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Von Cello 

Post No. 578
12/12/2006 09:08 AM
  
Comments (1)
Here a line, there a line

Oh yeah, the other thing you mentioned was that our troops are now on the front line in Iraq. I agree, and we see the toll the war is taking in death and lost limbs and lost sanity. But in all fairness, the Israelis are in a much harder position. It is not just the soldiers who are on the front line, but the citizens...even women and children. What do you think it does to the psychie of a country when discos are blown up full of teenagers, when women and children are blown up in pizza parlors or school buses, when families are blown up in restaurants enjoying a holiday meal? Just imagine what WE would do to a nation that had the nerve to do that kind of thing to us! And then there are the constant bombs that have and are being shot into Israel day after day! If you listen to Israel National Radio you hear that even though there is a supposed "cease fire" going on right now, the Palestinians are STILL shooting rocket into Israel EVERY DAY! Yes, it's absolutely insane! You hear the radio commentators furious about it, and they ask, "Why doesn't our government go into Gaza and take it over again?" And can you blame them? Who would put up with this?

So, yes we sent over 100,000 men to be on the front lines in Iraq, but Iraq is across the sea, and no one is shooting bombs into Boston, and no one is afraid to get a slice of pizza in Burlington for fear of being blown to smitherines!

Does anyone use that word any more? Smiterines? What is a smitherine anyway?

Von Cello 

Post No. 577
12/12/2006 08:56 AM
  
Comments (1)
Nine Lives

They say a cat HAS nine lives, but with Cat Stevens maybe we should say a Cat KILLS nine lives!

If you read the post below you will see that the Cat man (aka Yusef Mohammed) supported the fatwa that called for killing Salman Rushdie because of something he wrote in a book! To me that is beyond sick. Later in time, he tried to squirm his way out of that comment by saying that he was new to Islam at the time and had the overzealousness of a new convert, but he never said that it is WRONG to kill someone who insults Mohammed. Indeed, he would probably still say that is true. Plus, as the article says, even if he really was sorry now, the fact that Islam has in it beliefs that justify killing people over comments they make, or beliefs they have, shows the deep problems that exist in Islam, even if one is a so called "moderate". And it just shows you that here is a musician that one would tend to think of as "cool and peaceful" yet once he became a Muslim he called for the killing of another artist, due to a few sentences in a book. That says a lot about the true nature of Islam!

As for land, Yusef has plenty of land. He is an English citizen! As for the Arabs as a whole, they own at least 100 times the amount of land that the Jews have. As for the Palestinians, like I said, they are a made up group. Up until recently they called themselves "Arabs" and in fact refused to have the word "Palestinian" on their passports so as not to be considered part of an area with a large amount of Jews. The so called Palestinians could easily move to Jordan (which is majority Palestinian already, and represents 80% of the total area that was originally supposed to be shared by Muslims and Jews). So, already the Arabs took 80% of the Palestinian Mandate away from the Jews. Now the Palestinians are fighting over the 20% left to the Jews.

Yet, even now, the Palestinians have 100% of Gaza to themselves! The Israeli government pulled all the Jews out against their wills, leaving the Palestinians with a land completely Jew free! Even though Israel is about 20% Arab! And how did the Palestinians thank them? By kidnapping soldiers and shooting rockets into Israeli cities almost every day! So, they already have some land! And they are already showing what kind of use they make of their land! So, what should Israel do? Give them MORE land? So they can shoot more rockets, and kill more Jews?

It's the American way to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and try to be fair to all. But what would we do to a group of people who were shooting rockets into our cities day after day, and coming onto our soil and kidnapping our soldiers? Look what we did to Afghanistan and Iraq!! So who are we to criticize Israel for not giving the Palestinians even more land from which they can attack? One of the key problems in the middle east is the double standard that many people hold. They expect Israel to tolerate a level of violence that we would NEVER allow. They even expect Israel to turn the other cheek and give land to those who are trying to destroy it. Yet we do not turn the other cheek. We do "Shock and Awe" on people just because we believe they have WMD's. All I ask is for people to be realistic, and not judge Israel by a standard that their own countries do not even attempt to reach.

As for Gefitle Joe...I believe I heard their song on the Dr. Demento Show. Do you know that radio show? I don't know if it is still on, but he played great novelty records. Gefilte fish is something that you probably have to grow up with to enjoy. Most Jews absolutely LOVE it. It's best when a little warm, with a glaze of gel and a carrot on top. Then you add some horse raddish. I like the kind mixed with beets. And you get a spicy, delicious blend of fish with matzah meal that makes a perfect appetizer for a holiday meal...although I don't know how it would go over on St. Patrick's Day!
Von Cello 

Post No. 576
12/12/2006 01:22 AM
  
Comments (1)
Cat or hungry lion?

eaburke81 

Post No. 575
12/12/2006 12:07 AM
  
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Visions of (kosher) Sugar Plums

Guess what, I found an album entitled "Hanukkah Rocks" by a different, Jewish band....the LeeVee's.
check out their site below:

http://www.theleevees.com/

The've got songs entitled "How Do you Spell Channukkah?", "Latke Clan", and Sour Cream VS. Applesauce" to name a few.

Couldn't find Gelfite Joe's actual homepage....I'd need that to contact them and request a CD to play on-air.
eaburke81 

Post No. 574
12/11/2006 11:53 PM
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Gelfite fish with a "side" of Israelis.....mm, mm good!

Von Cello wrote:
"So, all I think a typical American needs to do is to not be swayed by the propaganda, get informed, use common sense, and be a friend to a country that needs friends desperately, and deserves our friendship. The Israelis are really like the Marines of the West. They are on the front line fighting against Islamic militancy".

Will do, Aaron. I cannot send money at this pretty impovrished time in my life, but I can shift my mind more to their side and support their cause, which now I know much more about. (Though I still I hope some of the non-extremist, not virgin-obsessed Muslims(i.e those who really want peace) will beable to gain a peice of land too... I mean, does Yusuf Islam, the former Cat Stevens, have his own land and respect? He should cause he's pretty cool and peaceful too).
And what you said about the Israelis being on the front-lines....our soldiers are on the front-lines in Iraq, so I guess we can really realte to the Israelis....being able ot relate to your neighbor promtes peace in my book.

as for gelfite fish....saw some jars of that in the supermarket the other day. I'll look up Gelfite Joe and the Fish on the net...thanks for the tip, Aaron.
Von Cello 

Post No. 573
12/11/2006 03:29 PM
  
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No blood, just friendship

I guess I didn't directly answer your question. Your question was what can an American do to be supportive of Israel? Israel has never asked for America to send soldiers. It is a country that prides itself on being able to defend itself. All it asks of America is financial aid for weapons to fight the vastly larger Arab forces that surround it, and political support. Israel does get a lot of U.S. aid, but Egypt gets about the same, and the Arabs as a whole get more.

There are politicians and talking heads who every now and then call for ending aid to Israel. That is basically a call for the destruction of Israel. Either that or a call for Israel to align with other large powers who are not necesarily on our side (like Russia and China). So, most Americans see the value in continuing to support Israel. Even though the anti-Israel crowd talks about "Jewish control of congress", or "the Jewish lobby" running U.S. policy, that is all really hateful speech. The fact is, most Americians support Israel because it is a valuable ally, and most Americans know that Jews are a valuable group in our culture.

The Arabs, however, are very clever. They have infiltrated many "peace" organizations and "social justice" movements. They talk about justice for the Palestinians...as if Israel is being unreasonable when it arrests suicide bombers, etc. They talk about "apartheid", as if seperating yourself from people who are constantly killing you is immoral. They talk about Israeli "occupation" and "oppression", as if Israel really wants to occupy and oppress another people! They paint the victim of their violence and hostility as the aggressor. They turn reality on its head. There are even large segments of the Muslim world that openly deny the Holocaust. Today, in fact, there is a conference going on in Iran to deny the Holocaust! So what does that say about the mentality of these people?

So, all I think a typical American needs to do is to not be swayed by the propaganda, get informed, use common sense, and be a friend to a country that needs friends desperately, and deserves our friendship. The Israelis are really like the Marines of the West. They are on the front line fighting against Islamic militancy. And without their help, we would have an even harder time fighting them ourselves.
fred and murry 

Post No. 572
12/11/2006 02:52 PM
  
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http://www.ferrickteamdentistry.com/

foto of reed
fred and murry 

Post No. 571
12/11/2006 02:50 PM
  
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http://www.ferrickteamdentistry.com/

foto of reed
Von Cello 

Post No. 570
12/11/2006 02:08 PM
  
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Happy Christnukah!

There isn't that much Jewish Chanukah music. Chanukah was traditionally a much more low key holiday than Christmas, so the only song most Jews know is the Dreydle song. Aside from that there are humorous songs about Chanukah. The most famous is the one by Adam Sandler. There is a funny song called Chanukah Rocks, but Gefilte Joe and the Fish (a take off on Country Joe and the Fish). There is also a beautiful piece for chorus that I have heard at school concerts but I forget the name. It speaks of sitting by the candle light and getting feelings of love. I wish I could be more helpful.

As for the Palestinians...I think there are many good people among them who would like to have peace. The problem is that there are so many "radicals" that the word radical doesn't even apply. Radical means someone out of the mainstream, but hatred of Jews and the West is becoming mainstream in much of the Arab world. So maybe the "radicals" are the ones who want peace. Indeed, one risks imprisonment and even death in some Arab countries if he openly calls for peace with Israel. So this is the problem.

How does it affect Americans? Well, Israel is overall a Western nation. It shares our values as far as democracy, embracing the modern world, desiring peace. I think it affects American much the same way as England does. During W.W. II we didn't want to get involved in the war. If you study that history you will see that there was a very strong isolationist movement. I suppose you could call them the "neutral" party. In fact, there are many who believe that Roosevelt knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor before it happened. Of all the "coincidences" he moved our aircraft carriers and about half of out planes just days before the attack. So it is quite possible that he allowed America to be attacked in order to galvanize the country to finally attack Japan and Germany. The motivation for this came largely from Churchill who made it known that England was near to fallling, as France already had. So American got into the fray to protect our ally England.

Now you could ask, "Why is it our business to protect England?" But that's what alliances are all about. By keeping England alive, we also kept a strong ally alive, who has stood by us many times since then. I think the same is true of Israel. Israel gives our country a tremendous amount of intelligence. Israel has spies all over the Arab world. The Mosad is famous for its skill in penetrating the enemy. Israel has also given us a tremendous amount of technology. I believe Israel invented night vision, the pentium computer chip, a lot of the "star wars" technology. They are a truly important ally of the U.S. Imagine what the world wouild be like if they were allies of Russia, or China? The U.S. would suffer a lot for that. So that is why there is so much support for Israel in the U.S.

I see that a lot of anti-Semites are now trying to make it seem like Israel is a burden. They would like to sacrifice it on the alter of better relations with the Arab world. But I think that is really a fools bargain. Does anyone who really understand militant Islam think they will all pack up their toys and go home if Israel is destroyed? That's as dumb as thinking that Hitler would stop after he had Czeckeslovokia. People who are hell bent on taking over the world simply do not stop UNLESS someone stops them. If they destroyed Israel and got away with it, it would only embolden them to "finish the job" and they would soon set about destroying the next group of "infidels".

Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle. With the internet and other technologies the whole world is now able to see and hear each other. We have no choice but to sit at the table and play our hand.
eaburke81 

Post No. 569
12/11/2006 09:17 AM
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Looking for a few good "latkes" ( I mean, Jewish CDs)

One more quick thing NOT related to the Middle East peace process....or maybe it is. Hmmmmmmm?

I am on the search for some good music with a Chanuchka theme to play on my radio show for the Holiday season. Our Jewish-themed music selection is meager to say the least (SMC is a Catholic School), and none of it is specifically related to Chanuchka. Since I play a world music format, and like to review and play Holiday-themed music, one of my goals is to be as eclectic and diverse as possible in order to satisfy every musical taste possible.

So Aaron, Fred, Murry, inflatablecello, anyone reading this posting, could you suggest some good Jewish bands or artists for me to research....Chanuchka-related is most relevent at this point, but any kind of Jewish music is fair game too.

Thanks and Happy Chanuchka to my Jewish friends out there. You'll be in my prayers.

And as always, you can listen to my show year-round on-line every Friday 5-8pm E.S.T @ http://www.wwpv.org/ (the link is above in my profile as well.
Von Cello featured often cause he's cool! Nuff said!
eaburke81 

Post No. 568
12/11/2006 09:04 AM
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I am a link....so where do I fit in this chain?

Aaron - I see what you're talking about...the Palestinians are indeed carrying out violence and hatred on the Israelis...there is no denying that and I abhor these actions. One need only watch the news to see the Death toll monting on both sides.
I also find it scary that extremist muslims feel that killing themselves and others around them is their personal ticket to a big, soft, cushioned seat in Heaven, (Islamic, of course), with 72 Virgins to their name. (Man, I only hope Catholic heaven has something to look forward too...what am I saying? God's there)!

Anyway, I understand the Palestinians hate Jews and the West and are seeking to wipe out all that Judaism stands for, as well as all Jews and I denounce their behavior.....it's epic and scary! I also know about the U.N. charter and the Palestinian allegence to the Nazi party....your articles have been very informative.

Though the only thing I have not been able to understand in this whole conversation is the following:
Are you, or our Government, asking me and my Countrymen to do something about the Israeli-Palestinian conflkict, and what can/could we do? That's what I just don't get...I cannot comprehend a situation as vast and as dire as this one. I if there is a way for me to help in someway then I would definately consider it. Could you straighten my out, Aaron? Now If I celebrated Chanuchka, a clear place for me in this chain would be all the Chanuchka gift I need....no dreydls, no latkes, none of those delicious chocolate coins, mothin'.....that's IF I celebrated Chanuchka.....just help me to understand where I fit in in the Middle East peace process.
fred and murry 

Post No. 567
12/10/2006 11:51 AM
  
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it says that teacher pay sucks
immigrants want their kids to go to top schools and become rich people
not teachers
infact even 2nd 3rd generation americans from anywhere want this
it says that th new jews of nyc are oriental,infian etc
the old jews of ourdays have since moved on thru this system and are infact the rich ...but i love that the system remains open and not closed as some of my rich childhood friends now in lonh island would like .....
Von Cello 

Post No. 566
12/10/2006 11:39 AM
  
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Back to Brooklyn

I had a gig yesterday in Brooklyn. It was at Brooklyn Polytech. Yes, a school that produces scientists and computer programmers hired a string trio to play for an open house. It was interesting to get to observe a place and a group of people I would not otherwise see. A lot of people enjoyed our playing, especially the security staff!

In the group was a violinist from Montana, another from Kiev (Ukraine) and yours truly, born and bred in Brooklyn. When I was a kid growing up in Canarsie I must say it never crossed my mind that I would one day be playing in a trio with musicians from Montana and Kiev at Brooklyn Polytech on Jay Street!

I noticed that the student body was almost all Asian, either Indian, Muslim, or Oriental. The staff was almost all white traditional American. I don't know exactly what this says about the future of America, but I'm sure it says something.
Von Cello 

Post No. 565
12/09/2006 09:31 PM
  
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What would Jesus do?

I can understand one remaining neutral about a conflict they don't understand. For instance, I guess I would have to say I am neutral concerning the conflict between England and Ireland. On the one hand, I feel that countries should not be controlled by other countries. But on the other hand, I have heard that a lot of English live in Ireland and a lot of Irish want the English government to have a say in what goes on there. I must say, I am pretty ignorant about this conflict, especially lately as it has not been in the news for years.

On the other hand, if, for example, the Irish voted in a government that had in its charter a call for the utter destruction of England, and contained insane lies about England being behind all of the problems in the world (as the Hamas Charter does about the Jews)...and if the Irish were constantly going onto school buses, and into pizza parlors, discos, hotels, and blowing themselves up strapped with ball brearings and rat poison, so that as many innocent English people as possible could be killed, and maimed and put into extreme pain...and if the Irish were part of a gigantic group of people around the size of all of Europe who had a history of trying to destroy England through warfare...and if the Irish had a religion which said it was their God given right to kill English people and if they did they would get to have sex with 72 virgins in heaven...and if the Irish lauded as heroes the murderers of children and danced in the streets on news of horrible mass murders of English children....then I would obviously NOT be neutral but would support the English! Is that wrong of me?

I'm sorry, but I find it cruel and inhuman to be neutral about a culture of death that celebrates the killing and maimiing of innocent women and children because they are of a different religion...that has in its founding document a call for the destruction of another nation...that blames all of the world's problems on one group of people...that turns down peace settlements, choosing instead years of bloody conflict.

Again, it goes to, "Am I my brother's keeper". Or maybe, "What would Jesus do?" I doubt very highly that Jesus, who was after all a Jew, would stand idly by as he saw innocent Jewish school children blown to bits, or teenagers in a disco disfigured for life, or famlies having a Passover diinner, having it become The Last Supper as a suicide bomber blows the whole family to kingdom come. I really don't think Jesus would be neutral about that.

Now, you could argue that he would also not be neutral when the Israeli government attacks and kills Palestinians. You could argue that Jesus would stand up for the Palestinians against the aggression by his people. But Jesus would also know, better than anyone, that his Father gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people and promised them that even though He would exile them, He would also return them. And he would know that the United Nations gave the land legally back to the Jews in 1948 in sympathy after the Holocaust, but the children of Ishmael attacked and attacked, and are still attacking. He would also know that Israel offered the Palestinians 95% of the land they requested in the Oslo process, and offered to make up the difference with other land, giving them 100% of the land they said they wanted. And he would know that Arafat's answer was the "Intifada", i.e. the indiscriminate killing of thousands of innocent Jews for no good reason! Yes, I am confident that Jesus would not be neutral about that.

But then again, who really knows what Jesus would do about anything? All we can really know is what WE would do. I KNOW that I would be against ANY group of people who acted as the Palestinians have acted and continue to act. I really do not believe I am biased in favor of Israel. I am biased in favor of any group that defends itself from a culture of hatred and death that is constantly attacking it. That is why I support the Kurds, the Tibetans, the Christian Sudanese, and most other groups who are in this type of situation.

The only excuse for neutrality is ignorance. And if one chooses to remain ignorant, or blind, then that is ones' choice. What is much worse than neutrality is supporting the wrong side. They say "a little bit of knowledge is deadly", because if people only have a little bit of knowledge they can think that they understand something when they don't. And when people take strong stands based on a little knowledge, it would be much better if they were actually ignorant and neutral.

Ya know...some men say they want their women "barefoot and pregnant". I like my women "ignorant and neutral"!
Von Cello 

Post No. 564
12/09/2006 05:37 PM
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Neutral or Moral?

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eaburke81 

Post No. 563
12/09/2006 03:49 PM
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Care for a bite of my "neutral"-grain bar?

Oh yeah, Jerry Seinfeld has a schtick, Howard Dean has a schtick....(at least the media portrays him of haivng one...."AHHHHHHH"!); comedians and politicians are two examples of people who have schtick...a defining persona or routine or behavior.
I guess my schtick would be my un-wavering decision to stay in the middle; in between the various sides someone could choose on an issue. The way I feel about Isreal and Palestine, at the moment, is that both sides are to blame for attrocities to their opponent.....I don't think think our governemnt, or anybody else should say "oh, poor Isreal", or "oh, poor Palestine"...both are beating each-other senseless like school-yard bullies and they know it. It all seems like a lose-lose situation to me.
This may sound like a bit of a cop-out, but I feel all I can do, as a young, American adult living far across the sea from the Middle-East, is pray that both sides will one day enjoy peace. As you said Aaron...I represent the young, middle-ground college graduates (on this guestbook, anyway) who choose to stay nuetral especially in matters that don't immediately effect Americans. This is who I am and I'm proud of it. If neutrality works for Swittzerland and Costa Rica (they have no army), then it can work for me.
Von Cello 

Post No. 562
12/08/2006 02:05 PM
  
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Come on Inn

I don't know why I called it my schtick. I guess I was joking around. But I see schtick as different than gimmick. A gimmick is something one uses to get attention. A schtick is more like one's gestalt, one's modus operandus, one's rasion d'etre. In that context you could say that Osama Bin Laden does his Al Qaeda schtick, George Bush does his president schtick. Everyone has a schtick!

The celtar is not really my schtick, it is more like my stick. Meaning that the stick is used to do the schtick. My real schtick is to get people to question their assumptions and find a way to come together under the banner of reason. I know that it may not seem that that is what I'm really after, and I know a lot of people see me as doing the opposite, but there is a method to my madness. The celtar is but one example of what can happen when one gets beyond the barriers of this is this type of music and that is that type of music, or this is this type of thought and that is that type of thought.
eaburke81 

Post No. 561
12/08/2006 12:59 PM
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There's enough room at this inn!

Von Cello wrote:
"The world is big enough for traditionalists and modernists. Maybe that is why I play rock on the cello. The mixing of tradition with modernism is my "schtick"!

To this I say: "Praise the Lord"! (And I'm not even a priest or rabbi, homosexual or otherwise).
The very fact that tradition and modernity are able to co-exst harmoniously in this violent world is proof enough for me that God is good. But call your celtar your 'schtick' or "a gimmick', or waht you will, but whatever you call it, you're "wriggling air molecules" as Zappa said, and you're playing music...simple, honest-to-God music that does not come from a computer. Amen!

Von Cello 

Post No. 560
12/08/2006 09:51 AM
  
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Schtick

Christianity is different than Judaism in that it started as a "reform" movement. In fact, you could argue that the disciples (who were all or mostly Jewish) were the original reform congregation. Jesus said it was okay to abandon most of the laws of the Torah. At least that is what Paul said he said. He said it was okay to not keep kosher, okay to work on the Sabbath, etc. He said the laws basically come down to one law: love. So on what basis does one have to believe that the rules of the church are God given and can't be changed?

I suppose one could say that the Pope has a special divine connection and just "knows" what is right or wrong. (Of course Protestants would deny that.) Or you could say that Jesus left it up to each church to determine it, and the people must follow. But that is definitely one step removed from the Jewish concept that God Himself blazed his law onto the tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain. As the say, "Written in stone". So, in the Jewish religion it is very plain, "Do you choose to follow what is 'written in stone' or do you choose to follow the changing morals of society?" Further, "Do you choose to reinterpret the law, like Conservatives, of just accept that you are choosing to not hold it sancrosanct, like the Reformers?" Even amomng the Orthodox there is some wriggle room because it is not always crystal clear as to what a law means, but their approach is to try to follow what they believe to be the original intent of the law.

Jews were put down in the New Testament for being so "legalistic". The Pharisees are often portrayed as people who were so caught up in the details of the law that they were blind to the fact that God Himself was standing right in front of them, in the body of Jesus. Jews to this day reject that interpretation fo the Pharisees. They would say that the Pharisees were right to be consumed with accurately following God's law down to the finest detail. What could be a better use of one's time, they would ask. And this debate between the faiths goes on to this day.

But the bottom line is that it is much easier for a Christian to justify changing the law of the church, than for an Orthodox Jew to justify going against the law of the Torah. Orthodox Jewry stands as a solid oak tree, unbending in the shifting winds of time. Whether or not one agrees with the Orthodox position, I'm glad that somebody is out there holding on to tradition. The world is big enough for traditionalists and modernists. Maybe that is why I play rock on the cello. The mixing of tradition with modernism is my "schtick"!

Von Cello 

Post No. 559
12/07/2006 11:33 PM
  
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Von Cello 

Post No. 558
12/07/2006 11:13 PM
  
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The (Gay) Russians are coming!

Tonight I played in a string quartet for the Danbury, CT, Bar Association...that's bar as in lawyers, not drinkers. Although sometimes it's one in the same. But the interesting thing was that I was the only American in a quartet of Russians!

One of the things I learned in my years of music conservatory training was how to play in a Russian style, so I managed to fit right in. A highlight was playing Tschaikovsky with these guys. They REALLY got into it. As an American growing up on Rock N' Roll, I always feel a little self conscious when I play certain types of classical music...like Tschaikovsky, because it is so emotional. But these guys reveled in the emotion unabashedly. I must say, it was fun to play this music with people who are from the country of its origin. (Or course, I had some grand parents and great grand parents who came from Russia, but I grew up very American.)

By the way, Tschaikovsky was gay. And he killed himself. It must have been unbearably hard to be a gay composer in his time period in Imperial Russia. Today he'd be on all the talk shows! He'd parade around with his "partner", and be the toast of the town. Heck, he might even convert to Conservative Judaism and get ordained as a rabbi!
Von Cello 

Post No. 557
12/07/2006 11:01 PM
  
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My Rabbi is happy and gay...tra la!

Rosner's Blog
Shmuel Rosner Chief U.S. Correspondent www.haaretz.com/
Posted: December 06, 2006

The abomination debate: Jewish conservatives on the verge of a new era

Twenty-five Conservative rabbis began a thorny debate yesterday on the place of homosexuals in their movement. The rabbis must decide: Can homosexuals become Conservative rabbis and cantors? Can Conservative rabbis conduct same-sex commitment ceremonies? (Update: the Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards allowed the Movement's seminaries to ordain openly gay and lesbian rabbis and cantors)

The Conservative Movement - once the largest Jewish movement in America, but now steadily shrinking - has been debating the issue for some time. In 1992, it rejected proposals for homosexual equality, but since then, the pressure has intensified. The problem, explained one Rabbinical Assembly member, is how to explain rabbinic decisions to Conservative laymen, many of whom "don't understand the halakhic issues involved. They live in a liberal society, and they simply want us to change the laws, just as America changed its laws to give homosexuals equal rights."

For opponents, such a radical break with tradition is not only unacceptable, it could also even be grounds for leaving the movement. This is the most divisive debate the movement has experienced since its debate 30 years ago over equality for women.

Rabbi Joel Roth, who formulated the movement's 1992 opinion against any change in the status of homosexuals, said at the time he simply could not identify any halakhic loophole that would permit such a change - and because the Conservative Movement defines itself as a halakhic movement, such a decision would require some basis in the religious sources.

"An inability to legitimate homosexuality halakhically makes no negative claim whatsoever about the humanity, sanctity, worth and dignity of homosexuals," he stressed in a lecture on the subject. But the Torah's blunt statement on homosexual relations - that a man lying with another man as he would lie with a woman is an "abomination" (Leviticus 18:22) - leaves no wriggle room, say Roth's adherents.

Opponents of Roth's view argue that the Torah prohibition, as well as subsequent rulings by the rabbis, related to a different time and a different type of homosexuality. The Torah, they say, banned what existed then, but could not have banned today's homosexuality, because the current incarnation of same-sex relations is an invention of the modern world.

"Sex, in antiquity, was an activity, not an orientation," explained Rabbi Bradley Artson, one of the advocates of this view. "The meaning of the activity was determined by its context. In the case of same gender sex, that context was always one that treated a human being as an object, or [one] of oppression." And that, he argues, differs from today's model of consensual, caring, same-sex relationships.

"The rabbis were never at a loss for ways to transform or circumvent a biblical institution when later on it came to be viewed as ethically unjustifiable," added Rabbi Howard Handler.

Five different rabbinical opinions have been submitted to the committee for consideration, ranging from no change through limited rights to complete equality for homosexuals. This gives the panel some room to maneuver, and the prevailing view is that it will opt for a compromise: It will adopt one opinion that forbids homosexual ordination and same-sex commitment ceremonies, and another that permits them.

The rules make such an outcome possible: The committee requires a majority of 13 to adopt a binding ruling, but only six votes in favor are needed to adopt a "responsum" - defined as one possible interpretation of a halakhic issue, but not the only one. Thus the committee is widely expected to adopt two contradictory responsa but no binding ruling. That way, each Conservative congregation could decide for itself.
eaburke81 

Post No. 556
12/07/2006 05:15 PM
Email eaburke81  
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I'd like those Commandments Super-Sized, please.

From a Catholic perspective, I don't think Catholicsicm could have survived through the Twentieth Century with out the changes that occured to the faith as part of Vatican II in the 1960's. I too, see Catholic doctrine, the Torah for Jews, and the Koran for Muslims, as the real words of God, but I feel if God is an entity who truly loves us, then he or she, or it, would want us to make changes to a small part of the faith to ensure it changes with the times and makes it a little "easier" for us to worship God. I think Jesus would be pro-changes to the mass and other worship if he were alive today becuase he loves us.....sorry if that sounded too much like a halmark card...but he did and does love us. As the old question goes: "what would Jesus do"? Well, if he was alive today, I belive he would call for Church leaders to rule the church honestly and reverently, leaving room for the faith to change with he times I said before. He would also call for more of a separation of church and state, which we definately need to convince Bush to do.
fred and murry 

Post No. 555
12/07/2006 10:15 AM
  
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who is the ko.sheriff?

i guess its the McDonalization of religion. you start selling only burgers but when u see they want chicken too you sell that too and then ice cream .You do it to keep the collection box filling..Is modern religion or judaism being McDonalized.or maybe the originsal blueprint for religion isnt so clear afterall or maybe its clear but allows legally by gods intention for flexibility....
Von Cello 

Post No. 554
12/07/2006 09:43 AM
  
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What's the point?

I may be too dogmatic, but I don't really see the point of a religion if all of its laws can be broken or changed. A religion is not like a country. In a country there is no right or wrong except for what the people of the country agree for it to be...or in the case of a dictatorship, what the ruler deems it to be. But a "religion" is supposed to be "given" to the people by God. I can understand that there are areas where God allows the people to interpret His word and make their own rulings. But I don't think it is considered "kosher" to totally break the law.

This is the problem I have always had with the Reform Movement and the Conservative. I don't understand how one "reforms" the word of God. You either believe it or not.

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