded the Orthodox Rabbis who have perpetuated the idea that Reform are an irrelevance to Judaism at best, or a pariah movement at worst, should use their influence and demand an end to this nonsense.

    These are the guys who have allowed this to happen on a local level and have always deferred on the grounds of ” Jewish knowledge ” to the bigoted intolerance that has been part of our community.

    Well it is time that it stopped and we accepted all forms of Judaism as legitimate.

  92. A Beitz said

    I see in this week’s JC we have yet another case of “a strictly Orthodox Jew” who broke the law. This gentleman is a mini cab driver who amassed 6 speeding tickets and in each case claimed the driver was someone living in the US.
    Now before we even get into the attempt to pervert the course of justice you’ve got to go some to get caught speeding 6 times. That in itself indicates not simply momentary lapses. He then claims it’s someone else. He has received a deserved prison sentence.
    My point is that it is time that certain so called Orthodox people remembered that obeying the law of the land is a religious as well as a secular obligation. This man’s failure to do means he cannot be described in the way above. The ritual is of some importance to the believer but the practice is what really matters and is far too often being lost. No doubt this man would be an expert in complex laws of shabbat observance. It’s just a shame he didn’t see the need to follow less complex laws which are religiously incumbent. Or as one rabbi put it to me once, “It’s a case of those who scuba dive perfectly but can’t swim.”

  93. Al Chet said

    While we’re on the subject of JC articles,I am sure those footballers among you will have been interested in Jonathan Freedland’s column. It appears that a Jewish football team have been giving their non-Jewish friends temporary and secret conversions to enable them to play in the jewish league. It may be a mild infraction of the rule of law but is it the start of the slippery slope? Furthermore, is it caused by several generations of anglicisation whereby many of our football playing and supporting community have lost all sense of reality and forgotten that football is just another mindless game supported by semicomotose illiterates?

  94. Footie Fan said

    Sorry Al Chet, you miss the point and should be substitued.
    Freedland’s point is that we should not have segregation in sport. It’s obvious that the team in question broke the rules and deserve a punishment but the main issue – that you have failed to understand – is the absurdity of all Jewish football teams in the first place.
    Or do you agree with that as well?
    Red Card to you!

  95. Al Chet said

    Footie fan, I think we are talking about different articles. In the one I read, Freedland was quite ambivalent about minorities grouping together to form their own leagues. This has nothing to do with segregation just the preservation of the rights of minorities. Of course, you may have read the same article in which case you prove my point about football fans and literacy.

  96. A Beitz said

    Al Chet is right. I don’t have the article in front of me but JF felt it is acceptable for minorities to effectively positively discriminate.
    Personally I don’t see the need for Jewish football teams so long as it’s agreed that constitutionally the team will be run so that observant Jews can take part. In other words no shabbat or yom tov matches and if the team is providing food it should be according to the rules of kashrut. Otherwise I can’t see the need.

  97. Footie Fan said

    Oh no he isn’t. Freedland may have accepted that Jews can have a football league of their own , ” but there is a world of a difference between establishing a Jewish comfort zone and submitting players in a sunday morning kickabout to an ethnic test ”
    But tell us Al Chet are you in favour of all Jewish football teams?

  98. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I have given some thought to the Finchley footballers dilemma and suggest a solution. The problem and the running of the league should be handed over to the Beth Din. You may well chortle at what taken at face value would seem absurd. However those guys are innovative and class exponents of amazing wheezes. Who devised the concept of territorial conversions? Who stuck a bit of string round half of NW London and convinced the datim that they could make merry on the seventh day? And who was it that thought up the temporal trick of selling your goods for 8 days every year and then getting them back untouched and unscathed? The Rabbis of course! I suggest a combination of geographical and temporal conversion be devised for misguided gentiles wishing to play in the Jewish league. It would be valid only in Finchley, only on Sundays from 10.00 until 1.00pm, excepting those Sundays that coincided with Yom Tov. Furthermore, they could charge fat fees for the issuing of conversions and notices would be displayed at every match stating that the Beth Din were only responsible for the Jewishness of the non-Jewish players.

  99. A Beitz said

    NA I fear one problem might arise. What happens when other Batei Din try to muscle in or operate independently? Manchester would not recognise the London conversions and vice versa. Meantime you would have the Sephardi and the Federation getting in the act. And then god forbid what would they all do should a team turn out with a player who it turned out had a Reform conversion?
    In addition as I understand it a prerequisite of any conversion is a brit. The dressing rooms could get very messy and players would be taking to the field with limps caused by an entirely novel reason.
    For those of you who are interested and old enough to remember him the former Leeds United and Scottish international player, Peter Lorimer, had to seriously face these problems when, towards the end of his career the opportunity arose for him to play in Israel and at that time for him to be able to do this he had to convert.
    Also rugby would be even more confusing. Would teams get 2 points for every conversion?

  100. Rabbi L said

    The recent posts by Nachman and A Beitz are outrageous. As a Rabbinical colleague of mine suggested previously a little more G-d fearing would do you two a lot of good.
    Incidentally, are you aware that the Israeli football team had a bad result when they played England recently in London. Has it occurred to you that if they had played after Shabbat they might have done better?
    I would suggest that we need to show more respect to our Rabbis and our Jewish traditions rather than pour scorn on the traditions that keep us Jewish.

  101. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Delighted to be in your company, Rabbi L. I could think of a thousand reasons why the Israeli team may have played better after shabbat but I infer from your post that you suspect some interference from above. If that is so, then we should analyse all events where there may have been such interference. Let us start with the one major event that is still a part of living memory for a few of our elderly,the Shoah. What exactly was God up to? What was the lesson? Was God deaf, did he not hear the pleas of the six million. How would you have answered my beloved friend, the late Ben Avraham, who maintained that there was a God but he died at Auschwitz?

    In your last sentence you make some sense. You talk of the traditions that keep us Jewish. You are absolutely right and it is those same traditions that keep our Rabbis Jewish, not the other way round.

  102. A Beitz said

    What is outrageous in what Nachum and I have said, Rabbi? A gentle dig at some of the more unfortunate ways that the religious authorities operate in the UK. Do you think it is satisfactory having a number of supervisory bodies many of whom rubbish each others cheshers? When Manchester won’t accept London’s and vice versa? When some people who make their living in Glasgow as religious leaders use a Manchester caterer?
    An orthodox rabbi once said to me that kashrut supervision had been described to him as 5% religion and 95% money. He told me he felt the religious part had been overstated.

  103. Ex Glasgow Community Member said

    As someone that knows the founders of this site i applaud their hard work and dedication in dragging the Glasgow Jewish community out of the dark ages. For too long, people with similar attitudes to ‘communal macher’ have created more problems than done good.

    Keep up the good work and if other community organisations feel threatened by your well planned agenda, its only due to you achieving something they couldn’t.

  104. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I sympathise with Ex Glasgow Community Member’s sentiments. However, it is wishful thinking to suggest that the community has been dragged out of the dark ages. It has been split in two. There are those who have always been in the dark ages, many of them machers. They are the troglodytes who have dragged this community down and who will not,in fact cannot, change. They are trapped in the darkness of their caves and but for the damage they have inflicted on a once vibrant and exciting community, one would pity them.
    Then there are those who have had the frustration of watching the antics of these cave dwellers who over the years have indulged themselves at the communities expense, an indulgence for which they have never been called to account. Now the party’s over. It is the dawning of a new age and those who were sidelined and silent have been gifted the most powerful of weapons -free speech.

  105. Moshe said

    Nachman and Beitzy enjoy free speech and are happy to sit in the sidelines whilst retaining their anonimity. It appears a very comfortable existing pontificating and provoking discussion on all the ills within our community and beyond.

    Why don’t they do something more productive and look to unify, enlighten and engage from within as opposed to sling arrows from the sideline? I suspect they could be a force for much greater good than division if they channelled their energies more productively, dont you?

  106. Emet said

    Nachman and Beitzy are engaging by being here-you can’t deal with the ills unless you first have acceptance by all that they exist.First stage therefore has to be the process of identifying the ills-you may call it slinging arrows ,I call it getting real-and only those who are wilfully blind to the faults within our community could possibly take offence ,and in which case it is of no real relevance as they bring that offence upon themselves.
    Thank you .

  107. A Beitz said

    Moshe, how do you know we sit on the sidelines in any event? For all you know we could involved in a substantial number of communal organisations. It doesn’t mean that we may not have criticisms. In any event, quite apart from your supposition, it is perfectly legitimate to criticise without involvement. Some people for example may well see their lives as perfectly rich without attending Rep Council meetings. They may consider that weekends spent at the Board Of Deputies do little to add to their sense of spiritual wellbeing. They may consider, less selfishly, that these organisations (and I am only giving examples) do nothing to improve the wellbeing of mankind in general or their fellow Jews in particular. It doesn’t mean that their criticisms are not legitimate.

  108. LT said

    Whether GJEF like it or not there are very important people in this community who should be reserved front row seats for the visit of Mr Salmond.
    I hope that GJEF have invited our communal leaders to this event. I applaud GJEF for arranging this but now leave it to those who represent this community to make sure the correct community image is put across.
    I know of several people who have already reserved tickets for this lecture. GJEF have a responsibility to ensure that those who should be invited have the opportunity to attend.

  109. Rabbi L said

    In response to A Beitz – number 102 – proclaiming that Kashrut had been described as 5% religion , 95% money”
    I am very upset indeed. He is wrong.
    Please read the following website…

    Can I ask you all to read the Shemitta update and respect the commandment.

    Shabbat Shalom

    Shabbat Shalom

  110. Lokshen Horror said

    I’m also upset, Rabbi L. I checked the website and found no Glasgow restaurant licensed. Is that significant? Furthermore, my favourite London restaurant mentioned on the list recently burnt down. You implied in #100 that there was a relationship between physical events down here on earth and the will of the almighty. Do you think the almighty has a grudge against kosher restaurants?

  111. Ex Glasgow Community Member said

    #108 thats the problem! There are not ‘very important people in this community! For years its been the case that certain people believe they are important when they are not – big difference! Alex Salmond is speaking under the GJEF banner, therefore as far as he’s concerned the people that run this organisation are leaders of the community. I’m sure by having had the vision and capability in attracting Alex Salmond in the first place, the organisers will have no problem ensuring the correct ‘community image’ (whatever that means)

  112. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I was bemused to note in the good Rabbi’s Hacken-Blog this morning his sojourn into the realm of genetics. He says, “we have to ensure that the goodness imbued in our genes from our forefather Abraham of carrying out acts of loving kindness and sharing what we have with others does not disappear”. As the number of genes passed on is halved in every generation, after five generations there is little recognisable left and after twenty there is nothing. That is, on average after 500 years there is no relationship whatsoever. And you claim some sort of genetic link to Abraham after how many millenium? The problem my dear Rabbi is that you are mixing science with religion, that which has been proved in a logical manner with that which has been taken on trust.

  113. Moshe said

    re #107 – Your missing the point Beitzy. Constructive criticism is perfectly reasonable. However, the constant sniping against the establishment and targetted religious bodies, whilst retaining anonimity behind your keyboard is another matter. Would it not be much better to promote dialogue and better understanding at least within the commmunity rather than continuing with the ongoing arguments about who is doing what and who is not.

    It always seems good to talk to different faith groups about areas of common concern/interest. Perhaps having a GJEF discussion to promote harmony across our community and mutual understanding with the rep council, board of deputies, rabbinate and the like may be another good step forward for us all.

  114. emet said

    Moshe-good idea -can we start with the orthodox clergy at least being prepared to say good morning to their reform counterpart or is that too much to ask……..
    Maybe they could share a platform at a gjef event with the reform and we could as you say witness the promotion of greater harmony within the community……. or of course they can continue to spout their two faced nonsense about acts of kindness/sharing what they have with others .
    Do you know them well enought to ask any of them if they would take part in such an event-under the auspices of gjef or any other communal group ? I’d support such an event.

  115. A Beitz said

    #109. Rabbi, I am afraid you misquoted me. The point was not about kashrut itself but about one of the things it has spawned, namely kashrut supervision. I have every respect for those who observe kashrut and my friend, the rabbi, is very strict about it. However the proliferation of cheshers and the hillul hashem caused by the regular rubbishing of each other by the various supervisory bodies is a disgrace.
    Moshe it would very easy for the Board Of Deputies, Rep Council etc to speak to GJEF. Apart from the new fangled device called a phone they could attend their meetings instead of engaging in a boycott. Indeed one can see parallels in many ways between certain communal bodies treatment of GJEF and the Israeli treatment of Hamas in the Gaza strip eg boycott, starve of finance etc. The difference however is that GJEF are not a constitutionally anti semitic, reactionary organisation and are prepared to accept the right of the rabbonim (Reform and Orthodox), the Rep Council and the BOD to exist.

  116. A Beitz said

    Moshe , just thought I’d add a little more. Your idea of a meeting promoted by GJEF to promote harmony and mutual understanding across our community is an excellent one. However it’s been tried. GJEF had a meeting to which many communal organisations were invited. It was labelled a balloon debate. Fair play to WIZO, UJIA, The Youth Council, JLGB,The Reform Shul,Calderwood Lodge, and The Archives who all attended. However the Rep Council and various shuls refused to do so. The meeting was clearly stated as being an opportunity to explain what these organisations do and where they see themselves as being in 10 years time and was generally considered to have been a very successful unifying evening. In fairness the Board Of Deputies were not invited but following upon GJEF’s experience with Dr Edlin of that body earlier an acceptance would have meant nothing since it might have been withdrawn on spurious grounds a few days later.

  117. PS said

    I’m with Mr Beitz. Seems to be this guy Moshe is at it. He rebukes others for annonymity but thinks it is fine for him.

    One of the problems in this community is people advocating unity before any other value. So when people behave badly or inappropriately we are meant to keep quiet and discuss it behind close doors in case we give the impression we are not united.

    Unity without decent values is a waste of time.
    I’m all for harmony but what kind of harmony is Moshe talking about? Is it a harmony that respects different opinions but stimulates discussion and leads by example advocating universal values or is it a harmony whereby the establishment closes ranks and treats anyone who disagrees or shows independent thought or action as pariahs.

    I recall Representative Council meetings over the years on various subjects. Presidents, Hon Presidents, Executive members closed down debate whenever the discussion caused them discomfort. If they did not approve they vetoed discussion and stifled debate – and far too many of them concurred and thought this was acceptable.
    Well it wasn’t then – and it isn’t now. These people as others have recently said gave themselves an importance and power base they never would have got on merit. And as others have said the rules have now changed.

    And the community will be much healthier for this change. And despite the criticism the blog has helped bring about this change.
    Now when Rabbis stand up and give daft opinions in a sermon it can be challenged and when Rep Council Presidents and their executives write daft letters telling the community that they are good at what they do – it can be properly discussed

    They no longer control events – they no longer have the communal veto – they are no more important than the rest of us.

    Maybe Glasgow will be the catalyst for other communities to do the same.

  118. PPS said

    I think Moshe is spot on here. PS and Beitzy want to continue to snipe at the establishment, rabbonim and anyone else they disagree with. This idealogical jihad has to stop so we can at least have a sensible dialogue amongst ourselves. Nobody says we all have to agree. Sometimes though its good to talk and maybe we can all have a better understanding. GJEF would get all the credit they are due if they promote this as opposed to perpuate division

  119. Avrum said

    Please enlighten us what you want to have a discussion about?
    There was a balloon debate wasn’t there – which gave organisations the chance to talk?
    What meetings have GJEF held that have perpetuated division? As far as I am aware the answer is none

  120. Orchard Drive said

    What are you saying PPS? We are to have a cosy chat among ourselves where disagreement is permitted but only in camera? Glasgow has been over endowed with such organisations in the past. Due to GJEF, these organisations are about to be consigned to the history books. The world has moved on, so come on PPs, get real.

  121. PPS said

    What is obvious Orchard Drive, is that all this type rhetoric about consigning other organisations is the problem you are creating. If you think that is helpful then you in fact represent our problem better than most

  122. PS said

    PPS, please stop talking in code and tell us exactly what kind of meeting you are proposing and what is to be discussed.
    Simple question so please provide a simple answer.

  123. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Let me make myself quite clear to Moshe, PPS et al. I am not sniping at rabbis, Rep council members, the establishment and other communal worthies from the sidelines, I am criticising that very community of which I am a part, which has a profound influence on me and on my family. This is the community with which I identify and have always identified and I take exception to your suggestion that I cede my inherent right of freedom of speech.
    Furthermore, I take even greater exception that you should suggest that I or others necessarily speak from the sidelines.
    You have no idea of my previous involvement or for that matter, lack of involvement in community matters. You have no knowledge of whether my thoughts have been or have not been shared with the ‘establishment’. You only know what you yourself think and through this medium, perhaps a very little of what I and others think. Therefore when you make subjective assessments of our relative positions within the community, you do so lacking the knowlege to make such judgements.

    A charge is that through this medium the public know what I think but not who I am. You would have us in committee, whereby the public would know who I am but what I think would be an internal private affair. At present, I choose the former option as being the more open and honest .

  124. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Now may I get on with a little bit of sniping. Some of you may have noted that war has broken out between the Manchester Beth Din and a former Dayan who has set up his own very successful kashrut operation. The new venture has resulted in cheaper kosher food at those establishments under the new arrangement. The MBD claim that they are having to raise vast sums of money to cover the shortfall and hence the costs of the mikvah which is funded by kashrut.
    It may be that the mikvah is essential within the Jewish community and if so it should be funded by donation or subscription. However it is done, it should be open and completely transparent. The burial society isn’t funded through kashrut, nor are the shuls, nor many other essentials to Jewish life. When I choke over the price of my Friday night chicken soup and kreplach, I wonder exactly what else I am funding and how many young people are forced to eat non-kosher as a result.

  125. avram said

    Nachman, nobody suggested that you cede any inherent rights. The only point made was that destructive sniping is unhelpful. You seem to enjoy perpetuating it more than most. That is a great pity. I am sure you have much more to offer us all than that.

  126. npn said

    #124-you touch on something that has bothered me for a long time-when it comes to Kosher food …what do the poor folk do !!!!!!!!!The cost of meat and poultry is prohibitive. About four years ago I ordered two frozen whole ducks…£56! It still annoys me.
    It is not just in the uk-in france its just as expensive although much better value in terms of choice and quality-but still not cheap.
    My old man and I had a regular shabbos discussion around the table-we calculated how many “empire” kosher chickens were being consumed in the uk on a typical friday night ,multiplied the cost up and realised that the gross turnover of chicken alone just 52 days a year ran into millions !So where does the money go -the producers claim low margins and blame the Rabbis and the Rabbis claim they don’t make any profit etc etc.
    Someone is driving a Bentley with a large “K” stamped on the bonnet.

    You know what-one shabbos we should all buy an extra chicken and get it delivered to someone who otherwise could not buy one.It could be the great GJEF KOSHER GIVEAWAY DAY ! Jewish Care could help find donees.
    Maybe the rabbonim could assist by encouraging their punters to join in-it could become an annual ,even national event , and the manufacturers of the chickens could be asked to donate their extra profit to the cause-what do you think ?

  127. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Having had 24 hours to reflect on the Kashrut war, another enigma surfaces. As I am purchasing mostly Manchester meat I am obviously contributing towards the Manchester mikvah. Now let me be quite honest, I have no more desire to contribute towards the Manchester Mikvah than I have to fund the Sharm El Sheikh Scuba Diving Club. But if I should be insane enough to fund a Mikvah, then reluctantly it must be the Glasgow Mikvah. The question now arises, how is Giffnock shul’s mikvah funded? Is it a charge on the members’ subscriptions or is it skimmed off from the Kashrut fees for weddings and Barmitzvahs catered in Glasgow? However it is done, transparency should be paramount for many people may be unknowingly supporting not one but two mikvahs (mikvot?) and should they wander down Golders Green Road and stop for a bite of lunch, guess what, they are funding three mikvahs.

  128. A Beitz said

    I like NPN’s idea. I’ll buy a chicken for someone if he can get it going. Anyone from Jewish Care and Cosgrove reading this? How many clients could use the gift of a chicken? Maybe we could work something with Doreen Cohen so that the chickens come already cooked.
    On a less important note whatever happened to Empire? They were quite reasonably priced from what I recall standing the way they were presented for easy cooking. Bring it back I say.

  129. Al Chet said

    Beitzie, how come you posted at 11.27pm when it is only 11.08 just now?

  130. A Beitz said

    Seems to be that the times shown on this site take no account of the time change.
    Meantime it took only about 100 posts for us to move from Salmond to chicken.

  131. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    NPN #124. You ordered two whole ducks and what do you want? You want us to feel sorry for you? £56 it cost you, well you could have saved £28 immediately by ordering one duck. You could have saved another £28 by ordering no ducks. It may surprise you that there’s a whole world out there who don’t know what kosher duck tastes like and if people like you carry on cornering the duck market, they will never know. I’m not surprised you don’t know what poor folk do, anyone with a freezer full of dead ducks couldn’t possibly take a rational view of the privation and hardship some of us suffer.

  132. SNP watcher said

    I understand that tickets for Alex Salmond are going quickly. Would someone like to tell us how we can get hold of them because I want to go and so will some of my family and friends.
    Will we be able to buy tickets on the night?

  133. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    #131 should begin NPN #126

  134. Arthur Flegenheimer said

    I went into a Manchester kosher butcher’s a few weeks ago and asked to personally examine a duck allegedly for sale at £28. I raised it up by the legs and sniffed it all over for a bit, and then I informed the butcher ‘This duck stinks’.

    He replied ‘Nu, could you pass a test like that, chochem?’

    I was very upset and I didn’t begin to feel better until I’d keyed the side of his Bentley.

  135. npn said

    Nachman-I suspect fowl play.

  136. npn said

    My wife advises that I shall be ridiculed if I tell you about the price of the Kosher foie gras I buy in France so Nachman just pretend I didn’t tell you.

  137. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    I hope you have all had a good week and are looking forward to Shabbat.

    I have enjoyed the blog this week and I have the following observations to share with you.

    Those of you who condemn the behaviour of Rabbis who do not behave properly in relation to administering the laws of Kashrut may have a valid point. But we should remember not to condemn all Rabbis and even more importantly we should not decry the Jewish laws of eating Kosher because of the incorrect behaviour of a minority.

    I am sure you will all agree that in life we have good doctors and not so good doctors. We have good lawyers and lawyers who are not so good. Similarily with Rabbonim. Unfortunately, not all Rabbis behave as they should and this disappoints me greatly.

    It was interesting to read someone requesting that we give waay a chicken for charity. Judaism believes that charity is very important.We believe that the mitzvah of Tzedakah is a vital tenet of Judaism. According to Rambam to give anonymously is very important and many of our sages believe that to help someone find employment is the highest form of Tzedakah.

    I would suggest that we can all benefit from reading Maimonides’ eight levels of Tzedakah.

    A Rabbinical colleague of mine who worked in Eastern Europe used to organise for the Jewish Community to help run food kitchens for the hungry and needy in the centre of the town where he worked and I only wish more of us would give of ourselves in this way to help those not fortunate.

    I will finish with a little saying that I always believe has great meaning.
    ” Give a man a fish and he will eat one meal. Teach a man to fish and he will always have food.”

    Shabbat Shalom.

  138. A Beitz said

    Rabbi, I agree with the ethic behind your saying. However some of the poorest members of the community are not capable of work due to age or infirmity. Cosgrove do a great job in finding work for some members of our community who might otherwise have great difficulty in obtaining employment. There are others however who unfortunately will never be able to fish or whose fishing days are at an end. They could use a cooked chicken.
    Incidentally I have some doubts as to how foie gras can ever be kosher bearing in mind what the animals go through to produce it with unaturally enlarged livers. Since at least part of kashrut is kindness to animals it is difficult to see how how kosher foie gras is not a contradiction in terms.

  139. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Many years ago my darling wife (who insists on anonymity) and I were strolling down Dizengoff in Tel Aviv. It was a strange and eerie time, Shabbat had concluded maybe 20 minutes ago and there was darkness and silence. It appeared that Mrs. Aaronovitch and I had TA if not the world to ourselves. This was a major city and yet it had all the signs of a nuclear winter. Not only was it silent and dark but we were hungry, in fact starving, and looking for our favourite restaurant. In those days, strange as it may seem, kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv were few and far between. We walked north towards Old Tel Aviv, heading in the direction of the ‘New York’ restaurant. It occupied a large corner site; for many years the spacious sidewalk had been appropriated by the restaurateurs, cordoned off and utilised to the advantage of the owners and their clientele. At this juncture may I caution younger readers from seeking it out, it has gone the way of all prime real estate, having morphed into a high rise block of luxury apartments.

    Suddenly all hell broke loose. There was the earth shattering clash of hundreds of metal shutters being thrust open in unison as a city’s merchants declared themselves back in business. In tandem as if from nowhere a thousand motor vehicles appeared on the streets. Headlights were flashing and horns hooting the end of Shabbat. It could only have been prearranged; the traffic was immediately gridlocked in typical Israeli style too quickly to have been by accident. In contrast to minutes ago, the city was now alive and vibrant; the Jewish state was jumping and back in business.

    As Mrs A and I approached the corner of Dizengoff and Nordau, the restaurant lights flashed on and we slipped under the rope to take a choice table on the sidewalk where we could dine and watch the Jewish world walk by. Ah, it was agony and ecstasy, a menu of many pages, so many delicacies, so many old favourites, so many new possibilities and all available, all Kosher. I have never determined what is more difficult, the dearth of choice from a non-kosher menu where nothing is acceptable or to salivate over and make difficult if not impossible choices from a kosher one where everything is acceptable. After much soul searching and justified indecision and vacillation I decided on chopped liver, chicken soup and kreplach, and roast duck and fries. I ordered a passport to paradise, a paradise where weight and cholesterol considerations were banished. Those were halcyon days – and duck – I had dreamt of the day I would eat duck like others fantasised over lottery windfalls. Yes NPN, I told you a porky pie, I did indeed once have duck and that was the occasion which I now gladly share with you.

    I truthfully don’t remember whether the early courses were that wonderful, maybe Egon Ronay would have choked over the meal. I do remember it was an occasion, it was a balmy night and a bottle of wine had instilled a sense of relaxation and peace with the world. The duck, ah yes, I remember it well. It was like nectar, succulent and tasty, it was all I could have ever desired. My taste buds were treated to an orgasmic delight, this wasn’t food, this wasn’t mere sustenance, this ..this was the very heaven.

    It took courage and strength and will power that few men can claim. I wanted the experience to last forever. I never wanted to forget the ambrosial effect of those succulent juices. I stopped eating with half the duck untouched. I rested back savouring the other half to come. I lit a cigarette, in those days I was younger and feared nothing, not even the statistics on the back of a cigarette packet. Now I was even more relaxed. The world took on a purple hue. It’s fascinating watching how it changes shape and colour when seen through rising smoke. Slightly soporific, I watched with interest and amusement as an aged and bent bag lady ambled along the street in our direction. As she neared she opened an old worn black bag and retrieved a paper handkerchief. She spread the paper out on her right hand. I watched this all as if in slow motion and as she drew level with our table she stretched her left hand over the rope, lifted my beloved duck off the plate, onto the paper and into her bag. This was the smartest bit of legerdemain I have ever witnessed and before I could comprehend that a crime had occurred she and my duck had ambled off into Saturday night crowd. I was in total shock. I stared at Mrs A and she at me, both opened mouthed and stunned. It was a long time before I recovered enough to ask Mrs. A. “Have I imagined it, or have just lost my duck”.

    I never reported the crime. I have never had duck since.

  140. NLL said

    Not sure what I think about the ethics and/or kashrut of foie gras. Last week I was listening to a radio debate on wither the sale of foie gras should be banned in this country – apparently the production already is. A man spoke about ethical production, which sounded a bit like the production of free range eggs, where the birds roamed free and were killed at a time when their livers were naturally enlarged. Apparently the price is already so high these methods do not significantly increase the cost.

    On another note, I do like the idea of contributing to the additional price of kosher food for those who struggle to meet the cost. As our care organisations move with the times and are supporting people to live in the community, rather than the previous, more institutional settings where food was provided, this has become a very real issue. People who receive state benefits, which in my opinion, are wholly inadequate at the best of times are less likely to choose expensive kosher food when they have to balance this with paying their fuel bills. Maybe someone could set up a special fund and ask Jewish Care to administer it? Unfortunately the idea of purchasing an extra chicken with your meat order may be a good way to catch peoples attention, but it’s not very practical and the distribution would not help preserve peoples dignity & independence.

  141. A Beitz said

    NA if it’s not bringing back too many painful memories I had a not disimilar experience some years ago in my student days. I was enjoying a small libation in a public house in Aberdeen with some friends when some kids came in wheeling a guy (it was Guy Fawkes time). As was our wont we had some monies sitting on the table which had been provided by those I was with (and myself) towards further refreshments. These urchins went by our table and suddenly one of them lifted the dosh and made off into the winter night.
    Fortunately I have not undergone the same PTSD as NA and therefore have managed to frequent the odd pub since then albeit steering well clear of Aberdeen.

  142. Issy said

    I have no tales of my past that I wish to share with you all.
    My point is this. I note in this week’s JC that the Chief Rabbi has received criticism from several quarters for his recent book – “The Home, We Build Together”, in which he states that multiculturism has run its course.
    As Geoffrey Alderman wrote in his column, Sir Jonathan writes critically of ” ethnic minorities..whose home and heart is elsewhere”. So where does that leave his support for Israel?
    Edie Friedman who recently visited the Jewish Community in Glasgow wrote in a letter to this week’s JC –
    ” we take issue with the sensationalist approach the Chief Rabbi takes to multiculturalism. His comments fail to recognise the complexity of the issue, and so reinforce the notion that multiculturalism is to be blamed for many (if not most) of society’s ills.
    For many people multiculturalism is a positive force.”
    I think the Chief Rabbi has got it badly wrong. Do you agree?

  143. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I don’t know whether The Chief Rabbi got it right or wrong. I don’t even know if the Chief Rabbi knows whether he got it right or wrong. When, a few years ago, he brought out his book ” The Dignity of Difference” like so many I rushed out and bought it. I hadn’t even had the time to read his book when I discovered that he had been persuaded to change his mind and a new edition was being released. I think this time I will reserve judgement until I find out if Sir Jonathan agrees with the Chief Rabbi.

  144. A Beitz said

    I understand Tony Lehrman is speaking in Glasgow next Sunday to GJEF on antisemitism. It is fair to say that his views are not entirely following the Board of Deputies etc party line and he has criticised groups for over stating the amount of anti semitism in this country. Having said that it is also interesting to note the Parliamentary group who looked at anti semitism were shocked by the extent they found it existing.
    Tony is a (yet another) former member of Habonim who lived in Glasgow for some time. What he has to say may be controversial but will certainly be interesting. The meeting poignantly coincides with Nov 11th which is of course Remembrance Day.
    Don’t miss him.

  145. Rabbi L said

    Shalom chaverim,
    I hope you have all had a good week and are looking forward to Shabbat.

    This week I would like to consider a subject that someone raised with me in Shul recently.

    What does it mean to be Jewish? Is there more to being Jewish than following the laws of Judaism or is there something more to it than that.?

    Do we not make choices every day of our lives about how Jewish we wish to be?

    Recently on this forum there has been a discussion about the laws and customs of keeping Kosher which to me as a Rabbi is a fundamental part of being Jewish. But it is obvious that many people who consider themselves to be Jewish do not think that this is so important.

    As I thought about this subject I happened to come across an excellent book that looked at what it means to be Jewish. This book was inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl who was brutally murdered in Pakistan. Many Jews were touched by his last words affirming his Jewish identity – ” I am Jewish”

    I thought this was a very interesting book and I would recommend it to all of you.

    In this book The Chief Rabbi wrote a wonderful piece which I would like to share with you –

    ” I am a Jew because, being a child of my people, I have heard the call to add my chapter to its unfinished story. I am a stage on its journey, a connecting link between the generations.”

    ” I am a Jew because I am the moral heir of those who stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and pleadged themselves to live by these truths, becoming a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. I am the descendant of countless generations of ancestors who, though sorely tested and bitterly tried, remained faithful to that covenant when they might so easily have defected”.

    I have taken just two small paragraphs from the piece by Rabbi Sacks about what it means to him to be a Jew.

    I would like you all to think over Shabbat what it means to you to be a Jew.

    And perhaps in the coming week – G-d willing – we can all discuss it.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  146. Issy said

    Did anyone read the column in the Jewish Telegraph written by Rabbi Hackenbroch?
    Is it any wonder our Shuls are empty and more and more young people won’t go when those who should be encouaging them are so caught up with such trivia.
    For those of you lucky enough to have missed the Rabbi’s weekly written blog he’s agonising over such crucial issues as whether it is permissable in Jewish law to to accidentally touch the hand of a waitress in a resteraunt when giving a ip or ithe hand of a check out girl in a supermarket when receiving your change.

    These really are crucial issues aren’t they Rabbi Hackenbroch? They will make a fundamental difference to the lives of our community?

    I think not Rabbi Hackenbroch. If you have nothing better to write about can I politely suggest that you don’t bother.

  147. emet said

    Issy-lighten up-what do you want ,a weekly thesis ?
    Its a light hearted article-that’s all.

  148. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I think you’re wrong, Emet. I for one do want a weekly thesis. I am sure there is much a learned rabbi could say that would be interesting, thought provoking and even contentious. It is a privilege to have weekly access to a column and the privilege has to be used with care, not abused. If the purpose of the column was for amusement rather than learning then I could name many a comedian who would do a better job than the good Rabbi. I could even go back over this blog and suggest a few names. If he is prepared to go on the back page of a tabloid, then he has to be prepared to answer to his readers. That particular article was nonsense!

  149. Arthur Flegenheimer said

    As I discreetly emerged with a snappy young waitress from a tryst in a broom cupboard at a well known Kosher restaurant in London once, a Rabbi came over to us and said ‘Watch it, that can lead to tipping’.

  150. A Beitz said

    And then there was one about the newly married couple who decide in advance of the nuptials to seek advice from their local rabbi about sex.
    “Rabbi is it permissable for the man to lie on top of the woman?”


    “What about the woman on top of the man?”

    “Sex is a gift from Hashem. You should do that if it gives you pleasure”

    “What about from behind?”

    “If that’s what you want then yes”

    “What about standing up?”

    “Certainly not. Might lead to dancing.”

  151. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    I trust that you have all had a good week and that G-d willing we will all have an enjoyable and peaceful Shabbat.

    I am just about to board a night flight to Tel Aviv to visit friends and family living in Israel. As I look forward to a few days rest I would like to ask you to think about what you think makes someone a good Jew.

    Of course many of our Rabbis would tell us that observance of Jewish laws and traditions are fundamentally important and that it is impossible to be a good Jew without adhering to Halacha.

    But there must be other criteria others would argue. What about Tzedakah – giving to charity. Is that not just as important? Or being a good neighbour or a good friend to someone in need? Or being a good person through kind acts and consideration?

    Those who argue on these lines will tell us that there are unfortunately some Jews who adhere to religious laws and follow the laws of Torah who are not good people.

    Those who support the idea that a good Jew must follow Halacha would argue that if one really lives their life according to Halacha then they would not behave badly.

    I think that as a Rabbi I have to explain to my congregation that whilst I will always encourage them to keep as much as possible – their obligations as human beings to other human beings are of as much importance.

    If they are good people they will also be good Jews – but by following the laws of our forefathers, Abraham Isaac and Jacob – that does not entitle them or give them an excuse to behave badly towards other Jews or non Jews.

    It is sad and unacceptable that they do not truly understand out Torah, Talmud and Midrash.

    Shabbat Shalom
    Rabbi L

  152. A Beitz said

    Rabbi L I think what you have to say is in keeping with my own philosophy. If I may be so bold to take issue with you on one point however which is probably semantic is it not the case that if people do follow the laws of our forefathers they will behave as good human beings? The difficulty however is that many seem selective in their observance by maintaining the ritual observance and those which involve praying to God but when it comes to the laws regarding how they should behave to their fellow man for some reason these are seen as less important or even optional.
    I hope you have a good trip to Israel, Rabbi but can I tell you that Israel’s victory over Russia meaning England are off the hook has led to massive increase in anti semitism……………………………………………………………………………..and that’s just in my family.

  153. Jeffrey said

    As we are discussing football Beitz interesting that we know what team Rep Council vice-President Eddie Isaacs supports from Friday’s Jewish Telegraph.
    So very sad that we have no idea what he thinks about important issues that concern our community!

  154. A Beitz said

    Another issue which I would raise relates to the fact that Lubavitch under the auspices of Rabbi Mendel Jacobs arranged an outing to Laser Quest last Sunday night.
    To my knowledge Sunday evening has always been the period when some of the youth groups meet. There was no liason with with the leaders of these groups who do a great unsung job. Instead he clashed with their meetings meaning these groups meetings were diminished and that charitable money was spent upon having an event for youth at the very time there were already activities for them.
    So, Rabbi Jacobs. Is your knowledge of the community so minimal that you didn’t know you were clashing with long established planned and funded activities that night? Or did you just not care?

  155. Footie Fan said

    Here in England there has been an upsurge in philosemitism,with lots of English fans adopting Israel as their second team and buying up Israeli shirts. Best thing for Israel’s image since Entebbe. Shame about the Scotland result. We were all rooting for you.

  156. not another macher said

    re Beitzies point – a little bird tells me Lubby are planning to do it again by having an event on the evening of 9th Dec. It’s so divisive – the youth groups are run by people, just finding their way as young adults in the Jewish Community and preparing to step out into the wider community. They are not employed by the Movements, but give their time freely. They don’t have much money behind them, but have dedication and a belief in passing on Jewish values through their particular Movements ethos. They CAN NOT compete with the heavily subsidised, big showy events Lubavitch are staging – and they shouldn’t have to. This is going to turn off a whole generation of Youth Leaders, who spend hours writing educational programmes and planning fun sessions. If it is allowed to continue it will decimate the structure that enables these groups to keep going – just! They are finding it hard enough to capture the imagination of today’s sophisticated teenagers within Glasgow’s ever diminishing numbers.

    Come on Rabbis Mendal & Chaim – if you want to run events that are helpful in enabling this Community to survive and flourish – please do not set up in competition to existing groups. there are other age groups who are not so well served and times of the week.

  157. Footie Fan said

    Agree wholeheartedly with Not Another Macher. They shouldn’t undercut our youth leaders.

  158. Al Chet said

    I think you are all being unfair to Lubavitch in Glasgow. After all they have a business to run and cannot be expected to to suffer at the hands of a few indolent school kids.

  159. Footie Fan said

    nooooo. lubavitch is no good at all

  160. Man in the Know said

    Those who are criticising Lubavitch are absolutely right. But one of the problems in our community is that too many people wear too many hats and then do not do the right thing because of a conflict of interest.

    If those that fund Lubavitch told them that their practise of running competing events should stop or they will not receive any more money then Rabbis Chaim and Mendel wouldn’t do it anymore. But in all probability they won’t say a word and will just turn a blind eye.


    Because too many of our communal leaders are more interested in having a place at the table and convincing each other that they are all important than actually doing the right thing. It is easier to give Chaim and Mendel a fiver and then claim you fund Jewish education.

    In case any of you don’t follow my argument let me spell it out. Organisations like the Community Trust are entitled to give money to whatever causes they want to. It is a private trust and that is their right.

    But it is the community’s right to question whether it is all done for the benefit of our community or whether it is sometimes a mechanism to reinforce their own beliefs and prejudices and enhance their influence and power base.

    The community trust has done some exceptional things for our community but they are not always right and in fact they often get it wrong.

    Once upon a time The President of the Rep Council was asked to sit on the Trust during their term of office supposedly to advise the trustees about communal matters. Now the Trust has half a dozen of these past Presidents slouched around the table and that is not likely to result in good decisions or sensible outcomes.

    Other members of the Trust have got there because they have a lot of money. Good luck to them if that turns them on and hopefully they will get more right than wrong.

    Maybe it would help if the community knew who the trustees were and an annual report was given that detailed who were the lucky recipients of their benevolence?

    They will probably retort that is none of our business. But when organisations like Lubavitch are able to get away with the behaviour that some previous bloggers have described then maybe they should have to justify it.

  161. Al Chet said

    I think I understand what you are saying. However, what is the legal position of Charitable Trusts. Do they have to minute their activities? Do they have to produce certified accounts availlable to the general public and how does one go about obtaining copies.

  162. reformer frumer said

    Having a cheap shot at the community trust is not reasonable ; when GRS (then the GNS) approach the CT for assistance to refurb etc ,a financial package was agreed .That was a splendid gesture that brought some all to often rare orthodox /reform unity.
    Barooch Hashem for the CT.

  163. A Beitz said

    Reformer Frumer, I don’t see your views and the views of MITK as being so far part apart. He says
    “The community trust has done some exceptional things for our community but they are not always right and in fact they often get it wrong.”
    You give an instance where they did something exceptional but it is not good for the community that the private trust has so many innately conservative former rep council placemen (are there any women on it?) sitting.
    However let’s not lose sight of the subject of our ire. Lubavitch are pissing charitable monies away in creating competition on a Sunday night for youth when there is no need for such competition and they are diminishing the work of the existing groups.
    To those who fund Lubavitch, Glasgow I would suggest they stop henceforth unless words and actions are forthcoming to satisfy the donors that this completely unecessary duplication of resources will cease once and for all.

  164. Man in the Know said

    Reformer Frumer – I am not having a cheap shot at anyone. Because your synagogue received a generous donation from the Community Trust doesn’t make them perfect.
    Can you not see beyond your own personal interests?

    It seems to me you might be another community macher trying to wear too many hats.

    Life, you will find becomes so much simpler, if you just try and do the right thing and and not worry which group you happen to be representing today, tomorrow, or yesterday.

    That is exactly why so many poor decisions are made by our so called community leaders. They forget which hats they are wearing on which days. Many of us know that Lubavitch have been doing these things for years and the people that fund them know it as well. But the usual response is – ” it’s not quite as simple as that”

    It is actually very simple. Tell them to stop it now or they will not be funded. What’s complicated about that?

  165. not another macher said

    It should that easy, but it seems the Youth Leaders feel intimated – I think the adults may need to step in on their behalf.

  166. Arthur Flegenheimer said

    Intimidation, eh?
    I hope Ferris isnae intae this wan.

  167. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    I trust that you have all had a good week. I have just spent a wonderful few days in Jerusalem and I return spiritually uplifted and looking forward to Shabbat.

    I always find that my spirits are lifted when I visit Jerusalem – the holiest city in Judaism. The Jewish bond to Jerusalem was never broken. It is the centre of our faith. In our prayers – in the Amidah – in the Benching ( Grace after meals) we consistently reinforce our attachment to Jerusalem. At Pessach we finish the Hagadah with the unforgetable words – “Leshanah Haba B’Yerushalim” – Next Year in Jerusalem.

    We pray that G-d will rebuild Jerusalem speedily in our days. Jerusalem appears in the Tanakh 669 times and Zion is mentionned 154 times.

    The Jewish bond to Jerusalem was never broken and since King David established the city as our capital it has been revered as the symbol of our people. The centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism is so great that even secular Jews express their devotion and attachment to the city.

    What did I think about when I stood praying at the Kotel two evenings ago.
    I tried to think what are my responsibilities as a Rabbi to my local community. What do they expect of me and how can I make them appreciate the beauty and joy of Judaism?

    I recalled an event that caused great upset in another community not so very long ago. The local Rabbi had decided that the local Kosher caterer was not Kosher enough for him and had brought another Glatt Kosher caterer from elsewhere to provide the meal after the Bar Mitzvah of his eldest son. Even though the local caterer was under the supervision of the local Beth Din the Rabbi said it was not good enough for him. This had caused great upset in his community and the Rabbi lost a lot of respect.

    What should he have done? Some argued that it was his decision and his right to have a level of Kashrut that he was comfortable with. Others claimed that he was insulting his community by saying that what was good for them was not good for him. And the sad reality was that the Rabbi lost a lot of influence.

    I have always tried to be part of my community and to use the local Kosher butcher and send my children to the local Jewish school. Because if I don’t how can I expect others to do so.
    And my belief is that as a Rabbi the most important part of my vocation is to encourage others to participate in Jewish practise and to have a love of Judaism and I can only do so if I am a part of my community and not standing apart from it.

    Next week I would like to develop this discussion and look at Jewish schools.

    Shabbat Shalom

  168. Observer said

    Rabbi L, I understand your deep attachment to Jerusalem. There is no reason why Jerusalem should not be the capital of Israel. But there are 140,000 people who have lived there for far longer than the vast majority of current Jewish residents. They don’t want to be under Israeli rule, and Israel doesn’t want them under Israeli rule.
    Unless pragmatic Jewish and Arab leaderships are willing to compromise on demographically realistic formal boundaries for Arab and Jewish Jerusalem, and can find an implementable formula for the Old City that all except the religious fanatics who must be marginalised on both sides, then Jerusalem will fester on, the most bigoted and divided city on earth.

  169. A Beitz said

    Jerusalem the most bigotted city on earth, Observer? Have you ever been to Ibrox?

  170. Observer said

    Beitzmaster, On reflection I accept that there are several other worthy contenders for this ‘most bigoted’ title.

    Qum, Pyongyang, Riyadh, Ibrox. Write-in candidates welcome

    Voting begins Monday 7am. Restrictions apply

  171. Herutnik said

    If the Jews cannot confirm their love for Jerusalem then it is a sad day.

    Maybe this ” peace “conference will deal with the real problem – terror – and stop harping on about settlements.

  172. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Perhaps, Herutnik, you’ll explain the importance of the settlements and how Israel has gained from her expansion since 1967.

  173. emet said

    Terrorism breeds settlers and Settlers breed terrorism ; both are a threat to the security of Israel-I have no problem with robust , even violent reaction properly targetted by the IDF against terrorists (not collective punishment of innocent with guilty)-however the settlers must also be treated with contempt-they are selfish ,facsist ,economically draining bamsticks-and the majority of Israelis have no time for them and neither do I. There isn’t a righteous man amongst them-yet the diaspora harbours a strange ,almost perverse ,notion that the settlers are the last remnants of the original pioneers-what a load of baloney-ask anyone who has worn with pride the uniform of the IDF what they think about protecting some deranged ,predominantly American , and wholly ungrateful lunatics.

    The sooner we deal with our own extreme fringe the sooner we reach an accord with our neighbours .

  174. Herutnik said

    Very interesting Emet – but not true.
    As you seem to know so much Emet, please tell us how many settlers there are?
    If you think that they are “predominantly American lunatics”
    then why do Israeli Governments not just dismiss them as irrelevant.
    I’ll tell you why. It is because much of Israeli society sympathises with the settlement movement and understands that it is now impossible to remove the settlements as part of a “peace agreement”.

    The settlers have created facts. Everyone knows that no Israeli Government can give back all of Judea and Samaria and have any chance of remaining in office.

    Shame on you Emet. Have you joined Peace Now?

  175. A Beitz said

    Herutnik, I hope you’re wrong and that the settlers have not created an irrevocable barrier to peace. If they have then what they have done is to sacrifice lives for their perverse ideology. The boundaries of Eretz Yisroel were never immuteable and it is interesting that in Israel internally many of the most hawkish are the least likely to fight and therefore do not take the consequences of their actions. Creating a fact does not mean that what the settlers have done is correct. If I come to your house, place my family there and throw you out I will have created a fact but not one which has any moral basis.
    We are all to blame however in that the settlers have been treated with kid gloves. Why are we being asked to pay for hot meals and a full school day for Israeli school children, something which should a basic in any modern civilised society, whilst monies are being lavished by the Israeli government on creating new settlements or at least expanding existing ones contrary to international agreements including Oslo? Questions should be asked before putting our hands in our pockets. Schoolkids are emotive whereas settlements would not get our support but it is obvious which the Israeli government see as a priority.
    BTW I am not a member of PN nor I believe is Emet.However that body is a Zionist group and there is no shame whatever in being a member of it.

  176. Herutnik said

    It is very obvious that Emet has ducked the question and his simplistic appraisal of the settlement movement does him / her no credit.
    No answer to the number of settlers and a deafening silence about his links with Peace Now.
    Maybe, but I doubt it, Mr Beitz will realise that the settlers are not the problem. Does he realise that almost every Israeli Government has expanded the settlements? – Labour Governments have been doing this for years. So sir, you are kidding yourself on. The settlers are here to stay and we should stop pandering to those who clainm that Arab terror will go away if the settlements are removed.
    Someone told me recently that it is dreadful that Israel are locking up Palestinians in Gaza. This is not the reality. Israel is keeping terrorism out of Israel. The Palestinians are not victims of Israeli aggression – they are victims of corrupt Palestinian and Arab leadership.
    Bibi Netanyahu said yesterday -” Palestinians were not lifting a finger to halt terror”
    Maybe Emet and Mr Beitz will take a reality check before attacking legitimate pioneers of Zionism.

  177. Observer said

    Ah, how long ago was it to the now far-ff glorious 1986 period in Zionist history when General Rafi Eitan described the non-Jewish residents of the territories, most of whom had already been forcibly transferred from their ancestral homes in 1948 and 1967, as ‘drugged roaches in a bottle’? How dare they wake up and refuse to behave exactly the way their Jewish Zionist masters expect of them?

    Rabin said that allowing the first settlements to take hold in 1975 was his ‘biggest mistake’. Labour has been deeply implicated in the settlement project from the very outset, that is true, nobody here is attempting to deny it.

    I don’t know what I’d be doing if I grew up in a refugee camp near to where my family had peacefully lived for generations before being thrown out and my home then either wilfully destroyed or given away to incoming colonials from lands far away. But I sincerely hope that I woudn’t have acted like a drugged roach in a bottle.

    The Zionist conquerors in the West Bank, the tens of thousands of religious ideologists among them at least, thought that they could impose their own nasty version of reverse Dhimmitude on the indigenous population. They were wrong. The ‘economic settlers’, those who chose to live there because as Jews they could buy a much bigger house and pice of land courtesy of huge rigged subsidies from the successive Israeli governments of the time, probably don’t don’t behave much differently from mainstream Jewish Israeli society. That is ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’.

    There are over a thousand Israelis of very varying backgrounds so far who would rather do jail time than serve the Apartheid regime in the territories. I guess that Peace Now is a dirty word for Jewish supremacists.

  178. emet said

    Herutnik-in truth I responded with a real work of art yesterday-then I scrubbed it when I came out for a moment to deal with an incoming email-I was so pissed off I couldn’t find the energy to do it all again !
    I’ll be happy to respond ,but please less of the booing and hissing and lets have a civilised debate ? Are you in agreement ?

  179. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Observer, I sympathise with much of what you say but for a couple of reservations. I recognise that you qualified your use of “reverse Dhimmitude” but I suggest it is not applicable. The concept of Dhimmini in its pure Islamic form provided for preservation of life, property, and freedom of religion and worship for all non Muslims particularly those of the Book, that is, Christians and Jews. Were I a West Bank Palestinian, I would not depend on the Israeli Government to ensure that my life and property were sacrosanct.
    Secondly, while I agree that the religious ideologists are dangerous , I maintain that they are just as dangerous to their fellow Jews as to Palestinians. They are irrational in their behaviour and an obstacle to peace and the prospect of a two state solution. As for the ‘economic settlers’ or carpetbaggers, they have their price. A similar standard of living in Israel proper and they will move. This has been verified by polls. They are beyond contempt, but for the greater good the price of repatriation may eventually be worth it.

  180. Observer said

    Nachman, I have no disagreement with your expanded comments on the two classes of settlers.

    I don’t claim that the situation of Palestinians in the territories is straight line analogous to the situation of Jews in the former Arab countries. During periods of peace, Dhimmi could expect protection, right to property and freedom of worship, while living under Islam triumphant and paying the humiliating Jizya tax. However, as in Baghdad 1941, during periods of turbulence this was not the case as far as government protected safety was concerned. I would describe the present period as one of turbulence, perhaps more closely analogous to Baghdad 1941. But as the Dhimmi system has been going on for centuries, and continues today in in its own special Iranian form, and as the West Bank form of discriminatory system is relatively new, I will back off from my previous ‘reverse Dhimmitude’ description for now.

  181. Herutnik said

    Emet – I would very much like to have a civilised debate. Maybe you will think before you sound off describing Jewish pioneers as
    ” selfish , fascist, economically draining bamsticks”

    And you also called them ” deranged ungrateful lunatics”

    Not too much civilised debate there Emet.
    So where do we begin?

  182. emet said

    Here is the simple rule-say what you want about others but don’t personally attack a fellow blogger-although you may attack his/her views.
    Now some scene setting-no I’m not a member of PN-never have been ,unlikely to ever be ; I’ve lived in Israel ie worked ,prayed ,rented flat ,and served in IDF….all many years ago now.
    I consider myself an ardent Zionist-but my vision incorporates an acceptance of reality and as such factors in inevitable truths ,all so that in fifty years time there still exists a jewish state that continues to be a light to others.
    As regards the settlers I did not include in my condemnation the economic variety-they are also worthy of a debate bit I did not refer to them in my post-I should have made that clear-but I assume in any event that you were not really meaning them either ?
    I could not say how many settlers there are now-maybe 200,000 ? Your desperate to tell me so please do but split between the economic variety and the headbangers please…(don’t be so sensitive)… we can put it in context.
    Majority Israeli opinion in my opinion from papers and other media ,from friends and family is that the settlers are an irrelevance but a highly inflammatory irrelevance at that. What purpose do they serve-they do nothing to enhance security in a physical sense and they cost a fortune .They live believing they have devine rights but seem to forget the notion of devine responsibilities. They take and give nothing back.

    In short they are not willing to consider the greater good of Eretz Israel-they prefer to idolise murderers eg Baruch Goldstein .That they are a fact doesn’t mean they are right and if Sharon saw it then why can’t you ? It is a changed landscape-warfare is no longer about barriers and numbers-yes from time to time it may be so ,but in a few years when Iran or Syria have hi tech missiles with nuclear heads do you really think that your pioneering friends will make a difference ? What might make a difference is if we can create a fragile peace for long enough to change the attitudes of the next generation on both sides so that we might avoid more war.
    Even then I suspect the chances are slim but surely we owe it to all those who have perished for Israel to do what it takes to secure a just lasting peace ?
    The settlers are an unwelcome diversion and give those who would rather reject the olive branch the excuse to doubt our own sincerity.
    Without the support of the usa and a large part of europe you will soon see Israel economically crippled and there is no doubt that if Israel doesn’t make some dramatic concessions we risk losing key support ;the fact is we are seen as the aggressor/occupier -and you and I don’t need to debate the rights or wrongs of that-we must just accept that it is a perception which hounds us whatever we do in support of Israel and as such it costs us ecomomic ,moral and political support in the corridors of world politics .

    If you think Israel can live in a bubble ignoring all that is going on around it then I can see why you don’t think the settlers are an issue but for me they are a huge issue and a huge obstacle to securing the best deal we can for the next twenty of so years.
    Leaving the Sinai was a massive emotional wrench but do you doubt the wisdom of it now ? Does the same not apply to the settlements ?

    I don’t claim that Arab terror will end if the settlers go-but that is not the point. If the Settlers go there is a huge impetus created to achieve something good-with USA dollars and proper administration just a slight increase in west bank/gaza living standards will result in a massive decrease in terrorism-eradicate poverty and you eradicate envy -eradicate envy and you foster greater understanding etc. Yes you’ll tell me about the middle class suicide bombers-but they are a recent phenomenon and sufficiently rare so as to prove

    For me it is simple- adapt to the reality of the situation and transact our peace business having regard to that reality or kid yourself on that we can continue to flex our muscles and kick ass for the next 100 years …think about it.

  183. Peace Now Member said

    Congratulations Emet. What a wonderful put down of the settlement movement and the settlers.

    I’m not bothered whether you want to tell everyone that you are unlikely to be a member of Peace Now. I have no idea why you think it is a badge of honour to make out that Peace Now is too extreme for you when it is evident from your writings that it is not. Given your views you would seem to be a supporter of compromise and as such the Peace Camp welcomes you.

  184. A Beitz said

    It is fair to say as well that the settlers have created a situation on the West Bank which has some of the characteristics of apartheid due to the fact that as well as being there imorally they also are a complete drain to defend. As a result we have the abhorrent spectacle of separate roads for Palestinians and for Israelis. As Emet has said they provide no defence against any type of long range missile. They have also in my view resulted in a wall, which would have had legitimacy had it been built on the Green Line, being used as a de facto land grab so that they and their irrelevant dangerous settlements could be protected.
    As indicated by Emet the kicking of ass can’t go on. The settlers should be told to leave and further warned that the IDF presence will be removed in say a year and they will lose Israeli protection at that time. It may even be necessary to remove them if that’s what is demanded by a Palestinian government in the context of a peace treaty.

  185. emet said

    Apologies for some poor spelling in my last post-it was late ! Some may argue that Sydney Devine is indeed heaven sent ,but I didn’t really mean to involve him !

  186. Herutnik said

    No doubt Peace Now will award honarary membership to A Beitz as well as Emet.

    I would be grateful if they will explain why almost every Israeli Government have supported the building and expansion of settlements.

    Emet and Beitz refer to the settlers as pariahs and a drain on Israeli society but we all know that Israeli Governments have offered massive financial incentives to encourage people to settle there. Why?

    If it is so dangerous and contrary to the best interests of the State of Israel why did they and why do they still to this day continue to do it?

    Maybe they will both enlighten us about the settlements that have been built around Jerusalem. Are they also ” irrelevant and dangerous ” A Beitz? Are you both quite comfortable strolling around East Jerusalem and the old city when you visit the Israel or do you believe this is occupied land as well?

    If Emet really believes that ” majority Israeli opinion (believe) that the settlers are an irrelevance but a highly inflammatory irrelevance” then it is obvious that he knows very little about the make up of Israeli society. Those who settle in Judea and Samaria embrace the Zionist ideal.

    The absurd and grotesque suggestion that ” settlers idolise murderers” is a wrong generalisation and an appaling stereotype. Emet, this demeans you.

    If you have served in the IDF Emet, you will realise that some of the country’s finest and bravest soldiers are proud to live and work in the settlements and they wish to protect the State of Israel as much as you do.

    I will answer the question that you will not. There are approximately 260,00 people living in 121 settlements and that does not include East Jerusalem.

    My final point is this. The settlements are so integrated into Israeli life that thankfully no Israeli Government will be able to give back Judea and Samaria. Morally and strategically this land is ours – it is a vital part of modern Israel.

    Your Left wing Governments built many of these settlements because they acknowledged the importance of doing so. If you don’t like this Emet and A Beitz maybe you should question and reconsider your Zionist ideals.

    Because we are holding on to this land, believe me!

  187. Observer said

    Herutnik, you can argue that the land of Judea and Samaria is ‘ours’ strategically, but where is the strength of the ‘moral’ argument? Are you pinning that on a dubious interpretation of the Torah book written over a period 2-3 Millenia ago?

    Did the original secular Zionists use this moral rationale, or have their successors cynically and selectively co-opted the views of only some of the religious to suit their purpose?

    There are indeed 260,000 settlers living in 121 settlements there, but there are also 2.6 million Arabs living there too. Please explain why the small minority should subjugate the vast majority in a society that claims it is ‘democratic’? We both know that further transfer is totally unacceptable, as Israel will become an international pariah. We know that creating ethnically isolated Bantustans will end in war and disaster.

    I’m a Zionist, but my strain of Zionism can live without the West Bank. So Herutnik, what about those 2.6 million Arabs, most of whom we have already resettled forcibly there? Can you at least step up and confirm in writing the pretence of Israel being both ‘democratic’ and never intending to give up the West Bank?

  188. emet said

    Herutnik-what do you mean by saying that the land in dispute is “morally ” part of Israel-morality is subjective-whose moral code are you subscribing to ? Please expand-we are on different wavelengths but I want to know more about where your coming from.

  189. Stamford Hillbilly said

    Been reading above with amusement-Herutnik-we should call you -Sherutnik ,on account of all the baggage you carry !

  190. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    Last week I touched on the attachment of the Jewish people to Yerushaliyim and most of the discussion on this blog since then has been centred around the issue of territorial compromise.

    I would like to discuss this further this week and I will return to Jewish schools in the near future.

    I often feel that the religious peace movement is a voice that struggles to be heard in this country and I genuinely regret that so many of my Rabbinical colleagues are content to be identified as opponents of peace and compromise.

    In my opinion the fixation on the idea of Greater Israel constitutes a gross distortion of Judaism. I remember well the inspiring words of the late Chief Rabbi Jackobovitz when he proclaimed that ” lives were worth more than territory”.

    This statement articulated so well what I was feeling as a proud Jew studying at Yeshivah and I took great comfort that the Chief Rabbi was speaking as a Chief Rabbi and offering a moral viewpoint entirely compatible with Halacha.

    I recalled then the story told to me as a child when King Solomon, gave Hiram twenty towns in the Galil in return for gold that he required to build the Temple. And I was taught then by my own teacher, Rabbi Itzhak – that if Solomon was permitted to give up land as a token of friendship that we too are permitted to compromise on parts of Eretz Yisrael in return for Peace.

    Peace is one of the great ideals of Judaism and our duty to make peace derives the most basic obligation to preserve human life. Since the six-day war religious Zionism has been increasingly identified with the ideology of Greater Israel – (Eretz Yisrael Hashlema).

    I believe that it is my obligation to teach the religious right wing that their interpretation of Torah is not the only one, and that it will lead to disaster. And I know that I have to explain to the secular community that the pursuit of peace does not contradict the true values of Judaism.

    I also know in my heart that the way of Peace is a kiddush hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name. As a religious Jew I hope that seeking peace will be judged favourably by the Almighty.

    I really do not accept how the national-religious camp have reduced Zionism to a single value- the sanctity of the Land of Israel. No piece of land can be inherently holy.
    Its special sanctity must be conditional on the behaviour of those that live there.

    Basically, the chosen land is according to my interpretation dependent on the behaviour of the chosen people.

    I would like to finish with the following few words. I do not wish to undermine the importance of the Land of Israel to many of my colleagues. What I wish to do is to put forward other values which are just as important and are also found in the Torah.

    I wish each and everyone of you a peaceful Shabbat.

  191. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Rabbi L, I eagerly anticipate your regular Thursday postings not only because I sympathise with your peace platform but also that as a Rabbi you recognise the value of this medium to reach an audience. Having said that, I find your use of Solomon’s gift of 20 cities in Hagalil to bolster the land for peace argument slightly spurious. Solomon ceded the cities, not for peace but as you say for gold. He also made sure that he shafted Hiram by giving him a load of rubbish. I say this not to undermine the peace platform with which I am in total agreement, but to suggest that only right, justice and morality rather than questionable biblical tracts should be our benchmarks.

  192. Herutnik said

    Fortunately Rabbi L belongs to a very small unsuccessful group because we all know that religious doves are tiny minority.

    The overwhelming majority of his Rabbinical colleagues support Israeli rule over Judea and Samaria and fundamentally believe it is an integral part of the Jewish State.

    Emet asks why I claimed that this land is morally ours. How many Jewish States are there Emet ? How many Arab states?

    Finally Nachman Aaronovitch tells us us that we should allow the defence of the Jewish State to be guided by morals. And how exactly will that help us in the face of enemies who wish to destroy us?

  193. Observer said

    If you are a Zionist fundamentalist, you will fundamentally believe that Judea and Samaria is an integral part of a Jewish State. You will also believe in many strange superstitions. So will your fundamentalist enemies, of whom there are many. Depressing, isn’t it?

    Sounds to me like fundamentally there’s too much fundamentalism is this equation. The Arabs have played a good long-term hand. Now there will be no further ethnic cleansing, the worm has turned. The enemies among them who wish to destroy us are now in a Mutual Assured Destruction situation. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, compromise is the only solution with a sliver of a chance.

  194. A Beitz said

    I see Herutnik appears to consider that force of numbers is the determining point ie the majority of rabbis think that Judea and Samaria are an integral part of Israel. Apart from the fact I would dispute this-some believe it fundamentally whilst others have no such views but are basically right wing-religion and democracy have never been comfortable bedfellows. We then get into the ancient canard of how many Arab states there are with Herutnik presumably wanting transfer forced or otherwise. There are plenty of Western European states but it doesn’t mean if I’m a Scot I want to live in Spain, France or, God forbid, England.
    Rabbi L’s posts are a refreshing change from the rubbish that appears as rabbinical views in some of our Jewish newspapers. Shekoach, Rabbi.

  195. Herutnik said

    A Beitz thinks that it is disputed that the majority of Rabbis think Judea and Samaria is an integral part of Israel.

    I would like to challenge him to offer even the name of 1 Orthodox Rabbi in Glasgow in the last 20 years who has even hinted publicly that they consider territorial compromise to be acceptable.

    Throughout the UK he would be struggling to name 3.

    And whilst he’s searching for this “needle in a haystack” please tell us where I advocated transfer as a solution.

  196. A Beitz said

    Most rabbonim have the good sense to realise that retention or otherwise of the Occupied Territories is political not religious. As a result they keep their opinions to themselves and therefore I have no knowledge of the views of Rabbis Rubin, Hackenbroch, Cohen, Bokow etc are. The whole point is that there is no definitive religious line. Indeed I think Rabbi Bamberger is somewhat anti Zionist. It is perfectly legitimate for a rabbi to hold right wing views about the territories but quoting scripture won’t justify these views.
    As for transfer you can’t have it both ways. If we retain the Occupied Territories then you either deny the inhabitants the vote or you find there is a non Jewish majority in Eretz Yisroel. So it’s transfer or a unitary Jewish Palestinian state with a Palestinian majority or denying the vote to part of your population. None of these sound palatable.

  197. emet said

    Hertie-just because one is outnumbered doesn’t give you the moral highground-the lack of intelligence in your debate suggests you were educated in a Yeshiva ! And so what if one would be hard pushed to find a glasgow orthodox rabbi who was a dove-that is a reflection on them not proof that they are right-lets face it you’d be hard pushed to find any rabbi in glasgow with informed opinion on anything outwith their own mysterious worlds.

  198. Peace Now Member said

    Emet – you are clearly experiencing metamorphosis and are developing
    into a fully signed member of the Peace Camp.
    Well done we are very proud of you!

  199. Nachmman Aaronovitch said

    actually, Emet’s getting a bit too far left for me, perhaps he’d be better applying to IJV.

  200. emet said

    Oh boy-talk about a rock and a hard place-to my right our chaver Sherutnik ,with all his moral supremacy ,divine rights and textbook rhetoric destined to be just a footnote in some future history book (like Eugene Terrablanche) and to my left the likeable Nachman ,the wannabe bon viveur and DIY philosopher (you’re not French are you ?) who allows himself to be mugged by old ladies , and his smug Peace Now Member mate-can you imagine having to rely on these two for your security-Nachman would be outwitted by a pensioner and Peace Now Member would want a discussion group !
    Where are the sensible ,considered punters like my goodself ?

  201. Herutnik said

    There is absolutely nothing sensible about you Emet.. Firstly,
    how can you say that the Greater Israel lobby will be a footnote.
    As I have told you previously, we have basically won. Since 1967 we have settled Judea and Samaria to such an extent that it is impossible to give it back.

    There is widespread consensus in Israeli society that most of the settlements will remain – even in a ” peace ” agreement the main blocks will remain with Israel. And no Israeli Government would consider returning Jerusalem and the holy sites – including the Wailing Wall?

    Of course Emet you might think this is occupied territory as well?

    How about giving back Tel Aviv Emet, that in your world must be occupied territory as well? What’s the difference?

    A Beitz is unfortunately talking nonsense. Because he couldn’t name one Rabbi who was part of the Peace Camp he now tries to tell us that they don’t have a religious view on the subject.
    So Orthodox Rabbis don’t have a view on Israel’s survival or on Jerusalem according to Beitz. Well maybe he doesn’t like their views so he pretends they don’t think about it. I think A Beitz knows full well that the Orthodox world with very few exceptions support the retention of Judea and Samaria.

    And now let’s deal with transfer. In today’s world citizens of Europe can move to other States to live and work. If the Palestinians want to remain in Greater Israel, I have no problem with that as long as they accept that Israel is a Jewish State.
    Not another Arab State. If on the other hand they prefer to move away and live elsewhere that is their right also.

  202. Hitchens at cocktail hour said

    Herutnik comes up with an elegant proposition. Instant guestworkers or freedom of passage elsewhere coupled with formal annexation.

    Nod long enough to a wall, and this is what you end up with.

    Kneel nose down to a stone in the desert with your bum pointed to New York long enough and you end up with exactly the same thing, different actors.

  203. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    My apologies to Emet. Just back from down South so only a short posting. Anyone who says I’m likeable can’t be all bad. I’ve printed it out (just the likeable bit), enlarged it and magnetised it to the freezer door for Mrs A to ponder over.

  204. A Beitz said

    Heruty your question was answered regarding the rabbonim. Can you not understand there is no line, left or right, which is clearly correct from a religious point of view? It is a matter of opinion and frankly the opinions of the rabbonim are no more or less important than those of the rest of us. However since you appear to besotted by the views of the clergy improve your mind reading from the Rabbis For Human Rights site.

  205. Notbeenhereforawhile said

    Getting a bit bored with all this Israel/Palestinian “Is it my land or your land stuff” and as this is an “education site”, I thought i would draw it back to one of my favourite topics – Calderwood Lodge – the jewel in our community’s crown.

    Saw the Calderlood Lodge school show “Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” yesterday and thought it was absolutely marvellous. What talent we have in our young children and it was so well put together by all the staff and pupils. A real credit to our community. Well done to all involved.

  206. Herutnik said

    Rabbis for Human Rights! Is that one of the world’s smallest clubs?
    Well then A Beitz have you asked any of your local Orthodox Rabbis to sign up?

    I think you know that is mission impossible.

    Can we go back a little please and can you and Emet please explain why Labour Governments in Israel have been supportive of building and expanding settlements?

    You seemed to have ducked that one?

  207. A Beitz said

    Herutnik, you appear to have a very low opinion of the clergy. I can only assume that is the case standing your question as to whether a rabbinical organisation in favour of human rights is one of the smallest clubs in the world.
    As for what Labour has or has not supported in Israel what of it? It doesn’t make it right that Barak, a Labour PM was breaching the Oslo Accords by expanding the settlements in direct contravention of Oslo and in the process humiliating the Palestinians making things fertile for the Intifada. The Israeli Labour Party is not exactly a bastion of socialism and has been part of coalitions containg some illiberal partners.
    Herutnik just because Israel has breached international law, settled the territories and basically made things more difficult to reverse doesn’t make it right. It is also a recipe for a constant hostile environment and from a pragmatic point of view the greed of the right in pursuing policies which maintain conflict will eventually destroy the state of Israel with it having a Palestinian majority. If it doesn’t happen militarily the demographics will defeat it.
    And mazaltov to Calderwood Lodge on their successful performance of Joseph.

  208. Herutnik said

    I have a high opinion of the Orthodox Clergy – they are as a group, almost all of the, totally supportive of Greater Israel.

    As for the Labour Party, please don’t single out Mr Barak. What about Shimon Peres, Itzhak Rabin and the Allon plan to settle Judea and Samaria with defensive outposts to protect Israel?

    The reason they all supported the settlements is they realised the importance of them and recognised their strategic benefit to Israel.

    If you had any integrity you would accept that mainstream Israeli politics supports the settlers and always will.

    And if you look at today’s papers you will see that the current Government has just announced plans to build 3oo more homes in Har Homa.
    Mazel tov to them for that good decision.

  209. Notbeenhereforawhile said


    How come you didn’t say Mazeltov to Calderwood Lodge too,like Mr Beitz or do the right wing hawks like you not approve of that either?

  210. A Beitz said

    Herutnik, the reason I singled out Barak was the building was in breach of treaty obligations. Who does or doesn’t support the settlements seems to me to be a secondary question as to whether it’s right. In any event the support for the settlers(if it existed) seems pretty fragile when it no longer suits as occurred when the Sinai and Gaza withdrawals took place. I’d suggest you also stop the personal abuse such as “if you had any integrity” and you might want, having considered matters, to withdraw it.

  211. Herutnik said

    I have considered your comments A Beitz and I have no hesitation in confirming that I do NOT withdraw my remarks.

    Very recently you wrote – “improve your mind” referring to me and you also wrote that Rabbi L’s postings are “a refreshing change from the rubbish that appears as rabbinical views in some of our Jewish newspapers”.

    If you withdraw both of these comments then I will accept that you do in fact have integrity but the onus is on you to go first and whilst you consider this perhaps you could ask your friend Emet to apologise for the abuse and vitriol he has shown to the settlers.

    Whenever someone cries about having suffered ” personal abuse” on a blog I know they are losing the argument and you A Beitz, or perhaps I should refer to you as ” my good friend” , are no exception to the rule.

    Now please deal with the issue.

    Do you believe yet another Israeli Government has got it wrong again by announcing that they are extending building in Har Homa, a suburb of Jerusalem?

    Does it not concern you that it wasn’t only Barak who broke “agreements” not to build and expand settlements but Peres and Rabin as well. The difference is that they did it when they thought no one was looking. They did it quietly whilst telling the world that they were doves and interested in a Peace Settlement with the Arabs. But they, just like me, were not genuinely interested in giving back Judea and Samaria because they knew that this is not in Israel’s interests. And that is why they built and expanded settlements.

    Do you think they – Peres , Rabin and Barak, and Allon – were not true Zionists that had Israel’s best interests at heart.?

  212. A Beitz said

    Herutnik, unlike you I cannot see how the recipient of personal abuse is somehow losing the argument. Or were I to call you names then, using your warped logic, when you complain that means you are losing the argument. It is the one who is giving it out who is doing that preferring to get personal rather than deal with the issues.
    In view of the fact you consider abuse is clearly preferable to reasoned argument I have no intention of debating with you further.

  213. Observer said

    TheIsraeli Government of the day could try to make a case for strategically holding on to the West Bank or parts thereof. With up to 200 nuclear warheads, nuclear subs, and state of the art US planes and weapons, it’s hard to see the justification for this. Those who believe in divine rights to the territory have a position that I’m incapable of debating.

    Where there is an unacceptable face of Zionism to some, others would label this as the face of true Zionism. The positions are so entrenched and mutually incompatable that all we can hope for is civility in the debate.

  214. Another Observer said

    Can’t see how you have been the victim of personal abuse Beitz?

  215. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I wish you all a pleasant Chanukah. I always look forward to this wonderful festival in the month of Kislev. The joy and wonder on my children’s faces as they receive their presents makes my heart truly melt.

    I have wanted for some time to discuss with you a subject that is very dear to me. As I indicated previously that subject is Jewish Schools.

    I would like to narrow this down to one very exciting project which G-d willing will be a reality by 2010. In that year or possibly even by 2009 a new Jewish secondary school will open in Barnet in North London.

    To be known as JCoss – this will be the UK’s first inclusive Jewish Scecondary School. It will be open on an equal basis to all Jewish children irrespective of birth status or synagogue affiliation and will have due respect for differing traditions, beliefs, practices and abilities.

    The teaching of Judaism will be a fundamental element of the school. Now I am not a Reform Rabbi, nor am I a Liberal Rabbi but I am still encouraged that this school will respect all strands and traditions of faith. Although JCoss is actively supported by the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, Liberal Judaism and the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues – together with the Jewish Community Day Schools Advisory Board – it has support from all sections of the Jewish Community including the enthusiastic support of significant numbers of United Synagogue members and unaffiliated Jews. Significant numbers of members of Orthodox Shuls have expressed the intention to send their children to JCoss.

    It is obvious therefore that a sizeable proportion of the community is interested in a different kind of secondary school..One that is truly cross-communal, not controlled by any denomination.

    Why is there a need for JCoss? Jewish families, like all others, should have an element of choice when selecting a secondary school. Some choose a secular school, whilst others may prefer a Jewish environment. Until now there has only been an Orthodox Jewish option for those who would prefer a Jewish Secondary School.

    However, because of the rigid definition of who is a Jew, there is little real choice for some families. JCoss will be different. The JCoss admission policy will enable students from Reform, Liberal, Masorti, Sephardi, United and Federation backgrounds, together with students from unaffiliated families, to be educated alongside each other on an equal basis.

    JCoss will combine a first class secular education with a ground breaking Jewish studies programme. Partners in the project will be ORT and Norwood. The school will be a voluntary aided state of the art educational institution. The JCoss syllabus will adhere to the National Curriculum. In partnership with ORT,who are one of the largest non-governmental providers of education and vocational training in the world today, and Norwood which is Anglo Jewry’s largest children’s charity – the school will have the benefit of internationally renowned expertise. Norwood will provide learning support to pupils who need specialist help.

    JCoss will be a Jewish school unique to the UK. It will have a respect for diversity and difference both within and beyond the Jewish community. It is founded on the belief that all Jewish children are entitled to a Jewish education and students will be educated in an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance, learning to value each other’s traditions and building bridges acroos the community.

    JCoss will promote the best values of religion and affirm that mainstream Judaism is tolerant, dynamic and responsive to the needs of the wider community.

    This school will count people ” in ” and will not drive wedges within our community. It will be a model for faith schools in this country.

    As I said earlier, I am not a Liberal or a Reform Rabbi. I am proud to be part of the Orthodox tradition.

    I know our community needs to change and that is why I am excited about JCoss.
    I hope over Shabbat and beyond you will share my enthusiasm for this wonderful project.

    Shabbat Shalom and enjoy Chanukah.

  216. Rabbi L said

    I should have finished by clarifying my position.Some may doubt my authenticity as an Orthodox Rabbi because of what I have just written.

    It is precisely because of the consequences of holding opinions such as these amongst my colleagues that I choose to use a name that is not identifiable.

    Like many of you I have a family to maintain and the sad reality is that my views would not be well received by my Rabbinical colleagues within the Orthodox establishment.

    Good night.

  217. Community Member said

    Very interesting Rabbi. Seems an excellent project. It is very unfortunate that in Glasgow there are still factions within our own city who believe that the Reform Movement are not to be included as equal members of our community.

    It is about time that they respected differences and accepted diversity and pluralism.

  218. Confused said

    Just received my REP Council newsletter and I am a litle confused, so can someone from GJEF admin put me right.

    This website shows that GJEF are having Alex Salmond speak on Tues 19th Feb 2008.

    The JT on Friday 7th Dec said in an article about Alex Salmond’s visit to Calderwood Lodge that “he was looking forward to speaking to the community in February at a meeting organised by GJEF”

    So how come the REP Council newsletter which tells the whole community what’s going on in the near future doesn’t mention this lecture?

    Is it a printing error? After all the REP Council and particularly its President are busy people.

    Or is there something more sinister here?

    What do you think?

  219. Football Fan said

    I heard today from an impeccable source that if Mark McGhee is appointed manager of Scotland, his brother-in-law, Peter Berkeley will be his assistant. Peter still lives in Israel but has told sources that he will be able to commute and combine his role as a doctor in Beersheba with his new Scotland duties.

    Watch this space!

  220. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Confused #218. I’m also confused. I was in shul on Shabbat and noticed a pamphlet called ‘The Rep’ lying around. I thought some travelling salesman had lost his schedule of calls for the next few weeks so discarded it in favour of thought and prayer.

  221. Jeffrey said

    Once again Mr Mendelsohn likes to tell us what a busy man he is…..

    ” I have to say my diary has been quite full”

    If you have nothing else to do and re read his comments you will see that he is looking forward to meeting Alex Salmond at an event arranged by Scojec.

    That he cannot even mention the GJEF public meeting for Mr Salmond in February for the whole community, rather than a smaller event for the perceived great and good of the community only confirms that he and his council are so small minded and petty that the Glasgow Jewish community would be better off without them.

    So in answer to your question ” confused ” I think we can deduce that this was no printing error but a reflection of the upset that the Rep Council feel about GJEF hosting the main community event for the First Minister.

  222. Confused said

    Thanks Jeffrey, and one more thing I don’t understand, but the JT obviously saw Mr Salmond at an event only for a “chosen few” as I didn’t even know he was in the “community” at all till I read about it in the paper.

    So who are the “chosen few” and who decided who should be invited and how many and whom did they represent?

    Did SCOJEC choose or the Rep Council Executive or are they the same people. I’m awfully confused really, it must be my age. Doh!

  223. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    This week I would like to discuss with you a subject that is already causing big problems for Jewish communities.

    I was brought up by my parents in an Orthodox community and as I was coming to the end of my school years there was no pressure whatsoever on me to become a Rabbi. My father was very learned but it was my choice what career I wished to follow.

    Around this time I met Rabbi Itzhak who convinced me that I should become a Rabbi.

    What does that mean in reality? Well a Rabbi is a Torah scholar who guides the members of the Jewish community he serves. The word ” Rabbi” means a religious teacher and is derived from the Hebrew word ” Rav” which in biblical Hebrew means great in knowledge.

    Rabbi is not an occupation found in the Torah. It is first mentionned in the Mishna. Rambam ruled that every congregation is obliged to appoint a preacher or a scholar to teach Torah and the social institution he described is the germ of the modern congregational rabbinate.

    Contrary to what some of my colleagues believe or practise a Rabbi in my opinion does not need distinctive clothing or other religious trappings to set him apart from his people because he should be one of the community, not distinctive from them.

    One of my primary goals as a Rabbi is to show members of my community how to bring more spirituality into their lives. Judaism is a living breathing force and is not something that once was, but rather is something that is.

    Before I received Semicha – Rabbinical ordination – I studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I would rather not at this stage tell you what I studied because it would be better if I remain anonymous for the purposes of my job security. My point is though that I could have earned a living in the secular world and I was independent and not reliant on others for financial support.

    I chose to be a Rabbi – it was not the only thing I could do. I did it because I thought I could contribute to Jewish life in this way.

    It distresses me greatly when I see so many Orthodox families not appreciating the value of secular education alongside Jewish education. Our community is compelling our children to a life of either poverty or dependence and this is not healthy at all.

    Apart from the obligation on any parents to properly educate their children – in order that they can survive in today’s world wherever they choose to live – it is surely our obligation to give our children the ability to make a choice about how they might wish to live their lives in the future.

    If my sons decide to become Rabbis one day then that is something that I would like them to decide from choice not because it was forced upon them or because they had no feasible alternative.

    How will the Jewish community be able to support so many young people without adequate abilities to look after themselves in the world when we face falling numbers? The reality is that in the ultra-Orthodox world the current situation is not sustainable.

    Have a good week.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  224. Observer said

    Rabbi L,

    Since you mention Rambam, he has some interesting guidance to give us perplexed ones on what to do ‘If you see a gentile falling into the sea’

    Can you comment with your personal interpretation of Rambam’s words in this matter?

  225. A Beitz said

    Did Rambam not also express the view that every Torah scholar should have an outside occupation? How do we reconcile that with the fashion of permanent study amongst many religious male Jews?

  226. Al Chet said

    Observer, #224, I find your question quite perplexing. It is not so much the question that perplexes but rather your motivations for posing it. Off the top of my head I can think of three reasons for raising the issue. Firstly, you are in good company. The question is for the most part raised by anti-Semitic individuals and organisations. It is a classical method of attacking all long standing religions, to take statements out of context and out of their time frame and embed them into modern cultures and modern adaptations of old religions. I am sure this is not your intention but beware of fellow travellers.
    Secondly you may be genuinely perplexed at the well known answer, but if so I would have expected a minimum of build up and background to the question and some recognition of the philosophical influences on Maimonides. Furthermore, Rabbi L has targeted many communal problems over the past weeks, all of which you have chosen to ignore. I suspect you are not genuine in your approach though if wrong, my sincere apologies.
    Thirdly, it may be just a rather crass and to be as kind as possible, mischievous, attempt at attention seeking and if so, you won a coconut.

  227. Observer said

    I do agree with Al Chet that the question on Rambam’s advice on what to do if you see a gentile falling into the sea is raised by anti-Semitic individuals, just as the question of behaviour towards innocent children of certain priests in the Catholic Church is raised by anti-Catholic indivuduals. In my humble opinion that is no reason at all to bury these questions.

    I did raise the question privately with several Rabbonim in Glasgow a few years ago, and none would respond. However they told me that an advisor to the Av Beth Din in London would be coming up to Glasgow in a few weeks, and I could pose my question to him at that time.

    The big day came, and I posed the question personally by asking if the quote from Rambam was correct, and if so, would they publicly disassociate themselves from it as it was going around the Internet? The answer I received was, ‘No, because we do not wish to draw attention to it’.

    I decided to pose the question again to Rabbi L. because he has chosen to engage the blog and to air certain issues that other Orthodox clergy avoid completely. Surely you are not advocating censorship of sensitive issues, by raising the old canard that it is taking them ‘out of context’?

    What exactly is the context? Please explain.

  228. Macallan Cask Strength said

    A few days ago I was having my weekly tipple at my South side local when an old acquaintance sat down beside me and started to tell what appeared to be an interesting story. It seems a scandal involving plagiarism and the Jewish community is about to break and he wanted my view of the ramifications. Just then we were joined by others and the subject was shelved. Later, on our own once again, I reintroduced the topic but the moment had passed and my friend clammed up, obviously thinking better of his possible indiscretion. Does anyone know what’s about to break?

  229. Al Chet said

    Observer, Many years ago, Albert Einstein made the worst mistake of his scientific career. He declared the theory of an ever expanding universe wrong. By deduction the universe had not been ever smaller in the past and therefore the Big Bang theory was also wrong. Although, at the time, Einstein’s position was based on good scientific deduction, later the Big Bang theory was proved correct and in his latter years Einstein was devastated to have been an impediment to the basis of modern cosmology. Any modern schoolboy will tell you all about the Big Bang and would be horrified at Einstein’s apparent stupidity. Does this mean that Einstein was not the greatest scientist of the last century? Does this negate all his theories and force all modern scientists who have based their work on the Theory or Relativity to start again?

    So I come to Maimonides who was very much a product of the prevailing Greek and Arab philosophy. Of course by modern morality he was so wrong but was he so wrong when judged by contemporary standards? Were I a modern Rabbi (with whom I would disagree on many issues) I would want to know where you were coming from before I would be involved in debate. Are you going to use my answer to claim that therefore Maimonides, possibly the greatest philosopher of his era, was suspect? Are you attempting to negate a brilliant lifetime’s work that appears to have withstood the test of time and is the inspiration for later philosophers and thinkers?
    Then again, maybe you want to take the Rabbi’s denials of Maimonides to the internet and tell the anti-Semites that we’ve moved on and consequently they would be understanding and stop the nonsense? Let me assure you that would be a naive approach for they are not interested. There is no logic to their stance unless you accept irrational hate as a starting point. Nothing would change and the Rabbis’ responses are understandable. Leave the anti-Semites as a fringe of marginalised oddities.

  230. Observer said

    Al Chet, Maimonedes lived during a period when there was no mass media and no Internet. Therefore statements and prounouncements by him and other philosophers of his era could go unchallenged for centuries.

    One is entitled to ask if a person so imbued with bigotry, as Maimonedes was at the time he made the statement, does indeed qualify as one of the greats of philosophy and what would today be called the self-help industry.

    Maybe he was one of the greats, let’s agree that. We now live in a mass media age. If he made a statement that was not challenged at the time of his life, but is now patently both nasty and ridiculous, and others have seized on it for reasons including Anti-Semitism and Free Enquiry amongst many other options, then surely in a modern mass media society the clergy who revere him would have the healthy honesty to declare publicly that this statement is unacceptable.

  231. Confused said

    Does anybody have any idea what Macallan Cask Strength is on about or has he/she had one too many of said Macallan Cask Strength?

  232. Ron Bacardi said

    My gin rummy says that Macallan is talking a lot of Absolute Bols. Could be he’s a trifle Haigs Dimple. Maybe he’s been seeing too much of Johnny Walker lately. Or is he in some Canadian Club we’re not aware of?

  233. Bob said

    I have heard that this story concerns the President of the United States of America – George Bush – and a Glaswegian local Rabbi known as Rabbi Mendel Jacobs.

    It is alleged by some that Rabbi Mendel has used exactly the same words in his written Chanukah message to readers of the South Side Extra that were used by George Bush in his message to the Jewish people of America at the beggining of Chanukah.

    Can’t think why plagiarism is the issue.
    What is a scandal is why anyone would want to copy anything about George Bush in the first place.

  234. Mendy said

    This story has now got legs.

    It’s got me sweating worse than George bush at a spelling bee.

  235. Al Venie said

    Took my laptop down to the local. Saves good tippling time when blogging. Thought I got it all sussed out a few drams ago but now not so sure. Bit cheeky of George to pinch Mendel’s hard thought out Xmas address and make it his own. Must be Embassy spies picked it up in the Extra. Remember you heard it here first. They’re infiltrating the Shul in the Park to nick his Droshah. Must be for Georgy’s next State of the Nation Address.

  236. A Beitz said

    Of course there are substantial differences between Mendel and George. One of them got where he is through family connections and composed a rather poor chanukah drosha whilst the other is the Rabbi of Shul In The Park.

  237. npn said

    This is childish (that sounds po-faced doesn’t it …).So what if the message was similar-big deal-who hasn’t cut and pasted from time to time ?
    What is more worrying is George Bush’s dogs xmas video-I’m not joking -go to the bbc news website-Tony Blair makes a guest appearance talking to the effing dog !
    He’s barking mad !

  238. A Beitz said

    Come on, NPN. A rabbi should not need to cut and paste a straightforward greeting of this nature. And if he’s going to do so why pick Bush? I would have thought our own Chief Rabbi would have provided a better written version to plagiarise.
    Now away to watch Mendel’s dog’s chanukah video. Strange that, Tony Blair’s on it talking to the effing dog.

  239. Mendel Luther King said

    A Beitz, I have dream that you will understand erudition when you see it in future:

    When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.
    Anatole France (1844-1924) French writer.

  240. not another macher said

    I presume neither Mr Bush nor Rabbi Jacobs wrote this piece and that both of them took it from somewhere else eg; (or the like)

    What puzzles me is, who is the sad lonely person who noticed that their contributions were the same???

  241. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    My son who is about to staff at Habonim winter camp is just home from an obligatory visit with his mother to a nearby shopping arcade. The expedition was to purchase all those necessary items that would soften the blow of a left of centre Zionist Socialist Jewish son living rough. During their spending spree they were accosted by several Israelis punting some well known Dead Sea products reputed to have amazing rejuvenating properties. It was the Israelis who had recognised my son’s ethnic background and they talked about his forthcoming year on shnat. On being asked whether they had contacted the Jewish community the Israelis said that they had made no direct contact but one of them at least had been invited to L’Chaim’s restaurant and had not been charged. Sometime in the near future we will have them all over for a meal, but remember, Lubavitch got there first.

  242. npn said

    I met some in an Edinburgh mall-they were not frum but one came for shabbos lunch and we gave her a big bag of kosher meat etc -nice kid ; their pals were punting fake oil paintings door to door !

  243. Nonplussed said

    Nachman, where have you been living for all these years that you are surprised that Lubavitch offer hospitality to Jews everywhere and anywhere?

    This is and always has been part and parcel of Lubavitch.

    I don’t think anyone has suggested that they are not kind to strangers so I’m confused…..” What exactly is your point Nachman?”

  244. Barney the Dog said

    I have to own up. I wrote the Chanukah message for George and Mendel.
    In case you don’t know who I am – look at the link below and you will discover I am George Bush’s dog!


  245. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Nonplussed, I’m not sure you’ll understand the point. It’s so easy to knock Lubavitch because they walk right into it. However, if one is going to be critical one must also be prepared to mention the good things. That is honesty and integrity. As I said, I’m not sure you’ll understand the point

    NPN. I know it looks to the uninitiated as though you are blowing your own trumpet and telling the world what a nice chap you are. But I know better.The real message is to stress the importance of a bit of spare Kosher foie gras and a couple of dead ducks in the freezer for emergency.

  246. Nonplussed said

    You have a wonderful talent Nachman of managing to write in 100 words what would have been quite sufficient to describe in 50.

    For whatever reason you have decided that you must bestow praise on Lubavitch. I’m quite happy to praise anyone who does a good or kind deed – but I still don’t understand why you felt the compulsion to tell us Lubavitch were first.

    I know plenty of people who show remarkable hospitality to visitors to this city – and they are not bothered whether they are first or last in the queue to do so. You think it is noteworthy to tell us that the Israeli guests were not charged. It would have been quite appaling if they had been as it is not the normal custom to charge visitors when inviting them to your home or workplace.

    Maybe – and this is perhaps the real reason behind your posting – you have heard from Schneerson – and you will only receive true Nachos in this world or reward in the next one ( I take the liberty of presupposing you believe in this kind of thing) if you praise his followers.

  247. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Oh dear nonplus. The hole you are digging for yourself is getting deeper and deeper. If you can, stop being so silly.

  248. A Beitz said

    A refreshing change from demonisation

  249. Observer said

    While I choose to disagree with Lubavitch on many aspects of their belief system, it is undeniable that they have proven themselves locally to be extremely hospitable to people of their own tribe, and possibly people of other tribes for all I know.

    One might do well to listen to Chaim on practical matters of preventative health measures too.

  250. Puzzled said

    Observer, what on earth does that last sentence mean?

  251. Observer said

    There are those of us who believe in limiting visits to conventional medical doctors as much as possible, preferring to choose from amongst various alternative and preventative health measures.

    Chaim is one of those – to the best of my knowledge, and so am I. This doesn’t mean that we’re ‘right’, but I like his approach.

    If Chaim is not of the above mindset, my apologies to him, and if puzzled is not of the above mindset, my condolences to you.

  252. not another macher said

    Mind you – there is a difference in using alternative medical practices and telling vulnerable people to stop taking medication prescribed for mental health conditions – suggesting instead that G-d will take care of them, as members of the frum community are believed to have done (NOT Chaim.) Incredibly dangerous and distressing!!!!

    I’m all for alternative medical practices – many of which have been used successfully for hundreds of years and form the basis of modern medicine – just because science has been unable to prove how they work, it doesn’t mean they are not very effective.

  253. Observer said

    The alternative medicine field abounds with charlatans. One must investigate. Preventive medicine, being about lifestyle, is definitely effective as we know.

    Praying for recovery works about as well as not praying for recovery.

  254. Puzzled said

    Observer, I get more puzzled every time you hit the submit button. You claim that praying for, and not praying for recovery works equally. Sounds about right but history is full of such claims that were proved false. How big was the control group used to arrive at a statistical analysis? Where was the study done? Those praying, to whom were they praying? How did you quantify success from those praying? How did you know those not praying weren’t having a secret prayer in private?

  255. Observer said

    Puzzled, my tongue-in-cheek point was that praying doesn’t do any good at all, IMHO. Therefore it’s about as effective as not praying, which doesn’t do any good at all either. Maybe a major double blind study on this will take place under controlled conditions in the future, but I doubt that rational science will waste too much time on it. Just picking from a basket of gods, messiahs and intermediary prophets will be a challenge,unless they can all be prayed to separately or in batches, within the study. I’m going for Joseph Smith, Zevi and Vishnu myself.

    I pray that we are now on the same page here.

  256. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Having suffered from insomnia for many a long year, I sleep with radio 4 on through the night. After ‘Sailing By’ it automatically switches to the World Service until 6.00am whence it switches back to BBC 4 and the farming programme. Over the years I have become an expert on silage, tups, Common Agricultural Program, the acreage of rape seed in Europe, the price of wheat, set-aside subsidies and a host of other bits of irrelevant information. Sometimes I am unsure whether I have subliminally absorbed some weird and wonderful information or have been dreaming. Last night I think I heard that the C of E had used a secret shoppers company to check out their churches. The churches were visited by anonymous visitors who reported back the quality of sermons and other info such as the lucidity and relevance of the sermons, and the welcome they received. I thought it was a brilliant idea and the United Synagogue should do likewise. Shuls would be visited in secret and lists published. Perhaps the ten best sermons would be rated in order or better still the ten most hypnotic with a note of how many seconds they took to induce deep sleep. An Egon Ronay type starring system would be introduced for the best Kiddushim and extra points awarded if a Barmitzvah or wedding was imminent whereby the purvey would be supplemented. Buses could be organised and tickets sold so that G-d fearing punters could take advantage of this manna from heaven.

  257. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    tups? I think I mean tegs.

  258. A Beitz said

    Looks like Observer may be right.

    NA I do recall as a student publishing the good shul guide relating to shuls in Scotland and NE England for a freshers magazine We included the sort of things you mentioned as well as a review of the toilet facilities. I recall Pollokshields did well on account of its whisky and herring kiddushim. One of the shuls in Newcastle had a problem with design of the male toilet in that when someone opened the door to enter those outside could immediately see all those who were standing inside carrying out the business.

  259. Observer said

    Beitz, the subjects alluded to in the New York Times article on the non-power of prayer were almost certainly having Jesus prayed to as the intermediary or deity. Therefore this is not a definitive study.

    It could be that the prayers offered were insufficiently fanatical and blinkered enough to do the trick. But I accept that with so many objects of prayer out there, it may be that praying to a totally useless and false one can bring psychological benefit to the person being prayed for – if they know that they are being prayed for, or they are doing the praying themselves, which would seem prudent.

    Certainly Macallan can intensify the psychological effect, this has been proven countless times. Are there any prayers involving Macallan out there I should know about?

  260. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I hope you have all had a good week and are looking forward to a wonderful Shabbat.

    One of my friends – not particularly Orthodox – asked me this week what was my attitude to Christmas.

    For Jews like me who are serious about Judaism how should we behave and act at this time?

    It is obvious that for most of the population in the UK, Christmas is just a fun time. It is a time for parties, nights out, the giving of presents and hopefully happy family times spent with loved ones. Of course, at times like this for those who do not have loved ones to share with , it is an extremely difficult period. And we should all recognise this. Even non- Christians.

    The festival has been totally commercialised and to many there is no religious significance at all. I sometimes wonder how Christians have allowed this to happen but this is not really my concern.

    However, to practising Christians, that is not what Christmas is. To them, it is a celebration on the Christian calendar celebrating the incarnation of the son of God.

    Since I am not a Christian – but a Rabbi – it is self -evident therefore that I cannot celebrate Christmas.

    So how do I react and think at this time of year. Well, as I live in Britain I cannot fail to see what is happening here at this time of year. And I have young children, and they see and hear what is happening too.

    Can I ignore Santa Claus? Can I pretend that the paraphernalia that most of the population enjoy at this time of year is non-existent? Is it possible to walk down every street with my eyes closed and pretend that I don’t think some of the lights inside people’s houses look good, when I have to admit that I enjoy other people having a good time?

    As, a Jew though, I have my own holy days and wonderful family festivals and I have no compulsion to celebrate others’ festivals.

    I feel no sense of conflict about not being in denial that Christmas exists. I am proud of my Jewish identity and I love my religion, my culture and my history. Every day of my life I am aware that I am Jewish and I try and appreciate how wonderful it is to belong to the Jewish people.

    Does that prevent me from accepting that this is one day when the majority of people in thie country where I live might be infused with goodwill towards all? I don’t think so. I think I can appreciate my Christian neighbours’ happiness and the expectation of their children – just as they can enjoy my holidays as well. My family has invited Christian friends to our home for celebrations of Jewish holidays. We have beautiful celebrations at Sukkot and Pessach, and these are times when we invite guests to be with us.

    So, if I can do this – and expect that others’ can appreciate my religion surely I can accept that Christmas exists – even though as a Jew it is not my celebration? Maybe it is like being a visitor to another culture and I can appreciate and even enjoy the ambience?

    I would like to finish by emphasing if we as Jews are proud of who we are and what we are and how we behave we should not feel threatened by others’ culture and religion. It always makes me feel rather sad when some of my colleagues try and persuade Jewish schools to pretend that there is no such thing as a Christian festival called Christmas.

    We must have more confidence in who we are than to adopt such a fearful approach.

    Shabbat Shalom
    Rabbi L

  261. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    To read Rabbi L’s posting is to bring a breath of fresh air into the house. It is most important that while preserving our own identity and beliefs we recognise and understand the traditions of our neighbours particularly at this time of year.
    However, I was taught that Christmas day was the one day of the year when it was almost mandatory for Jews to get drunk. In Der heim, it was common for Cossacks and other militant non Jews to attack, rape and pillage their Jewish neighbours, the alleged Christ killers who lived in their midst. This was the day most feared in the 19th century Jewish calendar, a day when Jews dared not venture out and sighed with relief if it had passed without incident.
    While I am totally in agreement with the good Rabbi’s attitude, only out of respect to my past, on Christmas day I will open a bottle of the best malt and join my people in helping the day slip by.

  262. Observer said

    Here’s a question that’s been bothering me – Did the Cossack women get upset with their menfolk when they regularily indulged their hobby of wholesale rape of Jewish women?

    And can I be forgiven a little Schadenfreude at the allied forced repatriation of the Hitler loving Cossacks to the arms of Joe Stalin?

  263. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    As another week comes to an end it is something so special that Shabbat is soon to be with us G-D willing.

    Shabbat, the day of rest, is for me a day of prayer and an opportunity to relax and enjoy time with my family. The troubles of the week can be left behind and after recharging a new week can begin.

    I have always believed that Jews should really try and make Shabbat special. Whilst I would encourage all to come to Synagogue, I acknowledge that not everyone will do so. Make time for your children on Shabbat. Make time for your parents. Sit down as a family and enjoy a Friday night meal. Connect with Jews all over the world and light candles to bring in Shabbat.

    I truly believe that if you make the day a little different from any other day of the week – you will look forward to Shabbat and you will benefit in so many ways.

    A few days ago I was told a story that disappoints me. A Rabbi and his family in a small community was blessed with the Bar Mitzvah of one of their children. This community still has a Kosher caterer – under Beth Din supervision – and the caterer has an excellent reputation.
    But the Rabbi decided not to use this local caterer and instead chose to bring someone from afar to provide the food at the Simcha.

    Whilst I recognise that everyone – Rabbis included – has freedom of choice – I think that we – in the Orthodox community – should lead by example. How can we urge our communities to have Kosher functions if we do not support the local caterer? And if we in the Orthodox community don’t support local provision then we can hardly complan if the local provider one day doesn’t exist. As I have said before I was always taught by Rabbi Itzhak that a Rabbi should be part of his community – not be separate from it. It is time that small communities realised this and demanded better standards of behaviour from those who want to work within it.

    Last week was my birthday and a member of my family gave me a most interesting book which is a very good read. it is written by Reva Mann and is called ” The Rabbi’s Daughter “. Reva is the daughter of a London Rabbi – and is the granddaughter of the Chief Rabbi of Israel. She grew up in London and went on aliyah in 1979. She now lives in Jerusalem with her three children.

    The story is basically this. Reva rebelled strongly against her upbringing and she moved away from her people. Many years later the spark of Judaism reignites and she leaves London and enters a women’s yeshiva in Jerusalem. Whilst there she is determined to marry a strictly orthodox man and she is looking to find G-d.

    The book describes a modern-day very orthodox community and is well worth reading.

    I enjoyed it and would like to return to some of its main themes in the coming weeks.

    Early next week I am attending a family Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem so I apologise that I will not be posting on the blog next Thursday evening.

    I wish you all a pleasant time

    Shabbat Shalom

  264. 19 to go said

    Sweep on “Jewish Education” part of this site to see who gets Post Number 1000. Much more interesting that what’s on offer here…..don’t you think?

  265. not another macher said

    Rabbi L – I agree with you totally in regards to your comments about the use of local kosher caterers (and other communal services) by Rabbonim and people who see themselves as Community Leaders. I don’t know which Community you are referring to in this particular situation, but it should be born in mind that if there is only one kosher caterer they may already have a booking for that date, or may even be away on holiday. In this instance maybe you happen to know this is someone who wouldn’t have used the local caterer whatever?

  266. Community Cuthbert said

    Did you hear the most wonderful news – an honour – OBE – I’m told for Ephraim Borowski in the New Years Honours list. This was given apparently for ” services to the Scottish Jewish Community”.

    I don’t know who is advising our esteemed Monarch but I can’t think Kenneth Collins and Stephen Kliner to name but two will be enjoying their cornflakes this morning. These two gentlemen conspired to sack Borowski from the Representative Council about 4 years ago to save the Jewish community from being led by someone now honoured by the Queen.

    It would be interesting to know who nominated Ephraim. Can’t think myself what services he has actually provided for the community.

    If this has come from the Scottish Government led by Alex Salmond to show how inclusive he is then I’m afraid he’s been badly advised.

    Ask around and it would be interesting to find out who actually thinks Borowski merited this. This guy has talked a lot but done precious little. Apparently William Hill are offering odds of 2-1 on that he nominated himself.

    But good luck to Ephraim if this turns him on!

  267. Lokshen Horror said

    I’m afraid, Cuthbert, you don’t really appreciate the purpose of the Honours List. It is not just to applaud those who have contributed most to the nation, the high and mighty, the rich and famous. It is also to demonstrate that no matter how lowly your station, how little you have achieved, all our lives have value and are appreciated. It is a reminder that nothing is out of our reach and we should all be pleased that Mr Borowski was singled out to be our community example.

  268. A Beitz said

    Think it was an MBE actually. The same honour as was conferred upon local worthies such as Dr Jack E Miller and Dr George Barlow but which was rejected by Michael Winner as being fit for a toilet cleaner.
    People like Ephraim do a lot but I’m a bit surprised since I can’t recall such an honour previously being given in Scotland to a lay leader of the Jewish community for his or her communal work. Some have accepted such baubles who have been leaders but for work outwith the community. It does rather suggest that in the corridors of power SCOJEC is seen as a more important organisation than the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council.
    Meantime what became of my generous loan to the Labour Party? Has someone forgotten about it?

  269. Philosopher Paul said

    Can you please tell us Beitz exactly what you mean by
    “people like Ephraim do a lot”

    From what I’ve heard he doesn’t do very much at all other than give the impression that he’s important.
    Perhaps someone that is in the know can tell us what he and Scojec have done that is of real benefit to our community.

  270. Hamish McShmekelstein said

    On behalf of the Executive Committee, Representative Council of Jewish Communities of Orkney Shetland Hebrides Argyll and Sutherland, we are delighted to hear in the Kirkwall Morning Post Newspaper of the recent honour bestowed upon Scojec Czar Ephraim Borowski by the HRH The Queen of England.

  271. Lokshen Horror said

    When did they stop giving awards to volunteers and start giving them to paid employees?

  272. A Beitz said

    Offhand, Paul. He has been chair of Glasgow J Soc, of Chaplaincy, of Giffnock Shul, on the exec of the Rep council and Chief Exec of Scojec. Scojec itself provides a forum and a facility for Jewish people in outlying areas such as Hamish to participate in Jewish events. You can read their newsletter “4 Corners”. In addition they are well known within the Scottish Parliament as an effective lobbying group and were mainly responsible for the fact that Scotland now has divorce legislation which can make it more difficult for one spouse to obtain a civil divorce whilst refusing to grant a Get. However I’m not Scojec’s publicity officer and the above is simply my own independent viewpoint.
    Here is a link to 4 Corners which also takes you to the Scojec site.

  273. History Man said

    I was also perplexed about this ‘honour’ for Mr Borowski. Not that I’m saying the honours system stinks, but if you send me 10 pounds, I’ll see YOU get an MBE or suchlike.

    These awards go to all sorts of folk, including many paid employees, but (speaking from INSIDE knowledge) often they are chosen because it’s buggin’s turn, and someone in a particular organisation or area of public life has to get an award this year.

    But there are many many folk who work hard for the community in all sorts of capacities, paid and unpaid, and most of them never get anywhere near an award.

    Me, I wouldn’t thank you for this kind of ‘award’ – Member of the British Empire? – it’s about as up to date as Jews living in the Gorbals.

    Now, as this is the Glasgow Jewish EDUCATIONAL Forum, I will end with some particularly apt words from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers):

    R. Simeon said: There are three crowns. The crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of kingship. But the crown of a good name excels them.

  274. A Beitz said

    What about £20 for a knighthood, History Man? It would be the one way to make a lady of Mrs Beitz.

  275. Philosopher Paul said

    Mr Beitz, I hope you are not implying that to be on the executive of Giffnock Shul or on the executive of the Representative Council is deserving of an honour from the Queen.

    Just think of the current possibilities –

    Sir Stephen Kliner
    Lord Kenneth Collins
    Philip Mendelsohn OBE
    Sir Edward Isaacs
    Mr Eliot Leviten MBE

    It makes me weep!

    Does the Queen not have better advisors than to bestow honours on people like Ephraim Borowski MBE?

    Lokshen Horror makes a very valid point. How come paid employees are deemed to be rewarded than many of the unpaid volunteers? I know of countless people who give of their time in our community to work voluntarily with the Care Organisations – who seek no publicity – but genuinely work to help improve the lives of others.

    By the way does anyone know the reason behind Cuthbert’s assertion that Borowski was sacked by Stephen Kliner and Kenneth Collins from the Rep Council?

  276. Philosopher Paul said

    I almost forgot…please forgive me

    Lord Edlin!

  277. A Beitz said

    275 it is cumulative. However I am not keen on the honours list anyway. Having said that to quote Napoleon, “Men are led by toys.” There is no harm in communal leaders receiving these baubles but they haven’t to date. Most of them do work hard even if the view is that their efforts are misdirected. Working hard and incompetence are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
    Btw I am unaware that Mr B receives a salary for his work for Scojec. As far as I know it is an honorary position.

  278. F R Brent said

    I presume that people such as Lockshen Horror and Philosopher Paul work very hard on behalf of the community otherwise they wouldn’t be taking shots at those who do. And Lockshen Horror should get his facts straight before suggesting that Ephraim Borowski is a paid employee.
    If some of the snipers on this Blogsite are responsible for the future of our community heaven help us.
    Why not do something useful and suggest ways in which we can go forward and make the best of the diminishing resources we have.
    There are plenty of vibrant smaller communities in the UK – I should imagine that’s down to people working together.

  279. Community Cuthbert said

    The Glasgow community is vibrant – It has unfortunately been badly led over the past 20 odd years by people with next to no vision about what is required here. Both religious and secular leadership have failed.

    Unfortunately people have talked this community down rather than up. There is plenty of activity and many good things going on here. Part of the problem is that far too many of those who have been responsible for poor decisions remain in positions of influence. And that slows or prevents progress.

    A Beitz is spot on. Working hard and competence are not the same.

    My understanding is that Collins and Kliner prevented Borowski from becoming Rep Council President because they thought he was totally unsuitable to lead the community. I don’t agree or disagree with that as I don’t believe the Council has showed proper leadership direction for about 30 years. But I can’t think why Mr Kliner would consider he is better material. Mr Borowski may have his faults – we all do – but if he had assumed the Presidency of the Council it may have gone in some different or difficult directions – but at least it would have been noticed and the organisation would probably still be of interest to the community.

  280. cumference said

    If I go round in circles and then get Knighted by HM will I then become Sir Cumference?

  281. Cumnavigation said

    If I go round the world in a boat in the world’s fastest time and then get rewarded with a knighted will have I be known as Sir Cumnavigation

  282. Wasting Our Time said

    That should be “Knighthood” and the answer is NO twice!!!

  283. kill said

    Or if I got knighted for being a rounded individual I would be Sir Kill (geddit)?

  284. History Man said

    If I get knighted for being Jewish, would I be Sir Cumcision?

  285. History Man said

    Sorry – I didn’t mean my last posting to be so cutting.

  286. Philosopher Pete said

    As a philosopher I believe in the right of every individual to liberty and freedom of action whenever possible.
    My philosopher chum – Ephraim – has received a great honour – and all you lot can do is make fun of the system.
    Whist I appreciate that we all have to make choices – and it is your choice to ridicule and have a laugh – would it not be more befitting to hold a banquet for Mr Borowski where we can all listen to the good and the great tell us what a fine hard working community bloke he really is, with impeccable credentials to receive an honour from Her Majesty.

    This dinner should be organised by The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council. 3 speeches will be given. 1. President Mendelsohn. 2. Past President Collins. 3. Past past President Kliner.

    The only people that will be invited will be those that are considered by these office bearers to be of sufficient importance to listen to long winded drivel that will follow.

    Cheerio, I’m off to Buckingham Palace!

  287. A Beitz said

    Giffnock shul are holding a Fairtrade kiddush shortly. I think those behind it, and Rabbi Rubin emphasised that there are a number of Jewish principles which mean we should support Fairtrade, should be congratulated. This is an imaginative pioneering idea.

  288. Herutnik said

    Well well Mr Beitz, still posting I see. You and your mate Emet may wish to think about this. According to Mr Olmert – Israel’s Prime Minister – his country has not been honouring its commitments to the recent peace initiaive and has not been halting the construction of settlements.

    Now I wonder why.

    Could it be that Israel has no intention of giving up any land and her presence at Peace talks was just to humour Mr Bush. And could it be that Mr Bush agrees with Israeli policy deep down and is only humouring the Arabs.

    Maybe that is why when George Bush visits Israel this week he will be so warmly greeted. When he visits almost every other country on the planet there are mass demonstrations against his presence.

    And maybe Mr Beitz and Emet may consider that as this is the situation in Israel – most of the population are quite happy to continue with the settlement of Judea and Samaria.

    It appears to me that your notion of Israel giving up land to the Palestinians is your dream and thankfully little more.

  289. History Man said

    Whoa! I thought we were in the middle of slagging Mr B’s MBE!

    Back to the serious stuff?

    So what would you suggest, Herutnik? – Israel keeping control over huge numbers of Palestinians indefinitely, until they become the majority of the population in Israel/West Bank/Gaza? Or annex the whole lot, and have millions of Arab 2nd-class citizens of a Jewish state? That will really give Israel a chance to show how a Jewish state can be a ‘light to the nations’!

    Or give them the vote and have them change the Jewish state by democratic means?

    I know there are no easy answers – but the status quo can’t be a long term option (and their music isn’t that good either).

  290. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    The problem, History Man, is that Herutnik is right. The left in Israel won all the arguments, they had justice and morality on their side but nobody was prepared to pay the price for an equitable settlement with the Palestinians. By default the situation is exactly as Herutnik states. All the dreadful options you suggest expecting them to be rejected are, I am ashamed to say, exactly what many Israelis would have happen.
    I see so many of my friends, once rational and critical of injustice now blind to where their government is leading them, now inured to corruption and lack of political integrity in the highest of places. But there is a price to pay for peace and the longer it is delayed the more expensive it will be. Bush is in his last year; it is unlikely that the next US President will be in thrall to the Christian fundamentalists. It is they, not Aipac that are calling the shots. As the price of oil continues to rise future American Presidents will act increasingly in the interests of Americans, not Israelis unless their interests coincide. When this happens it will be the US that will decide the price Israel has to pay, not some corrupt Israeli politician.

  291. Herutnik said

    Are we still banging that same old drum ” History Man ” about being a light unto nations?

    Israel lives in the real world – has to fight daily for survival against enemies who would destroy her given the slightest chance.

    We don’t live in a perfect world. Israel does the best it can – much more than most other countries – but ask most Israelis and they will tell you it is a tough neighbourhood they live in and survival is the top priority. It is a greater priority than moral wishy washy appeasement.

  292. Armchair Analyst said

    ‘Appeasement’ of displaced refugees you ethnically cleansed, yes absolutely. No need to appease Nasrallah, I doubt that anything will work there, but with the technical ability in hand to wipe most of his lot out in a morning, it’s not exactly a fight for survival. Same with the rocketeers of Sderot.

    The question is – Iran. Will a ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ incident be manufactured, or does it actually need to be this time?

  293. History Man said

    Trouble is, the issues are mostly not rational, but subjective and emotive, and both sides can trade injustices forever. But I don’t see that doing nothing is a good or viable option – things will just get worse. Regardless of who has more right on their side, we can’t afford to give up trying for some sort of agreement in the long term.

  294. Sir Humpty Dumpty said

    I have just returned from my holiday abroad – picked up the Jewish Telegraph which as usual was late – and I can’t believe what I have just read.
    ” MBE for Ephraim the modest legend”

    The Jewish Telegraph has impressed me – what irony! what sarcasm?
    They not only describ Mr MBE as a “legend” – but a ” modest legend”!!!!

    Now, given my knowledge of community machers I know that a man like Mr MBE would have realised when the queen came calling that there were much more deserving recipients of such an honour than him.

    I know that he would have suggested to the Queen that at least two community figures should have been honoured before him if the monarch wished to give a trinket to our local community.
    I am sure he would have suggested a retired headteacher and a family doctor as having worked far harder for this community than he has ever done.

    I know that MBE will have had the integrity to inform the Queen that there must have been some mistake- the retired headteacher and family doctor are far more involved than he has ever been – support far more communal groups and activities, and I know that he will have suggested that they should receive any honour before him.

    I know this because Mr MBE , given his humility and modesty, could not possibly have thought this was really meant for him.

    So, I don’t understand what has happened. Is there anyone out there who can make sense of this?

  295. Former Glasgow University computer student said

    Congratulations to Mr. Borowski. I wonder if Glasgow University were part of the Nomination team
    here? This Award will sit well with his GU pension ???

  296. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I hope you are all well and that you are looking forward to Shabbat.

    My trip to Jerusalem was fantastic. I find visits there to be spiritually uplifting and our family Simcha was truly special. My cousin’s child had the wonderful experience of having his Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel. How inspiring!

    Now I know many of my congregants celebrate a family Bar Mitzvah with lavish functions. Sometimes the expense involved is quite frightening and quite often I feel that social pressure forces people to spend much more than they can afford and tragically I have seen families put themselves into considerable debt. Weddings create the same problems.

    I have long believed that a simcha does not have to be celebrated in this way if it is going to cause financial problems. Also what values does it teach to the younger members of our community? Should a Bar Mitzvah not be about something more than an expensive party?

    And I am sure most will agree that wealth and extravagance does not guarantee happiness.

    This brings me to the issue of what makes someone a good Jew.

    Is it someone who is exceptionally devout in terms of adherance to Jewish law? Is it someone who 3 times a day attends Shul services but does not necessarily behave well towards his fellow human beings?

    If a person does good deeds , is charitable, helps others whenever possible, but never follows any Jewish customs or laws then they might be a good person – but does that make them a good Jew?

    Another subject that interests me is what abilities define good leadership in or community?

    I have always believed that as a Rabbi I should encourage my congregants to do as much as possible – each year try and do a little bit more. For those that don’t like coming to Shul regularly I try to encourage them to light Shabbat candles or to put up a Mezuzah in their home. I do not believe they are bad Jews if they don’t do this – I am not their judge – I just want them to enjoy being part of a people with a wonderful religion, culture and history and I hope that if they realise the magic of belonging to our faith and living Judaism they will be better, more rounded people.

    Before finishing this week I would ask you all to consider what do you most enjoy about being described as Jewish – why do you want to identify with this religion or your fellow Jews? Why do you want to be part of a community? And if you don’t think any of these things are worthwhile then I would be interested to know why it is of little interest.

    I apologise for asking so many questions but I am hoping we can have an interesting discussion

    Shabbat Shalom

  297. A Beitz said

    Thank you again to Rabbi L. I really enjoy your weekly postings.
    For me being Jewish is a very positive thing. I believe the religion/culture has a strong tradition and belief in such things as family, ethics, community, charity and kindly acts generally. For me the ritual aspects of matters are fairly unimportant although generally harmless. What does irritate is the way that for some people the ritual has become an end in itself rather than a means to an end and the attitude of some that, because they pray 3 times a day and are shomer shabbat, defrauding the state or other nefarious actions does not stop them being good Jews. Apart from the complete immorality and illegality of what they do they also bring the community into disrepute and commit a hillul hashem.

  298. To be, again said

    What, could it be that some of the great and the good – the regular shulgoers – are less than squeaky clean in their business activities?

  299. To be, Again said

    … more seriously – agreeing with the learned Beitz, business ethics are very important to our religion, and great value is placed on having clean hands in business. So why is it that success isnt frowned upon if the hands are slightly mucky, right up to the point that the law places handcuffs? Is the unwritten commandment (about not being caught) given more credence??

  300. Community Cuthbert said

    If Mr Borowski can get an OBE for taking the train to Edinburgh twice a week, then Dr Kenneth Collins must surely be aiming for a knighthood after what I have just read in this week’s JC.

    On page 6 there is an article entitled ” Scots plan Holocaust museum” and it quotes Kenneth Collins ” president of the Glasgow Representative Council ” describing the proposed site in Rouken Glen Park as ” superb”.

    I would make the following comments:

    1. What has happened to President Philip? Has he been removed ? Or is it the case when there are important issues that are being discussed Dr Collins makes another comeback? And what consultation took place with the vitally important Mr MBE – (Borowski)?

    2. Apart from this not being a very good idea to have a Holocaust Museum in Glasgow – which has a very small Jewish population – the proposed site is not a good idea at all.

    3. A public park like Rouken Glen is a place for leisure and recreation. It is a place where children should have fun.
    Others may argue that a Holocaust museum is a good idea but it should be in a suitable location – attached to another museum or in a Shul or in a community centre.

    4. I understand that it is possible to nominate oneself or arrange for someone to nominate you for an Honour from the Queen and perhaps Mr MBE got his gong this way. I can visualise Dr Collins processing his own application on the back of this.

    Only problem is that it is not a very good idea at all.

  301. A Beitz said

    I don’t think, Cuthbert, that the museum would be for the Jewish community but instead would be to educate all. It is the same with the national Holocaust Museum in Nottingham. Attaching it to a shul would in fact create all sorts of access issues. I have no problem at all with the idea but would hope that what is in includes information about about other genocidal regimes such as in Serbia. Hopefully equally we wouldn’t get into the obscenity of the suggestion that the Israeli government, whatever you may think of Israel and Zionism, are practicising genocide against the Palestinians.
    On a completely separate matter but going back to Rabbi L’s posting this week one positive thing we could learn from some of the more orthodox parts of our community is that they have a basic simcha for those who have difficulty in affording major expenditure and this icontributed to out of communal funds. The one downside is that it is very much off the peg as far as everything, from flowers to menu are concerned. However it works well and in one way is almost akin to Habo ideals.
    Taking a previous posting and this one together another thing the community should simply put a stop to is the use of outside caterers by communal employees where there is a caterer within the community. I’ve heard all the arguments about glat. But chicken for example cannot be glat. There is no point in rabbonim railing from their pulpits about people having non kosher functions when they effectively say that the local supervised caterer is not kosher enough as far as they are concerned. By such an act the community,which provides these employees with their living, is undermined and diminished.

  302. NLL said

    Actually I think it’s the people you never see – or even when you see them you don’t hear of what they do – who have true Jewish souls.
    Those that give a job to someone down on their luck; those that take food to a family facing a crisis – and keep going back when all the others have moved on; those that give respite to the parents of a child with special needs, by offering some time to look after the child & their siblings – regularly

    Not only are they performing mitzvot, they may be enabling other people to so. When the person who is now working again is back on their feet, maybe they’ll give to charity; when the family crisis passes, maybe they’ll make it to shul; and when the perents who were at the end of their tether, are more relaxed and replenished maybe they’ll light the Shabbat candles and make a Friday night meal?

    I do understand – up to a point – the purpose of ritual and how it can give a framework for living both to the individual and society, but like Beitzy I have serious concerns when the ritual becomes an end in itself. It makes me wonder what is being taught yeshevot and frum schools. I think one of the best aspects of Judaism is learning why and not just how, and I understood that was a major part of how the learning was structured. But when youngsters are reduced to debating the minutia of ‘if you translate a word this way or that way, it means this or it means that’ TO THE EXCLUSION of examining why we do things and how each aspect of the practice adds up to make the whole, I despair for the next generation of Rabbonim and religious leaders.

  303. Armchair Analyst said

    I’d like to add to Beitz’s comments about the proposed Holocaust Museum. Certainly other twentieth century genocides should be highlighted including the Armenian, Rwandan, Cambodian and Sudan/Darfur examples. But I suspect there will be a hands-off policy in the case of the last one, and if so the whole project should be scrapped.

    Yes, and the usual suspects will be out asking for the ‘Zionist Regime’ to be included. They must be firmly told where to go.

    I’m not specifically against the idea of a Holocaust Museum at a suitable site in Glasgow, but the politicising of Rouken Glen, a park where people go for relaxation and serenity, does not at all seem the best way forward.

  304. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I remember many years ago talking to my grandfather about his early days in the Gorbals around the turn of the century. He and his landsmen would meet at Gorbals cross on a Friday afternoon for a schmooze and then most repaired to the public bath house to clean themselves up before returning to their tenement home to bring in the Sabbath. I suppose I have some of the same genes for I have also adopted the habit of finishing early on a Friday, but I repair to Greens Gym, the modern equivalent of the bath house, before returning home for the traditional Friday night meal.
    Once again, I joined my fellow zombies on the treadmill marching bravely off to nowhere fast. The mindless boredom and the self imposed pain go hand in hand with the territory. I think I mentioned before, I find the best way to cope is to let my mind wander, think my thoughts. And as I sink deeper into thought, the boredom ceases and the pain subsides as if by natural analgesia.
    I cast my mind back a fortnight to when I was with my children and ever increasing numbers of grandchildren at the David Lloyd centre in Finchley, a gym deluxe. At the weekends it is very busy not just with keep fit addicts and sad specimens like me just trying to stay alive. It is very much a family venue where for the most part only two languages are to be heard, English and Ivrit. It occurred to me that the Rabbonim in Finchley would minister to much larger congregations if they tried their luck in gyms instead of shuls.
    And so my train of thought arrived at Rabbi L and his most recent posting. There he poses the question “what makes a good Jew”? Then he offers some suggestions for consideration. It struck me that before debating who is a good or bad Jew; we must first decide what we mean by Jew. It is the ongoing problem, who are we; what are we? Some may claim you are Jewish if, and only if, your mother was Jewish but who decided if your mother was Jewish and her mother and so on ad nauseum. Perhaps they were Jewish according to the Halacha, but that also is a most unsatisfactory route, the Halacha according to whom, how to decide whose interpretation we should use. I consider myself very much part of the Jewish scene, yet not so long ago I attended a family wedding in darkest Mea Shearim. It was made quite clear by many of the attendant Chassidim that my type of Jewishness was suspect and one even said ( in Yiddish), perhaps I was a goy. It was quite an amusing revelation but proved that even in a Jewish state, one cannot take one’s own Jewishness for granted.
    Maybe one should be all encompassing and accept that if you think of yourself as Jewish then you are Jewish. That is another minefield. What about Jews for Jesus, are they Jewish? Are those among them with neither genetic link nor recognisable conversion to Judaism one of us? And perhaps one could challenge the credentials of the Naturei Carta and similar such groups. I would suggest that these people have taken a tradition, a comfortable way of living and turned it into something obscene, something rank in nature; I see such people as part of a fundamentalist brotherhood which encompasses all extreme religious groupings and with whom they have more in common. Perhaps they should return that which they have stolen, our religion and way of life and go their own way.
    For myself I’m part of a club with rules. I obey some of the rules and overlook those I find inconvenient. I don’t advertise those I break nor intentionally flaunt them in the faces of those more law abiding than myself. But it is a club and membership of it can only make me a good or bad Jew, not a good or bad person.
    Perhaps I may indulge myself with more of this theme later, particularly what makes a good or bad person, but meantime the pain returned and it would soon be time to welcome the Sabbath.
    As far as the treadmill was concerned, it did me so much good I allowed myself two plates of chopped liver, an extra kreplach in the chicken soup and for once I didn’t count the roast potatoes.

  305. Stamford Hillbilly said

    Re post number 301-a friend in glasgow told me recently that the Bet Din will not allow Glasgow’s only Kosher Caterer to do the Reform Shul ! That must be illegal-but legality aside it is a shocking state of communal affairs.

  306. Stamford Hillbilly said

    Re post number 301-a friend in glasgow told me recently that the Bet Din will not allow Glasgow’s only Kosher Caterer to do the Reform Shul ! That must be illegal-but legality aside it is a shocking state of communal affairs.

  307. F R Brent said

    In response to Rabbi L’s blog, I can’t conceive of being anything other than Jewish. I am not religious, but on the odd occasion I do go to shul I generally enjoy the service, except when the noise of chatter gets to great from fellow women who, if they can’t follow the service, have nothing else to do since our participation is not required.
    When I do get into difficulty in shul it’s when I look at the translation rather than trying to follow the service. It just doesn’t make sense to me and it’s then that I start to ask ‘why am I here – I don’t believe any of this? And I think a great many of my fellow Jews feel the same way.
    To my mind, the question of belief is one of the main reasons why so few people are shomer shabbat or keep the majority of Jewish laws such as total observance of kashrut nowadays. And that is perhaps the biggest challenge for the rabbonim.
    But, if I have difficulty with the man to G-d relationship because of my doubts, I certainly believe in the paramount importance of the man to man (in fact that should be person to person) relationship. And I see it as my duty as a Jew to fulfil that mitzvah of behaving as best I can to my fellow human beings.
    That and being proud of what I am and enjoying the traditions.

  308. A Beitz said

    Hlllbilly, I can’t offhand see anything illegal about it but it does seem to be wrong if Jewish people want to eat kosher they should be refused the facility whatever the venue. Even if one accepts the fundamentalist orthodox view about Reform why should their members and guests be prevented from having a supervised kosher meal? Do they really want people to use the obvious alternative of a non kosher caterer?

  309. Amateur Lawyer said

    If the situation is that the Kosher Caterer is told by the local Beth Din – which she must comply with or she would be out of business – that she cannot do a function in the Reform Shul – is that not tantamount to restraint of trade?

  310. Stamford Hillbilly said

    Assuming the law in Scotland is similar to the law in England-there must be a human rights angle-denying someone the right to use the caterer that complies with their beliefs ?
    Also I read an article about Scotland’s new anti -religous bigotry laws-again if the Beth Din are essentailly discriminating against reform jews are they not breaching the law in that regard?
    Sounds like a test case in the making-any good lawyers out there ?

  311. Stamford Hillbilly said

    Assuming the law in Scotland is similar to the law in England-there must be a human rights angle-denying someone the right to use the caterer that complies with their beliefs ?
    Also I read an article about Scotland’s new anti -religous bigotry laws-again if the Beth Din are essentailly discriminating against reform jews are they not breaching the law in that regard?
    Sounds like a test case in the making-any good lawyers out there ?

  312. To be, again said

    There might be a human rights angle… if the beth din was a public authority – I’m not sure that it would be. Is it the Beth Din in London who have put the brakes on, or a more local source? An interesting question.

    In any case, from a technical point of view – and I’m not saying anything about reform myself before anyone attacks me on this! – but in the eyes of the Beth Din reform is simply not jewish, and their view would be that they cater only to orthodox jewry and would no more serve at the reform shul than in a church or mosque?

    Can any religion approach a kosher caterer and, on denial of service, claim a human rights issue?

  313. Manny Shevitz said

    Suppose anyone, maybe not even Jewish, wanted to use this kosher caterer? Is this ban by the Beth Din limited specifically to the Reform Shul?

  314. To be, again said

    I wonder if you phoned them and asked them to do a muslim wedding… what would they say?

  315. Stamford Hillbilly said

    Seems to me that the issue is that someone wanting to use the glasgow caterer for a non jewish function eg a corporate dinner on a monday night could do so because it need not be supervised-the issue here is the need for a fully supervised function with all the trimmings etc and the fact that the beth din who license the caterer will not allow a supervised meal in the reform shul–joseph xavier o.briens confirmation brunch at the hilton meantime would get the green-light (if not on shabbos) ; of course all the more ironic is that going back a little for years the only caterer available in glasgow was a member of the reform shul and could cater in all shuls-it is a pity things have changed for the worse

  316. Stamford Hillbilly said

    Seems to me that the issue is that someone wanting to use the glasgow caterer for a non jewish function eg a corporate dinner on a monday night could do so because it need not be supervised-the issue here is the need for a fully supervised function with all the trimmings etc and the fact that the beth din who license the caterer will not allow a supervised meal in the reform shul–joseph xavier o.briens confirmation brunch at the hilton meantime would get the green-light (if not on shabbos) ; of course all the more ironic is that going back a little for years the only caterer available in glasgow was a member of the reform shul and could cater in all shuls-it is a pity things have changed for the worse

  317. To be, again said

    Is the problem the issue of supervision? That a non-orthodox meal wont be supervised, and therefore the caterer cannot be used?

    In your example, Joseph Xavier O’Brien (a thoroughly decent baby from a very nice family) would not need supervision, and the caterer could go and feed the attendees.

    So, from what has been posted hear, it appears that the caterer is not being allowed to work for reform functions, even unsupervised…?


    Of course, before losing any sleep over it – should we check whether it is true?

  318. To be, again said

    NB by baby, I meant young person – moving out of the legal age of childhood (ok backtracking because I didnt read it properly, of course I know what a confirmation is etc etc)

  319. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    In reply to Manny Shevitz my impression is that the ban is on the Reform, not because they are regarded as non-Jewish but that unlike non Jews they are seen as a challenge and threat to the hegemony of the orthodox. Most organisations wishing to rent orthodox shul halls in Glasgow can do so without question unless it is for a reform simcha in which instance the let will be refused or even withdrawn. So it is not just the Reform shul that is proscribed, it is reform members that are banned. It is an outrageous situation brought about by a caucus of small minded people lacking the leadership skills or vision to act in the best interests of the future of their community.

  320. A Beitz said

    NA is as usual correct. Many of those who attend a function organised by the Reform Shul are halachically Jewish whatever standard is imposed. Yet it seems the Beth Din would rather send these people away to eat non kosher.
    I don’t even think this is a uniform practise in the UK. I attended an orthodox bat mitzvah in Radlett and the function was held in a Liberal Shul hall under supervision by one of the orthodox bodies in London.

  321. To be, again said

    It doesnt sound like the judaism I was brought up to believe in…

  322. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    To re-enforce Beitzie’s comments, I have attended an orthodox celebration with supervised kosher catering at the Liberal Shul in St John’s Wood Road. I am sorry to go on about food but my foremost memory of the occasion was that the catering was not in the same class as we get up here.

  323. Cynical said

    A question to #309.

    What’s a good lawyer?

  324. Don Findlay said

    Just for kicks I googled it Cynical, and found this ‘serious’ one:

    And this ‘joke’:

    Where can you find a good lawyer? – In the cemetary

  325. A Beitz said

    NA is again on the ball. I don’t think the catering anywhere else in the UK matches Glasgow. That is based upon having attended simchot in Manchester, Leeds, London and the Home Counties. London has quite good reception food but it goes downhill from there. In addition the only way you’ll get a decent whisky is to bring a carry out. And from what I can gather the per capita cost outside Scotland works out at about twice as much.
    The Beth Din could ultimately kill things here. What would there be to prevent the GRS from supervising a caterer and announcing to the community that he/she was kosher? Many people would be more than happy to accept that assurance including those who go to orthodox shuls and are reasonably observant. If Reform are prepared to have their catering to an orthodox standard there is no reason why the orthodox should turn them away but they do then they run the risk of competition either from a caterer certified as kosher or from non kosher caterers.

  326. To be, again said

    Thanks Don Findlay for #321…
    Had a look 🙂
    In the list of the secrets of what makes a good lawyer is this one:

    “If some of the words on a copy of a document provided to you are very light, you can enhance their readability by going over them with a highlighter.”

    I didn’t know that!

  327. To be, again said

    More… and there’s this one:

    To see if duplicate originals or copies are, in fact, exactly the same, put two of the pages with the same page number together, one on top of the other, and then hold them up to a light source. If they are identical, each letter will overlap perfectly and it will be obvious with just a glance. If they’re not identical, be glad you’ve done your job.

    Good advice for lawyers, for sure!

  328. npn said

    I have been reading with interest the Catering discussion ; the reform shul kitchen is entirely non meat and otherwise kosher-it is self supervised ,but those who do look after it know their stuff ;
    I agree that the glasgow kosher catering punches well above it’s weight-full marks to Simcha Catering for that.As for the Beth Din effectively denying kosher and supervised food to a simcha well that seems very unfortunate-if they can do it in a hotel they can do it anywhere-it is a political decision on their part.

  329. Quizzical said

    Do those that run the Beth Din in Glasgow actually use the caterer they supervise for their own functions?

  330. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I hope you all have had an inspiring week and are anticipating a wonderful Shabbat. I thank those who took the trouble to discuss what Judaism means to them. I will return to this subject soon.

    When I was in Israel recently at a family simcha – the Bar Mitzvah of my cousin’s son – there were many visitors from all over the world. Some members mishpacha we had not seen for many years and it was wonderful to see them. One of my relatives who had not been to Israel for a long time asked me to accompany him on a visit to Yad Vashem – the memorial in Jerusalem to the Shoah. I accepted his invitation – and I would like to share with you some of our conversations that took place.

    Firstly, when we came out of the memorial hall, the sun had broken through for the first time that day – there were birds singing – and it struck us how wonderful life can be. We take so many things for granted and do not appreciate some of the special things in life until we do not have them.. After spending two hours learning about the destruction of the Jewish people – to walk into the Jerusalem sunshine – and realise the miracle of the State of Israel – was very uplifting.

    It made us think. . The Hebrew word “ Shoah” means calamity or destruction and is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust. My companion is not particularly religious and he asked me, “ where was G-d during the Shoah?” Now, as I have explained before, I don’t always share the views of all my colleagues, and this subject is quite sensitive.

    There are some things which are in my opinion not explainable. I was asked, “what was G-d’s role or purpose in this evil atrocity? Could G-d have intervened to prevent or mitigate the genocide? Did He decide to do nothing? Or if He was unable to intervene then does this not challenge our religious belief that G-d is all powerful? Or even, is our G-d a good G-d?”

    Some have argued that the suffering and death caused in the Shoah must have been warranted. How can that possibly be? The very scale exceeds anything that can reasonably count as punishment and in my view this very idea is morally offensive.

    A number of religious writers have invoked the notion of “ Hester Panim” – meaning the retreat of G-d in hiding His face or absenting himself during the Shoah and leaving an evil world to its own devices. This in my view is not consistent with the G-d that I know, who could not have allowed such barbarism to happen.

    The Chief Rabbi has stated that the Holocaust was a result of free choice and has argued that it is a mistake to blame G-d for the tragedy. If Human beings can choose good, he has argued, they can also choose evil. Even though G-d is all powerful he chose to exercise self restraint and allow human beings free-will.

    I believe that some things are not explainable. The Shoah happened not because G-d willed it and not because human beings earned it. I admit that at several times in my life I have found it difficult to reconcile the Shoah with this all powerful good G-d that I believe in. My parents lost an uncle and aunt at Belsen and their first cousin – a child also was lost. So the Shoah has touched our family very closely.

    I grew up reading Elie Weisel and I recall his position of G-d’s accuser. On the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur – he refused to fast as he could not accept G-d’s silence in the face of suffering. I still can understand how he and others feel but I have chosen a different path.

    I believe that we must have faith in a better tomorrow and we have to accept that G-d’s ways are ultimately incomprehensible. There are not always easy explanations. Nor should we always think that there are answers to everything.

    I, as I have stated before, am an Orthodox Rabbi. However, I would like to finish by quoting the late Rabbi Hugo Gryn. Some of you might wonder how an Orthodox Rabbi can quote a Reform Rabbi. After considering the subject we have just been discussing I think a question in this context is irrelevant and inappropriate.

    In the conclusion to his book – “Chasing Shadows” he writes that he was often asked “Where was G-d in Auschwitz”. He replied that the real question should be “where was man?”

    Shabbat Shalom

  331. To be, again said

    Thank you Rabbi L, and Shavuah Tov

    going back a few posts, I spoke to somebody who until recently was involved with the Beth Din in Glasgow. He was extremely surprised by the postings on this blog – as it was his impression that the Beth Din worked very hard for inclusion – exactly the opposite of what was reported here.

  332. Einstein's Viewpoint said

    Simon Weisenthal’s Autobiography opens with the line ‘God was on holiday during the Holocaust’. There are several possibilities, among them the following:

    1. He came back from holiday to bring about the ‘miracle’ of the State of Israel.

    2. He actually wasn’t on holiday at all, just not interfering as usual.

    3. Einstein’s view:
    On 22 March 1954 a self-made man sent Einstein in Princeton a long handwritten letter-four closely packed pages in English. The correspondent despaired that there were so few people like Einstein who had the courage to speak out, and he wondered if it would not be best to return the world to the animals. Saying “I presume you would like to know who I am,” he went on to tell in detail how he had come from Italy to the United States at the age of nine, arriving in bitter cold weather, as a result of which his sisters died while he barely survived; how after six months of schooling he went to work at age ten; how at age seventeen he went to Evening School; and so on, so that now he had a regular job as an experimental machinist, had a spare-time business of his own, and had some patents to his credit. He declared himself an atheist. He said that real education came from reading books. He cited an article about Einstein’s religious beliefs and expressed doubts as to the article’s accuracy. He was irreverent about various aspects of formal religion, speaking about the millions of people who prayed to God in many languages, and remarking that God must have an enormous clerical staff to keep track of all their sins. And he ended with a long discussion of the social and political systems of Italy and the United States that it would take too long to describe here. He also enclosed a check for Einstein to give to charity.

    On 24 March 1954 Einstein answered in English as follows:

    I get hundreds and hundreds of letters but seldom one so interesting as yours. I believe that your opinions about our society are quite reasonable.

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

    I have no possibility to bring the money you sent me to the appropriate receiver. I return it therefore in recognition of your good heart and intention. Your letter shows me also that wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.

  333. Non believer said

    Could the answer that Rabbi L is looking for not simply be that his God does not exist.

  334. To be, again said

    Question: is the subject of the supposed beth din ban on reform catering over?

    I’d still like to know if it is solely based on peoples ‘impressions’ and what ‘seems’ to be the case… or if it is actually true. I don’t like the idea of bad mouthing the beth din post after post without actual foundation! And I’m slightly concerned, as is the nature with a blog, that it has been discussed, decided upon by blog justice, and found to be true… so that the blog readers now ‘know’ that it is the case ‘cos it says so here’!

  335. Non believer said

    It’s not rocket science post 331.

    It isn’t an “impression”. The local Beth Din do NOT allow the local caterer to do a function in the Reform Shul.

    I’m only surprised that anyone is shocked by this. What do you expect from such open minded people. A while ago on this blog someone suggested reading a book called ” The Rabbi’s Daughter” by Reva Mann.

    Well I went out and bought it. It is a very colourful insight into the world of the ultra – orthodox and it only confirmed that most of the rulings handed down by Beth Dins wherever they may be – are to perpetuate a power base and ensure that Rabbis still have some hold over the Jewish community.

    Thankfully most people in our world – not theirs – realise this and don’t go anywhere near them. Then their decisions don’t matter.

  336. To be, again said

    Thx post 332…

    I appreciate that its not rocket science, but there is a big difference between hearsay chit chat leading to all sorts of discussion and something that is being reported from actual knowledge … the words ‘impression’ and ‘seem’ are what were used in the original posts and given that a very trusted source has a very different impression of the Beth Din, I wondered if secondhand stories were the culprit.

    PS Did you *know* that Tom + Katie’s baby was created from Ron L Hubbards’s donation? The whole world is discussing it… it must be true, I heard it!

  337. A Beitz said

    I have carried out some investigation, To Be, and can assure you of first hand information that the Glasgow Beth Din have refused to allow supervised catering in the Glasgow Reform Synagogue. I can also confirm that this is a change of policy in that I have spoken with an individual who was previously a major figure in the Glasgow Beth Din and he has confirmed that whilst, of course, the Beth Din did not agree with Reform Judaism the policy in his time was that they were delighted if Reform Jews wanted to eat kosher and would cater at the Reform Shul. He also stated that a policy was approved of by Dayan Gelley and Rabbi Jeremy Conway of the London Beth Din and still is. In other words Glasgow is out of step with more senior rabbonim in London.

  338. To be, again said

    Accepted … thank you A Beitz… and therefore disappointed that it is actually the case.

  339. To be, again said

    … and the person I spoke to is no longer involved in the Beth Din here… and so not in touch with the change in policy. He will be very disappointed too (he is my father!).

  340. rocket scientist said

    If I were you, To Be, I would phone up one of the larger orthodox shuls on the South side and tell them you’re a member of the reform but wish to celebrate your simcha in their premises or check with a Glasgow kosher caterer whether you can be catered for in the reform and I can assure you, you will get short shrift. Then report back to us with your findings.

  341. rocket scientist said

    May I add that it is not the fault of the caterer, just that licences are at stake.

  342. To be, again said

    Perhaps we should all call … enough calls might introduce the lure of the lucre and result in a economically driven change in policy? Or is suggesting that any of the orthodox movers and shakers being influenced by moolah beyond the pale?

  343. taki said

    It is nothing to do with money-it is simply that they won’t recognise the reform shul so won’t supervise the functions therein ; for the avoidance of doubt it would appear to have nothing to do with the caterers (who deserve an mbe for services to the community -and I’m not joking !) ; I believe that rather than use the reform shul those who want to have a fully supervised function are told they can’t do it in the reform shul but are told that parklands is acceptable !!!!!!!!!!!!
    The issue doesn’t affect too many people because by and large the reform people use another well known jewish non kosher caterer and in any event the reform hall is non meat. For the few who want 100% kosher and supervised I’m afraid it is not possible. I know what judgement I’ve passed on our esteemed beth din.

  344. A Beitz said

    Have realised there is a typo in my previous posting and “a” should read “the” before “policy”.
    Anyone know who is on the Glasgow Beth Din? I can understand when something is dealt with on the basis of halacha but not why changes are being made effectively meaning Jewish people are faced with a choice of non kosher food or of going to a sports club on Shabbat to celebrate a religious event particularly when, many of those attending for sporting pursuits at that club on Shabbat are Jewish and will be arriving in their rather obvious personalised vehicles.Is that a suitable environment for a bar/bat mitzvah celebration?
    If it was ok to supervise at the Reform Shul under the leadership of such as Rabbi Michael Rosin why is it no longer so? If it is acceptable to London dayanim and rabbonim why is it not in Glasgow?
    I’ve heard of postcode prescribing but it is some achievement to bring in postcode religion.
    Rabbi L, what’s your take? Can we hear from you before Thursday?

  345. NLL said

    I may well be wrong – my other half tells me I often am.

    I don’t think we have a Beth Din in Glasgow any more. I think appropriate people are imported to convene a Beth Din in Glasgow from time to time and an advert appears in the Telegraph, giving advance notice for anyone wishing use the service. What I think we do have is a Kashrut Board, who licence the caterer etc – see the Rep Council Year Book

  346. To be, again said

    (is it just mt computer, or does that page have yellow text on a white background?)

  347. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Rabbi L, as always your posting was interesting and thought provoking. However, I find you a bit of an enigma as on the one hand you seem moderate and understanding in your views and on the other, unable to cast off the shackles of ingrained religious indoctrination. Among many questions you were asked,
    “Or if He was unable to intervene then does this not challenge our religious belief that G-d is all powerful? Or even, is our G-d a good G-d?”
    Towards the end you actually answer your friend’s many doubts when you say,
    “We have to accept that G-d’s ways are ultimately incomprehensible. There are not always easy explanations. Nor should we always think that there are answers to everything.”
    It is this final answer that I find disturbing for you have adopted the fundamentalist line that we must have faith in that which we don’t understand. This argument I find unacceptable and I would hope that it is only the superstitious, the inadequate and the frightened who would give credence to such a cop out.
    There are only two possible answers to the behaviour of your God. It matters not whether the unspeakable atrocity which could have been stopped by a supposed all powerful entity was allowed to happen by omission or commission; the fault lies with your god who made a decision. And therefore, your god is evil. The other possibility is that there is no god, either there never was one or that he also died in the holocaust.

  348. To be, again said

    Why should gd intervene? Makind will always err. Sometimes the behaviour will spiral. If we know that everytime it happens, there will be divine intervention, we will never stop. There will be no lessons. There would be no point.

  349. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Depends which god you’re talking about. If it’s the Jewish one, I recommend a good book called the Five Books of Moses which starts on page one (in the beginning …..)whereby there is massive intervention and as the narrative gathers pace so does the intervention. The question is not why God intervenes for that is the essence of the Jewish God, the question is why, if he exists, he stopped intervening.

  350. A Beitz said

    The intervention of God does seem selective at times. A basic principle is the free will of humans and the responsibility of humans for what results from the exercise of this. However even that gets encroached upon at times eg “And God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”.
    As NA says God did regularly intervene. He destroyed Sodom and Gemorrah. So although their inhabitants had a free reign eventually enough was enough. He did that by way of punishment. However was that society more depraved than the Nazi one? Why not have a Tsunami or similar in 1940s Germany? Or a couple of plagues as happened to the Egyptians?
    Where I differ from NA is that I accept a prerequisite of faith is that there are things we don’t understand. It’s a bit too easy at times to take refuge in this. It seems to me incidentally that this lack of understanding applies even to the militant atheist. If there is no God how did something come from nothing? Or was there always something? If so how did that get there?

  351. Philosophical said

    This debate is becoming very philosophical so I humbly suggest we ask an expert on the subject – the newest recipient of an MBE in our community – who I believe is an eminent philosopher.

  352. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I accept much of what you say, Beitzie, except the blind faith bit no matter how it is marketed. It is equally difficult with the scientific approach to understand how it all came about except that a scientist is prepared to say ” I don’t know” but I will spend the rest of my life trying to find out.

  353. Giffnock Resident said

    Can someone please remind me how I get a ticket to hear Alex Salmond on Tuesday 19th February.

    Someone told me that there are not too many left and I want to be there.

  354. Missed The Boat said

    Whatever you do don’t wait till the last minute and think you can get in on the night because there will be NO sale of tickets at the door.

  355. A Beitz said

    I have received a communication today from Giffnock and Newlands Shul indicating that they are in talks with their Netherlee and Clarkston counterparts regarding a merger. The shul would be in a new building in the Giffnock area.
    I think those who have started these discussions deserve our best wishes and thanks. It is good to see proactive rather than reactive decisions being made. The streamlining of Glasgow’s (or East Renfrewshire’s) congregations can only be a good thing and hopefully factional interests will not prevent these early discussions becoming a reality.

  356. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I have been in touch this week with a dear friend who lives in New York. We studied together at Yeshiva and spent many great days together. Our outlook in those days towards Judaism and our wishes to inspire others to enjoy our religion was very similar and our great friendship actually begn in tutorials whilst we studied at the Hebrew University in Mount Scopus.

    Now working and living in New York, my friend has in my opinion a very refreshing and creative outlook as an Orthodox Rabbi. Never afraidto speak out against any prevailing consensus that he believes ought to be challenged he has inspired many young American Jews to become interested in Judaism and the numbers of people who attend Shul on Shabbat to hear his sermons is astounding. I should add that many of those who do attend are not what one would describe as Orthodox Jews but are non religious wanting to be inspired and find spirituality.

    Well my friend told me that he discussed in his sermon last week the American Primary season to decide who will be candidates to become the next President of the United States. He told me that he began by discussing the race issue that has sprung up in relation to Barack Obama, and he urged both Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama to defuse racial tensions, not ignite them.

    However, the main theme of his sermon was to ask the congregation to think about their main considerations when they vote and this theme is just as relevant in the UK as in the USA.

    When we vote in elections how important are Jewish issues when we enter the polling booth? Do we vote for the candidate who says the nicest things about Israel?

    If the candidate speaks out about Palestinian rights and

  357. Rabbi L said

    Apologies, I seem to have pressed the submit button too early. Let me continue…

    If the candidate speaks out about Palestinian rights and openly criticises the despair that is prevalent in Judea and Samaria and Gaza does that make us as Jews less likely to vote for them?

    Or, if a candidate tells us as a community exactly what they think we want to hear should we automatically support them because they are a ” friend of the Jews”

    Are these issues – Jewish issues – our main issues when we decide who we are voting for?

    I don’t think so. Unless a specific candidate has a record of being very unsupportive or hostile towards the Jewish community – and I do not believe Israeli politics should really comes into this – then I vote as a British citizen. I am interested in which candidate best represents me on a variety of issues – many of which are secular. The reason I exclude Israeli politics from being a determining factor is this.

    Unless a candidate wants there to be no Israel full stop I accept that just as is the case in Israel, there are many different opinions about the best ways of achieving peace in the Middle East. I do not believe that a candidate that tells us that Israel can do no wrong and is blameless is necessarily helpful towards the best interests of Israel.

    Personally speaking, I have never liked the Jewish community practice of asking all the candidates in an election to address our community to tell us where they stand on ” Jewish issues “.
    I have always thought that this approach encourages us to just think about ourselves and to be inward looking. I prefer an approach that reflects a community that is proud of who we are and what we are and confident in our Judaism. As a community, I want us to be part of wider society and therefore when we vote in elections that are not specifically about Jews or Judaism, I believe we should vote on these lines.

    May the best candidate always win.

    Shabbat Shalom

  358. O'Bamagh of Dublin said

    The political scene in the US has become hopelessly shackled by the seemingly unbreakable two party system, which means that incumbents usually win. Both the Republican and Democrat parties are under the influence of 2000 (two thousand) permanent lobbyists based in Washington who are in the job of buying influence. Some are more powerful than others. AIPAC is only one of them, albeit a very successful lobby.

    If any Presidential candidate publicly came out in criticism of Israel as part of his/her platform, the massive financial and political influence of AIPAC would immediately come into play against that candidate.

    Remember, Jimmy Carter did not become a vocal critic of Israeli policies until long after he left the Presidency. And what a furious howl of rage there has been against him, led by by lawyer to the rich and guilty Mr. Dershowitz and the ‘Israel Right or Wrong’ crowd!

  359. Herutnik said

    Please turn to page 17 of the South Side Extra and read the article entitled

    ” Palestinian school chief visits southside”

    This article reports a recent visit to Clarkston churches and Williamwood High School by the director of a Palestinian school for the blind to talk about life in Bethlehem, where the school is based.

    She told the Extra – ” It is a very sad city. We are encircled by a wall which is being built around us. It is like living in a zoo”

    I doubt whether her audience asked her too much about Palestinian terrorism, rockets hitting Israeli cities from Gaza, or the right of Jewish people to live in peace within secure borders. And I am sure they never asked her why Israel was compelled to build this security fence to protect her people from murderous suicide attacks.

    But why is our Representative Council not arranging for speakers to attend these churches immediately?

    Why are our communal leaders not putting forward Israel’s position NOW?

    Quite frankly this is not good enough and I am going to phone the Embassy and tell them so.

  360. Vice-Principal Dawkins said

    I agree with Herutnik. The Embassy can also have their school and church representative explain the forty-year-long Israeli military occupation of Bethlehem.

    The Palestinian can also pop back to explain how more recent Muslim extremism has driven many Christians to leave Bethelehem.

    The schools and churches can remind their attendees how the present problem in Bethlehem matured abroad, leading up to the slaughter by Christians of the Jews in Europe.

  361. NLL said

    There are Jewish pupils at Williamwood, I wonder what they and their parents think about this visit?

  362. Interested said

    NLL, hopefully they will appreciate that the situation the Palestinians are currently in is dreadful.

    Should they not emphasise with the suffering of the Palestinian people?

  363. Nemo Dat said

    So a Palestinian came and told the children how hard life is – the rub is I’m sure its true. It’s not something to be angry about – that smacks of denial, as if the wrong they are doing cancels any right to complain about it. I do agree that it is important that a balance is struck though, with a fair picture of whats happening from both sides.

    Yet… can you imagine the fuss if an Israeli came to the schools and talked about what the Palestinians do?

  364. NLL said

    I wasn’t suggesting it was wrong for any pupils, Jewish or otherwise, to hear first hand about what is going on. I do have concerns about how this may have been presented and how the Jewish pupils at Williamwood – who are a fairly small minority – might have been made to feel, especially if they aren’t well informed on this complex subject.

  365. Nemo Dat said

    Their introduction to the fair presentation of issues relating to Israel? Sadly something they will have to get used to, sorry to say. (Not meaning to detract from your point NLL, as I agree with you).

  366. A Beitz said

    It’s a difficult area as to where to draw the line. For example I don’t think there can be much doubt that the lives of many Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank are horrendous. I equally think that some people in our community would object to even that information being given out to school pupils but it’s a fact.
    The causes of that are more controversial. However it is perhaps important that we should all remind ourselves that conditions in Gaza and in the West Bank are unacceptable. There may be more Israel could reasonably do in the case of the latter than the former to ease this. A lot of the Israeli actions are, as well as being inhumane, simply resulting in an atmosphere where Israel is seen to be responsible for everything bad in the lives of Palestinians rather than Palestinians looking at their own leaders failings. This in turn leads to complete hostility even amongst more moderate elements of Palestinian society. Many people just want to get on with their daily work and lives and for them politics are not important. However when they are prevented form doing this they will focus their enegies elsewhere ie against the Israeli occupiers or in Gaza siege.

  367. Williamwood Parent said

    Perhaps someone can tell me why Jewish puplis at Williamwood should feel anything other than sympathy for Palestinian children at a blind school in Bethlehem?

    The Jewish community are very happy to tell others about their tragedies. Can we not feel empathy for other people sometime without always trying to find caveats and qualifications?

  368. Vice-Principal Dawkins said

    Williamwood Parent, of course you are right. The debate however should be about whether a foreign visitor to a school or church should be able to inject a heavy partisan bias to the subject(which may or may not be the case here), without the right of reasonable reply being given to the opposing side or sides.

    Young Scottish schoolchildren and adult churchgoing Herald readers are surely not best placed to evaluate the subject of Bethlehem objectively based on isolated visits like these and what they are taught locally.

    I’d personally be intrigued to see the Israeli Embassy send somebody up to counter in Clarkston and elsewhere, but why do I suspect that ‘they do not wish to draw attention to it’?

  369. NLL said

    Williamwood parent – your child may well be informed enough to deal with potential classroom & playground comments that will likely follow a visit like this, but many will not.

    I would like to know who this lady spoke to, in what context, what preparation work was done & were the pupils free to ask questions – maybe you can tell us?

    As a number of speakers who have addressed the Community at the invitation of this Forum have described; whilst the Israeli government may (or may not) be making some very bad decisions we are experiencing a new wave of anti-semitism, where the Jews are being blamed for all the problems of the Middle East. Most adults struggle to deal with the complexities of these issues, so I suspect it will wash over the head of many school pupils, who will only pick up ‘soundbites’ Israel is a Jewish state – Israel is oppressing the Palestinians – Jews are bad!!!

  370. Confused said

    I have attended most of the lectures organised by GJEF, NLL, and cannot recall the speakers talking about this new anti-semitism in the way that you describe.

    Perhaps I have missed something. Tony Lerman did discuss the subject but I do not think he arrives at the same conclusion as you seem to.

    As a Palestinian has come to Glasgow to give the Palestinian viewpoint, I don’t see why this is so alarming. Have Israeli visitors to our city not been giving their viewpoint for many many years?

    We should accept that the Palestinians have the right to present their case and hopefully those who wish to give the Israeli argument will realise that a message which does not deny that the Palestinians have suffered and have rights to an independent state like anyone else will be better received than the right-wing nationalist approach that has been adopted by most Israeli supporters for years.

  371. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I was chatting this week to some of my Rabbinical colleagues about matters concerning the future of the Jewish community in Britain. There was one particular discussion that gives me cause for concern.

    Will the relationship between our community in Britain and Israel alter in years to come?
    Some of the questions that we raised I would like to share with you before I offer you my views.

    As you will hopefully have gathered from my previous postings Israel is very special to me. I wrote at the beginning of my contributions to this blog about the significance of Jerusalem to Judaism and I love the country and the times that I am able to spend there. When I arrive at Ben Gurion airport I never fail to get excited and although I have visited Israel several times each year for a very long time, this feeling of anticipation and spiritual uplift never goes away.

    But despite my unwavering support for a Jewish state, I have sometimes in recent years wondered if the prevailing values in Israel are consistent with the values of someone who lives in a liberal western democracy. For instance, is religion respected in Israel the way I would like it to be? Let me confirm that I do not believe that modern states should be run according to religious doctrine and I am very much in favour of a separation between religion and state. I believe that the religious political parties in Israel have caused great harm to the reputation of the Jewish religion. Whilst I appreciate that the Israeli political system necessitates political bartering as part of coalition politics I still believe that the corruption and attempts to coerce a predominately secular electorate by the religious parties in Israel, by imposing unpopular laws, have not helped promote understanding of what Judaism is about.

    And although there are naturally many different interpretations of this, it seems to me to be quite clear, that the practise of supporting secular parties in their defence or foreign policy in return for greater proportions of national expenditure being directed to the religious community, does not and never will foster greater respect for Judaism or those who call themselves religious Jews.

    For some years Israel has debated how to preserve its democracy if the Jewish population becomes a minority due to the fact that Israel is ruling over millions of Palestinians who do not have equal political rights. I do not believe that this is only a political issue, but a moral issue – and a crucial moral issue it most certainly is. I am aware of the arguments for and against retaining territory and I know that there are many who argue their case sincerely believing that what they advocate is in the best interests of Israel.

    All I want to say at this time is this – I hope that Israel never forgets its democratic principles. The idea that Jews can rule over another people contradicts what I believe Judaism is truly about. If the Jewish State embraced values which are totally inconsistent with the values of Jewish people living in western democracies then there is a huge danger that these Jews could turn away from supporting Israel.

    What a disaster it would be if the majority of the Jewish community in the Western world looked upon Israel as if she was an embarrassment at best or at worst a counter-productive influence to their own well being where they lived as Jews.

    I am not naïve and I realise the importance of Israel living within secure borders in peace.
    However, this issue needs to be resolved for Israel , for the other peoples in the region , and because of the moral and ethical implications if it is not.

    I repeat, because I know how some will interpret these comments, I love Israel. I am a supporter of Israel. As a Rabbi, I believe that I have a responsibility to let my community know where I stand.

    This reminds me of the responsibility one has as a parent. We will always love our children no matter what they do. But that does not mean they are always right.

    Have a wonderful Shabbat

    Shabbat Shalom

  372. emet said

    Have you seen the Telegraph-it it accurate-did George Reid raise the Palestinian issue at the Holocaust event ? If he did he was bang out of order-there is in simple terms a time and place for everything-this is not about the stand alone merits of the issue that he raised but about his rotten timing in raising it-indeed I found myself wondering what his motives were-anyone who tries to “spoil” a holocaust event by bringing in other unrelated “Israel” topics is at best a cynical anti zionist or at worst an anti semite who is happy to attack what to us is rightfully sacred ie the holocaust thus causing deliberate offence.

  373. Mr Cohen said

    Emet you should be ashamed of yourself.
    Because George Reid raised an issue that you and I would prefer that he hadn’t – does not give you the right to call him an anti-semite.

    Please do not throw accusations like this around because the result of your ill judged behaviour is that when genuine anti-semitism needs to be condemned , people stop listening because the charge is not seen as exceptional.

    I hope, when you wise or sober up, you will see the folly of your words!

  374. A Beitz said

    I was at the meeting and the JT report is accurate. I tackled Mr Reid after the meeting when he was hob nobbing with one of the chain wearers from East Renfrewshire Council. I told him that whilst I could be extremely critical of Israel he was totally out of order in bringing Israel and Palestine up during an evening discussing the Holocaust and genocide. What he did was to implicitly link Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians with the Nazi treatment of the Jews. He didn’t directly respond to this point but told me that the meeting would have been subjected to heavy criticism in the following day’s papers had he not raised the point.
    He was wrong on several counts. The meeting was not reported in any of the mainstream press. Had it been so I strongly suspect there would have been no criticism of there having been no mention of Israel’s alleged wrongdoing. The opposite might well have been the truth with a rather watered down version of the reaction in the JT. Furthermore his response seemed to me to be the answer of a politician desparate for press approval rather than someone who with his experience should be a statesman. He seemed to have less regard for the sensitivities of those who were present, some of whom had personally been victims, than for what he saw as positive press publicity.

  375. Vice-Principal Dawkins said

    Let us not rush to ill judgement on Mr. Reid. After all he may have given the Darfur genocide and the revolutionary treatment of the Bah’ai in Iran prominent mention.

    But why do I suspect that ‘he did not wish to draw attention to them’?

  376. A Beitz said

    From recollection he did mention Darfur although not the Bahais. However that’s part of what made what he said so inappropriate. There is genocide in Darfur. It is thus to be some extent analogous with what happened during the Shoah. Only the most bigotted (or those who try to change the meaning of words) could say there is genocide in Israel/Palestine.
    As someone said if the Israelis are being genocidal they are doing a very poor job since the number of Palestinians is constantly increasing.

  377. Vice-Principal Dawkins said

    I suggest that Mr. Beitz writes to the Rt. Hon. George Reid and asks him to lay out in writing his rationale for equating Darfur with Palestine, and to comment on the ever increasing Palestinian population as it relates to the term genocide.

    If someone will post his web address and/or his constituency office address here, I’ll be happy to do it myself too, making it clear again that I’m no admirer and a vocal critic of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.

    The man needs to get his facts straight, before he runs off at the mouth again.

  378. A Beitz said

    VP Dawkins, Mr Reid is no longer an MSP. He stood down at the last election. I doubt he has a web page. I will enquire.

  379. Vice-Principal Dawkins said

    Sorry ’bout that, Beitz. I’ve been away from my Glasgow desk for quite a while, and haven’t kept up.

    I note that he is now known as ‘The Right Honourable George Reid’. So let him be right and be honourable.

    If you get a contact address for him, I’ll definately follow through.

  380. shlomo said

    So bloggers…. let me ask you all a question. As super tuesday approaches, which of the presidential candidates would be best suited to broker a middle east peace treaty

  381. Armchair Analyst said

    They all of them currently pay lip service to the Israeli line. Hillary is a woman, I doubt the Arabs would work with her. Obama is still a member of a church with a controversial leader, I doubt the Israelis would work with him.

    McCain would be around 80 by the time a deal was done. Romney has enough problems being a Mormon to stick his neck out with controversial proposals that would alienate the power base.

    However I’ve been wrong before, believe it or not!

  382. Bill said


  383. Monica said

    I’m at the Dry Cleaners at the moment picking up a dress but I say Obama.

  384. Herutnik said

    I have just read the dovish nonsense written by Rabbi L regarding the rights of Palestinians.
    This blog’s Rabbi must be living in fantasy land!
    Now that terror has returned to Israeli cities could he please tell us about how he will protect the lives of innocent Israelis who only want to live in peace and enjoy the same security as we do.

  385. Observer said

    Herutnik is quite right. What is this dovish nonsense about Palestinians being able to have rights?

    I doubt anybody here supports the rocketing of Israeli cities, suicide bombers or Hamas ideology. But – as ye sow, so shall ye reap.

  386. Mr Agin said

    Herutnik is not right at all. Of course Palestinian terrorism is to be condemned, but what about Israeli terrorism? What about the collective punishment of Palestinian civilans?
    What about the bombing of civilians in Lebanon? What about the denial of basic human rights to Arab civilians under Israeli rule?
    Isn’t it about time that our Jewish communities stopped supporting the indefensible and made it quite clear to Israelis that we won’t support this anymore?
    Rabbi L was quite right to speak out.

  387. Observer said

    Once again, Agin, you have misinterpreted my extreme tongue -in-cheek comments. Herutnik is right from the ‘Unacceptable Face of Zionism’ perspective only. I cant’ resist a touch of sarcasm when replying to Herutnik’s ultra-nationalist rants. Rabbi L’s comments are indeed refreshing, coming from this milieu.

    So, Agin, you’re absolutely spot-on. As for you Herutnik – keep those blinkers on.

  388. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I have just returned from a pastoral visit to one of my congregants. As his wife showed me in, he hurriedly switched off the television. He apologised for having it switched on. I explained that I do own a television though it is kept in a discreet corner of the house.

    I understand why many of my colleagues ban them, there is so much broadcast that is unhealthy and distasteful. There is much that is harmful to our children. However, if my children are to develop into rounded adults, able to survive in a difficult world and environment then they have to be able to make the right choices in life. They have to deal with things like television and know what to watch and what to reject and why to do so. At first, supervision and explanation is important, later trust. If you cannot trust your children, then you have taught them badly.

    I explained further that I get a national newspaper, rather than one that has carefully selected articles from the week’s news. I am quite able to choose my own reading. I know that my children will be exposed to influences that I would consider inappropriate, but just like disease, you need the exposure to fight the attack thereby gaining immunity for the future.
    On the other hand there is so much that is good out there. Recently I watched ’Primo’ on BBC 4. Fortunately, I copied it and when the time is right I will watch it with my children. I would hope in the ensuing discussions and explanations they will understand more about the holocaust than from attending a memorial meeting.

    On this same theme of being exposed to that which we fear rather than banning it, I am reading an easy version of the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. Already there is much that I would disagree with and much that makes me feel uncomfortable, but how can I argue for or against Spinoza unless I make myself familiar with his work. Please note that despite our rejection of him, I use his Hebrew name Baruch and not the Latinised Benedictus. I do this because we Jews issued a herem or curse that has never been revoked. Despite that he is and always will be one of us. His work appears brilliant and it is certainly one of the foundations of modern rational philosophy if not psychiatry also.

    I hope you will spend a few minutes at least over Shabbat learning about the sedra, parshat Teruma. “and you shall make Me a sanctuary, and I shall dwell amongst them” are the instructions to Moses. Spinoza finds his G-d elsewhere in nature . He builds his own sanctuary. We must learn both to be able to compare. You may have doubts but you need knowledge to understand why you have doubts.

    Have an enlightened Shabbat

    Shabbat Shalom

  389. Herutnik said

    So now I understand how Rabbi L thinks the way he does.
    If he watched more television and read the right newspapers he would understand that the world is different from how he thinks it is. I’m afraid the Rabbi is living in a fantasy world!

    Come on Rabbi join the real world and you will realise what Israel has to put up with on a daily basis.

  390. Herutnik said

    I have just received my Limmud programme for this coming Sunday.

    Nigel Allon is giving a presentation at 11.15am entitled – ” To blog or not to blog ” and will discuss this very blog.

    I don’t know if Mr Allon will be reading this, but if he is, or if you know him, I would like to say that I will be sitting near the front and will be watching very carefully – he had better make sure that if I’m quoted – it is 100% accurate.

    And if I’m not quoted – I will want to know why!
    Good luck Mr Allon – you may need it!

  391. Limmud Adjudication said

    Mr. Allon is perfectly within his rights to exersize his prerogative and refuse to allow certain members of the audience to express just any old viewpoint. All the seats near the front have already been reserved for pre-qualified blogpersons. Others may submit written questions only for prior consideration. No cheating with laptops. No food or drink. No mobile phones. Management reserves the right(contd.Page 94…)

  392. A Beitz said

    Why is Mr Allon speaking about the blog? What does he know about it? When has he ever posted? Is this the usual case of those who can do and those who can’t lecture about it?
    Some such as, if I may permit a little immodesty, Mr A Beitz or even 2B would be more appropriate rather a man who may never have posted on this blog.

  393. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I find myself agreeing once again with Beitzie. I also think that he himself would be a far better choice to put the case of bloggers united to the heckling hordes rather than that upstart N Allon . However, to be fair I think N Allon has posted on at least three occasions. The first I can find was in reply to Joy Wolfe and on two subsequent occasions he posted concerning the visit of Rabbi Rothenberg. One could argue that his lack of exposure on the blog leaves him free to be unbiased and even handed in his treatment of the subject.

  394. Limmud Paticipant said

    I have just spent a good part of today at Limmud.

    Congratulations to those involved for running an interesting and stimulating day.

    As I sat in the lunch hall it was evident that the average age of those participating must have been close on 65 plus. Now I have nothing against the elderly – some may even describe me in this way – but it concerns me that there were hardly any children there at all nor were there many young parents.

    Now I know that some schools are on holiday this coming week but Calderwood Lodge were not. So where were the parents and the children? Was it the cost? Or did no one on the Limmud committee try very hard to get this age group interested in this event?

    I have been approached to give financial donations to Calderwood Lodge Jewish Education – an organisation that looks after Jewish Education in the school. I would be interested to know how many of the executive or committee of that organisation were there or even encouraged their children to attend?
    Surely, they could have been inspired by attending Limmud?

    Education should be an everlating pursuit. How sad that the younger generations are either uninterested or too cynical to even encourage their children.

  395. A Beitz said

    It has come to my attention that at Limmud today, Mr Mendelsson, the Rep Council President, stated he would not respond to A Beitz. I think that perhaps is indicative of where PM, who is a decent chap, is going wrong. Instead of stating he is not answerable to members of the community unless these individuals post under their own names (contrary to the practise of blogging everywhere), he should be using this blog to explain the relevance of the Representative Council and promoting it bearing in mind it is free publicity for his organisation.
    I was present at Limmud and saw quite a few younger people but believe they were from Edinburgh mainly. I don’t know who’s on CJE but am sure I saw Karen Levy. I agree with Limmud participant that it is a real shame if people who are supposed to be promoting Jewish education to Calderwood children seem to have little interest in educating themselves.
    And where were the clergy? Surely not still caught up in the cross communal politics whereby they can’t attend because there are some speakers who are from the Reform or Liberal movements. I saw none with the honourable exceptions of Rabbis David Rose and Nancy Morris. There was no one there from Lubavitch. So much for their claims of being inclusive. I am aware of two stone settings but they didn’t take up the whole day.
    Finally why are Lubavitch holding an event on March 5th? This is the same day as the Alex Salmond meeting and unlike Alex Salmond has not been placed in the communal diary organised by the Rep Council. Their failure to do this has now led to a meeting being arranged when unknown to GJEF there is a clash.

  396. Limmud Participant said

    It seems to me that if members of the CJE committee could not be bothered to go along to an educational seminar/ conference on Jewish education they should maybe be thinking whether they are the right kind of people to sit on their committee.

    There were some wonderful events for children – and it is a great shame that children from Calderwood Lodge were not encouraged to attend.

  397. Calderwood Parent said

    As far as I know the Calderwood school children all got a flyer in their schoolbags to take home and give to their parents.

    I think maybe those that are posting here should realise that a Limmud day is not everyone’s idea of a great way to spend a day off school or work. Some people want to go for a walk, play in the park, play golf, go shopping, go to the pictures – not everybody thinks Jewish education on a Sunday in Hutchie is a way to relax and unwind.

    So please lets not criticise those who didn’t go (me included) and instead tell me how wonderful it was, what you did and make me jealous that you went and I didn’t and what wonderful stuff I missed, so that maybe just maybe I would go next year!

  398. A Beitz said

    Ok, Calderwood parent. Limmud was wonderful as it always is. For those who think education is looking at hebrew texts you’re well out of date. Yes there no doubt was the odd talk on that basis but so much more. Each hours of the day had a large menu. There was arts, history, politics etc. For example there was a an hour of Leonard Cohen’s music and poetry, a forum on Jewish identity, an Israeli Arab speaking, the former speaker of the Knesset, Naomi Chazan speaking, a talk on the Purim story looking at amny of the bits that were never discusssed in cheder, and of course schmoozing and food. I think the Guardian once discussed Limmud as the Jewish equivalent of the Edinburgh Fringe and that summarises it well. In fact the only grouch is there’s too much on the menu leaving participants with a feeling of regret about some of the stuff they didn’t get to. People like Lisa Woolfson, Evelyn Tieffenbrum and other organisers do and did a great job but like many of those who work in the community they hide their light under a bushel.

  399. Calderwood Parent said

    Thank you A Beitz for educating me about some of what was available at Limmud this year. It sounds absolutely wonderful if that’s your thing but I am sorry it doesn’t tick all my boxes but you never know Mrs Calderwood Parent might convince me to give up my Sunday next year.

  400. Limmud Participant said

    I’m not suggesting Calderwood Parent that Limmud should or would appeal to all Calderwood parents and you are quite right that it won’t appeal to everyone.

    However, there exists if I’m correct an organisation called CJE – Calderwood Jewish Education. People on this committee should have an interest in Jewish education and if a conference is taking place in this city on the very subject they are meant to be interested and concerned with then I don’t think it is asking too much for them to go along and learn a little more -and they might even pass it on to others!

    Or am I expecting too much?

  401. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    A good friend last week spoke to me about a very dilicate and sensitive issue in his family.

    Avraham is a Rabbi and his eldest child is 4 years old and will shortly start school. Avraham and I have known each other for many years since our time in Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Although we now see the world slightly differently, we have much in common, and we have remained close. As our careers in the Rabbinate have developed we often use each other as a sounding board or confidant in matters to do with the community.

    Avraham has been a good and special friend to me on many occasions and I knew when he called me that something was troubling him. Although on issues of halacha he is to the right of me, on certain matters we agree that Judaism has to reflect the world that we live in. That is the world as it is, not the the world that we would perhaps like it to be.

    As part of the orthodox religious establishment it was expected by many in his community that Avraham’s child should be educated in a strictly orthodox school – where a high percentage of the curriculum is devoted to the study of Torah. Generally the proposed school performs well and reasonable exam results are often achieved by the pupils.

    But Avraham had a dilemma. Rivka was a lively, happy child and always inquisitive, and Avraham was not sure whether his daughter would be happy in such a school and deep down he thought that she should have the opportunity to learn about the wider world and enjoy the pursuit of learning in a wider variety of subjects than available in this Torah school.

    He also did not feel he should restrict the options or lifestyle of Rifka. He wasn’t sure that he wanted to decide for his daughter that she should adopt the path and role of an orthodox Jewish girl in this school where a primary aim is to find a husband as soon as possible and have as many children as early as possible at a young age. Life impacting decisions should be for her to decide when old enough.

    He wasn’t comfortable making this choice for her because ultimately it would restrict Rivka’s options in years to come and he truly believed that if she was capable of going to university one day she should have the opportunity to do so. And if she wanted to travel and see the world before settling down she should not be denied.

    Avraham was concerned, like I am, at the growing numbers of young adults in the very orthodox community who are not capable of independently earning a living – sometimes through a lack of a good education – and are not capable of supporting their families and rely on handouts and charity to live, from the wider Jewish community. The secular community have a responsibility to point out that this arrangement is not healthy. Avraham was troubled that one day Rifka could find herself in this world – not through choice – but because he as her father had not given her the opportunity to be well educated in order to decide for herself what she wanted in life.

    Avraham and I both knew that when he asked me what I would do in his position – that his decision had already been made and he could not send Rifka to this school. He had to let her go to a mainstream Jewish school in the mainstream community.

    We both understood that our mentor, Rabbi Itzhak, would have approved because this great man gave us the confidence to know that we are secure in our belief, in our Judaism.
    Secure to embrace the outside world and select what we like and reject what we don’t, but never scared that it would lead to any rejection of our faith.

    Because, if one is truly confident and secure in what you are and have selected a path through choice, one is much liklier to be happy and content than when choice is denied and a way of life is enforced. This holds so true for many decisions in life.

    Shabbat Shalom

  402. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I also attended Limmud and Rabbi L’s posting made me think about the experience. It is rather like spending an afternoon and evening at the fringe of the Edinburgh Festival Usually we manage three shows at a time and more often than not it turns out that one is brilliant, one is tolerable and the third is so dire I slip out to the nearest bar and await my less discerning companions in pleasanter surroundings. So it is with Limmud, you win some and you lose some.

    One lecture I attended had much promise. It concerned the textual origins of Jewish matrilineality. An interesting subject was turned into a dry dissertation by dealing not just with minutiae but with the subatomic parts of minutiae. It was a pity, because the lecturer was highly intelligent and erudite, and when he occasionally wandered from the subject he was fascinating. It turns out that he started his professional life as an orthodox Rabbi, later becoming a Liberal Rabbi. He said no more than that on his unusual road to Liberal Judaism, leaving much of his audience tantalised.

    If he were to return and recount his journey from Orthodox to Liberal, I for one would be back.

  403. A Beitz said

    If,as I suspect it was, the individual concerned was Rabbi Mark Solomon his is an unusual case. He was formerly the rabbi of Watford shul which is within the United Synagogue. However in about 1992 he resigned and moved to the Liberal movement. This was on account of the fact he was gay and it’s fair to say there’s not much tolerance of gay rabbonim within the Orthodox movement. There are of course fairly strong religious arguments against practising homosexuality although there are a very few dissenting voices on this.
    I have to say that what Rabbi Solomon did was very courageous. He could have stayed within the Orthodox movement and kept quiet as I suspect others have. He could simply have resigned from the rabbinate and quietly disappeared from public view but instead he came out very publicly.

  404. Concerned Citizen said

    Word of advice for new Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor. ( Jewish Telegraph this week – page 2)

    Instead of inviting discredited right wing hacks like Scottish Friends of Israel, Joy Wolfe and Bicom to a reception at the Embassy his time would be better used in understanding why Israel’s image is so poor.

    He should inform his bosses in Jerusalem that if they change their policies Israel’s image would improve. Spending time with groups that actually cause harm to Israel’s image in this country is not what Mr Prosser should be doing.
    These groups advocate a policy of ” my country, right or wrong ” and thankfully very few people will buy this kind of nonsense anymore.

  405. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    Since I began posting on this blog I have come to realise that there will no doubt be some of you out there who will no doubt be wondering if I am genuinely an Orthodox Rabbi.

    I am happy to confirm that I am. I have acknowledged that my views are often not what would be considered as mainstream Orthodoxy and I can appreciate that some of my views are seen as very liberal. But in the words of that great song – “I am what I am.”

    I think that in this country Orthodoxy has unfortunately become identified with intolerance and an approach which is unsympathetic to new approaches and this is a cause for concern. Many of those who today are mainstream Rabbis in the UK Orthodox movement represent a form of Judaism which 25 years ago would have been classified as marginal.

    You will have gathered, I hope, from my postings that I have confidence that the Judaism that I love and the teachings that I was blessed to receive from Rabbi Itzhak , have given me confidence to express my views and stand my ground.. I like posting on sites such as this because I believe that Rabbis, like other people in society, need to reach out and embrace the modern age if we want people to hear our message. Sadly too many of my colleagues fear the modern world and believe that the best approach is to batten down all hatches and bury their heads deep into the sand.

    So what do I believe in? What are my red lines? And what do I think is the best approach to encourage more Jewish people to embrace their wonderful religion.?

    You may have realised that Shabbat is very important to me and I believe should be important to you as well, regardless of how religious you think you are. The concept of a day of rest is very important – it marks one day in the week as being different from all the others. I know that you will all not want to come to Shul. I wish that you would but I am realistic enough to know that some of you would rather do other things with your day off.

    Therefore, I ask all Jews , regardless of how religious they think they are, to light Friday night candles. Mark this special day in the week. If you have children, have a Friday night dinner table – with wine and Challah. I love Israel – the Jewish homeland – and you will have realised love every moment I spend there. Because I believe that the Jewish State should have democratic principles and treat non-Jews with dignity equality and respect – does not make me less of a Zionist, nor less of a Rabbi. I believe in Jewish schools – and as I have posted regularly, I believe that these schools should teach secular subjects to the highest possible standard to enable Jewish pupils to follow different careers. I also believe that the best kind of Jewish school will have pupils from all sections of our community.

    I am confident in what I believe in. I have said before that a Rabbi should be part of his community – I don’t need to dress differently or stand apart to get respect. I believe that I have to do this by my actions and thoughts, not my dress code. I think there is a benefit to posting on blogs because I hope to reach people who would not here my message otherwise. I know that more people read Jewish blogs than turn up in Shul on Shabbat . To preach to the converted is the easier option . I prefer a challenge.

    I believe that Rabbis like me have to face the challenge and show that not all Orthodox Rabbis are detached from how our community live and that not all Orthodox Rabbis are scared to engage with the world today. And Orthodox Rabbis can have moderate views as well and not be dogmatic nationalists who disregard democratic principles.

    I hope this explains more about who I am and what I am about.

    Have a wonderful Shabbat

  406. Gloria said

    Well said Rabbi. Your words are inspiring. Thank you.

  407. History Man said

    Changing the subject… I ate at L’Chaim’s for the first time the other night. Interested to know people’s views. Not perfect, but all we’ve got at the moment. Bit of a hassle to book. Opening hours and menu limited, decor fine, prices not outrageous, and the place was pretty full when I was there. My main quibble was having various Lubavitch rabbis mooching round the tables – almost put me off my salt beef, as I expected the appeal letter to come out at any moment.

  408. History Man said

    PS Any truth to the rumour that non-Jews aren’t welcome at the restaurant? The website says it’s a private dining club.

  409. A Beitz said

    Like History Man I found booking a problem although that was in the earlier days when the restaurant would bill itself as being open only to be otherwise if it was considered insufficient people had booked.
    I had quite a positive dining experience there recently but the quicker they learn that people want a kosher meal and NOT a Lubavitch function the better. Chaim’s hovering is not what people come for and it is negative. If people knew they could come in, eat, and pay the bill without having to end up talking to rabbonim of a messianic persuasion I think there would be more use made. I find it off putting and have heard the same comments from others.
    Finally Rabbi L’s a star!

  410. Community Member said

    Quite remarkable how much attention the local Lubavitch movement seem to get on this blog – totally out of proportion to their communal role.
    If I was involved with GJEF I would worry – the Lubavitch Rock Concert has been cancelled! Mr Schneerson – will not look too kindly on this!
    I agree with A Beitz, Rabbi L is a star.

  411. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Having dined at Chaim’s on two occasions I am not over impressed except to say that it’s all we’ve got. As such those of us that prefer to eat out kosher should support it but make our reservations clear to the proprietor of its many severe shortcomings. Chaim’s restaurant reminds me of the old Jewish story of the curse of the Plotnik diamond – Mr Plotnik comes with it! Personally,I don’t feel any great need as I am in London regularly and have a choice of many kosher restaurants. My greatest pleasure is to open the menu and struggle to make choices from a long list of possibles. At Chaim’s the choice has been so limited that it really is more a private function suite than a restaurant.

  412. Lubavitch watcher said

    Nachman, you should hang your head in shame. Chaim is just trying to run a business like anyone else.
    Leave him alone.
    Can we get back to interesting stuff like Rabbi L and not concern ourselves with what you, History Man and A Beitz eat for dinner.
    Simply speaking – I could not care less what you have for dinner or where you eat it. I would prefer to discuss more interesting topics.
    I agree that Rabbi L is a refreshing change from the Orthodox Rabbis who we have in Glasgow. The more I read this guy the more I realise what we are missing. Instead of Shul Councils’ telling everyone how good their Rabbi is they should read Rabbi L and ask if the quality of their Shabbat sermons comes anywhere near the quality of this man.
    It is apparent that the best, most relevant, and relevant Jewish message for our community is seen on this blog on a Thursday night and not in any Shul on a Saturday morning or Friday night.!

  413. A Beitz said

    On the relevant side of things can I remind those who might be interested of the Fairtrade Kiddush at Giffnock after shul this shabbat. I think that is very much in keeping with what many of us on this blog see as the important aspects of Judaism.
    Mind they can keep any Fairtrade whisky. The very thought of such a thing makes me shudder.

  414. History Man said

    Sorry, Lubavitch Watcher,it is really more than just a question of what or where I or anyone else eat for dinner!
    I think it is highly appropriate for this blog to discuss the availability of a kosher restaurant in Glasgow, and how it is performing. Perhaps if there were a few, like in bigger communities, it would be less relevant to discuss one in particular.

  415. Observer said

    It is of no consequence to the vast majority of this community whether you eat salt beef History Man.
    No doubt people like you complain about the quality of the local Rabbonim. And when we are asked philisophical questions about Judaism and actually challenged to think about who we are and what we are by Rabbi L, you want us to discuss your dinner!
    I had more faith in you History Man. Rabbi L seems to believe that it is important to engage in a discussion about what makes us want to be Jewish.
    And you my friend, history man, want to discuss where you buy your supper.
    I’m with Rabbi L.

  416. not another macher said

    Lubavitch watcher – I think you are unfair in trying to curtail discussion about L’Chaim’s restaurant. It maybe that Chaim is “just trying to run a business like anyone else” – but he is doing so with a large amount of Community funding (personal & Communal), which I think gives the Community a right to comment on how it is being run. If his hovering around tables making uncalled for remarks is putting people off, people will vote with their feet and there wont be a business. What impression about Glasgow does this gives to people from out of town? A number of the people who have posted here have said other positive things about the food, décor etc. and given it is our only kosher restaurant would like to support it, but are being put off.

  417. Lubavitch watcher said

    I am not trying to curtail discussion about anything. I just think that there are some things more important in life than this obsession with a restaurant.
    With any other eating place – if one doesn’t like the owner or the head waiter, you would withdraw your custom, and not go back. But you lot want it both ways. You want a Kosher restaurant but without Chaim.
    Well that is not part of the package.
    My advice to you lot – History Man, Nachman, Not Another Macher and A Beitz – is this. F Off and open your own restaurant – but if you go to Chaim’s stop wining and droning on about your petty complaints.
    You don’t have to eat Kosher – you will not be struck by a thunderbolt from heaven – or light up in flames – if you go elsewhere. It is a matter of choice
    If you don’t believe me ask the Rabbi on the blog. He thinks there are more worthwhile subjects to discuss

  418. History Man said

    Sorry Lubavitch Watcher – must remember to check with you next time what we are allowed to discuss on this blog!

    Don’t think it’s in the spirit of a blog such as this to curtail discussion of a topic with ‘advice’ like: ‘F Off and open your own restaurant’!!

    And are we allowed to discuss the highly topical subject of where Lubavitch is going? And is it permissible to discuss whether non-Jews are allowed into the restaurant?

  419. History Man said

    PS – and I’m sure the ‘Rabbi on the blog’ (Blogger Rebbe?) would be pleased about your statement ‘You don’t have to eat kosher’ and your use of inappropriate language.

  420. History Man said

    And while I’m on, re Observer’s points, which I’ve just noticed! (is there any way we can have the latest postings at the TOP of the blog?). I have no particular complaints about the local rabbinate. And I would dispute that discussing the availibilty of kosher food in the community is nothing to do with this blog. Surely kashrut is one of the most important parts of Judaism?

    And everyone keeps telling me not to mention things because Rabbi L wouldn’t like it!!

  421. Observer said

    Brilliant history man – absolutely brilliant. 3 posts in a row must be a record – this blog is getting compulsive isn’t it.
    Fortunately, for our entertainment Lubavitch Watcher has needled you hasn’t he?
    You may have no complaints about the local Rabbonim but in my opinion you should have. Read Rabbi L over the past few weeks and look at the subjects he has discussed and then compare that to the usual suff dished up in Glasgow. If you can’t see the difference then I’m really worried about you.
    Perhaps you would enlighten us all by telling us what you want to say that would upset Rabbi L whoever he is.

  422. History Man said

    so now

  423. History Man said

    I’ll beat…

  424. History Man said

    my record…

  425. History Man said

    that’s 4 posts in a row!

  426. Observer said

    You are bottling it history man!

  427. Real Deal Observer said

    Someone else calling himself Observer has recently posted on #412 and #418. I’ve no big problem with that, except that I’m the original Observer blogger, and there’s only one of me at this level of intellectual insight. I therefore yield the all future rights to Observer title to imposter.

  428. Real Deal Observer said

    Someone else calling himself Observer has recently posted on #412 and #418. I’ve no big problem with that, except that I’m the original Observer blogger, and there’s only one of me at this level of intellectual insight. I therefore yield the all future rights to Observer title to imposter.

  429. History Man said

    Anyway, whichever is the authentic Observer, thanks for worrying about me.

    Nothing I want to say about Rabbi L – it’s Lubavitch Watcher who tells us that Rabbi L wouldn’t like all this chat about L’Chaim’s.

  430. Lubavitch Watcher said

    Observer is spot on about you History Man. You are a bottler. You were challenged to come clean about your thoughts on Rabbi L that you said you had been asked not to post in case you upset him and you won’t do it. You would rather drone on about a restaurant. You are chicken.

  431. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    So Observer, Real Observer, Lubie Watcher or whoever, you take exception to our concentration on the importance and joys of kosher epicureanism. Well I am what I eat so I have a vested interest in monitoring what goes in. We can’t all take a glug of sulphuric acid before we post.

    If you consider the oracle according to the cyber Rav, Rabbi L to be of such great moment then why not give us your view of some of his text. It apppears he is now dipping his toe into the world of that wicked Spinoza. This sojourn into forbidden philosophy is the halachic equivalent of nibbling at porky pies.

    I anticipate your intellectual approach to the subject with guarded interest.

  432. History Man said

    Actually, I didn’t have the chicken at L’Chaims – I had the salt beef.

    Lubavitch Watcher – stop trying to find anti-Rabbi L thoughts when there never were any! All I said was that Rabbi L might not subscribe to statements about eating kosher not being important!

  433. Community Member said

    A bit of a smart arse aren’t you Nachman?

    As far as I remember Rabbi L said that there was much of Spinoza that he disagreed with. He did not agree with it all. But if I’m correct Spinoza argued that Christians and Jews could live peacefully together provided they rise above petty theological and cultural controversies that divide them.
    He was obviously well ahead of his time and most rational people would concur with that today. So let’s not make Rabbi L out to have committed a great sin because he realises that some of Spinoza’s stuff is excellent.

  434. A Beitz said

    Lubavitch Watcher seems to think we are only entitled to comment upon institutions in which we have a proprietorial as opposed to a culinary interest. Why he feels he has to resort to coarse language in his less than logical response I do not know. In any case I consider I do, as a member of this community, have the former type of interest. The restaurant is on premises owned by the community and has been funded by monies provided by members of the community with a view to it being a communal facility. The community has also to my knowledge been criticised to people outside of Glasgow for their failure to use it. So I have a right to voice my concerns.
    However frankly were the institution nothing to do with me whatever it would still be legitimate for me comment on this blog so long as I did so in a way that was decent and truthful.
    So Chaim and Mendel, if you’re going to be there don’t frequent the tables and you’ll find more of us will come.

  435. Lubavitch Watcher said

    So History Man chickens out and instead we are subjected to more nonsense from Beitz.
    If you don’t like how the owner/head waiter/proprietor behaves then don’t go. Instead you prattle on about communal interest and communal money that funded this restaurant. I don’t know which world you live in Beitz but in my world that is an issue for either the funders or the landlord or both. I would expect that you contributed nothing so what’s it got to do with you.?
    Comment all you like but your obsession with Lubavitch is ridiculous. If you’re that bothered get hold of your mates history man, not another macher, and Nachman and open a F–k–g snackbar in competition. I don’t challenge your right to talk about what you like but turn your attention to someone else – why don’t you start with discussing some of our other communal Rabbis. For instance Chaim and his family support the local Jewish school – have sent their children there unlike the Rabbi at Giffnock or the Student Rabbi? What have you got to say about that ?

  436. A Beitz said

    Lubavitch Watcher seems to have difficulty with his language. If he wants to see what I think about rabbonim and Calderwood he can read the Jewish education part of this blog starting at the top. So been there, done it and got the tshirt.
    Unlike Lubavitch I don’t believe in competing with existing communal facilties.

  437. A Beitz said

    Oh and as a memeber of Giffnock Shul I think I am one of the landlords since the premises are owned by them.

  438. History Man said

    I think MR Beitz, would be more respectful.

    AND is this blog moderated? If so, can we have a ruling about F words? Twice in the one day! And I think the first first time I’ve ever been told to F off by someone Jewish.

    And the logic is also not very good. I can criticise those who provide train services, but no one would tell me to F off and start my own train company!

  439. History Man said

    And also, anyone looked at the Lubavitch of Scotland website at:

    Talks about the late Rebbe as Melech HaMoshiach. So is our local branch of Lubavitchism part of the movement which considers the Rebbe was/is the Messiah? And are we not allowed to discuss on this blog how Jewish this is?

  440. Lubavitch Watcher said

    If prizes were handed out for stupidity History Man and Beitz would win first equal prize.
    I don’t believe in Lubavitch. I don’t agree with their ideology and I happen to think their stuff about the Moshiach is completely bonkers. But I still think Rabbi Jacobs is as entitled as anyone else to earn a living and I think your attempts to trash the man and his restaurant are out of order. As I’ve told you before go and eat somewhere else – you don’t have to go there. I don’t apologise for my language. You will hopefully understand it.
    Instead of hiding behind previous comments which no one can be bothered going back to tell us again whether you think it is acceptable in our community for two Rabbis – employed – by this community – not to educate their children at Calderwood. I hope you are not on the committees of Giffnock Shul or Chaplaincy Board. Because if you are you should sort out this problem before prattling on about a Kosher restaurant. Which is the bigger problem in this community?
    Talking to guests in your own restaurant or not sending Jewish children to Calderwood to support Jewish education in the city.?

  441. Reading With Interest said

    Lubavitch Watcher

    Just as you advocate that people can choose to eat in whatever restaurant they want, equally Rabbi’s can choose to have their children educated in whatever establishment they want – just the same as you and me.

    It could never be a pre-requisite for employing a Rabbi as a religious leader in whatever shul you belong to, that he had to send his children to Calderwood Lodge or that he had to use the local Kosher caterer for his functions or that he had to eat in the local Kosher restaurant every week. How absurd even to suggest it.

    Also I have a real problem with your spelling and use of the English language. Perhaps you didn’t go to Calderwood, erstwhile you might be more eloquent in your use of said language.

  442. History Man said

    Don’t see any point in this blog if we can’t observe some basic etiquette – eg not swearing, not using unneccessary insults etc

    Whatever happened to civilised debate?

    And as has been said already, a business being transacted from communal premises becomes a communal issue, as it has the potential to reflect on us all.

    Now back to one of my previous points… if a kashrut-observing member of the community wants to entertain a non-Jewish client/colleague/neighbour/friend – can they do this at L’Chaim’s? Anyone know? The website says members only, but I wasn’t asked if I was a member when I booked. Is it members of the tribe only?

  443. Observer said

    I don’t think Lubavitch Watcher suggested that it should be a prerequisite for communal employment to send your children to the local Jewish school.

    But he did suggest that those who don’t who say they believe in Jewish education are causing more harm to the community than a Lubavitch Rabbi who owns his own restaurant.

    Sorry, ” reading with interest”, but I have to agree.

  444. A Beitz said

    Sorry LW but I don’t do repeats. So go and read elsewhere in the first few postings on the education blog if you’re interested. Incidentally what right do you have to criticise the Giffnock rabbi or the student chaplain? Are you a member of the former or a donor to the latter? If not then using your logic it’s none of your business.
    Now whether or not I’m happy with what school various rabbonim’s children attend I cannot see how that is anything other than a different question as to whether a restaurant bearing to be for the community and subsidised by both communal institutions and individuals could be improved.
    Your swearing doesn’t bother me but it does demean any argument you might have.

  445. Community Member said

    Beitzy, you must surely recognise that there are other communal issues of greater importance than the Lubavitch eating house.
    For someone not interested in doing repeats you have certainly run this story a number of times.
    I think it is valid to suggest that if we are looking at the conduct or actions of one communal organisation the same scrutiny should apply to others. I’m sure you will have no problem with this, otherwise what is happening could be construed as a vendettta against Lubavitch.
    And before anyone accuses me of being a supporter of that organisation – I am not. I agree that this kind of messianic Judaism is ridiculous.
    My point is that the views of other communal figures are just as absurd, and to most people just as silly.
    I’m curious why you and History Man only have it in for one of them – can you not spread it about and amuse us with your stories about someone else.
    Congratulations though to all those involved in the blog in the last few days – some of it has been very funny!

  446. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Community Member’s statement
    “it is valid to suggest that if we are looking at the conduct or actions of one communal organisation the same scrutiny should apply to others.”
    looks good, sounds good but is completely invalid and irrational. One discusses that which one finds of interest. Is he suggesting that every blogger has to give equal weight to every communal organisation from the Brownies to the Yiddish speaking society? Or is he suggesting a list of all organisations be compiled and after an allotted number of words we move on to the next on the list? If the views of other communal figures appear just as absurd to Community Member, as is the case, then CM is free to comment on his or her observations. Furthermore, CM, Observer and LW have probaly done more between them than anyone else to prolong the present discussion.

  447. community Member said

    Nachmann, you must have posted your comment when you had enjoyed one or more of your malts that you have told us about recently. There cannot be another explanation.
    You know perfectly well that I am not advocating a set of rules for commenting on communal organisations but only suggesting that if some are going to continually ridicule Lubavitch philosophy and behaviour in Glasgow then the absurdity of others’ views are probably worth discussing as well. As you yourself have pointed out previously much of religious doctrine is dotty. So I asked Beitz and History Man why they only seem concerned with Lubavitch.
    Observer – there seem to be more than 1 of them on the blog and Lubavitch watcher can reply for themselves. I only speak for me.

  448. A Beitz said

    I have previously stated I can cope with swearing but it is taking matters rather far to accuse Nachman of being somehow affected by a soupcon offine malt.I think this board’s moderator should step in.
    Went to the NM shul quiz last night. Well organised pleasant evening. However where was the rabbi? Was he kept away on the basis that as far as possible people should forget the raison d’etre of the building he was in? Or did he have something more pressing to do? It was a missed opportunity anyway since I suspect many people do not get the chance to see their rabbi in a social setting.
    And it may just be me but there were loads of people there who I didn’t know and who I think are only seen irregularly at communal events. Food wasn’t as good as at L’Chaims but company was better.
    Also went to Fairtrade kiddush on shabbat. Good idea and generally well executed except for having Coke (as in the drink) at the tables. I can’t think of many companies which are inimicable to the Fairtrade ethos.
    Congratulations to both shuls for having decent events at the weekend.

  449. Observer said

    What’s wrong with suggesting that Nachman may have been enjoying a malt when he posted?

    Perhaps the NM Rabbi doesn’t like quizzes Mr Beitz. Are you suggesting that this is unacceptable?

  450. A Beitz said

    Sorry,missed out the word “more” before “inimicable”.

  451. Ronnie Egon said

    I’ve been out of town for a while and I haven’t visited Chaim’s restaurant. Reading the inevitable blogs, it’s nobody’s business who provided funding for any restaurant, unless someone is saying that start-up funds allocated from a community warchest are being diverted unfairly. It’s a small restaurant, so if the boss is taking care of business and ‘hovers’, that’s no big deal and goes with the territory, unless soliciting of donations or prosetylising on behalf of a religious organisation is actually taking place. One thing about any kosher retaurant – two Jews, three opinions. And where else will you get ‘helpful’ diners offering you their ‘special’ recipe for borscht or pickled cucumbers etc?

  452. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    #443 That was a sad and unnecessary response and does not deal with the substance of your original posting. You appear to be claiming that despite your loose use of the English language one should understand what you really intended to say. This blog may be the wrong medium for your talents and I would suggest you try the ESP Society.

  453. Lubavitch Watcher said

    Nachman you surprise me or more truthfully you probably don’t. Yet again you think you are very clever but in reality if you were half as clever as you think you are you would be a genius!
    Community Member told us that in his opinion if we are going to focus on absurd or dotty views, Lubavitch should not be the only focus.
    No one seems to have a problem understanding this but you Nachman.
    I’m worried about you mate.

    And Mr Beitz has finally had a pop at another Rabbi other than Chaim J when the NM Rabbi comes under fire. Beitz, do you have a real problem with Rabbis?

  454. A Beitz said

    LW it is you that seems to have a problem. When I say I don’t want Lubavitch rabbis hovering over me when I go for a meal in the only kosher restaurant in Glasgow you’re critical. When I say I would have liked Rabbi Hackenbroch to have been there you’re critical. Rabbi H is an intelligent, pleasant man and it’s just a pity he couldn’t have been there for whatever reason on Sunday. I believe that the problem may have been travel difficulties by plane over the weekend.

  455. Lubavitch Watcher said

    Get real Beitz!
    ” Was he kept away”
    ” Did he have something more pressing to do?”

    I think you do have a problem with Rabbis. Albeit I have a limited knowledge of these things but I would suggest you won’t be cured until you admit to having the problem in the first place.
    Good luck!

  456. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    So curious. In # 448 I pressed a button, one of Community Member’s, so I thought. But lo and behold, up pops LW. As Alice would say “Curiouser and curiouser”

  457. Community Member said

    What are you talking about Nachman?
    I don’t understand you at all!

  458. History Man said

    Questions: Can a beitz be a rabbi, can a rabbi be a beitz? Can a Rebbe be Moshiach? Can Moshiach be a rebbe? Can someone who has died come back and reveal himself as Moshiach? Is resurrection making a come back? Can we criticise ANY rabbis in the community on this blog or NO rabbis? Can we like some of what our communal leaders do and not like other things they do? Is anyone all good or all bad? Should I have had the salt beef at L’Chaim’s last week or would the lamb have been better? Can I discuss the restaurant or am I not allowed to discuss it? So many questions!!!!

  459. Ford Prefect said

    History Man

    The answer to everything is 42

  460. Arthur Dent said

    And it can be found at The restaurant at the end of the universe along with various Rebbes

  461. not another macher said

    Ronnie Egon hit the nail of the head – we have all been hovering round the hovering issue at L’Chaim’s. In fact from my experience and what others have told me, it’s not merely the hovering that is a problem – it is in fact comments about how much the place is costing to run and minor religious festivals along with a worry that their ‘fine dining experience’ will be followed by an appeal letter that is giving people indigestion – plus the horrible smell of cooking oil that clings to peoples coats left hanging in the hall!!

  462. A Beitz said

    History Man asks many good questions but some of them seem to me to be unanswerable. For example was there lamb on the menu? Usually there is no choice and therefore there cannot be an answer to this query.
    Meantime I hear police have had to be called to the Rebbe’s grave. There’s been a death threat.

  463. Konolovitch said

    The police were also called to top of Saltmarket and bottom of High Street. Seems the Rebbe was seen hangin’ aboot the cross.

  464. A Beitz said

    And how many Lubavitchers does it take to change a light bulb?

    None. The light never went out.

  465. History Man said

    And how many Satmar chasidim does it take to change a lightbulb?


  466. F R Brent said

    Moving along from the CBeebies bloggers, did anyone read Peter McKay’s piece in Monday’s Daily Mail (I buy it for the Sudokus and word games etc), entitled ‘Horror tactics?’
    I quote,

    David Cameron is asked to withdraw and apologise for saying school trips to the Nazis’Auschwitz concentration camp was one of Gordon Brown’s gimmicks. What a pathetic non-story.

    So far as I know, there aren’t any school trips to the scenes of Stalin’s crimes in Russia, Mao’s in China, Pol Pot’s in Cambodia – or any other genocide centres. So why are British children herded round Auschwitz, for which we had no responsibility?

    I can see an argument for bussing German children there continuously. Except that it might encourage a new strain of the Nazi virus.

    There’s only one reason I can think of why our children have their noses rubbed in German excrement. It’s not to make sure ‘this never happens again’ – that’s beyond their control. It’s the misguided belief that it’ll make them always take Israel’s side.’

    Times are getting rougher.

  467. Lubavitch Watcher said

    Not Another Macher – no 457 – is obviously not the brightest cookie in the biscuit tin.
    Whoever you are, I hope you feel really proud of yourself for this post. As I have said before – you don’t have to go to this restaurant – so why attempt to trash it for others who may enjoy the facility?
    I know folk who have gone – and who have never received any appeal for a donation.
    So please do us a favour and get lost until you can post something more intelligent.
    And I’ll repeat this again – I don’t believe a bit of Lubavitch ideology but I’m not into bashing a man’s livelihood.

  468. not another macher said

    and you, Lubavitch Watcher, seem to have missed the cookie tin completely. You choose to completely ignore what I and a number of other people have pointed out, that this enterprise is far from being a commercial business as it is on Community premises and is being funded by individual and communal monies – the idea presumably being it is available for those people in the Community who wish to eat out or entertain in a strictly kosher setting – it is therefore nothing to do with any individual’s livelihood.

    I am lucky to go on holiday abroad from time to time and sometimes choose to eat in a kosher establishment, either because of the company I am with, or lack of eateries with suitable choices for my level of kashrut. Many of these restaurants are run by Lubavitch, the standard of cuisine running from truly awful to quite acceptable, but I have never been subjected to what amounts to a fairly intimidating floor show with thinly veiled appeals for money and religious interludes.

    Whither I could take my business elsewhere, is my business – but I believe people in Glasgow who wish to eat kosher, should have the opportunity to do so. So, Lubavitch Watcher, rather than insult my intelligence maybe you should engage your brain before you open your mouth.

  469. Al Chet said

    Chaim’s is not particularly for me but I support it because it is essential. Whenever I have family from out of town who are dati, there is somewhere I can take them or send them. I also have no time whatsoever for the messianic nonsense but nevertheless recognise that a need is being satisfied. Perhaps those who undermine the restaurant will explain how that need will be satisfied without Chaim’s.

  470. A Beitz said

    What is it with you, LW that you are obsessed with the restaurant being a man’s liveliehood? It was never set up on that basis. The idea was it would be a community facility run by an existing communal organisation and which in turn received donations from a number of benefactors. The model has never been a business one. Had it been so then the donors should have been shareholders or partners and the premises should have been let at a commercial rental. I don’t know for certain but suspect that the premises also benefit from charitable rate relief.
    All of this means that people in the community are entitled to comment adversely on what is a facility for the community. If some of those who go don’t like the floor show why shouldn’t they say? It might even be that if some of the negative comments are taken on board that this would improve the numbers in the restaurant.

  471. not another macher said

    I may not be Lubavitch groupie – but a bit of constructive criticism, is not undermining the restaurant and if taken on board, might improve the experience for those who choose to go L’Chaim’s – for whatever reason – and enable visitors to Glasgow to go away with positive picture of what’s on offer here.

    Remember some of the conversations in the early days of this blogg – people were discussing how to stem the flow of young Jews away from Glasgow and attract new Jewish families/individuals in? Well, making sure our facilities are broad based, cover as wide a spectrum of Jewish life as possible AND are of exceptional quality is essential.

  472. Red Ken said

    FR Brent (462) – You will understand that it is impossible to take seriously any comment that comes from a person who admits to reading the Daily Mail.

    I heard on the news that the Palace are handing out gongs to people today. But unfortunately for MR MBE ( Borowski), the Queen has better things to do today and has delegated this tedious task to her eldest son.

    Wonder what they will have in common?

  473. Al Jazz Era said

    I used to read the Daily Mail. I liked it. Interesting political articles, no big words. But I gave it up after my Barmitzvah. Coronation issue was great though.

  474. History Man said

    I also agree that it is fair to make constructive criticism of L’Chaim’s. I meant to say from the outset, by the way, that the food itself is fine! (Unlike the kosher restaurant I went to in Prague a few years back, which was very expensive and the food was horrible.)

    Now onto the very important and recently posted question of Mr B’s MBE. I can imagine HRH asking Mr B if the award stands for ‘My Beard is Extensive’. (although I suppose not as extensive as Rabbi J’s)

  475. Lubavitch Watcher said

    Why should we listen to ” Not Another Macher”. As a self appointed expert on how to improve Kosher restaurants perhaps you would be good enough to tell us your qualifications for this role?
    Beitz – why has no one thought it appropriate to set you up as a restaurant consultant? I don’t know what your day job is but don’t give it up too soon because in this new role you are out of your depth. You talk a big game son , but i’m sure you know the old proverb that empty vessels make the most noise.
    If this restaurant was set up in the way you describe, why did it fall to Glasgow Lubavitch to run it? Did Rabbi Jacobs just volunteer out of the goodness of his heart to run it for the community?
    You know, and I’m sure History Man, will have sufficient abilities to recall events of a couple of years ago, that this was Rabbi Jacob’s initiative. Your great communal facility would not have got anywhere unless someone was prepared to run it.
    So get lost and let him run it. Go and eat elsewhere. If people agree with you , in time, the place will close, but in the meantime, have enough grace to let others enjoy it.

  476. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    As the situation in Israel becomes graver I noticed on reading Israeli newspapers this week the results of an opinion poll which stated that 64% of Israelis want the government to talk to Hamas to try and broker a ceasefire.

    There has been increasing talk in Israel of a military occupation into Gaza to stop the shelling of Sderot. At times like this we all worry for family and friends who live in Israel and we pray for their safety and well being.

    I remember a few years back when the official Israeli position was to refuse to have contacts with the then leadership of the Palestinians, the PLO. I am sure you all recall that the Israeli position was that we cannot talk to terrorists. And then came the realism that you cannot make peace with friends, only enemies.

    I am not a politician. I am not an expert in defence issues. But as a Rabbi I do believe that we should always try and find ways towards peaceful coexistence. And the big question is how we go about this – and of course there are huge differences of opinion.

    What this poll tells me is that Israelis want conflict to stop. They are tired of it and will talk to anyone – even sworn enemies – if that might bring a possible resolution.

    I don’t know how many of you have seen the deprivation experienced by Palestinians, and even Arabs who live in Israel. The poverty and hardship are unacceptable and we all know that in such conditions fanaticism can often prevail. I am not suggesting who is to blame – I now think that is secondary.

    Many of my friends in Israel live their lives in ignorance of what is going on in Arab villages. They do not know , and do not want to know, how these people live. They do not grasp that human nature is such that if one part of the population has something which the other cannot get, then problems are inevitable.

    Likewise in the UK, far too many of our community, are unaware of these imbalances and like some of our Israeli friends, don’t want to know either. That is why I like and try and support organisations like the New Israel Fund who raise awareness about issues in Israeli society.

    Basically, my message this week is that none of us should bury our heads in the sand. We can and in my opinion should support Israel, but we need to strive for Israel to become a better place, a more just society, a country at peace with her neighbours.

    I hope and trust that G-d will help in the resolution of this conflict with the Arabs, Too many lifes on both sides have been lost. I just wish that some of my colleagues would appreciate that the other side have lost children and loved ones as well and that Arab life and Jewish life is important. We need to recognise the suffering of others as well. That does not weaken ur case, but actually helps it.

    I wish you all a peaceful and pleasant Shabbat.

    Shabbat Shalom

  477. Red Ken said

    Inspiring words Rabbi L. Let’s hope that when the Israeli ambassador turns up next week he’ll show the same humanity and commonsense.
    Maybe I will prove to be wrong but normally when functionaries appear on behalf of their government they defend the indefensible and treat the audience like uneducated idiots.

  478. Innocent Bystander said

    Interesting to note that our beloved and yet somehow anonymous Rep Council have seen fit to invite the Israeli Ambassador to speak the day after GJEF have got the Scottish Government’s First Minister Alex Salmond to speak to 300 at Mearns Castle High School.

    Is it me or is it just a coincidence that this has been put on the day after. Surely, they are not trying to steal any of GJEF’s thunder!

  479. shhh said

    A little bridie told me the son of a recent ex President of the Rep Council works for the PR company that handles the said Ambassador.

    Wise words yet again from Rabbi L. I am very impressed with what I have recently learned about the New Israel Fund, having heard Naomi Chazan & some of of her team speak at Limmud and again at a NIF meeting that evening (held in L’Chaim’s……………….. where I have it on good authority, the organisers gave strict instructions to Chaim not to ‘hover’)

  480. History Man said

    Why ‘anonymous’ Rep Council?

    And to be fair, in order for this conspiracy theory to work, the Rep Council would have had to guess the FM would postpone his visit, then arrange the Ambassador for the next day after FM.

    Now, about Chaim hovering…..

  481. Armchair Analyst said

    The article below is in defense of candidate Obama and a rebuttal to the whispering and mass email campaigns going on to paint him as anti-Israel.

  482. Observer said

    Will the Israeli ambassador apologise for the disgraceful comment made by the Deputy Israeli defence minister, Matan Vilnai in threatening Gaza with ” a bigger Shoah” ?
    If he doesn’t the audience should demonstate their unhappiness by walking out.

  483. A Beitz said

    Saw the comments mentioned by Observer. I really can’t believe Vilnai said this. Yes I’m aware of the literal meaning of Shoah but the word now has a particular nuance and any defence of the useage of the word is no more valid than the person who states that the swastika is no more than a Hindu symbol or that Arabs cannot be anti semitic since they are semitic.
    The meaning of words and symbols can and do change Mr Vilnai and an Israeli minister should be well aware as to what the word Shoah now means. Mr Vilnai should not resign. He should be sacked pronto and if he is not why. I suspect Mr Prosor is tearing is hair out-whilst he goes on a charm offensive clowns like Vilnai make his job impossible.

  484. Boris said

    The reason Mr Beitz that Mr Vilnai has not been sacked is because most of the Israeli government agree with his comments.

  485. Herutnik said

    Perhaps Mr A Beitz, Boris and Observer have failed to notice that Israel is at war at the moment. Instead of harping on about some comment by an Israeli Government Minister – that was obviously said in the heat of the moment because of the shocking rocket attacks on Israeli cities – your attention should be focussed on supporting Israel.
    You lot have obviously forgotten that most people believe in supporting the troops at times of war – instead of sneering and jeering that saps morale.

  486. Armchair Analyst said

    Extract of a New York Times lead article from Sunday March 2nd, 2008:

    In Gaza on Friday, Hussein Dardouna, 50, was burying his son, Omar, 14, killed while playing with his friends by an Israeli strike aimed at a rocket-launching team. “I couldn’t identify the body of my son,” he said. “It was very hard until I found the head of my son. I’m against these rockets, but I am afraid. What can I do? If I protest they will hit me, they will kill me”

    If true and representative of what’s going on there, Gaza is ruled by a mafiocracy. Is a hypothetical ‘truce’ really a viable alternative?

  487. A Beitz said

    Herutnik seems to believe that 2 wrongs make a right. Vilnai’s comments were repugnant and don’t become less so due to Israel mounting an operation in Gaza. “Heat of the moment” may be an explanation but it is not an excuse. It is further dimished as a theory standing the refusal to apologise.
    Vilnai has dismayed Israel’s friends, insulted Holocaust survivors, given succour to the country’s enemies but worst of all his remarks were contrary to everything the Zionist dream stood for,implying as as they did a genocidal attack against another nation.

  488. Herutnik said

    Quite right armchair analyst – until Hamas are toppled there is no point trying to have a ceasefire because it won’t hold.
    It’s time to root out the terror for good and believe me Israel are going to do it.
    Maybe Mr Beitz will tell us what he would do to stop innocent Israelis being harmed by rocket attacks and maybe he will even tell us what the Israeli Government should be doing to protect her citizens.

  489. Red Ken said

    Because A Beitz understands principles and knows what the ideals of Zionism were meant to be – and you don’t Herutnik – means that you will never get it. Why don’t you join up with Scottish Friends of Israel, if you are not already a member, and post on their website, not this one!

  490. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I disagree with almost everything that Herutnik says and stands for. However, when Red Ken suggests he(or she) post on another site, I despair. Herutnik’s views are genuine and represent much of right wing Zionist opinion. As such, they have to be dealt with. This forum should be for all views no matter how odious they may seem and surely you,Red Ken,as a defender of democracy and the right of the proletariate, surely you above all should be the first to defend Herutnik’s right to freedom of speech.

  491. Armchair Analyst said

    I agree with Nachman. How boring this forum would be if we didn’t have Herutnik and others giving viewpoints that reflect other streams of poitical thought.

    As I said to my headmaster Red Ken senior on the day of my expulsion:

    “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality”

  492. A Beitz said

    Herutnik there are various views about the right path for the Israelis. None of them include to my knowledge abusing the word “shoah”. I don’t care whether an Israeli government minister be to the left or right or whether his or her views are in accord with mine or otherwise. There is no right to use a term which has particular connotations of this nature and which implies a genocidal intent. The man is at very best a complete fool and should go.

  493. Red Ken said

    I don’t deny Herutnik’s right to freedom of speech Nachman – I just can’t be bothered reading his right-wing nationalistic my country right or wrong diatribes.
    I suggested that he may be more at home on the Scottish Friends of Israel website which is full of this kind of material.
    I am all for debate but there has to be some red lines – and defending Israeli ministers who threaten Holocausts on other people is too much for me.
    What are your red lines Nachman? Or do we have to live in a world where everything is acceptable – because Herutnik’s views represent much of right wing Zionism doesn’t make them more acceptable – on the contrary Nachman that gives the rest of us a responsibility to speak out and condemn it. Seems to be A Beitz is prepared to do that but what about you?

  494. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    Recently I heard from colleagues and later on the radio that 9 girls at the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in Hackney, East London boycotted the key Stage Three Shakespeare test last May because they felt that Shakespeare was anti-Semitic. Their Head Teacher, Rabbi Abraham Pinter, insisted that the fourteen year old girls had made the decision on their own, there being no outside influences whatsoever. On the surface one should be proud that these youngsters had the courage to take a stand despite the consequences to their education.
    The play to be discussed in the examination was the “Tempest” rather than “The Merchant of Venice” so this was a stand against the foremost playwright in English, if not in any language, rather than a criticism of a particular play.

    Before coming to their decision I hope the girls understood and considered many important factors.

    England in the late 16th century was rabidly anti-Semitic as was most of Christian Europe It had been 300 years since Jews were expelled from England and most if not all of Shakespeare’s audience would know Jews only from stereotypes. When Shylock appeared on stage the effect would have been like that of a modern pantomime. The money loving usurer would have been instantly recognised on stage and would have been jeered and booed. As the play progressed the hate of the audience for the obvious baddie would have reached a crescendo by the time they reached the court scene. By now the anti-Semitic playwright would have succeeded in his quest to heap as much hate and opprobrium as possible onto the back of the despised Jew, Shylock.

    Suddenly we are stopped dead in our tracks. Shakespeare, the supposed anti-Semite, proves that he was a man centuries beyond his time for he puts into Shylock’s mouth some of the most famous and meaningful words in English literature.

    “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?

    Having said all this, Shakespeare, through Shylock, then asks his audience,

    “and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

    To reinforce the final question, this monologue ends with a statement to the audience, not a question,

    “If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that”

    This is where Shakespeare looks his anti-Semitic audience in the face and asks them to justify their hatred of Jews.

    There is so much more to discuss in “The Merchant of Venice” but not here and now. All I will say is that if these young girls, at such an impressionable age, have an understanding of mediaeval England, of the causes of anti-Semitism, of the illiteracy and ignorance of Shakespeare’s audience, and of the meaning and nuances of Shakespeare’s prose in enough depth to reach and justify their conclusion then one can only admire them as intellectuals beyond their years. Or if it is the case that their actions are the result of ignorant and reactionary teaching, then they may be the impressionable victims of intellectual abuse.

    This should be a topic for the pulpits but like some of my colleagues, I am constantly looking over my shoulder. In the meantime, as I have told you before, I am selective in the school I choose for my children.

    Shabbat Shalom

  495. OAP said

    Rabbi L’s comments remind me of a similar story that happened in Glasgow a number of years ago.
    The Kollel school were looking for a teacher to teach secular subjects. However, these subjects had to be taught according to the rules of the Head. If my memory is correct the new teacher also wanted as part of the English curriculum to teach some Shakespear to the children. This came to the attention I believe of the Head, and he told his new employee that Shakespeare was unnaceptable and that the children should not be taught this anymore.
    The teacher, if my memory is correct duly handed in his resignation.

  496. A Beitz said

    Delighted to see a couple of rabbonim in the last few weeks giving us an intelligent and thoughtful insight into works of English literature. Rabbi Jeremy Rosen recently expounded on Ian McEwan’s excellent novella, On Chessil Beach. Now we have Rabbi L with the Merchant of Venice.
    For those who missed Rabbi Rosen’s critique it can be found on his blog
    Scroll down to Feb 24th of this year.

  497. History Man said

    So what do we reckon about Fiona Hyslop’s speech last night? Much of it was standard SNP stuff about how their policies are great for Scotland. And she seemed to be saying that Scottish Nationalism embraces us all. Didn’t learn an awful lot. However, it was a hard audience for her, being a stand-in for the main man. What will the great man himself have to add to all this next month?

    As the Cab Sec for Education, hope she doesn’t try to visit Calderwood (in Rutherglen?)!

    Now, the important point…could the organisers have taken her to eat in L’Chaim’s?

  498. Barry said

    Thanks for the link Beitz – Great article by Jeremy Rosen. I also enjoyed Rabbi L’s thoughtful insight about the religious school in London.
    Without trying to be funny this is my first time on the blog – the problem is that the people who need to read what’s written by Jeremy Rosen and Rabbi L are probably not reading it.
    I have heard about the blog before but I thought I would have a look after attending the political meeting last night.
    I will respond to History Man’s comments tomorrow.

  499. Barry said

    On second thoughts I will reply now.
    I know Fiona Hyslop talked about Calderwood being in Rutherglen but I think to be fair that she had in all probability been given the speech an hour earlier and the mistake was not hers but a civil servant who wrote it.
    I thought she made the best of a difficult situation. Some of the points she raised were interesting and I think that all politicians would have promoted their own party in such a context.
    I’m sure Mr Salmond will have something different or extra to add.

  500. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    With regards to Fiona Hyslop’s faux pas regarding the address of Calderwood Lodge, there is a primary school in Calderwood Road, Rutherglen, to which Fiona was referring. This was an obvious mistake by her researchers in their hasty preparation for her presentation to a disappointed audience. Under the circumstances, I think her offering was more than acceptable, unlike that of the chairman which was brilliant.

  501. emet said

    Well credit to her for standing in but are we really fooled by the sychophantic claptrap that I suspect Big Eck had had written for him-Jews are great at this , Jews are great at that , Nobel prize here , Moral values there ,just like the Scots eh…who’s like us both ,damn few and they are all deid etc !
    Poppycock-see politicians !Jim Murphy gave a ridiculous “I’ll tell you what I think you want to hear ” talk earlier this year at a GJEF event and now more of the same from the SNP-do they really think we are that fickle ?
    If it wasn’t for Mr Paisley (who incidentally is fluent in ivrit and can read from the Torah -seriously) ,I’d give up on our system-at least he tells it as he believes it and doesn’t pander.Sadly his ilk are almost extinct in uk politics Tony Benn , Michael Foot ,Thatcher , etc-they were at least prepared to stick to their guns and live/die by their beliefs-now it is about a well paid job and pension and sod the electorate and ideology.

  502. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    You are absolutely right, Emet, but what on earth did you expect? Your final sentence says it all “it is about a well paid job and pension and sod the electorate and ideology.” Why on earth should they be so different from those who vote for them, those who see what is in it for themselves, and vote accordingly.

    I trust you have filled in your evaluation form with your criticisms and wish list. Dr Paisley, now in retirement, may look favourably on the opportunity to follow Alec Salmond on a GJEF platform. Now that I come to think of it, the last Salmond date was postponed just because he was entertaining Dr Paisley at Holyrood so maybe a word in the right place would secure Paisley’s services.
    The GJEF evaluation form is to be commended as a practical attempt to converse with the community at grassroots level. There is , of course, another community organisation that talks of listening to the grassroots, but in their case it is only talk, not action. So I suggest that the sentiments you have expressed here are reiterated on the form and sent to GJEF whom I am sure will treat it with respect.

  503. emet said

    Thank you Nachman.I never know if you are being serious. Mr Paisley would be a great choice for GJEF-DO THEY HAVE THE COURAGE TO ASK HIM ?
    As for your veiled reference to the Rep. Council-why was the President thereof not there on wednesday ? Why can he only support his own initiatives ? Why are they so useless ? Why do they exist at all ? Who even cares about the bl***y rep council !
    Anyway having just said what most think I’ll move on-who heard the Israeli Ambassador on Radio Scotland this morning ? I thought he was very good-articulate and balanced -he rejected the military solution as a long term strategy but not as a current requirement-ie for now it wasn’t a solution but a necessity for the protection of the State of Israel. As an Ambassador I think he did his job well. I’m sorry I didn’t go to see him-did anyone go and was there a good turnout ?
    Herutnik what do you think of him and if you heard the radio show did you like what he said ?

  504. Innocent Bystander said

    I was one of the 80 or so people who attended the Ambassador’s talk last night. He is indeed an articulate and well versed man and I am confident he will do a great deal of good for Israel in his Ambassadorial role.

    He spoke of the 85% of Israel who are for a 2 state solution but still managed to emphasise that “Israel is a democracy under fire” and that she has to defend herself. He spoke of the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and the thousands of rockets still being shot at Sderot and Ashkelon. He praised the work of those who defend Israel in the Press and said that no matter what they did the media always seemed to turn the story round to suit the Palestinian side. He was pretty scathing of the Hamas takeover from Fatah in Gaza and of the difficulty in dealing with those that hide rockets in their bedrooms and send potassium nitrate hidden in EU funded sugar bags.

    All this was tempered by the dreadful news last night of the murder of innocent yeshivah students in Jerusalem which caused his speech to be interrupted by several phone calls from Israel and London and media interviews with the BBC and Sky.

    I thought he talked exceptionally well given the circumstances but was shocked by the relatively small number attending and the distinct lack of those under the age of 40 – there were none. Why are younger members not going to such events? Are they not interested at all or does the lure of a football match beckon them.

    I appreciate not everybody would be interested in his talk but it is an indictment on our community that we can’t attract at least a few younger members – after all quite a number are going on Israel schemes this summer but neither they nor their parents were in attendance – unless you can prove me wrong.

    His talk was preceded by an introduction by the Rep Council Chair who told us of all the work he had been involved in since taking office at their recent AGM. He praised the new groups in Glasgow – GJEF being just one – and stated that though our community may be on the wane, it was stil vibrant and has the biggest Day Limmud in the UK. He said it was right that we plan for the future and spoke of the talks between the Shuls on rationalisation.

    I hope that summarises the event for you and I am sorry you weren’t there

  505. A Beitz said

    The attendance does sound a bit low and I suspect that GJEF bear some responsibility. If around 250 were at the meeting on Wednesday night then with the best will in the world a lot of them will not go out the following night. Personally I’d have liked to have attended but had various things I had to do making it impracticable.
    I think the ambassador is in Glasgow over the weekend and may in fact have some sort of meeting with younger members of the community on Sunday although I’m not absolutely sure. I believe he is also visiting Calderwood (hopefully the Newlands version) so he does seem to making a real effort.
    Back to the attendance it occurs to me offhand that as well as the regular activities there has been GJEF, Jed Rubenfeld at the Jewish book week, Jewish Film Week and that’s what I know about. Sometimes by Thursday it’s not surprising if people are knackered or even preparing for shabbat.

  506. Itzhak said

    You are not an innocent bystander no 500!
    The dreadful massacre in Jerusalem should be condemed by everyone. No one can defend this. But did you “bystander” ask the ambassador last night if his government’s policies in the last couple of weeks had again fuelled the cycle of violence which will no doubt continue in the coming days?
    Did you ask him if the collective punishmemt of the population in Gaza, when innocent children were killed, and many civilians were caught up in the fighting and lost their lives, could be justified as a proportionate response to the rocket attacks?
    Or did you sit silent and let him pretend that all violence by the Palestinians is terrorism and all violence by Israelis is legitimate self – defence?
    Although you were not at the meeting Emet , you should stop , pause for a moment, and consider the same questions? Instead of seeing this conflict in terms of black and white, and always thinking we are the victims – could I give you some sound advice Emet. The world is sometimes grey – and we all have a responsibility to start thinking and because the Israeli ambassador speaks well that does not mean he is right!

  507. Innocent Bystander said

    You know Itzhak, if you read what I wrote, I did not take a viewpoint at all. I merely reported what i heard for those like you who did not go because if you had you could have asked the question yourself.

  508. emet said

    Itzak-read what I said-I reported what I heard and deduced that he did his job well-that doesn’t mean I agree or disagree with what he said -it means just that he said it well.

  509. Itzhak said

    Nonsense Emet. You said that ” he was very good – articulate and balanced. ”
    If that is not an endorsement then I don’t know what is.
    ” Innocent Bystander ” cannot understand that my whole point is that we cannot always be neutral. Sometimes we have to take a stand and make it perfectly clear that there are some things which require a viewpoint.
    To say nothing is construed as acceptance of the party line!

  510. Derek Errets said

    We’re going round in circles here. Up to 85% of Israelis are ‘in favour of a Palestinian State’. Therefore a minimally viable Palestinian state has to be created. The West Bank has been deliberately carved up by settlements and linking private road networks in such a way that Israel simply will not extricate itself cleanly. Jerusalem requires to be divided in some way that satisfies the demographics. Gaza is one huge boxed-in camp.

    I wasn’t there, being out of town, but what could possibly be ‘articulate and balanced’ about the present ambassador’s official line to this ongoing multi-year filibuster by the Israeli government of the day?

  511. History Man said


    Why so many pops at the Rep Council? There were Rep Council people there on Wed night. How do you know what the President had on that night? He was at the GJEF Balloon Debate – if he was so anti-GJEF, why would he go to that?

    You may not like everything they do or don’t do, but if there was no Rep Council, for the first time in over 90 years there would be no organisation in Glasgow even nominally connecting up all the synagogues and communal organisations. Is this what you want?

    Now, did the Israeli Ambassador eat at L’Chaim’s? Did he have the chicken or the lamb? Does he want Moshiach now?

  512. Armchair Analyst said

    Rabbi L #490, ends with “This should be a topic for the pulpits but like some of my colleagues, I am constantly looking over my shoulder”. What is it that he fears? If he and certain colleagues speak out from conscience publicy and honestly, will they be sacked from their salaried posts?

    Surely he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his career quietly putting up with the denial within his circle of many important matters that include “ignorent and reactionary teaching” being carried out on “the impressionable victims of intellectual abuse”.

    Or is there absolutely no demand at present in Orthodox communities for this enlightened thinking?

  513. Emet's friend said

    History Man seems to believe that what’s important is how long an organisation has existed rather than its current usefulness.
    There seems little point in repeating old ground but a few reminders for History Man would be helpful.
    The Council is no longer seen as relevant by the majority of the community.The current executive lack any gravitas and are unknown by many.
    The connection between organisations in not ” nominal ” it is irrelevant. This organisation has no mandate to represent this community – they are out of touch with what people think -they consult with very few – they make decisions in private – and in the moden world there isno place for such undemocratic bodies.
    So History Man – be nostalgic if you want – but if you examine history carefully – you will discover that it is often a better course of action to replace the defunct with the new.

  514. History Man said

    So presumably the 80 or so organisations in the community would have to stop paying their delegate fees and set up another organisation? Maybe it could be called the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council?

    Given the difficulty in getting new blood into committees across the community, where would all the new people come from to set up this particular new body and give up their time to attend numerous meetings of this new body and all the various outside organisations which the Rep Council currently represents the community on?

    And who would give it its mandate?
    The only time I have ever seen community-wide elections was when UJIA Renewal was set up, and that was a one-off process a number of years ago that was never repeated.

    My general point is not that the current Rep Council is perfect, but that the community shouldn’t lightly give up the only overarching organisation without having a workable plan for something better.

  515. Community Member said

    History Man you are wrong. What is the purpose of the Rep Council ?
    It cannot represent the community because it doesn’t consult with the community.
    It no longer represents the community elsewhere because some of those functions have been replaced by other organisations.
    The leaders of the Rep Council have no communal stature – no presence – and no vision.
    There is no longer a need for this kind of organisation. For instance, if the community requires help with social work – Jewish Care can go directly to the local authority for assistance. If Calderwood has an issue about education – then the bodies concerned with the school would likewise represent themselves in negotiations.
    If the elected Head of the Scottish Government, Mr Salmond, is invited to the community by GJEF, then I don’t believe they would have consulted before they went ahead with the Rep Council.
    None of these organisations , and I could give you countless other examples, require a Representative Council to get in the way.
    So I’m afraid History Man , you are like your name, living in the past. The Council was once considered to have a role , but the reality even then was that the community’s real decision makers had nothing to do with it whatsoever. But now , the services of this organisation are defunct – and you should allow them to pass away quietly, without too much fuss. That would at least accord the organisation some dignity.
    History Man, wake up and smell the coffee – the Rep Council’s days are over!

  516. History Man said

    I think part of the problem is that most members of our community are apathetic and happy to let others run communal organisations. Most committees I know of are crying out for new blood.

    If members are assertive and show interest, it’s not that hard to get elected onto the committee of an organisation. You can then lobby for your organisation to disaffiliate from the Rep Council. The fact that 99 per cent of organisations haven’t done this shows, perhaps, that people aren’t that upset about what the Rep Council does or doesn’t do.

    So if there was no Rep Council and outside bodies needed to get the views or co-operation of the Jewish community, who would they have to go to? Would they have to choose a community organisation themselves? Or woudl they just go to the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities? Now THERE’S an even less democratic organisation. Should it also go?

  517. Give Us A Clue said

    Who and what are The Scottish Council for Jewish Communities. Who elected them and what do they do?

  518. History Man said

    No – it’s not elected.


    The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) is the representative body of all the Jewish communities in Scotland. SCoJeC advances public understanding about the Jewish religion, culture and community, and develops and provides information and assistance to educational, health and welfare organisations. It also works in partnership with other organisations and stakeholders to promote good relations and understanding among community groups and to promote equality. In furtherance of that end, it represents the Jewish community in Scotland to government and other statutory and official bodies, monitors the Scottish Parliament and liaises with MSPs and others on matters affecting the Jewish community.

  519. Community Member said

    I have no need to be represented by these kind of groups. Most people are totally disinterested in what the Rep Council does or doesn’t do.
    You, History Man, put forward the case that they were our representative to the outside world -and now that it has been shown that this kind of body is not needed you have moved on to SCOJEC.
    I would contend that this group is also not required. Again, look at the examples. It would appear that the Scottish Government are quite happpy to accept invitations from GJEF, and quite happy to speak directly to the community. SCOJEC have no mandate from this community to be their representative.
    They are elitist, undemocratic and most importantly not good at what they do.

  520. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    That all sounds most admirable, History Man. Given the above working brief for Scojec one would have assumed that when GJEF arranged that the First Minister address the Community (and I mean the community, not a few self appointed hacks) Scojec and the Rep Council would have been in touch with GJEF immediately to offer their services. My understanding is that all GJEF received from Scojec and the Rep Council was a deafening silence. It is tragic that our community is so poorly served. It may be that they have a problem with GJEF and as individuals that is their right. However, as representatives of a community organisation they are duty bound to be impartial and if they are unable to overcome their personal prejudices then they should resign. The fact that I see no one with such integrity makes me despair. The problem lies not with the two councils for they are only as good as their members. The underlying problem lies with those who fund the councils and I do not mean the delegate bodies for their input is relatively little. The major funders may be bound by good governance and I would trust that this includes the careful use of their funds by other organisations.

  521. History Man said

    Community Member – I don’t see how a minister or even the FM addressing a GJEF meeting is the same as the Scottish Government working with the community on the detail of specific issues eg divorces or shechita. If there is no central body on our side, how would the Scottish Government know who to consult with?

    How do you define ‘the community’ if there is no central body?

  522. Community Member said

    We’ve heard this before History Man. Other than Divorce or Schechita what else do they consult about?
    The Scottish Government can consult with whichever body in our community has that area of responsibility. Why do you need others to represent you who are not elected and not particularly competent?
    Nachman’s good point though needs to be taken forward. The Glasgow Community Trust has amongst its trustees a good number of ex Presidents of the Rep Council and surprise surprise the Rep Council is therefore a recipient of Trust Money. Isn’t it about time that this was looked at by responsible members of the Trust who hopefully have the community’s best interests at heart, rather than those who wish to prevent change and preserve the status quo. I would like to hope that some of the Trust members are aware of the new communal reality – and unlike you History Man , are prepared to embrace a new era.

  523. Give Us A Clue said

    Histoty Man

    If Scojec are not elected, who decided who would be on that group? How many of them are there? Are they paid? Are they a sub committee of the Rep Council? How are they funded/ Give us a clue? And most important of all…………………………… Do they eat at L’Chaims?

  524. History Man said

    I think most of them are nominated. They were set up to liaise with the new Scottish Parliament and represent Edinburgh as well as Glasgow (and in theory also Dundee, Aberdeen etc). They are not a sub-committee of the Rep Council. They get grants from communal trusts and the Scottish Government. Their main folk are EJ Borowski MBE and Leah Granat.

    No who eats at L’Chaim’s – that’s a MUCH more interesting topic! I’m fed up arguing about the Rep Council. If you feels so strongly, go and infiltrate by becoming a delegate and standing for office.

  525. Community Member said

    Well here’s another topic.
    We have just been discussing the poor lay leadership in this community and what should be done about it. Another topic that needs to be looked at is religious leadership and religious values.
    I will start by praising the pastoral care that is given which I have heard and know is excellent. And what follows is not a personal attack on any specific Rabbi. As a Giffnock member some may construe that what I am going to write is specific to the Rabbi there, but I believe it could apply to most if not all Rabbonim in this city. In case anyone construes this wrongly, I will add now that I think the Rabbi at Giffnock is a genuinely good man, who cares and wants to do good.
    I received as a Giffnock member yesterday a book from the Synagogue called ” 60 Dayd for 60 years”. With it came a letter from the Rabbi and I quote – ” Which other country could there be going through the terror that Israel suffered so recently and yet be building new roads and new airports? How is that Israel, who is surrounded by so many cruel neighbours who want to totally eliminate the country and its people, yet they are considered one of the most advanced countries in many areas of technology?”
    I find these words so depressing, almost as much for what they don’t say as what they do. It is such a sad indictment on religious leadership that the notion that everyone hates us and we are the poor defenceless victims is perpetuated time and time again, even though the reality is that Israel is a military super power. Two of Israel’s neighbours have formal peace treaties with her – and despite their being wars in the region in recent years neither have raised arms . In addition the Arab League has a formal declaration offering Israel peace in return for territory.
    We have moved on in some places from classifying Israel’s neighbours as one entity when it is quite clear that they are not.
    In view of what happened in Israel this week – the dreadful massacre of innocent victims in Jerusalem – we have a choice. And I understand from friends who were there that the Rabbi in his sermon chose wrongly. The easy option is to blame everyone else – that the Arabs are hellbent on terror and our destruction and ” want to totally eliminate the country”. Or we can expect from any leadership, particularly our religious leadership that we show regret for all innocent victims who have died in this conflict. Innocent Palestinians died in the last two weeks and no regret is expressed. All lives are important , not just Jewish ones. This is often the charge made against Israel – that their victims are somehow worth more than the other sides. And we should at all times show our humanity and our decency by acknowledging that people have died on the other side who have been caught up innocently in this conflict.
    I am not scoring a political point here. This is an issue of morality. Accompsanying the Rabbi’s letter is a leaflet which points out every Israeli terror incident in the last 60 years.
    Are we so blinkered, so caught up in our own loss that we cannot appreciate and put forward even the briefest expression of regret for ALL victims, not just ours.
    Maybe, I should not be surprised. Maybe I should expect our leaders to be just as blinkered as those on the other side.
    But I would like to see better. Maybe, just maybe, we should expect better.
    I know that there are others who think like me and perhaps it is time Rabbis to discuss where we are going and what we believe in – and what your responsibilities are . Because the alternative – the status quo – that only talks about our dead – and not theirs – is a world without decent morality. And if that is the message coming from our synagogues then don’t get upset when the majority don’t care.

  526. A Beitz said

    Whist not disagreeing with much of what you say,CM, the rabbi in his sermon yesterday did put the emphasis on actions of Israel’s neighbours and the fact that they then complained when there were consequences. He then seemed to qualify that slightly by saying also that Israel had done wrong things and that had to be accepted.
    I have also heard the same rabbi, following upon the bombing of a Tel Aviv disco on a Friday night, saying he wept for the victims but he also wept for those for were going to suffer when the inevitable Israeli retaliation came.
    To me, aside from the morality of the whole thing, part of the difficulty is that I suspect the rocket attacks are intended to draw retaliation and Israel has fallen into that trap. Now it is the bad guy and some news agencies make out Hamas to be a moderate group who would like to make peace with Israel if only the wicked Israelis would talk to them. I don’t really know what Israel should do but every time they attack Gaza peace is further away and I think this what those firing the rockets want.

  527. Community Member said

    I’m still troubled by this Mr Beitz.
    Firstly, the attack on the Tel Aviv Dolfinarium Discotheque occurred in June 2001. Surely it is the responsibility of the Rabbi to continually emphasise that all human life is valuable, not just ours. Can you give any more recent examples which will help persuade me that our Rabbis think that all human life is equally sacred – not just Jewish life?
    Far too many lives have been lost – and the appaling carnage in Jerusalem is the latest atrocity. If the Israeli retaliation – that will no doubt arrive soon – causes more innocent lives to be spilled will our Rabbi in Giffnock and his colleagues speak out loudly and clearly? I would love this to be the case but I think you and I know that this is highly unlikely. Our Rabbis should be giving a moral dimension to this – it is not about politics.

  528. A Beitz said

    I don’t think it’s so simple ,CM. I have very mixed feelings about any Israeli retaliation but it does seem to me it is a reasonable option and one that could be readily understood. There are other reasonable options and it is impossible imo to be dogmatic and say what’s right. Personally I think Israel should withdraw what seems to me to be a siege but warn that in the event of rockets coming from Gaza it may impose it again. Others might argue that would be and is collective punishment. I don’t believe there is any right or wrong answer nor that it is necessary for a rabbi to tell his congregation what they should be thinking about the middle east on a weekly basis.
    I do know the rabbi in question is one of the most humane, religious or secular, men I know but that doesn’t mean that if the enemy is hit he should tell us to mourn. And it is often difficult to decide who is innocent. Are people in a right wing pro settlement yeshiva? Are the people who voted for an avowedly terrorist anti semitic party? Is anyone who is going to be conscripted into the Israeli army? Or are the pro settlement yeshivabochers the most innocent since they will not actually join up?
    I don’t have the answers and I don’t think any rabbi does either. It’s just there are some we agree with more than others.

  529. Itzhak said

    I think you miss the point A Beitz. You seem unable to make the distinction that Community Member has proposed between politics and morality. You have diverted into political arguments which is not the point that was being put forward.
    For a Rabbi to say quite clearly that the loss of all innocent civilian life is regretable – and that it is not only Jewish life that is important – is surely not something remarkable to ask for.
    The very fact that you want to put forward all these caveats and qualifications is symtomatic of the problem within Judaism. Whether you or I feel that a paricular action by Israel ir right or wrong sensible or stupid is not the issue that a religious leader should be dealing with. What he has a responsibility to put forward is the moral dimension – not the political one – and it should not be beyond our Rabbis to see this. He does not need to tell anyone what to think about politics but if he cannot give moral direction what is the point of him being a religious leader in the first place. And it is not a question of asking us to mourn but it is a question of issues concerning simple humanity.
    I’m sure if you think about this a little more carefully A Beitz you will change your mind.

  530. A Beitz said

    I am quite sure the good rabbi would have no difficulty in saying that the loss of all innocent civilian life is regrettable. Apart from being trite it is something he has said before. Indeed in Judaism the first born are supposed to fast on the morning of Pesach to show sadness at the loss of the innocent Egyptian first born.
    The point I was making was that such statement has very little more meaning than one saying we want peace. Everyone does but equally they want it on their terms which may be completely contradictory to a peaceful solution. Equally who is innocent and who are the guilty ones? Is the 12 year old stone thrower innocent or guilty? What about the 9 year old sabra who will ultimately serve in the IDF? Or the conscript who hates what he is told to do in the West Bank but does it? Was Sharon guilty when he went onto the Temple Mount? Or was it the Palestinians who already had accumulated weaponry for the Intifada? What about the suicide bomber who feels no hope and who may have inculcated to the extent he is no longer responsible for his actions? Are some, all or none of them innocent? Different people would have different views.

  531. Community Member said

    If the Rabbi has no problem in saying that the loss of all civilian life is regretable then he should say it. Because, not everyone thinks this and as a Rabbi, he should be in the business of preaching morality – and some people in our community need to be reminded time and time again.
    It is not trite – you yourself commented about the Israeli Minister who warned of a Holocaust on Gaza. Such unacceptable behaviour goes unpunished and I would imagine no mention of that came from Giffnock or other pulpits in this city.
    The Rabbi, if he reads this, will I hope see the morality issue. Ask around Mr Beitz and you will discover that there are far too many in our community who believe that there is a different value put on human life – Jewish lives are worth more. – our casualties matter – theirs are a consequence of their actions.
    And I think this is where we started – it isn’t acceptable. And good people like yourself have a responsibility to speak out. It is more important than ” different people having different views”

  532. Armchair Analyst said

    I just received this email which originates from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Council. It is a view of the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva from a very different perspective.

    It will be interesting to receive any feedback here on what the author is claiming are the purported statements and philosophy of both the founders and present rabbis of this Yeshiva.

    I don’t expect any local rabbi to comment, however someone who is in regular touch with our rabbonim may wish to respond after consulting with them.

  533. Itzhak said

    I have looked at the link that you posted Armchair Analyst.
    Unfortunately, in our own community – the Jewish world – we have lunatics just like there are in every other community.
    In our community – the Jewish world – we have some Rabbis who are good guys and others who are not. Just the same as in every other religion.
    That is why I presume that Community Member is asking the Rabbi in Giffnock to make his position very clear and why it is very important that he reminds his community to respect every human life- whether Jewish or not.
    And for Mr Beitz to say that this is trite is unbelievable. I hope he reconsiders his position quickly.

  534. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    I hope and pray that this week will bring peace to Israel and the Jewish people, and to everyone everywhere. After the dreadful events that happened in Jerusalem last Thursday at the Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav I am deeply shocked about what happened then and what I have witnessed since.
    I would like to tell you a little about this Yeshiva. Mercaz Ha Rav is one of the crown jewels of religious Zionism, and has been known as the flagship of religious Zionist yeshivot. It was founded in 1924, as the world’s first Zionist Yeshiva, by Ha Rav Avraham Yitzhak Kook, one of the most influential Rabbis of the 20th century, and the first Ashkenasi Chief Rabbi of the Yishuv. Mercaz Ha Rav has become synonymous with the teachings of Rav Kook. It is not a Hesder Yeshiva – students do not do regular military service. The current head of the Yeshiva is Rabbi Yaakov Shapira. There are about 500 students who study there. The political movement Gush Emunim have always been closely associated with this Yeshiva as this organisation leaned heavily on the teachings of Rav Kook. Gush Emunim believes that the coming of the Messiah can be hastened by Jewish settlement on the land G-d has allotted to the Jewish people.
    I don’t believe that this terrible act of terrorism chose this Yeshiva by accident. It was a deliberate attack on the religious Zionist settlement movement and it has shocked Israel and the Jewish people to the very core.
    Where do we go from here and what lessons can we learn? I am deeply upset by the reaction from many of my Rabbinical colleagues. I believe that as a rabbi, I need to try to calm tensions in my community. I have followed discussions in Israeli newspapers and it is clear that some of the statements coming forward from some religious circles is not something that I can be proud of. Every day in our prayers we ask for Israel to be at peace and it is not rocket science to know that this will not be achieved in a climate that legitimises calls for vengeance. We as Jews, have to be aware of our responsibilities and for far too long I have despaired about the indifference to the loss of life and innocent casualties of war. A child is a child and I know that sometimes in war that innocent lives will be lost , but we must always show regret or we forget who we are and what we should be as Jews.
    In times of despair, human emotions understandably run away but some of the words I have read this week leave me numb. I can’t believe what I am reading and when it has been said by Rabbis, I am deeply troubled. The Yeshiva Head – Rabbi Shapira told the world – “ May G-d avenge their deaths.” The Israeli Government Minister for Education was ejected from the Yeshiva when she visited there to offer condolences after students called her a “murderer”. And then I read that a group of Rabbis called on Jews to avenge their enemies “ measure for measure” and an anti-Zionist Rabbi called the massacre “ divine punishment” And in Kiryat Moshe, the location of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, notices have been posted saying – “ each and everyone is required to imagine what the enemy is plotting to do to us, and to match it measure for measure “
    The Head of Bnei Akivah Yeshivas, Rabbi Haim Druckman, sharply criticised the message and said that individuals were forbidden to take security matters into their own hands.
    As we mourn the passing of the eight yeshiva scholars I can appreciate, as a Rabbi, the dreadful loss felt by the Orthodox Jewish world. And I know the anguish felt by many in my own Jewish community in the UK. And I hear the calls for retaliation and vengeance. We need to control our emotions and we need to find words that will reduce tensions not inflame them. As a Rabbi, I have a great responsibility as do my colleagues. I hope and pray that we can accept this responsibility, and realise that hatred is destructive and will not help the Israel that we love.
    Have a wonderful Shabbat
    Shabbat Shalom.

  535. Hacked Off said

    Does anyone else agree that the current Israeli Ambassador – Ron Prosser – is not up to the job. He is either badly advised or not smart enough to realise that groups that merely mouth complete support for Israeli Government positions all the time are now discredited and no one outside our community believes in this kind of propoganda anymore.
    At least the previous ambassador kept away from our community and didn’t put his foot in it.
    What do others feel?

  536. Herutnik said

    This astonishing attack on the Ambassador to the Court of St James must surely have been written by someone very close to Beitz or Emet.
    Come on admin – intervene – there are limits – and attacking our Ambassador is one step too much.

  537. History Man said

    Not sure that an Israeli Ambassador can give any more than the ‘party line’.

  538. History Man said

    Anyone think it’s worth blogging on the Herald online – leaving comments on letters and news features about Israel? Or are we on a hiding to nothing?

  539. Hacked Off said

    Perhaps you could tell us History Man why the party line requires an endorsement of groups that have done this community no favours – and through their ridiculous letters in the Herald caused more harm than good!

  540. A Beitz said

    Ambassadors throughout the world defend the indefensible. They are not there to criticise their governments policies and indeed doing so would negate their role. If you want a disinterested commentator then fine but it can never be the ambassador.
    My own view is that Prosor is at least going out and meeting the people. It is not by special invitation only and therefore you could have put your criticisms of Israeli policy to him during the course of his recent visit. Did you do so, Hacked Off? It might well be that one way to change things is to make it clear that some of those who regard themselves as Israel friends are unhappy at certain aspects of policy.
    I am glad that least this gentlemanhas sufficient respect for the Glasgow Jewish community unlike his predecessor who not only failed to show to at least one advertised meeting but didn’t even have the decency to send a flunky to replace him.

  541. Ronnie said

    But Br Beitz ambassadors in other countries, or for that matter British ambassadors, don’t get the same level of respect that Jewish communities afford to Israeli ambassadors do they?
    Why do Jewish communities not realise that these guys get paid a lot of money to tell lies on behalf of their governments?

  542. A Beitz said

    I don’t really know is the answer whether for example the Italian community afford their ambassador similar respect. Actually I’m not sure how much respect the Israeli ambassador really gets. Around 250 attended for the abortive meeting with Alex Salmond. Only 80 were present to hear the Israeli ambassador the following night. Personally I have little interest in what a paid propogandist says but if he can advocate the Israeli government’s position well then he is doing a very good job.

  543. History Man said

    I don’t think it’s the same with other ambassadors. I reckon that if the Polish ambassador is meeting ex-pats in London or whereever, he’ll be received as a representative of the country by the ex-pat community and accepted overall whether they like the particular Polish government in power. If people don’t like what the Polish government is doing, they still don’t ask that Poland should cease to exist or that Poland should go back to its pre-war boundaries. Nor do they blame all Poles for what their government does.

    Our relationship with Israel is complex. We often feel responsible for what Israel does. If Jews justify bad behaviour by Israel, they get criticised. But if they write letters as Scottish Friends of Palestine or whatever, they are latched onto by some of the most vicious anti-Zionists, whose agenda is often much more radical than they would like.

  544. History Man said

    But I wonder if the Ambassador and Goldie H ate at L’Chaim’s?

  545. E. Jarvis Thribb (14) said

    Concerning the credentials and judgement of Ambassador Prosser, why does the the word Protektsia spring to mind? Mind you he’s smarter than Dubya, I think.

  546. Hacked Off said

    History Man you seem very confused. If Jews or anyone else for that matter write letters which inappropriately justify any action taken by the Israeli Government just because they will accept no criticism of Israel whatsoever – ” my country right or wrong syndrom ” then we should be big enough to say as a community that this is not going to help us argue Israel’s case when the country is right.
    And of course some of the anti- Israel letters are as illogical and unfortunately at times veer towards being anti- Jewish.
    However, if we make proper distinctions and don’t have a blanket approval of every Israeli action then when we defend Israel we may be seen as more objective rather than a flagwaving offshoot of the Israeli Embassy.
    I was one of many in the community that recently received an e-mail from President Mendelsohn of the Rep Council forwarding an e-mail from the Board of Deputies President Henry Grunwald. This e-mail suggested how we should best support Israel. If anyone hasn’t seen this I wil post it later.
    The Board and I suppose our own Rep Council seem to be suggesting that our interests are identical to those of the Israeli Government. And this cannot be right. Nor sensible.
    I suppose that President Philip is only acting as a postman for the Board but I don’t think that is an acceptable excuse.
    Do you agree that our interests as a Jewish Community are identical to those of the Israeli Government?

  547. Armchair Analyst said

    Hacked Off #542, I haven’t seen the this letter. Please post the contents of the email from the BOD sent to you via the Rep Council.

  548. Hacked Off said

    With pleasure

    I am forwarding a copy of email from Henry Grunwald QC President of the Board of Deputies together with an attachment from BICOM


    Dear Friend,

    The recent escalation of tensions in Israel are of great concern to all of us, and the worrying events of the last couple of weeks have shown how our community comes together at times of adversity. That is why I am particularly grateful to have the opportunity to communicate with you directly and to keep you informed of developments.

    I am sure you were as shocked and saddened as I was by last Thursday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. This despicable attack shows more than ever that Israel needs friends and advocates.

    Over the last few weeks I and other members of the community have been working hard to ensure that the plight of Sderot, Ashkelon and other communities in the southern Negev is heard. But there is only so much we few can do. So I am emailing you to ask for your help.

    Use effective messages

    All of us will have our own reasons to support Israel and our own particular way of advocating on her behalf. However, while these may be the arguments we are most comfortable with, they may not be the most effective. Attached to this email, you will find a briefing paper giving you the strongest arguments to advocate on Israel’s behalf. Please read it and pass it on to those who you think would find it useful.

    Contact your local MP

    By contacting your local MP, they will be hearing first hand from one of their constituents why Israel should be treated fairly. You can either write or go and see them at one of their surgeries. If you don’t know who your local MP is, please visit . All you need to do is enter your postcode. Please use the briefing paper to guide your approach.

    Come to the BICOM Inaugural Israel Advocacy Conference – Sunday 6th April

    While I hope you will find the attached briefing document useful, there is no substitute for talking part in a dialogue on the best ways to fight Israel’s corner. I strongly encourage you to sign up to attend the BICOM inaugural Israel Advocacy Conference on Sunday 6th April at JFS, The Mall, Kenton, Middlesex, HA3 9TE.

    A wide range of international experts from the worlds of journalism, politics, communications and advocacy will give you the tools you need. His Excellency Ambassador Ron Prosor, Israeli Ambassador to Britain will be the keynote speaker. You can reserve your place now by going to or calling 0207 467 8948. A kosher buffet lunch will be served the conference will run from 10am- 6pm. There is a £5 charge payable at the door.

    I appreciate that we all have busy lives with competing demands on our time, but I hope you will find time to help me and Israel at this time.

    Yours sincerely,

    Henry Grunwald QC

    President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council

  549. Hacked Off said

    And here’s the attachment…………
    From BICOM

    Gaza talking points

    • What’s happening in Gaza is desperately sad. It is bad for ordinary Palestinians, bad for ordinary Israelis and bad for the future prospects of peace between the two of them.
    • Israel is in an unenviable situation, having to deal with a leadership in Gaza that is publicly committed to its destruction and continues to fire rockets into Israeli towns and cities.
    • No Government, Israeli or otherwise, can just stand by while their citizens continue to be attacked like this, especially when it knows who the attackers are and where they are based.
    • Over the last 5 years Israel has tried almost everything to stop these rockets including withdrawing from Gaza unilaterally and unconditionally but instead of ending, the attacks have only gotten worse in terms of intensity and casualties.

    FACT: As many as 20 rockets have landed on the Israeli town of Sderot in a single day and Hamas has started targeting Askelon, Israel’s 13th biggest city.

    FACT: Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, over 3,781 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza.

    • It’s true that Israel has had to tighten the border with Gaza to try and keep suicide bombers out, but less well-reported is the fact that it has continued to allow medical and humanitarian aid in.

    FACT: Since June 2007 nearly 13,000 patients from Gaza have been evacuated to hospitals in Israel.

    FACT: From 2nd March to 4th March, an average of 117 trucks with assorted food and supplies entered Gaza each day.

    • It is easy to lay the blame for the current situation at Israel’s door but Gazans elected Hamas and only they can put pressure on Hamas to stop firing mortars and missiles into Israel. If the missiles stop, the blockade will stop and both ordinary Palestinians and Israelis will benefit.

  550. History Man said

    I don’t think that our interests are identical with those of the Israeli government, but many critics of the Israeli government in a newspaper such as the Herald are really anti-Jewish, and would prefer there was no Israel at all. And we have seen all too often how criticism of Israel spills over into attacks on the Jewish community, eg Hizbollah graffitti outside Garnethill Synagogue. I’m also not comfortable with the constant sneers about ‘Zionists in Newton Mearns’. I just think we need to be careful about how we phrase criticism of Israel in the wider world, as opposed to within our community.

  551. Itzhak said

    It would appear that the Representative Council believe that this community’s interests are the same as the Israeli Government. By encouraging people to look at Bicom -which is a spin off from Bipac – they are making it quite clear where they stand.
    Whilst many in this community are supportive of Israel, and have families and friends that live there -our interests as a Jewish community are quite different from Jerusalem’s interests.
    I would suggest that again the Council have not thought it through and are following the Board of Deputy Line.
    But they have got it quite wrong!

  552. Armchair Analyst said

    History Man, it goes with the territory that criticism of the Israeli government in the press puts one in the company of a motley crew of characters that include blatant Jew haters. There has been an informal hands-off policy by Jewish critics to the Herald letters page because of this very predicament. The recently formed SJJP have no such qualms.

    Attempts over the years by members of SFI to defend the often indefensiblein the Herald letters page, tend to further lower the intellectual quality of the debate. It is sad that Ambassador Prosor encourages such an a bunch of amateurish bunglers.

  553. History Man said

    Armchair Analyst – I’m not convinced that there IS much intellectual quality in the Herald debates. Most Mid-east letter writers have closed minds.

  554. A Beitz said

    Is there that much wrong with the BICOM attachment? Admittedly it is partisan and only gives one aspect of the story. However which bits do you take exception to, Hacked Off? The mere fact you may not be particularly keen on some self styled Israeli propogandists doesn’t make everything, or anything, necessarily wrong.
    Equally I can see no harm in trying to provide some balance to some of the more extreme rantings that appear in the comments part of the Scottish newspapers which are supposedly read by the more educated Scots.
    I agree however with your general point that defending the indefensible simply makes you lose credibility when there is a genuine argument to make.

  555. Armchair Analyst said

    History Man, that is why I qualified my comment with ‘further’!

  556. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    I am posting early this week because it is Purim. If you decide to go to Synagogue to hear the megilah and if you have young children enjoy the fun.
    This week one of my South African congregants asked me to re – read a wonderful autobiography about a truly inspiring lady – Helen Suzman. I believe her story tells us something about how Jews should behave in the world today and underlines our responsibility to fight for human rights wherever we live . And of course the truly great thing about her work is that she fought for others’ rights and dignity – not just for her own people. Charity and kindness to others truly defines the remarkable qualities of this lady.
    I have often believed that the Jewish people are too preoccupied with our own worries and do not reach out enough to other minorities. At times this preoccupation does us harm and means that we may not always see the bigger picture.
    Helen Susman was an anti-apartheid activist and politician. She spent 36 years in parliament and from 1961 to 1964 she was the sole parliamentarian opposed to apartheid in South Africa. She was a strong public critic of the governing National Party’s policies and she was even more of an outsider by virtue of being an English speaking Jewish woman in a parliament dominated by Calvanist Afrikaner Men. For 6 years she was the only woman among 165 MPs. At Purim we read about Esther and the fate of the nation depending on the bravery of one woman.
    She was once accused by a Minister of asking questions in Parliament that embarrassed South Africa to which she replied. “ It is not my questions that embarrasses South Africa, it is your answers.”
    She regularly visited Mandela in prison and was at his side when the new constitution of South Africa was introduced in 1996. Mandela wrote the foreword to her autobiography.
    She spoke out on behalf of equal justice for all human beings and her courage earned her respect well beyond South Africa.
    Now 90 years old, Helen Suzman started a foundation which believes that a free society is the best guarantor of good governance, stability, economic growth and development.
    I recommend this book to all of you – “ In No Uncertain Terms “. Apart from telling the inside story of South Africa and the fight against apartheid it demonstrates to all of us – and I hope to Jewish people everywhere – that we must stand up at all times for what we believe is right and we as Jews must fight for all peoples in the world to enjoy basic human rights.

    Have a wonderful Purim and a peaceful Shabbat.
    Shabbat Shalom.

  557. Armchair Analyst said

    Interesting vignette from Rabbi L on the true great Helen Susman. I have several Jewish expat South African friends. We discussed the role of Helen Susman at length several years ago. One of them, who was actively politically involved, claimed that as a progressive maverick politician she had significant support in the SA Jewish community for many years – until it became apparent that she might actually win. The Jewish support for her then diminished appreciably.

  558. Hacked Off said

    History Man – Surely the best way to disarm those whose motives are perhaps tinged by antisemitism is to show everyone else how reasonable your argument is. You remind of these sad old days when we were told not to criticise Israel because that is what Israel’s enemies want to hear. The argument was nonsense then and it is nonsense now. Because some people are not friends of ours should not deter us from putting forward rational and reasonable argument in support of Israel.

    Mr Beitz – let me quote you your own words – ” admittedly it is partisan and only gives one side of the story ”
    Well that’s the point sir – it does not offer a balanced critique and is composed for people who have no idea what is going on.

  559. History Man said

    In my experience of blogging on the comments facility on the Herald news items and letters, 95 per cent or more bloggers are anti-Israel, writing of ‘Zionist hoodlums’, ‘evil Zionists’,Zionist ‘genocide’ plots, ‘racist’ Israel etc. When challenged to accept a 2-state solution, most said Israel had no right to exist and was a US/British imposed ‘colony’ in the area. None were willing to condemn Hamas’ ant-semitic charter. Most denied the right of Jews to emigrate to Israel. Some said Israel should go back to the 1947 borders (very realistic). One said Israel had invaded the Arab states in 1948. None accepted the notion that almost a million Jews had left Arab countries for Israel. Most had no sympathy for the long-standing Jewish religious connection to Israel.

    One, maybe 2, were willing to debate in a rational and respectful manner. The rest were greatly into namecalling! I was called a racist bigot, a nasty little racialist troll and a fekwit – and lots more besides. (Makes Lubavitch Watcher seem moderate – he only wanted me to F off and start my own restaurant).

    So what ‘moderate arguments WOULD you put forward? Surely the minimum has to be a 2-state solution, with a negotiated border and a commitment to peaceful co-operation? And what happens on the first day of a 2-state scenario when missiles are launched into Netanya because Jaffa or Nazareth are not ‘free’?

  560. Itzhak said

    History Man , you have to look at how the other side sees this conflict. Perhaps the reason you have received such antagonism is that you have not acknowledged that the Palestinians have suffered greatly. Did you acknowledge that many Arabs were forced to flee from their villages when Israel came into being? Have you acknowledged that Israel has continued to build settlements in the middle of heavily populated Palestinian areas whilst telling the world that they want peace.
    Of course the Palestinians have made dreadful mistakes and appaling errors of judgement. But an occupation of another people that has gone on for over 40 years is something that we should be ashamed of. And you seem to forget that peace is made between enemies and not between friends. Whilst you warn of the dangers of rockets you forget that the other side is fearful of arrest, military detention without proper trial, collective punishment, etc etc etc.

  561. Cliff White said

    PC Purim
    Chapter I

    And it came to pass in the third year of the reign of Achashverosh, King of Persia, that the King threw a great party. And it was during that party, that the King became intoxicated and called for his wife Vashti to come dance naked in front of the guests. Now, Vashti was a liberated woman, and was not at all ashamed to display her body in public (“my body, my choice,”

    she used to say). But she was certainly not going to do so at the behest of a male chauvinist like her husband. So she refused to appear, and the following morning, in addition to a major hangover, Achashverosh had one royal-size sexual harassment suit waiting for him. Public opinion quickly turned against the King, and he was forced to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.

    Chapter II

    It was after those events that the King missed Vashti, and wanted to find a new wife. He consulted his inner circle of advisors, which, in accordance with multi-cultural practices, consisted of, among others, one woman, one Indian, one Ethiopian, and one handicapped person, who was also rumored to be gay. One of his advisors, Memoochan, suggested holding a beauty contest, attended by all the fairest maidens in the land. But his female advisor informed him that Memoochan was a Neanderthal living in the dark ages, and that beauty contests where men gawk at women walking around in swimsuits had long ago gone out of fashion. Instead, she suggested giving a test in such subjects as physics, literature and music, and the most intelligent woman would be made queen. And the King, already lagging in the public opinion polls, had no choice, and he said to make it so.

    Now is just so happened that in the Kingdom of Persia there lived a young Jewish girl named Esther who was very beautiful, but much more importantly, had a 195 IQ. Having successfully sued her parents for termination of custody, she had been living with her uncle Mordechai. Esther aced the test and was chosen to be the new queen. Only, the homosexual community objected the word “queen”, and the feminists didn’t like the whole gender-based title thing, so it was decided that she would just be called “Royal Person.” So Esther was crowned Royal Person of Persia and was married to King Achashverosh, though she kept her own last name. And being that Esther was an intelligent woman in her own right, and had no intention whatsoever of sitting quietly next to the King looking pretty, she was given her own staff of 15 and an office in the west wing of the palace.

    Chapter III

    It was after those events that King Achashverosh elevated his advisor Haman to be his chief advisor. There were some protests by the African-Persian community because he hadn’t selected an African Persian to be his top advisor, by the appointment went through anyway. It turned out the Haman was a big anti-Semite, and he asked the King’s permission to kill all the Jews, which he got. So Haman sent out a proclamation to all the lands in the kingdom outlining his plan. Distressed, the Jews sought a court-issued injunction to stop Haman from sending it. But Haman was defended by the head of the Persian Civil Liberties Union, who ironically was also Jewish, and who claimed that the injunction would violate Haman’s right to free speech.

    And the injunction was not issued, so the proclamation was sent.

    Chapter IV

    And Mordechai knew of all that had happened, and he donned a black ribbon as a sign of morning. And Esther sent a messenger to Mordechai to console him, but he would not be consoled. Then Mordechai sent word back to Esther that she should go the King and ask him to stop the impending killing of all the Jews. Esther replied that other social issues, such as the environment and harassment in the workplace were more pressing, but Mordechai persuaded her as to the urgency of the matter, and she agreed. Mordechai suggested calling all the Jews to synagogue for three days of fasting and prayers, but Esther thought that was way outdated, and instead called for a non-denominational candlelight vigil, and it was so.

    Chapter V

    And it came to pass on the third day that Esther put on her smartest business suit and went to see the King. The King offered Esther up to half his assets, which he was actually required to give her anyway, based on their pre-nup. Esther told the King that she had come to invite him and Haman to a big party she was throwing the next day. The King was very excited, and both he and Haman showed up to Royal Person Esther’s party. The King, for his part, was careful not to violate the out-of-court settlement he had made with Vashti, and there was none of that “dance naked” stuff that night. The party was a big hit, with performances by Fleetwood Mac and crowd favorite Barbra Streissand. And Esther informed the King that both he and Haman were also invited to her next party, being thrown the following day on Martha’s Vineyard. Upon leaving the party, Haman spotted his old nemesis Mordechai, which ruined his night. Haman’s wife advised Haman to build a gallows 50 amot tall and ask the King to have Mordechai hanged the next day.

    She further advised him to quit referring to her as “Haman’s Wife.” And he built the gallows.

    Chapter VI

    That night, the King had trouble sleeping. He called for his servants to bring him a video to watch, but since having gotten rid of all his stag films as part of his sensitivity training following the Vashti debacle, all they had left were a bunch of movies filmed in Montana and produced by Robert Redford. So they brought him the royal archives instead, and there he read that Mordechai had done him a big favor a few years back. Just then, Haman came in, and the King asked him what to do for someone to whom he owed a favor. Haman suggested maybe an ambassadorship to some insignificant but warm-climate country, or maybe letting him spend a night in the palace’s “Lincoln Bedroom.” But the King decided to have Haman lead Mordechai around on a horse throughout the streets of Shushan. However, the animal rights activists got wind of the King’s plan, and they went nuts, so it was decided that Haman would just lead Mordechai around on foot. And it was so. When he was done leading Mordechai around, Haman walked home, despondent. But no sooner had he returned home than the King’s messengers arrived to bring him to Esther’s second party. Haman’s wife realized that her husband was doomed and commented that she had always known he wound never amount to anything.

    Chapter VII

    And the King and Haman came to drink with Royal Person Esther. And it was during the party that Esther shocked the King by telling him that someone in that very room was plotting to kill her and all the other Jews. “Who is that man?” yelled the King. To which Esther replied “What makes you so sure it’s a man? You don’t think that a women is capable of killing all the Jewish people?” After an awkward silence, Esther told the King that is was, in fact, a man, and it was none other than his chief advisor Haman! The King stormed out in a fit a rage and meanwhile Haman begged at Esther’s feet for her to spare his life. He told her how he had grown up in a broken home, was raised by a crack-selling mother and had never had a normal childhood.

    Esther declared Haman to be a product of society’s failure to protect its children. So Haman’s crime of “attempted genocide” was reduced to “issuing proclamations without a license” and he was given the relatively light sentence of five-to-seven years. After serving just two years of that sentence, he was given time off for good behavior and paroled. And the following year, the residents of Shushan elected Haman as their mayor, his being a felon notwithstanding. Meanwhile, Esther convinced the King to come to terms with his anger and latent feelings of hostility towards women, and the King entered a 12-step program and when he was through, his anger had subsided.

    Chapter VIII

    That day, the King gave Esther Haman’s house, and she told the King that Mordechai was her uncle. And Mordechai asked the King’s permission for the Jews to rise up and kill their enemies. But Esther would have no such thing, and instead, she arranged for a dialogue being the Jewish leaders and the leaders of the people of Shushan. And while they couldn’t overcome all their differences, they did agree to joint-author a letter of mutual acceptance and tolerance.

    Chapter IX

    And in the twelfth month, the month of Adar, on the day when the Jews were supposed to have been exterminated, the Jews held a three – day conference of the Leaders of Jewish Organizations. And during that conference, they agreed that a holiday should be established – the holiday of Purim. A holiday of charity and gift-giving. A holiday of brotherly love. A holiday where alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules would be suspended. A holiday where Jewish kids could dress up like Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers and not have to feel that they had missed out on something by not celebrating Halloween. And a proclamation was sent out to all the King’s lands, in all 127 languages, plus Ebonics. And the Jews were careful not to mention G-d’s name, lest any of the gentiles be offended.

    Chapter X

    And King Achashverosh-the kinder and gentler King Achashverosh–levied a tax

    across the land, to raise money to pay for welfare and public television.

    And the great deeds of Royal Person Esther and her uncle Mordechai were duly

    recorded in the annals of Persia.

  562. History Man said

    I have continually said that there is fault on both sides and that there has to be compromise on both sides. I have tried to focus people’s minds on a future solution, rather than only on the past. The majority don’t see any kind of Israel in a future solution. Some say that that discussion forum is only for criticising Israel, and there is no room for any other views.

    The people above would say that the ‘occupation’ has gone on for 60 years, and that it only got 10 times worse in 1967. They see no more logic for Jews to have a state including Jaffa and Nazareth than for Jews to rule Hebron or Bethlehem.

    I find the Herald discussions very depressing. I really don’t think that in the long term ‘they’ want ‘us’ anywhere in that area.

  563. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    It’s a pity that #557 did not quote source of posting. It is to be found on
    and was originally written by Eric Sommer. Furthermore, a link is enough if you don’t happen to be the author.

  564. Cliff White said

    I didn’t know the identity of the author or that there was a link. However I am only too happy to acknowledge.

  565. Calderwood Parent said

    Does anyone know why Purim was cancelled at Calderwood Lodge?

  566. Hacked Off said

    Please explain yourself History Man –
    “the majority (of who) don’t see any kind of Israel in a future solution”

  567. History Man said

    The majority of posters on that particular ‘blog’, when challenged about what a future settlement would look like, insist that there should be no Israel, but a one-state Palestine (which Hamas says is an Isalmic wakf, which doesn’t sound very compromising).

  568. Hacked Off said

    Why do you talk in riddles? Are you talking about the Herald Blog?
    Take my advice History Man, try a new approach. Maybe call yourself “Geography Lad ” and some out there will think you are a different blogger. But don’t forget not to harp on about the Lubavitch restaurant or they will certainly know it is you.
    More to the point – if you realise that there may be little you can do to persuade others on this blog of yours to accept Israel’s rights etc then at least be able on this one to state clearly what is right and wrong. I think this discussion began with the Israeli Ambassador being told the error of his ways in – by me – and you and some guy called Beitz getting all confused because some clots on the Herald Blog write unpleasant nonsense about Israel.
    I suggest you take a course in political science.

  569. Give Us A Clue said

    How was Purim cancelled. Didn’t they all get to wear funny hats?

  570. A Beitz said

    #564.There is nothing confusing about what History Man has been saying The problem with blogs such as the Herald is that they are full of extreme types who can’t see that Israel is legitimate albeit flawed. If you think the Israeli ambassador’s job is to criticise the ministers of the country who employ him then you are naive at best. The problem is whilst most posters on this blog accept that Israel makes errors posters on the Herald and Scotsman sites just see Israel as an illegitimate entity and start on that premise. Even the SFI types accept there are errors by Israel and that the other side are not all bad. On the Palestinian side however, and some of those who are purportedly pro Palestinian are I suspect more anti Jewish than pro Palestinian, there are some who cannot see anything other than completely right on one side and completely wrong on the other.
    Whether, as History Man queries, there is a correct way of dealing with these people is open to question.

  571. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I think that Beitzie is talking a lot of sense ( in this particular case). What on earth does Hacked Off want from the Ambassador. His job is to present his country in the best possible light and that is what he does to the best of his abilities. It is similar to a barrister defending his client in court. He puts the best case possible and should he not so do, he would be accused of dereliction of duty.

    The fault lies not with the ambassador but with much of his audience and our “leaders” who are in many cases unthinking sycophants bloated on the opportunities to sup at the table of minor functionaries.

  572. Hacked Off said

    Come on Mr Aronovitch you must be capable of more crirical awareness than your last post implies.
    I have more hope for you than Mr Beitz or History Man who are part of the problem given the way that they have responded.
    It may be the ambassador’s job not to criticise the ministers who employ him but can we possibly expect that a diplomat can put forward rational intelligent arguments that give a sound analysis of Israel’s current predicament. This should not be beyond someone who is good at what they do.
    However, for the ambassador to come to a Diaspora community and praise groups just because someone has told him that they defend Israel without properly researching this group’s record and how they go about it and how they argue the case is simply not very bright. And the Israeli Embassy should do their homework properly.
    I was once told and it is a good motto for life – ” I would rather have a clever enemy than a stupid friend “.
    Unfortunately, this ambassador has not grasped this.
    Also, I can tell you, that I could put the case for Israel a good deal better than the simplistic and unintelligent manner which either our leaders or the embassy choose to put forward.
    The first rule I would put into place is that we stop treating all people in the Jewish Community as idiots who are not informed about what arguments are taking place in Israel about the rights and wrongs of different policies.
    I would also stop suggesting that lots and lots of people hate the Jews and there is no way we can win the argument. There may be a small minority who we can never convince and we are wasting our energies trying.
    But the wider audience are open to persuasion and can be won over if the argument we put forward is reasonable. Making this community into a mouthpiece for the Embassy, when our interests are not the same as the Israeli government and putting out BICOM propoganda that only gives one side of the story – will ensure that we lose the argument because we will not be seen as credible. And that by and large is what has happened.

  573. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Of course, there is much in what you say, Hacked off, but your claim to be able to perform the embassy’s and the ambassador’s job is wishful thinking. The first attribute necessary is the art of diplomacy, so don’t give up your day job, Hacked Off, because a diplomat you ain’t. The problem may lie with people like me who have tired of active support for Israel,who have thereby left the way open for the “Israel right or wrong” brigade to be the loudest community voice. They think that the louder they shout, the more they are able to support Israel without reservation and so the better Zionists they be. In many cases, it is within themselves that the faults lie; they have obvious character flaws and often have been late on the Zionist scene. They compensate by crudely attempting to prove what good Zionists they are and gain recognition as such. So Hacked Off, feel sorry for them, in so many cases they are rather pathetic sycophants able to be bought cheaply.

  574. Hacked Off said

    My answer to you Nachman is this – I don’t want to be a diplomat but I can assure you that the arguments in Israel’s favour that could be deployed are more persuasive than just shouting cries of anti-semitism.
    You don’t need to be a diplomat to know that the vast majority are not going to be persuaded any longer by the ” everyone hates us ” card.
    As I said before I still think there’s hope for you Nachman even though you are tired of active service. But Mr Beitz and History Man et al worry me more because I doubt that when moderate traditional Zionism was at its peak in our community whether I can recall hearing their voices in support of those that spoke out against the prevailing consensus.
    Maybe they did and I missed their contribution – and if so I sincerely apologise- ( how’s that Nachman for being a diplomat) but I just think that we should be above always using the argument that there are people out tere who hate us and Israel.
    There are but that does not mean that we cannot appeal to the majority who might listen and be persuaded by a rational sensible argument.
    The trouble is my good friend – (another example Nachman of the art of diplomacy) – Israel has changed and the values that propel it nowadays are not the same that we grew up with.

  575. Armchair Analyst said

    Most if not all intelligent Jews would agree that there is and has been plenty to criticise Israel for in respect its treatment of the Palestinians. They would also acknowledge that past and present Palestinian leaderships have not done a stellar job in leading their people out of the wilderness either.

    Regarding the Herald and other blogs. My point is that if you are a Palestinian you can hold strong views on the subject. If you are not, you can also hold strong views on the subject.

    However if you you are not actually a Palestinian, and you keep banging away about removing the criminal Zionist entity while totally ignoring the vastly greater Sudanese criminal Arab Muslim entity, or the 100,000 slaughtered recently in the Algerian Muslim civil war etc. etc., then you richly deserve the label of blinkered bigot, and this should be pointed out relentlessly by Jews bothering to engage in the blog.

  576. Admin said

    Comments are now closed. Please see the latest post from our guest contributor Rabbi Professor Naftali Rothenberg. In the wake of the killing of orthodox Jews in Merkaz Harav, Rabbi Rothenberg reflects on the response to this terrible event, and what it tells us about Jewish morality.

  577. All About Travelling…

    […]First Minister to address the Jewish Community « Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum[…]…

  578. dom said


    […]First Minister to address the Jewish Community « Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum[…]…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s