Newsletter Issue # 61 - January 03, 2013

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel advisory for Denmark last week in wake of warnings by Israel’s ambassador advising Jews and Israelis to refrain from wearing kippot, religious symbols, and speaking Hebrew on the streets of Copenhagen. It is intolerable that any Jew should have to hide his or her identity on the streets of Copenhagen.

For the first time since before World War II, a small Jewish community in the Ukranian town of Netishin held prayer services this past Shabbat and celebrated the Bar-Mitzvah of the grandson of the community’s last rabbi. The religious revival in the town is due to a construction project in the town, in which a common grave of Jewish victims of the Holocaust was discovered.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of Israeli Jews passed the emotional 6 million mark in November, and the total population will pass 8 million in February. The Jewish population represents 75.4 percent of the total, of which Arabs are 20.6 percent, representing a continuing trend of a higher Jewish birth rate and a lower Arab birth rate.

A federal appeals court ruled that a Jewish man imprisoned in Texas should be served kosher meals. Max Moussazadeh, 35, who is serving a 75-year sentence, has a sincere religious belief as an Orthodox Jew in keeping a kosher diet. Texas infringed upon his beliefs by denying him free kosher meals.

The Times is helping to stir up anti-Orthodox political sentiment in Israel by focusing in a report on the denial of rights to women at the Western Wall. In fact the area of prayer at the Wall is not a holy site in formal Judaism but the outside the location of the ancient Temple, hence it is considered as an ordinary space with no special religious sanctity.

Is menstruation kosher? Well that silly question got your attention… Kosher means fit or proper. Yes, you will know that menstruation is kosher, if you are an educated person. There is nothing unfit about it. It is a normal part of human health and life. But according to a report in the Times, “The Taboo of Menstruation,” religious and cultural taboos concerning menstruation are widespread in India, to the degree that causes real harm.

Like everyone else, I pretended to be shocked when the halachic ruling was released today allowing select couples to choose the gender of their burgeoning babies with the help of a rav, of course. Naturally, all the reasons cited had to do with folks choosing to have boys, not one example being given for girls. Now unless there are plans to churn out instantly 28-year-old male babies any time soon, I don’t see that happening.

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