Thursday, February 23, 2006

The world's most unsuccessful bimbo

I thought twice about posting this but decided that that Michele Renouf is so stupid that there must be more brain-dead people out there who think in similar terms. I am surprised that the Herald Sun published this as a real news article - see here.

At least The Chaser had a more appropriate piece here.
An excerpt: Cue Lady Renouf and the waiting press. "I am here," she announced grandly, with all the dignity and gravitas that goes with being an ageing, racist, slightly ditzy gold-digger, "to free David Irving and to free Austria from these totalitarian laws". Flanked by the standard-issue "unnamed men" wearing matching flag-pins, she knew her place, her moment and her mission: she was there to stand up for Queen and Country (and David and Adolf).

Monday, February 20, 2006

Chof Beis Shevat

Today is the 18th anniversary of the passing of Rebbitzen Chaya Mushka Schneerson - daughter of the previous Rebbe and wife of the Rebbe. You can read about her life at here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

More Cartoons

From (found via

Click on cartoon to see larger view.

Cartoonists Fight Back

Thanks to Jake from Jerusalem for these and a number of others.

Cartoon by Bob Gorrell, AOL News, February 8, 2006

Cartoon by John Trever, The Albuquerque Journal, February 9, 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rav Yehuda Chitrik ע”ה

From Shmais:

With profound sadness we inform you of the passing of the world’s oldest Chossid Harav HaChossid Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik at age 106.

Rabbi Chitrik was born in 5659 (1899) in Krasnaluk, a small Jewish shtetl in Russia, to a prominent Lubavitch family that traces it's roots to the foremost Chassidim of the Alter Rebbe. At the age of 14, he began studying in Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim in Lubavitch. For the next 12 years, together with the Yeshivah, he traveled to many different communities, for the difficulties caused by World War I, the Bolshevik revolution, and the economic pressures to which the Jews were subjected compelled the Yeshivah to shift locale frequently.

In 5686 (1926) he married the daughter of Rabbi Aharon Tomarkin, Chief Rabbi of Kharkov, and began to serve as a shochet until the Russian government forcefully shut down the ritual slaughterhouses. In the subsequent years, he struggled with self-sacrifice to maintain the Chassidic spirit within his home and community, inspiring many others with his knowledge and personal example, despite the dangers of Communist repression and later, the Nazi invasion in World War II.

In the turmoil that followed that tragic episode of our history, he and his family moved to Belgium with the intent of continuing to the US. The previous Rebbe, however, recognized Reb Yehuda's unique gifts and asked him to remain in Belgium to spread Yiddishkeit and Chassidic warmth among the many refugees from the war who had settled in that country.
In 5709, he moved to Montreal where he was appointed Mashpia in the branch of the Lubavitcher Yeshivah established there. After the passing of his wife Kayla A"H, he moved to the home of his eldest son, Reb Tzvi Hirsh Chitrik in Crown Heights.

Rabbi Chitrik was the eldest Chossid and served as a source of knowledge and inspiration for many. He will be missed by all, especially his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Monday, February 13, 2006

New York Snowstorm

New York is experiencing the biggest snowstorm in many years. Photos of Crown Heights in the snow can be seen on here.

COL has some of photos of R' Laibl Groner at the Ohel here. And lots of photos of Crown Heights here.

and, if you haven't had enough, some more photos are on here and here.

(Click on the photos above for a larger view)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Chaim Sero Farbrengs

A familar face to many of us in Melbourne, Reb Chaim Serebryanski is pictured in this COL article farbrenging in Montreal, Canada on Yud Shevat.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Rebbe

From Proceeding Together — Volume 1: Talks by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson after the Passing of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn on Yud Shvat 5710 [1950]

Accordingly, through strengthening our bond [with the Rebbe] by studying his Torah teachings and giving practical application to his directives (both his public directives, and also -- especially -- those given face-to-face [to individuals] at yechidus), we will immediately be granted the merit (since we are at "the footsteps of Mashiach") of seeing the Rebbe with fleshly eyes, and the Rebbe will lead us to the Redemption.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Rebbe Rayatz

In honour of Yud Shevat (tomorrow)

On the Previous Rebbe's first visit to the United States he met with President Hoover.
This photo was taken in Washington, DC. (Thanks to Mentalblog)

The Previous Rebbe arriving in the United States in 1940.

(Click on the above photos and article to enlarge)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Zionism and Chabad

President of Israel Zalmen Shazar toasts the Lubavitcher Rebbe
at 770, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, 1973
Black and white photograph by Jerry Dantzic

For as long as I can remember the Rebbe always spoke positively about Israel as the "Holy Land" - the land where the eyes of Hashem were always focused. Among many issues over the years the Rebbe was concerned that only people born of a Jewish mother or who converted halachically be legally considered Jews in Israel and there were a number of campaigns to ensure this. In later years he emphasised not giving up land which belongs to us and appointed our own Yossel Gutnick as shaliach for the integrity of the Land of Israel. The Rebbe always seemed to have time for Israeli politicians and many came to Sunday "dollars" - not to mention major visits by Zalman Shazar, Menachem Begin and others.

Be that as it may, the chassidim had by and large ignored Israel. Before Gimmel Tammuz some parents sent their children to learn in Israel but most seemed to go to yeshivos in America. As chassidim we were concerned in general about Israel and the Jews that live there but did not take a proactive stand.

All of a sudden, Chabadniks are the biggest Zionists! There is even a Lubavitcher running for the World Zionist Conference - which I find mind boggling. Chabadniks in Chutz La'aretz were at the forefront of the anti-disengagement rallys and in Israel the ubiquitous yellow flag was seen at all the demonstrations. In Melbourne it seems that the anti-disengagement crowd scared away Mizrachi which, one would have logically assumed, would have been extremely active in this area.

It is obvious that Eretz Israel is of major importance to us a Jews. We should be concerned about what is happening there at least as a matter of Ahavas Yisroel. It is only right that we should be taking an active part in supporting Torah values in Israel.

But it seems to me that Lubavitchers today, rather than spreading yiddishkeit, see our main role in politics and at demonstrations. Maybe if those of us who aren't actually on shlichus - ie. Rabbis in Chabad Houses, teachers etc - would put more of our energies towards mivtzoim as the Rebbe seems to have wanted, rather than getting involved in politics, our movement would be in better shape.

There is no shortage of work to be done and many different ways to do it. Apart from the YG bochrim and Ohel Chana girls who go on Mivtzoim each Friday there is much that can be achieved. If you want to be involved and don't know where to start my advice would be to contact the various Chabad Houses to see how you can be of assistance. Another avenue is the Shluchim at Yeshivah Gedolah who do a great job of organising mivtzoim and would be pleased to recruit Anash to help. Nshei Chabad also provides opportunities for "outreach".

In expending our energies on mivtzoim rather than politics hopefully we can refocus on the core values of Chabad as expressed by the Rebbe.

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Good News Story

I saw this on Shmais (who got it from COL) and liked the idea that a Yid didn't want to benefit from stolen Rebbe dollars. Now we just have to strive to do the right thing and be nice to each other even when the Rebbe is not involved.

Yesterday morning (Wednesday), a moneychanger from Ramat Gan approached Chabad chassid Dov Ruchamkin, who works at the Diamond Exchange, and asked him an unusual question: “I have 100 dollar bills from the Rebbe, and I am prepared to sell them to you for $100.” The moneychanger told Mr. Ruchamkin that he had
received them as part of a cash transaction, and he did not want to profit from the Rebbe’s dollars.

Mr. Ruchamkin asked to see the dollars so that he could work out whom they belonged to. He discovered that the Rebbe had given them out in 5747/1987 and 5748/1988, and he also found the name “Yosef Yitzchok Swerdlov” written on them. Mr. Ruchamkin called Rabbi Swerdlov, who lives in Jerusalem, and confirmed that the dollars had been stolen from his home some time beforehand. Rabbi Swerdlov was very excited about the discovery of his precious “Rebbe” dollars, and he asked Mr. Ruchamkin to buy them back for him.

The dollars were soon returned to their rightful owner.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Freedom of Speech

Last September the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published some cartoons depicting Mohammed. This has angered much of the Muslim world as it is forbidden in their "religion" to show images of their prophet. We are all used to the death threats issued to anyone who they decide to hate and the newspaper has received it's fair share. Over the last few months other European newspapers have come out in support of Jyllands-Posten and have also published these cartoons and others. I was surprised that the media is actually defending free speech at the expense of alienating their Moslem friends.

All the cartoons can be seen here. Update on 8 Feb: the cartoons can now been seen on the Elder of Ziyon blog here along with some of the anti-Jewish cartoons published by the Arab world by way of comparison.

I originally heard this story on The World Today on ABC Radio. A transcript of the show can be found here.

Also, while surfing the web, I discovered the website of Front Page Magazine which includes an opinion piece by Robert Spencer titled Thou Shalt not Draw. The essay provides a good run-down of this latest stoush.

While you are at the Front Page Mag site you can download a booklet by a David Meir-Levi called Big Lies which describes the war in the Middle East over the last 60 years and the historical facts surrounding the conflict. Scroll down until you see the graphic above and click on it to display the booklet.