About Varda Epstein

http://www.judeanrose.com/

A third-generation-born Pittsburgher and midlife mother of 12, Varda is a parenting expert at Kars4Kids and an advocate for fair media treatment of Israel.

Posts by Varda Epstein:

Tikkun Olam: What’s God Got to Do with it?

Tikkun Olam. It’s an obscure Jewish concept which translates to “repairing the world” and is often bandied about by liberal Jews to mean something it doesn’t.

What it means: perfecting one’s observance of the commandments.

What it doesn’t mean: you see things that bother you and try to make them right according to your personal compass.

Nope. Doesn’t mean that. It means every Jew doing his share to repair the world by doing his best to do the commandments as prescribed by God as set forth in the Torah.

It means: not turning lights on and off on Shabbos.

It means: not eating pork and shellfish or meat and milk.

For instance.

And now I’m going to say a bunch of things you won’t like. When liberals twist Jewish concepts to support a personal agenda, religion has nothing to do with it. They’ve taken something created by God and recreated it in their own image. Which makes no sense.

Religion is theist. It’s God-centric. If you can make it into anything you want, then it is no longer created by God, no longer divine. It’s man made.

Now Jews are allowed to interpret God’s word, as set forth in the Torah. But not everyone is allowed to do that. Only the people who received the tradition in an unbroken chain from Moses at Sinai and onward get to decide things for the rest of us peons. They get to decide, for instance, what foods we can and cannot eat.

The reason they get to decide these things is that they are the closest thing to God when it comes to understanding what God meant when He transmitted the Torah and made the Jews the beneficiaries of His word. What’s important here, you see, is carrying out the commandments the way God intended and not as we’d like them to be.

So, I might really like cheeseburgers, but I don’t get to decide it’s okay for me to eat them and that the really important thing is gun control. These are not the kinds of decisions that are in our hands as Jews.

Face the facts: I am never going to be allowed to have that cheeseburger. It is not ever going to be in man’s hands to say that the cheeseburger thing isn’t as important as how we, for instance, treat gay people or black people or Arabs.

See what I mean? You’re really not going to like what I’m saying here.

Tough. This blog is going to be truthful. Painfully truthful at times. And here is the truth:

The reason we were given the commandments, as Jews, was to make us “holy.” But “holy” is a poor descriptor for the Hebrew word, “Kadosh.” Kadosh doesn’t really mean “holy.” It means “separate.” When we do the commandments as set forth in the Torah, we Jews separate ourselves from the other nations of the world.

We wall ourselves off by, for instance, not eating cheeseburgers.

That is what makes us different from other people. And it is this difference, understand it or not, that we strive for in our observance. Not to be more like other people, more diverse, more tolerant, more open, more gender fluid. No.

We are striving to be separate from society, separated out of society by dint of observing the mitzvot, the commandments. It is what has preserved us as a people. It is what made us outlive all our enemies, Philistines, Canaanites, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, and so forth, down through the ages.

Think of us as being in a bubble, one big Bubble Boy. And when we’re exposed to stuff, we get contaminated and die.It is being separate that has kept us Jewish.It’s what makes us God-centric, rather than me-centric, or Western norms-centric. And it means marrying Jews and having Jewish children if we are so blessed.

It means continuity.

Because the word of God is immutable. And I will never taste a cheeseburger or a lobster.

Like diamonds, these things are forever.

They ain’t never gonna change.

Because some things cannot be interpreted to mean anything else, cannot be twisted to suit. Not even by liberal Jews.

They just are. Because God made them that way. The commandments, that is.

Now here’s another phrase I’ve seen/heard tossed around by at least one prominent liberal: sinat chinamwhich translates to “baseless hatred.” The Temples were destroyed because of “sinat chinam.” The three weeks that lead up to the 9th of Av when it all went down are sad and bitter and we try to do our “tikkun” by being gentler with others and working on ourselves as people. That time is now.

So we avoid gossip and speaking ill of others. We try to avoid indulging in Sinat Chinam.

But Sinat Chinam, like Tikkun Olam, means something specific. It does not mean hating people for the color of their skin, or their religion, for instance. It doesn’t mean hating people because of the way they look or because of their sexual orientation. It means hating them for no reason at all.

We hate them baselessly. Needlessly. It’s hatred for the sake of hate.

If I say, “I hate gay people,” or, “I hate blondes,” that is the opposite of baseless hatred. The opposite of Sinat Chinam, because I have described a reason for my hate. I hate someone because that someone is gay, or blonde, or whatever descriptor I have chosen.

Again, we don’t get to just make stuff up and stick it onto the Torah. The Torah IS NOT A STICKER ALBUM. Baseless hatred is hating someone for no reason.

It isn’t whatever you decide it is. It is whatever God decided it is, as interpreted by the people He decided could make that interpretation. Sinat Chinam is about indulging in hatred for hatred’s sake. It is about forgetting our higher purpose as human beings, about forgetting the commandments.

It’s about forgetting to do Tikkun Olam.

And Tikkun Olam, applied, means that when I wake up in the morning, I’m going to wash my hands a certain way and say a bunch of blessings. Because the Torah says so and I’m a Jew. And I’m going to do those things meticulously, and with love. Because it is what will keep my children and my children’s children, Jewish.

Tikkun Olam means I’m going to do my share to fix the world by keeping kosher and not cooking food on Shabbos (as opposed to fighting for gay marriage, abortion, civil rights, gun control, and whatever social justice issue floats your boat). Because these social justice issues have nothing to do with Tikkun Olam just as hating blondes has nothing to do with Sinat Chinam.

It is our personal observance of the commandments, refraining from ingesting pork or not touching a scissors on Shabbos, that makes us holy and separate. Along with the fun stuff like giving charity and cooking a meal for your neighbor when she’s just had a baby.

But when we twist concepts like Tikkun Olam and Sinat Chinam into unrecognizable pretzels, trying to make them fit particular social justice issues and situations, we have completely removed God and Judaism from the equation. And that is a wasted effort. It’s about trying to squish God into our own very limited human construct. And in so doing, we’re no longer doing God’s will and separating ourselves out from the nations of the world. We’re no longer kodesh, holy.

As Jews we are supposed to believe that the Torah, which represents God’s word, can be used to understand any and every situation we encounter throughout time. At the same time, we are supposed to acknowledge that the Torah is immutable. We don’t get to bend or twist it to suit a personal agenda. Because that would make it man-made and rob us of the possibility of striving for the divine, of striving to be godly.

And robbing ourselves of that would rob us of all purpose and make our lives, here on this earth, utterly pointless.

WATCH: Tamir Goodman Gave Back a Full College Scholarship

WATCH: Tamir Goodman Gave Back a Full Scholarship

The University of Maryland gave star basketball player Tamir Goodman an ultimatum: play on Shabbos or you’re out.

An orthodox Jew, Tamir didn’t have to think twice. He gave back a full, four-year athletic scholarship to the school that played host to the top-ranked basketball team in the nation. But let him tell you the story in his own words.

Tamir Goodman is aptly (sur)named. At least in my book.

Actually, Tamir Goodman reminds me of another principled athlete (you saw this coming a mile away).

h/t Natan Epstein

Dubya Deflection

The Dubya Deflection: They Always Bring Up Bush

The Dubya Deflection is the cute little thrust, parry, and feint that liberals engage in when they have no answer to your fact-based criticism of their guy. If you mention, for instance, that Obamacare sucks, Obama voters will say, “Was it better under Bush when millions of Americans were uninsured?”

The implication here is that if you criticize O, it means you love the other guy, even though that makes absolutely no sense. This is not an if/then kind of situation. There is actually no link between hating the ACA and liking Bush. You can hate Bush and the ACA. You can even love Obama and hate the ACA.

Do you feel me?

The Dubya Deflection: When You’ve Got Nothing

I was reminded of this feint, this kind of weaseling out of a trap because you know the other guy is right and you’ve got nothing, this morning, when my attention was drawn to the following exposé of UNRWA schools in Gaza and “East” Jerusalem, where schoolchildren are being taught to kill Jews.

We see sample UNRWA school lessons. An UNRWA teacher tells the kids that life was dandy, your parents hung out on the beach and had a barbecue, then the wolf appeared. Who’s the wolf?

The Jews!

The UNRWA teacher tells the kids all sorts of lies. For instance that the Jews (note that said teacher says “Jews” and not “Israelis”) expelled and deported Arabs. Which is not true. The Arabs left of their own accord.

Which means there are no refugees, by the way. But you know. Jews. So the Arabs who left of their own volition remain “refugees” even unto the second and third generation, a right that is accorded no other people. Necessitating the creation of a special UN body to deal with them, you guessed it: UNRWA.

Shannon Bream, Brooke Goldstein

Shannon Bream, Brooke Goldstein

After the videotaped UNRWA school lesson, we get to hear the amazing Brooke Goldstein of the Lawfare Project. She makes me so proud. She’s a lioness like Nitsana Darshan Leitner, another lady lawyer Jewish heroine.

Goldstein rips UNRWA a new one, telling viewers that while Canada divested from UNRWA programs like this, after learning about the incitement and indoctrination, U.S. taxpayers continue to fund the daily Jew-hate lessons to the tune of 130 million smackeroos.

Chris Gunness

Chris Gunness

Then Chris Gunness gets a turn. He is the spokesperson of UNRWA. If we ever solve the “refugee” problem, he’s out of a job. So he’s got to spin this however he can.

And it’s bad.

Since ole Chris has no way to refute the allegations (because, hey, videotape is darned hard to refute), he deflects using the (you guessed it), Dubya Deflection. If UNRWA schools are so bad, how come Bush gave them even more money than Obama?

*rolls eyes*

Shannon Bream was good. She essentially said, “Facts come OUT,” something like Chris himself.

Chris took out his earpiece so he couldn’t hear her and like a parrot kept saying, “So how come Bush. So how come Bush. So how come Bush,” about a hundred times.

Dubya

BUSH, Bush, Bush, Bush. When they’ve got nothing.

He also said that the same curriculum is being taught in Arab schools in Jerusalem. Which I’ve no doubt is true. WHICH ALSO DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY THAT AN OFFICIAL UN BODY IS PAYING TEACHERS TO TEACH SMALL CHILDREN TO KILL JEWS.

Sorry. I lost it for a moment there. (And by the way, is it absolutely necessary for Gunness to mispronounce Brooke’s surname???)

But look, it also doesn’t make it right that U.S. taxpayers are paying for Jihad lessons. It doesn’t matter whose administration is at the helm. It’s wrong. And if the administration is made aware of this curriculum and continues to fund these lessons, I see the administration as an accomplice to indoctrination, incitement, and terror. I see the administration as an accomplice to the ongoing murder of my people—people like the Fogels, the Henkins, the Litmans, Dafna Meir, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, and Rabbi Mickey Mark. And that’s an oh-so-shortlist.

The Dubya Deflection: It Makes No Difference

The administration, whether it is the Bush administration or the Obama administration, should know the nature of what this money funds. The administration, whether it is the Bush administration or the Obama administration, has no right to pressure Israel to make concessions to terrorist regimes while they underwrite future terrorists. It makes their motives suspect.

I don’t care who it is, Bush or Obama. I care what they do. And one does not make the other okay.

And it won’t be okay if Trump funds it. And it won’t be okay if Hillary funds it.

Bad is bad.

And evil is evil.

h/t Aharon Epstein for the news piece that inspired this post.

"My" Israel: The Liberal Lie

“My Israel” and The Liberal Lie

My Israel. Is there such a thing? Is Israel one thing for some people, and another thing for others? Or is the concept of My Israel just another way of recreating Israel in one’s own image, a conceit?

I vote for the latter.

One of the things that damages Israel the most are the people who pretend to love Israel while hurting Israel. Often, these people are Jews. Their falsely professed love of Israel gives them cover for spreading their poison. They use the concept of My Israel as a cudgel against the Jewish State. They use charisma to build a following through which they can spread their narrative and watch it take hold.

A good example of the My Israel technique is embodied by this speech delivered at a BBYO convention by Sarah Tuttle Singer, social media director of the Times of Israel.

Tuttle-Singer has the Midas touch when it comes to social media and making friends. She blogs, and seemingly every piece she writes goes viral. Some of her work is well-written, and other pieces, not so much. But it doesn’t seem to make a difference. She is so popular, that when she posts a blog, no matter the subject matter, and no matter whether it is well-written, or not, her stuff takes off, VRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOM.

It’s kind of like a reverse Donald Trump–a left instead of right-wing populist. It no longer matters what Tuttle-Singer says or does. Her loyal minions flock to adore her every word and deed.

That would be okay if she were neutral about Israel or pro-Israel. But she is neither.

Extreme Left

Tuttle-Singer is on the extreme left when it comes to Israel. She boycotts settlements. She feels that both sides have their “truth,” which is, of course, simply not possible. The two sides have opposing goals and narratives.The Jews believe they’ve returned to their rightful homeland while the Arabs are bent on destroying Israel and on annihilating the Jewish people. It’s in their charters.

Exhibit A:
The Palestinian National Charter:

Article 1:

Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

Article 2:

Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.

(In other words, they are saying that all of Israel and Jordan belongs to them.)

Article 9:

Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it . They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.

(In other words, they won’t stop killing Jews until they have all of the land, Judenrein.)

Exhibit B:

The Hamas Covenant

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

 Article Seven:

. . .The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, members of Moslem Brotherhood. It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Moslem Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Moslem Brotherhood in 1968 and after.

Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

 Article Thirteen:

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. “Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know.”

Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?

“But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah.” (The Cow – verse 120).
There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:

“The people of Syria are Allah’s lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation.”

Pledged And Sworn

In short, neither the PA/PLO or Hamas, the two ruling powers of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza, are peacefully disposed toward Israel and the Jews, nor will they ever be so. They are pledged and sworn to obliterate all traces of Jewish life from the Jewish State, indeed, from the world. If they speak of peace, it is a lie, to cover their overweening and true ambition: the destruction of Israel and the eradication of the Jews as a people.

But their lies are honey-coated and dripping with sweetness and false sincerity. And people like Sarah Tuttle-Singer love their honey. She loves it like a bee. Tell her anything with feeling, even false feeling, and she will lap it up.

She’s a patsy. A sucker for a sob story. And she’s bought into the notion that Israel is occupying and oppressing the Arabs. Her “My Israel” concept is of an Israel where Jews are oppressors and the Arabs, oppressed.

My Israel The Liberal Left Lie

It’s A Choice

Unfortunately, that’s a choice. It’s a choice she’s made to choose the Arab narrative over that of her own people. She chose her Israel. She thinks it makes her open-minded. But instead her My Israel concept has made her blind to the truth of Our Israel: that Jewish Israelis have a right to their tiny sliver of land.

Our Israel is the only place where Jews can live their culture and religion in the open. Our Israel is the only place where we can speak Hebrew in the streets. It’s the place where Jews aren’t bombarded by a foreign culture, by Christmas, by Easter. Where Chanuka is king.

What about the Arabs? Don’t they have rights? Certainly. There are 22 extant, sovereign Arab states where Islam is the majority religion, Arab culture the prevailing culture, and Arabic, the spoken language.

Besides, the Jewish people lived in the land of Israel before there was an Arab people or Islam. Documented. Proven by archaeology and history.

There is no reason that we should cede an inch of our land, Our Israel. And when we do, we show weakness, and the result is always an upswing in Arab terror and more dead Jews.

We Must Remember

It’s important to keep all this in mind when watching the social media phenomenon that is Sarah Tuttle-Singer. Whatever she says will be eagerly lapped up by her fans and followers. We need to call her out on the lies and supply the facts. Because if you leave the playing field, you lose.

To this end, I experimented today with the Genius Web Annotator to take apart Tuttle-Singer’s speech at the BBYO convention, where she spoke to young Jewish malleable minds to press home her narrative. Taking her speech apart was made easy since she published the transcript of her speech as a blog on the Times of Israel. You can see my annotations here:
http://genius.com/blogs.timesofisrael.com/i-want-to-tell-you-about-my-israel

Just click on the highlighted text to see my annotations.

My Israel

Tuttle-Singer uses the word “my” 79 times in her piece. She uses this concept of “My” Israel as cover for the false narrative she plugs, the narrative of the enemies of Israel: those who are pledged to Israel’s demise. Her protestations of love for and identification with “her” country (My Israel) are designed to make you agree with whatever she says about Israel and the Jewish people. It’s similar to making statements “as a Jew,” a technique that has been popularized by, for instance, JStreet, an enemy pretending to be a friend.

Genius Is Pure Genius

If you want to comment on my annotations, or write your own, all you have to do is open a free account with Genius, here: genius.com/signup  and log in.

Imagine what you can do with this great little tool! That is until someone reports us because they don’t like what we say and we lose our freedom of speech. In other words, who knows? Someone may report you to the people at Genius and you might lose your account. Just a guess, based on what happens on Facebook and on Twitter. Meantime, we can take apart all their lies for all the world to see.

I’m loving it!

Tired of the Lies About Israel

Tired of the Lies About Israel So I Started This Blog

I’m tired. Tired of the lies about Israel.

Tired of the mainstream media plugging a false narrative because readers need a fall guy and Israel is “it.”

I’m sick to death of dishonest journalists who fail to check the truthfulness of their sources when they hear a juicy tidbit about Israel.

I’m fed up. Exhausted. Really done.

Critical Thinking Skills

I’ve had it up to here with readers who have lost their critical thinking skills. I despair of readers who just want to believe what they’re told. Because after all, they saw it in the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or the Boston Globe.

These are big names in journalism, they tell you. Credible sources, they say. They wouldn’t lie, you know.

It makes me grit my teeth.

The Only Middle East Democracy “Crushes” Free Press?

I’m galdurned sick of writers who have no compunction in telling you that Israel’s prime minister is “crushing Israel’s free press.” These writers know darned well that Israel has the only free press in the entire Middle East–that Israel is the sole democracy in the Middle East. But they, the journalists, would rather tell you lies about Israel than out the secret that last week in Turkey, for instance, 42 journalists were arrested.

Because Jews.

Screenshot Crushing

I’m sick and tired of articles describing the prime minister of Israel as a “hardliner” when in fact, most Israelis could only wish Bibi would take a harder line against terror, and in favor of building homes for Jews. We voted for hardline. Halavai we’d get hardline.

The Lie About Bibi Being A Hardliner

hardliner
Making Light Of Threats To Israel

My stomach roils upon reading articles whose writers insist on making light of the very real and daily threats to Israel. How could they do this when Israelis are still reeling from the murders of an 13 year-old girl in her sleep, and of the father of a large family in front of his children? Not to mention Iran moving closer to breakout time. And Hezbollah, Syria, and ISIS; terror tunnels, missiles, mortars, car rammings, and scissors attacks. Everyone wants to kill the Jews. Everyone.

Screenshot Pokemon Go

Pretending The Democratic Party Line Is Not Anti-Israel

I’ve had it up to here at reading articles that exploit the divide between American political parties to further the entrenched leftist agenda against Israel. I’m sick of writers who insist on pretending that Republicans are making it up when they say the Democratic party line is anti-Israel, even though it absolutely is. Why on earth is ANYONE, at this point in time, still plugging that tired, old, and unworkable two-state solution??

Screenshot antiisrael

Using Israeliness As Cover To Bash Israel

I’ve had it with propaganda rags using location and a patriotic-sounding name as cover to kick the chair out from under my beloved Israel; tired of them pretending Jews have no right to build homes in Israel; tired of them pretending that somehow, in doing so, Jews are ruining the ecosystem.

Screenshot Flora and Fauna

Big Brother’s Not-So-Secret Campaign Against Israel

I’m tired of Google News tailoring the news you see about Israel to make Israel look really, really bad. Why not let us decide for ourselves what we think about Israel? Why Big Brother the news unless–can it be? Israel isn’t as bad as you’d like us to think.

Screenshot Google News

I’m tired. Really tired.

So I started this blog.

Isn’t it time we shared the truth?