Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dealing Righteously With Strippers

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford: God Judges!

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford Loves Deuteronomy

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



The Reincarnation Of Rabbi Rabbs

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Rabbi Rabbs Banned From Pico Kosher Deli

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Ten Commandments Of Chabad Jews

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford's Unorthodox Love Life

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion XIII

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion XI

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion X

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion XII

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion IX

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion VIII

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion VII

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion VI

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion IV

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion V

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion III

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

guest16: Man, a girl shows up one time and now they just letch at her over and over again
guest43: The highest status person ever to appear before Luke’s cam was that Levinas woman,
guest43: Also a convert
guest43: Tall, BRILLIANT woman
guest43: And great looking, too
guest16: she is very smart, so was suissa, he’s had smart people before
guest43: Monica O
guest43: The total package
Bernadette: Every single week you bring her up!
guest43: Elegant, brilliant, tall, lovely, accomplished.
Bernadette: Honestly, why not ask the Levinas woman out?
guest43: I am transfixed by her
guest43: We live thousands of miles apart
Bernadette: Fischel/Tzaddik, love knows no bounds…distance shouldn’t make a difference.

 



Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion II

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fat Frumies Hung Up With Modesty

Luke Ford writes:

I was walking to shul on Pico Blvd this morning near two modestly dressed fat women in their thirties complaining about friends.

One said: "Even if a garment is loose and covers everything, it is not tznious (modest) if it is a certain color."

Other woman: "I agree."

First woman: "Some colors for painting your nails are not tznious."

Other woman: "I agree."

I wonder how much of the venom these chubbies directed towards their friends was coming from religious fervor and how much was from a desire that every other woman look as shlumpy as they do?

 



I Love People Who Love Their Parents

Luke Ford writes:

I’ve found that people who hate their parents are usually trouble. People who love their parents tend to be better-adjusted to life. They tend to play more nicely with others. They’re happier. They have bonds.

I know one pick-up artist who refuses to date women from a broken home. He says that divorce has taught them bad ways of relating to the opposite sex. I think this is extreme, but I find it comforting when people are bonded to their families.

It’s like Pico-Robertson. Some Jews hate this community. They say it is boring. Conformist. Blah, blah.

 



If Rav Schachter Says March, They March

Luke Ford writes:

I was fascinated by the Meir Kin case. Not the messy details of the divorce, but the side issue of three Modern Orthodox shuls in Pico-Robertson repeatedly sending their members to picket outside the home of Meir Kin’s parents.

I love Bnai David-Judea, Beth Jacob and Young Israel of Century City. I hold them close to my heart and I know they love me in return. I’ve sung praises to God in these holy places. I’ve studied sacred text. I’ve picked up girls.

So I was taken aback to see these shuls sending off their troops to picket outside a Jew’s home over a messy divorce case.

What if I met a girl at a Torah study, and we then retired to a coffee shop to study these lofty issues in greater depth, and then I walked her home, and then at the doorstep, I leaned in for a kiss to seal our studies and she said, "Get away from me you filthy old pervert"?

What then?

 



How Dennis Prager Sees Himself

Luke Ford writes:

I thought there was a particularly revealing moment on the second hour of Dennis Prager’s radio show. He often says this very thing.

From PragerTopia: "Dennis has a second conversation with Ian Plimer, Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences as The University of Adelaide. His new book is Heaven and Earth."

Plimer talked about how his critics attacked him instead of attacking his arguments.

Prager responded: "Well, welcome to those of us who are somewhat inured to this. By and large, the social and scientific and political left tend to use ad hominem arguments rather than arguments to the subject. I have witnesses this. If you put my name in Google with any curse word you can think of, you will come up with thousands of hits."

Dennis Prager has been making this claim since at least 1997 though he used to say "search engine" instead of "Google."

 



Yogi Bhajan's 80th Birthday Party

Luke Ford writes:

Tuesday. 9:30 pm. My yoga teacher reminds us of the next morning’s celebration of Yogi Bhajan’s 80th birthday. It begins at 2:40 with Japji.

I’m not the kind of guy who likes to miss Japji.

I am so excited by this prospect of an invigorating start to my day — and by the after-fumes of my brilliant Dennis Prager post late Tuesday night — that I can not sleep.

At 2 am, I hear sounds on the roof and grad my gun and wait for the man to come through my door.

It never happens.

I finally rise at 2:22 am and take a cold shower. Then I trim my bangs (it’s important not to go to sadhana with long bangs and I want to save the $16 of a new haircut).

 



Torah Study In Pico-Robertson

Luke Ford writes:

I’m talking about people who study it every day in the original.

And I am not talking about rabbis or anybody who gets paid to study Torah.

There are three at Bnai David-Judea (about 430 member families) — Shep Rosenman, Jordan Lurie, and….

There are about ten at YICC (about 300 member families, I’m not talking the daf yomi crowd, even I did daf yomi, that’s just listening, I’m talking about Torah study in Hebrew and Aramaic).

I don’t know if there are any at Aish HaTorah (about 300 member families). They’re almost all baalei teshuva (returnees to Judaism who rarely develop text skills).

Beth Jacob (about 950 member families) has about 30, maybe 50.

Anshe Emet (100 member families) is mainly baalei teshuva. I suspect maybe half a dozen study Torah daily.

 



Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom

Luke Ford writes:

I’m reading this new book by Bruce Bawer and I feel like a dilettante. Much of Europe is surrendering to Islam and what am I doing?

Bawer makes the point that the Ayatollah’s fatwa (death sentence) against novelist Salmon Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses should’ve served as a wake-up call to all those who value free speech that their cherished freedom were under assault from a growing threat called Islam. Instead most intellectuals have urged us to be sensitive to Muslim sensibilities rather than urging Muslims to be sensitive to our freedoms when they want to live amongst us.

The greatest moral struggle of our time is against Islam and what am I doing? Ong namo guru dev namo? Wahe guru indeed.

Instead of westerners getting mandatory education in Islam, perhaps Muslims need mandatory lessons in freedom of expression?

 



Rabbinical Council of California RCC

Luke Ford writes:

It’s the killer combination of Rabbi Gershon Bessthe savviest politician among the traditional Orthodox rabbinate in Los Angeles — and Rabbi Avrohom Union, who administers the RCC.

In my mind, being skilled at politics and being skilled at street fighting are not bad things. They are dangerous weapons to use for good and for evil. The RCC does good and ill. I’m not sure if it does more of one than the other.

Discuss these lofty issues on my live cam where all the gedolim rejoice.

As an ex put it to me: "You are unbelievably crude, so rude to so many people, you don’t care about how you look, and worst of all, you’re religious."

 



Is Kundalini Yoga Sex Yoga?

Luke Ford writes:

It is very trying for the Moral Leader to keep dealing with dirty minds.

"Kundalini" has nothing to do with sex. It is about balancing the body, mind and spirit. It is about attaching yourself to God. It’s about stretching and groovy tunes and hot babes. It’s not about sex. It has nothing to do with sex. I sit in the back at yoga and I never think about sex, not even when most of the women are wearing spandex and doing provocative poses and heavy breathing.

Since I’ve been practicing celibate pose, I’ve been celibate. This stuff really works, baruch HaShem.

PS. I asked my yoga teacher about this. He said it’s because of two reasons. One, the word "kundalini" sounds sexual even though it refers to the spine. Two, Kundalini Yoga teaches white tantra. That involves no sex but when most people hear the word "tantra" they immediately think of sex.

 



Orthodox Rabbis On Health Reform

Luke Ford writes:

Believe it or not, the Torah does not have much to say about the public option.

Why is it that the rabbis who push for "speaking out" usually have the least to say?

Here’s Orthodox rabbi Barry Gelman: "At the very least Orthodox groups should be making statements in favor of Universal Health care."

America already has universal health care. Anyone can walk into an emergency room and get treatment regardless of one’s ability to pay. America does not have universal health insurance but it does have universal health care. Perhaps other Orthodox rabbis stay silent because they have nothing to add to this complicated debate. Perhaps Rabbi Gelman should’ve stayed silent until he had something to add.

What’s the old saying? Better to stay silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt?

 



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo X

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo IX

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo VIII

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo VII

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo VI

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo III

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo IV

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo II

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo

Luke Ford writes:

Rabbs and I want to do a Rosh Hashanah fashions show in the next week or two on Torah Talk and we need prospective models to show off the latest in frum fashions.

I will need to meet privately before the show with each prospective model to make sure she’s glatt kosher.

Models do not need to be Jewish but they do need to be hot.

While there will be no material payment for appearing on my show, please know, ladies, that the spiritual rewards will be immense, and your portion in the world to come in recompense for your kindness to His servant will be awesome.

Please email Your Moral Leader about your fashion choices for this year’s Yamim Noraim. I have a feeling that hot pink will be big this Yom Kippur.

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



Luke Ford, Rabbs On Torah Portion Ki Tavo V

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deut. 26-29).



4 Travel insurance basics you must know

Diana Perkins writes:

Travel insurance can help you cover your medical costs or any other financial loss that you may incur while traveling. It is often said to be as the best protection when one is traveling domestically or overseas. The need for travel insurance is primarily an economic one. Travel insurance basics aims to inform you on all kinds of travel insurance coverage available so that you are well equipped with information while on a trip. It is offered for cruises, tours, flights and vacation home rentals. There are four main categories of travel insurance. Read on to know about them.

Medical: Being sick when you are supposed to be on a vacation can be the worst thing that can happen with you. Medical travel insurance pays for all the doctor visits and illnesses that occur during your vacation. You may require a treatment for malaria or food poisoning. The medical travel insurance policies also cover local ambulance charges and medial emergencies that require any kind of surgeries.

Trip cancellation: If your tour operator suddenly runs out of business and cancels a trip, then you may need to call off the vacation. Trip cancellation carries a coverage wherein the policy reimburses you for the unused portion of the vacation. This is an added advantage as you do not lose those extra dollars without even going to the trip.

Accidental death and flight accident: The accidental death and flight accident coverage is another useful travel insurance basic that you must know. These types of travel insurance provide monetary benefits to a traveler’s surviving beneficiaries in the event of his death. The death may be due to an accidental death or a flight accident.

Travel delay/trip interruption: Most comprehensive travel insurance policies cover weather related travel delays. If your flight gets delayed due to weather problems, then such travel insurance policies will bear the whole day’s costs from $150 a day up to $750 total, for items such as meals, lodgings, and also essential telephone calls.

Thus while you are purchasing a travel insurance, don’t forget to check the fine print. It is the backbone of your policy and will determine what type of coverage you will have and when you need it most. Choose the right insurance to cover your trip and make your dream vacation a memorable one.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's Just Human Nature!

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 3, Dennis Prager says: It is natural to worship animals. One of the greatest teachings of Judaism is that that which is natural is not necessarily good. Natural and desirable are very different.

It is natural to be polygamous (particularly for men). It is not natural to be monogamous but it is good to be so. Natural and good are not the same.

We all use it all the time, when someone does something obnoxious, what’s the common statement? It’s human nature! It’s human nature to open someone else’s mail and to gossip and to take unjust revenge and to drive up the diamond lane alone. It’s human nature to do all miserable things. It’s not human nature to wait in line for your turn.

It is natural to worship animals. The overthrowing of the Jewish and Christian traditions is being done by natural man, people who want to act in accordance with nature, in opposition to the anti-nature ideas of Judaism and Christianity.

The Biblical attitude to animals is clear — they are to be used, not to be abused.



Why Did God Harden Pharoah's Heart?

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 4, Dennis says: And G-d did X is a common Biblical way of saying X happened. For example, And G-d closed her womb is a Biblical way of saying she could no longer have children.

In the Biblical mind, G-d is always involved.

Second response to this problem — Pharoah deserved to be punished.

Three. Only by strengthening Pharoah’s heart does G-d enable Pharoah to have freedom of choice.



Ever Met A Jewish Waiter?

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 5, Dennis Prager says: The word for servant and the word for slave is the same, which is probably why to this day that Jews don’t like to be servants because they think it is slavery. Did you ever meet a Jewish waiter? Jews don’t wait.

That and the Chosen People notion are the reasons why Jews don’t want to serve anybody.



Hard To Love God & Man

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 5, Dennis Prager says: It is difficult if not impossible to love G-d and to love humanity at the same time.

If you really love people, then you so cry for their pain that it’s difficult to love G-d. And if you are really intoxicated with love of G-d, it can come at the price of feeling the pain of human beings. If you really feel their pain, it will have to raise questions about G-d.

There have been people who loved G-d and could torture people because they were able to separate the two. It’s when you really feel for people that the questions about G-d arise.

If you only love man, you will end up with moral chaos because where does good and evil come from if you don’t love G-d?

If you only love G-d, you will end up with moral chaos because you will not care about the suffering of humanity.



Moses Wrong To Kill Egyptian?

Luke Ford writes:

Exodus 2: 11-13 (NIV): “One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.”

In his lecture on Exodus 2 circa 1995, Dennis Prager says: This has always been the great dilemma about Moses — why did he kill the Egyptian?

I saw this in no commentator.

Did Moses intend to kill the Egyptian? It’s not fully answerable because the Hebrew is he beat him.

The verb for what the Egyptian did to the Jew is the same as what Moses did to the Egyptian.

This totally exonerates Moses. Is it right for you to kill a would-be murderer?

It’s not possible for Moses to beat the Egyptian and to then go back to the palace. He must either do nothing or to kill the Egyptian.



Biblical Importance Of Names

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 5, Dennis Prager says: Names in Bible are very important. Adam names the animals. When you name something, you are giving it essence. That’s why the Nazis took the Jews names away and gave them numbers like cattle.

My wife got very sad when one of our fish died, which was particularly funny as she had just had a tuna sandwich for lunch. I pointed out to her, ‘Fran, how sad can you get? You just had a tuna melt.’

She started laughing and crying at the same time.

I realized why she had gotten sad over the death of one of our fish. We had unwisely named our fish. If you eat a sandwich and it was really a Jerry sandwich, you were having Jerry for lunch, you’d recoil. A tuna sandwich is not a problem.

I vowed after I saw my wife’s reaction, we are no longer naming our fish. It’s a puffer, it’s a yellow tang, and that’s it. Just tonight, a yellow tang died. Nothing. Dennis, could you take that out? It’s ugly. There was no emotional connection because it was a yellow tang. Name is essence.



The NCSY Haredim Connection

Luke Ford writes:

David Kelsey emails: “You idiot! You moron. You katan. You cow. You idiot!”

This is how Rabbi Orlofsky, a former NCSY leader and “kiruv professional” talks to his students at Ohr Somayach about Rabbi Weinreb, a scholar and a gentleman, and emeritus spiritual leader of the Orthodox Union. Many even outside strict Orthodox circles admire Rabbi Weinreb because he is a thoughtful, complex, and compassionate thinker.

What was Rabbi Weinreb’s provocation? Defending Rabbi Slifkin’s right to publish a book that embraced evolutionary theory and an earth older than 6,000 years.

And yet…NCSY, an Orthodox Union subsidiary, continues to quietly send public school teenagers to Ohr Somayah and Neve Yerushalayim, and are afforded greater and greater access to non-Orthodox Jews from the public school system through their “cultural” program, the Jewish Student Union. Yeshiva University continues to maintain a relationship with Ohr Somayach’s Derech Institute.



James Bond Having Fun By Doing Good

Luke Ford writes:

Dennis Prager says that one element of James Bond’s success is that you always know that good will triumph over the evil.

“Second. Good guys are not usually having fun and he does. The good guy is rewarded in this world — look at those women, outfits, cars.”

Sinclair: You wonder how sustainable a life that is? You’d worry if a friend of yours lived a life like that.

Dennis: “Why not fantasize that?”

Sinclair: “The nature of the fantasy has changed over the years to the more austere Daniel Craig version we see today. He’s almost monogamous.”



What Is Sharia? Islamic Law

Luke Ford writes:

On his radio show today, Dennis Prager says: Sharia is Islamic religious law. Jews have an analogue — halakha. Christianity does not have an all-embracing law that governs everything you do.

There was a time in Jewish history when Jews sought a halakhic state. Now the vast majority of religious Jews have made peace with the fact that halakha is a personal matter and only in a few issues in Israel would it matter for state policy. For example, do you serve kosher food on El Al airlines? The IDF in Israel does serve kosher food.

A major difference is that Judaism, at its most, has only believed in a halakhic state for Jews. There was never a notion that the non-Jew anywhere else in the world is obliged to halakha (and only in Israel in a few areas in a utopian scheme of things). The concept is unknown.



What Unites Secular Jews?

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 6, Dennis Prager says: I have more in common with a Falashan Jew in Ethiopia with whom I can’t correspond than I do with a secular Jew in LA. Torah is what makes us Jewish.

What does a secular Jew in LA have with a secular Jew in France? Nothing. People say, Jewish food. That’s not correct. Middle Eastern Jews eat an entirely different diet. Yiddish? Yiddish is European. The other half of Jewry spoke Ladino.

There’s nothing secular Jews have in common with other secular Jews in different cultures.

There was a humanistic synagogue. In my more firebrand years, I am mellow compared to what I was 20 years ago, I would walk into gladiatorial combat with anyone. I remember going to Detroit to debate the founder of Humanistic Judaism, a rabbi in Birmingham [Sherwin T. Wine], Michigan. I’ve come close to knowing what it is like to go in the ring with trainers behind you massaging you and getting you ready with towels and a bucket of water.

This evening had thousands of Jews coming to scream on the one they were rooting for — the humanist or the religious one. I had my backers. He had his backers. It was like a prize fight. It bothered me in some way. I don’t think anyone came to be enlightened but just to see major gladiatorial combat.



Is Parsimony Sexy?

Luke Ford writes:

I’ve always been careful with my money. I’ve never had a lot of it.

So, is frugal sexy?

For the overwhelming majority of women, frugality in a man is not attractive.

For most men, frugality in a woman is a good trait for a potential spouse.

Ron Lieber writes:

“My suspicion is that the value of frugality depends on whose money will presumably be spent,” said Reuben Strayer, 34, a physician in Manhattan who does not broadcast his profession or true income in online personals. He always pays for the first date and does not object to providing for a wife one day, he adds; he just doesn’t want to attract the kind of woman who is specifically looking for someone who will do so.



Obama Seems Like A Muslim?

Luke Ford writes:

Here’s the news story.

My thought — there’s little that is distinctively Christian about Obama.

On his radio show today, Dennis Prager says: Here are some possible reasons.

* The only church we have him associated with celebrated race more than religion. It was not a black church in the way we understand black churches. It was a fringe-type church where blackness was celebrated at least as much as Christianity and Jesus is changed into a black man. There’s no reason to believe Jesus was black.

* People get vibes. Sometimes our vibes are wrong, so you can’t go only by vibes. I accept the president is a Christian.

* “He has an affinity and an inner positive gut reaction that is not shared by most Americans…with Islam. He has said it himself. He said in Cairo that he recalls warmly the muezzin (Muslim call to prayer).”



I Dream Of A Great Marriage

Luke Ford writes:

As a single man, I dream of having a great marriage.

If I were married to someone of my level, my dream would be gone. I’d be stuck with reality, with the hard work of making a relationship work. I might very well be stuck in a bad marriage spiraling downhill.

By staying single, one has hope. When you get married, I suspect you lose a lot of hope.

I’ve been in relationships where I felt stuck and disappointed. There was no longer any sexual attraction. The whole thing seemed pointless.

I guess I live in fantasyland much of the time.



Faith Leaders Support Ground Zero Mosque

Luke Ford writes:

Yeah, but they are all left-wing religious leaders.

When it is only right-wing religious leaders who support something, they are always labeled as right-wing, but when it is left-wingers joining together to support something, they’re just “religious leaders.”

Here’s the LA Times headline: “L.A. faith leaders support Muslim center in New York”

Yeah, I’m sure the majority of L.A. faith leaders support this. Or perhaps only the left-wing ones?

Check out this paragraph from the JJ:



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

UK Travel Insurance

Hearty traveler Karen Triggiani sends me this:

UK travel insurance provider Flexicover Direct offers Travel Insurance and Holiday Insurance at affordable prices. We provide a comprehensive range of cheap travel insurance policies including Single Trip, Annual-Multi Trip, Gap Year, Long Stay and Winter Sports cover. Do you have a pre-existing medical condition or are you aged over 65? We can offer travel Insurance and holiday Insurance at affordable prices for both pre-existing medical conditions and over 65 insurance cover, when you purchase a Single Trip, Annual-Multi Trip, Gap Year (to age 45 only) or Long Stay Travel Insurance. Cover includes emergency medical expenses and dental treatment, cancellation, baggage, personal liability, personal accident, and 24/7 access to medical assistance.

What If You Get Sick While Traveling?

We never know when we need a doctor's help.

Karen Triggiani gave me this:

If you travel overseas and become sick because of those parasites, get bitten by cobra, or trampled by an elephant, your health insurance probably won't cover those costs. That's why you need travel insurance. There are several excellent companies like TravelEx and On Call International.

Here's the rundown of the invaluable coverage you can get for just a couple of hundred dollars. On Call International (www.OnCallInternational.com), for example, helps travelers and their families, including missionaries, students, faculty and others, more than 50 miles away from home in emergency situations. Their Global Response Center is available anytime, day or night, from anywhere in the world. Depending on your plan, they help with emergency medical services and evacuation, lost or stolen document, translation services, and lost luggage. Additionally, On Call International has a 24/7 nurse helpline staffed by U.S.-licensed nurses to provide medical advice.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/08/16/2152466/travel-tips-pack-smartly-pack.html#ixzz0wu3SUYGX

She Should've Bought Travel Insurance

Karen Triggiani sent me this horror story:

The mother of a man who went on holiday to Magaluf without taking out travel insurance has had to secure a loan in order to bring him home after he suffered a swimming pool accident that left him paralysed from the chest down.

Heather Wilson's son Brian, 34, hit his head after diving into water at the region's Playa Hotel. Although family and friends have been involved in fundraising to come up with the required £14,000 to fly him back to the UK, she must borrow cash as the aircraft operator demands payment in advance.

Travel Insurance Horror Story

Karen Triggiani notified me of this:

Contracts don't have to be written in another language to be meaningless, of course. A few weeks ago, I heard from reader Ilana Goldman, whose travel insurance claim had been denied. Under the terms of her agreement, she had to take her case to arbitration. But the arbitration requirement seems like nothing more than a stalling tactic by the insurance company. The arbitrator refused to accept her case because "the business in this matter has not complied with our requests in the past." I suggested that Goldman sue the insurance company. The matter has yet to be resolved.

And what of Woods? Deutsche Bahn denied her request to drop the matter. In an e-mail, a representative explained, to absolutely no one's surprise, that rules are rules.

"As we did not receive a notice of cancellation in time, the BahnCard for the subsequent period of validity was issued," he wrote. "In the meantime the account was turned over to a collection agency since we received neither a response to our reminders nor the payment due."

Next time, Woods may want to just buy a train ticket.

How To Buy Travel Insurance

Hat tip to Karen Triggiani for this story:

“Why doesn’t my quote include any policies that cover pre-existing conditions?” is one of the most commonly asked questions to Squaremouth.com, America’s fastest growing comparison website for travel insurance. Often, it is because the traveler waited too long to get a policy.

Many travel insurance plans will cover pre-existing conditions only if the policy is purchased within a specific time, determined by the initial trip payment or the final trip payment.

“Even when a trip is booked well in advance with only a minimal deposit, that date still determines how long some benefits are available for purchase.” warned Squaremouth’s Chief Executive Chris Harvey. “This is an industry norm, even with coverage as important as pre-existing conditions.”

What Is He Thinking?

Luke Ford writes:

This piece on AOL nails it

: "If a woman ever wonders what her boyfriend or husband thinks when he looks at her, she can’t go wrong if she imagines this: He sees her as an endless abyss of need. In general, men think that women are emotionally insatiable. The endless abyss of need scares men to death, because they fear that they’ll never get the things they want.



Flirting With Orthodox Judaism

Luke Ford writes:


I have a several close female friends who’ve flirted with Orthodox Judaism but not finished conversions to it. They look obviously goyish. They feel like conspicuous outsiders to the Jewish community, and they fear that they will always be viewed with suspicion, distrust, and dislike. So they wonder if this is really the world for them? It has become very clear to these friends what born-Orthodox Jews think of them and it is not good.


I understand their feelings, but I believe they will will diminish once my friends prove themselves by completing an Orthodox conversion to Judaism and then shouldering their share of the load in the community.


To convert to Orthodox Judaism is easier and quicker — in most instances — than completing an AA degree at a community college, but it still tends to weed out those who are not up to the task.



Your Kids Accomplishments

Luke Ford writes:

Bumperstickers are trashy. Bumperstickers advertising that your kids are on an honor roll are obnoxious. Bumperstickers advertising that your kids have good attendance at their Martin Luther King Elementary School are pathetic.

Bragging about your kids is annoying.

"My child was inmate of the month at the state correctional facility."

"My kid sold your honor student all the answers to the tests."

Those stickers I love.

Dennis Prager tackled this issue on his radio show this week. Prager said he loved military bumper stickers — my son is in the US Navy. That’s a patriotic statement. We can live without honor rolls. We can’t live without the military.



Fake Calls For Dialogue

Luke Ford writes:

Lawrence Grossman writes in the Forward: "Is it too much to hope that it also might encourage steps toward renewing respectful dialogue between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews?"

When I was interviewing people in 2004 for my book on American Jewish journalism, I sent Lawrence Grossman an interview request. He could not be bothered to respond, let alone "dialogue."

If all I knew about a person was that he had made a public call for dialogue, I would suspect he’d be less likely than the average bloke to grant me an interview. Why?



Are Lustful Thoughts Sinful?

Luke Ford writes:


I got some very bad news this afternoon.


I was lying on my bed of nails listening to Torah talks by Rabbi Ari Kahn.


In his second lecture on Rosh Hashanah, he says that lustful thoughts are a sin. Most other thoughts about doing a sin are not a sin, only the deed, but when it comes to dreaming of immoral deeds of an explicitly sexual nature, the thought itself is a sin.


Oy vey! I am sunk in iniquity. All I do all day long is think lustful thoughts.


Rabbi Kahn cited a verse from Job, "I have made a covenant with my eyes, how can I look upon a maid?"


Sheesh, I might as well be a Christian. Jesus said that if you look with lust upon a woman (even your own wife according to the last pope), you have committed adultery with your heart. Dennis Prager often says that Judaism holds that you can commit adultery with only one organ of your body and it’s not your heart.



My Stomach Hurts!

Luke Ford writes:

"Do you have any thoughts on stomach aches?" I ask my Alexander Technique teacher today.

"When do you get them?" he asks.

"When I start worrying. I find myself clenching."

"Well, what would you say to a friend with this problem?"

"I don’t know."



Pay Attention To Me!

Luke Ford writes:

Friday afternoon, I had two beautiful women paying attention to me.

One, however, was about to call Kavel.

"How can you call Kavel when I’m talking about my feelings?" I wailed to Kris.

She smiled and gave herself to me completely.

She wore a filmy cream top and she had long black hair and she was tall and slim, just how I like ‘em.

She had a sweet smile.

"I’m just starting to open up here," I complained.



Shake My Lulav

Luke Ford writes:

When I came to Los Angeles in 1994, I was hosted several times for Shabbat and holiday meals by a nice Orthodox family in Pico-Robertson.

Then, due to the raunchy nature of my blogging, the invites ceased.

In the summer of 2001, the Jewish Journal had Sheldon Teitelbaum write a cover story on me. He read it to this woman who freaked out and called me and asked, "Do you want to commit suicide?"

She suggested that I offer the Journal $10,000 not to publish the piece.

Well, I did not try to stop the piece (it was never published, in 2007, Brad Greenberg wrote this profile of me for the Jewish Journal), but I was shaken up by her call, and two days later I decided to sell my website lukeford.com and resolved to lead an honorable life.

A couple of months later, the family had me over for Succoth (and this woman set me up for another holiday meal with another family).



Luke Ford's Interpretative Dance

Luke Ford writes:

I started with a new therapist this week.

"I want to do an interpretative dance about my childhood," I said.

"OK," she said.

I stood up tall and then threw my hands above my head to stop the beating.

I got hit a lot as a kid. I was frail and other kids would pick on me. They didn’t appreciate some of the things I said.

"Now I want to do an interpretative dance about my adulthood," I said.

"OK," she said.

I threw my hands above my head to stop the beating.

"I’m driven to antagonize people," I explained. "I make them want to hurt me."



Jewschool Editorial Board

Luke Ford writes:

Jewschool.com apparently does not have bloggers. It has an "editorial board."

Holy hell!

Who came up with that term? Could it be the founder of Jewschool.com, the Orthodox Anarchist Dan Sieradski?

Jewschool consistently gets about half the traffic of this blog despite its vaunted "editorial board."

Check out the way it describes itself:



Crying To The Rabbi

Luke Ford writes:

A lot of Jews in Pico-Robertson and around the world go crying to the rabbi that I’ve written something that has upset them.

Mate, just because you can work yourself into tears while complaining about me is no evidence that moral right is on your side.

Most of these folks have never raised their objections to me. They’re too scared to confront the source of their anguish, so they just go around complaining to those who will listen and sympathize and reinforce their anger.

I remember one rabbi who was always complaining about me. I attended a lecture of his on the importance of confronting those who you feel have done you wrong.

So after the lecture, I sent him an email suggesting we do just what he’d spoken about.

He replied that he had no problem with me and gave me one of those generic rabbinic blessings.

Coward.



My Flexible Ethics

Luke Ford writes:

When I’m rude to you, I’m trying to connect. I’m not trying to blow you off. I’m trying to trigger an interesting discussion, something beyond what is polite. I want to get to the nitty gritty. I want a connection that counts. I want to pour my soul into yours.

It’s almost Rosh Hashanah and I am just so particularly grateful to my Orthodox friends in Pico-Robertson. Most of the people I most admire are Orthodox. It’s a big reason why I affiliate Orthodox. I want to surround myself with people I admire and I become more like them.

The rest of the time I want to hang with writers. That craft is as important to me as Orthodox Judaism.



Luke Ford's Gratitude To Friends

Luke Ford writes:

I have about the most flexible ethics around.

It must be all the yoga.

It’s way too easy for me to justify doing anything that feels good.

Hence, I consistently act like a pig in my own community of Pico-Robertson. I chase women (now that I’m 43, they get away from me pretty easily, oh, to be young and fit). I take way too much pleasure in baiting people. I love to incite arguments. I love to challenge authority. I love to drive my rabbis crazy. I love to do more damage to myself than to anyone else (with the exception of those I’ve written inaccurate and damaging things about, that’s just a horrible example of my character flaws for which I will have to account to the community today and the Almighty tomorrow).

What’s saved me is my friends. They’ve let me know when my zipper was down. They’ve let me know when to let my guard down. They’ve let me know when I’ve needed to lift my game. They’ve sponsored my conversion to Orthodox Judaism. They’ve sheltered me with Sabbath and holiday meals and integrated me with their families. They’ve made me feel human.



Even Shiksas Want Commitment

Luke Ford writes:

Hot Shiksa calls.

I squeal: "You poked me on Facebook! This is a whole new direction for our relationship. We’re finally making our feelings concrete. It’s not just words. Now it’s down to poking. We’re making things holy."

Hot Shiksa: "I logged in to Facebook in a different way and saw that you had poked me. So I poked back.

"They don’t have pokes on the iPhone.

"Hey, if you’re going to write about me on your site, please do me the respect of capitalizing my name — Hot Shiksa.

"If I let you poke me for real, you’d be overcome by guilt. That’s why I don’t want to have sex with you. What happened to chivalry? All these guys in my life want to have sex with me. It’s so boring."



Monday, August 16, 2010

Apologies For Rosh Hashanah

Luke Ford writes:

I can’t remember the last time I made a meaningful apology to someone.

I must be a great tzaddik who never does anyone harm.

I hate empty ritual. I hate it when someone says, "If I have done anything bad to you over the past year, please forgive me."

I loathe that! It’s so empty. If you have done something bad to me, then name it and make amends. Otherwise, spare me these empty offerings.

The last time I tried to mend something, I asked a rabbi to talk to him. He had given this talk on the importance of seeking out those we have a problem with and try to talk the matter out. This rabbi was always complaining about me. Another rabbi pushed me to apologize to him for a critical thing I had written. So I sought the bloke out and he flat out lied. He said he had no problem with me.

And that was that.



When To Leave Relationship?

Luke Ford writes:

David Deida says in a chapter for men: "If it is time for your intimate partnership to come to an end because you have outgrown it, then you will most likely feel a mixture of pain, grief, sadness and love, as if your lover had died. If, however, your intimacy ends with much conflict, hardness, emotional closure and and lack of communication, then you have probably not outgrown your relationship, you’re just bailing." (Pg. 143 of Intimate Communion)

From page 169: "Whereas the Masculine is either going deeper or pulling away, the Feminine is either opening or closing."



Pathetic For Thinking He Could Date Younger

Luke Ford writes:

A 40 plus woman, Jane*, was complaining to me the other day about a Hollywood executive.

They’d had dinner. It had been set-up by a family friend. Jane said the topic was this lofty social activism issue. She thought the man, about 70 years old, wanted to pick her brain.

Midway through the meal, the man remarks that he’s on a blind date.

"This guy was 30 years older than me," she says. "Yuck! He was not attractive. I couldn’t wait to get away. Pathetic. Who are these guys who think they can go out with the young stuff? I had no idea it was a date. I thought we were discussing…."



Finesse Football Teams

Luke Ford writes:

The Dallas Cowboys, no matter the coach, have been a finesse football team for about 50 years now. By contrast, the Pittsburgh Steeler have always been a brutal force team.

Why has this never changed? The teams have been successful. They’ve been losers. But they never change this identity.

It makes sense that stadium and weather will be the primary determinants for a football team’s identity. Pittsburgh has lousy weather and an outdoor stadium, so power football makes sense.



Fusion: In Danger Of Separation

Luke Ford writes:

That’s a great line from one of John Updike’s final stories.

I know what it is like to feel close to someone, to not want to live without them, and simultaneously feeling an urge to destroy it all so one can be free. Independent. Non-needy.

David Deida says in his book: "There is only one way for a man to give a woman what she truly wants, and that is through his strength of loving when he is not compromised by fear. A man who lives in fear — of losing his woman, of failing in his career — is weakened in his expression of love. His core is compromised. He is unable to ravish his woman because he is unable to let go of the clench in his gut." (Pg. 261)



Want To Be Taken Seriously?

Luke Ford writes:

I find the "If you want to be taken seriously, then you must do X, Y, Z" rhetoric obnoxious.

I don’t know how many people have asked me, "Do you want to be taken seriously? Do you want your blog to be taken seriously?"

I loathe it because I don’t have a snappy comeback to it. I don’t worry about being taken seriously. Even before i started blogging in July 1997, I had full confidence that if I did good work, it would be taken seriously.

There’s no need to worry about being taken seriously. Do good work and the serious attention will follow.

J-Street does not need to worry about being taken seriously. As soon as people start writing Op/Eds questioning if you want to be taken seriously, you’re taken seriously.

When people proclaim publicly that you don’t matter, you matter. When people take the time to tell me they don’t read me, I know I’m making an impact. Why put effort into fighting something insignificant?



Goyim On Rosh Hashanah

Luke Ford writes:

Returning home from Rosh Hashanah services  around 2 pm Saturday, I spied a friend walking off in the distance.

My normal greeting to my friends these days is "Marriage Equality!"

This day I just yelled her name.

She didn’t answer.

She was walking in distinctly non-Rosh Hashanah attire — shorts and a t-shirt.

I knew her from Orthodox life. I’ve never seen so much of her flesh.

I ran to catch up.

She was with her shaygetz boyfriend and she was walking her shaygetz dog. They were all having about as much fun as three Gentiles can on Rosh Hashanah. They felt blithely unburdened by any obligation to crown God King and for all I knew, they were all going home to commit the great sin of premarital sex.



Do I Own My Own Torahs?

Luke Ford writes:

As I spend my days engaging with the sacred texts, I often jot down my insights.

This is just part of my communication with God and His Torah. It pains me to think that these private musings might be made public one day, perhaps after my death.

Do my Torah thoughts belong to me or do they belong all of Israel?

Dr. Marc B. Shapiro blogs (his first post in seven months!): "Even if it is true that the Chazon Ish never intended to publish his notes, is that any reason for them not to be printed? Didn’t the Netziv tell the Wuerzburger Rav’s son not to pay attention to his father’s wish that his writings not be published, since the Torah thoughts that he developed were not to be regarded as his personal possession to the extent that he could prevent others from studying what he wrote?[4] Furthermore, is there any evidence that the Chazon Ish was opposed to his criticism of R. Hayyim appearing in print?"



Was Mohammed A Hater?

Luke Ford writes:

Dennis Prager says: “Were all the great moral thinkers of history haters? There isn’t a single great moral thinker in history of which I am aware who advocated same-sex marriage. There is no parallel to this. Every great moral idea has been advocated from the beginning of moral thought. The idea that slavery was wrong did not begin with the abolitionists.”

“Human nature aches for irresponsibility. Human happiness aches for responsibility. The more you are responsible for your life, the happier you will be.”

When President Obama announced that kids can stay on their parent’s health insurance until they were 26, college students were ecstatic. They could prolong the age at which they were dependent on their parents another five years.

If there was a student there who did not applaud, he was a happier student that those who did applaud.



Randy Rabbi Marc Schneier

Luke Ford writes:

As I pointed out in my previous post, Rabbi Marc Schneier was not engaged in illicit behavior when he was photographed in Israel kissing a comely speech pathologist not his wife.

Rather, the good rabbi was engaging in routine and wholly appropriate speech training and did not enjoy it one bit. The rabbi was learning to enunciate more clearly so he could better teach the Torah.

If, and I do not believe for a second that this is true, the rabbi was doing something wrong, it is only because he is sick and needs help. Instead of castigating him, we should be encouraging his personal growth. Science shows us that promiscuity is not a moral failing as much as a genetic predisposition. I don’t know why G-d would program some men to want to bang as many hot chicks as they can and then condemn them for adultery. This makes no sense. It is a real dilemma for a very religious man such as myself to understand why a compassionate and loving G-d would make such a world.

Frankly, I don’t see the appeal in multiple sex partners. I would much rather spend my energies studying Talmud and listening to the Miami Boys Yeshiva choir.



You Hurt My Feelings!

Luke Ford writes:

From Dennis Prager’s radio show today. Author Alison Armstrong was the guest. "Prager H2: What happens when spouses hurt one another? What is the source of the anger? What hurts a woman’s feelings? What hurts men?"

Alison: "Typically, when a woman is hurt, her feelings are hurt. She’ll say, ‘You hurt my feelings.’ To a man, that’s ‘And? Where are those? Can I see them?’

"Men don’t know that women’s feelings are an extra vital organ right in the center of our chest. It is our connection to spirit. When our feelings get hurt, it’s as if this vibrant pulsing organ becomes petrified. It squishes up. It physically hurts when it squishes up…and the life force is squished out of us…a death force travels through our system. We stop breathing. We gasp for air. It shuts down our arms and legs. We curl up into the fetal position. We do what I call planking, where you’re buried under dirt.

"And then this blackness, it rises up into our heads and it shuts off our vocal cords and we can’t look at the person that hurts us anymore because it feels like it is stabbing into our eyes. When it gets up into our heads, anything good disappears. Any happy thought or possibility of partnership or communication gets shut down. It’s like a computer crashing except it gets worse.



Cold Showers As Sin Atonement

Luke Ford writes:

I get up every weekday at 5:56 a.m. when my alarm sounds and I stumble into the shower and turn on a stream of cold water for 60 seconds (70 seconds when I am feeling particularly hardy).

As I stood there this morning at the gloriously late hour of 6:20 a.m., I reflected that this cold shower was penance for my sins. I felt the water cascade and punish the very part of me so prone to wickedness and I felt yes, yes, this hurts so good, oy, this is shockingly painful, yes, this water is washing away my iniquities and I will emerge from this ordeal and re-enter the camp of Israel as a new man, a clean man, a clean pure man dedicated to G-d’s service and hooray, the long dark nightmare of my past is fully behind me now.



I Feel Appalled!

Luke Ford writes:

I was relaying to friends how appalled I was by this Jewish girl taking communion, and this Alexander Technique teacher noted that every time I said I was appalled, I shrunk down.

He insisted I keep my length. Then I tried to explain how appalled I was but there was a problem — I no longer felt appalled.



Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica XIV

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.



Eat, Pray, Love With Monica XIII

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.



Eat, Pray, Love With Monica XII

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.



Eat, Pray, Love With Monica XI

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.



Eat, Pray, Love With Monica IX

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.



Eat, Pray, Love With Monica X

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.