Sunday, February 28, 2010

Test post

I haven't had a lot to say on religion lately. Other than Baruch HaShem.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I went a demonstration on Sunday; around 50 mopes, mostly palis, some Lebanese, a few of the local "peace at any price, even if it means the death of your children" weekly anti-war demonstrators (first noted here: #248).

Here's a photo of my daughter and me, doing our bit to counter-demonstrate:
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While we were standing across from the Federal Building, a pali came to our side of the street to take photos. As he edged the lens towards us, I told him there was no need for subterfuge; he could just photograph us. He snarled at me, and I then asked him which one of his kids was wearing the bomb belt. That set off the crowd. One mope was restrained by another. For a while, I thought I might get a chance to run a shakedown of my new Taurus 145. I wished them a hearty "aloha snackbar" and "cos emuk" as we left. The palis jeered, as well they should; of all the people in the local frum community we called, none would come to join us.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The JPFO weighs in:

The JPFO weighs in: ( Why the Terri Schindler Schiavo Case Matters )

America's Aggressive Civil Rights Organization

March 29, 2005

JPFO ALERT: Why the Terri Schindler Schiavo Case Matters

JPFO does not take an official position on issues such
as the "right to die" or when it might be ethical to
disconnect a brain-dead person from artificial life-

But JPFO does care deeply about how governments use
power against defenseless innocent people. The genesis of
JPFO came with the observation that the Nazis rendered the
Jews and others powerless by enforcing "gun control" laws.
Our first book, _"Gun Control": Gateway to Tyranny_, was the
first major work to prove the connection between German
victim disarmament laws and the destruction of 12 million
victims in concentration camps. Our documentary film,
_Innocents Betrayed_, proves the same kind of genocide
formula applied to seven other major genocides and
countless other horrors. How governments treat defenseless
people is among our top concerns.

A New "Justification" To Kill

In the Terri Schindler Schiavo case, the courts
accepted her husband's claim that Terri told him (before
her severely disabling injury) that she never wanted to be
kept alive in a severely brain damaged state. Decades
later, the courts held that Terri's wishes, as expressed by
her husband, must be carried out by starving and
dehydrating her to death.

The evidence we have heard indicates that Terri is not
brain dead. She is not totally unconscious; according to
eyewitnesses, she does respond to human stimuli. She is not
connected to life support machines. She has been in
otherwise good health and has been successfully sustained
via feeding tube for over 14 years.

What has happened in the Florida and federal courts
signals a major shift in how Americans will permit
governments to kill people. Make no mistake: by forcibly
prohibiting Terri's parents from feeding and caring for
her, the government is killing Terri just as surely as if
government agents blocked a mother from feeding her baby.

The justification given for killing Terri is that her
husband testified, many years after the fact, that it was
Terri's wish to die. Terri is powerless to contradict her
husband or to express a new wish. His oral testimony about
her statement was enough now for the courts to order her

Notice further: the courts have decided to not to give
Terri's life the benefit of the doubt. A written "living
will" or "advance directive," signed by Terri, could be
conclusive proof of her wishes. Here the courts are going
by the recollection of an oral statement many years ago.
That recollection could be wrong, it could be fabricated,
it could be confused, it could be out of context. All of
these "could be's" are valid reasons to raise doubt.

At the same time, Terri's parents are willing to feed
Terri and keep her alive in their care indefinitely.
Although currently the costs of Terri's care are borne by
the government (taxpayers) via Medicaid, there are numerous
individuals and groups who have stated they would donate
the money needed for Terri.

So, we have a defenseless innocent person being killed
by government order because her husband says she said she
wanted to be killed, even though there are people who are
willing to keep her alive at their own expense. The
government is giving the benefit of the doubt to killing,
not to saving a life.

Not A Question of Liberty

Unlike the abortion issue in which some people argue
that the unborn child "is not a person," the issue in
Terri's case involves most certainly a "person." Thus, the
government's decision to kill Terri moves the discretionary
power out of the area of "privacy" and into the light of
public scrutiny.

We do not see Terri's case as involving the exercise
of her right to refuse artificial life support, because she
did not take the steps to make clear that she wanted to
exercise that right. We are profoundly concerned that
courts (and apparently many Americans) consider it
acceptable to kill a defenseless disabled person on the
say-so of a spouse given many years after the disability

Religious Tradition Values Innocent Life

Even before the Ten Commandments were declared, there
was the unambiguous law against unjustly killing fellow
human beings. In the book of Genesis, in the sacred Torah
for Jews (and part of the Old Testament for Christians), it
states: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his
blood be shed; for in the image of G-d has G-d made man."
(9:6, NIV).

The book of Deuteronomy, also a sacred Torah book,
transmits the clear message: "This day I call heaven and
earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you
life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so
that you and your children may live." (30:19, NIV).
Deciding to starve Terri to death means to choose and
inflict death, and not the death of oneself, but the death
of an innocent other person.

Starvation Is A War Crime

We recall that Nazi doctrines authorized the killing
of disabled people to purify the race and because the
victims lacked a good "quality of life." Killing innocent
people because others say those people lack a good "quality
of life" is unacceptable, and no government in America
should be allowed to make such a decision. Moreover,
starving people is a war crime under the Geneva Convention
and is considered barbaric torture by human rights
organizations worldwide.

Large numbers of prisoners were systematically starved
to death in the concentration camps under Nazi and Imperial
Japanese control during World War II. Nobody called those
starvation deaths "humane." It astounds us that courts in
America could order a starvation death of an innocent
disabled person.

Doubts Should Favor Preserving Life

When there is a doubt about a question of saving a
life, the benefit of the doubt should weigh in favor of
volunteers willing to preserve a person's life -- not in
favor of the very late testimony of someone who wants a
person dead.

Several American courts have nevertheless now ruled
that positively killing a conscious disabled person, who
was convicted of no crime, is authorized under law and must
be carried out. There is no way to spin this outcome as a
victory for personal liberty or the rule of law. It's a
government killing of an innocent, taking place in clear
view of the world. We at JPFO oppose the killing of Terri
Schindler Schiavo.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Terri's death

When I finished my shift this morning, Terri was still alive. I believe she still is as I write this. An hour, a day from now, who knows?

There is a Talmudic view that preventing a dying person from dying is in contravention of religious law. The other side of that argument is: anything done to hasten a death is murder.

In hospitals, we make hard decisions about life and death frequently. They are often agonizing decisions, for both the families involved and the professionals who implement them. They are made with as much input as can be gathered. Where they are known, the wishes of the patient involved are given the most weight. Lost in the fog of this battle is the truth of what was in Terri Schiavo's head, let alone her views on assisted nourishment. I will now regret that I didn't travel to Florida to beg an hour or two's observation of this woman, in order to bring the impartial weight of 33 years of medical experience to bear on the issue.

On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the Jewish year, observant Jews fast completely from sundown to a short while after the following sundown. No food, water, any gratification for the body. It's a tedious and uncomfortable fast that many observe. For Terri it has been 6 days now, without even water. In her debilitated condition, there will be no coming back. Try starting such a fast, right now. How long would you last? Now imagine being aware of this distress, and unable to help yourself out of this agony. This is Terri's slow murder.
There was in recent history a nation that institutionalized such murder. They began with the mentally ill, the nursing home 'vegetables', then the social undesirables. They ended with Europe in flames and rubble. We have now started down that same slope. What will happen when a judge, supported by doctors and lawyers of dubious character and credentials, decides that your life is no longer worth maintaining, for whatever spurious reason? "....when they came for me, there was no one left.......".
Have your living will/advanced directives prepared. Try to surround yourself with family and friends who are willing to fight for you. Nationwide legalized euthanasia has arrived. It only remains to be seen how far we fall.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Why this blog? If not this blog, which blog?

Many people in this neck of the woods have never knowingly met a Jew. Some can NOT conceive of the very idea of non-Christians. Educating these people is how I became 'Rabbi to the goyim', and a lay chaplain. There may be some who will recognize me from encounters they've had with me where this has all come up. So be it.
A conversation with a medical colleague resulted in an "Ask the Rabbi" e-mail exchange. This also became the impetus for this blog. Names and phrases may be deleted or *'ed out to protect anonymity. The word 'goyim' is used here in it's literal sense, 'nations' or gentiles (non-Jews), with no pejorative intent.
Rabbi Mair ben-Baruch ha-Cohen

1st Epistle to X

A conversation with a medical colleague resulted in this "Ask the Rabbi" e-mail exchange. This also became the impetus for this blog. A few names and phrases have been deleted or *'ed out to protect anonymity*. There may be some who will recognize me from encounters they've had with me where this has all come up. So be it. Some slight proof editing has been done for this publication. The word 'goyim' is used here in it's literal sense, 'nations' or gentiles (non-Jews), with no pejorative intent.
Rabbi Mair ben-Baruch ha-Cohen

In a message dated 2/15/05 11:43:38, *******@***.com writes:

Hope your shift went well. It can certainly be a struggle!

Interesting talking with you. Getting back to the theme of our conversation: There are 2 people I work with who are "VERY CHRISTIAN", if you know what I mean. Very dogmatic, very outspoken. It's very hard working with them. They talk religion all of the time, saying what the Bible says, what you have to do (and not to do) to get to heaven. What you have to believe in to get there. If you don' go to hell because there is only ONE way to get to heaven...etc. etc. etc. They don't even listen to my side...they just give me that smile that says "She's so wrong...poor thing". I ran into this problem at my other job, too.... Seems I just can't find the right words to say...I try to just be silent, not to justify myself, but, sometimes I just can't! The 2 of them, (they don't work at the same time with me) even put on Christian music or tune onto Christian TV, and, sometimes, during group they even pray with the patients......

Can you give me some feedback? what to do or say .....!?

Hey, thanks!


Sorry this took so long. I'm a pretty poor correspondent.

NO ONE should ram their personal faith down another's throat. That's one of the reasons we're currently engaged in a World War. But stubborn jackasses will persist. You will have found that many people in this neck of the woods have never knowingly met a Jew. Some can NOT conceive of the very idea of non-Christians. Educating these people is how I became *********'s 'Rabbi to the goyim', and a lay chaplain.

Your best defense is YOUR personal faith:
Torah is pretty straightforward, no matter what other rabbis may tell you. It is the story and rulebook for the brit between G-d & the people Israel. If you believe this and follow the mitzvot as best as you absolutely can, you're practicing Judaism. If you don't believe in Torah, you're not. Obviously, there are the eternal questions of ethnicity vs. religion, and where you fit in is deeply personal, and ultimately between G-d and oneself.
You should never have to justify your faith to others. You can explain it to them, and they probably won't listen. If you're secure in your own beliefs, it becomes much easier to just smile & nod at the fanatics.

Your best ammunition is knowledge:
There are weekly Torah readings. If you do these at shul or at home, after a year you'll have read the whole thing. After many years, you'll know a lot of it by heart. Read all the other books of the Tanach ("Old Testament" to the goyim) and you'll be even better informed. Share this knowledge if asked. Some people will welcome a Jewish perspective on Torah and religion. Be prepared for the many who won't.

At work:
Sorry, Dear- you're just plain f**ked. Most of the facilities in this area are founded by or supported by Christian groups. The mission statements often mention "Christian values". At ****** Hospital I was asked to sign off on a copy of such a mission statement. The HR director was surprised when I said "no". I told her to read it carefully. Haven't heard another word about it.
Most of the patient base around here is also Christian. That said, staff SHOULD ask clients if religious media, prayer, etc. is OK with them. ESPECIALLY in Psych, where religious obsessions & delusions become a therapeutic issue.
You will not get your coworkers to stop. They have an unshakable belief in their own righteousness. Try telling them, "we have different beliefs; theologically they are 180 degrees apart; and I would prefer not to discuss religion with you". This probably won't work, from your description. You can talk to management, and raise the points I mention above, about therapeutic issues & patient consent. Have your resume updated before the meeting.

I hope I haven't been too discouraging. We ARE a minority here, and have to muddle through. It doesn't mean denying or diminishing your life and heritage. It just means living as you are as best you can. This simple idea alone, that you choose to continue as a Jew, will piss off a great many people. Hey, if they can't take a joke.....

(deleted) have a good friend who is involved with a group called "***********". They are VERY Orthodox, but daily deal with the issues you raise. If you wish, I can forward your address & letter to them, as well. In the meantime, I'd be happy to continue this discussion with you.


Additional editing done to further obscure identities, so as to piss off the fewest number of people.