Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tennis B*ll*cks

Marion Bartoli of France lost to Sabine Lisicki of Germany today in the Wimbledon Ladies Tennis Quarter-Final. Bartoli, who had knocked out the reigning champ Serena Williams in the previous round, has been noticed for the unusual stance and wind-up of her serving motion. It got her several aces against Williams, who has possibly the world's greatest female serve. However, in combination with her perpetual twitchy jerky motions between each point, it appears to have offended the tennis purists.

The journalist Alix Ramsey writes on the Wimbledon website:

"Her serve is all arms and legs, a collection of mismatched limbs that makes the whole motion look like a giraffe going for a spin in a tumble drier."

Amusing, perhaps. Bloody rude, though. She beat Serena Williams with it! Ramsey should be so lucky.

That's my mind made up. The ravaj is going to get herself some tennis lessons!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thank You New York State Senate

Last night the New York State Senate passed a bill that legalises same-sex marriage. And when Governor Cuomo signed the bill soon after, it became law. In 30 days, the legal marriages, and the rights and benefits with which they come, may begin!

Thank you to the Republican senators who crossed party lines and voted for equality. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard and for so long to make this happen. Today I am proud to be a native New Yorker.

Now, come on California, for what are you waiting?!

Governor Cuomo's speech after the vote is here.
Reuters make a good point about divorce here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

When is a Jew not an Israeli?

This may be a provocative header, but I am confused. This should not surprise anyone who knows me. The particular situation that is confusing me today, however, is trying to figure out the differences between a Jew, an Israeli, and an Israeli Jew. Not all Jews are Israelis. Not all Israelis are Jews. That seems quite clear to me. But when an Israeli Jew does something that is criticised by foreign media, how does that act become definitive for all Jews?

The question is in my mind because of a story that has been picked up by the BBC, and many other internet media outlets: a Rabbinic Court in Jerusalem has sentenced a dog to be stoned to death. Read about it here. The Yahoo headline is "Jewish Court sentences ... etc".

We know that the quickest way to the heart of the British public, apart from marrying a prince, is to be a maltreated animal. Especially if you are a dog. This is a story about the unjust treatment of a dog. I'm all for animal welfare - that's why I will not eat them. It is also a story that shows an Orthodox Rabbinical Court behaving in a medieval way. The court may well have behaved exactly as the reporter suggests, i.e., believing that the dog was the reincarnated soul of the court's enemy returning to mock the judges. So what is my problem?

This is not the Judaism I live and teach, but many in the wider world will use this story to support their negative perspective of all Jews. Just look at some of the comments below the story, e.g., someone "recently read an article by a prominent Jew criticising written works apparently full of 'rampant anti-semitism' - with acts like this he can hardly blame people's attitudes against them", or "I can't believe that they should be so utterly stupid. And they want the world at large to give them credibility as a nation! No chance".

This is also not part of the life led by secular and progressive Jews in Israel. Much as millions of Muslims are neither terrorists, nor sympathetic with those who are, yet they are feared and blamed by others for the actions of their co-religionists; so it is for Jews within and without the Land of Israel. Stirring up feelings with stories like this will not help us find our way towards peace.


A link to the original YNet story may be found here.
BBC version here.

report that Ma'ariv newspaper has apologised about misleading headline on this story found here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Long Time No See

It's been a while since this page has been disturbed. The fact that the ravaj has been arranging a new job is not a real excuse, but the best she can do on a rainy miserable Sunday afternoon.