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Chassidic Tales [Jan. 12th, 2017|08:29 pm]
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I'm trying to track down the origin of a story: An Angel comes to a righteous rabbi and tells him that, no matter what, he will not go to heaven. Rather than cry or be angry, the rabbi begins to dance with joy.

When asked by the angel why he is dancing the rabbi replies: Because now when I do good, it will be only for good's sake."

It echoes something out of Pirke Avos: That one should do good not in the expectation of reward, but for the glory of G-d, but it sounds like a Chasidic take on this and I'd love to track it down.
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Anyone still reading this thing? [Jan. 5th, 2015|11:43 pm]
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So I wrote an article about Alan Dershowitz, the most fatuous lawyer in America - http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/college-students-beware-alan-dershowitz-is-reading-your-tweets/ - where he tried to distract from his defense of child molesters and teen rapers by going after a college student.

And now he is accused of fucking underaged hookers.

So go ahead and click through and share where you like to share.
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Advice for converts (the post-Rabbi Freundel edition - when people actually might pay attention) [Oct. 21st, 2014|01:51 pm]
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Rabbi Freundel in Washington D.C. has been arrested for putting cameras in mikvah and re-enacting the creepiest scene from Revenge of the Nerds. Amidst the allegations against Freundel is the revelations that he used his position as a rabbi to manipulate and harass converts. Surprisingly, this time the allegations that converts are being treated like crap in order to please the egos of a few sociopath rabbis seems to have gained some traction. I suppose I have to thank the fact that Rabbi Freundel is such a horrible fucking creep that he has become a catalyst for a great deal of frustration and anger when it comes to the conversion process. Even more important, Bethany Mandel wrote The Convert Bill of Rights as a way of bringing light to the system of exploitation that the Jewish community propagates under the rubrics of "it takes a long time to convert" and "no one has a right to become Jewish."

Rabbi Freundel is not an isolated rabbi who just used his power to exploit potential converts. The RCA has taken to trying to revise its conversion policy to include female advocates for the female converts (as if sexual harassment is the only manipulation available) and a convocation of mental health workers and rabbis to examine the process. Of course, the fact that Freundel had gotten so powerful that he wanted all converts to go through him and he was censured back in 2012 concerning female converts already shows that this is not isolated. There are plenty of Rabbi Freundels in America and not all of them are members of the RCA.

However, there is no guarantee that the conversion process will improve. In fact, there is plenty of pushback from converts who did not have terrible experiences and want to show their loyalty to their community. There are also the standard statements about "isolated incident" that come with every child molestation case and the rounding of the wagons against reform.

If you are thinking seriously about converting to Judaism, please note that there are plenty of problems with the conversion process. Obviously you should know all the usual steps like finding a community, finding a rabbi, reading all the introductory books, taking your time, etc.

So in no particular order (although the more important ones might be at the end) here is my advice for potential converts (or the advice that I wish that I had when I was trying to convert)

1. Be prepared to move - Not all Jewish communities are the same. Some are more like small towns out of 80s movies where no one is allowed to dance. I had to move to New York to convert because I was stuck in a "not Jewish yet" place in Saint Louis Park, MN (more information below). I put it off as much as I could but eventually it became obvious that I was not going to convert in Minnesota. I had friend who were there longer than I had been who weren't converting and friends who managed to convert by managing to play the games of the rabbis in charge. One friend found her conversion delayed every time she was seen talking to a male in shul. Other friends just went through conservative conversions. So I moved to New York, found a decent rabbi and a conversion program which took less than two years and had a refreshing lack of head games. Just go to class and when you think you're ready get ahold of the rabbi and he interviews you and when he thinks that you're ready, you make a mikvah appointment. There were delays. I forgot the bracha after snacks and had to keep studying. I was supposed to find my third rabbi and my first choice ended up in the hospital with an infection. Someone died on the day I was supposed to convert. But these are normal delays and they were nothing compared to the Kafka-esque nightmare that was the Saint Louis Park approach to converts.

2. Don't be the Shabbos Goy - Sure, your conversion is taking some time. You feel like an outsider in the community. Suddenly, you can be a unique member of the community. You're the one who is turning on the lights and adjusting the air conditioner. Only as the months turn into years, you are still not Jewish yet and you're still turning on the lights. There was one Sukkot where I was shown the Kenesseth Israel air conditioning in the attic. I turned that on (or off) and then as I was passing the bathroom, another member of the community noting that I should go in there (because the light was off). And then as I was trying to find a host for the meal, another friend grabbed me to show me that the bathroom light was off (it wasn't by this point, but I didn't find a place to eat regardless). After this point, I would respond to hints about the lights or the heating with obliviousness. Example "Tim, it's hot in here" (meaning - go up and turn the air conditioning on) Response - "No. It feels fine" (Meaning - yeah fuck off).

Shuls hire people to be shabbos goys (or caretakers). They don't need you in that capacity.

3. Save your guilt for what matters - Conversion candidates are the most vulnerable members of the Jewish community because they are under constant scrutiny and anyone in the community can possibly delay the conversion due to personality conflicts, unfortunate gaffes or just plain nastiness. Of course, there are some people who think that they can reverse the conversion if only they talk to the right people after mikvah (Keren Simon comes to mind - a horrible woman who has infested Washington Heights for years - but may be moving soon - who sent an email to all my friends asking them to "talk to me" because she "knew people" and could reverse my conversion - she couldn't. She's just stupid - and people on the Mt Sinai board still hate her for her shenanigans). This kind of precarious situation is ripe with possibilities of internalizing the community's dysfunctional nature. As a convert, you are coming into a community with your own history and your own issues. You are already feeling like an outsider because you didn't spend a year in Israel or go to camp or like Carlbach music. But when you learn about some of the more non-western halachot like shomer negia, yichud, not hearing a woman sing solo, it's easy to think that there is a great idealized version of Judaism that you can't even come close to meeting. So you start to feel guilty about your past - about the fact that you hung out with pot smoking polyamory enthusiasts (many that you still call friends) or that you had a girlfriend for four years and you actually had sex. Hell, you could even start feeling guilty about your high school years where you masturbated five times a day.

And it is even more exacerbated if you are around people who are baal tshuva zealots who just came back from Israel and are going through similar versions of self-recrimination. But really, you are trying to become Jewish. You are not trying to become a saint. Nor are you trying to turn into some model of self-control. If you are going to feel guilty for things, feel guilty of the things that you can help like being mean to your friends and acting like a selfish bastard or playing shitty little power games. Feel guilty about how much you fail to understand the problems of others and go into rants or smug dismissals. Don't feel guilty because you used to love pork. Don't feel guilty because some rabbi yelled at you for something that wasn't your fault. Definitely don't feel guilty because you like to watch television.

4. Recognize and avoid the assholes - I wanted to write this up as "don't idealize the community" to the point that you buy everything everyone says to you about what constitutes Judaism. But really, the main problem you get into is when you are stuck with people who tell you that Judaism forbids pets (bullshit) or that only apostates believe in evolution (total crap). There are bullies and there are people who are going to grill you. There was Dr. Laura at one point and her terrible fans. There are people who tell that story about how Jews are better to their parents because they believe in the Torah instead of evolution. And then there are racist assholes. In SLP, the racist asshole was a Chabad rabbi who would frequently say the N---- word without shame and always acted like he was the arbiter of ritual in Kenesseth Israel (sitting in the far corner near the front, yelling at people to stop talking when they weren't even davening). And when he invited people over, he told the same stupid stories and made the same tired dodges to questions while serving bland vegetarian food. His name was Baruch Cline. I took him seriously for a time.

The Chofetz Chaim provides a wonderful amount of meshuggas in the form of lashon hara rules that go well beyond halacha. These seem like great ideas (after all talking shit about other people is counterproductive and unhealthy) but they only serve to produce places where all of your complaints and concerns are dismissed by a strangely selective adherence to the principles. If what you are saying is a legitimate complaint about a dysfunctional and terrible practice as well as the work of manipulative fucks - then it's shut down as LASHON HARA. However, if you want to talk shit about some guy's cheap looking bar mitzvah for his kid - knock yourself out.

5. Own your personal issues and don't let others determine your worth based on them - Ok, here is the part of the conversion process that trips up most people because they see these things as legitimate reasons for delaying a conversion. The guilt that was mentioned above is something that helps to make you miserable but there are other places where trying to become Jewish gets even more fretful and that is your personal pain and angst. When I got serious about converting to Orthodox Judaism, I was on the tail end of a four year relationship that was breaking up. When that ended, I was broken and emotionally fragile. I went back to my high school behavior which was to get hung up on one woman that I thought was the answer to all my problems - bonus points as she didn't care and she wasn't interested. And of course, the mild flirting was not something that was approved by anyone else. Anyhow I emailed her for awhile, but then I decided to tell all those stories from my college years - the ones with even more messed up friends having orgies - because I was trying to put myself in a super-frum box for someone who wasn't even interested and I finally just had to do that full confession - you know - totally overcome my fears that I would horrify her if she knew about all these things.

Yeah, she was not happy with that email. Makes sense. But I should also note that she was a 19 year old woman who was going to school to be a lawyer. She may have been sheltered but she was an adult. Still, not a great moment for me. Then again, I didn't think that I deserved to be happy so of course I would get obsessive over a woman who had nothing in common with me and then do all I could to drive her away.

So in other words, I was an emotional mess. But here's the problem with that - I got better. Yet, I was still being told by rabbis that I should watch "what I say around women" (or more importantly that woman) years later. It wasn't like I was going up to random females and talking about dog-fucking in graphic detail. And since Rabbi Goldberger loved his mussar bullshit, he decided that I should get married before I converted and he even tried setting me up with a horrible hippie who was much years older than me and much more easily manipulated. I suppose that would prove that I wasn't going to be the kind of disgusting sexual harassment guy that you find among - well - Washington D.C. Rabbis named Freundel (yeah sometimes the easy jabs are fun).

The more I tried to hide my pain, my brokenness, the more it came out. And the ironic part was that I was only moderately neurotic. Oh sure - 18 years being raised by a bipolar mom making me want to chase after drama, no self-esteem to speak of and an obsessive nature at the time - these are not the kinds of things that say "Yeah, this guy is in an awesome place" but they are also not the kinds of things that should derail a conversion indefinitely. I was trying to become Jewish. If only the most emotionally healthy and stable individuals were allowed to convert to Judaism then there wouldn't be any converts.

Of course, this particular set of circumstances made me an accomplice in my own manipulation. On some level, I BELIEVED that I wasn't worthy of becoming Jewish because I had too many self-defeating behaviors and I pissed too many people off. When I started noticing cracks in the facade (such as in my trip to Crown Heights for a friend's wedding where all his religious-from-birth friends were paying for strippers and getting their money back when the strippers weren't doing lesbian shows) I did not see that as a sign that I wasn't all that bad. I took that as a betrayal of this idealized image I had of the Jewish community.

But the problem here is that there were people I knew that were legitimately worse than I was - with more profound mental issues and weird behavior - converting while others who were much more sane and together were going through similar bullshit and being delayed indefinitely.

There are plenty of crazy Jews in the world. Just because you weren't born Jewish, doesn't mean that you can't join them. Sure, there are some behaviors and actions that are beyond the pale, but telling some easily shocked woman about how your friends used to have orgies in college is not one of them.

6.You have the right to be treated like a human being - A lot of the pushback to the articles about converts being exploited is in the form of "no one needs to be Jewish" and "well you know it's supposed to be hard" but there is the difficulty of learning halacha, learning Torah and learning Hebrew and then there is the difficulty of being manipulated by rabbis and members of the community who are treating you like a toy. I was lucky relatively speaking. My conversion was delayed by a manipulative rabbi and I took bad advice from members of the community who told me to follow this terrible rabbi's directives. There are other people who have been abused and sexually harassed by rabbis. The RCA is implementing a woman ombudsman in future conversions in order for female conversion candidates to have an advocate. The fact that anyone needs an advocate is a fucking tragedy.

7. Make sure that there IS a formal conversion program in place - if you ask the congregational rabbi to be your rabbi for your conversion and he states that he is going to guide you to whatever classes you need, then you might as well just plan to waste at least years of your life as you never get anywhere and you discover that the rabbi has decided to pull some bullshit on you to further delay your conversion (seriously, fuck Rabbi Goldberger).

If there is no formal conversion program in place, then start asking why there isn't one and ask this of everyone in the community. Be a pain in the ass if you have to be. As long as you are the happy shabbos goy who will convert one of these days, that's what you are going to be.

When I got to New York, I found a rabbi in a couple of phone calls. And then there was a conversion program. I went to classes for about 8 months. I learned what I needed to learn about Judaism. I interviewed with the main rabbi. He decided I was ready. There was some trouble finding a third rabbi to sit on the beis din but I found him. And then poke poke, off to the mikvah, questions, dunk - Jew now (sent as a text message to my friend Steg).

It was like night and day. In Minnesota, there was a dysfunctional congregation, a manipulative rabbi and no formal conversion program. Everything was done through the Chicago Rabbinical Council which took its marching orders from the manipulative rabbi who thought that he could mussar my conversion into some horrible shape that he thought ideal. There were plenty of other potential converts but the only ones who actually made it to the mikvah via Minnesota were the ones who were better at sucking up to Goldberger (and at least two of them were way more mentally unstable than I ever could be - including creepy staring guy) with everyone else just giving up and going with conservative conversions - even though they wanted Orthodox ones.

In New York, there was a simple program, a comprehensive class and a goal in mind. There was also emotional and social support.

So actually #7 may be the most important one because if you are trying to convert in a community and there is no actual formal process in place, then you most likely won't convert. The community should have one, but I will write a second blog post tomorrow concerning what communities of Jews should do in order to keep themselves from being known as the shitty communities that fuck over potential converts.
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Rabbi Freundel [Oct. 21st, 2014|11:32 am]
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Fund my Book [Jun. 23rd, 2013|03:00 am]
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More Bible themed horror.
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More bullshit coming out of the Chasidic Community - this time with the help of a shitty judge. [May. 20th, 2013|01:23 pm]
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Kelly Myzner marries an abusive prick because he's one of the Satmar guys who is willing to marry a baal tshuva. Realizes that he's an abusive prick and leaves him. Community bands together to give him the custody of their children. Judge Sherri L. Eisenpress proves herself a willing accomplice to this nasty little cult's brainwashing. www.unpious.com/2013/05/ex-hasidic-mother-loses-custody-of-children
The judge acknowledged that Myzner had the right to live with or without religion. She also acknowledged that Myzner was overall the more involved and attentive parent, and that the father had shown a pattern of denial of the children’s needs. She also acknowledged the father’s anger problems and his regular use of corporal punishment. Ultimately, though, it came down to who fit in better with the children’s Hasidic lifestyle.

The judge wrote she was concerned that the mother’s decision to “become secular” would spill over to the children, and that, among other things, the mother “(may) [might] change the children’s conservative attire and grooming, change her appearance when she is with the children, permit the children to view television and access the internet.”

The Court, the judge wrote in her ruling, credited the view of a local Orthodox psychiatrist who testified “that it would be difficult psychologically and tremendously confusing for children raised in a religious home to live between two different worlds.”</blockquote>

Oh and there's a site for her legal fees - http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bring-kelly-s-kids-home - but not much on it.
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holding the kiddush cup [Apr. 3rd, 2013|09:05 am]
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[Current Mood |blahblah]

I need a disagreemnt settled: is it halacha to hold a kiddush cup in the palm of your hand or is it just custom?  does this apply to the the kiddush cups that have a stem, as opposed to the ones that come with a dish underneath?
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Punk Jews finally makes their movie [Mar. 10th, 2013|03:39 pm]
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So this article features my friend Miriam and Elke - and that silly fucking band. Miriam does women only theater pieces and Elke is a painter so they are pretty cool. That silly fucking band sings shitty punk but with Hebrew prayers. Oh yeah, you really have been waiting to hear the thrash punk version of Shalom Aleichem, haven't you?

Anyhow I used to go to these events, but they were always too loud. I mean the punk jew events. I haven't been to Thursday night cholent in a long time - mostly because it was where my sleaziest roommate felt at home.
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Academy Awards and cgi teddy bears [Feb. 26th, 2013|11:43 am]
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Well, I thought the "Jews run Hollywood" joke as told by a CGI teddy bear was funny. At very least mildly amusing. It's not exactly a new joke but there was enough enthusiasm to carry it over the hacky premise.
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Fashion Designer Trolling - Jews hating - trying to catch him ridin frummy [Feb. 14th, 2013|11:47 pm]
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John Galliano decides to look like a hasid for a fashion week.


People freak out.

Abe Foxman of ADL gives a "what's the big deal" statement.

Dov Hikind of JDL makes a statement about being outraged (the man is outraged about everything but the Weberman sex abuse)

And then there's this little quote
"John Galliano, and anyone, and I mean ANYONE who supports this sick freak should go to Auschwitz," Bradley Scott Reisman said in a 9 a.m. Facebook post

I'm betting that Bradley is single.
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Since a lot of the "I feel all better about going to DragonCon now that you posted that article" art [Feb. 10th, 2013|03:50 am]
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Since kradical wrote his litany of lame excuses for supporting DragonCon and thus putting more money into Ed Kramer's pockets - money which has in the past been used to pervert the justice system and start a talent agency for "young men" (please feel free to shiver) - others have been coming out of the woodwork with their tumblr and blog posts to proudly proclaim that YES - they too support pedophilia and wish to be accomplices to child molestation.

And they are all engaged in the same corporate law shell game. Step right up, follow the hands, watch for the boy rapist, can you spot the boy rapist, where is the boy rapist, pick the card, win a prize - oh look you picked CORPORATE MANSPLAIN.

Actually mansplaining isn't really accurate but boysplaining seems too much a neologism.

Regardless, the blogs have the depressing sameness. They attack the notion that the DragonCon corporation can dissolve and then come back together without Kramer and then get into a tedious paragraph about corporate law and HOW HARD that would be.

And then they hit a paragraph break.

Because that's the point to go "But in Georgia they CAN'T do it!!!!!!!"

Of course, I'm sure that justifies the blogger's decision to go to a convention that pumps 34% of its income into the bank account of a boy fucker. Why yes, I WOULD boycott DragonCon but their hands are tied and you can't expect DragonCon to cut off ties with Ed Kramer when there's a messy political and corporate law precedent up there.

So here's what I say to that - YOUR hands are NOT tied. YOU are not helpless in the face of corporate law. YOU are the one who is CHOOSING to go to DragonCON and ultimately it's YOUR MONEY (or the money that is generated by your appearance) that is going to help ED KRAMER GET AWAY WITH FUCKING LITTLE BOYS.

Seriously, no one is saying "Oh sure, I find Chris Brown to be a detestable human being but I still buy his albums and give him money because he's under contract" followed by three paragraphs about why it's so hard to get Chris Brown off the contract.

But in the case of Ed Kramer, those who are CHOOSING to go to DragonCon are resorting to a cut-and-paste mansplain about corporate law in Georgia that somehow makes DragonCon innocent. For years DragonCon has had NOTHING to do with Ed Kramer and now that it's been caught, suddenly its HANDS ARE TIED. Good show, DragonCon, looks like your dumber attendees are capable of parroting your press releases word for word.

Even if everything in that corporate mansplain is true (yeah I'm starting to like the phrase) that still doesn't justify YOUR action of supporting an institution that gives 34% of its income to Ed Kramer. YOU are the one who is supporting child molestation and YOU are the one who is going to have to live with your conscience for letting this monster fuck with the justice system.
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Boycott DragonCon [Feb. 3rd, 2013|02:57 pm]
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I have been googling DragonCon too much and talking about it too much and I know that. I have even been finding articles about it and arguing with the people who post on it. I decided to respond to the objections concerning the boycott of DragonCon in this post and I realize that I should be less acerbic about it. I realized this by thinking about what I would say if it was the convention that I love to go to (which is CONvergence) instead of one that I never attend (mostly because I am usually broke by Labor Day weekend). Basically, what if one of the CONvergence founders and major shareholders was accused of child molestation and was making money from CONvergence. Would I be so eager to boycott CONvergence? Probably not. I would have to think about it because CONvergence is my one opportunity throughout the year to unwind and hang out with my Minnesota friends. I may still boycott it but I would think about it and I might actually make the same excuses that DragonCon's defenders are making - all the while convincing myself that I am making perfectly rational decisions.

So the reason for boycotting DragonCon is that Ed Kramer is making money from it. He has a 34% share in the convention and makes an estimated $150 thousand a year from the convention. In short, if you choose to attend DragonCon either as a guest or a paid attendee you are contributing to the man's concerted effort to pervert the justice system and delay prosecution. As far as I'm concerned, that's reason enough to avoid DragonCon. Call me idealistic, but I really don't want to be an accessory to child molestation. Still there are people who argue against the boycott, and most of them aren't stupid or evil. So I will try to respond as respectfully as possible.

Innocent until proven Guilty
This particular one has not been terribly popular lately. I think it's the "fool me 15-20 times shame on you, end up with a naked 14 year old boy in your motel room, shame on me" evolution. There were plenty of people that I once respected lining up to state that Ed Kramer was a victim of circumstance, an outcast, an example of Southern antisemitism. However, as the trial has been delayed repeatedly due to "health reasons", Kramer has openly defied whatever crippling defect he supposedly suffers from to hike through Connecticut mountains, show up at DragonCon in 2008, end up in a hotel room with a 14 year old boy. Sure, the boy's mother supposedly says that there was nothing going on, but do you really expect the woman to admit to herself that she basically let her son get raped? The worst chutzpah was the delays in the case that were accompanied by statements concerning Ed Kramer eager to have his day in court. Considering that we have witnesses stating the Kramer either raped them or attempted to isolate young boys and Kramer's own manipulative behavior in the past 12 years, it would take the most deluded view of human nature to think that Kramer is innocent.

DragonCon has nothing to do with Ed Kramer
The party line repeated by DragonCon PR people is that Ed Kramer cut off all ties with DragonCon in 2000. Yet in 2008, he was invited back as a guest. Furthermore, his decision to sue DragonCon for royalties proved that he's a 34% shareholder in the convention and makes $150K a year from it. DragonCon has consistently lied about its ties to Ed Kramer and while that might be understandable (no one wants to be the guy that goes "ok, he makes a lot of money from DragonCon but we rarely invite him back") it makes the lie no less reprehensible. DragonCon HAS ties to Ed Kramer and its NOT a case of "just one individual" as some make it out to be. If it was a case of "would you boycott DragonCon due to one individual?" then of course, one would answer no. However, the question is "would you attend DragonCon knowing that your money is going to a child molester's bank account and being used to pervert the justice system?" or more pithy "Do you want to be an accessory to pedophilia?"

DragonCon WANTS to cut ties to Ed Kramer but legally can't
The subset of this objection is that DragonCon is going through a court case and it can't defend itself publicly because of a gag order or attorney advice. Of course, the "DragonCon can't make statements" is a bogus reason given by people who want to think the best of DragonCon. As noted above, DragonCon has been making statements - false statements concerning their relationship with Ed Kramer and as recently as 2008 they were inviting him to be a guest. While I highly doubt the veracity of this claim given DragonCon's official statements, let's for the moment pretend that it's true. Let's pretend that DragonCon has been doing all it can to either buy out Ed Kramer or change its incorporation for the past 12 years and every attorney has told them that there is no way that they can force Ed Kramer from the shareholders.

So what?

No seriously, boycotting DragonCon is about refusing to give money to a pedophile. If DragonCon is legally bound to give money to a pedophile, why is this the problem of the people considering a boycott? The only thing this argument does is make the people who have already chosen to attend DragonCon to feel justified in their decision to be accessories to pedophilia. If you're considering whether or not to go to DragonCon, are you supposed to hear this argument and think "Oh! They have no choice but to give money to Ed Kramer! I should go support them"? If DragonCon REALLY has not choice and can't get out of their agreement with Kramer, that doesn't mean that YOU have no choice. If you accept a guest invitation or pay to go to DragonCon, you have made a CHOICE. And it's a terrible one.

What about the poor vendors, hotels, etc.?
It is true that DragonCon supports an entire economy of vendors who make money from the weekend. Some of the vendors stay in the black due solely to their sales at DragonCon. Is it fair that you have chosen to not attend and purchase their products? Two answers - first, the vendors are also choosing to attend DragonCon and support it and knowing that Ed Kramer is directly profiting from their decision, can you really call them innocent?

Second, to paraphrase Newt Gingrich, if a company is too big too fail, it's also too big to operate efficiently. In other words, it SHOULD fail. We all know about supply and demand but somehow the proponents of the vendors are refusing to apply it here. They think that demand will somehow magically disappear if it isn't applied to DragonCon. In truth, there were several conventions in Atlanta before DragonCon became the behemoth it is today and with a boycott, the demand doesn't go away. The people who are staying away from DragonCon aren't going stop wanting to buy swords, Dalek t-shirts, books, Tarot cards and steampunk clothing just because they aren't attending DragonCon. And right now, the vendors have an opportunity to win a PR coup by making a statement concerning their disgust with the continuing Ed Kramer situation and their intention to boycott. The phrase "we realize that by boycotting DragonCon, we are cutting into our profits but we felt that given the situation, we cannot in good conscience support the convention" would make the first vendor look like a company the puts people over profits and ironically result in more profits than they could get out of DragonCon. Of course, that's only for the first couple of vendors. The 18th vendor to boycott DragonCon would just seem like it's following along.

Nancy Collins is crazy
This one seems to have been popular in the first 6-10 years of the Ed Kramer scandal. It still gets traction because people don't want to hear bad news. And if the bad news is "by attending DragonCon, you are supporting a pedophile" then it makes sense to try to kill the messenger. No one wants to admit that they've been helping to keep a pedophile out of jail. A variation of this trope happened in September when Peter David went around commenting on articles about DragonCon and attacking the writers as insinuating a relationship with Ed Kramer and then stating that the writer is just engaging in sour grapes over not getting a press pass to DragonCon. Yet, even if Nancy Collins is completely insane and bitter and thinks that the government puts fluoride in the drinking water in order to keep all the sheeple from seeing how their Second Amendment rights are being eroded for the eventual military Big Brother takeover, that doesn't mitigate the fact that Ed Kramer is a pedophile and making $150K a year from DragonCon.

The trope of the grown man fucking the little boy is a time honored tradition in Western Culture and has been repeated in several contexts from Ancient Greece to Feudal Japan to the Renaissance and therefore should be celebrated instead of prosecuted
Actually this is probably the only reason why people should attend DragonCon these days.
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A welcome response to the Aish apologetics about scary tznius being more "respectful" [Oct. 7th, 2012|02:05 pm]
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Over time, I calmed down. In the months and years that followed, I watched more episodes of “Sesame Street,” movies, TV and popular entertainment. I found myself in an alien world where womanliness is not a secret, but a mystery. A place where a woman’s body is considered a beautiful thing.

It was strange, watching women flaunt their womanliness while demanding respect for it at the same time. In this place, womanliness is protected not by females hiding themselves, but by men restraining themselves. I could not understand it. An entire society that refuses a morality based on what women wear. It was a foreign concept.

Of course, I already talk about all the Chasidic guys going to strip clubs and assuming that any woman who is not covered up in layers is a hooker, but I think this really makes a point about how damaging the idea that clothes substitute for respect is in a frum community.
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(no subject) [Sep. 10th, 2012|02:28 pm]
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If someone pulled out a smartphone to text or update Facebook while I'm trying to Daven on Rosh Hashannah, I would assume I had a psak to use a firearm.
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I always get interesting responses here on this kind of stuff. [Aug. 28th, 2012|03:37 pm]
Weird Jews 2

The secular beatification of Rachel Corrie sums up everything that is wrong with modern solidarity with Palestine

Opinions, ideas, counter-flames?
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Frum Divorce [Jul. 18th, 2012|09:55 pm]
Weird Jews 2

I was in Starbucks today and they have set up the tables so that there's a bench where almost everyone sits. So these girls got in the table next to me and they pretty much surrounded me. So I couldn't help hearing the one talk about getting divorced from Eliezer. Man, Eliezer is just a jerk. But she talked about how things were getting distant and how she wanted to just live off a man but she also wanted enough financial independence to go to Target and spend $100 and not worry about his cheapness or his ambitions to make millions in Israel or whatever. She also wanted to move back to Florida. Also she was worried. Like she knew that she was annoying in some ways but she didn't need to

Her friends were supportive. They were telling her that she was making the right decision. They really were good friends. She always did what he wanted but he NEVER even tried to read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (yes, she said that)

And then she complained about he wanted her to shower every day. Like come home and take a shower and then it's really cold and she could get a head cold. And her two friends were very supportive. They never thought that she smelled.

I remember that Chevi used to also do that - like go days without bathing. She was very proud of keeping the three day yomtov no bathing minhag. I thought it was just a sign of clinical depression, but now I'm starting to think that it's some seminary frum thing because if these girls can't touch boys before they get married then why bother not smelling like a toilet?

Oh well. That girl is young. She can learn and come into herself. And then find some foul smelling haredi guy to be her soul mate.
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Censorship of women in Israeli advertising [Jul. 9th, 2012|03:39 pm]
Weird Jews 2


An interesting development in Israel's ongoing fight against ultra-Orthodox extremism. A number of companies here have been called out because they choose to edit women out of their ads, especially in Jerusalem. These companies claim that it is due to the population's sensitivities. This is, of course, pure bullshit since many of the signs where pictures of women are excluded are in non-ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. This particular link is to a post on Super-Pharm Israel's Facebook where a woman asked why the female model used in their ads was cut out of the ads around Jerusalem. Super-Pharm responded, "Super-Pharm serves the entire population of Israel and does its utmost to respect the needs of different populations, thus advertising in religious areas is customized accordingly." (My translation, roughly accurate.) It should be noted, however, that the signs with the female model removed are seen all over Jerusalem, including "secular" areas where there is little to no ultra-Orthodox population.

The further responses condemn Super-Pharm for taking this stance, and then Super-Pharm tries to whitewash by saying they hire over 50% women, over 50% of franchisees are women, and that they also advertise in Arabic and Russian for those populations.

What would interest everyone about this the most is that Super-Pharm is owned by the Koffler family - the same family that owns Shoppers Drug Mart, a large chain in Ontario and Quebec. So while there is a lot of local Jerusalem politics involved, the censorship of women over so-called "religious sensibilities" in this case is also a Canadian issue, a Jewish issue, and a feminist issue.
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Drew Kaplan making drinks [Jun. 12th, 2012|12:20 am]
Weird Jews 2

http://drewkaplan.info/30days30drinks.htm - My friend Drew decided to start mixing drinks as a youtube series. He's a rabbi.
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