22 February 2009

Justice and Mercy ...in one!

Sydney, Australia - Former Moriah student Jaron Hoffenberg has been given a good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to vandalising the Jews for Jesus’ storefront in Bondi Junction last month.

In Downing Centre Local Court on Friday, February 20, Magistrate William Brydon said he was satisfied that Hoffenberg, 19, from Dover Heights, was repentant for his actions in the early morning of January 29 when he urinated on the Oxford Street store’s door and threw a brick through its window, causing about $3000 worth in damage.

The incident was captured on CCTV.

Weighing up the defendant’s remorse and age against the attack’s “anti-Semitic flavour”, however, he found Hoffenberg guilty of one charge of malicious damage to property with conviction and placed him on a one-year good behaviour bond.

Hoffenberg was also found guilty of offensive behaviour and willful and obscene exposure in public.

No conviction was recorded and Hoffenberg was given a two-year good behavior bond.

Separately, Terence Abrams, 19, from Dover Heights, who was arrested with Hoffenberg on the night and charged with one count of malicious damage to property, has had his case delayed by request until March 18.

Brydon said: “There’s no doubt [Hoffenberg] is remorseful and contrite for his behaviour.

“I accept that alcohol was a part of this, but people have to be responsible for themselves.”

Hoffenberg's lawyer Richard Shakenovsky had earlier argued before the court that the vandalism attack was “alcohol induced” and “out of character” for the University of Sydney engineering student who had no prior history of arrests.

He also noted that Hoffenberg had apologised for his actions and paid for the damage to property.

Jews for Jesus national director Bob Mendelsohn told The AJN that he had accepted Hoffenberg’s apology and payment.

“I’m not vindictive. He’s sorry. No need to keep shaming him,” said Mendelsohn.

It is not the first time Jews for Jesus, which opened the shop on Oxford Street in October 2004, has been the target of such attacks.

There was a spate of attacks in 2005, in which the shop was vandalised on three separate occasions.

08 February 2009

Hell and all its fury

Kevin Rudd weighed in on Sunday with this comment, "Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the last 24 hours." As I write this on Sunday at 7 pm, Channel 9 reported 65 people reported dead and 660 homes lost in the bushfires throughout Victoria. New South Wales premier Nathan Rees rang his Victorian counterpart John Brumbie to offer help and condolences. The television showed Prime Minister Rudd hugging in solace a Victorian man who had lost everything. No feeling person can be left untouched.

The fire started in East Kilmore, 80km north of Melbourne, and covered a huge area as it pushed 30km east to Kinglake, through the small townships of Wandong, Glenburn, Strathewen and Clonbinane. On the radio and tv reports some are attributing 'angel' status to neighbours who helped out and are like heroes.

During the toss of the coin as the 3rd One Day International cricket began in Sydney at the Sydney Cricket Ground, both captains Ricky Ponting and Daniel Vittori of New Zealand, wore black arm bands to identify and mourn the losses in the bushfires in Victoria.

What can you do to help the victims?

National Australia Bank also established the Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund today, donating $1 million to the cause.

NAB Group Chief Executive Officer Cameron Clyne said the bank would work with customers and affected communities to provide relief.

"Our thoughts are with those personally affected, and we offer our heartfelt support and encouragement to the firefighters and volunteers who continue to battle to save properties," he said.

Donations to the Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund can be made at any NAB branch or via internet banking. BSB: 082-001. Account number: 860 046 797.

Victoria Police have urged those wishing to donate not to tie up 000 and other emergency hotlines and instead to call the Red Cross Information Line on 1800 727 077.

Usually in this blog, we comment on the news of the day and help you to sort out religious issues and especially the person of Y'shua. I believe we will get back to that soon enough, but for now, show compassion and help if you can, whether in the US or Australia or anywhere on the planet.

Certainly we could comment about 'hell and all its fury' being unleashed and how we need a hero. We need someone to save us. We need to be rescued. The 'preaching' is clear. I don't want to diminish that, but in this crisis, I want you to help provide for many, many Victorians who have lost everything. God help us to care.

07 February 2009

Hotheads (Setanta, weather, Jews and Muslims, Economic crisis)


It's hot out there. And it's heating up, too. Sydney is set for record temps today and this weekend, and Melbourne continues the heat wave that almost knocked many out of the Australian (tennis) Open a week ago. Adelaide high today 41 and Melbourne 44. Buckle your seat belts and run to the library and museum and cinema.

Pictured is Setanta O'hAilpin who ripped into his teammate Cameron Cloke on Friday. It's not the first time O'hAilpin (sic) has been sat down for such behaviour.

Cloke has a black eye and a bruised jaw, and probably won't mention the effect of the groin kick by O'hAilpin either. Cain Ackland experienced O'hAilpin's rage in June 2007 being the brunt of another attack. And on a teammate. Shocking. The question has to be asked, "Is this hothead worth all the bother to the Blues?"

In the Middle East, things seem calm (not true), but here at home, Australian Muslims are "seething with anger" at what they perceive as the Australian Government's one-sided treatment of last month's Israeli incursion into Gaza, a Melbourne leader said yesterday.

Ramzi Elsayed, president of the Islamic Council of Victoria, said he had never seen the community so hurt or aggrieved, especially after acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Israel was responding to Hamas aggression after Hamas broke the ceasefire.

"It's as though they think one Jewish life is worth 100 Palestinians," he said. "Enough's enough. It's time to call the facts as they are. Israel broke the ceasefire on 4 November."

Responding to a Jewish threat to sever ties with Australia's Muslims if the president of its peak body did not withdraw a comparison between Gaza and the Holocaust, Mr Elsayed said a cooling-off period was inevitable anyway. This is reported in the Melbourne Age by Barney Zwartz.

"There's going to be some open wounds which will take time to heal. Tension and hatred has built as never before in the Middle East, and that's the danger in Australia."

The economic downturn has turned into a crisis and now an economic meltdown, no doubt a metaphor used in Aussie summer as the heat index rises and rage seems the only option for some. Wednesday the NAB in Neutral Bay was vandalized and contents taken from the ATM. The ABC reported yesterday that when the temperature rises, so does rage and anger. Agro is the watchword of the heated.

John Huxley, Paul Bibby and Malcolm Knox reported in the Sydney Morning Herald today about Craig Roberts. His answers seem timely and deserve to be heard.

Craig Roberts is the Neutral Bay Anglican minister of St Augustine's Church.

But just like the community's self-funded retirees and young unit-dwellers, its majority of "comfortable" well-to-do residents have been hurt by the [economic] crisis.

Just how badly was brought home to him when he officiated at the funeral of a local financial manager, one of two depressed young men to have committed suicide recently. "It was terribly emotional," he says.

Despite this week's recession package, Roberts fears the situation will worsen. A former financier, he speaks a language fallen high-flyers understand. He chastens them for linking their sense of self-worth to their net asset position. He advises them to extend "internal investment horizons" beyond the next deal, the next bonus, to the eternal.

He urges them to spend time with their children, instead of showering them with in-ground pools, Xboxes and Nike runners.

Not a bad thought, Craig. And for hotheads to cool down, a dose of godliness and God Himself is the right call. It puts the heat wave in perspective and calms aching hearts.

Isaiah the prophet wrote about this:
For Thou hast been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Like heat in drought, Thou dost subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced. (Isaiah 25.4-5)

Let's get it right with God and no matter what comes at us, fists, weather, economic woes... we can handle it all, in faith and calm.