Archive for January 4th, 2007

Liberty Counsel Defends Pro-Lifers Against Florida City Officials’ Harassment

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

(AgapePress) – The City of Altamonte Springs, Florida, has agreed to ensure that sidewalk counselors near a local abortion clinic will not be arrested or harassed as they stand on adjacent property offering information, assistance, and alternatives to abortion.

Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based law firm that defends First Amendment freedoms and civil rights, sent a demand letter to Altamonte Springs officials after the city’s police officers threatened to arrest pro-life sidewalk counselors near the All Women’s Health Center of Orlando. The police had responded on two occasions to complaints from an abortion clinic administrator, citing violations of sign and noise ordinances.

The law enforcement officials threatened the sidewalk counselors with citation and arrest; however, the city recanted after receiving Liberty Counsel’s legal demand letter and promised that the pro-lifers would not be arrested. The Altamonte Springs city manager also promised that the police would be instructed on constitutionally permissible free speech as it relates to the pro-lifers’ situation.

Liberty Counsel’s senior legal counsel, David Corry, says the law firm told the city officials that neither they nor the abortion clinic could lawfully use largely subjective ordinances that do not pertain to physical noise levels but pertain rather to content to suppress constitutionally protected free speech.

“It was a very vague, nonspecific, non-objective kind of criteria that allowed the business manager for the abortion clinic to call the police and say she was disturbed by what she heard,” Corry notes. “If you’re going to have a decibel level with a number attached to it, that’s an objective criterion,” he says; “but it can’t be because one person decides they’re disturbed by the content of what you’re saying or the tone of what you’re saying.”

And the same free-speech rights apply to public as well as private property, the Liberty Counsel spokesman emphasizes, including public or private property near an abortion clinic. In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down 300-foot “buffer zones” around an abortion clinic and its staff in Melbourne, Florida, and invalidated any requirement to obtain legal consent before speaking to people approaching the clinic.

Liberty Counsel’s founder, Mathew Staver, argued the Melbourne case, known as Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, in which the court also struck down a ban on images observable inside the clinic. Commenting on the 1994 case, Staver observed that the U.S. Constitution “protects the right of individuals to peacefully gather and express their opinions.” And at the same time, the attorney insists, “women have a right to receive information about the medical risks associated with abortion and the many life-saving alternatives available to pregnant women.”

And now, as Liberty Counsel details in a recent news release, the City of Altamonte has agreed to recognize those constitutionally protected rights. Now that city officials have agreed that pro-life advocates may peacefully gather near All Women’s Health Center, the law firm states, women seeking abortions will again have access to information about adoptions and other safer alternatives to abortion.

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Student’s Rights Trump Principal’s Preferences, Says Lawsuit

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

(AgapePress) – A Pennsylvania high school finds itself the target of a federal lawsuit for limiting the expression of a pro-life student.

A sophomore at Penn Cambria High School in Cresson has filed a lawsuit after allegedly being told she could not distribute leaflets opposing abortion. The front side of the leaflets included a picture of a toddler and the phrase: “She’s a child, not a choice. Why I am silent.” The student also wore red duct tape over her mouth to mark the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity for pre-born abortion victims.

The complaint says Kathy Nagle, Penn Cambria’s principal, told the student the leaflets were too controversial and “might start a fight” on campus. Matt Bowman with the Alliance Defense Fund is the student’s attorney. He says Nagle’s argument does not hold water.

“In many cases, schools think they can discriminate against students based on their viewpoint or because what they’re going to have to say is controversial,” the attorney shares; “and the First Amendment doesn’t permit that.”

ADF has intervened in several similar cases involving violations of students’ rights surrounding the Day of Silent Solidarity, an event sponsored by Stand True Ministries, a pro-life youth organization. In one case, officials with a Maryland high school had banned what they deemed “inflammatory” student flyers about the event, but later dropped the ban when ADF advised the school of the students’ free-speech rights.

According to Bowman, this case is no different. He says the Constitution — specifically the First and Fourteenth amendments — as well as legal precedent are on his client’s side.

“The federal courts, especially [those] governing Pennsylvania, have issued strong opinions saying that you have to have particular, concrete, specific reasons to expect the particular message is going to cause a disruption,” the ADF attorney explains. It takes more, he says, than a principal telling students they cannot say something simply because the principal does not like what is being said or speculates that a fight might start.

ADF says a 1969 Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines, affirmed that students do not shed their constitutional right to free speech or expression when they come onto a school campus. But Bowman alleges that by discriminating against his client on the basis of her pro-life viewpoint, Penn Cambria High School violated her rights to free speech, due process, and equal protection.

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“Qassams Fired on Central California” by Dr. Linda Halderman

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

SELMA, CA — For the eleventh consecutive day, residents of rural Selma, California have sustained vicious and unprovoked rocket attacks.

Selma’s working-class population of 22,800 includes a large number of immigrants. The small, friendly town’s economy in central California’s San Joaquin Valley is based on agriculture and built on generations of farming families. Despite the financial hardships, they stay to cultivate and harvest fields of grapes that earn Selma the title, “Raisin Capital of the World.” Eleven schools and 35 churches support both the young and elderly residents of the town, as do the local hospital and rural health clinics.

It is hard to imagine, but this little town has been the target of over 1,200 Qassam rockets since August 2005. In the past month alone, nearly 300 rockets assaulted the rural community, each one accompanied by the “Red Dawn” air raid warning system Selma initiated in 2001 when the first rockets hit. The “Red Dawn” announcement blares out of an elaborate intercom system installed in nearly every building and throughout residential neighborhoods. The warning allows residents between 15 and 60 seconds to find shelter before an incoming rocket blast. Every home, commercial building and school in Selma is built with a “safe room” or bomb shelter. In a town with 50 percent of its population over age 65 — and 3,000 children — less than 60 seconds is not always enough time to hide.

A Qassam (kah-SAHM) is a crude but lethal weapon designed to inflict maximum civilian casualties. Too crude to be aimed with any sort of precision, it has absolutely no military applications. It is useful only to murder civilians and terrorize survivors.

The Qassam’s power lies in the explosive payload stuffed in the rocket’s metal shell, which is then packed with more than 7,000 metal ball bearings. Each ball bearing, less than ¼ inch in diameter, has a blast force capable of tearing through human flesh with deadly effect. One ball bearing, in other words, can create a hole in the human liver sufficient to guarantee that the victim will bleed to death before reaching Selma Community Hospital just a mile away. A single ball bearing that penetrates the human skull might leave a devastating neurological injury…provided the victim survives long enough to demonstrate the damage.

Who would fire such a horrifying weapon — indeed, over three thousand since 2001 — at the peaceful residents of this central California town? Look no further than the terrorists elected to govern the citizens of nearby Fowler just four miles north of Selma on Highway 99.

Today is Jake Jacoby’s funeral. The entire city of Selma mourns the loss of the 43-year-old father of four whose life was taken earlier this week when Selma’s Blocklite manufacturing plant (where he worked as a concrete mason) sustained a direct Qassam hit. Blocklite built the concrete reinforcements that protect Selma’s kindergartens from incoming Qassams.

Jake’s co-workers survived to witness the destruction of the rocket’s impact. Immediately after the blast, despite their own injuries, they attempted to slow the bleeding from Jake’s head and torso. Doctors at the nearest trauma center (20 miles away in Fresno) also tried to save his life, but the ball bearings had done too much damage. He died within hours.

Jake’s 12-year-old son, Brandon, speaks to a reporter after his father’s memorial service, explaining why his family has chosen to remain in Selma despite the constant barrage of rockets:

“I love Selma very much, and I won’t leave it because I love California. If I leave Selma, if all of Selma were evacuated, then the state would fall apart. The [terrorists in Fowler] will see that they are succeeding in Selma, and then they’ll shoot Qassams at San Francisco and Los Angeles too, and do the same in the whole state until nothing is left.”

* * *

The horrifying event described above actually happened. But it didn’t happen in Selma, California.

Change the names, travel 8,000 miles east, and visit the working-class town of Sderot, Israel. But be prepared to heed the Shahar Adom (“Red Dawn”) Qassam rocket warning system activated before every one of more than 1,200 attacks the community of 23,000 residents has endured since August 2005. Since 2001, the total number of rocket attacks sustained by Sderot is 3,000.

Sderot is a blue-collar town consisting largely of immigrants who escaped persecution in the former Soviet Union or starvation and sectarian violence in Ethiopia. The economy is based on agriculture — no easy feat in the arid soil and scorching climate of western Israel’s Negev desert. But neighbors help neighbors, and there is a strong sense of community often found among those who choose the small town life. There are eleven elementary schools, but playgrounds have remained empty since a Qassam took the life of 4-year-old Afik Zehavi as he played.

Original Link.

“LIFE IS A TEST” a Book Review by Fern Sidman

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

“LIFE IS A TEST – How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully” by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, move over. Your days are numbered. The pharmaceutical industry will lose billions in revenue after readers get their hands on this book. Simply put, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis’ new book, “Life Is a Test – How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully,” (Mesorah Publications) is the spiritual equivalent to the myriad of anti-depressants on the market. There is no question that Rebbetzin Jungreis has her finger on the pulse of the people. I would surmise that from her vast experience counseling those facing a multitude of challenges that life presents, she decided to write this book as an answer to a collective cry for help from a lost generation, totally unequipped to understand the true meaning behind life’s trials and tests. Fear not reader, for it is Rebbetzin Jungreis to the rescue. Your soul is about to get the ultimate work out, so get ready to stretch your spiritual muscles and become reinvigorated as you read “Life Is A Test”.

This is Rebbetzin Jungreis’ fourth book and its magnitude of depth, focus and analysis of our personal and communal struggles sets it apart from any other treatises on this subject. It is written as a trilogy, combining three books in one and takes the reader on a trajectory that is permeated with such a genuine sense of warmth and love that can only be termed palpable. In a society immersed in grotesque materialism, decadence and loss of any real and meaningful direction and purpose, we are clueless about what life is really about and more importantly, who we really are and what our potential could be. Rebbetzin Jungreis is the consummate storyteller and it is through this treasure trove of true stories do we begin to understand that our identity is not inextricably tied to our careers or professions or the external superficialities that our culture imposes upon us.

Rebbetzin Jungreis utilizes the timeless wisdom of the Torah to illustrate her points and to lead the reader on the road to true self-discovery. The book begins with the saga of Sam, Phyllis and daughter Kelly (names changed to protect anonymity), yet they could be any one of us. What follows is the story of the personal transformation of these three individuals that is beyond miraculous. By the middle of this book, the reader will feel a tangible connection to these people. Sam is a man who suffered a tremendous financial loss in business and was forced to declare bankruptcy. He and his family are secular Jews who turn to the Rebbetzin for guidance at this stressful juncture in their lives. Sam’s cynicism is all encompassing, as it oozes from every pore of his body, while wife Phyllis is concerned with social status and personal appearance. Daughter Kelly is a 35-year-old single career professional that has had her share of painful relationships and is dubious about the prospect of ever getting married.

Through a series of counseling sessions with Rebbetzin Jungreis, rife with personal stories of her own tests and challenges and those of her family, the Rebbetzin explains that each of us is actually blessed by G-d with tests to assist us in realizing our full potential. Rather than falling prey to depression, despondency and hopelessness when we are tested by G-d, we have the G-d given power to change our lives for the better. For each of us our potential is different, as we are custom made by G-d and no two people are exactly alike and we must know that G-d would never test us if we did not have the wherewithal to pass. As the Rebbetzin states, “G-d actually makes a portrait of what He intends us to become and equips us with the necessary tools with which to realize His purpose. All of the tests, trials, and tribulations of our lives are orchestrated by the One Above so that we may fulfill this goal, and if you wonder whether you have what it takes to succeed in this mission, be assured that G-d never makes mistakes – the very fact that it is He Who created you is proof positive that it is within your capability to fulfill this charge.”

Sam, Phyllis and Kelly soon learn the sublime truth of this Divine message and through their attendance and participation in the Hineni Torah classes; all three become closer to G-d. They learn to appreciate and understand the power of prayer, as they embrace the Torah and commandments. They begin to experience the kind of happiness and joy that no amount of money could buy. They begin to understand what life’s tests really mean, what message G-d is sending them and they begin to deal with problems and pitfalls with great equanimity.

The second installment of this book deals with interpersonal relationships and the tests that are indigenous to them. Rebbetzin Jungreis speaks with the authority of a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor as she imbues those she counsels with a solid spiritual foundation and practical nuances that will assist them in making the right choices. Whether it comes to looking for qualities in a prospective life partner, to dealing with a marriage riddled with constant strife and infidelity, to attempting to bring a potential intermarriage to a screeching halt, or dealing with a rebellious, disrespectful and irreverent teenager, Rebbetzin Jungreis explores these issues with the kind of depth and aplomb that is seldom spoken about by television and radio psychologists and gurus.

The third and last section of “Life Is A Test” speaks of communal and global tests. The Jewish nation stands at a critical and dangerous precipice in history. Global anti-Semitism continues to dramatically increase, while natural disasters such as tsunamis and Katrinas become more prevalent. The events of 9/11 still haunt us as it stands as an eerie reminder of the beginning of the age of terrorism. Madmen, such as Iranian President Ahmadinejad threaten to vanquish the State of Israel and to annihilate the Jewish people, while the world remains silent. We are told by Rebbetzin Jungreis that the putrid stench of hatred against Jews is reminiscent of Europe in 1938. Rest assured that these assessments are not being promulgated by paranoia, but by someone who lived through that nightmarish period and knows from whence she speaks. Rebbetzin Jungreis implores us to recognize these “wake up calls”, to realize that the times that we are living in are indeed the times of “Chevlei Moshiach’, the birth pangs of the coming of our righteous Messiah. We are being importuned by Rebbetzin Jungreis to recognize that these birth pangs can be long and excruciatingly painful or they can be short and abbreviated, yet it depends on us.

It is clear for all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that Rebbetzin Jungreis is a true Torah scholar. This book is replete with a voluminous amount of passages from the Torah, Talmud and Kabbalistic sources and each is given more than ample explanation as she delves into complex sources with such ease and finesse. What is most remarkable is her knowledge of Gematria – (mathematical equivalents for Hebrew letters) and how they apply to our times. Please don’t skim this book – you’ll miss tons of amazing insights, and while we’re on the subject of amazing and mind blowing insights, please take note of the meaning of the number 11 on page 231. You will never forget it.

Rebbetzin Jungreis’ message is clear, uncompromising and unremitting. Only through a sincere return to G-d, only through genuine and heartfelt prayer, only through performing acts of kindness, only through learning Torah will our lives and values begin to take shape. Only then can we begin to experience the kind of contentment, serenity and tranquility that our souls long for. Only then can we understand what real happiness and joy means, only then can we save our nation from the plethora of insidious haters who rise up to destroy us and only then will we merit G-d’s redemption on a personal and collective scale.

“Life Is A Test” is a must read for anyone seeking answers to the vicissitudes of life, for anyone who has grappled with issues of self-discovery, and frankly, for just plain anyone.

This book is a significant historical and religious contribution to the corpus of books on Jewish thought and will be a welcome addition to any library.

A THUMBS UP !!! FIVE STARS !!

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are pleased to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

“REBBETZIN ESTHER JUNGREIS ON SOUTH FLORIDA SPEAKING TOUR” by Fern Sidman

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

NEW YORK – January 3, 2007 – Internationally renowned motivational speaker, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis will be conducting a speaking tour of South Florida from January 22-27, 2007. She will be speaking about spirituality and the family and she will be discussing her recently released book, “Life Is A Test – How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully” (Artscroll Publications – release date November 7, 2006 – www.artscroll.com)

Sincerely
Fern Sidman

Her schedule will include the following venues:

On January 22, 2007 at 7:30 pm Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis will be speaking about her new book, “Life Is A Test – How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully (Artscroll Publications) at Florida International University in room 243 of the Graham Student Center on FIU’s University Park Campus, 11200 SW 8th Street in West Dade. For more information contact: Rabbi Freiberg, Associate Director, Collegiate Learning Exchange. Cell Number is 786-444-0480.

On January 23, 2007, at 7:30 pm, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis will be speaking about her new book, “Life Is A Test – How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully (Artscroll Publications) in Bal Harbour, Florida at “The Shul”, located at 9540 Collins Avenue, Surfside, FL. For more information please contact Rabbi Shea Rubinstein at 305-868-1411 ext. 7342.

On January 24, 2007 at 7:30 pm, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis will be speaking about her new book, “Life Is A Test – How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully (Artscroll Publications) at the Chabad of Boca located at 17950 Military Trail in Boca Raton. For more information contact: 561-994-6257.

On Thursday morning, January 25, 2007, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis will be speaking about her new book, “Life Is A Test – How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully (Artscroll Publications) to the students at Hillel Day School and David Posnack Day School High School. At 7:30 pm, she will be speaking with families from both schools. For more information contact: Raquel Burstein, 305-439-7766.

On January 26 and 27, 2007, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis will be speaking about her new book, “Life Is A Test – How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully (Artscroll Publications) will be speaking at a Singles Weekend at the Palm Beach Orthodox Synagogue located at 120 North Country Road in Palm Beach. For more information contact: 561-758-8181.

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Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis was born in Hungary. She came to the United States after surviving the Nazi’s Bergen Belsen concentration camp. Determined to devote her life to fighting the spiritual holocaust among Jews in the U.S. and around the world, the Rebbetzin founded Hineni. She writes a weekly column for the Jewish Press, the largest Anglo-Jewish paper in the world, teaches Torah on TV and over the Internet, and has authored two best selling books, “Jewish Soul of Fire” and “The Committed Life.” The Rebbetzin lectures across the globe, has been featured in numerous publications, and has been given formal recognition for her accomplishments by major religious and civic organizations in the U.S. and Israel.

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are pleased to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

Christians Face Christmas Beatings, Church Burnings

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Looks like the Hindus are starting to take lessons from the Islamist.

Christians in India are facing a new level of persecution, with burned church buildings, beatings that result in broken limbs and Christmas services and prayer meetings disrupted by Hindu militants in at least seven states, according to reports distributed by Voice of the Martyrs.

One church, a thatched building in Orissa state, was torched after church members had decorated and prepared for Christmas festivities, the report said, leaving them with no place to worship.

Asit Kumar Mohanty, who represents the Global Council of Indian Christians, said his group is investigating the church burning.

No more offensive an act than singing Christmas carols proved to be too much for the militants to accept, with widespread reports of harassment and arrest for those caught singing Christmas advent songs on Christmas Eve, officials said.

VOM said its sources, including Compass Direct News, told of attacks by Dharma Sena, a militant Hindu group, which had announced plans to close all church services for Christmas Day.

A pastor and 10 other missionaries were beaten and in yet another attack, Hindu extremists belonging to Bajrang Dal attacked 20 Christians who had gathered in a church to mark the birth of Christ.

“They stormed into the church, beat some of the Christians and destroyed hymnbooks and Bibles. Five Christians were injured in the attack, three suffered hearing loss due to a blow to the head, and a Bible school student’s hand was fractured,” Compass reported.

Officials also are expressing alarm over India’s move towards more attacks on Christians after one lawmaking body in Dharamshala passed legislation banning so-called “forced religious conversions.”

That would give authorities the go-ahead to “punish” anyone who “forced or induced someone to change his/her religion,” opening wide a door to retaliate against Christians after the fact if anyone converts, they said.

It was the sixth Indian state in recent months to adopt such laws, which typically are used to target any Christian ministry.

Hindu extremists also terrorized the more than 400 tribal Christians who had gathered in Maharashtra state to celebrate a prayer service on Christmas Eve.

“Before the service could begin … a large [force] from the local Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad barged into the assembly, shouting slogans against Christianity and driving the Christians away from the prayer hall,” the report said. Fearing further violence, the prayer meeting was cancelled.

And a Hindu extremist group called Dharam Jagran Samiti alleged it had “reconverted” a large number of Christians to Hindu, according to the Asian News International.

In another location, Christians were called to a police station on Dec. 24 and ordered not to conduct any service on Christmas.

Joseph K. Grieboski, who heads the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, said it’s clear that the powers in government in India are committed to discrimination against and persecution of religious minorities.

“These recent incidents show the challenges our brothers and sisters in India face for believing in Jesus Christ,” VOM said. “Pray God will strengthen them as they stand for Him.”

Original Link.

Bill Clinton Authorized Sandy Berger’s Access

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Well, of course the “King of Slime” would have had his fingers in something like this.

President Bill Clinton signed a letter authorizing former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger’s access to classified documents that later came up missing, according to a newly released investigation report by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The sensitive drafts of the National Security Council’s “Millennium After Action Review” on the Clinton administration’s handling of the al-Qaida terror threats in December 1999 suspiciously disappeared after Berger said he intended to “determine if Executive Privilege needed to be exerted prior to documents being provided to the 9/11 Commission.” Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft testified before the 9-11 commission about the millennium report, urging the panel to ask why the document’s warnings and “blueprint” to thwart al-Qaida’s plans to target the U.S. were ignored by the Clinton administration and not shared with the incoming Bush security staff.

The NARA investigation report said Clinton signed an April 12, 2002, letter designating Berger – and another person whose named is redacted – as “agents on his behalf to review relevant NSC documents regarding Osama Bin Laden/Al Qaeda, Sudan and Presidential correspondence from or to (Sudanese President) Omar Bashir, contained in the Clinton Presidential records.” A subsequent letter from a National Security Council official, May 14, 2002, said Berger repeatedly was briefed that “he was not allowed to remove any documentation from NARA.”

Last year, Berger plea bargained a criminal sentence on the charge of unlawfully removing and retaining classified documents. A judge gave him no prison time, a $50,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and a ban from access to classified material for three years.

Original Link.