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Showing posts from May, 2011

Where will you be buried?

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I read this reply today. A reform rabbi is answering a question online about a Jewish person being buried in a Christian cemetery. He says, "Jewish tradition does not permit the burial of Jews and non-Jews together, as in a common cemetery. However, Jewish law is concerned with the sanctity of individual graves, not the sanctity of cemeteries (which are really just a collection of individual graves, as far as Jewish law is concerned). Therefore, a Jew could be buried in a non-Jewish cemetery according to Jewish law if there was sufficient space -- one grave width -- separating the Jewish grave from those of non-Jews. In this case, the Jewish grave legally could be considered a separate cemetery, even if it contained only one grave." The entire article is here, Burial

Of course, Moishe Rosen's yahrtzeit is this weekend, which prompted a lot of my thinking. Moishe Rosen's headstone
I worked on my funeral service, may it be decades away, this morning. And then I began…

Oops: A 4-letter word God has never used

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Just when you thought it was safe to listen to family radio again, today Harold Camping has done it again. The Australian reported this arvo, "The US preacher who predicted the end of the world would occur on Saturday says he was off by five months - Judgment Day will now come in October.

Camping said the apocalypse or the so-called global "Rapture" will come five months after May 21, the original date he predicted. Camping says he felt so terrible when his doomsday prediction did not come true on Saturday that he left home and took refuge in a motel with his wife.

The 89-year-old retired civil engineer appeared publicly on Monday night. Rather than give his normal daily broadcast, Camping made a special statement before the press at the Oakland headquarters of the media empire that has broadcast his message.

Last week he had predicted the global "Rapture" would begin with powerful earthquakes at 6pm local time in each of the world's regions, after which t…

0 for 2: A rapture predicter's record

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Now that wasn't even close. 21 May, Judgment Day came and left, not with a bang but a fairly energetic whisper. The 89-year-old former civil engineer Harold Camping made his predictions based on mathematical calculations and they were wrong. This wasn't the first time he erred. In 1994 he said something similar, although I don't know if he took out as many billboards then. A former colleague of his wrote last week on the blogosphere, "In 1994 he wrote a book claiming that the Rapture would take place on September 6, 1994. It did not, and neither did he repent of his false teaching nor apologize to the masses that he deceived." Now the end blog

In reply to the original:
The Christian Science Monitor (one day I'll write about how Christian Science is neither Science nor Christian) reported in a whimsical manner under the banner of "Apocalypse Not: Harold Camping wrong – again – about 'The Rapture" CS Monitor

In baseball terms Camping is 0 for 2, a …

Judgment Day...before the time

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Is this really the end of the world? Is the rapture upon us? What in the world are those things anyway? And...what's wrong with Harold Camping? What's right with Harold Camping? Quick, there are only a few hours left before his prophecy is to come to pass. And the internet is abuzz, my goodness, even Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon mentioned the end of the world in their PTI program earlier. So let's unpack it for now, and then tomorrow or the next day I'll write further about this.

"In the last week, variations of “End of the World May 21st” and “Harold Camping” have remained among the top search terms on Google. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control released a mock guide to the “Zombie Apocalypse” on its web site that quickly went viral.

But "it’s no laughing matter," Camping told The Huffington Post. “It is not something where it's a tiny, tiny, tiny chance it may happen. It is going to happen.”

He and his fringe group of churchless fol…

Peace, peace, when there is no peace

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President Barack Obama has weighed in again in the Middle East. It's not enough that he sent war planes into Libya, and continues the war against terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today's video speech about capitalism and democracy again highlights the American's views on his involvement in that troubled region. Watch the speech here If that takes too long, here's the full speech here.


I'm glad people are weighing in on the issue of peace and the Middle East. Last Sunday the Muslim terrorists vowed a 3rd intifada. Elior Levy reported last week (13 May) on YNet news, "The Palestinians are preparing for "Nakba Day" – text messages were sent to tens of thousands of cellular subscribers in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, calling them to take part in the events marking the Palestinian day of mourning over Israel's inception and to ignite a third Intifada.

Police intelligence suggests that the Palestinians intend on holding several prequel events on F…

Chaplaincy: When the news is not new at all

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News this week comes from Washington DC and from Melbourne. And both carry stories about chaplains on active duty. In DC it is a military story, and historic, and in Victoria it’s about schools and conversions. But they are both relevant.

The DC story is actually a revelation of 13 Jewish chaplains who served with other chaplains and with military units over the decades and who died on active service. The story from CNN Religion Blogger Eric Marrapodi, tells about 4 chaplains who died together, giving their lives so their charges could live.

The sentiment is thick as thieves in this section of Marrapodi’s article. “On February 2, 1943, the USS Dorchester was transporting 902 U.S. servicemen to war. Only one torpedo hit, but it struck a deathblow - killing scores instantly and resetting the ship's course to the bottom of the ocean.

Amid the chaos four U.S. Army chaplains fought to bring calm and comfort, praying for the dead and encouraging the living to fight for survival. Th…

Baby it's cold outside

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The top temperature today in Sydney didn't even reach 20 C (68F). It was chilly to the bone. The wind was up, the clouds were thick, the sky grey. It really felt wintry, even though we're only barely into autumn. I wore a jumper, hat and jacket. And still felt the chill.
Chill is in the air after last night's Budget 2011 was announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan of the Labor Party. The Liberal/ Coalition opposition was quick to deride the programs nixed by Labor and to label as wrong so many of the benefits extended, mostly to rural Australia. The cold reception by Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and others was not a surprise, however.

Also in the air is the chilly revelation that another Qantas aircraft was forced to turn back after being struck by lightning near Auckland today. The incident comes less than 48 hours after one of the airline's Boeing 747s experienced engine problems in the air near Singapore.

Trouble in the air, and no one to bring relief.

Pictured is the famous pa…

Swimwear and Multiculturalism. A study

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This is an age of multiculturalism and sensitivity. It’s not always so easy. That’s what Lisa Burke found out over the last few days. She is an Aussie, living in Byron Bay. She is also a swimsuit designer. She is not on Project Runway.
Seems Ms Burke is the focus of protests by both the Indian government and people. Why? She designed a swimming costume with the likeness of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, which was shown at Australian Fashion Week last week.

Georgina Robinson wrote the article in today’s (Melbourne) Age: “Demonstrators in Amritsar burned the Australian flag and waved placards on Sunday in protest at a skimpy swimsuit... shows Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and beauty - on the front and back of the cutaway design.”

Australia already had a weakened relationship with India after the cricket World Cup last summer where the sub-continent eventual winners India, took out the formerly unbeaten Aussie side with relative ease.

Ms Burke issued an apology on Facebook and Twitter, ev…

Taxes and charities

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The Brisbane Times reported today that the new Federal Budget to be reported by Wayne Swan on Tuesday night this week will feature a change in the taxation of churches and specifically of charities. I read the report about this after seeing a tweat by Pastor Brian Houston from Hillsong Church in Sydney.

He wrote in three tweats on Twitter today, "I hope a charities commission protects Hillsong from agenda driven journalism, such as on page 4 of Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald! All activities of Hillsong Church contribute to our non profit objectives. The Sydney Morning Herald HAVE all the info needed to know that! Phillip Coorey & Peter Hartcher know or should know that the only link between Hillsong & Gloria Jeans, is the owners belong to the church!"

Authors Phillip Coorey and Peter Hartcher reported, "The federal budget will put a lid on the practice of so-called charities using their tax-free status to generate business income for no charitable purpos…

Holy man or fraud. Whom can we trust?

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Reported in the UK Telegraph by Bonnie Malkin, Sydney A self-styled Greek Orthodox "holy man" was jailed in Australia for 15 years after he was found guilty of tricking two women into having sex with him by claiming it would lift black magic curses placed on their families. Tony Golossian went to trial last year in Sydney. The court heard that he used his respected position in the Greek community to "brainwash" two women, repeatedly raping them during "prayer sessions" over the course of seven years and telling them that if they resisted one of their family members would fall ill or die.

During the rapes, which his co-accused Arthur Psichogios also took part, he would blindfold the women and tell them that they were dreaming.

Despite maintaining his innocence throughout the trial, Golossian, 63, was found guilty of 24 charges relating to rape of the two women in December and was yesterday sentenced to a minimum of 15 years. Psichogios, 41, was jailed for …

Philadelphia freedom

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A Jewish mate here in Sydney sent me a link to this report from Philadelphia Pennsylvania in the USA. David Rusin wrote this amazing article (titled "May Christians Preach Outside a Philadelphia Mosque?") about an event from 2010 and the commensurate trial. "Yes, the First Amendment still protects Christians preaching to Muslims. But as the Philadelphia case and recent controversies prove, exercising free speech rights amid hypersensitivity toward Islam does not come without costs."

Rusin is director of Islamist Watch, a part of Middle East forum

The case and another one [a month earlier in 2010] in Dearborn, Michigan, highlight the dangers of practicing free speech in relation to Muslims. At least in the changing United States. Where various forms of Christianity are still the state religion in many states, the new state religion may be multiculturalism. Or more specifically a variant form of it.

I enjoy good choral music. Part of what I like is the combination o…

Ding, dong the wicked witch is dead

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I knew how to respond when Dorothy threw the water onto the Wicked Witch, and she melted. After all, she was pure evil. She was green, and Hollywood has told us that if someone is green, they are evil. Life was simpler then. No Kermit. No Incredible Hulk. Just the evil, wicked witch of the west. And now Oz would be a happy place. And Dorothy and Toto, too would make it back to Kansas.

I don't know how to react today. The wicked man, Osama bin Laden, of the axis of evil, master of Al Qaeda, is dead. That's what CNN and President Barack Obama said from The White House today. It must be true. And now the US will be a happy place. And all the military munchkins will rejoice.

Joel Pollak, a blogger and Facebook 'friend' said, "In Israel, it was Holocaust Memorial Day as Osama bin Laden was prevented from perpetrating another one." That's significant. I remember 10 years ago when those young high school boys in Columbine, Colorado, killed so many of their fell…