Category Archives: American Politics

Shameful and ?antisemitic? behavior by the VA against a Jewish Navy veteran

While researching a memorial day sermon, I came across a blog post by the NJDC Blog, titled “A disturbing report of mistreatment toward Jewish veterans.” (The blog referenced an article in the JTA.)

The JTA reports,

A Jewish Navy veteran accused a Veterans Administration hospital of denying him kosher meals and trying to convert him to Christianity.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that David Miller, 46, was hospitalized at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City three times in the past two years for kidney treatment. Miller, an Orthodox Jew, said he went hungry because the hospital refused to provide kosher meals or allow him to contact his rabbi, who would have brought them.

I am appalled at the lack of respect, courtesy and common decency of the VA in Iowa City.
I am a former Navy Chaplain and the Navy Chaplain’s motto includes “facilitating for others” – meaning at the very least providing for kosher food, sabbath observance and such.  The Navy is breaking its own rules!!

Unfortunately, this falls right in line with the proselytizing that is occurring throughout the military.  The Navy should be ashamed of itself.

Thought-Inspiring Television

I’ve watched some insightful, challenging, enjoyable television lately. I recommend the following programs:

Bill Moyer’s Journal, especially this week’s segments on: Regent University (or as some call it, G-d’s University) and the Costs of the Iraq War.

Secret Files of the Inquisition, a PBS series on the history up to and the time of the Inquisition (12th century forward). This series is based on Vatican archives of the time first opened to some in 1998. Apparently some find this series controversial. Some sites on the series are: a Catholic forum, Jerusalem Post introductory article, a blogger called “Mission Territory.”

What do you think?

Upcoming Book to Read

Michael Oren has a new book coming out soon,

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present (W. W. Norton & Company, January 15, 2007) “The first comprehensive history of America’s military, political, and intellectual involvement
in the Middle East from George Washington to George W. Bush.

Oren’s website has summaries, comments of reviewers and more.  Go and check it out.

Aharon at Blogs of Zion opens a post about it by saying,

I got my hands on an advance copy of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present, historian and Shalem Center senior researcher Michael Oren’s new book, and I have to tell you, it is great. The research will boggle your mind, and it is just so interesting that you have a jaw dropping experience every paragraph or two.

I’ve pre-ordered at Amazon and I look forward to getting a copy.

Thoughts on the election…so far

Sitting on my couch and listening to NPR report election results (and cheering more than moaning – thank G-d) my hope for this country is increasing a tad. Maybe this will be real change. Maybe not.

What is Jewish about this post? What is Jewish about caring about elections?   Many things, in my opinion.

First, on voting – Jews have been prohibited from voting and participating in government in many of the countries in which we have lived. Voting is a privelege and, in America, Canada, Israel and other  countries it is a right.  I believe that voting is a right which all Americans (and etc) are obliged to take seriously.  This obligation is even heavier for Jews – for those who were never permitted to vote and for the principle of tikkun olam (the obligation to repair the world).

Tikkun olam appears throughout our texts – we must care about the world around us and we must  take part in making the world a better place.

Using the voices we have in the American government – voting, writing/talking to congressional personnel is our obligation and our right!

A sad day that could have been much worse

I woke up this morning to the news of the foiled terror plot in London. Frightening stuff that once again gives us the choice between letting terror and terrorists keep us from living our lives or choosing to add in additional security measures and keep going. I am glad that for the most part people chose the later.

For coverage of today’s arrests and the full story go to any or all of the following links: BBC, NYTimes (story), NYTimes (updated banned item list), Jerusalem Post and Al-Jezeera. I include Al-Jezeera because I think it is important to understand things from different perspectives.

One story today.

The other and deeper sadness is the continued violence and war in Northern Israel and Lebanon. It seems to me that this struggle with Hizbollah/Iran is just getting deeper. People suffer and die on both sides, life is completely disrupted, children are traumatized from witnessing the violence, spending all their time in shelters, worrying about playing outside and being close enough to a shelter and seeing and hearing their family members going off to war. I pray that a peaceful solution that is good for the people of Lebanon, recognizes Israel’s right to exist and puts Hizbollah in its place comes soon. Please G-d, please.

Digg this!

Ann Coulter Calls 9-11 Widows Self-Obsessed & Harpies

Columnist Ann Coulter has recently published a new book. In it she calls a group of 9-11 widows "self-obsessed" and acting "as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them." She also writes, "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much," according to The Associated Press.

"And by the way, how do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they better hurry up and appear in Playboy," The Daily News quoted the book as saying.

What a shame it is to defame the lives of the dead and the lives of their survivors for the purpose of politics. Each person has the right to their own political opinion. Judaism teaches us that each life is precious, created in the image of G-d. Passing jugdement for political purpsoe dishors the people defamed and the speaker. I hope the Ms. Coulter isn't in the unfortunate situation of having her deceased loved ones trampled and her own character defamed.

[Source for the quotations is the New York Times.]

Some Thoughts on the Anniversary of 9-11

It is hard to believe that the tragedies of September 11, 2001 happened four years ago today. In far too many ways, nothing has changed since that horrible day. We aren’t any closer as a country (in fact, I think recent events show that we are farther apart than ever) and more parts of the world dislike American than before.

This afternoon I participated in a small, quiet and reflective memorial. We each left the service with a clear marble for a tear and a flower for hope.

I pray that all those touched by 9-11 find some comfort and I pray that the day comes soon when our world will be focused on peace and not hate.

May salaam, shalom, peace spread throughout the world.

Timely Torah Portion – Justice and Roberts

This week John Roberts may begin testimony to become the next Cheif Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

As we form or solidify our own opinions and pay attention to the hearings (to begin after proper honoring of the late Cheif Justice Renquist), we can turn to this week’s Torah portion for some ideas on what justice means.

Shofteim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) includes the famous and important exhortaition tzedek, tzedek tirdof – justice, justice shall you pursue. The rabbis teach us that no repetition is meaningless. Repetition adds emphasis, depth and urgency. Many have commented on the text throughout the ages, examining this text for connections and applicablilty to their lives.

Rabbi Marc Israel writes about the application of justice, read his fine words in a commentary titled Pursuing Justice for All.

Go and learn.
May our learning bring justice and peace to the world.
Shalom, salaam, peace.