Thursday, August 30, 2007

Modern Orthodoxy and Bnei Akiva today

For a good while on this blog, most of my posts have been either political, religious or sports oriented. Now I want to discuss my background and why I am as passionate about the Modern Orthodox/Bnei Akiva viewpoint as I am.

I grew up in Seattle, Washington and attended a community day school that was Orthodox, but a good number of the kids in the school weren't Orthodox (meaning didn't observe the Sabbath or kept kosher in the home). Not unusual for a non-East coast day school.

One of the best teachers I ever had was someone who shares family with me. His sister is my aunt on my mother's side. In any event, he was a YU graduate and Musmach (received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshiva University). He and his wife were in Seattle for approximately ten years. Unfortunately, the school made a bad decision after its principal left to go to Silver Spring, Maryland by bringing in someone who only lasted two years and left under somewhat cloudy circumstances.

From the time I was 14 until I was 17 I participated in the summer in Bnei Akiva's camp called Camp Moshava in Wild Rose, Wisconsin and also in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The campers learned a lot about the land of Israel and the Torah Va'Avodah philosophy. After High School, I went to Yeshivat Mevaseret Tzion, a Religious Zionist yeshiva and the following year I went to Kerem B'Yavneh, also Religious Zionist, but closer philosophically to the Black Hat Yeshivot such as Mercaz HaTorah and Bais Yisroel. This is how I grew up. I didn't go to a school like Skokie Yeshiva or WITS.

In any event, when I date again, I want Camp Moshava or Morasha on the resume, or at least an openness to that philosophy/Hashkafa. I am sick and tired of these girls like Sharon, who grow up irreligious, get religious in Israel, College, Aish Hatorah, etc. and then become good little bais yaakov girls. The problem today is that Sharon and her ilk comprise the majority of the available Orthodox women available to date. All of the girls who attended Bnei Akiva are married by now and have their own families. Very few of these girls who are still single (or unfortunately divorced) are in the Chicago area, I assume that these gals are in NYC (probably the Upper West Side) or Israel.

What are we "Modern Orthodox" singles supposed to do? All move to New York or Israel? Is there a guarantee that if we do, we'll get married?

I am also disheartened by a segment of Orthodoxy that is very progressive, particularly socially. In a few years they will become in essence Conservadox.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

bad statistical signs for Mariners

1) Adrian Beltre is tied for 8th in the AL in doubles. No one on the Mariners has more than 20 homers, Beltre has 20 on the nose. Ibanez is 14th and Guillen is 15th in RBIs with 83 and 81 respectively.

Mariners are second in Batting Average but in Walks, Doubles and Homers they are 12th 12th and 10th.

Well have a good day and Go Anaheim.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why the Mariners won't make the World Series

They don't score enough runs or more accurately, they don't walk enough and have enough extra-base hits. Their offense is entirely singles-based.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

public transit, Windy City vs. Big Apple

The public transit system in Chicago is sub par, it doesn't take much to throw it off. I waited about 20 minutes for a train and that train was full enough so I couldn't get a seat. New York's subway and bus system is so far superior to Chicago's it's not worth discussing.

Anyway, to all New Yorkers (and former New Yorkers) and Chicagoans who take mass transit, let me know what your thoughts are.

Even Baltimore and Washington D.C. have better systems, IMHO (in my humble opinion).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

noticed something

The thing I have noticed about this blog is that only politics and religious stuff excites people, that is nice, however, I like movies and sports among other things.

Monday night a friend of mine and I watched The Bourne Ultimatum, with Matt Damon, David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) and Julia Stiles. It was good, despite the fact that I knew that Bourne wouldn't be captured. Julia Stiles looked like she was 15-18 instead of an adult, maybe it's just me.

Anyway check it out, it's a good movie, no "shmutz" scantily clad women, love scenes, etc.

To Chicago Cubs fans, how much do you really like the idea of not having a DH and having starters only pitch six innings? It is very mystifying why more AL fans don't get up in arms over the DH issue. I grew up with the DH in Seattle and think it's good. It allows pitchers to pitch instead of worrying about hitting and being lifted after 6 innings for a mediocre pinch-hitter.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sports thoughts

Well the big thing is that Bonds broke the home run record last night in San Francisco against the Washington Nationals. I was more relieved than anything else, now we can resume the season and ignore the Giants who are a bad team, albeit not as bad as Tampa, but pathetic and old nonetheless.

Also, Tom Glavine won his 300th game on Sunday night, becoming the 23rd pitcher and 5th lefthander to do so.

Soriano got hurt in that game and Eric Patterson was called up. Yes he's Corey's brother which is precisely why he shouldn't have been called up. Too much nepotism, tools happy scouts run the Cubs and the National League. For a more detailed explanation of this topic, go to or who can do this topic more justice than I.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Even Connecticut believes in common sense

I want to applaud the state of Connecticut for their move to seek the death penalty in the Cheshire, CT gruesome killings.

From WNPR in Connecticut

What happened to that family is beyond horrible. It's not just "another accident" or tragedy.

HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) -- State officials are re-examining their policies after learning two convicted burglars out on parole are accused of killing three family members during a home invasion and arson.

Accused killer Joshua Komisarjevsky lived less than two miles from the Petits.

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more photos »

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But Robert Farr, chairman of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole, said the task would be difficult because neither suspect had a history of violent crimes.
"That's why this is sort of shocking -- because it doesn't fit a normal mode," Farr said.
Joshua Komisarjevsky, 26, of Cheshire, and Steven Hayes, 44, of Winsted, were arraigned Tuesday on charges of assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, arson, larceny and risk of injury to children. More charges are pending, state police said Tuesday night.
The state medical examiner confirmed that Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, was strangled and that her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, died of smoke inhalation. The deaths were ruled homicides.
The girls' father, Dr. William Petit Jr., a prominent endocrinologist, remained hospitalized with head injuries.
"He's doing OK physically. Emotionally he is devastated and still worried about others," said Petit's pastor, the Rev. Stephen Volpe.
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Prosecutor Michael Dearington said he had not yet decided whether to pursue the death penalty.
The suspects entered the Petits' Cheshire home at about 3 a.m. Monday, planning to burglarize it, state police said. When they found the family at home, they beat Petit, then tied up his wife and daughters, police said. Watch how a family was terrorized while neighbors slept »
Employees at a bank called police after one of the suspects forced Hawke-Petit to make a withdrawal around 9:30 a.m., officials said. The men were caught in the family's car after ramming several police cruisers as they fled the burning home, authorities said.
Hawke-Petit and her daughters were found dead inside. Dr. Petit escaped the blaze and told police what happened.
The suspects did not enter pleas Tuesday, and their public defenders declined comment. Bail was set at $15 million for each. Their next court appearance was scheduled for August 7.
Hayes and Komisarjevsky each have more than 20 prior burglaries on their records. At the time of the killings, both were free on parole after serving prison time for burglary convictions in 2003, Bail Commissioner Garcia Harris said. They spent time last year in the same halfway house in Hartford before being paroled in the spring.
Prison officials said they reported each week to their parole officers and were employed full-time, a requirement of their release.
Farr said the parole board's staff scoured its files Tuesday to see if any mistakes were made and couldn't find any obvious problems.
"But three people died," Farr said. "We're not going to say, 'Those things happen.' We've got to see if there is anything we can do that would reduce the likelihood of this happening in the future."
In Connecticut, prisoners may be released from confinement and receive parole after serving more than half of their sentences.
Authorities have not said what they believe led Komisarjevsky and Hayes to the Petits' home.
The family issued a statement Tuesday through the hospital where the doctor was being treated. See photos of how police say the crime unfolded »
"Our precious family members have been the victims of horrible, senseless, violent assaults. We are understandably in shock and overwhelmed with sadness as we attempt to gather together to support one another and recognize these wonderful, giving beautiful individuals, who have been so cruelly taken from us," the statement said.
Petit, president of the Hartford County Medical Association, is a specialist in diabetes and endocrinology and is the medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain. Hawke-Petit, 48, was a nurse and co-director of the health center at Cheshire Academy, a private boarding school.
The attack stunned Cheshire, an upper-middle class community of 29,000 just east of Waterbury and about 15 miles north of New Haven.
Komisarjevsky lived less than two miles from the Petits. His family also released a statement Tuesday.
"This is an absolute tragedy. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Petit family (and all those whose lives they touched). We cannot understand what would have made something like this happen. There is nothing else we can say at this time," the statement said.

Let's hope to never hear of such a case, wherever one lives.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007, etc.

1) For baseball fans, check out,, it's a hilarious site with transcripts of chats Hall of Famer Joe Morgan does weekly on ESPN. Of course one needs to be an ESPN Insider to access the chats. Probably not such a great idea. Anyway it's a good blog.

2) Factual evidence, not feelings and platitudes are what I want in response to the Cheshire, Connecticut murders. Why should these killers live? Heck let's send them to Afghanistan or somewhere in the Middle East and I guarantee they won't have a lawyer from NYU or Harvard defending them with a plea bargain.

3) Congratulations to my cousins Moshe and Pam on the birth of their first child, a boy.