Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Self Obituary for Bray


It is my sad duty to offer a few words in memoriam of the late paragon of Havdalah, Reb Chaim, AKA the Bray of the Fundamentalist, Alav HaShalom.

Reb Chaim was a voice of reason, a beacon whose light shone brilliantly on the dark underworld of the Jblogosphere. Very few individuals were willing to sully their own Neshama by debating the skeptics, yet Reb Chaim relentlessly persevered and debated them on their own turf, even entering the Bear’s Den to rescue the souls who were floundering in the digital arena.

Reb Chaim gave of himself, day and night to delineate the difference between Yisroel and the Nations. No one in recent memory has dedicated so much effort in defining this separation. Reb Chaim will be sorely missed.

Reb Chaim: We have heard your bray. I am sorry that you had to be reincarnated as a donkey, but the year-long punishment that heaven has decreed upon you is now over. I hope in your next blog life you will be given the audience you deserve.

ומחה ה אלוקים דמעה מעל כל פנים

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Restoring Rabbis Ruined Reputations

Blogs are a double-edged sword. They have successfully fought the abuse of power, but they also have the potential to become the abusive power themselves.

These were my thoughts when I read about some recent lawsuits that have targeted bloggers. It seems that the anonymity of blogging has allowed certain individuals the forum for revenging their gripes from years gone by. Finally, some of the maligned have taken their cases to the courts to seek monetary damages and restore their reputations.

I recall Raymond Donovan, the U.S. Secretary of Labor during the Reagan Administration, who upon acquittal of spurious charges famously stated "Which office do I go to get my reputation back?"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Milestones II

Milestones I

SoMeOnE pointed out that I am halfway through the alphabet in the quad letter series:

A, B1, B2, C, D, F, G, H, I, L, M, P, W, Y

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Yippee! Yossi Yields Yarns!

Country Yossi is the rare individual who can make one laugh so hard, and also cry so hard simultaneously (on the same recording).

It has been 20 years now since the last release of the Country Yossi Shteeble Hopper series. I am gratified to see that a new CD is scheduled for release very soon.

I can still recall the very first release “Wanted”, all those years ago which featured the classics such as The Cholent Song, and Big Bad Moish.

"Strike Again" then followed with Nebich of the Shteeble and Oh, My Yerushalayim. Then came “Still on the Loose” with Tick Tock and 7 Little Kids. “Captured” featured The Deaf Man in the Shteeble and the Phantom of the Shteeble. “Break Out” contained The Tiny Old Shteeble and The Ballad of Fetteh Shmeel.

“These I Remember” featured Sing, Zaydie, Sing, along with some earlier hits from the Ohr Chodosh years.

And now after all these years comes the latest offering “Ride Again”. According to here is an initial preview:

Twenty years in the making, this 14 song collection is truly the magnum opus of the legendary Yossi Toiv/Heshy Walfish collaboration! It features many unique, original compositions, ranging from Gemarah Agadata and Midrashim set to music (Rav Shmuel and the Myrtle twig, Elan Elan, I Am The Flower) to hilarious parodies of such Pop classics as Soldier Boy (Shabbos Goy), Oh Carol (Oh Yankel) and Kokomo (Boro Park) {You’ll plotz when you hear this one!}. And as an added bonus track, child prodigy Yehuda Turner belts out a CY original Poseiach Es Yudecha that will blow you away! Look for an Aug 1st release of this much anticipated album.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wise Wizards Weave Worlds – Wisdom of the Rabbi III

We have discussed the Wisdom of the Rabbi on this blog over here and here. Another great Chiddush I heard from one of my mentors is the very definition of the word Chiddush. A Chiddush, said my Rebbe, is something that you kick yourself that you didn’t think of it yourself.

The world does not seem to understand the tenacity in which the Chareidim protect the honor of grave sites. The Europeans have laws allowing for removal of any grave aged 75 years or more. Those who believe in no after-life are much more likely to be uncaring about grave preservation. They also primarily opt for cremation.

Knowing that Hashem works with his miracles through nature, It is just quite possible that Techiyas Hameisim will be performed through some means of DNA cloning. Perhaps that is a reason why we must be so careful with burial and preservation of cemeteries.

From Wikipedia:
Cloning may become a viable tool for reviving extinct species. In January 2009, scientists from the Centre of Food Technology and Research of Aragon, in Zaragoza, northern Spain announced the cloning of the Pyrenean ibex, a form of wild mountain goat, which was officially declared extinct in 2000. Using DNA from skin samples kept in liquid nitrogen the scientists managed to clone the Ibex from domestic goat egg-cells. The newborn ibex died shortly after birth due to physical defects in its lungs. However, it is the first time an extinct animal has been cloned, and may open doors for saving endangered and newly extinct species by resurrecting them from frozen tissue. It has also renewed interest in the possibility that in the future it will be possible to reproduce long-dead species such as woolly mammoths and even dinosaurs.

As for those who lost their life in airplane disasters or WWW II furnaces, I have no answer. Please offer yours in the comments section.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Brooklyn’s Best Build Bridges (Baseball - Hatzoloh vs. NYPD)

On Tuesday, July 6, MCU Park at Coney Island hosted the annual Hatzoloh vs. NYPD summer baseball classic. While I am not a fan of spectator sports, this contest was an exception for a variety of reasons.

Whereas following a sports team for an entire season leads to much batallah, a single game for entertainment purposes is certainly within the realm of reason, just as one would spend time going to a circus or a museum. Also, the proceeds of the game were to benefit Hatzoloh and the police fund which assists families who have had their breadwinner taken from them while on active duty.

The ballgame was played under a beautiful blue sky, as the sea breeze cooled off an unusually hot day. The Star Spangled Banner was sung by a Chazzan, and the contest was underway.

Now batting … Moishe, now batting … Avromi, now batting … Yitzi… there was a certain amount of pride engendered as the beard sporting, peyos flying, tzitzis wearing, pot-bellied over-the-hill team-members stepped up to the plate. Very quickly we learned that these medical volunteers were able to hold their own against NYPD’s Finest.

There were no assigned seats. Some sections were marked for various organizations, yet all felt comfortable sitting among the opposition’s fans. All were there for the same purpose; to enjoy a night out with family while supporting some good causes. There was a strong feeling of camaraderie.

Bringing together Jews of all persuasions and Police of all types goes a long way into healing stereotypical prejudices. Perhaps the officers will not be so quick to write a summons for a Hatzoloh member on his way to perform his duty, perhaps the Hatzoloh volunteer will recognize the difficulty of performing one of NY’s toughest jobs, when they engage one another as “people”, fighting for the same cause.

The officiating was sterling, the errors unfortunate, as the Hatzoloh team pounded out six runs to the mere two of their opponents. Highlights of the event included the NYPD chopper buzzing the field and Chazzan and choir’s rendition of “God Bless America”.

Kudos to the organizers and organizations that brought this Kiddush Hashem to Brooklyn.

Updated 7/8/2010 with video courtesy of gruntig

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Help Heal Homework Hazards

Another school year has ended and the camp season has commenced. Children can now play after dinner, with nary a thought of whether their homework assignments have been completed.

Homework has pros and cons, as many a principal and parent body can attest to. Teachers claim it refreshes the class lessons and allows parents to follow their child’s progress, while parents and certainly their children do not necessarily see this intrusion in the same light.

Yet for some reason, homework is here to stay. Being that is the case, why not alleviate some of the issues with homework by harnessing the power of the BLOG? Many a child often times does not know what is for homework, copies down the page number incorrectly, or purposely hides the assignments from the parents.

My suggestion then would be for teachers to post the homework of the day, term papers, book reports etc. on a school blog. Parents could also be given the option to “Go Green” and sign up for “paperless” notices. This would save the school much time and effort, not to mention postage to have the parent body informed of school trips, vacation days, immunization notices, etc.

Finally, this would alleviate the need for busy and costly info lines in the event of a snow day, as posted about over here .
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