As you may be aware, Madonna’s latest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor came out last week, and on the strength of a massive media blitz and radio/TV saturation of the first single, “Hung Up,” it sold 4 million copies, proving once and for all that a 40-something woman with frighteningly muscled thighs, ever-more prominent cheekbones, and a completely unremarkable voice can take over the world via bland dance music.

But Madonna’s meaty thighs and her legions of slavish devotees aren’t the real story here. The single-ready song “Isaac,” which had already attracted attention when several Israeli kabbalists denounced the little shiksa tart for recording a song about esteemed Tzfat kabbalist Yitzhak Luria (Madonna denied it was about him), begins with a chant in Hebrew done by one of Madonna’s Kabbalah Kronies.

But what’s the chant? Why, it’s none other than “Im nin’alu daltei n’divim, daltei marom lo nin’alu,” the beginning of one of the many piyyutim (devotional poems) by 17 century Yemenite weaver and paytan Shalom Shabazi.

But wait, you say. Haven’t I heard that somewhere before? Of course you have. It was the centerpiece of the ’80s-era Israeli and worldwide hit “Im Nin’alu” (Number 15 on US Modern Rock chart), by the Yemenite Israeli pop princess cruelly christened as “the Israeli Whitney Houston” Ofra Haza. The Telegraph’s Christopher Howse explains it all in a brief piece.

Unfortunately for curious gentiles, Howse isn’t much of a researcher and nabbed his translation, without credit, from, whose transliteration and translation of “Im Nin’alu” was apparently done by someone whose knowledge of Hebrew is more along the lines of “curt nod when passing in the hall” than “intimacy.”

“Im nin’alu daltei n’divim
Daltei marom lo nin’alu
El Chai, mareimawm al kawruvim
Kulawm b’rucho ya’alu
El Chai

If there be no mercy left in the world,
The doors of heaven will never be barred.
The Creator reigns supreme, and is higher
than the angels
All, in His spirit, will rise”

I would use a non-stupid transliteration, and translate it as “If the doors of the generous are closed, the doors of the Heights are not closed. The Living God reigns over the cherubs. In his spirit, all will rise.”

Anyway, is it fair that poor Ofra, who never had massive, Madonna-style worldwide fame, and died tragically from AIDS she got from a blood transfusion, and by all accounts was a totally sweet lady, should get her “Im Nin’alu-to-Dance-Music” idea completely stolen, without credit, by Madonna, who uses it to sell a ton of records and spread her Kaballah shtuyot? If Madonna is really so deeply initiated in the Jewish mystical rites, couldn’t she dig a little deeper into the huge library of piyyutim? Will Madonna’s next album have as leadoff singles “Dror Yikra” and “Yom Zeh Mekhubad”?

Madonna: you suck. Isn’t it time to have a midlife crisis and get back in touch with your Catholic roots?

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  • I want my name back! BTW, there’s a MySpace “Confession” by Madonna on the Featured Music page in which she discusses the erroneous assumption that the Isaac song is about Isaac Luria. I guess “addresses” is what she’d call it. I’d say it’s a mention. But what do I know? I’m only the OE (Original Esther).

  • AMEN to that.

    She should get out of religon to old and honorable for her and take care of her family…like other 40 year old women.

  • who cares that Ofra Haza did not achieve world wide fame? she is very respected and loved in Israel. her le’orech hayam and her rendition of yerushalaim shel zahav give me chills. such a beautiful voice. she puts madonna to shame. and i thought she got AIDS from her husband. and while madonna has made a career of ripping off artists, peoples and cultures, her cooption of something that someone else coopted first doesn’t beg a mention in the liner notes, i’m afraid.

  • Ah Jealousy, the never ending spasm of the unnoticed.

    For the sixth time in her career, Madonna finds herself with an album in the No.
    1 position on The Billboard.

    At some point in the song How High, Madonna asks – “How high are the stakes? How much fortune can you make? Does it get any better?” – to which I have quite the replies.

    How high are the stakes? – A lot! Especially after releasing couple of bad albums, with the last one being a utter low point in anyone’s career.

    How much fortune can you make? Going by the looks of it lady, confessions poises to give you a lot; that much I can tell you.

    Does it get any better? Luckily for you, and for us (more importantly!), it doesn’t get better than this!

    Yes, the queen of pop (or so), is back with a bang, and what a bang it is.

    Just when one was about to write off Madonna into history books as another great artist losing her steam, she comes up with a score that just makes everyone reconsider their opinion. “Confessions on a Dance Floor” may not be her most ambitious work to date, but hell yeah, it works and works great! Apparently Madonna is in for a some moves here, and she doesn’t want us to sit still either. A hour of continuous dance-a-thon music, this club collection, a “premix” as she refers to is a MUST listen, and must mark her return to where she belongs.

    What’s so stunning about the album’s continuity from one club track to another which happens almost seamlessly. Purists may argue that it robs off the creativity of the album, but remember, its an album on dance floor and stays there till the end. Without a break, the songs flow into each other, with some of them suspiciously sounding like one another, this is one hell of a album for anyone who enjoys club music, especially the 80s style mixed with techno.

    Right from the start, Madonna is in complete command with “Hung up”, which not only is a great way to start off an album, but ABBA’s gimme gimme gimme add the zing to the song. Once off to the flyer, the album stays that way, well almost, to the end. Don’t bother listening to Hung Up twice (you will be prompted believe me!), but wait it out till you hear the other ones out. Check out her impressive next Track “Get together”. At a point, the beats are out of tune with music itself, and yet in tune with the track – a great rendition.

    Listen to her say “I’m Sorry” in 10 different languages in next track ‘Sorry’, and here I must tell you that this is highly addictive song. Listen as she makes a real attempt to say ‘Moojhe Moff Kro’… in Hindi. Up comes the next one “Future lovers” which will remind you of her Ray of Light days, but yet another winner. “I love New York” unfortunately happens to be the least impressive track of winners, though given its lyrics, I am pretty sure its going to be a huge hit. In its singleton, it’s a impressive dance track, but when clubbed around with other tracks, this one doesn’t cut.

    And if you think you remembered Ray of Light, well remember Die another day too – the next song “Let it be” almost begins similarly, but quickly settles into another club track, sure to get your adrenaline flowing. And the album is not even done yet. The next two tracks sound similar to one another, though one could be allowed to make the mistake. The first of the two “Forbidden love” if not mixed with a dance beat could be mistaken for a Ballad. Or perhaps a ballad remixed? “Jump” follows immediately with a tune that almost gives a feeling as the first one never ended – two different songs, but they just blend in the continuity without blink of an eye.

    Intentional or not, controversy and Madonna go together – “Issacc” may be in news for all right or wrong reasons, but lets not deter it from declaring it as a bad song, which it is not!! Another foot tapping number all along; Changing Ah tracks, almost sounding like hip-hop, “Push Me” al
    most sounds like a song for her love – not the best of tracks, but keeps the momentum moving. And finally, vintage Madonna presents herself on the last track of the album “Like it or not” – clearly taking you back to old days of Madonna and her “Like a Prayer” kind of music. Another good beat song.

    When an artist is able to deliver even 3 toppers in an 11 song compilation, its considered great – comparatively I must admit I found at least 8 toppers in the 11 song confessions. Now if that isn’t good, then good is hard to get by!! Get that party going!

  • Esther, great investigative reporting. I wouldn’t have known about this otherwise, but I’m certain none of her new fans know or care. I’m disappointed in Madonna’s lack of orginality and shameless borrowing from this Israeli Whitney Huston you speak of, BUT I give her credit for having the chutzpah to bring such shtuyot to the masses to make more masses of money.
    Her thighs are the truly inspiring part of her comeback and deserve the utmost respect. She can probably crack open a walnut with those. Wow!
    Ofri, can you email me an MP3 of Ofra’s Yerushalyim Shel Zehav? I’d love to hear it.

  • “Madonna: you suck”

    100% AGREE. She should have retired after Ray of Light, and either Ahavat Israel and be a good Noachide or convert to Judaism; or try the Opus Dei, which is closer to her Catholic-Fascist roots anyway.

  • 2chutzpah, i’d be happy to, but i’d need your email address first.

  • oh, and i think her thighs are scary and gross, as are her arms these days. she looks like a drag queen. but she is strong and fit and healthy, so good for her.

  • Hi kids…just went out and bought the album. No one wants Madonna to return to her Catholic roots more than I do. But it’s a dance album, not a theological statement. And dance albums are notorious for sampling from other albums; it creates that kind of DJ’d vibe that the clubgoers so enjoy. Should she have credited the pilfer? Probably. Unless someone told her she didn’t have to. In any case, did I mention it’s a dance album? So let’s all shut up and dance. (But I still want my name back.)

  • Sorry michael…but I naturally assumed it was ESTHER who should be on the Madonna beat.

    Bring on the sampling and let’s boogie!

    Thanks for the help with the MP3 ck.

  • Esther, I feel like I shouldn’t have to tell you that dance music can potentially lead to dancing.

    And we don’t want to go down that road.

    Let’s just say that now that you own said album of dance music, which has been proven to lead innocent and pure banos yisroel to sinful dancing, I am worried about your neshomeh.

  • Your worry is well placed, Michael. And as for owning this album leading to dancing? Well, here’s hoping.

  • She looks like an X-Woman in that picture, the mutant look but without the mutant powers. Unless you consider channeling Kabbalah into dance albums pretty remarkable.

    How is the CD Esther?

  • I think it’s a pretty good album. Much of the music is derivative, but that just means that it sounds familiar when you listen…that much more addictive, I think. “Hung Up” is a great “walking in the city” song. And I agree that “I Love New York” doesn’t really cut it, but will likely be popular anyway. One song reminds me of “Fever” which is a good thing in my mind, but again, not terribly original. I guess the review depends on what you were expecting…

  • And one last request from my fellow posters…when you accuse someone sort-of named Esther of ripping off a beloved Israeli songstress, please put her name in quotes, so people don’t think it is me….rav todot, chevreh.

  • Too bad that I didn’t discover Ofra Haza’s amazing voice until after she passed away.

  • MP3 was awesome, thanks Ofri and CK…looks like I have something to play along with Elvis’s version of “Amazing Grace” when I’m in need of a spiritually meloncholy yet uplifting tune.

    However, in reponse to Madonna looking like a mutant, I think woman past 40 can’t win. If they are toned and fit they are accused of being too ripped or gaunt, if they are soft they are accused of being fat. After 40 it’s very hard to achieve the soft yet fit look. Madonna has always been an excellent dancer and I’m in favor of her bringing back the hustle/bustop cardio workout.

  • teri hatcher manages to pull off the “soft yet fit” look after 40, chutzpah… and besides, there’s something to the whole “growing old gracefully” thing that i wish *any* superstar would attempt… it’s called the “i’ve earned these grey hairs/wrinkles, and they are beautiful!” attitude, not the freakish mummification that our culture seems to demand of its elders. nothing wrong with staying in shape, but madonna just looks plain yucky.

  • How do you do the HTML for “CLICK HERE”???

    I think she looks good, it is possibly a bad pic. I think she is still totall y hot.

    It’s not important what others think of you, only your one true love matters.

  • chutzpah, normal women over 40 can’t win, it’s true. celebrities are another story. someone mentioned teri hatcher. i was thinking more along the lines of Diane Lane, who is gorgeous, crows feet and all, and is neither “fat” nor looks like a mutant. like i said, props to madonna for being in shape and strong, but the bodybuilder look has never done it for me, neither on men nor women. demi moore is over 40 and has never looked better. however these bodies are a product of personal chefs, trainers, and probably 30 hours of exercise a week.
    anyhow, glad you like the song, i think it’s truly powerful. if you haven’t heard le’orech hayam, i think that one is equally if not more cathartic.

  • Jesus, I can’t believe all of this Madonna lust.

    She’s just another in a long line of goyim mining our traditions for their own enrichment. It is slumming of the worst kind. Insulting and mercenary. I absolutely cannot believe that anyone, most especially a Jew, can watch this kind of shameless ripoff and not want to reach for the AK-47.

    Madonna is, in her perverse and money-grubbing way, a pop culture genius, a more shameless and low-rent version of Spielberg. Her schtick is nothing but mindless pop ephemera wrapped in an ersatz spirituality. She is the Oprah of pop music: all packaging around an empty center. The fact that she sells a lot of records is pretty meaningless; it just shows she knows what sells. I mean, 3/4 of all US citizens can’t even find major European countries on a map. The fact that she sells a bucnh of records to yahoos like that is meaningless.

    Not only is she a mercenary fame whore down to her marrow, she is a phenomenally ugly woman. And have you actually ever listened to her talk? I saw her on Letterman the other day, just to see if she could reproduce the jaw-dropping vulgarity of her previous visit (no such luck, unfortunately), and she just reeked of the smug self-satisfaction of a nouveau-riche parvenu who is trying to prove how cuktured she is. It was truly revolting in an unctuous sort of way, really impossible to describe. She is not only smug, self-righteous and vulgar all at once, she appeared to be genuinely stupid.

    Trailer-trash, plain and simple. I hope the next time her horse throws her she breaks her neck.

  • Ephraim, I don’t know why you’re being so reserved today. I personally would love to know what you really think of Madonna. Do you like her?

  • Ephraim, if she does break her neck and is confined to a wheelchair, she’ll be even stronger than before. Do I need to mention Professor Xavier from the X-Men? that mofo could read minds.

    Madonna would be able to find out what we really want, read: not Kabbalah water or red string bought from cheap yarn art stores, but stuff we really need but don’t want to buy, and sell it to the public. Her thighs aren’t what I’m afraid of anymore.

  • Ephraim,
    Oprah has an empty center? She’s fuckin single handedly rebuilding all of New Orleans..what mitzvahs did you do today?
    You hope the mother of two children gets a broken neck? Nice.
    As far as “goyim mining our traditions for their own enrichment”, our traditions are specifically there to be “a light unto the other nations”.
    Now go shukle in the corner.

  • If Madonna would just stick with sex-drenched mindless pop pabulum, at which she is quite good, I could actually bear seeing and hearing her. It is her pretensions to “kul-chuh” that I cannot stand. I mean, this is a woman who made her fame and fortune peddling almost-but-not-quite- hardcore sex acts on stage and in videos (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Her fame is due entirely to her ability to to titillate and to push the envelope on what level of sexual innuendo is acceptable in pop “culture”. And now that she married a Brit, moved to England and has kids, she goes around pontificating about how she won’t let her kids watch TV since it is a bad inlfuence. Might warp their precious little minds, don’t you know?

    I mean, the hypocrisy and sheer chutzpah on the woman is just mind-bending.

    I can have a certain amount of respect for honest sluts. But for someone like Madonna, who made her fame and fortune peddling smut, to go around saying she is shocked, shocked! at what’s on television is just too much for me to stomach. I mean, she gets to piss in the public pool and then gets upset to find herself swimming around in urine? Her shameless poaching of sacred Jewish things for profit is just the last straw. (I should say in her defense that I have more contempt for “Rabbi” Berg on this score, but that’s another rant.)

    I mean, go jump off a bridge, would you?

    Ofri: Oprah? You mean she is something else other than an enabler of the most self-indulgent, pathetic victim fantasies of rich suburban women?

    I just hate maudlin sentimentality, that’s all.

    Oprah: she said that she would never put Steve Martin’s “Shop Girl” on her reading list. Why? Apparently, she went to a jewelry store some time after it had closed to do some shopping, and became so incensed at the clerk who wouldn’t let her in that she had the CEO of the company on her show and ordered him to apologize to her on national television.

    I mean, can you believe the
    Do you know who I am?” arrogance of the woman? She should have apologized to him. But who is he anyway? He’s just the owner of a company who decided he didn’t want to oipen his store back up after it had closed for the day. She, on the other hand, is Oprah, She Before Who All Must Bow.

    Just FOAD, already.

  • I don’t mind gentiles getting genuine spiritual uplift from Jewish things. I just don’t believe that Madonna is one of them, that’s all. Everything about her is fake.

    If Oprah is rebuilding New Orleans, more power to her. I made a modest donation to the effort through the company, but I don’t have her kind of money.

    I still don’t like her show, though.

  • i hope you are in a foul mood today and are not always this angry. oprah has had moments that made me roll my eyes, yes, and i was not there when the incident at Hermes occurred so really it’s her word against theirs (although it would not surprise me in the slightest to find that those snooty french imbeciles are as racist as she claims they are), and frankly i don’t care. like her or not, that woman is anything but an empty center.

  • OK, a gooey center, then.

    Some things just tick me off. As you can tell, Madonna is pretty high on my list.

    Oprah I usually just ignore, though. She’s not really hate-worthy the way Madonna is. I just can’t see the appeal of her show. But then, I like snark. If you like her, fine. Whatever floats your boat. I mean, it’s just my opinion.

    But she is going to be on Letterman in the next few days. It should be good, considering how much he rags on her. I expect a massive put-down of galactic proportions (hidden under a lot of hug-hug, kiss-kiss) and a lot of Letterman grovelling, which is always fun to watch.

  • Ephraim,
    Let us know when your are ready to apologize for wishing a broken neck on someone and then maybe we’ll let you back into the human species.
    In the meanwhile, keep shuckeling.

    Shuckle: the Jewish art of swaying back and forth during prayers in an attempt to appear pious which actually serves to keep the “pious” awake during said prayers.

    And as for the store manager of Hermes, yeah if he wants a good customer to drop a million bucks in his store versus his competitor’s, he better damn well open that store when that customer wants and be prepared to lick her ass in several directions. That’s why it’s called “customer service”, because a customer like that can get serviced by many other competitors.

    And believe me, when the Shieks from the Arab Countries come in to NYC to buy 7 identical Rolex’s for their 7 wives, the Watch Dealer is opening that store at whatever time the Shiek says and making sure the caviar and champagne are cold for him when he gets there.

    It’s not called “arrogance” , it’s called “power”.

    And I am on my 4th day of bronchitis with no actual human contact and you people are all really pissing me off!

  • I’m not apologizing for jack. You’ve never heard of snark? Take a chill pill with those anti-biotics, Chutzpah. I detest Madonna, so there.

    If his store was closed and he didn’t want to open it back up, that’s his business. He may have lost a sale, but that’s his problem, not anybody else’s. So she’ll take her business elsewhere, just like anybody else does when they don’t get the service they think they deserve.

    Oh, so if you have “power”, you get to humiliate people on national TV? You know, just because you can? Glad to know uou believe in noblesse oblige.

  • I am so shocked that educated people are writing such hateful messages. Ok fine big deal she’s no great talent but my g-d other entertainers have done far worse that sing a little ditty about issac whoever. who the hell should care what she believes in or what religion she is, she isn’t sending out anti-semetic comments is she? complain about someone like Woody Allan who took nude photos of his 10-year-old-adopted- daughter, then disrupts a family of what? like 14 kids…If anyone should turn back to his oiginal religion it’s this guy.

  • Ahouva, what it is, you have some Yeshiva – Charedi types who want everyone to be like them, that is, to live an intensive frum life experience 24/7, If you visit such an area, I happened to notice this recently I have been in a town called Passiac, you can hear alot of G-d talk wherever you go. They love to talk like that. Walk into the pizza store there, the owner is talking religion like that w/ a lady customer. All over the place.

    Books, and tapes, they love these they have masses of these.

    So that you can see that they appreciate very little of modern culture. Now of course things like in the Met, or if they are in some European city, they will go and take in some Rembrandts, Vermeers, and the like, but what is on television, movies, the popular media, this they don’t care for, and they don’t think, that you should either.

    So w/out stating as such, it comes out as anger.

    And you the Oprah lover or appreciator, find this attack offensive.

    I am just pointing out the reasons behind the brittle talk on this topic.

  • hang in there, folks, it’s just a matter of time before Madonna discovers suffism or aboriginee philosophy or something. girlfriend’s got a short attention span. if anything, jews should be mad at those yucky Bergs.

  • All this talk about breaking necks and Chutzpah’s continued uber-capitalist ejaculations (you deserve to be a self-centered dick if you’re rich because you pump money into the economy, except when it comes to paying taxes!) detracts from the main point: Madonna’s music is really friggin’ boring. I mean, really, have we sunk to a level of cultural (un)sophistication where all it takes to sell a billion records is to squeak in your pedestrian voice over derivative, unmemorable dance music while showing cleavage and humping Lenny Kravitz?

    Oh yeah. We did a long time ago. Damn.

  • The music is not the issue, the image is what sells.

    Also don’t leave out the fact that the rats at the top manage to pay themselves millions upon millions, while not having money left for training the people doing the work properly.

    Much of what is sold in a supermarket, you don’t really need. The basics sure, but flavors of Doritos, and other processed products, are not only harmful for you they also waste energy. They are bought because people buy into the advertising and marketing campaigns.

  • Jobber, I’m not a black-hat or a Chasid. I watch plenty of TV and go to the movies when I can. I listen to Dylan, Talking Heads, Muddy Waters, etc. I aslo swear a lot, as you may have noticed. So I am hardly a ghettoized religious fanatic. Pop culture is fine with me.

    This is not a religious thing at all. I just can’t stand Madonna, that’s all. What’s so hard to understand?

    She’s nothing but a popular entertainer. An excellent business woman and a shameless self-promoter, to be sure, and obviously quite savvy enough to know what people like to hear and see. But that’s it.

    All that being said, I really detest the shameless commercialization of Kaballah among people like Madonna, Demi Moore and Britney Spears (I mean, come ON. Britney freakin’ Spears?). I suppose I can’t blame them: a lot of people are constantly being taken in by self-appointed seers selling some get-enlightened-quick scheme. It must be the beards, the weird rituals and beliefs (the weirder the better) and the indecipherable ancient script. But all that means is that they’re being taken in by cinmen and hucksters,. Caveat Emptor and all that.

    Like I said, I hate the Bergs more than I hate Madonna, at leastr on this particular issue. But like I said upthread, that’s another rant.

    And Madonna isn’t worthy to carry Ofra Haza’s jock. That woman could sing. And she didn’t have to shake her naked thighs at anybody to get their attention, either.

  • Of course, the Aish “Hatorah” pigs are absolutely ruthless geniuses when it comes to fund raising. Go sometimes to an Aish house, someone who works for them. You will find mega tons of books on fundraising.

    They also are geniuses at pushing their ‘Judaism’, it’s not really Judaism, it is a marketing project. Get them in the door. THe rest is science. Some will want to join the group, any group. Others you can persuade.

    Aish ‘HaTorah’ is the single most destructive force to hit the Jewish people in over 2000 years, it is single handed responsible for all of our problems, by extension this berg moron as well, but it is not justified to hate Madanoona that she is into “Kabbala”, she enjoys the lectures and some of the reading. Just as I enjoy some chakra stones.

  • What’s so bad about Aish? Is Judaism not Judaism just because it’s marketed well?

  • 1) Jobber, nothing anybody has said in this entire thread has a damned thing to do with Aish ha-Torah.

    2) If you think Aish ha-Torah is the most destructive force to hit the Jewish people in over 2000 years (mind you, I’m no fan of it), then I suggest you read up on this guy named Adolf Hitler. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

    3) Ephraim has good taste in music. Kol ha-kavod.

  • It is an autocratic mafia, whereby the rats at the top are paid extravagantly. Yet they do nothing at all for the local communities where they take the money from, except of course their dopey classes, you know the great marketing geeks, come up w/ this medley, 54 gates of knowledge’, or some variation.

  • Let me tell you what they do, I know this first hand. They will go into a small community, a shule or 3-4, they will be only one of them w/ his wife, usually a dufus type who knows simply how to shmooze. they teach them this shmoozing skill in Jerusalem.

    This dufus, they call a ‘rabbi’, brings in new AND old people by the simple power of rational numbers, in any group of 100 people who are listening to a lecture, some % will do whatever is designated at the next step (at the conclusion of the lecture), buy a tape, or sign up for a course.

    Soon this dufus has a minyan so he has a prayer schedule. He invests of their enormous unending finances, in lavish kiddushes, and this attracts some of the existing shule persons in the town.
    The wife offers low or no cost day care and other friendly ‘interesting’ courses.

    Soon he has more members than the existing Rav, who stayed and maintained the community for many years, but the dufus, convinces the board to allow him to move into the Shule, as a ‘branch’ of aish ‘HaTorah’, and bef. long it is a full fledged addition to the corporation.

    They are all a bunch of crooks and gangsters, I would advise anyone w/ a brain to stay away from them.

    You don’t need them to package the Torah for you. U can get great books everywhere, particularly on that auction site. U can learn more from a good book than from a lifetime of Aish “HaTorah” courses.

  • Aish does such good work in the Jewish world, outreach, education, social work, promoting community, Jewish values and the study of Torah. I’m not affiliated with them, but I can’t begin to fathom why anyone should feel hostile toward Aish. That they are well-financed shows that, thank G-d, there are many who consider the “Jewish project of God, Man and History” to be as relevant as it ever was. And so, there’s no question that it’s worthwhile work, trying to reconnect Jews in the diaspora to Judaism. Judaism is worth it. We’re worth it!

  • They are first of all selective in who they target. Only college students at top colleges or else they go after Doctors, lawyers, Business leaders. They do this, so that their funding is secured.

    As I tried to explain, you don’t need their stuff. There are so many books that are available that you can get more out of. Instead of taking their expensive ‘courses’ like ‘discovery’.

    Do you think that people, cannot read their way into Judaism, everything must be through their con and shtick?

    They exist, so that they can live an extravagant lifestyle, the money that they burn, could be put to better use, to lower the tuition costs, so that families w/ 3-4 children would send these kids to Yeshivas. This will do more for Judaism than making these aish rats wealthy.

    Look at the famous auction site, you can get some books there for 99 cents. Good books, ones that you will enjoy and learn from. Would you rather give $200 to aish for an all day ‘discovery’ event, where they will ‘dazzle’ your mind w/ bible codes?

  • well jobber, most people would prefer to be dazzled rather than crack a book. and believe me, the books are boring as all hell. i took a jewish mysticism class this semester and ended up dropping it, even though the prof was a doll, partly cause the books were totally lame but mostly because i think kaballah is bullshit.

  • There are many good books. You have the Mishna in Artscroll, completely translated in English, books by and on Rambam, books by Rabbi Aryeh Carmel. If you read Hebrew, Shemirat Halashon by the Chafetz Chaim is awesome, it is also translated. All of these I have seen at very low prices there.

    If you want to buy direct, on Artscrolls website you get a discount.

    You simply get so much more out of studying the original source, not listening to some dufus, who hung around their ‘yeshiva’ in Jerusalem for a bunch of years, and learnt how to Schmooze and deliver their monotonous ‘bible codes’ stories.

    I have heard their speakers. They act like they are discovering the moon for you. I don’t know how it is that people fall for them.

  • I don’t know how evil Aish might or might not be, but I have to admit that I was singularly unimpressed with the Aish rabbi in our area (who has since left). There was just something about him. Kind of smug and too well-packaged. He sponsored a lecture that was advertised as something incredibly special; I attended and it was a kind of “mnyeh” experience. If I had been completely ignorant it would have been fascinating, but for anyone with even a little education it was just a rehash of common-knowledge stuff. I was puzzled, since the general level of Jewish education in our shul is pretty good. It was definitely aimed at a more ignorant audience and I couldn’t help thinking: “This he thinks is so special?” I think a lot of people were kind of miffed that he low-balled us the way he did. The desserts were nice, though.

    Now we have a kollel in town, the Jewish Study Network (JSN). All young, srious yeshivish guys, with learning up the yin-yang.

    They just kick ASS, man. No razzle, no dazzle, no fancy hooks or marketing. Just really solid scholarship and dedication, if you’re a mitnagid into the Litvish thing.

    Which I am, so it’s cool. I’ve always distrusted the touchy-feely emotional approach anyway. I’m too much of a skeptical crank to go the ga-ga route.

  • If it doesn’t involve touching and feeling, who needs it?
    That litvish thing is all about legalities and loopholes. Anyone into that is better off just going to law school and then they can at least make money while arguing minutia.
    Speaking of feeling, I’d mention that the antibiotics are helping but I wouldn’t want to set off a debate about the evils of importing Canadian drugs into the U.S. and the faults of socialized medicine. Madonna anyone?

  • Oh, I see. An authority on Jewish law are we? An anti-Semite couldn’t have put down the entire corpus of halacha and a couple of millenia of Jewish learning any better. Nice.

    Touchy-feely has its place. But is is very often just a cover for sloppy thinking and self-indulgence. You need to steer a middle course between the excesses of unfeeling legality and overblown emotionalism. Either extreme is no good.

    Madonna? Chacun a son gout and degustubus non est disputandum and all of that, I suppose, but you can include me out.

    But, hey, if you want, go to town. Don’t let me stop you.

  • Agreed that extremes are not good, especially when it comes to religion. Those “serious yeshiva guys with learning up the ying-yang” can spend their whole lives sweating the small stuff and never show one actual ounce of compassion or honesty to another human being. Ask them what to do if their ox breaks someone’s jug in the middle of the road, that they know. Ask them if it’s ok to break housing codes to put up illegal apartments to pay for them to sit and learn about the ox …that they have to debate.

  • It is obvious to me that the various yeshivas are not teaching these people real in your face morality.

    I am hard pressed to think of why someone would need to know alot of what is in there, because today, a Rabbi has to be more than a fount of minutae. People are coming to the Rabbi with heart breaking problems, not whether this sack or crap, I can pick up on Shabbos or not, it this a public domain and what are the 3 opinions.

    The Rabbi has to deal with an epidemic of alot of divorces in the frum community, and the obvious difficulties. It seems like now, the courts are steering towards a more equitable time distribution of the kids w/ parent a/b. Whereas in the past, most of the time the woman was granted full custody, now it is thought that this is a disadvantage for the mother bec. she ends up being the tough guy, and the Dad, he is prince charming, just every other Sunday type of fine dining, museums, movies, and all that.

    The Rabbi has to advise on millions of issues and complications that are new to the Rabbinical establishment. It is not easy. So obviously, we need a man, or woman, who is not only dedicated, but also is able to express his/her love and concern, in a very approachable and decisive way, all of the problems that arrise in a community, be it single parenting, teens at risk, poverty, lack of affordable houseing, and jobs.

  • Oh, I see. So I guess that means when I see an atheist sleeping around and smoking weed I can assume that all non-believers are hookers and drug addicts?

    Or that if a (insert ethnicity of choice here) is a (insert crime of choice here), then that obviously means that all (insert ethnicity of choice here) are (insert criminal of choice here).

    Something like that?

  • If you are insinuating that there is any good being done by aish ‘haTorah’, what I am saying is that the overall corporate structure of this entity is based on their own greed. Therefore I cannot see how anything can be considered good to accrue from this evil empire.

    I listed for you how they are able to manipulate the unknowing. People who would be compromised into spending hundreds of dollars instead of 99 cents + shipping on Ebay.

    How they have created their own cottage industry of ‘Bible Codes’ that serves to impress the poor participants. BTW, the messianic Jews and missionaries have also taken to ‘Bible codes’ in their own propaganda, so who knows how many have been persuaded to join that? Thank you, A.T.

    There are as you insinuate, grey areas in life, but this is not one of them.

    Now they are starting w/ movies aimed at frum people. It will be interesting to see what they follow that up w/.

  • Re: Madonna …she’s now slipped into the sad realm of Molly Shannon’s “Sally O’Malley” character. “I’m 50 years old! And I like to kick! And stretch! And KICK! I’m 50. Fifty years old! When I put on my red pants I like to dance!””

  • Hehehe…it’s true.

    You know, I bet Sean Penn thanks his lucky stars every time he sees Madonna on the news.

    Then again, Sean Penn is kind of crazy, so maybe not.

  • numerous people will discover the original song and discover ofra haza because of this.

  • Thanks!!, yet another one; that woman has stolen songs many times, and her song “Hung up” is partly mine; the whole refrain that was given to EMI in London, by Mr. Fisher at the company, while I was studying inn Brighton, Sussex, is from my song “You and Me and Son”.
    You can listen for yourself; you find in on or follow the links on
    (There might be a brief failure on the site, but check back later then)
    Ofra Haza is my soul friend, and I hate to read this; Madonna is a promiscuous demon, that can exploit anybody for her sell and promotion.

    I composed this song in memory of Ofra:



  • I never understood why she strive so much for showing the world her pussy through all kind of tight attires and underpants….on Hung up her pussy is being filmed in quite a long sequency as a close-up.

    I cant understand why that should be of any interest….