Bombshell: Jerusalem Court Approves Jewish Prayer on Temple MountBy David Israel and What is the most famous bus in the world and Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism plain and simple by Rabbi Avi Weiss and What's My Line? - Trapp family choir; Tony Randall [panel] (Jul 3, 1960) and Impossible Pork is here — but the plant-based meat won’t be certified as kosher BY JACOB GURVIS
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Photo Credit: The Judicial Authority; Ye'raeh's Facebook page
Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Bilha Yahalom on Wednesday revoked a restraining order that was handed to a Jew who prayed on the Temple Mount, and confirmed that it is permissible for Jews to pray quietly in the holiest Jewish site, Israel Hayom reported (תקדים: ביהמ"ש אישר קיום תפילה יהודית בהר הבית). This constitutes the first explicit legal decision allowing Jews to pray quietly inside the Temple Mount compound.
According to the group Yera'eh that promotes Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount, a record number of Jewish worshipers prayed on the Temple Mount in the summer: 4,239 Jews conducted prayer there during the month of Av, 5780. This is a jump of 76% compared to the same month in 5779 during which 2,759 Jews prayed on the Temple Mount.
Last Yom Kippur, a policeman approached Rabbi Aryeh Lipo, a frequent and well-known visitor to the Temple Mount, who was quietly praying and ordered him to leave the place because he was praying. Rabbi Lipo was promptly yanked from the site for allegedly violating the rules there. Rabbi Lipo petitioned the court, claiming that he had not done anything wrong and that Jewish prayers had been conducted on the Temple Mount regularly.
The Magistrate's Court accepted Rabbi Lipo's appeal and ruled that Jews were indeed allowed to pray quietly on the Temple Mount.
"The appellant is on the Temple Mount on a daily basis and is familiar with the accepted procedures at the place, and indeed admits that he prayed there," Judge Yahalom wrote in her ruling. "In this sense, it is clear why the respondent (Israel Police – DI) is apprehensive and why it ordered the removal. On the other hand, it is precisely his daily arrival at the Temple Mount that indicates that this is a matter of principle and substance for him."
"The video I reviewed shows that the appellant was standing in a corner with a friend or two next to him, there's no crowd around him, his prayer was silent, a whisper," the Judge continued. "On the face of it, I did not find that external and visible signs of religious activity were carried out by the appellant," she clarified.
"The respondent does not dispute that the appellant, like many others, prays on a daily basis on the Temple Mount, and this activity in itself does not violate police instructions," Judge Yahalom added.
That last sentence is crucial because it is a legal confirmation of what has been taking place regularly lately on the Temple Mount, where for the first time—in contrast to the status quo for many years—Jews pray quietly in groups, including the repetition of the Shatz and Kadish, very close to where our Holy Temple once stood. Wednesday morning's ruling is a seal of approval to what until now has been an unofficially approved conduct, with police turning a blind eye.
Indeed, when after Tisha B'Av, on July 19 this year, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked Minister of Internal Security Omer Barlev and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai for their excellent management of the ascent of the Jews to the Temple Mount on the occasion of the fast day, stressing in a statement that was distributed in Arabic that freedom of worship on the Temple Mount would be fully preserved for Muslims as well – all hell broke loose.
Bennett's own Minister for Regional Cooperation, Issawi Frej, announced at the beginning of that week's cabinet meeting that he objects to Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. Mind you, Frej is a far-left socialist and not a frequent visitor at his local mosque, but still insisted: "I support the prayer of every person everywhere, but the Temple Mount has a status quo and should be respected. Period."
And Minister Barlev, another socialist in the Bennett government, announced: "If Jews pray on the Temple Mount – it is clearly against the law. In the past, too, there were Jews who ascended the Temple Mount under the guise of touring and praying. It is against the law."
Well, as Judge Yahalom, who probably bought herself a nice seat in Heaven Wednesday morning, clarified: the minister was wrong. There is no law against Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, there's a 54-year history of contradictory orders by a long list of governments that, after all, is said and done, try to mitigate a situation whereby a hundred thousand Arabs are ready, willing, and able to storm the Temple Mount with judgment day violence should their ownership of the compound be put in question by a few Jews ready who pray silently in a corner.
Nevertheless, the Islamic Movement's Ra'am party announced in July: "The Al-Aqsa Mosque (which is how Muslims refer these days to the Temple Mount – they used to call it Bait al-Maqdis-literally Beit Hamikdash, the Hebrew name of the Holy Temple – DI) is an exclusive right of Muslims and no one else has any right to it."
So the prime minister's office issued a clarification in July saying that Bennett meant that Jews were allowed to visit the Temple Mount but not pray there – he chose the wrong words, the anonymous official source explained.
The Temple Mount Organizations welcomed Wednesday's ruling, and its activist Assaf Fried said "Israel's return to the Temple Mount is an existing and intensifying fact. After the police, the court also recognizes this and gives its legal approval."
Of course, no one can predict how the bombshell dear judge Yahalom has dropped would end: at a minimum, the Ra'am party could walk out of the Lapid-Bennett coalition if it doesn't issue a law that fixes the loophole the judge carved out. But such a fix would effectively lose Prime Minister Naftali Bennett his last supporters in the Religious Zionist camp and be a career-ender. Thousands of Arab rioters could storm the compound, which would lead to its lockdown, making prayer there impossible for everyone. And the ruling could be appealed at the High Court of Justice, with Israel Police pointing to the rioters as a good reason to ban Jews from the mountain again. Because stopping Arab rioters just isn't done.
Now, this is a fine issue over which Israel should go to another election: Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. In a country where much, much less than one percent of the Jews ever set foot on Judaism's holiest site.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Impossible Pork is here — but the plant-based meat won't be certified as kosher BY JACOB GURVIS
Impossible Foods, the plant-based meat company, is releasing a long-awaited new product — but unlike the wildly popular Impossible Burger, it won't be certified kosher.
The largest and most influential certifier of kosher products in the world has declined to endorse Impossible Pork, even though nothing about its ingredients or preparation conflicts with Jewish dietary laws.
"The Impossible Pork, we didn't give an 'OU' to it, not because it wasn't kosher per se," said Rabbi Menachem Genack, the CEO of the Orthodox Union's kosher division. "It may indeed be completely in terms of its ingredients: If it's completely plant-derived, it's kosher. Just in terms of sensitivities to the consumer … it didn't get it."
For Jews who keep kosher, the Impossible Burger has allowed some food experiences that would otherwise be off-limits because of the prohibition in dietary law on mixing milk and meat. For the last five years, Jews and kosher restaurants have been able to serve up cheese-topped chili, greasy cheeseburgers, and that quintessential American diner pairing: a hamburger with a milkshake.
"The Impossible Burger itself is a huge, huge success and people really, really like it," Genack said. "It's a really excellent, excellent product in every respect."
With the new product, Impossible Foods wanted to give that same experience to Jews and Muslims who do not eat pork, along with others who are seeking to avoid animal products or reduce their environmental impact.
But Genack said he and others at the OU recalled what happened when they once certified "bacon" that wasn't made of pig.
"We still get deluged with calls from consumers who either don't get it or they're uncomfortable with it," he said.
But the organization certifies other products that might seem to conflict with Jewish dietary law, explaining on its website that "a fish sauce may display a picture of a non‐kosher fish, the OU may appear on artificial crab or pork, or there may be a recipe for a non‐kosher food item on the label." It even certifies other products that aim to replicate the pork experience, such as Trader Joe's "spicy porkless plant-based snack rinds."
But ultimately agency officials decided that a product called "pork" just wouldn't fly, Genack said.
"We of course discussed it with the company and they understood," he said.
For Impossible Foods, the word "pork" is here to stay.
"While Impossible Pork was originally designed for Halal and Kosher certification, we aren't moving forward with those certifications as we wish to continue to use the term 'Pork' in our product name," an Impossible Foods spokesperson told JTA in an email.
The decision means Impossible Pork won't be on the menu at kosher restaurants, which must use only kosher-certified products in order to retain their own kosher certification. That includes kosher and/or vegan Asian restaurants with mainstay dishes that would typically include pork, such as the dumplings and dim sum that marked Impossible Pork's first outings this week in New York and Hong Kong.
Impossible Pork dumplings. (Impossible Foods)
It also means that Jews who seek to follow traditional dietary rules will have to make their own freighted decisions about Impossible Pork — including whether to follow the OU's ruling.
"I don't think the OU labeling on it has a huge impact on me," said Rabbi Justin Held, the director of Jewish education at Herzl Camp and the University of Minnesota Hillel, who described himself as a "huge Impossible fan."
But he said he was concerned about marit ayin, or appearance to the eye, a concept in Jewish law that prohibits actions which appear to violate Jewish law, even if they technically do not. The concept raises the concern that someone who sees Held eating an Impossible Pork banh mi sandwich, for example, might think that he eats non-kosher meat.
A different concept, lifnei iver, or not placing stumbling blocks before the blind, could also come into play. The concept raises a related concern: whether someone who sees an observant Jew eating Impossible Pork dumplings could conclude that pork must actually be kosher.
For Held, the issues related to dietary law pale in comparison to the ick factor of consuming something that replicates one of Judaism's strongest taboos — and even that isn't enough to keep him away.
"The word pork is definitely a gross aversion to me," he said. "But knowing it's not [pork], I will try it."
Rena Kates, an attorney in Baltimore, isn't sure she will. Like Held, Kates keeps kosher and also uses ingredients, not an agency's certification, as her guide for whether food is acceptable.
An avid consumer of plant-based meat products, she doesn't think she can stomach Impossible Pork.
"I have this visceral reaction to it," she said. "There is something about pork that is just triggering."
It was that reaction, Genack said, that swayed the OU's decision-making — though he said Impossible Pork came close to carrying the agency's label, and still could one day.
"It could have gone either way, frankly," Genack said. He added, "This is something which we absolutely would be willing to review in the future."
What's My Line? - Trapp family choir; Tony Randall [panel] (Jul 3, 1960)
MYSTERY GUEST: Trapp family choir
PANEL: Dorothy Kilgallen, Tony Randall, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf
RABBI AVI WEISS
Three britot (covenants) are mentioned in the Torah:
the covenant of the pieces (Genesis 15:18), the
covenant at Sinai (Exodus 19; 24:7), and the
covenant of our portion, which was made just prior to
our entry into Israel (Deuteronomy 29). Upon reflection,
they each contribute to the making of the nation of
The covenant of the pieces between God and
Abraham established the family of Israel. It was nothing
less than the planting of the seeds from which the
Jewish People ultimately emerged. Abraham and Sarah
were designated as the father and mother. From them,
the children of Jacob were ultimately born. Soon after,
we coalesced into a peoplehood.
The covenant of Sinai introduces a new
element. As we became a people, it was crucial that we
be governed by law. That law, given at Sinai, is the
Torah. Its principles and precepts form a foundation
that unites Jews, creating a sense of mission that we
become "a kingdom of priests and a holy people"
The covenant of Nitzvaim introduces a third
critical component. It is not enough to be a people
governed by law. Another essential element is required
for nationhood – a land. This feature is addressed by
the brit of our portion. Standing as we were, just days
before entry into Israel, the brit was reaffirmed.
Not coincidentally, these three covenants --
people, Torah, and land -- comprise the basis of Jewish
nationhood. Nationhood is, in the words of Rabbi Kook,
a combination of the people of Israel with the Torah of
Israel in the land of Israel.
Throughout the centuries, various groups and
individuals have been bent on destroying the Jewish
nation by attacking one of these three pillars. Some –
like Amalek in biblical times or the Nazis in the modern
era – have focused their venom on the Jewish People.
Their goal was to annihilate us.
Others have directed their hatred against our
Torah. A prime example is the Christian persecution of
Jews in what historian Raul Hilberg calls "fifteen
hundred years of anti-Semitic activities." Their claim
was that they had no intention to murder Jews. Rather,
they aimed to kill those who rejected their primary
belief. Basically, they stated, we accept Jews, but only
if they embrace Jesus. In the end, however, it became
clear that their goal of destroying our fundamental
Torah beliefs was the equivalent of destroying the
Today, another type of Jew-hatred has
emerged in the form of anti-Zionism. Truth be told, in
the post-Holocaust era, it is still not considered polite to
directly target Jews or even their Torah. Hence, the
attack is focused instead against the Jewish land. In the
end, however, a Jewish land is so fundamental to
Judaism that any attempt to deny Jews their homeland
is nothing less than an attempted destruction of the
Jewish People. While there are anti-Zionists who are
not anti-Semites, there are many – too many – who are.
When challenged, we must raise a strong voice
of Jewish conscience and fight anti-Semitism in all its
forms – whether directed at our peoplehood, ideology,
Hebrew Institute of Riverdale & CJC-AMCHA. Rabbi Avi
Weiss is Founder and Dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the
Open Orthodox Rabbinical School,
What is the most famous bus in the world?
This little bus right here, which is currently in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan
In Birmingham, Alabama on December 1, 1955, the driver asked several rows of people to give up their seats so other people could sit down. One of the people who was already in a seat, Rosa Parks, wouldn't move so the bus driver called the police and had her arrested. Did I mention the people wanting to sit down were white? Anyway, there was quite a stir about the arrest and it resulted in a boycott of the bus company and national attention.