Monday, April 12, 2010

Jewish Punk is Dead!

Punk impresario McLaren dies

(JTA) -- Malcolm McLaren, the Jewish punk impresario who launched the Sex Pistols upon an unsuspecting world, has died.

McLaren, 64, died Thursday at a Swiss hospital of mesothelioma, a cancer, news media reported.

He was raised by his maternal grandmother, Rose Isaacs, a member of London's venerable Sephardic community. He often quoted her as saying "To be bad is good, and to be good is boring."

In the early 1970s, he and his then-partner, Vivienne Westwood, ran a clothing boutique and were part of that city's bleak, nihilistic arts scene.

In 1975, he brought together the Sex Pistols, a group that emphatically -- sometimes violently -- eschewed the forms and function of pop music. The group's songs and albums -- including "God Save the Queen," which savaged the monarch as a fascist -- were banned, which was the point.

The band broke up in 1978, and its members and McLaren spent the next decade mired in lawsuits over ownership of the music and the name.

McClaren backed other bands and recorded music himself, dabbling in early experiments with hip-hop and techno

More info:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jew Like Me, Jew Really Like Me!

Due to overwhelming response I have decided to make some cameos to my blog site. Now that I am a minivan owner I am sure my entries will take a different tone. Which direction they may go I am not even sure. I might even make things less static and start a facebook page then I will know what type of person likes this site and information. Even without writing an entry in months 1,000 people a week still visit here.

I am still pumped to see Defiance which opens next week and I also wanted to report that the only living brother which the film was based on has been cleared on the criminal charges he and his wife incurred for taking an elderly woman from their living community and dropping her off in Poland (where she was from several years prior) at a senior home and leaving her there. Story below:

Kidnapping charge dropped against Aron, Henryka BellCourt allows couple to return to Palm Beach Towers condo
By MICHELE DARGANDaily News Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Leaving a 93-year-old Palm Beach woman in a Polish nursing home against her will was "horrible and disgusting," but it doesn't warrant a kidnapping charge, a prosecutor has decided.
In a letter to Palm Beach Police Detective Nicholas Caristo, Assistant State Attorney Michael Rachel wrote that, because Janina "Nina" Zaniewska went to Poland voluntarily before allegedly being abandoned there, any criminal act occurred in a foreign country.
Rachel wrote that charges of grand theft, organized scheme to defraud and exploitation of the elderly can be pursued against Aron Bell, 80, and his wife, Henryka Bell, 58.
Rachel's letter was among 200 pages of discovery documents related to the arrest and prosecution of the Bells, whom authorities accuse of draining Zaniewska's bank account of $250,000.
The Bells remain free on $120,000 bail each. One of the conditions of their pretrial release had been that they not live at the Palm Beach Towers, where the couple and Zaniewska all live. But a circuit judge ruled Monday that the couple can return to their Towers home.
The Bells have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Steven Gomberg, attorney for the Bells, said he doesn't see "any smoking gun" in the documents released Monday.
"The woman was all alone, had no family, and she needed a great deal of assistance and care," Gomberg said. "They had a long-standing relationship. Everything was arranged and immortalized by lawyers, doctors and accountants. This was not some sort of back-room deal. They just wanted to help her with her finances. Hindsight being 20/20, it would have been better if it had gone through the courts. It seemed prudent at the time."
Gomberg said the money has not been lost and that the Bells merely reinvested it for Zaniewska.
"Mrs. Zaniewska hasn't lost a penny," Gomberg said. "The money was placed where she wanted it to be. The money is all available. It's all going to be restored. It could have been at any time had this taken a different course."
Witnesses, however, suspected more than altruism was at work.
Rose Marie Felice, the receptionist at the Palm Beach Towers, remembers Zaniewska as "such a happy, cheerful lady, always stopping by the front desk to have a chat and socialize." That is, Felice said, until Zaniewska was befriended by the Bells.
After that, Zaniewska became "almost like a stranger to all of us at the front desk. The Bells seemed to take over every aspect of her life, not letting her even say hello to us," Felice said in a written statement.
Pamela Leikala, manager of the Regent Bank at Palm Beach Towers, called police after she became suspicious of the Bells' involvement in Zaniewska's financial affairs.
"Mrs. Bell did all the transactions," Leikala wrote in her statement. "I did not see Ms. Zaniewska, so I asked Mrs. Bell to bring her in as I had not seen her for a while. Ms. Bell gave me a hard time and did not want to bring her in."
After looking into Leikala's suspicions, police found Zaniewska in a nursing home in Poland, where she says the Bells left her against her will. Police say the Bells took her to Poland in May under the ruse that it was to be a vacation. Instead, they left her in the home and returned to Palm Beach, according to Zaniewska's testimony.
The State Attorney's Office declined to file kidnapping charges because there was not enough evidence to prove the charge since Zaniewska went to Poland voluntarily, Rachel wrote.
"Ms. Zaniewska has fervently stated throughout that the Bells, while in Poland, left her at a Polish assisted living facility ... against her will," Rachel wrote. "This act was horrible and disgusting. But because it was done in a foreign country, and because none of the elements were committed here, the charge of kidnapping is not legally tenable in Palm Beach County."
In an Oct. 5 interview with police, Zaniewska said the trip to Poland was to be a good time and an occasion to see friends.
"From the bank records provided, it appears that most, if not all, of Ms. Zaniewska's funds were either transferred or spent by the Bells well before this trip to Poland," Rachel wrote.
Zaniewska was returned to the United States Oct. 4, after a U.S. Embassy official visited her in the nursing home and determined that she'd been placed in the home against her will.
The paperwork released Monday included:
* A living will signed by Zaniewska on April 1, 2005, designating Henryka Bell her health-care surrogate in case Zaniewska is incapacitated.
* A last will and testament signed by Zaniewska on April 1, 2005, designating Henryka Bell as her beneficiary. Aron Bell is the beneficiary if Henryka dies first.
* A last will and testament signed by Zaniewska on Oct. 26, 2007, leaving all of her property and insurance policies to her friends Marcella DeMuth-Gintowt and Yaga Oshesici. If neither of them survives her, her property will go to St. Edward Catholic Church.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jewish swimmers pace U.S. to relay gold

Breaking News
Jewish swimmers pace U.S. to relay gold
Published: 08/11/2008
Jason Lezak's stirring anchor leg lifted the U.S. men’s 4x100-meter relay swimming team to the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics and a world record.Lezak and another Jewish swimmer, Garrett Weber-Gale, comprised half the U.S. squad with Michael Phelps and Cullen Jones. The Americans finished Monday's race in 3:08.24, erasing the world mark by about 4 seconds.
Lezak swam 46.06 seconds in managing to overtake world record-holder Alain Bernard of France. Lezak, who picked up his third career gold medal, trailed by nearly a second heading into the final lap. His time would have beaten his American record in the 100 freestyle.Weber-Gale followed Phelps’ opening leg with a time of 47.02.The U.S. team had beaten the world mark in the qualifying round with a team that did not include Lezak or Phelps but did have Ben Wildman-Tobriner, another Jewish swimmer.Phelps has now earned two gold medals in his bid to win eight and break the mark of seven set by Mark Spitz, also a Jewish swimmer, in the 1972 Games in Munich.
On Saturday night, 41-year-old Dara Torres made history by becoming the oldest swimmer to win an Olympic medal when she anchored the U.S. women's 4x100 freestyle relay team to a silver. The Netherlands won the race in a world record 3:33.76, with the Americans finishing in 3:34.33.
"As I’ve said from the beginning of this, age is just a number," Torres, a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, told The New York Times.
For Torres, the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympics, it was her 10th medal.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

An Unintended Jewing Lucas got it half right

Well I just got finished watching the 2004 update DVD of Star Wars VI with 2 of my kids. I had not seen it since it came out originally in the theater 25 years ago. Where did the time go? Anyway what started out as an ironic comment to Carrie Fisher being the daughter of Hayden Christiansen and Natalie Portman has as usual gone much further and may I say goes back a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...
I am sure it was not purposeful (hence the title of my blog) but isn't it ironic that Portman is 100% Jewish and Christiansen a gentile (wouldn't know it from the surname :) making the twins half Jewish (by blood, I know in orthodoxy it is the religion of the mother). So it works out that Carrie Fisher has a Jewish dad in real life and it would have worked out perfectly if Han Solo (Ford) was her twin as he has a Jewish mother in real life. But where our story goes into Jewish randomness (which is always the goal) is that Mark Hamill who played Luke (with no known Jewish ancestry) is that in Nov of 2003 he complained that he couldn't get his daughter into the A-List Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties in Hollywood (see below). Then just 3 days later he ends up voicing Luke Skywalker in an episode of the Family Guy in which the main character feels he needs to convert to Judaism to be successful (also added below). Finally I lifted a piece off the Internet comparing Star Wars to the Holocaust. But as we all know everything goes back to the Jews and you can challenge me on that in my game "Back to Jew". And yes, yes while we are talking about space and sci-fi I do know that the hand solute that Spoke (Jewish Leonard Nimoy) makes is the Jewish sign of the Kohen (ask your grandpa) which is one of the several ways that Star Trek goes Back to Jew. (If you are wondering what Nemoy is up to these days I have added a photo for your enjoyment from his latest picture book, see if you can spot it). So go forth and read..

November 06, 2003


Mark Hamill, the actor who played "Luke Skywalker" in Star Wars, takes a subtle jab at Jewish Hollywood personalities.
"I don't mind the Hollywood caste system. I know the tenuous position I'm in on the entertainment food chain. I don't get invited to A-list affairs. Me? I'm listless," he says. "If anything, it hardens my resolve to say, 'Ah, you're wrong. I'm going to show you by doing this or that or the other."

"But when you do it to my children, that makes me go berserk. And she started being excluded from this one's birthday party or that one's bat mitzvah because I'm not A-list. It really burns my hide when it comes through because they're not in show business - I am."
I hope the ADL do not give him a hard time about this comment, which is clearly not anti-Semitic. Hamill is disappointed with Hollywood snobbery, and criticizes Hollywood players, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. He was probably not even thinking in terms of "Jewish" and "non-Jewish", but merely in terms of the types of events from which his children are excluded. And you can bet there are plenty of bat mitzvahs!

When You Wish Upon a Weinstein
Peter suggests that Chris convert to Judaism in order to become better at math.

Season: 3 Episode: 22
Total Episode Count: 50
Prod. no.: 2ACX05
First Aired: November 9, 2003

Guest Starring: Peter Riegert as Max Weinstein, Mark Hamill as Luke, Ed McMahon as himself, and Ben Stein as Rabbi Goldberg
Featuring: Peter, Chris, Max Weinstein
Also Appearing: Lois, Meg, Stewie, Brian, Jim Kaplan, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Tony Robbins, Optimus Prime
Musical Numbers: "I Need A Jew"

Director: Dan Povenmire
Assistant Director: Sarah Frost
Writers: Ricky Blitt

Plot: Peter gives Lois’s “rainy day fund” to a scam artist selling volcano insurance. On that same night Stewie breaks Meg’s glasses, because he hates being watched while he sleeps, and so Lois tells Peter that he needs to recover the money to buy their daughter a new pair of glasses.

Max helping Peter with the salesmanDepressed by his financial woes, Peter is interested when Quagmire and Cleveland describe great financial successes attained after hiring men with Jewish-sounding names and decides that he needs a Jew to handle his money (though Cleveland pointedly tells Peter the mens' religion is not the point of the stories) in an elaborate musical number based on “When You Wish upon a Star.” When a Jewish man named Max Weinstein (Peter Riegert) has car trouble outside the Griffin house, Peter takes it as a sign and after a footchase, Peter pressures Max into helping him get the emergency money back. Max later recovers the money from the scammer. After accompanying Max to synagogue (“Temple Beth Thupporting Actor”) and inviting him over for dinner, Peter comes to the conclusion that Chris would get better grades and be more successful if he converted to Judaism.

He secretly drives Chris to Las Vegas, Nevada for a quick Bar Mitzvah after Lois displays objection to his idea, but she arrives just in time to stop the ceremony. A crowd, angry that Lois is apparently insulting their religion, chases the Griffins until they escape onto a bus which is full of nuns who are not happy about Peter’s straying from Catholicism.
Star Wars in a Historical perspective
In the movie, written by George Lucas, Episode IV - A New Hope. There are many mythical, religious and spiritual symbols portrayed. The Jedi's believe in the Force, which is a religion of which they abide. The Force is the backbone of the Jedis and they turn to this when in trouble. The opposite of the Force is the "Dark Side of the Force." The Dark Side is lead by and evil Jedi named Darth Vador and his master, the emperor. The opposing side is looking to get rid of the entire Jedi population by using fierce actions by the emperors Storm Troopers.

In the movie the Jedis can be compared to the Jews in World War II. The similarities that both figures share deal with strength. The Jews today have been able to stick together and follow their religion even through the harshest times. Hitler's army, The SS and Gestapo during World War II were after the Jews to demolish their entire race. Hitler would put the Jews though hell. The Jews were forced to move from place to place. They would begin in the ghettos, then onto the concentration camps and worst of all, Hitler put them in death camps where the majority of the Jews died.

Hitler was the one of the biggest icons in World War II, as well as the cruelest, yet most powerful dictator who ever lived. Hitler's ambition was to be in charge of the entire world and he believed that the Jews were in his way. In episode IV Darth Vador and his master are set out to destroy the "good" side of the Force. For instance, in World War II, Hitler used the SS and Gestapo to help him succeed and to keep the Jews retained. Episode IV had Darth Vador using the Storm Troopers, an army which he created out of pure evil, to attempt to stop the Jedis' from ruing there plans.

Regardless of the challenges these groups faced, the force and the Jewish religion will always be strong. Despite the hardships they are faced with, it is important to keep in mind that the good will rise above. Lucas was very creative in using mythical, spiritual and religious symbols in the movie and it showed by all the extreme ratings it has obtained over the years. Episode IV showed a brilliant breakthrough in technology that helped to capture the storyline. Maybe Lucas created some of his ideas for the movie from the history of World War II.

by Anonymous Student

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What Jew Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf Have in Common?

Indian Jones Spoiler Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is really no surprise and an 8 year old could figure it out 10 mins into the film but LaBeouf who plays Mutt is reveled to the audience near the end that he is in fact Ford's (Jones) son. So what they have in common is that they are both half Jewish although the Adam Sandler song refers incorrectly to Ford as a quarter Jewish. The book Jews that Rock which he wrote a forward to is also in correct on several Jews and part Jews but that is for another blog rant. Also interesting weather done on purpose or not but River Phoenix who played Jones as a young man was also half Jewish (blood wise). Here are a few articles that comment on the half Jewishness of Ford and LaBeouf. LaBeouf joins the ranks of Joseph Gordon Levitt and Evan Rachel Wood in my "Jew Watch" Jewish stars of the future. Both Levitt and Wood are 100% Jewish thus the reason they get 3 names:). On another side note about 2 months ago I went to Ford's Filling Station (Owned and operated by his son) and wrote a note on a beer coaster to have Ford's son contact Sandler and half that corrected. On another side not I also passed 5 soldiers when I walked in and I turned around a shook the hand of the one closest to me and thanked him and the rest for their service. When we were seated I had the waitress bring them a round of drinks on me. It doesn't matter where you stand on the war at the end of the day it is these brave men and women that are putting their lives on the line so that the rest of us can sit around and write blogs like this one without having our eyes gouged out and our hands cut off. Now would be as good a time as ever to donate 5 or 10 bucks to Veterans of ForeignWars ( or Paralyzed Vets: (

Harrison Ford's mother was Jewish. His father was Catholic.
From: Matthew Berke, "Half-Jews: What do Gwyneth Paltrow, J. D. Salinger, and Paula Abdul have in common?", a review of The Half-Jewish Book: A Celebration, written by Daniel Klein and Freke Vuijst, on website (; viewed 6 November 2005):
Once upon a time, the half-Jew was regarded as a strange and lonely figure--an outsider both to society at large and to the Jewish people... But as the intermarriage trend has continued, being half-Jewish suddenly seems unremarkably common. Indeed, according to Daniel Klein and Freke Vuijst, authors of The Half-Jewish Book, "halfies" now outnumber full-blooded Jewish children under the age of 11, and they're gaining on the rest.
More important, Klein and Vuijst contend, half-Jewish is not a partial or fragmented identity to be lamented, but rather a "rich and elaborate" double identity to be celebrated. Unfortunately, the authors--a married couple with a half-Jewish daughter-can't decide whether to name-drop glitzy personalities with Jewish origins or to explore their distinct new cultural sensibility. They end up doing a bit of both.
In People magazine mode, Klein and Vuijst provide a catalog of stars who are half-Jewish, including actors Paul Newman, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, David Duchovny, and Matthew Broderick...
Relatively few of the halfies considered here live religiously serious Jewish lives... Indeed, many observe no religion, multiple religions, or are practicing Christians, who, despite their feelings of attachment, are simply not part of the Jewish community... few will reconnect with Judaism...

#17 Shia LaBeouf
April 13, 2008 by stuffjewishyoungadultslike
One of the more recent actors to emerge from the small screen to the megablockbusters, gaining the interest of Jewish Young Adults, is 21 year old Shia LaBeouf. Shia, who spent his early years cutting his acting chops on Disney’s Even Stevens, is now a bona fide meg-celeb, starring in the recent Transformers, and the upcoming new Indiana Jones movie. Even though he is only half Jewish, Shia was admittedly raised as a Member of the Tribe and was Bar Mitzva-ed with the best of them.
LaBeouf’s popularity with the JYA community is obvious, specifically pertaining to the female segment of the population. They see him as an ideal mix of qualities; part menschiness, part edginess. The menschiness means they can introduce him to Jewish Elders without fear of reproach, and the edginess gives him the much coveted title of being a Non-Stereotypical Jew. A Non-Stereotypical Jew is a JYA who exhibits qualities, either physical or mental, that are typically not associated with Jewry. Therefore, NSJs, both male and female, are rare and highly valued for potential mating.
Male JYAs have a unique relationship with Mr. LaBeouf. On one hand, they appreciate his good natured humor and see in him potential fraternization and kinship. On the other hand, Male JYAs seem to exhibit unspoken jealousy toward Mr. LaBeouf, possibly due to rivalry for the attention of females. It is not uncommon to hear a male JYA make a derisive remark about LaBeouf as an obvious show of one-upmanship, specifically when in the presence of a female counterpart.
Even though there is some seemingly negative reaction toward Mr. LaBeouf’s recent stardom, the overall reaction from the JYA community is positive and encouraging. Mr. LaBeouf should feel proud that he has become prominent masturbatory material at Stern College.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jews are safer with Bush

I Blame Bush-- Terror Attacks Down 40% Since 2001
It's all Bush's fault.Terror attacks are down 40% since 2001.Andrew Bolt and The Canadian Press reported this recent study:
A group of researchers from Simon Fraser University says global terrorism is on the decline, despite previous data and public perceptions that suggest otherwise.The university's Human Security Report Project says fatalities from terrorist attacks around the world have, in fact, decreased by 40 per cent since 2001.But... Sadly, there are those who believe that even with Saddam Hussein and the Taliban gone that America is somehow less safe today than before 9-11.And... Total global terror attacks were down 40% late last year due to the 55% decrease in attacks in Iraq.Reuters reported:
A study released on Wednesday reports a decline in fatal attacks of terrorism worldwide and says U.S. think-tank data showing sharp increases were distorted due to the inclusion of killings in Iraq."Even if the Iraq 'terrorism' data are included, there has still been a substantial decline in the global terrorism toll," said the 2007 Human Security Brief, an annual report funded by the governments of Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Britain.For example, global terrorism fatalities declined by 40 percent between July and September 2007, driven by a 55 percent decline in the "terrorism" death toll in Iraq after the so-called surge of new U.S. troops and a cease-fire by the Shi'ite militant Mehdi Army, the brief said.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Vegan Like Jew

Being a chocolate chip vegan I have found myself almost leper even in liberal LA. I found this Jewish view on be a vegetarian and another article about how it feels to not eat meat in a carnivore's world.

Jewish Vegetarianism -- Theological Perspectives on Judaism and Vegetarianism
The Jewish Vegetarian Ideal

Jewish vegetarianism is a philosophy and lifestyle, based upon Jewish teachings and mandates, that prescribes a diet centered on grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and that proscribes the consumption of all animal flesh, including that of fish and fowl. Many well known Jews have followed a Jewish vegetarian lifestyle. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook, the first chief rabbi of modern Israel, considered vegetarianism to be the ideal, the ultimate peace between mankind and the rest of the animal kingdom. He felt that in the Messianic Age, as prophesied by Isaiah (XI:7), we would all be vegetarian again and the only sacrifices offered would be the mincha sacrifice, which was of vegetable origin. Although there is some debate regarding Rav Kook's consistency in following a vegetarian diet, Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen, the current Chief Rabbi of Haifa, has written, "I myself, am a vegetarian, following in the footsteps of my late father, the saintly Nazir of Jerusalem [Rabbi David Cohen], and his teacher, the saintly first Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Isaac Hacohen Kook." Other well known Jewish vegetarians include Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, the late Rabbi Shlomo Goren z"l, Chief Rabbi of Israel, and Avraham Burg (vegan - strict vegetarian), the youngest and only religious person ever to be elected Knesset Speaker, whose diet reflects his respect for the sanctity of all life. Thus, Jewish vegetarianism has had many prominent adherents.
In the ideal state of Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden), mankind is described as being vegetarian, and this state persisted until after the Flood in the time of Noach. In Bereishit, perek aleph, pasuk kaf"tet (Genesis I:29), God told Adam and Chava (Eve) that He had given them all of the seed-bearing plants and fruits as food. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 59b) declares, "Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav, 'Adam was not allowed to eat meat,'" citing the above pasuk (verse) from Bereishit. Almost all of the subsequent commentators agree with this assessment.
Vegetarianism can be considered the ideal from several perspectives. We will consider each of these in turn.
Health and Prevention
A plant-based diet is the ideal, as confirmed by medical scientists in recent years. A commentator has suggested that the prescription of a vegetarian diet in Gan Eden could not have been for health reasons because there are many poisonous plants that would be harmful if consumed. This objection does not make much sense, however. If a doctor tells a patient to eat more fruits and vegetables, he is giving a general recommendation for health reasons. Although there are some poisonous berries and plants, he assumes that the patient has the common sense to stay away from them. Similarly, the prescription of this type of diet by God can be considered a general recommendation for the healthiest type of diet.
Judaism stresses the importance of maintaining health and not harming oneself. We are commanded in Devarim, perek daled, pasuk tet"vav (Deuteronomy IV:15) "venishmartem me'od lenafshoteichem" --"you shall guard yourselves most diligently." This means that we must do everything possible to guard our health and not take unnecessary risks. We are also to "choose life above all" (Deuteronomy XXX:19). The well known talmudic principle "chamira sakkanta me'issura" (Chulin 10a) indicates that a danger to health takes precedence over ritual obligations, including Shabbat observance. The Torah also declares that prevention is the highest form of healing: "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His eyes, and keep all of His commandments, I will put none of the diseases upon you that I have put upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord your physician." God is saying here that He is preventing disease. Since, in preventing disease, we are emulating God, prevention is the highest form of healing. With regard to vegetarianism, Rashi's midrashic explanation of this verse is very interesting: he states that God in this context is like a physician who says to a patient, "Do not eat this food or it will make you sick." Modern research has shown that there is indeed a great sakkana (danger) to health from consuming meat, and this by itself provides sufficient reason to require a vegetarian diet from a halachic (Jewish legal) perspective.
Medical Evidence Supporting a Vegetarian Diet
We have learned that nutrition is the primary determinant of health. Virtually all of our chronic diseases are linked to diet (references available on request).
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Risk factors include elevated blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, hypercoagulability of the blood, and presence of diabetes -- all of which can be prevented or alleviated by a high fiber, low fat vegetarian diet. The Lifestyle Heart Trial showed that adoption of a low fat vegetarian diet along with exercise and stress reduction can actually reverse the hardening of the arteries that leads to heart attacks. The implication is that 95% of all heart attacks are preventable. They are not something to be expected as a consequence of aging but rather are the result of an aberrant lifestyle.
All of the major causes of death due to cancer have been linked to diet. The risk of lung cancer, number one in both men and women because of the smoking epidemic, may be increased by animal fat consumption and is reduced by vegetable consumption. Meat consumption is a major risk factor for prostate cancer, number two in men, and fats increase its aggressiveness. Breast cancer, a hormonally dependent cancer, may be linked with higher estrogen levels in women and may reflect childhood dietary practices and even the diet of one's mother prenatally. Cancer of the colon and rectum, number three in both men and women, is strongly linked to both red and white meat consumption. Meat consumption is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer (number four in both men and women), whereas legumes and dried fruits appear to be protective. Ovarian cancer, number five in women, has been linked with dairy (including skim milk), egg, and meat consumption. Lymphoma, number five in men and six in women, has been linked with both beef and dairy consumption in various studies. And the risk of bladder cancer in non-vegetarians is twice that of vegetarians. The message is clear: we would prevent well over half of all deaths due to cancer if people increased their fruit and vegetable consumption and discarded the animal products.
The adult form of diabetes, common among overweight adults, can be prevented by a high fiber vegetarian diet. Seventh Day Adventists, about half of whom are vegetarian, have only half the death rate from diabetes as the rest of us. Vegetarian diets have also been found to lower blood pressure. Kidney stones occur in one out of every eight adults in the U.S., and meat consumption has been identified as a major risk factor. Gallstones are also much less prevalent in vegetarians. High intakes of animal protein increase the risk of osteoporosis. And obesity, which is an obvious sign of an inappropriate diet, speaks for itself.
Modern science has indeed confirmed the Torah's wisdom with regard to the ideal diet.
Ethics and Respect for Life
Judaism forbids the infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering, called tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, on nonhuman animals. This injunction is d'oreita, derived directly from the Torah. So strongly did Chazal (our Sages) feel about this matter that they included "eiver min hachai," the prohibition against removing the limb from a living animal (or more broadly, anything that causes unnecessary suffering to animals) among the seven Noachide commandments. These were the laws that they felt should be applicable to all of mankind and not just to Jews. Many of our commandments relate to the way animals should be treated.
Many traditional Jewish sources refer to nonhuman animals as creatures devoid of reasoning ability, imagination, and morality. Modern science has shown otherwise, and just as we disregard the medical remedies described by the Talmud, we should also discard these characterizations of animals because of their scientific invalidity. Anyone who has had companion animals is aware of their diverse personalities, their thinking abilities, and their capacity for unconditional love, a very positive trait. An article in the International Edition of the Jerusalem Post on August 10, 1996 described an amazing event. A British tourist was swimming in the Red Sea when he was attacked by sharks. He screamed and the water around him became stained with his own blood. As a crew in a boat sped to save him, they saw that he was being circled by three dolphins who had created a barrier between the sharks and him and had thereby saved his life. Similar incidents involving other animals have been recorded as well. Of course, even if animals were not capable of reasoning there would be no justification for exploiting them and causing them pain. Interestingly, in discussing the prohibition against killing an animal and its offspring on the same day, the Rambam (Maimonides) states in Moreh Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed) that "there is no difference in this situation between the pain of humans and the pain of other living creatures," and he points out that imagination exists not only in humans but also in most other animals. Judaism does not equate humans with nonhuman animals, but we must accept the scientific evidence that they are similar in many important ways. And even though they are dissimilar to humans in many ways, that does not give us the right to exploit them merely to satisfy our ta'avah (lust).
Unfortunately, animals today have become straw men for those who feel the need to justify their own actions. The concept of using the Torah to justify one's own gratification at the expense of others is not rooted in Judaism. According to the Torah, God placed man in the Garden of Eden l'ovda uleshomra, to work it and to serve it. In other words, we were placed here not for our own gratification but to serve God. Rather than using the Torah to justify what we do, we should be using it to ask how we can serve God better, by raising ourselves to higher moral and spiritual levels by emulating His mercy and compassion.
We've fallen a long way from the likes of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, who stated, "There are probably no creatures that require more the protective divine word against the presumption of people than the animals which, like human beings, have sensations and instincts, but whose body and powers are nevertheless subservient to people. In relation to them, human beings easily forget that injured animal muscle twitches just like human muscle, that the maltreated nerves of an animal sicken like human nerves, that the animal being is just as sensitive to cuts, blows, and beating as people" (Horeb, Soncino Press, New York, 1962).
Animals raised today under the factory farming system suffer greatly. Their lives epitomize tsa'ar ba'alei chayim. This was recognized by Reb Moshe Feinstein in the case of crate-raised veal calves, whose meat is usually treifah (nonkosher) anyway because of the sicknesses they suffer. Those who saw the movie "Shoah" will recall that the methods the Nazis used for herding Jews toward the gas chambers (a progressively narrowing corridor with the barbed wire covered with greenery) were based upon methods used on cattle. And as some have pointed out, if it's so terrible to treat people that way, then perhaps we shouldn't be treating nonhuman animals that way either.
Although the laws of shechita were designed to lessen suffering, there is no such thing as humane slaughter. In Moreh Nevuchim, the Rambam felt the need to justify shechita, which he did based upon his mistaken belief that meat was necessary for health. Now that we know that meat consumption is not only unnecessary for nutritional sufficiency but is actually harmful, we have to conclude that it represents tsa'ar ba'alei chayim and that a vegetarian diet should be required on this basis alone.
The statement in the Torah that mankind was placed in Gan Eden to take care of it (Genesis II:15) can be considered the first lesson in environmental responsibility. The concept of bal tashchit (you shall not waste) derived from the Torah serves as a reminder to conserve precious resources. The Talmud also gives us laws related to pollution.
Modern factory farming is creating major environmental problems that could be eliminated by a shift toward vegetarian diets. The raising of farm animals is extremely wasteful of resources, especially water. Pollution from animal waste runoff has created ecological havoc in some areas. Worsening of the greenhouse effect and global warming have also been attributed to livestock agriculture.
Clearly, the way animals are raised in the United States and in other countries is not consistent with the Jewish mandate to take care of the earth.

Meatless Like Me
I may be a vegetarian, but I still love the smell of bacon.By Taylor ClarkPosted Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at 11:51 AM ET

Every vegetarian remembers his first time. Not the unremarkable event of his first meal without meat, mind you. No, I mean the first time he casually lets slip that he's turned herbivore, prompting everyone in earshot to stare at him as if he just revealed plans to sail his carrot-powered plasma yacht to Neptune. For me, this first time came at an Elks scholarship luncheon in rural Oregon when I was 18. All day, I'd succeeded at seeming a promising and responsible young man, until that fateful moment when someone asked why I hadn't taken any meat from the buffet. After I offered my reluctant explanation—and the guy announced it to the entire room—30 people went eerily quiet, undoubtedly expecting me to launch into a speech on the virtues of hemp. In the corner, an elderly, suited man glared at me as he slowly raised a slice of bologna and executed the most menacing bite of cold cut in recorded history. I didn't get the scholarship.
I tell this story not to win your pity but to illustrate a point: I've been vegetarian for a decade, and when it comes up, I still get a look of confused horror that says, "But you seemed so … normal." The U.S. boasts more than 10 million herbivores today, yet most Americans assume that every last one is a loopy, self-satisfied health fanatic, hellbent on draining all the joy out of life. Those of us who want to avoid the social nightmare have to hide our vegetarianism like an Oxycontin addiction, because admit it, omnivores: You know nothing about us. Do we eat fish? Will we panic if confronted with a hamburger? Are we dying of malnutrition? You have no clue. So read on, my flesh-eating friends—I believe it's high time we cleared a few things up.
To demonstrate what a vegetarian really is, let's begin with a simple thought experiment. Imagine a completely normal person with completely normal food cravings, someone who has a broad range of friends, enjoys a good time, is carbon-based, and so on. Now remove from this person's diet anything that once had eyes, and, wham!, you have yourself a vegetarian. Normal person, no previously ocular food, end of story. Some people call themselves vegetarians and still eat chicken or fish, but unless we're talking about the kind of salmon that comes freshly plucked from the vine, this makes you an omnivore. A select few herbivores go one step further and avoid all animal products—milk, eggs, honey, leather—and they call themselves vegan, which rhymes with "tree men." These people are intense.

Vegetarians give up meat for a variety of ethical, environmental, and health reasons that are secondary to this essay's goal of increasing brotherly understanding, so I'll mostly set them aside. Suffice it to say that one day, I suddenly realized that I could never look a cow in the eyes, press a knocking gun to her temple, and pull the trigger without feeling I'd done something cruel and unnecessary. (Sure, if it's kill the cow or starve, then say your prayers, my bovine friend—but for now, it's not quite a mortal struggle to subsist on the other five food groups.) I am well-aware that even telling you this makes me seem like the kind of person who wants to break into your house and liberate your pet hamster—that is, like a PETA activist. Most vegetarians, though, would tell you that they appreciate the intentions of groups like PETA but not the obnoxious tactics. It's like this: We're all rooting for the same team, but they're the ones in face paint, bellowing obscenities at the umpire and flipping over every car with a Yankees bumper sticker. I have no designs on your Camry or your hamster.
Now, when I say that vegetarians are normal people with normal food cravings, many omnivores will hoist a lamb shank in triumph and point out that you can hardly call yourself normal if the aroma of, say, sizzling bacon doesn't fill you with deepest yearning. To which I reply: We're not insane. We know meat tastes good; it's why there's a freezer case at your supermarket full of woefully inadequate meat substitutes. Believe me, if obtaining bacon didn't require slaughtering a pig, I'd have a BLT in each hand right now with a bacon layer cake waiting in the fridge for dessert. But, that said, I can also tell you that with some time away from the butcher's section, many meat products start to seem gross. Ground beef in particular now strikes me as absolutely revolting; I have a vague memory that hamburgers taste good, but the idea of taking a cow's leg, mulching it into a fatty pulp, and forming it into a pancake makes me gag. And hot dogs … I mean, hot dogs? You do know what that is, right?
As a consolation prize we get tofu, a treasure most omnivores are more than happy to do without. Well, this may stun you, but I'm not any more excited about a steaming heap of unseasoned tofu blobs than you are. Tofu is like fugu blowfish sushi : Prepared correctly, it's delicious; prepared incorrectly, it's lethal. Very early in my vegetarian career, I found myself famished and stuck in a mall, so I wandered over to the food court's Asian counter. When I asked the teenage chief culinary artisan what was in the tofu stir-fry, he snorted and replied, "Shit." Desperation made me order it anyway, and I can tell you that promises have rarely been more loyally kept than this guy's pledge that the tofu would taste like shit. So here's a tip: Unless you know you're in expert hands (Thai restaurants are a good bet), don't even try tofu. Otherwise, it's your funeral.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Israel Celebrates 60 years and didJEWknow 10,000 visits!

Good job Israel, still not blown up by Iran! And great job to us for getting you to visit and re-visit. didJEWknow is still a baby at about 7mos old. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by and found something interesting to keep you occupied. If you have any random Jewish questions you can comment here or send an email to Keep on keeping on. UJ