Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka gets a job and passes the bar exam


Monday, July 31, 2006

Internet, Television, and Telephone Outage

Last Thursday night, around 9:20 P.M., lightning struck my house. Kaboom! The whole house shuddered and within a few moments I realized the extent of the damage. One of the computers starting painfully wailing with a blue screen of death and the speakers emitting a painful klaxon. The other flickered for a moment and came back to life. The internet was down, and my Wi-Fi router was destroyed. Two out of three televisions were fried as well. (thankfully, the 37 inch LCD was spared. Telephone service was knocked out. The roof antenna was damaged. The ethernet cards on both my desktops were destroyed. Somehow the computers themselves survived.

So now it's Monday and phone service has been mostly restored, I'm one coax cable splitter away from television, but Time Warner isn't showing up till Wednesday to fix the internet. Till then it's painfully slow dial-up at home. Hopefully the new router and ethernet cards I ordered will show up soon. I think I'm going to stay late at work today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Only Disproportionate Force Is Not Enough Force

Richard Cohen atones for horrible column last week with a very good one this week. He basically says that the whole "disproportion" argument put forth by the Europeans and others is a load of crock.

Money quote:

It is not good enough to take out this or that missile battery. It is necessary to reestablish deterrence: You slap me, I will punch out your lights.

Or as a professor of mine in college said on September 12th, 2001 when asked how the U.S. should respond: "Nuke Afghanistan. You punch me, I cut off your arm". He wasn't joking, much to the shock of many in the classroom.

Safe At Home

My sister returned this morning from Israel. She was there for the past four weeks in a touring camp, roaming around the country. She had this really large map of whole country with little round stickers over different cities, towns, and other places the camp had visited. I swear it looked liked Hezbollah's target map. Haifa, Rosh Hanikra, Kiryat Shmoneh, Nahariya, Meiron, Tzfat, etc....

Lucky for them, they finished touring the North the day before the rockets started falling. The spent the rest of the tour in Jerusalem area and Eliat. Other camps, from what I've heard, were not so lucky, and spent most of the time hunkered down in Jerusalem.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Subtle Anti-Israel Bias

DovBear has be looking at the NY Times and searching for evidence of an anti-Israeli bias. So far I can't complain. See here and here. But take a look at this week's Time. It's sick. There are several stories on the current conflict. Let's start with the front page which shows a picture of bombed out Beirut, with the headline "THE WAY OUT...Of this mess. The six keys to peace in the Middle East."

Preceding the first article are 3 photos, each spread over two pages. The first one is another picture of bombed out Beirut with a quote from a Lebanese taxi driver about him not leaving his neighborhood to defy Israel.

The second photo is of a injured woman crying and being held by her brother. A caption tells us that an Israeli airstrike killed members of her family. There's also a quote from a the chief of the Lebanese Red Cross about terrified civilians.

The third photo is of a squad of Israeli soldiers in full battleground and camouflage. There's a quote from the IDF notifying Lebanese community leaders that they are going to invade and they better get out.

Then there is the main article, a piece of drivel written Michael Elliot. It's titled "6 Keys To Peace". It reads like it was written by a third grade student. There's nothing particularly biased about it; it just doesn't say anything that hasn't been said for many, many years.

Two articles about Bush and Iran follow.

Then comes a rather unflattering hit piece on Olmert. Quick summary: Olmert overreached, possibly for political reasons to shore up his very thin military resume. There are three photos: one of Olmert writing something while holding a flashlight in his mouth, one of Israeli APCs moving into Lebanon, and finally, a small picture of weeping relatives over the casket of an IDF soldier.

Finally, there is an article (actually more of a human interest story) about Hezbollah. Lots of pictures, including a real creepy one of children dressed in fatigues saluting and pledging their commitment to martyrdom.

To summarize- out of 17 total photos, 4 are of Israel: 2 pictures of the IDF, one of Olmert, and one of a grieving family. No pictures of Israeli towns damaged by Hezbollah rockets. On the other hand, there are 2 pictures of bombed out Beirut, one of a grieving mother, and lots of random pictures of Hezbollah family life.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Civilian Deaths

This is how I think, how my brain operates. When I read the news and see that Israeli airstrikes have killed lots of Lebanese civilians, I'm upset. Not because innocent civilians have been killed, but because each additional civilian death increases international pressure on Israel to end their military operations. And if Israel ends the attacks before they complete their objectives, we're going to be right back in this same situation 6 months, a year or two later. There's no way around it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A GOP Anti-Semite

Check out this anti-semitic rant at DailyKos. No, ooops, it's on, one of my favorite conservative websites. Pat Buchanan is a horrible, horrible individual. I could spend time trashing everything that he wrote, but it's so obvious so I'll save my time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blogging During A War

For some reason, I feel guilty writing about anything that doesn't have to do with Israel. Dating, politics and same-sex marriage just don't seem that important. But on the other hand, I can't seem to bring myself to blog about Israel. Everything that needs to be said is being said by others, and I'd rather read the news updates than write about my opinions on what Israel should do.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hot, Hot Hot

It's days like these that make me almost feel bad for the smokers smoking outside their office buildings.


Only In Israel

From the Jerusalem Post:

Police: Do not take Katyusha rockets as souvenirs

Israel police on Monday urged the public not to take pieces of Katyusha rockets as souvenirs, warning that they pose a security risk.

The unusual police announcement came as Hizbullah continued to fire dozens of rockets on northern Israel for the sixth straight day, and after at least three Israelis were seen picking up pieces of the rockets to take home as a memento, Israel police sapper Yehuda Peretz said.

He noted that the pieces of rockets containedelectronic wiring and explosive charges which wereliable to hurt the curious souvenir shoppers.

Friday, July 14, 2006

17th of Tamuz Meme

It's been a while since the J-Blogosphere had a meme go around, so I figured I'd start a new one.

What did you break your fast on last night? (And if you didn't fast, just make something up)

I broke my fast on the same thing I always break my fast on: A chocolate danish, Tropicana orange juice, cheese omlet, and a bagel and cream cheese.

I tag Nephtuli, Romach, Shoshana, Chaim, Ezzie, Sara, and DovBear just to get the ball rolling.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm Hungry

No need for alarm yet, but one of my co-workers is slowly morphing into a giant hamburger.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Why Soccer Sucks

Yes, I know the World Cup is over. And I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually watched the last 15 minutes of overtime and the penalty kicks. (Well I actually watched it because it looks incredible in hi-def. I can watch any sport in hi-def, even curling)

Watching the end of the game only reinforced my belief that soccer is a horrible, boring sport. What kind of sport decides the world champion based on penalty kicks? That's like deciding the Super Bowl based on field goals. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And then I read this. Never has someone more perfectly summarized everything that is wrong with soccer.

Money quote:
Soccer is the perfect game for the post-modern world. It's the quintessential expression of the nihilism that prevails in many cultures, which doubtlessly accounts for its wild popularity in Europe. Soccer is truly Seinfeldesque, a game about nothing, sport as sensation...In truth, soccer could be played without using a ball at all, and few would notice the difference.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More On Gay Marriage

Richard Cohen doesn't like last weeks New York Court of Appeals ruling on same-sex marriage:

The majority decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith, more or less said that marriage has traditionally been between opposite sexes -- and, until the legislature decides differently, it should stay that way. Reading the decision induces vertigo from page after page of circular reasoning.

Richard Cohen likes last weeks New York Court of Appeals ruling on same-sex marriage:

Judge Smith does suggest one salient point: As unjust as the present situation is, it should be the New York legislature's obligation to fix it, not the courts. This strikes a chord with me, since if we have learned anything in the 33 years since the Supreme Court insisted on the right to an abortion, it is that it's sometimes better to have such advances based on legislative, as opposed to judicial, decisions.

Richard Cohen doesn't know anything about the law:

Yet the case for same-sex marriage is so much clearer and easier to make than the complexities that produced the tortured reasoning of Roe. It is based primarily on the easily understood and widely accepted words of the Declaration of Independence: "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Last time I checked, the Declaration of Independence isn't a law. It's a declaration of independence. Neither the U.S. Constitution, not the New York State Constitution mentions the word "happiness" in it. Thus happiness can't be used as a Constitutional barometer.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Charedim In The IDF

Back in August of ’99 I had just arrived in Jerusalem to start my post-high school yeshiva stint.  It was the first time I had been to Israel since I was little kid.  On one of my first days there I ran into an older guy that I knew from summer camp.  While we were schmoozing, a soldier walked by with an M-16 slung over his soldier.  He had long, flowing peyos and a large yarmulke on his head.  I casually mentioned that I thought that sight was pretty cool and wished that I would see it more often.  Instantly our schmoozing turned into a full-blown argument about Charedim not serving in the IDF.  He went through all the typical excuses.  (Learning Torah is more important, if you join the IDF you’re going to end up not being frum, etc, etc).  But one reason he gave seemed novel to me.  He claimed that the IDF didn’t want Charedim to serve, that they would make terrible soldiers, because they are non-violent, gentle people.  Secular Israelis, OTOH, grow up in the Israeli public school system, so they are more appropriate for combat.  

I though of this today after reading about the first Chasid to join the NYPD.  I’m certain that he’ll make a fine officer, and should the situation require it, he’d be able to use force just like any other cop.  

Then I started remembering all the riots involving Charedim that go on in Israel every couple of weeks.  When you read the accounts it’s pretty clear that Charedim are very often not non-violent, gentle people.  They throw rocks and bottles at the police, light dumpsters on fire, kidnap bodies from the morgue, et, etc.

Why can’t these energies be channeled into something useful, like defending your country, or in Joel Witriol’s case, by defending your city and neighborhood?  


The NY Post's front cover story is about the first Chasidic Police Academy recruit; beard, peyos, and all. It's a cute story, and hopefully it'll help alleviate some of the distrust that exists between the cops and the Williamsburg and Boro Park communities.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

No Gay Marriage In New York, For Now

I haven't read the opinion yet, but one quote caught my eyes, which sums up the the entire debate about using the courts to create SSM. From Judge Robert Smith:
"We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives".



I read the majority opinion. Good stuff, well reasoned, and focused on the law, and not emotion. On the other hand, the dissent starts off with emotional fluff about homoesexuals wanting to live full lives and better their communities.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dealing With Missionaries

Late Monday night I ran into one of those Jews for Jesus guys hanging out in Forest Hills. He spied my yarmulka and handed me a flier for a concert or something. I took it ripped into a few pieces and kept on walking. I'm pretty sure he said "feel better"? as I discarded the shards into a garbage can.

Did I do the right thing? Should I have taken the flier? Should I have thrown it out later? Or should I have engaged this guy and tell him that for 2,000 years my people would have rather been killed rather than renounce their faith?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Memo To Self:

Never go into work again on Erev Fourth of July. There's hardly anyone here today and I have nothing to do.