Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Valerie Carlton ~ A Woman Scorned!!

Jewish American Mother Valerie Carlton still languishes in Jail, and will continue to do so for at least another two weeks. 
Tortured in solitary confinement in America because she lights Shabbat Candles with her daughter. Jailed for being Jewish !!!!

Rockland County Supreme Court Justice, Judge Kelly  said he has been made aware that the Governor of New York has asked for 30 days to review the case, so it is not yet in the judge's jurisdiction to make a decision about extradition. But, Judge Kelly refused to grant bail to Valerie. It is time to pressurise to educate Jewish America and influence the Governors of both New York State and  Maryland.  This Jewish lady needs our help .... YOU can help by sending EMAILS to the Governor's of New York & Maryland County.

Affidavits from a leading forensic psychiatrist, (Dr. Mark J. Mills), a former prisoner (whom I will not name), a Rabbi, a former attorney, (Roger Malik), three advocate-witnesses, (Dr. Leora Rosen, Michelle Etlin, and the maternal grandmother, Lenna Gordon), have been submitted on Valerie’s behalf in the hope that Judge Kelly, of Rockland County, will not extradite her back to Maryland or back to Harford County where she faces “sure torture and probable death” at the hands of the authorities. These affidavits were submitted in evidence at a hearing at the Rockland County Courthouse in New City.  To No Avail!!!

Valerie Carlton also has letters and affidavits from leading Rabbis about her being a Balaat T'shuva and about her terrible suffering. Rabbi Sheftel Meir Neuberger of Baltimore, Rabbi Hershel Kranz of Baltimore, and the Rabbinical head of Aleph, have all spoken out on her behalf. As I reported in my initial blog    Valerie ~ Victimised for Being Jewish !!! ,  Valerie was severely punished for practicing Judaism with her daughter!

This is quite possibly the worst custody case in 20th and 21st century America. What Valerie Carlton’s ex-husband, Russell Carlton, and the judicial and penal authorities in Harford County, Maryland, did from 2009-2010, and what they are still trying to do to this poor mother, in Harford County, Maryland is as bad, and possibly worse, than what was done to Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard in the 19th century in Illinois.  The tale I will tell today!!!

Like Valerie Carlton, Elizabeth Packard (above) was also married to a christian Minister (Valerie’s ex-husband is a christian missionary). Elizabeth Packard dared to disagree with her husband about the existence of original sin ...  she believed that people are born innocent, not guilty.  For this, her husband, Theophilus, accused her of “insanity” and, in 1860, had her forcibly removed to an insane asylum where she languished for 3 ½ years.   She was kept in isolation for periods of time, sexually harassed, and once, almost strangled by the Director of the Asylum, one Dr. Andrew McFarland. Freed by the Trustees, she returned home, it was the only way she would be allowed to see her six children.  However, Elizabeth’s husband tormented and isolated her and again threatened to have her psychiatrically incarcerated.

This time, in 1864, she demanded and got a jury of twelve men who pronounced her “sane”. When she again returned to her husband’s custody, she found that he had mortgaged her dowry-bought house and fled to Massachusetts with their children.   Elizabeth supported herself by selling copies of her autobiography .... 'Modern Persecution. Insane Asylums Unveiled (volume 1) and Married Women’s Liabilities (volume 2)'.  She ultimately battled for custody of her still underage children with whom she was finally reunited in 1869, after a nine year separation.

But this is 21st Century America.  The laws concerning custody and the rights of married, divorced, and single women have changed.  Improved.  Thus, the incredible mistreatment of Valerie Carlton is less justified, less understandable, and  certainly less legal, than the atrocious treatment meted out to Elizabeth Packard.

According to her advocate, Dr. Leora Rosen, Valerie’s mother is a Jew.  Her father is a christian who does not like Jews and who was abusive to Valerie who suffers from a learning disorder, one which he absolutely refused to recognize or treat.  Only after her parents were divorced, did a teenage Valerie finally receive a diagnosis of “Auditory Processing Disorder.” According to Dr. Leora Rosen, Valerie's auditory processing disorder means that she has “difficulty processing the meaning of sounds when there is background noise  ~ even a little noise".    She is actually exquisitely sensitive to sound and can actually hear sounds that no one else can hear when there is complete silence around.  However, when people turn away from her while talking, especially when there are other noises in the environment,  she may have difficulty understanding what they are saying.  People have to face her so that she can read their lips.  People do not believe that there is anything wrong with her because she is not deaf.  They don't understand her disability and think she is making things up to be "difficult.”

Valerie’s father treated her like a failure.   Nevertheless, disabled people ~ even very smart and good-natured and only slightly disabled people are easy to view as “mentally ill” or even retarded.  Or as difficult.  Such a woman may be viewed as exceptionally vulnerable prey.
Although Valerie nearly completed all the work for a Degree in Social Work and planned to study Horticulture, she was, essentially, waiting to marry and have a family. This is no crime, in fact it is seen as the highest for a Jewish Woman in life .... it does involve some risk.

A woman like Valerie is utterly dependent upon the goodwill of her protectors ... Her husband,  her Rabbi, her Synagogue.  If they fail her,  she has little recourse.  Thus, Valerie followed in her mother’s footsteps and married an xtian. She attended church with him. But, Russell was not merely a “christian.” He was a Christian Evangelical missionary who lived in a small predominantly white (80%) and christian county in Maryland, Harford County.

Wait and see what these presumed “christian” church goers did.   According to Valerie’s advocate, Dr. Leora Rosen, “Valerie never objected to Russell continuing to take their daughter to church. But when Valerie began her return to Judaism and began to light Shabbat candles with her daughter present,”  both Russell,  his church, and the judges and sheriffs they controlled viewed her religious practice as a crime. And treated it as a high crime.  Her Crime ..... Practicing Judaism !!!!!

In court papers, one of her previous attorneys, Roger W. Malik, Esq. said that “During my representation of Ms. Carlton, I became aware that, at the onset of the criminal case against her, an application for a search warrant of her domiciliary premises had been made, and that the search warrant was judicially signed and issued. The application for the search warrant states in substantive part Ms. Carlton’s status as an “Orthodox Jew who practices with her religion with her daughter.”    Did they accuse her outright of being a Jew? Did they list it as a crime? Not exactly.

They (her ex-husband and his church-related law enforcement associates) came at Valerie in another way.  According to one of her New York attorneys, Michael Ettinger, and her advocate, Dr. Leora Rosen, Russell  had allowed their five year old daughter to be sexually abused by his nephew, Winnifer began acting out sexually in school.  And that’s when Russell falsely charged Valerie with sexually abusing her own daughter and a neighbour’s daughter as well ~ a neighbour who has a history of making such false charges.

The way the Harford County prosecutor and Judge (Judge William Carr) decided to treat Valerie was not only to falsely charge her with 28 counts of child sexual abuse but to put her in solitary confinement for thirteen months (2009-2010). And in a detention centre with male (as well as female) inmates and guards, all of whom had been informed that Valerie was a lesbian pedophile. You see, since prisoners hate pedophiles, they had to keep her in lockdown for 23 hours every day “for her own protection.

Valerie needed protection from her guards.  During this time, they often kept Valerie in restraints, often tightly shackled, both hands and feet. She was threatened. Her food was contaminated. She was cursed as a “kike” and a pedophile. She was seriously “roughed up” by the guards when they transported her and at other times. In one instance, “she was ‘helped’ into a transport van while chained. They also rammed her head, hard, into walls. Her jailors denied her medical treatment after these beatings.     According to a former inmate, (this is contained in an affidavit), he “personally witnessed”  Valerie’s 'Kosher food' opened and handled by numerous male prisoners inappropriately. It was then partially rewrapped and taken to her,  for Valerie to consume.”  She was also constantly taunted.

“She was singled out for this treatment especially by the ‘Black Muslims’ working in the kitchen. They wanted to contaminate her food because she is Jewish.”  In addition, “There were numerous stories (circulated by the inmates) of Valerie and what she looked like while sleeping, in the shower, and in situations in which any person has a right to privacy."

Why did the authorities allow these injustices to occur? Because they wanted to literally drive her crazy so that she would never be allowed custody of her daughter or even visitation. The sheriff and various law enforcement officials,  kept offering her a way out ..... If she pled to being “Not Criminally Responsible,”  she would be allowed out. But she would forever after be seen as an “insane” mother whose visitation, if any, would have to be supervised and very limited. Valerie absolutely refused to sacrifice her rights as a mother or her right to protect her daughter.  Or her right to be a Jewish Mother ..... She was literally tortured because she loved her daughter and wanted to share her Jewish faith with her.

Many prisoners subjected to solitary confinement become Psychotic. Valerie did not. A major psychiatrist has literally testified to that. (His is one of the affidavits being submitted into evidence in Rockland County). But, there is no way to endure this kind of terror and isolation without becoming afflicted with a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder.  It is the normal human reaction to torture. Even so, this does not mean that Valerie is “insane” or incapable of being a good mother to her child.  

Let Valerie Go.  Return Winnifer to her mother. Let Valerie live with her loving mother, the maternal grandmother of little Winnifer who has only recently been allowed to see her granddaughter again.  This is a Miscarriage of Justice.  And a Jewish Mother needs our Assistance.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Murdered in Mumbai !!!!

Today is the third anniversary of the terror attacks in Mubmai, India's financial capital. Some 25 Islamic terrorists from Pakistan infiltrated India's borders by sea, and strategically attacked 10 Civilian residencies, including 2 major hotels, 2 hospitals, a tourist restaurant and targeting down Mumbai's Chabad House, killing at least 195 civilians in the attack.

Among those murdered, 6 people in the Chabad house were murdered, all of whom were Jews.  They were murdered because they were Jews. They were Bentzion Chroman, Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, Yocheved Orpaz, and Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich, and the Chabad couple who ran the Nariman Chabad house, Rabbi Gavriel and Rebbetzin Rivkah Holtzberg.  The Holtzbergs were pre-selected targets.

Indian Police killed two of the terrorists inside the Chabad House, Abu Umar, and Babar Imaran; who had told the Holtzbergs they were Israeli travelers, and were being hosted by the Holtzbergs with their legendary hospitality.   The Holtzbergs arrived in Mumbai in 2003 to serve the small local Jewish community, visiting businesspeople and the throngs of tourists, many of them Israeli, who annually travel to the seaside city.

"Gavi and Rivka Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice," said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch. "As emissaries to Mumbai, Gabi and Rivky gave up the comforts of the West in order to spread Jewish pride in a corner of the world that was a frequent stop for throngs of Israeli tourists."  Their Chabad House was popular among the local community, as well as with visiting businesspeople.  "For five years, they ran a synagogue and Torah classes, and helped people dealing with drug addiction and poverty," continued the statement. "Their selfless love will live on with all the people they touched."

These terrorists seized hold of the Chabad House around 9:45 PM on Wednesday, November 25th, and were reported to be holding several hostages. Rabbi Holtzberg had been on the phone with the Israeli Embassy when the terrorists stormed the house.  His last known phone call was to the Israeli Consulate Wednesday night to report that gunmen were in his house. In the middle of the conversation, the line went dead.  US Chabad official Rabbi Levi Shemtov attempted to negotiate with the terrorists on the phone, but the terrorists would not allow any officials to speak to any of the hostages.  Sometime on Thursday all of the Jewish hostages were mutilated & murdered for the "crime" of being Jewish!

Among the hostages released, the Holtzbergs two-year-old son, Moshe, was rescued by their nanny, Sandra Samuel, who was hiding in a closet when she heard him crying. The nanny grabbed baby Moshe, who had just celebrated his second birthday & had been wandering around in bload-soaked clothing, a witness to the horrific events unfolding around him.  He lives now in Eretz Yisrael with his Grandparents, Rabbi Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg, & started first grade school for the first time in September.  Sandra Samuel became an Israeli citizen last September. At a ceremony in the Interior Ministry Samuel said she would give her life and heart for Israel. Her Mitzvah will never be forgotten, I am reminded of Ruth the Moabite, whose words were that Ha'Shem would henceforth be her G-d. 

Early Friday morning, Indian security officials attacked and forced their way into the Chabad House, killing the two terrorists in the crossfire,  they discovered that all the hostages were already murdered.  Rebbetzin Holtzberg was found, bound & trussed up by telephone wires, and there signs of torture, beating, and sexual abuse on her and the other five Jewish victims.    She was five months pregnant at the time.  The Chabad house was a deliberate target in the terrorists' agenda.  And more importantly, the world lost some special people.  
The Holtzbergs were emissaries to their cause ~  spreading kindness to the world, because they felt it was the right thing to do. They both decided at a young age to devote their life to helping other Jews who needed more religious inspiration. The couple arrived to Mumbai in 2003 and ran the open Chabad house to offer a kosher meal and a comfortable atmosphere to any guests passing through. Rabbi Holtzberg bought and prepared hundreds of chickens himself, as there was no kosher meat in Mumbai. Rivkah baked bread for 800 people by the week,  provided daycare for children,  and all types of holiday activities and religious services.

The Chabad house served as a haven for Jewish life in Mumbai .... they provided full-time kosher food,  synagogue services, and shabbat services for anyone who walked into their home. The Holtzbergs both taught Torah classes in Mumbai to the Jewish community, whose population is close to 4,000 & provided tens of thousands of meals to all the different types of people who entered the Chabad house, in addition to performing funeral and wedding services for the Jewish community.

Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg said, “The Torah says to love your fellow Jew as yourself. Our work here is not just our job, its our pleasure!”   The Holtzbergs had told the Jewish community of Mumbai that they were always there for them.  The Holtzbergs represent people that don't just say, but do. A tragedy such as this, may destroy the Chabad family in Mumbai, but while it is human to grieve,  it is also important to move forward, and take lessons out of everything.  In fact her friends always described Rebbetzin Rivkah Rosenberg as always having a positive outlook and a kind word for everyone, with a Smile!

As this Attack was on a Chabad house I think it appropriate to end with a quote from the Lubavitcher Rebbi, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson .....  “It is not our job to explain, but it is our job to act, Tragedies must be cultivated to make something positive out of it. We must build and grow to bring more light onto this world.”    Practically, the message the Holtzbergs would have wanted to give would be to increase the acts of kindness in order to make the world a better place.  It is actually this weeks Parsha from Torah, so fits here so well.  While we live on, the Holtzbergs do not,  but their acts of kindness echo in the world ....  we will live and learn from them.  

May their Neshamot have an Aliyah!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Valerie Carlton .... Victimised for being Jewish!!

Valerie Carlton

I first became aware of this case last Friday evening, after close of Shabbat, when reading Serach's story on Arutz Sheva,  displayed on a friends wall in Facebook.  I immediately did some research ..... this lady needs support.  Jewish Support.  She is Valerie Carlton, a 42 year old Jewish woman who married a non-Jew who became violently abusive to her.  She has been kept in solitary in a US prison as her husband tries to get her extradited to where she will not survive, a guarantee he made to her and is in a position to carry out because of vindictiveness & Nepotism, and extreme Anti Semitism.

Just this week past ~ 8th November ~ was the Yarzeit of Rachel Immimeu, weeping Mother of Am Yisrael, and this Jewish mother is weeping too in an American jail.  On November 10th, 2011, she learned whether a judge will extradite her from Monsey, New York where, according to one of her lawyers, Michael Ettinger, she “faces probable death” in a private for-profit Detention Center in Harford County, Maryland.  I have not yet learned her fate that day ....

Valerie Carlton was falsely indicted on 28 felony charges in Harford County, Maryland, in May 2009. Ms. Carlton was held on $10,000,000 bail in the Harford County Detention Center in solitary confinement for over 13 months. Eventually all 28 felony charges were dropped for lack of evidence.   Prosecutors don't usually give up on 28 charges if there is any hint that wrong has been done. 
The false charges, which included child sexual abuse, stemmed from the unsubstantiated allegations of her ex-husband who was seeking to terminate her visitation, and all parental rights, with her six-year-old daughter.  What happened to the presumption of innocence in the American Justice System.  Does it not apply to Jews??

About 10 months into her confinement in Harford County, when it became clear to the State's Attorney that the case could not go to trial and that Ms. Carlton would have to soon be set free, an "altercation" occurred that was captured on video.   Although the Harford County Sheriff claims that Ms. Carlton assaulted a corrections officer, the enhanced forensic video of the incident shows the officer confronting the prisoner, pummeling her, throwing her on the floor and bashing her head three times into a concrete wall.

Valerie married a man who battered her, abused their young child, and then vowed to destroy her. According to Valerie’s advocates, Russell Carlton turned out to be a vicious psychopath who used his christian Evangelical and white supremacist brand of christianity (and his powerful, local connections) to try and “kill the Jew” who dared to return to her Jewish roots, light Shabbat candles, and “practice Judaism” with her daughter.   According to her lawyers and advocates, “both the search warrant and the charging document for the criminal charges against Ms. Carlton stated that she was an Orthodox Jew who practiced Jewish customs with her daughter whenever they were together.”


Although he was the abuser, he falsely accused her of having sexually abused their daughter. These charges were never substantiated but nevertheless, the allegations got her locked up. The other prisoners were carefully told she had sexually abused children and, because prisoners are notoriously cruel to pedophiles, the sheriff put her in isolation “for her own good.”  This is where the guards tried to “break” her, to get her to admit she was “insane,” and to give up full custody, maybe even parental rights, to her child.

Neither the court nor the sheriff ~ not even the Governor of the State ~ chose to intervene to spare Valerie’s suffering, not even when nationally recognized experts strongly recommended that she be freed and reunited with her child. To date, Valerie has not seen her daughter for 2 1/2 years.   Her ex-husband was found guilty of assaulting her,   she's been found guilty of nothing, but he has custody of her daughter.  How is this Just??

Once the authorities realized they would have to release her, they had a guard beat her up ~ but the guard falsely claimed that she had attacked him, he brought charges. Fake Charges.  (A video may be viewed at   www.valeriecarlton.com  which shows what really happened). Her jailors warned her that she would soon be re-arrested.  Valerie fled the area and relocated to Monsey, New York.

Ten months ago, Ms. Carlton's mother applied for visitation with her granddaughter. Recently, however, the grandmother retained counsel to assist her.   Afraid that there might be contact between mother and daughter (Ms. Carlton has been rendered unable to communicate with her daughter for two-and-a-half years) it appears that Mr. Carlton prevailed upon the Sheriff's office to have his ex-wife arrested in New York and brought back to Harford County to face trial on the "assault" charges.   It is unusual for US Marshalls to be sent to arrest someone in another state for a misdemeanor.   No Jew should feel safe in America with such blatant hatred for justice when it comes to them. 

Valerie now faces a potential sentence of up to ten years for a beating she did not commit; in a jail that had no legal right to keep her; where she was literally tortured; and where  her “baby son, wrongfully removed from her, ultimately perished  through the County’s malfeasance.”  

They removed her still breast-feeding son from her and put him in state care where he….just died. And they did not allow a rabbi to break the news to her. Not even a psychologist was allowed in to tell her. Her punishers literally tied her down and told her that her son was dead, waiting to see if she would “break.”  This is INHUMANE!!

Dr. Mark J. Mills, a forensic psychiatrist, said in a letter that his evaluation of Carlton found she is not psychotic, not dangerous and it is extremely unlikely that she would commit sexual abuse on her child or any other child.   Mills also wrote that he reviewed the transcripts testimony by the two girls and found no credible evidence of abuse.  And the neighbour who laid charges has apparently done this on previous occasions where the allegations have proved to be FALSE in law!!

Michael Ettinger,  Valerie's lawyer,  described her persecutors, including her ex-husband, as “malevolent people who have no problem putting an innocent women in jail in order to destroy her.”
This is a Jewish mother who has known more than a Mountain of sorrow, a Jewish mother who faces certain barbaric treatment if she is extradited. Other prisoners have died in the Harford County Detention Centre. It is known for its “accidental” taser deaths.

Ms. Carlton faces a potential sentence of up to ten years for .....
* a beating that was administered by a jail guard to HER, 
* in a jail where the State had no legal right to hold her,
* where she was tortured and abused,
* where her baby son, wrongfully removed from her, ultimately perished through Maryland County's malfeasance.  

What YOU can do .....

*EMAIL to the Governor's of New York & Maryland County.

Send a Cheque to help defray & pay her legal costs to: ~
Philip J. Murphy, Esq., Escrowee
10 Esquire Road, Suite 10
New City, New York 10956
Mark your cheque  "Valerie Carlton Defence Fund."

*Send an email of support, or with any comments or questions, to Valerie Carlton .... VindicateValerie@gmail.com

This is all being done in furtherance of a vindictive ex-spouse's scheme to destroy the mother of his child.  A Jewish Woman for Practicing her Judaism!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

On Remembrance Day!

Na Dean Dearmad .... Don't Forget!

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~ Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae ~ 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kristallnacht ... Kickstarting the Shoah!!

Synagogues "light" the Sky
Today, Wednesday, November 9th, marks the 73rd anniversary of 'Kristallnacht'the Night of Broken Glass, which is widely considered to be the Start of the Shoah,  the first step in the planned extermination of the Jewish people leading to the eventual murder of six million in the Nazi programme of genocide.  I penned this piece last year .... I repost today!

On the night of November 9/10th, 1938, gangs of Nazi youth, with the unofficial but clear encouragement of Nazi leaders in a carefully orchestrated outbreak of government sponsored violence, committed attrocities in Jewish neighbourhoods throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenlands of Czechoslovakia. They smashed Jewish storefronts and homes, destroyed and burned over 1,600 synagogues, and vandalized over 175,000 Jewish stores and businesses. Close to 2,500 Jews were killed, and 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. This nationwide anti-Jewish pogrom took place during peacetime across the entire territory of the Third Reich.

Instigated by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, this murderous onslaught against German Jewry, cynically described as the "Night of Broken Glass", was a major turning point on the road to the "Final solution" of the so-called "Jewish question." It signified that the Nazi regime had crossed a Rubicon and would no longer be deterred by Western public opinion in its "War against the Jews." 
The economic expropriation of German Jewry, its complete social ostracism and public humiliation swiftly followed. Jews were banned from public transport, from frequenting concerts, theatres, cinemas, commercial centres or beaches, from using public benches. Only a fortnight after "Crystal Night,"  the SS journal, Das Schwarze Korps, chillingly prophesied the final end of German Jewry through "Fire and sword" and its imminent complete annihilation.  For that reason it is certainly proper to commemorate this harbinger of horror, the infamous date that marks the onset of this spiral of unimaginable hatred unloosed among a supposedly civilized people.  What is unfathomable to me, though, is the name by which this commemoration continues to be known.

Tonight,  Jewish communities throughout the world will again gather to recall Kristallnacht ~ and will unwittingly allow themselves, in some measure, to verbally embrace the very heresy that abetted the Holocaust.    'Kristallnacht' ..... 'Crystal Night' .... conjures mental pictures of something pleasant.   Like the effect of the Cool Crystal Clear Waters of a lake on a Summer's day, perhaps.  I have Crystal's hanging in my bedroom window.  They are beautiful, reflecting the light & magically producing Rainbows,  a thing of beauty, a joy to possess.  Kristallnacht does not come close to being any of those things.  Only the anti-semitism shines clear as crystal.

It took 6 months to manufacture new glass so much was broken

And, 73 years after the horrible events of 1938 should have given us by now sufficient perspective to expose the lie of a horrible term that is designed to deceive, to promote something that is it quite clearly not .... a  deceptively descriptive term  that epitomizes the key to the most powerful methodology for murder perfected by the Nazis.  How, after all, were the Nazis able to commit their crimes under the veneer of civilized respectability?  Upon analysis, the answer is obvious. They glorified the principle of murder by euphemism.

Let's look at the language of the Nazi perpetrators .... Sonderbehandlung ("special treatment") was the way to describe gassing victims. Euthanasia was the "polite" way to speak of the mass murder of retarded or physically handicapped patients.  Arbeit Macht Frei ("Work Makes you Free") were the words that greeted new arrivals at the entrance to the death camp of Auschwitz. When the Nazis launched their plan to annihilate the remaining Jews in Poland in the autumn of 1943, they called it "Erntefest" or Harvest Festival!  And perhaps most cynical of all was the use of the term, "Endloesung der Judenfrage" ~ in English  "The Final Solution" ~  to express the concept for which civilized language as yet had no term. (The word ‘genocide' was introduced in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, who had escaped from German-occupied Poland to the US.)

Euphemisms, as Quentin Crisp so aptly quipped, are "unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne."  On the simplest level the name Kristallnacht suggests that the only terrible thing that happened was breakage of a tremendous amount of glass that would have to be replaced ~ a financial loss caused by wasteful vandalism that the government subsequently dealt with by taxing the Jewish community to pay for the damages inflicted upon them. 

30,000 Jewish Men Marched to Camps ~ Kristallnacht 1938

Kristallnacht was the German euphemism for a time of sanctioned killing. The word takes into account only the loss of 'Crystal',  not humans, and is one reason why its continued usage is so appalling to me.  I'm a lover of language,  the beauties of it's usage,  the correct application of it's grammar & perhaps that is why this is so abhorrent to me.  We need to reclaim that beauty from the Nazis & not allow further horror to be wrought from the holocaust.

But there is much more than even that .....

Dr. Walter H. Pehle, a historian specializing in modern Germany, has already pointed out that Kristallnacht's original intent was cynically propagandizing the violence into something metaphorically holding "sparkle and gleam" for Germany & the Globe.  It is that very connection that played no small role in Goebbel's choice of descriptive for a moment that the German Minister of Propaganda wanted to immortalize as a sparkling and glowing portend of a future rid of its "Jewish parasites."

Why then would we choose to identify the night of initial mass murders with a word that not only ignores everything other than broken glass, but in fact glorifies its results as gifts of crystal clear light to the distorted truths of Nazi ideology?

To remember Kristallnacht properly we must first renounce its German-given name.

We must proclaim that we commemorate not broken windows but shattered lives.

We must pledge never again to allow evil to enter our lives disguised as the good and the noble.

We must declare that no euphemisms will ever again be permitted to cloak the horrors they intend to conceal.

Anti Semitism on the Rise, Worldwide

Today, shocking to relate, the spectre of such apocalyptic anti-Semitism has returned to haunt Europe and other continents, while assuming radically new forms. In the Middle East, it has taken on a particularly dangerous, toxic and potentially genocidal aura of hatred, closely linked to the "mission" of holy war or "jihad" against the Jews.   There is nothing 'holy' about Jihad!!!

Islamist anti-Semitism is thoroughly soaked in many of the most inflammatory themes that initially made possible the attrocities of "Crystal Night" and its horrific aftermath during the Holocaust.  To the grotesque inventions of the Nazi era one must add such up-to-date libels as Holocaust denial,  which has become a state-sponsored project in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran and is increasingly pervasive in Europe & the Arab world.  Equally fashionable (and increasingly popular in Europe) is the slanderous identification of Israel with Nazism or the "ethnic cleansing" of the supposed palestinians.  Americans 'occupy' so many streets shouting slogans of Jewish expulsion,  This modernized version of inverted anti-Semitism which sails under the mask of "anti-Zionism" is today a global phenomenon, but it has special resonance in the Middle East as a result of the fraudulent "Palestinian question."

 Horrifyingly, 'Kristallnacht' or indeed the Shoah that followed has not dented or neutralized the scourge of anti-Semitism one iota.  In a sinister and sometimes devious manner, the widespread defamation and demonization of Israel has, in effect, revived fantasies of completing the murderous work of the Third Reich.   We need to recognise these libels of language for what they really are.   We need to stop masking the murderous intent behind seemingly "innocent" terminology.  Are we at all capable of learning from history?? This may well be a decisive factor in determining the future when the Jewish people once again have to stand alone in the face of concrete threats to annihilate it.  Let's no longer Stand in the Shadow of the Shoah.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Remembering Rachel!

 One of the most important days in the month of Cheshvan is the 11th, which commemorates the day of passing of our matriarch Rachel. Rachel was Jacob's most beloved wife and was the principal of his household and thus the principal of the entire house of Israel. And today,the 11th of Cheshvan is Rachel's yarzeit & the Jewish Mother's Day!!

"Rachel cries for her children, she will not be comforted…"

 Rachel constantly mourns over the exile of her children, the Jewish people,  in fact, Rachel lost her own spiritual luxury ~ She gave up her place next to her husband a second time when, instead of a burial spot in the family plot in Hebron, she accepted a lonely burial, on the side of a deserted road. She did this in order to be there for her children who would live tens of centuries later ....... Rachel is the quintessential Jewish mother, sacrificing for our well-being and security. This feeling of limitless love and motherly concern is what draws people to her tomb to this day.   In addition, Rachel herself was childless for many years before she was granted children. Women who are suffering from infertility, in particular, travel to her tomb to pray.

Rachel's tomb is Judaism's third-holiest site, has been the scene of prayer and pilgrimage for more than three thousand years.

Rachel, the beloved wife of the third Patriarch, Ya'acov, died in child birth on the way to Hebron returning to his family's home. They set out from Bayt-El,  but when they were still some distance from Efrat, Rachel went into childbirth, and she had hard labour. When her labour was at it's hardest, the midwife said to her, "Have no fear, for it's another boy for you." But as she breathed her last, as she was dying, she named him Ben-Oni, but his father called him Benyamin. So Rachel died. She was buried on the road to Efrat ~ now Bethlehem. Over her grave Ya'acov set up a pillar, it is the pillar at Rachel's grave to this day.  ~ Torah, Parshat Vayishlach  ~ Bereshit 35:16-21 ~

Ya'acov buried Rachel at this spot, rather than a the family burial plot at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, (which has incidentally also been declared a 'mosque') because he foresaw that his descendants would pass this site during the the forced exile to Babylon in the year 423 B.C.E. And then Rachel would pray for their safety and ultimate return, as it's written ~ Rachel, weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children who are gone. Thus said HaShem ~ 'Restrain your voice from weeping, your eyes from shedding tears for there is reward for your labour' declares HaShem. 'They shall return from the enemy's land and there is hope for the future' declares HaShem  'Your children shall return to their own country'   ~  Jeremiah 3:15-17 ~

So Ya'acov set up a monument over her lonely grave site so that exiled Jews would recognize it and pray and be comforted as they were being led into captivity. Ancient writings describe the grave marker as 12 stones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel with one large stone that symbolized Ya'akov.

Since the time of her burial the Tomb of Rachel has always been a special place for prayer. To this very day, men and women go to Rachel's Tomb to shed tears and beg "Mother Rachel" to intercede with Ha'Shem on their behalf ~ for the health of a loved one or for Divine intervention for those in need. Rachel, the childless woman who ultimately became mother of the Jewish People, has become a special symbol of hope for childless women ~ teaching them the power of prayer. Hundreds of requests are sent every month to the Committee For Rachel's Tomb from Jews world wide, requesting prayers to be said on behalf of the ill, the childless and those in need of a special blessing.

The palestinian authority has claimed that Rachel's Tomb is holy to Muslims as the site of a mosque called the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque.   Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Rabbi of the Western Wall, has termed the decision “outrageous” “They have never said in the past that this was a Muslim holy site. The [UN] organization responsible for heritage has turned heritage into politics.”   Israel should think carefully about whether or not to cooperate with UNESCO in the future, he said.  Israel's Foreign Ministry has also denounced the UNESCO ruling.

Under Ottoman rule, Rachel's Tomb was a Jewish site.  Only in 1996 did the PA begin to call the site the 'Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque', he said.

 From the Byzantine period until the 1800's Rachel's Tomb consisted of a tiny domed structure. It was Sir Moses Montifeori who renovated the Tomb in 1841 and added on an anteroom and enclosed the dome over the grave marker so that pilgrims could find shelter from the elements. The town of Bethlehem has grown several fold and where once Mother Rachel's Tomb was in an open area on the road side, today it stands in the centre of the town with one of the main streets passing right next to it.

Since 1948 Muslims have created their own cemetery surrounding the building on three sides. For political purposes, Muslims claim that Rachel's Tomb is one of their burial plots and that it contains a Muslim notable rather than Mother Rachel. This is absolute hogwash ..... it is a fabrication made up after the Jewish State of Israel was declared & stands alongside that other fiction, the 'palestinian' people!!

 This land has treasonably been granted to Arafat & the 'palestinian' people. The tomb has been enlarged & encased for it's protection as we see in the modern photograph above. The new Rachel's Tomb consists of the previous structure housed within the expanded and reinforced edifice. New additions include the 2 guard towers in the above picture. This new Rachel's Tomb complex is a modern and stately building that has been designed to protect the tomb and those inside, yet it's interior retains the intimacy and unique serenity that has been characteristic of Rachel's Tomb.

Tens of thousands of Jews will today visit Rachel's Tomb to mark the Matriarch's Yartheit  The tomb is located within Bethlehem city limits, but remained under Israeli control when the rest of Bethlehem was transferred to Palestinian Authority control.  Journalist Nadav Shragai, writing for Yisrael Hayom, noted that Muslims living in the land of Israel have historically referred to Rachel's Tomb as “Kubat Rahel,” the Arabic term for “Rachel's Tomb.”

Rachel's Tomb is a living symbol of Ha'Shem's promise to Rachel that her children will return to the Land Of Israel. Jewish life today thrives in Rachel's Tomb. In these days, despite the on-going war of attrition people still go to recite Tehillim, daven and learn Torah. Classes by renowned Jewish speakers are held there. Rachel's Tomb has also become a place of joy as Britot and Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations are held within it's walls. The Committee For Rachel's Tomb is sponsoring the Rachel's Tomb Educational Centre which reaches out to the thousands of teenagers visiting Israel and to Israeli students,  teaching Jewish heritage through the legacy of the Matriarch Rachel and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

And Ha'Shem answered Rachel's tears ....
"Restrain your voice from weeping,  "Hold back your eyes from their tears.  For your work has its reward and your children shall return to their border." 
YIRMEYAH 31.16 ~

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Road to Zeon .... eh??

This episode of Star Trek,  the Original Series,  is now in the news since it is about to be aired in Germany for the first time,  Forty-three years after Star Trek made the episode in which its heroes battle characters clearly representing Nazis.

The Star Trek episode "Patterns of Force" ~ in which the "Enterprise" crew fights a planet populated by characters based directly on the Nazis ~ was made 43 years ago but has never before been aired in Germany. Despite the anti-Nazi approach in the episode, the uniforms and the narrative aroused discomfort in Germany of the 1960s, just more than 20 years after the end World War II. For this reason, the episode was never aired.  The German public television station ZDF will air the episode this week. but it will be aired under constraints, showing only after 10 p.m. and with a disclaimer that the content is intended only for people over the age of 16.

In "Patterns of Force," Kirk and Spock land on the planet Ekos, which is at war with the planet Zeon. They beam down and run into Isak, who appears hurt and tells them to run. While Spock and Kirk hide, they see Isak captured by two men in Nazi uniforms, complete with swastika armbands, who call Isak a "Zeon pig" and kick him.  After the SS officers drag Isak away, Kirk and Spock emerge from their hiding place and catch a propaganda video about the Fuhrer, John Gill. In the middle of this fictional video, promoting "Death to Zeon,"   actual stock footage of Nazi marches are spliced in, just in case the viewer does not already understand the message.

And, in case you are wondering .... the similarity between the name “Zeon” and the word Zion is no accident. Throughout the episode the Nazis spew insults at the Zeons and refer to the “Final Decision,” clearly hinting at the Nazis’ Final Solution!!

Both Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner are Jews!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Horror of Halloween!!

Okay, I hadn't intended to make this a blog at all, but I answered a friends question on Facebook yesterday posting this as a 'Note' & it turned into a hundreds of comments thread & I have had many requests to make this a public question.  So here it is ..... the question was "Should Jewish Children Celebrate Halloween??"

Halloween is a very Irish Holiday.  And it is hugely celebrated in Ireland.  Jewish children ~ not just in Ireland either but throughout the Galut & the world ~ except in Israel ~ will celebrate the Holiday of Halloween.  Straddling the line between Autumn and Winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. But Why???  What is this holiday really about & it is suitable for Jewish children to celebrate??

The term Halloween, and its older spelling Hallowe'en, is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the evening before "All Hallows Day". In Ireland, the name was All Hallows Eve and this name is still used frequently & known .... even by a Jew girl!!  And in Ireland ~ where I grew up ~ it is a hallowed evening,  the eve of All Saints' Day, a day which honours all xtian saints.

In Britain and Ireland, the Festival of Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, & in fact in the Gaelic language the month of November is called Mi na h'Samhain ~ the month of Samhain ~ The Irish calendar is a pre-christian Celtic system of timekeeping used during Ireland's Gaelic era and still in popular use today to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals. The Irish calendar does not observe the astronomical seasons that begin in the Northern Hemisphere on the equinoxes and solstices. 

Samhain (pronounced sow-in) was also a celebration of the end of the fertile period of the Celtic goddess Eiseria. It is said that when Eiseria reaches the end of her fertile cycle the worlds of the dead and the living intertwine. This supposedly happens on October 31st.  This is the Celtic festival of Samhain, derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning "summer's end".  Samhain was the first and by far the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish calendar and, falling on the last day of Autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead. There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen. To ward off evil spirits, the Irish built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gds through animal and even human sacrifice.  Masks are worn to show respect for the goddess Eiseria who, like most Celtic gds, does not wish to be seen by human eyes.  This date was also New Year’s Eve in both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times, and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about.  It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favourable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes, and in Ireland it is often referred to as "Devil's Night".  Rumoured to be the birthday of "the Devil" himself. How terribly Irish!!!!!
These pagan observances also influenced the xtian festival of All Hallows' Eve, celebrated on the same date.  In the eighth century, when the church saw it would not succeed in weaning people away from celebrating the pagan holiday, it incorporated Halloween into the xtian calendar. Pope Gregory III designated November the first as a day honouring all saints, hence the name All Saints' Day, which incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The night before, October 31st, was called "holy or hallowed evening,"  in keeping with it's known name and many of the old pagan Druid practices were retained in its celebration, including the dressing up as ghosts, goblins, witches, fairies, and elves.   The Druids (pronounced drew-id) were the celtic high priests.

The origins of Halloween also allude to the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia & as this festival was appropriated by xtian missionaries and given an xtian interpretation, the day following Halloween is known as All Saints' Day, followed by All Souls' Day, and those are indeed xtian holidays. which are Mirrored in Mexican catholic culture as In Mexico November 1st and 2nd are celebrated as the Day of the Dead.  Widely celebrated in LA too ... yet another sometime place of residence for me!!

 In Britain ~ where I went to college, the rituals of Hallowtide and Halloween came under attack during the Reformation as protestants denounced purgatory as a "popish" doctrine incompatible with the protestant notion of predestination and instead saw Guy Fawkes (a catholic conspirator against the Crown) Night from 1605 on saw Halloween become eclipsed in Britain with the notable exception of Scotland. Here, as in Ireland, they had been celebrating Samhain and Halloween since the early Middle Ages and the Scottish Kirk ~ church ~ took a more pragmatic approach towards Halloween, viewing it as important to the life cycle and rites of passage of local communities and thus ensuring its survival in the country. Mass Irish & Scottish migration moved the holiday to America too.
Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. For instance, the carving of jack-o'-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory ~ an xtian thing. The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger there and are easier to carve than turnips. The American tradition of carving pumpkins is associated with harvest time in general,  and thanksgiving too!
Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1st), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls' Day (November 2nd). It originated in Ireland, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of "puling [whimpering or whining] like a beggar at Hallowmas."    In Scotland and Ireland, Guising ~ children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins ~ is a traditional Halloween custom, and is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.  It is a night when Irish Children tell scary stories of spooks like the pookie or the "Boogey" men  (the Undead) coming to get you!!

Some games traditionally played at Halloween are forms of divination. A traditional Scottish form of divining one's future spouse is to carve an apple in one long strip, then toss the peel over one's shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse's name. Unmarried women were told that if they sat in a darkened room and gazed into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband would appear in the mirror. However, if they were destined to die before marriage, a skull would appear. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated in Irish folklore.  Another game/superstition that was enjoyed in the early 1900s involved walnut shells. People would write fortunes in milk on white paper. After drying, the paper was folded and placed in walnut shells. When the shell was warmed, milk would turn brown therefore the writing would appear on what looked like blank paper. Folks would also play fortune teller. In order to play this game, symbols were cut out of paper and placed on a platter. Someone would enter a dark room and was ordered to put her hand on a piece of ice then lay it on a platter. Her "fortune" would stick to the hand. 

On Halloween children take ~ in fact demand ~ sweets from strangers. This alone is certainly not a good thing to be teaching children, not to mention that Judaism forbids such a practice. And I think I have shown that there is nothing about Halloween that has anything to do with any Jewish sentiments. Just about every aspect of it is forbidden by Jewish Law!

Jewish Law states: “A Jew should not follow the customs of the goyim, nor imitate them in dress, or in their way of trimming their hair, as it says, ‘You shall not walk in the customs of the nation which I cast out before you’ (Vayiqra 20:23), and ‘Neither shall you walk in their statutes’ (Vayiqra. 18:3).    A Jew, on the contrary, should be distinguished from them and recognizable by the way he dresses, and in his other activities, just as he is distinguished from them in his knowledge and his beliefs, as it is said, ‘I have set you apart from the peoples’ (Vayiqra 20:26)."(See, Rambam, Laws Regarding Idol Worship and the Ordinances of the Gentiles, 11:1).    

And Also as I read just yesterday ... "He declareth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any other nation; and as for His ordinances, they have not known them. Hallelujah"   ~ Tehillim 147:19-20 ~

When it comes to the question pf whether Jews can take part in the goy holidays, the halachic discussion differs between clearly religious holidays like Xmas, which are forbidden, and purely secular holidays like Labour Day or July 4th in America, which are permissible.  Halloween’s religious origins and pagan history place it in the category of goy holidays that are forbidden to celebrate. Though Halloween in America has been secularized and commercialized to the point where it is now a frivolous time of costumes, candy, and pranks, it is still celebrated in places like Scotland and Ireland as a Celtic festival of the spirits, and in other places like Mexico as a holiday honouring the xtian saints.   The law prohibiting our participation in such goy holidays and customs comes to protect our special Jewish holiness and cultural distinction. We are to be a "light" unto the nations not to be drawn into their dark Pagan practices.

What’s the solution? ..... Move to Israel!!!  

 So, even if we are in the Galut this Hallows' Eve .... we are not supposed to behave like the Goyim and Idolatrously pander to their pagan gds & godesses!!!

We have the holiday of Purim.  On Purim we wear disguises and give gifts of food to friends and gifts of money and/or food to poor people. In keeping Purim,  we teach our children a number of important lessons, such as the greater goodness of giving rather than demanding, and also the main lesson of Purim, which is that Ha'Shem helps people "anonymously,"  that is, while Ha'Shem remains behind the scenes. As we should with our Tzedaka!!

And that brings me to a final point that has been floating around in my head .... As Ha'shem has created a universe that is symmetrical ~ we have Light & Dark, Good & Evil, Yetser tov & Yetser hara .... so too are balanced Halloween & Purim.  While in Edinburgh one November evening awaiting nightfall,  a thick fog surrounded me or to put it in Scottish terminology the "Har" descended or blew in from the nether regions of the North Sea.  The Fog or in Hebrew the "evil" (which is what Har means & is the root of the 'yetzer hara')  ....   Fog leads to confusion of thinking, not clarity.  And I hope this note has provided some clarity for us all, especially the Jewish parents amongst us.

Could the Halloween Holiday be the 'Har' answer to our Purim Holiday???