Little Mosque S2E4 – Lucky Day

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Yasir builds a Gazebo which Baber turns into an archelogical excavation. Rayyan helps Amaar to plan "Islamapalooza" (the youth day of the mosque) where no one turns up in the end because in his attempt to get people to come, Amaar infects them all with the cold he’s having. And Sarah wins 5000 dollars in the lottery, which upsets Rayyan as gambling is forbidden by Islam.

Best quote:

Mayor: When someone is more pious than you, there is only one thing you can do.
Sarah: Aspire to their level?
Mayor: Of course not. Drag her down to yours!

Like in Islam (and Christianity, by the way), gambling is no favourite in Judaism. As nobody expects to loose, winning money from someone is like stealing. Gambling is not considered a productive activity. There are opinions though that allow buying a lottery ticket or taking part in lottery-like activities for charity, the reason being that you fully expect to loose the money, but you loose gladly as you know the money goes to a good cause (Aish on Gambling).

So is someone who buys lots of lottery tickets a bad Jew? Well, maybe some would see it that way, but I guess there are many more important things to consider.

Little Mosque S2E3 – Public Access

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The main story is about Amaar getting his own (horrible!) TV show and Sarah and Yassir going crazy about it. The more interesting story for me is teenage Layla who’s subtle blond streaks turn out to be not so subtle. To cover everything up, she decides to wear the hijab whenever she is around her father Baber. Who of course feels that something is off and (after utterly embarrassing her in front of her classmates) in the end find out.

Best quote:

Baber: How will anyone know that you’re finally embracing your modesty unless we show you off, uh?

Poor Layla is the only Muslim girl in her class. And her father is not making it easy for her to fit in. In one episode she wanted to participate in a marathon or something for charity and of course he wasn’t too happy (in the end he agreed). In another he throws out a male study partner. For a long time he wanted her to wear the hijab, but she didn’t want to.

It is not easy as a child or teenager to be different. When it’s always you who is been singled out. By eating different food, not being allowed to go on tours or participating in some activities, even if it only is that the rest of the class goes to the same church on Sundays and you are the only one left out. I can definitely understand not wanting to wear something that would mark you instantly. Even if in a small town like Mercy with a rather small school, most students probably know that she is a Muslim anyway. But how far to you want to go publicize the fact? Yes, of course, Layla should be proud of her faith, but which teenager really is? I think her conflict is very realistic.

Turning to the other question, is it ethical to pretend to be covering your hair while you don’t really? Basically, can you lie because you are afraid of being punished? I don’t think so. While Judaism recognizes that there are some situation where you can lie (e.g., to avoid insulting someone aka "no, you don’t look fat", to save your life or that of someone else), I don’t think not getting punished is sufficient for a reason. Not even if the lie makes someone happy.

Spelling of Israeli street names

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If you are reading transliterated Hebrew words or foreign names transliterated to Hebrew the results are often incomprehensible, sometimes hilarious and pretty much always very inconsistent. The Times of Israel now has an article (Wanted: A legion of proofreaders) about errors in Israeli street names in all languages which features this picture where all three languages on the sign are misspelled:

If you understand German, watch this cute video made by the foreign correspondent for German television in Israel, Richard C Schneider, about the challenges of finding your way in Israel using English spellings:

His examples:

  • Louis Paster on one side of the sign, the other side has the correct Louis Pasteur.
  • Shalma, instead of the correct Salameh, שלמה (I guess referring to one of the people Wikipedia lists with this name).
  • Hertzel, instead of the correct Herzl, founder of Zionism (!!).
  • Qibbutz (on one sign), Kibuts (in the navigation app), Kibutz (on another sign) as variations for Kibbutz Galuyot, the gathering of the exiles.
  • Bazel for of the Swiss town Basel.
  • Shtriman (in the navigation app) for Streichman where he unsuccessfully tried Streichmann (German spelling), Shtreichmann (English spelling), Shtrajchmann, Shtreyjchmann, Shtrejchmann, and others.

Seriously, who makes these signs? How can you sometimes get it wrong and sometimes right?

Little Mosque S2E2 – Ban the Burqa

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There’s a woman in Mercy who wears a veil (so that only her eyes are visible) and the whole town is in uproar. Sarah tries to find a law forbidding the veil while Rayyan ends up in jail for covering her face.

Best quote:

Amaar: She’s a Muslim who’s come here to pray. Outside chance, she’s a ninja.

Head scarves and burqas have made it into the headlines in several Western countries several times these past years. Usually in the context of forbidding them. But first, let’s clarify what we are talking about:

So what the lady in the episode is wearing is not a burqa, it is a niqab. Just because using the wrong words for things is annoying.

Judaism has some modesty rules that are in some parts pretty similar to Islam. I think the mainstream orthodox guidelines are that knees, elbows, collarbones and everything in between should be covered in something that is not too tight or flashy. Discussion will of course begin at this point whatever covered, tight and flashy means, but I think most people will agree that these are the general guidelines. I think Islam is a bit more strict here with the limits being the ankles and wrists, at least that’s what my colleague told me.

Head covering for women does exists in Judaism, but only for married women. Islam makes no such distinction. Islam also requires the ears and neck to be covered, Judaism doesn’t. Most Jewish women are ok with some hair showing (e.g., bangs), I have never seen a Muslim woman show any hair. There is no mainstream Jewish stream that encourages the covering of the face. There are a few ladies in Jerusalem who wear something similar to a burqa, but if you ask most Jews, even orthodox Jews, they’d tell you they are crazy. But there seems to be a trend towards more strict modesty rules, so we’ll see where we end up in a few years time.

In the episode Rayyan gets taken prisoner because she fights for the right to wear a veil. Would Jewish women go to prison before taking off their head covering? I believe some would. Fortunately the choice mostly doesn’t present itself, as according to most authorities it is permissible to cover your own hair with somebody else’s, i.e., wear a wig. This allows orthodox Jewish women to follow the halacha (religious law) to cover their head and still seem "normal" in the eyes of the larger society. It may seem really strange to wear a wig, especially if it is a beautiful one. But if you accept that the main thing is that the woman’s own hair should only be seen by her husband, a wig fulfils that purpose as well as any other head covering.

Last question, is it modest to go to extreme lengths to be modest, especially if you are the only one in town to do that? I don’t know. Somehow I don’t think so, but who am I to judge what’s "extreme" when I’m running around in a long skirt and tichel (head scarf) – the only one in town?

Little Mosque S2E1 – Grave Concern

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Baber and Yasir want to make some money by getting people to buy graves in their new Muslim section on the graveyard. In the B-plot, Sarah makes a mess out of community announcements.

Best quote:

Fatima: A Muslim likes to be buried with other Muslims. On his right side.
Fred: What, is it better for your back?

Burials are a big topic. Everybody wants to be buried in the right part of the cemetery and having control over who gets to be buried there is a huge instrument of power. The rabbi in my community managed several times to get everybody to fight over the question of who gets to be buried where. Personally, I’m probably too young to understand the importance, but I get that there’s a whole lot of politics involved.

So, apart from being in the correct section of the right graveyard, what else is there? First, burial is the way to go, cremation is frowned upon in Judaism, just like in Islam. Muslims are buried facing Mecca, Jewish graves do not necessarily face Jerusalem, but many people choose to get buried in the land of Israel or get some earth from Israel to be put in their graves. There is a tradition (no idea about the source) that the dead in Israel will be the first to rise and another one that when the Messiah comes all the dead will dig through the earth until they reach Israel – so you save yourself a lot of trouble if you are buried there! I’m not aware of any rule that says you have to be buried in a specific position, but all parts of a person should be buried. So this is why there’s an organization in Israel that goes to a lot of trouble to retrieve all body parts from the victims of terror attacks. But you are allowed to donate organs under certain conditions (see this post).

That’s I know about graveyards and burials, sorry it isn’t much.

Stories about kitniot in Israel

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It’s this time of year again…

I’ve written about specific vegetables and whether they are kitniot extensively in the past (check my kitniot index page). This year I will just add a few stories about kitniot madness from Israel.

Exhibit 1 (see also my post on cottonseed oil):

‘Is the Cottonseed Oil not Kosher for Pesah?,’ I asked. ‘Oh, No!,’ he replied. ‘It’s got this, this, this, this and this famous hekhsher.’ ‘So why is it so much less money?’ ‘Oh,’ he replied,’ that’s easy. A lot of people won’t buy it, because it sounds like kitniyyot.’
(My Obiter Dicta: Of Cotton and Kitniyyot)

Exhibit 2 (the Hebrew means "only for those that eat kitniot"):

At the nearest grocery store, I grabbed two bottles of water (and the de rigeur bottle of Diet Coke). When I brought them back, my wife (who’s more perceptive than I) noticed that the water was ‘לאוכלי קטניות בלבד’ (i.e. for certain Sephardim). I looked more closely at the bottle, and saw that it was slightly flavored (Lemon-Lime). So, not a little irked, I checked the ingrediants. Surprise! There was nothing in the water that was distantly related to qitniyot!
(My Obiter Dicta: Enough is Enough! (On Qitniyot and Perversion))

And the final answer to the question of why the above non-kitniot items are still asur (forbidden) for some people:

Well, there you have it. As the Rov ז”ל used to say: Some things are assur because they’re stupid, and it’s assur to be stupid.
(My Obiter Dicta: Of Cotton and Kitniyyot)

Kitniot guidelines

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In my last post I said that in my opinion everybody should think about the issue of kitniot and make her/his own list of things that she/he considers kitniot. Here are some points to keep in mind when you do that:

  • Many great scholars have ruled that the original list of kitniot species should not be extended (e.g., flax, sesame, poppy seeds).
  • Species that were unknown at the time of the minhag should not be included in the minhag (e.g., soy, quinoa, peanuts).
  • Green vegetables are not kitniot (e.g., string beans, peas in their pods).
  • Most scholars rule that kitniot oils are permitted for consumption (e.g., canola oil, cottonseed oil).

[for more reading check Rabbi Dov Lior: Special Laws for Pesach, Chabad: Know Thy Beans – Kitniyos in the Modern World, OU: Curious about Kitniyot?]

Kitniot are not chametz!

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Every year before Pesach, the debate around kitniot starts again. I have written about what kitniot are and where they come from before and about whether different food items are kitniot (check the index page of kitniot posts). I don’t want to argue about whether the minhag makes sense or what the exact list of kitniot may be. Everybody has to decide that for her/himself, fix a list of things she/he considers kitniot and stick to it.

But the important point I want to make clear again this year is that kitniot are not chametz! If you are Ashkenazi and follow the minhag, you can not eat them, but you are allowed to …

  • keep kitniot in the house, buy them or sell them.
  • feed kitniot to young children, ill people or pets.
  • use non-food products that contain kitniot.
  • eat from plates that had kitniot on them (e.g., in the non-kitniot-keeping-but-otherwise-kosher-le-pesach house of a friend).
  • take medicine that contains kitniot.
  • eat things were some kitniot accidentally fell in, Kitniot are batel beRov, i.e., nullified if there is a majority of non-kitniot.

Really!! This is unambiguous orthodox halacha!

[for more reading check Rabbi Dov Lior: Special Laws for Pesach, Chabad: Know Thy Beans – Kitniyos in the Modern World, OU: Curious about Kitniyot?]

Books every Jew(-to-be) should have

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This is a list of books that in my opinion every convert (and every Jew) should have, besides of course books that explain Judaism:

  • A TaNaCh, the Jewish bible. Best I think in both Hebrew and translation to your language, side-by-side or in two books. It is important to have a Jewish translation as any translation is also an interpretation. If there is commentary, obviously it should also be a Jewish commentary.
  • A Siddur, the prayer book for normal days and small holidays. I have the pocket-size Hebrew-English Artscroll siddur, I like the size, the layout, the font and the instructions very much, but the commentary is very right-wing orthodox, so this might not be for everybody. And obviously ArtScroll has the traditional text, no matriarchs, no alternative female forms, no prayer for Israel. I also have a second Siddur with transliteration which I give to my guests so that they can follow the service without speaking Hebrew. Before you order a siddur, try out the ones they have at your synagogue and find one you like.
  • Several copies of the Birkat haMazon, the prayer after meals. You can buy small booklets that also contain songs for Shabat, Kiddush, Havdalah and such stuff, but you can also just print the prayer out from the internet (in a way that looks somewhat nice). You should have one for every person who eats with you, so if you usually have eight people at Shabat dinner, I’d say you should have eight.
  • A Machzor, the prayer book for the holidays. They usually have those in large numbers at the synagogue, so you don’t really need buy one right away, but it helps to have one to prepare for the holidays. You will need a machzor for Rosh haShana and a (different) machzor for Yom Kippur. Some Machzorim include both, some are for one holiday only, it doesn’t really matter. For the other holidays (Succot, Pesach, Shavuot, Purim, Chanuka) a normal Siddur should be enough, as the changes in liturgy are not as extensive. As you will only use your machzor once or twice a year, it is very important that the layout and the instructions are easy to undestand and intuitive.
  • A Hagada for the seder on Pesach. In fact, probably you should have at least two, a simple one with only the text and translation to follow along during the seder, and another one (or more – over time!) with commentary to better understand the text and prepare. If you are invited for Pesach, they will usually have a Hagada for you, so you can get by without one. Conversely, if you invite people and don’t specifically tell them to bring a Hagada, they might expect you to provide one.

Aren’t we the people of the book(s)? 😉

Additional suggestions welcome in the comments!

Rabbis at interfaith weddings

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The topic of whether or not rabbis should officiate at interfaith weddings is in the news again. The argument that rabbis should officiate is basically that not doing so hurts people and it does not provide any positive effect (it does not prevent intermarriage):

Often they want a “Jewish wedding,” which is why they want the officiant to be a rabbi, preferably one with whom they have a relationship. That is why they are so hurt when we refuse.
[…]
It is delusional to think that a rabbi’s refusal to officiate will change any couple’s mind about whether to wed. Who would forgo a life with their beloved just because their beloved rabbi can’t be at their wedding ceremony?
(Seymour Rosenbloom: It’s time to allow Conservative rabbis to officiate at interfaith weddings)

The counterargument is mainly that there simply is not a Jewish wedding taking place (so no rabbi should officate) and the damage done is not that big if otherwise Jewish commitment is encouraged:

[…] the purpose of rabbinic officiation is not to take a chance on fostering Jewish commitment. It is to render a relationship sacred for two people who, even if nominally, are part of the Jewish people and its ongoing conversation in the world.
Finally, while the argument that couples being denied a rabbi’s officiation become hurt and alienated from Judaism has some merit in limited contexts, I think it it is overstated. In my twenty-six years of rabbinic experience, I find repeatedly that earlier sociological research is borne out: officiation matters far less to couples than the relationships which the rabbi builds with them through time.
(Dan Ornstein: Why Conservative Rabbis Most Certainly Should Not Do Intermarriage Ceremonies)

While I am not really in the situation, I can relate to feeling hurt by such decisions. For the moment, I have more or less given up on conversion, but I still go to services and community events. Most of the time whether or not I am officially Jewish does not make a difference. But among the things that hurt me in my situation is that none of the milestones of my life will be shared with the community. It’s not only about who officiates at a wedding. It is about sharing the joy of getting married. It is about getting someone to circumcize a baby boy, celebrating the birth of a baby girl, having a Bar/Bat Mitzva, saying Kaddish for a parent or sibling, getting a Jewish burial. If I am not Jewish, my children are not Jewish, so no Jewish ceremonies for them. I can mumble along Kaddish with someone else, but not say it alone. No one from the community will know if I died, there will be no announcement in the community and I will have to find a place in some non-religious graveyard [although being really sure that you will not be buried in the Jewish cemetary may be better than being denied to be buried there on account of someone not recognizing your conversion].

What I am saying is that we humans need communities. And an important part of a community is sharing your life’s milestones, whether joyous or sad. To realize that the community does not allow you to do that – it hurts. True, a long-term relationship with an otherwise supportive rabbi might mitigate that (I don’t know, I don’t have a supportive rabbi around). True, I understand the reasoning and I do think halacha is important. It is not my place to say that rabbis should do this or that. But you can argue, rationalize and discuss as much as you like – it still hurts.

Verses on modesty – Part 2

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The second verse is from the Psalms:

All of the honor of the daughter of the King is within.
(Psalms 45:14 as quoted for example in Dina Coopersmith: Beneath the Surface, A Deeper Look at Modesty)

This verse is usually interpreted as an injunction for women to "de-emphasize their bodies in order to emphasize that which is their real beauty: their inner strengths, their souls." (from this article which is one example among many). The texts adress women as they are (more than men) prone to "dress to impress" or to show off their body.

I think this is generally a good message. But I have just now for the first time read the complete Psalm and I just don’t see how you can get that message from the context. The Psalmist sings "concerning a king" (verse 2) and enumerates all sorts of positive things about that king (verses 3-10). He then encourages a princess, desired by the king, to go to the king (verses 11-13). He then describes a bit more positive stuff about the princess marrying the king (verses 14-17). And ends with a general "we praise you" (I’d guess this male-form "you" could refer to G-d).

In this context, the following translation that Mechon Mamre gives makes a lot more sense (just for fun, if you want to see more translations, although most, maybe all of them seem to be Christian, here’s a list):

All glorious is the king’s daughter within the palace; her raiment is of chequer work inwrought with gold.
(Psalms 45:14, JPS English translation from 1917)

Curious! So is the princess’s glory inside or is the princess who is inside glorious? Let’s look at the Hebrew ourselves to at least see where the translations are coming from, even if we may not be qualified to decide. This is the phrase in Hebrew: כָּל-כְּבוּדָּה בַת-מֶלֶךְ פְּנִימָה

What do we have? There is בַת-מֶלֶךְ ("bat melech") which quite unambiguosly means "the daughter of the king", i.e., the princess. We also have כָּל-כְּבוּדָּה ("kol kvuda"). The word "kavod" is often translated as "honor", it can also be "glory". The final "ah" (the letter ה) is a female possessive marker which makes the whole thing "her honor/glory". I think it is a noun, not an adjective, so I don’t know how it could be understood as "glorious", but that’s out of my league, maybe it can be. The word "kol" (written with kaf, כ) is "all" or "every". Combining this with "her honor/glory" could be something like "all her honor/glory" I guess. Finally, פְּנִימָה ("pnima") means "within" or "inside". I have no idea how we are to infer "inside the palace". So, we have three parts: [the princess], [all her honor/glory] and [inside].

There is no word for "is" in Hebrew, so we have to insert this somewhere ourselves where it makes sense. We could do "[all her glory/honor] of [the princess] is [inside]" or "[all her glory/honor] is for/of [the princess] who is [inside]" (which you’d translate to real English using an adjective: "[all glorious] is [the princess] who is [inside]"). My knowledge of Biblical Hebrew is insufficient to decide whether both are legitimate readings of the original or one is grammatically impossible, so let’s stop here.

So, can we make the verse about modesty? Regardless of translation, when reading the context, I just don’t see it. When taking the verse alone, even if the verse says that the glorious/rich/famous/whatever princess is inside we could argue that she is only glorious/rich/famous/whatever because or while she is inside. Bit of a stretch maybe, but possible.

Verses on modesty – Part 1

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This (very old) blog post got me investigating sources for the concept of "tzniut" ("modesty") and what is a blog for if not sharing this stuff. So this is the first source, from the prophets:

It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what the LORD doth require of thee: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.
(Micah 6:8)

The phrase "walking humbly" in the refers to men and women (it may also be only men, but I’d have to know more about the context to be sure). It describes a general mindset or attitude towards life and the commandments. A person should be humble, not draw too much attention to himself/herself. This is reflected in clothes by not wearing anything too scandalous, too flashy or in other ways attention-grabbing. I’d say it extends to not wearing something that screams "expensive" or something that is making a radical political statement, etc. Men are just as susceptible to pride, arrogance and egotism as women, so the verse is relevant to both genders.

The possible extreme this verse can be taken to is obvious: absolute conformity. If it is not modest to stand out in any way at all, we’d all need to dress the same. We need to recognize that there is a difference between legitimate ways to express individuality and attention-seeking [though where to draw the line in practice may be very challenging, especially if teenagers are involved!]

Why it is a bad idea to go on a job fair on Shabat

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You are looking for a job and there’s a job fair in your area with very interesting companies. Unfortunately it is on Saturday. Should you go?

Let’s say you manage to not break any actual commandments. You walk there, you don’t carry anything, you don’t sign your name and so on. Which in itself is a challenge, because giving and receiving business cards without carrying is … difficult. But let’s say you manange that. Imagine you managed to get an interview at one of the companies. In the interview you mention that you need to take Shabat and the Jewish holidays off. Your interviewer remembers that you met at this job fair on Shabat. How serious are they going to take your request? You can explain the technicalities all you want, I doubt this is a good starting point.

Media bias !?

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Two quotes from the same article about stabbings in Israel:

Ein mit einem Messer bewaffneter Mann hat im Großraum Tel Aviv wild um sich gestochen. Dabei wurde ein Tourist aus den USA getötet, neun weitere Menschen wurden verletzt. Nach Angaben von Sanitätern erlitten vier von ihnen schwere Verletzungen. Die Attacke fand in der Nähe eines bei Touristen beliebten Strands statt.

Bei dem Angreifer handelte es sich laut dem Bürgermeister von Tel Aviv zufolge um einen Palästinenser. Er sei von der Polizei erschossen worden.

[Translation: A man with a knife stabbed wildly around him in the Tel Aviv area. A tourist from the US was killed in this incident, nine other people were wounded. According to the paramedics, four are in serious condition. The attack took place close to a beach that is popular with tourists.

According to the mayor of Tel Aviv, the attacker was a Palestinian. He was shot and killed by the police.]

The order of events: A man got stabbed and died, others were wounded – the attacker was killed.

Now the order of sentences: A man got stabbed and died, others were wounded (4 sentences) – paragraph break – the attacker got killed (2 sentences).

Zuvor waren bei Anschlägen in Jerusalem und bei Tel Aviv drei palästinensische Attentäter getötet und mehrere Israelis verletzt worden. In Jerusalem habe ein Palästinenser auf Polizisten geschossen und zwei von ihnen schwer verletzt, gab die Polizei bekannt. Andere Beamte hätten ihn dann während der Verfolgung erschossen. Wenige Stunden zuvor war eine Palästinenserin erschossen worden, nachdem sie in Jerusalems Altstadt einen israelischen Grenzpolizisten mit einem Messer angegriffen hatte.

[Translation: Before that, three Palestinian attackers were killed and several Israelis wounded in strikes in Jerusalem and near Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem a Palestinian shot at policemen and seriously wounded two of them, said the police. Other officers shot him during the pursuit. Few hours later a Palestinian woman was shot dead, after she attacked an Israeli border guard with a knife in the old city of Jerusaelem.]

The order of events: Two men were wounded – the attacker was killed – a man was attacked with a knife – the attacker was killed.

Now the order of sentences: Three attackers were killed – two men were wounded – attacker 1 was killed – attacker 2 was killed – a man was attacked with a knife.

Rule for journalists covering terror attacks: First talk about what happened to the victim, then about the attacker. Spend more time describing the attack, the place, the victim than describing the attacker.

Important exception: If the attack happens in Israel and the victims are Israelis, first state that the attacker was killed, then maybe add half a sentence about what happened.

You can also just name all on equal footing, after all, "there was an incident, now X people are dead" is the essential message:

Bei einer Attacke auf israelische Sicherheitskräfte sind eine Polizistin und drei palästinensische Angreifer getötet worden.
(article from February 3rd 2015)

[Translation: In an attack on Israeli security, one police woman and three Palestinian attackers have been killed.]

If you really need to name the victim first, at least add a sentence about all Palestinian dead afterwards, the number is higher so people will say that these few Israeli dead are not important:

Seit Oktober wurden 27 Israelis und ein US-Amerikaner getötet. Die israelischen Sicherheitskräfte töteten mehr als 140 Palästinenser, 102 von ihnen waren nach offiziellen Angaben Terroristen.
(article from February 5th 2015)

[Translation: Since October 27 Israelis and one US American have been killed. The Israeli security killed more than 140 Palestinians, 102 of them were terrorists according to the official statements.]

Sorry, I’m just a little angry. Am I crazy?

Christians and the Kuzari

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I was very much surprised when in a discussion with a Catholic guy about the history of the church, he suddenly told me this (paraphrasing, I don’t remember the exact words):

It is so amazing that the church has existed for such a long time and there is this continuous tradition right from the start. Jesus named Saint Peter as his true follower who then in turn instructed others, right until the priests from today! We are standing in an unbroken chain that goes right back to Jesus.

I was perplexed, as I had only ever heard this argument from tradition as a "proof" of the truth of a religion from Jews (the so-called Kuzari argument I’ve previously written about). There are some differences – he is talking only about the priests not about everybody, he is not claiming that they lived exactly by the same rules then as we do today – but the gist of the argument is the same. I was so surprised he’d pull this argument of all things, that I didn’t know what to answer. What do you think? Somehow "We have the same argument, but ours goes back longer" doesn’t seem adequate.

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