Boston’s Jewish Community Center wants to support LGBTQIA+ students in elementary school

The email promo:

The full description:

Fostering Belonging. Join us for a virtual panel that bring together parents of LGBTQIA+ youth and dedicated educators, all passionate about supporting LGBTQIA+ and gender expansive students in elementary school. This session aims to provide parents and caregivers with practical strategies to collaborate with educators in creating an inclusive and affirming environment for children. From open dialogue and communication with teachers to advocating for pronoun usage and nurturing a culture of belonging, our panelists will address the unique challenges and opportunities that arise in supporting young LGBTQIA+ students. No cost, registration required to receive Zoom link. Questions, email

Note that this will be held in a Covid-safe virtual manner. Click the link above and register for September 12 at 8 pm!

What if you lived in Los Angeles? The school district runs Rainbow Club for “LGBTQ+ elementary school students”.

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Judaism requires us to fight against the Second Amendment

We get this in our mail addressed to “current resident”:

(The previous owners of this house belonged to a Reform synagogue. A computer made the assumption that the new owners were likely also interested in matters Jewish?)

The front page “No More Silence” article chronicles a female rabbi (i.e., “not a rabbi” as far as Jews who practice Judaism are concerned) leading an epic 6-hour drive from Palm Beach County to Tallahassee to demonstrate against Florida’s latest gun laws, which the author claims will allow new classes of people to buy guns “with no checks on them whatsoever” and then “legally carry that loaded weapon anywhere they chose.”

The anti-gunners who are, no doubt, concerned about climate change, piled into a pavement-melting SUV for the 12-hour round-trip.

I’m wondering how being against private gun ownership came to be accepted as an obvious requirement of Judaism. Particularly in Florida, where the corporate media assures us that we have devolved into fascism, you’d think that Jews would want to arm themselves as protection against Ron DeSantis’s Braunhemden (see, for example, “Lawmakers, Jewish Groups Call on Florida Gov. to Denounce Neo-Nazis Waving ‘DeSantis Country’ Flags” (Journal of Popular Studies, July 2022) and “Fascism’s History Offers Lessons about Today’s Attacks on Education” (Scientific American, April 2023): “highlighting the parallels between the ambitions of DeSantis and those of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini exposes the shared threat to democracy”).


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Did lockdowns protect us from jihad?

From exactly two years ago… Will lockdowns protect us from jihad? (they can’t hate our freedom anymore):

“They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” [George W. Bush]

Depending on the state, Americans no longer have the right to assemble (see the multi-year emergency unfold in 66+ governor’s orders here in Maskachusetts, for example). Americans who want to hold a job certainly don’t have freedom of speech and they’d better not disagree with the hashtag campaign du jour (e.g., #StopAsianHate) nor with diversity and inclusion efforts. We are informed by our media that citizens of Georgia no longer have the freedom to vote.

As far as I am aware, there have been no Islamic attacks on Americans within the U.S. since April 17, 2021. Can we rate my prediction correct?

One potential issue: a jihadi attacked a U.S. military base in May 2020 (background). It was in Texas, so not quite as locked down as some other states, but still arguably during lockdown.

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The ADL as a hate group (and Happy Passover!)

Here’s a page from the Anti-Defamation League, which purports to ferret out hate groups:

When Jewish people recite the story of Passover, they recall that Pharaoh’s ignorance and hate led him to enslave the Israelites.

Let’s dig into their PDF:

From Israel:

The reality is that there is no evidence whatsoever that the Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt. Yes, there’s the story contained within the bible itself, but that’s not a remotely historically admissible source. I’m talking about real proof; archeological evidence, state records and primary sources. Of these, nothing exists.

Can we infer that the ADL is itself now a hate group devoted to making false accusations against Egyptians (ancestors of today’s Coptic Christians)? Without evidence that Egyptians ever did anything bad to Jews, aren’t they actually worse than any of the hate groups that the ADL complains about? (see White men correctly perceive American Jews as their enemies? for how at least some Jews take actions that are against the interests of groups within the U.S.)

Separately, Happy Passover to everyone who celebrates the “lure of victim status” (see “Factitious sexual harassment” by Feldman-Schorrig, Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry & the Law 24(3)),

(This year I was smarter about acquiring matzah well in advance (from last year: “Do Carr’s Table Water Crackers qualify as mini-Schmurah Matzah?”)


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Judaism and modern gender science

“Ancient Judaism Recognized a Range of Genders. It’s Time We Did, Too.” (New York Times, March 18, 2023):

I’m transgender and nonbinary, and as a rabbi I’ve offered bereavement spiritual care for the past 17 years.

There are four genders beyond male or female that appear in ancient Jewish holy texts hundreds of times.

We were always hiding in plain sight, but recently the research of Jewish studies scholars like Max Strassfeld has demonstrated how nonbinary gender is central to understanding Jewish law and literature as a whole.

I have never forgotten this insight [that Judaism is the same as Rainbow Flagism]. Trans people, and especially trans young people, make human uniqueness more visible for everyone. … Trans liberation is a gift to everyone, because it expands the categories for what it means to be human.

The growing wave of anti-trans bills in the United States represents not just a trans crisis, but a humanitarian crisis. History has shown countless times that when a government limits one group’s legal rights, it will eventually do the same to other groups.

I might be accused of having a “trans agenda.” I do. And it’s the same as my religious and my human agenda. I want trans kids, and all young people, to survive.

Because the Science is Settled and no reasonable person could disagree with the above interpretation of Jewish texts, the New York Times has disabled comments on this scholarly work. What would an unreasonable Jew say if he/she/ze/they were allowed to comment? I submitted the NYT article to a friend who has read the Talmud a few times. His response is below (not in quote style for clarity).

Sex-change operations involving the surgical removal of sexual organs are clearly forbidden on the basis of the explicit biblical prohibition, “And that which is mauled or crushed or torn or cut you shall not offer unto the Lord; nor should you do this in your land” (Lev. 22:24). Sterilization of women is also prohibited, as recorded in Even ha-Ezer 5:11.

Rabbi Meir Amsel (Ha-Ma’or, Kislev-Tevet 5733) notes that yet another prohibition is also applicable to sex-change procedures, a consideration which may extend as well to hormone treatment for purposes of sex-change. The commandment “A woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment” (Deut. 22:5) is not limited to the wearing of apparel associated with the opposite sex but encompasses any action uniquely identified with the opposite sex, proscribing, for example, shaving of armpits or dyeing of hair by a male. A procedure designed to transform sexual characteristics violates the very essence of this prohibition.

For Besamim Rosh sexual identity, insofar as marriage is concerned, depends entirely upon the presence of genital organs. No mention is made of the presence or absence of secondary sexual characteristics and indeed it is not difficult to understand why they are deemed irrelevant. Hence, despite the comments of Rabbi Amsel, who asserts that secondary sexual characteristics play a role in sexual identification, there is no evidence that the transformation of secondary sexual characteristics affects sexual status in any way.

There is at least one early source which apparently declares that a male cannot acquire the status of a woman by means of surgery. Rabbi Abraham Hirsch (No’am 5733) cites the comments of Rabbenu Chananel, quoted by Ibn Ezra in his commentary on Leviticus 18:22. Rabbenu Chananel declares that intercourse between a normal male and a male in whom an artificial vagina has been fashioned by means of surgery constitutes sodomy. This would appear to be the case, according to Rabbenu Chananel, even if the male genitalia were removed.

[I find the last paragraph stunning. Wikipedia says that Chananel lived 1000 years ago. How did he anticipate that one day American surgeons would be banking $100,000+ per teenager for creating artificial body parts?]

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Condemning the apartheid state of Israel in Harvard Yard

Israel has been in the news lately due to a proposal to change the country’s judiciary to be more like what we have here in the U.S. (Wikipedia) This will result in “tyranny” replacing “democracy” (nytimes). (Perhaps Israelis can flee this tyranny and seek asylum in Syria or Lebanon?)

Photos taken on March 12, 2023 in Harvard Yard include a Palestine flag in a window and some messages urging a boycott of a Harvard group trip to Israel.

This was in the same building as the “BGLTQ” office (not 2SLGBTQQIA+? or LGBTQ?):


According to Amnesty International’s 2020 report on Palestine, “Section 152 of the Penal Code in Gaza criminalizes [male] consensual same-sex sexual activity and makes it punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.” Palestine has no civil rights laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination nor harassment

We had previously walked by the Lutheran church featured in Bulletin board at the Lutheran chuch (2019). Their pro-Palestinian material was not visible from the exterior, but they do have a rainbow and a Black Lives Matter sign:

Down at the river, there are rainbow benches, but no BLM benches;

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Purim Drag Story Hour at the Boston Jewish Community Center

Happy Purim to readers who practice Jewcraft. If you’re in Maskachusetts, you might wish to attend the Boston Jewish Community Center’s Purim Drag Story Hour, organized with the PJ Library, a free book-of-the-month-club for children (heavy on stories about women achieving the unthinkable by doing something that dozens if not thousands of men previously did).

What actually happens?

Join the JCC and OUT MetroWest to celebrate the joy of Purim with a Drag Story Hour! Grab a costume and enjoy Purim-themed stories, crafts, and, of course, Hamentaschen! Introduce kids to glamorous, bold, and unabashedly queer role models, while sharing love and acceptance through storytelling.

If we hadn’t moved to Florida, I would be there. I would dress up as Queen Esther every day in exchange for a plate of poppy seed hamantaschen (note that the “queer role models” may not be role models for conventional transliteration because they’ve spelled “Haman” with an “e”) . My motto: Don’t stop eating them until you test positive for opioid abuse! (thus combining the ancient Hebrew tradition with the modern American one)

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Why hasn’t Maulana Karenga been invited to the White House to light the kinara?

President Biden has made Kwanzaa an official U.S. government holiday. Examples:

Wikipedia says that the creator of Kwanzaa, Professor Maulana Karenga (formerly “Ron Everett”), is alive and well and working at California State University, Long Beach. Why hasn’t he been invited to the White House to light the kinara? Who knows more about Kwanzaa than the person who invented it, a couple of years after Kamala Harris was born:

Professor Karenga could also address systemic racism in our criminal justice system. From Wikipedia:

In 1971, he was convicted of felony assault, torture, and false imprisonment of women. He denied involvement and claimed the prosecution was political in nature. Karenga was imprisoned in California Men’s Colony until he received parole in 1975.

One of the victims gave testimony of how Karenga and other men tortured her and another woman. The woman described having been stripped naked and beaten with an electrical cord.

Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis’ mouth and placed against Miss Davis’ face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said. They also were hit on the heads with toasters.

Karenga has declined to discuss the convictions with reporters and does not mention them in biographical materials.[24] During a 2007 appearance at Wabash College, he again denied the charges and described himself as a former political prisoner.

And, of course, to readers who are celebrating, let me wish you a joyous and peaceful Kwanzaa. When I was growing up in Bethesda, Maryland, the first day of Kwanzaa (December 26) was a special time. Friends and family members would fill our home. We would listen to the elders tell stories. During dinner, we would discuss why the Hanukkah presents, e.g., socks, that we had received over 8 nights were so much crummier than all of the awesome Christmas presents that the neighbor kids had received in just one morning.


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Should the Taliban express a passion for preventing COVID-19?

From the BBC:

They closed the schools, the world remained silent, they closed our universities, silence, now they’ve come for our courses. What are we supposed to do? Kill ourselves?” Devastated Afghan girls mourn the loss of their education after the Taliban’s ban

The same thing happened in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and New York from Spring 2020 through Fall 2021. The same media outlets that decry the Taliban’s action today lauded these closures in 2020 and 2021. Could the Taliban rehabilitate their image with Western progressives by saying that they’re doing a partial lockdown in order to flatten the curve? How can they justify a partial lockdown rather than a full Chinese-style lockdown? Easy! The New York Times and BBC never questioned the Science behind a “lockdown” in which schools were closed while marijuana stores, Tinder, bars, restaurants, and liquor stores remained open.

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Christmas in the Good Old Days

A (Jewish) friend born in the 1970s:

When I was a kid, a neighbor played a joke on his Jewish neighbor. When the guy went away on vacation, he covered his entire house with a full blown Christmas light display. That might be considered a hate crime today.

Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope that you’re celebrating in traditional ways, but maybe not following the above tradition…

Speaking of tradition, here’s an Andrea della Robbia from 1500 at the Victoria and Albert.

Why can’t we get replicas 3D-printed?

One of the most impressive della Robbia’s is at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts:

I would love to have this for our house!


  • “Local Carpenter Continues To Spread Disinformation Deemed Harmful By Religious Experts” (Babylon Bee): Religious experts have begun voicing concerns that a local carpenter’s disinformation is spreading among Israelites most susceptible to unapproved ideas. “Visit your nearest synagogue for the latest information on how to obey God. Listen to the experts!” … Eyewitnesses have confirmed that a group of Independent Fact Checkers followed the carpenter around holding large signs with disclaimers above his head: “SINCE YOUR SERMON INCLUDES INFORMATION ABOUT OBEYING GOD’S LAW, WE’VE ADDED DIRECTIONS TO THE NEAREST SYNAGOGUE.”
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