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Brant Rosen’s prophetic voice elevated him beyond the rabbinic politics of our day

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This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Never a dull moment. The Chicago Tribune reports on the news that broke Wednesday – that Rabbi Brant Rosen is out as Rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Illinois. The Tribune cites tensions within the congregation over Rosen’s increasingly outspoken views on Israeli aggression against Palestinians. The war in Gaza it seems was the congregational last straw.

Rosen’s blog especially is cited by the Tribune as controversial. The Tribune highlights congregation member Lisa Pildes view that Rosen’s public stances gave the “false impression” that everyone at the synagogue supported his view. “Rabbi Rosen’s public and extreme political views divided the congregation when he should have brought the congregation together for respectful discussion,” Pildes wrote in an email. “His actions created distrust among certain members that he was interested in or capable of leading such a dialogue.”

Others disagree. Another congregation member, Rhonda Present, reflected that Rosen took care to specify that his views on Israel were not a reflection of the congregation’s position. “For us, his leadership, his social activism, is an important reason why we’ve remained members,” she said.

So the congregation is split. Nonetheless Rabbi Rosen is on his way out.

Reading Rabbi Rosen’s letter of resignation and the Tribune article I can’t help but think of the Biblical saga. Out of the blue the prophets arise, are shot down, then reappear. It hasn’t changed much in thousands of years. The prophetic is too deeply ingrained in Jewish life to pass quietly into our newly embraced colonial night.

Apparently, synagogues are not for prophets. Those who practice the prophetic and attend synagogue, should take note. Your expulsion is inevitable.

The prophetic was happening, in Evanston of all places. Now Rabbi Rosen is packing his bags. With his conscience intact.

So many shades of the prophetic are at play here. The scene that may have doomed Rosen as a Rabbi – or rather elevated him beyond the rabbinic politics of our day – was the civil disobedience he took part in on August 21 at the Jewish United Fund Stand with Israel fundraiser at the Chicago Hilton. It was quite a show. Dissenting Jews interrupted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren with the demand that the slaughter of innocent children in Gaza be halted. Tweeting as the interruptions continued, security fingered Rabbi Rosen as the ringleader. With the others, he was escorted out of the event.

Or was the final straw Rabbi Rosen’s blog posting on August 1?

This Monday night begins the Jewish fast of Tisha B’Av: a day of mourning for the calamities that have befallen the Jewish people over the centuries. Among other things, the traditional Tisha B’Av liturgy includes the chanting Biblical book of Lamentations.

Given the profoundly tragic events currently unfolding in Gaza, I offer this reworking of the first chapter of Lamentations. I share it with the hope that on this day of mourning we might also mourn the mounting dead in Gaza – along with what Israel has become…

A Lamentation for Gaza

Gaza weeps alone.
Bombs falling without end
her cheeks wet with tears.
A widow abandoned
imprisoned on all sides
with none willing to save her.

We who once knew oppression
have become the oppressors.
Those who have been pursued
are now the pursuers.
We have uprooted families
from their homes, we have
driven them deep into
this desolate place,
this narrow strip of exile.

All along the roads there is mourning.
The teeming marketplaces
have been bombed into emptiness.
The only sounds we hear
are cries of pain
sirens blaring
drones buzzing
bitterness echoing
into the black vacuum
of homes destroyed
and dreams denied.

We have become Gaza’s master
leveling neighborhoods
with the mere touch of a button
for her transgression of resistance.
Her children are born into captivity
they know us only as occupiers
enemies to be feared
and hated.

We have lost all
that once was precious to us.
This fatal attachment to our own might
has become our downfall.
This idolatrous veneration of the land
has sent us wandering into
a wilderness of our own making.

We have robbed Gaza of
her deepest dignity
plunged her into sorrow and darkness.
Her people crowd into refugee camps
held captive by fences and buffer zones
gunboats, mortar rounds
and Apache missiles.

We sing of Jerusalem,
to “a free people in their own land”
but our song has become a mockery.
How can we sing a song of freedom
imprisoned inside behind walls we have built
with our own fear and dread?

Here we sit clinging to our illusions
of comfort and security
while we unleash hell on earth
on the other side of the border.
We sit on hillsides and cheer
as our explosions light up the sky
while far below, whole neighborhoods
are reduced to rubble.

For these things I weep:
for the toxic fear we have unleashed
from the dark place of our hearts
for the endless grief
we are inflicting
on the people of Gaza.

Strong words, indeed, prophetic words. So traditional!

Perhaps that was Rabbi Rosen’s problem all along, the same problem the ancient prophets encountered and other Jews of Conscience experience today. Like Isaiah and Jeremiah, somehow Rabbi Rosen thought that if he brought the Jewish ethical tradition to bear Jews in his congregation and beyond would heed the call.

A huge error in judgment.

Rabbi Rosen’s lamentations ring true. But what to do with this truth within the Jewish community and outside of it?

The High Holidays are around the corner. Will these days of introspection and confession become a Gaza reckoning for the Jewish community?

The Chicago Tribune can’t answer that question.

Contractually, Rabbi Rosen will still be at the pulpit. And the people of Gaza will still be picking up what’s left of their lives.

Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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62 Responses

  1. just on September 5, 2014, 11:35 am

    Thanks Marc.

    “A Lamentation for Gaza” is breathtaking. Brant Rosen speaks the truth that many do not want to acknowledge.

    He has a huge fellowship that can only grow.

  2. Mooser on September 5, 2014, 12:06 pm

    What I don’t get (it’s been bugging me for days) is what the “Reconstructionist” is all about. Was the Temple started by ‘carpetbaggers’? Can somebody explain?

    • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 4:05 pm

      Well, well, we’ve gotten a lot of info on the “Reconstructionist Judaism” and it looks like I made a lucky guess.

  3. Mooser on September 5, 2014, 12:12 pm

    “But what to do with this truth within the Jewish community”

    What on earth is the problem? You make a new one. You can’t tell me that people who have been persecuted and kicked all around the world are not adept at adapting their religion, culture and ethics to new circumstances.
    It’s either that or admit that letting us out of ghettos was the cruelest thing Judeophobes ever did to us.

  4. pabelmont on September 5, 2014, 12:34 pm

    Mooser: “The Jews” may, many of us, be out of the ghettos (and out of Judaism, too, many), but the pull of the ghetto on Jews is apparently immense, and Israel has created a huge ghetto for its Jewish citizens even as it’s made a prison and killing ground of Gaza and a land of Palestine generally in which there is little left other than sumud.

    • Mooser on September 6, 2014, 5:38 pm

      “but the pull of the ghetto on Jews is apparently immense,”

      At this point, in 2014, does it do us any good to generalise as to what “Jews” are? I imagine the “pull of the ghetto” is stronger on Israelis, due to the Jewish totalitarian society, than it is on a Jewish-American family which has been intermarried for several generations, and is used to doing what they want.

  5. Ron Edwards on September 5, 2014, 12:41 pm

    My only personal edits to this article would be to put the title sentence in the present tense, and to remove the phrase “A huge error in judgment.”

    Brant’s prophetic voice elevates him beyond the rabbinic politics of our day.

    His judgment is not in error by even an iota.

    I hope that these events lead to his inclusion in an even greater and more effective community than a single synagogue.

    • just on September 5, 2014, 12:54 pm

      Very true.

    • Mooser on September 5, 2014, 2:54 pm

      “I hope that these events lead to his inclusion in an even greater and more effective community than a single synagogue. “

      Wait a minute, there’s something missing, isn’t there? Has Evanston JRC tried to smear Brant Rosen yet? Gosh, it irks me when people don’t follow the time-honored traditional rituals associated with our faith! Perhaps they will remedy that oversight next week.

  6. GJB on September 5, 2014, 12:53 pm

    Thanks, Marc, for this wonderful testimonial. I have never heard any of Rabbi Rosen’s sermons personally, but from reading the holiday sermons that he has posted on his blog over the years, it seems that he has been able to manage to walk a fine line by weaving in progressive Jewish values without any overt political references. And he makes it abundantly clear on his blog that the views expressed are his own. So it is ironic that people should feel that he has crossed any lines between his personal and official roles. As I emailed him the other day, I have held him up as an example in my own synagogue, where our Rabbi has offended a lot of people by the way he has blurred those lines. It is also ironic that when a Rabbi preaches the right wing line from the pulpit, there never seems to be a consequence. A year or so I attended a Bar Mitzvah in a synagogue where the Rabbi, from the pulpit, explicitly defended Israel’s right to all of what he considered the “land of Israel”, told us the God gave us the land, and should we magnanimously decide to give some small portion of it to the anyone else, that is totally our decision and nobody can tell us otherwise. That certainly offended me, but whatever I said to some of his congregants afterwards, it not only fell on deaf ears, it was made clear that nobody felt there was anything inappropriate in what he said.

  7. peterfeld on September 5, 2014, 12:58 pm

    Where can you attend Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in NYC not in front of an Israeli flag (hate symbol)? Or maybe this is a good year to boycott the High Holidays entirely, in protest of mass murder committed in the name of our people?

    • Mooser on September 5, 2014, 1:40 pm

      In 1883, the Reform Jewish Rabbinical seminary was ready to graduate and ordain its first class of Rabbi’s. To mark the event, a host of Rabbis, many of them Orthodox were invited to a banquet, to unify the new branch of Judaism with the old. They served shrimp, and oysters. The Orthodox were (with a lot of justification, I feel) shocked and disgusted, and left.

      See, we knew how to do schism, at one time. But of course, that was over food.

      • Philemon on September 7, 2014, 8:24 pm

        “They served shrimp, and oysters. The Orthodox were (with a lot of justification, I feel) shocked and disgusted, and left.”

        The Orthodox didn’t have to eat the shrimp and oysters themselves, though, did they? Wasn’t there anything else of them to eat?

        Everyone else was probably just happy that there were more shrimp and oysters for them.

        Or was it that the Orthodox just objected to being tempted or something?

        Now, if it was New Orleans soft-shelled crab or Maine lobster even, maybe the Orthodox would have had to leave before the cravings got the better of them. That I could understand.

        But the mere presence of shrimp and oysters was too much for them?

      • Philemon on September 7, 2014, 8:26 pm

        “for” not “of”

      • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 11:57 am

        Philemon, you are completely missing the point. Who arranged the catering? Rabbi Wise wanted to unite the denominations, the new Reform denomination with its predecessor, the Orthodox.

        And somebody ordered from column trefe for the banquet? What on earth was going on?

        Oh, what I wouldn’t give for the video.

      • Mooser on September 9, 2014, 3:22 pm

        “But the mere presence of shrimp and oysters was too much for them?”

        People who are seriously Kosher can have a very strong reaction to suddenly being confronted by trefe, yes.
        They aren’t the only ones who have strong reactions to having their dietary traditions violated! You should have seen what happened the year my then-vegetarian sister tried to serve me a tofu turkey at Thanksgiving! (I can still see it, with paper frills on it’s tofu-and-gluten drumsticks, and still taste it in nightmares.)

        Fer Gawd’s sake, the banquet was supposed to unite the denominations, and the Orthodox Rabbis were invited, there was a lot riding on this, but somebody really subverted that, didn’t they?

        Don’t you see? Over food, an open defiance and a nice big “fuck off” to the other guys was doable. But not over Zionism? Why the heck do you think I’ve been flogging the link to the story?

    • Xpat on September 7, 2014, 4:46 pm

      “Where can you attend Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in NYC not in front of an Israeli flag (hate symbol)? ”

      It’s a great question to ask synagogues but hardly a rhetorical one. You’re telling me that there is not one synagogue in NYC that does not worship the flag?!

  8. seafoid on September 5, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Here begins the lamentation of Jeremiah the prophet.

    A. How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the cities has become a vassal (of the neocons)

    B. She weeps bitterly in the night, tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.

    West Jerusalem, turn again to the Lord your God.

    • just on September 5, 2014, 2:08 pm


      • seafoid on September 5, 2014, 3:39 pm

        Spem in alium

        I have never put my hope in any other but in You,
        O God of Israel
        who can show both anger and graciousness
        ,and who absolves all the sins of suffering man
        Lord God,Creator of Heaven and Earth
        be mindful of our lowliness

        Zionist version

        I have never put my hope in any other
        but in You, O God of Israel
        who can show both anger and extreme cruelty
        and who absolves none of the sins of righteously suffering Gaza
        Lord God,Creator of Heaven on earth in YESHA be mindful of our superiority

  9. Keith on September 5, 2014, 8:05 pm

    I wonder, was Rabbi Rosen’s prophetic voice limited to Israel/Palestine, or did he criticize the American empire as well?

  10. crankylibrarian on September 5, 2014, 11:38 pm

    Yes Keith, he did, and does. Check out his blog; there are dozens of posts about immigration reform health care,fair trade policies, gun control and worker’s rights. See for example this post on Obama’s increasingly hawkish foreign policy:

    • Keith on September 6, 2014, 10:46 am

      CRANKYLIBRARIAN- “Check out his blog; there are dozens of posts about immigration reform health care,fair trade policies, gun control and worker’s rights.”

      As I suspected, a prophet on Israel/Palestine and a liberal elsewhere. “Go Rabbis for Obama!” in 2008 indicates delusion not prophesy. This guy is much closer to Phil Weiss than to Marc Ellis.

  11. RoHa on September 6, 2014, 1:34 am

    “Those who practice the prophetic and attend synagogue, should take note.”

    The rule is quite simple.

    Defining relative clauses take no commas at all.

    Thus: “Those who practice the prophetic and attend synagogue should take note.”

    A non-defining relative clause, which this one is, opens and closes with commas.

    • W.Jones on September 10, 2014, 1:54 pm


      It’s unfortunate that Mondowiss has turned off editing. Now, my comments will have more grammar and spelling mistakes, because often I notice the mistakes only after they have appeared. I suppose if I was really intense about it I would have a friend spellcheck everything before I pressed Submit.

      There are going to be more grammar mistakes appearing around here, including spelling mistkaes, whether we like it or not.


      • RoHa on September 13, 2014, 5:05 am

        Grammar and spelling mistakes are multiplying everywhere. It is a sign of the Last Days.

  12. just on September 6, 2014, 6:05 am

    “I gradually became a Palestine solidarity activist rather than liberal Zionist” ”

    “……..Rosen’s personal pro-Palestine activism began in 2008, during Operation Cast Lead. “I was very open and public about my anguish about outrages being committed. After that I went down a different road. I gradually became a Palestine solidarity activist rather than liberal Zionist,” Rosen told Haaretz in an interview.

    He began publishing his thoughts on two blogs, “Shalom Rav,” which contains his thoughts on Israel/Palestine and “Yedid Nefesh,” which is devoted to his poetry, much of it also focused on Israel/Palestine. A poem on the latter blog, written during the war, is titled “Psalm 80: The Strangled Vine.” It begins: “how long will
/this people be wrathful,/
this nation that feasts
/on the tears of its own trauma
/so that it might strike out
/again and again
/against enemies real and imagined?”

    In 2012 he co-authored a Passover haggadah for JVP, which includes his piece on “the 10 plagues of the occupation.”

    “My activism has become a very important part of my own rabbinate and conscience,” Rosen told Haaretz. A few years ago the synagogue’s board of directors asked him to keep his personal activism separate from his work as the congregation’s rabbi. “At JRC Brant did a good job of being apolitical from the bimah,” said David Tabak, the synagogue’s president, in an interview.

    Rosen’s personal tipping point came in May, when congregants from about 25 member households sent a letter to the entire congregation saying that his pro-Palestine activism was interfering with his work as their rabbi.

    A congregant told the Chicago Tribune this week that “Rabbi Rosen’s public and extreme political views divided the congregation when he should have brought the congregation together for respectful discussion.”

    Rosen heard about the planned letter “when it was brewing,” he said. “It took me by surprise,” he told Haaretz. There was a board meeting about it open to the entire congregation, where some angry congregants aired their views. The board acknowledged the concerns but stood by Rosen, saying as long as he was fulfilling his professional duties they had no reason to censure him.

    The war in Gaza this summer only heightened things further, Tabak said. “Obviously the situation in Gaza just accentuated all those emotions. Ultimately it brought a lot of simmering issues to the fore.”

    Rabbi Arthur Waskow, a veteran leader of the progressive Jewish community, said that he was pushed out of several organizations for his pro-peace views over the years, including a teaching position at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1989 after he was critical of the Israeli government’s response to the first Intifada. “I’ve learned over the years that even a minority in a congregation if it’s angry enough can push for silence or wobbliness on the part of leaders like rabbis,” said Waskow, the founder and director of the Shalom Center, and a co-founder of Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, in an interview.

    At the Evanston synagogue “the upset has continued despite everyone’s best intentions, said Rosen. “I’m starting to see fissures and it’s affecting my own wellbeing too.” He has faced many sleepless nights and jokingly offered to send a reporter his therapist’s notes. “I don’t think it’s fair to JRC or to me for me to continue, which is why I made the decision to resign,” he said. “It’s very hard to know, as a rabbi, that I’m hurting members of my own congregation.”

    Between 10 and 20 households have left the congregation as a result of his pro-Palestine work over the years though there has been a recent uptick, Rosen said, and a few others have also joined because of it.

    In the wake of the Gaza war “a lot of rabbis are really concerned about speaking out about Israel-Palestine. There’s a kind of loyalty oath or litmus test that a lot of people feel,” Kleinbaum said.

    “Israel has always been the third rail for rabbis,” Rosen told Haaretz. “As a new generation of rabbis coming up who don’t necessarily share the assumptions about Israel that former generations did it’s becoming more difficult, absolutely.”

    • Mooser on September 6, 2014, 11:18 am

      Don’t worry, The Israel Programming Committee will heal all the divisions.

      And if Rosen has trouble finding a Bimah, he can always open a window and yell “Fire!”

      • just on September 6, 2014, 11:37 am

        She’s amazing!

        Rabbi Rosen should do as she says.

      • Citizen on September 6, 2014, 11:57 am

        Won’t Rosen’s yelling “Fire!” be drowned out by Israel”s and AIPAC’s yelling the same thing? After all, he’s only one person and not even a likely big campaign donor.

      • Mooser on September 6, 2014, 4:28 pm

        “After all, he’s only one person and not even a likely big campaign donor. “

        He not just one person, he’s a Rabbi! And if you piss off a Rabbi, they set a Golem on your ass.

        Just: I love Dorothy Norwood. She’s one of the original Caravans, and If I’m not mistaken, toured as an opener for the Rolling Stones at one time!

        The Caravans “I know, I know, there’s a building somewhere, a building not made by hand”

      • W.Jones on September 8, 2014, 12:37 pm

        Some people were asking about the IPC and what it means. Some things that are relevant at JRC:

        SKIP: Send a Kid to Israel Program

        JRC participates in Send-a-Kid-to-Israel Partnership (SKIP), which allows families, their congregations and JUF/JF to become partners in planning for a young person’s future Israel Experience.

        Israel Solidarity Day
        Sunday, May 4, 2014 (All day)

        “Join us for Israeli Film Night the first Wednesday of each month.”

        The Librarian however did recommend a book from an author who criticizes the state:

        Also, can anyone explain the references to the state under “JRC Core Values”.
        Does Israel refer to the modern nation, or is it considered that the ancient nation is a way to refer to the religion?

        Overall, it looks like there was not a lot of discussion about the State on the website though.

      • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 2:46 pm

        Thanks, W Jones! I had a feeling we could clear this up pretty fast. Thanks again.

      • Mooser on September 9, 2014, 3:26 pm

        “Israel Solidarity Day
        Sunday, May 4, 2014 (All day)”

        Okay, that’s cleared up, thanks. Of course, it could be, judging from the comments received about the Rosen resignation, that they just throw around words like “solidarity” at JRC without really considering their meaning.

  13. Citizen on September 6, 2014, 11:57 am


  14. Mooser on September 6, 2014, 5:43 pm

    Speaking of songs I think Rosen is going get the Roberta Flack treatment. There seems to be a big push to create the illusion of a middle or moderate stance on Zionism-Israel which Rosen is too extreme for.
    But they are gonna do it softly.

  15. Mooser on September 6, 2014, 6:40 pm

    The Evanston JRC is a Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue. Am I correct in thinking that the Jewish Reconstruction denomination is basically Zionist? I hope somebody can clear that up for me. Is Zionism a basic tenet of Jewish Reconstruction?

    • just on September 6, 2014, 6:55 pm

      Perhaps this will help:

      “Rabbi David A. Teutsch

      Director, Center for Jewish Ethics, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

      When I first became a leader of the Reconstructionist movement in 1980, several of the lay leaders lamented that it was the best-kept secret in the Jewish community. While the movement has grown fivefold in the intervening decades, it is still largely misunderstood by most American Jews. A recent article that appeared in Jewish Ideas Daily serves to perpetuate untruths about Reconstructionist Judaism.

      Written by Joseph Siev, the article makes two points that are totally incorrect. The first is his assertion that while Reconstructionism has long been allied with Zionism, that is no longer true. In truth, the Reconstructionist movement has been strongly Zionist from its inception through the present moment. Following its founder Mordecai Kaplan, Reconstructionists have understood that a key to Zionism is ethical nationhood — a commitment to justice for every person regardless of ethnicity or religion. In his book “A New Zionism,” Kaplan argued that open and dynamic democracy, adequate resources devoted to ensuring that society’s have-nots live in dignity and the ardent pursuit of peace are elements of ethical nationhood. At a time when the settlements on the West Bank being expanded by the government of Israel are one of the impediments to peace, Reconstructionists envision a Zionism built upon standards of ethical nationhood.

      Siev’s evidence for the alleged loss of Zionist fervor within my movement is the fact that some Reconstructionist rabbis are affiliated with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which calls for, among other things, a boycott on goods from the West Bank. The reality that these rabbis represent a small faction within the Reconstructionist rabbinate is a detail Siev did not bother to include; perhaps he did not investigate enough to be aware of it.


      It’s from 2011, but you are correct.

      • Mooser on September 6, 2014, 8:54 pm

        Well, I guess we will see what happens. But it seems to me that the Temple will remain true to its Reconstructionist tenets.

        I don’t understand why they just didn’t come out and say it, that they are going to back Israel to within a few inches of the hilt. Certainly not all the way to the hilt. Gotta have ethics in there, too.

        Does it ever occur to them that Israel is not co-operating in this ethical-Zionism thingie they made up?

      • just on September 7, 2014, 2:12 am

        “Does it ever occur to them that Israel is not co-operating in this ethical-Zionism thingie they made up?”

        That is a great question.

  16. Mooser on September 7, 2014, 11:13 am

    “That is a great question.”

    No, I’m sorry, it isn’t. The answer is so obvious only a fool like me would ask it.

    • just on September 7, 2014, 11:46 am

      It is a great question for those who will have to answer it.

      sooner or later.

  17. seafoid on September 7, 2014, 3:33 pm

    Is it just me or does marc Ellis’ word “prophetic” not mean “decent, human, kind”. Rabbi Brant had the kind of decent ,human , kind reaction people all over the world had to Israel’s butchery in Gaza. It is not his fault that so many of his coreligionists adhere to the values of a cult.

    If Brant saw an injured dog he’d take it to a vet wheras a zionist would probably shoot it.

    • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Dogs are carnivores, they are trefe, so are cats. Dirty animals, trefe.

      • W.Jones on September 8, 2014, 12:42 pm

        Tuna, salmon, sharks, alligators, and turtles are carnivores too. Do they count?

      • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 2:52 pm

        “Tuna, salmon, sharks, alligators, and turtles are carnivores too. Do they count? “

        Okay, “tuna salmon” they have fins and scales, they are allright. Sharks, I think not (no scales) but I don’t know. “Alligators and turtles….” Oh, heck, W Jones, you got a bible, right? It’s all in “Leviticus”, I think.

        And if that is difficult to interpret, Google, oh, “Rules of Kosher” or something. I’m sure there are guides on the web. No, I don’t know if spider-webs are kosher.

        As for me, I don’t have this problem. I don’t eat. I find that eating seriously affects my appetite.

      • W.Jones on September 10, 2014, 12:11 pm

        sharks do have scales, they are just placoid scales, which are denser and appear smooth if rubbed in one direction, in contrast to leptoid scales, ganoid scales, and cosmoid scales.

      • Mooser on September 10, 2014, 1:49 pm

        “Dogs are carnivores, they are trefe, so are cats. Dirty animals, trefe.”

        And I should know! Dora, the brown Lab, is about 80 lbs now (but trim!) and I’ve got three cats.

    • Mooser on September 13, 2014, 12:59 pm

      “Is it just me or does marc Ellis’ word “prophetic” not mean “decent, human, kind”. Rabbi Brant had the kind of decent ,human , kind reaction people all over the world had to Israel’s butchery in Gaza.”

      If you are asking why something you so well described as simply the “decent, human, kind reaction” is elevated to the “prophetic” the answer is simple! It’s because of our high Jewish ethics, don’t you see?

  18. W.Jones on September 8, 2014, 12:44 pm

    Is it permitted to consume carnivorous plants?

    • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 2:58 pm

      “Is it permitted to consume carnivorous plants?”

      Doesn’t that just show how it is? In this world, you got your brave courageous types, worried about eating carnivorous plants.
      And then you got me, world’s worst coward. I’m all the time worried some carnivorous plant should eat me! Whenever i walk in the woods, I just keep yelling “I taste awful, and I’m not Kosher” No plant has bitten me yet, apart from a few thorns and a nettle or two. Luckily most plants are frum (frum=observant of Jewish law)

      • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 3:01 pm

        Is it in Leviticus? It might be in the Bible chapter about the last US Presidential election. You know, Deuteronomy.

      • just on September 8, 2014, 4:19 pm


        from wiki:

        “Non-kosher animals and birds (based on Leviticus 11:3–8 and Deuteronomy 14:3–21): mammals require certain identifying characteristics (cloven hooves and being ruminants), while birds require a tradition that they can be consumed. Fish require scales and fins (thus excluding catfish, for instance). All invertebrates are non-kosher apart from certain types of locust, on which most communities lack a clear tradition. No reptiles or amphibians are kosher.”

      • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 7:32 pm

        Thank you, Just. Okay, W Jones, now you know what to eat, and what not to eat. Dig in! Clear your plate, eat your vegetables (always Kosher, I think) and ask for seconds!

      • W.Jones on September 10, 2014, 12:26 pm


        I’m Orthodox Christian, and in the Book of Acts and later church rules, the Noahide food restrictions were taken into Christianity. The most noticeable thing is that there is a ban on blood foods, like Haggis and kishka (Polish blood sausage). Weirdly enough, animal blood dishes are part of the cuisine of many Orthodox European countries, albeit less common.

        I heard that the rule against blood foods is followed strictly by Palestinian Christians, and believe that like some other Palestinian customs it comes from their descent from ancient Jews. Of course, standard Israeli talking points would say Palestinians are from Arabia or don’t exist.

      • Mooser on September 13, 2014, 12:55 pm

        W Jones, the best way to figure out if something is Kosher is to eat it and see what happens. Very, very seldom is non-Kosher food actually fatal. Heck, with today’s extraordinary medical life-support measures, and the ACA working so well, almost never! I guess it depends, as always, on how fast the ambulance gets there.

  19. Mooser on September 9, 2014, 10:27 am

    Why yes, W. Jones, since you ask, I have split hooves, I ruminate like crazy and I’m a herbivore, so actually I’m….wait a minute, what’s that knife for? Oh my God, “To Serve Mooses” is a cookbook? (Sound of hooves, splitting. )

    • W.Jones on September 10, 2014, 1:47 pm

      Oh, I thought you were called Mooser because you were Canadian. I didn’t think you were actually a Moose. It’s amazing for me – sorry if this sounds species-ist, that you are able to type. Modern science is amazing. I had a conversation once with an automated AI on the internet. One of these is on , but there are others. I feel that Moose are more sympathetic than AI, and your conversations with us on Mondoweiss has raised my already-positive opinion of your noble species!

      • Mooser on September 13, 2014, 12:33 pm

        W Jones, typing is very difficult for me.
        Luckily, I live near the high-tech mecca of Seattle, and an over-sized custom-made keyboard was fabricated with the cooperation of several local firms.

        It’s still not easy, and that’s why most of my comments are short.

      • W.Jones on September 13, 2014, 10:42 pm

        OK. That’s pretty cool they made a keyboard for you though. I can’t get over how you are really a Moose. I think it’s actually cool. I’ve seen videos of dogs and whales performing human speech, and I know now that they have made devices for people to interact using brain power.

        So are you in a scientific compound? Please fill me in on the back story if you get a chance.

      • Mooser on September 14, 2014, 11:35 am

        “So are you in a scientific compound?”

        Yes, but it’s really nice, and I room with GILES, ‘Goat Boy’, who is a regular riot. Never a dull moment.

  20. Mooser on September 13, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Besides, doesn’t it say in the Bible: ” I haven’t decided yet what I am or who I am.”?

    I’m sure many can cite the very chapter and verse.

    “I feel that Moose are more sympathetic than AI, and your conversations with us on Mondoweiss has raised my already-positive opinion of your noble species!”

    Thank you, W Jones! We like to think of ourselves as ungulates of infinite compassion, patience, and forbearance, except during the rutting season, or when awakened suddenly.

    At any rate, I’m sure you can understand why any discussion of Kashrut makes me a little nervous. I never know when we will suddenly veer off towards misanthropophagy.

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