Wednesday, May 31, 2006


What do you call one Dutchman? -- A believer.

What do you call two Dutchmen? -- A church.

What do you call three Dutchmen? -- A schism.

The Godol Hador ( writes: "There are about 20 ‘major’ world religions currently extant, which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones too. 34,000 separate Christian groups alone have been identified in the world. Also, if you include all the different religious traditions that ever were, you get about 12,000 faiths. "
[See remainder of his post here: ]

Well, the Godol Hador and his readers have already mentioned Mormonism in many details (including special Mormon undergarments, for illustration of which a zesty picture was provided), but one religion they have not mentioned is Dutch Reformed Christianity. Perhaps because it is goofy.

[Lest you jump all over me for dissin' someone else's belief system, I make haste to mention that unlike you, I am entitled to diss all over Dutch Reformed. From the sixth generation after the black death through the thirteenth generation, ancestors of mine have been Dutch Reformed - seven generations of pissy Protestants, of which five were in the new world. That's on my father's side. On my mother's side it's severe Scots-Irish Presbyterians mixed with even more Dutch Reformed. Even though the last three generations on either side have not been pissy Protestants (being instead rather sceptical of and casual about religion), I've got Dutch Reformed coming out the ears. In part this is also because I lived in the Netherlands (for sixteen years, from my second to my eighteenth year), which, of course, is more or less the great elephant burial ground of Dutch Reformed. So, I'll diss Dutch Reformed all I darn well want.]

I shall not delve into the arcane mysteries of Dutch Reformed belief, primarily because you, the reader, do not really need to know these things.
If you are Jewish, it would be too much information about something you normally think of as avodah zara.
If you are Dutch Reformed yourself, you are probably already twisted as all git-out.
And if you are something else, you would not understand anyway because it is more intense and complicated than anything in your own simple-minded denomination.

I shall instead somewhat superficially describe the chain of events whereby the one became the many, and the many ended up picking fights with each other.

The whole ghastly mess starts with the Frenchman Jean Cauvin (John Calvin, 1509 - 1564), a theology and law student at Paris, whose strident call for reforms in the Church resulted in him fleeing for his life in 1533, eventually ending up in Geneva in 1536. His thought was influenced by much of the theological ferment then current in Europe, including Lutheranism and Anabaptism.

There are also indications that much of his thought was influenced by headaches, gout, indigestion, kidney stones, and rheumatism, and many other aches and pains. This is significant - Calvinism is rigid and unyielding, and very tolerant of pain.

Two of the basic themes that he developed further were Biblical authority (as opposed to Church authority) in matters of the faith, and predestinationism (which more or less means that if you ain't one of the select, it doesn't really matter what you do in your life, you're hosed anyway).

He was a voluminous writer, publishing several volumes of commentary on both the Tanach and the Christian Subsequentia (N.T.).
[Lest you ask, I must add that his Bible commentaries are not comparable to Rashi, Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, Sforno, et al - don't ask.]

Two major ethno-denominational groupings eventually formed that were based on Calvin's thought: Scotch Presbyterianism, and Dutch Reform.
[And both of those ethno-denominational identitities come with "baggage" and "issues". Hmmph.]

At the same time as Calvin was stirring up a mess in the Alps, Netherlandish cities and nobles were getting steamed over Philip the Spaniard's attempts to unify the Netherlands into one coherent legal and administrative system.

The Netherlands which Philip had inherited were a loosely unified mess of conflicting law codes and civic privileges, sporadically called to order by a grand meeting of the States General in Brussels. While all territories were represented in the States General, not all played along with its decisions, and even fewer had any intention of doing so in any consistent manner. Other than in name, their unity lay in resisting Philip and disagreeing with each other.

The Dutch have always been a quarrelsome bunch of stubborn pissants. Which, at that time, was also evident in the various re-interpretations of Christianity gaining currency in the Netherlands - yet another situation that contributed to Philip's ire.

The situation exploded in 1567 when Philip sent the Duke of Alva (may his name be erased!) into the Netherlands to eradicate dissent and destroy heresy. In 1568 Alva had two of the grande seigneurs of the Netherlands, (counts Egmont and Hoorne), executed in the Grande Place in Brussels. Their crime was not disloyalty or treason, but that they had been too permissive of Protestantism, even though they themselves had remained Catholic.

The executions may have been pointless. But they did serve as tinder.

For the next four years, Alva savagely suppressed all dissent, political and religious, throughout the Netherlands, painting a swath of blood and murder across all the provinces. The tide turned in 1572 when the Sea Beggars captured Briel in 1572, gaining a foothold along the coast. Within the next few years the rebellion gained strength and territory, eventually unifying all of the northern provinces. Protestants, who faced certain death in the south, fled north in large numbers, and contributed their skills and their lives to the cause of the rebel republic .

[Among the refugees from the Spanish terror were two ancestors of mine, Willem van Deursen (b. 1542) and his son Peter Jansen van Deursen (b. 1575), who left Brabant and ended up in the city of Haarlem, where in 1607 Abraham Pietersen van Deursen was born (1607 - 1678?), who would subsequently emigrate to New Amsterdam.]

The war between Spain and the Dutch lasted until 1648, by which time Protestantism, in it's rather severe Calvinist form, had become entrenched in the north. Thenceforth Dutch quarrelsomeness would have the perfect medium in which to manifest itself - religion. Not until twentieth century politics would another so perfect vehicle for petty dispute and despicion come along (and how the Dutch enthusiastically jumped on that bandwagon is another story).

Among the first actions that the Calvinists theocrats took was the banning of Catholicism in Protestant cities. Thereafter they started fighting among themselves.

Not only in the Netherlands.

The first Dutch Reformed church in the new world was established in New Amsterdam in 1628 (about six years before my first American-born ancestor, Isaac Abrahamsen van Deursen (b. 1635) saw the light), and the first church was built in 1633 on what is now Pearl Street in Manhattan. The Brits eventually seized the property for military purposes, and a new church was built in 1693 on Exchange Place. By the end of the century Dutch Reformed congregations had arisen all over New York and New Jersey, including areas which are now Hareidi strongholds such as Brooklyn, Flatbush, Hempstead, Monsey, Paramus, etcetera.

By 1792 the Dutch American churches split off from the Dutch churches, at which time they already consisted of various splinter groups on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1816 Dutch government meddling created even more splinter groups, all disunited in opposition to the official approved Dutch Reformed denomination. In 1822 more seceders split off from the Reformed Church in America to form the True Dutch Reformed Church, while in 1834 dissidents left the Reformed Church in the Netherlands to form two new denominations, the Christelijk Afgescheiden Kerk (Christian Separatist Church - CAK) and the Gereformeerde Kerk onder het kruis (Reformed Church under the cross, aka the Cross Churches).

That's not the end of it. Did I mention that the Dutch are a stubborn bunch of quarrelsome pissants? I really should have.

In 1841 pastor Ledeboer and his group in the Netherlands bailed out and set up shop separately, along with others (forming the Ledeboerian faction). A number of these people headed for the U.S. in 1846 under the leadership of Pastor Albert Van Raalte, becoming the second group of people to immigrate to North America to get away from religious freedom (the Puritans having been the first). They established the settlement of Holland, Michigan (gosh what an imaginative name for a settlement of Dutchmen!). By 1850 they had more or less united with the Reformed Church in America.

Shortly thereafter, a group of dissenters split off from the Second Reformed Church (in Grand Rapids) and the Fourth Reformed Church (in Pella) to form the Christian Reformed Church. The True Dutch Reformed Church joined with the Christian Reformed Church in 1890, forming their own classis within the movement - classis Hackensack. In 1908 most of classis Hackensack withdrew from the Christian Reformed Church in a dispute over the faithful joining civic lodges or fraternal organizations.

Please note that 'Second Christian Reformed' is USUALLY a term for split-offs from the Fourth Christian Reformed church (Pella), which itself is a split-off variant of Dutch Reformed.

Second Christian Reformed should not be confused with Third Christian Reformed or First Christian Reformed, even though most Christian Reformed Churches adhere to the same source documents: The Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort.

Many Christian Reformed Churches, when they still worshipped in Dutch (in some places up until the nineteen-seventies or eighties!) still held to the Psalter of Petrus Datheen (1531 - 1588) (though note that some "Reformed" Churches held instead to the Psalter of Marnix Van St. Aldegonde (Philip van Marnix, lord of St. Aldegonde, 1538 - 1598), and a few deviants had long since switched to either the first or second Statenberijming, which dates from governmental meddling in church affairs starting in 1816 under William I).

Meanwhile, back in the swamp..., errm, I mean the Netherlands, several of the congregations of the Christelijk Afgescheiden Kerk and the Cross Churches combined to form another denomination - the Christelijk Gereformeerde Kerk (Christian Reformed Church, but not the same as the Christian Reformed Church in the American Midwest. In 1886 Doctor Abraham Kuyper and his followers split off from the official Dutch Reformed Church to unite with Christelijk Gereformeerde Kerk.

The Ledeboerian churches in the Netherlands joined with the remaining Cross Churches in 1907, forming a denomination which called itself the Gereformeerde Gemeenten (Reformed Congregations).

The remaining Ledeboerians in America had meanwhile formed the Netherlands Reformed Church in Michigan (in 1877), but, inevitably, there were more schisms to come.

In 1924, Reverend Herman Hoeksema of the Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids refused to agree to the teaching of the doctrines of common grace and presumptive regeneration, and left the church with most of his own congregation, plus a congregation in Kalamazoo, and other dissidents. In 1926 they organized the Protestant Reformed Churches. Their unity lasted for less than thirty years, nearly half of the members splitting off in 1954 to form the Orthodox Protestant Reformed Churches - which came in out of the cold in 1961, when they joined up with the Christian Reformed Church in 1961.

During WWII the Dutch showed that unity in hard times is hard - and a new denomination resulted: Gereformeerde Kerk Nederland - Vrijgemaakt (Reformed Church Netherlands - disassociated). By the nineteen fifties, this new denomination was also present in the U.S. and Canada.

Meanwhile, back in the swamp.....

A group seceded from the Gereformeerde Gemeenten (Reformed Congregations) over a doctrinal point that is totally incomprehensible, and became the Gereformeerde Gemeenten in Nederland (Reformed Congregations in the Netherlands). Their American branch is called the Reformed Congregations in North America.

Things have not been static since the nineteen sixties. In fact, far from it - since then the following dissenting North American denominations have been formed: Alliance of Reformed Churches, Christian Presbyterian, Orthodox Christian Reformed, United Reformed. And there are others.

The recent mega-merger in the Netherlands of the Nederlandsch Hervormde Kerk, the Gereformeerde Kerk Nederland, and the Dutch Lutheran Church has of course resulted in even more break-aways.

Well, you know what they say - you can't split rotten wood.

--- - --- - --- - --- - -

Addendum: In some ways, the events described above explain my own spiritual journey. Clearly an inherited propensity toward dissidence has found its end expression in a wholesale rejection of everything connected to the Christian Subsequentia (otherwise known, for some inexplicable reason, as 'New Testament'). But, having in a sustained fit of scepticism chucked out two thousand years of Roman cultic belief, I do not find myself with any greater conviction jumping into another religious derech. Instead I prefer to somewhat cynically, somewhat critically, explore a branch of monotheism that in its origins is close to what my grandparents knew (and paid scant attention to).

One could ask why I don't explore Buddhism or Islam (or other cults).

In what way do either of these speak to the pissant Dutchman within?

Both are foreign, both reject fundaments that are part of the subconscious western intellectual inheritance, fundaments which resonate with truth. Neither expresses the weltanschaung that we cannot know for certain, and may never know for certain. And neither have the same understanding of mercy and personal growth that is part of the tradition of both Rabbinic Judaism and it's crazy cousin Christianity.

Neither Islam nor Buddhism present a road through the same appealing scenery - only in their Hieronymus Boschian vistas do they even look familiar.

I cannot under any circumstances imagine myself EVER reciting the Muslim credo.

The magic syllable 'um', the mantra of which that is a part ("um money podmey um"), and my own lovely navel, will never be the triple nexus of my faith.

But 'Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad' has a ring to it.


Please note: Someone mentioned sheitels, and of course I remembered the commentary from Yeshiva Chipas Emess about sheitlach, which was pursuant something Rav Pinky said last year in a drasha.

For your reference, here it is again.

--- --- ---

The best are made with real human hair (low to medium four figures), inferior ones with heavens knows what (as cheap as a few hundred). No matter the expense, the effect is twixt old-country dowdy and New Jersey gangster wife stylish!

There has recently been a groise machloikes over sheitels made with hair from India.

The problem was that the hair (either all, or three symbolic tufts) was shorn from Hindu women at religious ceremonies - don’t ask, I haven’t a clue, I’m a rabbi tatenyu, not a pandit! But it had to do with purification for idolatrous rituals, and temple profits from the sale of the hair, and thus shmecked of avoidah zara (strange service, hence idolatry). It is issur to partake of, share in, or in fact have anything to do with idolatry. Especially monetarily!

Why is hair from India used in wigs?

The two main sources of hair used in wigs and hairpieces are Europe and India. The desirability of Indian temple-cut hair lay in the length, strength, and alignment.

Hair that is aligned (that has all its cuticles pointing in the same direction – called Remy hair) can be used for high quality wigs that have a natural look, whereas hair that is not aligned will need to be chemically stripped of the cuticle layer to keep it becoming tangled.

Note: to dye hair, it has to be stripped and bleached; this is never done to Remy hair.

Keeping hair aligned is done by tying it with ribbons prior to cutting; this was in fact customary at the temple. The hair was then sold, and the money benefited the idol served at that temple.

Aligned hair is more expensive than stripped hair, and is used for better wigs, whereas stripped hair is often also chemically bleached, dyed, and conditioned.

So the problem is this: if your sheitel is glossy, black and expensive, it probably is made of Indian Remy hair. If it is any other colour but did not cost an arm and a leg, it nevertheless also may be made of Indian hair.

Is all hair from India suspect?

Only ten percent (more or less) of the hair purchased from India comes from the temple in question (Tirumala). Because a much larger percentage of Remy hair from India is temple hair, it might be argued that a wig made from dyed hair (remember, Remy hair is not dyed) should contain far less temple hair. But there is no way of telling – a sheitel of dyed hair could be all temple hair, because not all temple hair is Remy.

In the same way that one can not assume that a piece of meat is kosher without evidence (presumption based on place purchased, trust in the merchant having full knowledge of the derivation, and verifiability based on trusted agents who oversee and examine), one can not blithely assume that because the sheitel is not Remy it is safe.

What about European hair?

Hinduism is not prevalent in Europe, and there are no religious practices in Europe in which a woman cuts off long hair. So, based on currently known data, European Remy hair should be considered Halachically acceptable.

Several ravs have spouted psak and teshuve ad nauseum, most either coming out against Indian hair wigs except under certain circumstances (psak l’issur), or stating l’heter that they were acceptable unless it was definitely known that the hair was tainted by A.Z., or in fact outright takruves (offerings) to the getchkeh (idol).

Some went on for several pages, quoted multiple authorities most marvelously, without actually saying anything. And a few proved nothing more than that an obsession with hair is not unusual among poskim, so if you have a fetish, you’re in good company!

Rav X in Antwerp, in his considered opinion of the issue, may have said something to the effect that ‘de milde toepassing van de wet verdient de voorkeur’ (the mild application of the law deserves precedence), but he said it in over twenty pages of densely written Ivrit – this he expects women to read?

This he expects ME to read????

Shroyb es oyf Fleymish oder mameloshn, zeyt azoy git! And be brief; I still have to read next week’s parsha!

That a lenient ruling should be made is in keeping with the decision made by rebbeyim over fifteen years ago (AND thirty years ago) when this issue came up before. But it may be that, at that time, the poskim were not fully aware of the details of the issue, hence their being matir.

In mittn drinnen, most gedolei ha poskim (greats among the orthodox halachic decisors) have aza yechechishe yad that whatever they write cannot be deciphered – there ARE typewriters for Hebrew, frevinseyks, or hire a safir!

There are some very fine sheitlach made from Chinese hair (which is as strong as Indian hair, but has a softer look), but if you must have a head of Chinese hair, best keep the Chinese person attached. Believe me, you won’t regret it. I haven’t.

On the other hand, hair from a harlot, or from a murderess shorn at her imprisonment, would also be perfectly acceptable - as long as she was not intimately involved in idolatry.

Taking care of your sheitel is crucial. Many women use a sheitel liner in between their head and the actual wig, which keeps it cleaner and prevents their own hair from intruding on the elegant, sexy lines of the sheitel. Synthetic hair is easier to clean, but bear in mind that synthetic wigs end up looking ratty and eccentric within a year, whereas a good real hair wig maintains its looks a bit longer.

If you wish to wash your wig yourself, instead of taking it to your local sheitel macher, do so every five or six weeks. It is best to place the thing securely on a Styrofoam head (use pins), wet it with warm water, lather with shampoo, and rinse gently. Conditioner can be applied, but apply AWAY from the root. Rinse after a minute or so. It can be air-dried, but in moist environments it is advisable to speed up the process with a blow dryer on low heat – also good for styling.

Why a wig in the first place?

Rabbinic law states that married women should cover their hair before all save their husbands, for reasons of modesty.

In the eighteenth century, when ultra-orthodoxim first started wearing sheitlach, the deceptively real appearance of certain wigs was manifestly not a problem; wigs were observedly unnatural, and no immodesty could be imputed.

Many orthodox rebbeyim at that time opined that covering one’s hair was more effectively done l’halocho with a sheitel than with a tiechel (headkerchief) or hat, as the sheitel can cover all of the hair, while also being convenient for wearing indoors.

Since then wiggery has become a firm custom, which many do not have the confidence to discard, and yet do not think deeply about. And there are those who, b’hiddur mitzvah, also wear a kerchief or a hat, in addition to their perruque.

Yet a good wig can mislead other women (who cannot see that it is fake, and may therefore assume that if a woman who is known to be respectable and frum is showing hair, it is acceptable to do so), and may in fact be as immodest in its effects as flaunting a luxurious head of hair for men to see, to smell, nay even to brush their faces against on the bus, inhaling deeply of its delicate aroma of perfumed shampoo.

Finally, if showing hair is tantamount to immodesty, I have to wonder whether it is not best for men to expose their big (!) bushy (!) beards (!) only to their wives, and only in the home.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


An English academic union, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) voted yesterday to encourage it's members to boycott Israeli academic professionals and institutions of higher learning unless they "disassociate themselves" from Israel’s "apartheid policy" in Judea and Samaria.

Condemnation has been swift. But perhaps there is less here than meets the eye.

Consider, for a moment, what this vote really means.

Does it mean institutions are committed to boycotting Israeli academic professionals and institutions?


Does it mean that academics in fields in which Israeli academic professionals and institutions contribute will be required to boycott?


Does it mean that worthwhile papers by Israeli academic professionals and institutions will not be published?


I think we can assume that in fields which are already dominated by anti-Semites there will be little change.
In fields to which Israeli academic professionals and institutions contribute significantly, there will also be little change.
British institutions are not bound by this vote, nor will they gladly disregard worthwhile material. Unlike unions, universities are committed to academic freedom.

And in any case, by June 1st the matter will be moot.
[Because the union in question is amalgamating with another union, and the resolution becomes merely advisory at that point.]

There were two resolutions which were voted on by NATFHE:

The first called upon the NATFHE membership to 'aid, protect and support PA institutions and universities, and to continue to maintain ties with the PA'. It also called the cordon sanitaire against the terrorist group Hamas "scandalous".

The second motion demanded a boycott against "Israel’s persistent apartheid policy" - it is not clear exactly what was meant by this, as gibberant left-wing rhetoric standardly becomes unintelligible when grunted through foaming lips.

Both motions do not force a boycott of Israel, but are recommendations to the membership to consider taking action privately.

What would either of these motions mean in practise?

Well, imagine that an Israeli institution found a cure for a disease. If anyone where to take the "boycott" seriously, they would neither publish the research findings, nor permit their associates to use the research findings in any way. In actuality, only the Arabs are crazy enough to follow this course of action (or sane enough, as publishing Israeli research results might bring a firing squad or lynch mob into your future in large parts of the Islamic world).

As you can imagine, serious scholars will blithely ignore this call to boycott, and mediocrities will pay it lip-service until they need to plagiarize.

And please note that if they broke British laws while "supporting Palestinian Institutions", they would be in trouble no matter how enthusiastic the pc glee club was about their actions.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Related thereto, there has been an absolute barrage of hate e-mail to the address of union leadership. Hundreds of venomous, vituperative, and very badly written e-mails from American 'non-academics' (judging by spelling mistakes and trailer-park grammar) were received.

What exactly do the writers of such poison-pen screeds hope to achieve?

Other than creating the impression that they are idiots?

I can understand anger and fury. I can understand wanting to break something. But if you want to convince someone of the rightness of your position, jumping up and down screaming like a baboon is not an effective approach.
Trust me on this.
I base this statement on personal experience.
All it got me was a good spanking.

[I shall not publish the e-mail addresses of the leadership of the union, as I do not wish to encourage such misbehaviour. You will kindly note that my own e-mail address is nowhere to be seen on this blog either, as I have no need to get roped into private spitting matches - please use the comments field and entertain the other readers of this blog if you're that rabid. Thank you.]

If you really want to change minds, you will coherently and rationally argue your points, with grace and good cheer, on your blogs and in your articles. Those who are irrational will not change (and would not even if you did call them names), those who are wrong may change their minds (but will certainly not do so if you call them names).

There is indeed an air of anti-Semitism to this - it would be odd if there were not. But anti-Semitism is a normal and natural state for slope-brows. They also hate, despise, and condemn pretty much everybody else (including penguins, postage workers, and dachshunds).

The problem is not the anti-Semitism, it is the ignorance, and blinkered points of view, of fairly decent individuals, who are hampered by their cultural praeconceptions besides. Now that is something that you can work on.

Be patient, and maintain a positive attitude, as you will have to explain much.

Calm down. And speak slowly.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


Below are two examples of the hate e-mail which I mentioned - please note that both are remarkably badly written (just over the border of illiteracy, in fact), and have no point other than relieving the unfortunate medical conditions of the authors. We wish them a full recovery. Do not read if you are easily offended.

From: Guy Yanai
Sent: 28 May 2006 04:54
To: Paul Mackney
Subject: JEW HATER!

its nice to hate jews and single them out for everything!!!
its called ANTISEMITISM you disgucting piece of shit!!!
you and your family should be ashamed of yourself!!
you should boycot yourself!

From: sultan
Sent: 29 May 2006 17:21
To: Paul Mackney
Subject: Examinations

Examine yourself You dirty little Jew Baiting cunt. You and your fellow filth will end up the way all black and red facists do as dust to be walked on.

PLEASE NOTE: Paul Mackney spoke against the resolutions. He was the recipient of these e-mails because he is an officer of the union, and thus in the line of public fire.

As a further note, it is interesting that we have had a debate about the official language of the United States recently. Judging by these and similar e-mails I have seen, it will indeed be nice when Americans learn English.
I can hardly wait.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Two reptiles meet on a sidewalk in Manhattan, and recognizing each other as being in the same phylum, stop and talk.

Finally, one asks the other "what are you?"

To which the other replies "Well actually, I'm a dinosaur - what about you?"

The first one answers "I'm a dinosaur too."

"That's funny", says the other, "you don't look Antediluvian...."

--- --- --- --- ---

Note: this joke was inspired by reading this posting:
Just remember, a mind is a terrible thing.
o - o - o - o - o - o - o

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Eric S. alerts me to a wonderful new product, for parents who are scared their little monsters will grow up to be heathens or intelligent.....

Talking Bible Dolls!

The manufacturers of Talking Bible Dolls™ believe this to be a great toy for any child.

They're twisted. Truly.

This is sick.

Click here if you want to hear the dolls:

[I note that Talking Moses recites the ten commandments. Be prepared to explain to your little no-neck monster exactly what adultery and coveting your neighbor's wife or butler entail. And don't forget that part about coveting the beasts either.]

The dolls are supposed to be huggable and cuddly.

That's right, if your kid ain't crazy enough already with you as parent, they can curl up with Jezus, Moses, and Esther. Or all three together, talking gang-busters.

I am sure that they will comfort your little troll while she cries herself to sleep everynight. And put her in the right mood after she finishes screaming herself awake the next morning.

The outfit that manufactures these repellent voodoo dolls also is involved in the traditional missionary activity of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants - stuffing simplistic intellectual pablum into the craniums of folks whom they believe to be stupid, credulous, and desperately in need of salvation (that's right, third-worlders - 'cause ALL nice white people just know those poor ugly dark folks need a white person to tell 'em all about G-d, and save their poor underdeveloped little heathen souls!).

Quote: "Our dolls are programmed to bring messages of hope, love, joy, wisdom and knowledge from the bible. Donations are used to provide dolls to missionaries, churches and individuals who are spreading God’s word. "

I am tempted to buy a set, just so that I can replace the talking part with something that makes a rude sound.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Purely for reference purposes, I include the Aseret ha-dibrot below.

Sefer Shmos, Parshas Yitro;

Psook 20:01
Vayedaber Elohim et kol-hadevarim haele lemor:
And G-d spoke all these words, saying:

Psook 20:02
Anochi adonai eloheicha asher hotzeticha meeretz mitzrayim mibeit avadim:
I am the LORD your God, who brought y'all out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Psook 20:03
lo-yihye lecha Elohim acherim al-panai.
Y'all shall have no other gods before Me.

Psook 20:04
Lo-taase lecha fesel ve chol-temuna asher bashamayim mimaal vaasher baaretz mitachat vaasher bamayim mitachat laaretz.
Y'all shall not make unto y'all a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

Psook 20:05
Lo-tishtachave lahem ve lo taavdem ki anochi adonai eloheicha el kana poked avon avot al-banim al-shileshim v'al-ribeim l'sonai;
Y'all shall not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;

Psook 20:06
Ve ose chesed laalafim l'ohavai uleshomrei mitzvotai.
And showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

Psook 20:07
Lo tisa et-shem-adonai eloheicha lashav ki lo yenake adonai et asher-yisa et-shemo lashav.
Y'all shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.

Psook 20:08
Zachor et-yom hashabat l'kadsho.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Psook 20:09
Sheshet yamim taavod ve asita kol-melachtecha:
Six days shal y'all labour, and do all your work;

Psook 20:10
Ve yom hashevii shabat la adonai eloheicha lo-taase chol-m'lacha ata uvincha uvitecha avd'cha vaamatcha uvehemtecha ve gercha asher bishareicha.
But the seventh day is a sabbath unto the LORD your God, in it y'all shall not do any manner of work, not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger within your gates.

Psook 20:11
Ki sheshet-yamim asa adonai et-hashamayim ve et-haaretz et-hayam ve et-kol-asher-bam vayanach bayom hashevii al-ken berach adonai et-yom hashabat vayekadshehu.
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Psook 20:12
Kabed et-avicha ve et-imecha l'maan yaarichun yameicha al haadama asher-adonai eloheicha noten lach.
Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God has given you.

Psook 20:13
Lo tirtzach, lo tinaf, lo tignov. Lo-taane v'reacha ed shaker.
Y'all shall not murder; y'all shall not commit adultery; y'all shall not steal; y'all shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

Psook 20:14
Lo tachmod beit reecha, lo-tachmod eshet reecha ve avdo va amato ve shoro va chamoro ve chol asher l'reecha.
Y'all shall not covet your neighbour's house; y'all shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbour's.

As they say on tv, "these are professionals, don't try this at home".

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


A poem by Joost van den Vondel

[If you don't read seventeenth century Dutch, scroll down to the English commentary]

Kinderlijck - Konstantijntje, 't zaligh kijntje

Cherubijntje, van om hoogh
d'Ydelheden, hier beneden,
Uitlacht met een lodderoogh.
Moeder, zeit hy, waerom schreit ghy?
Waerom greit ghy op mijn lijck?
Boven leef ick, boven zweef ick,
Engheltje van 't hemelrijck:
En ick blinck' er, en ick drinck' er,
't Geen de schincker alles goets
Schenckt de zielen, die daer krielen,
Dertel van veel overvloets.
Leer dan reizen, met gepeizen,
Naer palaizen, uit het slick
Dezer werrelt, die zoo dwerrelt:
Eeuwigh gaet voor oogenblick.

Progression: the deceased infant questions his mother's obsession with his mortal remains, then seeks to comfort her with a descriptus of heaven, aburst with good stuffs, courtesy of the deity. A surfeit, a reminder of the transitoriness of the world of the living, and a statement about eternity.

Images: dead eyes, child's cadaver, wailing parent, greedy spirit, crawling souls, mud palaces.

All in all, grim little versiflage.

In Vondel's writing, the name Konstantijntje refers to his second son, named after Constantyn De Grote, about whom Vondel was for many years obsessed.
The child did not live long, and his death affected the poet so badly that he eventually destroyed the manuscript of his 'Constantinade', on which he had laboured for many years.

This particular poem is somewhat lugubrious; the voice is of the deceased infant speaking from heaven to his weeping mother. It is also precious, silly, and sacharine. One of Vondel's odder pieces.

Some of my grammar school teachers would have thought this poem absolutely delightful.
Not all teachers are good with children; some are a little off-concept.

Vondel is often held to be our greatest poet.
I prefer Brederode.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Now all repeat after me... makkos mardus!

"The teaching faculty that flogs one schoolboy in seven years is called "murderous." Master Elazar ben Azariah says that this extends to one good thrashing in seventy (!) years. Master Tarfon and Master Akiva say, "If we had been tenured, no one would ever have been caned, whether with birches or with rods." Master Simon ben Gamliel responds, "Such an attitude would increase misbehaviour in the lower forms." "

---Extract from the Mishna, Maseches Rugby.

Friday, May 19, 2006


What follows is a clear and succinct letter from a Rabbi in Cedarhurst (5 towns shul & Jewish center) that addresses the problem / scandal / issue of child-molestation. This letter was sent in response to the recent brouhaha over Yehuda Kolko (accused of rape of students for a number of years) and Lipa Margulies (Kolko's boss, who is alleged to have covered for Kolko for as many years).

Note: I first saw this letter on Dovbear's site - here:
For anybody who wants to delve into the outrage over events that have recently come to light, that would be a good place to start.

Just bear in mind that if it weren't for outrage, many good people would not be noticed - it is only when they are justifiably infuriated that they become vocal. Necessarily, this is not always pretty. Neither is what spurred their anger.

The point of the letter is, quite simply, child-molestation is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE by any standards, nor is there any Halachic defense for not bringing this to the attention of the authorities immediately.

Follows the letter, with an explanatory preamble:

At the request of Rabbi Aryeh Ginzberg, we, the moderators of FTS/FTJC,have approved the distribution of the below letter (which is also attached in pdf format). Rabbi Ginzberg has informed us that he has been approached by numerous community members to clarify -- and issue a ruling on -- the matter addressed in the letter. Given the urgency of this message, and the unavailablity of other effective means in which to distribute this information on a Friday afternoon, we believe it is important to use this list to support the request of a community Rov.
Finally, we assure you that this was in fact authorized by Rabbi
Ginzberg and have met with him personally to confirm.


Dear Community Members
Over the last few days, a number of people have brought to my attention an article from a secular publication asserting that a world-renowned Rosh Hayeshiva issued a halachic ruling regarding child molestation. This alleged ruling – through this publication – has resulted in widespread Chilul Hashem and gross misrepresentation of clear and indisputable Halacha.
The purpose of this letter is not to address the context of the quote, the alleged ruling in question or the specifics of the primary accusations made in the article. This letter is about clarifying the position of halacha with regard to child abuse, to the extent that position has been clouded by these recent events. Moreover, this letter is about urgently disseminating essential halachic facts which -- hopefully -- will serve to mitigate the potential damage and destruction caused by this mischaracterization.
It is incumbent upon all Rabbonim worldwide to unite and unequivocally declare that Orthodox Judaism absolutely forbids child abuse of any kind – sexual and non-sexual. And, as with any other allegation of halachic wrongdoing, the appropriate testimony must be given, and the appropriate proceedings must be convened, in order to establish the truth of any accusations.
Allow me to be among the first to make this declaration, and I speak not only for myself but also for the Rosh Hayeshiva named in this publication, with whom I have consulted:
Sexually abusing a child in any form is a flagrant violation of our Torah. Halacha absolutely prohibits any and all such conduct. No "benchmark" exists to qualify a sexually motivated act as child molestation, and there are no "technical defenses" to justify child abuse. To be crystal clear: the touching of a child in a sexual manner is utterly forbidden by our Torah and by our mesorah.
It is my hope and prayer that this letter will serve to clarify any confusion about the Torah view on these very serious issues.Obviously, this is not a scholarly letter or article -- now is not the time for Talmudic sources, lengthy discussions or intellectual debates. It is simply the time to set the record straight – solely for the purpose of abruptly ending the Chilul Shaim Shomayim facilitated by the dissemination of the supposed Torah viewpoint reported in the article.
Child abuse is forbidden. An issue this easy does not need further clarification. It is my sincere hope that, in consultation with other Rabbonim in our community, we can collectively and effectively formulate appropriate strategies to ensure that the issue of child abuse is dealt with appropriately, proactively and swiftly in our community and beyond.
Good Shabbos.
Rabbi Aryeh Ginzberg

Thursday, May 18, 2006


One of the two best posts on the Kolko / Margulies issue that I've seen (the other being today's post by Jameel at the Muqata: is RenReb's angry rant (here:

Renreb argues that reports of multiple occurrences over a great length of time do almost certainly mean that Yehuda Kolko is guilty. Indeed, a pattern so clear establishes that this is not mere lashon hara, but that something evil was going on, for a very long time.

By the same token, his boss Lipa Margulies is an enabler and an accessory.

But we cannot state that they are guilty until they have been tried - as Dayan Roy Bean would say, 'give 'em a fair trial and hang 'em'.

Perhaps a mere pro forma detail, but nevertheless a legal necessity.

Until then, Kolko and Margulies are legally innocent.

And frontier justice, for whatever reason, does not reflect well on the society which permits it.
[No matter how satisfying splintering two baseball bats over two heads might be. I could also suggest something with a broken broomstick, but I'm controlling myself, and keeping this blog clean.]

The other aspect is that a beis din which did not bring this to the attention of the authorities bears legal responsibility - whoever was part of that panel can and will be seen as aiding and abetting the rape of minors that happened since they were first made aware of the matter.

This will have an impact on them, this will have an even worse impact on the entire bassei din concept in America - it casts doubt on the permissibility of intra-mural dispute resolution in matters where crimes may have been committed. It demonstrates that bassei din may need civil regulation.

This is not an issue of a chillul Hashem - it is an issue of chillul Hashem squared.

There are just too many different horrors all on one page.

How could any of the people involved in not bringing this to the attention of authorities possibly consider themselves good Jews?

If there was any chance that this was going on (and as it turns out there was abundant chance for this to go on), how could they not see that doing nothing to stop it would reflect badly on them, their value system, their institutions, their community, their own legal standing, and their faith?

How could they not consider the immense damage to the boys entrusted to Kolko and Margulies? How could they disregard their own responsibility to their community, to the parents of these students, and to the boys themselves? Why would they even take the chance that their inaction would cause further suffering?

What the she'ol were they thinking?!?!

And these were not ignorant halfwits. There is no excuse.


Regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali, further articles are here:
[Muslim's Loss of Dutch Citizenship Stirs Storm ]
[Somali-born Dutch lawmaker welcome in US: Zoellick]
[Dutch lawmaker in asylum row to move to US]

I have not written a posting to accompany them yet. But please read these articles, and comment.

The press is focussing too much on her being a Muslim, not nearly enough on her freedom of speech activism.

Nor is the press pointing out that the ruckus is both politically motivated (elections coming up), and a convenient way for the Liberal Party (VVD) to divest themselves of someone who is no longer useful and obedient - a nice quiet immigrant who will say yes sir, thank you sir, and then shut up and only speak when spoken to.

The Dutch do not like foreigners, and they do not like brown people who speak up.
Brown people who dutifully volunteer for broom duty will be tolerated.
Others will be smacked at the earliest opportunity.

Feisty foreigners, however, are usually despised by many. The Dutch, like the Americans, believe themselves to be blessed.

Plus the whole thing has a nasty undertone of currying favour with the Dutch Muslim community - 'see, we got rid of that woman who was pissin' y'all off, now vote for our party and stop complaining'.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Dear fellow bloggers,

Please devote a post on your blogs to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the dutch former parlementarian who was deprived of Dutch citizenship today.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the well-known feminist, free-speech defender, and opponent of religous extremism.

Up-to date biographic material here:
[Note: the author of this entry is clearly a Dutch speaker - the English betrays some minor stumbles.]

BBC article (Dutch MP to quit amid asylum row) here:
PS: Note that the name Ayaan Hirsi Ali is apparently not entirely correct - it should probably have been Ayaan Hirsi Magan.


There are times when the Dutch rise to greatness.
Understandably, I take great pride in partially belonging to the tribe at those times.

There are many more times when I am embarrassed as all git out to be associated with that bunch of narrow-minded cheese-whacking pustules, and would rather not even be on the same planet as them. Well, half of them.

Such as when Dutch politicians prove, once again, that they are cretins.

They do this often enough that it's a permanent sore, but what those blinkered bastards did recently takes the cake.

They have demanded that Ayaan Hirsi Ali turn in her Dutch passport. Apparently errors regarding name and birthdate on forms are mortal sins in the Netherlands

[These are the same people who consistently mis-spelled MY name when I lived there? The same bunch of muddle-headed twats who DID NOT EVEN WRITE MY NAME CORRECTLY ON MY DIPLOMAS!!!???!]

To refresh your memory, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the Dutch mp who has been receiving death threats from both the right wing and the left wing, as well as the hard-core Islamist camp and the neo-Nazis. A courageous woman. A woman worth emulating. A far better Dutchwoman than Rita Verdonk will ever be. A credit to her party. Who by their recent actions have proven themselves unworthy entirely of such credit. The skunks do not deserve her.

Please read these two posts.

No, I'm not a happy camper at this point.
But at least I am not Dutch, so there is something that is very right in my life.


I came to Holland in the summer of 1992 because I wanted to be able to determine my own future. I didn’t want to be forced into a destiny that other people had chosen for me, so I opted for the protection of the rule of law. Here in Holland, I found freedom and opportunities, and I took those opportunities to speak out against religious terror.

In January 2003, at the invitation of the VVD party, I became a member of parliament. I accepted the VVD’s invitation on the condition that I would be the party’s spokesman for the emancipation of women and the integration of immigrants.

What exactly did I want to achieve?

First of all I wanted to put the oppression of immigrant women -- especially Muslim women – squarely on the Dutch political agenda. Second, I wanted Holland to pay attention to the specific cultural and religious issues that were holding back many ethnic minorities, instead of always taking a one-sided approach that focused only on their socio-economic circumstances. Lastly, I wanted politicians to grasp the fact that major aspects of Islamic doctrine and tradition, as practiced today, are incompatible with the open society.

Now I have to ask myself, have I accomplished that task?

I have stumbled often in my political career. It has sometimes been frustrating and slow. However, I am completely certain that I have, in my own way, succeeded in contributing to the debate. Issues related to Islam – such as impediments to free speech; refusal of the separation of Church and State; widespread domestic violence; honor killings; the repudiation of wives; and Islam’s failure to condemn genital mutilation -- these subjects can no longer be swept under the carpet in our country’s capital. Some of the measures that this government has begun taking give me satisfaction. Many illusions of how easy it will be to establish a multicultural society have disappeared forever. We are now more realistic and more open in this debate, and I am proud to have contributed to that process.

Meanwhile, the ideas which I espouse have begun spreading to other countries. In recent years I have given speeches and attended debates in many European countries and in the United States. For months now, I have felt that I needed to make a decision: should I go on in Dutch politics, or should I now transfer my ideas to an international forum?

In the fall of 2005 I told Gerrit Zalm and Jozias van Aartsen, the leaders of the VVD, that I would not be a candidate for the parliamentary elections in 2007. I had decided to opt for a more international platform, because I wanted to contribute to the international debate on the emancipation of Muslim women and the complex relationship between Islam and the West.

Now that I am announcing that I will resign from Dutch politics, I would like to thank the members of the VVD for my years in parliament – to thank them for inviting me to stand for parliament, and -- perhaps more importantly -- for putting up with me while I was there, for this has been in many ways a rough ride for us all. I want to thank my other colleagues here in parliament for their help, although some of our debates have been sharp. (Femke Halsema, thank you especially for that!). I would also like to thank the 30,758 people who in January 2003 trusted their preference vote to a newcomer.

But why am I not remaining in parliament for my full term, until next year’s election? Why, after only three and a half years, have I decided to resign from the Lower Chamber?

It is common knowledge that threats against my life began building up ever since I first talked about Islam publicly, in the spring of 2002. Months before I even entered politics, my freedom of movement was greatly curtailed, and that became worse after Theo van Gogh was murdered in 2004. I have been obliged to move house so many times I have lost count. The direct cause for the ending of my membership in parliament is that on April 27 of this year, a Dutch court ruled that I must once again leave my home, because my neighbors filed a complaint that they could not feel safe living next to me. The Dutch government will appeal this verdict and I grateful for that, because how on earth will other people whose lives are threatened manage to find a place to stay if this verdict is allowed to rest? However, this appeal does not alter my situation: I have to leave my apartment by the end of August.

Another reason for my departure is the discussion that has arisen from a TV program, The Holy Ayaan, which was aired on May 11. This program centered on two issues: the story that I told when I was applying for asylum here in Holland, and questions about my forced marriage.

I have been very open about the fact that when I applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 1992, I did so under a false name and with a fabricated story. In 2002, I spoke on national television about the conditions of my arrival, and I said then that I fabricated a story in order to be able to receive asylum here. Since that TV program I have repeated this dozens of times, in Dutch and international media. Many times I have truthfully named my father and given my correct date of birth. (You will find a selection of these articles in the press folder). I also informed the VVD leadership and members of this fact when I was invited to stand for parliament.

I have said many times that I am not proud that I lied when I sought asylum in the Netherlands. It was wrong to do so. I did it because I felt I had no choice. I was frightened that if I simply said I was fleeing a forced marriage, I would be sent back to my family. And I was frightened that if I gave my real name, my clan would hunt me down and find me. So I chose a name that I thought I could disappear with – the real name of my grandfather, who was given the birth-name Ali. I claimed that my name was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, although I should have said it was Ayaan Hirsi Magan.

You probably are wondering, what is my real name?

I am Ayaan, the daughter of Hirsi, who is the son of a man who took the name of Magan. Magan was the son of Isse, who was the son of Guleid, who was the son of Ali. He was the son of Wai’ays, who was the son of Muhammad. He was the son of Ali, who was the son of Umar. Umar was the son of Osman, who was the son of Mahamud. This is my clan, and therefore, in Somalia, this is my name: Ayaan Hirsi Magan Isse Guleid Ali Wai’ays Muhammad Ali Umar Osman Mahamud.

Following the May 11 television broadcast, legal questions have been raised about my naturalization as a Dutch citizen. Minister Verdonk has written to me saying that my passport will be annulled, because it was issued to a person who does not hold my real name. I am not at liberty to discuss the legal issues in this case.

Now for the questions about my forced marriage. Last week’s TV program cast doubt on my credibility in that respect, and the final conclusion of the documentary is that all this is terribly complicated. Let me tell you, it’s not so complex. The allegations that I willingly married my distant cousin, and was present at the wedding ceremony, are simply untrue. This man arrived in Nairobi from Canada, asked my father for one of his five daughters, and my father gave him me. I can assure you my father is not a man who takes no for an answer. Still, I refused to attend the formal ceremony, and I was married regardless. Then, on my way to Canada -- during a stopover in Germany -- I traveled to the Netherlands and asked for asylum here. In all simplicity this is what happened, nothing more and nothing less. For those who are interested in the intimate details of my transition from a pre-modern society to a modern one, and how I came to love what the West stands for, please read my memoir, which is due to be published this fall.

To return to the present day, may I say that it is difficult to live with so many threats on your life and such a level of police protection. It is difficult to work as a parliamentarian if you have nowhere to live. All that is difficult, but not impossible. It has become impossible since last night, when Minister Verdonk informed me that she would strip me of my Dutch citizenship.

I am therefore preparing to leave Holland. But the questions for our society remain. The future of Islam in our country; the subjugation of women in Islamic culture; the integration of the many Muslims in the West: it is self-deceit to imagine that these issues will disappear.

I will continue to ask uncomfortable questions, despite the obvious resistance that they elicit. I feel that I should help other people to live in freedom, as many people have helped me. I personally have gone through a long and sometimes painful process of personal growth in this country. It began with learning to tell the truth to myself, and then the truth about myself: I strive now to also tell the truth about society as I see it.

That transition from becoming a member of a clan to becoming a citizen in an open society is what public service has come to mean for me. Only clear thinking and strong action can lead to real change, and free many people within our society from the mental cage of submission. The idea that I can contribute to their freedom, whether in the Netherlands or in another country, gives me deep satisfaction.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as of today, I resign from Parliament. I regret that I will be leaving the Netherlands, the country which has given me so many opportunities and enriched my life, but I am glad that I will be able to continue my work. I will go on.


The Dutch version is below.

Persverklaring Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In de zomer van 1992 ben ik naar Nederland gekomen. Ik wilde mijn leven in eigen hand nemen. Omdat ik me niet wil laten vangen in een toekomst die anderen voor mij uitstippelen. Zoals velen heb ik gekozen voor de bescherming van de vrijheid. Die vrijheid heb ik hier gevonden.

Hier heb ik de mogelijkheden gekregen en aangegrepen voor mijn strijd tegen religieuze terreur.

In de winter van 2003 ben ik lid van de Tweede Kamer geworden. Dat was op uitnodiging van de VVD. Mijn voorwaarde was dat ik woordvoerder emancipatie en integratie zou worden. Dat is gelukt, maar in de politiek gaat niets vanzelf. Want wat wilde ik in het parlement bereiken?

Allereerst wilde ik de ondergeschikte positie van migrantenvrouwen aan de orde stellen, en met name die van moslimvrouwen.
Ik wilde aandacht voor de cultuur en religie van etnische minderheden en niet alleen voor hun sociaal-economische omstandigheden.
Ten slotte wilde ik dat het tot de politici hier zou doordringen dat de islam op belangrijke punten onverenigbaar is met de liberale rechtstaat.

En nu mag ik mij afvragen: ben ik hierin geslaagd?
Politiek was voor mij een kwestie van vallen en opstaan. Soms was het frustrerend en ging mij het allemaal veel te langzaam. Maar dit weet ik zeker: op mijn manier heb ik bijgedragen aan de debatten. Over de islam, de bedreiging van de vrijheid van meningsuiting, de scheiding tussen kerk en staat, huiselijk geweld, eerwraak, vrouwenbesnijdenis, het dumpen van vrouwen in hun land van herkomst. Deze zorgwekkende onderwerpen zijn niet meer weg te denken uit Den Haag.
De maatregelen die het kabinet neemt geven mij voldoening. Veel illusies over de multiculturele samenleving zijn voorgoed verdwenen: we zijn veel realistischer en opener geworden in het debat.

Intussen zijn mijn ideeën ook in het buitenland doorgedrongen. De afgelopen jaren heb ik in Europa en Amerika veel lezingen gehouden en debatten gevoerd.
Ik moest een afweging gaan maken. Ga ik verder in de Nederlandse politiek of moet ik mijn standpunten in een internationale omgeving uitdragen? In het najaar van 2005 vertelde ik Gerrit Zalm en Jozias van Aartsen dat ik niet beschikbaar zou zijn voor de lijst van 2007.

Ik kies nu voor een internationaal podium, omdat ik wil bijdragen aan het grensoverschrijdende debat over de emancipatie van moslimvrouwen en de ingewikkelde relatie tussen de islam en het Westen.

Ik wil de VVD bedanken voor mijn jaren in het parlement. Dat deze partij mij heeft gevraagd en - belangrijker nog - het met me heeft uitgehouden, is niet vanzelfsprekend. In het bijzonder wil ik mijn waardering uitspreken voor mijn fractiegenoten.
Ik wil mijn collega’s in de kamer bedanken, voor hun steun, al waren de debatten soms vinnig en scherp. Femke, dank je wel. Dank ook aan die 30.758 mensen die hun stem toevertrouwden aan een nieuweling.

Nu zult u zeggen, waarom blijf ik niet tot aan de verkiezingen van volgend jaar? Waarom heb ik besloten om na bijna drieëneenhalf jaar mijn lidmaatschap van de kamer te beëindigen?

Sinds ik in het voorjaar van 2002 publiekelijk over de islam ben gaan spreken, zijn de bedreigingen begonnen. Al ruim voordat ik in de politiek ging, is mijn bewegingsvrijheid daardoor ernstig beperkt. Dat is na de moord op Theo van Gogh alleen maar erger geworden.

De directe aanleiding voor het beëindigen van mijn kamerlidmaatschap is dan ook dat ik voor het einde van de zomer uit mijn huis moet vertrekken. Op 27 april heeft het hof die uitspraak gedaan. Naar aanleiding van een klacht die mijn buren hebben ingediend - omdat zij zich in mijn buurt niet veilig voelen - heeft het Hof hen in het gelijk gesteld en mij vier maanden de tijd gegeven om mijn huis te verlaten.
Nu moet ik weer verhuizen, maar ook mijn nieuwe buren weten van de uitspraak van dit Hof.

Minister Donner is in beroep gegaan tegen deze uitspraak en ik ben hem daar erkentelijk voor: want hoe zal het anderen vergaan die worden bedreigd wanneer deze uitspraak overeind blijft? Aan mijn situatie verandert het niets: ik moet in afwachting van het beroep weer mijn koffers pakken.

Een andere aanleiding voor mijn vertrek vormt de discussie over het tv-programma De heilige Ayaan. Daarbij gaat het om twee kwesties: de onjuiste gegevens die ik heb verstrekt om erkend te worden als vluchteling en het verhaal over mijn uithuwelijking.

Over het feit dat ik met een onjuiste naam en geboortedatum, en met een onjuist vluchtverhaal, naar Nederland ben gekomen, ben ik altijd zeer open geweest. In 2002 heb ik op televisie de precieze toedracht rond mijn aankomst voor het eerst uit de doeken gedaan. Sindsdien heb ik het tientallen keren herhaald, in binnen- en buitenland, in kranten, op radio en televisie. In de persmap vindt u een selectie hiervan. Ik heb vele malen de naam van mijn vader genoemd, ik heb mijn geboortedatum gegeven.

Nu vraagt u zich wellicht af: Hoe heet ik?

Ik ben Ayaan,
de dochter van Hirsi,
die de zoon is van Magan,
de zoon van Isse,
de zoon van Guleid,
die de zoon was van Ali,
die de zoon was van Wai’ays,
die de zoon was van Muhammad,
van Ali, van Umar,
van het geslacht Osman, de zoon van Mahamud.
Ik ben van deze clan. Mijn oervader is Darod, die achthonderd jaar geleden vanuit Arabië naar Somalië kwam en de grote stam van de Darod stichtte. Ik ben een Darod, een Macherten, een Osman Mahamud, en een Magan.

Vorige week was er nog enige verwarring over mijn naam.
Hoe ik heet ?
U weet nu hoe ik heet.

Er schijnen juridische vragen te bestaan omtrent de rechtsgeldigheid van mijn naturalisatie. Minister Verdonk heeft een onderzoek gelast. Ik kan de juridische problematiek niet overzien, maar ik wil wel zeggen: Hoe vaak geven mensen op de vlucht uit angst andere namen op? Wanneer het gaat om louter onjuiste persoonsgegevens is het ontnemen van de nationaliteit, in alle gevallen, ik herhaal: alle gevallen, een buitenproportionele sanctie.

Dan het verhaal over de uithuwelijking. Het tv-programma van vorige week trekt mijn geloofwaardigheid in twijfel. De slotconclusie van de makers is dat het allemaal erg ingewikkeld is. Ik kan u zeggen: dat valt wel mee.

De stelling dat ik vrijwillig een huwelijk ben aangegaan en aanwezig ben geweest op de bruiloft, is eenvoudigweg volledig onwaar. Er komt een verre neef uit Canada. Hij vraagt mijn vader om een van zijn vijf dochters. Mijn vader wijst mij aan. Ik kan u verzekeren mijn vader neemt geen genoegen met een ‘nee’. Onderweg naar Canada heb ik van een tussenstop in Duitsland gebruik gemaakt om naar Nederland te gaan en hier asiel aan te vragen.
Dat is in alle eenvoud het verhaal. Niets meer. Niets minder.


Ik ben dertien jaar geleden naar Nederland gekomen om mijn leven in eigen hand te nemen, om me niet te laten vangen in een leven dat anderen voor me uitgestippeld hadden.
Het is moeilijk om met zoveel dreiging en politiebescherming te leven.
Het is moeilijk om als volksvertegenwoordiger te werken als je geen huis hebt. Moeilijk, maar nog niet onmogelijk.
Het is onmogelijk geworden nu de minister een hard oordeel over mijn Nederlanderschap heeft geveld.
Dit stemt me treurig, want ik zou mijn mandaat als kamerlid graag tot september willen afmaken.

Ik ga weg, maar de vragen blijven. De vragen over de toekomst van de islam in ons land, over de onderdrukking van vrouwen in de islamitische cultuur en over de integratie van de vele moslims in het Westen. Het is zelfbedrog om te denken dat alles weer zal worden als vroeger: na elf september is de wereld veranderd.
Ik ga door met het stellen van ongemakkelijke vragen. De weerstanden die dat oproept, zijn voor iedereen duidelijk. Ik voel de plicht om anderen te helpen in vrijheid te leven, zoals anderen dat ook voelen voor mij. Dat ik aan die emancipatie kan bijdragen - of dat nu in Nederland is of in een ander land – stemt mij gelukkig.

Ik ben Ayaan, de dochter van Hirsi, die de zoon was van Magan.
Vandaag leg ik mijn lidmaatschap van de Tweede Kamer neer.
Ik ga Nederland verlaten.
Verdrietig en opgelucht zal ik opnieuw mijn koffers pakken.
Ik ga door.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali is losing her Dutch citizenship, resigning from Dutch politics, and leaving for the United States.

This is a direct result of a hatchet job by the newsprogramme Zembla, the sometime mouthpiece of the Dutch Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid), which last week broadcast the. Shocking. News. That. Ayaan. Had. Not. Been Truthful. When Applying. For Asylum.

This was not entirely unknown. In fact, this had been well known even before she became a citizen. Many years before she entered Dutch politics. And way before she went from the PvdA to the VVD (Liberal Party). Nor had she ever said otherwise. She admitted that she embroidered her tale originally in order to be granted asylum. Repeatedly, and publicly.

She lied about her exact name and birthdate.
Minor errors, really, as is made clear by the press-release, but the Dutch have a talent for making a mountain out of a molehill.

The speed with which the Dutch Liberal Party rushed to stab her in the back was phenomenal.

Rita Verdonk, Dutch Minister for Integration, and member of the same party as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, pulled strings and worked over the weekend to yank Ms. Hirsi Ali's citizenship. Which is amazing, because Dutch bureaucrats normally don’t work more than half days even during the week. And this is vacation-time in Europe. But rules, even when they have been rewritten several times since Ayaan Hirsi Ali was granted asylum, are rules.

Hans Wiegel, one-time prime-minister candidate and failed leader of the liberals, popped his head out of the mud to state that Ayaan Hirsi Ali leaving politics and the country was not a loss.

Dutch politicians have once again proven that hypocrisy is a skill at which they excel.
And gallantry is something of which they have never even heard.

Oh well. A loss for the Netherlands, a gain for the United States.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Jameel at the Muqata posts about an Egyptian who is being held in prison for something so mundane as blogging. Well, that is to say, blogging in a way that the Egyptian authorities do not like. [Note: Jameel is at this address:]

You and I have the right to say whatever we darn well want, in almost any way we want - it's called freedom of speech, and is apparently something we're trying to teach the Iraqis (quite successfully, I might add) - but in Egypt the authorities have a hard time understanding the concept. Even more so when literate people try it.

So of course Alaa Ahmed Seif Al-Islam is in the klink.

Now, why should I care? Why should you care?

1. Well, he's pretty much on our side, and has not tried to blow any of us sky-high. Which is very refreshing, and we might as well admit that we like that.
2. He's in jail for speaking out, and we like people who speak out. Societies that allow loudmouths to point out that the emperor has no clothes will have far fewer naked ugly fat men walking around - you know what I mean.
3. I've never had any limitation on my freedom of speech, and neither have you. But, in a general sense, when freedom of speech is limited somewhere, it affects freedom of speech everywhere. So we are obligated to speak out.


A good place to start is here:

Or here:

Freedom of Speech Starts With Freeing the Speaker

Or here:

Let the blogger go

Sign petitions, or organize one and have others sign. Write pointed (yet polite) letters to politicians and of course to the Egyptian embassy and consulates. Wake up your congressman.

On a related note, there are blogs written by people in the Arab world wich are very well worth reading. Here's a few to get you started:
[Educated broadminded Egyptian, probably gonna end up in the klink too.]
[Bahraini with a business bent, but more education than your typical American suburbanite bidniz drone. Witty.]
[Snarky, secular, and passionate. All-round decent fellow, great list of other Middle-Eastern bloggers on his blog roll, and an icon of Johnny Bravo (!) in his blog title bar.]
[One of the best reads ever. An Arab Jonathan Swift. ]

And if you want to know what it's like to be in an Egyptian jail, go to Alaa's site itself, right here:

Oh, and visit Jameel (here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

KVETCH! KVETCH! KVETCH! Or, in defense of Lakewoodyid, while not yielding more than an inch. More or less.

This posting is in reference to Dovbear’s posting regarding the Gerrer and Rav Aharon Leib Steinman chartering the first class section of an El Al flight, and requesting no women flight attendants in their section (see here:, and in relation thereto my own snarky posting (see here: ) in which I joyfully announce a beauty contest, requesting essays naming and describing the El Al flight attendant most likely to cause a disruption in the force….., erm, disturbance of a Tzaddik’s spiritual equilibrium.

There were fairly few visitors who left comments on my blog (but I treasure them all the more, oh happy few – “The fewer men, the greater share of kavod; Hashem’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more;
B’ mishaybeirach avoseinu, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It yearns me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires. But if it be an aveirah to covet koved, I am the most offending soul alive". --- from the play ‘Melech Chaim Ha-Chamisha’, by R. William Shakespeare).

On Dovbear’s blog, however, it was a different story.

And several writers sought Lakewood Yid’s response. They craved it, they panted as puppies after the hare, they yelped at the prospect of chase. They positively howled.

And he responded.

Hereunder a selection of his responses.
[Note: Statement that he quoted in bold, as is farily typical. His comment thereupon in regular type. My comment to his comment underneath, in bold small type, within square brackets.

>Wow. I eagerly await LY's justification for this.

You asked for it. Here I go.

>I'm offended. How many in the Ger community are struggling to get by, and subsizing on government assistance? Quite a few, I'll bet. And their grand rebbe treats himself, not just to a first class ticket to America, but to the entire first class section?

He brings along his entourage. Some seats are "sold" to those willing to pay for the Zechiyah to travel with the Rebbe.

You'll spend 40k on a SUV, 20k on a pool, 10k on pesach hotel, and they are willing to spend on traveling with the Rebbe. Who are you to judge how they spend there money? (shall I ask you if your $85 custom shirt was a neccasity?

[That point about paying for the zechiyah is a good one. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that flight turns a handsome profit well-before they’re airborne. And these people cannot escape – how many hours of subtle pressure will they be subjected to? By the time they’re on the ground in the New World, several will have to whip out their ATM cards just to pay the porters.]

--- - ---

>And what about the women workers who were put out of work? I hope El Al paid them anyway.

Out of work? They simply swapped the females of this flight for the males of another flight.

>If you don't want to see women....stay home!

We believes the opposite. כבודת בת מלך פנימה

[I disagree with him on this one. But I will not argue it - he’s entitled to his opinion, I am entitled to mine. But note the plural form of the verb (‘believes’). In the heat of the moment, his thoughts adhered to a yiddish grammatical pattern. Interesting, no?]
--- - ---

>And just from seeing a fully dressed woman doing her job? That's insane, disgusting and degrading to women.

The Rambam says that one should not even look at the colored clothing of woman. Is that also insane, disgusting and degrading to women? <>

כ [כא] וכן אסור לאדם להסתכל בנשים, בשעה שהן עומדות על הכבוסה; ואפילו להסתכל בבגדי צבע של אישה שהוא מכירה--אסור, שלא יבוא לידי הרהור.

[The Rambam lived in the Islamic world. I shall assume that there was an influence from his environment, and that he found justifications for something he already believed (much as a Christian will find proof of some mighty weird stuff in the writings of the prophets). ]

--- - ---

>I get that they don't want to watch movies. Whatever. So don't watch the movies. But to have the entire flight without them?

Oh, my heart BLEEEEEDS for those poor unfortunate souls who will have to go for 10 hours without watching the tube. Have a nice chat with your neighbor, read a paper, or close your eyes for some shut eye. And if you are still bored, strike up a conversation with a charedi passenger. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

[I have to agree with him. Absolutely. Talk, read, or sleep. That movie is probably garbage anyway, and how often can you watch Hugh Grant being loveably mumbly gimbolly English? From Heathrow to SF is three good-size books. If you don’t want to rely on the airport shops for reading material, bring some from home. Movies, bah!]

--- - ---

>A rebbe cannot wear sun-glasses? A rebbe cannot divert his eyes and his mind from a shapely ankle? A rebbe might turn into a beast if distracted by a passing snooky? What kind of a rebbe is this?!?!?!?!? Depose the bulgar, and get a rebbe who at least has a modicum of self-control and common sense.
And that from such an illistrious yichus.

Gevald Geshrigen, mein tayera BOTH, hust dee amuhl gehert fin "heilege oigen"? Ken ah heiligeh tzadik zain in ree'ach hakodesh ven es dreit zich yungeh shikses?!?

--- - ---

>Because that money could be used for tzedakah instead of indulgence.
>The very idea of flying first class to collect money for tzedakah is ludicrous.

Its not indulgence. Its Kovod Hatorah. Two of the greatest Gedolei Hatorah should sit farkveched like sardines for 10 hours?

>The big tzadik has spent his whole life immersed in Torah and he can't stop thinking about girls?
>So what? Are the rebbes that fragile that the mere sight of a woman in jeans or a short-sleeved shirt will send them into spasms? Guess none of their Torah study really did them much good, if they're that fragile.

הלל אומר, ואל תאמין בעצמך עד יום מותך

Hillel, who laid on the rooftop covered in snow to hear the words of Torah said that.

>Through your tax dollars. Chasidim are notorious welfare cheats. That's how they get by, as everyone knows. Ger does not offer social services.

Shame on you. Your so concerned about 3 or 4 stewerdess, and you have no problem libeling chasidim as notorious cheats.

[I have a slight problem with generalizations like ‘Chasidim are notorious welfare cheats’. That’s like saying Dutchmen are notorious penny-pinchers, Brabanders are men of blood – brigands, rapists, and incendiarists, and Flemings are soft as butter. There may be a kernel of truth, but it also tars many who are upstanding folks with the same brush.

I will say that I am inclined to believe that many Chassidim are poor as church-mice. A lack of easily convertible capital kinda goes with the territory. I will also grant that some are, by the standards of us outsiders, ethically challenged. Or nearly desperate. And I really get ticked-off by all the querulent shnoderish e-mails I get before Peysach, before Yom Kippur, before Rosh Hashana, before Chanukah, and before anybody else has sent out theirs. No, I cannot afford to drop some dough on every Tom, Dick, and Harry charity.

There are precisely four causes that I contribute to. And I am not a stingy Dutchman when I give (being, instead, more like a Brabander. But that is no nevermind).
Breast cancer research and treatment (benign self interest, in a way. There’s roughly one nice mammary per person on this planet).

Aids-related causes. Because I cannot stand that self-righteous, bigoted, blinkered, mean-spirited attitude so characteristic of Fundamentalist Christians and the ultra-right, who hold that “those people” got “just what they deserved”. Who-the-sheol are they to be so judgemental?

Non-denominational drug-treatment. Of which one of the better ones is the centre run by Chabad in Los Angeles (they are probably the LEAST likely to tell a person trying to kick the habit and get his or her life back together to find 'go find Cheeses and be SAYevedddd!').

Street-corner beggars. Many of them are not capable of lifting themselves up by their boot-straps, and it really does take a five days a week to scam the system (and the pay-off, here in SF, is that you can live in a really horrid residential hotel rent free, with no money for food, OR you can eat for two and a half-weeks while living in doorways).]
--- - ---

>As long as they aren't violating indecency laws, it's not the Ger's place to control other people's
clothing choices.

They aren't. They are simply chartering a cabin.

>What's really outrageous is that EL Al caved to the demands. If I were running the airline, I'd have told them to blow off and buy their own airplane and hire their own crew.

Boy are you a bad business man.

>Which is why I think that the non-Orthodox who engage in real tikkun olam, even if they have a cheeseburger or two along the way, are doing more of G-d's work and are likely more assured of a place in the world to be.
>Her view of tikkun olam is the only real view of tikkun olam. The hasidic version is horse crap and excuse making.

If you have so little self control that you can't avoid a cheeseburger, your so called "tikkun olam" might be worthless to God.

[The same self-control which I advocate for rebbeyim worried about the temptation of a shapely ankle or a apple-like upper-body part comes into play with cheeseburgers. If a Rebbe can and should ‘not look’, then a frummer yid, a shomer mitzvos, can surely ‘not fress a burger’.
B'yadacher, I do not consider lapses such a humongous aveirah either. Life is a progression - you should be a better person when you leave it than when you entered. ]
--- - ---

>where does this new style fundamentalist yideskeit come from?

From Avrohom Avinu.

"As he came near and was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "Behold, I now realize that you are a woman of beautiful appearance."


"The Aggadaic explanation is: Until now he had not been aware [of her beauty] due to the modesty of both of them."

[Sometimes Rashi allowed the fumes from those casks of wine to get to his brain. Emmes.

Avraham Avinu is an interesting and inspiring character precisely because he isn’t a saint. Instead, think of him as the poster-boy for the progression from pretty fair ignoramus to G-od fearing complexity and motivation. The Avraham we first meet in Parshas Lech Leicha is not the same as the man who dies at the end of Chayei Sarah.

Rashi explains, but Rashi at times likes the simplest explanation that will clarify a point. Even if it bends credultiy outta shape entirely.]
--- - ---

>are we all to stop flying unless we can buy first class tickets?is this holiness? is this what the torah wants from us

No. People like you don't need to.

See (cut) analogy about a speck of dirt on a potato.

[It’s a good point. I reject it, but I understand it.]

--- - ---

>I'm pretty sure that the majority of people in williamsburg arent welfare cheats. DB, are you willing to back that statement?

What massive Motzi Shem Rah. And I will say this in defense of those who do cheat. There is a budget to welfare (etc) programs. If not me, the money goes to the next guy. Why should a mexican or black deserve it more than me, if thats what will enable me to learn Torah?

[Many commenters have jumped all over this statement (see here: - and note especially some of the comments).

But this phrase hinges on the “more than”. This does not mean that they deserve it ‘less than’, as many seem to have read. It suggests to me that their need is equal.
I agree that it is an unfortunate way of expressing the idea. But careful reading, tayere chaveirim, is a mitzvah.

The point about the budget is also fairly accurate – once the pot is empty, even the most deserving pauper cannot get any soup.]
--- - ---

>However, this separation of men and women always gets my goat because it implies literally putting the women at the back of the bus. It also shows a lack of respect for the female flight attendants who want simply to do their jobs.

At Matan Torah, were the women in front or the back? And you are sooooo concerned about a "a lack of respect for the female flight attendants". Where is your respect for two Gedolei Yisroel?

[Both writers here have a point. For myself, I have no problem with women sitting all over the bus – I have enough self-control that I can avoid looking at their shapely cheeseburgers.]
--- - ---

>but...the pursuit of purity should not entail treating women like they are filthy scum that will defile and infect you

Who is treating them like scum? Women have a lofty position in Ultra Orthodoxy. Do you sing Eishes Chayil every friday night? Sit down for a few minutes and analyze what it says and them come back here and tell me that we treat women like scum.

[Note also that the reason why the inheritance of Jewishness comes from the mother is because the neshomo comes from the mother (yes, yes, I know that is hard to swallow for some skeptics – but if you don’t believe that, you probably don’t sing Eishes Chayil either, so….).]

--- - ---

>please explain that bit about the servant (!) looking at the girl with the jugs.
>You know, Eliezer looking at Rivka.

Silly question. It was for the purpose of a shidduch. דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב אסור לאדם שיקדש את האשה עד שיראנה שמא יראה בה דבר מגונה ותתגנה עליו ורחמנא אמר (ויקרא יט <> ואהבת לרעך כמוך

And what did Rivka do when they approached yitzchok?

"And she said unto the servant: 'What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us?' And the servant said: 'It is my master.' And she took her veil, and covered herself.

[Ah, he reprimands me with the actual interpretation of the verse.]
--- - ---

>I just realized that the Rebbe seems to prefer gay men to serve him than women....

Disgusting of you. You should bury your head in shame. (even if it was just a joke).

[Two comments:
Maybe the Rebbe is not judgemental. Why should he even devote anytime to considering what the sexual proclivities of people within seeing distance are? I certainly do not secretely go around thinking ‘that one is gay, that one is straight, that one is farklempt, that one has gender issues, and that one likes sheep. Kalvechomer the Rebbe doesn’t either.
Rabbeyim and Catholic padreyim are not the same. I would rather not draw any comparisonim – I am not particularly fond of galachim. And certainly rebbeyim are not teevee-preacher meshuganim, all screaming vicious disapprovalim.]

--- - ---

>and you're just the one to determine how G-d values the efforts of others in the realm of tikkun olam?

Of course not. But neither is Anonymousy who said:

"Which is why I think that the non-Orthodox who engage in real tikkun olam, even if they have a cheeseburger or two along the way, are doing more of G-d's work and are likely more assured of a place in the world to be."

--- - ---

Now here is where I react to one of LY's comments directed at me. I do so because this is my blog, and I can.

>Gevald Geshrigen, mein tayera BOTH, hust dee amuhl gehert fin "heilege oigen"? Ken ah heiligeh tzadik zain in ree'ach hakodesh ven es dreit zich yungeh shikses?!?
Siz a gitte kashe. Ober a tzaddik ken di oign tsukleppn, voss? Reiach hakoidesh iz in rosh - di yinge shikses dreien zich nor ba ponim.

"Shoftim ve shotrim titeinu-lecha, be chol sheariteicha, asher HaShem notein lach" Er ken oikh nit kikn, nit?
The Back of the Hill

----------------- ----------------- -----------------

In conclusion, Lakewood Yid scored many points. I still think that the expense is a monumental waste of money, I still think it shows a lack of humilty, but in the eyes of the Talmedim of the two rabbis in question, it may very well be money well spent.

I also do not agree with much of what he said. Two years from now I might agree more (not likely), and two years from now he may hold a different point of view (a bit more likely).
But he came out swinging, and acquitted himself well. Kol Hakavod.

I also note, again, an anti-Chassidishe taam to many of the comments.
Rabbosai, please! If you think Chassidim do not represent normative Judaism, surely such bitchiness doesn't either!

And, as they say, you win more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Don't you want some of 'them' to think like little clones of you? Of course you do! Isn't that the reason for aza gekvetch und geschrei?
Verbal baseball bats do not advance that cause.

Besides, who would you rather have covering your back – a buncha stubborn pissant Hhareidim or a buncha bigoted fundamentalist Christians?

I’m probably biased, but I would rather not be in the same state as fundamentalist Christians.

Search This Blog


Some drugs to which people become addicted, which may necessitate incontinence pants, also induce a high quotient of gibberance. Especially ...