SD City Beat Reams Matis On Shomer Negiah

Edwin Decker writes in the SF City Beat:

Anyone who knows anything about Hasidism knows they’ve got a lot of rules. It’s a religion chock full of rules, really, many of which would make being in a hip-hop, pop, reggae outfit highly complicated. For instance, according to Hasidic law, Matisyahu (born Mathew Miller) must not have contact with women to whom he is not related. Which means he can’t even shake their hands when they want his autograph.
“It’s hard to [say no] to every other person who comes up to you,” he complained in the RS interview. “It can come off as disrespectful.”
When I read that quote, I laughed so hard my left foot actually careened off the pedal and my body sharply tilted leftward as I thought to myself, Did he really say that? “Come off as”? It can come off as disrespectful? As if it’s not actually disrespectful, it just sorta appears that way. Well, I have news for you, Matis: When you refuse to shake someone’s hand simply because she’s a woman—that’s what disrespectful is, you twit. That is the essence of disrespectful. It is the poster-encounter for disrespectful. Next to “disrespectful” in the dictionary there’s a picture of a Hasidic Jew lurching back in horror at a woman’s outstretched hand.
Come off as?

While the article is chockful of ignorance, loaded with misconceptions of Hasidism, completely misses the point of shomer negiah (I know way more women who won’t shake hands with men than vice versa), and could be considered borderline antisemitic, it nonetheless gave me a good chuckle.
By the way, the reason Matis stopped stagediving is not, as Decker suggests, because he got a call from “The Grand Exalted Imperial Highness of Hasid,” but rather because some chick grabbed his ass the last time he did it.

65 thoughts on “SD City Beat Reams Matis On Shomer Negiah

  1. I just saw this on one of my feeds this morning, it’s completely ignorant. This guy has an ax to grind with religious Jews. I was hoping there was a place to comment on that site, but there isn’t. If the writer comes around here, I just want to tell him, learn to be tolerant of other people. he has no tolerance of religion. I challenge that writer to come around here and try to defend his pathetic article.

  2. I enjoyed Mr. Decker’s article much better in the original German. The editing just isn’t what it was when Goebbels was on staff, but still a decent effort. I’m reasonably sure that the surname ‘Decker’ translates as ‘wanker’ in the southern German dialect, but I’ll have to check on that.

  3. From his article, “Such as Shabbat 33b, which states women are “light minded”; or Swidler 3, which claims, “A woman is a pitcher of filth with its mouth full of blood”; or Kiddushin 49b, which says, “Ten measures of speech descended to the world; women took nine,” ”
    Hey, he found a lost book of the Talmud. Swidler 3? I’m sorry, that Masechet is missing in my Bar Ilan CD.

  4. From his article, “Such as Shabbat 33b, which states women are “light minded”; or Swidler 3, which claims, “A woman is a pitcher of filth with its mouth full of blood”; or Kiddushin 49b, which says, “Ten measures of speech descended to the world; women took nine,” ”
    Hey, he found a lost book of the Talmud. Swidler 3? I’m sorry, that Masechet is missing in my Bar Ilan CD. Maybe I need to go to Mea Shearim and get a new Talmud set since I’m missing Swidler 3!
    Just one stupid example of his factual ignorance. Forget about his intolerance and prejudice, though I just love intolerant liberals.

  5. So first Matis is accused of using Chassidus as a “shtick”, and people have callled his didication to a hasidic lifestyle. Now, criticism of Matis’ observance is leveled using misinformation. How can this guy win?
    Being famous sucks.

  6. Decker wouldn’t be reacting that way if it was Muslim in a robe singer who refused to shake women’s hands because of his religion. Or a Budist in a Tunic, etc…

  7. A while back I was putting together a doc film about Orthodox Jews in Pop/Rock/Punk/Reggae bands. Mat was going to be our major feature (and then Jdub said no…blah, blah). Anyhoo, I was curious if Rock ‘n Roll and living a Halachic lifestyle are compatible. As a songwriter/guitarist involved with many bands, I don’t think they’re compatible (And our hero Carelbach is a perfect example of why). And to expect pop/rock culture to appreciate the nuances of our tradition (which if you don’t believe in God…many of our laws/customs smack of misogyny, racism, ethnocentrism and hatred) is asking too much. Personally, I think the author “gets” what MAY be wrong with this picture.

    WE SUCK!
    I SWEAR.

  9. Shtreimel:
    I am at a real loss to understand where you’re coming from. What’s wrong with Carlebach? From where I’m sitting it would seem to me that he has helped ‘bring back’ many of our generation through music.

  10. This issue with not shaking or touching a woman other than a persons wife or immediate relative (sister or mother)is respect of the sexes. That is it! Matisyahu has a very difficult job of staying in the mainstream and keeping true to his religious convictions. I give him kudos for doing a amazing job of keeping focused while his career is growing by leaps and bounds. For goodness sake he has “groupies” who would love to be more than just fans! However he is a married man with a child and he should stay focused on his job and be sensitive to his wifes feelings and his child ( when the child will understand what he may or may not have done)!

  11. Folks,
    Let me be very clear…
    Musicians, particularly the pop/folk/rock kind, are almost always a fickle bunch, who have narcissistic needs that can only be met by the adoring fan. And this causes all sorts of problems for the religious Jew. Most of us on Jewschool would have difficulty with my claim because “we want our cake, and eat it too”. To be a chassid…to sing songs where men and woman dance…drink…do drugs…all sorts of crazy things can happen.
    Carlebach was known to be promiscuous and a drug user. At a lecture in Vancouver, a few rabbis were discussing the profound impact he’s made on Jewish music, Yiddishkite, etc. A woman stood up and scolded the rabbis for not addressing the darker side of his infamous activities…of how many people he hurt as well as healed. A rabbi who received smicha from Carlebach said: “Carlebach taught be how to be a good Jew but also taught me what NOT to do as a husband and human being”.

  12. “could be considered borderline antisemitic,”
    Are you high?
    Take God out of the equation, and our tradition is full of racism, intolerance, warfare (hell, Deuteronomy is full of genocide), separation, uniqueness/otherness…
    Hell, most Chabadniks (and I like ’em) I’ve spoken to have compared Palestinians to “nazis” and strongly encourage “all means necessary” to dealing with ’em.
    So you take a guy like Mat who subscribes to this philosophy (Judaism and Chabad), stick him on a stage singing about peace, love etc., and the world loves him. But as soon as they find out what’s REALLY going on behind all the beats and delayed guitar lines, well…let’s just say that his/Chabad’s feelings on homosexuality, Israel, women, food, messiah, etc., etc., ain’t gonna go over too well.

  13. Dude, change the headline so it’s not maligning my city! That’s from San Diego, not San Francisco. Big, big difference.

  14. Just want to point out that this is SD Citybeat. Not SF. San Diego is the right wing California city, not to be confused with San Francisco. Our free weeklies suck far worse than theirs do. 🙂

    The same sort of idosyncharcies (sp? i’m fucktarded today) exist in MOST reggae/dancehall and hip hop.
    In fact, most artists in these genres are actively homophobic and mysoginist.
    So again.
    This ‘reporter’ is essentially using Matisyahu as an example by which he can pick apart the entire segment of humanity he theoretically represents.
    It’s a joke.
    A terrible, ridiculous joke.
    But one that will gain traction within a given circle.

  16. Do you know what I find totally disrespectful? When someone I don’t really know touches me. I’m not SN- I just like my personal space. And I am conscious of touch from members of the opposite sex. If a man I don’t know very well puts his hand on my shoulder or back it usually creeps me out. My “dictionary definition” of disrespectful is someone who insists on putting himself in my personal space.

  17. It seems to me that all the author did was a pretty damn good job of making an asshole of himself. Nothing I can say could sound be denigrating to him as the words he wrote himself.

    Should we expect the Palestinians to start dressing as Batman?

  19. If some Hasids didn’t refuse to allow women to drive cars, work in mixed gender workplaces, and didn’t consider hearing a womens voice to be a grave sin, and if they would also refused to shake mens hands, and if you can prove this author wouldn’t react this way to a fundamentalist muslim, maybe you would have a right to call this author border line antisemitic. The truth is when their customs become law, the difference between their society and Saudi Arabia is minimal.

  20. I emailed the editor and asked about the sources of those quotes from Jewish texts. I’ll post it here if I get a reply.

  21. Shtreimel:
    Seems like you have quite a hige axe to grind as regards Carlebach and Chasidus.
    As regards Carlebach, ‘Carlebach was known to be promiscuous and a drug user.’ I’m not worshipping at the mahogany shrine of Carlebach here, but I’d like a bit more evidence than just your word for it as anything less smacks of lashon ha’ra in my book.
    For the sake of argument, let’s assume that what you have stated is indeed fact. I still don’t see what point you are trying to make as our tradition is filled with flawed characters if for no other reason than perhaps to keep us from worshipping them and not G-d. King David was anything but the most moral and decent individual, but it doesn’t take away from his importance to our people.
    As regards the rest of your comments on Chabadniks, I would argue that for every one you can wheel out for criticism I can show you one that is a perfectly decent and moral individual. If you don’t dig Matis music, fine. But I think it a bit rich to judge him on the basis of the movement he subscribes to.

  22. Matityahu,
    You’re completely missing my point. I love chassidus and I’m friendly with Chabadniks. But when we as the narcissitic, decadent drenched world of Pop/Rock to be kind to Halacha, we’re asking too much. And I stand behind my comments about religious Jews who venture into the world of pop/rock. In other words, there’s a psychological need, beyond making music, to have fans adore you. And with that need, comes shadowy stuf such as, enjoying the attention of women (plural).
    Carelbach’s rep is legendary…seek out the info and you shall find.

  23. Carlebach’s rep is legendary…
    That’s the danger in crossing over a boundary to save lives. You might become a bad person sometimes, and if you care at all about the people you’re working for, it might be worth the risk.
    I thought it was interesting in the Matisyahu article how many big stars and institutions were willing to accept the demands, a sign of a different hollywood (or nashville, whatever) reaching out to a different market.
    Who is Matisyahu popular with? I’d argue/guess it’s less hippies and more Christians, looking for something “edgy” but still holy, appreciating the boundaried situation created by a Matisyahu show.
    Personally, he lost me as a fan by the “Hey guys, keep the dancing under control. feet on the ground, head in the sky” policy he holds by, tre unmessianic if you ask me.
    But yeah, it’s really easy for self righteous religious people to dismiss Shlomo as a womanizer whenever they want to justify their own self indulgent holiness, but really, informal poll: Do you know more people who were traumatized by Shlomo or somehow healed/inspired?
    Seriously, grow up in a world where no one talks to a girl, and then leave that on a mission to somehow find the true G-d of Israel, and go to a place where all the norms of society are being questioned and eveyone around you is creating a new romantic morality, and all the while, you’re struggling to not do the wrong or something— it’s easy to talk shit when you have “healthy” sexual outlets, or options or even any kind of language to deal with that kind of thing… I personally would like to meet any of the women who claim to have been mishandled, instead of just reading/hearing about them out of context, in magazines with agendas to push and bubbles to burst.
    Carlebach’s rep is legendary, and his torah is going to outlive any snaptalker’s “accomplishments.” Seek out the info and you shall find indeed.

  24. “Do you know more people who were traumatized by Shlomo or somehow healed/inspired?”
    Um, I don’t follow. Your logic is that all one has to do is be NICE to more people than one TRAUMATIZES and one gets off scot-free?
    I don’t really agree. I tend to think that even one case of sexual immorality is too many.

  25. ah! yeah, that’s one of the traditional arguments for not doing anything in the world, it’s better to do no harm that to risk helping someone. But you know what? people who were helped by someone who let themselves become dirtied by helping them very often appreciate it.

  26. Hello all, I saw up at the top of this string an invitation to defend myself here on this board. So, here I am. I noticed there were many angry responses to my article on this board, as well as in my email box, which became instantly flooded with angry hate mail, all of which I understand and do not begrudge you all.
    First of all, let me just say that I am not a bigot, racist, skinhead, nazi, anti-Semite – all of which I have been called in numerous emails and web posts. I can assure you, I do not hate Jews. It’s religion I can’t stand. Especially fundamental, orthodox religions.
    Secondly, the main poster said that I had all sorts of misunderstandings about Hasidism. That is probably correct. But it’s hard to get around statements like, “a woman is a pitcher of filth.” Besides. I’m not writing completely in the blind. I lived right next to Kiryas Joel, the largest (at the time) Hasidic community in the country. I knew, befriended, and worked for several Chasidics. I know more about their customs than the average secularist. And when you see women riding around in the back of a car with the men in front, well what’s a guy to think?
    Somebody mentioned that if this were a Muslim rapper doing the same thing, I would not have criticized him. This is a bunch of malarkey. People who have been reading my column for the last 10+years know that I often rant against all forms of religion, ESPECIALLY, my own birth religion Catholicism, which I have written dozens of negative columns about. Islam get no extra consideration.
    Please understand that my weekly column is humor/satire. Now I know that it’s no fun being the group/person/political persuasion I poke fun at that week. Rest assured you can tune in next week and find me picking on some other group. Most people/groups understand that it’s light hearted humor, when I criticize/satire their thing, but for some reason, when you criticize/poke fun at someone’s religion, they get all bent out of shape. Another reason why I take aim at religiosity – no sense of humor.
    My wife, by the way, is almost Jewish. Every Passover I sit with her family, put on my yamaka and show my respect. I say “almost Jewish” because only her father is a Jew. Her mother is not. Which, by Jewish law means she is not technically Jewish.And it’s that sort of backward thinking that makes me laugh at organized religions – I mean, come on, what does it matter to God whether the Jewish parent has a penis or a vagina. What difference could that possibly make?
    Look, I know the Jew’s have had a rough go of it. And nobody is as disgusted by the holocaust as me. But I despise ALL oppression. And when I see women riding in the back seat it makes me sad. Wasn’t it partly due to fundamental religious thinking that caused the Holocaust? And, as I said, it’s that sort of thinking as that repulses me.
    Edwin Decker
    [email protected]

  27. Eddie,
    You don’t mind me calling you Eddie do you, or moron, or numbskull or a host of other names because you know that I am not really calling you anything. It is all just satire.
    So when I say that you demonstrate the height of ignorance with your comments, that you are spewing out damaged goods that are based upon nothing but a tiny provincial point of view there really isn’t a reason to be upset.
    It is all satire. I love how people hide behind that. Say something that is offensive to someone and then run. And then when you actually decide that it is time to defend yourself you can hide behind the claim that it was all satire.

  28. Bravo Jack, Bravo. Now let me bring this tray of food to the basement where my wife is locked up, haha
    (twist beard and insert maniacal laugh here)

  29. Hmm, let me see, someone I never even met and has no bearing on my life has said something bad about me. Let me think about that. Nope. I don’t mind at all. You can call me whatever you want.
    I think it’s funny that you say I have “said something that is offensive to someone and then run” since I am here, defending my piece, not running, and making far more than just the one point that it was satire.

  30. Hi Eddie,
    Fine, so you came back to “defend” yourself. You haven’t made any significant points, other than with yourself. I am not calling you a nazi, or a racist or any names. All I did was point out that you are ignorant and that your little piece exposed that ignorance. I also made mention that I think that people use the term “satire” as a way to hide behind a rock.
    You are dealing with different cultural mores. If you have respect for other cultures than you can look at them and see how they might have their own place. And if you really want to be more progressive and less provincial you can try and find out why people act a certain way.
    You claim that Chasids are “mean” to women. Have you spoken with any Chasdic women. Have you ever asked them if they feel oppressed, or is it more important to just slap a label on a group and see if it sticks.
    BTW, if you didn’t care what people think you wouldn’t be here defending yourself.

  31. any attempt I have ever made at speaking to Hasidic women was always refused. In the Kiryas Joel community, it was only the men who were permitted to speak to me. But ok, Matisyahu is Chabad. Fine. Then what about Niddah
    Take this from
    “Talmudic scholars extended the period of separation so that it lasts a minimum of 12 days. Separation begins at the first sign of blood. According to Jewish Law, the minimum period of menstrual flow is five days. Separation ends in the evening of the woman’s seventh “clean day.”
    In addition, the rabbis broadened the Law’s definition of separation. Whereas the Bible prohibits intercourse, the rabbis decided that a man should not share a bed or even touch his wife while she is ritually impure.”
    how about the fact that women have little rights during divorce.
    like this from
    “The School of Hillel holds: [He may divorce her] even if she burnt his meal.
    Rabbi Akiva says: Even if he found another more beautiful than she.”
    Come on people, you can’t be serious when you say that women are not disrespected. You treat the perhaps the most defining thing about being female — their menstrual cycle — like a filthy thing. They have less rights then men during divorce. And you won’t shake their freaking hands. Juding by the literature and teachings of your religion, if you ain’t disrespecing your women, you ain’t doing it right.

  32. Ed, you are making yourself look like the dumbest moron on the ‘net. I can also take things out of context. Why don’t you come to Crown Heights and ask the women here if they unhappy. The women who are business owners, teachers, real estate agents, principals, doctors or artists.
    Once again you are showing how little you understand about religion. Instead of RESPECTING or being TOLLERANT of the laws of Niddah, or learning more about them. You go to a website, and paraphrase the sentence that you like.
    Your a real piece of work, you know what you are? Your a freakin hypocrite. You are a anti Semite and you are an intolerant ass. Sowing tolerance is not just for things you like or understand. These women chose this lifestyle with the laws and customs that all hold true. You think Niddah is a wrong practice? Tough luck on you, my wife believes in it. In fact if you wanna get personal, at the time where I HAVE BEEN LAZY, it was my wife who keeps me in line and tells me how important the laws are to HER. Then she goes to work and runs an entire department in her office.
    You disgust me.
    Why do you keep coming back here …. don’t you have some small children to trash?
    You should be ashamed of yourself. Why don’t you have the minimal decency to just say “I won’t trash what I don’t understand” did your mommy or daddy make you feel sad growing up? Did your father beat you while your mother chanted Hail Marry? Go see a shrink you loser.

  33. Ed,
    Your interpretation and understanding is quite limited and that is affecting your ability to construct a meaningful reply.
    If someone looked at the US Constitution and never bothered to read the amendments what would they find. A document that made it clear that only white landowners had the ability to vote.
    If they reviewed court cases they might come across Dred Scott and think that this ruling was applicable to modern times. They would be incorrect and would look quite foolish in doing so, but there is no prohibition against that.
    The bottom line is that at best you have a limited understanding of what you are talking about and that impacts your ability to comment authoritatively. At worst you don’t care about your ignorance on the topic and are willing to say anything.
    Not a smart way to debate, not a smart way at all.

  34. Dameocrat, no one is debating that there are some Chasidim that treat their wives badly, but that should reflect on the persons individual character not the religion they are part of. You may even have an argument for certain communities in certain Chassidic sects that something needs to be done.
    There are thousands and thousands of cases of black men who treat their wives like “hoes” or white southern men who get drunk and beat the crap out of their wives. That doesn’t mean all black and white southern men are horrible people, it just means those individual people are bad people.
    Taking some cases from the most extreme Chassidim in the world, to prove your point that a totally separate person from a completely different group of people doesn’t show respect towards women is a terrible argument.
    The fact remains that women have made unbelievable strides in the Chassidic communities at large and especially in the Chabad sect, of which Matisyahu is a part of.
    People who lash out at religion such as you and Mr. Ed usually have some very deep psychological issues that would be better addressed in a Dr’s office, not trying to pass for an intelligent debate on this blog.
    Additionally, labeling me a “flamer” doesn’t make your argument stronger, it’s just a sad way to make up for your lack of facts.

  35. You labeled him an antisemite for god sakes! Now you admit he is a critic of religion in general. You know now that he grew up around the satmars but it made no difference.

  36. Then he should write about this angst toward Satmar. Not use his issues with Satmar to trash something a Chabad guy said. How does that make sense? That’s called stereotyping and generalizing.

  37. The Chabad admitted to not shaking hands with women. He criticized him over this. The chabad aren’t as bad as the Satmar this is true, but it is legitmate to criticize him over it. It isn’t like the Chabad dont’ force that on others either. In Israel they have kept the government from recognizing reform marriages, reform divorces, and allowing mixed services at the wall. Furthermore the chabad don’t allow female rabbis so equality within the Chabad is a problem.

  38. I haven’t heard of too many Chabad women complain that they aren’t being allowed to get Simcha You know why? Because they don’t want to become Rabbi’s.
    The problem here is the same as it was from the first comment on this thread. You (and ED) have to learn to RESPECT and be TOLLERANT of other peoples religious beliefs.
    Stop worrying so much about everyone else and focus on yourself. Why do you hate people who believe in something so much?
    It must be hard living in such a closed minded world.

  39. Well you could find women that defended not voting too, perhaps fourty percent of them did, but many women have left over it, and I might suggest more should.

  40. I think this article is the source of “Masechet Swidler”. Decker quoted a secondary source quoting a secondary source, and thought he was quoting a secondary source quoting a primary source! Ha ha!

  41. Part of the mystery of the imbalance between men and women in religious communities is the degree to which it’s only because the women want it to be that way. In subtle ways, they’re the ones keeping things as they are,
    You don’t understand Ed, it’s not our fault we defend these norms, nessesarily. Our wives and mothers insisted to us since we’re little that these are for the sake of their honor and protection, and until the pretty girls turn things around for us, we have to defend the norms. If we don’t, they’ll not trust us, or marry us, if the concern.
    Hassidic men (and women!) have more sex than liberated free people throughout their lifetimes. Can you really ask us to risk losing that, for the sake of abstract modern “equality?”
    The protctions have to do with staying in control and safe in a world of infinite, insatiable desire. Keeping women in the back of the car means that if legionaires come to invade, they’ll be able to escape first. This is subtly and unconciously how old communities protect themselves from the Unpredictable Other. If gentile are nice for long enough, we’ll feel safe eventually.

  42. Ed – You wanna play the “out of context” quote game? Should we take apart the constitution? You painted yourself into this ignorant corner where you think all religious men are a bunch of woman haters who treat their wives like crap and swing clubs around while dragging them from the hair.
    Maybe you heard a couple stories of Chassidic men from Kiryas Joel who do treat their wives like dirt. But the fact remains that in today’s Chassidic world it is nothing like that.
    You don’t want to pick up a phone call a few real people, or get into your car and drive to a couple real Chassidic homes and see for yourself. Go to University City near your home, they’re is a very nice Chabad Rabbi there, actually a few, and their wives have major responsibilities within that community. Go ask them if they feel like they are being mistreated of made to feel ‘lees than’ because of Niddah or an inability to get a piece of paper that says they can decide if the chicken is kosher.
    Your views are based on ignorance and a refusal to do REAL research and make competent judgements.
    If you were just some Shmuck in the crowd I wouldn’t care, but the fact that someone who must have been inebriated at the time gave you a real job as a writer at a newspaper, means you can spread your outdated and libelous ideas to many more unsuspecting non Jews who have even less contact with the Jewish community and therefor create a more serious bias against people they never met.
    So again, for that, I thank you. Thanks for keeping outdate stereotypes alive!
    Shabbat Shalom
    PS – What’s next week’s article, about the Christian childrens blood we use for our Matzahs? It’d be just in time for the holiday!

  43. Again Chaim you are over the top, claiming accusing them of not shaking hands with women is the same as blood libel. Ok, whatever. If women are so happy how do you explain reform and conservative judaism?

  44. BH
    dameocrat, you are completely ignoring or ignorant of the spritual aspects of nida. when you criticize without knowing what you’re criticizing, without knowing what adherents know, and you don’t bother to learn or understand the depth of sprituality that is involved, you sound like those who do use blood libels and other types of libels to denegrate (or worse) the faith and people.
    without going too deeply into it, nida has nothing to do with filth or the subordination of women. as a son, a husband, a father, and a friend to many observant women, i don’t know any women in the community who claim to be or act as if they feel subordinate. in fact, it’s really and truly just the opposite. the women i know are all for it, love it, and are happy to teach BTs all about it.
    men and women are not the same. we never have been and never will be. we are physically, intellectually, and spritually constructed differently. that doesn’t mean we can’t hold the some of the same jobs, etc. do some men feel and act as if women are filthy or subordinate? absolutely. are some of those men chosids or orthodox jews? sure. do those men exist in the reform and conservative communities? no doubt. secular? yep. agnostic and athiest? of course. there are stupid men everywhere. just as there are stupid women who denegrate themselves by believing they are less than men or even other women or even their own children and treat themselves as such. i’ve gone on too long…
    i thought jewschool was a place where intelligent people can share ideas, learn from each other, debate a bit, etc. it’s dissappointing to see here some of the same wanton ignorance that one can read on the boards at slate or any other such place. i still believe jewschool is that kind of place, but it’s sad to have to defend some core beliefs and traditions against attack, because that’s what it is, in a place like this. oh well.
    good shabbos to all.

  45. Dame, not shaking hands is his religion beleif. Can’t you be tollerant of that? Matisyahu’s wife won’t shake your husbands hand either. What do you say about that?

  46. Nobodies talking about making it illegal, but religious beliefs aren’t sacrosanct and many religious beliefs are questionable, for instance beliefs in racial superiority or beliefs that encourage abuse of children. What bothers me about the Chabad is that they hold beliefs that would make “Kyle’s Mom aka Dan’s mom have a shit fit if it came from a Roman Catholic, particularly on the subject of birth control and abortion. I think they get a lot of slack from the Jewish community because of their countermissionary activity. I acknowledge they do some good things. So do the Satmar, particularly when they offer a religious basis to question the occupation of the west bank. That doesn’t justify slander like blood libel, or the recent cartoons depicting Mohammed and thus all muslims as suicide bombers, but I don’t think questioning a real theology or practice qualifies as libeling a religion.

  47. Chaim, by all means, pick apart the constitution. It is rife with problems also. And I’ve written as such. and of course I get all these angry emails saying that I’ve blasphemed a sacred document and blah blah blah. Institutions are like people. None are perfect. None are above criticism. Maybe my criticisms are wrong, but that’s how i see it. Labeling me nazi, skinhead,anti-semite just puts me in your appropriate box so that you never have to question your own beliefs. I mean, you didn’t even look inward. If only to confirm your beliefs. You just lashed outward at me and I think that’s sad. Open minds people, we need to open our minds all of us.

  48. I’m hesitant to jump in here, but I find it ironic that someone should end up defending his “criticism” of religion on a blog that is, if anything, devoted to question and debate about our religion and traditions.
    I just gotta ask: Edwin, dude, do you really believe that the Holocaust was caused by “religious fundamentalism” of the type that you referred to (ie Hasidic fundamentalism)? Did you really just equate the attitudes of a community with which you clearly have, at most, a passing knowledge, with the basis of the final solution? Are you out of your forking mind?
    Just needed to ask.

  49. When you write an article discussing tolerance for both religious and non religious people than I will start taking anything you write here semi-serious. Until then your words are empty. You still have yet to show even the tiniest amount of tolerance for religious people. Have a happy Passover Easter rest of the day.

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