Saturday, January 09, 2010

I mention Neturei Karta in recent months and then this tidbit of news comes down the Queens synagogue listserv pike:
Three men and a woman from the extremist Neturei Karta sect traveled to Gaza last week to spend the Sabbath with Hamas terrorists. The four members of the Jewish fringe sect, led their rabbi, Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a U.S. citizen from New York, said they went in order to signal their support for the terrorist-run regime....

Allegedly Hamas, which rules the Gaza region with an iron fist, provided security for the unusual guests, who apparently did not leave the hotel during the Sabbath. Reportedly the terrorist group also supplied food that was stringently kosher.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Sabbath at approximately 7:00 p.m., the group departed from the hotel and also left Gaza, passing into Egypt through the Rafiah Crossing. From Egypt, it is easy to cross back into Israel....

Four years ago this month, the group wrote a public letter posted on the internet, proclaiming its “complete solidarity with the Palestinian people” and congratulating Hamas on its victory at the polls.

The letter goes on to explain the position of Neturei Karta, namely, that Jews were sent into exile two thousand years ago by a divine decree, and are to await patiently for the revelation of G-d “when all mankind will recognize and serve Him together in harmony and joy. Any attempts to create our own state, in this our Heavenly decreed exile, is expressly forbidden.”

The letter also states the fervent wish “that we should merit to see the peaceful and speedy dismantlement of the Zionist entity – the State of ‘Israel’ and the transformation of rule over the entire Holy Land, including of course Al-Quds, to its proper rulers, the Palestinian people.”

The letter was signed by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, on behalf of Neturei Karta International,USA, and Rabbi Ahron Cohen, Neturei Karta, UK.

Neturei Karta has in the past also sent delegations to visit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, including a recent trip to attend a Holocaust-denial conference he sponsored in Tehran. In the past, members of Neturei Karta have praised Ahmadinejad for calling for the elimination of the State of Israel from the pages of history.”

Such a possibility of a thought of such a topic never crossed even Linda Richman's mind. Talk amongst yourselves.

Oh, no? I'll give you a topic.

How is it that women can't be respected for how they want to conduct worship services at the Jewish people's holiest site...
The leader of Women of the Wall, a group of women who gather monthly to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, was questioned by police, fingerprinted, and told that she may be charged with a felony for violating the rules of conduct at what is considered Judaism’s most sacred site.

...(Anat) Hoffman said that the police told her that she was being investigated for violating a decision of the Israeli Supreme Court that prohibits women from wearing prayer shawls at the Wall. But the Women of the Wall claim to have accommodated themselves to the ruling; instead of donning the black-and-white tallit, traditional for men, they each wear a smaller, multi-colored shawl like a scarf around the neck and under a coat, so as not to offend the strict sensibilities of other men and women at the Wall.

“It’s a sad moment,” said Hoffman. She has gone to the police station in Jerusalem many times to lodge complaints against people who she says have attacked and occasionally physically hurt members of her group; none of those people have ever been arrested, she said. But this is the first time that she has been subject to interrogation herself. A skillful advocate, she said that the questioning did not bother her, but the fingerprinting did. “There is something very violating about it,” she said.

...and yet, when it comes to the new full-body scan machines that will soon be installed in airports around the world, ultra-Orthodox sects in Europe are only too quick to protest how those scans will be violating the modesty of Orthodox women. Via the Jerusalem Post:
The notion that Orthodox Jewish women, diligent in covering their bodies in accordance with laws of modesty, will appear nude on the screens of full body scanners in airports across the globe has a group of European rabbis up in arms.
"Full body scanners compromise women's modesty," announced the Rabbinical Centre of Europe in a press release Wednesday. "Their implementation leaves us concerned."

Nevertheless, the rabbis, who lead congregations in Milan, London, Paris and Antwerp, recognize the need to beef up security after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, tried to ignite an explosive called PETN as Northwest Flight 253 approached Detroit on Christmas morning.

The rabbis, therefore, suggest a solution that would respect the religious sensibilities of Orthodox Jews, while at the same time maintaining optimal security standards. "We would recommend that men are scanned by men, and women by women, like body frisks," they wrote.

One of the European rabbis agreed to weigh in on the halachic aspects of using the scanner.

"I do not intend to give a halachic opinion and I do not know what actually is shown on the screen, but if it shows the female body then it could be against the laws of modesty," said Rabbi Ya'akov Schmahl, a member of Antwerp's rabbinical court.
The rabbi explained that according to Jewish law it is permitted for a male doctor to treat female patients even if he touches them and sees parts of their body that are normally covered because presumably a doctor is focused on his work and is not inclined to prurience.

"But if women are not happy - and there are religious women who prefer not to go to male doctors - they should be allowed to be monitored by women. And men might also might not want to show themselves before women."
I don't protest how one observes their religion, per se. If many of these women are indeed uncomfortable with a full body scan in front of a man (and that's not even a stretch for me; I'd be uncomfortable, too), accomodations should certainly be made.

I just wonder why the men who are making the halakhic decisions can't see beyond that that has been deemed "Other" in their midst, time and again, and attempt to at least listen to what is on women's minds concerning these issues.

Discuss. I'm still a little farklempt from all this farkakhte weather we're having.

No comments: