Saturday, May 22, 2010

Haveil Havalim 268 - The Victoria Day Edition!

Welcome to the Victoria Day 268th edition of Haveil Havalim!

First, the boilerplate:
Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by the formidable Jack.

The term “Haveil Havalim,” which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), and is another way to say, “Don’t get bogged down in meaningless things…”

And now on to Victoria Day:

As a new oleh to Canada [not unlike Bibi Netanyahu], I feel obligated to name this issue of HH in honor of Queen Victoria, the first sovereign of Confederated Canada, whose birthday is celebrated this weekend with a statutory holiday.

Of course, some Canadians also call this weekend May Two-Four, both for the actual May 24 birthday and for the number of cans of beer in a case… and Quebecois call it National Patriots Day because they are anything but national patriots... but I digress.

Why would a Jew, even one who lives in Canada, be interested in Queen Victoria? Read on!

Queen Victoria and the Jews? You bet. Victorian England weighed in on behalf of Jews during the 1840 Damascus Blood Libel and Rhodes Blood Libel, and the Catholic Church’s 1858 kidnapping of Edgardo Levi, and Queen V also granted knighthoods and titles to several of our kinsmen. [For more on the status of Jews in England in Victorian times, see Richard L. Stein's review of Constructions of "the Jew" in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875-1945.

Most interesting to me, though, is the report that Victoria insisted on circumcision by a mohel for her male descendants. Why? According to this site, it’s because she believed her family was descended from King David. Go figure.

Despite the paucity of submissions during this Shavuos-truncated week, I was able to find a good many Judaism-related posts to include:

Leah presents a reflective piece on matters both between human and Gd and between human and human with What Your Car Can Teach You (With Some Help from Up There) at Ingathered, while To Kiss a Mezuzah learns about that major nexus of human/Gd and human/human, the issue of Lashon HaRa (harmful speech), here. And for a fascinating insight on the human/Gd relationship and how it connects to the Torah’s prohibitions against idolatry, check out Or Am I?.

For an interesting take on the lessons one can learn from a yeshiva student, see Love of Torah--in honor of Shavuos, posted at A Chassidishe farbrengen. And while we’re on chassidim, check out Harry Maryles on the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s “missing years” here.

Trilby is sometimes credit with coining "How odd / of Gd / to choose / the Jews," to which the classic rejoinder is, "Not / so odd / the Jews / chose Gd." Along the same lines, Allison Josephs presents The Chosen (Last) People at Jew in the City. If you're into the topic, you might also want to check out one of my favorite humor pieces ever, Gd Names Next Chosen People.

Dealing with issues of Christian and Jewish evangelism, Minnesota Mamaleh presents Religion is Coming Home at TC Jewfolk.

Ben-Yehudah highlights the importance of Har haBayit in The Custom of Going to the Kotel on Shavu'oth at Esser Agaroth.

R’ Gil Student looks at the second day of Shavuos and its status in an attempt to save a woman from agunah status, here. I wasn’t familiar with that teshuvah of the Chatam Sofer, but I am glad to say ברוך שכוונתי regarding his logic.

Was Queen Victoria a Zionist? Under her patronage, the Palestine Exploration Fund was chartered. As they state on their website, “The PEF was founded in 1865 and is the oldest organization in the world created specifically for the study of the Levant, the southern portion of which was conventionally known as ‘Palestine’.” Their website includes a work called Jerusalem in Original Photographs: 1850-1920, which sounds interesting.

Were the Byzantines Zionist? I hope not, since that would horrify the anti-Zionists rioting on behalf of their bones, as reported by Jameel as well as Rafi G. Pagan we can deal with, but Zionist...?

Comedy Central? Definitely not Zionist, as Rafi G notes here and Seraphic Secret blogs here.

Now, is Elvis Costello a Zionist? Not so much, but read Contemplating Costello’s cancellation at Israelity.

Double Tapper has a look at potential war scenarios for Israel 2010 here. Will it help that the economy is strong and resilient, per a study reported at Israel Matzav? Here’s hoping...

An important read for American advocates for Israel: David Bedein presents Israel Resource Review - How to Communicate Concern Over US Middle East Policy to Members of the US Congress who oversee US State Dep't Middle East Policies. For Israeli advocates, Batya offers her own approach with Aim Carefully--Here's The Protest Letter at Shiloh Musings.

Batya also presents Dangerous Roads, on Arab drivers, at Shiloh Musings.

Jew vs. Jew hatred is front and center in The Latest Hate Rally, posted at Esser Agaroth, and it’s the source of strife in one of Jameel’s early adventures, as described here.

And for another side of Jew vs. Jew, Rahel presents Bully at the Bus Station at Elms in the Yard. I would write off Noa Raz’s account as an inflation of reality based on her history with haredim – after all, this is an uncorroborated account of an event that purportedly occured in a public place – but we’ve seen what the zealous are capable of…

On a lighter note: Mrs. S. presents Summer Plans 1.0.

Look here for some interesting information on Queen Victoria’s personal life… or just check out these posts to find out what’s happening in the lives of your favorite Jewish bloggers:

We lead off with a moment of great – and well-deserved – maternal pride from A Soldier’s Mother here. And may Aliyah by Accident merit such pride for the son whose birth was announced here this week.

Jack wants to protect his kids and wants them to know that, but doesn’t want them to know that they need protection. Hmmm....

Batya presents a vignette of bashert in It Could Be Written As A Great Short Story, and her thoughts on explaining Shavuot to her father with Shavuot, Cheesecake and Blintze Holiday as well.

Heshy Fried breaks from satire (I think) to offer economic advice with Frum man contemplates suicide over finances at Frum Satire. He might also take a look at Orthonomics’ take on the Areivim plan. And for a trifecta of challenging economics, see Lost in Kollel.

Musings of a Maidel talks about dating pressure here, while Sarah muses on answering tough personal questions on a first date here.

Ari is annoyed with the growth of Big Government in America; he should try Canada...

Tzipporah is still digging...

Harry presents Divorce and death on Facebook, reflecting on personal status updates, at Israelity. And on a lighter note, Harry presents Whale hears of tax breaks, returns to Israel.

And last, but not least – what would the week after Shavuos be without a cheesecake recipe? Thanks, Mom in Israel! Although, Israeli Mom doesn’t want you to have cheesecake on Shavuos. And Chaviva highlights the non-dairy aspects of the Yom Tov as well. Maybe they’ll go for chocolate crunch bars, courtesy of Ima on (and off) the Bima?

That concludes this edition! Submit your blog article to the next edition of Haveil Havalim using the carnival submission form.


  1. As always many thanks for an outstanding job.

  2. Good job!

    Sorry for not submitting recently but...

  3. Wonderful job! Thanks for the link, and shavua tov.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Batya [and the commenter who deleted his own comment]:

    I'm pretty sure "tongue-in-cheek" isn't new to you...?

  6. Thanks for some really interesting reading matter Rabbi T.

  7. thank you for the excellent job and the link! well done! :)

  8. B"H
    Thanks for hosting and for including my link.

    Haveil Haveilim is up!

  9. ProfK, MM, BY-
    Thanks! And Prof K - I looked for material to post from your blog, but didn't see anything to work with for this week. Better luck next time...

  10. May Toronto be the waystation on your journey back to Jerusalem. I linked to you in meme that Batya sent me. You do not have to take up the challenge. You have much better things to do with your time. Just wanted you to know.

  11. Phyllis-

    Thank you very much! I must admit that I won't end up getting to it, but I really do appreciate the honor.