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Saturday, September 19, 2009



I found this sermon very wise and very, very
interesting. I liked the detail about the Roman coins marked by the Jewish
fighters. As a Gael and the son and grandson of Gaels I have always thought of
places like Masada or Numantia or Alesia or Culloden from two perspectives.
That of the men who served the yoke -the Empire- and those who fought for the
lost cause of independence and liberty FOR THEMSELVES. Perhaps their liberty
was imperfect and their societies not as strong politically but they fought the
cause of true honor for liberty FOR THEMSELVES and that is always an honorable
fight and there is something more. The spirit of liberty , the spirit of
sacrifice and spirit of courage and struggle is never entirely lost if the past
is remembered. This is something Gaels -though we are small in number- have in
common I think with the Jews. We remember the past. I remember reading
Caesar's Gallic Wars -translated by Moses Hades- with great joy. It is , after
all a great adventure story. And as a Roman Catholic, I admit that something in
me made me want to root for Caesar and the Romans not the Gauls who were the
barbarians. But I remembered my grandfather who read out the name
VERRRRCINGETORRRRIX said that rix or Righ was King or High Chief of the Marching
Men (or Host). Ver is man as in VIRILE and CINGETO -cogante with the Gaelic
CEUM for step or path and the Spanish CAMINO (path or track). He reminded me
that my ancestors were kinsmen of the Gauls though we were brought into the
Christian Catholic faith by Roman hands.......Patrick and Mungo came from the
same northern Romano-British Diocese and of course St. Columba and St. Maelrubha
and St. Bridget were Gaels but brought into to the faith by the hand of Patrick
or his disciples. And of course we believe in Apostalic Secession -that Patrick
was baptized by priests who were baptized by priests whose baptism traces back
to Peter, John the Baptist and Jesus himself. Perhaps this is a romantic dream
but the Celtic line of my family traces its Christian-Jewish roots that way. Of
course I am part Sutherland and Anderson as well as these lines came relatively
late to Christianity as they were Norse originally. I am quite sure I have
racial roots to Norway and Sweden but interesting enough I have never been
interested in them particularly as my people were completely assimilated to
Scottish Gaelic culture and Christianity over a period of 1000 years.

As you know I have much love and facination for the Jewish faith which I
consider the mother faith of Christianity. And as I have told Diane many times
I hold Jews in awe because really you are of the line of David -collaterally the
same line as Joseph. Mary and Jesus. I could never understand anti-Semitism
because to love the Bible and the teachings of the Great Teacher is to have love
and awe and gratitude for the Jewish people. I begin my catechism classes this
Sunday. And when I read from the Bible I never cease to remember that the Old
Book began as a Jewish Hebrew book and that the New Testament is a Greek book
written by and for Helenistic Jews and a few gentile friends. It is my own
personal theory that the first Christian communities came about when Jewish men
or half-Jewish men and their gentile converts married gentile women and so were
gradually alienated and rejected by the Jewish community as half-breeds and
religious degenerates. And so there must be roots of conflict and alienation
from the very beginning like the murderous bickering of Highland Clans. Yet all
very tragic and unnecessary because we are one human family and those of us who
believe in the God of Abraham have more in common than not. We believe in the
dignity of individual human beings. We reverence unto God and obey his
commandments and we know not to do this is vainglory or hubris.

But I have learned as a teacher that teaching is not an easy matter. Many
people are slackers and resist education as too painful. Education means
alienation from their home culture and their peers so they cling to what is
familar even if it drags them down.


> ROSH HASHANA DAY 2009/5770
> The sages taught that there are no extra words in the torah. I think
> the sages were right and the irony is that it will take me three
> sermons with lots of extra words to prove it to you. My proof text
> for these three linked yontiff sermons is a single Hebrew word, lecha,
> which means "for yourself" and on the surface lecha seems to be a
> completely superfluous word in every Torah verse where it appears.
> For example, in Genesis chapter 12, the first text we shall consider
> today, God commands Abram, his name had not yet been changed to
> Abraham, to leave his homeland in Haran (present day Syria) and travel
> to Canaan, the newly promised homeland for the Jewish people. God
> calls to Abram, "Lech lecha meiarzecha u'meimoladecha u'mebeit avicha
> el ha aretz asher ani erecha." "Go for yourself from your land and
> from your culture and from your father's house to the land I will show
> you." God could have said, "lech m'artzecha" go from your land. The
> extra word lecha "go for yourself" adds nothing--or does it? I
> believe that lecha is not extra but essential. I believe lecha is the
> key to understanding what it means to be deeply Jewish, not just
> Jewish by birth or bagels, but Jewish for yourself--lecha. Lecha is
> the perfect proof that there are no extra words in the Torah.
> The command to Abram teaches us the first meaning of lecha: the first
> way to become Jewish for yourself is to love Zion.
> Abram's Jewish journey begins the same way each of our Jewish journeys
> begin, with a call to Zion. I say Zion and not Israel because the
> land that is the land of Israel has had many historical names, Canaan,
> Judea, Palestine and Israel (in fact Israel in the Bible is the name
> of the Jewish people not the land), but spiritually, religiously the
> land has always had just one name, Tzion, Zion. 154 times in the
> Tanach the land is called Zion. However, Zion is not just the name of
> the land promised to Abram by God. It is the land promised to us
> through Abram. Before we were given a law code, before we were given
> a set of beliefs and customs and rituals, before we were given lox and
> bagels and cholent and tzimis and rugelach and petchaw (cow's foot
> borsht--don't ask) we were given Zion. Zion is the beginning of any
> serious Jewish journey. Zion is the foundation for any thick and rich
> and real sense of personal Jewishness. To find yourself as a real Jew
> you must find your way to Zion.
> Being a lover of Zion is closely related but is not the same as being
> a Zionist. The dream of Zion is a religious belief. Zionism is a
> political movement. For some ultra orthodox Jewish sects, like the
> Satmar Hasidim, the dream of Zion is actually a reason for opposing
> the State of Israel. They believe that Zion can only be made real on
> earth by the Messiah, and Herzl and Ben Gurion were not the Messiah.
> I think their views and their actions are not just wrong but actually
> a perversion of Judaism and an nightmare in the dream of Zion.
> ON the other end of the religious and political spectrum was early
> Classical Reform Judaism which, until the 50s actively opposed the
> State of Israel as a source of dual loyalty for American Jews and as a
> particularistic anachronism for what they believed was a
> universalistic Reform Judaism. Both these religious objections to the
> actual State of Israel embrace the dream of Zion but reject the way
> the dream has become real in the world.
> Both are blind to the way Israel has transformed modern Jewish life.
> Satmar is still mired in the 17th century and Reform Judaism has
> finally embraced the religious meaning of the State of Israel despite
> its unfortunate resolutions condemning Israel that have the effect of
> undermining support particularly among our youth, and emboldening
> Israel's enemies.
> What we must all remember and embrace is the reality of a Jewish state
> that has transformed Jewish life while also remembering that Zion is
> the dream of a land that will transform the world .In the words of the
> prophet Isaiah 2:3, ki mitzion tetze torah u'davar adonai
> mirushalayim, "For the torah shall go forth from Zion and the word of
> the Lord from Jerusalem." The State of Israel is incomprehensible
> except as a part of that dream. The question is, can we and can our
> children still dream the dream of Zion and so strenghten our roots and
> our faith? Beyond giving to the UJA or AIPAC, will you allow the
> dream of Zion to be for you, lecha?
> For the oldest generations here in this room my question must seem
> totally absurd. How could a Jew not love Zion? You, the members of
> what Tom Brokaw called the greatest generation, you are the ones who
> remember a world without Israel. You are the ones who raised money
> for a state that did not yet exist. You remember the little blue
> pushkes for the JNF on your grandmother's table. Some of you saw in
> your childhood in Europe what Herzl saw in the Dreyfus trial in Paris
> at the end of the 19th century, that there was no future for the Jews
> of Europe. You smelled the chimneys. Your support for Israel was
> unquestioned and constant, and many of you have done a wonderful job
> teaching your children and grandchildren about the dream and the debt
> it imposes on every Jewish person to support the State of Israel and
> expose her enemies.
> However, today the love of Zion is a besieged and imperiled Jewish
> dream. I never thought I would say this, and saying it makes my soul
> shiver, but today for many Jews the dream of Zion does not include
> them, and this has seriously weakened the State of Israel, decreased
> Jewish identity, and fractured Jewish solidarity world wide. The
> severing of the Jewish connection to Israel particularly among the
> young is a nightmare in the dream God dreamed for the children of Abram.
> The most important Jewish task of our time is to reinvigorate the
> dream of Zion among young Jewish dreamers. New surveys indicate that
> 30% of 20-30 year old Jews felt that that the destruction of the State
> of Israel would not be a personal catastrophe for them. It's not that
> they seek Israel's destruction, actually it is worse. They would be
> unmoved by Israel's destruction. Israel can survive any external foe,
> but it cannot survive the disconnection of young Jews from Zion.
> The greatest success story in the effort to restore the fading dream
> of Zion among young Jews is Birthright. To date, the Birthright trips
> to Israel have brought almost a quarter of a million young Jews to
> Israel so that they might rediscover Zion. Its results are generally
> positive, but mixed. It takes more than a ten day trip to Israel to
> revive a dream. Most love the trip but the follow up has been spotty
> and often unsuccessful. The reason for this is how they go. They are
> going to Israel and they should be going to Zion. The religious
> element of the land is often left out of their orientation lectures
> and itineraries in favor of bar crawling in Tel Aviv and swimming in
> the Dead Sea. The problem with including a religious element in the
> Birthright trips is of course deciding which flavor of Judaism you
> will choose. Now there is a controversy that the follow up program
> Birthright Next is being monopolized by orthodox Judaism. This is
> good because it is at least a religious effort but bad because it does
> not respect or reflect the diversity of modern Jewish religious life.
> As a result the birthrightarians are often spiritually short changed.
> The problem with Birthright, from my own personal perspective is that
> these kids do not have a chance to learn about Zion from Nelson
> Glueck, and sadly Nelson is dead. Rabbi Nelson Glueck, Ph.D. was my
> teacher, my mentor, my rabbi who convinced me to become a rabbi and to
> study in Israel and (in the hardest thing he ever got me to do) to eat
> pita bread cooked over a camel dung fire in a Bedouin camp in the
> Judean wilderness.
> Nelson was a spy, the head of the OSS in the Middle East during WWII,
> and in fact the model for Indiana Jones. Nelson was a distinguished
> biblical archeologist who discovered King Solomon's mines and Nelson
> was the president of Hebrew Union College the seminary which ordains
> Reform rabbis. In my first visit to Israel during my sophomore summer
> in college in 1966, Nelson took me up to the roof of the HUC building
> on King David Street and pointed to the old city which had not yet
> been liberated. He looked through me with his deep blue eyes resting
> under the shade of his arching eyebrows and said,, "The Arabs believe
> that the temple mount is the axis mundi, the omphilos, the navel of
> the universe. They believe that the universe was created from
> Jerusalem. Well, we Jews believed that first. Yehudah Ha-Levi taught
> that Jerusalem is the place where Heaven and Earth kiss, and I believe
> it too." That day on the rooftop changed my Jewish life. That day
> the dream of Zion entered my heart and my soul. I did not learn
> anything new on that rooftop. I felt something new on that rooftop.
> I felt my Jewish roots sink into the soil of Zion and the dream of
> Zion. Zion is the place where the Jewish universe and the universe of
> the world intersect. Zion is the place God pointed to when he said
> lech lecha to Abram. Zion was the Jewish sacred space.
> Every great world religion is rooted in a sacred place. Hinduism is
> rooted in India, indeed Hindu means India. Islam is rooted in Mecca.
> The Lakota Sioux religion is rooted in the Black Hills of South
> Dakota. The Rastafarians are rooted in Ethiopia which they call
> Zion. The dream of Zion is the Jewish version of the universal
> religious dream of sacred space.
> For two thousand years in the Diaspora we Jews have forgotten about
> sacred space. We have sanctified sacred time for two thousand years
> since the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in the first
> century. We sanctify communal time through holidays and through rites
> of passage, but we have lost a sense of sacred space. Sacred space
> roots us in the earth. Most people can see the value of sacred space
> when they see the Native American rituals or when they see Hindus
> bathing in the Ganges or when they see Muslims at the Kabah stone in
> Mecca, but for some reason many Jews cannot admire in our own
> tradition, the sacred space we instantly admire in other tribes and
> traditions.
> There are, sadly, no effective arguments to convince a person of the
> importance of sacred space. You must go up to the rooftop and have a
> teacher point it out to you. You must see the light of Jerusalem as
> different than any other light in any other place. You must touch the
> stones of the kotel and feel their warmth as different than the warmth
> of any other stones. You must travel half way around the world to
> Israel and get off the plane and feel in some real way that you are
> not a visitor but that you are home.
> I know that to many of you this may all sound quite tribal, and my
> response is, "Yes it is tribal, but you are a part of this tribe."
> And what do you think a bris is? Isn't that tribal enough for you.
> And how about blowing a hollowed out ram's horn? That is also a
> tribal ritual. Religions are not just a collection of intellectual
> beliefs. They are the record of the collective wisdom of the tribal
> elders. And one of the pieces of wisdom is that we did not come from
> anywhere, we came from Zion and that we will return there all of us
> some day at the end of time. If you are serious about your Jewish
> identity, you must come to a realization that being Jewish is partly
> about coming from Zion. You must believe and know that we are bound
> to that land and also bound by that land.
> The most contemptible name for Jews in Europe was luftmentchen, "air
> people". A luftmench was a rootless cosmopolitan who had traded in
> authenticity for assimilation. Surrendering the dream of Zion is like
> cutting the string on a balloon and watching it float away on the
> winds of fashion and fate. Now of course the rootless cosmopolitan
> can retort, "I am happy to cut the string. I am a citizen of the
> world. I do not need a homeland." Herzl's counterargument was that
> you need a homeland to be safe.
> This is still true for many oppressed Jews in the world. I remember a
> little Ethiopian Jewish boy named Ari drawing a crayon picture of a
> smiling dog in a nursery school absorption center in Israel. I asked
> him why the dog was smiling and he answered me, "Because the dog knows
> that I do not have to eat him." Part of the dream of Zion is
> concrete. Part of that dream, we must never forget, is to create and
> sustain and protect a real and safe place where a real little boy
> named Ari can crayon a picture of a smiling dog that he does not have
> to eat.
> Now we generally do not eat dogs and so, in addition to Herzl's
> argument from safety for the dream of Zion, there are other reasons
> for each of us, safe in this land of freedom, to embrace a Jewish
> identity that is rooted in Zion.
> In these perilous times building our Jewish identity on the
> foundations of a love of Zion is also building our identity on the
> foundations of freedom. Since long before 9/11 but absolutely since
> then the war of the jihadists is a war against all those who love Zion
> and the promise of freedom that is the heart of the dream. Detaching
> oneself from the struggle to defeat the enemies of Israel is at one
> and the same time detaching oneself from the struggle to defeat
> worldwide Islamic jihadism. This is why many non-Jews today also
> support for the dream of Zion. In other times, many Jews thought it
> was safe to melt into the cosmopolitan masses and surrender the dream
> of Zion. The fight to defeat jihadists demands that all people join
> all Jews in taking up the dream of Zion as our dream for freedom and
> victory. Today every patriot must become a spiritual Zionist. All
> the dreams of freedom in our time go through Zion. Our choice is
> simple and brutal. We are rooted in the defense of Zion or the dream
> of freedom from terrorism will become a nightmare for the entire free
> world.
> Finally, on a very personal level, whether you know it or not, the
> dream of Zion is an ineluctable part of each and every Jewish person.
> In Yiddish it is called a pintele yid which literally means a Jewish
> spark. It refers to that irreducible Jewish part within us that
> cannot be erased. The reason that on visits to Israel this spark can
> be and has been fanned into a roaring Jewish fire of faith and
> fidelity is that the spark was always in us. It is a spark from God
> in Zion. This is why loving Zion is not just something you ought to
> do to become more deeply Jewish; it is something you have to do to
> become more deeply Jewish. Zion is not the only spark in our Jewish
> souls, but it is the first spark to live in us and the last spark to
> die. When God commanded Abram, lech lecha, we must feel that God
> commanded each and every one of us. God gave Zion to the Jewish
> people and through us to the world. This means that God gave Zion to
> you--lecha.
> The dream of Zion is also the last dream we will dream at the end of
> our life here on planet earth. The Jewish mystics, the mekubalim,
> taught about gilgul haneshamot. They taught that there are tunnels
> under the earth. When we die our soul travels through these
> subterranean tunnels until they arrive at a place under the Temple
> mount, directly under the Holy of Holies. From there, from Zion, all
> souls ascend to the Olam Habah, to Heaven, to the World to Come where
> they are judged and welcomed by God and the angelic hosts. Zion was
> not just the end point of Abrams journey. It is, if this legend of
> the mekubalim is true, the end point for each and every one of us in
> our earthly journey through life and into death and beyond death.
> For two millennia reconnecting to the dream of Zion was very
> difficult. Jews could only go to Israel as guests of the overlords of
> land--the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Arabs and the Ottoman
> Turks--and this made the choice of journeying to Zion perilous. And
> in the lands of our dispersion we were never free to choose to leave
> the Jewish tribe the way we are free to leave it today. Our Jewish
> identity was forced upon us by antisemitism, but after May 18, 1948
> and especially after June 7, 1967 we were free to see all of Zion not
> from a rooftop, but with our touch and our tears. So the choice of
> lech lecha is particularly poignant and powerful now. Our decision to
> take Zion into our personal Jewishness, into our hearts and our faith
> and not just to acknowledge it as a part of our ancient and hoary
> history is now both possible and pressing in a way it has never been
> before in all of Jewish history. This choice, born of our dream of
> Zion and the courage of Israeli freedom fighters, is our choice now.
> Two weeks ago 120 coins some of them gold were discovered in a cave in
> the Judean hills. They are from the failed Bar Kochba revolt against
> Roman rule in 135 ce. The coins were Roman but the freedom fighters
> of Beitar melted them and stamped their own insignia on them which
> bore the words "For the freedom of Jerusalem." We cannot hold the
> coins, but we can dream the dream that forged the coins. Put one of
> those coins in your pocket and dream the dream of Zion for yourself.
> It is a dream that finally we can dream when we are awake.
> There are no extra words in the Torah.
> Amen

Nancy Pelosi as an unnatural "monster"

Re: Satyric view of the Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi)

Funny but the worse thing about Nancy Pelosi is she is "normal" in Ultra Liberal
Colleges and San Francisco. Many liberal arts departments and teacher ed
schools have become (virtually) enemy institutions and we have to submit to
crushing taxation to pay for these Ivory Towers (as we have had to pay to creat
ACORN which might have elected Mr. Obama) . As we are taxed more and more our
ablity to privately educate ourselves or our children will even be more reduced.
People earning $40,000 a year (not an opulent salary by any means) will be
REQUIRED at any age to pay thousands of dollars of mandatory government health
insurance. People making $80,000 or more ( now lower upper middle class) could
be require to spend over 20% of their income on government health insurance a
long while in most cases paying 7,8,9 and eventually 10 percent or more in
Social Security tax. In most states there is no Prop 13 so property taxes are
going up inch by inch and yard by yard every year effectively wipig out the
savings and disposable income of entire families.

Unless Obama is stopped he could destroy America's economy and in the long run
America's ability to defend not only itselft but the West including Australia,
New Zealand, South Korea and Japan. It is only a matter of time before Red
China gains parity in submarines, surface naval craft and air power. Eventually
we will have to withdraw our fleets from the Chinese sphere and then the Chinese
will be able to operate and expand with impunity. If China were a free country
I would not feel this way but let us not forget they are potentially America's
arch enmeny and they are still run by a Fascist-Community Military


Saturday, September 5, 2009


Marriage is not a federation of two sovereign states. It is a union–

It is a fusion of two hearts–
the union of two lives–
the coming together of two tributaries,
which, after being joined in marriage, will flow in the same channel in the same direction… carrying the same burdens of responsibility and obligation.

Modern girls argue that they have to earn an income, in order to establish a home, which would be impossible on their husband’s income.

That is sometimes the case, but it must always be viewed as a regrettable neccessity, never as the normal or natural thing for a wife to have to do.

The average woman, if she gives her full time to her home
her husband
her children…

If she tries to understand her husband’s work…
to curb his egotism while, at the same time, building up his self-esteem
to kill his masculine conceit while encouraging all his hopes
to establish around the family a circle of true friends…

If she provides in the home proper atmosphere of culture
of love of music
of beautiful furniture
and of a garden…

If she can do all this, she will be engaged in a life work that will demand every ounce of her strength
every bit of her patience
every talent God has given her
the utmost sacrifice of her love.

It will demand everything she has and more.
And she will find that for which she was created.
She will know that she is carrying out the plan of God.
She will be a partner with the Sovereign Ruler of the univers.

And so, today’s daughters need to think twice before they seek to make a place for themselves
by themselves
in our world today…

Dr. Peter Marshall


This is an article that everyone should read. Yale Kramer is an excllent
thinker and writer. His historical and literary references by the way are
correct and impecable.

Yet, there is something more. Dr. Kramer knows and remembers the Hippocratic

"I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability
and my judgment and never do harm to anyone."

All my life I have respected and revered old people because it is to them we owe
so much: our life, our liberty and also their example and their wisdom. The
very young an innocent are helpless and require our special care and assistance
even though we may owe them nothing as yet. But they are the future. The
elderly are not the future -thought they remind us that we are bounded creatures
and that their present if we are lucky will be our future.

As we must honor our mother and father, we must as a people honor our mothers
and our fathers even in their last days and years which as Dr. Kramer reminded
us may be productive, instructive and happy for them and for their families and
for society. The old folk in my life -now all gone except in memory- never
ceased to be fount of love, wisdom and kindness.

Never trust those who are not kind to their elders, their colleagues or their
suborinates. It may well be that they love humanity in general while they hate
individuals but it also may be that they care not for the common good at all
only for power.

These are things which I think we should remember at this present time. A very
old man wrote the Quixote and yet another said "Power corrupts and absolute
power corrupts absolutely."