May 6, 2011, - 3:20 pm

WTF?! San Diego Rabbi Sad for Bin Laden, “a Human Being”

By Debbie Schlussel

My good friend (and reader of this site), Phil Raimi (yes, cousin of director Sam Raimi), is now looking for a new synagogue to attend.  That’s because his rabbi, Rabbi Michael Berk of Congregation Beth Israel of San Diego is thinking maybe we should be sorry that Osama Bin Laden is dead.  This synagogue is part of the “reform” branch of Judaism . . . or as I call it, “in ten years, it’ll be a gay vegan church powered by its members’ own fecal material after bicycling.” Yup, Rabbi Berk is one of the Jewish Hellenists the Maccabees slaughtered in droves, back in the day. Or, maybe, he’s channeling the ghost of one of the 80% of Jews who chose to remain slaves in Egypt.  Last night, a rightfully disgusted Phil sent me this e-mail from Rabbi Berk, with his response:

Rabbi Michael Berk: Bin Laden Was a “Human Being.” Uh, No, Dumbass, He Wasn’t.

From: Rabbi Michael Berk rabbiberk@cbisd.org
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2011 4:10 PM
To:
Subject: An Invitation from Rabbi Berk

Rabbi Berk’s (soon-to-be former) congregant Phil Raimi’s reaction:

Get a load of this moronic rabbi. I can’t believe I’ve stuck at this hyper-liberal Reform temple for so long; if it wasn’t for our havurah [DS: Hebrew for “group of friends”], I would have been out of there long ago. Time to find an orthodox shul [DS: Yiddish for “synagogue”] to belong to.

Can you believe this – we’re supposed to be SAD because a supposed “human being” (OBL) who was responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent people was killed by our brave U.S. military?

Give me a flipping break!

Were we supposed to be sad because Adolf Eichmann was executed by Israel in 1961, Saddam Hussein was hung by a rope, or Hitler committed suicide in 1945? They were “human beings” too.

This is INSANE – Political Correctness gone positively amok. No wonder why we can’t stand this place anymore! If it weren’t for the havurah, we’d be out of there a long time ago.

Reform and Conservative Jews in America must have some kind of death wish!!

Boy, talk about political correctness, moral equivalence and hypersensitivity gone AMOK! We’re supposed to feel SAD that a so-called “human being” who was responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent people was taken out by our brave U.S. military? Was I supposed to feel sad over Adolph Eichmann, Hitler and Saddam Hussein!? I don’t think so – its hard to feel sorry for evil monsters with no souls.

You know – I just find this email from this Rabbi so incredibly insulting, coming less than a week after a Yom HaShoah where my oldest son David stood in freedom under the gates to Auschwitz I, where his grandfather survived almost 2-1/2 years of hell. I don’t weep or feel the least bit guilty when insane evil destroyers of innocent human life pay for their filthy deeds.

This morning, Phil added:

Last night, on the Smithsonian Channel, I was watching “The True Story Behind the Movie “Casino””. In it, Pete Clifford (the head of the Las Vegas police detail that was investigating “the skim” at the casinos, and was trying to bust the mob influence) said this about the 1982 torture murder of Tony Spilotro by the Chicago mob. Spilotro was a notorious, brutal mobster who killed a lot of people (the Joe Pesci character in the movie) and terrorized Las Vegas in the late 70s:

Announcer:

“In 2007, a Chicago mobster confessed to carrying out the murder. The law had lost a chance at putting Spilotro behind bars. But few mourned his grisly end.”

Pete Clifford:

“I cheered – I thought that was a great event, because he died just as he lived. He was not good for society. He was bad for society. He never did one good thing in his lifetime.”

“So should I be unhappy? No.”

“I thought it was good he died and went to Hell.”

I “slept” on all of this and I’m still almost as mad this morning as I was yesterday. I’m seriously thinking of call up that place today and resigning.

Right on, Phil. Hey, maybe Rabbi Berk thinks this will get him into the 72 Re-Virginized Club in the afterlife.

Memo to the rabbi: after the Islamic revolution, collaborators like you are the first ones they’ll behead. Have fun with it. Remember Daniel Pearl?

E-mail Rabbi Berk (rabbiberk@cbisd.org) and let him know what you think about his “Bin Laden quandary.”

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89 Responses

While Bin Laden and other heinous murders are evil, they are – none the less – human beings. How you deny this is beyond me. Is not Ezekiel 18:23 in your book? It is the job of earthly governments to punish evil doers – including killing some. We may sense relief when such as Bin Laden is dead, but we should not rejoice nor deaden our conscience by claiming he was less than human. I leave you with Proverbs 24:17 – “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles”

Manfred on May 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Proverbs 24:17 is referring to a personal enemy, not an enemy of G-d. There is really no contradiction between that and Psalm 58. We obviously should not make things more difficult for someone who has sinned. But when it comes to an enemy of G-d, someone completely evil, if the law can’t provide for it, we must be bring him to justice ourselves so we find favor in G-d’s eyes. A decent person doesn’t rejoice in someone who has gone astray every now and then – but a decent person must rejoice in the death of someone whose wickedness affronted the sight of Heaven!

    NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

To be fair to the Rabbi, he didn’t say where he stands on the issue, just that he’s going to speak about how to react. Clearly, some of the members of the synagogue are politically correct morons and I suspect he is too. My guess is that he will probably say that any reaction is OK. For a smart people, we sure are stupid.

David on May 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

“even when I was mistaken for Israeli, the worst thing that happened to me was that I was almost drowned in the coffee and tea they offered me.”

See Debbie,we now have proof positive that Arabs and muslims love Israeli’s and are welcomed with open arms all across the middle east.

ebayer on May 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    During one of the HAMAS rallies in Gaza the other night, the marchers carried banners praising Bin Laden. This is whom the people the world is pressing Israel to gave a state to regards as a hero.

    I would like to ask Rabbi Berk if that offends him. I know I regard it with absolute abhorrence. Some lines in life are not meant to be crossed!

    NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Rabbi Michael Berk apparently isn’t familiar with Psalm 58, which tell us:

“The righteous man will rejoice when he sees revenge; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. Men will say, then there is a reward for the righteous, there is, indeed, divine justice on earth.”

The Hebrew Bible tells us very clearly revenge against the wicked is holy, that when they are killed, righteous people not only gain the praise of G-d, they are executing His judgment on earth.

Its seems to me killing a very evil man is a good deed and its appropriate to rejoice in it. Why is Rabbi Berk conflicted? There are few instances in life where something is black and white and the SEALs were G-d’s agents. They do deserve our praise and our esteem.

And those who are wont to do evil should be afraid of G-d. Baruch HaShem – Blessed Be G-d!

NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I had to reread the memo several times but have to conclude that the claim that Berk was “sad” that Bin Laden has been killed is not self-evident. What is evident is that the congregants are morally confused, for it is *they* who “don’t know how to react”. Such moral confusion is commonplace among Reform and Conservative Jews, but they’re confused because their leaders and teachers have left them in that state. They’re eager to teach lines from the Torah like “love your neighbor as yourself” and the directive to be kind to the stranger “for you were strangers in Egypt”, but run from teachings from the Talmud like, “If someone comes upon you to kill you, rise up early and kill him first”.

In some tellings of the Exodus story, we’re told that G-d silenced the angels from celebrating the defeat of Pharaoh’s army in the Sea because “My creatures are dying”, but the Jews are permitted to rejoice at the defeat of their enemies, as expressed in the Song of the Sea. Popular (Orthodox) Rabbi Shmuel Boteach also misses this point when he writes in JPost that we should hate Bin Laden, but should not rejoice at his death”. Sorry Reb. Some people are simply beyond redemption. And I’m pleased as punch our guys took him out.

Raymond in DC on May 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I agree. A monster is not deserving of our pity. I prefer to think of all the good people who died a decade ago, who if they had lived, would have contributed a lot of good to the world. I have never met them nor have most Americans but I would definitely trade them for the likes of Bin Laden in a heartbeat. They must never be forgotten, these true and gentle souls.

NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

We shouldn’t mourn the death of murderers? Then why do we celebrate the death of Haman at Purim?

The first rule of law, any law, any country, any religion, is self preservation (with the exception of Quakers, who let others fight for them).

I do not accept the wimpy attitude that we should not cheer the demise of our enemies. Maybe we should say Kaddish(the prayer for the dead) for Hitler? Stalin?

Those who do not wish for death of mass murderers are not morally superior. They in fact, have no morality.

Jonathan Grant on May 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Jon, I couldn’t stand how the ingratiating Jewish anti-Semite Ken Roth of Human Right Watch lectured to us about how Bin Laden’s being killed was a violation of international legal norms.

    He should tell that to 3000 dead Americans who never received a trial and were summarily executed.

    In my opinion, Bin Laden’s death was far too kind. He should have been filleted and then burned alive… like those who were incinerated on 9/11. That would have been fitting punishment.

    Those who want to give evil-doers due process of law don’t appear to understand the crucial distinction between upholding human rights and violating them.

    The terrorist is the enemy of mankind and deserves only one fate – and if we apply the death penalty extra-judicially, its one of those situations in which summary justice sends a strong message to others tempted to carry out even greater deeds of evil against us.

    You will be found and you will be killed. That’s all terrorists deserve to know.

    NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Dear “Rabbi”:

I’ll try to keep this simple”: YOU ARE A FOOL!

Osama bin Laden was a vile piece of trash; not a “human being!” The slug murdered 25 of my friends!

Your politically correct pandering is little more than wholesale appeasement. It makes me (and I’m sure millions of Americans) puke!

I am ashamed to be a Jew if being one means that people like you who allegedly represent me (YOU DO NOT!) preach the kind nonsensical drivel you do.

ED SCHNEIDER
FDNY Retired (1990)

FDNYretiree.com LLC
FDNYretiree.org
FDNYretiree.net

Ed Schneider on May 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Ed, You said it best!

    Neils60 on May 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Well, maybe subconsciously a few of them are a little happy in spite of themselves. I notice they have the Festival Choir on hand tonight.

Bad as Reform Judaism has been, it is getting worse. They are getting closer and closer to J Street with their new officers.

Little Al on May 6, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Like their new Beinartist Rabbi Richard Jacobs.

    For the Jewish Left, supporting Israel is no longer “cool.” Which is why they adore Muslim Nazis who would probably execute them first for their stupidity.

    If we could ship all of them to an Islamic country, the world would be a far better place without them.

    NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I have to wonder if Rabbi Berk was as upset over the murder of the Fogel family as he is over Osama bin Laden getting whacked.

There’s no difference between killing bin Laden and killing Reinhard Heydrich. I wouldn’t call it justice, though, since they both got off way too light.

rglovejoy on May 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    There was Operation Anthropoid in 1942… headed by Josef Gabcik and Jan Kubis… the assassins thought they failed in their mission to kill Reinhard Heydrich. He died an agonizing death and the Czechs paid a terrible price in having the village of Lidice wiped off the face of the earth in the subsequent Nazi reprisal.

    But it was still the right thing to do. It showed the Czechs the Germans were not invincible and their oppression would one be lifted. Freedom requires exacting a heavy price from those who would seek to destroy. We need make no apologies for killing Bin Laden than the Czechs didn’t make in killing the Nazi tyrant who deprived them of their independence and their freedoms.

    NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Fantastic! Thanks for so much for your very well-thought out responses. I will take the appropriate action with regards to my synagogue membership next week.

Shabbat Shalom,

Phil Raimi

Phil Raimi on May 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    You’re a mensch and its rare to find people of principle these days.

    Thanks for bringing this our attention and I wish you Shabbat Shalom!

    NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I know what I’m going to say and that Bin Laden got what he deserved. End of story.

Ghostwriter on May 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

At some point, even friendships and family ties are not enough. It is like trying to remain in a neighborhood that you loved and cherished, but has now become a crime infested death trap. If such a place is no longer safe and good, it is time to move on. Friends and family members will accept such a decision, if they are worth remaining in active contact with.

Worry01 on May 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Worry, the Bible tells us to put our loyalty to G-d above family ties and ties of friendship. When someone is doing evil we should not pity or help them. Morality should take precedence over self-interest. We live in a world where unfortunately there’s far too much of the latter and precious little of the former. Its human nature to appease the powerful and not to do the right thing.

And if it comes down to having to choose, people who won’t do the right thing are people who don’t deserve your respect and admiration in the first place even if you happen to be close to them.

NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I actually think we are on the same page. Blood ties and friendships are very important things, but they are not the most important thing. You can even find examples of this with the United Church of Christ and Episcopal Church. They effectively stopped being Christian churches long ago, but people kept attending for the sake of their parents, or because someone way back when had a stained glass window put in. Those are not valid reasons for sticking with a church or synagogue. One has to evaluate a religious institution based upon what it is now, and not on what it was in the past.

    Worry01 on May 8, 2011 at 7:58 am

Thank you Norman and Debbie for both the kind words, and words of wisdom. My comments on your site were very heartfelt. I’m still mad about it and my son David was even pissed off when he called us from Jerusalem and we told him about it earlier today. He “got it” right away – as soon as the words came out of his mother’s mouth telling him about the rabbi’s email. I guess a 17 year old can grasp something morally that a 55+ year old Reform rabbi cant seem to understand.

Phil Raimi on May 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    You’re welcome… I liked your son’s reaction. When I was almost his age when the Coastal Road Massacre happened in Israel, I didn’t understand why they took Samir Kuntar alive. I’d have put him out of his misery. And its to Israel’s eternal shame he was set free for a handful of bodies.

    He should not be allowed to die peacefully in his bed.

    NormanF on May 6, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Dear Phil,

    thank you for outing this scumbag. You might be interested in this piece of British slang:

    “berk, burk [b??k]
    n
    Brit slang a stupid person; fool
    [shortened from Berkeley or Berkshire Hunt rhyming slang for c*nt].”

    Occam's Tool on May 6, 2011 at 10:59 pm

To the freakoid who wrote the FIRST post in this thread…

Count me in as one of the many peeps NOT unhappy with the long-overdue death of Uber Terrorist Osama bin Laden. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Anyone who wants to judge me by ALWAYS celebrating the demise and death of evil people, have a go. I welcome it and it will be the clue to keep away from YOU. Believe me, I have more contempt for those who DON’T dispell evil and I want to know who you are so I can stay the hell away from you and tell anyone who will listen that YOU’RE the evil ones.

These people are such frauds! We know we all have enemies in life and I am the sort of person who is NOT above wishing a hateful death on a terrible person IN MY EVERYDAY life. Let alone these hellish terrorists. You may not like it (so effing what!) but at least I am not a phony liar.

Skunky on May 6, 2011 at 8:45 pm

BTW…I’d like a roll call of all these people (famous and not) who are pulling the “he was a human being!” bullsh.

I know of Adam Levine of that horrible group Maroon 5. Who else? Please post on this thread. I want to know who these evil SOBs are!!

Skunky on May 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I’m adding Rashard Mendenhall to the list of the Boo Hoo Squad who are crying a sea of tears for the death of bin Laden. Read DS’ post on that idiot if you have not yet.

I think it’s safe to say if he ain’t a dhimmi he’s a Moooooslim. They will always stick together and I think DS has taught us to really put them to the test (when they are equivocating) one must ask them if they will denounce Hamas and Hezbollah and if they believe that Israel has the right to exsist.

(And from this very site, one learns how to spot the “Moderate Mooooslim” frauds out there like Walid Shoebat (who I sussed out recently on Laura Ingraham’s radio show (but if I had just searched his name HERE, I would have learned the REAL story on him) when he was a recent guest), Dr. Zudhi Jasser who also was recently on the LI and the Savage show and refused to say OBL was NOT a Mooooslim because he doesn’t like when the hardcore Jahadis call him an apostate. I also heard an interview with another fraud I had never heard of named Anwer Sher on a local show and the red sirens were ringing out of control when he was on. I have no idea if DS has covered him here, but I know she’ll know of him and will have the proper 4-1-1 on him!)

Skunky on May 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm

For the last decade, bin Laden has been the face of Muslims and Islam (much to the chagrin of most of those judged guilty by association). From here on out it will be shopkeepers in Tunsia, students in Egypt, bookkeeps in Lybia and all the extrodinary ordinary Arabs transforming the Middle East – al Qaeda is being punked by Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Try and resuscitate the corpse brought to us by DevGru or bear witness and facilitate the birth of a better tomorrow – your choice.

dorsano on May 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I doubt Rabbi Berk said anything about the death of the little Fogel girl. She was a “settler” after all.

People like him are the reason that people dislike Jews. A piece of filth.

Occam's Tool on May 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm

The more Palestians have to lose, the safer Israel is. Once Israel realizes that, the world will be a be a better place.

“Settlers” are part of the problem and they need to become part of the solution. They might start with looking at international law and UN resolutions regarding the creation of Israel – they can count on the world’s support in making those boundries secure.

If they’re interested in something more than that then they are not doing right by their children.

dorsano on May 7, 2011 at 12:15 am

    “The world will be supportive of Israel’s existence within its pre-war 1967 borders.”

    Dear Dorsano,

    what planet are you on? Israel has had to fight from day 1 with only 1 decent ally.

    Occam's Tool on May 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I take no particular joy in our assassinating Osama bin Laden. Nonetheless, the need to do so in order to protect America has to be one of the most widely held consensus public policy positions in the history of the United States.

Sometimes, I think America is like a nation of helpless “munchkins” shouting “Hail Dorothy! The Wicked Witch is dead!” You know the story! Just as the Wicked Witch of the East was killed, the Wicked Witch of the West stepped in and tormented everyone. This is analogous to our situation today.

Osama bin Laden is dead but Aymin Al-Zawahiri is alive and making no secret of his intent to attack America in devastating fashion. In order to protect America’s citizens, Al-Zawahiri must also be found and assassinated.

Praying for peace does not mean failing to protect ourselves. Holding human life sacred does not mean we allow people to murder us without resistance. We are obligated to resist those who seek to murder us.

Several times, Osama bin Laden took responsibility for the 9/11/01 attacks and bragged about them. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he made clear his intent to continue similar attacks. America was well within its right to assassinate him. Aymin Al-Zawahiri has also made clear his intent to plan and execute a devastating attack on America similar to the 9/11/01 attacks. He too must be found and assassinated in order to protect the American public. I need not take joy in this endeavor to support it.

The moral and ethical issues behind the assassination of Osama bin Laden can only be refuted by those who support his goals. These goals are not only hostile to the American nation, but fundamentally genocidal toward the Jewish people. No rabbi in his right mind can possibly argue against the assassination of bin Laden.

I agree with Debbie’s thesis that the joy expressed by Americans over the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden carries the risk that we now believe the threat of Islamic terrorism is diminished. It is hardly diminished. In fact, the current de-stabilization of numerous Muslim regimes (characterized by the mainstream news media as “the Arab Spring”), carries a serious likelihood that munitions controlled by these regimes will end up in the hands of Muslim terrorists.

Assassinating Osama bin Laden was not only necessary, it was “old business” when compared to new threats emerging every day. Promoting remorse for bin Laden’s assassination only discourages the resolve America needs to continue protecting ourselves from these new threats.

There is No Santa Claus on May 7, 2011 at 1:10 am

This Rabbi is either off his meds, or he needs to be psychoanalyzed and medically evaluated and then be put on meds. Unfortunately, he’s one of too many of our brethren who have sadly disconnected from reality to follow the “idol” of political correctness and other related forms of mental illness. I guess that is the one idol that Avraham Avinu forgot to smash. Of all of them, the “political correctness idol” is the one that is the most dangerous, and the biggest threat to the Jewish people.

D'vorah on May 7, 2011 at 1:40 am

God works in mysterious way, Santa Claus – this time around it’s with Twitter, the Hannah Montana backpacks girls in Pakistan carry with them on their way to school (along with thier veils), Al Jazeera, and the daredevil canine U.S. Navy Seals took with them into Abbottabad – you can stir in an eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog, and boil and bubble – but it will not be able to raise the corpse of bin Laden – as Bones would say – “He’s dead, Jim”.

dorsano on May 7, 2011 at 2:19 am

Another atheist Rabbi, right?

Aren’t atheists NOT supposed to be clerics? Tell me what’s wrong with this picture.

We must not forget that OBL was simply a guy with cash who bankrolled operations, a little bit like a Hollywood producer, except that his productions are bigger and more bloody.

That is another reason why I’m not, nor even consider dancing the Hora every time an evil person gets his/her just deserts. Evil will always be around, here and everywhere, now and forever.

Maybe that’s why I don’t believe in religion.

The Reverend Jacques on May 7, 2011 at 2:27 am

“Evil will always be around” – and it comes in many shades best as I can figure – God must wonder all the time as far as I can tell about just how many Gays he has to create before the rest of us figure out that he wants around them around.

dorsano on May 7, 2011 at 2:38 am

What a bunch of vindictive, idiots you people are. Have you no decency or sense of fairness at all? How can you condemn a person for something that you just THINK he was going to say, but that, in fact, he doesn’t believe, and, in fact, he didn’t say. Thats what they do in Iran. I heard Rabbi Berk speak tonight and he just didn’t deliver the speech that you people criticized him for delivering even tho the criticism came before he even spoke. What kind of people are you. You’re all heat and no light. You have nothing to say to anyone who believes in rational discourse. Rabbi Berk is not sad that OBL was killed and is dead. Nor does he believe that anyone else should be. You people reveal nothing but your ignorance and unfairness by judging people before they even say anything. You all owe Rabbi Berk an apology, especially the blogger for the ugly things you said. You should all be ashamed of yourselves for trying to silence someone before they even speak. None of you, except Phil, have ever even heard of Rabbi Berk. Where do you get the gall to even comment before he even speaks? You people deserve each other. By the way, Phil, whoever you are, go find another synagogue, I doubt you’ll be missed.
SteveR

SteveR on May 7, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Steve R., thanks for speaking up. Now I know you’re one of the scumbags to stay awaaaaaaaaay from.

    I love it when dolts like you make it easy for me. You’ve spoken and I am pointing and laughing at you. You’re one of the bad ones.

    Phil will find a great Synagogue and be away from vermin like YOU.

    Skunky on May 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Hi Steve.

    I don’t think people here are vindictive, indecent, idiots. That being said, I hope you read my earlier comments regarding Debbie’s column.

    I don’t always agree with Debbie, but I’ve learned to be patient in my responses. All too often, over a period of time, events shake out and prove her correct.

    Like you, I didn’t quite understand why there was a rush to condemn the rabbi BEFORE he and his guest speaker gave their presentations. While I didn’t explicitly say so, I hope you’ll notice that attitude in my comments. I appreciate your observations of the event and take comfort that my earlier speculation seems to be correct: “No rabbi in his right mind can possibly argue against the assassination of bin Laden.”

    I can tell you that I certainly have some empathy for Phil Raimi’s frustration. More and more, Reform and Conservative synagogues are forsaking Judaism and embracing liberal orthodoxy. More and more Reform and Conservative rabbis are displaying overtly insufficient support for the Jewish State (That’s about as nice as I can put it.) while embracing liberal causes like gay marriage, Sharia Law, Ground Zero Mosques etc.

    Maybe Phil Raimi jumped the gun a bit. Yet, I’ll speculate with great comfort that this only happened after he witnessed numerous instances of absurd, non-Jewish behavior in his synagogue gaining (what Debbie likes to call) “the kosher seal of approval” from the rabbi. I have seen this trend time, and time again.

    Debbie is not a vindictive, indecent, idiot; neither are her fans who write comments on this blog. We are human beings who routinely observe things Debbie writes about quite independently of her columns or views. If you’re going to disagree with the columnist and commentators, I’d greatly appreciate your doing so politely and without sweeping condemnation.

    Sincerely,

    There is NO Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

    There is NO Santa Claus on May 8, 2011 at 12:57 am

SteveR – there is one way to make this right.

Let Rabbi Berk step up right here.

You do realize that WE are at war.

In fact, since the dawn of existence, we are at war with pretty much everything, even the truth.

Everyone here has spoken their respective truths. I personally would like to read Rabbi Berk’s truth.

Remember, had anyone followed that Torah to the letter, the world would have gone nuclear a long time ago. Which is either a good or bad thing.

Nobody owns the truth, not even rabbis, priests or imams. Only fools claim that they do.

The Reverend Jacques on May 7, 2011 at 3:44 am

I don’t care how OBL died; it was just to kill that crapstain.
I am sick of the already redundant spew: he-was-a-human-being-and-we-have-to-respect-him-in-death. Respect? I would have fed his corpse to hungry razorbacks. Yum!

Vlad the Jihadi Impaler on May 7, 2011 at 8:30 am

Classic Debbie Schlussel. That is, bashing someone else for not believing as she does. I’m not referring to Ms. Schlussel’s comments concerning what Rabbi Berk said regarding what happened to bin Laden (although I see absolutely nothing wrong with a congregation discussing the subject), but instead her comments regarding the Reform movement within Judaism. I’d really hate to see what she has to say about Reconstructionist or Humanistic Judaism. Perhaps Ms. Schlussel enjoys bashing other Jews for belonging to a different branch of Judaism than herself (this is evidenced by her comments regarding the Reform movement within Judaism), but I myself find it completely repugnant and extraordinarily myopic. Know-it-allism at its finest. Very very sad. Debbie Schlussel should be ashamed of herself, but for some reason I seriously doubt that she is…..

Dalton on May 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Dalton, you’re a classic useful idiot. Because of your namby-pamby equivocating ways, I would never expect you understand where DS or any self-respecting Conservative/Orthodox Jew is coming from on this.

    Some of us can just smell a whiff of equivocation and that is what we are reacting to with this sad Rabbi. We are smart enough to know what is around the corner at this point in the game and that is we are reacting so strongly. We are NOT gonna stick around to take in the full stench of equivocation that we know is inevitable.

    Glad YOU CAN’T see it because it exposes YOU too!

    Skunky on May 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Debbie is a Modern Orthodox Jew. I don’t think she can be expected to accept the way the Reform and increasingly Conservative Jews have conducted themselves. And liberal Judaism is disappearing. In few generations, nearly all the surviving practicing Jews will be Orthodox. As we can see, the Jewish Left doesn’t care about Jewish survival.

    Jews should. There aren’t many of them left.

    NormanF on May 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Yes, you would complain if she spoke ill of Hitler or Stalin. Should we have worried about Pol Pot’s inner child, or perhaps been more concerned with the millions that he killed off in Cambodia. Yup, nothing to see here but a Rabbi playing nice with the memory of murderous thug. There are always those who cooperate enthusiastically with such regimes when they take over, and I suspect that you are one of them. Nine grams of lead or an over for them, no? Yes, you are a classic yourself.

    worry01 on May 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Bin Laden was first and foremeost a Monster that hid his murderous ways behind religion. Yes we should celebrate his death the way we celebrate the death of all monsters that masquerade as human beings.

mo on May 7, 2011 at 10:51 am

Rabbi Berk,

I am an Eastern Orthodox Catholic. They abhor violence like you never believe. But We must have a balanced understanding of the teachings. If some one tries to kill you are allowed to defend your life by killing him first. Same with Usamah bin Laden. He was planning to kill thousands other and we are entitled to end his life of terrorism to save the lives of others.

Rabbis are known to split hairs. You should be able to split hairs in this question.

G. R. SCHAROUBIM on May 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

Reverend Jacques – Rabbi Berk doesn’t owe you or anyone else in this group an explanation. It would only dignify the tripe, vitriol and character assassination that the posters here seem to take such pleasure in. It is they who need to “step up” and take responsibility for their slander. The man wrote an email to his congregants to provoke thought and encourage attendance. The people here jumped to outrageous conclusions before he even spoke. If any of them had heard what he actually said they couldn’t have written the things they wrote. Is that what we have sunk to in this country? Are people to be condemned a priori for things that we only think they might say? Is the knowledge that a person is a Reform Rabbi sufficient to know and prejudge their thoughts and beliefs even before they utter a word? What kind of world do these posters believe in? No, Rabbi Berk doesn’t owe this group of thugs the time of day.

SteveR on May 7, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I don’t have to justify the necessity of defeating evil.

    Rabbi Berk seems to have a problem with it and if he does, he shouldn’t be in the G-d business in the first place.

    NormanF on May 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm

I was looking through the New York Post’s “A day in pictures” from May 6,2011,and came across a photo with this caption,”Palestinian youths throw bricks and stones at an Israeli car that mistakenly drove into the mostly Arab neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.”

It shows a large group of Arabs hurling stones against this poor persons car.

Hmmmmmm,kinda takes the air out of the myth of the claim of the poster who bragged:
“even when I was mistaken for Israeli, the worst thing that happened to me was that I was almost drowned in the coffee and tea they offered me.”

Yeah…coffee and tea…

ebayer on May 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Hey SteveR, let me ask you a question, had this been around 1945 when Hitler killed himself, and this fake Rabbi had sympathy for Hitler (who killed his people during the holocaust along with other jews, christians, atheist, communist, socialist, liberals, republicans, conservatives, gypies, etc.) will you be coming onto this site and defend this so-called Rabbi because he’s said that Hitler died?

SteveR, WAKE THE HELL up man and live in the eyesorish real world that the rest of us live in, OBL was one of the most ruthless and murderous POS’s who ever lived amongst civilization. Osama was not a typical human being, and NO SteveR, I have NO sympathy for OBL and I’m glad the POS is dead, he deserved it. And Rabbi Berk is dead wrong, this is one of the reasons why the synagouge’s across this country are dying out is because of rabbi’s like Mr. Berk (and Debbie has written articles in the past on why synagouges are emptying out) and the samething can be said for the church as well. This Rabbi should just stick to the basics, preach the word of god from the Torah, NOT bring politics into his sermon, quite frankly SteveR, I find that very offensive, by bringing politics into religion!

“A nation is defined by it’s borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on May 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Oh and BTW SteveR, I forgot to mention this as well, do you also think that we need to owe Rashard Mendenhall (in which I’m a Steelers fan and Mendenhall represents my NFL team) an apology because he felt bad that OBL died? We don’t owe Mendenhall and apology nor do we owe Rabbi Michael Berk an apology as well, to me both Berk and Mendenhall are both schmucks and imbeciles because there sad that Bin Laden is dead.

Here’s the link regarding Rashard Mendenhall, SteveR, I dare you write a post and start saying, “you guys are too hard on Rashard Mendenhall, he’s should be sad that OBL is dead, so you guys owe Rashard Mendenhall an apology”, BULLCRAP, BS! Here’s the link SteveR:

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/36839/schmuck-pittsburgh-steeler-rashard-mendenhall-feels-for-bin-laden-weve-only-heard-one-side/

“A nation is defined by it’s borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on May 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

So this will be my last post, because I see now that some of you seem to have difficulty understanding the English language. As I said in my prior posts, Rabbi Berk did not say in his speech, nor does he feel that he or anyone else should be sad about the death of OBL. And my simple point is that you folks seem to revel in attacking people for what you think they are GOING to say. Your attack might have been vindicated or at least been less egregious if the Rabbi had ACTUALLY said in his speech what you thought he was going to say. But he didn’t. Not even close. That fact seems to be lost on some of you so I don’t see any point in repeating it a fourth time in any future posts. It’s obvious that you prefer to ignore the facts here and wallow in your own preconceived notions. Rabbi Berk is a fine man who does not deserve the vilification he has been subjected to here, by people who don’t know him and have never heard him speak and therefore have no right to attribute to him positions he does not take and beliefs he does not hold just because it feels good to them to do that.

SR: You are a moron. That the rabbi even raised the issue as a legitimate position in the first place says it all. DS

SteveR on May 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Ah, no Steve, it’s YOU whom am having trouble reading and comprehending the English language.

    You’re one of those who work the hamster wheel extra hard to try NOT to believe an obvious truth. We can’t help you with that.

    Sayonara Steve! Buh-bye! :D

    Skunky on May 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Like Debbie said, why couldn’t the good Rabbi see what America did was an act of moral goodness?

    Which incidentally, is why the Muslim World hates us and when we kill their mass-murdering terrorists, it puts us on their bad side.

    I’d like to see America kill more of them instead of pandering to those who want us dead.

    This isn’t a complicated issue except to those who want to obfuscate the reality about what Islam represents – fanaticism, intolerance, mayhem, destruction and death.

    Rabbi Berk and his ilk need to wake the heck up!

    NormanF on May 8, 2011 at 12:01 am

SteveR, you still don’t get it dude, Rabbi Berk is wrong, Osama is NOT a typical human being, as I’ve said in my post an hour ago, OBL was one of the most ruthless, vicious and cold-blooded POS’s to have ever lived on the face of the earth. SteveR your right, I to assume Rabbi Berk is a good man, just because he’s a good man doesn’t mean he’s right all the time and knows what he’s talking about!

And Rabbi Berk should come onto this site and explain himself on why he thinks that Osama is was just another human being and having some sympathy for an evil SOB! And Debbie is right to call out Mr. Berk and just like me and the rest of the posters have a right to call out Rabbi Berk on why he’s sad that OBL is dead. And as I’ve said SteveR, do you think we owe Rashard Mendenhall an apology because he to was sad that OBL is dead?

“A nation is defined by it’s borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on May 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

SteveR – I still stand by my word here; just the thought that the congregants even have any kind OF moral dilemma at all about this whole OBL death says it all to me. I cannot understand how Jews in particular would have any kind of issue with the extinguishment of evil after what we have as a people have endured is simply beyond me. My father survived almost 1-1/2 years in Auschwitz and was rescued near death on the Death Marches by an American soldier – I don’t think I have anything to apologize for regarding my indignation about Rabbi Berk’s email!

I having been feeling totally uninspired by the present clergy for some time now and this whole incident just sealed it for me. BTW – I walked out on a highly politicized sermon that Rabbi Citrin gave a few years ago at Yom Kippur, yet we remained family friends with him until the board unceremoniously booted him from the shul a short time later. It’s time to move on from CBI and its hypersensitive, hyperpoliticized environment. Rabbi Berk is a big enough man to endure a few critical barbs thrown his way – he is in a highly public position in a huge synagogue. I think he can handle some criticism.

Phil Raimi on May 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Phil, its a broader issue than that.

    If Jews don’t stand up for themselves, they shouldn’t expect any one else to stand up for them either.

    You and Debbie increasingly seem like exceptions to the rule. Last month, she reported on her experience with a Conservative synagogue in Detroit that honored a HAMAS and Hezbollah activist and she was forcefully kept out of the place for her pains.

    When you take a stand for the right thing, it can cost you very dearly. The humiliation of mistreatment for behaving decently is more than most of us can bear.

    I’m glad you took a stand and I admire you for it. That’s rare these days.

    NormanF on May 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm

SteveR: I don’t resort to character assassination to make a point. But I think you’re trying too hard to defend your Rabbi.

Over here, there is no fence-sitting: you’re either “this” or “that”. In the case of Rabbi Berk, it’s all about “that”.

But feel free to come over and post your views. As long as you have thick skin, you’ll do well. Just remember, you’re probably going to be treated like “that”.

Prove the righteous wolves wrong. And stop trying to be the Rabbi’s Bacha Bazi Boy.

“In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.” – Ayn Rand

The Reverend Jacques on May 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Just so you know, Jerome Weisenfeld was abandoned by his colleagues at CUNY who decided to honor Tony Kushner after all.

They would never give in to pressure to honor someone who was against blacks and Muslims.

But hey – its open season on the Jews and Israel.

When even Jews can’t take a stand for the Jewish people and Israel, it says much about the times we live in today.

Even Jews can’t say “NO” to the anti-Semites within their midst.

Its sad.

NormanF on May 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm

With all due respect to Mr. Raimi, he is making a horrible mistake. He should not leave the congregation. He should publically denounce the anti-Torah suicidal attitude of the Rabbi in front of the congregants. Then, if he is asked to leave, he should call them hypocrites and leave.
I’ve rebuked leftist rabbis and forced them to apologize or shut up, at least for a time.

Ron Lewenberg on May 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Ron, we have to do what is right for us.

What Rami is doing contrasts with Obama who sat for decades in a church with a pastor who spewed vile anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and pro-Muslim rhetoric and he said and did nothing.

Silence in the face of evil is implicitly agreeing with it. You cannot be neutral on it. One has to choose a side.

I always hope it’ll be the right one.

NormanF on May 8, 2011 at 12:06 am

    There is no difference between the sharia advocates and the nazis. They will need to be destroyed the same way, too—by killing enough of them so that their will to fight is destroyed. Very simple, not hard to understand. Unless you’re a Liberal.

    This reminds me of a classic joke from Red Dwarf, in which “Rimmer” is attempting to negotiate with alien human eating monsters. He formed an organization called the Committee to Liberate and Integrate Terrifying Organisms and help Reintegrate them Into Society.

    Unfortunate acronym, as he himself noted… Replace Terrifying Organisms with Terrorist Organizations and you have the organization that Berk wants to lead.

    Occam's Tool on May 8, 2011 at 2:24 am

Norman – you are truly a mensch. Every one of your posts contains several nuggets of great wisdom. I’ve really learned a lot and have benefitted greatly from them.

Phil Raimi on May 8, 2011 at 1:51 am

My email:

Dear Rabbi Berk: So your congregants are saying that they don’t know whether to be happy that a terrible man is dead or sad that a human being has been killed? Remind them that Jews are commanded to blot out the memory of Amalek! Tell your congregants “When my children ask me why people are glad that a man has been killed, tell them “that man would very happily have killed you. He’s bad. The world is better off without him.'”

Shavuah Tov. Hodesh Tov. Hag Samaech,

Respectfully yours,

Miranda Rose Smith

Miranda Rose Smith on May 8, 2011 at 3:33 am

Reading these posts (except for SteveR) make me very frightened about our Jewish future. I struggle to find one of you who knows what you are talking about. This blog thread was incited before Rabbi Berk even spoke. It was based on what one individual assumed the Rabbi was going to say. And that assumption was wrong. Totally wrong. Yet each of your viscious slurs feeds on the last’s. Had anyone bothered to listen to the Rabbi before attacking him so viciously, they would realize how ridiculous this whole blog thread is. As is true for centuries, Jews come to their Rabbi when they are questioning or troubled. Many in Rabbi Berk’s congregational community were struggling expressed to him that they were grappling with conflicting emotions — happiness and relief that a ruthless villain had been eliminated but discomfort watching people on TV treating this somber and historic moment as if it were a Super Bowl victory. They turned to him for guidance and he set out to do what Rabbis of all Jewish traditions have done for centuries –to try to educate us about what Torah teaches us on such issues and about how Judaism informs us on how to deal with our feelings. If any of you had waited for him to actually speak, you’d know he stated, clearly, that he will not wring his hands for even a second over the fact that U.S. forces killed Bin Laden. His presentation was designed to help us draw our own conclusions about what Torah and Rabbinic midrash have to say about how we should behave at times of victory over our enemies like this one. Do we demonstrate humility or give voice to vengence? Whether you agree or disagree with his decision to engage this discussion with his congregants, at least have enough journalistic integrity to get the facts straight before you commit your hate to writing. Let a man speak before attacking his words. And if you want to call yourself Jews, particularly if you want to claim you are holier and more righteous Jews than Rabbi Berk or Reform Jews, generally, please take a moment to reflect on the commandement against L’shon Harah and on what Pirket Avot says about the dishonor of spreading unfounded gossip. You should all be ashamed. God forbid non-Jews glean their conception of Jewish values from comments like yours. God forbid non-Jews see you talk about your own brothers as gay vegans who deserve to be beheaded. You dare to express concern about why “they” hate us and blame that on Rabbi Berk? Clearly “YOU” hate us. Be concerned about THAT! Last time I read the Torah, gays and vegans and, yes, Reform Jews and even the Rabbis you choose to slander were all created in God’s image just like each of you. If you’re Jewish, be Jewish. And if you can’t be Jewish, at least be quiet.

Greg on May 8, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Was not his letter not either written by him, or at least approved by him? Also, why would a rabbi call in a psychologist in this situation? I suspect that even Rabbi Berk realized that even he could not contort Judaism to a sufficient degree to justify his assertions, so a secular outsider was necessary. Finally, very evil people are made created in the divine image, but that that makes their offenses even more abhorrent. They knowingly choose evil over good, as have you. Not all of the descendants of Abraham are his children. Moses had to deal with apostasy in his own camp and family(Korah). Those who defend corruption as righteousness are doubly cursed, since they compound their own disbelief with a pretense of righteousness which ensnares the unwary.

    Worry01 on May 8, 2011 at 8:26 am

    C’mon people!! As I have said, it’s morons like Steve and Greg that actually do us a favour…they show how they will let evil stand and we MUST identify them, break their arguement and then shun them with all we have.

    DS summed it up in two sentences to Thing One (Steve). Bravo!

    If Yanks (and all who hate Islamonazi-ism) cannot celebrate the demise of the evil incarnate OBL, whom could we celebrate? It’s getting scary how misguided so many are.

    Those people, in the end will be dangerous in numbers because they will let heaps of innocents die. That is wrong and that is evil. I am standing my ground on THAT!

    Skunky on May 8, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I was always more extreme than my Jewish father, may his memory be for a blessing about right and wrong. I get my sense of clarity and stubborn resolve from my German mother. And trust me, I know there is a fundamental difference between right and wrong. I have no tolerance for evil people and if it was given to me, I would wipe every one of them out for the good of the world. I’m not conflicted or ridden by guilt over the bad guys. I want to see them be stopped and I don’t hide my complete sense of satisfaction when they are. Evil people deserve to be annihilated and if no one understands this, then G-d help all the decent and righteous people who live on our world. I’m all for co-existence, pluralism and democracy but I don’t extend this generosity of spirit to those who would destroy America and Israel. I am very radical and very clear in my thoughts and I have absolute conviction in certain matters and since its a dangerous world, the way I see in what needs to be done to ensure the survival of civilization and all we hold dear will never change for me as long as G-d allows to draw breath upon this earth.

    NormanF on May 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.” Genesis 9:6 Death penalty is issued for murder.

sg on May 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Which Israel does not obey and until the Jews obey it, they will continue to be punished.

    The only fitting sentence a murderer deserves is death, not a few decades in prison.

    NormanF on May 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Jake, I completely take offense what you said, you have the nerve to compare DS and us the posters to the Taliban? WTF are you talking about you putz, your another imbecile who’s carrying the water for this Rabbi, who’s disappointed that OBL is dead. And did you read this article word-for-word Jake? Apparently you didn’t read this article, if you would’ve read the article, you wouldn’t have typed a moronic post like that.

Jake are you also sad that Osama is eradicated from civilization? Jake, Greg, SteveR & Dalton, I would like all four of you useful idiots to live in the REAL WORLD like DS and the rest of us and see the ugly naked truth on what’s happening around you & WAKE THE HELL UP! Islam is at war with us (the fanatical islamist I’m talking about), they declared war on us many years ago, and our moronic government decided to ignore them. So we all are engaging in rational discussions and debates, and NO Jake none of us on this site DON’T belong in Iran, North Korea, etc. as you claimed and I to take offense at that, and as I’ve said, Rabbi Berk is WRONG. He should just stick to the basics by preaching the word of god from the Torah, NOT engage in political discussions during a sermon in his synagogue. And I find what Rabbi Berk did completely offensive, by bringing politics into religion, last I checked, we had a “seperation of church and state”, DO NOT bring politics into religion Rabbi Berk!

“A nation is defined by it’s borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on May 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Note how SteveR, Greg, and Jake (assuming they are not the same person) still have not told us how, specifically, Debbie and Phil’s characterization erred. After all, the event has already taken place (and we know that these guys don’t mind using the computer during Shabbat).

But really, we know the “rabbi” by the concerns of his flock. There is zero halachic basis for feeling sad. The only issue is how much joy one should feel and how one should display it.

By the way, wouldn’t it be great if the SteveRs, Gregs, and Jakes paid attention to Torah when it might be at odds with their current views? I mean really, on what basis should a Reform Jew complain about Lashon Hara?

skzion on May 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

In a country where there are people who actually think that OBL is someone who deserves to be treated as “human”, is it any wonder that a vile, foul, evil-hearted and satanically inspired man like Obama (aka/Barry Soetero) can be elected president?

I’ve often heard it said by conservatives that the “American people are asleep”. I usually correct them by saying “No, the American people are indifferent!”.

CornCoLeo on May 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    If this monster didn’t deserve the death penalty – who does? Quite frankly, I’m only disappointed he couldn’t be revived and executed 3000 times.

    And his death was far too merciful compared to the way he sent others to their deaths. I was haunted that day and I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

    Hell yeah, karma is a b*tch and I may not agree with anything else Obama has done as President but he made the right call here.

    And if some people can’t live with that, that’s their problem. I thought its fitting he’s food for the sharks in the sea now.

    NormanF on May 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm

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