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2010

Nixon’s Accusations of Jewish Insecurity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 7
Lone Soldier

 

The Paradoxes of Oil as a Guide for Living
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Rock Promoter and the Genesis of the Public Chanukah Menorah
Ruvi New

 

Why the Tea Party Resonates with Human Dignity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 6
Lone Soldier

 

The Lone Soldier Week 5
Lone Soldier

 

Jewish Ingratitude to Christians
Shmuley Boteach

 

No Gelt, No Glory
Simcha Weinstein

 

The Lone Soldier Week 4
Lone Soldier

 

A Time to Hate
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 3
Lone Soldier

 

“My Heart Swells with Joy”
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Lone Soldier Week 2
Lone Soldier

 

How Obama Lost his Magic
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rise of the Religious Charlatans
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rupert Murdoch: The 'Soft War' Against Israel
Rupert Murdoch

 

Do We Still Possess the Power to Choose?
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 1
Lone Soldier

 

A Spiritual Night in Hebron
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Religious-Industrial Complex
Shmuley Boteach

 

Ahmedenijad, Media Rock Star
Shmuley Boteach

 

As the Economy Crumbles, Obama Makes Middle East Peace.
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Pastors who Burn Bibles Become Celebrities
Shmuley Boteach

 

If an American President Were Muslim, Would we Care?
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Purpose in Debating Christopher Hitchens on the Afterlife
Shmuley Boteach

 

Suicide Bombers in Heaven? Imam Rauf Won’t Say No
Shmuley Boteach

 

Extravagant Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs Humiliate the Jewish Community
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Psycho Flight Attendants Become Heroes
Shmuley Boteach

 

Iran’s Descent Into Barbarity
Shmuley Boteach

 

Let the Families of 9/11 Decide the Fate of the Ground Zero Mosque
Shmuley Boteach

 

Time Magazine’s Bizarre Assault on Large Families
Shmuley Boteach

 

Tom Friedman’s Soft Spot for Terrorist Fadlallah
Shmuley Boteach

 

Kaddafi’s Ship to Gaza, and His Ark in New Jersey.
Shmuley Boteach

 

What We Lose When We Win
Shmuley Boteach

 

Al Gore’s Moral Confusion
Shmuley Boteach

 

Peace and Zealotry
Simon Jacobson

 

Theater review - 'The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer'
Yudi Lewis

 

What McChrystal’s Firing Says about American Values
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Rebbe and Viktor Frankl
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Michael Jackson’s Life Could have Been Saved
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Psychiatrist and The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

BP, Kaddafi, and Britain’s Oil Comeuppance
Shmuley Boteach

 

Helen Thomas and the Open Season on the Jews
Shmuley Boteach

 

Did the Lubavitcher Rebbe Con the World?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Fergie’s Fall
Simcha Weinstein

 

Sderot Report
Noam Bedein

 

Why All The Stress?
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama’s Jewish Charm Offensive
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Jewish Woman’s 10 Commandments
Mimi Hecht

 

Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?
Shmuley Boteach

 

South Park: Seriously Funny
Simcha Weinstein

 

Mother’s Day for the Childless
Mimi Hecht

 

Open Letter to J-Street after their Attack on Elie Wiesel
Shmuley Boteach

 

Life and Death
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Religion’s Summer of Discontent
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is Israel Being Stubborn?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When a Pope Needs Friends
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Five Cents
Mimi Hecht

 

Condemn His Report, But Welcome Goldstone
Shmuley Boteach

 

What The President Does Not Understand
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Lesson from Zaidy and Nona
Mimi Hecht

 

Does a Kosher Butcher’s Fraud Mandate a Life Sentence?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Don’t Kill the Love
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Fallible Pope, and Imperfect Church
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama and the Deafening Silence of American Jewry
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama's Hospitality: A Question of Character
Shmuley Boteach

 

From Globalism to Parochialism
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Matzah Moms
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama's Bullying of Israel
Shmuley Boteach

 

A Fashionable Promise
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America Has No Chief Rabbi
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Malady of a Maid
Mimi Hecht

 

The Human Miracle
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When Court Jews Defend Moral Cowards
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is it Okay to be Fat?
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America is the Most Depressed Nation on Earth
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Blackberry Baby
Mimi Hecht

 

Never Again !
Shmully Hecht

 

Heads over Heels
Mimi Hecht

 

The Death of Conviction
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

How to Deal with Destructive Emotions
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When You Are Not in the Mood of Your Spouse
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Discovering Your Depth
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Consciousness of Freedom
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Ten Ways to Destroy Your Life
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Enemy Within
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Are You a Hypocrite?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

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Suicide Bombers in Heaven? Imam Rauf Won’t Say No
By Shmuley Boteach
 
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

When you detonate explosives attached to your torso, simultaneously decapitating people on a bus or disemboweling little children at a kindergarten, do you go to heaven or to hell? Are you a martyr or a murderer? Heroic or heinous?

 

While the answer might seem straightforward to some, it clearly flummoxed Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, he of the Ground Zero mosque controversy, when it was asked of him by Barbara Walters in her 2006 TV special on heaven.

 

In response to the question as to whether suicide bombers go to heaven, Imam Rauf said, "One of the things that we are taught is never to say somebody will go to hell or somebody will go to heaven. It is up to God to decide."

 

Hmmm. Then allow me to play G-d for a moment.

 

Suicide bombers go to hell where they burn forever and ever. Period. There. That’s settled. Their souls are driven to the darkest reaches of the blackest netherworld where they suffer for all eternity in the anal cavities of the universe.

 

As President Obama might say, let me be clear. I bear no animosity to Imam Rauf, but I find his piety in refusing to speculate as to the final celestial resting place of a cold-blooded mass murderer both amoral and disingenuous. If men and women who blow up children and defenseless civilians end up in heaven then heaven is nothing but a meaningless euphemism for hell. If G-d would reward those who dismember innocent passengers on a bus with high explosives by delivering them eternal bliss then the Creator is in league with the devil. He deserves not our worship but our ridicule, not our praise but our contempt.

 

Fortunately, the G-d that I as a Jew worship, and which is the same G-d that my Muslim brothers and sisters worship, is not the G-d Imam Rauf discussed.  My G-d is merciful to the innocent and compassionate to the forlorn. But He judges the truly wicked and punishes the heartless and the cruel. A protector of women and children, He will visit eternal damnation on cowardly assassins who make them into widows and orphans.

 

Refusing to disassociate the G-d of Abraham and Muhammad from suicide bombers makes a mockery of those who purport to represent the Islamic faith. Islam is a moral religion. It believes in right and wrong. Like Judaism and Christianity it condemns murder. Like any moral system, it champions life. And it is incumbent upon Imam Rauf to state unequivocally that suicide bombers will receive the retribution that’s coming to them.

 

The foremost sin of any religious leader is moral relativism, a failure to lead in the face of ethical anarchy. A Rabbi, Priest, or Imam has a responsibility to impart definitive moral direction about events, people, and places that must fall under the rubric of either right or wrong. If we were to ask Imam Rauf whether unrepentant pedophiles go to heaven, would he be ambivalent?

 

A preparedness to criticize one’s own community when some of its members are guilty of serious moral lapses is the hallmark of the courageous leadership and religious integrity. When in February, 1994 Baruch Goldstein slaughtered 29 innocent Muslims in Hebron in a mosque, some Rabbis shamed themselves by finding mitigating circumstances for murder. They shunned any comparison between Goldstein and an Islamic suicide bomber. He was a doctor whose friends had been stabbed, they said, and so he snapped. He saw too many Jews murdered, so he became unhinged and sought revenge. He was privy to secret intelligence that the Muslims were about to slaughter the Jews of Hebron, so he struck a preemptive blow. Every one of these cowardly excuses was a betrayal of a Rabbi’s responsibility to teach and enforce the Ten Commandments, among which the most serious is, ‘Thou shalt not murder.’

 

Goldstein lost his mind when he saw too many Jews murdered in terror attacks? Really? Then why didn’t the Jews of Hitler’s Europe, immersed in a cauldron where 15,000 of their brethren were gassed and cremated every day for four years, ever blow up a German kindergarten? Why didn’t the Jews of Soviet Russia who lived for generations under the brutal boot of the KGB ever detonate a Russian bus? Because the Torah commands us to punish only the guilty and never the innocent.

 

There is no excuse for murder. Under any circumstances. Ever. Killing is justified only in self-defense. Goldstein, whatever virtue he accrued as a doctor who saved lives forfeited all when he decided to become a mass murderer and an abomination to Judaism.

 

But having said this, let’s be fair. There have been precious few Baruch Goldsteins and all too many Islamic suicide bombers. And if high-profile moderate Islamic leaders like Imam Rauf fail to condemn them in the harshest terms then Islam risks becoming an accessory to murder. The suicide bomber is an abomination and an affront to every truth Islam represents. That a Western Imam, who enjoys the freedoms and liberties of the United States, is undecided on the question of whether suicide bombers are currently frolicking in heaven is deeply troubling. And if Imam Rauf feels he has been misquoted or misunderstood, then let him immediately explain himself or correct the quote. Better yet, let him apologize for his appalling lack of judgment and the unfortunate desecration he has brought to a great faith.

 

 

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach hosts ‘The Shmuley Show’ on 77 WABC in NYC. He is the founder of This World: The Values Network, and is the author, most recently, of ‘Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life.’ Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

  

Posted on August 31, 2010
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