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Dear YU: My check is in the mail.

Last week, a friend returned from a trip to Egypt and the pyramids. “Was I interested in a trip there,” she asked. “No,” I responded, “I was already there, thousands of years ago, in Goshen and at the Sea.” I thought, I have no desire to return to Mitzrayim; I could get cucumbers and garlic at the local grocery. I had no intention in getting stuck in mitzrayim again.

Professor Joy Ladin

Professor Joy Ladin


Jay Ladin was not so fortunate. A tenured professor at Yeshiva University’s Stern College in New York City, Ladin is the Chairman of the Literature Department, head of the Writing Center, and a published poet. Ladin, perhaps stuck on the wrong side of the mehitzah and trapped in his own mitzrayim, decided on an exodus from the you that is you, to the you that will be, or from the current self to the future self. Two years ago, Professor Ladin announced that he would live transgendered and begin to transition from Jay to Joy. Never an easy decision for anyone. The university placed Ladin on indefinite leave.

Ladin, 47, returned to YU this semester as Professor Joy Ladin. Still an excellent teacher and administrator – just dressed differently from before. While some embraced her and learned from her courage, others were horrified and feared that it would hurt YU in its pocketbook. That saddened me. Here was the opportunity to open wide the tent of observant Judaism and teach Jews of all ages that all are accepted. This chance was sullied by thoughts of the potential damage to institutional development’s bank accounts.

But no matter what fund raisers, administrators, rabbinical leaders and students will say, either yeah or nay, Ladin is there and teaching. YU is the only known religiously conservative university to employ a tenured transgendered professor, and University President Richard Joel told a local NY newspaper that, “I’m proud of my university and all my faculty.” Thanks. Talk about checkbook Judaism. My check is in the mail in support of Ladin. Maybe the naysayers will see that doing the right thing has economic benefits.

57 Comments

  1. Ben-David

    9/9/2008 at 6:39 am

    Rah-rah-rah! Look how *progressive* I am!

    Now read some facts:

    There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend tomorrow.

    The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham’s aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.

    Its review warns that the results of many gender reassignment studies are unsound because researchers lost track of more than half of the participants. For example, in a five-year study of 727 post-operative transsexuals published last year, 495 people dropped out for unknown reasons. Dr Hyde said the high drop out rate could reflect high levels of dissatisfaction or even suicide among post-operative transsexuals. He called for the causes of their deaths to be tracked to provide more evidence.

    Research from the US and Holland suggests that up to a fifth of patients regret changing sex. A 1998 review by the Research and Development Directorate of the NHS Executive found attempted suicide rates of up to 18% noted in some medical studies of gender reassignment.

    Link:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/jul/30/health.mentalhealth

  2. Baruch Who

    9/10/2008 at 10:37 am

    Ladin only announced his desire to be a transgender once he got tenure at the university under Orthodox Jewish auspices. Jay’s timing of his announcement to become Joy seems worth a question or two.

  3. larry

    9/10/2008 at 1:32 pm

    Ben David… research in the US and Holland suggests that over 80% or four fifths of patients do NOT regret geneder reassignment surgery. Suicide rates are even higher among those who are forced to live without reasignment.

    Baruch… no kidding. It is the smart Jewish thing to do. Once you have tenure, you ahve the freedom to live as you wish and conduct research under the umbrella of academic freedom. Ask Howard Zinn about academic freedom and tenure.

  4. Beth

    9/10/2008 at 4:23 pm

    Ben David is being silly. The reason so many people dropped out of the follow-up studies is that those of us who can, just stop identifying as trans, and fade into the woodwork. These studies are skewed, because the vast majority of their study sample is made up of people who either can’t pass very well or have other issues unrelated to their gender dysphoria.

    Baruch is being fairly ridiculous as well. That’s how tenure works. They dangle it in front of you like a carrot, and you get to express yourself freely once you have it. Mordechai Nisan in Israel announced his support for Kach the day after he was granted tenure by Hebrew University. Any number of professors have waited until receiving tenure to announce controversial views. It’s the way the system works.

  5. Ben-David

    9/11/2008 at 1:25 am

    More facts:
    The results of many gender reassignment studies are unsound because researchers lost track of more than half of the participants. For example, in a five-year study of 727 post-operative transsexuals published last year, 495 people dropped out for unknown reasons. Dr Hyde said the high drop out rate could reflect high levels of dissatisfaction or even suicide among post-operative transsexuals. He called for the causes of their deaths to be tracked to provide more evidence.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sorry Beth – there is no reason a person cannot lead a perfectly normal life while responding to a once-a-year questionnaire.

    … and if all these people were leading such normal lives, it would be pretty easy to locate them.

    Oh, and Beth – which is it? Are most people getting on swimmingly post-op, or is “the vast majority of their study sample made up of people who either can’t pass very well or have other issues”? My understanding was that the study tracked a random sample of people who underwent the surgery.

    Can’t have it both ways. This is the same victimology double-time we hear from gay rights activists, simultaneously saying “we’re normal!” and “no one would choose to be gay, pity us!”

    Can’t have it both ways.

    Suicide rates are around 25 percent before surgery, and around 20 percent after surgery – and that’s a conservative estimate since many people seem to be sinking out of sight after surgery.

    If they really were getting on with life they’d be leaving paper trails.

  6. froylein

    9/11/2008 at 1:38 am

    Suppose that’s just my opinion, which has greatly been shaped by more feminine appearances in European women, but all transgendered (do they also change the chromosomal set?) men I’ve seen so far still looked like men with fake female breasts, longer hair (with often swirls not typical of female scalps; ask any experienced hairstylist about that), and make-up. Similarly, all transgendered women that I’ve seen looked like flat-chested women with too much facial hair. I’m sympathetic to any emotional issues somebody might have, particularly in cases were people were actually born as hemaphrodites, but I don’t quite see how the anything but convincing results of hormonal treatment + surgeries + motion practice (women and men move differently, not only when walking; no “feminine” stride though with narrow hips), let alone the time and money invested in those procedures, do eventually improve the recipients’ emotional situation in the long run if they still stick out like a sore thumb.

  7. Tom Morrissey

    9/11/2008 at 4:19 am

    I’ll take women with fake female breasts any day.

  8. Beth

    9/11/2008 at 7:35 am

    Froylein, you only notice the ones who don’t pass well. The majority of transsexual women (they aren’t men) who you walk past in the street simply don’t register.

    Ben David, I was asked to participate in followups. I said no. Why would I want the constant reminder? I’d rather get on with my life.

    And no, the studies do not track a random sample, because they don’t have access to a random sample. Only a random sample of those who are willing to participate. They don’t include me, for example.

    And what do “paper trails” have to do with anything? You think these studies hire private detectives? I suppose I could be found, if someone really wanted to, even though I changed my name, but that’s not how they do studies. They contact people at the addresses they have on file, and those who aren’t there just aren’t included.

  9. froylein

    9/11/2008 at 8:50 am

    Beth, I don’t live far from Cologne, which is more than less the European capital of homosexuals and transgendered people, however, I still find them to be strikingly male. Men have different facial features, overall frame built, different hair, less visible white in their eyes, different hands etc. . Do they get tiny electric stun guns implanted to simulate menstruational cramps? Do they undergo neurosurgery to disable / impact three-dimensional thinking? Does their sight get altered? Do they get a second X-chromosome? Do they start acquiring different mnemotic dispositions? Do they turn from visual to auditive?
    Basically: What qualifies a person as a woman? Since laws vary even in various secular countries re: the official recognition of gender changes, the demands made on the recipient, the pre-requirements for the eventual surgries etc., there obviously is no clear line to be drawn. As a woman I object to the idea that all it takes to be a woman are a vagina, breasts and certain outfits. I do hope to be perceived as a woman based on more than the sum of my parts.

  10. Beth

    9/11/2008 at 10:23 am

    Froylein, I suspect you aren’t actually a freulein. Your sexist remarks implyng that women aren’t capable of three dimensional thinking are offensive in the extreme. At least two women in my family have had hysterectomies, and don’t get menstrual cramps. Are they not women?

    “Does their sight get altered?” Is there a difference between male sight and female sight? “Visual to auditive?” I have friends who were born with two X chromosomes who have advanced degrees in mathematics and engineering. You say “as a woman”, but I highly doubt any real woman would subscribe to the offensive gender stereotypes you are propounding.

  11. froylein

    9/11/2008 at 10:41 am

    Beth, as a woman I have no problem admitting what science has proved, namely that boys have got an innate ability, so to speak, for three-dimensional thinking, which needs to be practised with girls when growing up. Science has also shown that men have a narrower angle of view but can see farther while women have a wider angle of view but cannot see as far. Men are more inclined to react to visual stimuli, women to auditive stimuli; women are better auditive learners, memorize heard information better and are capable of hearing higher pitches of sound average men can’t (which has shown to be a disadvantage to male students if they’ve got teachers speaking with a high-pitched voice). BTW, one of my majors was mathematics. I’m about the last person to claim that women cannot pursue any jobs related to logic, but I can ackowledge that the physical and cognitive differences between men and women go beyond the secondary sexual features. And as a real woman, I can be feminine and emancipated.

  12. Tom Morrissey

    9/11/2008 at 12:10 pm

    ….And even run for VP of the USA.

  13. Tom Morrissey

    9/11/2008 at 12:11 pm

    Uh, make that Bundeskanzler.

  14. Beth

    9/11/2008 at 1:04 pm

    “froylein”, those scientific facts are statistical only, and have nothing to do with individual men and women.

  15. froylein

    9/11/2008 at 4:51 pm

    Tom, still trying to shove me into politics?

    Scientific facts go beyond statistics; individual experiences comparatively only are of anecdotal value. I don’t know any woman that defines her gender identity through her secondary sexual features only, but that is only of meaning as science shows me there’s indeed much more to the differences between genders regarding physicality and perception; serious gender-specific psychology still is at its dawn.

  16. DiGiTaL

    9/11/2008 at 11:03 pm

    It’s really all very sick. THis Jay Ladin is and the many like him are very disturbed, enough of this political correctness. This is just an attempt to justify such extreme plastic surgery and changing of appearance. Ben-David hit it right on the head, even presenting journal evidence.

  17. Ben-David

    9/13/2008 at 1:54 pm

    Beth wrote:
    I was asked to participate in followups. I said no. Why would I want the constant reminder?
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    As opposed to the hormone shots every other month or so?

    Come on – we’re talking about a once-a-year questionnaire for the first 5 years after major surgery. Filled out in the privacy of your home – you can put on pink nail polish and fill out the form while your toes are drying.

    Spare me the “get on with my life” BS. People are dropping out of these studies because they were psychologically unstable going in – and the surgery has in many cases just made them feel worse: even more damaged and freakish, even less normal.

  18. Beth

    9/13/2008 at 8:19 pm

    Bite me, Ben David. I don’t take hormone shots. I take a pill along with a multivitamin every morning. Big deal. So does my Mom. And I don’t wear nail polish (or makeup at all). Not my kind of thing. You have some really demented ideas.

  19. froylein

    9/14/2008 at 3:15 am

    Beth, just to clarify, I suppose you take a hormone pill which is an estrogene one but not a hormone pill designed to treat the effects of menopausal hormonal imbalances as I suppose in your mother’s case. Is that right?

    P.S.: Women tend to think of women that don’t use decorative cosmetics, not even foundation, as of masculine lesbians. For sake of your own perception, you might want to consider using some make-up.

  20. Ben-David

    9/15/2008 at 4:35 am

    froylein:
    Women tend to think of women that don’t use decorative cosmetics, not even foundation, as of masculine lesbians. For sake of your own perception, you might want to consider using some make-up.
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Well, that’s a rather sweeping generalization.

    I know many very feminine women who don’t use a stitch of makeup. Here in Israel, many women don’t like a greasy layer of foundation on their face in the heat.

  21. froylein

    9/15/2008 at 8:54 am

    BD, that’s why there are oil-free summer make-ups, compact make-ups and mineral powders. Good make-up isn’t obvious, yet you see the difference. 😉

  22. ck

    9/15/2008 at 9:03 am

    Uh… I know many women who do not wear any makeup and look spectacular – not at all “masculine lesbians.” Now you got me agreeing with BD! That was a rather grand sweeping generalization that’s not at all accurate. There are many women who chose not to wear makeup and it’s not because of their fondness for munching sapphic love.

  23. froylein

    9/15/2008 at 9:11 am

    Or maybe you’re just too complimentary towards average women. 😉

  24. froylein

    9/15/2008 at 9:13 am

    BTW, make-up does not necessarily include lipstick, eye make-up etc.

  25. DiGiTaL

    9/15/2008 at 9:24 am

    I’m sorry, I just can’t stop thinking about Mr. Garrison from South Park everytime I view this thread. South Park puts evertying in perspective.

  26. ck

    9/15/2008 at 9:28 am

    Good thing Jay’s first name wasn’t Ben.
    Badumbum…

    froylein: I love all women. But lack of makeup, be it blush, foundation, lip liner, lip gloss, eye shadow etc. etc. does not make one a lesbian! Come on Froylein!

  27. larry

    9/15/2008 at 9:28 am

    Exactly. I hear that Mr. Garrison is leaving South Park and moving to NYC, where he will take a position at Yeshiva University REITS rabbincal school as the assistant to the Rosh Yeshiva. In the words of the late chef, Garrison puts the rosh in the word rosh yeshiva

  28. froylein

    9/15/2008 at 9:44 am

    ck, I was talking about women’s perception not about actual biology. Men usually can’t tell the difference anyway even ones that are extraordinarily attentive, but women can and do notice the differences. Analogously, women dress for other women. Men are happy enough to notice matching bra and panties sets. 😛

    Larry, read DK’s recent post on YU. In synthesis, it’s all a big show. Oh, puppets may not be the worst thing to treat YU students to.

  29. Beth

    9/15/2008 at 9:48 am

    Froylein, you’re ridiculous. You need to get out more.

  30. froylein

    9/15/2008 at 9:52 am

    Funny enough I’m out at least ten hours per day and interact with at least 200 young adults on an average work day alone. And those love my style.

  31. ck

    9/15/2008 at 10:15 am

    I notice. Just sayin’

  32. froylein

    9/15/2008 at 10:19 am

    Let’s talk about autumn fashion. Maybe I can drag Larry into some shopping heaven or another next time I’m in town. I could do with more boots.

  33. Tiff

    9/16/2008 at 4:48 pm

    Beth, you are awesome. Don’t take any grief from a froylein who needs the validation of 200 young adults DAILY- I can do the math and I think that’s something like a tone of kids. Personally, I am suspicious of women who are need to be so vocal and superior about their femininity. Reminds me of manly men who are totally not gay. No, no, so not gay.

  34. froylein

    9/16/2008 at 4:54 pm

    And froylein is suspicious of people that define femininity as the possession of secondary sexual features.

  35. DiGiTaL

    9/16/2008 at 9:55 pm

    I’m suspicious of people who can’t appreciate Froylein’s whit and sarcasm.

  36. Ben-David

    9/17/2008 at 2:08 am

    And I’m suspicious of progressives who think sniffy condescension or snit-fits constitute rebuttal of factual argument.

  37. Tiff

    9/17/2008 at 8:55 am

    I could pretend to be insulted but seriously, I can’t think of any three people whose opinions, in general, I couldn’t respect any less. Let’s chalk up our differences to a generation gap? Bigotry? My underdeveloped sense of whiticism? Whitty? Pronounced wh-HIT-ty? I always getting smack for over enunciating, so I don’t know. Anyways, let’s agree on boots. I love them. I bet Beth does too!

  38. froylein

    9/17/2008 at 10:17 am

    BD, my point even was that such reasoning was highly regressive, in a way that not only clashes with respect towards women but the ideals of feminism at that. And I don’t really think it’s a generational matter not to pretend to see the Emperor’s new clothes as I haven’t hit 30 yet. My initial question from way up still has not been answered and has only been met by assumptions and suggestions aiming at being insulting while they were nothing but amusing. I have refrained and shall refrain from dishing back out at the same level of discourse as the replies I received above already were telling enough as they were given. I cannot help but find it amusing that those that mandate and expect tolerance and often even acceptance of their views deny those that very tolerance and particularly acceptance that choose to hold views that maybe deemed conservative (my approach was rather a feminist one actually by denying to base the identification of the female gender on the existence of secondary sexual features only). As far as I’m concerned, I need not accept everyone, I can tolerate most (unless they deliberately harm me), but I can show any person due respect. If some people have hastily jumped to feeling offended by apparently misreading / misunderstanding what I wrote above – whether by mistake or by choice- , I will not accept the position of being their target for venting off steam of frustration which pretty obviously has been growing for a longer period of time. On other threads on this blog I’ve read the term “victimology”; I think that term – the way it was defined / elaborated on – does rather well apply here.

  39. Tiff

    9/17/2008 at 11:04 am

    Hehe… that one was funny! You know Froylein, I don’t hate you or anything. We’d probably even get along in the real world. I just really find the know it all/ holier than thou attitude that often crops up on this blog and others (not a personal attack here) kind of offensive. I’m not sure how calling yourself a “real woman” to Beth was kind or respectful. I can’t speak for the transgendered but I’m pretty sure the way they view their sex must run deeper than anything they could get from hormone pills or surgeries. BD- I’m not disputing the facts of your study (as a scientist, fractions mean so much to me) but like larry, I think, hmmm 4/5 is not too bad at all. That’s like at least 80%. Where I go to school that gets you an A in the course. Can’t get better than an A, right?

  40. grandmuffti

    9/17/2008 at 12:22 pm

    Muffti is a little late coming to this but B-D, when a study loses track of a high number of participants, why should we off hand assume anything about the causes? Out of curiosity, was the expectation that hte surgery would cure clinical depression etc or merely be a contributing factor? i.e. is it fair to expect to see massive shifts of the sort you are saying we don’t see?

  41. froylein

    9/17/2008 at 3:46 pm

    Tiff, I’ve just re-read my comments and didn’t find a line in which I contrasted myself to Beth setting myself of as a “real woman”. Only in response to Beth denying me my gender, which was an assumption on Beth’s behalf, did I use the term “real woman”; that was in the context of listing a few minor or less obvious, yet distinctive, differences between men and women that I’ve got no problem acknowledging. I’m not sure how the hostility I faced for asking what constituted as a woman or made a woman be a woman was in any way called for. If expecting people to read the replies they refer to qualifies as holier-than-thou or know-it-all, that’s saddening. And it does make me wonder whether what constitutes as common courteousy over here, namely paying attention to a speaker / writer before replying, is only just an impediment to the development of this blog’s or other blogs’ dynamics in general. Anyhow, if that is the way I am perceived, I shall draw my conclusions from that.
    BTW, 80% earns you a 3+ here, which equals to a C- over there.

  42. Ben-David

    9/17/2008 at 4:30 pm

    Froylein:
    Why did you direct your comments to me?
    The snarky reference to progressives that use breezy, dismissive literary style to avoid discussing the facts was directed at Tiff – who’s gone on to blow more vacuous, self-absorbed bubbles.

    Muffti:
    The 2 conflicting theories are:
    1) Depression caused by the gender misalignment. Chop, chop – no more misalignment.

    2) Depression caused by other factors in the personality, expressed as sense of gender misalignment. Chop, chop is mutilation – counseling is needed to resolve underlying problems and reconcile patient to physical reality.

    It’s pretty clear that (1) predicts relief of depression post-op, while (2) predicts even worse functioning afterward – as awareness of mutilation/barrenness is added to the still unresolved earlier problems.

    That’s why the followups are so important. We have a highly invasive – and politicized – procedure, and still have no evidence of its efficacy.

    What can we assume about the drop-outs?

    We’re talking about annual questionnaires. Compared to the somewhat invasive follow-ups cancer patients and others are subjected to, it’s a piece of cake – or should be.

    The drop-outs indicate that large numbers of post-op trannies:

    1) Seem not to hold onto addresses, jobs, friends and other signs of stable life.

    2) Are not together enough to complete the relatively simple act of filling out a questionnaire – which should not be a traumatic experience if everything really is hunky-dory.

    Both of which indicate that their ability to function has not improved post-op.

  43. froylein

    9/17/2008 at 4:40 pm

    BD, possibly because I like talking to you? Or possibly also because we agree once in a while? BTW, early apple season is here. Approx. 200 kilos picked this afternoon alone.

  44. Tom Morrissey

    9/17/2008 at 5:16 pm

    My kudos to all of you, who’ve managed to have this discussion without once mentioning Sarah Palin.

  45. Tiff

    9/17/2008 at 5:35 pm

    BD- good call, I am often accused of being vacuous, breezy and self-absorbed. I’ve never been called progressive before. I don’t know what that means but it sure sounds good!
    Froylein- maybe you’re right and I am being something less than attentive and courteous. i never said you contrasted yourself to beth, just that you called yourself a real woman. i get that you are saying that it takes more than secondary sexual traits to be considered a given gender. i don’t think anyone would dispute that argument. maybe my definition of gender is broad and little removed from biology. i was not hostile because of the questions you asked, i liked the questions and i think they are hard to answer, but because of the tone I perceived. specifically, it seemed to me that you were invalidating Beth’s stated gender. Yeah, and about the grades, i think it’s called inflation or something, that’s why we get letter grades to go with the numbers- perspective. Last thing, I like apple picking too – see, we would so get along in the real world!

  46. Tom Morrissey

    9/17/2008 at 6:29 pm

    Another day, another gender.

  47. themiddle

    9/17/2008 at 10:52 pm

    I am so confused. Beth gets to call herself the same as Froylein despite extensive surgery to make her into the same gender.

    Beth, are you different from a naturally born woman?

  48. Ben-David

    9/18/2008 at 1:44 am

    Froylein:

    Peel and dice apples. Toss with melted butter/margarine and brown sugar.

    Line bottom of a cake pan with baking parchment. Grease the parchment. Distribute apple layer over bottom of pan.

    Make a heavily spiced gingerbread batter. This one is good:

    http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/recipes/old-fashioned_gingerbread.aspx

    Use fresh ginger if you have it for more of a punch – make sure you get the fibers out, or grate it finely.

    Pour batter over apples. Bake!

    I like to cut the apples in french-fry/chip shape, and arrange them in a loose starburst pattern.

    This also works well with pears.

    You can also put the apples on top, with or without a streusel layer.

  49. froylein

    9/18/2008 at 3:57 am

    BD, molasses is pretty uncommon here (it gets produced, but sold to industrial production; you won’t find it in the bakery aisle). I’m thinking about using honey today as a substitute (commonly used in “German” spice cakes) There’s some cheap, sugary syrup made from apples and maple syrup available at supermarkets though; I’ll try those, too. Personally, I don’t eat apples (and alas, we only had five plums this year; that tree apparently only bears fruit every other year), but the few thousand kilos of apples we’ll have coming in this year (some varieties as late as mid-November; the late types are better for storage) give me quite a few reasons to bake. Flat cakes baked on trays are traditionals in this area (Streuselkuchen and Riemchenapfel, a cake filled with apple sauce with a grid of dough strings covering it, are typically served at funerals here; you can tell how much “fun” a funeral has been by the praise the old-timers give the cakes). When I was living in Britain, I started using “Mixed Spice” available there for my spice cakes as I like the balance of the spices; I always stock up on those at the “English Shop” in Cologne. Lighter spice cakes (dough as you’d use for a marble cake, add spices, some cocoa or ground dark chocolate, chopped nuts if you like; I als add orange peel) are traditionally baked in star-shaped moulds here, but any mould will work that you could also use for a marble cake. I suggest a medium-height one so the cake will stay moist enough but the slices won’t be too large (IMO, the flavour develops better that way).

  50. Grand Muffti

    9/18/2008 at 1:57 pm

    B-D, that is some pretty heavy speculation…and surely the list of theories you offer is incomplete. Perhaps the depression was over determined? Is depression usually traceable to a single cause where removal of that cause predicts full non-depression? Perhaps being a post-op makes new causes for depression (alienation from family? friends? etc?) – Mufft is pretty open minded and has to admit that he feels slightly uncomfortable (though only at first) around post-ops (a good friend of his isn’t post op but underwent hormone therapy and much to muffti’s shame it took him a while to be fully comfortable with the idea).

    As for the dissappearing trannies, well, you may be right but it strikes muffti as HEAVILY speculative.

  51. Ben-David

    9/21/2008 at 3:28 am

    Froylein:
    1) There is nothing in “mixed spice” that you cannot get yourself. Make your own mix!

    Here in Israel we have a German brand of spices with a built-in grinder in each jar. There is nothing like fresh-ground allspice and clove.

    Also – nothing like fresh ginger.

    2) Love the line about “how ‘fun’ a funeral was” – perfectly matches the profile of the yekke side of my family.

    3) The dark molasses has a depth of flavor quite different from honey, with a touch of bitterness that complements fruit and spice. Try to look for it.

  52. Ben-David

    9/21/2008 at 3:31 am

    Muffti wrote:
    Is depression usually traceable to a single cause where removal of that cause predicts full non-depression?
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    That’s the general approach of most psychology. Maybe a cluster of related traumas, but… yes. This is not “highly speculative” – it’s how psychology works.

    For example, anorexia is traceable to a small set of possible causes and traumas – all related to the nexus of femininity and body image.

  53. Beth

    9/21/2008 at 8:58 am

    I went to summer camp with a boy who wound up anorexic. He was very popular, tall, and built. He was also a bit of a klepto.

    But he suffices to demonstrate that anorexia, while it can be related to what you say in some cases, clearly is not related to it in all cases.

  54. froylein

    9/21/2008 at 10:24 am

    BD, I know those spice jars; got them myself, but that British mix definitely has the ideal balance for me (put some into gravy to add an Oriental touch to your roast).

    I’ll do a post on funerals and cemeteries sometime soon, maybe even today. Germans and Chasidim are pretty similar in that regard.

    I’ll see if I can get molasses at the English Shop in Cologne; I know they’ve got corn syrup.

    Anorexia? Because of my profession I’ve been exposed to more than one case; the most common causes are negative body images rather than anything else. So the statistic odds (psychology is all about statistics BTW) would prove B-D right.

  55. Ben-David

    9/21/2008 at 2:35 pm

    More on Muffti and speculation:

    Bottom line, we are talking about a radically invasive therapy, and a population that by all psychological measures is severely dysfunctional and dystonic going into the operation.

    Which means that:

    1)The burden of proof is upon the proponents of the more invasive approach.

    2)It’s not such a stretch to interpret the drop-outs as evidence that that people who were already severely distressed pre-op
    remain so.

  56. Suzie

    5/27/2010 at 11:34 am

    Intereting article. I am ignoring the comments of those who are clearly opinionated about the lives of others but terribly ignorant. But I am interested as to why Larry calls Joy Ladin a “chairman” and describes her as “trapped in *his* own mitzrayim. In this case, of all cases, language is hardly about political correctness but rather is one of the very things at issue in Professor Ladin’s transition. Perhaps “chair” or “her” might make sense?

  57. Jessica

    11/4/2010 at 6:55 am

    Reading through the above comments I can’t help but assume that most people commenting here are firstly biased, and secondly they seem to have done very very little research on Gender Dysphoria and Transsexuality, and I must conclude that non of them bothered to look up online about the thousands of happily successful Transsexual men and women, I mean if this condition did not result in the psychological benefit in most people then why would they come out of the woodwork and post their pictures and discuss their happy life, post surgery, I am certain that if any of the commenters here would bother to check out this list of successfull Transsexual Men and Women, they would have no choice but to change their conclusive assured position! It just boggles the mind what these gender identity protecting men and women want here they assume all kinds of assumptions about a condition they never had to deal with themselves and with very little research, I still wanna ask them a simple question; which man or women on this planet would wanna change their gender and alter their bodies when society is so against this? And this whole claim that Transsexual/Gender Dysphoric people are mentally instable is so flawed just look online and analyse their status all throughout their lifetime, you will see that these people have high carriers and are of pretty high intelligence, and most of them for years blocked out their feelings and didn’t wanna believe what their brain was telling them, but eventually gave in to their default state, is it is incomprehensible to consider these peoples default state a state of metally disturbed? I never really saw a mentally disturbed person trying desperately hard to cover up their feelings for years!
    Why Transsexual Men and Women refuse to participate in post operative test queries has mostly to do with them trying to lead a normal life of a regular woman in order to normalise their lives. Is this a healthy approach? Well maybe not but could you judge somebody who went through more suffering then you could ever imagine? Well I don’t think you would conclude the same negative conclusion as a result of their reluctance to participate in a post-op test upon a person who just suffered cancer, you would probably be the first one to say lets be dan likaf zichus they’ve been through so much, but a Transsexual person you can’t and don’t have to be be dan likaf zichus, is it possibly because of your hatred and ignorance of Transsexual people? I humbly think it is, you beg to defer then prove it, every sane person knows that these’s extreme untouchable emphasis place upon the gender differences of men and Women, Transsexual/Gender Dysphoric people know just as much about this but have no choice but to give in to their self image perception even after years of fighting it, and trying to be what they were taught.

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