Using A Key Card On Shabbat

Marc B. Shapiro writes:

* Fixler is a student of R. Nachum Eliezer Rabinovitch, and I used some of the time we were together to clarify the details of R. Rabinovitch’s position that there is no halakhic prohibition in using an electronic key card on Shabbat,[1] or in walking through a door that opens electronically, or even using an electronic faucet where the water comes out when you put your hand under it. Without getting into the halakhic details, I think one thing is sure, namely, that the future will bring more such lenient decisions in this area. The changing circumstances of modern life will create enormous pressure for lenient decisions, as modern technology which helps us in so many ways also creates many problems regarding Shabbat. For example, how long until it will be impossible to access an apartment building in New York and other big cities without using a key card? The day is probably coming when private apartment doors will also use key cards, not to mention numerous other such Shabbat-problematic technological advances that will be unavoidable aspects of life in the future. Therefore, I believe that some future poskim will return to R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s position that if there is no creation of heat or light, then technically there is no violation of Shabbat.

* R. Moses Isserles…states with reference to a different case that Jews who threaten to kill another Jew are only trying to scare him, “as Jews are not murderers.”

* Here is another story about Harbin told by R. David Abraham Mandelbaum. In 1943 his father and his friend, both yeshiva students in Shanghai, came to Harbin where they visited the university. While there, and presumably in the library, they found on one of the tables a Sefat Emet on Kodashim. The two students were very surprised, since how did this book end up in such a far-away place? They grabbed the book and quickly exited.

The story as told is quite shocking to me and I am surprised that it was reported, for how was this not thievery? Presumably, the university acquired the book from one of the local Jews who donated it. Or perhaps at the time the yeshiva students were visiting the man who was studying the book had gone out to the restroom or he had left the book there from a previous visit. If such was the case, when the man returned he would have been very upset to find that his book was taken. It appears that the two yeshiva students simply felt that they had a right to take the book, as it did not belong in a Chinese institution.
This reminds me of how many years ago I walked into the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary and saw that they had installed an anti-theft system to prevent anyone from removing a book without it being checked out. Upon inquiring I was told that this was necessary as some people thought it was OK to take books from the library, as they felt that they were “liberating” the books from the clutches of those who had no right to them, that is, the Conservatives. I never took that claim seriously and always assumed that a thief is a thief, and the people stealing the books – no matter how big their kippot or how long their beards – did not have any religious justification worked out. Subsequent experiences have shown me that these sorts of thieves will steal from anyone if given the chance, even if it means pretending to be kollel students. (I won’t elaborate further, but some European readers will know what I am referring to). But in the case from Harbin, it seems obvious that the reason for taking the book was precisely because the yeshiva students felt that there was no reason for the Sefat Emet to be in a Chinese institution. As mentioned already, I do not see how this can be justified halakhically, as we are not talking about a Jewish book that was, for example, confiscated by the government for anti-Semitic reasons.

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LA Earthquake Risk

Steve Sailer writes:

This bill, at least in its original form, would have legalized a lot of 8-story buildings along Ventura Blvd. in the SF Valley, which might be a good idea, except much of the north side of Ventura is built on the old LA River floodplain of sand and gravel, which liquefies during an earthquake.

After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, my dad took a map of all the condemned building in the San Fernando Valley and showed that about 80% of them were built on the old dry riverbeds, which only make up about 10 or 20% of the land of the Valley.

The government has, very slowly, mapped the type of soil and thus the earthquake risk in LA block by block, but the real estate business doesn’t want to think about it. And the real estate professionals do a lot of thinking for people these days, so not many people think about it.

…In this map, the entire southern portion of the San Fernando Valley is likely to liquefy in an earthquake. SB 827 would have turned most of that area into eligible for 8 story apartments.

But some parts are even worse than others. Many apartment buildings on the south side of Moorpark fell down in 1994 but fewer on the north side of the street because the street was originally built on the north bank of the LA River flood channel. So the south side of the street buildings built on sand and gravel performed worse than the north side buildings built on clay or whatever is the soil.

I presume that over the millennia, the flood channels moved around all over the south side of the SFV, much like how the LA River used to exit into the Pacific at Marina Del Rey up until 1825 when it moved 20 miles south to the current LA Harbor. But, probably, the more recent flood channels are worse building sites…

The San Fernando Valley has a lot of pretty standardized construction, so where building were hit hardest in 1994 is a pretty good test of the underlying soil.

In retrospect, the government should have bought up the hardest hit parts and turned them into parks and the like. The LA River restoration idea could have used land for flood control for the raging river to spread out into, which would be the same sand/gravel land that liquefied in 1994.

The real estate downturn of the mid-1990s would have been an ideal time for that.

My suspicion is that real estate interests persuaded government scientists to rank huge areas on a simple yes-no scale rather than on a bad-worse-worst scale. So now real estate salespeople can say, yeah, sure, the whole southside of the Valley is kinda bad, but whaddaya gonna do? Buy in the _north_ Valley?

* “California’s once-unrivalled status as the country’s most educated state has long since disintegrated under the waves of low-skilled, low-social-capital Mexican and Central American immigrants. Now, California’s K-12 system rivals Mississippi and Alabama as an education backwater. The state’s school-age population, now majority Hispanic, lacks competitive linguistic and math skills. California is becoming another Brazil, divided between fabulously wealthy elites hunkered down in their own coastal sanctuaries, and a poor, Third World population.” – Heather Mac Donald

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Is vegetarianism healthy for children?

Nathan Cofnas writes:

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ influential position statement on vegetarianism, meat and seafood can be replaced with milk, soy/legumes, and eggs without any negative effects in children. The United States Department of Agriculture endorses a similar view. The present paper argues that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ignores or gives short shrift to direct and indirect evidence that vegetarianism may be associated with serious risks for brain and body development in fetuses and children. Regular supplementation with iron, zinc, and B12 will not mitigate all of these risks. Consequently, we cannot say decisively that vegetarianism or veganism is safe for children…

This paper has reviewed direct and indirect evidence that vegetarian and vegan diets may be associated with serious risks for fetuses and growing children. This evidence for the dangers of vegetarianism is not necessarily decisive. However, the question is whether the AND is justified in making a blanket claim that “appropriately planned” vegetarian and vegan diets that substitute milk, soy/legumes, or eggs for meat are as healthy as appropriately planned omnivorous diets for children. The evidence reviewed here suggests that there are still many unknowns about the health effects of meatless diets in children. Parents ought to be informed that the debate about the health effects of vegetarianism in children is not settled one way or the other.

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Robert Stark talks to Luke Ford about The Dangers of The E-Personality

Robert Stark writes:

Luke Ford brings us his message of Love and Inclusion. Check out Luke’s simulcast on his live stream.


The book Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality
The esoteric power of the silent “la la la’s”
Creating an identity online to deal with a sense of emptiness and lack of self worth in one’s life
How online life creates a sense of escapism, euphoria, and feeling of grandiosity
The pros and cons of becoming more uninhibited online
Online life as a substitute for healthy social interactions
How using an online pseudonym leads to reckless behavior
How online life effects one’s real life social interactions
Knowing when to bite your tongue
Compare and despair
Stay in your lane!
Luke’s personal struggles and controversies
Attracting broken people who are on your wave length
Online political movements and how they often attract people who lack social bonds in real life
The importance of being part of a community

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The Jewish Culture Of Critique

Chaim Amalek writes: “Back before there was a World Wide Web, when the internet was just FTP, Usenet, and maybe some BBS services ( pre-internet), the “right” was simply Yggdrasil, William Pierce, and a few groups on Usenet discussing their ideas. And I was on top of things. But in this modern fast-paced youtube/facebook/twitter age, I’ve simply lost track of it. Someone kindly provide an executive summary of key concepts and players in the movement. Thank you.”

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