Refusenik In Town: Last Chance Tonight!

Noam Bahat, the 21-year-old refusenik who sat almost 2 years in prison for obeying his conscience, gave yesterday an excellent talk at Columbia University. Tonight, 7:00 PM, is your last chance to hear him speak before he moves on to his next national speaking tour destination.

Event’s location: St. Bartholomew Church, 109 E. 50th St. (on Park Avenue between 50th and 51st St.)

17 thoughts on “Refusenik In Town: Last Chance Tonight!

  1. Too bad that this is taking place in a church. In the Talmud, Avodah Zarah 18a, we read that Jews may only enter a church a distance of 4 amos (about 2.5 meters), given that Christianity is avodah zarah (idol worship).
    No problem, of course, with Islam / mosques, since there is no “image” of G-d.

  2. I think you should blame that on the fact that its very hard to get a synagogue to host a refusenik (though not impossible – Yonantan Shapira from Courage To Refuse was hosted at Bnei Jeshurun a while back).

  3. in fact, isnt that the path choses by asaf: he deserts his fellow soldiers in their time of need, high tails it to ny to avoid the danger and difficulty of life in israel, soaks up the ease of life in ny, is forced to confront his traitorous activities and justifies his horrendous actions by criticising israel, he will soon turn against jews in general on his way to becoming a follower of the relgion of peace. just counting the days.

  4. Asaf,
    The fact that you get all wet about every “Refusenik” speaks volumes. However unlike Avi, I don’t feel you’re a traitor. Just someone I’d rather not have supper with.

  5. These ad hominem attacks on Asaf are disturbing. If you don’t have anything intelligent to say, just grit it and move on. Stepping in just to call people “sick” and “traitors” is hardly the Jewish thing to do…

  6. Sam,
    If you’re gonna walk into this throwing around “it ain’t the Jewish thing to do”, then I’d like to see the source. In fact, you’re wrong. It’s a very Jewish (Halacha) thing to do.

  7. The central prohibition against unethical speech is Leviticus 19:16
    ìÉàÎúÅìÅ?êÀ øÈëÄéì? áÌÀòÇîÌÆ?éêÈ Ó
    don’t go as a peddler of gossip
    This verse in Leviticus applies equally to Rechilut (any communication that generates animosity between people) and Loshon Hora (any derogatory or damaging (physically, financially, socially, or stress-inducing) communication.)
    The khofetz khayim lists a number of other mitzvot that one would be violating:
    Deut. 24:8 – “Take heed concerning the plague of leprosy” because it is a punishment of Loshon Hora.
    Deut. 24:9 – “Remember what the L-rd your G-d did unto Miriam by the way as you came forth out of Egypt.” Specifically, she spoke against her brother Moses.
    Lev. 25:17 – “You shall not wrong one another” which the Talmud (Bava Metzia 58b) explains that this means saying anything that will insult or anger someone.
    Deut. 19:15 – “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity or for any sin” because, unlike in a court for monetary matters, the testimony of a solitary witness is not binding, so that his testimony damages the defendant’s reputation without any beneficial result.
    Other more general ones include:
    Ex. 23:1 – “You shall not utter a false report.” Acceptance of a false report also follows from this.
    Lev. 19:14 – “Before the blind do not place a stumbling block.” This applies to both the speaker and the listener since they are helping each other violate the commandments.
    Lev. 19:12 – “You shall not hate your brother in your heart,” referring to contradictory behavior such as acting friendly but then speaking negatively about him behind his back.
    Lev. 19:18 – “You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the children of your people,” such as speaking against someone in anger and for something that was done against the speaker.
    Lev. 19:17 – “You shall rebuke your neighbor and you shall not bear sin because of him.” This verse contains two mitzvot: (1) stop someone from speaking Lashon Hara (among other interpretations), and (2) don’t embarrass him in the process. (Note: rebuke is not a simple topic, especially because the one being scolded may not always listen. This is covered in some detail in the second section of the book, Hilchot Rechilut.)
    Lev. 19:18 – “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    Num. 17:5 – “You shall not act similar to Korach and his company” who sustained a dispute.
    Deut. 10:20 – “To Him [and (by implication) his wise ones] shall you cleave.”
    Ex. 23:2 – “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil.” The above two commandments refer to keeping good company, which includes those who will refrain from improper subjects in their discussions.
    The exception shtreimel I suppose you are refering to is that it’s ‘acceptable’ and even ‘required’ to slander an apikorus… because its suggested that the apikorus doesn’t fit into the category of ‘your people’ that Levitcus speaks of…
    You’ve yet to prove to me that Asaf fits that definition…
    and even so… the permissibility to speak against the apikorus applies if one heard the heretical words directly from an individual. However, if he heard the heresy second hand, he is forbidden to speak against the person, whether in his presence or behind his back. Rather, he should suspect the person as an apikorus, and also warn others to stay away from him until the matter is clarified.
    In short I agree with Sam… if you don’t like it, save your precious neshoma from his polution, move on, and stop trashing your fellow Jew…

  8. My first post was religious in nature (regarding churches and avodah zarah), given the “Jew” in Jewschool.
    I was going in the direction of “why not make these speeches in a mosque, which Jews could attend, as opposed to in a church, which they could not?”
    Lerxst’s post, regarding loshon hora, also in a religious context, is quite helpful.
    The discussion of how to behave in a Jewish way in the modern world surely must be appropriate for this forum.
    I’m not suggesting that this forum should be like the excellent blog
    but looking at the Jewish angle to news and comments on the news should be fair game. No?

  9. “why not make these speeches in a mosque, which Jews could attend, as opposed to in a church, which they could not?”
    Um, Ushemartem L’nafshoseichem?

  10. “Ushemartem L’nafshoseichem” – the commandment to guard one’s health (Dev. 4:15).
    Perhaps it is a unhealthy leap of faith that such an activity would be safe ….?

  11. “Ushemartem L’nafshoseichem” is exactly what these lovable church-going draft dodgers are doing! Kol hakavod to you all.
    Staying out of the army and letting others die for Israel which is currently at war. No other way of saying it. Unlike the ‘right-wing’ ‘consciencious objectors’ who will only refuse the order to remove Jews from their homes, the traitorous ‘refuskeniks’ refuse to even defend Israel at all, and let others do the dirty work.
    By even claiming to be ‘the’ ‘consciencious objectors’, they are actually saying that Israel has no right to an army at all to defend itself, thus spewing the same anti-Zionist and anti-semitic crap that we accuse the Europeans and liberals around the world.

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