Aug 10, 2009

A Day of Strange News

1. An Ashkenazi Rav won the right to be the Rav of the Ethiopian community of Bat Yam.

Ethiopians are not particularly "sfardi" over "ashkenazi". So it is not that that is strange, though you would think it perhaps more normal for an Ethiopian to have won the position. This fellow is married to an Ethiopian woman and have kids together. So he is definitely as fitting and appropriate as anyone else.

What is strange about this is that Shas is upset, claiming their rep should have been given the position, specifically an Ethiopian Shasnik. Shas is basically saying they are closer to the Ethiopians than Ashkenazim are, though there is not really any basis for that unless you look at the fact that they are both dark-skinned, which in todays world should not matter. Once again, it is Shas who keeps everyone thinking in terms of race, rather than breaking down those barriers.

2. Ahmed Tibi was invited to speak in a yeshiva camp symposium. His participation was "canceled" at the last moment, he claims. Tibi says the yeshiva told him his invitation has been revoked, as supporters of the yeshiva who heard about it told the yeshiva to uninvite him.

Baruch Marzel, also a participant in the symposium, claims that he was told by the yeshiva that Tibi backed out at the last minute, on his own initiative when he found out that Marzel would also be a participant.

I'll take Marzel's word for it over Tibi's any day!

3. Salomon Dweck, a.k.a. the "Shtinker of Deal New Jersey" made an unusual round of phone calls. He called the families of all his victims, in a lightning round set of calls so nobody would be prepared and he would have the element of surprise (I am not sure what he needed that for), and asked for their forgiveness.
He could not speak to most, as the news reports they all hung up on him as soon as he identified himself, but the wife of one victim took the phone call. When he asked for forgiveness, claiming the FBI forced him to do everything he did, she told him the only time she would forgive him is when she would first see his rotting corpse cut up in pieces and distributed around the main street of Deal".

Those Syrians sure have a way with words!


  1. Your comments about whether Ethiopians are closer to Ashkenzim of Sfardim reminds me of when I was a Madrich at an Ethiopian absorption center about 15 years ago.

    During a break, the Madrachim (who came from various Yeshivot) were discussing amongst ourselves a Halachic topic with different rulings for Ashkenzaim and Sfardim.

    When one of the kids (maybe 7 years old) walked in, jokingly one of the Madrachim asked if she was Ashkenaz or Sfardi. She looked back at the Madrich and said "Neither - I'm chocolate" (it sounded better in Hebrew).

  2. Sounds like עונת המלפפונים to me!

  3. Finkel,The butcher of monsey ( now in rehavia,jer.)also asked for forgivness.the answer was a very harif poster.(can be found on CIRCUS TENT blog.)

  4. well certainly within the religious camp, the sephardim were more willing to accept the ethopians as jews

  5. loz, you understand that accepting the ethiopians as jews is highly problematic, from both a historical and jewish perspective. that sefardim accepted them more easily may appeal to certain contemporary liberal sentiments, but does not necessarily comport with halakha.

  6. anonymous

    if Rav Ovadia feels that the ethiopians are jewish, thier acceptance very much comports with halacha.

    there is no reason to say "well if the badatz doesn't agree, then its problematic".

  7. addendum: rav ovadia is one of the last people for whom contemporary liberal sentiments are a factor in anything.

  8. Im posting about the Ashkenazi / Ethiopian rav story as well (soon, when I get home :)

    Shas didn't want a Ethiopian Shas Rav, but a Sephardi Shas representative.

  9. the $1Million question is- is Dweck telling the trth about the FBI forcing him to do it?

    Not so much for 'blaming' or 'unnblaming' Dweck - but how much of a stake did the FBI actually have in targeting a prominent Jewish leader like Rabbi Kassin and other Jewish Rabbis?

    If I was an AMerican Jew this question would scare the pants off of me.

    I am surprised no one is talking about it.

  10. 1 according to rabbi b wein ,the falashas are decendants of SLAVES of bnei dan.
    2. Daas torah blog brings what dwek did might be mutar.


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