The Conspiracy

School warns of ‘crafty’ Jews; counter-protests; the Rabbinical Assembly; and more. [Required Reading]

Anat Hoffman, Women of the Wall, featured on CNN [Umm, CNN?]

This is a little late in coming, but this great piece about Anat Hoffman, women’s rights in Israel, etc., is currently on the CNN “Amanpour” blog. Written by Samuel Burke, this is one of the widest recent exposures of the Israeli organization.

“Hoffman is the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center and was arrested at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2010 for carrying a Torah at the holy site in Jerusalem. She told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, ‘I was conducting a religious act that offends the feelings of others – and that’s against the law.’ While women carrying a Torah in Reform Judaism is common place, it’s not sanctioned by Orthodox Jews, whose customs have become the norm at the Western Wall. Hoffman was never charged with a crime.

(…)

When asked how the rise of Orthodoxy and its political impact affect any possibility of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, Hoffman said, ‘I look at Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu – deeply religious people that used religion to mend their country.  When you think of South Africa, you see how religion can actually act not as an obstacle – the peace and reconciliation committees are drenched in religious rhetoric.  You see religion at its very, very best.'”

Well said.

Muslim school in Toronto teaches of “crafty” Jews [Forward]

In yet another edition of “Paranoid Extremists Blaming the Jews,” we have this bizarre story, out of Toronto, Canada:

“The curriculum at the East End Madrassah, a Sunday school for Muslim children that rents space from a public school, taught boys to exercise so they are ‘ready for jihad,’ refers to ‘crafty’ and ‘treacherous’ Jews and Jewish ‘plots,’ and contrasts Islam with ‘the Jews and the Nazis.’

By early this week, the school had removed from its website the controversial portion of its curriculum. Later the same day, its website went offline.”

Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative Judaism) gets new president [JTA]

The Conservative movement of Judaism has elected its new president. Rabbi Gerald Skolnik has extensive experience in both congregational and administrative work. JTA reports:

“Skolnik, 59, spiritual leader of The Forest Hills Jewish Center, was elected Monday at the convention in Atlanta. He succeeds Rabbi Gilah Dror, who held the position for the past two years. Skolnik had served as the RA’s vice president.”

And in related news about the Rabbinical Assembly…

Joe Biden “crosses” himself in presence of rabbis [ABC News]

There’s this little gem from ABC News, reporting on Vice President Joe Biden’s message to members of the Rabbinical Assembly:

“The rabbi introducing him says, with Biden standing behind him to his right: ‘Were Joe Biden not the Vice President of the United States, but still a senator from the state of Delaware, a position that he held with great distinction for 36 years, it would still be a signal…’

At the mention of how long he served in the Senate, Biden makes the sign of the cross on himself – to laughter and applause from the rabbis in the audience.”

The next headline should read: “Joe Biden schukles during Mass.” Bridging those divides, man. Bridging those divides.

Ultra-Orthodox protesters to get counter-protested… umm… ? [Five Towns Patch]

Looks like the ultra-Orthodox aren’t the only ones to show up for a protest on May 20th. While the Haredim will be protesting the Internet (isn’t that a little like protesting electricity, at this point?), it seems a counter-protest is planned. More below:

“The secondary protest is titled ‘The Internet Is Not The Problem,’ and has been organized on, of all places, Facebook.

The pro-Internet faction hopes to fly in the face of a loose confederation of Ultra Orthodox leaders who have reportedly raised $1.5 million to rent out the inside of the stadium on May 20. They will reportedly use the massive space to rally against and discuss the problems the Internet has caused the insular community.”

Is this where we say, “May the best protestor win?” No?

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